A shorthand way to keep track of the difference between Battlestar Galactica and Lost is that if you drove everyone on Lost nuts and gave them guns, uniforms and spaceships they’d be the characters on Battlestar Galactica. Battlestar Galactica 4×12 Revelations is the series’ mid-season finale, which means no more episodes until 2009 and while Battlestar Galactica s4e12 Revelations does deliver a conclusion of sorts, rather than a cliffhanger, it’s one rooted in Planet of the Apes rather Battlestar Galactica 1980, which may be some improvement.
Battlestar Galactica 4×12 Revelations is really two episodes. One episode is another standoff episode of the type Battlestar Galactica routinely does these days and the kind we had not so very long ago. The stakes may be higher but the basic ingredients are the same, tight rapid closeups, pounding music, both sides moving to the brink of destruction, until the whole thing gets sidelined and everyone divies up what they have. It’s a BSG formula and I suppose all the more relevant in light of the apocalyptic conclusion to the search for earth. The second episode is the euphoric search aborted by the grim reality of the poisoned earth that awaits them.
There are plenty of payoffs in Battlestar Galactica 4×12 Revelations, from Saul finally telling Adama the truth, volunteering to be shot out into space and even telling Lee to hurry up and do it, the revelation of Earth and the Final Five. Starbuck and Lee finally seem to be growing up, as the opening of Revelations testifies and everyone learning to get along, even the Cylons. But the payoffs are there mainly because Season 4 was such thin gruel consisting all too often of characters going nuts and of too little actual plot motion.
In the end we seem to have reduced the Battlestar Galactica universe to a cautionary Cold War warning with human and Cylon history as a cycle that has Earth wiped out in a war between man and machine, with the refugee humans or machines creating their own race of androids on Kobol, who rebel, think of themselves as human and go on to colonize the 12 colonies and then create the Cylons who perpetuate the process. The way out apparently is to embrace monotheism and stop making robots.