OK. So. I have decided that I like the ending. I didn't love it, but I certainly didn't hate it. It was nothing like what I was expecting, but I thought it was very fitting. There were, however, sloppy writing moments that disappointed me.
The episode starts out where the first part left off; now those who chose to go on Galactica's final suicide mission are preparing for battle and evacuating those who chose to stay with the fleet. In a surprising act of selflessness (set up nicely by Lee's chastizing from the first Daybreak episode), Baltar decides at the last possible second to stay and fight in this battle. Was it because he wanted to redeem himself in the eyes of the other main characters? In Caprica's eyes? In his own eyes? Or maybe God made him do it.
Next, one of the most touching scenes of the two episodes takes place. Laura Roslin is parting ways with Doc Coddle and he gives her enough pain medication for two days, so she can function through the battle and what may come next. She thanks him for all he's done, he chokes up, and she says to him, "Don’t spoil your image. Just light a cigarette and go and grumble."
Usually there is more setup in an episode before the big battle, but by 7 minutes in Galactica jumps in. I suppose if you consider parts 1 and 2 were supposed to be the same episode (but the network decided to split them up), it makes sense. Galactica jumps in and takes such a brutal pounding before Anders makes the colony hybrid
Bla bla bla Boomer saves Hera, not, as they initially were hinting at, because her magical womanly ovaries made her suddenly love the child, but because of some sense of loyalty she still felt to the leadership and crew of the Galactica. I liked that touch, along with hearkening back to her first appearance on the show as she died. It reminded me that she was set up from the beginning to have divided loyalties, that she isn't just a feckless evil double agent, but she truly doesn't know where her alligience lies. It reminded me of the episode where she found out she was a cylon and tried to kill herself, or when she was in the brig beating herself up for shooting Adama.
Meanwhile Baltar and Caprica meet up on the defense line, where she reminds him that his chivalry is pretty silly considering she's the soldier and he's not, as she locks & loads while he fumbles with his gear. I found that appropriately funny. Then she says she's finally proud of him and they get the pre-battle hornies. The Head Six and Baltar show up, to both of them, and tell them to get ready because it's time to play their part in saving Hera and thus humankind.
The teams return to the Galactica with Hera, Helo is badly shot, Hera runs off because that's what she does (also isn't she like 3 or 4? Why doesn't she ever talk? At that age it's hard to get them to shut up!). Athena is having trouble deciding whether to save her dying husband or her child, but Helo tells her to go get Hera and miraculously survives because the writers love him (although we don't find that out until the end).
Next ensues a full recount of the Opera House, and we learn that Galactica is the Opera House. Baltar, Caprica and Athena all unwittingly start to chase after Hera, then realize that they are reliving the Opera House, wherease Rosalin gets a drug-induced vision of the Opera House and realizes it's time for her to find Hera. Each of these people at one point help save Hera from the enemy cylons, and the Opera House ends in the CIC with the final five overlooking. This is where the final five, Baltar, Caprica and Hera needed to meet to fulfil the visions/prophecies and lead to the survival of the human species.
Baltar and Caprica breathe a sigh of relief at having fulfilled their destiny and saved Hera just in time for Cavil to barge in and hold her at gunpoint. Much ado is made and finally the final five, let by Tigh, make a deal with
Remember Racetrack and Skulls with their armed against orders nuke? Well one of their frozen corpse hands shifts and hits the nuke button, which has no lid or covering, unlike any nuke button ever seen before irl or even on this show. Nuke hits the colony. Galactica shrieks. Shit is hitting the fan, and Kara now has to jump it so it doesn't blow up along with the colony. She doesn't have the coordinates to the rendez-vous on her, not being the person to man that station in any way, shape, or form, but thanks to basic training, knows how to program and jump. She has a moment of clarity and punches in the numbers that she had assigned to the notes of All Along the Watchtower. There must be someway outta here.
Galactica moans, groans and twists unnatually; it looks like she is going to fall apart any second. But she holds it together long enough for them to send a raptor to the rendez-vous, then fly past our moon to discover our earth; this episode is rightfully named Daybreak. After a long, cold and horrific night, the sun is rising over Earth as the survivors of human and cylon kind find a new beginning.
Amazingly, there is an hour left to this two hour episode. No major characters have died AT ALL; only 2 named characters have bit it and they were only introduced in Part I. The writers are too sentimental, methinks. Come on, even ST:TNG writers killed off the beloved Data.
After five white men make some crude jokes about mating with the native African H. sapiens, Lamkin picks out a prime piece of real estate to build their new civilization. Lee decides that's silly, they should give up civilization and live among the people of new Earth. Everyone agrees to this, since they've been cooped up in a technological, metal hell for 4-5 years and now have PTSD that causes them to make illogical decisions. None of them think that the clone armies of 2, 6 and 8's will freak out the natives at all. They decide to split up and disperse to ensure survival, funny because this is the antithesis of survival strategy. I guess this is their version of strategery.
Lots of sap follows this and I'll skim over it quickly because this is becoming a novella. Roslin names the new planet Earth, then she and Adama leave to find a spot to build that cabin they've been talking about since New Caprica. On the way there, she dies while remarking on the beauty of Earth. Adama is too busy talking to notice. When he finds out she's dead because she didn't answer back, he symbolically marries her corpse, something they never had time to do before. It was supposed to be touching but came across as a bit creepy. Cut to: he's sitting on a hilltop talking about their cabin, at which point I turned to LB and said, "I hope he's talking to her grave and not her dead body!" Then Lo! did the camera pan out to reveal her grave. Sigh of relief.
Lee and Kara talk about what they are going to do next. Kara says she has fulfilled her destiny and is leaving. She then
Galen decides to shove off to Scotland or maybe Iceland and live by himself. At this point I stop to wonder aloud what happens to the Cylon models. The Final Five have already lived for thousands of years; will the Cylons here on earth continue to live unless killed by accident or war? Do they age at all? Seemingly they don't; is Galen still a sulking hermit in Scotland? Are there still clone armies of 2, 6 and 8's running around, and does no one notice? PLOT HOLE!
Next we see colonists traveling to their new home, and this is where we find out Helo didn't die of that nasty gunshot to the femoral artery, after all. Hera runs and plays in the grass, fade to black. Fade in to modern New York City, where Angel Baltar and Angel Caprica walk unnoticed on the street. There they espy Ron Moore reading the Nat Geo edition about Mitochondrial Eve. Angel Baltar and Angel Caprica reveal that this is Hera, and that the whole event was a Noah's Ark of sorts, wiping out the majority of humanity to start again anew with a small population. This time, are they doomed to repeat the cycle of android war? Angel Caprica is more optimistic than Angel Baltar. Angel Caprica once again waxes poetic about God's plan, and Anger Baltar responds, "It doesn't like to be called that, you know." No, it likes to be called Ron Moore.
The episode ends to the music of All Along the Watchtower, showing our current advances in AI and robotics. Are we doomed to enslave a race of intelligent, sensitive androids, thus dooming our species to war against a superior opponent of our own creation? We have watched what came before, and whether it will happen again is now in our hands.