I had an interesting conversation the other day with someone experienced in screenwriting (and whose writing has actually made it to screen) about BSG’s Season 3 cliffhanger. He said he thought the ending, in which four well-established characters are revealed (as far as we know) to be Cylons, was a “cop-out.” His reasoning? Writers who have led the audience to be so invested in these characters shouldn’t suddenly pull the carpet out from under us and say something akin to: “Psych! It was all a dream!” I know that creative writers often adhere to this concept, since a move like this can cause the audience’s disillusionment, alienation, or a sense of having been betrayed. (These are my own interpretations of that argument.)
But I can’t help but disagree when it comes to BSG. I’m sure the rule is a good one for most writing, but I think that the suspense of the “Cylon reveal” -ever since we’ve known Cylons can look exactly like people – has been a significant and exciting aspect of the show. I don’t feel cheated by this revelation (perhaps it’s because I think they’re good Cylons who want to help humanity get to Earth) – but instead I find it exhilarating to be in the same shoes as these characters who are simultaneously discovering the truth.
We’re all fans of the show, so I’m not expecting overt criticism of the writing or anything, but I’d love to know how you all respond to this question.