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Saturday, April 05, 2008

TV Watch: Battlestar Galactica, He That Believeth in Me

Personally what I like about Battlestar Galactica is its ability to reduce itself to very discernible bits.

In this episode - that would space dogfights and mistrust. From the view of the cockpit and the command center, you get the gritty military SF that has made the series so unique in the genre, comparable to Firefly in this regard, and then in the hallways and various rooms of the Battlestar - what's almost something of an inverse murder mystery. We're not trying to figure who was killed - we're trying to figure out who never was really alive.

Firstly, the ambush and the retreat is fairly telling of the Cylon fleet. There has been a lot of indication that the race sees themselves as essentially the hand of God. Here - it is practically the only explanation. It's not that they're out to exterminate the entire human race, they're playing their part in man's morality play. They're the flood to God's Noah. So while the whole show probably could have ended in the first half hour of this episode, the Cylons retreat as soon as they realize that the new forms have been activated.

Which brings us to what well definately be huge theme for this final season, as clearly laid out by the show's intro text ... who is the final Cylon?

Obvious suspect right now is Kara. It's hard to explain her ability to be blown to bits and return in a flashy new ride with a free round trip to Earth thrown in to boot. Of course, that pre-supposes that the Cylons are sitting there waiting on Earth and the counter-argument to the Noah theory above is that the Cylons are intentionally allowing a weak group of humans to limp back to Earth to finish the entire job (or, as we've seen, there are factions of both). It also assumes that the Cylons would have some reason to make a big show of infiltrating BSG ... something they haven't really done before.

My guess? Kara's something else. I think the show is quickly moving into a stage where atheism isn't really much of an option in the mythos and Kara's seeming rescue may be more of an act of divine intervention than anything else.

So our next most likely candidate would be Baltar. He's already suspected it, he seems to share the visions that Cylons are capable of having (although Kara might now fit that as well) and he seems to be preaching the religion of the Cylons as well. He might be their messenger and their messiah. Yet, if anything, Baltar is far too obvious - a traitor and opportunist on an epic scale. If Baltar would be "revealed" as a Cylon - it would be essentially anticlimatic.

I think this leaves three likely candidates: The Old Man, Lee and The President. Out of these, I'd say Roslin is my favorite. She has visions, she shared a vision with Six, she's been cured by Cylon hybrid blood and she's potentially leading the fleet away from Earth.

Perhaps this episode set up what will be the arching conflict of the final season - Starbuck versus Roslin.


David said...

Interesting theory, but the Roslin idea has a hole:
She has cancer in the first place. Though she's been put into remission by Cylon blood, if she were a Cylon, then whe would not have had the cancer in the first place.

Here's a twist for you: The Chief's kid is now a Cylon hybrid. What does that mean in relation to Athena's/Hero's kid?

Josh said...

But can we assume Cylons can't get cancer? We know they can get sick.

And yeah, considering the importance the show placed on the hybrid offspring, the fact that we've had another all along is a bit of a shocker. I think huge plot question here is what The Chief will tell Callie in the very, very near future.

David said...

We can't assume that Cylons can't get cancer, but if she was cured by Cylon blood, then she must not have had any Cylon blood in her body in the first place. I think.

If two hybrids have kids, do you think the Cylon genes are dominant or recessive?

Josh said...

OIC - yeah, but she was cured by hybrid, right? Which as your other question illustrates, maybe have some qualities we're not entirely aware of yet.

This is something the show has very artfully avoided - defining the biology of the human Cylons too much. We know they can reproduce, sweat, cry, bleed and probably every other iota of human experience we can generally think of or "hiding" as a human for thirty odd years would get kinda odd. Illnesses are possible, but seem to have different vectors.

And yet they seem to also have cells that can glow. In theory, Baltar's Cylon detection worked on DNA (and did work, IIRC - He intentionally flubbed Boomer's test) - so they're basically a cousin race to ours only faster, with glowy bits and some kind of hella builtin wifi...