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Revelations (and Some Answers!) on the Season Finale of "Battlestar Galactica"

For the naysayers out there who said that the Colonials wouldn't reach the promised land until the very end of the series, there's a bit of egg on your face now that the pseudo-season finale ("Revelations") showed them doing just that, way ahead of schedule.

Of course, this being Battlestar Galactica, the revelation that a joint human-Cylon task force would be able to crack the code and find the way to Earth (using a series of clues left by whom exactly?) had its own unique twist: once they reached the blue planet, they discovered that it was nothing but a smoldering nuclear wasteland, possibly destroyed decades earlier. The sight of human standing next to Cylon as they wandered aimlessly through the charred (and radiation rich) ruins of an Earth building was haunting and mysterious; never did I think that we'd see Six and Tigh standing side by side (as she lovingly touches him on the shoulder, no less) or D'Anna sharing the same space with Roslin and Adama. And poor Kara looked heartbroken as she surveyed the surface of the planet she had fought so hard (risking even her sanity) to find.

This to me is not only very interesting but significant. Someone went through all of the effort to pull Starbuck out of the timeline, faked her death (or let the Colonials think she was dead), brought her to Earth (which wasn't destroyed), and then placed her back in the timeline just as the fleet arrived at the nebula, outfitting her with a near perfect copy of the Viper she was flying when it exploded, seemingly killing her. Hmmm. This Viper doesn't have a scratch on it yet has the identical Colonial registry as Starbuck's Viper; it seems to be the very same vehicle and everyone from Chief on down the line has checked it out thoroughly... yet suddenly the Four sleeper agent Cylons aboard Galactica get a weird sonic message and they find themselves drawn as by an invisible thread to the Viper. And somehow Starbuck manages to find something unusual... a hidden signal received only by this particular Viper that displays a Colonial transmission from Earth. Just why did someone go through all of this trouble just to get the humans to arrive on Earth (too late, perhaps?) if there was nothing there but charred rock?

As always in Battlestar Galactica, it's a matter of being careful what you wish for. I'm very excited and intrigued to see what happens next as the primary dual missions of the series (fight the Cylons to keep the human race alive and find Earth) have been rendered pretty darn useless by the events of the last few episodes. The destruction of the Cylon Resurrection Hub (in last week's brilliant and gripping episode scripted by Jane Espenson) puts the Cylons and humans on almost equal ground: they're now both mortal. Each life counts for something and each death is a reminder that the darkness is just around the corner for each of them. As for them reaching Earth, I wonder what Pythia said they'd find there once they arrived. The dying leader did lead them to the blue planet but the prophecies don't say anything about what to do next.

So where will the final ten episodes of Battlestar Galactica take us? My guess is that the fragile human/Cylon alliance will be tested by this shocking turn of events. Both races have been on a quest to find Earth, aided by the Final Five, and will have to deal with the fallout that help hasn't arrived in the form of the thirteenth colony. I think they'll try to work together to solve the mystery of just what happened to the planet: was it destroyed in the same Cylon attack that destroyed the Colonies or did Brother Cavill's forces get there before them and wipe it from the stellar maps? And they'll have to deal with Cavill's forces eventually. No way will he take the destruction of the Resurrection Hub lightly and, while many thousands of his models (along with the others) were destroyed during the attack, there have got to be other copies out there waiting to pay the rebels and the humans back for their assault.

As for the Final Five, I think it incredibly fascinating that the four known models came from Earth. Were they born there in conventional means? I've long thought that these Cylons were unique in that their experiences were unique: birthed as a single model and not a production line, they experienced life in a linear fashion, aging as the humans do with no ability to download to a new host body. I'm curious to know what their buried memories of Earth are and how they'll be significant in determining the next move for both peoples. Do they stay and try to build a new civilization together, aware of the risks and sacrifices necessary to do so after their botched attempt at occupation on New Caprica? Can the humans really ever forgive the Cylons for the destruction of the Twelve Colonies? Is anyone ever able to forgive a nation for genocide?

Speaking of forgiveness, I can't help but wonder whether Roslin will keep Baltar's crime to herself now that she saved his life. She was tempted to let him die after his injury (silly him for unburdening himself and telling her that he gave the Cylons the access codes that led to the destruction of their home worlds) but in the end "forgave" him for his sins and proved that all life, no matter how reckless and foolhardy, is worth saving.

As for the fleet, they'll also have to forgive and adapt to the realization that four of them (not to mention four people closest to the human leadership) were actually Cylons from the start. The depth of Adama's feelings of betrayal when he learned that Tigh was "one of them" was an astonishing and heartrending sight as he drunkenly smashed the mirror in his cabin and was reduced to a keening, sobbing wreck on the floor as Lee had to cradle him and comfort him. It was an interesting subversion of their normal relationship, with Lee the one to provide clarity and strength to his father. I thought it was a telling display of how far his character had come since the start of the series that Lee remained so poised and in control in the face of such chaos, able to make the difficult decision (remember his guilt over shooting down the Olympic Carrier?) and roll that hard six. It's a feeling that erased my distaste for Lee during his, um, fat days as the flabby and unsympathetic Commander of the Pegasus.

I was happy to see that Tigh remained ever the pragmatic soldier, even in the face of possible airlocking; willing to sacrifice himself to save the fleet from nuclear attack by D'Anna's rebel forces, he proved in no uncertain terms that actions do make the man more than anything else. Tigh might not be human (or is he something more than both human and Cylon?) but he proved without a doubt where his loyalties lie. Michael Hogan has transformed the curmudgeonly Tigh into something approaching a true hero, albeit a tragic one at best, and his performance in the finale as he comes to terms with his need to reveal his true self to Adama, his friend of thirty years, was absolutely riveting to watch.

Ultimately, a fantastic halfway point for the final season of Battlestar Galactica and a cliffhanger ending that will have me guessing about what happens next for the long months ahead until Sci Fi brings the series back for its final ten episodes early next year. I'm already deliriously anxious to see what happens next so the wait is likely to be as excruciating for me as it is depressing knowing that the series' ending is so very, very near.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: The Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); American Gladiators (NBC); Gossip Girl (CW); The Bachelorette: DeAnna Tells All (ABC); Bones (FOX)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/Rules of Engagement (CBS); Nashville Star (NBC; 9-10:30 pm); One Tree Hill (CW); The Bachelorette (ABC); House (FOX)

10 pm: CSI Miami (CBS); Dateline (NBC; 10:30-11 pm); The Mole (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Gossip Girl.

Looking to relive the freshman season of the teen soap? On tonight's repeat episode ("Victor/Victrola"), Nate worries that his dad has some kind of drug problem, Nate considers investing in a burlesque club, and Jenny uncovers a secret her parents were working hard to protect her from and tells Blair that Nate isn't over Serena, a revelation that leads her into the arms of Chuck Bass.

10 pm: Weeds on Showtime.

In the fourth season premiere of Weeds ("Mother Thinks the Birds Are After Her"), Nancy, Andy and the kids, still on the lam after she burned down their house, head to the beach, where they are reunited with their grandfather (guest star Albert Brooks) and Nancy learns that some problems are inescapable.

10:30 pm: Secret Diary of a Call Girl on Showtime.

On the first episode of this effervescent British import, we're introduced to twenty-something Londoner Hannah (Billie Piper) who goes by the nom de plume Belle in her career as a high-priced call girl; watch what happens when she inexplicably falls for a client.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Firstly Jace, many congratulations on your nuptuals, enjoy your honeymoon and thanks for continuing to post, though whether we should be thanking you or the missus I don't know!

Great episode, which I'm feeling quite happy about having suggested on these pages over a month ago that the humans and cylons would get back to Earth together only to find it destroyed. (Timing might have been a bit out, though.)

Anyway, I wanted to mention something which you didn't draw attention to in your write-up which I thought was extremely important. The final cylon: D'Anna said the final cylon was not in the fleet. Add that to the not-in-the-last-supper picture and the shortlist must be getting very short indeed.

Maybe it's Zack as someone else suggested, or, at least, someone we haven't met yet. Any thoughts?
UPennBen said…
That the final Cylon was not in the Last Supper photo is semantics. Moore never really copped to that if you read what he said. He later said, I believe, that the fifth Cylon wasn't "seated" in the photo. And not in the fleet is even more semantics--what exactly did she mean by the Fleet?

I think it has to have something to do with Head Six. Why else have that character from the miniseries yet to be explained?
Unknown said…
Early next year? Ugh. I was hoping it'd finish in the fall. These many-month-long breaks make it hard to get back into the story. What'll happen if there's an actors strike?

I doubt Cavill destroyed Earth because how would he know where it is. Did anyone else get the impression that those girders in the foreground were supposed to be the cage for the Statue of Liberty's torch?

If the Final Five age normally and they came from Earth, it was destroyed some time in the last 30 years. Adama has known Tigh for at least 30 years. But how could the FF have been created 30 years ago? When did the Cylons invent that technology?

I just hope they answer all this in the next 10 eps and that they don't wait until the very last one to reveal the final model.
Anonymous said…
upennben: I checked again and it was pretty unequivocal, she said to Roslyn when talking about the final five that there were only four cylons in her fleet. The only ambiguity is whether she meant right at that moment, or more generally, ie whether the hostages on the cylon base ship count in that. But it does rule out the Doc, Gaeta, Tom Valcek, Baltar's lawyer at least.
Jace Lacob said…
Terraling, that's assuming that D'Anna was telling the truth and wouldn't keep the identity of the final Cylon to herself as leverage. Why give the humans the last little bit of power that she might possess and outlive her usefulness?
Unknown said…
I think she meant four Cylons in her fleet at that moment. (I also thought she glanced in Sam's direction.) If that's the case, none of those people are ruled out. Any one of them could be one of the four in her fleet at that moment (while the fifth--Sam--is on the base ship). It only rules out the other people on the base ship.
Anonymous said…
At the time she said it Sam was on the Galactica along with the other three, so only lying would keep those other characters in contention. Barring that, it's Roslyn, Adama, Baltar or Nelo (who is not seated in the last supper(!)), anyone I'm missing?

The architect of the to-ing and fro-ing from Earth, Starbuck's journey etc. has to be something fairly exceptional, and I think I've floated before that the final cylon and the one god may be the same thing, and - to me - something more extraordinary than it just being one of the existing cast is looking more likely.

The team behind BG have done a great job so far and I'm confident they won't let us down, can't wait.

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