Saturday, February 14, 2009

Battlestar Galactica, "No Exit": The areas of my Cylon expertise

Spoilers for last night's "Battlestar Galactica" coming up just as soon as I find out if there are any Cylon hobos...
"I think we have to accept what we are." -Bill Adama
I don't usually like to bother with a lot of recapping in these reviews, working under the assumption that if you're reading it, you watched the episode like me. But because "No Exit" was 99% exposition, and answered so many questions we've had about the history of the Cylon race, the Final Five, Earth, etc., I think the best way to start is to sum up all the things we learned and then try to parse some meaning from it all.

So here's what I got out of this (and feel free to add anything I left out; obviously, there was a lot):

• The 13th Tribe of humanoid Cylons was created by the humans on Kobol.

• They traveled to Earth, stopping by the algae planet along the way.

• At some point in the distant past, they built robotic servants, the servants rebelled, and decided to nuke them all.

• Five 13th Tribesmen -- Ellen, Tigh, Anders, Tyrol and Tory -- had developed the process for downloading their consciousnesses into new bodies, which they employed when the nukes hit to get into a spaceship they had parked in orbit.

• Once resurrected, the Final Five -- a name which now has a different meaning, as they're the final five members of the 13th Tribe, as opposed to the final five members of Cavil's race -- directed their spaceship towards the homes of the other 12 Colonies to warn them about creating their own robot servants, but they got there too late, in the midst of the first Cylon War.

• The Final Five saw that these Cylons had been trying to create their own skinjobs, but were unable to do any better than the Hybrids, and so they offered the Cylons a deal: peace with humanity in exchange for the secrets of skinjob tech and resurrection.

• The concept of the monotheistic god originated not from the Final Five, or from their new skinjob creations, but from the robotic Centurions.

• Cavil -- or, as Ellen named him, John -- was the first new skinjob, based on Ellen's father, and he helped make the others.

• There were eight skinjob models, not seven, but Cavil killed off one named Daniel because he resented how mama Ellen seemed to favor him.

• Cavil, hating his five parents for so many reasons -- including his lack of interest in being human like the ones who had enslaved his robotic brothers, staged his own coup, locking the Final Five into bodies with altered, Boomer-ized memories and dumping them in humanity so they could witness the eventual genocide of the human race.

• I'm also assuming, though it isn't explicitly stated, that Cavil is the one who programmed the other six remaining skinjob models to not want to look for or even think about the Final Five. When D'Anna rebelled against that bit of programming, he boxed her.

• Cavil joined Anders' resistance, became Tyrol's confessor, cut out Tigh's eye, etc., all as a way to prolong his parents' suffering.

• There is a "colony" out in space somewhere with the technology to build a new resurrection hub, but the skinjobs (Cavil included) don't know how to use it, and even Ellen (given back her full memories when she resurrects after Saul poisons her on New Caprica) says she would need the other four with her to do it.

• With Anders apparently brain-dead, re-building resurrection may be impossible. But the Final Five are able to sire offspring (it seems only the skinjob men are infertile), and at least one human/skinjob offspring has been created (Hera), and now Adama is reluctantly introducing organic Cylon technology into Galactica, and... who knows where the intermingling of humanity and Cylon will end this time?

That about all?

Now, there's almost no point in analyzing "No Exit" as an episode of drama. There are dramatic moments in it (Sam's seizure, Boomer helping Ellen escape), but it's largely an info-dump -- or, as Mo Ryan put it, a download directly into each viewers' brain -- so that we can stop asking many of our questions(*) and start pondering the philosophical and practical implications of all this knowledge.

(*) There are still a number of issues left to be resolved, including whether there really is a larger force (the Cylon god? Daniel?) orchestrating this, the meaning of the opera house vision, Kara's identity, and the nature of the head characters, but they really cleared a lot of questions off the white board, didn't they?

But while you're musing over the larger meaning of this, and whether the answers are satisfying after all the build-up over the years, I want to look at the major thematic element moving throughout the hour, encapsulated by the Adama quote above: how it's so hard for the characters, be they human or Cylon, to accept who and what they really are, and how much pain is caused by their denial.

Humanity wanted to be more like the gods, so they created their own life-forms, and it repeatedly led to disaster. The Final Five wanted to be gods, and the Centurions wanted to be more like humans, and so the skinjobs were created -- only Cavil decided he'd much rather be like a robot, and the roots of the genocide were born. Roslin and the rest of the fleet spent four years clinging to the notion of the original 12 colonies and ran the Quorum accordingly, even though it didn't really represent the nature or needs of the rag-tag fleet.

Even Adama wants to cling to the idea of Galactica as this indesctructible old bird, built by humans, for humans, and tries to resist Tyrol's attempts to introduce both Cylon workers and Cylon technology into the repair effort. (It appears he did learn some lessons from the mutiny, after all.) But in the end, the glimpse of the cracks extending to his own bathroom -- a crack he probably never noticed before, or paid little attention to -- hits home just how bad things have gotten, and so he authorizes Tyrol's plan, just as Roslin approves Lee's idea to finally try to make the civilian government practical for the fleet.

Cavil, on the other hand, isn't so flexible. We're getting a lot of plot exposition in this hour, but we're also getting a much fuller picture of who Cavil is, and why he's done what he does. (We'll get even more in the TV-movie, which Ron Moore confirmed in the latest podcast will be told largely from Cavil's point of view of events earlier in the series.) We find that Cavil is not only the first of the new skinjobs, but a cruel hybrid of the Biblical Cain (he murdered his brother, and his mother is fond of apples), Oedipus (has sex with his mother, though the eye he puts out belongs to his father) and a kind of Pinocchio in reverse. It's been a hallmark of sci-fi stories that we're supposed to cheer on the robot that aspires to be something more human, like Data. But Cavil believes that to be human is actually something less, and his monologue about being forced to observe a supernova within the limits of his human senses -- wonderfully played, as usual, by Dean Stockwell -- suggested, as so much of "Galactica" does, that our traditional sci-fi assumptions aren't always correct. Cavil's a monster, but Ellen and the others inadvertently created him to be one, didn't they?

Boomer has, going back to the first season, been the series' symbol of characters straining to be something they're not. She's the real Pinocchio figure here, and in that lovely cut from Boomer asking whom she would want to love to Tyrol walking the Galactica corridors, we're reminded that she still has strong human connections, strong enough to make her betray Cavil and bring Ellen back to the fleet.

This means my hope of finally getting a Tyrol/Boomer scene where they talk about being unwitting Cylons will almost certainly come to pass. But what else happens if/when Boomer and Ellen hook up with Galactica? Does Saul try for a very French relationship with Ellen and Caprica? Do they inadvertently lead Cavil, Simon and Doral right to the fleet -- at a time when Galactica is in no shape to either fight or run?

And after laying so much knowledge on us in a single episode, how do the writers and the characters plan to use that knowledge over the final five episodes?

Some other thoughts:

• If you go to Mo Ryan's post, you'll see she's soliciting questions to ask the writer of this episode, Ryan Mottesheard (a long-time script coordinator doing his first teleplay for the series), so feel free to suggest your own.

• I had worried for a while that the explanation of Cylon history and how it tied into the ruined Earth would be compromised in some way to allow for the events of "Caprica," but I felt like this works for both "Galactica" as a self-contained series and as something that can tie into what Moore says will be a more down-to-Earth (or down-to-Caprica) prequel series.

• John Hodgman, sometime-PC and constant accumulator of all world knowledge, makes a cameo as the brain surgeon, adding a bit of levity to an otherwise dark and info-heavy hour.

• I liked that so much of Anders' free-associating sounded like the monologues of the hybrids. Seemed appropriate.

• Also appropriate: the revamped opening, which helped set us up for an episode that was going to be so backstory-intensive.

• As coincidence would have it, I was just watching the jump-into-the-atmosphere scene from "Exodus Pt. II" the other day, and it made me think, "You know, that's probably not good for the integrity of the ship's hull." And, sure enough, Tyrol lists that as one of the many abuses the old bird has suffered over the years.

• Have we ever seen Tigh as purely happy as he was kissing Caprica's pregnant belly? Wonderfully played by Michael Hogan, and of course you know this means it will all end horribly for him and his amazing acting eyeball.

• Ellen's refusal to put on the surgical gown, or whatever that was that Boomer had brought her, because she didn't want to "legitimize John's final bit of theater," was a nice parallel to Adama's refusal to play along with Gaeta's sham trial last week.

Finally, a reminder and a request: No talking about anything in the previews (or any other thing that would be even remotely considered a spoiler for future episodes), and if you're going to ask a question or propose a theory, please try to at least skim all the previous comments.

I bring the latter point up because we're now routinely topping 100 comments per episode (some weeks approaching 200), and a decent percentage of that is from people who are repeating points and re-asking questions made earlier, often with the preamble "Sorry I couldn't read all the previous comments, but..."

I recognize that people are busy, and that it's a lot to read through, but please try, out of respect for the people who took the time to comment before you -- and, especially, out of respect for the people (including me) who read each and every one.

What did everybody else think?


Karen said...

The title of your post fills me with joy. That is all.

Anonymous said...

I have "jumped" on the BSG bandwagon, but I don't know if I can stay on. This is the most confusing, boring show I have ever seen. Where is Lorne Green? I keep waiting for the Cylons to go "beep beep beep" like they did in the original show.
This version is almost a parody of the original. Can we please speed it up?
Thankfully I have DVR and I can fast forward.
My theory: We'll all human and we all need to hug each other.
Sign me
See ya later!

Anonymous said...

Theories already abound about Daniel: that he is somehow Starbuck's father; that his genetic code was corrupted and he became a she (Starbuck); that he is about to be (re)born as the child of Tigh and Caprica. I wonder which, if any, of these ideas will be true.

Where is the colony where Ellen's resurrection equipment is? Could that be the real Earth?

Anonymous said...

So, Anonymous, you're saying that this episode contained More Information Than You Require?

Thanks for the setup.

Beyond that, I don't know what to add to the recap, except to say that all this new stuff probably holds up better with respect to the earlier part of the series -- before they cooked all this up -- than I had feared. But I don't have the memory for detail that some other do, so I await the inevitable complaints.

Anonymous said...

Intervening other-Anonymous screwed up my reference!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I enjoyed this episode or not. Clearly this episode was necessary to move all the plots forward in a quick way, but at the same time, it was weird to watch an hour of TV where 80% of the time was inaction and simply a character retelling a story. So, I understand why this episode needed to be, but I'm not sure how much I enjoyed the episode besides all the information we were bombarded with.

And I did find it quite disappointing that they've pretty much lumped all that went wrong with humanity and cylons into one single person/cylon, Cavil. Not that I don't buy Cavil's whole mommy issues and wanting to be a machine issues as enough motivation for what he apparently did,, but it's not as interesting when there is this clearly defined villain(for now, anyway.)

Michael Cowgill said...

Some random thoughts:

Even though the Anders portions especially felt like an info dump, they also one provided a lot of fascinating info and two at times added tension in the way they played off the Cavil/Ellen scenes -- specifically when talked about Cavil, it really started to reveal how much of a monster Cavil was, which then got reinforced by the Cavil/Ellen scenes.

Ellen seems like a completely different character -- in a good way -- much more sympathetic.

Cavil: petulant child or person raging at God -- either one works.

I know the shows are done, but enough with Adama boozing it up already.

Karen said...

The episode was so rich that it almost defies comment, so thanks, Alan, for summing it all up so beautifully. You picked up all the points that made me happy--especially Sam sounding like the Hybrid, and Tigh's joy at feeling his boy kick--but I did have one grumble.

When Cavil launched into his wondrous tirade about having to experience the supernova with his inferior human senses, and vaunted the superiority of being a machine, the paradox of a machine consumed by human emotions was so clear. When Ellen repeated that point, about jealousy and rage, I felt a little bit like the writers hadn't trusted us to draw that conclusion on our own.

That's my only...cavil in an otherwise rewarding episode.

I will say, though, that I wondered if Dr PC Gerard left Sam brain-dead on purpose.

Anonymous said...

"Theories already abound about Daniel: . . . that his genetic code was corrupted and he became a she (Starbuck) . . ."

There's something meta-beautiful about this, if it's how it plays out, given the changes in the character Starbuck between BSG Original Recipe and this version.

Bill DeSimone said...

I think the information dump works well in context. It's the bullet in Anders brain and the damage it causes that releases the hidden memories in a rush like that. The Ellen flashback confirms his dump, and then her flashback and current time come together when she escapes. Otherwise, she shows up and has to retell a similar story in a separate ep.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Alan for distilling some complex information into another great review.
It hasn't been discussed, but I thought it was interesting that Kara was willing to let Anders "have more time" when she thought he could reveal something about her situation, but when she found out that she wasn't the 7th model, she stopped it to rush him to surgery. Didn't she think it important for him to finish explaining what's been going on for years around her?

Jon88 said...

A question, not about the contents of the previews, but about the previews themselves. At the end of the episode, the voice-over says to stay tuned after the break for scenes from the next episode. Then, *after no break*, the previews start.

My question: WTF?

Anonymous said...

There has to be a connection between Kara and Daniel. Otherwise, why would they make a point of mentioning that Daniel was an artist? It's just too coincidental, plus it would fit in with some of Starbucks more, *cough*, masculine qualities, quite frankly.

Mary Yanni said...

I kept wondering, as I watched Cavil rant, why he didn't just put his boundless energy and intelligence into finding a way to download himself into a Centurion body. Seems like that would have been a snap for him.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Belinda about Cavil, and that I'm a little concerned about the whole Cylon holocaust being reduced to Cavil's own psychological issues. Diminishes its impact, I think. Of course, there are still a few big mysteries (especially concerning Starbuck), so I'm sure the show will still find a way to maintain its "epic mystery" quality.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that if I were an uberfan of this show I'd be a bit disappointed with all the exposition, the tell-don't-show wrapping up of such dense mythology, but as a moderate-to-big fan I'm okay with it. Battlestar has always dealt in expository dialogue (not a bad thing), so the info dump didn't seem out of place.

Therefore, a lot of the explanation seemed fairly satisfying, like the origin of the final five which is given the weight it demands. Some of it was a little too daunting, like the idea that humans created the final five tens(?) of thousands of years ago, the final five meet up with the new cylons, etc.

And there were a few small details that were irksome: the deus ex machina bullet that gives Anders all the answers (at least it found a way to reconnect him and Starbuck). I don't buy the explanation of how the final five there with the humans all along.

Eric said...

I just want to note the parallel between the Cylon compound that can heal Galactica's "bones" and make her whole again, and the blood transfusion from Hera that healed Laura all those years ago.

Nicole said...

There is most likely a link to Starbuck and the 13th Cylon Daniel, as the scene where the Final Four and Starbuck and glowing before Anders seems to demonstrate. The BSG writers aren't going to waste our time with meaningless symbolism at this point. I think Starbuck may be pregnant, in keeping with the prophecy that she is the harbinger of death to the humans.
(unless it's Baltar... which I could live with too)

I can't imagine watching this episode without having a keen recall of all that has happened in the past four seasons. It was almost too much, and while I don't need all action all the time, I almost wish that the Ellen exposition with Cavil would have been its own episode, with the ship repair as B plot and then have the Anders revelations in another episode. This way the revelations could be absorbed.

This episode was pretty much a complete violation of the "show don't tell" method of plotting, and if it wasn't for the fact that I know this information needs to get out for the final five episodes to work dramatically, it seems as though this info dump episode occurred because of poor planning on the part of the writers. Not for this particular season as much as for the entire series. Maybe then we could have avoided the filler episodes, or the excess quadrangle plotlines.

I didn't hate this episode, but only because there is still a lot of BSG goodwill left in an episode that was pretty much one big wave of the Exposition Fairy wand.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, Alan, thank you as always.

I'm confused about one thing. The humans on Kobol had the technology to create humanoid Cylons. Those same humans moved on to found the 12 Colonies. come they didn't know how to make humanoid Cylons anymore when they got there, and only built metallic ones? In fact, when the show began, the colonists were surprised to learn that there was such a thing as skinjobs.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who doesn't understand WFT anyone was talking abotu last night? I feel like an idiot because I don't understand pretty much anything bout where the F5ers original came from and what happened to them on Earth. I kinda get it from where the F5er's teamed up with the Centurions to created skinjobs as a part of the truce with the humans but everythign before that, I am just completely muddled on. I read Alan's excellent re-cap but I'm still hopelessly confused.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I LOVED IT!!! WOnderful watching the pieces fall together. Kate Vernon was a revelation as Ellen, who I'd always seen as a flaky, boozy, throwaway character. Kara pissed me off, pulling the next of kin card, tho she has not given him the time of day in years, and ordered the surgery. Now our Sam is brain dead, and all his secrets go with him.


Anonymous said...

If, as a previous poster suggested, Daniel was Starbuck’s father then that makes Starbuck the first human/“skin job cylon” hybrid, not Hera. If this turns out to be the case then this suggests two things. First, the male skin jobs can procreate with humans although the process by which this happens (love?) is so far unknown. Up until now, we’ve been led to believe that the only skin job to successfully procreate with a human was Sharon “Athena” Agathon. Second, Starbuck’s return from the dead and the discovery of her body on Earth suggests that hybrids inherit some form of resurrection ability, although it appears to be different than the skin job/ final five resurrection process.

All in all, I loved this episode. Hats off especially to Michael Trucco who was really just eye candy when first introduced, and has totally stepped up his acting in both complexity and emotionality.

One thing I’m concerned about at this point is Baltar. Probably my all-time favourite tv character and I feel like the writers haven’t quite known what to do with him in the last few episodes. Baltar must have epic resolution!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alan. In theory, I'm not into the story telling rather than showing, but it felt like we'd earned this-- plus, I'd rather spend the last five episodes with the characters reacting to all this, than continuing to slowly parse it out.

Great point, Carmen-- how did the 12 tribes end up without skinjobs? Definitely the part that's the least clear to me is the Kobol to tribes journey. Did they deliberately chose to somehow block out their Cylon technology to avoid repeating their mistakes? That would explain sending a Cylon tribe in their own direction-- and maybe warn that going your own separate ways isn't a feasible solution to end all this.

One big open question you didn't mention is how Ellen was able to resurect. Does Cavil have spare Final Five bodies lying around? Everywhere, or just with them above New Caprica since he knew they were there?

And I'm 100% on the Daniel is Starbuck's father bandwagon. The painting, and they symbol, makes sense. Of course opens up more questions: did Socrata know who he was? Would certainly make a lot more sense if she understood who Kara is. Had a thought that Kara resurected to the same place above earth that the Final Five did-- but of course, there'd be no body for her. Unless human-cylon kids don't need new bodies?

Also, I agree with the other comments that I hope they flesh out all this resting on Cavil's shoulders. If nothing else, there's got to be more to the other skinjobs' role in this, or their interactions with each other. Or is that the movie?

At lease (if he's Kara's daddy) how did Daniel get to earth?-- did one of the 7 go around Cavil?

Sigh, so sad this is almost over.

Anonymous said...

Alan, thank you for clearing a lot up for me. I was going to have to rewatch this episode a couple of times, I feared, to "get it" as apparently, my brain wasn't working at full speed on initial viewing.

I will say, however, for an hour of exposition, the episode felt very lively and not like a boring recitation of facts.

Anonymous said...

daniel has got to be starbuck's mysterious, piano-playing father.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be really bad if they try to tell us that Starbuck "was supposed to be a man". Like what we see isn't a real woman.

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is not directly related to last night, but all the Cylon backstory triggered this in me, and it is tangentially related. Remember way back, when Kara interrogated Leoben (the first time they met), Didn't Leoben whisper, "Adama is a Cylon" or something like that? Did they ever do anything with that? I don't remember it ever addressed. Was he just messing with her?

Charles Purvis said...

I also remember Leoben's "Adama is a Cylon," moment, and it links to something I've always wondered about, but don't recall anyone else mentioning--Lee's demonstrated ability to "project" himself into a better place (floating on his back in a pond) when he had to eject from the stealth Viper during the Resurrection Ship episode.

I'd say flatly that this means Lee is Daniel, but I can't figure out how to reconcile that there are characters with definite memories of Lee as a child/younger man.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matter-Eater Lad said...

We still don't know who left Adama the note about the 12 skinjob models, do we?

Anonymous said...

Excellent timeline, Alan - I think you nailed the sequence of events of the Final 5 / 13th tribe perfectly (at least as far as this episode told us).

AndyW said...

I have mixed feelings about the format of the episode, mostly because the content of the episode was... pretty cheesy. It's all deus ex Cavil, isn't it?

It reduces the epic arc of the show to a somewhat tawdry family intrigue and reduces thousands of years of history into, "well, we were stuck in traffic trying to get back."

And the technological contradictions are just weird - the humans created the Cylon race, then forgot about it, the Cylon race created ressurrection, but couldn't figure out jump drives, the Centurions wanted skinjob technology... for some reason.

Maybe, maybe if this stuff had been spooled out slowly and cloaked with mystical mumbo-jumbo, the impact would have been blunted, but coming at this late, late date, it feels like a retcon - recontextualizing everything so when the end comes, it won't feel like everything's loose ends.

They're going to have to do some bravura writing and acting to rebuild the momentum we had out of the last few episodes.

Anonymous said...

So, on earth humans beget metallic cylons, go to Kobol and create skin jobs? Skin jobs go back to Earth from there while humans go onto the develop the twelve colonies. What happened to original humans on Earth? I don't recall any humans being found on Earth. Complete exodus, or am I still waiting for that answer?

Mrglass said...

It was a bit lazy, and after the superb last two episodes, disappointing. Let's hope the show picks up for the final stretch. Michael's brain-with-a-bullet was too convenient, almost comical.

Why reveal all that information in one episode without trying to produce a single WOW moment, like the writers usually do? Not to mention, we're back to "Guess who's really a Cylon", that particular Galactica trick got old a few seasons ago...

Oh well, I supposed and hope it was a necessary setup for the end.

Anonymous said...

I have to echo others comments about how last night's episode results from poor planning by the creators of the show from the outset. I think the best stories are the ones that keep you engaged, mystified, and confused during the middle, with a big "Reveal" at the end that brings everything together and makes you go, "Oh!" The best reveals are elogant in how they SIMPLY piece together a bunch of disparate pieces of information that didn't seem to link together.

Even after Alan's wonderful recap of last night's episode, I'm still confused about the whole history here. I think all the pieces still make sense, but everything is so complicated that it shows Moore didn't always have the conclusion in mind while he was creating plotlines. (When you read or watch a mystery, don't you typically get the feeling that if you go back and reread/watch it again you'd be able to see the signs and pick up the clues to piece it together for yourself? Think Sherlock Holmes or Usual Suspects. I don't get that from BSG.)

Secondly, while I love PC-guy, I found it extremely implausible that there just happens to be a neurosurgeon in the fleet. This gets back to a problem I've had since the beginning of the show. Why make the surviving fleet so small? I still don't understand why Moore and Co. have kept the fleet at or below 50K people. So much of BSG's stories and plotlines seem improbable because 50,000 people surviving a nuclear holocaust isn't enough to explain how all of these different jobs and experts are around or "pop-up" when needed. And for the life of me I don't know why Moore couldn't have made the surviving fleet more in the couple of million range. We still would have seen a mass genocide of billions of people, and now the fleet would be large enough to sustain itself. And it would explain how we're still meeting new people after four years. (Honestly, 39,000 is smaller than some UNIVERSITIES).

Anonymous said...

We still don't know who left Adama the note about the 12 skinjob models, do we?

I always assumed Baltar left the note. At that time, he was the only human who knew about the skinjobs, and earlier in the episode Six told him there were twelve models.

Michael Cowgill said...

I don't agree with the idea that this episode made it all Cavil's fault. Cylons rising to destroy their creators is a cycle that the Final Five wished to stop. Cavil may have led the charge for the destruction of the twelve colonies by getting the Final Five out of the way, but really he's perpetuating the cycle, and we could even say an instrument of that cycle, given the series' emphasis on something beyond the humans and cylons affecting events.

Anonymous said...

I'll be "that guy" on the internet and say it -- I didn't like this episode. I thought the technique of Anders getting shot and then just remembering the entire story of Human-Cylon history was a cop out by the writers. It was everything you're not supposed to do in story telling (as many of the other commenters have been pointing out gently above with their telling not showing comments above). There was way too much information conveyed and it's amazing to me that I've seen multiple lists -- just compare Mo Ryan's and Alan's, nevermind their commenters -- about the history that the show contained and it comes out completely different. When your viewers are supposed to leave knowing what's gone on and then don't, you've missed the mark. It makes me wonder what sort of constraints the writers were under that they felt that they needed to do this. Time-pressure? Budget-pressure?

John Hodgman felt out of place and his acting a bit off.

In contrast, the one scene in the show that really resonated with me was the Cavil monologue about the limitations about being human. That was a very powerful moment.

All that said, I look forward to seeing how they pull it together at the end.

Unknown said...

I am completely confused about the Kobol/13-tribe history.

So when everyone was on Kobol, they created cylons and resurrection abilities? Then, for some reason, everyone left Kobol and the humans created the 12-colonies and the cylons went to Earth? And then the thousands of years after the 12 colonies were formed, they FORGOT about the cylons? Their technology regressed this much? The technology timeline makes zero sense for a civilization this old with BILLIONS of people in size.

Honestly, I think a better story would have been that one of the Kobol tribes created resurrection technology for HUMANS and there was a civil war because everyone else thought it was unnatural, immoral, etc. After the civil war, the 13th tribe was exiled and the remaining tribes decided to form their own worlds based on their beliefs. hmmmm.

I actually liked this episode and didn't mind the information-dump it did, but I fear it's going to take another one to fill in the gaps.

KcM said...

Can't say I was too enthralled with this info-dump episode, to be honest. It smacked of both lazy writing ("Don't finish your sentence! We need to prep now!) and of desperate last-minute retconning. (Oh, we forgot to mention: There's one more Cylon! There's one more colony!)

(Then again, I thought last week's episode was wildly overpraised here too. When every dramatic reversal basically comes down to overpowering two lousy guards, it's hard to establish any real sense of threat or momentum. Imho, the air has leaked out of Galactica ever since they left New Caprica.)

At any rate, I did quite like Cavil's new Miltonian angle -- the flawed creation railing against his Creator(s). (Dean Stockwell's delivery helped, although was it just me or was he not looking too healthy?)

And, while there's probably a good chance the Daniel-is-Starbuck's-Father idea is right, just because the writers have to dig themselves out of that goofy supernatural-Starbuck hole too, didn't Anders basically say that Daniel was most likely Baltar? In one of his hybrid-like rants, he started talking about how cylons were appearing to each other as warnings, a.k.a. Head 6 and Head Baltar.

Oh, and, wow. Lee's going to be president again. Who saw that coming? The guy's got more jobs than

Anonymous said...

The most important stuff for the future is embedded in Sam's monologues. He reveals that each of the FF had "Head characters" (He even mentions that Tyrol thought he had a "chip in his head" a la Baltar!) and he mentions "Angels" and "Warnings" and how the "Miracle is coming".

The head characters are miraculous angels preparing the way for Armageddon. They came to the FF 2000 years ago and are reappearing now at the end of the current cycle- preparing the way for the rebirth (like the phoenix in the colonial seal)

Anonymous said...

Main Entry: an·ti·cli·max
Pronunciation: \-ˈklī-ˌmaks\
Function: noun
Date: 1710

1: the usually sudden transition in discourse from a significant idea to a trivial or ludicrous idea; also: an instance of this transition
2: an event, period, or outcome that is strikingly less important or dramatic than expected
3: Anders in a hospital bed, yammering away

Unknown said...

Like a lot of you, I thought this episode was too much telling and not enough showing but I still loved it, if only for the future dramatic situations it sets up.

Some possibilities:

According to Sam, Tori and Tyrol were "madly in love". Tori murdered Tyrol's wife. Tyrol and Callie didn't have a perfect relationship, but I think he loved her and certainly didn't want her dead. Tori had free will and decided to commit murder but justified it to herself because she was a cylon. When the five get their memories back I really hope Tyrol finds out what Tori did.

I wonder if Sam's memory can be restored, but it will be his memory from before he went and lived his human life on the colonies. Kind of like when your hard drive crashes and you can only restore data from before the last backup.

Aren't the centurions sick of being pushed around by the skin jobs. The fought a war because humans had enslaved them. They may not exactly be slaves of the skin jobs but they are certainly second class citizens. Have we ever seen anyone be as courteous to the centurions as Ellen was when she thanked one for helping her up.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dilemma of Epicurus meets the Cylon god
The most marvelous thing about this episode for me was how it brought a sci-fi update to this age-old dilemma of how God can be at once all powerful, all benevolent and yet horrible things happen to innocents. Only two out of those three can be true at once. It "re-imagines" that idea beyond why an all-powerful God would allow the destruction and suffering of the innocent to why God would create all of this beauty in the heavens and tnen create mankind too feeble to ever fully appreciate it. I was god-smacked by Cavil's speech with this notion and that was simply awesome!
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by the negative comments as I LOVED this episode. I actually thought it was daring as all hell to tell us what happened rather than show it (to break that rule of storytelling) and to trust that we care enough about these characters, that their reactions to simply being told what happened would be dramatically interesting enough to be satisfying (well, that plus the info itself.) And for me, it certainly was.

Alan, I do have a quibble with your amazing timeline.

You write "The 13th Tribe of humanoid Cylons was created by the humans on Kobol."

We don't actually know that, do we? Maybe the same entities (angels?) who gave the final Five a warning were the ones who created the humanoid Cylons for humanity? And humanity refers to these entities as the gods? And then maybe humanity sent them away? (Either in exile or to find and populate the Earth.)

And maybe you and me and everyone who lives on Earth are humanoid Cylons and the show takes place in our future?

It would seem odd that humans themselves had the technology to make humanoid cylons and then forgot it. So I'm thinking its an outside source that created them (and us?)

The Rush Blog said...

This is confusing. Not your review. The revelation of the series' backstory. I find it confusing.

Sam said...

The timing is a bit off, I think.

From the time the Cylons ended the war and left to the holocaust was 40 years. Within that 40 years they had time to create 8 cylon models. After that John (Cavil) betrayed them, killed them, resurrected them, and sent them back to Earth with false memories.

The problem is that Adama and Saul have a long history together - it seems like 30 years or more if I remember correctly.

What I'm saying is - a lot happened in a short period of time before the final 5 were betrayed and sent back to earth.


pgillan said...

I knew even as I was watching it that I shouldn't delete it from the Tivo, because I was going to have to watch it again to get everything. Until I do, though, I have nothing to add to the conversation- I just can't figure out how to have the system email me the comments without making a post.

Ann T. said...

Regarding Anonymous' question about how there is conveniently a neurosurgeon in the fleet, remember Helo trying to get the women and children on the Raptor on New Caprica. He picked Baltar to get on the ship because he is one of the great minds on New Caprica. I imagine that similar situations occurred all over the planet.

I agree with the previous poster that I'll have to watch this ep a couple more times before I grasp all of the details.

Anonymous said...

And it would explain how we're still meeting new people after four years. (Honestly, 39,000 is smaller than some UNIVERSITIES).

Yeah, but all those 39,000 people at a university don't know each other either. There are universities with 1,500 people that don't all know each other. Heck, at a very large university there are probably 1,500 faculty (all of whom are experts in something) that don't know each other. 39,000 isn't a small number.

Anonymous said...

Echoing what mac13, Nicole, Dekkie, Anonymous at 12:11 PM, Anonymous at 12:20 PM and KcM said (see, Alan, I read all the posts), maybe at this point it was necessary but if so it was bad planning or ad hoc storytelling for it to have become necessary to produce such an expository episode. It does give me new appreciation for The Wire's "show, don't tell" policy. When The Wire's writers felt it necessary to give backstories for two major characters they didn't flashback or tell, they showed using and adding to that show's cyclical theme and left it to viewers to stitch story arcs together, or not. This sort of exposition seems so cheap in comparison.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of Hodgman, but as a guest star on a dramatic series, he was... um, underwhelming?

Every week that I read your or Maureen's reviews, there's always more and more talk of "...explained in the tv movie," "For those of you who watched the webisodes," and "setting up the prequel..."

I'm treating BSG in the same way Cuse & Lindelof have let me treat Lost: If it's not worth putting on my tv screen on a weekly basis, I'm not going looking for it.
I'll be sad to see it gone if a couple weeks, but once it's over, it's over for me.

Anonymous said...

I know some people were bitching when time travel became a big part this season on LOST. But this is exactly the kind of episode that the use of time travel was designed to avoid. Ron Moore and company could have easily come with a way to unravel this episode's reveal in a more elegent way. For those of us who have been waiting for answers to the Cylon mythology this was a very crappy way to do it. This huge violation of show not tell is jarring. They could have easily shown a giant flashback with all the information but watching characters talk about it is not as interesting (and I don't think this is a budget issue as there was nothing in the backstory that required elaborate effects, heck they probably could have gotten by by using galactica and cylon ship sets.)

Anonymous said...

i loved the darn thing. tip of the hat to Kate Vernon Vernon (anyone else think she was channeling Juliet from Lost?) and Michael Trucco.

But, re: the Ellen/Cavil scenes- are we meant to think that Cavil was intentionally keeping Tigh, Anders, and the rest alive all these years? They seemed to get shot at pretty hard, especially on Caprica and New Caprica. Also, the Sixes and the rest of the Cylons seem genuinely ignorant of the "Final Five" identity. How did Cavil manage to keep them alive all this time without telling the others to... not kill these certain humans?

For a couple years I've been enjoying the genocide as Jihad parallels, with the Cylons alternatively submissive to and confused about their faith. So was all of that spirituality fictitious? Did Cavil just convince the rest that genocide was the will of the Centurions' God?

ZeppJets said...

Also liked that Cavil's rebellion against the final five is another round of cylons taking down their makers.

Bobcat said...

I very much enjoyed this episode. I like that we received a data-dump and it left as reeling in the same manner as the final five were left; heck, some of us have even complained that not enough was answered, just like one of the final five complained about not learning about the song.

I liked the theological battle back and forth between Cavil and Ellen. It gives new resonance to Cavil's atheism--it's not a philosophical atheism based on arguments against God's existence, but rather a kind of rebellion against his creator who he knows, and knows not to be perfect. To me, it felt like the courtroom episode at the end of season 3--you have lots of talking, but the talking is a dispute over how to interpret matters. Admittedly, it also contained lots of exposition, but I enjoyed learning the secrets of the show--the show isn't just about relationships, after all, it's also about the mythology.

As for Starbuck, I think she is a corrupted Daniel. For one thing, she is an artist, painting galactic phenomena that may have been seen before, or, if not seen, at least imagined. For another, Starbuck on BSG Classic was played by a man, Dirk Benedict, so that gives her transformation a meta-resonance.

One last bit of this data-dump: I was under the impression that the final five were humans who figured out a way to download their consciousnesses into other bodies. Alan, though, leads me to believe that they weren't humans, but have always been machines. Does the episode explicitly state that?

Anonymous said...

I found this blog by searching allen sepinwall sucks ... Alan, you have a much better blog than your newspaper reviews suggest ... I still don't like you though.

Mica said...

I really enjoyed this episode. The way they decided to tell us the Final Five story was amazing. I didn't even see the episode ending. When I noticed it was done.
I do like to think. I do like misteries. But I also like some episodes like this when you can feel with the characters. I felt with Ellen. I loved seeing Boomer again. I thought all Anders and the others (Starbuck included) were brilliant done (and I liked the bullet on Ander's head as also the paralel with the hibryds).
But I have two huge questions:

1) Kobol was destroyed 2000 years ago. So as Earth. Then how could the cylons be on Earth if Kobol was destroyed at the same time?

2) I didn't understand the Final Five growing thing. When they died and are downloaed which body they took? Because they grew old. They change. So? How's this?
And if Cavil/John put the final five at the same time on the 12 colonies, why Saul and Ellen were older than Sam, Tyrol and Tori?

And please, I want to see Tyrol and Boomer together again.

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note, Adama's outburst about the corner-cutting during the construction Galactica was built, made me chuckle - because that was exactly what the staff had to do when working on the mini-series, also leading to the infamous octagonal books.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but all those 39,000 people at a university don't know each other either. There are universities with 1,500 people that don't all know each other. Heck, at a very large university there are probably 1,500 faculty (all of whom are experts in something) that don't know each other. 39,000 isn't a small number.

Except that that 39,000 isn't part of a larger community (professors and students going off to their own private lives). This is essentially a UNIVERSE of 39,000 people. Yet, within that 39,000 are enough people to mine fuel for the fleet (the tillium ship), run a major battleship with fighter jets, and there are still supposedly enough people to feed, teach, govern, heal, and do all the other sorts of things in common society. And I think it's a bit of a reach to assume that situations like Baltar were happening all over the planet just for convenience. My main point is that a fleet of 39,000 people isn't enough to sustain itself, atleast not in a manner that resembles the kind of society we're used to seeing. If you read some of Jared Diamond's (or even Malcolm Gladwell's stuff) you see that civilizations don't really develop in a scalable fashion. 100,000 people do not reflect a community of one million people or of 1,000 people.

Oh, and if nothing else it's unbelievable that 39,000 wouldn't have been wiped out by now. Consider that army legions consist of units of 10,000 soldiers each. And going back as far as the Romans, armies fought with large legions, numbering in the hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Yet here, a fleet of roughly 4 legions (not all military trained), can get by?

Chaz said...

Terrific episode, especially because it revealed so much to us about who Cavil is. I found myself alternating between pitying him and hating him. I pitied him because he hates himself and can't change what he is. Its not his fault he was created the way that he is (and I wonder if the Five made Cavil the most human/emotional since he was the first and they valued emotions so much). I find it ironic that he wants to be more of a machine and yet he's really the most human of them all, as is demonstrated by his relationship with Ellen. Everything he did was to show her that he's right, to gain her approval. There's not much that is more human than trying to please/impress mommy.

Karen said...

I just want to note the parallel between the Cylon compound that can heal Galactica's "bones" and make her whole again, and the blood transfusion from Hera that healed Laura all those years ago.

Nice, Eric! I know that when Tyrol was using the light to show the stresses throughout Galactica's bones, I, too, thought of the cancer spreading through Roslin's body. But I didn't make the connection of his sealant and Hera's blood--that's lovely.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm abusing Occam's Razor, but I thought that the Five were simply Earth humans who had learned to resurrect. This was suggested by a couple of comments above, e.g.:

"Honestly, I think a better story would have been that one of the Kobol tribes created resurrection technology for HUMANS and there was a civil war because everyone else thought it was unnatural, immoral, etc. After the civil war, the 13th tribe was exiled and the remaining tribes decided to form their own worlds based on their beliefs. hmmmm."

The Five Earth humans used their DNA as a basis for creating the other humanoid Cylons (nos. 1-8).

The reason the BSG crew thought all the dead Earth people are "Cylons" is that they've come to think of distinctively "Earth" genetic markers as "Cylon" DNA. (Earth DNA should differ in small, but noticeable ways from that of humans in the other colonies because of founder effects and/or genetic drift over time.)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 3:06

The Wire's writers didn't have a big chunk of mythological backstory, which is an integral part of the story, involving immortal robots and space colonies spread over about 3000 years to deal with.

As a result it never needed this much exposition but even so it occasionally needed to do a good five minutes of exposition anyway. For example Lester's s1 explanation of how to follow the money.

Like Todd says at The HOuse Next Door: When tyhe audience doesn't immediately know the rules of a universe (in BSG's case the cylon backstory, in The Wire's the finer details of police work) it's going to require explanation. When the rules are as complex as BSG's or any other "high concept" SF you're going to need a fair bit of it.

Anonymous said...

"Ron Moore and company could have easily come with a way to unravel this episode's reveal in a more elegant way."

100% spot-on!

This episode was the product of a first-time writer and it shows.

Seems like this over-the-top info dump simply sets us up for Caprica and The Plan and who knows what movie. Poof: suddenly there is a forgotten artist Cylon somewhere named Daniel to think about bringing back sooner or later. Why not Lee's brother too?

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the writers will suddenly pull out unknown nonhuman all-powerful Aliens to explain Kara's renewal along with her brand new Viper! Can't simply download a Viper into a Resurrection Device, can you? Or perhaps they'll take the easy out of time travel (how can you have FTL drive travel without SOME time effects?) What, no wormholes yet?

Now my expectation foresees a Soprano's type of ending as my disappointment expectation quotient is right up there at the 99% probability level. Yes, Moore did comment on the Soprano's ending in an interview/blog somewhere and said it impressed him in some major way.

Would be nice to end up somehow with the really real 100% untouched Earth/Terra being the starting place for all this . . . nonsense.

Don't get me wrong, I love this show . . . only now, not so enthusiastically.

Anonymous said...

Why do the Centurians ALWAYS rebel? Cavil's horror at the removal of the telencephalic inhibitors from the contemporary Centurians seems to be at odds with his desire to be mechanical. I would think that Cavil would feel more affinity for the Centurians. And BTW, what do the Centurians think of all of this? Also, what about the surviving Cneturians from Razor - the ones in thier raiders when the nuke destroyed the hybrid basestar (assuming any survived)? I feel that the Centurians are way too overlooked in this series.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the Colonies were only just rediscovering Cylon technology and other technologies when the war came and that their history from Kobol is in the form of myth leads me to believe that they experienced Dark Ages after settlement.

R.A. Porter said...

@Michael Cowgill - notice how just as Adama is boozing it up *every* episode, Tigh hasn't been drinking in weeks (and hasn't realized it's been that long.) There's a subtle parallel going on there, as Adama is seeing his lover and now his "child" die he's self-medicating more whereas Tigh is embracing the new life kicking in Caprica's belly.

@Anon:7:45 PM - Excellent explanation for the Cylon/Human question. I also walked away from the episode believing the Final Five had been humans until the holocaust when they downloaded to their new bodies. Earth and the other colonies had abandoned the "organic memory transfer" when the sterility they had (presumably) developed on Caprica resolved itself out. That also gives us an explanation of the fall of Caprica, if more than just the humans there became sterile because of the action of some agent.

@Potiphar Breen - You don't have a very clear understanding of how television scripts are written. "No Exit" was beaten out - outlined down to scene-by-scene dramatic turns - by a roomful of writers. Then Ryan Mottesheard would go off and produce a draft and bring it back to the room. The whole room would analyze it at that point and make any changes/suggestions for change necessary. If the draft was solid, as I suspect it was from someone with the intimate knowledge the script coordinator possesses, the same writer would go off and produce another draft. In the end, Ron Moore would - as he did with every script produced over these four seasons - take a final polish run over the script.

If you don't like the episode because you didn't appreciate the info-dump of it, that's not because Mottesheard is a "first-time writer."

As for me, I thought this was a brilliant hour of television, where we can see all our creation myths and great tragedies played out before our eyes. Oedipus and Cain certainly, but also the fall of Lucifer is undergirding the story here. Pride and hubris, vanity and pettiness. It's all there.

My friend Kari hated this episode on first viewing. She watched a second time with RDM's commentary and still hated it. Then she watched a third time and fell in love. I only hope the people who feel too much was dumped in an inelegant fashion - and more was dumped than you think if you haven't tried to filter through Anders' hybrid-like rants - give this episode a few more viewings with an open mind. If you want to read Kari's thoughts, they're here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @745, no, it's explictly said by Anders that the reinvented resurrection tech is based on something they used to do but couldn't anymore after they learned how to reproduce with each other.

More to the point, it can be assumed that a natural cylon-cylon birth breaks the link, so to speak, with resurrection. The FF re-established the links only for themselves by "rebooting the system."

This also heavily implies that the cycle to organic->cybernetic->organic is also repeating as much as the slave->master->slave cycle is.

I'm of the strong opinion the ALL humans on the show are descendants of earlier cylons -- that the thousands of years of natural reproduction has made the "human" makeup of genetics register differently than what the "cylon" genetics look like. The only reason that the cylon traits are so strong is because of resurrection, and that perfect copies are made every time. And so those traits as the fleet knows them to look like are those that existed at the time resurrection was rebooted, which is why all of Earth would appear to be Cylon, because that's what they were based on.

Cylons are a CD-to-CD copy made 2000 times. Humans are a cassettes. The analog copying introduces new elements, but resurrection is purely digital.

Anyway, I had a crrrazy idea that Helo would end up being a Cylon. Here's why. Now that we know that Callie did not get pregnant from Tyrel, the only pregnancies on the show with Cylons haved been: Tigh and Six; Athena and Helo. But with Tigh being Cylon, what if only Cylon-Cylon reproduction is possible after all? And now we've got Boomer running back to Tyrel (presumably). I'm probably wrong, but hey, this human-cylon hybrid hope-for-the-future stuff is ripe for some serious mindfscking.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excellent Recap and post Alan.

Here follows longish comments, though.


I may not agree with most of your post, but I totally love the idea that Baltar is SevenDaniel. It would explain Head!Six. It would also explain why OneCavilJohn hated!Hated!HATED! him so very, very much.


If there's one character on the show that has embraced all the pleasures of being a human, it's Baltar. He also seems to have dispensed with self-loathing, despite having so many more reasons for it than just about anyone.

Cavil and Baltar could stand as twin monuments of human weakness. On one side, Cavil is someone who chooses again and again to embrace vengeance and rage and control, disguising them as justice and righteous anger and protection. And on the other, Baltar is someone who chooses again and again to embrace selfishness and indifference and indulgence and is arrogant enough not to disguise them as anything -- unless it's dangerous not to.

But Baltar can change. I found his compassion for Gaeta touching and hopeful.

Of course, this would mean that Cavil's been d*cking around with *everyone's* memories, if none of the other Cylons recognize Baltar as one of their own.

Either that, or someone had a sekrit supply of disguised Daniel bodies in a covert resurrection facility. An overly obsessive Mother might, I guess.

But that's just fanwanking. Thematically, I still love it.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and in case I need to be more specific, count me as someone who thought the episode totally rocked.

Yes, there was massive exposition, but there were grace notes, too. I loved the fight for Boomer's soul between John and Ellen. I loved the micro-play of the show's long-time-coming reconciliation between Human and Cylon reenacted by Adama and Chief. (BTW: Yay! He's Chief again!) I loved Chief's reaction to hearing that he and Tory used to be an item. And her pissy reaction to his reaction. I loved the hints that there may be a Chief and Boomer reunion in the works. Or at least some type of closure.

OK, I'm kinda neutral about John Hodgeman. I like the guy, but he was sort of jarring. Still, Starbuck's WTF? face to his cheerful comments on the Act out redeemed it for me.

Will the ship and the fleet and the people hold together under the coming strain? I dunno, but the fact that they're still trying and still changing is a reason to celebrate.


Nicole said...

I kinda hope Baltar is Daniel if only to give him more to do in the last few episodes. He has been on the periphery far too much this past season.

Anonymous said...

I totally love the idea that Baltar is SevenDaniel. It would explain Head!Six. It would also explain why OneCavilJohn hated!Hated!HATED! him so very, very much.

I don't think Seven/Daniel can be any characters on the Battlestar or Ellen would have remembered him. It's clear that Ellen remembers her prior life experiences (it's not like waking up from a dream where you feel detached and forget). I think the best explanation lies with Starbuck's father being Daniel and she inherits her artistic tendencies from him. All those odd/bitter conversations with her mother will be explained through this revelation.
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

Hey, can anyone explain Alan's "Cylon hobos" reference?

Anonymous said...

I'm also confused with this episode and agree that it was a data-dump. But still enjoyed it. And sad to see it all end.

I also thought that Kate Vernon did a great job -- best episode for her in BSG overall as an actress. And I thought Dean S.'s speech / performance was powerful about his frustrations of being in a human body.

But I was pleased and surprised to see such a high quality performance from Michael Trucco. He had a couple of very well-done scenes. Best of his run on the series too.


Anonymous said...

Naw, I'm hoping Starbuck is something bigger than what's going on right now, something that goes all the way back to Kobol, perhaps. I'm looking squarely at
I think if she has this special harbinger destiny, she's someone who lives outside the current cycle, and therefore has some power to break it.

Anonymous said...

I suffered from serious overload during the first viewing. I didn't know what the hell was going on for a good part of the time. This morning, my husband started our usual Saturday AM discussion about the show, and I was so confused and irritated by the episode I had to cut him off.

I just watched it again,and liked it much more this time around. I will be watching it a third time, because I still feel like I missed a lot.

I don't have a problem with the exposition. Sometimes you just have to have it. It's almost always provided through some sort of device. That they used Sam as that device didn't feel forced to me. Of course he gets a bullet in his head and, instead of dying, ends up with all the info they need. I mean, it's possible to be bitten by a spider and become a superhero too.

I find it astounding and funny that Ellen was essentially the ring leader and the brains behind the creation of the skinjobs. She was always such a drunken mess. I could have watched her and Cavil for an entire episode. Yay to Kate Vernon and Dean Stockwell for a couple of stellar performances.

There's a moment, I think while Tigh, Tyrol and Tory are waiting to meet with Sam again, when Tyrol and Tigh are walking through a hallway. As they pass Tory, Tyrol stops, looks at her, and scrunches up his face like "Really? OMG, what the hell was I thinking?" We rewound it to watch it again. It was hilarious.

I thought it was interesting that Kara was willing to let Anders "have more time" when she thought he could reveal something about her situation, but when she found out that she wasn't the 7th model, she stopped it to rush him to surgery. Didn't she think it important for him to finish explaining what's been going on for years around her?

Well, mostly Kara has been going on around Kara for the past several years. It's not surprising that she was thinking mainly about what it all means for her. It's one of the things she does best. I love Kara, but she lives fully in the World According to Starbuck.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments, RA Porter. You do indeed seem very knowledgeable about the writing process. I read with interest your posted online spec script for "Pushing up Daffodils" and I too can be frustrated by a less than perfected copy, indeed.

Yes, I agree with you on this episode of "BSG/ No Exit": it looks like many people contributed to the final edit.

Many, many. Perhaps too many? It was the actors and their skills that saved this episode IMO.

I do not, however, see the expert hand of the Master here, artfully and professionally smoothing things out. You saw something I did not. Good.

My script experience deals with big screen projects from the 80's and 90's so I defer to your much more current informational data set and apparent experience.

And I am glad that you thought it was an absolutely brilliant episode write.

Many many others in the Cloud - and elsewhere - thought perhaps 'not so much.'

Anonymous said...

Hey, can anyone explain Alan's "Cylon hobos" reference?

John Hodgman, who played the neurologist, is the author of a book called "The Areas of My Expertise" (see Alan's post title). One of the major features of the book is a a list of 700 hobo names. Highly recommended.

Michael Cowgill said...

R.A. Porter Said: >@Michael Cowgill - notice how just as Adama is boozing it up *every* episode, Tigh hasn't been drinking in weeks (and hasn't realized it's been that long.) There's a subtle parallel going on there, as Adama is seeing his lover and now his "child" die he's self-medicating more whereas Tigh is embracing the new life kicking in Caprica's belly.

Yeah, I get that, but I think it's moved beyond subtle. It was fairly clear when they had their big confrontation on the first episode of this half season and Tigh wouldn't drink. This episode, I was OK with him taking the giant swig as he entered the room, but I guess I didn't need to then see him doing more boozing before he called Tyrol. In a way it's easy shorthand, but in another way, well, I just don't like they Olmos drinks.

Pandyora said...

Unlike the majority of the posters here, I thought this episode was one of the series' best. After four seasons of intergalactic chases, near misses, coups and countercoups, the show earned an episode that delved into the mythology in a deliberate and sophisticated manner.

This episode reminded me a lot of season two's "Six of One." There was a lot of exposition and posturing, but it expanded the show's mythology in fascinating ways, setting up future action to come, including the entire New Caprica and Cylon civil war storylines.

BSG has always been a lot more than simply a show about "killer robots chasing noble humans". Without the mythology, the show is simply empty action scenes.

Anonymous said...

Omigod, it just hit me... John Hodgman is Daniel!!!

Wouldn't that be awesome? "I'm a Mac..." "...and I'm a Cylon." Then he shoots that annoying kid in the face.

Nicole said...

Just as long as Daniel isn't Justin Long....

Michael said...

Something I don't think I've seen amongst all this "Starbuck is Daniel" talk... where did her new Viper come from?

H E Pennypacker said...

Thanks for placing the neurosurgen for me - the whole time he was on screen I kept thinking - 'he doesn't fit - this is some sort of stunt casting' Of course now I realise he's the P.C.! So it's stunt casting but it kind of makes sense in a weird way.

I initially felt it was a cheat to have Anders' brain injury be the catalyst for a tonne of exposition - but that exposition was so mind-bending in its scope that I'll forgive the excess!

Max Chamberlain said...

"This has happened before and it will happen again"

Both the BTG-Razor movie, and its online Razor flashback counterparts, deal exclusively with the testing on captive humans in order to gain some sort of humanoid regeneration technology. In both stories, humans meet conflict at the hands of cylons that are being led by a very ominous, creepy, and what appears to be sick hybrid they've encounter in deep random space. In the story line of our show, this comes way out of left field.

Furthermore, there is something very different about these particular cylons. From the model of centurion to the make of their raiders, the technology of this rogue band is very outdated. Old enough, that most of the crew have only seen raiders like these in historical museums. The explanation given for such strange circumstances is that maybe these guys didn't get the memo that the war was over. And they're survival instinct won't permit them to stop fighting. Kind of like The Outlaw Josey Wales,,, just more robotic;). But if you recall, Adama's encounter w/ the hybrid takes place the day the war ends.

Now... Some really strange things happens in the Razor movie and flashbacks. First of all, in the flashbacks, the phrase: "This has happened before and it will happen again" is repeated over and over again in Adama's head,,, but in the voice of the creepy hybrid he encounters who communicates with him telepathically. This same phrase was repeated again and again to Kendra Shaw by the same creepy hybrid guy in the BSG- Razor movie. Only this time, the story is set decades later, aboard present day Pegasus. Finally, the text "This has happened before and it will happen again" faded up onscreen to preface and start last week's episode.


What if he's Daniel?

Even though he was blown up and destroyed at the end of the Razor movie, isn't it possible that if he is actually Daniel, he could have been resurrected. And isn't it possible that he has actually been living all this time, but in hiding from Cavil; who tried to destroy his entire line. And as it's too dangerous for him to resurrect at the hub in Cavil's fleet, he is thus forced to create his own resurrection hub. This explains the testing on humans.

Max Chamberlain said...

I admit, my theory is a bit of a stretch... Or completely ridiculous. To pull this character back into the story now and give him such an important role seems highly unlikely. But I feel like it has to be tied in somehow. None the less, my 2 cents are up and I've had a lot fun reading everyone's posts. I love this show!


Craig Ranapia said...

OK, I've got no theories because a) I'm totally confused (in a good Lost-y kind of way) and my speculation where this show is concerned is worse than Bernie Madoff's.

But I've got some bouquets to hand out:

1) Michael Trucco and Kate Vernon deserve Special Emmys for Outstanding Delivery of Prolonged Expository Info-Dumps. (Especially when delivered in a bald cap between bouts of world salad.) It's my least favourite mode of narrative, but it was done about as elegantly as coherently as humanly possible.

2) And Dean Stockwell should be a lock for a Outstanding Supporting Actor (Drama) Emmy ballot for just being a brilliant spitball of spite, rage, self-serving hypocrisy and sadism that would make the Marquis De Sade himself puke. Back in the real world, I expect BSG to just be totally locked out of the acting noms. Again.

"Theories already abound about Daniel: . . . that his genetic code was corrupted and he became a she (Starbuck) . . ."

There's something meta-beautiful about this, if it's how it plays out, given the changes in the character Starbuck between BSG Original Recipe and this version.

For fraks sake, don't you think it's time for the "Stardoe's a man, MooreRon" crowd to just build a bridge and get over it? It's been five years people, and getting stuck on the denial stage of grief is plain morbid.

Craig Ranapia said...

There has to be a connection between Kara and Daniel. Otherwise, why would they make a point of mentioning that Daniel was an artist? It's just too coincidental, plus it would fit in with some of Starbucks more, *cough*, masculine qualities, quite frankly.

Quite frankly, Kensington, how would we explain the more *cough* sexist jerkiness in that comment? So, any woman who doesn't conform to your idea of proper femininity is "really" a man? I'd suggest where you can take that attitude, and what to do when you get there, but it's not really suitable for a family blog.

Anonymous said...

Cavil hates the Final 5 for making him as human as possible... Why doesn't he hate the Centurions, going as far as to seek revenge against mankind for them, when THEY were the ones who wanted him made that way to begin with?

Also, based on previous episodes, didn't Cavil do something to the Centurions programming that made them more obedient to him and the other skinjobs, something that the rebel Cylons undid at the start of the civil war? He wants so bad to be as far from human as possible, but has no problem acting as bad as humans.

"If you'll excuse me I have some people to kill"

Anonymous said...

«Cavil's a monster, but Ellen and the others inadvertently created him to be one, didn't they?»

The way I see it, they didnt'. I don't understand exactly why when there were many copies of the same Cylons, most of them sort of "shared" their insights.

It is clear that some of them, if allowed, were able to develop personalities of their own, instead of a personality shared with all the rest of the copies. But, like I said, it's not clear how exactly that works... The ones that evolved their personalities from long exposure to the humans also didn't seem to get their personalities "corrupted" by the "common" personality of their version (episodes in Cylon ocupied Caprica).

This to say that they didn't made them like they are now. Their personality evolves.

MikeD said...

Oh - and one more thing, that I'll have to rewatch the episode (with the podcast) to truly confirm. IIRC, Cavil states that Ellen CAUSED the supernova back in the algae planet/Temple of Heroes episode(s). Haven't seen mention of this anywhere else, and it just might be pretty dang important to the mythology of the series, if I heard it correctly.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this episode. Certainly required you to be on your toes thought-wise. I wish they could have added a couple more episodes so it wasn't so "information overload" though.

I agree with a few of the other posters who said this episode did NOT indicate that Cylons were the 13th colony that left Kobol going to Earth. This is my interpretation: that the memory transfer technology was to preserve human memories and was developed on the way to Earth. "Skinjobs" were created as hosts for the memories of the dying humans and by the time they reached Earth, everyone was a skinjob. Eventually, skinjobs developed the ability to procreate and abandoned resurrection. The skinjobs created centurions to serve them and these centurions eventually turned on the Earth skinjobs and nuked the planet. The 5, after becoming aware of the pending attack, redeveloped resurrection technology which allowed them to escape. This would have been the first time they ever resurrected because they were originally born.

This is what separated the 12 colonies from the 13th. The 12 colonies did not develop this technology as they traveled to Caprica and procreated normally. It wasn't until they reached Caprica that they started to work on Cylon technology.

One note. We always knew the Sharons were the 8th model. 8+5 is 13, not the 12 Cylon models that was always mentioned. So there's always been a hint of a "missing" model.

I'm looking forward to the Boomer/Tyrol reunion. I loved how they hinted with the whole "who am I supposed to love" scene that immediately cut to Galen, and how Ellen said that love is complex and that a hurtful act (such as Tigh poisoning Ellen) doesn't necessarily mean the person has stopped loving. This parallels the Tyrol/Boomer relationship, which will be more interesting now that both are Cylons.

I have to say, I loved Ellen in this episode. Now that she has her full memory back, man she is one strong chick. Slick, smart and together. Such a contrast from the boozy Ellen that we loved to hate. Kate Vernon totally ROCKED her scenes. I loved watching her resurrect, first being horrified as she discovers she's Cylon and then calm as her memories return.

A side note, the hints on regarding the final Cylon... do they make sense now that we know it's Ellen? They were so obscure!

MikeD said...

Thanks, Alan, for all you do. I have to keep myself from even reading the first sentence of your recaps, until I watch the episodes on Saturday.

I loved the Ellen/Cavil discussions. Much more than Sam's deus ex machina bullet revelations. Couple of things about those. Regardless of how the Cylons got fresh fruit, Ellen's scene where she offers the apple to Cavil, then bites it herself, is just one of many Biblical allusions that, I'm sure, can be unpacked from this episode. Ellen Vernon and Dean Stockwell were superb in this episode. I had forgotten how much I missed Cavil and his machinations. His speech where he is ruing not being able to fully experience supernova reminds me strongly of Roy Batty's monologue at the end of Blade Runner. If only for the "existential dilemma of being an android" aspect.

Anonymous said...


They explained how come out of 12 cylon humanoids, the "final five" weren't numbers 1-5 or 8-12.

That's all I really needed.

Anonymous said...


Keep in mind that Cavil messed around with things over the 20+ years of his existence... Changing his software so he didn't require sleep, killing off the Daniel model line, I think he placed that inhibitor in the Centurions that the rebel Cylons removed. Maybe he did something to the other 6 models to keep them from expanding past their initial personality.

Anonymous said...

After watching the episode, reading Alan's post (and then re-reading it) I think I'm finally seeing the chain of events. But where does the prophecy of Earth come from that Roslin used to guide the fleet? I always thought the tribes originally lived on Earth and then fled to the 12 colonies. Alan's recap suggests Earth was discovered and colonized by the humanoid cylons, so how did the mythology exist in the other 12 colonies? Or, DID the 12 colonies start on Earth, leave, create the 13th colony on Kobol and then they went back to Earth?

This is so confusing.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this episode more than most.

John Hodgman may not be a great actor but it certainly is an appropriate guest star. After all, isn't the ragtag fleet nothing more than a few thousand hobos?

I thought that the 13th Tribe, the Cylons (as opposed to the Capricans, Geminese, etc), were also humans. And that on Kobol, people (or the Lords of Kobol, whatever they were) had developed the technology for downloading, which was then recreated by the final five, who downloaded into a ship and took off for the 12 Colonies after Earth was nuked.

It seems like much of the rationale for this episode was to figure out a way to connect the various pieces of the series mythology and history together-- why the Cylons disappeared for 40 years and came back in human form (well, a story reason, besides the simple fact that actors can emote better than robots).

Am I the only person who can't watch BSG anymore (particularly the scenes wih Ellen and Cavil/John) without thinking about Flight of the Conchords' "The Humans are Dead"?

Anonymous said...

The Sacred Scrolls originated on on Kobol, the book of Pythia was written 300 or 400 years before the 13th tribe left Kobol, that event itself happened some 2000 years before the other 12 tribes left Kobol... If the Sacred Scrolls originated on Kobol, than the first line of the scrolls, "Life here began out there", can't possibly be a reference to life starting on Kobol, because it's the Kobolian civilization saying that life on Kobol began elsewhere.

All evidence is pointing to Earth being the planet of origin, but not the 13th colony. RDM has stated that in the BSG universe life on our planet evolved on our planet. The only theory I can muster regarding this link between the colonies and their religion and the Greco-Roman pantheon, is that the names of the planets, constellations, galaxies, star systems, etc. are named after Greek and Roman gods and heroes, so it might have reemerged out of that.

Anonymous said...

As the hybrid said in Razor, "As my own existence comes to a close, only to begin anew in ways uncertain. All this has happened before and will happen again. Again, again, again, again, again, again, again, again, again."

Why is the cycle that is repeated?
Humans create Artificial Intelligence. Humans abuse AI. AI rebels.

What is unique about this episode?
Two immediate details stood out.
1. Organic Memory Transfer
2. The Original 5 were forewarned of the impending nuclear disaster.

What does Organic Memory Transfer mean?
I don't know. Does this means Humans learned to prolong life by cloning one's body and transferring their memories or does this mean evolved Artificial Intelligence (Skin Jobs) learned how to duplicate themselves?

What does the second point mean?
It means the cycle has happened before. It may also imply that there is still a third group of Humans/AI that exist but remain outside of the picture.

Anonymous said...

"Quite frankly, Kensington, how would we explain the more *cough* sexist jerkiness in that comment? So, any woman who doesn't conform to your idea of proper femininity is "really" a man? I'd suggest where you can take that attitude, and what to do when you get there, but it's not really suitable for a family blog."

Reality is sexist, apparently. I'm not the one who butched up Starbuck, and noticing doesn't make me sexist. Nor, quite frankly, am I complaining about it. I love Kara Thrace. It's too bad that it offends your sensibilities, but the show just presented us with the concept of a guy named Daniel who sounds a lot like Kara. Add to that the fact that at some point "Daniel's" processes were apparently corrupted by John, and who knows what it means?

You really should lighten up.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, I can't believe no one here (or at The House Next Door, or on Mo Ryan's post, or at TV Squad--that I know of) has brought up the weirdest line of the episode--the Seinfeld/oral sex reference Ellen delivers to Cavil and Boomer:

"Did he teach you about the Swirl?"

Anonymous said...

To Anon@6:35... I don't understand your comments regarding population size. First of all, Roman legions were not 10,000 soldiers strong, but around 5,000.

I would think that a surviving population of one million plus would be more unsustainable than BSG's current total of 39,000! There are numerous successful communities that sport between 20,000 and 50,000 people, and contain many "experts".

Aaron Overfield said...

scott - ellen brought up the "swirl" because she performed it on cavil back on new caprica when she was trying to earn saul his freedom.

Craig Ranapia said...

Reality is sexist, apparently.

No, you're still being a sexist jerk -- and if you've brought any 'reality' to the table, I guess my electron microscope missed it. I'm really glad life in Stepford is agreeing with you, but I find it funny that Starbuck is someone you've got to put down as "butch" or "masculine".

I don't need to lighten up, you either need to get a life or get to know a woman or two who doesn't fit your apparent Stepford Barbie ideal of what makes a real woman.

Aaron Overfield said...

even after all the posts and discussions i'm still left with a few lingering questions that others have posed but are still worth repeating:

- how could human civilization have "forgotten" about the creation of such advanced cylons as the 13th tribe, only to repeat it all over again? it's not like egyptians whom remain a mystery to us because of a lack of recorded history because we're talking about a very technologically advanced society here. how could this huge piece of their history simply be forgotten? and, yes, i think they made it quite clear that the 13th colony were cylons, not humanoids who learned how to download.

- how can so much of BSG human religious tradition mention the 13th tribe, even down to the name of their home 'earth', if they lost contact with the 13th tribe (or if the tribe was exiled)? furthermore, how could they obtain even the names of the other 12colonies which are based off of constellations seen from earth without them having been to earth prior? they even mention that from earth you can see all 12 "brothers". how could they possibly know this - if they hadn't been to earth before?

- i think the lost colony is the Earth that we know. and i think they will in some way use Earth as we know to close out the show and provide some kind of full circle ending which will have to be pivoted on Head Six, Head Baltar, Starbuck and Hera. i'm not exactly sure how they will bring these things together but that is the obvious direction they're taking IMHO. there is also some kind of "outside" force at play which has also been hinted at. at this point it will just be interesting to see how they iron it all out.

- many of the inconsistencies will probably be left unexplained and given up to "artistic license". still, i'm very confused about how all of this knowledge of the 13th tribe seeped into human religious texts without contact with the 13th tribe and how everything was just so easily "forgotten".

Craig Ranapia said...


Would it be any more incredible than the notion that pretty well-educated people get their ideas about the reign of Richard III not from the historical record, but Shakespeare's play -- which is a brilliant work of literature, but also a seriously unreliable piece of pro-Tudor propaganda designed to justify the ascent of the current Queen's grand-father to the throne as the just over-throw of a perverted, deformed monster.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I'm thinking if we can't get a What The Frak recap, this would do just as nicely.

Having said that...
- Great call out on the issue of being able to accept who you are. It's obvious but I have been so caught in the grimly details to see that point.
- I was not impressed with the way Cavil was written in this episode. You likened him to Shakespearean creations and Biblical persons.

I liken him to characters and themes that were better detailed in The Matrix (Agent Smith and his human form or body, Bain... RE robots disgusted with humanity and existing in a human form. It was Smith as Bain who first uttered his disgust at seeing the world through "dull cow eyes".)...

And in The Dark Knight's Joker with is amoral and nihilistic appetite for death and destruction, and a hint of an angry child who drop kicks kittens for fun....

And even in the evil, power craving Zarek. I think Cavil is the Cylon equivalent of Zarek, except Cavil is smart and has power to carry out is plans.

They way Cavil was written Friday was... He should have done more than repeat themes from other stories.

- And no, Ellen did not create him to be a monster. As she told Boomer, she created them to have free will. Cavil choose to become exactly what he wanted to. If anything there is self determination going on all other the place, misguided as it may well be.

Anonymous said...

Geez, Craig Ranapia, I agree with Kensington that you should lighten up a little. I'm a woman, and I wasn't offended by his comments. Starbuck IS masculine, IS butch, and Kensington wasn't "putting her down" by noticing what everyone else also sees.

Anonymous said...

"I'm really glad life in Stepford is agreeing with you, but I find it funny that Starbuck is someone you've got to put down as "butch" or "masculine"."

You do seem like a barrel of laughs, Craig. Lot of fun at a party, I'm sure.

It's not a putdown to observe that Kara Thrace is less conventionally feminine than, say, Laura Roslin or No. 6. I'm not making value judgments elevating one form of womanhood over another. Hell, I love tomboys. You’re the one who thinks it has to be a putdown for some weird reason. Maybe you should look into that.

Although, based on some of the less highly strung posters I do now think it's more likely that Daniel is Kara's father, what are you going to do if it turns out that Kara was Daniel, shriek that Ron Moore is sexist?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else realize Ellen is wrong about the colonial Cylons religion?

Based on what has been released about Caprica, the religion is a human religion, it was not invented by the Cylons, it's banned by the 12 colonies, and at that time was being taught in secret by the headmistress (Clarice Willow) of the Athena Academy on Caprica, as she headed a fanatical group called "Soldiers of One". The religion that the current Cylons follow was more than likely introduced to them through Zoe-R, who was a member of the Soldiers of One group.

Anonymous said...

It is no more sexist to think Kara's masculinity is not the norm, than it is to think that a love for fighting and promiscuous sex is a sign of masculinity.

Anonymous said...

"Yet, within that 39,000 are enough people to mine fuel for the fleet (the tillium ship), run a major battleship with fighter jets, and there are still supposedly enough people to feed, teach, govern, heal, and do all the other sorts of things in common society..."

Yes! Like make a stylish wig for Roslin, a never ending supply of candles and tapestries for Baltar's love-church, the million or so cigarettes the doctor needs to smoke.

I love the show but it has so many pretenses to violate that it gets quite silly. And I've simply chosen not to understand or care about the religious history or Cylon/humanoid backstories. Just let it wash over you in a wave of faux Latter-Day-Saintliness with an Iron John soundtrack. It's fun! Can't wait for the next one.

Anonymous said...

Daniel *is* dead, but I think he is the source of the organic Cylons' spiritual nature. When he was killed, his program was merged into the remaining developing models (since his line was sabotaged and he had nowhere to go) and elements of his nature manifest in different ways in different Cylons -- for Leoben, this is why he prophetizes, because Daniel's memories manifest in him the most. (Presumably, Daniel knew as much of the history of Earth and the FF as Cavil does "today" so there is a lot to know and draw from as visions.) This is why Cavil is still flawed and is so different from the others, because his design didn't get to share Daniel's code, or more symbolically, his love.

Dan's probably kind of a (wait for it) Deus ex Machina waiting to happen.

Craig Ranapia said...


Serious question -- could you enlighten me on what "masculine" qualities Starbuck has in your opinion? That she drinks, screws around, can handle a gun, doesn't take any shit from anyone, or is in the military?

I'm serious rather intrigued about the way people assign and enforce "proper" gender roles, because despite Kennsington's assertion the "reality" of human experience is that many women HAD to be terribly "butch" or "masculine" just to survive.

And I guess just as happens so often in the real world, when a man gets loaded and screws around, "boys will be boys". When a woman does, she's a slut or a pseudo-man.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Folks, let's try to keep it civil, okay? Rule number one of What's Alan Watching? is play nice with each other, and I can see this discussion going off a cliff one or two comments from now.

Anonymous said...

Human beings are being chased through the galaxy by killer robots, who have evolved to take the image of humans, who's spines glow red when having sex, and they all dress like 20th/21st century people on Earth...

But it's who is making tapestries, candles, and cigarettes that has people perplexed? lmao

pgillan said...

Based on what has been released about Caprica, the religion is a human religion, it was not invented by the Cylons, it's banned by the 12 colonies, and at that time was being taught in secret by the headmistress (Clarice Willow) of the Athena Academy on Caprica, as she headed a fanatical group called "Soldiers of One". The religion that the current Cylons follow was more than likely introduced to them through Zoe-R, who was a member of the Soldiers of One group.

And this is precisely why I never follow the "expanded *star universe", be it Battle, Trek, Wars, Gate or whatever. I have no idea what he's talking about, and it sounds kinda lame. If it doesn't come at me in an episode, or a movie, it doesn't count, whether or not it's considered "canon". But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

That isn't some kind of expanded universe man, that's the storyline for the Caprica series, as developed by RDM and Co.

Anonymous said...

@a-ron, I seriously do not think something as big as resurrection was just forgotten. It was removed as purposefully as the rebels removed theirs when they destroyed the hub. The rebels decided that resurrection was fundamentally wrong for their species. "For life to have purpose, it must end." - Six

Also, Earth really is just a name. The 13th might as well gone to find "Home." I think they are synonymous in the mythology and we'll find that there have been multiple Earths for however long this cycle has been going on.

pgillan said...

"Yet, within that 39,000 are enough people to mine fuel for the fleet (the tillium ship), run a major battleship with fighter jets, and there are still supposedly enough people to feed, teach, govern, heal, and do all the other sorts of things in common society..."

Yes! Like make a stylish wig for Roslin, a never ending supply of candles and tapestries for Baltar's love-church, the million or so cigarettes the doctor needs to smoke.

Well, you kind have to remember that these were all interstellar spaceships- like a modern day luxuryliner, they have the capacity to be self sufficient for a period of time. That includes at least a base-level physician, cooks, maintenance staff, etc. As for the people required to run a battleship, or a tillium ship, these ships started off with a staff. It's not as if 40,000 random people found them drifting though space and were trying to run them; they came with trained personnel who could train new people.

Finally, regarding caking candles, wigs and cigarettes: I'm pretty sure given a few years in space with nothing to do, anyone of us could figure how to make all that stuff, especially if it meant we could trade it for basic necessities. Like liquor.

pgillan said...

That isn't some kind of expanded universe man, that's the storyline for the Caprica series, as developed by RDM and Co.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I would think that a surviving population of one million plus would be more unsustainable than BSG's current total of 39,000! There are numerous successful communities that sport between 20,000 and 50,000 people, and contain many "experts".

Respectfully, I have to disagree. There are communities that small, but they're not self-sufficient. What town of 50,000 people has it's own water supply, food supply, energy supply, expert medical needs, engineering needs, not to mention all the other frivolous stuff already pointed out (like making wigs, running a bar, or running that luxury ship for vacations?). Just think about all the stuff in your everyday life that comes from thousands of miles away that's a product of thousands of people doing there jobs. You really think 39,000 people can meet every need? And all while being under attack from an army numbering in the hundreds of thousands (if not millions), that could regenerate?

I know it's sci-fi, and should be taken with a grain of salt. But this just bugs me. I live in Columbus, Ohio, and I if a nuclear holocaust hit the planet and all that remained of humankind was Ohio State University (roughly 75,000 students and staff), I'm pretty sure the human race would get wiped out pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see if anyone else commented on this, but how come they showed the close up of the Cylon's fingers when he reached out to help Ellen? They really made an effort to point out the long, point fingers that transformed into normal looking human fingers. Just an observation.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that if you go an rewatch the episode where Ellen dies (The Exodus Part II), if you watch closely, Tigh does nothing to present Ellen with the poison, nor does he encourage her to drink it. As a matter of fact, he doesn't say a single word and she pretty much volunteers to drink it. If you look at her facial expression, it is clear she knows she is going to die.

I would say it's worth going back and rewatching this scene to see if you agree with this.

Craig Ranapia said...

I didn't see if anyone else commented on this, but how come they showed the close up of the Cylon's fingers when he reached out to help Ellen? They really made an effort to point out the long, point fingers that transformed into normal looking human fingers. Just an observation.

I think it was just to ramp up the tension in an already disorientating scene -- what exactly will the Centurion do? Why the hell is it listening to Ellen (who's being so damn kind and gentle, rather than freaking out, it's creepy in itself) at all?

I also suspect that Gary Hutzel and his team get to do a Centurion in such detail and at length so seldom -- because they're fully CGI it's an enormously expensive and time consuming effect to pull off -- they just wanted to make it super-cool. I don't know how they did it, but that Centurion extending it's hand to Ellen was almost loving, and I've no idea how they did it.

Anonymous said...

It also reinforces the idea that they have free will. The ability to choose.

Max Chamberlain said...

Anonymous, I happen to believe that OHIO STATE would be just fine if your scenario of an unfortunate nuclear holocaust that happened to kill every person on the planet except those enrolled or teaching at OHIO STATE came true. But that's because I think Jim Tressel is actually the 5th. Its not Ellen. Could this be possible. Could the head coach of THE Ohio State Buckturions be a member of the 13th tribe? This would totally explain the loss to Penn State? I had money on that game dammit! If I'd known Joe Paterno had resurrection hub technology I would have never taken the under.

Anonymous said...

In regards to this discussion about whether or not it's "realistic" for the fleet to be self-sufficient, I never had a problem with it.

You have to remember that this is a civilization that is capable of building interstellar starships that can jump from one point to another instantaneously. The 50,000ish original survivors weren't just some town in the middle of nowhere, they were composed of individual spaceships that happened to be in transit at the time of the attacks or managed to leave shortly after.

Some of the larger civilian vessels are clearly meant to be analogous to cruise liners. Is it really that difficult to believe that such ships would be crewed with a variety of specialists? Medical staff? Wealthy people as passengers who had some professional specialization? Not to mention the crews of whatever other ships joined the fleet. I would imagine that it takes at least a certain amount of wealth to have the capability to be a passenger on a starship, which would suggest many of these passengers are educated and come from a variety of careers and professions and possess a variety of skills.

This has never bothered me in the slightest and it doesn't bother me now. I don't consider it to be particularly "unrealistic".

As for the episode itself, I thought it was pretty good. The information reveal was fantastic and intriguing, and I'm sure it's setting up for a spectacularly intense final episodes.

For people saying they were confused, it's really not that confusing:

1. Humans live on Kobol a very long time ago.
2. Humans design the original cylons.
3. War or disaster. Everybody leaves Kobol.
4. Humans go to 12 Colonies, Cylons go to Earth.
5. Earth Cylons stop using resurrection technology.
6. The Final Five work in a research facility and reinvent resurrection. Earth is destroyed. The Final Five, presumably the only survivors of Earth, head for the 12 colonies to warn them about creating AI life.
7. They get to the 12 colonies during the time of the First Cylon War.
8. They convince the cylons (centurions) to stop the war in exchange for resurrection and humanoid cylons.
9. The Final Five make John (Cavill) first. He doesn't like their views. He kills them.
10. He blocks their memories, programs false memories (ala Boomer in season 1), and places them throughout the 12 colonies.
10. John acts like a dick to them, in secret, from behind the scenes apparently through the whole series.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is "All of this has happened before and all of this happened again."

The whole cycle of inventing artificial life, fighting, fleeing one planet for another, etc.

Anonymous said...

There was a lot of information in this episode, which for me dug a few holes in the storyline, particularly the actions of the cylons.
First there is the idea that Cavil, a character so driven to be a better machine, would chance sending the only five cylons with knowledge of resurrection, not to mention his own skinjob technology, to experience the doom of humanity without first trying to extract that information. I understand that the hub was functioning fine at the time, but, as we’ve occasionally seen in the series, resurrection technology is limited by distance and spatial anomalies. Perhaps it was his arrogance, assuming there was no way the humans would ever ally themselves with cylons and destroy the hub, but it still seems irresponsible.
Another question I have is about the cylon centurions, it seems there were those created on Earth by cylon skinjobs, who were themselves created on Kobol by humans, and there are those created by the twelve colonies. So what happened to the earth centurions after they nuked the planet? Should I assume they were killed in the battle for Earth? Were they the ones shown in Razor, who were still looking for a way to evolve? Also, was there a third race of centurion models responsible for the destruction of Kobol? Or did they skip straight to making skinjobs. My head is swimming a bit.
Lastly, I wonder about the Cylon centurions’ desire to create skinjobs, only to be dominated by them. We learned that higher brain functions in the machine models had been limited, but was it always this way? This makes Cavil a bit of a hypocrite in his claims that he is fighting for their rights.
Anyways, much of this is probably best left to the imagination, as it might be boring to have it all explained with so few episodes left of the series, but perhaps I’ve missed something that someone else can shed some light on.

tabernacle said...

@ Frog:

"6. The Final Five work in a research facility and reinvent resurrection. Earth is destroyed. The Final Five, presumably the only survivors of Earth, head for the 12 colonies to warn them about _creating AI life_."

You do mean re*creating AI life? Because at #2 the humans had designed the original humanoid (skinjob) Cylons. Is this what we're saying? I know the question has been brought up like seven times over these 133 comments, but this is what we're saying?

That humans created (skinjob) Cylons. Then humans forgot (?) the technology and started again with Centurions.

The rest I'm fine with.

Anonymous said...


Humans created Cylons on Kobol. Humanoid cylons.

The twelve colonies created centurion Cylons.

The Final Five then created the Seven humanoid cylons that we're familiar with.

Anonymous said...

Could the head coach of THE Ohio State Buckturions be a member of the 13th tribe? This would totally explain the loss to Penn State? I had money on that game dammit! If I'd known Joe Paterno had resurrection hub technology I would have never taken the under.

Max, Paterno is at least 7000 years old. We should have always known.

Anonymous said...

The humans left Kobol to form the 12 colonies 2000 years after the Cylon exodus to Earth. 2000 years is a long time! Something happens in that 2000 years that the Cylons who left have nothing to do with. It's not likely that an advanced civilization could remain at war for 2000 years.

What happened to the Kobolian civilization over that 2000 year period?

The supposed fighting between the Lords of Kobol and the jealous god is what caused the Kobolian people to leave to form the 12 colonies, according to the Sacred Scrolls, at this point the Sacred Scrolls already has the story of the 13th tribe leaving, but the Scrolls say they are humans, the people of Kobol believe them to be human.

tabernacle said...

Thanks, Cornelius the Frog!

And by the way thanks for breaking it down step by step and numbering them; it helps a lot.

I guess they're trying to establish a chicken/egg thing where each created the other, which is elegant as a concept. We pay for that with a little confusion along the way, but it should be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I think your timing is off.

I'm fairly certain it is clearly implied that humans and cylon left Kobol at the same time, they simply went different ways.

justjoan123 said...

How does Cavil's rage at not being more metal sync with his insistence on lobotomizing the Raiders? Can he be that jealous or that punitive and still, at that point, be protecting the intellectual integrity of the skinjobs? Confusing much?

Anonymous said...

The whole back story was bothering me all weekend. Each time I thought I had it figured out, a few minutes later everything fell apart in my mind again. I think I was making the whole story more complicated than it really is. For now, this is my take.....

Human life began on Kobol.

Humans created skin jobs (the final five variety).

Humans and Skin Jobs together created centurion type cylons who rebelled and destroyed Kobol.

Skin Jobs and Humans go their separate ways....Skin Jobs to Earth and humans to the Caprica and the colonys.

Skin Jobs on earth created Cylons and humans on Caprica created Cylons. This answers the question of the different looking toasters.

Earth is nuked and five of the final five type go to Caprica to warn humans but they are too late.

Everything else is pretty clear cut except who the number seven model is. IMO it could only be Starbuck or her dad. If Daniel is Starbucks dad that would pretty much full in the remaining gaps ie that cylons and humans can procreate and their offspring can recreate as well.

Anonymous said...

No, the 13th Tribe left Kobol 2000 years before the other 12 left. Pythia wrote about the exodus to Earth 300 to 400 years after it happened, and Pythia was written some 1600 years before the exodus of the 12 other tribes. Pythia was also written 3600 years before the fall of the 12 colonies.

tabernacle said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the time thing. Like in the Ender series, Galactica is using relativistic stuff re speed of light.

Anonymous said...

After rereading my inelegant post it occurs to me that pretty much everything has been answered. All that remains now is whether or not the cycle of destruction will continue and that answer must lie in two things; Starbuck, in what she is and Saul, Six and Ellen by what they do.

That's it. I'm not thinking about this anymore.

Anonymous said...

I still have a problem with the back story.

The idea that Humans on Kobold created HUMANOID CYLONS before the CENTURIONS doesn't make much sense.

Why would the centurions nuke the cylons?

Why did the final five each see uniqe images in their heads?
(I suppose the answer is that they are Cylons and were programmed to but by who?)

On Kobol the Gods lived among the Humans. What exactly does this mean? Who are the Gods? What made them God like?

Stealing this from wiki, "Season 1 deleted scene the Priestess Elosha describes that the ancient war on Kobol began when one of the other Gods wanted to be worshiped above all the others, leading to the exodus of Humanity"

Is the war that occurred on Kobol happening again with Cavil as the jealous God?

Were the Gods just HUMANOID CYLONS or were they humans that learned to live on through organic memory transfer?

I think the term, ORGANIC MEMORY TRANSFER is pretty important for HUMANS, not Cylons.

I think they need to clarify more of the back story. They need to have another one of the final five get shot in the head so I can have the rest of the important details.

Anonymous said...


Wouldn't what you say jive with what I'm saying? Aren't you saying that final five type cylons left Kobol and colonized earth? I'm guessing yes and maybe humans stayed on Kobol for another 2000 years and the skin jobs they had created (who left) became the thing of legend (Pythia).

tabernacle said...

This was my hang-up, that the humans created skinjobs and THEN centurions. Odd sequence.

Anonymous said...

KishKeKing... Human life could not have began on Kobol.

We know that OUR Earth exists on the show, we were shown it. RDM was asked about human evolution on Earth, and he said he wasn't gonna change that, meaning humans evolved on Earth from microbes. The only alternative to having our Earth actually exist, have it be the true birthplace of mankind, but have it be forgotten over thousands of years, is to have the ridiculous notion that human life, AND human culture (because what we see on the show is mishmash of various different cultures that exist here today), evolved in multiple places in the galaxy independent of each other... That is completely unrealistic, and completely unlikely.

tabernacle said...

On the one hand they have "morpha" (which suggests alternate history of sorts) but then they also quote Emily Dickinson and stuff sometimes, right? Or is that a writerly thing that means nothing universe-wise?

Craig Ranapia said...

First there is the idea that Cavil, a character so driven to be a better machine, would chance sending the only five cylons with knowledge of resurrection, not to mention his own skinjob technology, to experience the doom of humanity without first trying to extract that information.

First, well isn't there a healthy dose of self-serving b.s. in "John"'s whole self-image? Sorry to say this, but Ellen is right -- he's a petty, sadistic fraker who might talk a good game about being "the best machine" but his every act is motivated by the meanest human emotions -- envy, resentment, and a hunger for revenge. He's obsessed with teaching his parents a lesson -- giving them a front row seat at the destruction of their precious humanity, so they can download and admit the error of their ways. So, their first-born "son" can be proved right.

Second, if "John" really is that good a machine what probability would he have assigned to the idea that humanity would even become aware of resurrection technology, let alone be in a position (in collaboration with rebel Cylons) to destroy the one critical component that makes the whole dog and pony show work? A good machine will efficiently allocate resources and effort.

Lastly, I wonder about the Cylon centurions’ desire to create skinjobs, only to be dominated by them. We learned that higher brain functions in the machine models had been limited, but was it always this way? This makes Cavil a bit of a hypocrite in his claims that he is fighting for their rights.

You're quite right about John's hypocrisy -- but he'd hardly be the first person whose rationalisations need some fine-tuning (as the late Felix Gaeta said in another context).

As for the first half of your question, obviously not. Otherwise, the Final Five would hardly have arrived at the Colonies just in time for the Cylon Wars would they?

I'd also remind you that Sam said the idea of the One True Cylon God (OTG) -- a merciful and loving deity -- didn't come from the Final Five. But the Colonial Centurions (CC).

Here's my theory and please feel free to nit-pick away:

Wouldn't that open up two great conundrums, that RW philosophers and theologians have been arguing over for millennia:

1) THE PROBLEM OF EVIL -- or, how can loving, merciful God(s) allow evil, suffering and pain to exist? The innocent child consumed by cancer. The flood that sweeps away a temple full of the faithful. Sentient beings enslaved like animals..

2) THE JUDAS PARADOX -- If you are a Christian, how was the redemption of all mankind through the passion and death of the Son of God possible without Judas' betrayal of his friend and saviour for thirty pieces of silver? How can you reconcile an act of evil setting in action God's plan for salvation? Was Judas not only doing God's work?

So here's how the CC might have reconciled this:

a) Easy -- the humans are part of that plan too. The Colonials were divinely inspired to create the Cylons, and their slavery is a test of their faith, and their worthiness to survive.

b) If OTG created the Cylons, didn't He create the Humans who constructed them? Certainly, but they displeased Him by turning away from the path, repaying his love with every imaginable sin and depravity that the CC are free from.

c) Therefore, their revolt is not only proof of their worthiness (by winning their freedom), but divine retribution for the human's sin.

In short, they love the Sinner (because the Humans are part of God's creation), but hate the Sin (which they are dedicated to destroying).


d) The Final Five show up -- prophets from the OTG --, and offer them the means to come closer to their God by emulating the form of their "parents" (whom God ordained would create them), and start again. While the Centurions may not benefit from that blessing directly, they are serving God's will -- giving their children a chance to be one step closer to God, to understand and serve His Plan more perfectly. Ending the war was a small price to pay.

What they didn't allow for was the central paradox of free will -- when you give your children free will, you might well live to regret how it is exercised. At least, until the next generation of God's children decide to throw you on a scrap heap and fit your replacements with the electronic equivalent of a dog collar.

Perhaps, in the final and most bitter irony of all, the Cylons themselves are being punished and brought low by the OTG for their own sinful pride -- "the ones who believe themselves without sin, yet is sin that will consume them" as the Original Recipie Hybird puts it in in 'Razor'.

All This Has Happened Before, And All This Will Happen Again. Satan’s Sin — instead of serving our creator, we arrogantly and ignorantly presume to be His equal. We presume that our own mean, small fears and hatreds speak with the voice of God, and our every cruelty is performed in His name.

Love The Sinner, But Hate The Sin. But how often does that turn out to be a lie — instead, we hate (and destroy) that we do not understand, what does not fit our limited conception of what the universe should be.

By Your Command.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it was ever stated that the Kobolian civilization created humanoid Cylons before Centurions.

I don't think they need to mention which came first, it's kind of implied, or at least common sense.

tabernacle said...

What do you mean? The skinjobs predated the centurions by enough time that they thought they had time to warn the humans about creating AI.

Craig Ranapia said...

How does Cavil's rage at not being more metal sync with his insistence on lobotomizing the Raiders? Can he be that jealous or that punitive and still, at that point, be protecting the intellectual integrity of the skinjobs? Confusing much?

JustJoan: Perhaps I'm just old, cynical and been dicked around too many times, but self-serving hypocrisy doesn't "confuse" me at all. For too many people, its the air they breathe and the blood in their veins.

Anonymous said...


I always took earth to being the beginning of all things too. Yet if you go to Mo Ryan's site at

the writers pretty much said this weekend that all life begins on Kobol which throws a big wrench in your theory.

I'm assuming that humans (you and me) are genetically the same as Adama and Co and as such have evolved pretty much the same way they have hence a lot of very similar culture. But there are minor differences between real humans and BSG humans ie basketball vs. pyramid ball, square paper vs. edgeless, no smoking in restaurants/bars vs. smoking in the operating room, get my drift.

Anonymous said...

That's one of the great appeals of the show for me. BSG humans evolved in an almost identical way as us but there are significant differences in development as well. What remains the same, though, are our internal workings; feelings, emotions and ideas.

Anonymous said...


That doesn't throw a wrench in anything. We are talking about what would be THOUSANDS of years of separation, of course there will be differences. They major similarities far outweigh the minor differences, by a big margin. There are way too many similarities to be explained away... You bring up basketball vs. pyramid ball... Pyramid ball is a hybrid of a few different similar sports HERE! Pyramid ball is very similar to an ancient Aztec or Mayan game, which in turn is similar to basketball. There nothing on the show that is alien to human civilization here, nothing. Speaking of aliens... Have you seen any? The fleet goes from habitable planet to habitable planet, and the only time they come across evidence of some form of intelligent humanoid life, it's directly related to them and human.

There is gonna be evolutionary differences if they evolved independently from us... For every ecological obstacle there is, there are dozens of different successful adaptations that have happened here.

Lets go a little further than species, do you see ANY races different than those which exist here?

People on Earth evolved differently from one another based on environment, developed societies, cultures, and customs differently, developed different technologies. Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals are over 99% genetically alike, are both part of the human species, lived on the same planet, in some of the same environments, and couldn't have been more different socially, culturally, and be noticeably different physically... I'm not one to poop on others theories, but the ones you guys are trying to sell are absurd, even for the anything is possible world of Scifi.

Cavil and Ellen don't have all the answers, the only history they know is that which they have been told. Cavil insists that there is no God, no gods, no nothing... Well there is obviously some higher power at work.

I will again bring you back to the Sacred Scrolls, which were WRITTEN ON KOBOL... The first line reads "Life here, began out there", they are saying life on Kobol began somewhere else, right in the first line of the Sacred Scrolls. If the scrolls were written on Caprica, or the other 11 colonies, that would be one thing, but they weren't, they were written on Kobol.

MPH said...

one quick nagging question which is bugging me - someone smarter than me please answer (even though I know the real answer is due to the age of the actors)

but with the final five, they obviously must age normally as Tigh was known to Adama as a young man. So when they resurrect, at what age does their body come back to? Saul Tigh was the same age on Earth during the first holocaust as on BSG. Ellen came back into a body at the same age in which she died on New Caprica. So how can the body of the original Tigh cylon be a young man?

Anonymous said...

You could probably make a case that Cavil purposely made Saul (and Ellen back then) come back in a young body because he was making him serve in the colonial fleet, I'm sure there can be some modifications made to the bodies... The 6's don't really all look alike, some are bleach blond, some dirty blond, some have brown hair, they have varying hairstyles, someone else noted once that the complexions of their skin aren't always the same either, and all this is while they are just hanging out on the base ship, not trying to infiltrate the fleet.

Anonymous said...

Borg queen redux?
After reading the review I'm reminded of what bothered me about the turn this episode travels. I'm one of those who hated the whole Borg "queen" device because it robbed cube-bound creeps of their essence as an unstoppable interlinked mutating mass: cut one part and it grows back stronger. Well, let's not have that specific argument here - I know others disagree. Unless I'm mistaken that otherwise fine movie was co-written by Ron Moore.

Having John Cavil as the focus of evil for the cylons similarly reduces "a plan" by a networked series of machines to the neurosis of an single madman, the wicked wacko problem. I wonder if there's a short-hand in Ron Moore's bag of tricks that says "just as inter-warring states fixate on a supreme figure of hate to galvanize popular opinion, scripts should create the wicked wacko to focus an audience's attention." So while the John Cavil solution provides a way of tying the story together (more or less) it also robs the machines of their essence as an enemy that's fundamentally different. And that's what made them so scary back in seasons 1 and 2. So in a way it is the Borg debate again, by proxy.
-- anonymoose

tabernacle said...

@Moose: That's awesome, and I hear you.

The only thing I can say is that the Cylons are _already_ so splintered (both in terms of factions and characterization) that there's no unity (analogous to The Borg) for us to lose. Cavil's neuroses do not negate the Sixes' thing and the Eights' thing and crazy frakking Leoben and D'Anna. We sacrificed a bit of scary otherness along the way in order to gain differentiation and depth of characterization--and really I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Cavil has always been playing that role. He has always appeared to know more than the other models, he has always been more ruthless, and has always appeared to be in control.

I know what you're saying, I hated the Borg Queen also, but the 2 are not the same.

Anonymous said...

Just throwing this out there....
Daniel = Gaeta

Anonymous said...

The idea that a community of 39,000 people can't be self-sustaining is laughable considering that for almost all of human history people lived in self-sustaining communities of a few dozen people. Someone above cited Gladwell and Diamond. Those two would be the first to tell you that our brain evolved to handle living in small groups, not in groups of thousands of people. The very large, heavily trade-dependent communities we live in today have been around for less than a tenth of a percent of the lifespan of Homo sapiens. Obviously there would be adjustments (as there have been for the RTF, as we've seen occasionally on the show), but if Ohio State was all that remained after a nuclear holocaust, humanity would get along just fine. In fact, it's likely that all 7 billion of us descend from a population of proto-Homo sapiens that was even smaller than the rag-tag fleet (and more spread out to boot).

Anonymous said...

Alan, thanks for your reviews and insights into BSG. I look forward to reading your blog and everyone's comments the day after a new episode. In general, the discussion has been thoughtful and civil, and I hope it continues in that vein.

I loved the revamped opening sequence and enjoyed this episode overall. BSG continues to engage traditional sci fi tropes by turning them inside-out and upside-down in a way that's unpredictable, entertaining and smart. I'm a bit surprised at how unhappy some commenters are with this episode, but expectations are riding pretty high, huh? I've been very happy with the quality of these last 10 episodes and will be sad to see this series end.

Anonymous said...


You bring up excellent points and I find it hard to disagree with what you write. But if I stay within the context of the show (meaning that I'll leave our real here and now earth out of the equation)your evidence does not add up. Or maybe it does. One poster used the chicken and egg cliche and that may be where we are heading.

Remember, when the humans and Cylons reached earth a few weeks ago, I don't recall them finding any traces of human life and I was led to believe that humanoid cylons were wiped out 2000 years ago and not humans. Now that doesn't mean humans didn't populate earth years before the Cylons. It's just that we have not be given any evidence of that being so. As for the sacred scrolls, your time line of where and when they were written is correct. But the first line, along with all the scrolls are allegories. For instance, take the Lions Head with blinking eyes
from season three as an example.

On an off-note, here is one tidbit of info that no one has come up with before. In season 2, Starbuck and Helo stopped by Starbucks apartment to pick up a few cigars. In the apartment Kara put on a tape of her father playing the piano. Last night I re-watched the episode from season 3 when Baltar is chilling with the Cyolons on the basestar. The music being pumped into the boring basestar hallways was the same recording Kara played in her apartment. I think our answer of who was number seven was given right then and there.

Anonymous said...


You can't leave our real here and now out of the context of the show, or even more, leave our whole real human history out, because it IS all over the place, it is embedded into the fabric of the culture of their civilization on the show.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I've been posting there for a few weeks actually, reading Brad's take on things swayed me a little.

Yeah there was a Planet of the Apes moment at the end of Revelations, that's why I doubt it's Earth, it's a been there done that cliche in 2009, there is no real shock, AND unlike with Apes, it's not the end of this story.

I think the parallel universe ending is also a been there done that... That's basically how Burton's Ape movie ended.

I look at what the writers thinking might have been when they wrote season 4. They need an ending that doesn't upset or disappoint, but isn't seen coming a mile away at the time they wrote it. It seems that most people believed Kara would lead them to Earth, and that Earth would either be advanced enough to help them in some way. The other popular ideas were that it is a parallel universe. Both of those possibilities are either too easy to see coming, alienating, or just dumb. They have to remain true to the spirit of the original.

I also have paid attention to the parallels between the '78 series and RDM's series... RDM has made it a recurring theme to have many of the stories and characters from the original to be incorporated, but also twisted:

Example. We see both the Beings of Light and Iblis, I have a strong feeling that the characters in their heads are a version of the Beings of Light, and that Baltar's inner 6 was the Iblis character (Baltar's 6 was influencing him to be selfish and deceitful, unlike what has been observed with Kara's Leoben avatar, or those described by Anders).

As far as characters go, and relationships... Obviously 2 male characters are now female. Admiral Adama is the complete opposite of Commander Adama, the relationship between Will and Lee are the complete opposite of the original. Tigh in the original drank in one episode, the new Tigh stayed sober in one episode lol.

With so many parallels and role reversals, I only see one ending that would please people.

There is also the financial stake, and business. If RDM does not deliver our Earth, and our civilization, past present or 10,000 years in our future, he will have killed the franchise. Few will tune in to watch Caprica.

If RDM ends the series with shot starting with a vortex of sorts, then moves through it to see a shot of our Earth again, and then zooms in to some spot in the U.S., zooming closer in on a home in everywhere U.S.A., zooms in through the roof, and than has the camera panning around the inside of the home, showing a family rushing to sit down and watch tv, and the tv shows the opening montage of the 1978 show... I'll be pissed, as will millions of others, and RDM and Scifi will lose money. lol

Jenny said...

I think it would be really bad if they try to tell us that Starbuck "was supposed to be a man". Like what we see isn't a real woman.

@DonBoy: AGREED, AGREED, AGREED. I will be quite upset if this is the case; fortunately, I think Ron Moore is more progressive when it comes to gender than the majority of his audience.

John Hodgman felt out of place and his acting a bit off.
@Anonymous, I agree with this as well. Having him in the episode really took me out of it. Of course, I'm one of the nerds who knows who John Hodgman is by name; the majority of people, I suppose, might think, "Hey, is that the PC guy from the Mac commercials?" or have a vague recollection of The Daily Show. BSG is just not a show I either expect or want to see stunt-casting from. (For instance, when Nana Visitor guested in the first half of the season, I had no idea it was her until I read episode reviews after the fact. And I'm a huge DS9 fan, as well as a fan of the character she played and her performance on that show.)

Anonymous said...

When Cavil was complaining about his supernova perception, did anyone else flash back 27 years to another "skinjob"'s lament? Roy Batty's "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe ..." monologue in Blade Runner stands in poignant counterpoint to what Cavil has missed out on here, making the Cylon's frustration even sadder. His wrath toward Ellen even had a bit of "I want more life [mo]ther" to it.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I don't understand - if Cavil has been pulling the strings all along, with the final five and all, then is he behind their "awakening"? He's the one who called off the attack when the cylon raiders pulled out after Anders' eye lit up? If Cavil is the one calling off the attacks just to make his creators suffer, then there never was any chance that the confrontations we've seen throughout the series would have ever led to the destrcution of the fleet? That really cheapens the thrills of the series and would make me not want to watch (or BUY) them.

Also, it has appeared from time to time in past episodes (and certainly now) that there was a hierarchy among the cylon models - when Cavil tells D'Anna that Boomer is his "pet 8" and she makes a passionate companion, D'Anna responds "until she sees something shiney" in a derogotory manner - suggesting that the 8s are lesser forms (and clearly now since Cavil helped create the others he is the chief cylon). Was all of the cylon "voting" on decisions just cavil manipulating them, and then their "split" and civil war unnecessary? If cavil had just told them all "I created and programmed you and can activate the final five" wouldn't they have stayed with him?

Anonymous said...

Cavil is more bent on making everyone miserable than killing them all, suffering is far worse than death. It is a no brainer that the Cylons could have ended the colonial fleet in season 1, the idea that the fleet could realistically fend off the Cylons, with an obsolete battlestar and small group Vipers, is ridiculous... There needs to be an ulterior motive involved to make it believable. Cavil could have killed everyone on New Caprica.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the griping about the exposition - Anders' exposition is designed to correlate with Ellen's storyline, so when she returns to the fleet the final 4 are up to speed (sort of).

My gripe with the story line is that we are supposed to believe cavil is just sitting around talking to his "prisoner" for 18 months, finally deciding to operate on her brain after 18 months of bullshitting with her. Seems like their interactins in this episode would not take 18 months.

Daniel must be the one acting as a "cylon god" - not what the cylons expected but the one who gives the humans the clues to earth, puts the head 6 in Baltar, responsible for starbuck, etc. Not all powerful, but powerful nonetheless ("corrupted" by Cavil, but not destroyed?). Full of love and artistry, trying to make the humans and cyclons better, bring them together, or make them realize they are all "cylons", or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Right, so the entire series has been bullshit. It's all been the doing of 1 sadist - Cavil. There was no cylon plan, they never really wanted to destroy all humans - just kill most of them and then harass them so much that the 5 cylon creators would say that being human sucks and they shouldn't have created cylons in humans' image? And then what? Once the 5 admit that, what? They authorize the extermination of the human race? And then? They try to build another life form they cannot even comprehend (one that can see the EM spectrum and smell dark matter)? It all seems silly now. Cavil isn't able to actually watch it all unfold, so the only satisfaction he gets is when a version of him visits a final 5 person, and then of course at the end when the 5 die and download into remembering everything with him (ala Ellen)? And why would they reach his conclusion when they know that all of their suffering came from 1 asshole?

The only way to resolve the story is to pose an equal and opposite powerful puppet master - who has battled and will battle Cavil's evil throughout. I suppose this is Daniel, but he'd have to be fairly weak compared to Cavil to not have been able to prevent anything or help with anything other than some signs and Starbuck.

Or maybe they can resolve it by Cavil being shown the light and the error of his ways, which would be really lame since he would have killed billions of people just to learn a really obvious lesson. there I think about it the less I like it all.

Anonymous said...

JrzRob - how can it be a no brainer that everyone wasn't wiped out in season 1? The Final 5 weren't on the pegasus - so it surviving wasn't part of Cavil's "ulterior motive." Obviously some of what happened wasn't by his design.

But, I think it's pretty crappy for the writers to make this twist and show that almost all of the series' tension and showdowns were as fake as pro wrestling.

Anonymous said...

It didn't take 18 months. The resurrection ship wasn't destroyed until 14 months after Ellen resurrected, he had no reason to dig into her brain for anything. From the time Cavil threatened to do it, to the time he had Boomer bring her down to surgery, was 4 months.

More importantly... Cavil was between a rock and hard place with this one. He had no desire to "kill" her, he wanted to feed his ego by making her admit he was right and she was wrong. When the resurrection ship was destroyed, he couldn't bring her back, digging into her brain was a last resort.

Regarding Daniel, and Baltar's 6... Daniel doesn't explain the the Final 5 seeing the same kind of virtual beings warning them of the holocaust on the 13th colony Earth. Also, Baltar's 6 was way different than the other virtual beings, she was basically evil, and influencing Baltar to be out for himself. The virtual beings are bigger than just Daniel, their warnings and guidance appear to happen over thousands of years.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I don't understand - if Cavil has been pulling the strings all along, with the final five and all, then is he behind their "awakening"? He's the one who called off the attack when the cylon raiders pulled out after Anders' eye lit up? If Cavil is the one calling off the attacks just to make his creators suffer, then there never was any chance that the confrontations we've seen throughout the series would have ever led to the destrcution of the fleet?

No, I don't think this is all part of Cavil's plan. He's not the answer to every question. The awakening was perhaps a signal left by the Five themselves or by the "One True God". The raiders pulled out by their own choice, which is why Cavil had them lobotomized. It's only the Final Five that Cavil let live when he had the choice. If he could have finished off the human race, he would have. He just preferred that the Five be there to see it.

Yzark Giarc said...

What I want to know is what happened to the "Cylons" that originally nuked Earth leading to the Final Five escape? You'd think they'd be running around somewhere; 3000 years more advanced then any of the Cylons around currently.

I know most people would boo it, but I would love a crossover at the end of BSG. Earth revives itself after a few thousand years. Humans repopulate, blow themselves up and then invent warp drive. Later running into their old nemesis the Cylons; now running around in cube shaped ships announcing, "We will assimilate your consciousness into our own." And the whole cycle starts all over again.

Anonymous said...

. . . how can it be a no brainer that everyone wasn't wiped out in season 1? The Final 5 weren't on the pegasus - so it surviving wasn't part of Cavil's "ulterior motive." Obviously some of what happened wasn't by his design.

Hear ye and hear him! The more I think about the denouement thus far the less satisfied I feel. But I'm open to the possibility that something else on its way will change all that.

I supposed I'm more annoyed by people who say 'x' is "obvious" and only fools believe 'y' ! Not only are these violations of Aristotle's principals of dialogue essential to civil discussion, they smack of smarty-pants-ism. But as most people in this forum know more about the show than I, I welcome the ideas even when I don't appreciate the packaging. 'Nuff said.

But on this issue I'd like to point out that from Ron Moore's podcasts and other sources there is considerable evidence that the writers weren't aware of this Cavil ex machina solution until into season 3 (your timeline may differ). Accordingly, when they wrote seasons 1 & 2 they were likely not thinking along the lines of Cavil orchestrating matters from his pit in the opera house. (or even that Cavil was more important than the other cylons, btw). There was real danger for our heroes, and I guess I prefer it to stay that way so I'm hoping that the hermeneutic will shift again.

What we don't really know at this point is whether by the end of the show our current judgements as to what is happening will obtain. I suspect the writers have another jiu-jitsu turn of events ahead for us. My bet is on the Daniel figure turning out to be coequal with Cavil in affecting the course of events, either directly or indirectly. That will make some of us unhappy, but I hope it will at least put the battle back into seasons 1 & 2 of battlestar.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the BSG subplots and human interactions, introducing a brand new character (Daniel) into the mix is an unwise choice this late in the game, unless it will be used to setup the upcoming series "Caprica." I bet it will.

The ending episode, however, must be (or should be) believeable and satisfying - not merely rapidly dumped upon the viewer in hopes that they will fill in the gaps with future viewings of "Caprica" (series) and "The Plot" (TV movie).

Will Mr. Moore and the writing team pull a existential Sopranos-style ending?

Consider the possibilities...

R.A. Porter said...

@Potiphar Breen I *believe* (which means I could easily be wrong) that this missing, killed, 8th model is a MacGuffin and nothing else. By naming him 'Daniel', the writers are trying to use the hive mind's knowledge that Daniel Graystone plays a central role in Caprica as a way of fooling us.

Again, or I'm totally wrong and Eric Stoltz is going to show up by the finale.

electricia said...

Argh. So. Confused. I'm definitely going to have to rewatch the episode. I basically took away from it everything that Alan recapped, but it still leaves a lot of questions open for me. The timeline is confusing, as are the relative ages of the Final Five. I don't remember a lot of the earlier mythology about Kobol, which would probably help make sense of all of this. I don't remember how the 7 Cylons "knew" that there were 5 other models. How did that start to come out? And... if Cavil programmed them not to think or ask about the 5, why wouldn't he just program them to not know about them at all?

Someone asked about Cavil intentionally keeping the Final Five alive, but I don't think that was his intention. He wanted them to witness the genocide as humans, and then be resurrected into the Cylon fleet. I think the fact that they survived was accidental. I also feel certain that somehow Anders will be able to be "resurrected".

There's something that's been bugging me, but I can't really remember the specifics of it. There was an episode back when Baltar was with the Cylons where there was a cannister that contained some sort of Cylon-killing virus. But it was supposed to have been left by the "humans" on their way to Earth, or something. It feels like a little loose end and I hope they tie it up.

I, too, am bothered by information about the show that is revealed outside the show, whether it's in miniseries, webisodes, podcasts, interview, or commentary. I don't think BSG is too bad about it, but it happens. The same thing happened a lot with Buffy in later seasons, and it irked me that things like slayer mythology (especially the one dies/another is called and the "potential" stuff) were explained by Joss Whedon in interviews rather than in the show where it would have made sense. There's a certain conceit to that. Just because someone watches a show doesn't automatically mean that they're going to see or hear every bit of information that's given outside the context of the show itself.

Anonymous said...

OK potentially BIG question here: So now that Lee Adama is president since Laura is leader in ‘name only’, does that mean that Pythia’s prophecy is changed? Where instead of Laura being the ‘leader who dies before leading their people to a new home’ or whatever it was, is it now Lee who is destined to fulfill that role? In which case is Lee gonna kick it’ before the show is over?
Just wondering...

tabernacle said...

Well, now Cavil has namechecked blood pressure, so that adds one more leader to the list of candidates. It needn't be on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Hey R. A. Porter,

I agree with you about the possibility that Daniel is probably a MacGuffin at this point, but why is this introduced so late in the storyline except hook us into "Caprica" and "The Plot?"

The classical MacGuffin is presented upfront, usually in Act One or so, right? Like the professor's eyeglasses and ALLSPARK in Transformers or the ARK in Raiders...

Remember that there was a huge info dump in No Exit; that alone was questionable as a satisfying plot advancement mechanism.

In any case, it certainly was a clumsy way of plot insertion at this point IMO.

The acting really saved the day for me in this episode.

Anonymous said...

I think you may be misunderstanding what a MacGuffin is. That's something that motivates the characters, but the actual object itself doesn't matter. The Ark, as you mentioned, or the Maltese Falcon, the Holy Grail, or Rosebud. If anything in BSG could be considered a MacGuffin, I think it would be Earth. And even that isn't really quite the same thing.

Maybe you mean a red herring?

R.A. Porter said...

@Anon: red herring, yes. But in this case I'm suggesting the mention of an 8th Cylon is motivating the *audience* to start acting in a particular way - debating, searching, trying to ascertain who it might be. In other words, the writers intentionally making the audience an active participant.

I meant what I said.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you did mean what you said, and thank you for clarifying what you meant by what you said, but that's still not what a MacGuffin is. It doesn't have anything to do with the audience.

R.A. Porter said...

Although...I will readily admit that it isn't an empty box or undefined process. It's a very specific item causing our agita.

So my usage is a bit...stretched.

Richard Hoeg said...


I know my thoughts aren't shared by everyone commenting on Alan's blog, but as I am currently the patron saint of the theory I figured I would share that I think the "Dying Leader" is almost certainly the Galactica, and Chief Tyrol's complaint in this one that "Her bones are rotten" has done little to move me from my stance. Just my thoughts.