The last Battlestar Galactica post was very popular, so this week’s Thursday Thirteen will explore what we know so far about the Final Cylon and Starbuck’s "special destiny." This post came out of a conversation with some friends and has actually been a collaboration between myself, the AppleJedi and my friend Scott B. — as well as some feedback from my writing buddy Betty. To recap, twelve Cylon models exist, eleven have been revealed. The twelve can be grouped into the Significant Seven and the Final Five. The big mystery as BSG winds down its last season is the identity of the Final Cylon. What follows is a compilation of hints that might reveal the identity of the Final Cylon. Be warned, what follows is complete and total BSG nerdiness, not to mention spoilers.
1. Ron Moore has said that the Final Cylon is not shown in the Entertainment Weekly "Last Supper" photo. To quote the EW article: "Someone indeed is absent from the table, admits Moore: ‘We have not yet revealed the final [unknown] Cylon.’ Does that mean the people already at the table are not the final Cylon? Moore laughs. You ferreted that out pretty slyly. I didn’t really want to give that away."
This rules out quite a few characters as possiblities: President Roslin, Lee "Apollo" Adama, Commander Adama, Karl "Helo" Agathon, and Gaius Baltar. Who’s left? A few possibilities: Felix Gaeta, Anastasia "Dee" Dualla, Tom Zarek, Ellen Tigh, Cally Henderson Tyrol, (if it is Cally, then she would have to be resurrected and her son Nikki to Galen Tyrol would be the first fully-Cylon child), and Doc Cottle.
Space Westerns has a great article dissecting the Last Supper photo and concludes that Starbuck is the “Last Cylon.” At first, we discounted this, but since there are technically two versions of Starbuck — pre-death and post-death — this is possibly consistent with what Moore has said, if the version of her in the photo is meant to be pre-death.
2. Process of Elimination. In the Frak Party Podcast, Ron Moore said the Final Cylon is not Commander Adama or President Roslin: "The idea for the final four Cylons came up in the writing room. They had to narrow down the parameters a bit as to who would make the best choice to be a Cylon. Not Bill Adama and not Roslin (he felt that would have robbed something from the show). And what did Lee give you were he a Cylon?"
In this quote, Moore does not specifically state that the Final Cylon is NOT Lee, he only asks what would be the gain of a such a plot development. We think this is a fake out for casting doubt on Lee as human or Cylon. Also, Moore implied in this podcast that Cally is indeed human when he said that Nikki is a hybrid child: He confirms that Nicolas (Tyrol’s son) is a hybrid child. His story is different than Hera’s but is closely related. However, in the DVD commentary for the episode "Bastille Day," David Eick said of Cally: Yeah, and she’s taken on, in season 2 actually, a much, much, much more prominent role. You have no idea how prominent a role.
This definitely rules out President Roslin and Commander Adama as possibilities. Lee is still in the Last Supper photo, so he’s out of the running. This casts some doubt on Cally, however.
3. Cylon Incognito. In the episode, "The Eye of Jupiter," Number Three/D’Anna Biers recognized the Final Cylon before the Temple of Five was destroyed. From Battlestar Wiki: "She steps into the light and finds herself in the Kobol Opera House standing before the Final Five. She approaches and sees their faces clearly for the first time, recognizing one of them in particular she says with a surprised look on her face, ‘You… forgive me. . . I had no idea.’ She is pulled back to the temple and collapses in Baltar’s arms. She tells Baltar, ‘You were right,’ but dies in his arms before answering about what."
We wonder for what is Three asking forgiveness? Could it be that the Final Cylon is someone that Three discounted, someone lower in rank than she considered important — like Anastasia Dualla, Felix Gaeta or Cally Tyrol? This scene definitely rules out Baltar, since he’s standing right there with her and she dies in his arms. Sure, the Final Cylon could be a copy of Baltar, but the apology doesn’t quite ring true if that’s the case.
4. Representatives of Humanity. In an interview Ron Moore said: "The Cylons on some level looked at humanity and said ‘You know what? There’s really only 12 of you.’ If these are the 12, and sort of if you look at them they each represent different archetypes of what humanity is."
Out of the eleven so far, six of them are white guys. Just sayin’. See the next item for a run-down of the known models, but Moore’s quote here seems to imply that the Final Cylon should be a female of minority ethnicity to round out the representatives in the group.
5. Lucky Number Seven. We haven’t seen anyone yet point out that the Final Cylon is actually model Number Seven:
1- Brother Cavil
2- Leoben Conoy
3- D’Anna Biers
5- Aaron Doral
8- Sharon Valerii Agathon Boomer/Athena
9- Galen Tyrol
10- Samuel Anders
11- Saul Tigh
12- Tory Foster
Does this explain why the Final Cylon didn’t hear the music in the episode "Crossroads?" Is Number Seven a transitory model between the two groups? Traits such as religious fundamentalism and self-awareness seem to fluctuate from Number One to Number Eight, but we don’t yet know the order of the revealed four, so this may be irrelevant. For instance, Cavil is the most fundamentalist of the group: he doesn’t ask questions about his existence, he follows the letter of the law as the Cylons know it. Leoben speaks in half-truths, as if he were trying to divulge information without crossing the lines (see next item). Number Six displays an emerging self-awareness and a willingness to ask esoteric questions about their existence. Number Eight regularly dissents from the Cylon ranks — even from her own model line — and has also procreated with a human. Is it this mental leap that enabled the conception of Hera to take place? Number Eight’s mental leaps might mean she is the first (or maybe the second if Number Seven managed the feat first) Cylon to possess a soul, which some might see as prerequisite for being able to procreate. We placed Galen Tyrol as Number Nine since he has also been able to produce offspring. The order of the last three is unknown, but while Tory Foster seems to have gone off the mental deep end, she’s also asking questions like "Do Cylons cry?" in the episode "Six of One," which implies grief and a soul.
6. Fingerpointing, Cylon Style. In Season 1’s "Flesh and Bone," Leoben told President Roslin that "Adama is a Cylon." Could he have meant Lee and not William? Or possibly Dualla since she was an Adama when married to Lee? This adds more weight to the Final Cylon being Dualla.
7. Pithy Pythia. In Season 1 "Hand of God," Roslin is told about the Prophecy of Pythia: "And the lords anointed a leader, to guide the caravan of the heavens to their new homeland. And onto the leader they gave a vision of serpents numbering 2 and 10 as a sign of things to come. . ." This simply defines that there are twelve Cylons models, but the naming of them as "serpents" seem relevant. In the Classical world, Pythia was the original name of the Oracle at Delphi and described the mountain, which was considered to be the decaying body of Python, the monstrous serpent slain by Apollo. For more on serpents, see item 13.
8. That I, the son of a dear father murdered. This Associated Content article makes the case that Lee is the Final Cylon. There are a couple hints that count against this idea: Lee appears in the Last Supper photo and was also exposed to the virus on the basestar, but did not succumb to it. The earlier humanoid Cylons seem to show immunity to many human diseases, but not to the Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV). Later models may be the opposite, however, see item 9.
9. Healthy as a horse. Some viewers have ruled out President Roslin due to her cancer, but we should note that Anders was very ill with pneumonia on New Caprica, so the revealed four are susceptible to diseases, though it’s not clear whether they are susceptible to LCMV. Note that Dualla fell ill with the Mellorak infection in the episode "The Woman King."
10. What’s in a name? It may signify nothing, but the Greek name "Anastasia" means "resurrection." A few viewers have said that the word "dualla" is somehow connected to the Sanskrit word for "12," but we haven’t been able to verify that connection. There’s also a connection of the word "dualla" to "doula," a Greek word referring to a female servant or a modern term referring to a birth and labor coach. Considering Moore has admitted that he has named characters from an internet site of ancient names, placing too much importance on the meaning of Dualla’s name could be a dead end.
11. Starbuck and her "special destiny" (a.k.a. Kara’s back-up band). Leoben said of Starbuck’s destiny: "This is not your path, Starbuck. You have a different destiny. All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again. You kneel before idols and ask for guidance and you can’t see that your destiny’s already been written. Each of us plays a role, each time a different role. Maybe the last time I was the interrogator, and you were the prisoner. The players change, the story remains the same. And this time…this time, your role is to deliver my soul unto God. Do it for me. It’s your destiny, and mine."
Several events in Starbuck’s life follow in line with the biographies of Classical heroes, who were often the offspring of a god. Like many of these heroes, Starbuck is a natural athlete, first as a pro Pyramid player and later as a hotshot Viper pilot. She is the classic larger-than-life hero with a tragic flaw, her self-destructive behaviors. Starbuck’s mother (Jocasta), who was also in the military, believed she had a special destiny to fulfill and tried, in a twisted way, to prepare Starbuck for it. Of her father, we know only that he was a pianist who left early in Starbuck’s life. Lisa has for a while conjectured that Jocasta could have conceived Kara while posted somewhere in her military duties and the truth of this is what pushed Starbuck’s father away. This would follow with the classical structure of the hero sired by a god being raised in secret until called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. Sackoff has said that "Starbuck, as we know her, is dead." Starbuck’s "death" at the end of Season 3 also follows the Classical hero’s journey idea of the Apotheosis. We don’t think Starbuck is the Final Cylon, but rather the offspring or an avatar of one of the Lords of Kobol, most likely Aurora.
12. Aurora Avatar, Ship of Lights and Eye of Jupiter (all great band names). Lisa has in the past outlined the Starbuck-Aurora connection, but to recap, when Starbuck visits the oracle Yolanda Brenn she is given the winged Aurora figurine and the oracle reiterates verbatim what Leoben told Starbuck in "Flesh and Bone." Also, the writers of the re-imagined series have successfully incorporated elements from the original series, but an important element yet to show up is the Ship of Lights. In the original series, according to Battlestar Wiki, the Ship of Lights is "the spacecraft used by the Beings of Light. The Ship of Lights is an immensely large and fast spacecraft of unknown but highly advanced technology." We think the writers of the re-imagined series will incorporate this element by combining the idea of the Beings of Light into the Lords of Kobol. We doubt it’s by accident that the winged Aurora figurine looks like an angel and the Beings of Light were referred to as "Angels" in the original series. Also, we know that Starbuck has been drawing the Eye of Jupiter her entire life, and now with her return from the "dead," she is also drawing additional white "comet" elements:
These "comet" elements bear a striking resemblance to the Ships of Light as they appeared in the original series episode "War of the Gods, Part 1" (source, Battlestar Wiki):
In Razor, the First Hybrid said: "all of this has happened before and will happen again. . . [Kara Thrace] will lead the human race to its end. She is the herald of the apocalypse. The harbinger of death. They must not follow her… My children believe I am their god."
We usually think of "apocalypse" as referring to an ending only, but its Greek meaning is actually a "lifting of the veil" or "unveiling." Considered in this light, Starbuck may lead humans and Cylons to a new beginning. The reference to "My children believe I am their god" possibly implies that the First Hybrid is the monotheistic god of the Cylons, and also a Lord of Kobol who became the "one jealous god [who] began to desire that he be elevated above all the other gods, and the war on Kobol began" as described in Book of Pythia. In "Wheel of Fire," the never-filmed sequel to Galactica 1980’s finale, Starbuck is revealed to have been living on the Ship of Lights and to have become a "Guardian of the Universe." Starbuck helps to destroy a Cylon raider, and its fiery destruction while spinning down to Earth fulfills the vision from the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, who saw wheels of fire turning in the sky.
13. Closer than you think. In the establishing shot for "The Ties That Bind," we see a brief glimpse of the Orion constellation (see here and here.) For this constellation to appear as it does, the Cylon ships have to be on an exact vector between Earth and Orion. With this in mind, could the Colonies have been located in the Magellenic Clouds or Andromeda? Galatica SitRep has a great rundown of the fleet’s possible proximity to Orion and also to Ophiuchus, and notes that Ophiuchus is the 13th zodiacal sign. Ophiuchus is a zodiacal sign because contains the Sun during the course of the year, but it is not counted as an astrological sign, and its name originally meant "serpent-holder." The names of all the other of the Twelve Colonies correspond to signs of the zodiac.
CONCLUSIONS: So, after all of this, who do we think the Final Cylon is? Dualla. Here’s why:
- She’s not in the Last Supper photo.
- Moore did not rule her out as he has Commander Adama and President Roslin.
- Number Three may have discounted Dualla as a junior officer and therefore unimportant, necessitating her apology upon discovery in the Temple of Five.
- As a female of minority ethnicity, Dualla completes the Twelve Models as being representative(s) of humanity.
- The Final Cylon is actually Number Seven, possibly a transitional model between the two groups.
- She’s an Adama, technically.
- Like Anders, Dualla is susceptible to human disease.
- Esoteric meanings of Dualla’s name refer to resurrection and (re)birth.
- Starbuck is not the Final Cylon, but rather connected to the Ship of Lights and possibly the offspring or avatar of a Lord of Kobol.
Who do you think the Final Cylon is? Sound off in the comments.