Thirteen Thoughts on BSG’s Final Season
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA returns this Friday with its last season, the first episode of which is called “Sometimes A Great Nation.” Here’s the latest teaser trailer:
Note that Romo Lampkin is back and he’s in custody for some reason — the teaser shows him being escorted down a corridor by several guards and later I’m pretty sure that’s him with Zarek shaking hands in a cell. Also note that in the teaser the words pop up “Who is the final cylon?” and then we see a shot of Dualla.
It’s probably all a huge fake-out, but it’s still fun to dissect it. Not too long ago I theorized that the Fifth Cylon was Dualla and threw around some ideas I called the Aurora Theory, but I admit Dualla doesn’t have the emotional impact the show has been promising.
I still maintain my original idea that Dualla is the Fifth Cylon is a compelling one. However, the new clues have given me a few ideas to toss around about Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, Baltar, and others. Namely, we’ll likely see three reveals in this last season rather than just the one everyone seems to be fixating on:
- The identity of the Fifth Cylon
- Starbuck’s true identity
- The identity of the “one whose name cannot be spoken”
What follows is my revised take on some of the old and new clues.
(1) The Last Supper Photo
Kara is not in the Last Supper photo. “WHAT?!” you say, “She so is.” No, she’s not, technically. There are, in fact, two Karas: the one who went into the maelstrom and the one who returned. Which one is in the photo? The writers have pretty much said this outright and evidence of that is in the You Will Know The Truth clues with this bit from onboard the Demetrius:
Helo: So you think she’s a Cylon now? Starbuck’s wracked up more kills than any pilot in the fleet.
Pike/Gonzo: Yeah, Starbuck, maybe. OK, but who the hell knows who got off that Viper two months ago?
In episode 12 “The Oath,” Kara supposedly finds her own dead body. So, the returned Kara is a clone of sorts, but not just any clone because she obviously has all of the original Kara’s memories. The Cylons can download and restore their memories, so I’m assuming similar technology was used to clone Kara. It might be more accurate to look at the returned Kara as an avatar of either the Fifth, the One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken (who D’Anna also called the programmer of the Significant Seven), or the Kobol Lord Aurora, goddess of the dawn—the last has been associated with Kara many times. It should also be noted that it’s unclear which version of Sharon is in the photo: Boomer or Athena?
Also, I have no idea what it means, but it’s interesting that the four elements are represented on the table in the Last Supper photo: Air (empty glass), Water (full glass), Earth (metal chalice), and Fire (Roslin lighting the brazier). Both Roslin and the brazier have been removed in the You Will Know The Truth clue #7. Are the books on the table the Book of Pythia and the Bible, signifying polytheism and monotheism respectively? Are those characters at the right end of the table an “open book,” and the other side a “closed book?”
UPDATE: Regarding the books on the table. The book in front of Roslin is definitely the Book of Pythia, since we now know that she burns it later, an event that correlates with the original caption from the EW article: “She’s burning something of importance that has to do with a plot turn midseason.” The book in front of Kara is likely her diary. Also, the Final Cylon’s seat is in front of the metal chalice. A Holy Grail? The Holy Grail is known for being able to restore someone’s life.
(2) Adama is a Cylon
Leoben in Season 1’s “Flesh and Bone” told President Roslin that “Adama is a Cylon.” A case can be made that both Dualla and Kara could be viewed as Adamas. Dualla was in fact married to Lee, while Kara was engaged to Zak, has a long-running relationship with Lee, and Commander Adama regards her as a daughter. However, Moore has said that Starbuck is not a Cylon, but something else altogether. It could be a situation where what Leoben calls a potato, Moore calls a potAAto. Who knows? Initially I thought this really might be a clue, but now I’m seriously wondering if it’s just a red herring or Leoben playing the trickster. It’s worth noting that this bit was not included in the You Will Know The Truth clues.
(3) A Jealous God
In a deleted scene from “Kobol’s Last Gleaming Part I,” Elosha speaks of the Lords of Kobol, specifically “one jealous god [who] began to desire that he be elevated above all the other gods” and Battlestar Wiki contends this figure may be the same as the “the one whose name cannot be spoken.” The Temple of Five is dedicated to this latter figure. This jealous god seems to be modeled after the Christian Lucifer, who wanted to be elevated above God and was cast out of Heaven as a result. Lucifer’s name means “light-bringer.” He is commonly associated with the Morning Star or the Day Star (Venus) and is also referred to as the “son of dawn.” Remember that the goddess/Lord of Kobol Aurora is the dawn. Edward James Olmos has said that the way Starbuck came back from the dead is dark and sickening. Is Kara Thrace the “devil’s daughter,” the devil herself, or an Aurora avatar? Note that there was a Cylon character in TOS named Lucifer as well. Battlestar Wiki describes this character as the Cylon IL-series attached to Baltar (emphasis mine). Hmm, does that sound like a Head Six or Head Baltar character to you?
(4) Suffering in shadow
In Razor, the First Hybrid said of the final Cylon:
“And the fifth is still in shadow, drawn toward the light, hungering for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering. I can see them all. The seven, now six, self-described machines who believe themselves without sin, but in time it is sin that will consume them. They will know enmity, bitterness, the wretched agony of the one splitting into the many, and then they will join the promised land, gathered in the wings of an angel. Not an end, but a beginning.”
Could this refer to “the one whose name cannot be spoken?” We don’t know why this entity’s name cannot be spoken, but if she or he caused the rift between the Lords of Kobol — and ultimately the suicide of Athena — then it’s possible the Kobol Lords banished her much as Lucifer was banished from Heaven. In parallel to Athena (the Kobol Lord not the Number Eight), it’s interesting to note that Starbuck flying into the maelstrom is technically suicide and plays into the idea that “all this has happened before and will happen again.” Certainly, if the “one whose name cannot be spoken” caused the human exodus from Kobol as well as Athena’s suicide this could be a character “hungering for redemption.” What if this Kobol Lord wanted to elevate humans to a god-like status with the “light of knowledge” of technology? What if the other Lords of Kobol disagreed? What if this rift caused the Lords to cast out the humans—and one or two of their own—similarly to how God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden? Alternately, since there is an undercurrent in this show of polytheism vs. monotheism, it makes sense that a jealous god would want the humans to believe only in him and perhaps the “light of knowledge” is just the idea of monotheism.
(5) The Thirteenth Lord of Kobol
Since we’re looking at a possible reveal of the character who is the “one whose name cannot be spoken,” it’s also possible we need to consider that there are thirteen Kobol Lords and each one a patron of a human tribe. All of the humans were banished from the paradise of Kobol (see #4). The Thirteenth Tribe associated with the banished Kobol Lord —the “one whose name cannot be spoken”—decided to hunt for Earth. Maybe they were unwelcome by the other twelve tribes. I do think it warrants mentioning that in the Mormon tradition Lucifer was, before he fell, a brilliant archangel, son of God and brother to Jesus. There’s a dichotomy set up between Lucifer and Jesus and I’m wondering if that’s the direction they’re going with Starbuck and Baltar, but they’re twisting who’s “good” and who’s “evil.”
(6) Four. There are four in your fleet.
In “Revelations” D’Anna Biers states that she is after four Cylons:
Roslin: Then we will return your final five to you.
D’Anna: Four. There are four in your fleet.
Roslin: Four? Where’s the fifth?
D’Anna: I want the four in your fleet.
Brad Templeton has some interesting insight into this quote: D’Anna only implies that the Fifth is not in the fleet, and that she knows the Fifth is different and won’t be coming yet. After re-watching this bit of “Revelations,” I have to wonder if D’Anna implied that “There are four in your fleet,” implying that the fifth is in the Cylon fleet (as opposed to being dead or something). D’Anna saw the face of the Fifth as the Temple of Five was destroyed and apologized to her. If the “one whose name cannot be spoken” is one and the same as the Cylon master programmer who turns out to be Baltar, certainly D’Anna would be compelled to apologize to him. Baltar was indeed in the Cylon fleet at the time D’Anna made this statement.
(7) The Fifth is a major character around since season 1
Bradley Thompson stated “…we’ve been kicking around [the identity of the final Cylon] since about the end of Season One.” SciFi Channel VP Mark Stern has said that “[I]t won’t be some day player from Season 1.” Stern has described it as “delicious” and “one of those things that are right under your nose and you don’t expect it — but it makes total sense.” While I think there is a compelling argument for Dualla as the Fifth, I do think the possession of Sharon Agathon by the Kobol Lord Athena would qualify as “delicious” and “right under your nose.” I mean, Sharon’s new call-sign is “Athena.” Could the writers have made it any plainer? Incidentally, this would make Hera a combination of all three entities: human, Cylon, and Lord of Kobol. Doctor Z, anyone?
UPDATE: Supposedly, the clue of the fetus with the glowy spine was used as a commercial when Athena was pregnant with Hera. Hera has long been touted as the “shape of things to come.”
(8) Gaeta’s Lament
Gaeta’s song that refers to a female sleeping in the shirt of man (“[A]lone she sleeps in the shirt of man”) could easily refer to a Starbuck/Aurora or a Sharon/Athena avatar — both goddesses made human. If I’m on the right track, it may be that what makes Starbuck fundamentally different is that she was created from scratch, born just like the rest of us but divinely gifted like the progeny of the Classical gods. Athena, on the other hand, could simply be possessing Sharon Agathon. This possession gave Sharon a soul and because of that the ability to procreate.
(9) What is human?
Moore has said that season 4 will “further blur the line between Cylon and human” and “redefine what it is to be a Cylon.” Certainly a Starbuck/Aurora or Sharon/Athena avatar would fulfill that clue.
(10) “You have heard my voice countless times yet you do not know my name.”
This is a reference to the “one whose name cannot be spoken” and possibly refers to the head characters.
(11) Battle of the Gods
In a recent You Will Know The Truth clue, Six — likely Caprica Six since she’s not wearing red — and Baltar have the following exchange:
Baltar: “Why can’t I just be a man. Do I really need to take on a god single-handed?”
Six: No, but imagine the kind of man you’ll be when you do. Surely such a man would be magnificent. Larger than life, god-like himself.”
This supports my theory that we’re seeing a Battle of the Gods at play, a battle between polytheism and monotheism. Neither side is all good or all bad. This also says to me that this will come down to a battle between two or three Lords of Kobol: Baltar, Starbuck, and Sharon Agathon.
(12) The Final Five are old
The Newsarama interview (via IO9) confirms for me that the Final Five are connected to the Lords of Kobol: “…these Final Five are old. They pre-date almost everyone. They’ve been through a lot and they’re basically responsible for the state of things — on both sides — the Colonial Fleet and the Cylon world.” If the “light of knowledge” is what destroyed the friendship of the Lords of Kobol, then the Fab Four could have been the first to be created. This description also hold true for the Sharon/Athena Fifth Cylon idea.
(13) The Dying Leader
The leader of the colonials is supposed to die before seeing the promised land, so the planet they found at the end of the mid-season cliffhanger is not the promised land. I don’t think that promised land automatically = Earth, however. For the high drama effect, the writers may have chosen to destroy Earth and have the humans and Cylons discover Terra, which would echo a similar plot from TOS. Still, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they flipped it around though.
To recap, as I’ve said before I think the Lords of Kobol are fulfilling the role of the Beings of Light from TOS. We’ve seen evidence of this in the head characters. Also, if the clue about “Adama is a Cylon” is indeed a red herring, here’s my alternate idea:
- Sharon Agathon as an incarnation of the Athena Lord of Kobol is the Fifth Cylon, possibly created by the “one whose name cannot be spoken”—to revive her after her suicide—or she may be possessing this particular Number Eight intentionally. How does a god commit suicide anyway? This is what makes Sharon Agathon different from all the other Number Eights.
- Starbuck is an incarnation of the Kobol Lord Aurora. She is fundamentally different from all other Cylons because she was born not made in a manner similar to stories about Zeus visiting his paramours in various forms or the Virgin Birth story.
- Baltar is an incarnation of the “one whose name cannot be spoken.” He’s the Master Programmer of the Cylons, both the Significant Seven and the Final Five. Because he is their creator, the Five erected a temple to him. His desire to create his own beings or possibly to elevate humans in his patron Thirteenth Tribe destroyed the Lords of Kobol council, brought about the need for humans to be cast out so they could be free from his interference, and caused Athena’s suicide. He may also have tried again by influencing Daniel Graystone, who many speculate ultimately became the First Hybrid. Baltar has said that he would find redemption in learning he was a Cylon.
- What if the Lords of Kobol were originally AIs that acted as navcomputers similar to the Basestar hybrids? This would support the idea of the Cycle of Time with the cycle being AI->cyborg->human->AI->cyborg->human. The quote from the First Hybrid about “the wretched agony of the one splitting into the many” makes me wonder if initially this was a single AI that split itself into thirteen parts.
Here are a few of my favorite theories by other people:
- Brian Demillio has theorized that the Fifth Cylon is Romo Lampkin and makes an interesting case for it.
- Brad Templeton thinks that Ellen Tigh is the Fifth Cylon.
- Kenneth Hynak thinks Karl Agathon is the Fifth Cylon.
- Battlestar Revealed has put forth The Final Cylon Solution, a theory that the Opera House Five and the Final Five are not identical.
- Buddy Kubicek of Buddy TV thinks Boomer is the Fifth Cylon.