touch_tyrol

dead-lock
–noun
a state in which progress is impossible, as in a dispute, produced by the counteraction of opposing forces; standstill; stalemate: The union and management reached a deadlock over fringe benefits.

Ellen Tigh lets her baser urges get the better of her in last Friday’s Battlestar Galactica episode “Deadlock.” It’s Tuesday and you know what that means, right? What follows are ten thoughts on last week’s Battlestar Galactica.

Beware: Spoilers follow.

(1) Lady in White

This episode saw the return of headSix, who helped Baltar regain control of his cult after being away for a tad too long on the basestar during the mutiny. In his absence, Paulla Schaffer took over running the “Cult of Baltar” quite successfully. If I had the time, I’d revisit other episodes and pay particular attention to what color headSix is wearing – red or white – and compare it to how she treats Baltar and what instructions she gives him. The only time I remember her wearing white previously is in Baltar’s Opera House visions. Has she worn white any other time?

In pondering the One True God motif in the show, headSix’s claim that she is an “angel of God,” and in thinking back to the episode where headSix throws Baltar into a bulkhead, I’m reminded of the treatment of St. Columba at the hands of his own emissary from God as told in Adomnan’s Life of Columba:

“[When Columba] . . . was staying on the island of Hinba, on a certain night he saw in a rapture of the mind an angel of the Lord who had been sent to him, with a glass book containing the rite of the ordination of kings in his hand. . . and when he refused to do what he was ordered to do in the book . . . suddenly the angel struck the holy man with a whip in his outstretched hand, and it left a blue scar upon Columba’s side that reminded with him for the rest of his life.”

Sounds like headSix might have let Baltar off easy.

(2) Grandpa Saul and Grandma Ellen

Just after Ellen reminds Saul that the Significant Seven are like their children, the episode cuts to Starbuck in Joe’s Bar where she says: “Did you see Ellen and Tigh? It was like watching my parents make out.” This has to be a hint about Starbuck’s connection to the Cylons. Starbuck then asks the bartender (Joe?) about the piano player, whom we know plays a prominent role in the next episode.

(3) Metamorphosis

In the episode “Valley of Darkness” Starbuck and Helo go to her apartment on Caprica (during her mission to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo). She plays some piano music and tells Helo the musician is her father. The music is “Metamorphosis” by Philip Glass and I won’t be surprised if we hear that music again. This song is connected to the stage version of Franz Kafka’s story The Metamorphosis, where the main character awakens one day to find that he’s transformed into an insect. I have no idea if this connection has any bearing at all to BSG, but it is interesting to note that Starbuck’s mother, Socrata, had an intense fear of insects after having served in a region dominated by jungle. In “Maelstrom,” Starbuck tells Leoben how as a child she once put rubber ants in her mother’s closet, which caused her mother to have a panic attack. Socrata then broke all of Starbuck’s fingers on one hand by slamming her hand in a door jam.

I doubt this means that Starbuck’s father was a cockroach, but, uh, you never know.

(4) Touch

When Ellen meets the Four, she touches each one of them on the cheek. Was this simply a sign of affection, or did she do something to them? Ellen treats Anders’ head injury with no more attention than a skinned knee (“Poor boy”), which makes me wonder if she knows that he can resurrect on “the Colony.” We know that Ellen believes that love is a fundamental component necessary for Cylon reproduction and she manipulates this between Saul and Caprica to suit her own desires, so I think she’s perfectly capable of manipulating the Fab Four if she think she’s righteous.

(5) Anders Reboots

At the end of the episode just as Liam dies, we see Anders rallying. Could it be that there are a finite number of Cylon “souls?” Perhaps there are only so many “user accounts” allowed at any given time in the Cylon “database.” There has to be some kind of complex database system that backs up all of their memories so that they can download into a new model at resurrection since we know that some models share their memories with other models in their line.

(6) Liminality

Ever since Ken Hynek brought up the similarities of BSG to the book On The Beach, I’ve been contemplating the symbolism of beaches. Beaches are so far seeming to be important in BSG — the Five’s memories started to return on a beach on Cinder-Earth, that same beach sent Dualla over the edge, there were photos of a beach in Dualla’s locker, John Cavil and Ellen used to walk on a beach with Daniel, the upcoming episode titled “Islanded in a Stream of Stars” is a quote from the book The Outermost House about a cottage on the beach, in “Torn” Baltar hallucinates an encounter with headSix on a beach where again she tells him that she is an “angel fo God,” and the hybrid in “The Passage” says “Seascape portrait of the woman child cavern of the soul.”

I know more about Celtic mythology than I do about Classical, and to the early Celts beaches – and other places in between two areas such as mountaintops – represented a space between the realms of the world: land, see, and sky. Any area in between these realms was a conduit to the gods, so it was fairly common for Celtic people to toss sacrificial objects into lakes, leave objects on mountaintops, or embed and hang objects from trees as offerings. Beaches held a similar liminal significance as the shore is in between the land and the sea. The Classical gods lived on Mount Olympus, another dimension in between space and time.

Thinking of beaches in these terms makes the beach motif in BSG take on more significance. Much like the zero-time jump space where Roslin encounters Elosha, the beach is where Saul finally uncovers his memories of Ellen. For a few seconds I actually thought he might literally drag Ellen’s skull out of the waves, but instead we’re transported to the site of her death. Saul discovers Ellen drowning in rubble and surrounded by debris the way that Shakespeare’s Ophelia is surrounded by flowers in her watery grave. The Hybrids and Hera also display a kind of liminality. The Hybrids are in between human and machine and are terminally trapped in the zero-time space, which makes them mad. Hera is another kind of hybrid, but hopefully a more stable one. Roslin exists in a liminal space between life and death and her connection to it is deepened by the use of chamalla. Will we see Roslin imbibing chamalla again in order to regain her visions of the Opera House? Why is the beach so much more significant to the series than other liminal places like mountaintops, especially since the latter has more in common with Classical mythology?

(7) The Reappearance of “Caprella”

I don’t know what else to call her, but Saul is seeing the odd combination of Ellen and Six again who he first saw when he initially hooked up with Six. Is this another head character? None of the other head characters appear as amalgams of two other characters. Is there any significance to this or is it just a creepy aspect of Saul’s mind?

(8) The Truth of the Opera House

In “Sometimes a Great Notion,” the Rebel Hybrid said to Starbuck:

“The dying leader will know the truth of the Opera House. The missing Three will give you the Five, who have come from the home of the Thirteenth. You are the harbinger of death Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end.”

Since we now know who the Five are and where the 13th Tribe went, the big remaining mystery is Starbuck’s true nature. The next episode concerns Starbuck interacting with a piano player, who may or may not be her father. We know that her father was a piano player and that Starbuck is an artist, much like the missing Cylon Daniel was an artist. Will Starbuck be the only one who can hear the music of the Opera House just as the only the Five could hear the Watchtower music? Will Opera House music awaken Starbuck the way that the Watchtower music awakened the Five? We haven’t had much discussion of the Opera House visions lately, but the writers brought it up again in “Deadlock” when Roslin asked Caprica if she’d experienced any further visions, but neither woman had. Specifically, Caprica has not had any visions since she became pregnant. Now that she’s lost the baby, will Caprica begin experiencing visions again? In grief over her loss, will Caprica fixate on Hera? Roslin spirited away Hera and claimed that she had died. Could this have also happened to Liam Tigh?

Before making this prophecy, the Rebel Hybrid repeats several phrases and one in particular seemed important:

“The children of the one reborn shall find their own country.”

One interpretation is that this refers to the eight models of Cylons as they are the children of Ellen, who has been reborn. However, I do wonder if this might refer to Starbuck and the ending of the series. We know that Starbuck is fundamentally different from the Cylons, but numerous hints point to her having some association with them. It seems to be that she may have been “born not made” (a line from the Nicene Creed) and since Starbuck has died in the series she is also reborn. We know that the ending is dark, so perhaps only Starbuck and a few others survive. If she turns out to be the leader of what’s left of the Colonials and Cylons in the end, then that remnant could be seen as her children.

(9) Reunited and it feels so good

Previews for the next episode show that Boomer and Tyrol may get back togther. Yay! I’m not sure Tory will be so happy about that development, though.

(10) Best. Line. Eveh.

Saul: My grandfather was a power sander!

Bonus

The last two episodes are titled “Daybreak.” Does this mean we’ll see a recurrence of the Aurora motif?



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