What follows is a review of Battlestar Galactica’s episode “Islanded in a Stream of Stars” and speculation on what we may encounter in the series’ two-parter finale “Daybreak.” Beware of the spoilers.
Last Friday we saw Anders come alive again except as the Galactica’s new makeshift hybrid. We saw Starbuck come to terms with her “Living Dead Girl” status. We saw Boomer flip-flop yet again. We saw all of the characters take on new roles for themselves.* They’ve said goodbye to the expectations they’ve been holding onto — and so have I about this show. I’m still definitely enjoying this re-imagining of the 1978 series, but with only three hours left and a dark ending to contend with, I’m doubtful they find Earth.
Hera the Hybrid Can Project and the Truth of the Opera House
Many viewers seem to be surprised that Hera can project as we saw her do with Boomer in the Raptor. I’m not particularly surprised that Hera is capable of projecting, but I am surprised that we’ve never seen her actually project before. It seems logical that she would inherit this ability from her mother Athena and it also seems likely that Hera might spontaneously project due to her immaturity. Perhaps she has been projecting off and on all along and her projection is the Opera House. Similar to Pythia, we know that Hera has a special connection to something that’s bigger than everyone evidenced by her predicative powers such as drawing the notes to Along the Watchtower for Starbuck. What if the Opera House vision represents the Cylon Colony? I don’t think it’s coincidental that the visions have returned to both Six and Roslin just as Hera has entered the Colony. Now that Roslin is even closer to “what lies between life and death” and Six is no longer pregnant, they’re able to receive Hera’s projection again. What if Hera’s vision of Six and Baltar carrying her out of the Opera House is a depiction of them rescuing her/Hera’s model line from Cavil?
As a side note, I want to point out that Baltar can also project, headSix excluded. When he lived on the basestar, Six took him to her happy place in the forest in the episode Torn. Boomer seems surprised that Hera can project, so why was Six not surprised that Baltar is capable of sharing a projection as well? It may be that Boomer was surprised that Hera can manage her own projection — changing the rations to ice cream — as opposed to simply passively experiencing someone else’s projection.
Additionally, it was mentioned in this episode that Cavil moved the Colony five months before the Cylon civil war. Is he prescient? Is this significant? Why would he have moved the Colony at that time?
Anders the Galactica Hybrid
In an attempt to reboot his brain, am Eight and a Six hooked Anders up to the Galactica power grid and he came alive in a similar fashion to the Cylon hybrids. While this is an interesting development, the Final Five are fundamentally different from the hybrids as the latter were created by the Centurions and the Five were created by the 13th Tribe. We needed to hear at least one line in explanation of how hooking Anders up to the power grid is even possible. We’ve seen that the Significant Seven can insert wires directly into their bodies, but we’ve seen no evidence that the Five are capable of doing that.
Also, a detail that’s bugged me since their reveal is the Five’s Cylon super-strength. We know the Five, like the Significant Seven, are stronger than the Colonials because we’ve seen Tory toss Cally across an airlock. What’s bugged me since seeing that display of strength is that the Five must have been unaware of their strength, something that seems sort of impossible. Didn’t Tory ever realize she never needed anyone’s help to open the peanut butter jar? Didn’t Tryol ever notice on the job that he could lift items too heavy for a normal person? At least with Anders we can assume this ability showed up in his athletic prowess and maybe Tigh was too tanked to ever notice. I digress, though, back to my main points.
With the foreshadowing of Hera ramming the Galactica into a basestar during her projection of a damaged CIC, it seems now that the Cylon goop will enable Anders to eventually control the entire ship and he’ll be the one to take out Cavil by scuttling the Galactica. I suppose it’s possible that Anders may jump the Galactica to Earth, but that doesn’t sound like the dark ending we’ve been promised. With the Galactica and Cavil both gone, the Colonials and Cylons will be free to settle on the Cylon Colony and continue the search for Earth. I won’t be surprised if the show’s ending is not finding Earth, but a new beginning in the search for Earth and a voice-over from Lee that says “Life here began out there.”
Anders’ hybrid-speak talks about repairing both his own brain (“remapping right hemisphere”) and repairing the Galactica despite the many “holes in the bucket.” He’s run into problems, however, with the ship’s non-networked systems (“A closed system lacks the ability to renew itself”). Anders also explains that he can see the “long view” now as well as the “patterns and repetitions.” Also, “Do not fear the word” sounds very Biblical to me, the Word being the Good News and the ultimate truth. Anders reiterates that Kara is the harbinger of death (some of the following lines may be out of order):
The neuroanatomy of fear and faith share common and different pathways
flip a coin
increased vascular pressure marks the threat response
free will scuttles the swamp of fear
do not fear the word
you are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace, you will lead them all to their end
end of line
voyagers traversing the stars in search of grace
death is not the end
A closed system lacks the ability to renew itself
knowledge alone is a poor primer
end of line, begin reintegration
begin reintegration of command subroutines
there’s a hole in the bucket…
the long view returns patterns and repetitions
all this has happened before and will happen again
Cavil’s Plans for Hera
Ron Moore has been pretty plain that in his mind character development trumps plot and scientific authenticity. That’s why I find it odd for Cavil to be acting inconsistently. Cavil wants to be free of his corporeal form. He wants to smell dark matter. For him, Hera is not the “shape of things to come” because she is as much tied to a corporeal form as he is. So, it doesn’t make sense that he’d want to clone her as he implied when he said “You’ll have all sorts of new playmates pretty soon.” People are assuming these playmates are Hera clones (a whole Hera line even), but it’s also possible he’s come up with something entirely different.
Who is the dying leader?
If the Colonials do indeed scuttle the Galactica, it very well may be that the ship is the dying leader referred to in the Pythia prophecy. However, since we can expect a dark ending, they may not find Earth before the end of the series. Who knows how long it will take to find our Big Blue Marble? Roslin doesn’t have much time left.
There’s too much confusion.
Tigh is reluctant to accept the fact that he has, according to Ellen, millions of children via the Cylon models they created. He’s forced at every turn to confront this truth and in this episode specifically a Number Eight Sharon model asks to be with “her father” on her deathbed. As she passes, this Number Eight quotes Along the Watchtower with “There’s too much confusion.” This means we now know that the Five, Hera, Starbuck, and the Significant Seven (at least the Eights) are tied to the Watchtower song. Could this be what makes the Eights different than the other skinjobs?
Angels and Demons
We still don’t know what Starbuck is, but we do know she’s tied into the Watchtower song. The fleet now knows the truth of her undead status thanks for Baltar spilling the beans. Some viewers are taking Baltar’s outing her at face value as evidence that he’s really believing his spiel. I disagree and think Baltar is once again acting in an ultimately self-serving way. Rather than any altruistic motive, Baltar’s outing of Starbuck was simply an attempt to get Caprica’s attention. At least we see Starbuck at the episode’s end determined, finally, to get to the truth of her nature by questioning Anders until she figures it out. I do think that Baltar labeling Starbuck an angel backs up what we saw visually when she entered Anders’ hybrid chamber: Starbuck all but glowed with a halo of back-light and a soft Heavenly breeze tousled her hair (see photo above). I really hope we get another mention of Aurora again in the finale eponymously titled “Daybreak.”
Page 61 is the new 4:20
In her conversation with Adama while they light up, Roslin talks about where home is and describes a mountain cabin near a stream. Both of these motifs, as well as the altered state both Roslin and Adama enjoy in this scene, are further examples of liminality, or “in-betweenness,” that I mentioned in previous posts.
* Many thanks to Elaine Foster’s insight on this over at Brad Templeton’s blog.