starbuck_daybreakThis week I’ve recapped BSG’s “Daybreak Part 1” and put forward my analysis on how the show may be taking place in an alternate universe. I’ve also offered how I think transportation and communication maybe have occurred between the realities.

But what about the ending? How do you think BSG will end on Friday? What clues do we have?

Left, Starbuck in “Daybreak Part 2.”

Ron Moore and The Sopranos

A fan of The Sopranos, Ron Moore loved, loved, loved the ending of that show. The Sopranos had no resolution to anything. Moore said on his SciFi Channel blog:

Oh, I’m sure there are those who will bemoan the lack of resolution to the story or that Chase has somehow “robbed the fans” but I’m a fan and I’m ecstatic. I’m glad he thumbed his nose at the tyranny of the narrative drive to bring things to a tidy conclusion so we can all clap and walk away without another thought about that mob family in Jersey, satisfied that all’s well that ends well. Screw that. I don’t want to see Tony’s death, nor do I want to watch him drive off into witness protection, or sit down to some kind of illusory happiness in the bosom of his family. I simply want to pretend that his life continues, that he’s still simultaneously worrying about onion rings and whether that guy is hiding a gun in the restroom.

It’s poetic. It’s exciting. It’s perfect.

And most of all, I wish I’d thought of it first.

I think we can take from this that not all of the mysteries will be completely resolved. Quite a bit may be left up to viewers’ interpretations.

Tricia Helfer

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune’s Mo Ryan for The Watcher blog, Helfer gave her reaction to reading the finale script:

MR: You’ve seen all the scripts for the final episodes — how did they affect you? How do you see them fitting into the legacy of the show?

TH: I think they’re fantastic scripts. Obviously, it’s the end of the series, so things are going to be revealed, and all the questions are going to be answered. There’s a lot to fit in. I’ve heard some fans say, whoa, there’s so much in every episode, and that’s certainly not going to change in the last half of the season, there’s so much to get out there. It’s intense…

There’s some really heartwarming stuff, there’s some very damaging, sad stuff. It’s such a commentary on human behavior and social behavior and where our world is and can go. I find the last episode is quite fascinating, the study of life.

I take this to mean that there won’t be one monolithic ending for all of the characters. There won’t be one huge resolution. The endings for the characters will splinter based on their individual character arcs.

Edward James Olmos

TVAddict.com reports on Olmos’ comments regarding the ending at FanExpo 2008 in Toronto:

With regard to the ending, he responded, “Emotionally, heartbreaking. I’m telling you this for a reason, because I don’t want you guys to think you’re going to go through this without getting yourself really twisted … it’s brutal what happens to us. Not many of us make it.” He described that executive producer/writer Ronald D. Moore has no mercy when it comes to telling the Galactica story. It has become quite dark, and is going to get darker.

I take this to mean that a whole lot of characters are going to die. Most of what’s left of humanity will be gone and the Cylons may also be decimated.

Jamie Bamber

Bamber told the New York Times Syndicate:

“And, most important, you will be privy to a really sublime ending,” he continues. “(Executive producer/writer) Ron Moore’s ending is just beautiful, and it ends appropriately. The whole journey of the Galactica has really been a voyage of self-discovery, an identity crisis, a search for meaning, and the characters are forced to really come to conclusions about who they are at the end.

“So it’s pretty spiritual and Zen, and it’s where they need to be at the end of this chaos,” Bamber continues. “The question is, ‘What have they learned and who are they?’ “

I take this to mean that it’s all about the characters, not the plot. Also, the “spiritual and Zen” and “the end of this chaos” make me think some of the characters will find a kind of nirvana.

The Hybrid’s Prophecy

Finally, let’s revisit the hybrid’s prophecy:

“And the Fifth, still in shadow, will claw 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 wrenching agony of the one splintering into the many, and then they will join the promised-land, gathered on the wings of an angel. Not an end, but a beginning.”

The hybrid’s prophecy about Starbuck:

“You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end.”

I take “they will join the promised-land, gathered on the wings of an angel…[N]ot an end, but a beginning…” to mean that Starbuck will lead some people through the singularity. It’s possible she may be the angel and her wing tattoo may be a reference to this. Or, the One True God etc. may appear as a different head character to each person. I do think the closer Starbuck gets to the singularity, the memories she had when she first returned will re-emerge. She will know where Earth is again. Those who follow her will “join the promised-land,” our Earth. Those who don’t will die. Those who did not volunteer for the mission will continue to search for Earth in their universe.

The End

The writers have introduced the naked singularity, a huge concept to introduce so late in the game, but what are they going to do with it? It must have an impact on the character arcs. Someone is going through that black hole, whether it’s as a gateway to an alternate universe where our Earth exists or whether it’s a passage to the afterlife.

A “dark ending with a new beginning” could mean that only part of the fleet gets through the singularity. The fleet is no longer whole because the Galactica is going on a suicide mission to rescue Hera operated by volunteers while the rest of the fleet stays behind. Only part of the fleet will be going down the rabbit hole.

It makes sense that only those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice receive the ultimate reward. We know the ending a somewhat open-ended based on how Moore loved The Sopranos ending, so it may turn out that we don’t really know the exact fate of those who pass through. It may be up to interpretation if those who pass through are literally dead or have gone to an alternate universe. “Earth” could be a figurative afterlife “paradise” or a literal planet.



18 Responses to “A Dark Ending with a New Beginning”

  1. Great post.

    One question: on your previous post, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” you said:

    So, it’s possible gas giants and novas are conduits between the two universes. To summarize, Starbuck travels to our universe via the Eye of Jupiter storm system in “Maelstrom.” She returns via the supernova remnant of the Ionian Nebula.

    I’m curious, if that’s the case, then how is it that it’s a completely different Starbuck (her remains were on Earth) and a completely different Viper (the wreckage from the original Viper was also on Earth). There seems to be more going on here than simply traveling through one end of a “conduit” and out the other. Starbuck has…changed. In the words of Baltar, she’s “crossed over” — whatever the hell that means.

    One thing I find interesting: there seems to be strong evidence from the show that “the space between life and death” is connected to the “All Along the Watchtower” song. For example, there is a scene in “Islanded in a Stream of Stars” where Tigh consoles a dying Eight in sickbay, and she whispers “Too much confusion…,” then dies. I don’t find it coincidental that this Eight whispered that line from the song at the moment of her death. Again, the space between life and death might be connected to the song.

    Which brings me back to Starbuck. She was taught this song by her father as a child. Perhaps the very fact of knowing the song is what allowed Starbuck to “cross over” the space between life and death and return to life. One of the key themes Ron Moore has developed is the idea of resurrection for humans, rather than Cylons (something he talked about on the podcast for “Islanded in a Stream of Stars”).

    What if merely knowing this song, as Starbuck did, allows someone to be reborn, to be resurrected?

    And what if, by the end of the series, the Final Five (who also know the song), are killed? That would mean Starbuck would be the only one left who knows it. And what if she decides not to teach anyone else the song? That would mean no one else could be resurrected. She would be the “harbinger of death.”

    A lot of ifs, but I’m just speculating — quite wildly, to be sure.

    We’ll see what’s going on soon enough. Two more days. 🙂

    Sincerely,
    John-Mark

  2. And what if, by the end of the series, the Final Five (who also know the song), are killed?

    My wild speculation ended up contorting itself into a contradiction. The Final Five would, of course, be resurrected in such an instance. As for the rest of it, maybe…?

  3. Thanks! Great feedback. Sorry that my reply is a bit long, but there’s so much to dissect in BSG.

    I’m curious, if that’s the case, then how is it that it’s a completely different Starbuck (her remains were on Earth) and a completely different Viper (the wreckage from the original Viper was also on Earth). There seems to be more going on here than simply traveling through one end of a “conduit” and out the other. Starbuck has…changed. In the words of Baltar, she’s “crossed over” — whatever the hell that means.

    I’ve been thinking about that too and that’s why I included this in my last post: “From an outside perspective, what would someone leaving one reality for another look like? Death may be a requirement.” As to how exactly Starbuck was resurrected, I don’t know. I do think that the term “organic memory transfer” implies that it could work on a human or Cylon, so that may be how Starbuck’s memories and personality were transferred. She’s clearly not Cylon, and not the “shape of things to come.” A true hybrid like Hera is supposed to be the way of the future for everyone. In the original series, the Beings of Light resurrected Apollo and while with them, the uniforms and Vipers of Apollo, Sheba, and Starbuck were white. You could say they were pristine, which is the term that’s been used to describe Starbuck’s “new” Viper. The short answer is whoever is behind this — I think the Lords of Kobol in some form — resurrected Starbuck. Exactly how, I don’t know.

    I think the Watchtower song must be some sort of key to open a portal (i.e., “open sesame”). It’s an incantation, like a song of destruction and rebirth.

    Perhaps the very fact of knowing the song is what allowed Starbuck to “cross over” the space between life and death and return to life. One of the key themes Ron Moore has developed is the idea of resurrection for humans, rather than Cylons (something he talked about on the podcast for “Islanded in a Stream of Stars”).

    BSG has deftly examined polytheism and monotheism. I’ve always liked that the show depicted a society where polytheism is the mainline religion and its practitioners aren’t demonized. Likewise, while many characters see Baltar’s monotheistic cult as a bit odd, they haven’t persecuted him or his followers simply because of their religious beliefs – we’ve not seen anyone from the Cult of Baltar being fed to the lions.

    BSG, however, seems to more so examine the “third way,” something more like Zen Buddhism. Neither group is going to get to where they need to be (Earth, peace with each other) until a middle way is adopted, until both ideas are taken to a whole new level. This middle way is personified in Hera. The monotheistic Cylons have a kind of resurrection, but it’s hollow. It’s simply a re-do, a copy to a new “disk,” or just resuscitation. The polytheistic Colonials have an afterlife, but it’s not necessarily paradise since one’s “baggage” isn’t jettisoned while traveling there. Starbuck being different from her old self, as you pointed out, seems to be an example closer to Christian resurrection (Christ’s transfiguration with his “dazzling white” robes and His followers’ own “glorified bodies”) or Buddhist reincarnation into a bodhisattva (one’s “divine spark” reborn into a new body). This third way idea has also been reinforced by all the examples of the “in-betweeness of things.”

    Two other Buddhist motifs in the show are the Cycle of Samsara (“all of this has happened before and will happen again”) and the mandala of the Eye of Jupiter. Mandalas are representations of the cosmos or the levels of the unconscious. They evoke, for me, imagery such as a spiral traveling up (like the World Tree) or down (like a “rabbit hole”) and the still center or eye of storm. The way out is through the center of that spiraling dervish of a singularity. Here’s a blogger who talks a bit more about the Buddhist themes in BSG.

    The show has played with comparing Baltar to a doubting Thomas, a betrayer Judas, an obstinate Peter, and even Christ. In the scene when Baltar outed Starbuck, though, they seem to be comparing him also to John the Baptist as a precursor to the one who was resurrected/reincarnated: Starbuck.

    And what if, by the end of the series, the Final Five (who also know the song), are killed? That would mean Starbuck would be the only one left who knows it.

    We know that the Colony is built around the original ship the F5 used to travel from the 13th Colony. It seems likely that there is a resurrection facility there, possibly keyed to only the F5.

  4. Lisa, you write:

    Starbuck being different from her old self, as you pointed out, seems to be an example closer to Christian resurrection (Christ’s transfiguration with his “dazzling white” robes and His followers’ own “glorified bodies”) or Buddhist reincarnation (one’s “divine spark” reborn into a new body).

    From the Ron Moore podcast for “Islanded…”:

    And then, Baltar’s outing of Kara Thrace. You know, there was this idea that we talked about for a while, you know, that if Kara really is alive, and she had really been dead, then she is the embodiment of the notion of resurrection. Certainly in the Judeo-Christian or…sorry, not in the Judeo, but certainly in the Christian, you know, the Resurrection is the key event. It is the idea that defines Christianity, which is the notion that you could die, and that you could literally be resurrected.

    That being embodied, of course, in the story of Jesus, you know…Jesus was literally a mortal person who literally died, and who literally came back to life. That idea seems to be such a powerful one that if there was an example of that event happening in their midst — there had truly been a person, an actual verifiable mortal human being (not a Cylon) who came back from the dead like Kara did — that that would be a profound thing to Gaius Baltar, and it would mean a profound thing to people who believed in God, or on the gods, or in any kind of any kind of divinity, that the notion of resurrection itself would be an epic event.

    This happens late in the podcast (~30 minutes in), just before Moore quashes the various Daniel theories.

    The Christian notion of resurrection — that we return (or, rather, rise again) in a purified/perfected form of our one and only body — is closer to the circumstance of Kara Thrace.

    Which is not to deny that there are many Eastern influences — obviously, Moore’s own spiritual journey has furnished him with a number of different spiritual influences to draw upon, and he pulls in many aspects of his own fascination with Eastern mysticism.

    At the same time, there is also a strangely Western religious influence as well in this emerging plot of breaking out of the cycle of history. If the show at all attempts to portray the cycle as having been effectively broken, the theological implications arising out of that will have more Judeo-Christian overtones than Buddhist overtones.

    It should be noted, I think, that Moore draws a fairly explicit parallel between Kara’s return and the Christian notion of resurrection. Which makes sense, actually — unless I am grossly misinformed, I have always understood that the Buddhist notion of reincarnation does not involve returning in one’s own body or a simulacrum thereof, but instead involves a return in a completely new form, whether human or animal.

  5. Hi, Ken. I was so hoping you would stop by because I think you can definitely lend your knowledge to this conversation. I really have to listen to that podcast. It seems packed full of information.

    I agree, especially for the Cylons, Starbuck’s resurrection makes a distinction between their “resurrection,” which is really just resuscitation, and true resurrection. Starbuck really hasn’t been perfected yet, though. To illustrate this, I don’t think we can compare her current state to that of the transfigured Christ as He appeared at Pentecost. Rather, I think Starbuck is “almost there” and in this state more closely resembles a Bodhisattva, one who is a single step away from attaining the state of Nirvana and Buddhahood. One of the characteristics of a Bodhisattva is a hero who leads others out of the Cycle of Samsara/the Eternal Return. The hybrids have said her role is similar to this as the “one who will lead the human race to its end.” Which we know is a new beginning.

    The Colonials practice a polytheistic religion that does not necessarily involve letting go of one’s baggage when entering the afterlife whether it be Hades, Tartarus, or Elysium (where only those initiated into certain mysteries can enter). They are as much stuck in this cycle as the Cylons are, it’s just for the Cylons it’s more literal.

    The message then is that neither the Cylons or the Colonials can enter paradise/Earth until they abandon their world and let go of the ego. Control of the other as the Colonials did to the Centurions and destruction of the other as the Cylons did the Colonials are two examples of this ego-driven behavior.

    …the Buddhist notion of reincarnation does not involve returning in one’s own body or a simulacrum thereof, but instead involves a return in a completely new form, whether human or animal.

    Well, the Buddhist idea of reincarnation, as I understand it, does not involve some fundamental aspect of self that is retained in each life. Rather, everything is subject to disassembly and rebuilt again into something new. I have been wondering all along if Starbuck isn’t really Starbuck. She might have her memories, she might look like her, but if she turns out to be someone else entirely I won’t be surprised. Since her resurrection is supposedly “dark and sickening,” she may not be Starbuck at all. In that case, her body becomes sort of irrelevant. If she is indeed an actual resurrected Starbuck, then yes, this does parallel Christian resurrection.

  6. Hi, Ken. I was so hoping you would stop by because I think you can definitely lend your knowledge to this conversation. I really have to listen to that podcast. It seems packed full of information.

    Always glad to look in, thanks! I do encourage listening to that podcast…it is very informative. As in very.

    I agree, especially for the Cylons, Starbuck’s resurrection makes a distinction between their “resurrection,” which is really just resuscitation, and true resurrection.

    Agreed.

    Starbuck really hasn’t been perfected yet, though. To illustrate this, I don’t think we can compare her current state to that of the transfigured Christ as he appeared at Pentecost.

    Granted…but then, who could stand up in that sort of comparison?

    Still, in its own way, the show has been attempting to portray Kara’s journey as one which involves forms of purification. Think again of “Maelstrom,” in which Kara cannot enter into the vortex/mandala until her issue with her mother has been resolved. Think too of “Someone to Watch Over Me,” in which she must put to rest her issue with her father. As I think I noted previously, each significant turning point in her journey toward The Destiny seems to be accompanied by these moments of purification, of putting past demons to rest and embracing what is to come.

    So while it’s not Christ-like perfection, which would require having lived a sinless life, it is about as much an analog to it as we could reasonably expect from this show, which has always prided itself on taking the “hard look” at the the depths of human corruption and wrongdoing.

    Although, while we’re on the subject of living in virtue rather than in vice, I think I may have just discovered why the character turn for Helo that we’ve seen in these last few episodes really gets under my skin. Helo was the one character that most exemplified grace and virtue in the show, I think, so it’s rather disappointing to see him take a turn toward self-destructive sorrow by way of (yes, unwitting) infidelity. But perhaps there will be something for him in the finale.

    Good call on the Bodhisattva comparison — Starbuck’s state seems to touch on the view of the Bodhisattva from both Theravada Buddhism (“a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment'”) and Mahayana Buddhism (“an already wise person who uses skillful means to lead others to see the benefits of virtue and the cultivation of wisdom”). Which is an interesting tension for the writers to establish, admittedly, although I do hope for Kara’s sake that she is able to steer clear of being one who is still in some ways blind leading others who are likewise blind.

    The Colonials practice a polytheistic religion that does not necessarily involve letting go of one’s baggage when entering the afterlife whether it be Hades, Tartarus, or Elysium (where only those initiated into certain mysteries can enter). They are as much stuck in this cycle as the Cylons are, it’s just for the Cylons it’s more literal.

    True.

    This is off topic, but I find it interesting that thus far (at least to my recollection) we’ve not heard mention of the name that Colonial religion gives to the afterlife. Have we?

    The message then is that neither the Cylons or the Colonials can enter paradise/Earth until they abandon their world and let go of the ego. Control of the other as the Colonials did to the Centurions and destruction of the other as the Cylons did the Colonials are two examples of this ego-driven behavior.

    What I’m beginning to wonder is whether the “letting go” of those realities will not also entail a final (and violent) culmination of them. One can, after all, only truly let go of a vice when one comprehends the full magnitude of how it is harmful to oneself, as well as to others. This “dark ending” may yet require vast devastation to be wrought against both the Cylons and the Colonials, before they are all sufficiently horrified at the magnitude of their wrongdoing.

  7. Granted. . .but then, who could stand up in that sort of comparison?

    Agreed, definitely.

    Still, in its own way, the show has been attempting to portray Kara’s journey as one which involves forms of purification. Think again of “Maelstrom,” in which Kara cannot enter into the vortex/mandala until her issue with her mother has been resolved. Think too of “Someone to Watch Over Me,” in which she must put to rest her issue with her father. As I think I noted previously, each significant turning point in her journey toward The Destiny seems to be accompanied by these moments of purification, of putting past demons to rest and embracing what is to come.

    This could also be interpreted as Starbuck letting go off her corporeal suffering, specifically coming to terms with it, since she cannot progress to the next stage of enlightenment while holding onto that baggage. In the Hero’s Journey, that which ties the hero to the Ordinary World will be removed if s/he cannot let those things or people go. In Classical myths, often the hero’s family is killed. A modern movie example is Luke Skywalker’s family being killed so nothing ties him to his old life. Starbuck’s main source of suffering comes from her relationship or lack thereof with her parents. She had to forgive/let go of that suffering in order to move forward.

    As in our conversation about DS9, it’s great when a TV show has this many layers and interpretations.

    Although, while we’re on the subject of living in virtue rather than in vice, I think I may have just discovered why the character turn for Helo that we’ve seen in these last few episodes really gets under my skin. Helo was the one character that most exemplified grace and virtue in the show, I think, so it’s rather disappointing to see him take a turn toward self-destructive sorrow by way of (yes, unwitting) infidelity. But perhaps there will be something for him in the finale.

    Sorrow is included in the Buddhist concept of suffering. It is disconcerting that one of the rare characters who seemed to have risen above it all is not so perfect. Helo’s love/attachment for Athena and Hera is what ties him to his reality. He cannot proceed to the next level of enlightenment until he learns to let that go as hard as it is. Like the other Hero’s Journey reference I just made, his family has been taken away from him. He may learn upon seeing Hera again that she was just momentarily entrusted to his care; that she is separate from him, which may ease the letting go process for him. Or, conversely, he may not be able to do that and will go down in a blaze of suicidal glory. I’m hoping for the former, obviously, and maybe even an inkling of what Dr. Z was supposed to be in TOS for Hera. IOW, Hera is not Helo’s child, but the universe’s child and therefore he ultimately has no hold over her.

    This is off topic, but I find it interesting that thus far (at least to my recollection) we’ve not heard mention of the name that Colonial religion gives to the afterlife. Have we?

    I have a fuzzy memory of Baltar bringing up Hades in one of his broadcasts, or maybe it was that conversation he had with a follower about Asclepius? I’d have to research it to be sure. There might be some reference in the episode where Roslin sees the character played by Nana Visitor die.

    What I’m beginning to wonder is whether the “letting go” of those realities will not also entail a final (and violent) culmination of them. One can, after all, only truly let go of a vice when one comprehends the full magnitude of how it is harmful to oneself, as well as to others. This “dark ending” may yet require vast devastation to be wrought against both the Cylons and the Colonials, before they are all sufficiently horrified at the magnitude of their wrongdoing.

    Absolutely. That would definitely be a kind of purification.

  8. I’m taking things a bit out of order here, but bear with me.

    Sorrow is included in the Buddhist concept of suffering.

    It’s not a foreign concept to Christian theology either; Christ’s Passion included not only the suffering of a torturous death, but also fear, despair, and sorrow. That’s actually one of the points that is derived from looking at the Passion — that Jesus knew not only death, as humans will come to know it, but also the full magnitude of human suffering, in all its many forms. Which is why both Scripture and Church doctrine and dogma speak of salvation in Christ being not just an eternal life, but a kind of unending joy in which every sorrow is swept away as surely as every lingering taint of sin is purged.

    This while at the same time acknowledging that the human experience, including the experience on the road to salvation, will involve things like sorrow and hardship, division and strife in even our closest relationships (a circumstance to which I can both speak and relate), suffering, and (perhaps premature, for some) death.

    This could also be interpreted as Starbuck letting go off her corporeal suffering, specifically coming to terms with it, since she cannot progress to the next stage of enlightenment while holding onto that baggage…Starbuck’s main source of suffering comes from her relationship or lack thereof with her parents. She had to forgive/let go of that suffering in order to move forward.

    Very true. I think that is what is happening. And not just in Starbuck’s case, but (as you note) in Helo’s as well.

    The difference with Helo’s suffering is that it is self-destructive, rather than restorative (if that’s an adequate term to use) or affirmative. Granted, in the most recent episode, he seems to have rebounded somewhat — he was the confident one, enthusiastic about the chance to rescue his daughter whereas Athena was convinced that she was already gone. Of course, how he reacts when/if he gets the chance to board the Colony and seek Hera out remains to be seen.

    I have a fuzzy memory of Baltar bringing up Hades in one of his broadcasts, or maybe it was that conversation he had with a follower about Asclepius? I’d have to research it to be sure. There might be some reference in the episode where Roslin sees the character played by Nana Visitor die.

    I remember Hades being brought up; I was wondering whether any paradise-like realm (e.g. Elysium) had likewise been mentioned. Off the top of my head, I’ve no recollection, even from “Faith.”

  9. It’s not a foreign concept to Christian theology either. . .The difference with Helo’s suffering is that it is self-destructive, rather than restorative (if that’s an adequate term to use) or affirmative.

    Maybe this is a fundamental difference between the two modes we’ve been discussing. If I understand correctly, Buddhism requires the letting go of all attachment, that suffering never has a restorative effect and even seemingly positive things hold us to the tangible life and keep us from nirvana. In Christianity, suffering can be a kind of purification and can have a purpose (I’m specifically thinking of Purgatory as well as Christ’s Passion). I’m with you, though, I want to see Helo regain his previous state of grace.

    I think that is what is happening. And not just in Starbuck’s case, but (as you note) in Helo’s as well.

    Probably all of the characters are having to let go of their yearnings if I stop and think about it. The Admiral has to let go of the Galactica.

    I remember Hades being brought up; I was wondering whether any paradise-like realm (e.g. Elysium) had likewise been mentioned. Off the top of my head, I’ve no recollection, even from “Faith.”

    Well, now I’m just going to have to research it. My curiosity gets the better of me.

  10. Turns out, the Fields of Elysium were mentioned in the episode “Faith.”

  11. BSG has deftly examined polytheism and monotheism. I’ve always liked that the show depicted a society where polytheism is the mainline religion and its practitioners aren’t demonized. Likewise, while many characters see Baltar’s monotheistic cult as a bit odd, they haven’t persecuted him or his followers simply because of their religious beliefs – we’ve not seen anyone from the Cult of Baltar being fed to the lions.

    Well, that’s not entirely true. There was that incident with the Sons of Ares attacking Baltar’s cult, followed by Roslin forbidding them from assembling (“Escape Velocity”).

    Likewise, the people of Sagittaron have unorthodox polytheistic beliefs and were looked down upon for their particular interpretations, specifically with respect to medicine (“The Woman King.”) We see the same thing in the real world, with smaller religious groups looked down upon simply because they do not subscribe to the doctrines of a larger, more politically or financially influential Church.

    It’s always been a bit more complicated than that — but that’s the beauty of BSG.

    As for the other comments, great conversation, guys. I’m just trying to soak it in myself. 🙂

    In the interim, I’ve somewhat refined what I was talking about in my initial comment up top:

    Basically, what I think I’m suggesting is, the Song (“All Along the Watchtower”) is the key to the “organic memory transfer” used by the people of Kobol. The Song is a signal that permeates a sort of “under-layer” of the universe (this “under-layer” would probably be the same as “the space between life and death”). Only half-human/half-Cylons are biologically configured to receive this signal. (This would explain why Hera, who is half human and half Cylon, intuitively knows the Song. She’s picking up the signal, like a perfectly tuned radio receiver.)

    Merely knowing the Song allows you to “cross over” into this “space between life and death” and be resurrected. But, again, only those who are configured (human/Cylon hybrids) can pick up the signal and know the song. So Starbuck, in order to accomplish her Destiny (whatever that is), had to be taught the Song. Being only human, she would not be able to tap into this signal that’s perpetually broadcasting in the space between life and death, like Hera can do. Once she knew the Song, she could be resurrected through the organic memory transfer system the people on Kobol first invented — a system which implemented this signal broadcast.

    It would also explain why the Song was so important to the Final Five when they re-invented the organic memory transfer system prior to the holocaust on Earth. In a sense, they had to re-discover the importance of the Song in being able to resurrect (perhaps this was the “intuitive leap” Anders talked about that Ellen made in making the system work again.) Maybe the Thirteenth Tribe forgot the significance of the Song once they learned how to procreate. For a time, resurrection would have been impossible (the signal would possibly be useless without the necessary hardware). When the Final Five reconstructed the hardware, the signal could be utilized again (e.g. Starbuck’s return).

    If there is any merit to my admittedly shaky speculations, it would raise the question of where Dreilide Thrace learned the Song. If he was human, he would have had to be taught the Song by someone else (perhaps he was visited by one of these angels/messegers Ron Moore keeps talking about). Or perhaps he was half-human/half-Cylon, so he could pick up the Song intuitively, like Hera. Which would mean that Starbuck is also part Cylon — but not “mixed” enough to tap into the Song on her own, so she had to learn it.

    Of course, none of this explains how Starbuck ended up not only with a resurrected body, but with a new Viper and even a new flight suit.

    Sincerely,
    John-Mark

  12. Maybe this is a fundamental difference between the two modes we’ve been discussing. If I understand correctly, Buddhism requires the letting go of all attachment, that suffering never has a restorative effect and even seemingly positive things hold us to the tangible life and keep us from nirvana. In Christianity, suffering can be a kind of purification and can have a purpose (I’m specifically thinking of Purgatory as well as Christ’s Passion)

    That’s a decent summary.

    I’m with you, though, I want to see Helo regain his previous state of grace.

    Heck yes.

    Probably all of the characters are having to let go of their yearnings if I stop and think about it. The Admiral has to let go of the Galactica.

    Quite a few people need to let go of Galactica, the Admiral included. He needs to let Roslin go as well, and she perhaps needs to let him go.

    Turns out, the Fields of Elysium were mentioned in the episode “Faith.”

    Cool; evidently, I had forgotten about that.

  13. Well, that’s not entirely true…

    Great catch! I’d forgotten all about those events.

    Basically, what I think I’m suggesting is, the Song (”All Along the Watchtower”) is the key to the “organic memory transfer” used by the people of Kobol…Merely knowing the Song allows you to “cross over” into this “space between life and death” and be resurrected. But, again, only those who are configured (human/Cylon hybrids) can pick up the signal and know the song. So Starbuck, in order to accomplish her Destiny (whatever that is), had to be taught the Song.

    I really like this idea. You might be onto something there. I especially like that from a religious POV this can be interpreted a number of ways. It could be seen as the “Good News” or as the knowledge required to rise to the next level of enlightenment. It also means that plain ol’ regular humans can learn the Song.

    . . .it would raise the question of where Dreilide Thrace learned the Song. If he was human, he would have had to be taught the Song by someone else. . .

    It certainly does raise that question. Starbuck has always seemed to me to be a type of “child of the gods,” which would explain her special gifts such as being the best pilot in the fleet etc.

  14. RE: Dreilide Thrace…his first name means “third eye” in German. Perhaps he’s a kind of enlightened Buddha figure. He seems to be more than a mere messenger.

  15. Great information on Dreilide Thrace. I didn’t know his first name meant “third eye” in German. There could be something significant there.

    On Dreilide Thrace…

    The Final Five re-invented the organic memory transfer system two thousands years ago. And if knowing the Song is “the other half,” as it were, of being able to utilize the system, then one has to ask, “If Dreilide Thrace knew the Song, and the Final Five’s equipment has been around all this time, then perhaps Dreilide Thrace has been able to resurrect for at least as long?”

    This would mean he is immensely old — at least as old as the Final Five. Hell, perhaps he’s also a member of the Thirteenth Tribe.

    Sincerely,
    John-Mark

  16. I just posted about alternate universe interpretations at Michael Hall’s site — mainly, how astronomical quirks like upside-down and backwards features on the moon as seen by Starbuck (and in the galaxy), how the constellations from the Tomb of Athena are similar to but not exactly like ours and how the camera twists and spins as it pulls out of Ionia and into our solar system in Crossroads 2 seem to point to an explanation that is less straightforward than “colonials go from point a to point b to point c, the end”. In my comments I referred to your comment about the singularity depiction resembling the mandala, and happened to then follow the link to your site. What an excellent coincidence.

    “[…] it may turn out that we don’t really know the exact fate of those who pass through. It may be up to interpretation if those who pass through are literally dead or have gone to an alternate universe. “Earth” could be a figurative afterlife “paradise” or a literal planet.”

    I really, really like this idea.

  17. Hi Cecil. Thanks for visiting. I’ll definitely have to head over to Hall’s site to read your comments. You might also want to read the post before this one, which is a review of “Daybreak Part 1.” That’s where I lay out the evidence for why I think BSG is taking place in an alternate universe.

    In my other post I do mention the Tomb of Athena constellations and the twist out of the Ionian Nebula at the end of “Crossroads.” I had not considered the upside moon features — good catch! I wonder, though, if that’s actually a weak point in our alternate universe theories — is that supposed to be the moon of the 13th Colony or the moon of our Earth?

    I don’t think we’re going to get a neat and tidy closure on all of the lingering questions. Some things will be answered in “The Plan” movie, but I still think the ending will be open-ended.

  18. “[…] is that supposed to be the moon of the 13th Colony or the moon of our Earth?”

    I suppose it could go either way. We know Kara had been to the cinder planet (or at least, they found her body there), so it’d make sense for it to be the moon of that version of Earth. My immediate emotional reaction to this possibility is a negative one, as it could make the whole “finding earth” storyline a lie and a waste, rather than a misunderstanding between the colonials and whoever the guiding force is – which would I find more satisfying. After that flash of disdain, however, I realized it would be poetic that just as Kara was “supposed” to see the trinary system with the jovian and the basestar, all of them had to see the cinder planet/Earth. For the Final Five/13th colony, it was the end point for all the signs they left – the Tomb of Athena, the Temple of Hopes, and the rest.

    But for the head people/angels, it is just another signpost. What’s the phrase – you can only find what you’re looking for once you stop looking? This works well with a Campbellian reading – “The road of trials,” “the belly of the whale,” letting go, and all that. So Kara’s picture can be a photo of the moon of the 13th colony, while not posing a threat to an alternate universe hypothesis.

    Either that, or it’s really a photo of OUR moon and we will get a Calvin’s-dad-esque explanation of how it’s actually a color photo of a black and white world, and it is the universe that is upside down, not the photo.

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