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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Battlestar Galactica’ blogging: “Sometimes a Great Notion”

(lots of spoilers! assumes you’ve seen the episode!)

(previous: “Revelations”)
Oh, man, I am still trying to get my head around this one. Talk about bombs dropping… Ellen. Dualla. Starbuck. The distant pasts of the final four. I barely know where to begin even thinking about it, never mind writing about it.

And I can’t not think about it. It’s not like you can just sit there and tell yourself, “Well, I’ll simply wait to see how things develop over the next nine episodes. I don’t need to turn it all over in my head and wonder about how things will turn out. The episodes are completed, everything is set in stone, it’s all a done deal. It’s merely that I don’t yet know what the deal is that’s been done, but all I need is to be patient and hang on from week to week.” No: you can’t not think about this.

According to legend/myth/religion, Pythia wrote about the exile and rebirth of the human race. She also wrote that “all this has happened before.” So, when she wrote that, 3,600 years ago, did she mean that when the exile and rebirth was to happen — that is, now — that this would have already happened in the interim between 3,600 years ago and now, and is that what happened 2,000 years ago on Earth? Or had it happened before Pythia was writing? Or both?

I was wondering whether this Earth, this 13th colony which, it turns out, had been settled by Cylons and named Earth, was really our Earth, or was it not our Earth but a colony named after the home world? But Ron Moore — in this extensive interview — seems happy to lay that notion to rest. This is the only Earth there is. So… are we humans here today indeed skinjobs, the original skinjobs, and we will nuke ourselves (or our machine Cylons will) and then set out to settle the 12 colonies of Kobol, and the cycle will repeat itself so that humanity ends up where the colonials and rebel skinjobs find themselves now?

I dunno. And maybe we’ll find out eventually (though I wouldn’t put it past Moore to not settle this at all). But I can’t not think about it.

The four — Tory, Galen, Sam, and Saul — have memories of being here before. (Galen’s nuke shadow? Gave me shivers.) And then they were somehow resurrected in the colonies, with their memories either deliberately or accidentally surpressed. Ellen seems to know this will happen: “Everything’s in place. We’ll be reborn.” But how? Did the escaping people — humans, skinjobs, whatever — who got away from this devastated Earth to settle the 12 colonies bring material to clone and consciousnesses to download to resurrect those models?

Ack!

Okay, and Starbuck. Jesus, I was not expecting this — I kinda felt like how Leoben looked: totally shocked. She was tracking a signal from her own Viper? Freeee-keeee! Has she been resurrected, skinjob style? If so, how did that come about? Are there still Cylons on this planet, in a hidden base underground, maybe? (There’s no way a few teams of explorers from the fleet could cover much ground across an entire planet.) Is Starbuck a projection that everyone is seeing, like Gaius’s Caprica Six but on a massive scale? If so, then someone must be, I dunno, beaming that projection into everyone’s minds, right?

Holy crap: Starbuck is dead. Long live Starbuck?

My brain is exploding. I love this.

Poor Dualla. Her suicide shocked me, too, but maybe teensy bit less than the Starbuck thing. Because I’ve been thinking for a while that it seems likely that there have been more suicides among the fleet than we’ve been made aware of. Everyone has lost almost everyone and everything they know. A lot of people would not be able to cope with that. But maybe, like Dualla, they’ve been clinging to that dream of Earth, and now that that dream is lost… We should maybe expect more Duallas.

Everything is radioactive, and they can’t eat anything or drink the water. So they can’t resettle this Earth. Now where do they go?

(next: “A Disquiet Follows My Soul”)

(Watch full episodes and get recaps at Sci Fi’s official site for the show.)


MPAA: rated TV14-LV

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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  • The wait for next week is so excruciating… how did we ever make it the last 6 months? And will Caprica fill the void after these last 9 episodes?

    One piece of advice, Ron Moore is totally willing to lie in interviews; he does it all the time, so I wouldn’t take anything he says seriously until after the finale has aired.

    I hope he does some podcasts.

  • Magess

    Dianna talks about the cycle thing too. Aren’t you tired of all this, of doing this all again.

    We’ve been led to believe that the Colonies created metal cylons, those cylons left, created skinjob cylons, returned, destroyed the Colonies, had a civil war, and now half have allied with the humans.

    But we now know that the metal cylons did not make the skinjobs.

    So at least once before, there was a clan of humans allied with some good cylons and bad cylons attacked and everyone ran. At least that’s what I think they’re suggesting.

    Leaving open who made the skinjobs to begin with…

    I can’t even begin to wrap my head around Starbuck. At first, I thought she was going to bring the/her body back and have it analyzed to see if they were cylon bones. That’s what I wanted her to do. But I guess that would have given us answers.

    I LOVE that Leoben was horrified.

    Was not expecting Dualla’s suicide at all.

  • t6

    I wanted to know how old the Starbuck corpse was! Was it only a few months old? Was it 2000 years old? I know that Starbuck was freaking the frak out…but I didn’t want her to destroy evidence that might have given us answers. Of course…I suspect that she wants to do exactly that.

    *shakes fist*

  • eric-jon rössel waugh

    I had some suspicion the final Cylon would be a dead character. It had to be someone we knew, to have any dramatic impact — and it wasn’t anyone in the fleet. And frankly, any living character would be a bit of an anti-climax. “Oh, so it’s him, is it? Okay then.”

    I was kind of fixated on Billy, mostly because it had been so long since we’d seen him. Tigh’s wife makes more sense, though. And hey, it’s been a while since we’ve seen her too! Except in Cylony hallucinations, which probably should have been a clue.

    Presumably the reincarnation of the “final five” is in some way related to the resurrection capabilities of the “significant seven”. As is whatever the hell is going on with Starbuck.

    My first thought, as far as Ms. Thrace goes, was that there was some kind of time warp thing — that the crashing of her viper was somehow the cataclysm that brought about the destruction of Earth, in the past. This would chime with her label as the “bringer of death” or whatever she’s supposed to be. Not so sure about all that, on reflection. Still sort of interesting.

    Basically the show has turned into an ontological quandary: what came first, and how does that lead to everything else? How do we order the pieces we know?

  • Ryan

    There once was a civilization of human/robot hybrids living on a planet called Earth. Humans had formerly lived there, but had died off in the distant past, or left (to found the 12 colonies).

    It had become a troubled planet, with different factions feuding over religions and resources. Seeing trouble on the horizon a small group of 12 wealthy/intelligent hybrids figured out a way to reanimate themselves out of the way (in outer space) if any catastrophe occurred. Their leader was Ellen Tigh (real name?)

    Eventually catastrophe did occur, and the plan unfolded as intended. Since their homeworld was barren…the 12 set out to find the 12 human colonies. Eventually, after a long period of wandering through space, and creating markers so they could find their way back home in the fullness of time, they arrived at the 12 colonies.

    Here they discovered that the humans had brought with them ancient Cylon robots, similar to the ancestors of the 12. The 12 co-opted these cylons over a long period of time (too long, in the process all but one of them somehow lost their memories, some to lesser degrees; Cavil, Leoben…and some to greater degrees; Athena, Saul) they caused the cylons to rebel against their masters, precipitating the first war between the Cylons and Humans. The war went relatively poorly, and they realized that they needed a more comprehensive plan for victory.

    Their second attack begin the mini-series…and the rest is the show.

    That’s the best I can do =P

  • nyjm

    My first thought, as far as Ms. Thrace goes, was that there was some kind of time warp thing — that the crashing of her viper was somehow the cataclysm that brought about the destruction of Earth, in the past. This would chime with her label as the “bringer of death” or whatever she’s supposed to be.

    The whole “time-warp” thing crossed my mind as well, and it’s tempting; there’s a nice symmetry to it and it neatly fulfills the hybrid’s “prophecy.” Except that 1) a 2,000+ year-old corpse left to the elements would be way more disintegrated than what Kara found, 2) we know this show isn’t ever that neat (or, we are disappointed when it is…).

    I have to say, I wasn’t really surprised about Kara “finding herself.” (I’m sure the writers intended that pun.) It makes logical sense and the previews really hinted hard at it. So, it leaves us some holes, and here is my rare theory:

    A resurrection hub (of sorts) still exists near the vicinity of Earth, the original one. When Kara’s ship crashed, it kicked in, duping Kara. (Mac Truck hole in this theory: and her ship? That seems weird.) I would tend to agree that there is some other, as yet unrevealed, intelligence at work. Not god-like my any means, but someone made some contingency plans (we all know how the characters on this show like to make plans…)

    I was shocked by Dualla’s suicide; my jaw just hung there for half of the commercial break. I was surprised to discover that she was one of the (somewhat) minor characters for whom I had developed an attachment. It doesn’t help that the writers really set us up for that sucker punch with a few scenes of budding romance and genuinely positive actions on D’s part. Wow. I wonder how actress Kandyse McClure felt about the way her character leaves the show?

    So, are we going to see Ellen again? Are the final five capable of downloading in a nearby resurrection hub? Did (ancient) Ellen have a contingency plan? It would surprise me if she didn’t (see above). I think revealing her a cyclon is a stroke of genius. Let’s remember one of the first time we met Ellen: around the table, making “inane” conversation about “So, Cylons can look like anyone now?” Awkward silence. “Boo!” Hahahahaha!

    Oh, final idea to ponder: with a planet full of “cylons,” why have only twelve people/models survived the disaster that befell Earth? Resources? Proper prior planning (as Ryan suggests above)?

  • Wells Lamont

    In a series that has too many visual/emotional cues to remember, Starbuck ‘finding herself’ and Leoben subsequently freaking out is way up on the list. Any chance that this discovery – and subsequent hiding – has as much of an impact as the Fifth Cylon? I suppose they are part of the same process.

    (I’d also like to nominate Saul wading out to sea – like the fox? [which would be even more devastating than Dee’s death] – as a moment just as creepy as Starbuck’s].

    Also, I’m not sure Ellen’s statement isn’t just some sort of religious gobbly-gook, and Saul then reading into it more than she meant at the time. Three reasons: first, note what Ellen calls Saul – it’s as if they aren’t intimate or even know each other very well. Second: Saul may be more inclined to read more into Ellen’s statement because of the sense of purpose it would give him, post-Erf. Third: Is Ellen then somehow different from the rest of the Final Five, in that she remembers/plans/executes? I didn’t know that a hierarchy existed within the cylon groups.

    All that said, the fact that Saul remembers her (again, unless he’s delusional) on Earth is a pretty strong argument that she’s the Fifth. I can’t wait to watch the show from the beginning with that in mind…

  • Rob

    nyjm,

    Kandyse McClure actually did an interview on the SciFi website the other day…

    http://scifiwire.com/2009/01/dualla-speaks-about-last-nights-battlestar-episode.php

  • JasonJ

    I don’t have much to say except that I was not surprised by Starbuck finding herself. As soon as she was following the tracking thingy, I expected her to come across herself. As far as the condition of the body and how long it has been there, it could have been there for quite awhile. It is in an appropriate state of preservation for an irradiated lifeless planet that technically should have not had any breathable atmosphere, but I was willing to let that slip because I like the show. I was expecting more suicides than they showed, a broken spirit is a tough thing to get over. I won’t speculate on future episodes, I’ll just be one of those who patiently waits for the next episode.

  • Anne-Kari

    Although the actual suicide of Dee was utterly shocking (and extremely well played), it made a sick sort of sense to me – Dee was telegraphing something throughout the whole episode: Her shock and despair while blank-faced and talking to herself in the raptor, her final pep talk to Lee, her wanting to end it while she was experience a moment of happiness after that last date with her estranged husband. Still so sad.

    As for the Kara Thrace question, this is why I love this show – we get the idea that she’s the final cylon, then what about Ellen? I love a show that keeps me guessing, that offers no clear answers.

    Even though it also drives me absolutely crazy.

  • aakmaui

    My husband has had a theory for a long time that based on the old show we are looking for more than 5 cylons. Those that know the history could then understand that #1 may know this and did’t want them to find the last five. Finding the last 5 would point to the other 12. This would make alot of main characters possible cylons.

    Handing Dee over for dead is way to easy, I guess we see her again. Kara is the female liniage of the first cylon/ human hybrid? But a second viper and set of dog tags? Caprica head 6, is she an angel or some old energy wave guiding Baltar to his destiny. Does that destiny include being able to recreate the down load process again?

    So much so fast, only to pose more questions. I love this show. For the new fans out there, this episode is exactly why we love this show. I can’t wait till next week.

    Did anyone think the woman on the far right in the dig site looked like Kendra Shaw?

    aakmaui.

  • The weird thing is… the Starbuck thing didn’t surprise me at all. Everything else in the episode did, but for whatever reason, I was fully expecting the signal to be from her own Viper. She disappeared into that wormhole thingy and returned with a brand spanking new Viper. The impression I got was the old Viper was destroyed somehow, and especially when they said it was a colonial distress signal, I knew it was Starbuck’s old Viper. I figured that might make Starbuck the final Cylon, but it seemed too obvious, and she was already present at the “Last Supper”. My biggest worry is that they might pull something really lame in the end like, “Oh, hey, turns out everyone’s a Cylon!”

  • Ken

    We’ve already seen an example of Tigh seeing Ellen’s face on other people. (hmmm…is this him “Projecting”? And if so, is it voluntary?)

    Who’s to say that the same isn’t happening in Tigh’s memory of Earth?

    Boxey’s the last Cylon!

  • Brett

    I can’t remember, does Tigh see Ellen’s face in other people or just the Six prisoner? If so, is it possible they are the same person?

    Does Earth have some ability to resurrect people? Will anyone else come back from the dead like Starbuck?

    Great show!

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