what’s gonna happen on ‘Battlestar Galactica’?

(I’ll be getting to work on the remaining three preview articles mentioned here this weekend, so I’m bumping this up, looking for more comments and ideas.)

It begins Friday, January 16, 10pm Eastern, Sci Fi Channel, Planet Earth.

The last ten episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

Over the last four years, we’ve been suckered in and teased and taunted and left hanging for months and months at a time, and we’ve expended so much precious time and energy and mojo and soul on speculating this and debating that and wondering just who the frak that final Cylon is that it will almost be a relief when it’s over and we can have our brains back.

Until then, what’s a geek to do except speculate and debate some more? Which is what I intend to do — with your help — over the next few weeks.
What’s to come in the second half of the fourth and final season? We get a peek in the online-only teaser “The Epic Journey”:

(You can watch it in higher quality at SciFi.com.)

It’s an excellent — and by that, of course, I mean “extremely frustrating, in a deliciously geeky way” — encapsulation of everything that’s been driving us nuts. Is it Earth Earth the fleet has discovered, our Earth? If it is, is it in our past? our future? What are the Cylons going to do about us humans? Will they erase us, kill their parents, so they can “come into their own,” as Leoben sneers in that trailer? Am I wrong to assume, when I say “us,” that our stand-ins here are the humans — the colonials escaping in their ragtag fleet — when maybe there’s reason to believe that our stand-ins are the Cylons? If the colonials and the Cylon have landed on our Earth in our past, maybe the human and the Cylon will learn how to coexist, and we’ll end up being the descendents of their half-human, half-toaster babies?

I don’t know. I have no answers. No one does — well, Ron Moore does, and he ain’t talking. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it like we do know something. So let’s go. Leave me a comment and tell me whether you think we really are screwed if Adama is the final Cylon, whether you think humans beings really do have to suffer and endure because we have no choice, and/or your ideas about what the hell is going on, who the fifth secret Cylon is, why Katee Sackhoff could totally kick Dirk Benedict’s ass, whatever. I’ll explore your ideas — and some of my own — over the next few weeks. (Those other pieces will run exclusively on Film.com — I’ll post links to them as they go live.)

We’ll all be completely wrong, of course, but it’ll be a whole lotta fun while we wait for January.

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Fri, Dec 05, 2008 2:37pm

Yeah, I think we are totally screwed if Adama is a cylon, but I don’t think it can be ruled out.

“We’ll all be completely wrong, of course”

I think it entirely possible that someone will have a theory that will turn out to be right. The huge interest and obsessive level of speculation by the fans means that odds are, somebody’s prediction will be correct. But I sure don’t think it will be me :)

Fri, Dec 05, 2008 4:43pm

As someone who gave up on this show toward the end of the first season (before, as I understand it, the writers got together and figured out a plan for what was actually going on), can someone tell me if it’s all actually tying together in a Babylon 5 sort of way, or just kind of wandering around and making it up as it goes along ala The X-Files?

If it’s the former, I might have to give it another chance.

Fri, Dec 05, 2008 7:10pm

Michael: I’m unfamiliar with Babylon 5, but I’m very familiar with Battlestar Galactica. From what I’ve gleaned from early interviews with the creators/producers/writers, there is and always has been a plan to wrap everything up in a definitive way, although it might not be satisfying to all the fans.

So although I personally might not like the outcome, there has definitely been a master plan for all the storylines and the mythology created. I’d give it another chance if I were you – even if the endgame is unsatisfying, many of the individual episodes are absolutely worth it.

Fri, Dec 05, 2008 7:47pm

It was just that the writing seemed so lazy and made no sense in various places. (Two characters who hate each other suddenly had a date the following episode with no explanation for how their relationship got to that point, or the crewmember who finds out she’s a Cylon takes a shuttle with a nuke over to a Cylon ship, and all her fellow models just all line up for a naked “Hey, you’re a Cylon” moment, then are perfectly content to let her leave the nuke and let it explode and destroy the ship, etc. There were lots of other things I used to be able to cite, but it’s been too long since I’ve seen the eps to remember anymore.)

In fairness, the comment I read about there being no plan until after the first season was something from TV Tropes with no cited sources, so it’s suspect info at best. :)

Sat, Dec 06, 2008 10:11am

Yeah, the writing has been kind of all over the place in terms of quality and plotlines, which is one of the most frustrating things about BSG.

So although there’s been a master plan all along, they have certainly stumbled a lot as they’ve rolled it out.

Still, there are so many excellent episodes, and the overall plot and sociopolitical themes still fascinate – I’m in it for the long haul.

Sat, Dec 06, 2008 10:51am

Michael, the thing is, when Boomer went over to the Cylon ship with that nuke, the Cylons had a resurrection ship nearby.. so none of those Cylons were going to die. As far as they were concerned, it was more important that Boomer find out she was a Cylon and be ‘triggered’ than it was to stop her blowing up the base ship.
The Colonials would have suspected something was up if she hadn’t blown the ship, and she wouldn’t then have been able to shoot Adama.
(We find out that raiders resurrect also, so it’s entirely possible that base ships, hybrids and centurions do too.)

Now as for speculation into the future of BSG goes.. the note in season 1 only said “Adama is a Cylon.”
That doesn’t exclude Lee Adama from the equation.

I think it’s much more likely to be Lee than for it to be the old man.

Now as far as Earth goes. Oh man.. that’s a toughy. I hope it’s not the past, but I hope it’s not the future either. Arg arg! It’s so frustrating. I wanted them to find us… the real, flawed us of 2008.
All I can think of is that it is not the real Earth. I think this is actually the final signpost on the road leading to Earth.

Also, I suggested this a while ago, but it seems obvious that the true homeworld of the Humans is Earth, not Kobol. The reasoning behind this is that the ruins on Kobol were 2000 years old. The beacon in the Nebula was 3000 years old.. and the temple they found was 4 or 5000 years old. If the clues are getting older as you get closer to Earth, it means they were left in reverse order. It was people from Earth who founded Kobol.. not the other way around.

Sat, Dec 06, 2008 1:18pm

Hmm. Have they revealed yet a reason the Cylons let Galactica live?

Sat, Dec 06, 2008 5:50pm

MAJ, the person who says that parents have to die so children can come into their own wasn’t Leoben, it was a Five (I can’t remember what they’re nicknamed).

Sun, Dec 07, 2008 9:27am

“Now as for speculation into the future of BSG goes.. the note in season 1 only said “Adama is a Cylon.”
That doesn’t exclude Lee Adama from the equation.”

Ooooh, Kenny, damn good point. Didn’t think of that one in terms of that particular quote.

And on another Adama speculation, albeit a totally off-the-wall one, maybe Lee’s brother isn’t REALLY dead and maybe HE’S a cylon?

Bit of a stretch but with series you can’t really rule out even the most outlandish theory.

Sun, Dec 07, 2008 10:08am

While it may be geeky fun, I think speculating on how things will end up is inevitably unfounded. Many speculators (and maybe even, you MAJ), seem to hunting for a pretty-ribbon to tie the whole thing together, to finally “make sense” of this powerful allegory.

Ain’t gonna happen.

(And yes, I am aware of the slight hypocrisy of that statement.)

BSG draws much of it power from a refusal of closure. Things don’t get wrapped up prettily; even if they are resolved, the consequences always come back – often at the worst possible moment. The recurrent narrative form of the show requires us, the audience, to engage and think. Indeed, I think we could call this aspect crucial to the success of the show. I am confident that Moore and Eicke are not going to let us down: it’s not going to be easy, emotionally or intellectually.

What does it matter that the diegetic Earth is our future or or past? It’s neither (on one hand) and it’s right now (on the other). I think it’s pretty clear that the allegorical “people” of the show (MAJ calls them “our stand-ins”) are neither categorically the colonials nor the cylons – they are both and they’re neither. This destruction of Manichean divisions that plagues so much of SF and most popular narrative today is another cornerstone of what is great about this show.

What matters is that BSG engages us in complicated, intelligent ways that obliges us to revisit our own real-world attitudes and decisions. The “Final Episodes” promise to do that in spades and I’m looking forward to it.

Sun, Dec 07, 2008 8:59pm

I’m betting that the Earth they find is in the distant past. Unless I’m mistaken, they never refer to their call signs (Apollo, Athena, etc) as being inspired by ancient gods…maybe their story inspired what we know as ancient Greek mythology.

Then again, the cylons heard All Along the Watchtower, a song from our time, which would imply the devastated Earth is from the future. Unless Bob Dylan is the final cylon…all I know is that Ron Moore said that the fifth cylon is not in the Last Supper photo.

Mon, Dec 08, 2008 11:48am

They did refer to their call signs as being references to gods when they choose Athena’s.

Also, “Adama is a Cylon” could refer to Dee as she may have changed her name upon marriage to Lee and they aren’t divorced… There isn’t a strict linear chronology so.

I thought it was established that Ron Moore was bending the truth a little when he said the final cylon wasn’t in the photo. Where Judas would’ve been sitting is where Tori should be as she is the only one of the final five to (so far) demonstrably betray humans (by going over to the ship).

I agree with nyjim about the refusal of closure. It’s bound to be thrilling though.

Fri, Dec 12, 2008 7:26pm

If they landed in earth’s past, the earliest civilization’s religion would be Greek, which is patently not the case. But then again, story coherence is not BSG’s strong point.

Sat, Dec 13, 2008 12:11pm

I don’t buy the distant past angle for an instant.

If this is the Earth, then it’s the Earth of our future. Let’s face it, a Human civilization has left Earth and colonised distant worlds… this didn’t happen in our past.
The events of Battlestar Galactica are set in the far future… they have to be.

The way I see the timeline is that hundreds or thousands of years from now, a revived Greek Gods cult (could happen) heads out into the depths of space… having adventures along the way before eventually founding a colony on Kobol. Two thousand years later, they abandon Kobol and settle on the twelve planets that will later become known as the Colonies.

In the mean time, the Humans left on Earth will also have spread out and settled other worlds. So if the Human Colonial remnant has found the original Earth, and it has been sterilised by nuclear war, there will at least be Humans elsewhere. There must be… the moment a species gains the ability to jump from star system to star system and settle strange new worlds.. it becomes effectively impossible to wipe out.

Thu, Dec 25, 2008 10:44am

As illustrated in the link above I believe this photo uses DaVinci’s representation of the last supper. If this is true, and one studies that painting, then the 12th disciple Judas is not present (In the paint it is believed that Judas is holding the payment for is betrayal and no one is holding anything in the photo). As Judas was a betrayer of Christ maybe the last unknown Cylon is Judas. Furthermore, if old six is a representation of Jesus than whoever is the last Cylon will betray six. Maybe helping the humans?