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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

‘Battlestar Galactica’ returns tomorrow night

It’s almost over. Ten more episodes to go, and we’re gone. We’ll know who the final Cylon is, we’ll know (maybe) what happened to Earth, and we’ll know (hopefully) where the human race goes from here.

My last preview is up now over at Film.com. Please check it out and comment if you like (and if you can).

Even though that piece at Film.com is longer than that site’s usual max word count, I still couldn’t fit in everything I wanted to say.

One thing I wanted to say was that I recently rewatched, over the span of just a few days, the previous ten episodes of the current season, and I’m glad I did: it was like reading a novel, seeing them one right after the other. It felt more cohesive than watching them as they were doled out to us, a week at a time. Not that show ever felt incohesive — but now I was seeing all sorts of little connectors and themes and other downright literary aspects bubbling up.

Some of the questions that sprang to mind:
Just how far back do the skinjobs go? Are we gonna find out whether William Adama has actually been a friend to skinjob Sol Tighe for 30 years, or if a human Tighe was somehow replaced at some point in the far closer past? (The trailer for the Galactica prequel series Caprica seems to suggest that not only the skinjobs but the idea of one true god instead of many false gods goes back quite a long way indeed.)

How do the Cylons get into people’s heads? Is Baltar actually seeing Caprica Six? Is Tighe actually seeing his wife when he looks at the Six in the brig? I mean, are they hallucinating, and this is all a product of the unassisted biochemical reactions in their brains, or have they been implanted with something — either something tangible, like a chip, or something intangible, like a posthypnotic suggestion — that is controlling the visions? Are they talking to themselves when they talk to these visions, or are they communicating with another entity?

Is there a signficance to the fact that one of the Eights rebelled against her sisters?

Is Hera having the opera house vision too?

There appear to be three hybrid babies: Hera, Galen and Callie’s son, and now the baby the brig Six is carried fathered by Tighe. But wait: the Six and Tighe are both skinjobs. So the baby isn’t a hybrid: it’s pure skinjob. But the skinjobs weren’t supposed to be able to reproduce this way. What changed?

Religion! Isn’t there something creepy about Baltar’s insistence that the one true god believes everyone is perfect? Can’t that only lead to some unstable people doing terrible things and believing they’re perfectly okay to do so? What about the Cylons, now that their Hub is destroyed and they can’t resurrect? Will they develop a concert of spiritual resurrection, something like the very idea that most religions on Earth today share? What can that mean about whether we’re looking, when we look at that ravaged Earth, into the past or into the future? If the Cylons start to believe that their god will resurrect them into eternal life… well, maybe we are all Cylon skinjobs.

That’s it: the fifth and final secret skinjob Cylon is… you.

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