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Battlestar Galactica: Sometimes a Great Notion

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 17th 2009 3:16AM
Battlestar Galactica(S04E11) Note: technically the Razor television movie counts as the first two episodes of the season, so this is actually episode 13. And what an episode it was! It answered the biggest question from the viewers and in the process created a few more.

FYI, the episode title is taken from the folk song "Goodnight, Irene", which pretty much fits the theme of the episode.

I really liked Mary McDonnell's acting in this episode. I felt heartbroken at her breakdown upon discovering the remains of Earth and her inability to share the information with the fleet. Whenever things get bad, at least we're not on the run from homicidal machines with our last great hope for sanctuary a radioactive wasteland.

On to the spoilery bits!

So now we know that the late Ellen Tigh was/is the remaining Cylon. It fits in the context of D'Anna saying in an earlier episode that the 12th Cylon was not among the fleet. Of course, if she resurrected somewhere then she could still be around, but we'll have to see about that. I did think it was strange that they showed her photograph during the Adama/Tigh stand-off, but never read further into it than that.

When they were showing so much of Dualla and concentrating on her at the episode's beginning, I thought they were either going to reveal her to be the twelfth Cylon or kill her off. Obviously, we know which direction that went. Kudos to Kandyse McClure on a great acting job (and kudos to the whole ensemble) because I thought it was going to be the former until she pulled the trigger.

We also are now aware that the twelve Cylon models are based on former Earth inhabitants. From the looks of things, the Cylons are actually the original Earthlings. What does that make the Colonies? Are humans the offspring of Cylons rather than the other way around?

Starbuck burning her own corpse was a very Return of the Jedi moment. Now it leads to the question of what exactly is Starbuck? She's not a Cylon because they're all accounted for. She didn't mention finding her own ship and corpse to anybody, and you just know that's going to bite her on the ass later. However, this does open up the very real possibility of romance kindling again between Starbuck and Apollo. Unless, you know, she ends up being some sort of beast of Cthulhu or something.

I know this has been asked since the last episode (a hefty six months ago), but where on Earth were they? Was it New York City or San Francisco or somewhere that simply doesn't exist?

Could they have possibly repeated more that it was all happening again? We know already! I do wonder if perhaps the Ellen Tigh from 2000 years ago knew in advance because she was secretly working on The Cylon Project.

I know Ron Moore and company have some sort of master plan for this entire series, and it was a brilliant move to reveal the 12th at this stage, because now that mystery is over and we can concentrate on the three or four new ones they've created. I'm looking forward to next week (which looks to be a focus on Tom Zarek).

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MichaelB

On earth that very much looked like Sydney Australia. You can imagine the opera house across the bay.

February 28 2009 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leslie

Question: Anders and Starbuck got tatoos instead of wedding rings. So, where did the wedding ring retrieved from the body with the dog tags come from?

February 06 2009 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
amorde

I think everyone is right in that humans were the original aggressors and nuked the cylon earth. The cycle has been continuous, as stated "All that has come to pass and will happen again".

Taken into account that the prequel series Caprica is on order. Here is my take. After the Cylons were created to house human consciousness. A group of monolithic religious humans decided to achieve eternal life through downloading of their consciousness to the cylons. However, other humans who believe they were abominations forced them to leave the original planet "True earth" - Perhaps Caprica. They form the thirteenth colony and settled on the "earth" before they were attacked. There were more than 12 models. However, only 12 survived the attack through the download process.

The hybrids that drives the cylon battleships are the true survivors in flesh form from "earth". The nuke also destroyed their ability to procreate. Hence, the experiments in Adama's flashbacks to cylons on experimenting on humans.

As a monolithic faith, they also secretly did not want to destroy the other "human species" unless forced to. So they setup a fail-safe - Starbuck. Starbuck's order is to destroy the other "species" if one ever totally wipes out the other.

Therefore, human and cylon's fate is interwined in this eternal tangle. Balance has shifted from one to the other from time to time. However, if one ever truly succeeds in wiping out the other. Starbuck's true nature will be revealed and end both lines.

Perhaps at the end of the series. Human and cylons will both be destroyed. The survivor will be the hybrid human/cylon babies. Who do not fit into this paradigm. The human/cylon hybrids are the modern man.

It's a mindtrip but great job to the writers on this show.

January 20 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

Maybe something we didn't see in this episode is the key to it all. Somebody had posted wondering what city ruins they were exploring, but I wonder if this is Earth (our Earth) at all. What we didn't see when the fleet approached the planet were any recognizable continents. Could it be that the Earth they were searching for is an ancient planet named Earth, and rather than this whole story taking place in the distant future, it all takes place in the distant past...before humans (or Cylons) were on our planet and that their next destination, a living planet, will be the planet they will colonize, turning their back on technology, and populate, becoming our Earth? Anybody else thinking this?

January 20 2009 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jessica

Maybe it is possible some kind of time travel takes place during last jump to Earth or something. Kara may have found herself and not a clone. When she crash landed on Earth, she brought upon the mass destruction by accidentally signaling a war or something.

January 20 2009 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jessica's comment
Ro

I don't think so, because her corpse looked like death was recent. It even had blond hair still intact...and that war took place 2000 years ago, so her remains would be dust.

January 21 2009 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ruffio!

I'm glad someone finally mentioned that starbuck could've landed on Earth 2000 years ago. I could take it a little too far and say that her unexpected arrival back then might've caused the disaster that nuked the place.

Anyway i don't they can cheat and say this isn't the REAL Earth, like there's an earth 2 or something. Anymore than they can say Ellen isn't REALLY the final cylon. That would really be cheap. They've got enough on their plate. They have to explain Starbuck, Earth being full of Cylons (that probably thought they were human), how the final five were reborn, what Ellen's role was in all this AND the humans still have to find Happy Ending Earth - i'd be on the same rock but they'd have to time travel (which would be lame) . but however those cylons travelled 2000 years into the future may be the means by which the humans travel to the next cycle, 2000 years from where we are now in the show, then they'd be on a populated earth. I mean the line between Cylon and Human just got paper thin. Maybe the humans can all die and be reborn.

January 20 2009 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
metz

I think it's pretty funny that people expect this story to hang together over all the seasons and episodes. Lots of interesting tidbits have been revealed recently through interview with writers and producers.

1) The Cylons had a plan...this was in the opening credits for several seasons, yet it's become pretty apparent that the writers had no plan to weave together all the seasons. The final 5 weren't conceived as an idea until season 3. The 5th Cylon wasn't determined until season 4.

2) The baby Hera and prophecies meant something. They've forgotten these storylines. Don't expect to have them wrapped up.

3) Cylon/Human interbreeding. On again, off again, no explanation provided.

4) Starbuck, ummm the only thing I had left to cling to is a return to the City of Lights. She has to be something different than human or Cylon to have her storyline make any sense.

I'm trying not to extrapolate from what we've seen. I'm going to accept that a bunch of storylines will not get wrapped up. I'm interested in the final destination but I don't expect a masterpiece of story telling simply because they have been making this up as they went along. There was no master plan spanning all the episodes and seasons.

January 19 2009 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to metz's comment
Tom

Metz....
I have to disagree with you. Remember how Babylon 5 wrapped up its 5 year run tying everything up and at the same time connecting the end with the beginning. J. Michael Straczynski had a plan. Flash forward a decade, and I think that the writers and producers were heavily influenced by the arc of Babylon 5.

Yes, its clear that the creative process means EVERYTHING is not conceived of in year 1 and certain ideas evolve, but the suggestion that very important details and storylines are just going to be dropped? I think not, or at least I hope you are wrong, because to not tie everything up is to put an asterisk on what has the potential to be a classic for all time. Besides, some of the storylines that you suggeest have been dropped have fairly discernable outcomes (or potential outcomes) within the final seaeson plotline.

January 21 2009 at 1:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Corrector

It seems very much like "A Canticle For Leibowitz".. 2000 years after rebuilding their world, they burn it again. FIAT LUX!

I think the rest of the season is going to be pretty incredible.

January 19 2009 at 1:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blueskies

I can't believe no one's mentioned the plot point of Starbuck having one of her ovaries stolen in "The Farm" (Season 2). The Cylons have the tech to clone new bodies for themselves and had a farm where they were using human women for unknown purposes. Given Leoben's obession with Starbuck and her "destiny" how do we know that the Cylons didn't just clone her?

January 18 2009 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Blueskies's comment
Dorv

Some friends and I have just been clacking about that exact fact. There's an opinion that the ovary (or whatever was taken) was destroyed in the fire. Or that its just a piece of the mind games Leoben played on New Caprica.

January 18 2009 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
adarkangelfalls

telegraphed quote from episode "when I knew you, you had hair" ie final 5 cylon's can age

NOW think about a previous episode where Ellen and a Six are shown morphing back and forwards. telegraphed, again

ie Ellen NOT final cylon model, it's 'another' fake out

Ellen is just an older SIX

January 18 2009 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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