Damn You All To Hell

Of all the ways in which Battlestar Galactica would have provided a “mid-season finale” (as they’re calling it), this was not one which I had suspected in advance. It’s one Hell of a place to end up with ten or more hours of story still left to tell before the series comes to an end on its own terms.

Certainly, it was easy to expect them to go out on some sort of cliff-hanger. And clearly the ads seemed to indicate that the episode would include a good healthy dose of everything going to shit. What’s interesting to me is the way they doubled-back on those expectations and spun them back around on us. Everything indeed came very close to going to shit, only to be walked back from the brink.

So far back from the brink that suddenly we have humans, Cylons, and the Final Five (or, still, four) under a truce and heading to Earth together in celebration.

And, as we all experienced, it’s all taken away again as the writers double-back and drag us all into the irradiated ruins and leave us there until 2009.

All of which is the bulk of what I’m going to say here, for now, about the “mid-season” finale of Battlestar Galactica. What I’m going to do instead is repost here what I once posted elsewhere, at the end of season three, about what I believe to be the ultimate endgame of the series, with the addition of some more recent thoughts about the Final Five.

“This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.” It was one of the earliest things a Cylon ever said in the current incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, and somehow it was meant to have bearing on what the Cylons considered to be God’s plan for everyone, a plan in which the Cylons believe they are playing a critical role.

After the finale of the show’s third season, it would seem that, perhaps, they’d given us just enough to be able to see what the line means. It’s a glimpse of the possible endgame, especially since by then it had been stated that we’d entered the third act of a three-act story.

So here’s what we now know: Four series regulars, presumptive humans all along, in fact are four of the so-called Final Five. That fact helps explain the mystery of how the Five could be both Cylons and mysterious, almost mythological, figures from humanity’s religious past.

Imagine: The ultimate secret of Battlestar Galactica is that the entire story is cyclical. Its history is cyclical. It would go something like this.

Humanity develops on Caprica (or, perhaps, first on Kobol). It builds machines which then rebel against it, evolve, and return to destroy their makers. Humanity’s survivors escape and begin following the ancient myth of a human colony which made its way to a place called Earth. Eventually finding Earth, humanity settles in. Eons later, for whatever reason, humanity must flee Earth and sets out to colonize other worlds, elsewhere in the galaxy, including one they name Caprica (or, perhaps, first on Kobol).

Humanity develops on Caprica (or, perhaps, first on Kobol). It builds machines which then rebel against it, evolve, and return to destroy their makers. Humanity’s survivors escape and begin following the ancient myth of a human colony which made its way to a place called — well, you get the idea.

Cylons believe they are an important part of God’s plan because it is necessary for humanity to be decimated in order that its survivors embark on a quest for Earth. And, in fact, the myth of a human colony which made its way to a place called Earth in reality is a myth about the previous rag-tag fugitive fleet of the prior cycle.

This is sort of where the Final Five come in. Suppose they are not Cylons like the current Cylons, but instead are the lines descended from the previous cycle’s hybrids? The reason that there can be a current Final Five and mysterious figures from the past of humanity’s religion is because those religious figures are from the previous cycle.

Perhaps, once humanity has to flee Earth, that cycle’s Final Five are the ones responsible for making sure that the proper clues are all in place for the next cycle’s humans to find as they flee the decimated Caprica.

If you like, you can push this to incorporate the disconcerting use of a Bob Dylan song in the third-season finale, a song which at least two of the characters describe as being like something out of childhood. Maybe it’s buried in ancestral or genetic memory from the prior cycle — a cycle which included our actual present day Earth and its music.

(Yes, I’m aware that the show’s composer says “that the idea was not that Bob Dylan necessarily exists in the characters’ universe, but that an artist on one of the colonies may have recorded a song with the exact same melody and lyrics”. But that easily could simply be what the show’s creator told him, in order to keep part of the endgame a secret from as many people as possible. The composer would not need to know the cyclical key to things in order to use this piece of music in the finale, so why tell him?)

So, they are Cylons. But they are not like the Cylons we’ve known to be Cylons. The entire reason their identities are hidden from the current Cylons is because no one is supposed to really understand or know “God’s plan”. No one is supposed to actually know that their history is a cyclical one — they’re all just supposed to play their parts in pushing the cycle forward each time.

There’s some discussion out there about the “fact” that the Final Five have been to Earth. The problem with this assertion is that Starbuck is the only one saying they’ve been to Earth, but she’s basing it upon what the hybrid told her. However, the hybrid did not say the Final Five have been to Earth — she said that the Five “come from the home of the Thirteenth”. Arguably, “come from” is a phrase that could speak to genealogical descent.

With their arrival on Earth in the middle of the show’s fourth season, there’s plenty of time — ten or more hours — for the remnants of the Twelve Colonies to discover all of this, if the theory holds true. But I also now have a new favorite theory for the identity of the fifth of the Final Five.

After her un-boxing, D’Anna/Three proclaims that four of the Final Five are within the Colonial fleet, leaving unspecified the location of the fifth. I believe it’s important to note that she says this aboard a baseship which at that moment has not yet joined the fleet — meaning, I believe, the fifth is aboard the baseship when she says this.

She holds the Colonials hostage in order to compel the other four to leave the fleet and join her on the baseship. She knows that the fifth already is there with her, somewhere.

So who is it?

I believe it is Helo.

It isn’t some goofy magical notion of “love” that allowed Helo and Athena to conceive a child together. Rather, I believe, we’re dealing with three distinct (although, in different ways, related) species: Human, Cylon, and Final. And, I believe, Finals can breed with both humans and Cylon — they are the key to both species reproducing in a way that permits them all to survive as a hybrid species together. (Perhaps both human/Final and Cylon/Final offspring can survive upon the irradiated surface of the Earth?)

We already know that a Final can successfully breed with a Cylon, because we’ve been told that Caprica Six has conceived a child with Tigh. That revelation, I believe, is the key to uncovering the real reason Helo and Athena could produce Hera.

(For the record, that would leave us with three hybrids, but two different types of them. Hera and the Tigh/Six fetus are Cylon/Final hybrids, while Nicky is a human/Final hybrid.)

These, I believe, are the revelations, discoveries and choices left to play out in the remaining ten or more hours of season four. The Final Five will not just be responsible for bringing both sides to Earth, but the key to their continued survival now that they are there. A continued survival which eventually will lead the rebuilt human race, someday in the far future, to leave Earth behind to establish a new foothold, once again, on Kobol and eventually, once more, on Caprica.

“This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.” The unspoken joke of it, of course, is that it has happened before. On our televisions back in the 1970s.

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