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The last time I tried to make predictions about the plot of Battlestar Galactica was to [ profile] solomita, right before watching the final couple of episodes of Season 2. [ profile] solomita ridiculed the predictions I made at that time. Although I hung my head in shame for a whole season, suddenly, having just watched the last episode of Season 3, I feel vindicated. As a matter of fact, I feel so vindicated that I'm going to go out on a limb and post my Season 4 predictions to LJ, publicly, even, so you can all come back later and see how brilliantly insightful (or hopelessly misguided) I turn out to be. I hope I'm at least interesting if not accurate.

From its inception, Battlestar Galactica has been about some sort of destiny that is eventually going to bring the remaining humans to Earth. I'll call this destiny the "Path." More interesting to me, however, is that BSG has also always been rife with moral ambiguity. It might be about Tom Zarek the terrorist, or about the treatment of Athena-Sharon, or the punishment of Cally after she shoots Boomer-Sharon, or suicide bombings, torture, Ellen's death, the control of Helena Cain... I could go on. As you may recall, I have a master's degree in philosophy with a concentration in applied ethics, so I just eat up moral ambiguity. I notice an overriding pattern in the resolution of BSG's moral ambiguities. To the extent the moral ambiguities get resolved, they tend to be resolved in favor of values typically held by Americans in general and science fiction fans in particular: freedom and justice. There are no Communist Scriptwriters. Keep both this theme and the Path theme in mind in the following discussion.

The Recently-Revealed Cylons, and Why Only One of Them Is Any Real Surprise

Colonel Tigh

If you were a Cylon (and you never know, you might be), wouldn't you want a frak-up [forgive the silly euphemism -- it's a public post] like Saul Tigh as second-in-command of Galactica? Especially if your original plan was for Boomer-Sharon to kill Bill Adama? Look what happened when Tigh was actually in command of Galactica. Things went so precipitously poorly that even he admitted he had frakked up. Tigh is the epitome of the moral ambiguity I discussed above. He's also an object lesson in just how wrong you can go thinking that you're doing the right thing. The man is so steeped in righteousness that he even murders his own wife for the wrong moral reasons. He's a Cylon, all right.

Chief Tyrol

Now, the Chief, he seems like a great guy. Aside from some indiscretions with a certain pilot, he's a total straight-shooter. How could he be a Cylon? But what's the very first thing we ever see him doing in the miniseries? That's right -- frakking a Cylon. And his being a Cylon is the only way to explain his blindness to the giant symbol staring at him in the Temple. Interestingly, since the Chief is also a dad, we now know that Hera is not the only human-Cylon hybrid child out there. I'm sure this fact will figure heavily in the next season's plot.


This one is kind of a letdown. As in the case Tigh, you can see why the Cylons would want to put one of their own in a position of power, as assistant to President Roslin. But otherwise, she's a minor character. Her personality hasn't been developed much. She's underbaked. But we're never given any reason to believe that she wasn't a Cylon. And, you know, she always did rub me the wrong way. She's a Cylon.


Sam? I've always loved Sam. So sweet, loving, patient... and good-looking! And oh, my, my, those arms, that tattoo... ahem. There's only one reason, and one reason only, for Sam to be a Cylon. Somehow, in order to find the proverbial Path, Starbuck has to get together with the one man you've always had a feeling she belonged with, from the beginning. The one she's signaling from her Viper just as we've been left hanging at the end of Season 3. It somehow served the Cylon's purposes to distract her from her One True Man, so they sent Sam. And yet, despite how very distracting he is, he obviously hasn't really distracted her entirely.

Why Have Four Cylons Just Been Revealed?

I spent a lot of time pondering this one. The Scriptwriters end Season 2 with five unrevealed Cylons. At that point, they've got two seasons left to go in the series. Then, they suddenly reveal 80% of them at the end of Season 3, leaving themselves only one for Season 4. Why could this be?

My guess is that the Scriptwriters are going to spend Season 4 bouncing us around like tennis balls between two characters who might be the Final Cylon, first pointing evidence of guilt at one, then at the other, then pointing evidence of innocence at one, and then at the other. Who are these two characters? It should be fairly obvious. However, in looking at this from the perspective of the Path theme, I don't think either of them is really a Cylon.

Gaius Baltar

Sometimes characters do things that eventually end up pointing toward the Path, even when it looks like they're making big mistakes. Gaius Baltar is the obvious example here. Everything he does, he does for his own perfectly self-interested reasons, whether they be hiding his treachery on Caprica or his preoccupying prurient pursuit of hot Cylon... ass. And yet, Gaius has been figuring out the route to Earth. True, he brings the Cylons to the Temple. But I think that had to happen in order for him to be recaptured by the human authorities so that he could bring his knowledge of the Cylons back to Galactica. I told [ profile] solomita near the end of Season 2 that I thought Baltar was really on the Path, and then at the end of Season 2, my prediction looked laughable. Now, however, Lee Adama has vindicated Baltar's choice to surrender to the Cylons on New Caprica. Hence, the boldness of my new predictions.

I have other reasons for thinking that Baltar is not a Cylon. Originally, I believed he was just too much of a frak-up to be a Cylon, but see Col. Tigh, above. And he's certainly got that freaky connection with Caprica Six. But she has pretended that Hera is their human-Cylon hybrid baby together. She's also flat-out told him that he's human. It's possible that he is a Cylon and that the Cylons desperately need him to believe that he isn't one. But since he's so often on the Path, I'm still betting he's not a Cylon.


Starbuck is another character who always looks like she's frakking up, and then comes out on the Path. Like Baltar, she does what she does not because she thinks it's the right thing to do, but because she's frakked up. She goes off on this insane suicide mission to retrieve the arrow. Then she goes down this vortex and comes back saying she's been to Earth. She did make a clear frak-up once and tortured a Cylon, and it bothered me tremendously at the time. But usually, she does the right thing. Crazy as a loon to the last, but she's on the Path. Not a Cylon.

Just as a Contrast

Bill Adama and Laura Roslin, the proverbial patriarch and matriarch of the remaining humans, the military and civilian leaders, are not always on the Path. And they make moral mistakes. Big ones. Most obviously, Roslin hides Hera from Athena-Sharon and Helo. Bill Adama sits as a biased judge against Baltar. He's not particularly nice to either of his sons. These people are deeply flawed, sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

The one character who always does the morally correct thing, and does it for the right reasons, even at great personal cost to himself, is Lee Adama. Lee Adama is always on the side of Truth, Justice and the American Way. He's the blue-eyed all-American Good Guy. He serves as the true conscience of the show. Even when it looks like he's frakking up, as in his escape with the Pegasus, Lee is always right. You can count on this.

In many ways, my feelings about Baltar and Starbuck not being Cylons are just that -- feelings. But I just don't believe that any Cylons get mentioned in the opening credits unless they're revealed by the end of the miniseries. The revelation of the most recent four fits that pattern. Besides, it would be more fun to toy with you all season and then reveal that the real Final Cylon was someone else entirely.

So, Come on, Who Is that Final Cylon?

The Oracle. That's my guess.

I started thinking this after the episode where Deanna dies in the Temple, confronting the Final Five, and asks for forgiveness. Who does she need forgiveness from? Baltar? I doubt it. I think it's the Oracle. Then look at how the Oracle messes with Starbuck's head a couple of episodes later. She's almost as bad as Leoben. And just who sends Starbuck to the Oracle? Sam, who turns out to be a Cylon. I grant that it's wacky for the Final Cylon to turn out to be such a minor character, but look at Tory. There's just so much evidence that points to the Oracle's being a Cylon, I think she has to be.

Meanwhile, Back to the Recently-Revealed Four

What are they doing? They're going about their business as usual. Even though they know they're bound to do something that will likely lead to the violent deaths of large numbers of their compatriots, they're going about their duties anyway. They're trying to avoid the inevitable. Who does this remind you of, especially considering all the Greek mythology in this series? I'm not going to kill my father and frak my mother, no, no, no, not me. All of which symbolism points to the importance of... the Oracle.

Final Obvious Predictions

At the end of the series, the humans do find Earth, and somehow come to terms with the Cylons. These seem to be no-brainers. I don't think they'll defeat the Cylons through might and arms; I think there will be some way that the races come together, perhaps through Hera and Nicky, or through that spooky Caprica Six-Baltar connection. I'm still looking for a good explanation for that one. I'm trying not to hold my breath.

And can I just interject -- that version of All Along the Watchtower just sucked.

So, there you have it. I'll be sure to review this next year, and see whether I end up looking like a genius or an idiot with egg on my face. Happy viewing!
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