Monday, January 19, 2009

"Sometimes I get a great notion To jump into the river an' drown"

The following post contains spoilers for Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica. If you haven't seen it already, you probably won't care about what is to follow.
After spending literally years since we got our first glimpse of Earth back in March of 2007, and the big reveal of last summer, there has been a lot of speculation as to what the fleet would discover following their arrival. As always, Moore and Eick have given us a taste, but each answer they provide only leads to more questions.
First, there's the timeline of the thirteenth colony's arrival at Earth. The show tells us that it happened 3, 600 years before the show's present. The nuked remains of the Earth show that life on Earth was ended roughly 2,000 years prior to the fleet's arrival, meaning that the Earth's Cylon inhabitants were only around for 1,600 years. Did the Cylons show up, wipe out the indigenous human population, and repopulate the planet? Did they find a planet already bereft of life? One possibility that stretches the bounds of plausibility is that we are the descendents of those Cylons, and that the nuclear apocalypse is imminent. But surely, Moore isn't a young Earth creationist. So we're left to wonder.
Also, it's noteworthy that the Galactica's landing crew ended up in the exact spot on the planet where the Fleet Four died on Earth. There are two possibilities that I can think of: one is that it's a complete coincidence, and the other is that the Earth was populated entirely with many copies of those four models, and that the Fleet Four hold the memories of every dead copy of their model from Earth. This would seem likelier, as we know that one copy can hold the memories of more than one previous copy, such as Athena having Boomer's memories, and last year's 8 having Athena's.
And then there's the reveal of the final Cylon: Ellen Tigh. Will we be seeing another copy of Ellen at some point? Or are the Final Five the sole remaining copies of their model? Perhaps Earth is 2,000 light years away from the colonies, and it took that long for the Final Five's resurrection signals to get there.
And what was Starbuck's role in all this? The Earth she described seeing wasn't a blasted wasteland, but held "blue skies." Could her arrival at Earth have lead to it's destruction, with her getting caught up in the nuclear war that led to the charred corpse in her Viper?Tough to speculate on these, but it's important to ask the right questions.There's still much to be explored about Earth, but sadly that will have to be saved for a later date, as the fleet has moved on. All told, it's a bit Planet of the Apes, except instead of Humans and Apes it's Humans and Cylons.
Getting away from the heavy mythology parts, there are several large issues facing the fleet moving forward. First and foremost is that of leadership. With Roslin content to crawl into a hole and let herself die and Adama unwilling to stop the lotting and open fistfights on the decks of his own ship, it's fallen upon Lee to give a rousing speech to the fleet, which could be summed up by Samuel Beckett's "The Unnamable:" in short, "I can't go on. I must go on. I'll go on."
The second major obstacle is morale: Now that there is no Promised Land, where will the fleet draw inspiration from? Is it enough to keep on searching for a new home to recolonize human civilization, or will more members of the fleet succumb to despair? And even if they do manage to find another habitable planet, what would stop them from just making it New Caprica all over again?


  1. Was thinking of this the other night... Starbuck had an ovary stolen when she was captured by the Cylons. Anyone else think there's a possibility that the Starbuck that returned to the fleet is actually a Cylon replication of the real Starbuck?
    Or is this a "duh" moment and I'm just way behind.

  2. We still don't know about the ovary removal, but Leoben would have been involved in that plan, so in order for that plan to have led to her coming back, Leoben should know more about Earth than he apparently does, and also would have to do an amazing acting job of getting scared and running away from Starbuck's charred corpse.
    Another strange thing about Starbuck's return is that her Viper was in tip-top, production line shape, while she still had her tattoos and presumably her partial hysterectomy scar. The Starbuck thing is just too weird and too unprecendented to really consider.