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The story of the BSG god. (Gog)

As is obvious to any reader here, I was quite disappointed with the god-did-it ending of BSG. However, we’ll need to examine this god a bit more because in some way, it’s the only other character, besides Young Bill Adama, who we will see in the upcoming Caprica series.

The god appears to some extent, as an underground monotheist cult exists and 2 of the 3 initial Cylons are patterned after its members. It has to be assumed it is from here the Cylons got their own monotheist religion.

The first question concerns whether the monotheist religion is indeed related to the Gog (God of Galactica). Did Gog appear to its founders, or is this simply a human-invented religion that hits upon something true by accident.

The second question is just who is Gog, and how does it relate to the Lords of Kobol? Moore’s podcast comments say that on Kobol, man lived with the gods, and then became like gods when they created their own artificial life (the 13th tribe Cylons.) So the Lords of Kobol were real, and lived with humans. How does this make sense in the context of Gog? Is Gog one of the Lords of Kobol, or does it predate them? If so, why did it tolerate them and who were they?

Gog has at least two angels who are independent beings, who I will call H6 and HB. Possibly more than 2. We don’t know if Kara’s Leoben and her father were manifestions of those two. Likewise Roslin’s Elosha, of the Final Five’s messengers. If the messengers were independent, it seems there are at least 5 of them. These angels appear to be mostly incorporeal and immortal. They talk about Gog as a distinct being, but also as a force of nature. However, Gog has likes and dislikes, and a plan for both humanity and individual humans.

For a long time I was supposing that Gog was a very advanced A.I., as were the Lords of Kobol. However, it’s meant to be supernatural. It is a big strange to have a story where there are both false gods, who exist (the Lords of Kobol) and a real god as well.

Gog is described as beyond good and evil, a force of nature. It certainly moves in strange and mysterious ways. For most of Kobol, colonial and 13th colony history, Gog allowed the polytheist worship of the Lords of Kobol to thrive. We are told that in “Caprica” the story involves a banned monotheist cult, from which the first Cylons arise, thus giving them their religion. But prior to this, if there has been monotheism, it is not very common. The Final Five were polytheists. Kobol was openly polytheist, and the gods lived with the humans. Baltar was rather taken aback by H6’s preaching about Gog.

H6 is not a cylon of course, but appears to Baltar as one. The god she preaches about appears to be the Cylon god but we can’t be completely sure of that. She is in touch with the real thing. Yet the Cylons who speak of god believe that it was god’s will that they destroy their “creators.” Did that come to them from Gog, or is it a result of the way Cavil reprogrammed them to forget about their actual creators and upbringing. The Cylons see the Final Five in the space between life and death — is this a repressed memory, or is this something Gog sends them? We presume that Gog is the master of the space between life and death, and Gog is the one who called Starbuck into it.

Gog is highly interventionist when it suits it. It may have triggered the Cylon destruction of the colonies. It certainly allowed it to happen. Gog speaks directly to various characters to make them do things. When a being of this level whispers in your brain, it does so knowing exactly how you will react and what you will do, and says the right things to attain the desired results. A god whispering in your brain is like the control a computer programmer has over a program, or the ability of an owner to trick a pet.

Gog may or may not know the future. The angels H6 and HB don’t appear to know it, other than what they are told by Gog. Gog sends a vision of the Opera House chase to various characters. Is this knowledge of the future, or a vision that Gog plans to bring about? Is Gog outside of time and watching its plan unfold, or is Gog making its plan unfold? If so, it’s making rather fine-tuned control, orchestrating the final confrontation, making sure the F5 will be up on the balcony and so on.

Let’s look at some of the things in Gog’s plan

  • Billions of years earlier, breeding two planetfuls of life with genetically identical humans.
  • It probably inspired the sacred scrolls.
  • It knew of the war on Earth-1 and sent the angels to the final five. It must have put the song into Anders’ head, including an opening line which, when translated to numbers, will be jump coordinates for use 2,000 years in the future from the singularity to the Moon.
  • It modified the Temple of Hopes to be the Temple of Five, a chamber where the Final Five could be seen when the star explodes.
  • It presumably timed the arrival of the Final Five to the first Cylon war.
  • If behind the monotheism, it’s also behind the rise of the Cylons on Caprica and what personalities were uploaded into them.
  • The placing of Tigh and Tyrol on Galactica, and of Foster and Roslin there at the start of the war.
  • It put the song with Earth’s coordinates into the head of Starbuck’s father, and various compulsions into her brain, such as the mandala.
  • It was probably behind the destruction of the colonies. And the survival of the Pegasus, and of course the Galactica.
  • It manipulated Baltar in all sorts of strange ways, causing him to act strangely, sometimes helping the Cylon cause, sometimes the human. A rewatch is necessary to get a list of all the things H6 manipulated Baltar to do.
  • It probably put in Shelley Godfrey to cause Baltar to be suspected and then cleared.
  • It made sure Baltar would keep his Cylon detector results secret. (When Boomer is figured, H6 scares him into keeping it quiet.)
  • It arranged for a nuke for Gina, and for Baltar’s election, and thus for the halting of the tribes on New Caprica
  • It probably arranged the jump glitch which found New Caprica, and the Cylon detection of Gina’s nuke.
  • It arranged for the Cylons to recapture Hera, sending a message to an Oracle.
  • It probably arranged the circumstances where Ellen would die and be recreated.
  • It talks regularly to the Cylon ship hybrids and the first hybrid to manipulate their activities.
  • Likewise it appears to talk to oracles from time to time.
  • It contaminated the food to force the fleet to the Algae planet.
  • It arranged the meeting of the forces at the Algae Planet. Did Three’s activation go with Gog’s plan or against it?
  • It exploded the star at the Algae planet, or timed the meeting perfectly to match it. Now that’s interventionist!
  • It gave compulsions to Starbuck to kill herself, which she did.
  • It then planted Starbuck’s dead body and Viper on Earth
  • It then created a brand new Viper and put Starbuck in it, over Earth
  • It probably directed the Cylons to the Ionian Nebula, as it planted clues to send the fleet there.
  • It probably disabled the fleet at the Ionian Nebula, to force the battle, recognition of Anders and Cylon civil war.
  • It gave various visions to Roslin and Sharon and Hera, as well as the regular ones to Baltar and Six.
  • It put the music into the heads of the final five at the Ionian Nebula, and then let them remember they were Cylons.
  • It teleported angel-Starbuck to the Ionian Nebula, with compulsions in her head about finding Earth.
  • It probably lead Leoben to Starbuck, and Starbuck to the region of space with Leoben.
  • During the standoff, it compelled the Final Five to check out the Viper. It made the Viper show a tracking signal for the crashed original Viper on Earth
  • On Earth, it made the Final Five regain a few more memories.
  • From there, a long series of events were necessary to create the Opera House scene including:
    • Sam getting shot, regaining memories and then becoming like a Hybrid who can be hooked into Galactica on the balcony.
    • Boomer’s return of Ellen and capture of Hera
    • Raid on the Colony
    • Various tactical elements of raid on colony leading to standoff in the CIC.
    • Circumstances where Starbuck has to program an escape jump
  • The abandonment of technology, and interbreeding
  • The complete loss of Colonial culture and knowledge.
  • All of modern Earth history.
  • Further repeats of the cycle, until one day some civilization breaks it after enough repetitions. That too is part of god’s plan.
  • Once our Earth arises with dominant monotheism, it no longer likes to be called god.

That’s a lot of intervention and complexity if you consider the result: All colonial civilization and knowledge is lost, and all that remains is a bit of synthetic DNA from Hera/Athena present in the gene pool on our Earth. The same could happen just by teleporting Hera and some others directly here.

Gog certainly does work in strange and mysterious ways.

Or rather, the writers do. For they did not have most of this plan laid out in advance. Yet everything on the list, and in some way everything that happens because of it, is a result of the intervention of Gog and its angels. And this lays out another reason why you don’t want real gods in your fiction. It’s too much. In some sense it’s everything in the show. No longer a result of our characters and their natures and motivations, but the result of divine intervention. But if I wanted to see “Touched by an Angel” I would watch that. I prefer a drama where the characters have some control over their destiny, if they have a destiny at all.