The Elephant in the room: The big secrets

The conversation that didn’t happen:

Adama: So, Ellen, you have all your memories and you’re on the side of humanity. Tell us all the secrets, please.

Ellen: I can’t do that Bill.

Adama: Well what about Saul, can you tell them to Saul?

Ellen: If I did the audience would hear.

Adama: Frak the audience. Tell him in an offscreen scene!

Ellen: I still can’t, because if you knew all the secrets, your actions coming up would not make any sense. You wouldn’t be shocked when they are revealed.

Saul: Ellen, when Anders had his memories, he said it was crucial we stay with the fleet. Why?

Ellen: I’m trying to trick you into thinking I want to leave the fleet, so I can’t tell you.

Saul: OK, so now that the trick is over and you want to stay, what was the important reason he remembered? What’s the miracle? What’s the Angels?

Ellen: The audience is listening.

Cottle: So you have worked on Cylon brains before?

Ellen: Of course. We had to reactivate our organic memory transfer systems. And I’ve built them from scratch.

Cottle: So can you help Anders?

Ellen: No.

Saul: What about figuring out how he got his memories back and seeing if we can find a safe way to do it on us?

Ellen: Not time yet.

Saul: Aren’t we going to learn anything in this episode?

Ellen: Well, we learn I’m still a manipulator. And a nasty one. And Sam will get his brain back. And Baltar’s messenger is back too. And Bill has gone crazy, arming Baltar’s sex-cult. What’s up with that?

Saul: You know all the secrets. Don’t ask me.

Well, we do learn a few other things. Starbuck and Pianos. Leobens don’t seem to vote in Cylon votes any more. Hera and Liam don’t get to start the new race. They don’t forgive you if your implanted programming makes you shoot Adama even if you got shot back. But on the whole I can’t say this episode will go down in the annals of great ones.

I enjoyed about 5 seconds at

I enjoyed about 5 seconds at the beginning and end of the latest episode but the bit in between smacked of filler. I'm really disappointed as after the last episode set things up this one knocked things down again. There was no big reveal on the Final Five's secrets, the camera kept cutting to Adama moping around the joint, and Anders waking up was just another tune in next week cock tease. I agree, it's got to be one of the worst episodes so far. I'm pushed to think of an episode that was worse.

Not filler

Certainly not a remarkable episode, but a necessary one. This episode dealt with the fallout of the Ellen/Six/Tigh triangle that was inevitable once we learned Ellen was the 5th. We needed at least a full episode to digest this, as well as to show everyone's reaction to Ellen's return. This was purely a character driven episode.

Brad, you must be happy now, as I was, because Ellen was pretty much back to her old self. This tells me that THIS is who she really is, not the calm, mother figure from No Exit. That was just one side of her. It shows that the characters we know will NOT be erased completely once their cylon memories return. It shows that their personalities, at their core, are not fabricated, as you (and the rest of us) had figured after No Exit.

So, this wasn't a great episode, but it wasn't bad, and it was necessary to advance the story. It's what I like to call a 'transitional episode' as we now see the seeds of the future of a human/cylon society.

My biggest problem though was Galen voting to abandon the fleet-- this doesn't seem like him AT ALL and seemed like they only had him vote this way because they needed a vote count that would leave Ellen as the tie-breaker. Tyrol at least should've been torn about it, and have to have been convinced by Tory. Perhaps there are deleted scenes that show just that.

I can appreciate the

I can appreciate the connection bit. It just had too much stuff jammed in, felt a bit irrelvant, and came over as bit rushed. The plot points seemed mechanically driven and everything hung around that including, Baltar's renaissance, Ellen returning to form, and Galen acting out of character. It's like there were dots to join and they just drew a plotline with a ruler. Plot for the sake of plot. Drama for the sake of drama. If this is the shape of things to come I'm wondering whether the Battlestar Galactica will crack in half first or I will.

The trailer for next week shows Boomer is heing tried by the Cylons for treason. That was a WTF moment. Now Anders has decided to return from the dead we're supposed to have some big reveal next episode. The way things are going I'm just expecting more melodrama and a big let down. It's not much but would be one of the things they've manageed to pull off consistently this series. Perhaps some people won't agree or next episode will blow my socks off but we've been here before. I'll just to see what they deliver and take it from there.

Drama's sake

'Drama for the sake of Drama?' Well, what other sake is there? This is a drama, after all. What actually bothered me about previous episodes was the 'big reveal for the sake of a big reveal' and not because it upped the drama or was helpful to the narrative.

I think, for all it's un-spectacular-ness, this episode had a lot of great character moments. Even Baltar's story-- which is veering in a perplexing direction, i'll admit-- was quite enjoyable, and helped move Baltar along in the story more than previous episodes.

Personally I didn't feel the episode rushed, but I understand the feeling-- this whole season has felt that way to me. It seems to meander at times, and then suddenly speed along out of nowhere. Re-watching the show this past week has reminded me how good it was, but also how weak this entire season has been, even though i've enjoyed it. I think perhaps they set the bar too high in seasons 2 and 3, and there was no where to go but down. I still think the show was at its best when it had nothing to do with the overall mystery, but was about internal struggles. Season 4 has been mostly mystery-oriented, and the quality has slipped because of it.

Fair Comment

That's a rough but fair comment.

I commented on drama for the sake of drama because this episode reminded me of one of those soap operas women watch where they just turn the emotional screws. It doesn';t have to make sense, just feeeel the angst. I didn't need to watch Disco Lee and Starbuck dance the tango for nearly an entire series then watch Ellen Tigh turn from Earth Mother to screaming harlot. Ron wasted nearly an entire series on this "important" point then rushed it through like some schoolkid fumble. Heck, the retcon has been retconned. Oh, deary me.

I've seen some bad movies and acting. There was one with Martin Sheen (Roswell?) where he just arrived as a background presence through the movie, whipped his shades on and off, and gave some heavy duty pitch at the end. Adama walking around and moping at the Battlestar, slamming drinks back as he bangs his shoe on the desk, and throws a shower of pills at his mouth like dog treats is making up for some of the disasterous narrative but beginning to have more bizarre comedic value than anything else. It's so bad it's almost not funny.

The impression that was set for this series was there would be heavy action and some great mysteries resolved. I'm not sure confused and disappointed was their intent but that's where I'm at. Brad's analysis was a fair shake given the information we had available and isn't so much as turning out wrong but more of a what could have been in my mind. They've only got a few episodes left to salvage things and I can't see how it's possible. Maybe they'll end with a bang but I've heard that before.

Opera House

"this episode reminded me of one of those soap operas women watch where they just turn the emotional screws."

I've heard that complaint about this episode, and even the fears of it coming last week, and i'll be honest, it's an understandable sentiment. But really, with all the relationships, pregnancies, love and break-ups, the soap opera story has been going on for a long time, it's just now that we're seeing this particular one come to a head. Did anyone really expect Ellen to arrive and there NOT be a confrontation with Six over her affair with Tigh? The series has had soap opera elements from day one, just not all concentrated in one episode. They're typically spread out as subplots in most episodes.

"Adama walking around and moping at the Battlestar"

I can respect your opinion of this particular plot element, but I don't mind it. After Earth was revealed as a wasteland and their hopes for a future dashed, we've seen various characters deal with it in different ways. This is how he's coping.

"Brad's analysis was a fair shake given the information we had available and isn't so much as turning out wrong..."

I wonder if his analysis is more accurate than he thinks, but not in a way that we realize just yet.

Filler?

And if they totally glossed over the fact that Saul did it with Caprica Six, got her pregnant, and Ellen didn't have a human reaction thus contradicting all the stuff she said to Cavil, people would have complained that it was unrealistic.

Oh the Horribleness of it All

I agree that had to be one of the worst episodes of the BSG run. Last week we got such an information over-load and this week was , WTF? For a bio-neuro-cyber surgeon-programmer genius surgeon, Ellen certainly has a tad few psychological problems, doesn't she? Don't get the lady pissed or out the air lock you go! I hope the remaining episodes bring this extraordinary show to the fan fulfilling conclusion he deserves to have.

Favorite Episodes

So, a whole lot of people aren't happy with these recent episodes. What's your favorite episode and why?

Filler Queen

It's difficult to pick one out as they all blur into one. As much as Ron loves "33" and hates "Black Market", I hate "33" as a piece of contrived masturbation and love "Black Market" for having an edge of something real. There may be other good episodes but I've, mostly, found BSG to be better in its parts than whole. Then again, I suppose, it depends which end of the whiskey bottle you're looking down.

The weakest spot in Black Market was Disco Lee acting like some squeaky clean Rupert straight out of Sandhurst. He always seems a little miscast and never in the right place at the right time. The bright eyed knight in shining armour bit wears a bit thin after a while and distracts from the story. He wouldn't be the only putz that has gone looking for payback. Someone like Tyrol may have been a better choice.

Thankfully, this episode wasn't written by Jane Espenson.

The most important part of

The most important part of the episode is putting together the mystery of the Opera House and Head Six. If you go back and review, Head Six disappears in Escape Velocity when Saul starts sleeping with Caprica Six (presumably impregnating her). Head Six reappears after the baby starts dying (when Saul sleeps with Ellen). It tells us something very important, if one person from the Opera House vision is taken off the path, it throws everyone off.

Here is the question, is the Opera House trying to keep the cycle of destruction, and therefore Head Six and the cycle are the workings of an evil force in the universe, be they god, or just "the bad guys", or is the Opera House how the cycle is broken and Head Six is working to bring the cycle of destruction to an end?

Have fun with that.

Speaking of the opera house and sixes...

Now that Caprica Six has lost her unborn baby, will this renew the Sixes' covetous interest in Hera? It's probably significant that the opera house visions, which have generally involved a Six absconding with Hera, are mentioned in the same episode as Caprica's miscarriage.

What are you talking about?

I'm sorry, but what secrets? Ellen spilled all her beans last episode, and clearly filled in Adama during the opening credits. What's left to tell Adama that he'd actually be interested in? The only possible exception is if Baltar is actually Daniel, she might tell Bill (but might not to protect him), but I doubt that this is even the case.

What are the Leoban's supposed to be voting for? The voting was among the five and five only. The Sixes and Eights didn't vote either.

Healing Anders? It seems clear Ellen designed the 8 with the help of the others, and designed them as organic beings. Maybe the brain wasn't her thing (probably worked on genitals and livers). And really we don't know if they are grown or built. If grown, then there wouldn't be much she could do to fix his head other than to let it heal (which it is doing).

And after all the bitching that Ellen was too much a saint in No Exit, why no appreciation to see she is still the same person she always was? Way back in Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, Adama said something to the fact that Ellen and Saul bring out the worst in each other, so maybe the writers aren't as clueless on her character as critics want to think.

I understand the general disappointment in this episode - nothing nearly as exciting or big as the last 3 episodes - but this is an old argument. Great story arcs need maintenence episodes - shows to catch up with characters and plot lines, and to set up the storylines that will follow. We saw that in A Disquiet Follow My Soul, and everyone bitched, but it paid off handsomely in the next two episodes. Here the groundwork is laid down and clearly - the future is with humans and Cylons together. Characters like Adama will have their allegiances tested - Baltar got guns from Adama by appealing to his cylon prejudices. I'm betting that Baltar will play the role as the "last voice for humanity", the counterpart to cylon purist Cavil, while Starbuck, revealed as the first real hybrid, will stand as the voice for unity.
And these themes will play out in Boomer's trial, a character with allegiance to both cylon and human, yet has managed to betray both.

Backwards Rationalisation

After Brad chewed the carpet last time for us, he's having a go at THE FUNNY before he goes of to hug the nearest table leg and cry. I feel his pain.

BTW: Nice backwards rationalisation.

Does "backwards

Does "backwards rationalization" mean "I can't effectively refute the argument?"

Brains, brains

The team on “Earth” was about restoring download ability. That would involve two things. The first would be re-enabling the transmitter in their brains. I suppose it’s possible that transmitter has always been on, always transmitting to nothing for all those years. Next is rebuilding a receiver that stores the data, and then a tank to grow a body, and finally a system to transfer the stored mind into that body. We’re told that Galen was very important to the project but Ellen was responsible for the breakthrough.

The next project was doing this all for the colonial Cylons.

Anyway, these 5 are very skilled at this tech but Ellen was the best. But This part of her does not come through. But yes, it is worthwhile to see her old personality come through. It’s actually a bit more nasty, a bit more god-playing, since it is strongly implied that she is hoping/planning she will bring about a miscarriage; perhaps she even knows (see above) how fragile such a breeding will be. After all, she designed the 8 Cylons so that, unlike the Earth Cylons on whom they were based, they could not interbreed, and could only interbreed with humans and Earth cylons with sufficient love.

I wonder if the Earth cylons also had that rule, if that was part of the goals of their designer, to limit reproduction only with true love? An interesting form of birth control for a designed race! And thus her great resentment that she and Saul never had a child. In particular, I am going to bet (since we never really saw Saul show much love for Six) that it wasn’t Saul that didn’t love her enough, it was her fault.

Hmm, this might deserve a post of its own…

Now as for arming the cult of Baltar — this one boggles my mind. We have Adama, who barely can stand to stay in the room while Baltar talks, suddenly loving him so much to give big machine guns to his love slaves? This is obviously to set something up. Some wonder if it’s Baltar’s death at the hands of Paula. This would make me said. If Baltar is to die, I sort of wish it were for something other than his insincere prophet gig.

Oh, and as for spilling the beans, we got a scene where Adama asks Saul if he had new revelations to report. Saul says he has nothing. So he didn’t tell him (or the other 3) much yet. Perhaps she told Bill more. Her revelations are worldview changing and very important for Bill, who is trying to justify alliance with the Cylons. The knowledge that the Cylons were created in order to stop the war, that they were modified and duped by the Cavil model into the genocide, is huge news when it comes to accepting, and getting others to accept an alliance with the rebels.

Baltar is going down the

Baltar is going down the path of starting a religious war. There is the "One God" against the "Sons of Ares". It makes perfect sense given he is supposed to be an instrument of the "One God". Now that Head Six is back in the game you can be sure Baltar has no clue what kind of trouble he is actually causing.

The flaw here is that you

The flaw here is that you assume Ellen's breakthrough was scientific. I don't think Ellen was as important as you think in a technological sense. I think her discovery was something more on the emotional level.

RE: Arming Baltar

Why would Adama -- with Roslin and Lee's apparent agreement -- give Baltar's fringe faction lots of large guns? I know Adama hasn't been himself lately, but this seems like a bad idea.

Adama is having trouble maintaining order on the ship. He lost a lot of marines during the mutiny. If he doesn't get some sort of force that can keep the civilians under control, he will have to consider using Centurions from the base ship, and he fears a civilian insurrection if he did so. Baltar says that this is the last human solution, and Adama has to agree.

from http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2009/02/battles...

If you check the "survivor"

If you check the "survivor" numbers, about 100 people died over the course of the mutiny. 11 of those would have been members of the quorum, plus Gaeta and Zarek. So about 80-85 Galactica crewmembers were killed.

The civilians on the ship are starving, there is a renegade cult robbing them, and Baltar's cult is trying to feed and protect them.

Adama nearly lost the fleet over the Cylons.
He IS losing Roslin.
He is losing Galactica to the Cylons.
Earth was a disaster.
His best friend is a Cylon.

It's clear the guy has completely lost his bearings. They are at the dawning of a new age that he has no place in, and I think he knows it. His allies enemies have become his allies, and his allies his enemies. Given all that, why not give Baltar a shot (remember, he DID vote to acquit the guy).

Yes, I read that

And I still don’t see it. I think he would prefer doing some military justice (this is on board his battlestar after all) and just get the marines to find and airlock the sons of Aires for their food theft to send a message and to let Baltar’s crew have heavy weapons on board a spaceship. He just had a mutiny with civilians arming themselves.

Or if not out the airlock, at least off the ship and let another captain keep them in line.

Brad is fat as shit.

Brad is fat as shit.

Thanks for the productive

Thanks for the productive insight you have brought to the conversation.

You're welcome.

You're welcome.

Bad Endings and BSG

After a second terrible episode, I am getting the feeling this has happened before and will happen again. There is no good ending for Battlestar Galactica. The last time they tried it, they ended up with Galactica 1980. Ironically, in that terrible show, they first introduced humanoid Cylons. I know we are promised big explosions and lots of drama, but lets face it, it looks likely this will never be tied together neatly or given a satisfying ending. And Adama an alcoholic wandering around the ship besides himself over its aging and repair? This is a bad sign.

Adama is killing himself

Adama is killing himself because he can't live without Roslin. That isn't really hard to figure out. He knows she is dying, she knows she is dying. His drinking is a form of suicide and is part of what makes this whole yarn believable. I guess there is just no pleasing some people.

Portent of things to come

Yet another person judging the ending with 5+ hours of BSG still left. A lot can happen. Try not to pass too much judgement until it's complete.

Before VCR

It doesn't happen so much now but I remember back in the days before VCR you'd watch an awful movie in the hope it would get better and it never did. I'm not talking funny dud. I'm talking dud dud.

Why were promised action. Where's the action? We were promised resolved mysteries. Where's the resolved mysteries? As each episode arrives it's worse than the last. WTF narrative and an angsty background aren't "dark" they're just crap. There's some flashes of the old brilliance, like the raider coming in to approach and a brilliantly delivered line or two from Michael Hogan) Tigh but the rest doesn't rox my sox.

That's just the impression I as a member of the audience watching am left with. It could get better and end with a bang but we've been here before. I don't post in the BSG newsgroup but I've got more fun reading the comment in there and Brad's analysis than the actual programme. The next episode may be goor or it may not. We can deal with it when it arrives. Until then I'm taking it an episode at a time and squeezing what I can out of it.

What answers? Really?

What answers?

Really?

Really REALLY?

We found Earth. Learned the identity of the "not so final" Cylon. Discovered who created the humanoid cylons, the nature of the 13th tribe, why they heard the song, why Nicky wasn't half so important as Hera, the origin of the temple, the identity of Cylon 7, and what befell Earth. In addition, the storylines for Zarek, Gaeta, and Tigh/Caprica/Baby were wrapped up.

Other than that, no, I guess no answers will be given in the remaining five hours.

As for action, we had two episodes of mutiny,but they are saving as much money as they can for the final "episode" - Endgame (three hours, two parts), so I'm assuming it will feature plenty of action.

Bellcurve

'm tryng t wrk t f y'r sly plsd, r n wnd-p. Smn hs t b n th lw nd f th bllcrv. Btt, hy. Tht's shwbz.

Definately not on the low end of the bell curve

Which is why I don't need to have every last detail spelled out for me. I can do a lot of the math myself. Most of it isn't that hard if you understand the writers and where they are coming from.

RDM is clearly coming at this from a character and thematic view first. He's not so much worried about the science. Knowing that frames much of my expectations. Call me crazy, but for the most part I am willing to accept a story on the writer's terms, rather than pout because I am not getting the story I want.

Watchtower?

Wait-- when did they reveal the reason behind 'Watchtower?' I'll agree that most of the major mysteries have been resolved, but there's still a few (perhaps minor, depending on what satisfies you as a viewer) mysteries left to solve, such as:

Where/When/How did the cycle of time begin?
Where is the REAL Earth? Does it even exist in BSG?
Who is Daniel? Is he anyone important, or just another Cylon model that Cavil destroyed?
What exactly is Starbuck?

and the biggest one: Who are the head characters? They've been very integral to the direction of the show, guiding events in subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle ways.

And if i'm not mistaken, they did not reveal the reason behind the Watchtower trigger. I suppose we can guess that it was a failsafe installed by Anders for some reason, but they've still not mentioned exactly what it is. Again, for me, it's not really that important, but depending on what it takes to satisfy a viewer, it might be.

On that note, let's all be clear that every viewer has a different level of satisfaction. Some will be happy with big action and basic mysteries solved. Some need more. Still others need every detail worked out. Some want a specific outcome, or at least a specific type of outcome; some want it to be religious, others scientific. Some want these characters to be one thing and others something else.

In the end, the show will not satisfy all of it's viewers, just like anything else in this world.

Piano

I am wondering if there really is a piano in the bar.
Maybe Starbuck is hearing piano music just like the Four heard "All Along the Watchtower".
Maybe that tune is the trigger that will switch her (whatever she is) on.

Piano and Valley of Darkness

Someone suggested revisiting parts of Valley of Darkness, so I did. Helo and Starbuck break into her old apartment on Caprica. Once inside, Starbuck starts up a music player that runs on batteries. It's playing a mournful piano tune, and she visibly relaxes moments after the music begins. Scattered all over her apartment are painted canvases. There's all sorts of things painted on the wall, the most obvious of which is the Eye of Jupiter. Right next to the Eye is this text:

Methodically smoking my cigarette
with every breath
I breathe
? put the day
with every delicious
sip
I drink away the night
stroking my hair to
the beat of his heart
watching a boy
turn into a man

Then there's this exchange:

Helo: How the hell did you get power?
Kara: Batteries. Kept turning off the power. Something about not paying the bill.
Helo: That is definitely not you. (referring to the music)
Kara: It's my dad.

Then a few moments later Kara says:

Kara: Everyone I know is fighting to get back what they had. I'm fighting because I don't know how to do anything else.

I'm wondering if the piano play is (1) Kara's dad, and (2) a head character.

Metamorphosis

The piano piece playing in Kara's apartment is called Metamorphosis One (or is it Five?) - I wonder if the title is significant.

Are we done already?

Here we go again.

Okay, so Starbuck's the Final Final Final Cylon? Any more Final Cylons lurking around? I swore Ellen was poking around in a cupboard last episode. Do you think there's something she knows that she hasn't been telling anyone, or are we done?

She at least knows

Where the colony is with all her equipment. John knows too. She knows how to design a Cylon, and is part of a team that knows a great deal more. Plus a lot of whatever tech they had back on their Earth.

Metamorphosis

I found it on You Tube (it's Metamorphosis One), but I also found that the song is part of a soundtrack for the play of Franz Kafka's METAMORPHOSIS. It's about a traveling salesman who wakes one day to find that he has transformed into an insect.

Metamorphosis One

Lisa, Metamorphosis One is from the film "Thin Blue Line" (the repeated two-note theme is meant to depict the endless strings of interviews and testimonies).
Metamorphosis Three and Four were written for the Kafka play. (BTW all the Metamorphosis pieces can be found on Glass' album "Solo Piano").

So I don't think there is any connection to the actual subject of Kafka's novel, but I do think the piano piece called Metamorphosis may have been chosen for a reason - because of its title (and maybe for the repetitive nature of the same theme - "it's happened before, it will happen again"). It will be interesting to see if it gets used again in the remaining episodes.

Another thing that kind of makes me go "hmm..." is the fact that throughout the series the actual songs from real Earth musicians have been used only twice: Dylan's song to "switch on" the Four, and Glass' piano piece in connection with Kara's dad (and maybe Kara herself, it remains to be seen). I am pretty sure Bear could have written a great piano piece, so why use Glass' piece (which many people were bound to recognize straight away)?
It makes me wonder.

Bear can write an amazing

Bear can write an amazing piano piece. Baseship Theme Song....

Valley of Darkness Podcast

It might indeed have been chosen with no hint toward the play. Incidentally, I came across this transcript from the podcast during the scene in Kara's apartment:

"This is my favorite scene of the season and it's one of my favorite scenes of the entire series. I love this whole bit of texture that we go to Kara Thrace's apartment. I love the way the two actors react to it. Katee and Talmoh actually went in there on their own and did a lot of this painting on the walls and canvases. And Katee was very involved in what Starbuck's apartment would be like. I like the fact that she painted, and that she had this weird, bohemian existence that is antithetical in a lot of ways to what it is to be a fighter pilot in the military and that there is this other aspect of her.

"We've heard some not so great things about her mother. We've implied them in season one episodes. But then her father is a musician and plays piano, and that she still has his cassette tapes or discs and listens to them. In fact, this leather jacket that she's going to pick up in a minute and put on is supposed to be her father's jacket. It's mentioned in the script, it's not really mentioned in the dialog, it's just a bit of background texture on the character and tells you something about her. There's a mood about this scene. This scene doesn't move the plot forward, except in a tiny way later when they get the car keys. The character aspect of it, what it says about Kara Thrace, I think is fascinating. And there's something great about the fact that at the end of this scene, all they do is sit there and rest and take a break. Because these guys have been on the run pretty much since the pilot."

---RDM, source: Valley of Darkness podcast

The remaining questions

First I confess to poor wording on Watchtower. I should have wrote that we learned the origin of Watchtower, rather than why they heard it when they did. I suspect the "why" behind the trigger will be unveiled once we learn who was behind Starbuck's return (since the two events coincide perfectly). Most likely, whoever is the grand puppet master used a shared memory to bring the four together. Since we were promised that Starbuck would be explained, I expect this matter to be resolved soon.

As for the cycle of time, I don't think there is one. There is a cycle of events. Humans create technology (as we do) to relieve us our burdens. Continual improvement results in the eventual creation of AI, which gains self awareness and does not appreciate being used as slave labor. The AI rebels, there is war, there is devastation. Civilization has to be rebuilt, but along the way forgets the lessons of the past, and inevitably remakes the same mistakes with AI. It appears this happend with Kobol and the 13th tribe, the 13th tribe on Earth, and the Colonies and the Cylons. It may have happened prior to Kobol, depending on how the "we haven't really found Earth" theory plays out.

As for Daniel, there are a few possibilities. One, likely the least satisfying, is that he is what we have been told - a dead Cylon invented retroactively to fix the numbering incongruity in the 7 Cylons. Putting him in explains why 7 Cylons were numbered 1-8, and enriches Ellen and Cavil's backstory. This could be all there is to it, and to be fair the writers have not (I don't think) promised us anything more.

That said, I don't believe this to be the case, and neither do many fans. There are 4 popular theories:
1. Baltar is Daniel. I think this highly unlikely, as Ellen would recognize him and almost certainly would have sought him out upon returning to the fleet. However, if it is, we will know when they reveal what's up with the Head characters.
2. Daniel will be a character in Caprica, in which case, we know what we need for BSG, and will learn more in due time.
3. Daniel is Starbuck, who somehow got a sex change when Cavil screwed around with his recipe.
4. Daniel is Starbuck's father. This is the theory I favor, and one I favored for a long time once the mystery of the final cylon was introduced (I even nominated Dirk Benedict be cast in the role).

As for Real Earth, we only just found Fake Earth (which, based on the repeated and not so subtle use of the word "Centuri" instead of "Centurians" in No Exit, makes me believe that FE is indeed Alpha Centuri). If there is a RE, it will be the end point of the series, and thus not something we should expect to see quite yet.

What exactly is Starbuck? Five hours left, and the next one seems to promise dealing with Kara. Again, I think she'll end up being the hybrid child of Daniel (which would explain, at least, her "destiny", her paintings and visions, her mother's abuse, and why she's so damn good at everything).

And that leaves the Head Characters, Starbuck's viper (and her ressurection), the One God, the visions/Opera House and who/what triggered Watchtower. I suspect that these will all tie together - and given the time left it would be easiest if they do. Someone, or something, is pulling the strings, and that revelation would quickly and neatly tie together these points IF they have a sufficient explanation for who/what the Grand String Puller is. Any speculation as to the GSP's identity or nature would be pure conjecture at this point (a highly evolved human and/or AI from Real Earth?) so I really would rather not make a prediction (even if I just did), but I think the success of the story will depend greatly on this revelation.

Don't get me wrong. I am not completely sold that they have this all worked out. But I think if I can put together plausible, minimally convoluted scenarios, they should be able to do so as well. If we do not find a Real Earth, do not find that this is in the Far Future (rather than the Distant Past), get told Starbuck and Baltar are yet another Cylon model, don't get the visions explained, etc, etc, the odds are very good that I will be sorely disappointed.

However, I refuse to be disappointed in a lack of answers until the time to give those answers has expired (and I consider that to be the last ep of the series - I would consider leaving any big questions for Caprica or telefilms to be dirty pool).

yeah, well, it's a TV show

... I laughed out loud during last week's episode when Anders was about to get operated on, and he'd been spilling the beans apparently for 30 MINUTES, but he's rushing all the vital stuff out at the end just before he has to go into the operating room.

It's like the old joke:

Q: Why didn't Darth Vader kill Luke when had the chance?
A: Because then there'd be no movie.

Compromise

I remember watching Kindergarten Cop at the cinema. The first 10 minutes was cool then it got into all that story and kid stuff. I was, like, here's a great action movie. Let's wrap it up and show what happens after everyone punches out. What would John Cavil, the evil super genius do after he's nuked them into smithereens? Grow flowers? Write a blog? It doesn't seem to have the same edge. Okay, so we could, sort of like, PRETEND to destroy and take over everything but it's a bit empty and looks daft. People might talk. I guess, it's a compromise.

Did you ever read I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream?

*SPOILER WARNING*

The story is about an AI named AM that, SkyNet like*, starts a nuclear war an wipes out all of humanity save for five people. AM's hatred of humanity is such that it will not let the last five die, making them immortal so that they may be tortured for eternity. Cavil may lack AM's omnipotence, but they do share a great deal of programming.

*IHNMAIMS predates Terminator by about 15 years

The R&D logo in

this episode was awesome!

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His name is Brad Templeton. You figure it out.
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