Islanded in a Stream of Stars

This episode doesn’t inspire to many thoughts right away, but I need a comment thread. :-)

Some good dramatic moments of course. With only a single (3 hour, split into 2 parts) episode to go, some minor characters are getting their final scenes. It had not occurred to me that Baltar and Caprica Six had not seen one another since he was captured on the algae planet. Some emotion about others was a rare show for Baltar, but the old asshole Baltar made his way back to the surface quickly. I can’t say I’ve been pleased with Baltar’s 4th season arc. In fact, the main thing interesting about him now is the Six in his head, for her mystery is one of the big mysteries we’re about to see unfolded. It was good to see a strong contrast between head Six and Caprica Six, as many people have been under the mistaken impression that they are connected. But Baltar tells us that the Angels take the form of those close to you.

Strong intimations that Galactica will make a valiant last attack, possibly on the Cylon base. Cavil seems to have a highly operational and large facility there, and it was cool to get a glimpse of it, but it’s too much for the Galactica and crippled base ship to take on ordinarily — but this is the climax of a story. (One way that works would be to free the Centurions.)

Boomer’s tears remain a mystery. We now see that had Boomer had success at convincing Tyrol to “come with her” she would have had to chain him up or drug him for the long many-jump flight. A tall order as he has Cylon strength, too. But it seems a betrayal of Cavil (no doubt with Boomer’s death) is in order. There are so many characters who might be a suitable killer of Cavil, though, including of course the Centurions.

Is Galen hiding? He has reason to hide, but they didn’t use him at all this episode, in spite of having a few confabs of the other three. Of course he is to blame for the over 60 deaths and the destruction in Galactica. You would think he might be hiding out on the base ship. Update: He’s apparently in the brig, via deleted scene.

The quick abandonment of the switch for Hera seems odd, and of course false as they are surely going after her next week. In particular, that Cylon base looks like it’s a fairly permanent establishment, in which case, unlike the vacated Colony, the rebel Cylons know where it is, or at least some places to look. (Update: It apparently is the Colony, so we can’t be sure how they find it. Perhaps it comes to them.)

Simon and Doral

We have seen little of them, of course. But while they are on Cavil’s side, they are his dupes as well, unaware of the Final Five, sticking to the programming he gave them not to think of their makers.

But Ellen tells us that all these millions of Cylons are her children. Even John, but certainly Simon and Doral. Can she participate in an attack to kill them permanently. They are also the future of their race.

Hera though, isn’t the whole future of the race. She shows that breeding is possible, if difficult. And there’s no sign that Tory, Saul and Galen can’t have kids with humans (or other Cylons.) Even Anders could be a sperm donor to a human woman, I suspect. (The “love” theory is, according to Espenson, not really true.)

Mysteries

There’s lots of hope for the species without Hera, but the OTG (One true god/string-puller) is of course quite interested in her, so her story will be told in the finale.

But there does not seem to be time to tell a lot of other stories. I had hoped we might see more exploration of the Lords of Kobol, but if we do, it will be brief, and related to the OTG’s story.

The notes, it seems, are going to get another role. Will they turn into jump coordinates? A programming backdoor? A real star map (with colours) as Starbuck first thought they were?

Many leaks have shown this final episode (pair) will have a number of flashback scenes, closing out some personal mysteries but leaving less time for the larger plot mysteries.

A Real Earth or no?

Hope dwindles for a real Earth of any kind, past or future. It’s too big a thing to truly cover, so if it appears it will be as something short at the end, akin to the Taylor on the beach with the Statue of Liberty scene. Of course there are many rumours and a photo circulating relating to this. We’ll see what they mean. It was already pretty clear we would not return to the 13th colony Earth in the show (since they left an expensive guest star who we know does not reappear there) and that has to make you wonder. Fans will be rightly upset if that’s “all the Earth” they get in the show. But they might end up upset. Certainly Espenson’s comments about human origins being on Kobol suggests we will get no more. But Ron Moore’s comments about why he used All Along the Watchtower certainly declared a stronger connection.

The local star patterns that Michael Hall tracked so diligently look more and more like mistakes by the post-production department. They have shown up in the Ionian Nebula, and on long jumps away from it. That can’t be — there’s no Nova/Supernova remnant here, nor will there be in the foreseeable future, and besides, stars won’t remain the same after any sort of major jump.

One of the great flaws of the 1978 show was its complete ignorance of the geometry of space. This was one of the things that Moore really said he wanted to fix in his reimagining, and they generally did, up to season 4. It’s a shame that the post-production dept. many have just been casually inserting local stars without rhyme or reason — everywhere but on the 13th colony “Earth.”

Other questions

  • Will the others get their memories back? The hybrid tank might work. But this would rewrite their characters and there isn’t enough time for that.
  • What is the truth of the opera house?
  • Will Baltar get a satisfactory ending? What’s going to happen with all the guns he was given? Will it be meaningful that a Hybrid called him the chosen one?
  • What was the reason for the Ionian Nebula detour with power outage, Cylon awakening, Raider ID of Anders etc.? Why did the OTG drag them 13,000 light years away to do that?
  • Will we, in general, find a satisfying reason for the convoluted course they have taken? Other than, “to make the trip longer.”

On some of these, we may not know the truth. The main things we seem sure to learn about are Hera, the OTG and head beings, and Starbuck.

Explanations

This worries me. With so many complex plot threads left to be resolved, I feel the only way they can get them out of the way and still tell a story is to do the 'revelation dump' like in No Exit and just have someone come right out and tell the audience.

This has been my problem with 4.5. The episodes themselves are fine, but with the exception of the 5th cylon, they've saved every major revelation for 'Daybreak'. As it is, people are disappointed in perfectly good episodes because they've been promised answers and they aren't getting them.

I don't see them having a

I don't see them having a problem explaining everything. What is really left to explain?

- What is Starbuck?
- Opera House?
- Head people?
- Home?

That really isn't that much.

Questions to answer

There are more:

  • Who or what is the string puller (the head people are just part of this) and why has it done what it did
  • Hera
  • Redemption or death for Baltar
  • The guns given to Baltar’s Cult
  • Sam’s fate (probably crashes Galactica into Cavil’s ship)
  • Cavil’s downfall
  • Roslin’s death
  • The Cycle and why this time it repeats, or is broken.

Things I would like to see, but probably won’t include

  • The Lords of Kobol. What were they? Where did they go?
  • Lee’s fate
  • Fate of the Final Five, notably Saul and Galen
  • Death or redemption for Boomer
  • If we see real Earth, a bit more on the prior or resulting history

What is to say the Head

What is to say the Head people are not the string pullers? Because you don't like that idea? I hardly see any reason why they can't be in control, or at the very least make their own interpretations about what their supposed god wants.

Hera and the Opera House are the same story.

Baltar's end is tied to the Head people story.

Sam's fate is tied to the Starbuck story.

Cavil's downfall will tie into the home story.

Roslin's death. Ok I will give you that one.

The cycle is ties to every story on the show. The ultimate resolution of the show is the cycle itself. All the pieces matter in regards to the cycle.

Head people and string pullers

Rather than not liking the idea, it is the main idea I have been advocating for some time. Of course the head people are the result of the hidden god/string puller. I find it hard to see it any other way. However, the head people are just a tiny part of this being’s various actions and agenda, and it is this long agenda which is hard to wrap up nicely in the time available.

Yes, all these things are tied together, but the 7 regular characters (and several of the guest star characters, notably Saul, Galen and possibly Helo) deserve somewhat personal endings for their stories. Death, redemption, triumph or failure of some sort, or a sailing off into the sunset.

But Baltar in particular. He was almost the main character for seasons 1-2, and bits of season 3. Now he’s fading away in prominence, didn’t even appear the week before.

I think Sam’s fate is tied to Galactica now (and the 5) not to Starbuck at all.

My point exactly.

It may only be a short list, but what I don't want is another episode like No Exit where it's just one character rattling off a list of explanations. I'd like the revelations to flow naturally out of the story.

And Characters!

Let's not forget we have many many character archs to wrap up. What happens to Baltar? Boomer? The Final Five? Does Roslin die or end up with Adama in their dream house? Each character has a story, and they've wrapped up some (Dualla, Felix, Zarek-- i think i'm seeing a trend here), there's still dozens left to resolve on top of the mysteries and story.

There will be characters

There will be characters whose conclusion is died in x battle, or colonized y planet. Some people are not going to be unique snowflakes. Nor should it be expected.

That might be intentional

However, the head people are just a tiny part of this being’s various actions and agenda, and it is this long agenda which is hard to wrap up nicely in the time available.

This long agenda and the full nature of the string-puller will probably remain shadowy, but that might be a deliberate dramatic choice on the part of the writers. Not spelling it out could leave the string-puller open to either supernatural or naturalistic interpretation, depending on the characters' predilections for interpreting reality. The tension between religious vs. nonreligious worldviews has been a recurring theme throughout the show, so I will not be surprised if some of these ultimate mysteries are only partially resolved.

Now, whether that is satisfying will no doubt vary person to person.

Aurora

To this list I would add -- Why do they keep associating Aurora with Starbuck? Since she's the goddess of the dawn, she has to have something to do with the new beginning.

It would ruin the whole

It would ruin the whole show. Unfortunately, this is what I see happening.

predictions about the end...

The end is going to leave a lot of unanswered questions, unless the next two episodes provide significantly more detail and move at a significantly faster pace than the prior episodes of season 4.5.

And I just don't see that happening.

I believe this is why the writers decided to do that after-series movie "The Plan" and this supposed Final Five comic series. They knew they were not going to be able to cover it all, and many of the nitty gritty left unanswered will presumably be explained there.

It's actually a tribute to the writers that they recognized this and didn't try to cram everything in to the last episode.

Nevertheless, the big question is what does get answered by the end of the show?

A few thoughts/predictions...

1. They find the promised land and it will be our earth.

I believe that the string puller is leading them to the promised land but wants both the humans and the cylons to go through a "cleansing" that brings them together, unites them as one, and breaks the cycle of human-machine violence. This is ultimately why everything that's happened has happened. It's a Wizard of Oz type approach -- they've always had the ability to find the real earth, but finding the "promised land" has more to do with breaking the cycle than finding an actual planet.

2. Roslin, Adama, Galactica, and possibly others will die.

This is the big generational flip, a major theme of the show, and I just can't see the series ending with any of these three still alive, plus some others for dramatic effect (Cottle? Tigh? Lee? Helo? One or more of the cylon models?)

3. Baltar will have a major role in the end and he will be a changed man.

The foreshadowing thus far, especially his interaction with Caprica Six in this last episode, seems to indicate that Baltar will at last undergo some kind of change from shallow con man to morally sound leader. A wild guess, but I suspect that it's him, and not Lee Adama, who ends up becoming the next "leader" of the human and cylon survivors. After all, he's the chosen one... He also will sleep with every last female on the show that he hasn't yet sweet talked into bed.

4. Starbuck will save the day and lead them to the promised land.

No big surprise here... The real question is how. The song seems to be the key, and I suspect she figures it out with Anders' help.

I would guess it unveils what she thinks is the path to the promised land, which turns out to be the cylon colony, which turns out to be where the real earth is...

5. The cylon colony is where the real earth is, only no one will be able to see it until the very end.

The evidence for this is dwindling, especially in light of the star maps being no help. But I still subscribe to the theory that none of the humans or cylons can "see" the real earth. The string-puller is behind this, and if it can keep the humans from seeing the real earth, then we have some strong evidence that the humans are not really humans at all, but machine successors to the original human race, ala what's been discussed here. This means that the real earth they find is our earth, but far into the future.

Just having a little fun...

Earth as the cylon home world

I like your predictions, they are fun but they also seem grounded in clues from the show and what would make dramatic sense (which isn't to say it's the only ending that could work, of course).

#5 is interesting. In past posts Brad (and/or maybe others) has speculated that Cavil has been knowingly hiding out in our solar system all this time. Granted, this speculation was centered around displayed star patterns now believed to be arbitrary instead of intentional, but even without that we've been teased with a Jovian gas giant before. If Cavil is indeed based in our neighborhood, his being here would make simple sense if the Cylon homeworld is in fact our Earth.

I know Brad has almost abandoned hope that our Earth will even show up, but if it does, having it be the current Cylon home world would be kind of twisted and fun.

The Plan

"It's actually a tribute to the writers that they recognized this and didn't try to cram everything in to the last episode."

Who's to say they won't? It doesn't finish airing for another three weeks. I hope you're right though. Not only would it make for a better finale, but give viewers more of an incentive to tune in to the movie. To bad it couldn't be theatrical.

Islanded

(Update: It apparently is the Colony, so we can’t be sure how they find it. Perhaps it comes to them.)

I'm wondering now if the Colony is the Opera House and that Six somehow with Baltar might actually rescue Hera from Cavil's clutches. I'm still hung up on thinking Cavil is being inconsistent with his interest in Hera. After his speech about wanting to "smell dark matter" any corporeal solution seems, well, not a solution. Hera will never be able to break out of her corporeal body and never be able to do the things Cavil craves to do. It seemed much more in character for Cavil to simply use her as a bargaining chip to get the Five to rebuild resurrection. That would buy him more time to figure out how to obtain his personal goals that he feels cheated out of.

But there does not seem to be time to tell a lot of other stories. I had hoped we might see more exploration of the Lords of Kobol, but if we do, it will be brief, and related to the OTG’s story.

Since it doesn't make sense to insert a new uber-being now and we know there will be no aliens, I have thought for a while that the Kobolians would make a reappearance and would be responsible for the head characters. I even thought that they might not all be in agreement and could have been working at cross-purposes, but we're running out of time with a whole lot of story left to tell, so who knows.

It's not Jupiter

In the (belated) podcast for this episode, Ron Moore declares that the gas giant is not Jupiter. Just FYI.

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