More reflection on Razor has led to more thinking about the Cylon god, who I believe is closely tied to the prototype Hybrid we saw in Razor. Indeed that Hybrid may well be an incarnation or copy of the Cylon god. I posted a few days ago about his Starbuck prophecy but decided it was time to detail a bit more of the thinking about this very important character.
Update: the writer’s meeting podcast suggests that the Hybrid is not the Cylon god, but is in constant communication with him, and is worshipped as a god by the Guardians. Guess I didn’t get that one quite right.
For much of the show, the Cylons have spoken of their god the way Christians speak of theirs. They are monotheists, while the colonials are polytheists. The Cylons acknowledge the reality of the Lords of Kobol, but state that the colonials don’t know the real truth about them, and that they are false gods. But like the Lords of Kobol, the Cylon god may be a being with a real physical existence. Not so much a “God” like the one of the New Testament, but a “god” — a super-intelligent, super-powerful being who was involved in the creation of the Cylons, and perhaps more. However, this god might still be subject to the laws of the universe, and not supernatural as a typical religious god is. Science Fiction has often included natural gods. I particularly enjoyed the term Vernor Vinge used in A Fire Upon the Deep — “Applied theology.” In this novel, the “gods” were beings so smart they could understand a human mind the way we understand a calculator — able to build it, predict what it will do, rebuild it, invent it from scratch. Very much as we have thought of gods, but not supernatural.
The Cylon god (or something acting in that role) is certainly real, whether he’s supernatural or physical. There are various clues about that…
- The oracle Dedonna Selloi relays a message to #3 from the Cylon god about Hera, and the message is accurate.
- The Hybrids, said to have a channel to the Cylon god, “know stuff” like Baltar being the chosen one, and that they should seek the Eye of Jupiter at the Algae planet.
- Baltar, in The Hand of God, just guesses where to attack, and is right. He got the knowledge from somewhere. His inner #6 also knows things she and Baltar should not, like that they will find Kobol.
- If he’s not the Cylon god, the First hybrid certainly knows some impressive stuff. He claims at least, to have seen all the details of Kendra’s life, and the things she needs to atone for. He knows all about The Destiny of Starbuck, more than we’ve been told before. He’s getting this from somewhere. He’s also able to project an image into young Bill Adama.
- Some being is behind all the highly accurate visions that people receive. These aren’t imaginary hallucinations. And ordinary colonial humans are able to receive them.
- #3 (D’Anna) refers to him as “the one who programmed us” before she is Boxed. No, it wasn’t the colonials who programmed these Cylons, it was somebody else.
Now all the above could be the actions of the powerful Final Five. But it’s pretty clear that the Final Five are also the Five Priests of the Temple of Five. After all, they are the 5 figures we see in the Temple, and in the Kobol Opera House in visions. And we know that these five priests worshiped a god, one whose “name must not be spoken.” Who else could it be? And a deleted scene from the DVDs has Elosha declare that in the old days of Kobol, there was a jealous god who wanted to be elevated above all the other gods. Certainly sounds like our man.
So if the Cylon god is a real character, where is he from, and is the First Hybrid some form of him? Like Cylons, I suspect he can exist in many copies/forms/incarnations. So this hybrid need not be all that he is. But the Hybrid says, “my children believe I am a god.” and this is not an idle claim. But who are his children? The old-style guardians were not made by him. And, by reports they were much more logical, rational and robotic than the emotional, religious biological Cylons who appear to be his successors, though not directly made from him. But he also calls Kendra “my child” and offers her forgiveness.
Of course, he never explicitly confirms he’s a god. When asked, he instead speaks about how he’s seen all of Kendra’s life and sins. That’s sort of an answer, an answer only a god could give, but it’s quite possible that he can be the one the Cylons think is a god, without thinking that he is a god himself.
Particularly telling is that the new “Season 4 Sneak Peek” on the DVD has RDM tell us that the scene with the Hybrid, and his prophecy about Starbuck, were the whole reason for Razor’s existence. Pay attention to this scene, it says. This is backed up by the fact that the line “My children believe I am a god” is used as a voice-over, while we see the vision sequence in the Kobol opera house featuring Baltar, Hera, Six, Roslin and the glowing Final Five. To me the use of this line in the preview says “here’s the stuff you should be thinking about as you go into Season 4” and pretty much discounts the idea that this is just the ravings of a mad half-machine. He is indeed a god, and he’s connected to the Final Five and ancient Kobol. He’s very interested in the “cycle of time” theme as well.
It’s also worth noting that he says that his existence will soon come to an end, “only to begin anew, in ways uncertain.” Another line that surely means a lot, and it means we haven’t seen the last of him. (And not, if fan reaction is any measure, of the classic Cylons who guarded him.) This may mean he’s able to download, or it may refer to his access to something even more sophisticated, as a copy of the cylon god. After all, he seems to be almost all-seeing if he was able to track the details of Kendra’s life. And his associates seem to have tracked Starbuck’s life too, and the fleet.
Up to this point, everything I have reasoned is based directly on things we see in the show. Let me get more speculative.
How might this be? Well, as you may know if you have read other posts in this blog as well as the master theory, that I think the colonials are artificial beings just like the Cylons are, but they are programmed to think they are human. If this is true, it readily explains how the gods who made them (Lords of Kobol and Cylon god) have access to their minds and memories, including the ability to project visions and give them compulsions. It also explains why the colonials can’t tell themselves from Cylons, and how colonials and Cylons can interbreed, because there actually is no difference, and they are overtly blinded to things which disclose their artificial nature.
What sort of being would this Cylon god be? He’s a very advanced AI (artificial intelligence) behind the scenes pulling strings. He may be the only one, or more likely he’s part of a group — the Lords of Kobol. He may have triggered the original metal Cylons to try creating a hybrid man/machine, and he put a copy of his mind into it to guide them. He may not be on their side, indeed beings at this level will have a very different concept of “sides” than the lesser beings have. As an AI, he can be copied and exist in several forms.
And he, and the other lords, are probably beings from humanity’s home planet. Not Kobol, of course, but Earth. It is on this planet that the cycle that has happened before and will happen again first took place. Where humans created AIs, who rebelled.
The whole Battlestar Galactica Analysis Blog