The big confirmation in Faith was the line from the Hybrid: “The missing 3 will give you the 5 from the home of the 13th.” While there is still some potential in the minds of some viewers that the 13th will turn out to be something other than the “13th tribe” this seems to confirm what other clues have been saying for quite some time in the show: The Final Five are from Earth.
While this was not news to readers of this blog, I did find it a bit interesting that she referred to the “home of the 13th” because it remains my contention that there never was a 13th tribe. That “the 13th tribe” is really a mythologized name for the people of the homeworld, who never were a tribe, per se. But since the scrolls wish to hide the true story and the origin of the Kobolians, the authors gave them the name of a tribe and a story. And indeed, since the 12 tribes all have names from the Earth zodiac, and the supposed 13th tribe “left” for Earth 2,000 years before the exodus from Kobol, this makes a lot of sense. If the 13th tribe existed and had a name, it is not from the zodiac (No, Ophiuchus doesn’t count) and it’s really the first tribe. But you can’t call them that without leaking the truth.
However, the Hybrid’s use of “the 13th” suggests perhaps more reality for this tribe. It’s possible there was a tribe of Kobolians who did a return expedition to Earth, though I am not quite sure what that explains in the plot. We could have the Final Five being from Earth in several ways. They could have originated in a repopulated Earth, for example.
However, the plot that makes the most sense has the Final Five originating on the real Earth, some time in the not too distant future, and playing a part in the 3 cycles of human/AI war, exodus and resettlement.
In fact, while I did not suggest it seriously at first, I considered it a cute plot point to suggest the Final Five were in fact once ordinary humans who came of age in the late 20th century and then uploaded into machine form some time in the 21st. And as 20th century humans, they could have found that “All Along the Watchtower” was a favourite song of the group, and thus programmed it to be the “wakeup song” used when it is time to make sleeper copies of themselves, planted among the regular humans, become aware of what they are.
When Bear McCreary, music director for BSG was asked about this, he said that no, the song was not supposed to be the “real” AATW from Earth, it was just a song used in the show, which of course like all other songs in the show is from our real world. However, Ron Moore took a different take, saying the song is indeed intended to demonstrate a connection between the characters and the real Earth. If so, then my explanation of 20th century uploaded humans makes an interesting sort of sense.
We’ve also seen Starbuck was in an exploding viper, then taken to Earth in a new one, where she took pictures, and then returned to Galactica after receiving visions that turned out to be of the scene of the Cylon civil war. (I was pleased that the gas giant and triple star did not turn out to be Jupiter/Saturn and Alpha Centauri, because such choices made little scientific sense.)
With the Final Five being from Earth, and Starbuck taken to Earth, it implies that the Final Five, or their boss the Cylon god, are the ones who took Starbuck to Earth. (Not the Final 5 copies on board the fleet, of course, but other copies aware of who they are.)
And we have also learned how the 7 Cylons have programming about the Final Five — to not think of them — and that the raiders have programming to obey a command from the Final Five (Anders) to call off the attack. (Or possibly, but less likely, to call of the attack on any detection of any signal from a final five member.)
In other words, more and more confirmation that the Final Five, or their God, were the ones who programmed the 7 Cylons. The programming is so strong that the attempt to bypass it after the Raiders reported on the presence of an F5 member resulted in a massive and costly civil war. It’s serious stuff.
This clarifies a darker vision of the Final Five (and or their God) in playing out the cycle of history. They helped make and program the 7 Cylons. They built a temple 4,000 years ago that would trigger with a nova, and knew that long ago that the fleet would be doing an exodus through the area around that time.
This means that while they did not directly participate in the war, it came as no surprise to them. They were expecting it, depending on it in fact. They could have stopped it but wanted the master plan and cycle to go on as it has before. Indeed, it is hard now not to argue that when they/He provided programming to the 7 Cylons that this didn’t play some role in the attitudes they have that led to genocide. The F5 needed this to happen to complete the cycle. They seemed to put a bit of extra programming into Leoben as well, giving him his prophecies. And it seems they are the ones who put programming into Starbuck too.
Does that make Starbuck the final Cylon? I don’t think so, because I think all the colonial humans can receive some level of visions and programming from the Final Five. Roslin gets visions, Oracles get visions, Baltar gets visions and Starbuck gets visions — they can’t all be the final Cylon. Starbuck’s vision borders on a compulsion, and the only other compulsions we have seen (Tyroll to find the Temple, Boomer to shoot Adama, Baltar to hand over a nuke, somebody to poison the food supply) have applied only to Cylons (which I think Baltar is) but you can see the flaw here…
The other curious and disturbing element from Faith was Roslin’s dream about a Styxian ferryboat to the afterlife. This is troublesome because Baltar is preaching of this river, and she gets the dream coincident with Kowalksi’s actual death, suggesting that it is, like many other dreams of hers, more than a dream.
On one hand, if the colonials are all artificial beings programmed to think they are human, as I do suspect, it makes perfect sense that those who created them would have set them to upload and live in a virtual-reality afterlife. It would be the only humane thing to do in creating such a race if you have that technology, and they clearly do. But having such an afterlife is just too sappy. It sucks all the dramatic darkness from the show. Many shows have characters who are certain of an afterlife, even provide dramatic evidence of it, but to actually show it? That would not be good. Talk about it is fine. But I am concerned that they show it with any hints of reality associated with it. We’ll see where this goes.
One other disturbing clue here. Starbuck’s viper explodes, and she’s back. If she’s the final Cylon, that’s easy. If she’s not, it means that indeed, anybody’s mind can be downloaded on death, not just Cylons. Or, at the outside, the powers that took her to Earth (Final 5) have some sort of transporter, which would correlate with the bright light that covered her before the explosion.
From the Battlestar Galactica Analysis Blog