The Truth of the Opera House
Posts on episode-day usually get quickly overtaken by the new episode, so I am holding off some general articles I have for post-show. But with 3 hours to go, I thought I would open up speculation on two topics I haven't gotten a large read on. These are the Opera House and All along the Watchtower. I've read much speculation about both.
Update: Well, the real truth about the Opera House turned out to be quite disappointing. Just a background to use in a vision of an ordained event having nothing to do with Kobol or the Opera House. This was different from a flash-forward or foreshadowing, as it was an actual god-inspired-vision, but what did it mean? "In the future, the final 5 will be on a balcony and look down at Six and Baltar carrying Hera, after Roslin and Athena chased and lost her." It was just an event, really, with very little meaning. What happened after (Cavil is on the bridge, and he grabs her and there is a peace deal) had meaning, but not the vision itself.
The ancient Kobol opera house, now in ruins, was never occupied by the Final Five, except perhaps on their brief stop at Kobol on their way to the colonies, well after it had been ruined. But it has been their home in visions. They appear on its stage on 5 of 6 drapes in the vision of their faces given to D'Anna. They appear on the balcony as five glowing figures -- at least we're pretty sure it's them -- in the vision shared by Roslin, Six, Athena, Hera and sometimes Baltar of Hera's chase. Its stage was also the setting for the vision of Hera in her crib before she was born. Only Baltar, Six and Hera go through the doors at the end, into the light. The Five watch and Athena and Roslin can't get there.
So what is "the truth" of this vision? Roslin we have all been confident does not make it to the promised land. Hera has visions of Six. Baltar's head six insisted for the first season that Hera was the child of Baltar and Head Six, but real Caprica Six also experiences this vision. Helo's out of the picture.
Now my prediction has been that we'll see death for the Final Five, Roslin, Helo and Athena. And while Baltar would normally get a redemption-by-death, we keep getting prophecies of him being father to Hera, so his continued life, and Six's make sense. Is this all that it shows?
And what does it mean that Head Six is the one who constantly declares that she is to be Hera's mother, along with Baltar? Head Six is not Caprica Six. She just looks like her. Caprica Six may not even be aware that Head Six exists. In the vision on Kobol, it is Head Six and Baltar that are holding the newborn. But Caprica Six experiences the vision. Are the two characters more connected than I suspect?
The Opera House also ties into a few references we've seen to the stage as a metaphor for life. In a podcast commentary about a deleted scene, Moore talked about life on ancient Kobol in terms of the 4th wall. That the Gods observed the humans like players, and that by creating their own Cylon artificial life, the humans broke the 4th wall.
As for Watchtower, I've read many theories on the lyrics. A lot of them point to the fact that the song is often interpreted as being in reverse; that to understand its story you must read the stanzas in reverse order. It begins with the princes on the watchtower seeing the figures approaching, and ends with the Joker and Thief having their conversation. We've seen many interpretations for which characters might represent the Joker, the Thief or other figures. I must admit that none of these interpretations has shouted out to me as obviously right. A few are clever, but none have the big resonance of truth. While AATW is a favourite song of Moore's, he didn't write the story to match the song. At most he may have tweaked it so that it fits with the song. Or the lyrics may not have much close association at all.
AATW was a rather unusual song to use in a drama like this. The characters make many Earth culture references over the course of the show, quoting Shakespeare, using common Earth idioms, taking lines from Earth nursery rhymes etc. This is normal in any literature. The key is that for all of these other references, the author is either lost in time or dead. AATW is unusual in that it's a famous song by a living author. In the podcast, Moore says that in this universe, Anders is the author of the song, but our string puller has taken it as his or her own, and used it to not just turn on the Final Five, but also injected it into Hera and Starbuck's father. (Or rather, McCreary's bass/sitar opening that he added to the song.)
There will be lots of analysis after the show ends this weekend, though after that I will be visiting Israel and not commenting so much. I expect to be right about a few things, wrong about a bunch more. My formerly most confident prediction (This is in the far future of real Earth) now has had to drop many levels of confidence, and few of the predictions are at a high confidence level. I will try to be honest and post a scorecard after the show is done.