Gaeta's Transsexual Lament (and Guess What's Coming)

The most recent episode, Guess What's Coming to Dinner reveals what keeps the fans coming back. While one cliffhanger would be enough for any show, BSG once again gives us several at the same time at the close of the episode. Where has the hybrid jumped to? Is Natalie dead and what happens to Sharon, what happens to the alliance. And what is Gaeta's song about?

This episode did fall short a bit on plot consistency. There was no reason for the Cylon base ship to jump with the Demetrius. The D should have jumped in first, cleared the situation and then had the Cylon ship appear a bit away from the fleet. No drama of course, but this, combined with the bad radio (every radio's bad, even on the raptor?) was too much plot device. The other annoying plot device is the universal resurrection hub. It makes no sense -- though it does prove the Cylons have FTL radio -- other than as a plot device. Something so valuable, I would certainly have a backup.

But more to the point, attacking this hub has only modest military value, though great revenge value. Why? The fleet never plans to engage the Cylons again. And there's no sign that the loss of this hub (until they can rebuild it) would mean they can't make more Cylons, just that they can't make more Cylons with downloaded minds of killed Cylons. The main military value is that perhaps it would make raiders more timid if they have to fight them. But they don't plan to. The only reason they fought them recently was because the Cylons, for unexplained reasons were able to set an ambush at the Ionian nebula, and some unexplained pulse shut down fleet FTL. This still doesn't make much sense, but otherwise the fleet plan is to get far away from Cylons, and emergency jump if they show up.

Not to make them really, really angry.

Now onto Gaeta's song. They play it so much in this episode it is hard to imagine it doesn't mean something. The composer has a lot about the song on his blog including the lyrics:

Alone she sleeps in the shirt of man
With my three wishes clutched in her hand
The first that she be spared the pain
That comes from a dark and laughing rain
When she finds love may it always stay true
This I beg for the second wish I made too
But wish no more
My life you can take
To have her please just one day wake

Now, right now I am still in the Baltar camp, but boy, this song sure does sound like it's talking about a female final cylon. Sleeping "in the shirt of man?" Sounds like a sleeper final 5 member, still in shadow. Being spared the pain? Sounds like the redemption that only comes "in the howl of terrible suffering." And wishing that she will wake up? That he is willing to die for her to awake?

Now, if the final Cylon is a woman, how could Gaeta be the final Cylon? And if he's not the final Cylon, would would have put a song about her into his head?

No simple answers here, but one to consider: Gaeta is or was a woman. He's always been viewed as a somewhat effeminate character, and indeed Jamie Bamber declared Gaeta as being gay in an interview. Could he be a transsexual of some sort? This would explain why her awakening would end his life, in a way.

  • He does have a dark secret, one Baltar whispered to him that made him try to kill Baltar (Podcast notes suggest this was a fragment of a deleted plotline, however.)
  • Surely his military doctors would know this, and thus his commander?
  • Perhaps they do know, and in the fleet this is no big whoop. (But then it can't be a dark secret.)
  • He really, really didn't want to be unconscious for the amputation.

Another alternative: He is the final Cylon, who is at heart female. I noted earlier that we don't know who the Final Five were in previous incarnations. That perhaps they don't always have the same body each time, perhaps they are sometimes of different sexes?

This idea has its own problem: D'Anna saw the "opera house" final five, and she recognized them. So those copies of the final 5 (who are not unaware of their nature) have the same bodies as the current ones. This makes it harder, especially if the final Cylon was the object of her apology, for Gaeta to have a different body.

As I've noted, my current rationale for the sleeper agents is that the Final Five were once humans from Earth, from our very century. They transformed (uploaded) into machine form, but don't want to lose touch with their humanity. To preserve this, they regularly make copies of themselves who live fully as humans, and then merge their minds and memories to keep themselves more human. Under this theory, they might well live as different humans, and different sexes.

Now while some choose Gaeta as the final Cylon because they take the "Last Supper" clue (that the last Cylon is not in the photo, leaving just a few candidates) at face value, I still don't like it. Mostly because I don't think Gaeta would make the proper "holy shit" moment that the unmasking of the final Cylon must be by dramatic rules. And because he shows no sign of being "in the shadow, hoping for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering." Baltar is still the top candidate for this clue.

There is another clue about a woman. The First Hybrid said:

Soon there will be four, glorious in awakening, struggling with the knowledge of their true selves. The pain of revelation bringing new clarity and in the midst of confusion, he will find her.

This pertains to the awakening of the four, not the one, at least in the context in which it is said. In that case the "her" seems to be Foster, and the "he" could be Tyrol or Baltar. But it's pretty vague and could mean anything, or it could indeed refer to the final Cylon in some way, as a her.


Could Gaeta be hungering for redemption from the atrocities he witnessed and "participated" in as Baltar's aide with the song he sings as the "howl of terrible suffering"? Still not sure I this puts my in the Gaeta camp, but it could be a big clue I suppose.

How do we know the song is about the final cylon? Could it be about D'anna? Is there a connection between Gaeta's "three wishes" and her model number? Hasn't she too been "asleep" since being boxed? Perhaps Gaeta wishes for D'anna to "just one day wake," though he probably knows little about her situation. It was also odd having that one short scene where Baltar looks on at the suffering Gaeta from the screen in the hospital. Some strange connection there.

As you say, why would Gaeta know about #3 and hope for her to wake? Be willing to die for it? Hard enough to understand why he would know about the final cylon. Why would #3 be "asleep in the shirt of man?" I admit I am not sure why the word shirt is used here. To me it either means dressed as a male, or simply among humanity.

BTW there has also been suggestion that it's about the hybrid, who just woke and jumped the cylon base ship. Gaeta opens his eyes like he knows about it. Not sure how to explain this -- perhaps the Hybrid is able to project something into Gaeta's mind, and the rest of the song is just Hybrid induced muttering.

The song is too cryptic to not have a hidden meaning, though.

I think, people are reading too much into Gaeta singing it like they did with the watchtower song. It's a song with some meaning behind it but the fact that Gaeta is singing it doesn't mean diddly. It's just directorial wallpaper that Ron's known to favour because he likes pushes boundaries and letting people show their stuff. Personally, I wanted to belt Gaeta's head into a bloody mess of pulp and splintered bone when it dragged on but I appreciate it was a neat gesture. But, yeah. I agree it means something. What? Dunno. Maybe it's just enough to be an attention hook and give something people to tak about, if you want to get cynical.

The Bear blog does imply it doesn't have much meaning, but RDM doesn't seem to tell Bear everything (thus leaving him free to blog) though I bet he told the lyricist everything.

We'll see, however.

I've seen some of the comment which tries to hyper analyse BSG like Star Trek but most of that fails to appreciate that Ron's got a more rough cut and dramatic approach to things. Gaeta stabbing Baltar and never filming inside a Cylon Raider because the set doesn't exist are two fairly small things that stick out. That suggests you're probably right about what Ron outlined for the lyrics. Ron could say "paint a lyrical picture like this" and it would be enough to shape the song while giving nothing away. I watch BSG like I read a comic. That makes it easier.

Some of the questions BSG throws up and the sometimes infuriating dead ends are interesting if people's speculation stands up on its own. I figure, naval gazing is fine to a point but Ron strikes me as the sort of guy who wants to encourage people to develop their own positions. You can take a fact here, a dramatic twist there, and discuss it to the cows come home but if you create something on its own terms that's even more cool. Actually, that makes me wonder a bit about BSG. You could say Ron is BSG, is BSG is Ron.

There's always a possibility that the song is being sung from the Final Cylon's perspective on someone else. That changes things a bit. Now, you could argue from that position that Baltar is going a bit touchy-feely on Roslin. Plus, a similar sentiment expressed for a second wish might suggest Baltar's going touchy-feely on Starbuck. A final stretch is Baltar sees himself as the cause of all this crap and is going to leap on 'life is given meaning by death' by sliding off his perch and giving way to Starbuck running with her destiny. I mean, let's face it, if Baltar is the Chosen One he's done everything he can to screw up like he doesn't want it. If he hadn't barfed his chance at the Temple of Five I'm guessing Starbuck wouldn't have a destiny. Somehow, I picture Baltar and Six going down in flames somewhere down the line in some sort of romantic curtains over scene as the Hera deal kicks in.

While Gaeta's song is pretty interesting, there's one thing that struck me as odd while watching the last episode. During the opera house scene, we see Hera running running away from Athena/Roslin and twards Caprica 6 and Baltar. Now the thing that gets to me is at the end of S1 and during S2 Head 6 keeps telling Baltar that Hera is their child. But the vision is being had by Caprica 6 and she's the one taking Hera. So basically what's confusing me is, Head 6 and Caprica 6 are obviously 2 seperate "entities" and Head 6 has always had a way of knowing things before they happen. So if she knew that Hera would be with Baltar in the end, why didn't she know she was going to be with Caprica 6 and just kept saying it was their baby? I know this has probably been brought up before considering the scene was shown at the end of last season, but it just hit me now lol. and unless it's been said I predict we'll see the Final Cylon in ep 10 so only a few weeks left woot woot.

Another odd thing about the vision is that Baltar seems not to have it. In that case, Roslin is the only non-cylon to have the vision, which I see as evidence that she might in fact be the final cylon.

I'm 94% certain this pertains to Leoban finding Starbuck, among the confusion of both the cylon civil war and Helo's mutiny.

At least that's my guess.

She sleeps in the shirt of man... OK, shirt and man could have a few meanings, but she is basically being kept in her Box by three male cylons (Simon, Dural and Cavil).

My three wishes... could also be my wishes for Number Three.

Spared pain from a dark and laughing rain - being box has allowed her to escape (for now) the Cylon civil war.

That she may find love - the oracle told her she would find love when she held Hera.

Finally the request that she wake obviously refers to her being unboxed.

While I'll grant that this could have many interpetations, assuming that it even applies to something on the show, this explanatin seems to me the most likely to survive Occam's Razor.

The questions then become where did the song come from, and how did Gaeta learn it? The easiest answer would be that he's the final cylon.

There's the link to the other blog that gives this inside scoop.

"In a sense, we were creating a back-story through the song. And ‘opera’ was probably the wrong word. He wanted more of a ballad, with a minor key feel to it. So I wrote the lyrics with the lost lover in mind. But knowing how the show would end – with The Hybrid awakening – I wanted the lyrics to relate to that moment as well. I also felt that the “story” in the song should be an allegory for the cold reality of Gaeta losing his leg and there’s nothing that can be done about it."

Don't push too hard on "hidden meaning." The meaning is either there in the words or it's not. "Hidden meaning" is a misleading way to look at it. I think it's pretty clear that the "she" in the song is the hybrid. While D'Anna seems to be linked in somehow, there's no way every line is going to fit together like a puzzle.

The final Cylon is … Admiral Adama: No one is more surprised than him, but if the "final one" is to unite and lead new-man kind, he's the best candidate. Kind of like Nixon in China :-)

Overall, this series feels like it's lurching to a very boring and confused end – the writers have nothing left to say. Where I had hoped to be waiting with baited-breath, I've been watching the original Star trek quite happily instead.

To expand, S1 was a fun ride, two and three explored a number of old-fashioned but powerful topics: the social tensions that arise when meritocracy reveals a genetically and culturally stratified talent pool; The means-ends debate in morality etc.

It also provided a nice history lesson about why complex intelligent societies support democracy, why the military and business do not,and the fact that, no matter what the system, the intelligence of the societies choices is limited by the intelligence of the people in the society. It also did good work on the conventions needed, both in democratic society and in the military, to sail the Scilla and Charybdis of military dictatorship and anarchy.

But four... I think they set out to use the rebel Cylons as a kind of redux of Judaism/Early christianity and the discovery of monotheism, but they seem to me to be botching it.

Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama) has made a comment on the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, and Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol) says that the theories he's seen on the internet about the Final Cylon "don't even come close". My poor brain is trying to process that and work out of that's a good thing or a bad thing.

The final Cylon is pretty obvious, yet no one has gotten it. One of the rules of writing a story is that if someone or something is mentioned in a story, that person or thing is always brought back up later to play an important role in the story. For example, if the writer takes time to describe a lamp in a story, later that lamp plays a role in things. Perhaps a hundred pages later it is used to knock someone over the head and kill them. Same thing with a person. So, who is the one person hinted at for the entire series but never seen? Who is the one person that was "killed" that everyone misses but no one has seen? We've already had one cylon, Leoban, tell us Adama is a Cylon. Why does everyone disregard this as a Cylon trick? I think we all get to meet Zak Adama, brother of Lee before this whole thing is over. Otherwise, it would violate the old rule. Talk about a bitter-sweet reunion!

in people's minds when Lee Adama asked "What if it had been Zak in the viper" after Starbuck returned.

However, your rule (known as the gun on the mantelpiece rule) does not apply here. Zak exists in the story for several reasons. First of all, he was a short-lived character in the original series, so the writers don't have to have a use for him in mind when they put him there. Secondly, he has been used, as the thing that comes between Starbuck and Adama, since Starbuck's mistakes got him killed.

Finally, "Adama is a Cylon" is now explained by Tamara Adama, Bill's older sister. whose mind was a template for one of the first Cylons.

Has to be someone the audience can recognize as soon as they are revealed. Imagine if, in the S3 finale, Tigh had entered the Hendrix room with 3 other people we never met before. Not nearly the same impact as having even a bit player like Tori there. Since TV is primarily a visual medium, the odds are good we will recognize the last Cylon on sight, and that rules out Zack.

That would violate the rule of writing that you just brought up because he only existed (1) in flashback and (2) as a source of potential conflict between Starbuck and Lee. In my mind, we would have needed to actually see him in the storyline before being killed, not just in flashback. I'd feel kind of gipped if the Final Cylon were Zac. I still think it's Dee. She's either been triggered a long time ago and has known all along, or hasn't been triggered yet. The Four may have been programmed to awake at the Ionian nebula (or in proximity to what Starbuck brought back with her), but the Final Cylon may have been programmed with a different trigger.

Or else D'Anna would have said there were 5 Cylons with the fleet.

I think she is bluffing. She began examining each one, but Baltar interrupted her before she was finished. I don't think she saw the final one, which is why she was only able to communicate with four of them.

I'm just going to throw this out here, even though this particular blog entry is old (I'm catching up).

Brad wrote, in reference to the song Gaeta was singing: "The pain of revelation bringing new clarity and in the midst of confusion, he will find her."

Again, this is just a random, off-the-cuff thought, but it reminds me of the encounter between Tigh and the Six in custody aboard the Galactica, and how she was telling him that there is a clarity to be found in pain... and then proceeds to open up a can of whoop-butt on him, until he is down for the count, and still he begs her to keep going--but she realizes that it isn't pain that he needs, and she starts to comfort him. And based on Adama's accusation later, the (sexual?) liaisons continue after that. Not to mention that Tigh regularly sees Ellen when he looks at Six.

Add to that his distraught state of mind over the fact that he (a cylon) killed Ellen for being a cylon collaborator. A line from the season-three-ender he says is "What about Ellen?" which further illustrates his confusion.

Jump ahead to the cliffhanger for this season, on Earth, where we see the Six going up to Tigh, although his back is to her, and you see the Six reaching up to comfort him, but he is looking elsewhere.

When taken together, the line quoted from Gaeta's song may somehow be a reference to Tigh finding Ellen.

Just random thoughts, for what they're worth.

--Timothy Kline / ENVISIONocity

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