Friday, March 6, 2009

BSG musings: still room for my theory?

"Islanded in a Stream of Stars"

So Kara Thrace confessed to Baltar about the body she'd found on Earth. She gave Baltar her corpse's dog tags and asked him to perform tests on it. The result? "Necrotic flesh," says Baltar, in a rather tasteless coda to a funeral for humans and Cylons who died during a hull breach. The implication, at least as Baltar sees it (unless he's actually lying), is that humans, too, can somehow be reborn. This still doesn't explain the pristine Viper that Kara flew back to the fleet... but everything does make sense if we once again come back to the "they're all Cylons" theory, i.e., the colonists think of themselves as human, but they've been Cylon since forever. Perhaps it's true that, in the BSG universe, humanity left the building long, long ago, but the Cylon technology that creates exact replicas of things still exists.

The reason I find this theory so attractive is its explanatory power. How else to explain the similarity in language and culture between Earth of 2000 years ago and the modern Twelve Colonies-- a similarity that has somehow obtained over distance and time? Such rigid faithfulness only makes sense when everyone's a machine-- dressing the same, acting the same, thinking the same-- from generation to generation, and from solar system to solar system. And the theory also explains the various instances of telepathy, the spooky coincidences, the visions, and the prophecies-- all of which make perfect sense if we view BSG's overall story arc as the preordained unfolding of some massive computer program. The only alternative is to do what Ellen Tigh and others are doing: to invoke a higher power.

Eternal return is a myth for actual humans, as I've discussed before. Not even Hindus see history as perfectly cyclical: there's repetition, but it's imperfectly realized, giving us more of a spiral notion of history than a circular notion.

One might counterargue that, even in BSG, there's no reason not to believe in spiral time. Perhaps there are humans who play out and replay their history imperfectly, or perhaps it's nothing but Cylons, but they're replaying their history imperfectly. I lean toward discounting the first possibility, for the reasons I've stated: humans don't repeat their history this perfectly, whereas machines would be capable of such a feat. The second possibility, though, strikes me as plausible, and would be consistent with the Cylon view of history, especially as laid out by Leoben long ago, when he told Kara that the same story would unfold again, but with the actors switching roles.

We've got two episodes left to find out what's what. I have a feeling that most of the big questions will be left unresolved, with the writers deliberately keeping the question of the theistic universe ambiguous. However, I should balance that by noting that the final episode is rumored to be a long one-- maybe 2 or 3 hours. A lot might get settled during that time.

One final note: the final two episodes are titled "Daybreak, Part I and II." That would seem to signify some sort of new beginning.


1 comment:

Duckie69 said...

That would also explain how Baltar 'survived' the shower of debris that killed the first Caprica 6 at his lake house. Strange that her organic body 'died' but he was somehow shielded from death by nothing more than another person? Perhaps they are all cylons.