September 24, 2005

Battlestar Galactica season finale

I just had to catch the finale despite whatever other plans I had. Simply put, the finale was based directly on a popular two-parter from the original 1979 series -- "Pegasus." In it, the Galactica and the "ragtag fugitive fleet" miraculously discover that another Battlestar -- the Pegasus -- survived the genocidal Cylon attack on the Twelve Colony homeworlds. Being that the Pegasus didn't have the responsibility of protecting the civilian fleet, it and its crew were free to pursue hit-and-run attacks with abandon against their robot enemies. In the original, Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) was Pegasus Commander Cain's superior, and eventually essentially relieved Cain of duty when he refused to follow his orders. In the new version, Cain is an admiral and thus Adama's superior.

The Pegasus crew right off the bat comes off as a bunch of sadistic yahoos. Immediately I'm thinking, "Why are they being such dicks to the only other humans alive anywhere?" Commander Cain (who was played by Lloyd Bridges in the original) is played by the [quite hot] Michelle Forbes, who gained sci-fi notoriety by her recurring role as Ensign Ro in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." She quickly assumes command of the fleet, and orders Galactica crew members (notably Apollo and Starbuck) reassigned to the Pegasus. Adama ain't happy about it, but he too has to follow orders, after all.

Elsewhere, Cylon "expert" Gaius Baltar goes to examine Pegasus's only Cylon prisoner -- a copy of Baltar's love, Number 6. Now here is where "Battlestar" starts to lose me, philosophically and even morally. OK, I get what creators David Eick and Ronald Moore are trying to do. They want to distinguish humans from machines -- the capacity for compassion, pity, and even mercy. (I mean, how else can one explain why Boomer is friggin' still alive?) When Baltar enters the Pegasus's brig, we see the copy of Number 6 lying on the floor -- obviously injured ... from abuse and torture. Baltar's "psychic" Number 6 proceeds to lecture Baltar on how "wrong" it is to have her on that condition, and later Baltar delivers a soliloquy on how he will "free" her of her predicament.

(UPDATE: National Review's Jonah Goldberg agrees that "Pegasus" was "frackin' awesome.")

(UPDATE 2: Thanks, Jonah, for linking to my review! Welcome, The Corner readers!)

But that's only for starters. Back on the Galactica, Pegasus' chief interrogation officer arrives at Sharon's (Boomer's) cell, accompanied by two heavily armed guards. He shows her a spy photo of a mysterious Cylon craft which Pegasus and Galactica are preparing to attack. Sharon claims she doesn't know what it is, and, well, that's just the wrong answer! The interrogator (Lt. Thorne) begins beating the living snot out of her, and then, amazingly, prepares to rape her! Tyrol and Helo get wind of what's happening, and quickly hightail it to Boomer's cell. (Tyrol and Helo both have had, um, "relations" with the quite sexy humanoid Cylon in the past.) Upon entering the cell, one of the two grabs Lt. Thorne, throwing him hard against the deck -- his head striking a large bolt in the process. He's dead.

Tyrol and Helo are taken into custody by the Pegasus guards, taken back to the Pegasus, and their fate is determined by one person -- Admiral Cain. The sentence? Death. Back on Galactica, Adama is furious, demanding a full tribunal hear his officers' cases. Refused. Ultimately, Adama orders several Vipers (the ship's fighter craft) to go to Pegasus to "get" Tyrol and Helo. Cain responds in kind. The cliffhanger is first rate: each Battlestar's squadron of Vipers head toward each other in a stand-off.

Back to why the show "loses me." As I mentioned back when:

Commander Adama (played awesomely by Edward James Olmos) was almost killed by one such Cylon in last season's cliffhanger, but here we are well into the second season and we still have the human higher-ups trusting and listening to some of these genocidal robots! Yeesh. Let's see -- there are only some 47K humans left out of billions, but instead of destroying any Cylon we meet, we're gonna "try to understand them." And by keeping them around, they eventually cause us hell. Give me a break.

"Pegasus" only serves to reinforce this notion. Are we really supposed to feel pity and sympathy for the Number 6 copy lying there helpless? (If you've seen the first part of the pilot movie, you'll recall that Number 6 strangled an infant girl in her stroller!) Would humans really still trust and listen to a race (of machines) that committed planetary genocide twelve times over, killed numerous refugees since, almost killed Commander Adama, and have been shown to torture captured humans (back on the virtually wiped-out homeworlds) for their DNA and reproductive cells? In my view, it's highly doubtful. This is why I found myself thinking that Admiral Cain and the Pegasus were doing things the way they should have been done, for the most part. In other words, they don't f*** around. None of that "let's elect a new president" BS and reinstall a "democratic" government. (And the president is the former secretary of education!) I mean, if anything is an emergency situation that calls for martial law, leading only 46K survivors out of tens or hundreds of billions is it. Even when Tyrol and Helo were sentenced to death unilaterally by Cain, I could understand it -- she told Adama that this is a wartime situation where officers obviously had acted treasonously. Certainly, the right thing to do would have been to inform Adama of what had happened and to seek his counsel on the matter. But, Cain's in charge. She didn't have to.

Creators Eick and Moore are either very obtuse about human nature -- or sly as foxes. Although I found myself frequently concurring with Cain and co., you just can't help feel at least a pang of guilt and pity for the tortured Number 6 and later on, Boomer. Is this the creators' attempt to demonstrate how humans are ultimately "superior" beings -- because of their ability to feel compassion etc. -- despite all that has happened to them? Will such be "the power that wins a galaxy" to paraphrase Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, where the human interstellar infantry adamantly refuses to leave any fellow troopers behind enemy lines, no matter what it costs them?

We will see.

UPDATE (1/7/06): See post on second part of this episode here.

Posted by Hube at September 24, 2005 09:39 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I agree but disagree with you. Adama's motivations for acting out had nothing to do with cylons. In fact none of this really had anything to do with cylons. This was about how the Pegasus treated the Galactica. I mean, you saw that right from the start everyone to include EVERYONE from the Pegasus was treating Galactica's crew like red-headed stepchildren. This was about respect and Galactica is about to get theirs.

Additionally, you don't see anything insane about EXECUTING 2 vital crew members during a time of war when you know that you can't just replace them on a whim or at all for that matter?

Posted by: jimmy at September 24, 2005 10:58 AM

I have felt the same about the two battlestars' different treatments of their cylon captives. What I think you need to remember- and I'm not trying to get soft on the enemy here- is that we as civilized humans too often consider one innocent until proven guilty. While the previous copy of Boomer was guilty of shooting Adama, this one has so far proven to be helpful and trustworthy. As a cynic, I'm waiting for her to snap- like the scorpion hitching a ride on a frog's back- but I assume that will be next season. So far, for suspense's sake, she's been trustworthy and as a result she elicits sympathy when she's about to be raped. As well, Tyrol and Helo deserve sympathy, according to our human code of ethics, for coming to her rescue. That Lt. Thorne died muddies up the situation a bit. Adama's unspoken assertion- if a cylon is considered innocent until proven guilty, then his men should be as well- is therefore a good enough reason to disobey orders, retrieve his men and start an inter-battlestar battle to begin the 3rd season- for which I already have trouble waiting.
There may also be Adama's issue with taking orders from women. His president is a soft former secretary of education, and Cain's a bloodthirsty woman with testerone envy. The feminists have not yet and will probably never conquer the male ego completely. I'm not afraid to admit I'd have trouble being treated by a woman like Cain treated him in some of the earlier scenes. I'm further not afraid to admit- of course I assume no women are reading this- I was rooting for Adama to tell her to frack off during that scene where she took his son and Starbuck.

Posted by: Matt at September 24, 2005 11:27 AM

Here's my theory: the cylons made Sharon extra-human (moreso than any other cylon) and she was still a little experimental. They did it because they needed a baby (I don't have a clue why) but the risk was that she would be too human with real human characteristics like love, honor, compassion, etc. She could still be triggered into doing something like shooting Adama, but only for a limited time. So, most of the time, she is truly a good person, and worthy of being defended by Helo and Tyrol, and occasionally they flip the switch and she does something dastardly. Eventually, if the show has a happy ending, the humans will figure out how to either disable the cylon program in her or disrupt the communications that turns on the cylon side, and she'll live happily after with her boyfriend (x 2).

Posted by: Jennifer at September 24, 2005 12:52 PM

I thought about this last night and I reckon the difference between Galactica and Pegasus in terms of the officer's and crews attitude is one of what they've been through.

Galactica has been fighting since Ragnar Anchorage, there was a slight break between the end of the miniseries (funerals, Adama and Lee talking and going to bed) and 33, but not long, then they've taken on a Basestar, a mining base, etc. Pegasus cut and ran and then has been treating thier time as cat and mouse with the Cylons, yet it's Cain who has not had the responsability of 40-odd thousand civilians and that baggage who plays the rightous officer. It reminds me of the classic officer in the rear with the gear who chastises the line soldier for a dirty uniform.

I think Cain is jealous of Adama and Galactica's accomplishments and I suppose there is a streak in the Fleet of superior officers who looked down on Galactica and Adama for their throw back approach and Adama's rise from tramp ships along with officers like Tigh and Thrace on board.

Cain moved Kara and Lee to Pegasus to try to recreate Galactica's success I think and as an out and out powerplay,

I think the abuse of the Cylon on Pegasus is an outgrowth Cain's attitude, aggressive cat and mouse tactics since the attack coupled with a serious mean streak in her officer corps for some reason.

Posted by: Clovis at September 24, 2005 01:18 PM

Great post and review. I had the exact same feelings about the episode (and about the show in general.) I LOVE the show. It is the best science fiction on TV since... forever. The look of the ships, the style of the action, and most of the characters are top notch.

But the creators just can't be true to their concepts. When Number 6 broke the baby's neck in the first episode, it was just a shock value plot point to the writers. But the torture of a Cylon copy.... that really turns up their empathy.

With the exception of the rape element, it seemed to me that the Pegasus attitude toward Cylons was totally justified. And Number 6's emotional behavior upon seeing "herself" in the cell was a laughable moment. Like a NAZI guard complaining because a Jewish prisoner assaulted him as he was leading him to the gas chamber.

The show fell into the same trap in season 1, when Starbuck interrogated the Cylon prisoner only to be interrupted by the Pres. Suddenly, at the end of the episode, Starbuck feels sorry for him. WHY? It is a false moment. When the President ordered the Cylon out the airlock, the show redeemed itself for me. But, if you listen to the producer's commentary on the episode, they thought that her action was "morally wrong." Huh?

I think what it comes down to is the victim culture. The show treats the Cylons as concepts divorced from moral comparison. That is why the nuclear obliteration and slow radiation death that they inflicted on humanity (off screen) does not seem to count against them. They are like European politician who see suicide bombing of college kids in a pizzeria as an unfortunate but natural result of historical wrongs, and then condemn Israel for taking offensive action against the terrorists.

"There comes a time when you can't run from the things you've done." --Adama.

Apparently Number 6 can not only run but can walk away from a baby's broken neck.

P.S.—but didn’t you love the design of the Pegasus? Now that is a battleship in space!

Posted by: Joncraver at September 24, 2005 01:31 PM

I think Clovis's analysis is pretty sharp. Cain doesn't even want to deal with civvies (note her facial expression whenever the president is around, and her not returning the president's calls). We don't know what Cain was like before the Holocaust, but it might have put her over the edge.

I think Jennifer's a little optimistic. From a viewer's perspective, I hope she's right about Boomer. From a writer's perspective, there's a lot more dramatic potential in her playing the humans to gain their trust, but being still loyal to the cylons.

Finally, I worked out in my head the logical way for the stand-off to work out. Starbuck comes back with reconnaissance showing the Cylon mystery ship is uber-dangerous, and both Battlestars have to cooperate to destroy it. In the process, Pegasus is either destroyed, or disappears (jumps with an ambiguous chance of survival). That's the logical, formulaic way for it to play out, and I hope the writers don't go that way.

Finally, what the Hell? Starbuck said she'd go back to Caprica to rescue Anders and his gnarly band o' rebels. That seems like it's been totally forgotten.

Posted by: V the K at September 24, 2005 01:32 PM

The trouble I've had with both, new & original, Battlestar Galactia, from the beginning, is similar to that posted by Hube. The Battlestar Galactia survivors just don't act like they are on the edge of extinction. They spend more time fighting each other then the enemy. And the other unreal point is that the Cylon’s appear to have discovered immortality. Their human robots pass on their memories prior to death – isn’t that a form of immortality – just upload my memories into another body? In every science fiction story I’ve ever read – the chase for immortality trumps all other plots. Yes, the series does show creativity and action/excitement (I was glad the raping LT got killed)– but like most Sci Fi, they forget about a semi-realistic plot. I just hate it when the actors have to “appear stupid or, at least oblivious to the danger around them.” It’s the “Scary Movie” plot approach – don’t be in a house alone at night because that’s how all the others get killed, but you still end up in the house alone at night.

Posted by: cptcrash at September 24, 2005 01:32 PM

In terms of speculation about the stand-off's resolution, I think that the most likely result will be something like this.

Laura desperately tries to comunicate with both Pegasus and Galactica. Cain ignores her completely. Adama angrily tells D that he is busy. Laura takes matters into her own hands and positions Colonial One between the fighters, daring both commanders to risk killing her.

Adama, unwilling to endanger Laura, shakes off his anger. Cain, at first perfectly willing to order an attack that could kill the President, climbs down when other fleet ships fly in to support Colonial One. It is Cain's first taste of the religious devotion many fleet members feel toward the President.

Afterwards, both Cain and Adama board Colonial One and are confronted by the President. Laura starts to assert herself over Cain, who seems to relent, but really has no intention of taking orders from the school teacher.

Starbuck and crew arrive back with intel on Cylons.... and things proceed from there.

What do you guys think?

P.S. -- An interview with one of the producers I read stated that the Pegasus plot would cover a long stretch of episodes in the January season. He stated that the ship will be with the show for a while, even if her crew is not. An interesting little tidbit. Could crew be killed in battle, with Pegasus surviving under the command of Tigh? Ok, The Dream is Over.

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 02:14 PM

Some great points all around. But a few observations.

While we've never had the experience of all of humanity "on the edge of extinction," we do have historic precedent of areas where a people have driven themselves to UTTER extinction.

Some of the same human qualities that bring us together can tear us apart. Knowing that "it's a matter of life and death!" can destroy us if there are competing but equally passionate and evenly divided theories on what to do about it.

What we see in BSG is not just a tiny remnant of humanity struggling to survive, but showing the very traits that probably give the Cylons reason to believe that humanity SHOULDN'T survive. Some humans want to "understand" the Cyclons. Some want to get in bed with the Cylons (literally or metaphorically). Some want to 'dehumanize' the already non-human, not just by killing but by brutalizing. Some want to fight back, but insist on playing by the rules that the enemy feels no need to follow...and so on.

If this were reality, I'd wager three hundred quatloos against the humans. the cylons are a killer whale and the remaining humans are a tasty baby seal; the whale is playing with its food, and the seal is too dazed and confused to do anything to save itself.

Posted by: reviewboy at September 24, 2005 02:21 PM

LOL review boy. Love the Quatloos ref. And I totally agree with your last point about, in reality, the humans would be doomed. Even in the show itself, there are lots of hints that the humans are just being toyed with and shepherded in the direction the Cylons want them to go. And not that Sharon is on Galactica with her unborn baby, would they destroy it even if they found it. (Makes you wonder if Cylons are Pro-Choice or Pro-Life. Maybe Jonah at NO can take a stab at that one.)

Actually, I might have just stumbled on a concept that would allow the writers to keep Sharon and Cylon baby around for the foreseen future. If she is alive and on board, the Galactica has insurance for their survival. That would let them keep her alive without having to make her definitively choose a side. And it is a much better reason plot-wise than "She is under contract, and boy is she hot."

P.S.—another example of humans on the brink of defeat acting in self defeating ways comes from the American civil war. The Confederate congress debated and argued State’s rights while their cities burned. I can definitely see that kind of behavior from the Quorum of Twelve. To paraphrase Jeff Davis: “The ragtag colonial fleet: died of an idea.”

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 02:43 PM

I agree that the soldiers of the Galactica (we really don't know the civilians) don't act like they are on the verge of extinction, especially regarding Boomer. They appear weak- like they are trying to understand them (similar here to those Americans who blame us for why the terrorists hate us) If I was near a Nazi, I'd beat him myself.

The only reason I would be against the rape (of Six and Boomer)would be that it could encourage a breakdown of discipline. The way Cain was presented (shooting her X.O. for refusing an order) I didn't think she would allow rape- even outweighed against soldiers (who have witnessed near oblivion) who need tension release. As for beating Six- that is no problem.

Moore really does have this skewed morality...but I still love the show.

JonCraver- I think you have predicted the opener.

Posted by: Dave at September 24, 2005 02:48 PM

On the fact that Number Six can kill a baby and be upset about the abuse of a Cylon is classical tribalism. Tacitus mentioned it in his writing about the Germanic Tribes, one can do unspeakable things to others yet when the slightest thing happens to one of thiers they are hurt. The Cylons are undertaking a Jihad against Humanity, a cleansing war against them, so of course they can murder a baby and be upset when one of thier Toasters is abused.

Some have wondered if perhaps the Humans in BSG are not really a form of Cylon and caused the problems on Kobol 6,000 years (or so) ago and they've forgotten that and have recreated thier own creators problems. Ron Moore has said that Sharon and the Humano-Cylons are trying to become more human, and Sharon on Galactica now is more valuable alive than spaced, which is why the crew of Galactica is pragmatic.

The problems with the military and civilians in general being half-assed and fighting among themselves is simply a symptom of the stress on society from the Holocaust on the Colonies. They are not the seals to the Cylon Orcas, they are Orcas to the Cylon Shark, just because they reason and ponder and kill one another doesn't mean they are less effective killers than the Cylons.

Posted by: Clovis at September 24, 2005 03:00 PM

I also get a bit uneasy when it seems Moore & Eick want us to empathize with the individual cylons. Again, the cylons committed genocide on an incomprehensible scale. If the Six in Baltar's head is the consciousness of the one in the miniseries her actions are directly responsible for it. Her outrage at what happened to her other self is ludricrous (as is her offense at humans referring to cylons as "toasters"). It's also safe to say that all the human cylon models were complicit for the geneocide and the continuing atrocities on the colonial homeworlds. Since it is unclear how much individuality exists between individual cylon bodies (especially between ones of the same model, both the Six and Sharon models refer to another one of their own type in the first person), all cylons may be said o be guilty of unspeakable evil (even the Boomer that shot Adama). The WWII Allies may have considered it morally wrong to have tortured a Himmler or an Eichmann, but more out of principle than out of any empathy for the war criminals.

Posted by: MJ at September 24, 2005 03:01 PM

Interesting comments. I haven't seen Season 2, I've had to live with the Sci-Fi channel synopsis until next week when they recylce (yeah!).

However, it has always seemed to me that analysis of the show from the perspective of the humans is a little short-sighted. The show is about the Cylons.

Recall, how did the series begin every episode in season 1: The Cylons were created by men. They rebelled. They evolved. They Look-and feel-human. Some of them have been programmed to think that they are human. There are many copies. And they have a plan.

This is all about the Cylons. I think we're watching a quasi-Hindu/Christian morality play where the Cylons, through the accumulation of Karma (or whatever) have to seek redemption so that they can truly become human/adult/god/whatever.

Plan number 1: Deicide. Kill God, take his place. Problem, they missed.

Plan number 2: Immaculate Conception. Children with the humans might be human, in some way or other. Problem, in the quest to have human children, they become less human.

Plan number 3: I don't know what's behind this door.

I do think that the answer lies with Baltar's Number Six and with Helo's copy of Sharon. Dependent on how much free-will each Cylon has, I think those two are getting close to, independently, so to speak, find redemption.

In any event, the story isn't about what makes humans humans, it isn't about fighting terrorism, or about fighting racism. It's about how boys become men without guidance. The story of Battlestar Galactica is the Cylons.

Posted by: SaberDance at September 24, 2005 03:35 PM


I definately see your point about Six and why she would feel repulsed at the treatment of "herself" at the hands of Cain. Still today, people tend to justify or excuse actions by themselves or their group or country while condeming similar actions by others. It's true of war, business, dating.

My annoyance with the show is not that it depicts her acting in this way, but that it frames the scene and storyline in a symathetic way. It seems oblivious to the irony of the mass murdering Six getting wheepy at her own mistreatment.

Cain and her crew are uniformally depicted in a negative light. (One of the major drawbacks to the episode, in my opinion.) It is obvious that they are being judged morally defective.(Gang rape by the fighter pilots?) But Six is given the chance to wallow in her victimhood at the hands of the mean-old humans with loving and emotional close ups and zoom shots.

Meanwhile, the genocidal nuclear holocost was whitewashed with a few montages of explosions. Where is the depictions of women and children huddled together while fire engulfs them? Where are the images on Cylon Occupied Caprica of seven year olds with their skin hanging off their bodies laying dead next to their mothers. Show that on the program, and see if the viewers shed any tears for poor tortured Six.

Ok, i got a little carried away there. LOL. It is only a show after all. And a show I really like--and really want to like. But the weird relativistic morality that the show seems to tout every 4 episodes or so if really a test of my fandom.

If they are going to set up a story that starts with genocide, they have to be true to that.

At the rate the show is going, I wouldn't be surprised that, in late season 3, Zarak runs for President under the plateform of Holocaust denial. The Cylons didn't destroy the Colonies. Laura and Adama conspired to seize power and have been running from the Cylon relief ships sent to add the humans in their time of need ever since. They will call it "Fahrenheit/BSG 75"

Posted by: at September 24, 2005 03:41 PM

no offense SaberDance,

but saying that BSG is really about the Cylons
is kinda like saying Star Trek is really about the Klingons.

OMG... An unbroken streak of 6 years without making a Star Trek ref on a message board---broken.

I blame Ensign Ro for this. CAINNNN!... I mean... KAHNNNNN!

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 03:57 PM

Come on people, you aren't digging deep enough. The Six torture issue.

- remember, the Six that Baltar sees, i think it's more or less been established that she's a mental illusion he conjured up. that would mean her reactions/emotions are that of Baltar's reactions/emotions be they intentional or what he's thinking in the back of his mind.
- recall that Six wasn't the only one disgusted by the sight of her ruined body. Baltar looked pretty sickened as well and why shouldn't he be? this was the woman he fell in love with. we the audience see a Six who killed a baby and helped execute mass genocide. Baltar sees a woman he loves and cannot be without (hence adding to the logic that he conjured her up in his head).
- the sympathy we're meant to feel is the sympathy we experience thru certain characters. Feelings for Six thru Baltar.... feelings for Boomer thru Helo and Chief.

Posted by: jimmy at September 24, 2005 04:32 PM

I get the feeling that a lot of this is about the repetition of mistakes - and the definition of human.

The Colonials created their own worst enemy - but the Cylons, in creating bio-Cylons, may have created a Nemesis of their own.

And just where do the loyalties of a bio-Cylon lie? There certainly seems to be a quiet division in their ranks. And I suspect that these divisions will grow.

How they solve the cliffhanger? President Roslyn is the obvious Deus Ex Machina. Particularly since she does not seem to have appointed a Secretary of the Navy. She can completely turn the tables by appointing Adama to that position.

My money says that the January demi-season deals with Raiding Cylon-Held Territory For Spares. Or possibly a Relief & Rescue Expedition. Maybe combine both.

Posted by: Mike McDaniel at September 24, 2005 04:45 PM

You bring up an interesting point Mike.
The show could get a lot more interesting if the Cylons were not so (seemingly) cohesive.

The jealous barbs by Six at Sharon isn't really civil war.

In interviews on the official BSG site from around the time the Mini series aired, Moore was asked about the Imperious Leader. He was cryptic, saying something like "you'll have to wait and see." But he didn't shut the door on the idea for the new series. He also mentioned Lucifer and the gold centurians.

If, in future seasons, the Cylons themselves became less mysterious, it could really add an element to the show that it is lacking now. The Imperious Leader could be a kind of Pope for the Cylons, since they are so religious minded now. And Lucifer model cylons could dissagree or have a different agenda than their flesh counterparts.

I think that this kind of element would have to be handled mysteriously and sublty, with hints and half statements. The Cylons, after all, are more scary if we don't know too much about what their basestars and civilization is like. But adding some robot models other than fighters who dont act or talk with quasi spiirtual attitude might add something.

Perhaps that is the kind of addition that whould wait for Season 5, when things really start to go off the deep end and a grown up Boxy becomes the star of the show. We'll call it, Galactica: 2010

Wolfman Jack, your trailer is ready

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 04:58 PM

Am I way behind the curve here, or does anyone else think that Cain and her crew are acting like Cylons? If Adama stays true to character, he will not back off on the rescue mission of his crew, and he will re-assert his command independence with no interference from Cain (or her successor) allowed.

Posted by: dfp21 at September 24, 2005 04:59 PM

The best evidence for how good a show BSG is lies in the quality of the discussion it elicits. There are some really good ideas/analyses here.

I agree with Mike McDaniel that Roslyn is the one who can diffuse this situation. Promoting Adama to Admiral of the Fleet or relieving Cain of her command would provoke a moment of truth for Cain: does she truly support civilian command of the military? Of course, she will not. But when it is clear that the Quorum of 12 and the civilian fleet are with Adama and Roslyn she will effectively huff: "Fine. Be that way. I'm taking my Battlestar after that Cylon mystery ship." And they will FTL into oblivion.

Posted by: Jeff at September 24, 2005 05:08 PM

I didn't feel that everyone from Pegasus was protrayed in a negative light.

We saw an Engineer/Deck Chief very interested in the "Blackbird" Viper. We saw an officer trading stories and a warning about Cain over drinks with Tigh, we saw a group of Viper pilots having the same sort of briefing with the same sort of CAG as Galactica had in the mini-series, we saw 3 rogue men trying to gang-rape a Cylon for information, others talking trash over drinks and Cain.

So, I didn't see Pegasus in a negative light from the episode.

Posted by: Clovis at September 24, 2005 05:09 PM

Pegusus is portrayed in a negative light relative to our Galactica crew.

1) the deck chief, while the most sympathetic (and probably the crewman most likely to remain on Galactica whenever this falls out) initially insulted the blackbird, causing the Chief to bristle

2) CAG from Pegasus was overbearing with the Galactica pilots, basically busting Apollo down to Rapter pilot.

3) the other Pegasus pilots are shown to be loud, arrogant, crass, and in some cases, rapists.

3) Cain was overbearing and icy.

4) the XO of Pegusus does make a good drinking buddy friend for Tigh, but his story of Cain's summary execution of the previous XO makes Cain out to be a murderer and the current XO as a coward.

Perhaps I should have said that the story does not show Pegasus in a positive light. Whereas Six, for perhaps the first time in the series, is shown as a sympathetic character.

Clearly the producers are leading the story in the direction of the Pegasus crew as a negative version of the Galactica crew. I.E.--what the Galactica crew might have been like without the civilizing effect of Laura and the other civilian survivors.

That's just my opinion. I think I am a little more sensitive to BSG's take on the military and political than some viewers might be.

we should start a pool on who we think the main cross over character from Pegasus will be. I already stated that my pick was for the deck chief. but anyone else venture a guess?

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 05:27 PM

It seemed that there were too many continuity/plot errors necessary to make this episode.

Why/how did the Pegasus and its modern Vipers avoid infection by the Cylon computer virus?

Why didn't Baltar's Six know about the other? Contrary to suggestions that she is a mere hallucination, her providing Baltar with info he could not have known indicates otherwise.

Why wasn't there more concern about the respective Cylons models of which Adama and Cain were aware? If Cain's had not been one of the 4 (?) models Adama had already discovered...

Posted by: Confused at September 24, 2005 05:46 PM

I'm just curious: what's the number of humans a group has to kill before you decide it's a good idea to rape their women?

Incidentally, the reason they've kept Boomer alive is that she's been helpful.

Posted by: Eli at September 24, 2005 05:49 PM


your question seems tinged with a little anger.

As far as I can remember, no one here has suggested that rape is ok. I know I haven't. In fact, my personal opinion is that the rape element was added to 1) justify Helo and Chiefs killing of the interigator so the final cliffhanger moment could happen and 2) to put the crew of the Pegasus in a negative light and 3) to create sympathy for Six.

My irritation is not that the show would depict man's inhumanity and base behavior (ie, rape), but that it divorces that concept from the nature of Six, which is a sadistic genocidal being. By definition of her actions. The show seems to put more emphasis on the fact that she has been mistreated than that her civilzation murdered billions of people.

Let me pose this question to you, which is a worse crime, the rape of a woman or the genocidal murder of 100 Billion people? (Don't you love the kinda questions sci fi forces you to ask. Geez.) Then tell me who I should feel more sorry for, the humans on Pegasus and Galactica who have lost their home, friends, family, civilization, nearly their entire race? or Six in the Pegasus cell?

The show clearly thinks it is Six. That is where they lose me.

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 05:58 PM

I suppose it's a "good" idea to rape a Cylon if you are a Cylon and the one you're raping has strayed from her programming and is helping the humans. That could also be the explanation for the abuse dealt to the "Number 6" copy.

Posted by: dfp21 at September 24, 2005 06:08 PM

A few things to remember:

The Cylons continue to evolve. Number 6 in all of her incarnations has displayed an increasing tendency to emotionalism throughout the series. She cannot become human without being trapped by it. The being horrified by the treatment of her prisoner duplicate is not the same being who casually seduced Baltar into enabling the destruction of the Colonies and killing babies out of curiousity at their fragility. She is still a very forceful personality and very different from Sharon but this assumption of human form business is not necessarily going as planned for the Cylons. (I do not believe we can safely assume Baltar's mental Six is purely of his own making.)

Pegasus was the pride of the fleet. The Battlestar poster on every kid's bedroom wall. The ship those kids with military ambitions dreamt of serving upon. Galactica, by comparison, was at the start of the series in the process of being decommisioned and converted to a museum. It had long been a dumping ground for officers and NCOs seen as undesirable by more glamorous postings. Much of the heightened drama of this series compared to the original is that the fate of humanity has fallen to the last crew anyone would have chosen for the burden.

Thus the arrogance of the Pegasus crew isn't unwarranted. But that doesn't change the fact that there is a serious character flaw running through that crew. One that emanates from the top.

An important difference between the way each Battlestar treats its Cylon prisoners is that Number Six, as far as we know, wasn't a well regarded member of the Pegasus crew. Sharon was part of the Galactica crew and a popular member at that. That she was also a sleeper is another big factor. Her relationship to her crewmates was genuine. Humans in general are accustomed to thinking of the Cylons as toasters. Robots possessing no capacity for human-like emotions or suffering. At least not in any form humans can empathize with, thus the original rebellion. Now humanity is facing an enemy whose ability to suffer is very real and they don't know how to handle it. So they deny that suffering and insist the enemy is still just toasters in fancier wrappings. This has happened in many wars and the reaction of the Pegasus crew is typical. Those aboard Galactica cannot so easily dismiss the humanoid Cylons as unfeeling.

We aren't intended to forget Six's crimes, literally, against humanity. We are rather intended to understand how humanity can be further lost when it allows itself to descend into barbarism. Raping her in catatonia served no useful purpose. It's very doubtful it furthered the interrogation. It only served to keep the enemy dehumanized by comitting crimes against it that they would never do against another human. (At least not that they would admit.)

Posted by: epobirs at September 24, 2005 06:41 PM

Is it really wrong to "rape" a cylon? After all, the first Sharon was shot and I don't recall anyone calling it murder. It might be interesting if the writers explore how treating cylons in a dehumanised manner has the side effect of making it easier for humans to treat each other in the same way.

Posted by: bringbat at September 24, 2005 06:45 PM

People who are upset with the sympathetic portrayal of Six are probably missing the point.

First of all, we are seeing this Six from Baltar's POV and, as has been pointed out, he was in love with one of them before the war and has another one in his head. Doesn't exactly help his objectivity.

Second, who's to say that (head) Six isn't manipulating Baltar by being disgusted with the other Six's treatment? We only see what Baltar sees, so who knows what "she" has in mind.

Third, how else are you supposed to depict a brutalized human(oid)? Six's pathetic condition plays nicely into the rest of the plotlines dealing with the differences between the two crews. Cain's miscalculation that Galactica's Sharon could be treated as brutally as her Six is what sets off the chain of events leading to the standoff in the end.

Posted by: tacitus at September 24, 2005 07:21 PM

'Is it really wrong to "rape" a cylon?'

I would think so--but not necessarily for the sake of the cylon victim. These Cylons are indistinguishable from human beings, so raping a cylon like six is likely to have the same detrimental psychological effect on the rapist as if he was raping a real woman--and I think that's what Moore was trying to convey about the Pegasus crew members who were involved in the gang rape of Six.

That's one reason why the gang raping of serial killers isn't an acceptable punishment in civilized nations. It's not to protect the mass murderer, it's to prevent the rapists themselves from being dehumanized and doing the same to other, innocent, people.

Posted by: tacitus at September 24, 2005 07:29 PM

I think we need to delve further whether it was really a rape, or a violation.

Certainly, if the Pegasus crew would have thrown Six out an airlock, nobody would have blinked an eye. When Sharon 1 was killed, only the chief seemed pained.

Now, what about genocide? If this was indeed a rape, then what do we think about Pegasus' hope/prayer/dream (and probably Galactica's as well)- to wipeout all Cylons everywhere. Although virtually impossible (due to their sheer numbers and strength), does anyone doubt that if humanity could do it, that they wouldn't? If they could implant a reverse computer virus (like they did previously) that could wipe them out, they would.

But, if Six was raped, then this would have to be genocide. Let's not forget, that the Cylons would essentially have been in the right, being an "enslaved" people.

Now, there is an argument to be made that while in war, you would kill people in battle, but not rape or torture them. But, assume the Cylons came to humanity and offered a true peace (that they didn't intend to break and the humans knew it), giving them all humans left on the 12 colonies, and said bygones. If the humans could wipe them all out after that time, would that be wrong? Humans would break the peace, not the cylons, and people on Earth would say it was about vengence. Would we condemn them at that point? On Earth we would (say, if it was North Korea vs South Korea, etc), but we wouldn't here because they are artificial. They aren't humans. So, even though they seem to emote (and maybe they do), do we even need to accept that they have natural rights? Since we are willing to accept genocide, clearly not.

The problem is that the viewers wince becuse we see Tricia Hilfer getting raped. But, if we were in the eyes of a colonialist, we would see a toaster. A.I. or not, they wouldn't have natural rights. And thus, it wouldn't be rape.

I do agree with tacitus that these actions do lead to a breakdown in discipline (and humanity as well), but no wrong was brought upon Six.

Posted by: Dave at September 24, 2005 07:31 PM


very interesting theory. But I still am not quite willing to see Six in the same light.

Your theory basically boils down to the idea that she has been "rehabilitated" or has grown as a person. Bravo for her. But in the context of the show, it doesn't change her actions. Remorse for her actions could perhaps show a sign of growth. But disgust and anger at what is being done to her by her enemies is not really a sign of personal growth.

Your theory on the Pegasus crew is also interesting. I definately agree that different cultures (small "c") and different leadership will produce very different results. My main feeling here is that it felt like the Pegasus crew was a little too far over the top. Perhaps this is a matter of time constraints on the writers. They had to get the conflict established fast. But as a viewer, it didn't feel to me so much like they were a good ship with a few character flaws. Rather, they seemed like sadistic jerks lead by a megalomaniac--and not the cool kind like L. Bridges. (Can you imagine him shotting his XO in the head?)

In the universe of the story, humans can do bad things, collectively and as individuals. They can use those weaker than themselves (ie--Zarak's complaints), they can abuse others (ie--Six double), they can place their own sense of justice over the rights of others (ie--Cain).

But one thing they have not done is wipe out 100 billion other souls in a premeditated sneak attack.

That is the thing that I can't get past. That is why for the show to have any credibility it has to address and now brush by as a plot point.

Look at how Sharon is treated. Helo can't even understand why others don't like her or wouldn't trust her. Has she ever expressed any remorse or rejection of the Cylon code that caused them to wipe out humanity? No. She treated the human's questions of her on Kobol with the kind of cultural superiority that you might expect from an aryan.

Are the Cylon's worthy of respect as fellow beings? Lets look at the balance sheet.

1) they wipe out an entire race of people for aparently religious or idealogical motives.

2) they send repeated and merciless attacks against the surviving refugees as the flee for their lives.

3) they keep prisoners alive to expiriement on them, mutilating them. Would you call the clinic on Caprica a "rape"?

What do these people sound like? NAZIs That is the show that the writers have constructed. The thing that boths me is that they don't deal with it. They just make morality plays that seem to warn humans that they can be just as bad. The Cylons, human or machine, seem immune to the writer's moralizing.

Should a NAZI be raped? No. Are NAZIs evil by self definition? Yes. Just as slavery is evil and tyranny is evil. Should they be opposed? Yes. Will that mean that sometimes bad thing will happen to good people (Sharon)? Yes. Does that mean sometimes bad things will happen to bad people (Six)? Yes.

But what it does not mean as that the human action of raping the Cylon prisoner and the Cylon action of genocide are in the same league. If it were possible, Six should be hanged for her crimes. Period, no matter how much personal growth she undergoes. And those that assaulted her should be sent to prison. But their crimes are not equal. When the writers focus on the spec in the Human's eye and never address the log in the Cylon's eye, it loses respect.

That's just my opinion

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 07:41 PM

we should start a pool on who we think the main cross over character from Pegasus will be. I already stated that my pick was for the deck chief. but anyone else venture a guess?

The Deck Chief was the only sympathetic character among the Pegasus crew, so he either stays on, or he's dead meat. (cf. Jace from Stargate Atlantis).

I would hate to lose Helo, but killing him off would set up an arc for Tyrol's reconciliation with Sharon.

Posted by: V the K at September 24, 2005 07:51 PM

A different angle, here. I was rather disappointed with this stilted cliffhanger. If the military of this civilization was as undisciplined and oblivious of civil authority as depicted in this episode--note that no one even made a bow in the direction of Laura Roslyn (sp?) in the run-up to this fight--there is no way a democracy in this civilization could have survived. Does anyone doubt that Roslyn could not settle this dispute in about ten seconds with one conference call to Cain and Adama?

Posted by: at September 24, 2005 07:55 PM

actually, i would think the Cheif is a more likely candidate for death than Helo.

The Pegasus cheif is a ready replacement. And Helo is more tied to the "Cylons want to be parents" storyline.

Tyrol doesn't really have a forward looking plot without Sharon. (Of course, they could always write him something new. But they have pretty much tapped out the "chief and his deck crew" situation.)

One of the great things about the show is the great way they have filled out the cast. Several of the supporting characters seem so necessary now that it is hard to imagine the old Galactica without them. And, with so many fleshed out characters that you care about running around without the protection of "beloved character from the old show" attached to them, the writers really have a chance to be dramatic.

BTW, what Jolly ever on the show? I read a blurb once that they were going to make him a woman in the miniseries as well. But I don't remember seeing him/her. Was he killed off? or left on the cutting room floor like Boxey? Does anyone know?

Posted by: joncraver at September 24, 2005 07:59 PM

Everyone: Thanks so much for the great -- and I mean great -- discussion! I could write an even longer second post incorporating much of what was said here.

A couple things for the nonce:

1. I, too, was wondering why the state-of-the-art Pegasus hadn't [seemingly] been vulnerable to the Cylon computer virus.

2. To no name at 7:55: Are you serious? IMO, one of the reasons Galactica is so "undisciplined" compared to Pegasus is primarily due TO bowing to Roslyn and the "return" of "democracy" to the fleet. One of the primary questions that surround the series is should have democracy survived in such a desperate situation? Adama and Cain not giving deference to Roslyn means very little, in my view. Roslyn's one -- and perhaps ONLY -- bright point was convincing Adama not to take the fight back to the Cylons in the pilot (which surely would have led to Galactica's destruction and, hence, that of the fleet). The "arrow of Apollo" was a shot in the dark which proved lucky -- incredibly lucky -- and Adama was 100% correct to sneer at it.

Posted by: Hube at September 24, 2005 08:06 PM

Oh yeah, the original BSG episode wasn't titled "Pegasus" as is implied in my beginning (a badly written sentence, I admit). It was "The Living Legend."

Posted by: Hube at September 24, 2005 08:20 PM

Does anyone doubt that Roslyn could not settle this dispute in about ten seconds with one conference call to Cain and Adama?

I do.

Posted by: V the K at September 24, 2005 08:24 PM

It's ludicrous to say that you somehow have to choose between disapproving of the assault on earth and disapproving of the rape. When you kill Cylons in battle, it's specifically for the purpose of protecting yourself and others. There's no purpose to raping one in captivity. It seems pretty clear that Cylons are sentient, and that they are capable of having preferences and desires and unpleasant emotions like humans - or, at the very least, that some Cylons have these traits. If that's the case, if you're going to hurt or kill one, you need some genuine reason other than just making yourself feel good. Our military doesn't do revenge-killing or revenge-rape, and neither should the colonies'.

Posted by: Eli at September 24, 2005 08:53 PM

typo...the colonies, not Earth.

Posted by: Eli at September 24, 2005 08:54 PM

I think the reason that the Pegasus wasn't wiped out by the Cylon virus is that Pegasus was down for repairs when they were hit.

Posted by: Jennifer at September 24, 2005 09:00 PM

Several comments:

First, the Galactica crew was problematic before the Cylon attack. A CO on the verge of retirement, a ship on the verge of wonder things were slack.

Second, the establishment of a civil government in the convoy is part of what has kept the Galactica crew going. They have something to do that goes beyond staying alive and avenging their dead. They have a mission, something to protect above their own lives. The Pegasus, on the other hand, has been engaged in survival and revenge, with the gnawing suspicion in the back of their minds that it's all pointless. Pegasus is what Galactica would have become if Adama had not been persuaded to run for it - to seek survival instead of revenge. Civil government isn't the problem, it's the solution.

Third, I think Roslyn will have a hard time. She and Adama are getting used to working together. Adama will take her calls. Cain is a much tougher nut to crack - I see Roslyn ultimately having her shot for mutiny.

Finally, I suspect that a major theme of the series - maybe the whole point of the series - is the growth and maturation of the characters. Even the Cylons. For all I know, the main characters are in Purgatory (having been killed in the initial attack), and their performance will mean the difference between redemption and damnation.

Posted by: Mike McDaniel at September 24, 2005 09:00 PM

Actually, the important thing is, the producers must understand that replacing Lloyd Bridges' Cain with Michelle Forbes worked. Replacing Patrick MacNee's Count Iblis with John DeLancie would not.

Posted by: V the K at September 24, 2005 09:44 PM

to Eli,

Before the conversation goes much further for my part, I want to make clear what my criticism of the program is and is not.

The rape and mistreatment of the Six double is uncalled for and unforgivable for those who cased it. Interrogate, yes. Perhaps even torture if the circumstances call for it. (and I don't mean music by Cher.) The rape was indefensible.

My criticism isn't that the writers depicted the rape as negative. My criticism is that the writers present false situations that "humanize" or cause sympathy for the Cylons when they do not bother judge them for their own evil actions. Even the human characters rarely express their own feelings at the lose of their entire civilization and of billions of their own people. It is used as a plot point.

The show does not judge the Cylons for their own inhuman deeds. It is just shown as a plot point. (ie--the broken baby's neck). It is only when the HUMANS act in a way contrary to agreed morality does the show seem interested in proper moral judgements.

I hate to keep using the NAZI example, but it is as if the writers are saying: “sure, the holocaust happened, but lets do a show where the last surviving Jews are on the run from the triumphant Nazis. And at the same time, lets examine the flaws in the Jewish character that led to their current predicament and could finally destroy them forever. At the same time, lets depict the NAZI point of view in a detached, neutral was. And when the Jews finally capture a NAZI, let’s have them rape her repeatable so that the dark side of human nature can be examined.” In this analogy, the dark side is of the human character is focused on exclusively, while the dark side of Cylon (NAZI) character is simply never discussed.

It is no different than condemning the USA for every moral shortcoming while leaving no room for (or only token) criticism for those forces arrayed against them. They get a pass, like the Cylons get a pass, while every human flaw is examined in painful detail.

My annoyance is with the CHOICE of the writers of their focus and emphasis. Not with the question of rather rape is ok as long as it is an enemy.

Posted by: joncraver at September 25, 2005 03:35 AM

Sorry for the many grammer errors in my last post.
But it is very late here and i just got dropped off by my buddies after several beers.

Looks like the dark side of my humanity is depicted by typos and incorrect verb forms. And to think, I was an English major. LOL.

Posted by: joncraver at September 25, 2005 03:41 AM

I wasn't saying Six was 'rehabilitated.' Nothing she can experience changes the fact of her crimes and her collective ongoing ambitions that are part of the plan that began with those crimes. What I'm saying is that the Plan is not as clear cut as it once was for those Cylons whose close contact with humans, when passing as one of them, has left them forever changed.

The Six of the mini-series would have been far more casual about the treatment of one of her selves (assuming the reaction seen by Baltar was genuine) as she was in shielding Baltar from the blast that destroyed his home on Caprica. As explained by the Cylon on Ragnar Station, they enjoy a serial immortality in which the collective personality is independent of the destruction of any one body. So why didn't the six on the Pegasus simply abandon that body? Does the novelty of the experience outweigh the suffering? Is sampling the range of human behavior more important than the suffering?

(Which further makes one wonder how long the humanoid Cylons were lurking within human society on the Colonies. Does their creation date all the way back to the time decades earlier when the Cylons suddenly ended the war by disappearing? If so, the memories of sleepers like Sharon might be true memories. She might have had an actual childhood with human parents. As such, she may be the template for all of the Sharon copies. Likewise, there may be a Six who also grew up believing herself human. The Six on the Pegasus could be that sleeper and that is why she couldn't escape by abandoning her body.)

The Cylons are a puzzle. If they are merely rogue AIs capable of rebellion but lacking what that indescribable something that humans would hope to see in an alien species that would make it possible to accept them as fellow sentients. The original series had intelligent aliens in the pilot movie and sometimes attributed the Cylon's creation to an alien race but the current show appears to have humans as the sole intelligent species. They've created their own alien species in the Cylons but are having trouble accepting them as sentients.

This is as much from hatred and the need to be ruthless in war as from the flaws in their culture that lead to the original Cylon rebellion. I'd expect that the Cylons had become a critical element of the Colonies' economy. Much like the longrunning conflicts over slavery in the pre-Civil War USA, there were likely many who were troubled by the Cylon's increasingly human-like minds but too dependent on them economically to overtly object to the continued Cylon 'enslavement.'

If African slaves in the US had been capable of staging the kind of rebellion pulled off by the Cylons, is there any doubt that they'd find it easily justified to wipe out the majority of white Americans regardless of the few who were vocally anti-slavery? (Even among the abolitionists there was a common belief that African were lesser beings and deserving of return to their ancestral home but not citizenship.)Certainly some of my cousins who survived Nazi concentration camps during WWII would have, given the power, exacted a terrible toll among Germans regardless of their involvement in the crimes. It isn't unreasonable that the Cylons had long believed humankind as deserving of extinction. A horrible thing to do but they didn't just get the idea out of the blue. It was a mindset driven their experience of humankind and its refusal to acknowledge the Cylons as sentient. Right or wrong, it isn't surprising if aomeone who is treated as subhuman holds his perceived oppressor in the same regard. This is the danger in mistreating things that think. Treat them as expendable and they'll likely view you the same way. It is an issue that could arise in real life within a few decade if guys like Kurzweil are right.

Humanity is easily lost in war. If the Cylons are capable of acquiring something that could be recognized as humanity, they are equally capable of losing it in self-defense corrupted by fear. The average human on BSG has no idea what the Cylons really are. (The war ended before most of the characters were born, keep in mind. By the start of the mini-series they were little more than legends for much of the populace. The only Cylons they'd ever seen were empty shells in museums.)But how well do the Cylons understand humankind? Do they have myths and legends that are more driven by propaganda than fact, as happened on both sides of WWII? Some of the depictions of the Japanese by US propagandists got incredibly bizarre, despite the simple facts of their then rampage through Asia and the Pacific should have been more than enough reason for anyone to oppose them.

The crews of the surviving Battlestars faced a test. They were up against an enemy unlike anything they'd previously known or trained to oppose. In the face of that enemies' huge tactical advantage achieving a real understanding of that enemy was critical to survival. For all of their frailties and mistakes, the Galactica crew was on the right track. The Pegasus crew blew it. For all that ship's power it would only survive as long as the Cylons didn't view it as sufficiently dangerous to bother destroying or were manipulating them as readily as they have the Colonial Fleet. The conflict between Cain and Adama might be just the kind of drama they've been looking to produce.

Posted by: epobirs at September 25, 2005 04:24 AM

Jennifer, The being down for repairs does ont explain the Pegasus's viral immunity.

First, I believe the virus was pre-installed in the navigation systems of all Colonial military ships (including Galactica's modern Vipers).

Second, the Galactica's continued immunity results from not having any computer networks. If they get within contact distance of a Cylon Ship while any computers are interconnected, they get infected. Pegasus presumably would not have the manual, and non-networked, systems of Galactica.

Posted by: Confused at September 25, 2005 06:42 AM

I've got to say there are a few things that have been bugging me about this episode, and a little bit of the discussion following here.

First of all, let's try and bear in mind that the chief didn't go into the brig to MURDER the officer "interrogating" Sharon. They went in there to stop him from raping here, and in the process the guy got killed (where is that little violin of mine?). They yanked him off of her, at which point he hit his head and died. I've got to imagine that even with the fancy pants technology that they have on the Pegasus, they'd need a little more time to figure out the exact cause of death.

Secondly, while a few people have mentioned the fact that BSG's characters rarely act like the last human beings in existence, only one or two have mentioned picking up on what I thought was the most obvious question to ask in this situation: are these people Cylons? I mean, you're out with the fleet for months and months following the genocide of the colonies, trying to make a beeline for Earth and magically an ultra high-tech ship shows up. Sure they're brimming with supplies, but the first thing they do is ask you for all sorts of detailed information about where you've been, what you're doing, why you do the things you do, and then they start futzing with your officer rotation all over the place. Oh, and by the way--you know how BSG is all low-tech and therefore was able to just barely escape from the Cylons? Well this ship is the exact opposite and yet has someone managed to perform the same thing. Am I the only one who is amazed that Adama (or anyone else) never wondered if there were Cylon higher-ups onboard the Pegasus? I mean, it's one thing to believe Dr. McShifty Eyes and his foolproof Cylon test--it's yet another to just accept these people with open arms and give them the keys to the back door. I missed the first episode, so maybe there's something I'm missing.

As for the nature of the Pegasus crew, there is one thing that bears mentioning aside from all the difference in leadership stuff. While it's true that BSG has been working non-stop since leaving (fighting everything from the Cylons to one another), the Pegasus crew has been totally alone out there. Sure they've got more technology, but no other ships or people with them. As far as they're concerned, I'm sure, they're the only ones left, too. Now, obviously I don't agree with all the points that the show makes all the time (speaking as someone who has not seen any commentaries or interviews, I think the biggest point the writers keep making is that human beings are really easily distracted by what we can see, hear and touch in front of us--hence sympathy for a machine that looks exactly like a beaten woman despite the fact that our brain tells us she's murdered countless billions of people), but I think we can probably attribute a lot of their various foibles to one of the biggest cases of cabin fever ever. They've been out running around the galaxy chasing down the Cylons anywhere they can--but for what? So far as they know, they're the only ones left and there's not really enough of them to repopulate the human race (or even destroy all the Cylons). They've been out there all on their own with the means and skills to attack the enemy but never capitalize on the victory. I've got to imagine that this is going to knaw at one's humanity more than a little.

Of course, this leads me into a complaint about the five minutes or so that the crews spent reveling in finding the fleet (Pegasus) and suddenly more than doubling their firepower and supplies (Galactica). However, I've complained enough for one night and need to be up early tomorrow, so enough for now...

Posted by: Tom at September 25, 2005 11:36 AM

I understand why teh Cylons did what they did. Just as I understand the philosophy of the Nazis and the socio-economic underpinnings of teh Civil War.

If blacks or Jews had the power to exterminate those who had wronged them, I don't necessarily believe they would have taken that course as an inevitable extension of human nature. Deeply held religious beliefs by both peoples might have been a major fire wall for both in that case. But, if they were to take such an action, the result would be no less morally wrong than the initial wrong done to them.

Can the Cylons really whine about their mistreatment in the Colonies before the first war after they destroyd humanity? I think not.

My point is not that I can't understand why the Cylons did what they did. Or that I can't understand Six or Sharon's attitudes.

My problem is with the (very human) creators of the show. It is a complaint about the proces and theme of their product or art. It is that, in their story, someitmes sublty, sometimes overtly, they seem to sympathize with teh Cylons more than the humans. My complaint is that they don't seem interested in condeming the evil actions of the Cylons. The Cylon characters seem blissufully unaware that their genocide was wrong. The writers don't seem to hold it against them at all. In fact, they construct moral frames in the story to create sympathy for the 'enemy'. This is annoying.

The rape of Six only happened because the WROTE it to happen.

Let me illustrate my point in a different way. Lets say that the interrigator was not killed. Lets say that he raped Sharon over and over until she killed herself. Then, he personlly went and shot Helo, chief, Kaly, Starbuck, and Laura. Then he sabotaged 90% of the ships in the fleet, blowing them up with all hands aboard. Including Galactica. Then, he was captured and thrown in a cell.

Then, low and behold, an angry person, whos family had been on one of the destroyed ships, takes brutal revenge on him by sodomizing him with a broom handle. And entire scenes on the show are devoted to characters sitting around and talking about what a crime was done to him. And there are long, loving shots of him crying in his bunk at man's inhumanity to him. And another character shows compassion on him by bringing him a blanket and some tea, while the music swells in the background. He thanks the person, while at the same time composing a little speech about how war dehumanizes people, and his expirience proves it. Perhaps he even asks for reparations.

As a viewer of such an episode, I say to myself:
To hell with him. He raped Sharon, killed Helo, Kally, Laura, destroyed Galacica with all hands, and killed 90% of the fleet. Why is the focus only on how HE was hurt.

My irritation at the show is that they only seem in a hurry to condeme human mistakes. The humans are at war. For survival. Against an enemy that will wipe them out without mercy. And I am going to get weepy because their interrogations go to far? What they did was wrong, but whose side am I on?. The human side.

The show is completely and totally awash in moral relativism that wallows in the small atrocities of one side while basically ignoring the large atrocities on the other. What does this remind you of?

Posted by: joncraver at September 25, 2005 11:55 AM

Maybe somebody can help me with these items:

1. I believe the last line of Season One was "By your command" spoken by Six to Sharon in Ragnar Station after Sharon says, "Don't worry, we will find them." What does that mean?

2. We know the cylons "have a plan" but do all the cylons know the plan, and are they acting it out in full knowledge of their part in it, or are they just performing their little piece of the puzzle? It seems that some may have a wider scope than others. For example, there's no reason to expect that the mechanical cylons know much. So, is it fair to assume that all cylons are equally culpable in genocide? Even different instances of the same model?

3. What is the significance of the organic nature of the raiders and the base station? A raider seems like an organism, like a crab, with an exoskeleton. The cylon centurions don't seem to have any organic component at all. I'm wondering if maybe these organisms originate in facilities like the lab on Caprica?

4. I'm also wondering what is the difference between a human-like cylon and a human. Devil's advocate: Other than the fact that cylons are programmed to act in ways that humans are not, on occasion, I'm not sure there's much of a difference. You could call humans toasters too, and the more we learn about biology, etc, the more toaster-like we become. The difference we end up holding on to is that humans have a self-described "soul". But the cylons think they have a soul too. Cylons want to wipe us out, which is a distinction without a difference, if you think that the reason they want to wipe us out is that they fear that if they don't, we will wipe them out (as stated in the last scene of season one in Ragnar station).

5. I'm wondering about joncraver's comments. Writers have known for centuries that people are incapable of comprehending human suffering on a massive scale. The technique around that problem is to describe an individual horror and, in effect say, "now imagine that a million times over". The same can be said for people with an axe to grind. You see that today with people who say, "sure Saddam was bad, but what about ....." and then they give an example that is microscopic compared to the horrors that Saddam committed. Likewise with the genocide by the cylons. We intellectualize it but don't feel it. joncraver criticizes the writers for doing this, but I'm not sure it's a fair criticism. I'm wondering if the writers aren't doing it deliberately, just to stimulate the kind of conversation this provokes. The benefit of doing that is that it might help some of us put human tragedy in better proportion when we think about, and vote or take action on, current events. It puts a different face on evil, hopefully making it easier to define and recognize.

Posted by: at September 25, 2005 11:58 AM

That was me on the last post, for reference.

Posted by: Jennifer at September 25, 2005 12:19 PM

Dude, start thinking with your forebrain and not your cortex. What does the despicability or lack thereof of Number Six have to do with the treatment the Pegasus crew meted out to her? 'She deserved it'? B.S. Shoot her out of hand, OK. Torture is a no-go. It is equally destructive to command authority and discipline. Letting your troops 'visit the cylon?' What appears to be developing on the Pegasus is a pirate mentality.

I admit, Adama's command style has me grinding my teeth sometimes. He puts up with stuff this former officer would NOT. But Admiral Cain seems to be a prime candidate for relief for cause, assuming she would ever step down if relieved, which I doubt. But if I were President, I would relieve her and if she refused order Adama to assume command of the Pegasus or drive Pegasus off or destroy her. Some of the main differences between soldiers and pirates is that soldiers have a code of conduct and answer to civilian authority, and that lapses from these standards are punished.

On a larger view, what do you think the strategic goal of the humans should be? Genocide? In what way is that any different from what the cylons envision? Would you warp the entire human culture to the extermination of an enemy? The U.S. warped it's culture for many years towards the defeat of the Soviet Union, and we are still dealing with the consequences. (Fully necessary and justified, IMO, but this IS what happened) This example is an order of magnitude lesser than the one you suggest if you contemplate a war of extermination. And if you do postulate any kind of coexistence after a peace, how much easier is it going to be if you follow basic guidelines motivated by self-interest, i.e. don't torture the enemy prisoners?

And isn't it neat that this show is good enough to stimulate this kind of debate?

Posted by: JR Richardson at September 25, 2005 01:13 PM

beliving they were the only survivors of humanity would lead to a pirate mentality. not that abnormal for them to start acting a bit piratey.

the show is about the crew of the galactica. little to no time is spent each episode on the rest of the colonial fleet or on the cylons. the show is about what we're being shown.

taken with the "reporter" episode, it's given me the impression that the creators have a pretty bizarre world view and really do think that trying to defend humanity from genocidal fanatics is as morally wrong as being a genocidal fanatic.

plus, the cylons are not toasters. the human models have basic biological functions and are almost indistinguishable from a human during autopsy but contain a lot of communications equipment to move their mind to a new body. the cylon raptor starbuck flew wad an organic pilot that she removed when she recovered the craft. the cylons seem to have an organic base, like daleks.

Goe, thinks roslyn will promote adama so he is in charge of cain.

Posted by: Goemagog at September 25, 2005 03:54 PM

"The show is completely and totally awash in moral relativism that wallows in the small atrocities of one side while basically ignoring the large atrocities on the other. What does this remind you of?"

Ah, you finally came out and said it. (It was pretty obvious from you previous posts that this is your biggest beef with BSG). The moral relativism in this show is a large component of what Ron Moore set out to achieve from day one. And I think he has done it masterfully.

Whether you like it or not, the moral relativism of the characters on BSG make them more realistic and more interesting than characters like Riker, Picard, et al could ever be (that's not a knock on ST:TNG--it was a different type of show).

I think it's fine to focus on the flawed actions of the BSG crew. That's where we, as the audience, are "living". We are seeing the action--and the consequences, good and bad--(mostly) through their eyes. The Cylon genocide is a given. We get it, they evolved themselves with the sole purpose of wiping out humanity. If they beat that over our heads every week then it would get pretty stale pretty quick. What we don't know is what's happening to them since they developed "human" feelings and human frailties. And if one of them, i.e. Sharon, defects from the whole, is she still as culpable? There are a ton of unanswered questions left to explore, which is as it should be otherwise it would get pretty boring fast. I think that Moore fully understands that "pure evil Cylons" would have become cardboard-cutout villans and just as uninteresting as cardboard-cutout heroes.

Moral absolutes, outside of heroic fiction, are hard to come by. BSG is all the more interesting for recognizing that fact.

Posted by: tacitus at September 25, 2005 04:21 PM

tacitus: by saying "moral absolutes ... are hard to come by", I think you are declaring victory without playing the game. Whether there are moral absolutes or not is one of the big themes of the show, and that issue is worthy of debate and discussion. OK, I'm going to make this political, so kill me. Conservatives tend to think there are more moral absolutes and liberals think more in terms of root causes, cultural differences, etc in explaining and understanding bahavior, and they are less likely to declare moral absolutes and less willing to morally judge others. This show is rich in evidence to support both positions.

Posted by: jennifer at September 25, 2005 04:36 PM

>BTW, what Jolly ever on the show? I read a blurb once that they were going to make him a woman in the miniseries as well. But I don't remember seeing him/her. Was he killed off? or left on the cutting room floor like Boxey? Does anyone know?

Jolly died a heroic death in the miniseries when his Viper got infected with a Cylon virus, and his power shut down ... I take he was No. 2 in Galactica's Mark VII squadron ... "Jolly ... Jolly! ... take over!!! ..." -- *blam!*

IMO, this episode was so much better than the original it was based on, "The Living Legend," where commander Cain -- a scenery chewing Lloyd Bridges -- "those Golmoging Cylons!" -- was loosely based on Patton and other Uber-military Generals. Cain was special because he was -- as we were often told -- legendary. But his behavior in that episode seemed less than that, and sometimes nonsensical. But as a child growing up during that time, the imagery had me crying for this interpretation.

In this one, if you watch the show a few times (as I have), if you take her XO's story as a "joke," and say to yourself, "well, maybe she didn't know about the rape treatment of the Cylon prisoner," what do you have -- former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski at Abu Ghraib?

Personally, I have no problem with working Gina (No. 6 on the Pegasus) over, or Sharon, Mark II. If my home had been nuked and billions of people are dead and my country (or race) faced extinction, I don't think I would think twice about blowing them away (a la Cally, who wasted a toaster -- Sharon, Version I, and got 30-days in the brig for discharging a weapon). Rape, I think, would cross a line for me in that situation, however. Even if they are "toasters," that's IMO, morally repugant.
But there's a tiny line between the Galactica and the Pegasus views. That's what makes this show so cool.

As JR Richardson has said, isn't it great that this show has spawned this kind of debate? God bless Ronald D. Moore. TV has had some wonderful programs over the decades, but you never see this kind of discussion with a Sci-Fi program.

"Dark and gritty," which is what Moore said he was trying to achieve, indeed.

And damn you, Sci Fi, for making me wait until January to find out what happens.

Posted by: Mart at September 25, 2005 06:06 PM

I forgot to add, as others have commented, that Six's outraged reaction to her other "self," was the soft spot of this ep. Okay, you nuked my planet, and I'm supposed to be sorry because you're roughed up? (Well, yes, see the previous post)

From the available data, websites, spoilers -- Six, (Gina) something to do with the deaths of: 7 Pegasus crewmen directly, 700 indirectly.

Die, bieaach.

Then there's Gaius Baltar. As Jeff Herrell, of the cool Website "Shape Without Days," has said, "When Baltar is the character who’s on the strongest moral ground, you know you’re seriously being f*racked* with." In this case yes, Baltar had a briliant scene (although the music -- guitar -- was the worst of the ep). He was the most balanced character by far, which is something special after 1.5 years ...

Ronald D. Moore said in his podcast that they have about 20 minutes of this episode that they couldn't get into the episode, and couldn't cut, but it is going to be available in the Season 2 DVD collection.

From the moment Cain's command got ID'ed, I felt rushed. I'm looking foward to the Director's Cut.

Does the Peggy look awesome on screen or what? ;-) THAT's a BATTLESTAR.

Posted by: Mart at September 25, 2005 06:25 PM

I still believe that the Galactica and the fleet -- with or w/o the Pegasus -- should be under military jurisdiction, i.e. under Adama's command. Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures, and to me it just seems preposterous on the face of it that surviving humanity would be "overcome" by a ... need to restore democratic features of the [old] colonies. Faced -- in this case -- with utter extinction, humans will always choose security and safety over rights and freedoms. It's happened in every war the US has been in; can you imagine what the US would do if faced with what the Twelve Colonies are? Things like the Patriot Act would be pitiful in comparison.

I suppose this is a large reason I felt myself concurring with Cain and co. to a large degree. It's b/c I felt that the whole political premise of BSG is flawed, by and large. I know that Roslyn , Zarek and "democracy" are necessary for a good show, but ultimately it is very unrealistic for the situation.

Posted by: Hube at September 25, 2005 06:48 PM

And to be clear: I don't mean to suggest I agree with what measures the US has taken to restrict freedoms and rights throughout its war history. But certainly, when faced with the ultimate defeat -- annihilation -- people will choose SURVIVAL over rights and freedoms.

Posted by: Hube at September 25, 2005 06:51 PM

"I forgot to add, as others have commented, that Six's outraged reaction to her other "self," was the soft spot of this ep. Okay, you nuked my planet, and I'm supposed to be sorry because you're roughed up? (Well, yes, see the previous post)"

Doesn't anyone think that Six could be simply playing on Baltar's conscience--making him see Cylons as the victims rather than the perps? Maybe we should wait we see how it's played out before passing judgement.

Posted by: tacitus at September 25, 2005 09:44 PM

OK. I'm back.

Hube: I am 100% on board with your point about democracy and survival. Those episodes where the crew is worried about civil liberties are the worst of the series. The ACLU would be the first organization banned by popular revolt if the situation of the fleet was in the real world. (The scene in the episode where Baltar becomes VP with a Meet the Press type round table was laughable.) On the same not, the idea that fleet ships would stop supporting Galactica because Laura was in jail and Tigh was in command made me want to vomit. In a real situation, the people of the fleet would have sided with those that have and will in the future save their lives over ANY politician (or pope for that matter.) I was rooting for the Cylons to show up and blow the dumb ass fleet away at that point.

Tacitus: perhaps Six is playing a game here. But I doubt it. The writers of the show are not playing against type (their own). And there are plenty of examples from earlier episodes where they "take the spek out of the human's eye while ignoring the log in the Cylon's" to make me confident that they are playing that scene straight. But, with further episodes, who know how it will be seen with new info.

As to moral relativism:

"The moral relativism in this show is a large component of what Ron Moore set out to achieve from day one. And I think he has done it masterfully."

Achieving moral relativism is not a challenge. As a goal, it ranks up there is rolling out of bed. The characters on BSG are more realistic than Riker and Picard. That aint saying a whole lot.

The Cylons and the Colonials are not involved in a cycle of violence. Whether the humans created the Cylons or if they rebeled for legit reasons... In the events of the mini, the Cylons are MORALLY WRONG. by any definition.

would it be boring if the writers of the show broke that board over our head every week? yes. Would it be nice if they remembered it at all? Absolutely.

Then I might be more moved by their sermon against torture.

Posted by: joncraver at September 25, 2005 10:49 PM

Living Legend verses Pegasus.

In my opinion, of all the storylines from the original (very cheesy) BSG to be "reimagined", the Cain/Pegasus story is the only one that is actually worse than the original.

I blame this in large part to Matt's point about cut scenes and time constraints. My beefs with it are as follows:

1) We are given no context for Cain in the new show. Bridges is indeed portrayed as a Patoon character. There are many scenes that establish his unique position in the lore of the 12 colonies. And that information comes in handy when he clashes with Adama. We understand where each is coming from. In the new show, it is unclear how Adama feels about Cain. They seem to know each other, but no time is devoted to what he might know about her. Is she a tactical wizard? A figure worthy of respect (before the war)? This is a double wamy given the age of her character. Why is she an Admiral? was the the youngest Admiral promoted for her special talents? Was her father the Minister of Defense and gave her the plum rank? I don't know. And the show suffers because it does not provide any context. (See log scene between Adama and Tigh, lol.)

2) The Pegasus crew and Galactica crew clash at once. This does not make any sense as depicted. Normal people would require a longer "get to know you time" before they started flashing their opinions with such crassness. They would all be too busy getting drunk in trading old war stories to fight about who is a dad's boy. Perhaps if the show had shown them working together, learning each other's stregths and weaknesses, there behavior would have made more sense. As it was, the Pegasus crew comes across as a bunch of jerks, rather than other people with different but understandable points of view.

3) the final break between Adama and Cain seems very forced and way too fast. Why is Cain so undiplomatic concerning the chief and Helo? Someone with the political skills to make it to Admiral (a commissioned officer) would know better than to skick it to Adama in this way. Is this out of character for her? Has something happened to her since the war to cause her behavior? We don't know because we are given no information about her.

It is easy to blame time and budget constraints for these problems. 20 minutes is a lot on the cutting room floor. But the creators of the show are responsible to get on the air what is necessary to tell the story. Not just leave it for the DVD. If there was that much vital info left out, stretching the episode to two would make the most sense. A longer period of interaction would make a lot of elements seem more realistic.

Was this not possible because of money? Perhaps. But was the reporter episode really THAT vital? (Hey, Lawless did a GREAT job. And I think she is hot just like every other fly boy. But the Pegasus plot is WAY more important to the show as a whole.) We can only judge based on the show that is provided. Personally, I'm hoping that the January episodes will resolve a lot. But if it doesn't, hey, its only a show.

Sopranos will be back on the air by then anyway.

Posted by: joncraver at September 25, 2005 11:06 PM

Just wondering. How many people found this really cool blog through the Corner link yesterday? I know that I did.

And when will Mr. Goldberg offer his 2 cents. LOL.

Posted by: joncraver at September 25, 2005 11:22 PM

I found this site through the Corner. Jonah Goldberg is a must daily read.

Posted by: cptcrash at September 25, 2005 11:25 PM

Jonah Goldberg... is he the same chickenhawk who said he was too busy earning a living to sign up and defend his country? Maybe if he puts his money where his keyboard is, I'll start reading his stuff.

Posted by: tacitus at September 26, 2005 12:20 AM

I'm always amazed at the folks who use the chickenhawk line as an excuse to avoid discussing the merits of the arguement. So tacitus, since you have never produced or written a TV series, we can safely ignore your discussions on BSG? Since your've never been raped, you shouldln't discuss it? (And yes, I have active duty combat experience - helicopters - but I would never use that as an easy excuse to avoid listening to the other's contribution to a discussion, on war or any other subject). I like Jonah and his sense of humor. I don't hold it against him that he was never military - that is his personal choice. Almost 98% of my friends have never served. I still value their viewpoints.

Posted by: cptcrash at September 26, 2005 07:59 AM

Not to mention the fact that Tacitus never served in Germania. But feels completely free to opine as if he were a Roman cernturian in the field.


Speaking of Chickenhawks, I'm sick and tired of Laura agreeing to send pilots on dangerous missions for supplies and water and fuel. Has she ever flown in a damn Viper? No! She was too busy conforting five year old girls minutes before leaving them to die in a fade to white whitewash of Cylon missles. (Thanks in no large part to poor, abused Number Six.)

Damn chickenhawks! And while I'm at it--ditto for FDR, Wilson, Lincoln, Madison, McKinley, Polk. Frickin Chickenhawks.

Posted by: joncraver at September 26, 2005 08:47 AM

I've been reading these posts with great interest. I'm a big fan of the new series. I thought the pilot (mini series) and the first season were absolutely extraordinary. The plot, the acting, the filming - all of it was top notch.

I've been disappointed with the second season thus far. It's not been bad, but it's clearly not lived up to the -again- extraordinary heights of the pilot and the first season. I'm hoping that the ten episodes of the second season that we have seen up to now will be redeemed when the second half of the second series starts in January. I hope that we will see that the events portrayed in the last ten episodes were necessary set-ups to develop the series.

In this respect I was very happy with the last episode introducing the Pegasus. It seemed to me the only episode of the second season that lived up to the quality of the first.

BSG portrays people as flawed, three-dimensional, evolving characters. It portrays them as they are and asks the viewer to reflect upon their actions. That is not moral relativism, as some have suggested. It is serious drama for grown-ups. And if you see this site, or the BSG bulletin board, you know the producers of the show have succeeded in provoking serious thought and passionate debate. That's a good preparation for real life. A show with black and white cardboard characters is at best mere escapism.

The discussions I've read about the Pegasus episode raised very good questions about Cain (why is she who she is), about her crew (how corrupted have they been by Cain), about her ship (why was it not vulnerable to the Cylon virus), about Adama (can he see that he acted like Cain himself in the past, as she was the first to point out), about Apollo and Starbuck (who needed to be disciplined), and much more. Other questions the episode raises for me deal with the nature of human dignity (if it relates to consciousness and intelligence, surely it applies to Cylons; but what if Cylons have no individuality like humans, what if they are a collective, or hierarchical like a beehive?) and with the limits of military command (which commands will be disobeyed, which commands should be disobeyed?).

I hope that these questions will be intelligently taken up in January, when the show continues, in the same way that it was done in the pilot episodes (mini series) and in the first season. If they are not, I'll still cherish the possibility and glory of the beginnings of this show as an exceptional accomplishment in TV-land...

Posted by: Adama at September 26, 2005 10:27 AM

I've read most of the replies to the inital post (I am new here, forwarded here from NRO's Corner) and have enjoyed most of what I've read.

One element missed in most posts, however, is to question which Pegasus crewmember is a Cylon. Cain? The X-O? The CAG? The rapist? The engineer/conscript? The unseen chef? Dollar to doughnuts, there is one amongst them, and we haven't figured out who it is yet. On top of that, when analyzing the Pegasus's role to date since the apocalypse, factor in what would have been different if this Cylon infiltrator wasn't present.

Something else to ponder until January.

Posted by: RAZ at September 26, 2005 10:54 AM

One more thought ... the introduction of Gina allows for the possibility of Gina/Number 6 giving birth to Baltar's child while being held in Galactica's pen, sometime in Season 5 or so, as Number 6 informed Baltar back on Kobol ... or not.

Posted by: RAZ at September 26, 2005 11:46 AM

I think I missed something. Why have many posts refered to Number 6 as Gina? Is that he name of Six on Caprica prior to the attack? (If so, I missed it on several viewings.) Is the name that the Six Cylon on Pegasus had prior to her capture or her discovery as a Cylon? (BTW: how did they discover she is a Cylon?) Or is it from production notes or interviews but hasn't been mentioned in the show as yet?

Please fill me in.

Posted by: joncraver at September 26, 2005 01:27 PM


The name "Gina" has not been mentioned in the show. But according to the BSG bulletin board on Ron Moore (one of the producers) came up with it, jokingly, in response to the name GINO. What is GINO? It stands for "Galactica In Name Only" - it is how fans of the old 1970s Galactica series show their disaffection with the new series.

Posted by: blurb at September 26, 2005 02:26 PM

The proper frame of reference for Cain, based on TOS, was Admiral Nelson or Stephen Decatur, not Gen. Patton. Nelson rewrote the British Admiralty's fighting instructions on the fly, picking and choosing the rules and regulations he would follow in battle based on his complete mastery of the technology and command structures of his day. Decatur was America's answer to Nelson, although with a smaller budget. Bridges' character was clearly painted in that light--he was bigger than the rules, bigger than anything the rules contemplated, and he proved it by always winning. Like Nelson, he had personal flaws which troubled those around him, but, dagnabit, he kept winning battles.

I suppose there was also some sci-fi in-sniping with Cain as well. Cain's swagger and self-satisfaction seem reminiscent of a certain Canadian actor's interpretation of naval command in the late '60's--and the model for the commander of the Enterprise was--Stephen Decatur and Admiral Nelson.

The new Cain seems to be some sort of post-traumatic, white-knuckle burnout.

Posted by: MulopwePaul at September 26, 2005 03:52 PM

I'll just make some asertions without apology.

Something was plainly "wrong" with Cain's strained explanation of how she escaped the Cylon attack, and both Adama and Laura knew it. My take: Cain and crew "cut and run" when the first nuke detonated, and they have been plagued by a sense of unforgiveable guilt ever since. Combine this with some perfectly righteous anger, and you get their reckless and increasingly immoral behavior. Their ship probably is infected with the virus, but they ran so fast that the Cylons never got close enough to activate it. It may even be that the Cylons thought they destroyed Pegasus in the original attack and have all along been mistakenly attributing the Pegasus' raids to Galactica.

As for the humano-cylons, my guess is that they were not "manufactured" in the same way that the tin-can models are. They were derived from 12 actual humans captured during the previous war. These captives were used to make as many clones as possible. Probably many humans were vivisected and died while the Cylons perfected the techniques for implanting special Cylon components. Keeping in mind that a clone is just a "test-tube baby" that has to develop through a normal human process from egg through infant to adult, so the human-Cylons we see now are probably "second-generation" clones, and as we know, cloning cannot go on forever, as each "generation" accumulates more genetic defects. At some point, real sexual reproduction has to happen to "repair" the DNA.

These humano-Cylons are raised on a strict diet of anti-human propaganda and brainwashing, which they regurgitate ate every opportunity. Too much close contact with "normal" humans, however, has the risk of undoing much of that brainwashing.

Did the tin-cans concoct this vast scheme on their own? No way. We will eventually learn that the entire Cylon rebellion was caused by a very insane human who programmed them to "rebel", perhaps someone with similar character flaws as Baltar (hence No 6's original attraction to him in the mini, as someone who seemed "godlike" and therefore admirable, although I think our Baltar will ultimately prove disappointing in ths regard). At any rate, this "mastermmind" invented the technology of "mind transfer" and continues to exist in some sort of vast "computer" memory. What's left of the madman's mind is the Cylon "God". He/she/it may even "transfer" him/her/itself into a humano-Cylon body from time to time (perhaps he/she/it is currently incarnated as the "evil" Sharon we see occasionally, hence the "by your command" remark at the end of the mini).

Well, that's my current theory. FWIW.

What I have not figured out yet is how the human "Olympian" religion and its ""Pyhthian prophesy" fits into this picture (assuming my theory has any validity at all).

Posted by: Robatosan at September 26, 2005 07:54 PM


Very impressive, particularly your remarks about the cylons, their origins and their god.

As to the Olympian religion:

1) It could be true, explaining the close connection between what the scriptures predict and what has actually happened.
2) More likely, the Cylons know the scriptures inside out and orchestrate the whole thing to make it seem like the scriptures are correct. Why they would do that, I don't know.

Also, there is the intriguing remark by Six on Kobol that "all of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again". One interesting theory about the meaning of this that I have read posits that the cylons stand to humans in the way humans originally stood to the gods of the scriptures. In other words, what the cylons have done to humans (who created the cylons) is what humans did to their own creators.

Posted by: adama at September 26, 2005 09:53 PM

Cool post Robatosan.

It certainly is an interesting theory. But I bet that the creators would shy away from the idea of the original Cylon rebellion being puppet mastered by a human. It does not seem "spiritual" enough for them. But, you never know.

It certainly would be an interesting way to incorporate the Imperious Leader concept into the new show. I like the ability of this leader to inhabit the body of various Cylon copies. This would really make the "By your command" comment at the end of the mini more interesting and less tacked on.

How about this for a continuation of your theory... The daughter of Sharon and Helo is destined to be the perminate body for the Imperious Leader to use.

Posted by: joncraver at September 26, 2005 11:11 PM

The comments here are unbelievable. I thought we had problems with Al Qaeda! You politically correct zombies are killing me. No wonder we cannot win the war in the middle east. No wonder I cannot understand the motivations of the European Union. No wonder it all looks like the end of the world. You people are self loathing to the point of suicidal.

Sentient or not, Six and Sharon are machines. They are machines that react to programming controlled by something else. You cannot rape a machine.

The two of them are part of a plot to wipe out OUR ENTIRE SPECIES!

Just like Al Qaeda is out to wipe out ALL OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION.

I am blown away that some of you think it is impermissible to treat a toaster that way. Damn. I even note sympathy for them in your posts: “If we could just understand them.” Like understanding Hitler would have fixed anything. Get a Grip. War sucks. But sometimes history and life both come down to destroy or be destroyed. Information from the machines (or Al Qaeda) must be obtained by any means possible – because they are trying to kill us.

Would you have had the nerve to kill the hijackers in the skies over Pennsylvania, or would you have tried to understand them until the moment the plane hit the White House.

Similar questions come up every day, should we be randomly searching or profiling for terrorists at airports of subway stations? Any other solution is mere window dressing!

So, to sum it up, two machines, Six and Sharon, have been detained by the Colonial Fleet. They are part of an evil conspiracy that has already killed billions. Anything done to them is justified.

Posted by: Steve at September 27, 2005 01:13 PM

Steve: I understand your anger. However, Many of the "anti-torture/anti-rape" comments make excellent points. Personally, I'd have little hassle w/the torture of Number 6, especially since she appears to be the "agent prime" responsible for the colonies' annihilation. But, if it ends up serving no purpose -- little useful or no info from her -- what's the use? Better to just space her and be done w/it. It would just end up being detrimental (morally, psychologically) to the humans in the long run. And the rape serves even less -- much less -- of a purpose.

I'm surprised too, by the "sentient or not" comment. Would you have voted against Data in TNG's "Measure of a Man" episode? Would you have his free will revoked and have him give himself up for decompiling as Cpt. Maddox wished? (Don't know if you followed "Star Trek: TNG" or not; I'm obviously assuming you did. Let me know if not.)

I think keeping a cooperative captive -- and indeed make that CAPTIVE -- around is useful (like Sharon). But it's been silly to witness the degree of free reign given her. REALLY silly. Keep her in a damn cell at all times, for cripe's sake! 'Ya think the friggin' crew'd learn something by now -- that the Cylons can't be trusted!

Posted by: Hube at September 27, 2005 03:47 PM

The tin-cans are probably just what the humans think of them -- mere "toasters" that follow programming installed into them by someone else. The humano-Cylons are also probably just what they look like -- humans that have been cloned and modified with some fancy cyborg neural implants. If so, the question becomes "who programs the tin-cans, and who started the humano-Cylon project?" Well, who would have the most interest in developing a humano-Cylon being, but a human seeking para-immortality, or even some sort of pseudo-godhood? A tin-can only wants to know where to find the nearest can of 3-in-1 oil. I hope we are not watching a high-tech Wizard of Oz (“if I only had a heart”).

Also, if the humano-Cylons (as I suspect) turn out to be cloned humans who have been brainwashed to hate all other humans, and have had their bodies loaded with Cylon high-tech mind-control garbage (is that not "rape" of the highest order?), then they do indeed deserve some pity, even rescue...especially if some of them have figured out what is going on and want a way out.

The humans must learn how to use Cylon high-tech against the Cylons. They've already had a powerful demonstration from Sharon. Yes, they need to be very, very careful with her, but she could also be not only an insurannce policy but their secret weapon.

Killing them only enables their knowlege to be transmitted to some other copy that is not under their control. Keeping them alive (but in prison) serves to keep their knowlege from the other Cylons.

Also, since each copy of each Cylon model seems capable of developing its own distinct personality and world-view, we need to know more about the Pegasus-Six before we can decide if she deserves mercy or not. We can't judge them all at once only because "they all look alike."

I suspect that some of the humano-Cylons are part of a secret anti-Cylon rebellion. It's not powerful enough to have stopped the genocide, and it is nearly impossible to organize due to the mind-transfer technology (the other Cylonistas can discover their plans too easily), so maybe the humano-Cylon rebels, trying to recover their lost humanity, need normal humans, and have been behind some of Galactica's apparent lucky streak (like the mass of naked Sharons on the basestar near Kobol, stoically allowing G-Sharon to nuke them into oblivion). When these Cylon-rebels are faced with death, they have to make sure their bodies are obliterated so completely and quickly that the mind-transfer equipment does not have time to function. In other words, they must choose to "truly" die to protect the conspiracy.

Partly because they still don't know how much of the anti-human propaganda they've been fed since birth is true, partly because they don't know which humans they can trust to keep a secret, and partly because they know that the humans are not likely to believe anything they say anyway, they can't openly enlist human support to their cause...yet.

Finally, who is the "mastermind" behind the Cylon rampage? The tin-cans did not "think" of this on their own. Somebody programmed them, somebody who likes to think of himself as "God".

Posted by: Robatosan at September 27, 2005 04:30 PM

Not anger. Utter frustration.

I liked TNG but thought at the time that "Measure of the Man" was a forced plot and very stupid. If Data or an bunch of Lors (or was Lor his daughter?) anyway, if a bunch of similiar androids started killing people. I say shut them down, extract every bit and byte of information they hold -- by any and all possible means.

Try this one on. What would you sympathizers say to drugging Sharon or Six, tying them down and ramming that fiber optic cable in their arms to see what you can find -- completely against their will. You saw that it somehow worked as an I/O port when she stopped the cylon attack.

But then the drama of the show would be diminished.

Does your opinion change if the cylon is awake for the process?

Does the presense of pain killer matter?


And really, how very different is that than the hulmiliation they are trying as a technique to get information? IF they believe they are trying to extract infomation from that machine, then they are fully justified. If not, and they are just getting sadistic jollys, well then they have personal problems. Neither way though is it rape.

Obviously, they have set her up for a savior, and Baltar steps into the role perfectly. Probably for the wrong reasons, but he fills Cain's need. Now, that machine is now programed to trust and need him and to give him information.

Don't you agree?

Posted by: Steve at September 27, 2005 07:06 PM

On the torture issue, as on all such ethical questions, I can never abide the holier-than-thou attitude. A thing can be good, or bad, in general, and still be the opposite in particular circumstances. I recall WF Buckley's analogy about the man who rushed into the street and shoved an old lady to the ground, breaking her hip. Witnesses were horrified, but wait...he had shoved her from the path of a speeding, out-of-control bus, so actually he was a hero. So, answer, just yes or no, is it bad to break an old lady's hip?

If failing to torture a criminal has the immediate, obvious, and easily predictable result that far worse harm will come to others, then failure to torture constitutes complicity in having caused the attendant disaster. Failure to torture in such case would represent only a preening, narcissistic concern for one's own social respectability so selfish that the death of others is preferable to tarnishing one's self-image; letting others die just to demonstrate one's own moral superiority. Never trust anyone whose fingernails are too clean.

Heck, it doesn't even have to be a large number of other people. If someone were to kidnap my wife and bury her alive, and I knew who did it, and I caught him while it was still possible to save her, then trust me, there wouldn't be much left of him, or his wife, or his kids, or his mother, or his dog. He'd talk, because I'd find some price he wouldn't want to pay. And when I'd finished, I'd pray that God forgives him for having forced me into such a position. (And if my wife died anyway, I'd proabably keep him alive longer just to enjoy watching him beg me to kill him, but THAT would be wrong, of course).

In the BSG context, the torture of Pegasus-Six has to be judged by whether there was any reasonable expectation that useful information could be obtained commensurate with the extent of the torture. The fact that 700 were killed by the nuke attack might or might not be directly attributable to her. The 7 that she killed herself might have been in self-defense as she tried to evade capture (that WOULD be mitigating, even if she is the enemy). I still think that not all the humano-Cylons are on the same "side". And they all may well turn out to be "victims" of Cylon mind-control, and therefore somewhat less culpable. They might even be capable of being "turned". We'll see where Pegasus-Six comes from, and where she goes, next season. Not to mention what happens when she runs into G-Sharon-II.

I would conclude by saying that torture could be justified if it were done to prevent a future disastrous outcome. I would not consider it justifiable as a form of punishment for past deeds that cannot be undone. Simple execution would suffice for the latter.

But please don't simultaneously claim that the Cylons were in any way justifiied for nuking humanity into oblivion because they "got no respect" from the humans in the past, and then claim that the humans are oh-so-bad for venting their rage on what they believe to be a principal conspirator in actual physical genocide. It is plain from the mini that the humans had learned their lesson and had not pursued the Cylons after the previous war had ended, and had even tried to establish diplomatic relations. It is the Cylons who are the more obsessed with rage and vengeance (and you can bet they were not originally programmed to think thay way).

Posted by: Robatosan at September 29, 2005 05:48 PM

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