I’ll be back later tonight to give a spoiler-filled review of the new Galactica episode, now that the Sci Fi Channel has finally deigned to run the last batch. To fill your time before it comes on, however, we here at Republibot think it's an appropriate time for us to place our bets on how it'll end, and what the series is all about.
First question: will the finale and the ultimate fate of the protagonists be happy or sad?
Republibot 1.0: I don’t actually watch this show, even though everyone including you two seem to think I should and that I would like it, but the inherent peer pressure that has built up around this being the sci-fi show to watch just really pushes me away. However, based on what I have seen, the finale will include sad sounding music, semi-whispered entreaties, flashes of female skin and unshaven close-ups of men’s faces. And yes there will be tears.
Republibot 2.0: It will end in tears. It always ends in tears. Or it will end with them missing a critical broadcast of the Apollo moon landing. Again, there will be tears.
Republibot 3.0: I'm leaning towards sad-but-hopeful.
Republibot 2.0: There will be tears, still. Tears of "Change and Hope". Chope, then. Tears of Chope.
Next question: who's the final Cylon in your opinion?
Republibot 1.0: I never got the whole cylon thing, who is an who isn’t. So did the old patch-eye guy who is apparently a cylon now grow old, didn’t he know Adama since they were in academy together? Can cylons age? Didn’t Starbuck and Apollo grow up together or something like that? I don’t get how they age and stuff like that. Are there 12 models? Why wouldn’t there be unlimited models? How are they made? I know the show probably answers these questions, but I don’t think they would be satisfying, I think they are probably ret-conned answers – it has been my uneducated impression that in this show drama comes first and then making sense of all that within in the confines of the universe they have created comes second.
Republibot 2.0: Muffit the Daggit
Republibot 3.0: There’s definitely something to what Republibot 1.0 said there, but I think it’s Starbuck's daddy. My hunch is he's alive, he's in the fleet, and that she's a hybrid, the first one. If it's not him, then I'd say it's Dee, but I'm leaning twoards Starbuck's daddy. Incidentally, Tigh and Adama met after the war.
Religion has played a huge part in this show - much moreso than any SF series other than Babylon 5. How do you think they'll resolve that? Will there truely turn out to be something supernatural going on? Or will the Cylon God turn out to be a huge computer in Dirk Benedict's image? Will they duck the whole issue? What do you think is going on w/ the religious themes of the show?
Republibot 1.0: It would be cool if Glen A. Larson showed up at the end all dressed in white smoking a stogie as the Cylon god.
Republibot 2.0: I never underestimate the ability of people who've worked on Star Trek to completely munge up any discussion of religion. The Cylon god will be a giant computer that a) needs a starship b)will be defeated by President Roslin's careful application of illogic.
Republibot 3.0: I think that most of the supernatural stuff in the show will turn out to be preternatural things that we didn't have the key to understanding until the final episode or two, sort of like how Valen's "Prophecies" from the 13th century turned out to be the memories of a time traveler from the 23rd century in Babylon 5. The "Final 5" have been this show's analog for the "Seraphs" (The “Ship of Lights” folk) from the old show in the 70s - the angels, basically - so I assume the "Cylon God" is those 5 cylons acting together in concert on some level - a kind of Quintad or "Trinity plus two" - which will explain much of what's going on in the show. I also assume that this will tie in to the Kobol backstory in some way. I suspect the "Gods and Man living together" on Kobol 3000 years ago was probably a mythologized version of Artificial Intelligences and Man living together, until bad blood sprang up between these AIs ("The Gods") and man, and the AIs forced humanity to leave. Millenia later, humanity again creates AIs (The Cylons) and again end up at war with them. The Cylons - I assume - meet up with the surviving
Kobalian (That's just a fun word to say!) AIs, who helped them to evolve and maybe
got to wondering what those humans had gotten up to. So that's where I think it'll end up: The pagan gods the Colonials worship are actually machines their ancestors built, and the Cylon God is essentially a refinement of the same thing.
As to the visions and stuff, some of that we can attribute to telepathy that pops up now and again on the show in extraordinary circumstances, and the rest can simply be drug-induced hallucinations.
Republibot 2.0: I think we'll know a lot more when the 12th is revealed tonight.
Republibot 3.0: Maybe. If they actually do it.
In the end, what do you think the show is all about? What's its theme?
Republibot 1.0: Pass.
Republibot 2.0: I'm not sure what its theme is. But I do like it when they integrate Stu Philips theme.
Republibot 3.0: Yes, "Colonial Anthem is particularly pretty. I think the *narrative* theme inherently ties in to the religious aspect of the show, actually. You've got this recurring cycle: humanity creates machines which kick man's ass, so man escapes and creates new machines which, again, kick his ass, so he escapes and creates machines which, again, kick his ass. As they're fond of saying on the show, "All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." The wheel of time. As a possible epicycle in this larger cycle, you've got machines creating man, who then kicks the machine's ass. The Toaster-Cylons built the organics, and the organics immediately enslaved the toasters. We don't know what devastated Earth yet, but I'm willing to bet it's another man/machine conflict. So the show pretty definitely *has* to be about breaking this cycle once and for all, and creating a place where a new hybrid species composed of humans and Cylons can live without fear of getting run over by the wheel of time over and over again. They've made no bones about portraying humanity as a pretty poor and miserable kind of beast, and the Cylons aren't much better, really. But the Hybrid humano-cylon species that emerges could, theoretically, be the next stage in human evolution if there's anything to Hegelian synthesis.
So the show is about redemption, about becoming more than you are, about
evolution, but mostly I think this is all built on a framework of breaking the cycle of
creation and destruction. Or the Creation destroying the Creator.
Republibot 2.0: So the theme of the show is, if you can't beat 'em, frack 'em and join 'em??? The only victory is when nobody wins? Feh.
Republibot 3.0: Well, that's one way of looking at it. Another is that the whole ends up
being more than the sum of its parts. You've got "Thesis" and "Antithesis" who fight, but eventually they merge in to a new "Syntheisis," which is theoretically stronger and better than either of whatever came before. I view it as kind of like the situation in the New Testament when St. Paul talks about "Grafting on to the tree." The Children of Abraham were the promised people, but Paul talks about Christians attaching themselves to that promise they way you'd graft a branch from one tree on to another of a different species, and in so doing Christians acquire salvation. I think the show is a lot like that, actually: the gods create humanity, humanity creates the Cylons, the Cylons are suffering from a massive inferiority complex and daddy issues, so they wipe out 99.999999999% of humanity, and then force the remainder to breed with them so that the gods will have no choice but to pay attention to them. "You love these people? Well now they're dead, but their children are our children, too, so what little remains of them is in us - You have to love us now!" They're trying to force God's hand. Or "The gods" or "The Lords of Kobol." Whatever. Something similar happened in 1st century Judea when Herod the Great married a Maccabean princess, then killed off all the rest of the maccabeans, so
that his own children would be half-maccabean, and the people would have no choice but to follow them. Then he killed his wife. Then, of course, their kids became too popular, and so he killed them, too, but he was able to make it work for a time with his quarter-maccabean grandkids.
Republibot 2.0: I stand by my "Feh" emphatically. I'm tired of the "Our generation can't make it work, let's hope the next generation fares better"--- that's not true hope, that's wishful thinking. This isn't about synthesis so much as capitulation.
Republibot 3.0: Not so much "Capitulation" in this particular case as "Copulation." But I’m surprised by your reaction. You're getting hung up on the idea of the synthesis, which has frankly been telegraphed since day one. Regardless of whatever hokey happy ending they may tack on to it, you're saying you're not impressed with the narrative brilliance of trying to *force* God to love you, against His will? From a storytelling point of view, that's pretty ballsy.
Republibot 2.0: Or really childish. Or both. The only satisfactory ending would be if the Cylons met 'God' and 'God' said- "Why did you do all that? I loved you all along..."
Republibot 3.0: Oooh! That would be good! The most massive genocide imaginable becomes a fool’s errand! I like the way you think when you actually do. You know, despite how obsessed the Cylons are – or were in the first couple seasons – with God, they’ve never made it clear whether or not He actually talks to them. It’s assumed He does, but they’ve never actually said, and the Dean Stockwell priest model Cylon actively disbelieves in Him…Oh well. Moving on…
Is there anything you would have liked to have seen them do on the show that they didn’t? Any huge regrets of omission?
Republibot 1.0: Pass.
Republibot 2.0: White vipers and costumes.
Republibot 3.0: Apollo remains a cypher. In the original Galactica, he was three parts stalwart marquis prettyboy, and one part character. For such a hugely important character - and the original Galactica was conceived of with him as the central character - I don't feel like we ever really knew who he *was.* I assume that's why he tended to get overshadowed by the other characters, simply because they *were* characters whereas he was merely a handsome man. I don't think they really fixed this in the new show, really. I like the way Jamie Bamber plays the guy, but he still feels overshadowed by everyone around him. We've learned that he likes law, and now he's got a political career going on, but as with the original Apollo, I don't feel like we *know* him, I feel like these things are merely things that happen to him, and wash over him to some extent, I don't feel like they're who he really is. And ultimately, I don't feel like he's really anybody. There's a zillion ways they could have played it - even having him trying to figure out who he is because he, himself, doesn't know would be good - but in the end, it's just a bunch of stuff that happens to a guy we don't ever really connect with.
Finally: How do you think the prequel spinoff show, "Caprica," will do?
Republibot 1.0: With Sci-Fi channels new focus on pandering to a young female audience, my expectation is that they will exercise a much greater control over Caprica than they did BG, which means it will be uneven and light on deep themes.
Republibot 2.0: It will end in tears.
Republibot 3.0: Bomb. It has none of the built-in appeal that Galactica does. It’ll limp through a season, then do a made-for-TV movie to wrap up the storyline, and that’ll be the end of it.
Everyone remember to check back in here later tonight or tomorrow morning for my spoiler-filled review! Whatever you do, don’t watch Pokemon tomorrow morning without checking back here first! There’s no real reason to it, we just get lonely…