Saturday, 17 January 2009

Review - Sometimes a Great Notion

Kurt Vonnegut’s 6th rule of writing fiction is “6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.” This definitely seems to apply for Battlestar Galactica, the greatest show on television at the moment. Over the past four years the characters have been nuked, shot, tortured, imprisoned, irradiated, and been very confused. The show has been about realistically-drawn characters suffering through the trials of war and exile. Throughout the show’s three and a half seasons, there’s been one ray of hope for the last remnants of humanity: the dream of Earth. Last year that dream was taken away in the episode Revelations. Now more than ever, the writers are being sadistic.

Last night Galactica began its final run of episodes. Without a dream or a destination the characters are now depressed, angry, drinking, fighting, and killing themselves. Admiral Adama was reduced to a husk of his former self begging his XO to kill him; President Roslin gave up on her faith and her health. Most shockingly, Leoben stopped spewing religious prophecy about the one god and the course of destiny. For the first time in the series, Leoben seemed genuinely lost and that was more disorienting than anything.

Last night’s episode also seemed to present the final pieces of the puzzle. I think it’s now possible to make an educated guess as to what the frak has been going on (although I accept I am probably way off the mark: I thought Gaeta was the final Cylon!).

Two thousand years ago the 13th Tribe left Kobol. This was a group of Cylons who for some reason had been cast out from the rest of humanity. They found and set up home on Earth where they lived for some time. Fearing nuclear apocalypse, a Cylon scientist (possibly the fifth or possibly Tigh) discovered a way for Cylons to resurrect – to transfer their consciousnesses into new bodies after death. Five Cylons underwent the treatment and had bodies waiting for them in case of death. War happened as if often does and the five were left as the only Cylons in existence. They set off back for Kobol. Along the way (or possibly back on Kobol) more Cylons were created. They began to see the person who gave them the ability of resurrection as a god: the Cylon god. Unfortunately they also found that their new resurrected bodies were incapable of bearing offspring (maybe because of extreme irradiation caused by Earth’s nuclear death). Finding nothing on Kobol (but taking the time to plant a clue pointing the way to Earth), the Cylons set off to search for the Twelve Colonies.

Here’s where it gets foggy. For some reason the five Cylons hid their memories from themselves and set down to lives within human society (or kept themselves in stasis for some time before starting hidden lives within society). Tigh aged – I don’t know why. New Cylons were developed – possibly part of The Overarching Cylon Plan. The New Cylons attacked the colonies – I don’t know why.

That started off better than it ended. Suffice to say that after last night’s episode I’m sure that all the pieces are now on the board and the mystery of the show can be fully unravelled. My theory is that the final Cylon model revealed is or was the Cylon god. Personally I just want to see the characters I’ve grown to love suffer some more. Although maybe it would be nice to see Adama and Roslin happy for a change.

So say we all.

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