UPDATED 11 July 2008 19:19
Battlestar Galactica is a TV show and therefore isn’t subject to rigorous scientific analysis. It is full of clues that have multiple meanings which allows the writers more freedom to change the direction without creating inconsistancies in the storyline. Trying to work out what is going on is like trying to escape from a maze that is being continually built, with paths that were previously left intentionally open being blocked off as the story progresses.
What does it mean to be ‘cylon’?
David Eick- I think the audience has to start by asking the question, “What really defines a Cylon?” That’s part of what Season 4 is really going to be dedicated to. And the tip of that iceberg will be introduced in the season finale. (source: TV Guide)
There is no official definition of the term cylon for the reimagined BSG. Cylon is layered with meaning, it includes both cybernetic organism and immortal being. Looking at the show like this opens up a whole new way of solving it’s mysteries.
What is the nature of the Final Five?
RDM – 3/26/2007 …The conceptual framework in which these guys are Cylons, it all sort of works once we laid down their individual back stories… [They are all full Cylons] but they are different fundamentally. (Source)
The Final Five are cylons within the conceptual framework of immortality. Outside of that framework they are not cylons. The skinjobs and raiders are also immortal since they have the ability to resurrect. It sort of works.
The Final Five have two components which for the purposes of this article we will separate into the human character (FFh) and the Opera House figures. The Opera House figures communicate with the FFh from the place between life and death (TPBLAD) by appearing as a head character. They are two different entities! This connection was made when the fleet reached the Ionian Nebula. This is indicated by the scenes at the end of Crossroads Pt II, Tory is physically sick, Anders gets a headache and all four suffer from confusion. They then feel compelled to go to the gym so that their FFg components can get together, assess the situation and ensure that the connection has been established.
The Opera House figures communicate by appearing as a head character. So the head character is an expression of the Opera House figure and in Baltar’s mind it appears as Head.Six, in Tigh’s mind it appears as Head.Ellen. Head.Ellen appears to Tigh “superimposed” over Caprica.Six – this is exactly the same phenomenon that happened to Baltar when the raptor crashed on Kobol (Kobols Last Gleaming) and Head.Six appeared “superimposed” over Crashdown as he was helping Baltar out of the burning raptor.
Head characters appear to their host in the image of someone that the host is familiar with in order to make the host more conducive to influence. This is either intentional or simply that it is the FFh subconscious that forms the appearance of the head character.
The Opera House is what allows the connection between Opera House figures and FFh. So the “truth of the Opera House” is that it’s a communication device between the LOK in the space between life and death and their mortal companions.
Caprica.Six could sense the Final Five in the fleet after the connection was established. Only four heard the watchtower tune because Baltar was already connected through Head.Six. In Revelations, D’Anna only asked for four of the Final Five because Baltar was already on the baseship.
RDM didn’t need to decide who the four were going to be until late in season 3, the FFh could be anyone he thinks most appropriate at the time…
Tigh was one of the first names tossed out. Tyrol, Anders, and Tory. And they all had reasons why their backstories worked for the Cylons and for what the final four Cylons would be in particular. Tyrol had a connection to Sharon, obviously, had fallen in love with a Cylon. He was drawn towards the Temple on the algae planet. Anders had survived two resistance movements, very mysteriously. He had also fallen for Starbuck who has a specific destiny, the Cylons keep saying. Tory we knew the least about, so she was a bit of a wildcard. Tigh was the most problematic, and Tigh I went back and forth on all the way up to the point where we were shooting the episode and wanted to make sure that we knew what we were doing, and we weren’t blowing something. (Source Crossroads Pt II podcast)
Last Supper Picture
The Missing Figure. Someone is indeed absent from the table admits Moore: We have not yet revealed the final [unknown] Cylon. Does that mean the people already at the table aren’t the final Cylon? Moore laughs, you ferreted that our pretty slyly. I didn’t really want to give that away. (Source)
This is classic misdirection. You provide a clue that is quite obvious (space for the missing character), then you act disappointed with yourself when someone points it out and at the same time make them think they were clever to notice. “you ferreted that our pretty slyly” I mean come on Ron, you leave a big gaping space in the picture then you congratulate me for noticing it! I didn’t really want to give that away – then why say this unless he is wanting you to think he is giving it away!
MR: Just so I understand what I think you told EW for the story that went with the photo, none of the people in that photo is the final Cylon, right?
RDM: Yeah. I said that. I probably shouldn’t have said that [laughs] but I have said that. So, yeah [that is the case, the final Cylon is not any of the people in the photo.
None of the PEOPLE in the Last Supper picture are the final cylon – Head.Six is not a person, she is an expression of one of the Opera House figures, projected through the Opera House and into the mind of a mortal LOK. He was quite cagey the way he approached this and then later regretted saying it. Now if you put Tory in the picture who is also missing, then you have all six reincarnated mortal LOK there (FFh + Starbuck).
Natalie is also pointing straight at Head.Six – as if its a joke that the producers are playing on us where they can say they have been making it obvious that Head.Six is the final cylon!
The New Generation – “transformation is the goal”
The Opera House figures are instrumental in instigating “gods new generation”. Hera is tied to the head character that Baltar sees, with Baltar being her guardian and protector. Tigh’s head character tricks him into thinking Caprica.Six is Ellen because he loves Ellen and love is a requirement for the S7 to be able to successfully procreate.
Nicky = Tyrol + Cally, both human so Nicky has no importance in the storyline (here)
Hera = Helo + Sharon, human + S7, first of the new generation
Six’s child = Tigh + Six, human + S7, second of the new generation
Hera is either a reincarnated form of one of the Opera House figures or more likely a new LOK. She is born with number six as a cue, leading her to seek out Caprica.Six (and Baltar, her guardian and protector). Remember the S7 are parents of the new generation and were created by the Opera House figures.
(See Hera and the Beacon clue for a complete explanation of Gods new generation)
“And the fifth, still in shadow, will claw toward the light, hungering for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering.”
The hybrid is talking about two entities, not just one. The Opera House figure that appears as Head.Six is in shadow. It’s host, Baltar is hungering for redemption over his guilt in the involvement with destruction of the 12 colonies.
The Lords of Kobol
Pythia talks about the flood, wiped out most of humanity, nobody blames the flood. The flood is a force of nature, through the flood mankind is rejuvenated, born again, I was not the flood you see, I blame myself, I blame myself, that God made the man that made that choice. God made us all perfect. – Baltar, The Hub
The Lords of Kobol are the mythical flood, they work behind the scenes and manipulate mankind, guiding them periodically through a cycle of destruction and rebirth. All of this has happened before and will happen again…
The original programmers
The Opera House figures and by proxy the head characters are the original programmers. Once the dumb chrome toaster cylons became self aware, they were able to be inhabited by head characters who then guided them toward creating the S7. This is where they got their resurrection technology from and its also why the Razor hybrid and guardians made a quick escape from the scene before they were ‘enslaved’.
The hybrid, looking into the space between life and death could have also acted as a gateway that allowed the head characters to infiltrate cylon civilisation.Perhaps they then instructed him to build a Opera House on the homeworld so that they could appear to the cylons as the five lost cylon models.
The S7 were created as a new race in their own right but it was discovered that they couldn’t build a model that could procreate. This is why they need the humans to fulfill one of Gods most important commandments.
Since the S7 were created by the Opera House figures, they can be inhabited by head characters at any time (Caprix.Six’s Head.Baltar).
The Thirteeth Tribe
Adama – “And zeus warned the leaders of the 12 tribes that any return to kobol would exact a price in blood.”
Why did Zeus, one of the Lords of Kobol warn only 12 tribes not to return to Kobol when it is stated numerous times that 13 tribes left? Because Zeus is a member of the 13th tribe so he didn’t need to warn himself. The Lords of Kobol, the Opera House figures, the head characters, the Flood and the leaders of the 13th tribe are all the same thing!
The five priests being the members of the 13th tribe that 4000 years ago were the equivalent of the current Final Five. So the “one whose name cannot be spoken” and Head.Six’s “one true God” are one and the same. His name cannot be spoken because he has no name! In this sense, God isn’t a person, a character or an entity that will make an appearance in the show – its more of an idea just like it is in all religions. The Lords of Kobol, whatever they really are still believe in a God, they still question their own existance, their God is the same God as in any monotheistic religion.
D’Anna recognizing the Final Five
D’Anna only recognized Baltar in the Temple. She didn’t recognize the other four, she just used a mind trick to get Tory to give herself up. Tory then told her who the other three were, which is how D’Anna knew their identities while they were in the launch tube.
(See What did D’Anna really see in the Temple of Five for a more detailed description)
Incidently, its interesting that Head.Six tells Baltar he is the one that is supposed to look through the Eye of Jupiter and see the faces of the Final Five. So it seems that Baltar was destined to discover the truth behind what he really is – a reincarnated mortal form of LOK.
The FF and the S7 are both cylons “within the conceptual framework” of immortality – as RDM himself says “it sort of works”. The Opera House figures are immortal, the cylons have resurrection technology and therefore they both are, in a roundabout way cylons. The Opera House figures also created the S7 and the S7 incorrectly assume that these are the lost five models so they call them cylons.
The Opera House figures communicate with both human and S7 by appearing as head characters in order to influence them. The manifestation of one of these figures appears in the Last Supper picture as Head.Six. Head.Six is an appearance of the final cylon within Baltar’s mind – she is not a person.
The Final Five humans (+Starbuck) are reincarnated mortal forms of LOK. The Opera House figures are the “real” Final Five, the ones the cylons talk about, the skinjobs “creators”. These Opera House figures + Maelstrom.Leoben are the other 6 LOK, they reside in TPBLAD and communicate with their mortal companions via the Opera House – except for Maelstrom.Leoben who stands on the shore of the stream, a metaphor for the space between life and death and from here he can reach out and contact Kara when she is on the verge of death.
Actors reaction to the identity of the final cylon
Sackhoff: You know, at first I was a little disappointed. I was like, “Really? That’s what you’re gonna do? Okay…” But then the more I thought about it, I was like, “Oh… this makes so much sense. That’s fantastic!” And I realized that if the fans do what I did, they’ll be happy. If they take it for what it is on camera, they’ll be like, “Excuse me?!” (Source)
Grace Park: “There’s one episode where everything is explained and I had to read it three times, I had to sit down with [executive producer] Ron Moore and he had to break it down.” (Source)
During an interview with Roslin/Six and Starbuck, Six says that you will be compelled to go back and rewatch the show. Can anyone else but Head.Six elicit this type of reaction? (Video Source)
This theory doesn’t attempt to explain the origins of the Lords of Kobol. They could be original cylons created thousands of years ago by humans on Earth or simply supernatural god like immortal beings. I suspect that this will be an open question and left to the audience to debate for the next 20 years, just like the beings of light in the original Battlestar Galactica.