Friday, April 27, 2007

other very important issues that require your thoughtful response and, probably, some further clarification on the part of the writer, who is not me

1. What is the deal with transmigration of personalities during Resurrection? Evidently at least one model of Boomers and one of 6 (identified as "Caprica 6") have individuated personalities that they maintained even after being killed and resurrected. Yet, do the all the other models subsequently recieve the same info those specific ones have? In some episodes it seems they do, in others not. have the show's creators not thought this through?

What is the Cylon religious motivation? Apparently the Dean Stockwell Cylon model doesn't even believe in God, yet the other models, to varying degrees, are totally devoted monotheists (unlike the polytheistic humans.) But where did Cylon religion come from? Unlike the humans, they know who created them (humans.)

How long have Cylons existed? We know there was a war when the Cylons turned against theor human masters, approxiamately 50 years before the start of the show. But were the Cylons around thousands of years ago in the dim prehistory of the 12 colonies? I thought hey were "recently" invented by the human race as robot servants of the human race, but the Final 5 are evidently part of the mystic ancient temple stuff on the eye of the nebula planet where they found the shrine thing that leads to Earth. So are Cylons just a few generations old or were they around thousands of years ago when the 13th tribe left for Earth?

2. What were the motivations behind the policy of genocide against the humans in the first place? in the early episodes, we were led to believe that it was a hardline religious crusade based on the fact that Cylons think (and, it is unstated but always alluded to, perhaps RIGHTLY) that humans are undeserving of life given their inherent "sins." Yet at least a few of the Cylon models seem to have been created with the purpose of emulation of human emotions (such as, particularly, love, in the case of Number 6) and the creation of a human/Cylon crossbreed hybrid baby seems big on their agenda. One of your blog poster friends said this may be because they lack the genetic diversity to reproduce properly so are attempting to gain said diversification capability from human gene exchange in sexual reproduction (rather than the presumed manufacture of identical models that constitutes their current reproductive mode.) This seems plausible to me but we have yet to learn their real agenda at all -- especially considering the complete wild card of the Final 5.

3. Why don't the 7 genocide-policy Cylons even know what the Final 5 look like? What was the source of the rift between them and the other models? How long ago did that rift take place, and if it was recently, how is it the other 7 models are completely unaware of any information surrounding the Final 5? The original storyline implied that in the first Cylon/Human War, the Cylons were the old-model (1978-style ) "centurion"models, and the human-looking biosynthetic types "evolved" during their 40-year silence of no contact with the 12 colonies. So why can't they remember the Final 5, if their very exiestence is less than 40 years old? Did they all get their memories wiped?

4. If Chief is, in fact, a Cylon, what purpose would it have served the Cylons to program him and the original deep-cover pre-self-aware Boomer to fall in love in the first place? That wouldn't advance their stated "create a Cylon/human hybrid baby" agenda at all, if neither one was human.

5. If "projection" is a Cylon ability, how come Balthar now has a phantom "projected" version of himself that is capable of messing with Caprica 6's mind the same way she once was able to mess with his?

(Before you say "maybe that proves Balthar is a Cylon", I want to point out that making Balthar a Cylon would be a really, really bad idea on the part of the writers. His whole function is to represent the flaws of humanity -- specifically, to serve the show as a brilliant evocation of human psychiatric dysfunction called "narcissism." Making him a Cylon would therefore be UTTERLY LAME. Even though it is in keeping with his character's grandiose self-image needs that he would SUSPECT himself of being some all-important lost model of Cylon, it should NEVER turn out to be actually true.)

And even after Caprica 6 reunited with Balthar in "real life" version, why does the "projected" Caprica 6 still have a different personality/agenda w/r/t to Balthar and their secret relationship than the physically-present model does?

For that matter, what is the Caprica 6 model's agenda?Originally it was all about manipulating Balthar's narcissism through a superior understanding of human psychology than our own. But she is evidently programmed to attemot to emulate lovem, and apparently does "fall in love' with him -- even if it's twisted sort of weird-ass version of it. Did her subsequent betrayal of the Cylons' original agenda represent a kind of corruption of Cylon purity by exposure to human (i.e. flawed) emotions? Did this "corruption" create a "projected" version of Balthar in her mind that functions independently of the personality of the real Balthar?

None of the shows I've seen (and I've seen all of them) seem to have addressed any of these questions. God, what if the creators/writers simply haven't thought this stuff through ahead of time, and are simply winging it?

That would SUUUUCK.

My last question here is about when all this is taking place. Did the Bob Dylan implanted memory thing indicate that they are now receiving signal information from present-day contemporary earth (as in the ill-fated "Galactica 1980" scenario, where they find Earth and it's Earth as is NOW) or is it an implanted memory from thousands of years ago? I.e. is the show taking place in the present or in the far future? All we can rule out is that it is taking place before Bob Dylan was born, obviously, so we know for a fact that it's definitely not happening in the past.

Final comment: here is my personal favorite BSG moment of the whole series: Adama telling Starbuck, during the parallel-editing mutual-assassination plot sequence at the end of the mid-season 2 cliffhanger,

"...I want you to pull out your sidearm... and shoot Admiral Cain in the head."

This was AMAZING. Because there are only about as many humans left in the entire species-wide population as there are students at the UW-Madison, obviously Colonials plotting against other Colonials is the worst possible thing that could happen -- yet Commander Adama is forced into this plot regardless, because Cain is EVIL and is plotting to kill him, too. Watching this, you're like "NO! You're just validating everything the Cylons said about why you should be destroyed in the first place!" but on the other hand it is difficult to see what else he can do. He is human, and as such he has no "correct", (i.e. non-evil) option open to him.

To his credit he does not go through with it, and neither does Cain in her identical plan to terminate his command -- but the mere thought that his father (and by extension, the whole human species) has come to this makes Apollo actually lose his will to live in the battle during the resurrection ship offensive -- he is literally willing to die in space with a slow oxygen leak rather than go on living as a member of the human race. For a moment, he believed the Cylons were right that the humans had no reason to live. This was brilliant, brilliant writing -- not even just "brilliant sci-fi writing", but brilliant writing period.


Sinker said...

Christ. That's like 15 different posts in one. You know Anne, this Todd6 personality you've got floating around in your head had better understand that we like stuff in digestible doses around here. Also, we don't think he looks so good in the tight red dress.

Sinker said...

OK, but I'll take the bait:

"To his credit he does not go through with it, and neither does Cain in her identical plan to terminate his command -- but the mere thought that his father (and by extension, the whole human species) has come to this makes Apollo actually lose his will to live in the battle during the resurrection ship offensive -- he is literally willing to die in space with a slow oxygen leak rather than go on living as a member of the human race. For a moment, he believed the Cylons were right that the humans had no reason to live. This was brilliant, brilliant writing -- not even just "brilliant sci-fi writing", but brilliant writing period."

True that. But then he decides to eat an enormous amount of Ho-Hos instead. Whoops!

Paul M. Davis said...

My Gods, Anne, now I know what I'll be doing tonight...formulating a response.

Paul M. Davis said...

Some thoughts and responses, in separate parts:

1. I think the Cylons have something resembling a collection consciousness, with which they can access memories, but that they still have their own distinct identities. I suspect we are meant to assume that in certain cases, ie when a resurrection ship or the other Cylons are far away, such information can't be shared. Or maybe they have to "log" back into the ship via resurrection or accessing the water computers to share info. This should be explained more, but likely will not be.

What if the Cylons have been around a very, very long time and they created the robotic ones? Maybe they've been around since the 13 tribes left Kobol.

There are rumors that the Dean Stockwell Cylon knows more than he is letting on to even the other Cylons, that there is something he is hiding about the true nature of the final five, and the Cylon religion.

The big mind-frak that I see coming is that the twelve Lords of Kobol are the twelve Cylon models, and the humans have been worshiping the Cylons all along--since the 13th tribe left for Earth. How does this work? I do not know.

Paul M. Davis said...

I agree, Making Baltar a Cylon would be an enormous mistake on the part of the writers. The fascinating thing about his character is just how completely flawed, narcissistic and self-deluded he is. He completely and fully believes that he has done the right thing in all situations, which is amazing, because it's very human--that ability people have to completely rationalize even their complicity in genocide. Baltar being human is essential to so many basic premises of the series--that people are severely flawed, that all people have the capacity for both good actions and unspeakable evil--that I can't see them doing it. Then again, that was what I thought was so great about Tigh's character as well, so shows what I know!

roman mars said...

By the time I finished reading this Galactica reached Earth.

Max said...


Max said...

1. The transmigration of personalities seems to imply that there is a single model of Cylon, but each model is a different continuity line stemming from an original model. The Xena model was fundementally flawed (read: Lucy Lawless was a *very* expensive guest star), stated by Dean Stockwell's Cylon when she was shelved. Each iteration of her went on its own spirit quest, resulting in discord. One specific model went further than the others (we have to assume), until it finally achieved some sort of enlightenment, which threatened the Cylon collective consciousness. The Boomer model is another example of seperate lines stemming from an alpha source. What is impressive is that so far we haven't seen any loss in data across wireless transmission when a Cylon dies and gets reborn in a mother ship anew. As we all know, even when your wireless network is working properly, there's still the occasional hiccup. I'd love to see the Cylon equivalent of Password where one of the models gets reborn as a Boomer with a dick, or a Six with the head of a final 5. Or better yet, we get to see the Room of Abominations. Since the Cylons are so religous they've got to be the robot version of pro-life. I'll bet there's a secret base ship where they send the reborn models who didn't quite parse properly. "Welcome to the Blue Screen of Death Ship."

Max said...

2. The policy of genocide against the humans: humans are failed models and a heretical affront to the Gods. But genocide clearly doesn't mean eradication anymore - they realized this after New Caprica. Now, it's subjugation, but for what? Service to the Gods? Kill the rebellious humans who resist, use the rest for experimentation. We never saw what the end goal of New Caprica was supposed to be besides humans allowed to live as slaves to Cylons. Probably one of many aborted storylines, sacrificed when they realized season 4 was going to be a myth.

Max said...

3. This section intentionally left blank.

Max said...

4. Have you ever written a program or executable that's done what it was supposed to do the very first time? I have a feeling that the Chief model probably wasn't programmed to let itself put on fifty extra pounds of Cyclon fat, but he clearly did that, too. I think Chief is like the faulty Roomba Cylon that just finds a corner it likes and attempts to clean it over and over again.

Max said...

5. I'm with the "no way Balthar is a Cylon" crowd. From a narrative point of view it's much better to have him be a narcissist than a woebot. Perhaps the Projection motif was another way to save money on effects shots. Location shoots are very expensive, and shooting the same walls made it easier to repurpose sets. Perhaps season 4 will be wholly from the Cylons point of view, and all the sets will be generic walls with stick-up lights. Kind of like an Ibsen play, but with killer robots. I always felt Ibsen was missing something like that.

Sinker said...

Re: #4--why would Chief and Boomer have an illicit affair if they're both cylons?

Let's look at the evidence here:

1) All cylon base ships apparently are equipped with king-sized four poster beds, VERY comfy blankets, and satin sheets.

2) Also, the taylor that creates Caprica 6's wardrobe.

3) The Xena-bot probably wasn't reading Forever right before she helped Baltar eat a Cylon sandwich.

4) There's really not much ELSE to do on a cylon base ship.

5) I would imagine that STDs don't download into a new body.

6) Why design the spine that glows when you have an orgasm (remember that??) if you're never having orgasms?

I think that Cylons are probably big old sexpots folks!

Dipshit McGee said...

Sinker: that is all true. Cylons obviously have sex on the silcone synapses in a big way.

But interestingly, even though, as you point out, Cylons come pre-outfitted with a gigantic set of Romantic Weekend Getaway supplies ranging from Threeway-Sized Fantasy Beds to Light Up That Marriage Again wardrobes, it is noteworthy that we have never seen a Cylon knowingly having sex WITH ANOTHER CYLON.

If I was sexually libertine robot race with millions of identical models of 12 versions of me, I would be having sex with one or another version of myself CONSTANTLY.

The fact that they never do -- even though they are all, with the possible exception of Dean Stockwell (I just can't feel erotic about that guy ever since seeing Blue Velvet) REALLY HOT-LOOKING -- probably tells us a lot about their sex lives. They are all about trying to get a human/Cylon baby born. Procreation, not recreation, is on their mind.

Of course the deep-cover untriggered versions of Boomer and Chief had plenty of sex. This means that the different Cylon models CAN have sex with each other, but for some reason CHOOSE NOT TO. (!?!?)

I for one would think the opportunity of doing forty or so Boomers at once, with no risk of pregnancy, would be a GREAT way to kill time during those long boring voyages through interstellar space. But apparently none of the Cylons agree with me.

Which I think is a damn shame.