Revelations in Battlestar Galactica

*Disclaimer: this post contains spoilers.*
While everyone else is no doubt talking about the season premiere of [Lost](, I want to talk about something that since its airing, a number of friends have asked that I comment on and write about: [Battlestar Galactica](
A couple of days prior to the premiere of the final 10 episodes of what is without a doubt one of the best shows on television (watch it and you’ll see), I [joined my friends]( at [The Quorum]( to discuss the upcoming season and what were a rather lackluster [series of webisodes]( on We discussed and shared our predictions for the season (listen below), and now after seeing the premiere there is one thing that is abundantly clear about this season: it is going to be full of surprises, and often it will be shocking.
My friend [Cynthia]( said aptly, “how rare is it that television is *actually surprising*?” You know, the kind of gasp out loud, oh-my-god kind of surprising that can stump even even the most hardened fans? That is what I think this season is going to be all about. Let’s take a look at just a few of the surprises in this first episode.
After the mid-season break viewers were left with one big question, “what the frak happened to Earth?” A few, like myself, however, were skeptical they were even on Earth — leading us to the next natural question, “Where the hell are they?”
This first episode did little to resolve my skepticism. It certainly seems like the planet is Earth based upon the dialog of the show, but it is interesting that we have not seen any iconic artifacts or structures that would give you the kind of “Ah-Ha!” that one had at the end of Planet of the Apes for example.
Planet of the Apes
My hunch is that this planet is not *our* Earth, but rather *a* Earth. If “all this has happened before and all this will happen again” then it is reasonable to think that there could be multiple thirteenth colonies about the Universe all involved in their own playing out of the prophecy around which this story revolves.
But if it is Earth, *our* Earth, then I really respect that twist, because it means we, the audience, are all cylons. Nice.
The moment they reminded me in the “previously on” segment that the signal Starbuck’s viper was honing in on was a colonial beacon I knew that was awaited them on Earth’s surface was Starbuck’s Viper. What I didn’t anticipate was that a dead Starbuck would also be found in that Viper. Brilliant.
I am going to leave the obvious questions behind and focus more upon the hybrid’s prophecy about Starbuck:
> Kara Thrace will lead the human race to its end. She is the herald of the Apocalypse, the harbinger of death. They must not follow her.
The great thing about prophecies is that they rarely mean what you think they mean, and in the end they always make perfect sense — and this episode makes me look differently upon the words, “she is the herald of the Apocalypse, the harbinger of death.” What if Starbuck was the herald of the apocalypse for the people of *this* Earth? What if it was her arrival through the vortex that triggered or coincided with the catastrophe the crew now sees before them? That seems more and more possible, and that she is not in fact the harbinger of death for the fleet, but for another people all together. Of course even as I write this, the [Battlestar Wiki]( makes me realize that a more accurate meaning may be found in a better understanding of the meanings of the words “apocalypse” and “harbinger:”
> Many people have come to think the word “Apocalypse” refers to the end of the world or Armageddon, but actually it means “revelations.” The confusion began because the story of the end of the world is told in a book which is an apocalypse. It is telling that Season 4, Episode 12, is titled Revelations. A harbinger is an omen, not a bringer of death.
There are still more questions than answers about Starbuck however, and I can’t even begin to speculate upon what her arc will be this season.
**The Fifth Cylon**
Many predicted this, and my hat goes off to Brian who made the most compelling connection that foreshadowed this for me, which he drew from the hybrid’s [prophecy]( as well:
> 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 howl of incredible suffering is Tigh’s when he executed her for betraying humanity to the cylons. Solace will be found however in the fact that one day, Ellen and Saul Tigh will be reunited as there is clearly a bond between them that transcends space and time. It is unclear however, whether we will see Helen again this season. I somehow doubt it. Her time in this cycle has come and gone, and Tigh will continue to suffer in the knowledge that her death, at his own hand, was a greater betrayal in the spiritual sense than her treason in the political sense.
**What it all means**
Regardless of what more is revealed in the rest of this season I still think this show is ultimately an allegory for us here on earth about our own humanity. That despite all the things that make us different, the color of our skin, our beliefs, our country of origin, and so on, that ultimately we are all the same and that there are far more things that unite us than divide us. After all, that is exactly what has slowly been happening from the very first episode, a slow deconstruction of humanity’s identity and the blurring of the line between mortal enemies: humans and cylons.
**Listen to me on Galactica Quorum**


4 Comments on “Revelations in Battlestar Galactica”

  1. Mike Mariano says:

    Sorry Byrne, but a recent interview with Ron Moore pushes against your hunch—this is “the” Earth.

    Q: That planet is Earth? We’re not going to find out, “Oh, there’s this other Earth over here…” This is the only Earth we’ll see?
    A: They have found Earth. This is the Earth that the 13th Colony discovered, they christened it Earth. They found Earth.

  2. Byrne says:

    The fact that they “christened” the planet “Earth,” does indeed make it Earth. Whether or not it is *our* Earth is still not clear to me.

  3. Tim says:

    Did anyone realize that the humans do not have faster than light communications? That means that the colonial signal they picked up from Kara’s crashed Viper has been transmitting for hundreds if not two thousand years, when Earth was still green before the apocalypse which may explain her memory of a green fields. The Eye of Jupiter, the thing she entered into, may have been a wormhole that not only took her from one point in space to another but also through time. This could explain how it could be Earth and still have 10,000 years of history and our ancient ruins instead of the 3600 yrs ago when the 13th tribe arrived on Earth minus 2000 years ago destroyed. I’ll be disappointed in the end if this is an alternate universe or Earth and not ours.

  4. Byrne says:

    I just can’t believe this is our Earth, if only for the mundane and picky detail that we have never seen anything on this planet or about this planet that uniquely identifies it as our earth. Contrast that to when we saw Earth at the end of Season 3 – when we clearly saw North America and *not* a Scorched Earth.
    I think a huge part of this show is about **faith** and do you believe in Earth, or Eden if you will, or don’t you. And this is suppose exactly what the crew is going through as the season progresses. Some believe, and some don’t.

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