February 27th 2006 Posted at BSG
Comments Off on Latte Sippn’ Cylons
Last episode of BSG was superb television. This post contains numerous spoilers so look away if you haven’t watched the episode. This is your last chance before I launch into the post.
The title of the episode was “Downloaded” which deals with two Cylons; Baltar’s 6 girlfriend (now regularly referred to by the Cylons as Caprica 6 (after the two years she spent on Caprica preparing for the invasion) and the original Sharon Valerii (the one who shot Adama).
The premise of the show is dealing with the newly downloaded Cylons and the consequences they face. Both of these Cylons (Sharon & Caprica 6) have been extensively changed by their contact with humans. Sharon is the most human of all the Cylons, having been in love with the chief. Caprica 6, deeply in love with Gaius Baltar – a love that she knows Gaius didn’t share – YET.
This episode is presented a great deal of insight into Cylons and has had my favorite scenes of the show thus far.
In the resurection of Caprica 6 she inquires about Baltar whether or not he lived. When the #3 (played by Lucy Lawless) asks “Why?” We get a great moment of Gauis Baltar, leaning over Caprica 6 to speak with her. Initially I thought “Oh My God Baltar is actually a Cylon. I thought it possible, but oh my god!” Then of course the next words out of Baltar’s mouth are, “It would be a very bad idea to mention that you see me.” So in the same way that Baltar’s guilty conscience about the death of billions of colonials has driven him insane, Caprica 6 has also gone quite batty. Baltar’s delusional 6 serves a ery different function than the Caprica 6’s delusional Baltar.
Baltar’s delusional 6 serves to justify Baltar’s betrayal of humanity – he is serving a higher plan, namely God’ss plan to bring about a higher life form, the Cylon/Human hybrid. His ego suffered a crushing blow when it became apparent that his total security sloppiness resulted in the destruction of the Twelve Colonies. (Of course the Colonials sloppy handling of code security is really to blame. Who the hell is reviewing the commits? You mean to tell me that Gauis Baltar’s code didn’t get reviewed by anyone before getting deployed? Or perhaps it was reviewed and the resulting security hole was simply to complex for anyone to catch.)
So Gaius’ Six exists in his mind to prop up his ego and justify the nearly subconscious decision to ignore various incongruities in Caprica 6’s behavior and backstory.
So what function does Caprica 6’s delusional Baltar serve? Caprica 6 delusional Baltar is her memory of Baltar at his best – a brilliant scientist with a heathy ego and a taste for the finer things in life. He’s a constant reminder that the Cylons killed billions of humans. He’s her guilty conscience for the destruction of humanity. So he serves as a moderating influence, making her far more human, making her feel the guilt for her actions. I really enjoy the parallels between Caprica 6 and Baltar.
Some interesting little tidbits have come out of this episode. At one point 3 states to Caprica 6, roughly, “Your work made the attack on the Colonies possible. We suffered far fewer casualties than out worst projections. We couldn’t have done it without you. You are a hero of the Cylon.”
That’s pretty close to a verbatium quote. It also tells us that the Cylons very likely would not be able to successfully attack the colonies without Caprica 6’s help in planting the virus in the Colonial fleet. I suspect the Cylons are desperate.
Cylons are desperate? Well a couple of things. First off we know that there are only 12 models of the human Cylons. Caprica 6 told this Baltar right before she thought they were both going to die, so I doubt she was lying. Furthermore this is a reimagining so very often the creators will reimagine various charactors (the reimagining of Casseopia was very good. Remember Cassiopeia was escort (companion) in the original series. She was re-imagined pretty well I thought in “Black Market”.)
In the original series Cylons were a dying race. They originally were a reptialian race that built the Cylon robots because they were dying out. You got the sense that by the time of original series, there were literally perhaps one or two of the original race left.
So how might Moore and company reimagine this? Well the Cylons have been keen to develop a human/cylon hybrid as it’s apparent that Cylons CANNOT have children. Additionally 12 models of Cylons represents insufficient genetic diversity for a breeding population of humans. You need at a minimum 180 seperate models for sufficient genetic diversity.
So Cylons have an insufficient genetic diversity to expand their population the old fashioned way. So they can just make clones. Well I suspect that the Cylons have backed themselves into a corner with their cloning technology just like the Asgard have on SG1. While downloading to a new body works now, I suspect that they are beginning to have problems with the technology which lead to the desperate attack on the Colonies.
Additionally no one really knows why the Cylons attacked the Colonies after 40~50 years of peace? Why? Lack of M class planets might be one reason; in the BSG universe they are a real rarity.
Let’s remember Cylons were originally completely machines, in developing their human models they might not have known that you need genetic diversity in a population – after all parts are interchangable in a machine. It’s clear that Cylons don’t have a clue about how humans often work (Remember the woman that had been converted to a baby factory in (look up episode)? That’s a very machine way of thinking. Just an idea mull it over.
Another interesting tidbit is the Caprican resistance officially naming the human cylons “skinjobs.” Skinjobs were what replicants were called in the 1981 film, “Blade Runner.”
Nice hat tip to Philip K. Dick I thought.
“I got four skinjobs walking the streets, Decker.”
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