I’m gonna try to do something a little different here. At least, different from what I usually do. Usually after watching something, be it a film or television show, I’d look up some cool pictures, post them here, and make a few mindless and inconsequential comments about my opinions of the piece. After finishing “Battlestar Galactica” I can’t in good conscience do that. I just can’t, it wouldn’t be fair to the fantastic storytelling that went into this project. So I’m gonna try something a little different. I’m going to use “Battlestar Galactica” and actually try to say something. If I lose you along the way, I apologize, this will no doubt be longer than most of my other posts, but try to stick with it and you might just actually find something you enjoy, and more importantly, may make you want to watch the show.
Most pieces of art, be it films, T.V. shows, music, or novels start at the beginning and finish at the end. Believe me, I know how redundant that last sentence sounds, but for anyone whose ever attempted to create a piece of art, you know how difficult it is to do something as “simple” as that. Finding an entry point that allows your audience to jump aboard and an ending point that will leave them adequately satisfied is a nearly impossible thing considering the wide variety of taste that makes up the general public. Well, right off the bat, “Battlestar Galactica” has the balls to tell you that it’s going to do you one better. It’s going to start at the end. No, not the end of the story, but a grander end of sorts, the end of humanity. And after every ending, even if we don’t know it, the story continues. And eventually, “Battlestar” ends at the beginning. In an attempt to not spoil the intricate plot details that make up this story, I’m not going to tell you the beginning of what, but needless to say, once what the writers, creators, and actors of this show are trying to do becomes clear, you can’t help but smile and maybe even applaud. I know I almost did.
Within this story are the characters, and it’s the characters that we keep coming back for in serialized television. Admiral Adama, Starbuck, Gaius Baltar, Carpica Six, President Roselin, Lee Adama, Colonel Tigh, in “Battlestar Galactica” there are heroes, villains, admirals, pilots, presidents, doctors, rebels, robots, cyborgs, angels, demons, messiahs, saviours and gods. There is every kind of character archetype that you can possibly think of, and the most amazing thing of all is how relatable they all are. Everything, from the president to the robots are made up of flesh and blood, susceptible to sickness. Even the gods in this show are tangible. And not in some cheesy “Clash of the Titans” kind of way. But in a “this person I’m sitting next to and carrying on a perfectly normal conversation with created me”, kind of way. As loud and as exciting as this show can often get, when it comes down to it, the meat of the story is told in the moments in between.
And what is this story really about? When it gets right down to it, it’s not about the search for God, or finding the beginning of everything. No, it’s as simple as every other great story, it’s about love. Sure, it’s dressed up with big explosions and funny jokes, and epic space battles, but that’s just for those of us who don’t want to look any further than the images that are flashing before our eyes. It’s for those of us who just want to turn off our brains and forget about everything else, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to do that, would be to miss half the story.
At the beginning, during the mini-series, Caprica Six asks Gaius Baltar a simple question, “Do you love me?” He looks at her in shock and laughs nervously to himself, asking her in return, “Are you serious?” Moments later, nearly all of humanity is destroyed, with the population going from Billions to roughly fifty thousand survivors. Now this can be looked at two ways; the most literal way is A) Caprica Six (who is herself, a Cylon- a cyborg type entity for those who are completely unfamiliar with the show) is asking Baltar, a human, to be a surrogate for his entire race. The Cylons’ ask the Humans (who, by the way, created the Cylons) if they love them. And Humanity’s response? They laugh and nervously suggest that surely the Cylon’s must be joking. So their world goes up in flames. There can be no peace without love. The other way one can look at it (considering the revelations that are made known to us throughout the rest of the series) is B) Caprica Six is a surrogate for God and through her He is asking if Humanity loves Him. Again, Humanity laughs and says “surely, you jest.” Then the world ends.
But there is hope, because despite Baltar’s words, and humanity’s increasing disdain for the lives they have been given and not earned, God knows that there is love. And what do we learn is God to the Cylons? One thing. Love. And when Humanity has learned to love again (and more specifically, Gaius Baltar who despite committing several atrocious crimes is still the surrogate for all of Humanity) then all will be forgiven and the beginning will be found. In so much as we will never truly understand if there is a higher power at work, God is not God, God is love. For oneself and others. It has often been said that it is easy to hate, it is much harder to love. It’s said so often, because it’s true. But the things that men will do for love, good men (and women), are endless. And it is these people we must look for and up to. They are stronger than the rest, even if they do not know it. And one day they will lead us into destiny.
Earlier, I said there was two ways of interpreting the scene between Baltar and Six. But there just might be a third. It was simply one human being (Cylon or not) asking another if they love them. And everything that followed was one man’s journey of finding a way to say, “Yes”.
Cue Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower”
“No reason to get excited,”
The thief, he kindly spoke,
“There are many here among us
Who feel life is but a joke,
But you and I, we’ve been through that,
And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”
Bravo to those who made this show. Nothing else to say.