BSG – Six of One

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Okay, let’s start with the title of this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, because I think it pretty much sets the tone. I’m just going to go with the most obvious interpretation, that it refers to the idiom, “six of one, half-dozen of the other” — a phrase used to describe a situation in which either of two alternatives is equally valid. This applies to the episode in several ways …

Adama is faced with the decision of whether or not to change the fleet’s course. On the one hand, he wants to believe Starbuck when she says she knows the way to Earth, and under different circumstances, we get the impression that he might just give her the benefit of the doubt. But on the other hand, Roslin is adamantly opposed to changing course, because she doesn’t trust Starbuck (if that’s even who she really is), and believes it could be a Cylon trap. Starbuck insists (with much screaming and gnashing of teeth) that if they jump more than another few times, she’ll lose the trail entirely. And Roslin reminds Adama that if they don’t reach Earth soon, she’ll probably die before they get there.

In the end, Adama finds a compromise. He puts Starbuck on a garbage scowl with Helo, and tells them to go find Earth. If they do, then come back and lead the rest of them there. Presumably, Roslin won’t be too thrilled about this, but at least it’s a solution that doesn’t jeopardize the entire fleet.

Over on the Cylon Basestar, the “Skin Jobs” have a much different dilemma. They’re all a bit concerned that the Raiders walked away from the battle with the humans at the Ionian Nebula. Three of the six ruling Cylon models (Six, Sharon, and Leobon) believe — rightly so — that this happened because the Final Five are among the humans, and the Raiders knew this. But the other three models (Cavil, Doral, and Doc Simon) refuse to discuss the Final Five, believe the Raiders are thinking too much, and want to lobotomize them to prevent any further problems. The debate is heated, with Six insisting that this is a barbaric solution and Cavil insisting that it’s the only way to win the war with the humans.

In the end, the deadlock is broken when one of the Eights, Boomer, betrays her line — apparently the first time such a thing has ever happened. Unhappy with this decision, Six makes one last appeal. When Cavil refuses to stop lobotomizing the Raiders, two Centurions walk into the room, and Six reveals that she’s removed the inhibitor chips that usually prevent them from reasoning. What’s more, she’s told them what’s happening to their Raider brothers. And the Centurions are not happy about it. Which, as you might guess, results in something of a blood bath. The moral of the story: “DON’T FRAK WITH SIX!”

What’s really interesting to me about this development is that I have to assume it mirrors a point in the history of the Twelve Colonies when humans similarly debated about whether the early Cylon models deserved basic rights. The Cavils of that time would think of Cylons only as machines — in fact, he seems to think of himself as nothing more than a machine, defined by his coding. But the Sixes of that time would have seen the inherent humanity in a machine that had become so human-like, and would want to pursue that rather than deny it. Not surprisingly, unlike Cavil, Six tends to think of herself as more human than machine. Regardless, I can’t wait to see how this little Cylon Civil War pans out (because yes, it kind of reflects a certain point in American history too, doesn’t it?).

Also intriguing to me is that the numbering of the seven Cylons that “are known” seems to betray a hidden bit of Cylon history. Pay close attention. Cavil is 1, Leobon is 2, D’Anna is/was 3, Doc Simon is 4, Doral is 5, Six is 6, and Sharon/Boomer is 8. See what just happened there? What happened to 7? Why do we skip from 6 to 8? If these first 7 are part of some logical set, then why wouldn’t Sharon/Boomer just be 7? The fact that she’s not tells me that at some point in time, at least the first 8 were part of a unified group, and possibly all 12 of them. But something happened, and 7 was ousted, and the coding of the others was changed, so that they’d all forget him/her. Maybe he/she was “boxed” like D’Anna? Anyway, my guess is that 7 is the one we don’t know yet.

Meanwhile, over on Galactica, the Semi-Final Four are just as interested as we are to figure out who the the Final One is, and they’ve decided that if anybody knows, it’s Baltar. The three men volunteer Tory to seduce Baltar and find out what he knows. Tory scoffs at the idea, but has clearly underestimated the size of Baltar’s mojo — he bags her before the episode is over. But not before we get treated to one of the strangest moments in this entire series — Baltar talking to a Baltar in his head. It seems to catch him completely off-guard to the point that he suspects it’s really Six in disguise. Which means we now have to wonder if the Six in his head has really been Baltar in disguise all along. Talk about narcissism.

Oh, and Apollo — or I guess we can only call him Lee now — officially hangs up his flight jacket, and leaves Galactica to fill an empty seat on the Quorum of Twelve. Which for those who don’t remember is basically their version of the Senate. And if Star Wars has taught us anything, it’s that becoming a Senator is just the first step to becoming the evil Emperor of a totalitarian galactic empire. So he has that to look forward to.

Reprinted from Too Much Free Time (head over there to comment)