BSG – Sometimes a Great Notion

      13 Comments on BSG – Sometimes a Great Notion

Battlestar Galactica is back, for the first of the final ten episodes.  The story picks up exactly where it left off last June (which, by the way, was about 3 months too frakking long), with the humans and Cylons standing on the shore of a seemingly ruined Earth.  And as far as I’m concerned, it did not disappoint at all.  As promised, questions are being answered and mysteries are being revealed.

Here’s the Top 5 for this episode …

1)  What happened to Starbuck? Okay, so we still don’t really know.  But we do know that when she got sucked into that vortex back in Season 3, her Viper crashed on “Earth” and she died.  We know this because she and Leobon actually find the Viper’s cockpit with Starbuck’s body in it.  As for when exactly in Earth’s history she crashed, how she’s still walking around seemingly alive, and/or where the shiny new Viper she flew back to the fleet came from, we don’t know yet.

2)  This IS apparently Earth. But it’s Earth 2000 years after a nuclear holocaust.  No word yet on who started it — the Cylons? the humans? — but apparently nobody won, considering that the planet is still incapable of supporting life two millennia later.

3)  The Final Five lived on Earth, 2000 years ago. Tyrol not only has a flashback, but finds a wall with a silhouette of his nuclear-blasted body burned into it.  Sam and Tory also have memories of Earth.  So somehow, they were here back then, died, and were reborn into bodies that eventually made their way back to Kobol.  Which would explain why they became aware of their Cylon nature when they got close to Earth.  Although it doesn’t explain how the four of them would have coincidentally ended up back here again, without really overtly doing anything to make that happen.

4)  The Thirteenth Tribe was Cylons? After digging up some bodies, Baltar concludes that the “humans” on Earth weren’t actually human at all, but human-looking Cylons.  Which means the tribe that left Kobol thousand of years ago was some kind of Cylon.  That’s right kids — if this is true, it means that I’m a Cylon, he’s a Cylon, she’s a Cylon, we’re a Cylon, wouldn’t you like to be a Cylon too?

5)  And the Fifth Cylon is … Ellen Tigh. Out there in the blogosphere, I’m sure at least a few people are patting themselves on the back for guessing correctly on this one.  It fits what we were told — that the last Cylon would be somebody we already knew, but that wasn’t in the fleet.  Which Ellen wasn’t, because she was dead at the time D’Anna made that statement.  Regardless, the reveal proves more intriguing than the knowledge itself — we learn that Saul and Ellen Tigh were a couple on Earth as well as Kobol, and that in the moment before her death, Ellen tells Saul that they will be reborn together again.

Mysteries aside, there are several poignant moments during this episode.  Faced with a devastated Earth, Roslin has a crisis of faith, and burns the pages of her Prophecy Bible.  Dualla, seen crying early on as she clutches at Earth soil tainted by radiation, seems to undergo an optimistic transformation, going so far as to reconnect with Apollo … but it’s apparently all just denial on her part.  She kills herself with a shot to the head after her date with Apollo, and this sends Papa Adama even further into the drunken funk triggered by discovering that Saul Tigh was a Cylon.  He tries to get Saul to kill him, but he doesn’t, instead reminding Adama of his role and his responsibility to the fleet — which Adama takes to heart, ordering the crew to search for the closest habitable planets.

It was a strong return episode, and has me excited about the remaining nine.

By the way, “Sometimes a Great Notion” is the name of the novel by Ken Kesey, whose first novel was the classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  But based on what I know of that novel, I haven’t been able to figure out why the writers chose this as the episode’s title.

13 thoughts on “BSG – Sometimes a Great Notion

  1. kyle

    Kesey’s title comes from the song “Goodnight, Irene”. The lyric is:

    ” Sometimes I have a great notion;
    Jumpin’ in into the river and drown ”

    So, I’m guessing the title has more to do with the song, than the book?

  2. GeekBoy

    Somebody over at TooMuchFreeTime pointed out that it’s probably related to the fox story Adama told Tigh. How did that story go again? Some foxes are being chased by hounds. They reach a river. Half of the foxes swim across to the other side and escape. The other half are afraid to swim, and get killed by the hounds. And one gets halfway across, stops, floats out to the sea, and presumably drowns. Something like that. So yeah, that ties into the river theme in both the song and the novel. When Tigh first started walking out into the ocean, it seemed like they were making us think he might drown himself.

  3. GeekBoy

    1) I know, right?!

    2) Wow, I can’t believe you watched the entire first half of the season in one week. I guess you were determined not to take any chances about getting spoiled? 🙂

  4. bad dog

    I think Dee may be a Cylon as well, a clue that they might all be Cylons, even though this seems impossible since the bones in the pits show that Cylon bones are distinguishable from human bones.

    She picks up the jacks out of the dirt. She is distraught. She babysits Hera, who is a child, and seems to take delight in Hera as a child. She has a date. She looks in her locker and sees a photo of herself as a little girl. She feels sorry for that person. She kills herself. When Lee examines her personal effects, he finds the jacks in a bag.

    The other Cylons had flashbacks upon touching objects. Did Dee have a flashback and realize she was a Cylon?

    Or was it all supposed to symbolize lost innocence?

  5. GeekBoy

    I guess it could be that Dee is Cylon. But my take on what you’re referencing — her having a flashback upon touching an object — is that it was a red herring. Literally a minute before Dee shot herself, I was saying to the folks I was watching with, “Boy, they’re really spending a lot of time on Dualla, aren’t they? Does that mean she’ll turn out to be the final Cylon?” Which I have to figure is exactly what the writers wanted me to think, to make the suicide all the more surprising and shocking.

    But hey, who knows, maybe the suicide is a red herring. I kind of hope that doesn’t end up being the case, though. It would take something away from the simple tragedy of the situation. I prefer to think of Dualla as an intimate sampling for us of the disillusionment and depression that so many people in the fleet must be feeling at this point, having the thrill of finding Earth pulled out from underneath them.

    As for the idea that everybody is a Cylon, I’d be annoyed by that. Why bother to spend so much time numbering them to just have everybody be one?

  6. bad dog

    It’s starting to feel like everybody is turning in to a Cylon anyway, at least among the main characters.

    As for Dualla, what you’re saying about Dualla being a red herring is probable, but they either intentionally or inadvertently try to make you believe she was a child on Earth. If intentional I think they went too far. Showing Apollo find the jacks, for example. Or maybe it was all supposed to be about lost innocence.

    Who knows? Only the writers …

  7. Jill a.k.a. The Nerdy Bird

    One week? Try 3 days! The worst part was having to shut my eyes while fast-forwarding the DVR because they kept showing frakking commercials for the new season! It was 3 in the morning when Dualla shot herself and I shrieked.

    I thought about everyone being a Cylon too or at least a different breed of Cylons.

    What I don’t get is, with all the talk about how Hera is special because she’s half Cylon/half human, why isn’t Tyrol and Cally’s child being revered now too? And what about the Cylon/Cylon baby from Caprica 6 and Saul that’s supposedly happening now.

    Are we believing that Ellen is the 5th? Because I really doubt it.

    There’s other things but I’m on overload right now. And how bizarre it will be for me now having to WAIT a week for a new episode.

  8. Flaming*Gobs

    As far as Dualla, Ron Moore has said that it is nothing more than a suicide. It is possible that they are all Cylons.

  9. Woody!

    I’ll be honest, I was let down by the reveal of the final cylon. I thought it would be a bit more epic and less of a character bit.

    As for Dualla, I got the impression she wanted to go out on a high. She saw nothing but the depressing nomadic lifestyle ahead and knew it wouldn’t work out with Apollo. So, if you gotta go, go with a smile!

  10. GeekBoy

    bad dog – I disagree that they made us think Dualla was a child on Earth, except in a red herring kind of way. She found jacks in the dirt. She looked at a photo of herself as a child. Would either of those details have sent the message that she was a child on Earth if you didn’t have other details from the episode to juxtapose them against? It was a deception on the writers’ part for sure, but I don’t agree that it went “too far”.

    Nerdy Bird – Yeah, the whole Human-Cylon Hybrid population seems to be getting bigger and bigger. And at this point, I’m convinced Starbuck is one too — her mother was a prisoner of the Cylons during the First Cylon War. And yes, I have no problem believing that Ellen is the Fifth. My hunch is that Ron Moore just wanted to get this detail out of the way early on in the last batch of episodes, to take its importance away, and to give them time to put it into a larger context over the next nine episodes.

    Woody – What I just said above. The whole “Who is the Fifth Cylon???” shtick became too big a deal for everybody. If they made it a big deal too, or left it for later, the big reveal could only disappoint. Better to underplay it now, then begin to lay out the big picture. And what you said regarding Dualla.

  11. mindy

    I was right about Ellen being a Cylon (called it!) but for the wrong reason — I thought she was a Six who’d been allowed to age.

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