Random Remarks

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Battlestar Galactica Pilot Retrospective

Posted by Mister Random on June 17, 2008

Welcome to the first of my Battlestar Galactica Retrospectives, where I take a brief look back at earlier episodes of Battlestar Galactica. Due to the age of the episodes rather than right a detailed summary of the episode I will just post what I consider to be the key events, what we learn, and a list of any answered and unanswered questions I can think of, and an overall episode rating.

Key Events 

  • Cylons attack and destroy the 12 colonies
  • Laura Roslin becomes president
  • Helo remains on Caprica
  • Baltar starts seeing an internal version of the Cylon Caprica 6
  • Baltar accuses Doral of being a cylon after “Head 6” points out a cylon transponder on the bridge,
  • Galactica and a small civilian fleet leave the 12 colonies and start to look for a new home

What we Learn

  • The first cylon war begun ~50 years ago and no one has heard from the cylons in over 40 years
  • Adama has been in command of Galactica for ~3 years
  • There are 12 humanoid models of cylon
  • Cylons are monotheistic, while most humans are polytheistic or atheist, some humans may be monotheistic as Baltar and Adama were not too taken aback by humanoid cylons referring to God in the singular sense
  • Known humanoid Cylons, “Number 6”, Leoben (Number 2), Doral (number 5), Sharon “Boomer” Valerii (Number 8) 
  • Starbuck let Zack Adama pass basic flight when he should have failed, which contributed to his death and the animosity of Lee Adama towards his father
  • Cylons (including humanoid models) are vulnerable to certain types of radiation 
  • Humans came to the 12 colonies from Kobol

Subsequently Answered Questions

Why was Adama in charge of Galactica and insistent on no networks?

3 years earlier he had been in charge of the Battlestar Valkyrie, on a black Ops mission to spy on the cylons. The mission went wrong and Daniel “Bulldog” Novacek was presumed killed (Hero). Being posted to Galactica was probably punishment for this and Adama feared the cylons would return so took precautions that others deemed excessive but were later shown to be justified.

Who are the other humanoid Cylons? 

To date 11 of the 12 models have been revealed, the original 7 which includes in addition to the four models revealed in this episode, Number 1 (Cavil), Number 3 (D’anna) and Number 4 (Simon). There are also an additional “final five” cylons who have a different nature to the Original 7. The known final five include Saul Tigh, Galen Tyrol, Samuel Anders and Tory Foster, these were unaware of their identity until the end of Season 3.

Does Boomer know she is a cylon? 

No she is a sleeper agent who is not consciously aware she is a cylon until after she is killed.

How did Leoben know about Adama’s speech at the decommissioning ceremony?

While not definitively answered there is sufficient information known about cylons to make an informed guess. Two options, he may have heard the speech as it was transmitted or he may have been able to access the information from the cylon network from information given to it by Boomer or Doral.

Why did the humans leave kobol?

There was a war on Kobol and humans had to leave

Unanswered Questions

  • Why were the cylons silent for so long?
  • Where is the cylon homeworld?
  • How did the first cylon war begin, why did the cylons decide to rebel?
  • What is the nature of the cylon God?
  • What is the nature of “head 6”?
  • Who was Caprica 6 meeting on Caprica? – Probably another cylon agent and not important
  • How did Baltar manage to survive the nuclear blast?
  • Who left the note about there being 12 cylon models on Adamas desk?
  • Why did the 13th colony go to Earth and not the 12 colonies with the rest of humanity?
  • Are the 12 colonies all in the same system or are they spread amongst several systems?

Other Thoughts

After re-watching the pilot, one of the things that struck me was how little we actually know about cylon history, after 3 full series worth of episodes our knowledge about where the cylons were and what they were doing for forty years is not that much greater than in the pilot. While some of the questions relating to the first cylon war may be answered in the proposed prequal series Caprica. Similarly the question of Head 6’s nature is still as ambiguous as it was in the pilot. It seems likely to me that while some of these questions may be answered in the last half of series 4, there is a good chance that some of the cylon related questions will still be unanswered.

Episode Rating

8/10 – One of the best pilot episodes I have seen for any Sci-fi series



2 Responses to “Battlestar Galactica Pilot Retrospective”

  1. Doctor Zee said

    And so, Battlestar Galactica is reduced to a simple fable – we run from our past, believing the future holds something better for our species, while praying we can rise above our dark “human nature” before we do ourselves in. This episode was a mirror, showing how despite hope for a bright technological future, we’re simultaneously on the knife’s edge of destruction.

    In one episode, Battlestar Galactica moved beyond the addictive, nit-picky details like “who is the last Cylon?” and “how did Tigh get Six pregnant?” and reminded me of the big picture – our irrepressibly hopeful yet frustratingly misguided humanity.

    Enter Doctor Zee – The Fifth Cylon

    “The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr


  2. lice comb said

    lice comb…

    […]Battlestar Galactica Pilot Retrospective « Random Remarks[…]…

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