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If you ask what I did on just about any day in the month of April, if I answered honestly chances are pretty good that I watched some Battlestar Galactica. The miniseries in 2003 and the opening episode of the television series were amazing. Then it got boring for a season or so, and then more interesting again.

The basic idea is that a race of robots (Cylons) built by some faraway colonies of humans rebelled and killed everybody, and are now hunting down the last survivors in a rag tag fleet of spaceships, while both sides try to find Earth. The Cylons now have 12 humanoid models that are indistinguishable from the real McCoy. Of these, seven have been known for a while, and the remaining “Final Five” have been something of a mystery that the first seven don’t talk about. At the end of the third season, four of the final five were revealed, and now the big question on everybody’s mind is who that last one is.

And now begin the spoilers

So far only the first five episodes of season four have aired. One impression that I’ve been picking up on is that the final five are actually not part of the same series of models, so to speak, as the first seven. It’s odd that the first seven don’t know anything about the last five—not where to find them, not what they look like, and not even why they don’t know about them. When you kill a Cylon, a Resurrection Ship spits out a new one of the same model. If you killed one of the final five, would a nearby Resurrection Ship make a new one? I doubt it. If so, you’d think Number Three could just walk around the ship until she finds where they store the Number Twelves.

The numbers of the first twelve Cylons are one through six, and eight. It is typically presumed, then, that the Final Five are model numbers seven, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve. But if the final five really are a different group, why would the model numbers overlap like that? That seems more to imply that they were all made together and only later was it decided that those five would be special.

It almost seems possible that the final five models are actually older than the first seven. I’m working from memory here so it’s possible this whole theory can be shot down pretty easily, but nonetheless… From what I remember the Cylons we’ve discovered around the fleet were installed there about two years before the attacks. We don’t know when humanoid models were invented, but we at least know that Colonel Tigh (one of the final four), for one, has been kicking around the Twelve Colonies for at least 30 years, since that’s when he first met William Adama. (Of course if Adama is the last Cylon, then it could all be an elaborate ruse.) Chief Tyrol has a service record extending back at least 10 years, though it could have been fabricated.

Note also that while we have no reason to believe the original seven age (every copy of the same model are always the same age), it seems that the final five actually do, or at least pretend to. When Tigh first met Adama, he had a relatively full head of brown hair. Not so much today. Possibly at a bit of a stretch, the mysterious music the final four Cylons heard that brought them all together was described as “like something out of childhood”, something that could barely be remembered.

Now the fan favourite for the final Cylon is Starbuck. She wasn’t on board the ship when the other four heard the hallucinatory music, so it’s possible that that’s why four of the final five were revealed while the last remained hidden. Starbuck has also been drawing the Eye of Jupiter, a crucial signpost on the road to Earth, since childhood, and she’s the crazy one now who thinks she knows where Earth is. Plus there’s that nice trick she did by showing up in the new spaceship three months after she died when her old one exploded.

What does all that tell us? My guess is that the final five Cylons are actually from Earth, or at least have been there before. It might even be that they are completely independent of the Cylons we’re familiar with, and are just a case of convergent evolution. It explains why they are different from the first seven, and why the first seven don’t really know about them. Starbuck knows where Earth is for the same reason she’s known all along what the Eye of Jupiter looks like, and maybe for the same reason the other four Cylons all heard a Jimi Hendrix song as if remembering it from childhood.

This would have the weird consequence that Earth, the supposedly lost colony, would have to know about the location of the Twelve Colonies. They would have to have sent the final five there for some reason, but chose not to make contact. Maybe the final five were sent to make contact with the now-independent Cylons as well, but it went badly and now the Cylons have suppressed knowledge of the encounter. Hey, maybe the seven humanoid models of Cylons were inspired by the fancy skinjobs that came to visit from Earth, but are second rate mimics—they don’t even age like their Earth counterparts!

This is all coming off the top of my head as I write this, without the benefit of having read through any fan forums to hear other people’s ideas. This it probably old news—there are only so many unanswered questions and only so many ways to connect them—and so it might have already been shot down. Nonetheless, that’s how I see things as of now. Hopefully I won’t look like an idiot as more episodes come out this season.

Random FAQ Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Battlestar Galactica and the Final Five Cylons”

  1. David says:

    I kinda want Adama to be a Cylon..that or madam president but that’s pretty impossible considering her cancer/death scare.

  2. GP says:

    Baby Adama can’t very well be a Cylon unless Daddy Adama was brainwashed and vice versa… unless I’m write about the Final Five having fuller life cycles. But, I don’t think that’s likely.

    And who says Cylons can’t have cancer?

  3. Cindy Gordon says:

    D’Anna revealed that only four of the final five are within the Colonial Fleet. Also, Ron Moore confirmed in an interview that the four are full Cylons — however, “fundamentally different”. Moore has also stated that unlike the other Humanoid Cylon models, the Final Five do not have model numbers. You can confirm this on the en.wikipedia.org website and the Ron Moore interview on the scifi.com site as well.

  4. GP says:

    Thanks for the comment Cindy. Ron Moore’s calling the final five “fundamentaly different” is why I started thinking in these directions in the first place. D’Anna’s revelation came after this post was written, and I discussed it here.

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