Now we know who the 13th Tribe was, what happened to Starbuck (mostly), closure for the Lee-Dee romance, and of course the identity of the Fifth Cylon. Spoilers ahead!
Well, I was wrong, it wasn’t Gaeta, it was Ellen Tigh. Ellen Tigh! I am gratified that BSG can still surprise me 🙂
The specific identity of the Fifth wasn’t central to my earlier speculation, but many details need to be revised more in light of the additional details that were revealed. Let’s summarize the truly important information:
We learned that the Five are continuously reborn throughout time. Their bodies can be destroyed (Tyrol was vaporized, Ellen drowned, etc) but their consciousness is “downloaded” into a new vessel. Are they reborn as babies or are their consciousness transferred into fully-grown vessels? The former seems more likely for the Five, since all of them have extensive “human” backstories. This raises the possibility that Ellen is now being reborn as Tigh’s baby with Caprica Six.
Unlike the Five, the Cylons were (until the destruction of the Resurrection Hub) downloaded into new bodies. This seems to be what happened with Starbuck, who died on arrival at Earth and then was sent back to the fleet with a brand new Viper and body to match. It is clearly the same Starbuck, as far as memory and consciousness, but the experience of dying has definitely changed her personality. Still, she is human (at least as human as the rest of the Colonials are, anyway). This suggests that the whole download process is not unique to Cylons but one that can apply to both races. This further suggests the commonality between them, a commonality that is likely engineered.
The 13th Tribe were Cylons, we are now told. The difference between Cylons and humans can now be determined on te basis of bone remains, so presumably the 13th Tribe were Cylons v2.0. This upends a lot of my speculation about which race was the progenitor of which, especially since the 13th Tribe seems to have also made their own metallic centurions (who likely rebelled against them). So what is the origin of the humanoid Cylons? Were they really evolved from the metallic ones? It seems unlikely. The similarity of the centurion design across the centuries is also striking evidence of a direct lineage.
And, the ruins of Earth are 2000 years old – the same age as the great Exodus from Kobol. So the 13th Tribe settled on Earth 4000 years ago and 2000 years later both Earth and Kobol were destroyed – but Kobol seems to have recovered much more readily. My earlier assumption that the 13th Tribe destroyed Earth is clearly wrong since the 13th Tribe arrived at Earth 2000 years prior to its destruction, and we saw the Five living normal lives on the streets when Earth was attacked. This throws my timeline into disarray and I will have to think about how it all fits together now.
What I find intriguing though is how the fleet is the modern 13th Tribe, a parallel explicitly invoked by Adama at the end of the episode. The 13th were Cylon, the Fleet is human (with Cylon allies). Were there human allies with the 13th Tribe? Where did the 13th Tribe go after Earth was destroyed? Who destroyed Earth?
I just ordered basic cable. No more Torrenting!