The Corner

The Anointment of Baltar

From a reader:

Jonah,

First off, and you can ask my wife, I called Starbuck’s daughter a fraud from the beginning. I deserve the bragging rights.

Second, I think your concerns are premature. Much of what they are doing is following (loosely) the original BSG. In that, Baltar was the Lord of the Cylons. The whole New Caprica excursion was in part a vehicle for credibly elevating Baltar to that coveted post. For that to happen, the Cylons’ plan has to fall apart, and they have to flounder awhile. I see them adopt Baltar as the Cylons grasping at straws to regain a purpose lost when their “god” proved as clay-footed as the humans’.

BSG is much like Gene Wolfe’s Urth saga, in that there are layers of overlapping destiny/gods, all of whom eventually crumble, yet there remains a Destiny/God who is obviously in charge, and working for no one but Himself. It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures, Joshua 5:13-14, “When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood before him with his drawn sword in his hand; and Joshua went to him and said to him, ’Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’ And he said, “No; but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshiped, and said to him, ‘What does my lord bid his servant?’”

In the same way, the writers have been alluding to this invisible Third Player from the get-go: Starbuck’s Quest for the Arrow, Dagmar from Joe vs. the Volcano’s prophecies (“Looks like we’re in for a blow…”). The Cylons’ “god”, I believe, is some great mainframe on their home planet, and the Lords of Kobol appear to be artificial gods created to perpetuate ancestral memory. But embedded in both religions is a mutual destiny beyond anyone’s control.

There are smatterings of Gordon Dickson’s Childe Cycle at work here, too (humanity as a singular intelligence guiding its own evolution through the seemingly free choices of individuals and groups), but that’s another story…

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