Wow. Well, I’ve got to hand it to the writers. I heard rumors swirling for a while, but didn’t believe them. Her? Nah, get real; what a lame choice. But after watching the episode I now agree with the blogger at Galactica Variants: not only does the choice work, but it’s powerful. And I think it’s only the beginning, since the LA Times reports that we should expect to see this character, somehow, some way, over the course of the final story arc.
In light of the revelation, I am further awe-filled by the sheer time scale in which Galactica as a story operates, especially the way in which it is conveyed so intimately, personalizing the effect. There is truly something mysterious, terrifying, and enticing about the concept of eternal return, and the show manages to connect it to identity, history, and mortality in ways that never cease to evoke wonder and reflection. Truly, this is more than masterful television: it’s nigh philosophy.
(If you feareth not the spectre of spoilers, click on the image above to see the big revelation, and “read more” for some more thoughts.)
Can historical patterns and personal relationships transcend specific times and spaces? The answer is not necessarily the same as saying that “history repeats itself,” or that prevailing definitions and doctrines of reincarnation are correct.
While on the one hand striking a sociological tone in its cyclical view on the near-inevitable clash between toolmaker and tool, Galactica also approximates a Bahai-esque view on the persistence beyond the grave of true love (consider the conclusion of this essay by a member of the faith), if not a Mormon-esque vision of the Heavenly Couple (consider this blog post by a Mormon transhumanist). Responding to a question regarding his pick for the Final Cylon, Galactica Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore writes,
There’s a certain logic to it. I sort of figured out early on that I liked the pairing of her and Tigh. [I liked] that there was something deeper to their marriage and deeper to their relationship, that it was literally a relationship that had transcended time and space, that it was very ancient that had gone on for a very long time. It was something that was [mentioned] in the pilot for Galactica.
[…] There was something really appealing about the idea that of the final five, the two of them were a pair, and they were THIS pair — you know, as drama-ridden as their relationship had been, the idea that there had always been something deeper and more profound at its center, I always really, really liked.
Note also that in early drafts of the script for this episode, the writers intended the past-Tyrol, amidst the nuclear wrath falling upon the Earth, to run toward an enigmatically Sharon-like woman, only to plunge headlong into his own shadow. Searing, haunting, but ultimately comforting imagery: as Leoben once remarked, “What is the most basic article of faith? This is not all that we are,” the true scope of the soul may very well be magnificent, cosmic, and all-ensurpassing…