Can someone explain the last season of Battlestar Galactica to me?

I mean the series from a just a few years back, not the one from the 80s. I watched irregularly. What I am specificially wondering is whether there was any relationship between the Earth they found that had been destroyed in a nuclear war versus the one they ended up on.


I don’t think so.

They named the new Earth after the destroyed one.

Much of this is my WAG but it seems to me the bottom line is …

this just keeps happening. Humans evolve. Discover “All Along the Watchtower”, build more and more advanced robots, that rebel and destroy the humans and themselves. God’s angels are forced to watch the process, and possibly guide its direction. Cycle repeats.

The universe is empty of other sapient lifeforms, just like in the Red Dwarf universe

Which is a bit of a copout, because back when they unkilled Starbuck, the season ended with some big CGI close up of the dead Earth she had been to, and it had the same continents as our Earth.

I’m not disagreeing with you, but I don’t remember it that way. I distinctly remember not being able to recognize any distinguishable continents when I saw Earth[sub]1[/sub].

Me too. I’d have to watch it again, but I recall thinking “that’s not Earth”.

The basic premise is: they found Earth. It had destroyed itself, because that’s what we do. They later found a primitive planet and named it Earth so they could try again. That one is our Earth. At the very end they hinted that it would all happen again anyway.

In brief…

“Earth”, the lost 13th colony, had originally been populated by an earlier race of Cylons that was created on Kobol and rose up against the humans there, and that war was the cause of the evacuation of Kobol. As time passed, the Earth-Cylons became biologically human, capable of reproduction, and lost the ability to download. In time, they created another race of Cylons, which also rose up, leading to nuclear war and the destruction of Earth.

Shortly before that war, a small group of Earth scientists (i.e., the Final Five - Saul and Ellen Tigh, Sam Anders, Galen Tyrol, and Tory Foster) had been experimenting with, and eventually rediscovered resurrection and downloading. When the war happened, they died and resurrected on a ship they had set up in orbit, and decided to travel to the Twelve Colonies to warn the humans against creating artificial intelligence. Because they didn’t have jump technology it took several thousand years for them to get there, and they arrived in the middle of the First Cylon War. They made contact with the Cylons, whose attempts at producing biological life had only resulted in the Hybrids, and offered to help them create organic Cylons if they agreed to stop the war - which they did, immediately withdrawing behind the Red Line.

The first human Cylon they created, Number One (aka. John/Brother Cavill), resented the Five for giving him the limitations of the human form rather than godlike abilities. He killed them, forced them to resurrect with no memory of their past and implanted memories of human lives in the Colonies, and took control of the Cylons, eventually engineering their destruction of the Colonies and pursuit of the fleet.

In the 4th season proper, Starbuck comes “back from the dead” to everyone’s surprise, including her own when she discovers her own charred corpse in the wreck of her Viper. Her visions lead the fleet to the original Earth where they gradually discover the secrets mentioned above. Meanwhile, the Five have been hearing “All Along the Watchtower” in their heads, which as it turns out was a song that Anders knew when he lived on Earth, and which Starbuck’s father played on the piano when she was a child. During the Galactica’s final battle at the Cylon home colony, she inputs the notes that make up the song’s main riff into the ship’s computer as jump coordinates and it leads the Galactica, and the Cylons who had joined forces with it, to our Earth, circa 150,000 BC. Upon discovering that the planet is habitable and that its Neanderthal inhabitants are genetically compatible with themselves, they settle there and name it “Earth” in memory of the lost colony. Starbuck realizes that her work is done and ceases to be, vanishing in an instant. The humans and Cylons presumably interbreed with the Neanderthals and eventually become the forebears of the modern human race, and Hera - the first child of a human father and a Cylon mother - becomes Mitochondrial Eve, the common female ancestor of all living humans today.

The ultimate implication is that an alien or supernatural power - i.e. the Lords of Kobol or “God” (though it doesn’t like to be called that) - has been responsible for Roslyn’s visions, for Baltar’s and Six’s mutual encounters with a spectral version of the other, for “All Along the Watchtower” as a coded message containing our Earth’s location, and for Starbuck’s apparition after her physical death. Throughout the series, it has been masterminding these events in the hope of ending the cycle of “Man creates AI, AI rebels and destroys man, AI becomes human and creates new AI” that has presumably occured many times over in history. The final scene leaves us with the angelic forms of Six and Baltar wondering whether this has been achieved or not, and the ultimate answer is left to the viewer’s imagination.

Does that help?

Yep. It’s as convoluted and unsatisfying as when I watched it.

They misdirected us to think it was the Earth she had been to, but it wasn’t - it was our Earth.

Starbuck: Hi babe! I’ve been to Earth and I’ll take us there.

A camera on a very large dolly does a big zoom out of the galaxy, and a big zoom back in to a bright, shiny and very recognisable Earth. Ours, not hers.

And no Moon, I think.

As I recall it, the shot of Earth in the final scene of S3 is definitely our world with recognizeable continents. The “Earth” the fleet arrives at in the middle of S4 has no recognizeable continents, on the other hand, which is the first clue that Earth and “Earth” aren’t the same place. Starbuck’s statement that “I’ve been to Earth and i’ll take us there” ends up being true on both counts, since she’s ultimately responsible for the fleet reaching both worlds.

The first Earth was definitely our Earth, since it had exactly the same constellations that we have. The second Earth was also definitely our Earth, since they fast-forward to show us the present day. The two planets are definitely not the same planet. Put all this together, and it becomes clear that the writers had no idea what they were doing.

Personally, I think the cleanest resolution would be time travel (and whenever time travel is the cleanest resolution, that probably means something went horribly wrong): By making an uncalculated jump from the close vicinity of a black hole, the Galactica managed to accidentally travel back in time to stone-age Earth, where it all started (I’m incidentally also assuming that Kobol was colonized from Earth, and the records stating the opposite were jumbled). Everything has happened before, and everything will happen again, because it’s all one big loop. The only problem with this idea (besides the writers thinking it’s stupid, because let’s face it, they’re not the best judges of that sort of thing) is that the rest of the fleet somehow manages to follow Galactica, presumably being guided by a Raptor that jumps back to guide them: I can buy the initial jump (again, uncalculated coordinates, black hole), but I can’t buy that they’d be able to backtrack it.

I think there was a crucial scene cut where Adama pulls Scrabble tiles out of a bag and they end up explaining everything.

I can’t have been the only person who thought, “Wait… they’re the Golgafrinchams?”

I won’t argue the constellation point, but I just watched the final scene of that episode on Netflix, and there’s only two shots of the planet from space. In neither one are there really any planetary features visible. It’s just a blue planet with clouds and some vague landmasses. Nothing that clearly identifies it as our Earth.

It had constellations with the same names that we eventually named ours, and the few we saw had the same shapes as ours (given the brief snippets we saw of them in the projection on Kobol), but that doesn’t mean they were the same stars.

They were clearly two different planets, and they obscured the continents with clouds and a low angle when they showed the fleet arriving at the second Earth in the middle of season 4 so as not to give it away. (in the same episode in which they said “the constellations check out”, so it’s not like they forgot about it - it was just another misdirection.)

They showed all of them, actually. And I don’t buy that there just happen to be two places in the Galaxy where the local stars just happen to conspire to form exactly the same constellations.

My fan wank is that the first “Earth” was Mars, and the second “Earth” was our Earth.

Still hate the ending.

Did they? My bad, sorry.

They’re just dots in the sky. I don’t think it would be impossible to find somewhere else where you could pull out similar shapes.

But yeah, to be honest, it’s not the most plausible part of the story. (But then, not the least plausible part of it either.) But I don’t think it’s an inconsistency, just an implausibility in the real world, of which the story is full. Within the story, they are clearly different planets, intended to be so and declared as such. They’re not the same Earth.

The constellations on the Colonies, Kobol, Earth 1, and Earth 2 all match “our” constellations – we saw that the symbols of the colonies match “our” constellations on banners throughout the series. The constellations in the series never made sense, so it’s pointless to use them to argue for or against anything.

And, yes, Earth 1 clearly had no moon. There were huge internet arguments whether it was “really” Earth because of that, or if the Galactica just happened to choose an approach where the planet eclipsed the moon.