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Battlestar Galactica 2K: "Downloaded"

Okay, this was how the viewing of "Downloaded" began at our house:

{Six wakes up in a tub of goo, gasping fearfully about her memories. Pause TiVo.}
evay: How was it that Six was killed in the destruction of Caprica, but Baltar wasn't?
Moogie:...that's a really good question. How the hell did he survive? Maybe he's a Cylon. {Moogie is very good at predicting plot twists which I never see coming.}
evay: But what would be the point? She went on and on about how their baby would be half-human-- oh, but wait, that was before we realized it was Sharon's and Helo's kid Six was actually talking about.
Moogie: He could be seriously deep undercover.
evay: eh, it wouldn't make sense.
Moogie: Are we going to see a new Cylon model?
{Resume TiVo. Male voice saying "Shhhhh." Pan up to...BALTAR! hovering over the tub. Pause TiVo.}
evay (with much screaming and table-pounding): I can't believe it! Goddammit! I can't believe Moore did that! Baltar's a Cylon!
{Resume TiVo.}
BALTAR: I'm not really here.
{Pause TiVo.}
evay: What the hell?!

And from there we were off and running into the best show of the season, even topping "Resurrection Ship" for advancing the overall series mythology. New Cylons, old Cylons, Cylons fighting each other, Mister Underwear Model returns to fight the Cylons, the cybrid baby is born, Baltar hallucinates Six, Six hallucinates Baltar, and we still have two more episodes to go!

How do the clones address one another? Do they have something like an individual smell or an aura or something which the units can sense? Or is it like the Q, where everyone is "Q" and you just sort of know who's being addressed? I'm going to have to tweak my nomenclature yet again to keep everyone straight. Lucy Lawless's character (Xenanne) called herself model #3, so I'm renaming her Threena. The Sharon who started the the series on Galactica and died there was the only one who actually functioned as "Boomer," so she's the one who's been reanimated, and the one who started on Caprica with Helo and is now on Galactica and was pregnant until this episode is (for now) Sharon. There are a bunch of Sixes on Caprica, but only one who's bucking the system, and naming the Cylons after locations gets hairy when they move, so let's call her Rebel Six for the moment.

I can't imagine that every personality who gets downloaded wakes up in an underlit tub of goo in an otherwise empty enormous darkened room, surrounded by a delicately dressed welcoming committee who personally coddle and coo the resurrected one back to sanity. Seems a bit inefficient.

So the Cylons hadn't actually planned on complete and utter genocidal annihilation; it was just lucky overkill?

Notice that Boomer is handcuffed to the side of the download bin, while Rebel Six isn't. So they knew that Boomer might have a bad reaction.

Speaking of knowing, I guess they don't have a constant groupmind link after all. Maybe it's only when an individual is uploaded that the memories are shared with the gestalt, and everyone who downloads after that gets that information. But are memories only shared within a model (since Sharon had Boomer's memories specifically) or is all information shared with everyone? And each personality gets to keep her own individual memories as well as getting the model's history, sort of like a Trill symbiont? (There's another echo of this late in the first scene with Rebel Six and Boomer, where Rebel Six speaks of "embracing my new life.") And whatever isn't implanted pre-download is like any other information which has to be shared manually, which is why Rebel Six didn't know about Baltar being alive, because she was downloaded nine months ago show time before that information would have come to the gestalt, and was deliberately not told about it.

However, wombat61 pointed out a problem with this. If the memories are downloaded and uploaded only between bodies, how does Sharon have Boomer's memories? Sharon was running around on Caprica with Helo while Boomer was still on Galactica with Chief. My original theory was that when Boomer was touched by the nekkid Sharons (I should say, the Eights) on the basestar, her memories were uploaded and she received a message to activate her sleeper programming. But even if her memories reached the gestalt that way, how would Sharon -- on Caprica, with no contact with other Cylons by that point -- have gotten them? There's a similiar problem with Rebel Six; if she's shared her experiences with the Six gestalt, and those memories of feeling love for Baltar and/or other humans are making her feel guilt or other stress, won't all the new Sixes after her be affected as well? Would they all be walking around with sneering Baltars at their sides? Maybe they are all a bit off and they're going to rally to her cause?

As far as I can tell, this is a genuine continuity error. (Of course, if Moore would just explain how they talk to one another, this could be pretty easily resolved.)

What a terrifying moment, for Boomer to wake up and realize, truly realize, what she is. The horror of it -- Grace Park's scream, and the rapidly rising crane shot, captured the emotional vertigo beautifully. The audience has to remember suddenly which Sharon this is, and where we "left" her when she died -- what she was thinking and what she might or might not have known.

So: Rebel Six has Baltar whom only she can see. Baltar has a Six whom only he can see, who is not the one he lived with on Caprica. Does each of them have a chip? There's no way the Cylons could have a program which knows Baltar well enough to predict his responses, so maybe the chips just send out generic impulses, which are then given dressing and detail by the individual. Baltar gets a Threat prod, and he hallucinates Six throwing him across the room. Rebel Six gets a Guilt prod, and hears Baltar whispering in her ear about the billions of humans dead. Each of the "ghosts" has a similar tone and stance: a little sneering, a little cajoling, a little baiting, a little reward. But: who put the chip in Rebel Six? And if Baltar and Rebel Six have chips, why? Boomer didn't need a chip to love Chief, nor did Sharon need one to love Helo. Is it because the Sharons are the "weak" models, as Ghost Six once suggested, and Sixes are tougher, so Rebel Six needs something to help her along? To what purpose? To get her to find the humans and hook up with the real Baltar again? The pursuit of the emotion of love? What happens if Rebel Six does get off Caprica and gets to Baltar? She'll expose him, more solidly than Roslin's accusations. Maybe that will be Baltar's way out if he's revealed -- Rebel Six helps him escape the fleet. If Boomer gets a message to the fleet, that would also expose Baltar. Will she choose to help Rebel Six? Turn them both in? What a marvelous ethical quandary has been set up, with these two as traitors to their own treason. And serving gods only know what masters in the end. (Will the two rebels join up with the human resistance, and get off Caprica all together?)

Does nobody notice the enormous pauses in conversation when Rebel Six or Baltar turn in distraction to their ghosts?

How can so much of Caprica be so intact, right down to pictures in frames, but everyone dead? They wouldn't have re-stocked Boomer's apartment. And why was it untouched to begin with? Did they leave it that way in case she came back still in her cover identity?

Kudos again to Park and Tricia Helfer for showing us clearly different units of the same model. Sharon and Boomer aren't the same person. Ghost Six is seductive and lethal; Rebel Six is vulnerable and confused, and doesn't give you the sense that she's constantly plotting and conniving. (Even though she is, c.f. slicing her face with her own nail.) It's a hard trick to pull off, and the two actresses keep doing it consistently. Plus Park has these enormous and expressive liquid eyes which convey fathoms of feeling.

I love Cottle's snark: "I find it absolutely amazing -- you people went to all the trouble to appear human and didn't upgrade the plumbing!" A detached placenta is bad.

Okay, Threena is talking to Rebel Six, and they walk along a sort of balcony, where several Sharons (Eights), Threes, Sixes, and Dorals (Fives, by process of elimination given her comment) are leaning against a banister looking out. As Threena and Rebel Six come around a corner to go down the stairs, there's a Doral, in full bright-red business suit... gardening. Digging, actually, with quite a bit of energy. And as the camera pulls out, we see that everyone leaning on the banister has a great view of... another concrete wall. These people are plain weird.

"There's talk of boxing her," Threena threatens. Like the destruction of the Resurrection Ship, the thought of having one's individual memories not passed down to another body is about the only "death" a Cylon can have. Although not for anything, it's only been what, forty, fifty years since the original war when the Classic BSG Cylon models fled the humans? and how long would it have taken them to create bodies which so perfectly mimic humans that it takes a deep, elaborate, specialized scan to detect it? How many times could any individual unit have been killed and resurrected? Do they die more quickly because they're manufactured? Maybe they take it for granted because they don't bother to heal -- when Rebel Six is injured in the explosion, Threena immediately offers to "take a crossbar and put you out of your misery." She'll only wake up again in another body (unless, of course, Threena boxes her), so it's not as horrifying as it sounds, and Rebel Six doesn't seem appalled or even offended at the suggestion.

Why does Mr. UM think it makes sense for the Cylons to remember him in their gestalt as a terrorist? Isn't the anonymous strike-and-run more frightening? That they don't know if the bombs were set just recently or have been there for a while? Bad tactics, I think. Why give the enemy any information about you if you don't have to?

Man, the girls of the Colonial fleet have some awesome apartments. I can only imagine the luxury Lee lived in. And Boomer cleaned up and styled her hair with breathtaking speed.

Boomer's re-emergence is brilliantly written. The bitterness and anger, the self-hatred, the resentment, clinging to the only identity she can remember -- all note-perfect. Although if she can only "remember" being Boomer, does that mean she's a new personality thread? Was she alive in another body before she was Boomer? It doesn't sound like anyone else only remembers one life back. Was she created as a blank slate with the imprinted memories?

Baltar's Ghost Six has given him things to say; now we have the reverse, with Rebel Six's Ghost Baltar speaking with her, for her. It was spooky and exciting to watch. What is he? How is he?

Sharon and Helo cooing over baby Hera was really sweet. (Hera, Queen of the Greek gods; Ghost Six says of her that she was to "lead the next generation of God's children.") But why would Helo say that her birth was due to the Cylon god? The Lords of Kobol couldn't grant a similar miracle?

Moore was really particular about only showing clones of the six models we've seen so far. I wonder if the Cylons themselves think that's a bit weird, that only half their "population" is present.

It's fascinating to listen to the Cylons speak, how both rebels just say "she" and know which person they mean, and how carefully they avoid using names other than "Sharon" and the one instance where Threena calls Rebel Six "Caprica." I'd like to see another episode like this with more Cylon interaction, to see how their society works.

So Threena wants Boomer to move out. To where? What does that mean? Why can't she stay where she is, other than the identifiers? She can't just get rid of "Boomer's" stuff? Are they going to rent out her room? Are there dorms where they all sleep in anonymous stacks?

Threena says that Starbuck was on Caprica -- Boomer gives her this hilarious look like And you didn't tell me? But then she says Kara escaped "with the help of another Sharon." Why wouldn't she say "another Eight"? Is she trying to tie Sharon's treason to Boomer's, to make Boomer feel worse?

So now Sharon blames Roslin and/or Adama for Hera's death. Adama already treats her with thinly veiled disdain, and Roslin nearly ordered her pregnancy aborted. All the loyalty she has left is Helo. How much help do the leaders still expect to get from her? And if she's no longer cooperative, is she next out the airlock?

That was kind of Chief, to go with Helo to scatter the ashes. Although unless there's air coming out of the Raptor, pushing the ashes out in a stream, they wouldn't be moving in a vacuum. Even if Helo flung them in an arc, it'd be very slow movement and dispersal. (I know, I know, pick pick pick.)

To Baltar's credit, he really does look devastated over the baby. He's definitely more on the Cylons' side emotionally -- or at least, Six's side. (The Sixes' side?) If Rebel Six shows up to rescue him, he'll jump ship (literally) without a second thought.

I think it was a mistake to turn Hera over to someone who hasn't been briefed. Granted that it's difficult to detect a Cylon by scientific means, something is going to happen which will make her stand out, and the mother is not going to know what to do to keep it quiet. I understand the idea of hiding the baby in plain sight, but not without the main player in ignorance. Besides, all the Cylons have to do is keep an eye on any female infant born within four months of Sharon's due-date. Even in a fleet of fifty thousand, how many girl babies could be born in that window? And how many are going to be visited by the President? Roslin's cover story was a decent one, nevertheless, and mostly believable.(She puts her hand out to caress Hera's head, and never quite makes contact with her skin. Diabolical!)

Interesting bookend of Threena in the opening and Roslin near the close both saying "Trust me..."

The end scene was a little stilted and preachy in spots in the dialogue, but sometimes you have to jam in a little cabbagehead narration to move things along. I am glad to see that Cylons can be changed from their experiences and don't have to be all of a mind and all of a piece like automatons, but I'd like to see Cylons without that literally "humanizing" experience change their minds. So far we've seen Sharon, Boomer, and Rebel Six change sides, but what about one of the men? What about a Cylon with no human exposure? Does Rebel Six really think that a day and a half of preaching is going to sweep Caprica like wildfire and change everyone's minds? (not that it'll bring back the dead, of course...)

Why did Boomer tackle Mr. UM and stop him from shooting at Threena? And what is he going to report back to his comrades?

According to Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth, "Maya," the name of Hera's adoptive mother, means "illusion."

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