Debate: Human-Cylon Alliance

I’m a couple of episodes behind on Battlestar Galactica, preferring to have multiple episodes queued up to watch sequentially, so have seen only the beginning of the plot line in question.   Nonetheless, there’s a very interesting cross-blog debate on the merits of the alliance between the humans and Cylons and the rearguard actions to undermine same by Robert Farley (taking the anti-alliance position) and Jonathan Last (making the pro-alliance case).

Obviously, the discussion is more enjoyable if you’re a fan of the show.  But, as with all good sci-fi, the questions are really allegories for real life.  In this case, there are at least loose connections with the War on Terror, the Iranian nukes debate, and our relationships with Russia and Pakistan.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Grewgills says:

    The new season (or 2nd half of last season?) has taken a turn for the worse. Much better if they had ended it with the finding of earth. Now it is little more than a soap opera set in space. I will probably continue to watch in the hope that it will return to the previous quality, but don’t have much hope at this point.

    The central question of this season (the alliance) is a thorny one with no easy answers. I would lean toward collaboration without alliance and would certainly not trust them to install vital technology without a core complement of human techs that understood that tech. I would not support mutiny to accomplish my preference though.

    On a related BSG geek question. No hazmat suits were required on earth, not even the rad badges. Plant life appeared abundant and healthy. It appeared much more hospitable than New Caprica. Even with a total nuclear war after 2000 years there would be some clean areas (isolated islands etc), certainly enough for the less than 50,000 people left. Other than the plot requiring traveling through space what is the compelling reason to leave?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Other than the plot requiring traveling through space what is the compelling reason to leave?

    The thought occurred to me as well.

  3. Derrick says:

    Other than the plot requiring traveling through space what is the compelling reason to leave?

    Don’t forget that despite the fact that the Ressurection Ship was destroyed, that other Cylon faction is still out there. I’m sure they didn’t want a repeat of New Caprica on their hands. And yes, I’m a geek for Battlestar.

  4. Ugh says:

    Other than the plot requiring traveling through space what is the compelling reason to leave?

    I think having them show up on Earth and then “The End” would have been kind of a downer. The have lots of things to tie up, such as (i) what’s the deal with Starbuck; (ii) what’s the deal with the 5th cylon; (iii) what about the other cylon faction; (iv) what happened on Earth; (v) will I ever get to meet Grace Park, etc.

  5. Joe R. says:

    They also claimed that water supplies and plant life were contaminated via information from scout crews all over the planet. Whether or not that was likely from a physics standpoint is a separate discussion, but from an in-universe standpoint the planet was uninhabitable. No clean water, no clean crops.

  6. Dodd says:

    The allegories are anything but incidental. The good news is, they’ve backed off from beating us over the head with them. The series hit bottom in S3 with way too much overly topical “social commentary” and soapishness and way too little Coolness.

    The balance is considerably better now, thankfully. The show is best when it lets the characters tell the story first.

  7. Grewgills says:

    Derrick,
    But they weren’t worried about that before and they are still looking for a permanent home.
    Ugh,
    It was a reasonably satisfying end for me and I am afraid that after this season I will wish they had ended it there. 1-4 could be resolved on or near earth and 5 can only be resolved on earth.
    Joe,
    Maybe, and I am willing to let it go along with the many other improbables (2000 year old cylons replacing humans that happen to look like them 2000 years later etc).
    Dodd,
    Agreed about the soapishness:coolness ratio of season 3, but so far (ep3) it looks to be continuing that trend. I’m still hoping for a turnaround.

  8. sam says:

    I had a thought about the plot arc the other day. First note that the Cylon civilization on Earth was destroyed by someone. Who? I suspect human beings, who were slaves of the Earth Cylons. And then the human civilization in the 12 colonies was destroyed by the Cylons, slaves of the 12 colonies humans. I’m thinking what we will end up with is some version eternal recurrence and an attempt to thwart it.

    Oh, and yeah, since we’re shmoozing: Lost is a hybrid of Lost Horizon and Bradbury’s “Here There Be Tygers”.

  9. Ugh says:

    It was a reasonably satisfying end for me and I am afraid that after this season I will wish they had ended it there.

    Actually, I was thinking that if they ended it by showing up in, e.g., North America circa 2009, that would be boring. But if they ended it by having them end up on nuclear wasteland earth, that would have been much more interesting. And you’re right, 1-4 don’t require traveling through space.