Don’t I Know You From Somewhere or Am I Glitching?
I was never too interested in Battlestar Galactica, but I may have given up on it a little prematurely after the miniseries. The concept of a post-apocalyptic ancient human civilization that created our current civilization on Earth is interesting. I guess part of the reason I became disinterested in the show is because I was tired of all of these shows that were literally capitalizing on the fears and anxieties of people in a post-9/11 world. However, a few years removed I may need to revisit the entire BG franchise, because it seems to be more than just a 24esque show. I have never seen the episode “Downloaded,” but it, along with my general knowledge of the show, helped me realize that the entire franchise is deeper than I previously thought and that it also relies and builds on the idea of copies and the act of copying.
If we step back from “Downloaded” we can see that the BG universe revolves around duplication (the series itself is a duplication, or Döppelganger, of the original series). There exists the Cylon, which are man-made cybernetic beings that become corrupt and enter “DESTROY ALL HUMANS” mode (shameless Futurama reference). As referenced in “Downloaded,” it is impossible to distinguish Cylons from humans and this is what leads to the death of billions of people. These highly advanced “machines” are copies of their human counterparts. They even have the ability to emulate, or possibly “feel,” human emotions. The Cylons are obvious copies, but the less than obvious copy is the one that leads to the war between humans and Cylons. In the reimagined series the Cylons destroy human civilization, because they believe that humans are corrupt and sinful beings that do not deserve to exist. YES, the Cylons, who are creations of a society of humans who believe that they were created by many gods, believe in one god and deem the human existence as a sin against that god. The Cylons are duplicating and emulating the existence and creation rationale of the humans. Like humans, the Cylons create religion in order to prescribe meaning to their existence. They cannot exist as hollow creations. So, the Cylons create meaning and they become the creators. They have the ability to replicate or destroy. The copies usurp their creators and become the copiers. With regard to the specific episode, “Downloaded,” there are two “rebirthed,” or copied, Cylons, Six and “Boomer.” These two Cylons typify what it means to be the “perfect” replica. They fall in love with humans and they begin to sympathize with the humans. In fact, they both feel more human than Cylon. The two Cylons come full circle to reject their existence as mere copies and objects and embrace “humanity.” BG’s heavy inclusion of duplication actually acts as a mirror that reflects the dangers of duplication in our society.
Why does everything in the BG universe have everything to do with duplication? Because, it is impossible to escape duplication in our world. We create television shows, movies, and robots that are meant to be duplicates of us or our lives, but, as BG shows, these copies soon begin to rule our lives. We become slaves to the duplicates, because the duplicates in the BG universe and our own are created in the image of what humans think they resemble. Therefore, there is a constant struggle to “live up” to the projected duplicate image we create. In BG, the copies become self aware and struggle to destroy the shadow of their creators. The uprising of the Cylons is not surprising, because as copies they are nothing more than the perverse objects of desire of their creators. If this says anything about our society, which it does, we should be wary of creating duplicates that are realistically impossible, because we could soon fall victims to our own unrealistic, ideal duplicates.