Monday, March 26, 2007

Is Bob Dylan a Cylon?

Last night's highly anticipated Battlestar Galactica season finale mindfrack has certainly elicited much discussion at the net water cooler, much of which has been about the use of a cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."

The song was recorded by BSG composer Bear McCreary and sung by his brother Brendan, who performs under the name BT4.

In the episode, the song was used as a vehicle for the reveal of four of the five remaining cylons, as the four crew members aboard Galactica rendevous in a workout room on the ship, hearing the same mysterious song. Each member mouths the words to the song Bob Dylan wrote:
Chief Tyril: There must be some way out of here
Colonal Tigh: said the joker to the thief
Anders: there's too much confusion
Tory: I can't get no relief.
So does the inclusion of this song mean that Bob Dylan exists in the BSG world? (And if so, could he be the final cylon?) McCreary answers the question on his blog:
...the idea was not that Bob Dylan necessarily exists in the characters' universe, but that an artist on one of the colonies may have recorded a song with the exact same melody and lyrics. Perhaps this unknown performer and Dylan pulled inspiration from a common, ethereal source. Therefore, I was told to make no musical references to any 'Earthly' versions, Hendrix, Dylan or any others. The arrangement needed to sound like a pop song that belonged in the Galactica universe, not our own.
Sounds like Dylan might need a good trans-universe copyright lawyer. That arrangement, by the way, also featured former members of Oingo Boingo (guitarist Steve Bartek and bassist John Avila) following in the footseps of their frontman Danny Elfman's film and tv work. It's a funky arrangement of the song, but not nearly as crazy as the one XTC did in 1978 ("All Along the Watchtower" by XTC.)

But back to the show and the song as a vehicle for the cylon reveal. An interview today with creator Ron Moore revealed that the song in fact acts as a catalyst, and puts to rest any thoughts that they might not in fact be cylons:
It's more that they arrived at a certain point in space and they were made aware of who they are. The music manifests a dawning awareness. These are four of the final five, which puts them in a separate category from everybody else. There are reasons for that I can't really get into. We'll be playing out those plot lines for quite a while.
- Ron Moore, creator of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica
So what about Starbuck? Moore's mum on that one, but assures us that Katie Sackoff is signed on for season four (which, with 22 episodes ordered, must be the last.) Knowing this, one has to assume then that she's either the fifth cylon, a figment of Apollo's imagination (or both!) or she pulled a Merideth Grey miracle and somehow didn't die a few episodes back ("Maelstorm.") We'll have lots of time to ponder the possiblities since there's going to be a gestation-like nine months until we see the birth of season four (due date, January 2008.)

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1 comment:

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