The New Doctor?

All of us Whovians are eagerly awaiting official news concerning the announcement of the next Doctor.

According to The Telegraph, the role has been offered to Rory Kinnear.

The Mirror, however, reports that no decision has been made.

Matt Smith, the current Doctor, is leaving the show in the Christmas special.

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#BSG and #Religion: Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down

I have to say from the start, this is NOT one of my favorite episodes. I find Ellen Tigh to be an annoying character. But, I digress.

Leoben’s seed of doubt takes hold in Roslin and it becomes apparent when she suggests that Adama be the first person to be tested on the fully operational Cylon detector. Adama objects at first, suggesting that Roslin goes first, but quickly agrees.

Meanwhile, Billy and Dee are on a date and the conversation quickly turns to Adama. Dee let’s it slip that Adama has been acting funny, making weird calls that aren’t being logged and has been distracted over the past few days.  Billy informs Roslin of the conversation.

A Cylon Raider jumps into the fleet and we come to find out that Adama is not on board the Galactica. Lee damages the Raider and it jumps away, only to appear in the fleet again. After all the excitement, Adama’s Raptor lands on the Galactica. When questioned by Tigh as to where he was, Adama presents Tigh’s wife, Ellen.

Roslin contacts Baltar and orders him to inform her the moment Adama’s test is completed. Baltar informs Roslin that Adama cancelled his test and him a sample of Ellen’s blood to test. Roslin orders Baltar to resume the test on Adama’s blood.

Roslin summons Tigh over to Colonal One where she questions Tigh about Adama’s recent behavior. When questioned about Adama’s absence during the Raider episode, Tigh informs Roslin that he knew where Adama was, and informs Roslin about his wife. Roslin’s demeanor changes when she hears Ellen’s name. Roslin contacts Baltar and orders him to resume the test on Ellen.

During dinner, Adama asks some startling questions regarding Ellen: Why does no one remember giving her medical attention? Why does no one remember her being brought aboard? Ellen’s answer is less than satisfying. Ellen also makes some advances on Lee and makes a general ass of herself.

After dinner, Tigh and Ellen leave and Roslin, Adama, and Lee are left alone.  Roslin speaks up after the door is closed:

Roslin: You actually think that woman is a Cylon?

Lee: If she’s not, then we’re all in a lot of trouble.

Adama reveals more information about Ellen and Tigh’s relationship:

Adama: The scuttlebutt was that she slept with more than half the fleet while Saul was in space.

Lee: Why the hell did he say married to her?

Roslin: It’s obvious. He loves her deeply.

Adama: Blindly. Ellen used to encourage the worst instincts in this guy, bring out this self destructive streak in him.

Lee: Used to?

Ellen is not the best influence on Tigh, and that’s putting it mildly. She encourages him to drink, tried to make him jealous by lying and just out right tempts him.

The shit hits the fan when Baltar, Lee, Adama, and Roslin meet in Baltar’s lab. The whole interaction is quite funny, especially when Tigh and Ellen walk in.

In the end, we find out that Ellen’s test comes back green…meaning she’s human. Only the interaction between Baltar and Six alludes to the possibility that she might not be:

Six: If only they knew that everyone passes these days.

Baltar: Why, it’s so much simpler that way. No muss, no fuss.

Six: What did her test really say?

Baltar: I’ll never tell.

I like to equate Ellen with the Satan figure in the Bible. Ha Satan, literally, the adversary, one of the heavenly host whose job, at least in the Jewish tradition, is to tempt humans. (See Job). But there’s something more to her. She doesn’t just tempt Tigh, she brings out the worst in him and causes him to make really bad choices. We’ll see more of Ellen and the effect she has on Tigh in some upcoming episodes.

New Prometheus Trailer

Two words: Hells. Yes!

#SciFi and #Religion

So I’m working on something for my church, a small group looking at science fiction and religion. The goal is to bring a people together to watch some sci-fi and discuss the religious themes in the movie.

Here is a list of movies I have already picked out:

I’m open to any other suggestions.

#BSG and #Religion: Flesh and Bone

“Flesh and Bone”

The episode opens with President Roslin having a chamalla induced dream in which a copy of Leoben (Number Two) appears. Roslin wakes up and is informed by Billy that a Cylon agent has been captured onboard one of the ships in the fleet. This Cylon agent turns out to be none other than a Leoben copy. At the end of the dream, Leoben is pulled away, as if grabbed by some unknown force. Starbuck is sent over to interrogate the Cylon.

According to Adama, Leonben is a “very cunning maching. Manipulative, cunning. The only problem with Leoben isn’t that he lies. That would be too easy. It’s that he mixes lies with truth.” Sounds familiar. In some ways, Adama is painting Leoben as the Devil himself.

After a brief remark about the gods not answering the prayers of toasters, Starbuck gets down to business interrogating Leoben. It’s not until Leoben guesses who Starbuck is that he opens up a little more about Leoben’s mission in the fleet. According to Leoben, there’s a nuclear warhead somewhere in the fleet.

In a conversation that follows, Leoben and Starbuck have this exchange:

Leoben: You believe in the gods, don’t you? Lords of Kobol, and all that?

Starbuck: Why should I tell you?

Leoben: It’s not a trick question. I just what to see how much I got right. So you pray to Artemis and Aphrodite?

Starbuck: Where is the warhead?

Leoben: I was right. See, our faiths are similar, but I look to one god, not to many.

Starbuck: I don’t geie a damn what you believe.

Leoben: To know the ace of God is to know madness. I see the universe. I see the patterns. I see the foreshadowing that precedes every moment of every day. It’s all there. I see it. And you don’t. And I have a surprise for you. I have something to tell you about the future.

Starbuck: Is that so?

Leoben: It is. But we have to see this through to the end.

[There’s a brief pause in the conversation while some food is brought in to Starbuck]

Leoben: What is the most basic article of faith? This is not all that we are. The difference between you and me is, I know what that means and you don’t. I know that I’m more than this body, more than this consciousness. A part of me swims in the stream. But in truth, I’m standing on the shore. The current never takes me downstream.

Right about here, Starbuck shows that she’s not falling for Leoben’s philosophical and theological double talk. After pushing the food aside because it’s worse than the Galactica’s, Leoben is given the opportunity to eat. But, we also get a glimpse of Starbuck’s darker side.

Leoben: Starving. Haven’t eaten in days.

Starbuck: Kind of bad programming, isn’t it? I mean why bother with hunger?

Leoben: Part of being human.

Starbuck: You’re not human. [Pause] How’s your lunch?

Leoben: You know how it is. When you’re starving, anything tastes good.

[Starbuck give a nod and the guard punches Leoben in the head, drawing blood.]

Starbuck: Did that hurt?

Leoben: Yeah, that hurt.

Starbuck: Machines shouldn’t feel pain…shouldn’t bleed…shouldn’t sweat.

Leoben: Sweat. That’s funny. That’s good.

Starbuck: See, a smart Cylon would turn off the old pain software right about now. But I don’t think you’re so smart.

Leoben: Maybe I’ll turn it off and you won’t even know.

[Leoben get’s punched by the guard again]

Starbuck: Here’s your dilemma. Turn off the pain, you feel better, but that makes you a machine, not a person. You see, human beings can’t turn off their pain. Human beings have to suffer, and cry, and scream, and endure because they have no choice. So the only way you can avoid the pain you’re about to receive is by telling me exactly what I wanna know. Just like a human would.

Leoben: I knew this about you. You’re everything I thought you would be. But it won’t work. I won’t tell you anything.

Starbuck: Maybe not. But then, you’ll know deep down that I beat you…that a human being beat you…and that you are truly no greater than we are. You’re just a bunch of machines after all.

Leoben: Let the games begin.

[Leoben is punched again by the guard.]

Starbuck’s interrogation continues, only Starbuck ramps up the interrogation method, dunking Leoben’s head into a container of water. Leoben talks about destiny and fate, even eluding to the eventual discovery of Kobol, before Roslin shows up. There’s a brief exchange between Roslin and Leoben in which Leoben tells Roslin that Adama is a Cylon. After this, Roslin has Leoben executed by being vented out of an airlock.

Back on the Galactica, Starbuck pulls out figures of Artemis and Aphroditie and prays to them.

This episode highlights the role of prophecy. Leoben quotes the scripture, “All this has happened before and all this will happen again.” He even points out that Starbuck has a role to play, although, at this point, her role is still ambiguous. Prophecy is theme that plays an important part in the series and this is the first episode to highlight that theme.

This episode also serves as social commentary regarding the use of torture. Starbuck goes to great lengths to torture Leoben, but gets nowhere. There’s so much more that can be said about this topic alone…but I’ll save that for another time.

This episode goes down as another one of my all time favorites of the series.

#BSG and #Religion: Six Degrees of Separation

“Six Degrees of Separation”

This episode open with an interesting dialogue between Gaius Baltar and Six. Baltar is looking through a microscope at some cells.

Baltar: I don’t see the hand of God here. Could I be looking in the wrong place? Let me see. Proteins? Yes. Hemoglobin? Yes. Divine digits? No. Sorry. I’m sure I can find evidence of his divine hand in some of these delightful little samples.  After all, there are so fracking many I’m sure even I can be relied upon to find God in one of them.

Six: What is it that drives to to blasphemy, Gaius? A need to tempt fate?

Baltar: Boredom, actually. Indeed, every waking hour is spent in what some might say, has become my own personal religion. The Church of the Mystic Cylon Detector.

Six: Well…are you finished? (The scene shifts from Baltar’s lab to the bedroom inside of his head.) If you would give yourself over to God’s will you’d find peace in his love like I have.

Baltar: Could you help me with this zipper. I’m having a bit of trouble.

Six: He has a plan for us.

Baltar: How do you know it’s a he?

Six: There is only one true God.

Baltar: Really? You running a glitch in the program or something? ‘Cause you say the same thing over and over again. Now, I’ve accepted your God and all that. Can’t we reboot the hard drive?

Six: He’s not my God. He is God.

Baltar: Yeah, your God, my God, everyone’s God. He’s big enough for all of us, isn’t he. Now please. Please, honey. Can’t we do something a little more elevating?

Six: It’s important you form a personal relationship with God. Only you can give yourself over to his eternal love.

Baltar: For God’s sake! I can’t take this anymore.

Six: I’m trying to save your immortal soul.

Baltar: What you are doing, darling, is boring me to death with your superstitious drivel. Your metaphysical nonsense which, to be fair, actually appeals to the half-educated dullards that make up most of human society, but which, I hasten to add, no rational, intelligent, free-thinking human being truly believes. (Six leaves while Baltar’s back is too her.) Which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that Cylons, are, in the final…. That Cylons are, in the final analysis, little more than toasters…with great-looking legs.

This conversation comes on the heels of Baltar being threatened by Six to not make her mad. Of course, Baltar didn’t pay this any heed, and so begins his problems in this episode. After being summoned to the CIC, Baltar runs into a Six model who goes by the name Shelly Godfrey. At first Baltar assumes that only he can see her, and is shocked, at best, when he realizes that everyone can see the Six standing in the CIC. It is at this point that Godfrey accuses Baltar of being the traitor. Godfrey claims to be a assistant to Dr. Amarak, the doctor onboard the Olympic Carrier that was destroyed in the episode “33“.

The “evidence” that Godfrey brings forward, does implicate Baltar as the traitor and he’s thrown in the brig. After a visit from Pres. Roslin in the brig, Baltar has this monologue:

I know that we haven’t spoken before. And I don’t wish to offend. Please. Dear God, and I now acknowledge that you are the one true God. Deliver me from this evil and I will devote the rest of what is left of my wretched life to doing good. I don’t know what to… To carry out your divine will, is what I want to do. To carry out your divine will. Grant me grace and forgiveness.

And then, of course, the Six inside of Baltar’s head come back. She informs Baltar that, “All will be well. It will be as God wants it to be.”

Lt. Gaeta comes in and announces that the evidence is fake and Baltar is free and Godfrey is nowhere to be seen.

The more I think about it, the more the Cylon God sounds like the Evangelical God. We hear the catch words: personal relationship, God’s will, etc. But, there are some diferences as well. The Cylon God comes off a being petty and manipulative. Baltar questions the Cylon God and his problems begin. He acknowledges the Cylon God and everything goes away. Sound familiar? This was the God that I believed in for a long time…a God of punishment and wrath. One false step meant eternal damnation. Of course, I no longer buy into that belief. I see a God of love and peace. Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t always better on the other side. Bad things still happen. However I don’t blame those on God’s will.

#BSG and #Religion: Litmus

“Litmus”

A Doral Model (Number Five) Cylon shows up on the Galactica on a suicide mission. After being spotted by Tigh and Adama, he blows himself up with a bomb that is strapped to his chest. The resulting blast kills three and injures thirteen. Commander Adama charges Sergeant Hadrian, the master-at-arms, to open an investigation into how anyone could get back Galactica security. During the conversation, she asks for an independent tribunal, free of command influence. That request is approved by Adama.

While Pres. Roslin does not want a witch hunt on her hands, we all know where this is heading. Things aren’t helped much when Roslin announces to the fleet that Cylons have a human form.

Sergeant Hadrian’s investigation startes with some general questions to some of the deck crew, mainly about the whereabouts of Chief Tyrol. Hadrian gets different answers regarding the Chief’s whereabouts during the bombing and the investigation is ramped up. Both Boomer and Tyrol are pulled in for questioning.

Questioning in the tribunal is tense to say the least. What is interesting is when Tyrol is being questioned, Hadrian asks the following: “Do you consent to give your testimony freely without invoking your right to remain silent as provided for under the 23rd Article of Colonization?” The Chief responds in the affirmative. But when Hadrian hits too close to home, the Chief invokes his rights.

Next up is Socinus, and here we have a shocking revelation; he abandoned his post and left the hatch combing open that allowed the Cylon agent easy access to the small weapons locker.

Things get real interesting when Commander Adama is called before the tribunal. It is here that Hadrian let’s the power of the independent tribunal go to her head. The tribunal turned into what it wasn’t supposed to be, a witch hunt.

To me, there are many theological layers to this episode.

The first theological layer revolves around our sinful nature.  Hadrian and the tribunal are a perfect example of this. There’s no doubt that Sergeant Hadrian’s intentions were good in the beginning, but something happened along the way in the quest for “truth”. Hadrian lost sight of the purpose of the tribunal and let the power get to her. In essence, she was corrupted by the quest for truth. Taking that one step further, we get a glimpse of what living in sin is like. Sometimes it is pretty difficult to know when we have strayed from the truth and when we are living in sin.

I think this episode also touches on the theme of security. For Christians, we look at questions of security a little differently. Security for Christians should rest in fact that death is not the final answer, that the final enemy has already been defeated. That doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen…they still will.