Julian's Jungian Analysis: Battlestar Galactica

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Julian's Jungian Analysis: Battlestar Galactica

Post  JulianDW on Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:49 pm

by Julian Danyliw-Wilson

Episode 1 - “33”


In the first series episode of Battlestar Galactica, "33", the human survivors of the nuclear holocaust on their home planet Caprica must flee from their Cylon pursuers, making Faster Than Light jumps every 33 minutes, exactly the time that the Cylons reappear in pursuit. Days on end with scant sleep clearly taxes the crew and forces them into terrible situations and stress. At the climax of the episode it becomes known that one of the fleet's ships, the Olympic Carrier, is being tracked and infiltrated, showing radiological activity on the fleet's scanners. They must destroy it and all 1300 innocents aboard in order to save the rest of the fleet.

Notable characters that are mentioned within:

- Commander Adama: acting military leader of the survivors and run of the mill wise old man archetype
- Gaius Baltar: acclaimed scientific genius with a narcissistic complex and unhealthy appetite for sex. He is an unwitting tool in the Cylon's subtle plans for the humans and is partially and unknowingly responsible for the Cylon attack against Caprica. His mind is feverishly haunted by a beautiful cylon-human hybrid named "6" of whom he sees and converses with in waking states.
- 6: The 6th cast of 12 models of Cylon agents who are designed to act, look and feel completely human. Though she makes no physical appearance to the rest of the fleet, she is an emissary of the Cylons and manipulates Baltar in God's plan as a chess player would a pawn.

Situational Archetype
The Unhealable Wound

The Unhealable Wound archetype is very apparent in the first episode. With the Cylons' surprise attack by on the planet of Caprica, the survivors immediately feel the magnitude of the catastrophe, both physically and psychologically. This manifests itself in the brief shot of the hallway in the capital ship that is plastered with photos of lost loved ones.
The major instance of the loss of innocence is found when Commander Adama is forced to order the destruction of the Olympic Carrier to save the fleet from a nuclear explosion aboard the infiltrated ship. This comes at a cost, as there are innocent lives aboard. This catalyzes the descent into the dark and desperate side of human nature that will shape the actions of the fleet in episodes to come.

Character Archetype

6, the Cylon hybrid who occupies Gaius Baltar’s mind is the Devil Figure because she offers herself to Gaius Baltar’s nymphomaniacal complex frequently, tantalizing him with cryptic knowledge in exchange for his acceptance of God’s Divine Grace. She is continuously offers him pacts, the one in this episode being that if Gaius repents and accepts God’s love, He will have President Roslin give the order to destroy the Olympic Carrier before it destroys the fleet.
6 also exhibits the characteristics of The Temptress and the Shadow, playing a curiously neutral role in the grand scheme of things between human and Cylon. She can be brutally inhuman and uncaring, yet she maintains a nurturing relationship with Gaius so long as he cooperates.

Symbolic Archetype

Heaven vs Hell

In the first episode, there is a strong juxtaposition of Heaven and Hell. At first anywhere away from the bombed-out Caprica seems to be Heaven, which inevitably is space. Literally, It holds promise of Earth (the garden), that is prophesized as the salvation of mankind. Spiritually it promises of Kobol, sacred home of the 12 Lords of Kobol (the human gods) and primally it houses the threat of the Cylons and the fear associated with death. Combined, these govern the direction that the fleet takes in order to survive.
In a strictly literal sense, Hell is Caprica, which the Cylons have complete occupation of and maintain presence there to round up and cull the survivors. These are the diabolical forces that inhabit Corporal Helo's world, who has been marooned after a failed rescue mission.
However, Heaven also manifests itself in Gaius Baltar's 'mind-affairs' with Cylon model 6. This idyllic terrace overlooking a tranquil lake and mountain range is the sanctuary of 6, the ideals of the Cylon idol God and "[His] plan for everything and everyone". These correlate exactly with the primordial forces that absolutely domineer Baltar's life.
The bowels of space soon become Hell as the survival of the fleet shows strain as grievances and stress build up due mostly to lack of sleep. The destruction of the Olympic Carrier pushes it over the edge and cues up even more for the future episodes.


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:24 pm

Julian - you've correctly identified some key archetypes of the series - and a great series it is. A friend of mine bought me the DVDs for the first half of the fourth season, and I was very impressed. (Although I don't know how I feel about the fraking swearing). I particularly liked your character analysis, demonstrating that more than one archetype can apply. There seems to be a lot of Frye's literary and biblical theory that could apply as well. The episode name itself of "33" - a double trinity. And aren't there 9 kinds of cylons? Very interesting....
Mr. C

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