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By now everyone should have been able to get to their recordings of “Battlestar Galactica,” and we can safely discuss the riveting season finale. If you still haven’t gotten to this Tivo’d episode … stop reading and go watch it now!

All season finales are cliffhangers by nature, giving you a tantalizing glimpse into next year’s storylines. But Galactica is the ultimate television tease. Thanks to its screwy schedule, viewers won’t find any resolution until 2008. That’s a real shame, because while the airwaves are full of shows that are ripped-from-the-headlines, Galactica really goes beyond the headlines–exposing layer after meaty layer.

The finale wrapped up the trial of Gaius Baltar, former president of the colonies and alleged collaborator of the Cylons, who are man-made machines bent on destroying humankind. Not only was he being tried for war crimes committed while he was acting as president on New Caprica under Cylon occupation, but Baltar set the entire drama in motion by supplying Number 6, a seductive Cylon, with the password that would disable the defense systems.

But Baltar, unaware of Number 6’s true identity, did not realize until the very moment of Caprica’s destruction what he had done. Afterwards he thought that perhaps his secret was safe, but unbeknownst to him, then Secretary of Education and current President Laura Roslin had seen him with Number 6.

The defense is having a very hard time making it’s case. To top it off, Lampkin puts his co-counsel Lee Adama on the stand to testify that his father, Admiral Adama, who is acting as one of the three judges, is prejudiced against Baltar and that he should be removed from the case.

Instead of ratting out his dad–who did in fact make prejudicial statements–Lee begins to testify, in both the legal and religious sense of the word. Baltar, Lee says, did not break any law, since there was no intent of conspiracy in his delivery of the code. Lee also alludes to the fact that Baltar is in fact humanity’s savior. Finally, in a brilliant speech, Lee says that most everyone has been forgiven for the crimes and discretions they’ve commited, but they are not willing to forgive Baltar.

The judges vote to acquit Baltar, including Admiral Adama. Read into it what you will, but the trial (and Lee’s speech about forgiveness) capped a season full of complex references to the situations in Iraq, Gitmo, and on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, Col. Tigh, Anders, Tyrol, and Tory have all been hearing things–strains of an unfamiliar tune–and acting oddly. Coming upon each other in an unused workout room, the four of them come to the horrific realization that they are Cylons. They are four of the five unknown models that came before the seven models that we Galactica fans already knew about.

Spurred on by Tigh’s refusal to believe he is a Cylon, Troy and Tigh head back to their positions assisting President Roslin and Admiral Adama, respectively. The song the four have been hearing? Bob Dylan’s “All along the Watchtower,” a tune full of apocalyptic, biblical imagery.

So, who’s the fifth? Could it be President Roslin whose cancer has returned, forcing her back into the role of Moses–the dying leader who will never see the Promised Land but must fulfill the prophecy? Could it be Baltar who, with his Christ-like goatee and long hair, has been painted as an unsavory savior of mankind and has been petitioned to bless a child by at least one citizen?

Or could it be the presumed dead Starbuck who returns in the last scene of the episode promising Lee that she has found earth and will lead the fleet to it? And what of the two half-human/half-cylon children, Hera and Nicky? The new Adam and Eve? These final five are fundamentally different from the rest of the cylons. And what does this have to do with the cylon’s God?

Of course, like many metaphysical matters, the answers will remain mystery, at least until the new year. But we can be thankful for small blessings, as several illuminating “history” episodes telling stories of the Pegasus and Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) will be delivered unto us in September.

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