I just gotta say, I’m impressed with the Oracle-like qualities of the BSG fans who post here at the Watercooler! I truly did not believe Ellen Tigh knew the drink was poisoned, but many people wrote in to say that her confession followed by “I could really use a drink” was enough foreshadowing for them. Then, another wrote in to confirm that Kate Vernon, the actor who plays Ellen Tigh, posted on theSciFi.com BSG Forumthat Ellen did indeed know the drink was poisoned, and that she spared her husband having to kill her in a more direct way. Rock on, Oracles! (But take it easy on the chamalla.)
On another note, I’ve been feeling guilty about Ellen’s biting the dust because of the ridiculous poem (“Elegy for Ellen Tigh”)I posted just before watching the episode. So, my apologies to Ellen. You were crazy, misguided, a wild card, and a wonderful presence, always there to mess things up and make it interesting. And in the end you did what you believed was right. May you rest in peace, with all the liquor the lords of Kobol have to offer.
I think RDM intended it to be a bit more ambiguous, “Does she know? Does she know? I think she might know.”
(from the Podcast transcript: http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Podcast:Exodus%2C_Part_II#Act_1)
Of course, what he intends isn’t always what ends up on the screen.
Pike: It’s interesting (and good, I suppose) that we can never truly resolve some issues like this. I head Mr. Moore’s mention of this as well, and it seems pretty clear that — as you said — he intended it to be ambiguous.
I suppose, though, that it’d be pretty difficult for an actor (especially a method actor) to proceed without knowing what was going on, so I suspect Kate Vernon made the decision herself. It sure worked out well on-screen, as she seemed exceedingly natural and un-rehearsed in the moment, selling it to us (well, *me* at least) exceptionally well.
For a beat like that to work well, it’s got to leave us room to make our own decision about what happened — and about what kind of woman Ellen Tigh was. Wow: It changed Ellen more for me than the whole second season!
Most probably Ellen is dead; however, I’d like to post an idea–what if Ellen deduced there was poison in that drink (she was watching Sanders and Tigh talking about her), and pretended to drink the poison, and pretended to die?
With all the resistance activity, she could have easily slipped away….to the Cylons. Networking does pay off.
Or, maybe she is a Cylon and really died, didn’t we suspect her of being a Cylon before? Maybe she’ll just , ta-dah, re-appear in a future episode. I’m hoping.
I also thought along the lines of Kirby’s Ellen-as-Cylon theory…after she takes the Cylon detection test in Season One, Baltar implies that the test results may actually be positive (he tells Caprica Six that “he’ll never tell” what the real results were). Personally I don’t think it’s something we’ll see, but how crazy would it be to see Ellen reappear downloaded into a new body?
Adam/Kirby: I’ve always believed that there’s no way Ellen’s a Cylon — because if I was a Cylon, I’d leave her human; She could do *way* more damage as a human.
Ron Moore has stated in an interview (with theFandom podcast) that Cylon agents are not copies or clones of any pre-existing humans, living or dead. Characters with families, or long histories are effectively excluded. (This was, of course, after the ‘is Ellen a cylon’ beat in season one.)
The folks at BSWiki (and I’m starting to sound like a shill for them, I know) put together an assesment of each character’s likelyhood of being a cylon. http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Cylon_agent_speculation
Pike: So where does that leave Sharon? Even though her family is dead, she did have a family — and a long history.
And shill away — the wiki rocks!
Yeah, her mannerisms and character flaws seem distinctly human, but her sudden appearance always seemed suspect to me. Like I said, I doubt she’ll re-appear as a Cylon, but it *would* be interesting to see how that kind of development would play out, especially with Saul. Wishful thinking? 😛
Chuck: Sharon’s cover was that she was from Troy, some sort of mining colony that was destroyed. So, her “family” was dead. (That’s got to screw with your head, though. Remember your mother baking cookies for you? Never happened.)
It was stated in the miniseries that they began infiltration about two years prior to the attack. It does raise the question of how, exactly, Sharon got to her current position in that time. As Sharon being a cylon was a last-minute stroke of inspiration (as RDM has said) I’m not sure that even Ron has come up with an answer.
(And I have to think that every actor on that show wants his character to be outed as a cylon. Talk about job insurance.)
I dunno…I’ve never thought Ellen was a Cylon. I think it would be kind of cheap if she (or a different version of her) suddenly turned up (although it would be interesting to pursue what that would do to Tigh!).
As for the poison, I got the impression that she knew. Her whole death scene reminded me in a small way of the death of Socrates. She seemed to stoically accept her fate (perhaps the first truly upstanding act of her life) and finally take responsibility for her actions, even if only at the very end.