Reader Theory: A Cylon Device in Baltar’s Nervous System?

Arktis says: “Baltar has a Cylon device somewhere in his nervous system instead of his brain. This is why it didn’t show on his brain scan, why it doesn’t appear to have direct control, and why it has to spend a lot of time convincing him of things. Think of it as being similar to a “man in the middle attack” (you are aware of the term, I trust) on a computer. Head Six is between Baltar’s mind and his senses, in addition to being able to exert some control over his motor functions.

“The pills are just his attempt to “make the bad (wo)man go away;” he really thinks he’s crazy deep down. Of course, so do I— but that sort of easy explanation doesn’t account for head six’s knowledge about the Cylons at certain times.”

There’s an early-on RDM mention that most of what Head Six tells Baltar could come from his own experience, and there’s always the MRI from last season. (“Would you stop going crazy in there?”) But I suspect that even though RDM is (obviously) in the position to know, he and his crew can certainly change their minds at will — and I suspect this issue is far from resolved in their minds, anyway.

And Arktis’ theory could account for the negative MRI results.

What say you?

14 Responses to "Reader Theory: A Cylon Device in Baltar’s Nervous System?"
  1. Pike says:

    I like it. It’s a nice out if they decide to go with the chip-head explaination. (And having listened to a lot of RDM’s casts, I’m of the mind (sorry) that they haven’t yet decided which way they are going to go.)

  2. Arktis says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect this to be posted. I thought you were going to save these for a podcast during the downtime between s3e10 and s3e11.

    There is always the fact that a lot of what RDM has said early on has later been contradicted, and so can only be applied to canonical events up to and including the point in the series in which his remarks were made. For example, I’d like someone to explain how Baltar would have known that Cylon psychology was based on projection, or some of the other interestingly serendipitous determinations head six has made (concerning Hera, for example). I can’t really recall any right now, but there were definitely a few moments where I was thinking, “whoa how the hell would he know that if he’s just crazy?!”. Maybe some of the posters will provide some of these instances.

    As I did say, I do think he’s just completely nuts. But that doesn’t reconcile some of the neat buts of information and direction Six has provided him. Maybe RDM will reveal some things that tie it all neatly together… maybe he never intended to take it one direction or the other (god, I hope not. that would just tick me off).

  3. The 13th Cylon says:

    I’ve just always thought that there’s a chip or something that Doc wasn’t able to detect. Maybe some weirdo biological chip.

  4. Arktis says:

    Yeah, that’s the popular theory. I just can’t believe it though. Can you imagine how intricate, delicate, and time consuming it would be to graft foreign brain tissue into a human brain and do so in a way that is essentially seamless, not to mention how much overkill it would be? I can’t. It’s like trying to wrap my head around the sheer size of the universe; it’s just beyond me. The only thing I know is that it’s BIG. Really, really BIG. Same thing here; that kind of thing is complicated. Really really really really really REALLY complicated and time consuming, whereas leaving the brain intact and just continually fraking with it to achieve the desired results makes a whole lot more practical sense. It’s like when you want to manipulate a server, you don’t go down and weld a specially designed and built chip into it’s motherboard. That would be total overkill.

    Of course, we are dealing with science fiction writers here, so I guess pretty much anything is possible, no matter how outrageous. Maybe they just ‘reversed the polarity on the quantum induction matrix flow regulator’. Heh.

  5. Armando says:

    I’ve always thought Baltar has had a complete psychotic break stemming from the realization that he inadvertently caused the death of his civilization and the virtual anihilation of the human race itself (that’s how James Callis says he plays the character, for instance). Anything that “Head” Six has ever told Baltar has, in fact, seemed merely to be manifestations of things he could’ve known from the beginning, conciously or sub-conciously (could he have, deep down, really always known that Six was a Cylon, even before she told him?). I’ve been revisiting season one lately and have been thinking about this in relation to how Six tries to get Baltar to “repent” and “give himself over to God.” To me, as someone who struggles with religious beliefs (coming from a devout Catholic and, later, Evangelical background to a more rational agnosticism currently) and similar issues of faith as Baltar, it strikes me that the conversations about God between Gaius and Head Six are manifestations of the thought processes a rational and intelligent person might go through while trying to reconcile some aspect of faith with a rationalistic world view (for instance, Baltar, as a scientist, might distrust the idea of God but, faced with his unlikely survival after the attack on the colonies he might very well wonder if, in fact, his salvation might have been due in part to the influence of a deity or some other supernatural event).

    As for how Head Six positioned Baltar in power, isn’t he really just manifesting his own ambitions and love for the limelight (“you’ve missed the limelight,” says Head Six in “Colonial Day,” to which Baltar replies, “Yes I have”). And although he claimed a distaste for politics, remember, this is a man who was a personal friend of President Adar. It would stand to reason that he would’ve gotten used to the trappings of power and would have picked up a few political tricks from this very prominent and important connection.

    One big reason why I don’t think Head Six is a chip planted in Baltar’s nervous system is that Caprica Six sees (or saw. I’m somewhat disappointed they haven’t continued this conceit into season 3) Baltar in HER head, yet there’s no way she could have a Baltar chip stuck in her head.

    (…unless Baltar really IS a Cylon and this is some sick experiment, …perhaps being performed by the last five models?)

  6. Jon Davis says:

    I still don’t buy that it’s psychosis or an implant, but that it’s something deeper still.

    I do buy that the writers are simply holding out on the explanation – and could therefore change their minds for a good story at any time.

    Given the recent revelation of Three peering into a world between life and death, and Baltar’s apparent ability to project, it would seem plausible that Six-in-a-box may be some sort of messenger from that realm. Perhaps it’s just a strange coincidence that Baltar has a form of projection that is similar to Cylons, but given the attention to detail in BSG, I find that rather unlikely.

  7. Audra says:

    I think it’s always possible that the MRI and other scanning techniques Doc Cottle uses may not be sufficient to detect a chip anywhere in Baltar’s body. But isn’t the brain a central part of the nervous system? Is it possible for something to affect the nervous system without obviously affecting the brain as well?

    I really think that there’s no chip, but some other answer, probably having to do with the initial explosion of Baltar’s place on Caprica and some kind of “melding” with Six. As Six suggested in the miniseries, I think Baltar did always know deep down that she was a Cylon. Or at least “different,” hehe.

    Like Michael Jackson in Thriller: “I’m not like other guys.”

  8. Arktis says:

    Or the Doc could be a Cylon and he purposely faked the scan results. He’s so much at odds with… well, everything. Kinda reminds me of Brother Cavil.

  9. Armando says:

    Jon Davis, what’s deeper than psychosis or a chip? Other than Baltar being a Cylon himself?

    Which I suppose he could be the case. Or even better, is Baltar the Cylon God? For me his saying to Deanna that he loved her, even though he was reacting to the “projection” in his head, resonated with the Christian myths and at that moment Deana may have seen Baltar as something of a Christ figure, an incarnation of God.

    Or am I crazy?

  10. Arktis says:

    No, you’re not crazy. 🙂

    I’ve speculated that the Baltar we know could actually be a Cylon copy/substitute of the real Baltar, who ran off to the Cylons and remade them in man’s image, in the process becoming their god. Remember his public criticism of the twelve colonies forbidding the use and exploration of Cylon technology due to fear? It was in the mini-series.

    Far-fetched, I know… however, I think it would make for a most interesting twist.

  11. The 13th Cylon says:

    I don’t believe it’s because he’s crazy, because Six has told him some outlandish things that have sure enough come true. Cylon baby, for instance. A machine and a human getting it on and having a baby as a result is pretty nutso.

    And a lot can be done to the brain and still be able to function. Stuff like split brain and even the story of Phineas Gage (spike through the ol’ noggin) come to mind.

  12. Jon Davis says:

    When I said ‘deeper’ I was referring to: a different explanation other than the ones the writers have already teased us with. They’ve already toyed with both of these ideas of Baltar’s hallucinations being a product of him just being crazy, or it being some sort of chip. The writers teased us with these back in the episode ‘Home, Part II’. Baltar himself ruled out that he was crazy because his inner-Six knew things he couldn’t possibly have known (Sharon being pregnant for example, or her hints at the strange device planted in the CIC). In that same episode (‘Home Part II’), Baltar asks Doc Cottle for the brain scan only to find nothing.

    So here’s where our own perspectives and opinions come into play. From the logical/deductive perspective we get the idea that it might be an organic Cylon implant indistinguishable from normal human tissue. On the spiritual/religious side it is suggested Six is an “angel of [the Cylon] god”. It would seem these are both explanations the writers want us to be thinking about. Either their intention is to use “what we think we know” against us so that the discovery of what’s going on has more impact, or it is simply to give explanations that fit these two “camps” or world-view perspectives (sort of a “something for everybody”).

    I still hold onto this concept of Baltar’s ability to project may mean that he can also communicate with a being (angel if you want) from an alternate reality (higher plane of existence/different universe/whatever you want to call it) and he is projecting Six as the manifestation of this being. Three’s foray into the ‘between world’, to me, may add credence to this. If any of this is true, then what would that mean for Baltar to (apparently) be the only human able to do these things? Flawed, self-serving and narcissistic he may be, but he also has some interesting talents.

  13. Armando says:

    Very interesting and deep inded! And not too different from Arktis’ very intriguing theory that our Baltar is not the real Baltar at all. Obviously there’s more to Baltar than we (or even he) yet know.

  14. 2nd Ugly Cylon"Boxy" says:

    if there is a chip, i hope it malfunctions and blows (yes we can say “blow”)his head off

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