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BSG Season 1: Water Ep. 2 March 4, 2008

Posted by Chris in Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined).
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Boomer:  Symbolically Drenched in Water, She Enters the World of Her Own Unconscious

This episode opens with Boomer, sitting alone and spacing-out.  Water drips off her and we see that she’s completely drenched.  As she comes out of her trance, she realizes that she has a duffel bag with dry clothes, ready to change into.  She begins to unpack and is shocked to find a plastique bomb among her clothes.  She manages to control her growing panic long enough to check the small arms supply room where she finds that a number of detonators (like the one she found in her bag) are missing. 

Her suspicions are growing that she is a Cylon.  But her programming is keeping her conscious mind from believing what her unconscious mind already knows.  Shortly thereafter, explosions aboard Galactica release most of the fleet’s water supply into space.  Symbolically, drenching Boomer in water and having her unconsciously destroy the fleet’s water supply provides us insight into her personal state of mind.  Water is often used as a symbol for the unconscious mind — the world of dreams and repressed urges.  Like a sea mammal coming up for air, Boomer’s repressed Cylon identity is beginning to force its way to the surface of her conscious mind, but only for brief periods of time.  Now, her Cylon identity is maneuvering for full expression.  By blowing up the water storage tanks, it has not only crippled the fleet’s life support systems, but it has symbolically shattered the barrier between Boomer’s conscious and unconscious minds, threatening to undermine her sense of self and her loyalties to her friends and crewmates.

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Boomer’s Unconscious Identity Violently Erupts into the Real World

Just like Baltar, Boomer is beginning to realize that she is guilty of traitorous acts (see Kym‘s comments on my 33 post for where this insight orginated).  And while both did not intentionally betray their friends and governments, each feels a growing sense of panic and self-doubt about their real identities.  What’s interesting here is the way the writers have chosen to portray each character’s reactions to their crises of self-doubt.  While Boomer, the Cylon who thinks she’s Human, seeks comfort from her friend and lover, Chief Tyrol, Baltar trusts no one except his Imaginary Six, a Cylon who may or may not actually be imaginary.  So while the Cylon seeks solace and protection from humans, an act of faith in “humanity”, Baltar, the self-centered and egomaniacal human, finds solace and fawning affections from an imaginary and sexually-charged Cylon.

Boomer’s erratic behavior continues as she’s sent out on recon to find a new supply of water for the fleet.  As she surveys a planet, her sensor screen tells her that she has found water, but her conscious mind doesn’t seem to register it.  As she struggles with herself, we also see her fingering another plastique bomb below her seat.  It seems that her unconscious Cylon programming is instructing her to blow herself and her Raptor up instead of admit to herself and the fleet that she’s found water.  Again, water serves as the pivotal symobolic element in this story, representing the dangers of the unconscious and the self-understanding it holds.  For the moment, Boomer is able to appease her human identity by convincing herself that she has found a sabateur’s bomb.  This mental maneuver allows her to consciously become aware of the water discovery, thereby allowing her to continue to believe she is human.

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Comments»

1. Kym - March 4, 2008

That was just excellent Chris! I can’t even think of anything to add. I’m awestruck. I never ever saw the water imagery and it pulls everything together!

Well done!

2. Chris - March 4, 2008

Thanks! And thank you for the Boomer/Baltar insight.


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