Number Six (Battlestar Galactica)

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Number Six
Battlestar Galactica character
Number Six Tricia Helfer.jpg
Promotional still of Number Six in season four
First appearance Miniseries
Portrayed by Tricia Helfer
Information
Species Humanoid Cylon
Gender Female
Colony Cylon Homeworld
Affiliation Cylon

Number Six is a family of fictional characters from the reimagined science fiction television series, Battlestar Galactica. She is portrayed by Canadian actress and model Tricia Helfer. Of the twelve known Cylon models, she is the sixth of the "Significant Seven". Like the others of the "Significant Seven", there are several versions of her, including Caprica-Six, Shelly Godfrey, Gina Inviere, Natalie Faust, Lida and Sonja. She is the only model that does not use one particular human alias for all copies.[1]

The character was named after Number Six, Patrick McGoohan's character from the show The Prisoner.[2]

Appearance and personality traits[edit]

Six is a seductive, statuesque Cylon infiltrator. She was the first example shown of a new generation of Cylons capable of adapting to human form and emotions. Little else is known of her earlier years. She can, like other Cylons, retain memories which can be downloaded into another body if the original body is killed. Like her counterparts, her body was designed to mimic the human body at the cellular level, making her almost undetectable to testing procedures, and there are many copies of her in existence. Sixes and Eights are the Humanoid Cylon models shown most frequently. Sixes tend to have individualistic traits, and are considerably susceptible to the full array of human emotions. Although extremely effective and adaptive, Sixes always show certain disdain for their given chores and dislike being treated as expendable. Most versions of Six have platinum-blonde hair, including Caprica-Six, Shelly Godfrey and Sonja. Others such as Gina Inviere, Natalie Faust and Lida have honey-blonde hair, and one Six with black hair has been observed.

It was stated by Caprica showrunner Kevin Murphy that had the prequel series Caprica continued, it would be revealed that the Sixes' default personality was modeled after that of Zoe Graystone.[3]

Music[edit]

Since her debut in the mini-series, a leitmotif has been used in scenes featuring Tricia Helfer as Six. This simple 9-note motif was composed by Richard Gibbs. The 9/8 figure is divided unevenly into a group of 3 notes, followed by 3 groups of 2. It is almost always performed on a gamelan, and also plays over the introduction to each episode of the series. On the published series soundtrack, the melody is listed as The Sense of Six.

Versions[edit]

Copies of Number Six appear regularly, mostly within Cylon society. Several notable versions have had more prominent roles:

Caprica Six[edit]

At the beginning of the miniseries, a Six copy[4] is involved in an intense sexual affair with Dr. Gaius Baltar. Pretending to be an employee of a computer corporation, Six seduces Baltar while helping him with his work on the Colonial defense system. Six then reveals her true nature to Baltar, and informs him that the Cylons will use the computer secrets that he has given her to infiltrate the Colonial defense systems, disable the Colonial military, and attack the Twelve Colonies. That day, the Cylons launch their attack and destroy most of humanity. Six uses her body to shield Baltar from a blast during the attack, saving his life and sacrificing hers.[5]

In the episode "Downloaded", this Six copy is downloaded into a new body. Nicknamed "Caprica Six" by fellow Cylons, she is viewed as a hero within the Cylon civilization for her complete success in her mission to compromise the colonies' defenses. She retains her sentimentality and expresses some regret at her actions, as evidenced by her constant visions of Baltar. This "Head Baltar" acts as a critical counselor and manipulator to her in the same way Head Six does for the real Baltar. Caprica Six is enlisted to motivate the resurrected Galactica copy of Sharon "Boomer" Valerii to move out of her apartment and reintegrate into Cylon society. However, in defiance of their superiors, both Caprica Six and Sharon opt instead to aid Samuel Anders, to the extent that Caprica Six murders a Three to save him. Allowed by the Caprica Cavil, Caprica Six and Sharon then begin preaching peace with the humans as the way of God. This leads them to take over Cylon culture and to resume the hunt for humanity, leading them to the colony of New Caprica, which they take over in a bloodless coup facilitated by Baltar, who surrenders to Caprica Six as soon as the Cylons arrive.

After the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, Caprica Six alienates the other Cylons with her desire for peaceful coexistence with humans. Her reunion with the real Baltar, however, shatters her illusions about her former pawn, as Baltar impotently allows the Cylons to bully him into enacting their oppressive tyranny upon New Caprica. The other Cylons insist Baltar must sign an execution order for 200 insurgents in response to two suicide bombings by the human resistance movement. Baltar initially refuses and Caprica Six alone objects strongly to her fellow Cylons' desire for mortal retribution. These objections result in her being shot in the head by fellow Cylon, Aaron Doral. Her death and an immediate threat to shoot Baltar force him to sign the order. Caprica Six is reborn and helps Baltar escape onto a Cylon Basestar when New Caprica is ultimately abandoned by its population.

After settling on the basestar, Caprica Six becomes involved in a ménage à trois with Baltar and Biers and explicitly states she loves both of them. She was also instrumental in rescuing an inexplicably sick Hera from the Basestar. She assists in Athena's download and witnesses the obvious bond between Athena and Hera. Caprica subsequently disables and then kills Boomer who threatens to throttle Hera despite Athena's anguished pleas. She leads Athena and her child to a captured Raptor and returns with them to Galactica, where she is promptly imprisoned. In this situation she is frequently used as a source of information about and means of understanding the Cylon's motivations.

Colonel Saul Tigh begins to make more frequent stops to her cell, questioning her about what it's like to exist as a Cylon. He confronts her about being responsible for the deaths of billions and whether she feels any remorse or if she can just 'flip a switch' and shut out the pain. Caprica Six questions Tigh's reasons for the line of questioning, unaware Tigh is one of the Five Unrevealed Cylon Models. When she goads him about needing to feel pain, he turns to leave but she assaults him and bludgeons him. To her surprise he cries and begs for more pain, but in response she abruptly aborts her assault, shakes her head and replies he doesn't need any more pain. She then kisses him passionately.

Dr. Cottle later reveals Caprica Six is pregnant. It is revealed Tigh is the father of the baby. After it is revealed Tigh is one of the 'Final Five' Cylons, Caprica Six's relationship with Tigh changes. The significance of her pregnancy increases as the child will not be a human-Cylon hybrid, but will be a pure Cylon offspring. Caprica Six begins to live with Tigh in his quarters on Galactica and the two now share a very intimate and caring relationship. However when Ellen Tigh returns, she, Tigh and Caprica Six fight about who Tigh really loves, and Caprica Six loses the baby.[6]

She joins the rescue mission for Hera and is finally proud of Baltar, something she had always wanted and feels was the one thing missing between the two of them. They both see Head Six and Head Baltar and are shocked the other sees them. The two defend Galactica against Cylon boarders and take Hera when they find her wandering alone. Caprica Six holds a gun on Cavil during the standoff over Hera and hands him the phone when the deal is made. Later, on Earth, she and Baltar are visited one last time by Head Six and Head Baltar, who explain their destiny was to protect Hera and while God's plan is never over, their lives will be much less eventful. Caprica Six and Baltar then go off to start new lives as farmers together.

Ronald D. Moore has stated that Baltar never bothered to learn her name. In season two she is, in one scene, called "Sara". In the season finale, there's a flashback scene on Caprica in which Gaius tells her "he has forgotten her name." The non-canon novelization of the miniseries by Jeffrey A. Carver suggests Caprica Six went by the name Natasi.

Head/Inner/Messenger Six[edit]

A distinct copy derived from Caprica Six residing in Baltar's head since the destruction of the colonies, "Head Six" appears as a figment of his imagination, invisible to everyone else. She suggests this phenomenon might be caused by either a computer chip implant or insanity over his guilt. When Baltar undergoes an MRI-like "brain scan", it reveals no sign of a computer chip or any other foreign object in his brain. While this briefly leads Baltar to think he has truly gone insane, he concludes this is impossible, given Six's knowledge of events unknown to him (for example, the prediction of the birth of the Human/Cylon Hybrid to Sharon Agathon while a prisoner aboard Galactica). Confronted with this in Part II of "Home", Six declares that she is neither a computer chip nor a hallucination produced by mental instability. When Baltar then asks just who or what she is, she simply replies she is "an angel of God sent here to protect you, to guide you and to love you." She repeats this claim in the episode "Torn".

This Six often appears suddenly, without warning. She often advises and gives instructions to Baltar. While she usually appears to him as part of the real world, occasionally he interacts with her in an imagined but persistent dream-like setting within his mind.

While Six can physically interact with Baltar in his imagination, it is for most of the series unclear if she is able to physically affect him in the real world — this is finally resolved in the episode "Escape Velocity", where Head Six is shown lifting Baltar from the floor to a standing position after he endured repeated blows from a Galactica marine.

This manifestation of Six in particular is extremely religious. In contrast to the colonists, and like the other Cylons, she believes in a singular god, whom she identifies as Love. She constantly attempts to convince Baltar to believe in the Cylon god, and to accept his part in God's plan or will.

Her motivations are unclear. While some of her advice appears to benefit humanity, for example, pointing out a Cylon device to Baltar on Galactica and helping him build a Cylon detector, it more often serves only Baltar's needs, and she expresses enjoyment over what she considers the inevitable extinction of the human race, constantly saying humanity is naturally violent and would have destroyed itself without the Cylons' intervention.

Head Six appears to be somehow related to Caprica Six, which is the Six model who seduced Baltar on the planet Caprica and encouraged him to give her access to the Colonial Defense mainframe. This belief is supported by the fact that Caprica Six has her own Head Baltar, implying some sort of transcendental connection between those two specific characters. Nonetheless, once the audience is re-introduced to Caprica Six, it becomes clear that something more unusual is going on, since Caprica Six and Baltar bear little resemblance in personality to their internal counterparts.

Head Six is seen less frequently following the departure from New Caprica. In her brief appearances in the first part of season 4, Baltar begins to refer to her as an angel.

In the final episode of the series, it is made clear that, like the Starbuck Avatar, Head Six is indeed an agent of a higher power as she claims, not a chip or a delusion inside Baltar's head. She and Head Baltar are the last-seen characters in the final moment of the episode, which takes place 150,000 years after the rest of the series. Their role as angel-like beings was to guide Baltar and Caprica Six in protecting Hera, and once that task is done, they leave them alone. She and Head Baltar speculate on whether the cycle will continue (recalling the theme of "all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again"); Head Six reveals that her excitement over humanity's potential extinction was a ruse and states her belief that the cycle has finally been broken.

Although the name is not used by characters in the context of the story, Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore revealed in his official SciFi BSG podcasts "Head Six" is the designation given to the character in scripts and production documents. In discussions of the final episode, Moore also calls this version Inner Six who, along with Inner Baltar, are "... messenger(s) of a higher power",[7] reinforcing the variations "Head Six", "Inner Six" and "Messenger Six" (or Head/Inner/Messenger Baltar) used by fans to describe these characters.

Shelly Godfrey[edit]

In the episode "Six Degrees of Separation", a copy of Number Six in the fleet using the name "Shelly Godfrey" appears. Godfrey attempts to frame Baltar for betraying the human race with supposed photographic evidence. In addition, she attempts to seduce Commander Adama. She disappears abruptly after her "photographic evidence" is proven to be fake. This leads the people of the fleet to conclude she was a Cylon agent trying to discredit Dr. Baltar because of his Cylon detector research. Baltar's popularity increases as a result. Felix Gaeta notes that once the photo was resolved, identifying it as a fake was almost too easy, "like she wanted to be found out." As her appearance coincided with the temporary disappearance of Head Six, it is often wondered (and indeed voiced by Baltar himself) whether she was a physical manifestation of Head Six posing in a dual identity.

The episode does cause the audience (and Baltar) to think Shelly Godfrey is related to Head Six, however this is demonstrated to be a deliberate red herring in subsequent episodes of Battlestar Galactica. The telemovie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan reveals that, Godfrey is indeed an actual Six. After the photo was discovered to be fake, the Number One on board Galactica who was coordinating Cylon efforts made her enter an airlock and be killed so she could download and give Galactica's coordinates to the Cylon fleet. Another Six donned a wig and clothing identical to Godfrey's in order to confuse the guards and allow Godfrey to get away from them. In the hallway, Cavil intimates that Godfrey has failed to produce convincing fake evidence because she is attracted to Baltar, and her statement that Baltar is "a brilliant man" who helped them so much on Caprica supports this, despite her protestation that Cavil should have seen her with him because "I was brutal with him. I pushed him." Later, on Cavil's bed, the other Six also notes her sister's complete destruction of the Sixes' cover and her utter failure to discredit Baltar and "his dreamy hair".

Gina Inviere[edit]

Gina, as she appears in Razor

In the episode "Pegasus" and the telemovie Battlestar Galactica: Razor, it is revealed a copy of Six had hidden aboard the Pegasus, posing as a civilian network administrator and using the name Gina Inviere (supposedly Old Gemenese for "resurrection"; in reality, înviere is Romanian for "resurrection".[8]) This Number Six gains the confidence of Rear Admiral Cain with whom she has a romantic relationship, and then-Lieutenant Kendra Shaw, who gives Gina the administrator codes for the Pegasus mainframe. Gina uses Shaw's password in order to disable the Pegasus during a Cylon attack, enabling the ship to be boarded by centurions. Shaw sees another Six with the centurions thereby exposing Gina as a Cylon. Cain orders her former lover's imprisonment, condemning her as a thing, and allows Gina to be subjected to torture and gang rape by members of the Pegasus' crew. By the time of the events of "Pegasus", Gina appears to be catatonic from the severe trauma of her abuse. With the assistance of Baltar (who instantly transferred his love for Caprica Six onto Gina, vastly complicating his relationship with Head Six), Gina escapes and flees into the civilian fleet after killing Rear Admiral Cain. She then joins a group of Cylon sympathizers, who want humanity to make peace with the Cylons. The extensive sexual abuse she has suffered renders Gina psychologically unable to be intimate with Baltar until shortly before her death. In the finale of the second season, Gina detonates a nuclear weapon she had received from Dr. Baltar, killing herself, signaling the location of the human settlement to the Cylons, and destroying the Cloud 9 and several other ships in the human fleet.

Gina has honey-blonde hair, actress Tricia Helfer's natural hair color, instead of the platinum-blonde of most Sixes. Like Shelly Godfrey, she sometimes wears glasses.

Series creator Ron Moore says in the DVD commentary for "Pegasus", the name "Gina" is directly meant as a jab against critics of the reimagined series who use the derogatory term "GINO" (Galactica In Name Only) to describe it.

Gina appears briefly in one of Boomer's flashbacks in The Plan. Gina helped prep Boomer for her upcoming transition to a sleeper agent and provided IT support for her cover identity.

Natalie Faust[edit]

Natalie

An assertive and authoritative version of Number Six named Natalie appears in the episode "Six of One".[9] Following a vote to lobotomize Cylon raiders in which a single copy of Number Eight (Boomer) gave the swing vote in favor of lobotomy by siding against the rest of her model, Natalie, along with the remaining Number Sixes, Eights and Twos, leads a coup against the other models. They decide to give sentience to the Cylon Centurions, making them self-aware and capable of feeling for the first time. The other models, led by Cavil, are dumbstruck by this decision and attempt to destroy Natalie and her followers permanently in the episode titled "The Ties That Bind", luring them into an ambush by pretending to acquiesce to their demands that they stop lobotomizing the Raiders, unbox the entire Number Three model, and use the knowledge gained by the Three known as D'Anna at the Temple of Five to identify and join with the lost "Final Five" humanoid Cylon models. The Resurrection Ship is jumped out of range during this ambush so that the deaths suffered by the rebels are permanent.[10]

A Number Two from their damaged Baseship, Leoben Conoy, takes a Heavy Raider and manages to make contact with Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace and her crew on the Demetrius, a sewage processing vessel repurposed for long-range exploration in the episode "The Road Less Traveled". Conoy offers an alliance between the rebel Cylons and the Colonials. In the episode "Faith", Conoy, Thrace and some of the Demetrius crew take a Colonial Raptor to the rebel Basestar and make repairs, allowing the Baseship – the Demetrius following behind – to jump to the Colonial fleet in the episode "Guess What's Coming to Dinner", in which Natalie makes a deal with Rear Admiral Adama on the Galactica to reveal the location of the main Cylon Resurrection Hub and help the Colonials destroy it, ending resurrection for the enemy Cylons, as long as she can bring the "Final Five" with her off the Galactica after Earth is located. And so a tenuous alliance is formed. Natalie is on her way to speak to Adama again when she encounters the human-Cylon hybrid infant Hera Agathon in the corridor and bends down to talk to her. Natalie is then confronted and shot by Hera's mother Sharon "Athena" Agathon, the Number Eight who left the Cylons, married Karl "Helo" Agathon and joined Galactica's crew, because of a dream Athena had in which a Number Six took her daughter. Somehow the rebel Basestar's hybrid detects her shooting and panics, causing the ship to jump away. Natalie dies of her injuries in the infirmary near the beginning of the episode "Sine Qua Non", seeing a forest as she dies. With no Resurrection Ship in range, her death is permanent.

Her surname is not used onscreen and her first name is only used once, by a Number Eight in the episode "The Hub", who notes that the Hybrid of their Baseship has reacted to Natalie being killed or injured on Galactica. Nor is her backstory elaborated on. Michael Angeli's original version of the script for the episode "Six of One" has John Cavil refer to Natalie Faust by her full name and mention that she infiltrated Gemenon posing as a political reform advocate. During the Cylon attack, she was responsible for relaying the coordinates of all the Gemenese leaders.[11]

"Tough Six"[edit]

A brunette Six with blonde streaks appears in Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. She had been a prostitute on the Colonies, and eventually drunkenly mocks John Cavil's schemes while sharing a bed with him, following the not-quite-fatal shooting of Commander Adama by Cylon sleeper agent Boomer and the suicide of their fellow infiltrator Simon O'Neill, a Number Four. She points out that most of the Cylons' failings, including those mentioned above, along with Number Two Leoben Conoy's interaction with Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace and Shelly Godfrey's failure to ruin Gaius Baltar, have been due to love, and leaves the room telling Cavil that "you can't declare war on love". She typically wears chains-and-leather clothing and has been seen to chew bubblegum during a Cylon meeting in Cavil's chapel, sitting next to Godfrey, who has platinum hair and wears glasses and a sensible blouse and skirt. Cavil notes that the Sixes have done a good job of distinguishing themselves and praises Godfrey for it, in contrast to the Number Five/Aaron Doral copy who has individuated himself from the copy abandoned on Ragnar only by wearing a teal suit instead of a burgundy one, in the same cut.

This Six, not given a name onscreen but referred to as "Tough Six" in the shooting script, was instrumental in the mysterious disappearance of Ms. Shelly Godfrey from Galactica, using a wig and a change of clothes to imitate Godfrey's appearance and confuse the marines who were tailing her, making them think that Godfrey had gotten further ahead of them when the real Godfrey was pulled into another corridor by John Cavil. Godfrey and Cavil then slipped away and Cavil airlocked Godfrey, while the marines were chasing Tough Six, who evaded them. The ultimate fate of Tough Six is unknown, whether she was captured and executed or remained in the fleet until New Caprica, as she is not seen in The Plan following her exit from Cavil's bedroom and did not appear in regular episodes.

Other versions[edit]

Number Sixes have been shown in a variety of roles, including repairing the Galactica ("Deadlock" and "Someone to Watch Over Me"), hospital administration ("The Farm"), serving as Heavy Raider pilots, and as rebel Cylon leaders (Natalie and Sonja). Other versions include:

  • A copy in a red tunic, who arrives aboard the Armistice Station and seduces the Colonial representative (otherwise known as Boxey's father) shortly before the station is destroyed. Similar copies are part of the group that board Ragnar Anchorage to rescue and debrief Aaron Doral.
  • A copy, wearing a white overcoat, who captures and kisses Helo before being shot by Sharon Agathon. Another white coat-wearing Six observes their escape, and another (possibly one of these two) later leads Centurion troops in pursuit of them. In "Razor", a copy in a white coat is the one seen and shot by Kendra Shaw during a Cylon boarding raid on the Pegasus.
  • A copy of Six in a black suit, who acts as "overseer" to the breeding experiment concerning Helo and Sharon Agathon. This copy (or a similar one) is killed by Starbuck when she escapes the farm.
  • Copies, clad in gold tunics, who act as "nurses" or "midwives", helping Caprica Six and Boomer through their respective resurrections.
  • Two copies that take part in a meeting aboard Colonial One on New Caprica, and agree with the proposal to execute over 200 human detainees. They vote on behalf of the majority of the Number Six model (Caprica Six dissents).
  • A raven-haired copy, dying from a disease aboard a basestar, whom Baltar strangles after she hysterically accuses him of deliberately leading them to the disease-carrying beacon (perhaps in an effort to get him to kill her).
  • A copy from "Faith" aboard the damaged Basestar. She recognizes crew-member Jean Barolay as a resistance fighter from New Caprica who gagged her, threw her into a septic tank and watched her drown. After Barolay tells her she'd be happy to do it again, the copy attacks and kills her. Shortly afterwards she is shot and killed by another Six copy, Natalie.
  • A copy named Lida, with long brown hair, who comforts Gaius Baltar in Blood on the Scales.[12]
  • A copy named Sonja who has been elected to represent the Cylons in the Quorum. Sonja's appearance is that of a typical Six. She requests that Roslin and Adama hand over Boomer in order to try her for treason against the Cylons.[13]
  • Multiple Sixes are seen as pilots of Cylon Heavy Raiders working alongside Galactica pilots in Faith and Someone to Watch Over Me. They use "Six" as their de facto surname.[14]

Casting[edit]

Tricia Helfer was cast after a strong audition, despite some initial concerns over her lack of acting experience. Director Michael Rymer explains:

"It wasn't just the way she looked; she just has this vibe about her. Nobody gets how hard that role is, to bring the depth, the vulnerability and the mystery to essentially a robot chick."[15]

Among the other actresses who auditioned for the role was Melinda Clarke.[2]

Reception[edit]

In 2006, Tricia Helfer was awarded the Leo Award for "Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series" for her role as Number Six in the episode "Pegasus".[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Although two of the Number Eights have been individuated by different military callsigns, and the marriage of one of them, they began with the same alias, Sharon Valerii.
  2. ^ a b Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion
  3. ^ http://www.capricatimes.com/the-caprica-times-exclusive-interview-kevin-murphy
  4. ^ The name of this copy is never given. While the novelization of the miniseries gives her name as Natasi, the book is not considered canon. No name was ever given by the producers. Ronald D. Moore stated in a special podcast that the idea is that Baltar simply never bothered to learn her name, which is supported by David Eick [1].
  5. ^ Phillips, Jevon (2009-03-19). "'Battlestar Galactica' finale: interview with Ron Moore". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  6. ^ "Deadlock". Battlestar Galactica. Season 4. Episode 18. 2009-02-20.
  7. ^ Ronald D. Moore in Battlestar Galactica: The Last Frakkin' Special
  8. ^ Resurrection - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  9. ^ "Starpulse Magazine". 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  10. ^ "The Ties That Bind". Battlestar Galactica.
  11. ^ Original script for "Six of One" by Michael Angeli
  12. ^ Maureen Ryan (2009-02-06). "Talking about 'Battlestar Galactica's' 'Blood on the Scales' with writer Michael Angeli". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  13. ^ Alan Sepinwall (2009-02-28). "Battlestar Galactica, "Someone to Watch Over Me": Shoot the piano player". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  14. ^ Starbuck refers to one of her pilots as "Six" (not "a Six" or "this Six"), and Helo addresses one as "Six".
  15. ^ Adam B. Vary (2009-03-12). "The Beginning of the End: A 'Battlestar Galactica' Oral History". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  16. ^ http://www.leoawards.com/2006_winners.html

External links[edit]