Number Eight (Battlestar Galactica)

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Number Eight
Sharon "Boomer" Valerii
Sharon "Athena" Agathon
Battlestar Galactica character
Battlestar Galactica 1x12 Number Eights.jpg
First appearanceMiniseries
Last appearanceBattlestar Galactica: The Plan
Portrayed byGrace Park
Information
AliasesBoomer, Athena
SpeciesHumanoid Cylon
GenderFemale
TitleLieutenant Junior Grade
ColonyCylon Homeworld, claims to be from Aerelon's colony Troy
AffiliationColonial Fleet/Cylons

Number Eight is a female humanoid Cylon model on the television series Battlestar Galactica, a reimagining of the classic show of the same name. She is portrayed by Grace Park. Two prominent Number Eight copies serving as Galactica pilots are Sharon Valerii and Sharon Agathon, using the call signs "Boomer" and "Athena", respectively.

Notable copies[edit]

Cylon models Six and Eight are the most common in the series. Many Number Eight copies have been seen in various roles, including leadership positions; two are featured as central characters — Boomer and Athena.

Sharon "Boomer" Valerii[edit]

Life on Caprica and Galactica[edit]

Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharon "Boomer" Valerii is a Cylon sleeper agent programmed with false memories of being raised in the mining colony Troy by parents Katherine and Abraham Valerii, who supposedly died in an accident that wiped out the colony population. Before the mini-series, Boomer and Galen Tyrol are romantically involved, which is against military protocol due to their ranks. Her programming leads her to black out and sabotage the Galactica on several occasions, which Tyrol unwittingly abets by hiding evidence implicating her. In "Kobol's Last Gleaming", Commander Adama sends Boomer on a mission to destroy the Cylon basestar orbiting Kobol; and after her return, she shoots Adama twice in the chest, putting him in a coma and revealing her nature to the crew.

Death and resurrection[edit]

While Boomer is in the brig, Gaius Baltar manipulates her into revealing how many other Cylons are hidden in the fleet. While Boomer is being transported from the brig, Cally shoots and kills her.[1]

In "Downloaded", Boomer's consciousness is downloaded into a new body in Cylon-occupied Caprica. She resists being identified with the Cylon cause despite being viewed as a hero alongside Caprica Six, and both she and Six decide to try to persuade the Cylons to reduce hostility against humans. Later in the series, Boomer appears among the Cylons occupying New Caprica as a member of the Cylon governing council controlling the human puppet government.

Relation to Hera Agathon and second death[edit]

In "The Eye of Jupiter", Boomer attempts to care for Athena's hybrid child Hera on the Cylon base ship, where the child ended up after the New Caprica evacuation. In a conflict with the visiting Athena over whether the humans negotiated in good faith, Boomer is killed by Caprica Six for endangering the child.

Second resurrection and relation with John Cavil[edit]

After resurrecting again, Boomer develops a relationship with John Cavil, a Number One who embraces his machine nature and sees human traits as a weakness. Cavil enlists Boomer's support when the Cylon models become deadlocked in a vote over whether the Raiders should be lobotomized. Boomer also follows Cavil in his plan to destroy the opposing Cylons despite her doubts.

Relation to Ellen Tigh and return to Galactica[edit]

Boomer is the only other Cylon who knows that their creator, Ellen Tigh, is being held prisoner by Cavil. When Cavil threatens to cut open Ellen's brain in order to access her knowledge about Resurrection technology, Boomer helps Ellen escape, but is immediately imprisoned after disembarking on the Galactica. She escapes with the help of Tyrol, who is motivated by sentimentality.

"Did Boomer really love the Chief? That’s an interesting question and one I don’t have a neat answer to. Boomer is deeply conflicted. I think the process of having false memories planted in her, getting switched “on” as a Cylon, shooting Adama, getting shot by Cally, and her experiences on New Caprica have left her severely disturbed. She was determined to go through with her mission, but in the process of seducing Tyrol she reawakened feelings of love that she thought were dead. I think she experienced real misgivings just before she got on that Raptor, but felt she had gone too far to back down. Wrapped up in that is her perverse envy of Athena, who obtained everything Boomer once wanted, and this festered into a sick desire to strike out at Athena. It’s difficult to say someone who did that loves the Chief, and yet in her damaged way, I think she did and still does love him."

Writer David Weddle discussing the character of Boomer.[2]

Kidnapping of Hera Agathon[edit]

While fleeing the Galactica, Boomer impersonates Athena to kidnap Hera and bring her to Cavil for study.

"Boomer is much more tragic and conflicted, and in a lot of denial. Athena came from a very different starting point, and everything was a lie, but she fought and made it through the trenches. She's a story not of privilege, but about creating whoever you want to be. That's the American story. Boomer could have been a number of things too, but she made a lot of poor decisions."

Actress Grace Park discussing the characters of Boomer and Athena.[3]

Final death[edit]

On her way to Cavil, Boomer bonds with Hera, which leads to her turning against Cavil during the Colonial assault on the Cylon colony. After returning Hera to Athena and Helo, who were part of the boarding party, Boomer dies her final death when Athena shoots her.

Dual personality mode[edit]

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan reveals that the Cavil aboard the Galactica used an elephant figurine to trigger Boomer's sleeper nature. The self-aware Boomer reveals that her feelings for Tyrol and Admiral Adama were genuine and that she prefers her human personality. Some supporting characters believe that it was due to this conflict that when she shot Adama, she purposely aimed so that his death was not guaranteed.

Sharon "Athena" Agathon[edit]

Cylon-occupied Caprica[edit]

A self-aware Number Eight first appears in the series on Cylon-occupied Caprica, where she impersonates the original Sharon and helps Karl 'Helo' Agathon to further a Cylon experiment that relies on having him fall in love with her. She eventually falls genuinely in love with Helo and tries to help him escape, during which he discovers her true identity. Sharon reveals that she is pregnant with his child, the first known successful attempt at a Cylon/human hybrid. While searching for a way off planet, the two encounter Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace, who is on a mission to retrieve an important artifact. In a scuffle with Starbuck, Sharon flees in Starbuck's captured Cylon Raider, but later returns to help rescue Starbuck from a Cylon facility.

Return to the Colonial Fleet[edit]

Sharon uses her knowledge of the Tomb of Athena on Kobol as leverage to avoid immediate execution and consistently demonstrates her loyalty by defending the group from Cylon ambushes. Sharon's reunion with the Galactica personnel is tense due to Boomer's history with them, but she makes it clear that she is a separate consciousness and a different person from Boomer. Despite this, most of the crew still do not trust her. Sharon continues to act to defend the fleet against Cylon attacks, though she remains conflicted about her role in the destruction of her people.

Pregnancy and birth[edit]

Upon finding out about Sharon's pregnancy, President Roslin orders it terminated, but rescinds her decision when the fetal blood successfully cures her terminal cancer. Sharon gives birth to her child prematurely and names her Hera. The Colonial administration decides it is too dangerous to let a hybrid child be raised by a Cylon mother, so they fake the child's death and rehome her with a human mother. Despite the strain this puts on Sharon's loyalty, she continues to help the Galactica.

Post-occupation of New Caprica[edit]

Sharon and Helo are married in the year-long gap in events between Season 2 and Season 3, and, having earned the full trust of Admiral Adama, Sharon is sworn in as an officer in the Colonial Fleet at Boomer's rank of Lieutenant JG. She is sent back to New Caprica as the liaison between the Galactica fleet and the resistance effort, and, due to the inability of the Centurions to recognize individuals within the humanoid Cylon models, is able to infiltrate the Cylon base and steal the keys for the civilian ships. After the successful rescue mission, Sharon receives a new call sign: Athena.

During Colonial negotiations with the Cylons, Athena and Helo learn their daughter is still alive on a Cylon ship. Athena travels to the ship and retrieves her daughter, prompting a conflict with Boomer that results in Boomer being killed again.

Visions of daughter Hera[edit]

Sharon discovers that she, Hera, President Roslin, and Caprica Six are all sharing the same recurring vision in which they are chasing Hera, who is running away into the arms of a Number Six individual. The vision prompts Athena to kill an ambassador Number Six, Natalie, out of fear, nearly causing a diplomatic incident.

Hera becomes "Mitochondrial Eve", meaning that all modern-day humans are descended from Athena.

Other Number Eight versions[edit]

  • One of a group of Twos, Fives, and Sixes at Ragnar Anchorage after the fleet strands "Aaron Doral"
  • One wearing a white coat at the Spaceport at Delphi, whom Athena kills before the other Eight can shoot Helo
    • One can assume that the Number Eight in the audience watching D'Anna Biers's documentary is same one Athena shot, due to the visual cue of the same white coat
  • Multiple naked copies aboard the Kobol-orbiting basestar that Boomer was sent to destroy
  • Copies who act as "midwives" in the respective resurrections of Caprica Six and Boomer
  • Several copies on Cylon-occupied Caprica going through daily life in the episode "Downloaded"
  • Copies killed when Samuel Anders and Galen Tyrol detonate a bomb near a Cylon Heavy Raider
  • A copy sitting next to Boomer in a meeting on Colonial One (during the New Caprican occupation), when the suicide bombings are discussed.
  • Several on the basestar where Caprica Six and Baltar reside
  • Several dying aboard a diseased basestar, including one taken prisoner by the Colonial boarding party
  • Several who approach Athena on the rebel basestar, asking her to lead a rebellion against the Sixes (their allies)
  • One shot and killed by a Centurion while attempting to unplug the Hybrid
  • One who had downloaded Athena's memories and helped Helo bring back D'Anna
  • Several in flight uniforms during the briefing for the attack on the Resurrection Hub
  • Many dormant individuals aboard the Resurrection Hub
  • Two Eights on the Raptor with four humans in The Face of the Enemy webisodes, one in a black Cylon flight suit and other in civilian garb
    • The latter pretended to collaborate with Felix Gaeta on New Caprica
  • Several help repair Galactica in "Someone to Watch Over Me"
    • One is knocked unconscious by Tyrol and used as a body double for Boomer in the brig
    • Another is mortally injured in "Islanded in a Stream of Stars" and expresses thanks to a visiting Saul Tigh in the sickbay for the opportunity to meet her "father" (referencing his status as one of the Final Five)
    • Another is prominent at the bedside of the comatose Samuel Anders in "Deadlock", "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Islanded in a Stream of Stars," and offers key suggestions for his recovery

Typical Eight traits[edit]

The Eights are known for their concern for others, naivete, emotional immaturity, and vulnerability to forming emotional attachments. They also have a propensity for fickleness and change loyalties to better suit their own desires, with the notable exception of Athena. Director Ron Moore has commented that the Eights are more likely to "shoot things they don't like," and early in the series, they are implied to be the most militaristic of the models and the most likely to have combat training.

Unlike some other Cylon models, the individual Eights do not automatically have access to each other's memories and consciousnesses, which gives them a stronger ability to form distinct identities.

Caprica showrunner Kevin Murphy said that, had the prequel series Caprica continued, it would have revealed that the Eights' default personality was modelled after that of Tamara Adama.[4]

Call sign origins[edit]

The call signs for both Sharons hail back to the original Battlestar Galactica series. Boomer was the name (not the call sign) of a Viper pilot character played by Herbert Jefferson, Jr., while Athena was the name of Commander Adama's daughter.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Resistance". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  2. ^ Maureen Ryan (2009-02-28). "Play it again, Starbuck: Talking to Weddle and Thompson about 'Someone to Watch Over Me'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  3. ^ Anthony Breznican (2009-03-12). "Internal battles are raging in 'Battlestar'". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-03-08.

External links[edit]