Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Bird

What does this scene mean? Is it portentous? Will the flashback scene play out further in part 2 to add to the meaning? Share your theories and thoughts in the comments...


more-bjorn said...

My question? Why did all three flashback scenes involve alcohol in some way? This is not from an oversensitive teetotaller's perspective, just from the perspective of a viewer that has learned never to take coincidences lightly.

Consider: Six asks Baltar if he always "drinks and drives". Roslin's family gets killed by a drunk driver. Then, Lee staggers around in his apartment, chasing a pigeon.

No real way to make a Crash type of connection... but does this mean something?

Rebecca said...

Anyone else think the wall-art in Lee's apartment evokes Kara's and Sam's tattoo?

Charlie said...

I think the scene with the pigeon takes place the morning after his evening with Kara and Zak. Notice how he had on his Viper Jacket in both scenes. I think they all got wasted and stayed up all night and somebody dared someone else to something hence his whole "I dare you, I double dog dare you" line. I think the pigeon symbolized Zak's coming demise. I think that night was the last time he saw Zak before the accident. It looked like Kara was sporting the same haircut in that scene as she did when we first found out about her and Zak back in season 1.

SonOfAMitch said...

The music in the background is the Lee-Kara love theme, such as from "Under the Wing."

The bird could represent more than one thing, but it's more than likely him coping with being infatuated with his brother's fiancée. "Double dog dare you" will probably be what Kara did to bait him into losing at cards the night before.

Eric H said...

On one level, the pigeons here and elsewhere in Daybreak Part I might represent foreshadowing of the uncontrollable caprices of fate (whether lucky or unlucky) affecting or about to affect many of characters in the flashbacks. Zak's untimely death and Roslin's family tragedy on the unlucky side; perhaps Lee and Kara's meeting and maybe Papadama's one-hour job thingy on the lucky end.

That at least is the emotional sense I perceived when first watching this, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a more specific symbolism yet to be revealed.

General Boy said...

I have to go with sonofamitch on this one, at least down his road. I've been enjoying much of the talk here and on other threads about the symbolism in this episode. One contributor was discussing possible symbolism in the arial view of Baltar's limousine and the neighboring cars. This is one dimension of the show that makes it so great.

Lee is drunk when he arrives home. He is also clearly smitten - presumably with Kara. Is the pigeon a symbol or is the situation a metaphor? It would be easier to sort it out if the bird were a raven, wouldn't it? :-) A pigeon? That's a little harder.

I don't know what the struggle with the pigeon represents, but it felt right being there. It was strangely poignant. Here he is on Caprica, enjoying the memories of the night before (presumably) and dealing with this little foible in his apartment. Months later, he is standing with the huddled masses of survivors of an apocalypse, looking for refuge. There are no more foibles. Everything is life & death. His relationship with Kara? Much more complicated in every way.

If only life were so simple again.

Kate said...

@Charlie--That's an interesting take on it. The only thing I'm thinking, though, is that if that's the last time he saw Zak alive, then he and Kara really wouldn't have known each other at all when they met up again in the miniseries, which I felt like they did, judging by their interaction.

I wondered if the bird was somehow symbolic of someone who SHOULD leave or be set free, but is sticking around, stupidly, for whatever reason. Whether that means Lee, Kara, or Zak, I'm not sure.

Brian said...

Don't forget that the scene began focused on a viper. Is that connected to Zak's accident in a viper, Kara's viper in Maelstrom, or Lee's absence from his viper?

Heather said...

Does anyone think that maybe Lee was the drunk driver that killed Laura's family? Maybe he got off for being an Adama?


namlas said...

That's exactly what I thought when I read more-bjorn comment. I would be an interesting turn of events if this was the case. I think it would add more substance to last weeks episode. Baltar's flashback was the only one with a little more substance than the rest. Especially since it substantiated his backtory of being a farm boy and changing his accent.

merchtallica said...

What caught my eye was the direct focus on the Viper model/toy in the beginning, coupled with Lee's fist spoken line: "double dog dare you" - both of these are childish things. I immediately thought that this scene may take place after Zac's crash, and Lee is remembering a thing from childhood that he shared with his brother. I mean, lets face it, the Viper, the Colonial military, and the effect they had on the Adama family cannot be overstated.

I might be grasping at straws here but "Fraking bird..." recalled to me the many times Vipers have been referred to as 'birds.' Lee can't quite get the bird (Viper?/Military?) out of his life, even though it costs him a great deal

daygloparker said...

Judging by the editing, I'd say that Gaius Baltar was the proverbial pigeon that Lee couldn't get rid off.

daygloparker said...

Also: Lee *can't* be the drunk driver that killed Laura's family, because the police tell her that the driver is supposedly "in stable condition," i.e. in a hospital, and clearly Lee is still very much free and drunk.

Brad said...

The way BSG's writers love to torture their characters it wouldn't surprise me if we found out that Lee has just come back from sleeping with Kara (while she was engaged to his still living brother)--remember the "girlfriend stealing" crack that Zak made to Lee in the scene at Kara's apartment. Also, I don't know if there are any "Six Feet Under" fans on this thread but I couldn't help be reminded of a scene in that show in which Nate tries to get a bird out of his house with a broom--a scene which also features the line "fucking bird" and serves to illustrate the character's near-breakdown mental state.
On the subject of Kara's apartment, it's interesting to note how much more put together and domestic it looks in this episode than when she and Helo find it in "Valley of Darkness"--I thought it gave a real sense of Kara being--or at least looking--much more stable in her Zak Adama period than she was right before the cylon attack.

ymot said...

Lee wouldn't know a symbol if it bit him in the behind. And maybe that's what this scene is about.

I don't mean to seem unkind. Lee is a great, admirable character. But he is totally not in touch with so much of what's been happening. His vision simply doesn't extend beyond family, honor, duty. Kara is the closest he comes to breaking through to something else, but he really can't follow where she goes.

The bird. Something Lee can't deal with, that he can't grasp.

P.S. What a great blog. Just stumbled across it this evening, here at the end of all things.

wka said...

There is an old superstition that a bird flying into a house is a portent of death.

In this case, perhaps Zach's death?

DanKorn said...

Cameron was having some problems with pigeons on "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which is also scored by Bear McCreary. Maybe there's a clue in the music?

Emy said...

Thank you for mentioning music!! The music that is playing while Lee is chasing the pigeon around is the Lee and Kara Love Theme... I don't really have a guess as to what happened at Kara's apartment, other than Lee totally falling for her.

It made me sad to see how normal and happy she was with Zak. When he died she lost a lot more than just her fiance.

suicideblondjay said...

the pigeon is Kara, he wants her out of his head cuz she doesn't belong to him

General Boy said...

I like this idea of creating theme-based threads. It's a shame we didn't have these sooner!

Thanks wka. That's interesting that it is an old-wives tale that the flight of a bird into one's house is a portent (i.e.: harbinger) of death. Now where have I heard that before?



Logan Gawain said...

Thanks General. I wish I had thought of doing them sooner too. Perhaps we'll do more. I think everyone has contributed interesting ideas for the symbols and metaphors. It's an interesting discussion.

General Boy said...

@ Logan:

Off topic, sorry: It's sick, but I'm watching the Mini-Series right now on my laptop. Not the copy included in the box set but the Sci-Fi Pictures release. The deleted scenes are terrific. There is a cut decommissioning ceremony that is even more touching when it is considered in the context of the current plot of the show. Other fans may want to watch it, too.

We never did find out to whom Caprica Six said, "It's about time. I wondered when you'd get here" when she left Baltar at the courtyard, did we (00:27:40)? Hmm.

I need to go to bed!


Logan Gawain said...

Yes, that decommission scene where they dump the ordinance is interesting. I think it got cut because of expense. (The CIG for dumping all the bombs and stuff.) Also, in that scene Adama says his father commanded Battlestars! Good that that was cut, since I doubt his attorney dad was ever in the military at all.

And yes, ever since I heard there would be flashbacks to Caprica in the finale, a lot of people have wondered if we'll finally see who Six was talking to at that moment. Maybe we will?

I'll make a guess: Julius Baltar, maybe bringing her some fresh tomatoes from his garden? ...Uh, okay, probably not. ;)

General Boy said...


josemendes7 said...

Gaius, Julius... Caesar?? :-)

Just a random thought

Eric H said...

This may be totally off the wall, in which case please charitably ignore this, there any angel symbolism going on with the flashback birds? The line between pigeon and dove is mostly a semantic one, I think. Given the questions about Starbuck's essence and the nature of the head characters, I wonder.

badwolf said...

That really reminded me of a internet clip I saw a while back, from the old internet thing Tourettes guy, a bird flies in his house and he destroys everything trying to get it out. I even dug the clip up for you guys, enjoy.

Janet said...

Everyone is making great points here--glad there is a thread for it! Part of what I love about this show, as so many of us do, is that--like a great novel more than like it's tv peers--many symbols appear that allow for multiple interpretations to all be valid and add texture to the series.

But, anyway, my take...couple of thoughts: Good call Emy on the Lee/Kara love theme. I think that's important. I saw this scene as a parallel to the scene where Kara takes her viper (bird) into the maelstrom. In both scenes, Lee is a mess, chasing fruitlessly after the bird. The flashbacks touch on who our characters are at their very cores and reminds us of the fact that they had lives long before we met them. His relationship with Starbuck--chasing her, being dogged by her--is part of who Lee is at his core. He chased a bird around his apartment and he chased a bird around in Maelstrom. All of this has happened before...

Νικόλαος said...

The way the bird and fountain scene were cut together at the beginning of the episode actually reminded me of the story of the Flood -- especially since Baltar mentioned it in "The Hub," and suggested that "through the Flood, mankind is rejuvenated." So it made a lot of sense to start the final episode with that montage.

BenMx said...

It would have been SO much easier if the bird had been a dove... then we would have known that John Woo would be showing up soon.

Really, tho? I have no idea. Some great theories here.

Eric H said...

Just re-watched the ep and was reminded that the pigeon was also the very first image of the first Caprica flashback.

I also wonder if the initial, very striking birds-eye view of Baltar's limo in the flashback is part of this line of imagery. I can't shake the general impression of some kind of presence, symbolized by the birds, watching over the characters in the true god? Angel? Harbinger? Or maybe Caprica City really just needed to get a flock of peregrine falcons for pigeon control :-)

Sunil Sharma said...

A bird trapped in a house is typically a symbol of impending death. Brad referenced that great and highly symbolic scene from "Six Feet Under." Nate tries to shoo the bird out of the house, and if I remember correctly, he succeeds, but then the bird flies back into the kitchen and a frustrated Nate then kills the bird maniacally while his family looks at him in horror. He then dumps the body in a trash can with almost a look of satisfaction. It's quite a foreshadowing of his doomed marriage with Brenda and his own life.

Perhaps the bird in Lee's house is a foreshadowing of Zak's death (and there's the irony that the woman he loves, Starbuck, is responsible for Zak's death), or it's a foreshadowing of Lee's own death . . .

Asher Abrams said...

The bird is Zak, because it wants to fly, but can't.

Adina said...

I agree with Sunil - a bird in the house has long been a symbol of death. I believe a dead bird is meant to symbolize a soul departed and a live on is meant to symbolize a soul that is not yet at rest.

gcg2004 said...

I'm willing to bet that the dare had something to do with kissing Kara when they were all drunk. /wishful thinking

Charly Gardel said...

Great thread!

A few thoughts, though some of them are mutually exclusive.

1. I think that the "dare" was simply to drink more; they somehow got around to taking shots when he was over at Kara's and Zak's place for dinner.

2. The pigeon and the viper model: Are we sure that this is the evening following the dinner? Could this be *after* Zak's death? Roslin's story jumped ahead a few months, remember. Maybe this is shortly after Zak's death, perhaps the "dare" reference had something to do with Lee daring Zak to do something while flying that he wasn't capable of doing (Kara did pass him in flight school, so was a vipor pilot, if I remember correctly.) If that's the case, then maybe the pigeon is actually Zak / Zak's ghost.

3. I assume that Roslin's blind date is with someone that we know, and that the person is either quite a bit older or younger than her. I can't think of anyone that she seemed to have a previous acquaintance with, though, prior to the attack. Maybe Daniel? Might we see Daniel in one way or another have some contact with all of the people here, even if only in a tangential way?

4. I have no reason why I have this feeling, but there is something weird about the flashbacks. Are we sure that these are flashbacks? Might not these be moments in the next round of all of this happening again, or something like that? Could these be experiences from the place between life and death?

5. If these are not strictly flashbacks, but are instead something else -- perhaps some repetition of cyclical events -- there is one interesting aspect to it that might point to where this is headed in terms of all this happening again: of the people that we see here that are both human and significant to what comes after the attack, we have Adama, Roslin, Kara, Baltar, and Lee (no Dee, Gaeta, etc., and, perhaps most surprisingly, no Helo -- the only other surviving human at the center of the show). Are we looking at the ones who, in the next round of "all of this has happened before and will happen again" are the ones who will be the Final Five in some way? There is -- remember -- some sort of resurrection technology on the Colony, after all, and it hasn't been referred to as "Cylon resurrection technology", but rather "organic memory transfer" or words to that effect; i.e., not necessarily exclusively Cylon. And wouldn't that be the next step in all of this, the "miracle" that Anders mentions: not just that Cylons like Caprica, etc., become essentially Human, but that the line becomes totally blurred by some humans being resurrected as "Clyons"? Couldn't this be the kind of compromise solution, in a way, that would allow both humans and cylons to continue -- by resurrecting some humans? If that's not the case, then just how is the resurrection technology on the Colony going to figure into all of this?

I have no way of reconciling all of this, of course, and if these are the next "Final Five," then we would have to assume that Kara is actually human.

So, I guess that I will just slowly tangle my brain until Friday...

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