So, here's my own little theory on the BSG finale last night (this is a ginormous post, so be forewarned).
The great thing about a complex show like Galactica, is that there can be many interpretations and theories, and I'm by no means saying that my own interpretation is "correct" (in fact it’s likely filled with holes you could drive a truck through), but I thought it was pretty good, so I wanted to share! (Reader beware, this is a LONG post).
So the main point of particular import in my theory is this: Baltar and Caprica Six both died on Caprica in the initial Cylon attack that began the series.
OK, got that? Baltar died in the first episode along with Cap Six.
From then on, they're both "angels".
I know, but stick with me here.
Now, they're "angels" in the sense of dead people returned from heaven to the land of the living (I won't say "to Earth," 'cause that's a complicated wording, for obvious reasons) to help those still living their lives. So, they're not angels in the sense of the non-human beings described in the bible - they're not angels like Seraphim and Cherubim, a separate species between God and "humans" (I’m including cylons in the "human" category here) - but angels in the sense of those who have passed away to the other side, and who return to fulfill some purpose. That's a big premise requiring some explanation, but stick with me here.
One other point is that we know (or presume) that Six downloaded in to a new body when she "died", seemingly making her return less "miraculous". It's possible in my theory that she didn't really download into a new body, and that this is just what the Cylons THOUGHT happened, but that's neither here nor there for the theory. The important point is that both Baltar and Cap Six died on Caprica, went to the "other side" and then were returned to the land of the living by God to serve as “angels” (which, frankly, to me, is actually in some ways less problematic than the idea that Six was destroyed on Caprica, but that she nonetheless managed to save Baltar!).
So, basically, from the time we see Baltar's House get hit by the shockwave of the nuke, he's pretty much "returned from the dead" when we next see him. When he runs into Helo and Boomer, he's an angel returned from the other side (one might say a "fallen angel", but I think of him more as an Angel sent by God to do a job, not an Angel punished by being sent to the land of mortals... while he's not an angel in the Seraphim sense, nonetheless, for comparison, I see him as more Gabriel than Lucifer, his sometimes horrific actions during the forthcoming seasons notwithstanding).
Now, at this point you may be thinking "That's nice, Baltar would LOVE this theory!" and you're right. However, keep in mind that I'm not saying that Baltar is a "higher power" in any conscious sense. In fact, I don't think Baltar had ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER that he was an angel, and that's important. He, like the other "angels" in the series, don't know they're angels (though they may know, or suspect, that they have a "destiny"… hint, hint). Baltar may (MAY) have figured it out on ancient Earth (our Earth, not the original Earth), and my theory does holds that the Baltar we see at the very end of the series in New York is an angel who's actually aware that he's an angel. However, even on Galactica, when Baltar's talking to Cavil about “seeing angels”, I don't think he has any notion that HE's an angel, he's clearly referring to the "other" Baltar and Six he and Cap Six have been seeing in their heads, about whom I'll have more to say in a moment.
So, Baltar and Six, both die on Caprica in the initial Cylon attack, and Baltar's an angel sent back from death, but he doesn't KNOW he's an angel sent back from death, he thinks he's just a regular human (well, he's an arrogant SOB, so he thinks he's an EXTRAORDINARY human... but you know what I mean) and to everyone else he's an ordinary human. Now, Six is the same (substitute "cylon" for "human") but we don't actually see the resurrected Six for a while, so let's leave her to the side for a moment.
OK, so having wrapped your head around the notion that we've been seeing dead people (or, at least dead person, in the form of Baltar) for most of the series, let's move on to the hallucinations ('cause so far, this has been way too simple, right?). As we all know, there's a Six that only Baltar can see. It's in his head. In my theory, this is not the "real" Six (the one who dies on Caprica), or anything directly related to or attributable to her. I think this is made pretty obvious by the fact that when Baltar and Cap Six are reunited in corporal form, Cap Six seems to not know what Baltar is seeing in his head. If the Six in Baltar's head were Caprica Six, or some sort of "implant" left by Caprica Six, she wouldn't (one presumes) be entirely ignorant of what Baltar was seeing (and we're lead to believe she doesn't know what Baltar is seeing until the moment last night when she says to Baltar aboard Galactica "You see them too???" (The "them" is important as well. I also think this is the first time she sees the Six from Baltar's head, and the first time he sees the Baltar from her head... it's the first time the realize they've each been seeing flip sides of the same coin in their respective heads). So, just who (or what) is the Six in Baltar's head (and, by implication, the Baltar in Six's head, and also, someone else I'll get to, if you're not already ahead of me). My answer is that it's the voice of God.
Let that sink in.
The Six in Baltar's head that's always telling him what God wants, and telling him that God has a plan for him? She's not lying. She actually IS the voice of God, and God is actually telling Baltar what's going on (though he doesn't realize it’s God of course). The voice of Baltar in Six's head is the same for her. The reason only they can see these figures (and the reason why eventually they can both see the other's "hallucination") is that they're both "angels" sent back by God to fulfill a destiny. God speaks to them directly through the hallucinations of people they love who have died, but does not speak directly to others (well, not to others in general... I think he speaks to someone else too, but we'll get to that!). The reason He's only speaking to them (well, not only them... wait for it) is because THEY'RE ANGELS. God doesn't speak to Adama directly through hallucinations, or to Boomer, or to Roslin, because Adama and Boomer and Roslin aren't angels. They didn't die, meet God, and then get sent back. God has a relationship with Baltar and Cap Six. He met them, in person, in the literal sense, when they both died back on Caprica. Then he sent them back. He sent them back ignorant of having died and gone to the other side, but he still talks directly to them, and tries to guide them, using the form of people they love who have died (even if they don't realize that these people they’re seeing have died and gone to the other side).
Now, as I've said, and it's important to reiterate, Baltar and Cap Six are ignorant of all of this. They feel that they're caught up in something bigger than themselves, and they have revolutionary (and often HORRIFIC) impacts on their people, but they don't realize they're angels, and they don't realize God's speaking directly to them. They may truly feel that they have a destiny, but the specifics of what's happening are hidden from them, right to the end. They occasionally attribute what's going on to God speaking directly to them, but it's not because they've "figured it out". Ironically, in a sense, they're delusional when they attribute what's happening to them as coming straight from God, even though, and here's the kicker, their delusions are actually correct!
In my theory, Baltar and Six never actually figure out what's been going on with them, even in the finale. I see two possibilities for what happens after they go to (our) Earth. Either they live out their remaining natural life spans on Earth, and then when they die God reveals the truth to them, that they actually "originally" died way back on Caprica, and that they were sent back by Him; or, they come to that realization sometime on (our) Earth, and ascend straight to heaven. This is important because they do EVENTUALLY figure it out, which makes the Baltar and Cap Six we see at the very end self-aware angels. Some might argue they’re still there at the end in modern New York because they're immortal. Some might argue that the Baltar and Cap Six hallucinations are something else entirely, and it's the hallucinations (or whatever presented itself as "hallucinations") that we see in the end, not the “real” Baltar and Cap Six. My theory is that it is the "real" Baltar and Cap Six at the end who've come to realize what they are, and are now "living" as (self aware) angels among us. The reason they look like the voice of God hallucinations is that the VOG hallucinations were idealized visions of Baltar and Cap Six as God sees them, and He meant for the "real" Baltar and Cap Six to see these idealized versions. And, frankly, once you realized you were an Angel, wouldn't you walk around looking like the idealized version of yourself that God sees??? Of course you would.
To me, the big clue that the two at the end in New York are self-aware angels comes when Baltar refers to God, and then jokingly says "I know he doesn't like that name". To me, this suggests that the Cap Six and Baltar at the end "know" God. "Know" in the sense that an angel would "know" God. The, "I’ve had conversations with him on the other side" sense of "know". The, "I know His first name" sense of "know". As I said, I don’t know if they came to this realization on (our) Earth shortly after the battle with the Colony, and then ascended right away, or if they lived out their lives on Earth and then learned the truth when they were reunited with God upon their natural deaths, but I don't think that's particularly important. The point of my theory is that Baltar and Cap Six were both angels from the beginning of the series, but only the two people we see at the very end in New York are actually aware of that fact.
She's an angel too.
Not from the beginning necessarily (though I suppose that’s possible too) but definitely from the point where she entered the nebula and crashed on the original Earth. That nebula sent her back in time to the original Earth of the thirteenth tribe, where she promptly (presumably almost immediately) crashed and died. The “new Starbuck” who returns in the undamaged Viper is an angel like Baltar and Cap Six, sent back by God to guide the people. This is confirmed for me by the fact that Starbuck is the third person whom God speaks to directly through the “hallucinations” of her father (once again a hallucination of a loved one who has died, and yes, I maintain that that guy was her dad). I presume that Starbuck doesn’t recognize that the piano player she’s seeing is her father because her father left her family so long ago, when she was only young, such that she “remembers” her father, in the sense of knowing she used to play the piano with him, but wouldn’t recognize him if she saw him in the “here and now” out of context. It’s made pretty clear that the piano player is a hallucination, and so this fits with my explanation of the Baltar and Six hallucinations. Now, I don’t think Kara knows she’s an angel either, however in my theory she does figure it out at some point, and is aware of it when they are all on our Earth towards the end of the last episode. It makes sense to me that Kara would actually figure it out (even if Baltar and Cap Six never did while they were alive) since Starbuck has had a lot more, and stranger, hints at her destiny (the eye of Jupiter for instance, and the fact that the song her hallucination wrote is also the song that “activated” four of the final five) and also, of course, the fact that she FOUND HER OWN DEAD BODY on the original Earth. It’s hard to discover your own corpse and not start to think that maybe you died once!
My theory also incorporates something that the show’s producers say was never intentional, but I kinda like it anyway. I say that Kara Thrace’s dad WAS Daniel (the seventh Cylon model). To me, this fits nicely with my little theory, in that it would make Starbuck the first human-cylon hybrid, not Hera. I like this because A) it’s just cool and B) it means that not only were there three angels (three frequently being a significant number) but more importantly, that the three angels represented the three “peoples” of the BG universe. A human angel (Baltar), a Cylon angel (Cap Six), and a cylon-human hybrid angel (Starbuck).
Starbuck being the third angel also explains for me just what the frak happened at the end there, when she disappeared while talking to Lee. This was Starbuck ascending back to “heaven” once her destiny was completed, and she realized what she was. Poof, she’s gone! As I suggested, the same may have happened with Cap Six and Baltar if they realized their destinies had been fulfilled, or, perhaps they weren’t done yet, and lived out their lives on our Earth until they died, and THEN went back to heaven.
Now, obviously there are millions of things my theory doesn’t cover, and a lot of it is caught up in trying to explain some things from the finale (and therefore might not account for certain things from previous episodes) but I’d be interested to know what people think!
Oh… and is it possible that Sam is God?…
Update: For what it's worth, the finale now has a rating of A- from the people visiting TWOP (over 5000 votes so far) which, to me, feels about right. Really really good, maybe great, but not transcendant.