The Women of Battlestar:Galactica; Six

Six is a Cylon who mainly exists in the head of Gaius Baltar, the man partly responsible for the annihilation of his civilisation because he was too arrogant to stop thinking with his penis and start thinking with his brain. She’s beautiful, manipulative and brilliant, with a strong sense of spirituality which is fascinating, given she’s little more then a robot.

Six primarily exists to seduce and destroy. She attaches herself to Gaius and uses him to access vital technology to the colonies, which leads to a nuclear war. She pulls it off because Gaius is too full of himself to realise he’s being conned. His whole life, his looks, charm, and intelligence have given him any woman he wants, so it’s unfathomable to him that Six wants him for anything more then his good-looking, intelligent, charming self.

Despite her seduce-and-destroy tactics, Six also has a strong sense of spirituality, and exists as Gaius’s quasi-conscience. The dynamic between them is fascinating, because Six is the emotionally stronger of the two. Gaius is brilliant, but emotionally and spiritually weak because of a life of indulgence. I love it because so often you see the woman as both the physically and emotionally weaker of the two, as if emotional strength is intrinsically linked to physical strength and masculinity.

I often talk about how much it annoys me to see the Girl Next Door character as channelled through Cameron Diaz or Angelina Jolie. Tricia Helfer is a stunning woman (a Victoria’s Secret model, among other things) but her beauty is one of Six’s major assets. I liked that they had a strong justification for Six being the stunner that she is, rather then have us believe that she’s REALLY just an average looker. And, as with Inara in Firefly, it helps that none of the other female characters are particularly glamorous, their looks often played down for the believability of the character.

As far as Six’s sexual relationship with Gauis goes – does she genuinely love him or is she coldly sleeping with him? – remains open to personal interpretation. I personally chose to see it as a genuine attraction. Regardless, her ambiguity is fascinating.

Between Firefly and BsG, I find it interesting that scifi – traditionally a genre for men – has proven so capable of producing strong, realistic female characters that for the most part could be turned into men with no trouble. OK, so Six’s transformation might take a bit more tweaking then Starbuck’s,but that doesn’t stop her from being a strong, capable female.

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