For a while, Dr. Baltar is obsessed with wanting to know who the Final Five are --- because he is conflicted about betraying humanity and wants to believe that he is a Cylon to ameliorate his guilt.

But, towards the beginning of the series, he supposedly tested all the people on the fleet in order to find out who were Cylons and who were not. Given that all of the Final Five were part of the fleet, doesn't it follow that he knows who all the Cylons are, and therefore that he is not one of them?

2 Answers 2


Quite simply, the tests were abandoned without everyone being tested, and there was never any indication that it could detect one of the Final Five.

The first test was a lie - Baltar wanted someone to take focus for blame away from himself, and he also wanted Aaron Doral out of the picture, and so pointed the finger at him when the Cylon device was found in ops. Later on, he "confirmed" that Doral was a Cylon, so he couldn't expose Baltar and also as further misdirection of blame - this was a guess, a lucky one as it turned out.

Baltars second detector was based around the acquisition of a nuclear warhead, which would have repercussions later on. As it turned out, this test was accurate, but slow - it would have taken Baltar years to test everyone in the fleet.

Baltars detector was declared worthless when Sharon Valerii, who had been tested and passed as human (after Baltar purposefully passed her despite a positive result), shot and nearly killed Adama, and was later proven to be a Cylon.

So, basically, he didn't know because they weren't all tested - and there was never any indication that the Final Five would have failed the test anyway, as they were not necessarily the same as the rest of the skin jobs (they created the skin jobs for the original Cylons from the 13 Colonies).

  • @MissouriSpartan the second test worked for skin jobs, but we never saw the test results of a Final Five member (because the Final Five were not a concept at that point in time in the writers minds) - there is no indication that the Final Five and the skin jobs are identical, other than both looking like humans (and considering humans pass the test, that doesn't mean much).
    – Moo
    May 21, 2020 at 3:24
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    Wasn’t Ellen tested with this test method when she was first found on the fleet? The writers had no idea who the final 5 where until late on in the series so there is that fact as well.
    – Richard C
    May 22, 2020 at 16:02

Ellen Tigh was tested, and probably came up Cylon as well, but Baltar started doubting his results. Then she died, so more reason to doubt his result. Finally by the Eye of Jupiter Number 3 sees the final 5, and says to Baltar that he was right! Was he right about Ellen Tigh? So then it makes sense.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This could stand to be less speculative. Can you cite specific scenes where the points you cite are revealed, like Baltar doubting the results of his tests, and having gotten a positive result on Tigh.
    – DavidW
    Dec 20, 2021 at 1:18

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