I just started watching season 4 of Battlestar Galactica (2004), and I'm having a hard time suspending my disbelief on this plot point. The Final Five become aware of their nature due to that song they collectively get stuck in their heads.

All Along the Watchtower, by Bob Dylan.

Why did they get this song stuck in their heads? Of all the songs possible, this song shouldn't exist in the universe which the Galactica crew inhabits.

It's also confusing that these characters would immediately recognize their Cylon nature as a result of a song getting stuck in their heads, but that's another matter and somewhat easier to explain.

  • It's not a Led Zeppelin song, BTW. Jun 12, 2014 at 16:07
  • @MeatTrademark oops, fixed. Thanks. Jun 12, 2014 at 16:12
  • Indeed, that would suffice as a duplicate. I couldn't find it. Jun 12, 2014 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


(Perhaps this would be better as a comment, but I can't comment)

I don't understand why you're asking this question before you've watched all the episodes. Is this the first time you've seen something unexplained on a TV series? Typically, it's explained in a later episode.

If you insist on being spoiled, read on. Be warned though that I'm including as many spoilers as I need to to explain it adequately.

Regarding the song existing in that universe:

When the Galactica people reach Earth, the four begin to remember things from their lives on it. Anders in particular remembers that he used to play this song for the rest of them.
Given that the entire thing happens in the past of our history (within the fictional universe), Bob Dylan (and not Led Zeppelin, or Jimi Hendrix) didn't come up with the song. The words of a song from thousands of years before his time just came to him. How that happend is possibly explained in the next tag.

Regarding how the four heard the song and how it made them realise they're Cylons:

God did it.
As far as I can tell, that's the intended explanation, as no better one is ever given.
Baltar, Caprica Six and others are eventually convinced that the Cylon God does exist and affects how things happen. So the best explanation for anything left unexplained is... God did it.

  • 1
    I don't mind when things aren't explained but when they get really, really stupid there needs to be a good explanation to keep me in suspension of disbelief. I just want to stop watching it otherwise. I'll avoid your spoilers I guess since it apparently is explained later. Jun 12, 2014 at 16:09
  • @Koveras: I bet you'd hate / hated Lost. :p
    – George T
    Jun 18, 2014 at 13:10
  • Never seen it! But thanks for the warning ;) Jun 18, 2014 at 15:55
  • Or the last one (or two) seasons of X-Files.
    – CigarDoug
    Feb 1, 2016 at 17:12

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