TV Review: Battlestar Galactica “No Exit”

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The episode opened with the credits about the previous models, the warning that it’s all happened before. As in previous seasons, a little bit more teased in these clips leading up to the scene from Exodus in Season Three where Saul Tigh poisons his wife Ellen because she consorted with the enemy.  As in the episode Downloaded, viewers are sped along with Ellen’s consciousness as she ‘downloads.’  What follows when Ellen bursts upwards, gasping painfully at the air is a wrenching realization of everything.  For a moment, briefly, she is Ellen Tigh ad horrified to discover that she is herself a Cylon, but then she is Ellen, Cylon researcher, scientist and Zen mother. She is torn between tears at self-actualization and acute sadness.

What We Knew

12 Cylon Models exist. Seven are known. Four are with the fleet. One is sacrificed.   The twelve colonies are settled by humans from the planet Kobol. The 13th colony was exiled or chose to leave Kobol before the other 12, and settled light years across the galaxy.  Contact between the colonies is lost.  On Earth, the 13th colony is comprised of Cylons.   On Earth, Starbuck found her destroyed viper with a burnt body aboard. The body wears her dog tags.  Leoben flees, because he doesn’t know what Kara is anymore. Kara burns the body in effigy, destroying the evidence.  She tells no one else.  Galen remembers being on Earth. He finds the spot he was standing in when the war began and he was killed.   Saul remembers Ellen is the fifth Cylon.  Deanna chooses to remain behind on the destroyed planet, alone.

What We Learn

During the mutiny, Sam is shot in the head. The episode opens with Doc Cottle drilling holes into his skull to relieve the inter-cranial pressure. But Sam remembers.  The bullet is lodged in the center of his consciousness and suddenly, he is aware of his past on Earth, the decisions of the Final Five, how they became the Final Five and much more data that is crucial to the mythology of the series.   On a Basestar, Ellen confronts Cavil whom she calls John. They spar verbally, intellectually and morally about the choices made by the Final Five and by John.  These powerful sequences lead to the following realizations:

·         Ellen, Tory, Saul, Galen and Sam were all research scientists on Earth

·         Galen and Tory were a couple on Earth as were Saul and Ellen

·         The Five ‘rediscovered’ resurrection technology in an effort to avert disaster

·         Resurrection technology fell out of use in the 13th colony when they began to procreate independently

·         Sam saw a woman, Tory saw a man in their heads, warning them of the disaster

·         After resurrection, the five scientists set a course for the other colonies to warn them

·         It took thousands of years, but time slowed for them

·         They arrived in the midst of the first Cylon/Human war

·         The Centurions ended the war when the Five offered to create the skinjobs they could not make

·         John ‘Cavil’ is the first model created. He is based on Ellen’s father

·         Kara is not a Cylon and Sam has no memories of what she is

·         ‘Free will’ is the greatest gift the Five gave the 8 models they created

·          The Seventh model is named “Daniel”

·         John sabotaged the clones of Daniel – no word on what happened to the original

·         The models were created/birthed originally, their copies were cloned later

·         John rebelled against his creators (just as his Centurion forebearers rebelled against the humans)

·         He killed the Five by suffocating them in a room (Similar to how the models were killed aboard the Galactica by Helo)

·         He interfered with their download to block their memories

·         Cavil seeded the five among the humans with implanted memories and backgrounds

·         Cavil longs for forgiveness, retribution and apologies for his lack of self-worth and human flaws

·         He sent Ellen to the fleet when he found her alive on the Colonies

·         Cavil interfered with the other models and blocked their memories of the Five

·         Daniel’s fate remains unknown

·         Cavil is desperate for Resurrection technology out of fear for his mortality

·         Boomer helps Ellen escape

·         Sam’s surgery removes the bullet, but leaves him in a vegetative state (Did he download?)

·         A ‘colony’ with all of the Five’s original equipment exists

·         Before his surgery, Sam urgently tells Saul and the others to stay with the fleet, because the miracle they wanted is happening there

Other Events

So much occurred in the episode that it is difficult to process the density of information. Roslin passes the torch to Lee without actually giving up her authority as President.  Lee suggests that they must stop identifying with their colonial identities and use the fleet to help establish who they are (Galactica, Basestar, etc). Roslin worries Lee will try too hard to do the ‘right’ thing and no the ‘smart’ thing. Adama and Galen work to save Galactica itself, a ship that should have been decommissioned years ago and that is structurally in danger of being destroyed. Galen offers Cylon biotechnology to help strengthen and repair the Galactica, after initial resistance, Adama agrees.  

Speculation

It’s hard to imagine what couldn’t happen next.  Where will the fleet go?  Boomer escaped with Ellen and took her to the Fleet. What reception will she get? She remembers everything, unlike the others.  Tory wants to leave the Fleet behind (Tory’s all about herself) and Kara is still struggling to understand her part in all of this.

·         Are Daniel and Kara linked somehow?  Her mother said she was a child of the Angels. Is Kara linked to the mysterious forces shepherding the fleet?

·         Will Saul heed Sam’s plea to stay with the fleet?

·         What part will this mysterious new colony play?

·         Will Boomer and Galen reunite after so many years apart?

·         What happened to Anders?

Five episodes remain.

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