BIG spoilers. If you haven’t watched, do NOT read.
Battlestar Galactica Official Site
The Time: Fridays, 9:00 PM, Sci-Fi Channel
this reimagining of the 1978 space epic, the human survivors of the
Cylon massacre of the Twelve Colonies struggle to survive in a ragtag
fleet of ships led by the last human warship, the Battlestar
Galactica. Shepherded by Admiral William Adama and President
Laura Roslin, the Colonial Fleet are under constant threat of attack by
the Cylon Armada, who seek nothing short of their
extermination. Adding to the danger is the fact the Cylons
have infiltrated the fleet with twelve models that look
human. Eleven of those models have been discovered, but one
still remains. The quest to find Earth, the mythical
thirteenth colony, has just been fulfilled, with devastating
results. As the joint human / renegade Cylon alliance
discovers a destroyed planet, the question remains of what to do next
as this storied television series counts down its final ten episodes.
• Edward James Olmos – Admiral William Adama
• Mary McDonell – President Laura Roslin
• Katee Sackhoff – Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
• Jamie Bamber – Lee “Apollo” Adama
• James Callis – Dr. Gaius Baltar
• Michael Hogan – Colonel Saul Tigh
• Tricia Helfer – Cylon Model Six / Caprica / Natalie / Head 6
• Grace Park – Cylon Model Eight / Sharon Agathon / Boomer
• Aaron Douglas – Galen Tyrol / Cylon Final Five
• Tahmoh Penikett – Captain Karl “Helo” Agathon
• Allessandro Juliani – Felix Gaeta
• Lucy Lawless – Cylon Model #3 / Deanna
• Dean Stockwell – Cylon Model One / Cavil
• Richard Hatch – Vice President Tom Zarek
• Kate Vernon – Ellen Tigh / Final Cylon
The Episode: “No Exit”
Answers to long-held questions are running like a faucet as Sam’s bullet-to-the-head injury has given him access to memories that he previously didn’t have concerning the entire unwritten history of the Cylons. Meanwhile, we’re treated to Ellen Tigh’s journey to the present after her resurrection eighteen months ago after dying on new Caprica. With that journey comes many more answers. Also, Adama has to make a fateful decision about maintaining Galactica’s life for as long as he can.
After watching this episode, I almost don’t know where to begin. Secret after secret after secret is just give up by Anders, Ellen and Cavill. We find out virtually everything we wanted to know about the 13th tribe: like how and why the 12 – make that 13 – Cylon models were created, why the Final Five were hidden in the human fleet, how they tie into the events that led to Earth’s destruction, why the Cylons ended the first war 40 years ago, what makes Cavil tick…so much to process. Two things about this stand occur to me: 1. finally, now we know and 2. this wasn’t the way to find out.
Eighteen months ago, when Saul killed Ellen, who as it turns out, was the final Cylon model, she resurrected on a ship where Cavil was waiting for her. Via their discussions over the eighteen months and the length of the episode, we learn that Ellen was the Cylon honcho, the designer, and Cavil’s “mother” if you will. And Cavil doesn’t like mommy. He resents her for creating him the way she did – as a human – when he would much rather have been a Centurion-type of machine. He revels in being a machine and loathes the limitations Ellen built into him as a human. He’s very Agent Smith that way. So he got back at her and the other final five models by interfering with their resurrections and dumping them among the humans with no memories to teach them a lesson.
Meanwhile, regarding Anders, he’s recovering from brain surgery, but has gained all of the memories he lacked before. He informs Kara and the other Final Five about their origins back on Earth. We learn that they resurrected onto a ship in orbit as the planet destroyed itself and then used that ship to seek out the other 12 tribes to warn them not to underestimate the Cylon life they were going to create. But not having had FTL drives yet, they had to travel near the speed of light to reach the 12 Colonies, which led to 2,000 years passing for everyone, but only a few for them. They were the reason the Cylons broke off the war 40 years ago, so they could learn from their skinjob brethren, who gave them eight other human models to help them learn. Now, if you do your math, that means there’s a 13th Cylon model we’ve never seen nor known about: Daniel.
As for Adama, he discovers from Tyrol, who takes his old job as Chief back, that Galactica is not long for this universe. She has stress cracks in much of her substructure and was never built to spec to boot. She’s been through hell and it’s catching up with her. But using Cylon technology, he can use it to extend her life considerably. At first hesitant, Adama finally relents. Anything to save the old girl.
This single damn episode answered pretty much 90% of the unanswered questions of the Battlestar mythology. While I’m sure we’re all thrilled to finally know, is there anyone who believes that this vomiting of exposition was the way to do it? I wouldn’t be surprised if this episode’s script was between 8 and 10 pages longer than usual due to the amount of dialogue and narrative that had to be done. There’s an old rule in screenwriting that you show the action, you don’t talk about it. Considering this was probably a budget-saving episode and that the show is winding down, the producers may have painted themselves into a corner with how much they still had to reveal that was based on first knowing who the final Cylon was and what happened on Earth before they could do so. But there were plot elements about the Cylons’ backstory that could have been handled much better than this.
What absolutely did work though was the back and forth between Ellen and Cavil, whom she originally named John. Dean Stockwell gets to remind us yet again how good an actor he really is. His Cavil is a petulant, bitter and angry Cylon, who isn’t above screwing over his own kind – even long before the civil war – to get some payback on Ellen and the other Final Five. He and Agent Smith have a lot of the same issues. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith were actually a Cylon himself. And Kate Vernon was looking better than I’d seen her look before in this episode. Death has been very good to her, apparently. There hasn’t been a single episode that revealed more story than this one that I know of. I just wish we could have gotten a few more appetizers before gorging ourselves on this.