Battlestar Galactica: “No Exit”

At episode’s opening, we get a poignant flashback of Ellen partaking of her last cocktail. Well, not her last one, it turns out…..

Fast forward to Ellen’s primordial goo bath. A nearby Centurian gives her a helping hand…… or claw ……or whatever……..out of the tub.

Elsewhere – on the Galactica, specifically – Starbuck made good on her promise to get Anders to Doc Cottle. Seems Anders has a bullet lodged in his brain. Which may or may not account for the serious mind warp he’s experiencing. Starbuck stands next to him, alternately reassuring Anders and threatening the doctor if he doesn’t get a move on with that whole bullet extraction thing already. Though it’s complicated, skull-draining, hemotoma-avoiding stuff that needs to be done. Anders is really tripping.

Flashback to eighteen months earlier, as Ellen climbs out of her goo bath. Cavil enters. She calls him John, which irritates him to no end – bonus! He gathers by her presence here that things didn’t turn out so well on New Caprica between her and the husband unit. She explains her betrayal – and doesn’t seem to be too grudge-y about Tigh’s remedy for it. Cavil wants to split hairs about the difference between man and machine. He also wants to point out that humans have a word for people in Ellen’s condition – “schizophrenic.” And “naked” is another one. Ellen’s not keen on the draft she’s feeling, and wouldn’t mind some clothes. He’ll get her some, but as he can’t resist pointing out – he’s seen it all before. (Oh, come on – it’s Ellen. As Adama used to like to point out, plenty of others have seen that before.)

Back on Galactica, but in the present, Tyrol is pointing out some stuff that Adama hasn’t seen before. Like, all those cracks in the ship. Adama makes Tyrol a chief. Chief of fixing all those cracks.

In sick bay, Starbuck apologizes to Anders for the whole getting shot thing. He tells her it’s all for the best, because something wonderful has happened! He’s tripping out of his skull! He asks her to gather the others. “What others?” she rightly asks. Galen, Tory, Tigh, and even Ellen. You know. “The Others.” She has to remind him Ellen is dead. Oh, um…….yeah, right. Whatever. He wants her to tell them that he remembers everything. Earth. Why they’re here. Everything!

Cavil is spewing more vitriol in Ellen’s direction. Basically, he finds that being human really blows. What was with her writing that whole sleep function into their code? What a waste. He hacked that feature the heck out of his code first chance he got. He hasn’t slept for twenty years. (Which explains so much about him, really.) Then they get into a big philosophical debate about why, if he’s harping on how much being human blows, has he wasted so much time on petty human-like emotions, such as vengeance.

Boomer slinks in, all submissive. Ellen’s happy to see her, only Cavil doesn’t want Boomer to be happy to see Ellen. Ellen’s curious about the relationship between Boomer and Cavil, ‘cause lord knows the man is difficult to get close to. He says he and Boomer attained a certain “rapport.” Boomer says Cavil is teaching her to be a better machine. Ellen bets that’s not all he’s teaching her. He leaves, and Boomer starts to trail dutifully behind him, only Cavil thinks it would be better if she and Ellen chatted – specifically about why Ellen encased them in useless human carcasses that are weak and imperfect and fraught with stupid extras like emotion. After Cavil oozes away, Ellen tells Boomer to make up her own mind about stuff.

Anders is telling Tigh, Tory, Tyrol, and Starbuck about the good ol’ days. Like when Tyrol and Tory were sittin’ in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. Oh, yeah – things were a little different back then. Tigh remembers pulling Ellen from the post-nuke rubble, at which point she mentioned being reborn. Anders confirms the whole rebirth process, and that they had been warned about the holocaust. Tory wants to know why, if the Cylons on earth could have children, that the other technology was even necessary? Ah, but Anders says they didn’t invent resurrection. Reinvented it, more like it. Organic memory transfer was old hat back on Kobol with the 13th tribe once upon a time. They had to bust a hump to figure it out again. Tyrol, it turns out, was something of a genius scientist back then. But ‘twas Ellen who really brought the magic……

Doc Cottle breaks it up. This excited yammering is no way for a guy with a blood clot in his brain to be passing time. The gang wants to hear more about the good ol’ days, but Doc puts his crusty old foot down – Anders isn’t looking so hot. Starbuck feels bad that they were maybe pushing Anders too hard, too soon.

Roslin stands in the Quorum room, trying to find decent pictures to post of the victims on the wall. Lee comes in. He’s been thinking that maybe they need a new Quorum. Not just in the literal sense, seeing as how the old one was riddled with bullets, but also in a more conceptual sense……the old planet designations just don’t make sense anymore. The new Quorum should reflect the new reality and represent the ships they now live on. Roslin agrees. She hopes he’ll enact that plan when he’s in charge. She’s gonna keep her title, but she’s tired of the “heavy lifting.” He’s honored by her faith in him. Even though she basically tells him he has a tendency to be stupid.

So, there’s good news and bad news with all that damage on Galactica. No, wait – it’s mostly bad news. There are cracks everywhere. And just when you think Adama is totally down with the whole Cylon-human co-mingling thing, he tells Tyrol to make sure that the crew entrusted to repair the cracks is human only.

So, Tigh wants Anders to explain why they went to the other twelve colonies. To warn them against messing around with artificial life, Anders says. Tory wants to know why the massacre on Earth was, like, thousands of years ago. He explains that it was a simpler, less jump drive-y time back then. He starts twitching. Starbuck thinks he needs to ease up on the whole history of the world lecture and maybe focus more on convalescing. Yeah, right – with all this back story exploding out of his skull? Not a chance! He proceeds, revealing that the Centurians were already experimenting with skinjobs, but they couldn’t figure out how to make them live on their own. So the tribe made a deal with the toasters – stop the war, and we’ll help you with that little skinjob experiment. Thus, Anders concludes, we developed the eight humanoid models, and gave them the resurrection, and stuff.

Eight? Starbuck notes. Uh, wait……eight? Did you say eight?

From Anders’ point of view, Tory and Tyrol and Tigh and Starbuck are all, like, suddenly glowing. Coooooooooool. It’s blowing his mind a little bit. At first in a good, “look at all the colors” way, but then in a bad, seizure-y way.

The Temple of the Five: carnival trick, or will of the One True God? Ellen and Cavil aren’t exactly in agreement. Cavil saw a supernova once. Only it was totally wasted on him, because he was experiencing it through “gelatinous” eyeballs and puny ears and……did he already mention that being human really blows? He’d like to strangle her with his “prehensile paws” for having made him so fallible. He storms out on his imperfect human feet – at least he doesn’t trip while doing so, though it would have really driven the point home, wouldn’t it?

Boomer wonders if Ellen doesn’t feel a wee bit guilty about having made them so frakkin’ human. Ellen points out that free will and love are pretty decent trade-offs for having to suffer such mortal coils. Free will? Love? Boomer is grossed out by the love talk. Why would she want to love a frakkin’ human, anyway?!

Cut to Tyrol…….and Tigh and Tory and Starbuck, who are all waiting outside the operating room and ruminating over what Anders said. Tigh thinks it means they are all to blame – for helping the Centurians develop skin jobs. Tyrol thinks it means they ended the first Cylon war and that they bought everyone – including humans – more time. Tory says humans started it. Tigh thinks Cylons made it worse. Before the debate gets too chicken or the egg-y, they return their focus to wondering when Anders is gonna snap out of his whole bullet-induced funk. They can’t believe he’s letting some tiny hematoma slow him down.

A brain specialist has arrived and talks about how the bullet is pretty close to all the major arteries. Anders is talking gibberish a little bit, because having a bullet in the brain isn’t all fun and games. The specialist is surprised Anders is still alive, never mind still stumbling through rudimentary word formations. Starbuck wants the frakkin’ bullet out already so his life won’t be in peril anymore. Only Anders doesn’t want to lose his memory. Doc Cottle isn’t sure Anders is in his right mind, so he defers to Starbuck, in her wifely capacity, to make the decision for him. She votes for surgery. Anders is having a hard time arguing with her, since his verbal facility is starting to backslide. He begs her for more time, in a jumbled, drooling sort of way.

Flashback to four months prior – Cavil wakes Ellen up with news of the destruction of the resurrection hub. He wants her to help him rebuild it. The others don’t know about the colony, and her equipment is still there, he points out. It would take all five of them, she counters. It’s complicated. He doesn’t believe her. He thinks there’s more than one way to get at the knowledge, and if she won’t divulge it from her mouth, he figures a scalpel can extract it from her brain. Or at least it would be fun to try.

Anders is explaining that Cavil/John was the first one they made, and he helped them build the others. Ellen’s monotheistic, hippie approach to love and peace was supposed to stop the cycle of violence. One god, marvels Tyrol? Only Cavil wasn’t feeling the whole free love hippie trippy one god vibe. He was feeling the mean-spirited, rat-bastard vibe instead, which is why he killed the five of them. When they downloaded into their new bodies, he screwed with their memories. (See: mean-spirited, rat-bastard vibe, above.)

But sadly, Anders is on the slippery slope downward into full-fledged brain damage. He’s tweaking, but as they wheel him away intro surgery, he tells Tigh to “stay with the fleet,” because the miracle is starting to happen…..

Six is resting when Tigh comes home. He wants some frakkin’ booze already. She reminds him the smell was making her sick, which is why they haven’t had any around for weeks. She puts his hands on her belly, and they get all gushy about the first squirms of their miracle hybrid embryo love child.

Ellen is sketching Tigh without his eye patch. Cavil says they’re prepping the O.R.. She calls him a sadist. He begs to differ. She offers up all the Tyrol confessin’, Tigh torturin’, Anders resistance-fightin’, death camp hijinks Cavil was up to, when he could have just killed them. Only misery loves company, which is apparently why he kept them alive. Most of them. She reminds him about Daniel. She tells Boomer about Daniel, too. Cavil figures if he’s so evil, it’s Ellen’s fault for making him that way. But she tells him she believes in him, and he could be good. His is a fractured psyche that only a mother figure could love, but that said, she wants to give him a hug. Yeah…… He’d rather wrench pieces of her frontal lobe out with some pliers. Which reminds him – he’s got some surgical tools that he needs to finger lovingly before he cuts her skull open. He excuses himself.

Tyrol’s back to tending to the Battlestar. Only, he’s discovered a whole new glob of hairline fractures in the frame of the ship. But all hope is not lost! Tyrol explains there’s a Cylon technology – an organic material – that can fill in the cracks. And then grow. Because it’s, like, alive. Yeeesh. That’s too weird…..too Cylon…….for even Adama. No way, he says. He’s not about to let his beloved Battlestar be the guinea pig for some weird frakkin’ experimental Cylon technology.

Starbuck is talking to a pre-op Anders, apologizing for being greedy and wanting to keep him alive, but she’s sure he’s gonna pull through, and then he can get back to his wacky tales of Cylon lore. Doc Cottle sends her out so he can get down to some serious bullet extracting business.

Adama goes back to his quarters and splashes water on his face. In the mirror, he catches a glimpse of a crack in the ceiling. Actually, there’s a lot more crack than ceiling.

Ellen sits waiting for her involuntary brain surgery. Boomer comes in and notices the sketch of Tigh. She can’t believe Ellen would be all nostalgic for some guy who must hate her guts. Ellen says he might not. Therein lies the fun of that crazy little thing called love. Boomer brings her a white smock to wear for her surgery. Ellen rejects it – she’s not about to give Cavil the pleasure. She follows Boomer.

Doc Cottle emerges from surgery, and produces the irksome bullet for Starbuck’s perusal. He says Anders will live. Starbuck goes to him.

As Boomer leads Ellen down a hallway, Ellen tells Boomer she will regret her part in all of this. Boomer can’t argue with that – especially seeing as how she is leading Ellen to an escape ship……

Starbuck goes to Anders. She whispers reassuring things in his ear. Only the nurse tells her not to bother. He’s registering very damn little brain activity.

Adama is tearing through a bottle of the hard stuff. He phones up Tyrol and takes back his mandate about no frakkin’ Cylon technology. He’d just as soon not wait till the Galactica is nothing more than a pile of rubble before he overcomes his prejudice. Because that would make him one dead bigot.

Next week’s teaser promises a reunion of the Final Five. And it seems there’s some disagreement of whether they should stick with the rest of the fleet, or go off and do their own original 13th tribe thing.

What with such an action (or backstory) filled episode, you’ll probably want to see “No Exit” again. And you can – right here on Fancast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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