Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 15

No Exit

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 13, 2009 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (19)

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  • Almost works

    "No Exit" brings the Big Reveal. After four seasons of waiting, we start to get answers. This is good - to a point. I've already been slammed in the forums for my views that "No Exit" seemed to be something of a cop-out; at the time I made those comments I admitted I hadn't seen the episode, only read a scene-by-scene synopsis. At the time I wrote in the forums, I also indicated I'd willingly retract my concerns were the episode to prove me wrong.

    Well, I retract them. To a point. Like the episodes before it, "No Exit" is undoubtedly good drama. It's also good BSG in many elements - and it certainly closes the circle on a lot of very subtle points, and opens the door just a crack on potential reveals that might come in the last 5 (or six, depending upon how you look at the second installment of Deadlock) segements yet to air. I certainly enjoyed the episode far more than I was anticipating - bad sadly, not so much for the Big Reveal as I'd hoped. OK... so the good points:

    1. The reference back to the algae planet and the Temple of The Five. This, for me was one of the most delightful and subtle closures of what appeared to be a minor story element. Back at the time of the temple's discovery, it very much appeared as if it was down to some kind of religious epiphany on Galen Tyorl's part - an echo of his "mother's" strong religious background leading him forward. But that was before we knew him to be a Cylon. Now we find - in a scene so beautifully crafted I wonder how many people actually spotted it - that Tyrol was not lead to the temple by any "religious" heritage, but rather because his presence on the algae world re-awakened something of his "original" memories that Cavil / John had tried to erase in ending the "final five" into humanity. As Ellen reveals, she, Tyrol and the rest passed the temple as they traced the "exodus" route back from Earth to in returning to in aboard Galactica, Tyrol opened the door to long-suppessed memories. Could this actually have been the start of his "Cylon reawakening" - indeed, could it have been the trigger for all of them? A memory so strong, Cavil / John couldn't totally destroy it?

    2. The Galactica and Adama. Despite the Treknobbable inherent in Tyrol's plans to save the ship, the scenes in which he reveals the extent of the ship's poor condition coupled with Adama's belated recognition of the damage (in the head in his cabin) beautifully underplays the degree to which the Admiral and his ship are inexorably joined together. His fate is indesputably bound to hers. Not only is this demonstrated in his reactions to the damage (again marvellous played by Olmos with facial expressions that reveal more than words could tell) - but also in the way the ship's deterioration reflects Adama's growing habit of pill-popping and alcohol-taking. How long, one wonders, can the ship survive - and how long can Adama's system take the pills and the booze before something in it breaks down....

    3. Lee Adama. FINALLY!! Someone has come to realise that clinging to the idea that they are / can be "12 colonies" rather than a spacefaring collection of humanity - and while it has taken them four years of storytelling (and so two years or so of "ships time") to come to the conclusion - HOORAH!!!

    Sorry, but the whole clinging-to-the-ideals-of-government-as-they-used-to-be was perhaps one of the weakest elements of the show - although conversely, out of it sprang some surprising stories. It was obviously from the start that there was no way the fleet - with the peoples of the 12 worlds all so thoroughly mixed up on all the diferent vessels, etc, - simply couldn't resume "business as usual" in respect of the political system, therefore the entire idea of the Quorum has been bogus from the outset. Which is propably why, one or two good standalones aside, this side of BSG has failed to genuinely work (other than a machine through which Zarek can weave and plot). Where it did shine was when it held up a mirror to the war on terror and things like civil liberties, and in asking the question of how far an apparently "democratic" society can go before the underlying dictatorship is revealed - and conversely, how far can one go in the name of the "democratic process" before tumbling into the realm of terrorism....

    I'm glad this loop has apparently closed now. Lee's recognition that the "old ways" don't work come at a fitting moment, and open the door to a new thread of the story....but at the same time, it really could have come a lot sooner and resulted in some strong dramatic situations that could have easily towered over what we've had.

    4. The whole question of downloading and resurrection as it affects HUMANS. We now know that there is a resurrection facility operating in Earth orbit (which is actually another flaw in the story - something I'll return to later). The implication now seems to be that it may have interceded with Thrace and "rescued" her afte her crash on Earth ( this doesn't explain her nice, shiny Viper....). IF this is the case, then has the door been opened to explain one of the most fundamental questions I've had from the mini series - which is, Just how DID Gaius Baltar survive the nuclear shockwave that struck his house?

    Again, I've been involved in heated (and quite funny) debates on this matter in the forums. One person went so far as to suggest the shockwave did little more than "blow dust and paper" around Gaius' house to justify his seemingly miraculous survival. When that failed (and the blast clearly did WAY more than that, as we saw both in the mini series AND the opening titles of virtually every episode, including this one), they progressive move the epicentre of the blast further and further and furth away from Baltar's house to "explain" his survival, and even distored the everys as portrayed to justify their contentions.

    Now it seems, the answer is much more obivous as to how he survived with just a few scratches in a blasted that killed "Six": he was downloaded and resurrected, just like Thrace appears to have been. After all, the technology was "rediscovered" on Earth by Ellen et al, and we know form her conversation with Cavil/John that only she and the other Four can recreated it now - ergo, it stands to reason that if the technology could resurrect Thrace, it could also resurrect Baltar. And what a fitting revelation that would be for him - and what a stunning revelation for humanity as a whole. Just when the Cylons are seeking procreation and the human cycle of birth and death....the humans may yet discover the road to immortality. Such a pity there are only 5 episodes to tie this up IF it happens...

    On the flipside, I'm going to go out on a limb here and stay the whole Cylon reveal thing really does suck on a number of fronts.

    1. The idea that there is suddenly a "13th" humanoid Cylon just doesn't ride. Again, some fans have put a lot of contorted reasoning into justifting this, such as "Well, there were only 12 models, because that's all the seven knew about, they'd never been told about Daniel". Well, sorry, but that's hogwash. The fact remains that the writers have maintained to US, the viewers, that there are TWELVE Cylon models. Not 11, not 8, not 56....TWELVE. Now all of a sudden we're expected to accept a 13th. I really don't care about how this "explains" the "missing number 7" (which it actually doesn't, as Ellen indicates that "Daniel" was likely No 2 off the production line behind Cavil/John, hence the latter's hatred of him). The fact remains that as a viewer, I am left feeling not a little cheated by this "stunning revelation". Let's face it the choice of the name "Daniel" comes WAAAYY to close to that of "Daniel Greystone" - one of the characters in the upcoming Caprica series. Thus, to me, this "revelation" smacks more as a set-up for Caprica than it does anything else. And that is where I have my biggest problem with this episode: 2. The entire "Final Five" reveal smacks not so much as bringing the story to a structured close but more a case of desperately trying to get everything to apparently look like "this is the way it was palnned" (remembering Ronald Moore's promises of 4 years ago that BSG was "a story with a very definite beginning, middle and end", all of which he asserted were "known"). At the same time elements of the episode smelled strongly of set-up frames for Caprica...

    And I'm afraid to say the whole "flashback" thing didn't work for me either. Flashbacks in TV and film drama work one of two ways. When they are done well, they link back to hints and clues seeded earlier on in the show / film, allowing the viewer to recognise the inherent logic and the continuity of the story. Again, "No Exit" DOES achieve this in part - and I refer you to my comments on Tyrol and his "epiphany" on the algae world as a practical demonstration of this. BUT....where a "flashback" is used badly, it tends to be where something happens that has never previously been alluded to or hinted at. Suddenly, mid-story you're confronted with a rewind that doesn't so much put the "evidence" you're seen all in perspective - it simply drops an entire new thrust and pace of the story right into your lap like a spilt mug of hot coffee. The raction in evokes is not so much one of "Ahhh! Of course!" as it is "AARRRGGHHH!!"

    Sadly, "No Exit" falls into this latter category. The Ellen story, the "Anders remembers everthing because of a bullet in his head, but ends up a cabbage before he can reveal all" both come across as contrived. And just don't get me started on Cavil/John's actions. For one thing, the whole Odepus thing with him and Ellen has been talked to death and IS somewhat unpleasant. But...more than that, it is simply so totally heavy-handed. And, like Zarek's fall from Machiavellian political manipulator to basic thug (whalloping someone with a spanner, ordering the Quorum shot), Cavil/John's fall regression to hateful, jealous, foot-stomping little boy is very disappointing. OK, so the writers needed to encourage us to distance ourselves from both of these characters - but it's nothing short of heavy-handed in the way it is handled in both cases.

    3. Resurrection on Earth. "we built facility in Earth orbit" explains Anders. Really? And it survived the war there (after all, it DID resurrect the Five). It also seems to still be functioning - unless some other unforseen event is going to be used to explain Thrace. OK....

    ....So how the hell did the Galactica et al totally fail to find ANY evidence of the facility on their arrival in Earth orbit...? Adama forget to order a complete reconnaissance of the planet and the space around it? Seems unlikely. And if it turns out to be cloaked or something, I'm going to be very, very, disappointed, given cloaking technology has never ever played a part in this BSG universe up until now. But all that said, it could have been worse - a lot worse; as such, I will keep to my promise and retract some of my negativity towards the episode, if not my feelings that things could have been handled a lot more smartly if the writers had really known where the story was going, if not from the outset, then from at least the outlining of Season 4. Certainly, now the bulk of the exposition is out of the way, even with it being somewhat hard to swallow in one sitting like this, I hope the remaining episodes actually work to draw the remaining strings together cohesively, rather than threatening to expand on some of the "new" story elements this episode has suddenly introduced.