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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138-at-popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: No Exit

Battlestar Galactica

"No Exit"

TV episode

Written by Ryan Mottesheard

Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Original air date: February 13, 2009


With a bullet lodged in his brain, Anders finds his condition releasing a flood of visions and crucial memories of his long life as a Cylon.


Read the summary of the episode at the Battlestar Wiki


Notes from the BSG chronology


This episode takes place in the "present day" of the fleet while having interludes into the past featuring Ellen Tigh's resurrection from her death in "Exodus" Part 2 and her time being psychologically tormented by Cavil until her escape at the end of the episode.


Didja Know?


The opening preamble of this episode appears only here and no other episodes. It fills the audience in on a number of plotlines from throughout the series, as the episodes from here on to the series finale pretty much make up one story.


The opening titles show the fleet at a population of 39,556, down 47 from the previous episode "Blood on the Scales", due largely to deaths in the mutinous uprising that continued in that episode from the one before, including the deaths of the 12 Quorum members and the execution of Zarek and Gaeta.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Ellen Tigh

Dr. Cottle

Sam Anders


Paramedic Layne Ishay

John Cavil

John (Ellen's "father", mentioned only, presumed deceased)

Chief Tyrol

Admiral Adama


Colonel Tigh

Tory Foster

President Roslin


Jacob Cantrell (in photo only, deceased)

Reza Chronides (in photo only, deceased)

D'Anna Biers (mentioned only)

Number Seven (aka Daniel, mentioned only)

Dr. Gerard

Caprica Six

Specialist Dealino

Number Four (mentioned only)



Didja Notice?


At 3:11 on the Blu-ray, notice that the Centurion that helps Ellen out of her resurrection chamber transforms the fingers of its hand from claw-like appendages to blunt-fingered ones, so as not to injure her as it helps her out.


As he goes into his first brain surgery near the beginning of the episode, some of the gibberish spouted by Sam Anders are lines from Paradise Lost, the 17th Century epic poem by the English poet John Milton.


Dr. Cottle tells Starbuck he'll have a brain guy brought over from Inchon Velle to remove the bullet lodged in Sam's skull. Inchon Velle was previously mentioned in "Maelstrom".


Ellen remarks to John Cavil that she named him after her father. It is further revealed that Cavil was made in her father's image. Was the John who Ellen considers her father a human on Kobol?


Ellen asks Boomer if John has taught her the swirl yet. In "Precipice" it was implied that the swirl is a sexual maneuver Ellen performs that John is fond of.


Admiral Adama restores Tyrol back his rank of chief in this episode. The brief tenure of Peter Laird as deck chief ended with his death at the hands of Tom Zarek in "The Oath".


While pointing out the extensive interior damage to Galactica to Adama, Tyrol remarks that the old girl is 50 years old and has been through two Cylon wars and was slammed down through the atmosphere. Galactica was "slammed down through the atmosphere" of New Caprica in "Exodus" Part 2.


The Number Seven model Cylon is mentioned for the first time in this episode. Ellen reveals that Cavil eliminated the Sevens in a way far worse than just boxing them (as he recently did to the Number Threes), he eliminated the line entirely. Later, Anders reveals the Seven models were called Daniel; could it be that this model was based on (or at least named after) Daniel Graystone, the inventor of the Colonial Cylons in the prequel series Caprica? The Caprica pilot movie was being made around the same time as the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica. (We later got our only glimpse of the Number Seven model in comic book "The Final Five" Part 4, where he does not look much like Graystone.)


When Anders begins to have brief bursts of "word salad" in his speech, brain surgeon Dr. Gordon remarks that Anders has aphasia from his brain injury. Aphasia is a real condition sometimes suffered by victims of head trauma.


Cavil mentions the Cylon Colony for the first time in this episode. We finally see it at the end of "Islanded in a Stream of Stars".


Anders' recovered memories tell him it was the Centurions who deduced there was a one true loving God.


Anders' recovered memories suggest that each of the Final Five were warned of the coming apocalypse on Earth by the vision  of a male or female figure, seemingly describing a "Head figure" or "messenger" character such as the Head Six seen throughout the series by Baltar and the Head Baltar seen by Caprica Six on occasion. Possibly, Starbuck's assorted visions are also related, conjured by some higher power in all these cases.


After hearing about the boxed Model Seven Cylon, Starbuck thought she might be the Seven, but Sam's memory revealed it was a male model called Daniel, leaving Starbuck still in the dark about what she is.


When Boomer brings a surgical gown for Ellen to wear for the torturous brain surgery Cavil has planned for her, Ellen responds, "You should have brought a tumbrel." A tumbrel is two-wheeled wagon pulled by horse or ox for carrying supplies, agricultural produce, or condemned prisoners for the guillotine on our own Earth during the French Revolution. Presumably, it had a similar use in Colonial history.


Memorable Dialog

I'd do it all again.mp3
after my father.mp3
I'm still a Cylon.mp3
I see everything.mp3
I stopped sleeping.mp3
what about the swirl?.mp3
I'll try to be smarter and wronger.mp3
trapped in this absurd body.mp3
the most petty of human emotions.mp3

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