No Exit Notes

Time for a whole bunch of notes on No Exit, and the newly revealed "Cavil as Mastermind" backstory.

First I will be critical. I am not fond of it. Not simply because it was not my pet theory, and not for reasons of science of plot consistency, but for reasons of character. There were many who offered that the Final Five, like Boomer were planted in the colonies with fake memories. They argued that since the bio-Cylons were only created under 40 years ago, Tigh at least had to be that way. I argued that the Five were thousands of years old, so this was no issue. Turns out we were both wrong and both right. They are thousands of years old but also young with fake memories at the same time.

Why don't I like this? Because we, as the audience, invested in these characters, especially Tigh and Tyrol. They are not like Boomer who we viewed as an artificial memory construct from the start. We got to know them on the human side. It was OK for them to have more history, and to learn new memories. It is not OK for their human lives to be partly fake. Based on what we have seen, Ellen gets her memory back and goes from being fleet skank and manipulator to genius scientist. From selfish trickster to a confident, dominant, caring and loving mother/creator. Some of her old whimsy is there but it is subsumed. That may be how it has to be, but it is as though our old characters are dead because they never were real. I am sure that many aspects of personality will remain as the characters change but it won't be as good. And I am bothered because I didn't feel there was a need to write the story in a way to make their early lives invented.

Cavil's Master Plan

We now learn that rather than being the secret string pullers, the Five were Cavil's victims, killed and reprogrammed from Cavil's spite. There's more to this story yet to see, some we may not see. It now seems likely that it was Cavil who programmed the others with their compulsion not to think of the final five. However, the programming of the raiders biological brains, including instructions not to attack the Final Five, didn't come from Cavil. Cavil may have given the other 7 some more programing, however. In particular, possibly he gave them programming not to see real Earth. He knows where it is, but they keep not seeing it.

The Centurions made a deal with the Five to get biological bodies. What's not clear is in what sense the Centurions moved their minds into such bodies. On the one hand, we hear that John was raised as a boy. On the other hand he refers to himself having been a slave of humans. How are the memories mixed? Surely the Centurions didn't stop their war for a promise that new biological Cylons would be created completely independently -- or that later those new Cylons would enslave the older ones. They must have expected that their own minds would move into biological bodies. (This is interesting since some of them have memories of being Tamara Adama.) So is John part Centurion, part new being? Why was that acceptable? John has decided it is not, of course, and wants a metal body. Does he want to return to a metal body?

There were more than 8 Centurions, of course, and so they would all want bodies, and would not want to become slaves. Did John abort a larger program after he killed the Five, and put the inhibitors onto the Centurions? He is the one who is most afraid of the inhibitors being removed, and without them, the Centurions are very happy to put bullets into him. The others don't seem to know this early history, they may be less guilty. But Cavil says several times that removing the inhibitors will have tremendous consequences.

Cavil seemed much more rational before. He was ready to not worry about the search for Earth (a place he already knows about) and suggested they just try to be great machines. Now this appears to be manipulation. He's a bit crazy, which annoys me. I don't like crazy bad guys. I prefer my bad guys to be understandable.

One True God

Now that we learn that Ellen has been prisoner and Cavil has been pulling some strings, it is clear that Cavil is not pulling all of them. Another string puller is out there, behind the supernova at the Algae planet, the wakeup and battle at the Ionian Nebula, the Starbuck vanish/return and the Virtual Beings. Presumably this is the Cylon god.

Anders recounts that Ellen changed her mind about the Centurions when she learned they had developed monotheism. She is a monotheist herself, and I doubt she got that from the Centurions, but instead identified with them when she learned it.

We learn that the Five got virtual beings of their own which warned them about the upcoming war. This made them work to redevelop resurrection and put a ship in orbit. So this god goes back quite a ways, presumably back to Kobol too.

We now have a plot problem with the Temple of Five/Temple of Hopes, however. Ellen says they changed it to show their faces on their sublight trip back from the ruined 13th colony. But that took place well after the 12 tribes left Kobol. So why do the 12 tribes have legends of "the temple of the five priests of the one whose name cannot be (spoken)?" Those legends would have had to come later, and somehow faster than the Five themselves in their lightspeed ship.

Ellen says they had nothing to do with the nova, however. That must have been god, she says.


We will certainly hear more of Daniel. When Anders says the name, Starbuck asks "are you sure you got the word right?" She is not trying to make sure he didn't say Kara, which sounds nothing like Daniel. She wants to confirm he really said Daniel. It seems really strong that Daniel is a name she recognizes. Many speculate it's her father. (Though there is still a case for her just trying to make extra sure 7's name was not Kara.)

A single Daniel copy lived, and made John jealous. When they were going to make his whole line, John "poisoned his fluids" and "corrupted his DNA" in a way that "can't be undone, unlike boxing." It is implied but not confirmed that the new copies are dead, but the original is not said to be dead.

No, he's not the source of the virtual beings, as they show up 2,000 years ago. At least not the only source. But I am confident we'll see more of this one. While he's not old like the others, he might very well be one of the string pullers involved in some of the events that can't be attributed to Cavil, including Starbuck's destiny. It may have been him appearing as Leoben in Starbuck's visions. He may be working to undo all of Cavil's plans in some mysterious way. In fact, we could attribute much of the hidden events to him if we had not learned that the Final Five got visits from Virtual Beings on the 13th colony 2,000 years ago.

John's body

We are told that Cavil/John's body is a copy of Ellen's father, also named John. So while the elder John was also a Cylon (of sorts) this goes against RDM's early promises that the Cylon body forms are archetypes, not taken from humans. Well, John Sr. was not human, but I think we can now consider that the bodies of the 8 Cylons may come from other sources, including the 13th colony, Kobol, and real Earth too. This starts to explain a scene of Tricia Helfer in 21st century real Earth that's been making the rounds. A 21st century woman could have been the model prototype for somebody on Kobol, and then later for Six.

Orion is back

This time, as Boomer and Ellen flee the base star, we see Orion, Sirius, Castor and Pollux very clearly and framed in a deliberate way between the arms of the base star. This can be no accident. Orion is the most recognizable of all the constellations, and they are putting it front and center. So Cavil's base star is in the solar system. Is it possibly "The Colony" -- the secret base known only to him and the final five where their equipment is stored? Perhaps the location of the beach he played on as a child?

More on sublight travel

Part of me is thrilled to see sublight travel in the show. Sublight travel doesn't work for a space-opera where bad guys chase you across the galaxy, but it is a requirement for hard SF, and rarely seen outside it. It does mean the Ionian Nebula makes no sense any more, but we'll get to that in the future.

Sublight travel is not impossible (unlike FTL) but it's very hard. It requires immense amounts of energy. Especially if your payload is a whole colony. While we probably won't see anything about this in the show, a likely scenario is that the 13th colony was colonized not by a colony ship, but by a tiny ship, containing the downloaded minds of the Cylons who founded it. Such a ship can be very tiny.

On board the ship would be the minds in storage, some very small robots, and the tools to create biological growth tanks. Some of the minds would inhabit the robots and build the tanks with local materials to grow biological bodies, which would then get inhabited to build the new civilization.

It would be cool if this was how the 13th colony was built, and also how Kobol was colonized as well. And it makes it easier to explain a disconnect with the mother worlds.

We now must ask who developed FTL travel? It could be the colonies, though they don't seem up to it when more advanced planets like Kobol and either Earth did not. It could have happened on Kobol after the 13th tribe left.

This might suggest one plot: People on Kobol wanted revenge on the 13th tribe for something, but didn't do it as a sublight revenge mission is not practical or pleasant. But when FTL came, they decided to pay a visit and destroy it. However, that doesn't mesh with Anders' story that after the war they felt it important to go spread the message of "love your AI children and keep them free" to the 12 colonies.

Sublight travel puts more constraints on a writer, which is good. But it does mean you run into problems you can't fix by fiat. The naming of the Temple of Five above is an issue. (Possibly the date of the exodus from Kobol will be different than 2,000 years ago, but it's hard to place it after Ellen's arrival there.)


Now this is the kind of analysis I dig! Much fun!

Daniel: I don't think Starbuck wants to make sure he didn't say 'Kara'-- I think she wants to make sure it wasn't the aphasia affecting his speech, making him say a completely different name or word. Even a female name would have been enough for her. Frankly, I don't think she recognized the name, but I could be wrong.

Cavil's Master Plan: I never got the impression that the centurions minds were transferred to humanoid cylons, so I don't think Cavil was ever once a centurion. The centurions wanted to procreate and evolve, not become human-- they didn't put their minds into the hybrids, after all. The way I see it, the original deal was that the F5 would develop skinjobs for the centurions to program themselves. Unfortunately, Cavil co-opted this plan upon his activation. So he reconfigured the 8 models and enslaved the centurions with inhibitors after disposing of the 5.

Cavil says to Ellen, "you're no better than the humans that enslaved us."

The 7 must have some connection to the minds and memories of the Centurions who were enslaved, or why this, why the genocide? Well, Cavil seems to have been behind the genocide -- the others thought they were "killing their parents" and if they are not derived from Centurions then this is not true, but they had knowledge of their actual creators taken from their minds by Cavil.

At the same time he refers to his 'centurion cousins.' When he says 'us' I think it's more his kind, ie: machines. He and the other cylons clearly view the centurions as brothers, cousins or some other form of analogous relatives, so the genocide is on their behalf-- at least that's how I interpret it. It could also be that the nature of a machine mind makes it that every cylon is its own individual, but they share a core database complete with collective memory. They did mention recently that the humanoid models can access the others' memories from the last time they resurrected.

I suppose it could go either way, as there has been not been specifically stated one or the other. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be the kind of detail they will lay out for us. I have a feeling a lot questions will only be answered by the upcoming movie 'The Plan.' Hopefully this is one of them.

What you're laying out, what Moore may lay out is that the metal Cylons are waging a war of liberation against their slave owners. They are trying to get biological bodies too, for whatever reasons.

Some people show up and say "Hi, we're machines too, made by the very long ago ancestors of the humans you are fighting -- very distant cousins. We've been in biological form for a while. If you stop the war, we'll make some more biological beings just like us, not containing your own memories or minds but raised by us. Deal?"

And they don't add, "Oh yeah, there is a risk they will rebel against us and enslave you all over again."

Sure doesn't sound like a very interesting deal. What I don't understand is, it's not hard for the script to say, "And we'll transfer your minds into the new bodies" or even "we'll merge your minds together and combine them into bodies." Especially when it's established the Cylon minds started as human memory transfers -- which explains their desire to be biological.

So why does the script not make this clear?

One explanation is bad writing. Another is some of the writers may have had a subconcious drive in a more logical direction and Ron's decisions clashed with that. This stuff seems to have been produced to a deadline and under pressure. Something might just have given way.

"It's so crazy it's gotta work!"

And they don’t add, “Oh yeah, there is a risk they will rebel against us and enslave you all over again.”

Remember that Ellen thought the Centurion's belief in a one-God would preclude the mess happening all over again.

The only Daniel I'm aware of in the series was Daniel Novacek (call-sign Bulldog) from the episode "Hero." If you remember correctly, he was supposedly released by the Cylons (though he believed he escaped on his own). We learn in that episode that Adama believes the incident involving the Battleship Valkyrie, may have started the war.

Everything about Daniel Novacek is a mystery. Much like everything about the original appearance of Ellen Tigh. And in the end, Daniel Novacek is simply allowed to leave BSG and supposedly go into the fleet. Supposedly, he's still alive and we haven't seen him since.

He's the obscure but obvious choice. The next possibility being someone's father, or someone by another name (both of which would be a downer IMO).

Read Michael Hall's recent post on "No Exit," specifically where he talks about Moore's reaction on the podcast regarding Daniel. It's a spoiler, so I don't want spill it here unless we've all listened to the podcast already.

I went back and listened to the podcast. RDM never confirms anything, he simply says 'and Daniel has significance in Caprica as well.' Since Caprica takes place years before, they cannot be the same-- but #7 could be BASED on him, physically or he may have been named after him, as I postulated earlier. I like this better than another mystery cylon, frankly, because I am tired of trying to figure out who is and isn't one at this point.

Perhaps, name after Daniel Greystone?

Okay, so we got the WTF drive and the Final Final One nailed?

Glad we got that cleared up.

I'm gunning for Jake the dog to be the Cylon God. He's embedded in the fleet. He has contacts at the highest levels. His name (woof) cannot be spoken. It all fits!

His name (woof) cannot be spoken.

Love it! Has anyone read John Scalzi's AGENT TO THE STARS where the gelatinous alien takes over a dog? Seems like that's what we'd end up with.

I love it, that you love it. Brad said "skank".

This is beginning to get very silly.

RIGHT! On with it then!

At first I also found it unsatisfying that the Five have been victims instead of string pullers, for the same reasons as Brad did. But as it sinks in, I find myself intrigued by the additional layers. The Five are very capable but not all-knowing. They don't know the identity of the virtual beings who warned them of the impending holocaust 2,000 years ago, and they don't know the entity (or entities) working through the Five more recently to guide the Colonial and Cylon fleets to the right places at the right time.

So I'm willing to forgive the character whiplash inflicted by the sudden revelation that the Five were embedded out of Cavil's malice, because it kicks the greater mysteries up a level. For me, it's storytelling that works - it was just an unexpected twist and I even kinda like it because it's got me thinking in an entirely new direction.

(BTW, this was an enjoyable analysis as usual, Brad. The bit about Orion et al is particularly fascinating.)

They [F5] don't know the identity of the virtual beings who warned them of the impending holocaust 2,000 years ago, and they don't know the entity (or entities) working through the Five more recently to guide the Colonial and Cylon fleets to the right places at the right time.

Which makes me think that Starbuck's true nature is intimately tied to whoever/whatever the head characters are.

Beings of Light... Or something of that nature.

Maybe Baltar's Six was Iblis. Of all the virtual beings described or portrayed on the show thus far, Baltar's was the only one influencing the person to be selfish and deceitful, out for the benefit of ones self, while the others seemed to be out to help others.

I wonder if the head characters are the way the Kobolians communicate with humans and Cylons. I've kind of pegged The One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken as the Big Bad simply because the one disagreeing with a sort of "Olympian council" is an interesting way to combine the Lucifer and Classical gods mythologies. So, what if the entity communicating with Baltar is The One Whose Name... (can we just call it Woof for the sake of brevity or use an acronym?) and the entity(ies) who communicated with Sam, Tory, and Galen could be other Kobolian(s). This might also explain Roslin's interaction with the Elosha character during the jumps -- maybe that's the only way a Kobolian can communicate with human? Maybe the jump combined with her chamalla usage helped in some way?

I'm loving the final episodes but not digging the plot "tying" everything together. Nonetheless I have to say I enjoyed Ellen's arguments with Cavil. Cavil is talking to his maker. Wouldn't we say the exact same things to God if God were standing in front of us?

Why did you make us imperfect, and because you did, aren't you responsible for my evil doings, not me?

Hearing Brad use the word "skank" is like the Queen of England asking someone to pull her finger.

"We now have a plot problem with the Temple of Five/Temple of Hopes, however. Ellen says they changed it to show their faces on their sublight trip back from the ruined 13th colony. But that took place well after the 12 tribes left Kobol. So why do the 12 tribes have legends of “the temple of the five priests of the one whose name cannot be (spoken)?”"

Ellen does not say they changed it to show their faces. In fact, she outright denies it:

Cavil: By planting that carnival trick to reveal your own faces, you left me no choice.
Ellen: We didn't plant anything. We backtracked the path of our ancestors, found their temple...the one true god must have orchestrated these events.

I got the impression that she was saying she didn't do the nova. If she didn't do the faces, this makes even less sense. Based on dates, at least, the Final Five were recently born, living out their normal lifespans at the time of the war on their Earth and the war on Kobol. They weren't even special until just before that war when they were visited by virtual beings and at the last minute rushed to get the resurrection tech working.

I don't know how long they live as Cylons, so perhaps they are centuries old, but the big events are all near 2,000 years ago.

So even if a 3rd party modifies the Temple of Hopes to show their faces, how do the colonials, who left Kobol 2,000 years ago as well, have legends of a "Temple of the five priests." It isn't just Tyrol who knows those stories.

I thought it would be fun and interesting to take another listen to Sam's "gibberish" in this episode. He sounds a lot like a hybrid in this mode. Here is a list of what he says:

Among bright stars I'm lost.

It is noontide and all the forgotten faces, all the forgotten children; we seek the great forgotten language.
[inaudible] but the colony never forgets.

The mind is its own place [inaudible] the hell of heaven.

He whose guile [screen shows Cavil] stirred with revenge. . . conceived [inaudible] under mankind.

And all the forgotten faces we seek—we've been to that beach too. Yes, we've been to that beach. [clips of beach on the cinder planet] Sometimes Ellen would be there too because she loved the water. She loved the water.

Later, while not gibberish, Sams says: "Saul, stay with the fleet. It's all starting to happen. It's the miracle. Right here, it's a gift from the angels. Stay with the fleet."

Is it important that he said "the miracle" instead of "a miracle?" Reactions anyone?

You should add that to the Anders page on the battlestarwiki

Great idea.

BTW, "It is noontide" could be "There is a new tide."

Some of those are lines from Milton's Paradise Lost

Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd [ 35 ]
The Mother of Mankind...

The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.

Ooohhh, awesome. I thought it might be from something since hybrid speak can be traced to something similar -- there's a post on the SciFi Forums about that, but I don't have the URL handy. I googled it, but didn't come up with anything. I'll definitely be adding this to my post on "No Exit." Can I credit you in some way?

Some of the other lines are also from Thomas Wolfe's "Look Homeward, Angel:"

"A stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again."

The last bit about a “lost lane-end into heaven…an unfound door” makes me think of Starbuck’s trip to Earth via the maelstrom and back via the Ionian Nebula. That combined with the 13th Tribe finding the way to Earth from the Temple of Hopes/Eye of Jupiter still makes me think that maybe there’s a wormhole or some sort of jump-gate somewhere.

Probably just a coincidence, but "John" was the name of Edward Mulhare's character in TOS. He was one of the Beings of Light.

How is it possible for Anders to know about anything that occurred after his second death and boxing? How does he know that Cavil released Saul first?

Good question, but it also relates to how he was able to recover his lost memories. Since Anders was able to recover his lost memories of his life before John Cavil killed the Five, that means the memories could be stored somewhere other than his brain. You'd think they'd have a backup in case of some malfunction, even if they haven't directly addressed that issue. So, if there's a backup of his memories, there would also be a backup of the others' memories. If that's the case I suspect they might have access to each other's files. All of this is my inference though. I'd prefer it if they addressed it more directly. We do know that the Significant Seven can access the memories of another model in their line -- both Six and Eight have done this. There was an Eight on a basestar who tried to get close to Helo this way and I'm pretty sure the Lida version of Six accessed information about Baltar before meeting him. We don't know that an Eight could access a Six's memories, but the Five are a bit different from the Seven.

If Ellen Died on new Caprica how come she downloaded after The Algae planet and supernova?

She didn't, she downloaded before those events. Look at the captions.

Add new comment