'Battlestar Galactica' recap: Powerful payoff | EW.com

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'Battlestar Galactica' recap: Powerful payoff

In an episode full of revelations, we see and hear from Ellen, Lee gets the keys to the fleet, and we find out there's a 13th skin job

Battlestar Galactica

(Carole Segal/SCI FI Channel)

‘Battlestar Galactica’ recap: Powerful payoff

Hey, everyone. Sorry I had to step away from the keyboard last week — sometimes, there’s just no way to avoid a Comic Con, especially if it’s just a subway ride away. But I knew that you’d be in capable hands with Young Master Vary. Alas, I’m back…and just in time to wrap my brain around the single most revelatory episode of Battlestar Galactica, well, ever.

You know that stretch in Oliver Stone’s JFK where Kevin Costner’s Jim Garrison meets the mysterious insider played by Donald Sutherland in a Washington DC park, and Mr. Mystery proceeds to just drop all kinds of crazy conspiracy science? For what feels like a half an hour he just talks, connecting dots, joining theories, and it’s one of the most magnetic 30 minutes on film.

I bring this up because that’s how I felt about ”No Exit”: It was as if some hidden vault of information opened up in front of me, kind of like the Ark of the Covenant, and by the end of the hour, it melted my goddamn face off.

So, where to begin? At the beginning, of course, with that spiffy ”history of the Cylons” opener, in which we got up to speed with, essentially, everything we’ve learned about our robot enemies lo these many years. And then we saw Ellen Tigh wake up in the goo bath of resurrection; shocked, at first, at her surroundings, but that shock quickly gave way to memory. To understanding. To the truth about who and what she is.

And then ”No Exit” broke in two to follow two different stories: Ellen’s post-New Caprica life on Cavil’s baseship, from the moment she downloaded 18 months ago to the present day; and life in the fleet, in the here and now.

And between those two threads, we learned the following:

The Final Five were Earthlings who rediscovered the Kobolian science behind organic memory transfer from one body to another. Thanks to Ellen, who made the breakthrough, these five learned the secret to resurrection. When the bombs dropped on Earth, they resurrected on a ship in orbit and then made their way to the Twelve Colonies, where they found humanity embroiled in the first Cylon War. The Five then made a deal with the Centurions: The toasters would cease hostilities if the Five would create for them the skin jobs we know so well, and imbue them with the gift of free will. The first model off the assembly line was John/Cavil, who then helped the Five create the other skin jobs. Cavil wanted justice for decades of Cylon slavery and, knowing the Five wouldn’t stomach another war against Mankind, he killed the Five and when they resurrected, left them without their memories to die in the Cylon holocaust. Which, of course, they didn’t.

In one, 44-minute info-sprint, we learned the how and the why behind the Cylons, the war, the Five, everything.

NEXT: Starbuck stands by her man