No Exit,” written by Ryan Mottesheard and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton, both newcomers to the BSG writing and directing game, is ALL infodump. It’s like one, long episode of those two characters sitting around and talking about why things are the way they are. Surprisingly enough, it works much, much better than this sort of thing has any right to work.
Who knew that a bullet in the brain could release so much info. Nice, Sam. I had all but written him off as irrelevant and publicly wished that "BSG" had taken a more realistic twist by having him go down hard as a casualty of war - random shot to the head/neck, no big speeches, just death. It's what happens. Let the others tell the story. Well, now I'm glad that didn't happen. It would have been stark and cool and unexpected, but having Sammy Boy flap his gums so much about what he remembered from way back was a lot of fun. To wit: The Final Five all punched the clock together. Just like "The Office," only not. Tyrol and Tory, sitting in a tree...OK, that was childish. But those two? Really? Hmmmm. I loved how Tyrol - now officially back to "Chief" thanks to Adama - kind of chuckled at the thought and Tory looked like she threw up in her mouth. The heretofore mysterious 7th Cylon is named Daniel (in the Lion's Den?) and as Ellen squares off with her "son" Cavil (oh, yeah, that too) we learn Daniel was a sensitive boy and evil Cavil basically neutered the line. He's a bastard, that 1. Boxing up and killing off and yelling and - hey, don't talk to your mother like that!
Now, there's almost no point in analyzing "No Exit" as an episode of drama. There are dramatic moments in it (Sam's seizure, Boomer helping Ellen escape), but it's largely an info-dump -- or, as Mo Ryan put it, a download directly into each viewers' brain -- so that we can stop asking many of our questions(*) and start pondering the philosophical and practical implications of all this knowledge.
Other reviews and recaps from: Onion A.V. Club, Entertainment Weekly, L.A. Times, Show Patrol, io9, North By Northwestern, Buddy TV, TV Squad, Hitfix, Matt & Nat's BSG Cast, IGN, Mike Murphy of the Press Democrat, Richard Vine in The Guardian, Cinemablend, John Keegan for MediaBlvd, Jim Connelly recaps No Exit, with a flowchart, Kelly West for Cinemablend wonders about Number Seven, Daniel. In The Huffington Post, Mike Ragogna laments the looming end of BSG, and Sam J. Miller has a 25 word review of No Exit.
Geek Sugar has a No Exit quiz.
ATROPOS.EXE lays out the backstory of No Exit.
No Exit and Dollhouse were hits on iTunes.
Edited to add: Televisionary gets to the bottom of the BSG-Sartre connection.