Skip to main content

In Brief: Ryan Mottesheard Acknowledges "No Exit," Sartre Link

While I was fairly effusive with my thoughts about last week's episode of Battlestar Galactica ("No Exit") and my theories about the history and future of the Cylon race, Daniel, and Kara Thrace, there was one thing that I wanted to know more about: the episode's title.

As I mentioned in my previous write-up about the episode, the title seems to be a deliberate allusion to Jean-Paul Sartre's 1944 existentialist play "Huis Clos" (translated in English as "No Exit"), given the episode's use of Ellen Tigh, John Cavil, and Boomer in a similar fashion as the three characters (Garcin, Ines, and Estelle) in Sartre's work, which provided the basis for his most quoted aphorism, "Hell is other people." (And the Cylon centurion who helps Ellen out of her goo bath? Clearly a nod to the Valet in Sartre's play.)

I emailed Battlestar Galactica's script coordinator, Ryan Mottesheard, who wrote "No Exit" to ask him if he intentionally selected the title in order to directly evoke Sartre's work.

"Yes, the title is a nod to Sartre's 'No Exit,'" wrote Mottesheard in an email to me. "(And, yes, I am just that pretentious.)"

"Aside from the obvious thematic overlap, there are myriad superficial similarities," he continued. "I'm just glad to have garnered an entry under the 'No Exit' Wikipedia page."

While the Cylon troika in BSG's "No Exit" also clearly wants to torment each other for eternity, there is one major difference between Mottesheard's script and Sartre's play.

At the end of Sartre's "No Exit," the door opens up but none of the prisoners have the strength to leave and end their punishment; however, in Mottesheard's "No Exit," it's the brooding Boomer who actually proves her free will by rescuing Ellen and taking her off of the base ship, toward the light.

Whether Boomer's decision points to a humanist belief that people--including Cylons--will choose the rational over the divine and do the right thing or whether the series is subtly rejecting the existential notion of the universe's underlying meaninglessness remains to be seen. In rejecting the Pythian prophecies, can the humans and Cylons find their own shared path based on reason and morality rather than pre-destiny?

We'll find out as the road to the series finale of Battlestar Galatica continues...


Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.


Back in 2006, I founded a television blog called Televisionary (the very one you're reading now).  At the time, it was a little side-project that I stared while working in television development: something to do during the off-hours or (my infrequent) down-time or at my desk during my lunch breaks.  Over the next few years, Televisionary morphed into a full-time job as I watched almost everything on television and cataloged my thoughts, penning reviews, conducting interviews with talent, breaking news, and aggregating the day’s entertainment news headlines and major listings every morning. It got noticed by Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times , The Chicago Tribune and CNN, Deadline and Variety . Televisionary took on a life of its own. It became discussed in Hollywood and I was always surprised to discover that actors or producers or executives who read my TV blog. It was a secret at first, one that I eventually shared with a few friends before spreading outwards, thanks