“Caprica” set the stage for the next phase of its narrative in tonight’s episode, entitled “Know Thy Enemy.” In some ways, the episode looked back to the pilot, revisiting key moments and shedding new light upon them. But it also clearly demarcated new arcs, as Sister Clarice and Daniel Graystone both had old rivals reintroduced into their lives. One came back on the scene brandishing bombs, the other came back brandishing smiles. Both proved equally charismatic and formidable. While the over-aching storyline of “Caprica” can only end one way, it’s nice to see these smaller arcs show such promise. Onto the recap!
[Full recap of Friday's (March 5) "Caprica" after the break...]
One month ago: we see Tauron City in all its glory. A vast, ringed moon dominates the horizon. The town itself recalls Roman architecture. In the middle of all this, Thomas Vergis enters his headquarters and realizes that his meta-cognitive processor has been stolen. Not only that, two scientists within the lab lie dead on the ground. Oh, Sam Adama: what did you do?
Present day: Daniel and Amanda Graystone celebrate the newfound confidence conferred upon him by the board in light of his Zylon presentation. The happy mood is broken when Daniel catches his rival glowering inside the private function. “This museum doesn’t care if my cubits have Tauron dirt all over them,” Vergis sneers. He directly blames Daniel for the theft of the MCP, tells Daniel they should discuss the matter shortly, and leaves the party.
At their home that night, Daniel brushes off the encounter with Amanda upstairs, but pow-wows with Cyrus down in his lab. Daniel theorizes that Vergis’ angle is blackmail; he thinks that perhaps the Adamas may have shifted loyalty in the time since the robbery. As Zoe looks on from inside her robotic shell, Cyrus starts to panic at the thought of the Tauron mob involved with the Graystones. Eventually, he simmers down long enough to allow Daniel to meet with his rival. We then see an ominous shot of Vergis looking out of Caprica City, with Daniel’s face plastered over building-tall billboards across the cityscape. “At long last, we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi,” he says. Whoops, wrong prequel. My bad.
Joseph Adama returns home from Emptor Electronics, newly-purchased holoband in hand. Like us mere mortals on Earth, he has a helluva time getting through the plastic packaging. Nice touch. He heads into the virtual world and finds himself in an office building, where a clean-shaved avatar of Daniel Graystone brightly welcomes him. Joseph speaks to the avatar as if it were the real thing, which leads to amusing boilerplate speak from the virtual head of Graystone Industries. Before he can make headway, the real Daniel pulls the holoband off, having been let in by Joseph’s mother.
Daniel’s mad about the botched robbery. “You people are supposed to be very good at this,” he says. Nice, non-racist start to the conversation, Dan. Joseph says there’s no way Vergis could truly know; otherwise, another rival Tauron gang would have offed him already. He turns the topic to Tamara, with Daniel as skeptical about her existence as Joseph is about Vergis’ intel. Only when William Adama enters the room, woken by the argument, does the argument cease. The two call an uneasy détente as Daniel leaves.
Later than night, Sister Clarice listens uneasily to news of another holo-café bombing. Nestor attributes the attacks to Barnabus, the man alluded to by Keon last week. Looks like there’s a little dissention in the STO ranks. Another member of her “family” (Olaf) comes in with a wireless drive, which is able to extract data remotely for the purposes of recreating not only Zoe’s avatar, but the living avatar of anyone with enough data stored. Clarice calls such a phenomenon “the continuation of the soul into eternity,” which is one hell of a dramatic way to call what’s essentially “Second Life on steroids.” He tells Clarice to infiltrate the Graystones’ lab in order to swipe Zoe from Daniel’s computer.
Clarice calls Amanda on the phone until the pretext of having seen the latter’s appearance on Sarno’s show, asking to come by and pay her last respects to Zoe. Amanda tells her of the police raid, which renders Clarice’s plan moot. So Clarice changes tactics, offering to bring by some of Zoe’s old books. She’s lying through her teeth, but hey, it’s a small price to pay for the continuation of Zoe’s soul into eternity, no?
As Joseph and Sam discuss possible evidence leading Vergis back to them, Vergis enjoys Caprican steak in Daniel’s office. Vergis says that he’s “moved on” from that little “theft and murder” thing. His way of moving on? Buying Daniel’s Pyramid team. He offers 300 million cubits for it, theorizing that Daniel could use the cash to actually make the stolen MCP actually work. Man, someone get this guy on “Shark Tank,” stat.
In Daniel’s lab, Philomon checks out his profile on the Caprican version of eHarmony. I guess “into dancing with robots” isn’t one of the dimensions of compatibility. (According to his profile, he has multiple degrees AND enjoys Gemonon monster movies…what’s not to love, ladies?) “You’d go out with me, right beautiful?” he tells the Zylon. Inside the robot, Zoe looks bemused. Outside the robot, Daniel looks disturbed. “There’s no smoking in the lab, doctor,” he spits out through his teeth.
In an abandoned shipping factory downtown, Keon meets with the aforementioned Barnabas, telling him of Zoe’s aborted trip to Gemonon. From behind a backlit screen, Barnabas says, “Pain keeps our brain from going bad paths. Get in here!” Alrighty then. When Keon refuses to enter, Barnabas walks out with a newly tightened cilice wrapped around his arm. Ouch. He allows Lacy to come, deeming it the will of God. “Of course, if it’s not God guiding her, we’ll deal with that, too.” Ah, James Marsters. Great to see ya, man.
Sister Clarice dons a pair of holobands and goes into the virtual confessional that we saw a few episodes ago. She complains about Barnabas, claiming that he merely does the Church’s “dirty work” as opposed to serving the true will of God. The disembodied voice with whom she speaks tells her that he has the backing of Conclave. She begs for time to show the Conclave physical prove of life after death in the form of Zoe Graystone.
Cyrus and Daniel discuss Vergis’ offer at HQ. The former is glad for it: after all their expert research, no one at Graystone Industries can make the MCP work. The latter is wary of the money as a conduit towards some type of trap. (Cue Admiral Ackbar!)
Sister Clarice arrives at the Graystones and is promptly freaked out by Serge. (Maybe if there were a dozen or so robots all partner-swapping she’d feel more at home?) The falsified books do the trick, evoking an emotional response from Amanda. The two bond over their mutual hatred of Agent Durham, and their love of scorpion ambrosia. Over a few drinks, the two walk through what Amanda calls Zoe’s “open wound” of a room. In her inebriated state, Amanda mentions a few drawings of her daughter’s in the lab downstairs. If Clarice has a handlebar moustache, here’s where she would start twirling it. Down below, Amanda introduces Clarice to the “frakkin’ ugly monster” that is the Zylon. Clarice takes advantage of Amanda’s state, copies the file successfully, and hugs her drunk host warmly.
Keon takes Lacy to the warehouse and introduces her to Barnabus. Lacy is not forthcoming with the true nature of the cargo that she wants him to transport. “I can’t help. I don’t want to,” he calmly replies in the face of her sealed lips. When a frown appears on her face, calm turns to rage and he yells for her to go. He then scolds Keon for thinking with the wrong head, and casually notes that Keon might be feeling guilty; after all, Keon built the bomb that blew up the train. Whoa. Barnabas isn’t much for secrets: he tells Keon to find out what the cargo is before they proceed further.
Thomas Vergus appears on the Bazter Sarno show. Thomas calls “Danny” Graystone a friendly competitor, not a deadly rival. He speaks of his feelings in the wake of the train bombing, and announces on-air his intention to become a Caprican citizen. “You cagy genius,” Daniel says, watching the program from home. “I know what he’s up to.”
As Philomon works away in the lab, he gets an email from eCaprica. Unbeknowst to him, “Rachel” is in fact Zoe. Looks like this date is virtual, so Philomon dons some holobands and looks for his date. Zoe finds him there in a slick grey suit; she plays off her familiar appearance as a way to keep men away by posing as “the most hated girl in the 12 worlds.” Unfortunately, she says, that only made her MORE attractive. Slick, Zoe. Slick. Philo falls hook, liner, and sinker for the routine. “Despite what people say about Zoe Graystone,” he says,” The girl had principles.”
That night, Clarice revisits the hookah bar and passes out. When her men bring her home, they find the successfully loaded drive on her person. “Faith, Olaf,” Nestor tells him. Meanwhile, unable to sleep in his own bed, Daniel has nightmares in which his Tauron-tattooed hands kill Vergis’ men. He wanders upstairs, in hope of sanctuary in his wife’s arms. Sanctuary’s a little hard to find for him right now.
Meanwhile, Joseph asks his associate, Evenlyn, to help look for the boy that met Tamara in the virtual world. She manages to find him (allowing us to learn his name: Tad Thorean), and while Joseph pours over the intel, she pours over the newly-minted tattoo on his chest. “That’s good work,” she says. (What’s Tauron for “meow”?) Her interest sends him all but fleeing for the door. Were this “How I Met Your Mother,” I would say Evelyn is on Joseph’s hook. His frakkin’ hook.
Daniel and Thomas meet face to face over mimosas in the Graystones’ house. Daniel tells his rival that he won’t be selling the team, and that he sees through the Caprican citizenry ruse as a way to re-obtain the military contract. But Thomas sees things differently. He wanted to buy the Bucs because Daniel loved Pyramid all his life. “Never very good at it,” Daniel muses. “Geeks never are!” fires back Thomas, and oh, it’s ON now.
“It’s your dream,” Thomas says. “My dream is to tear up your dream. You stole from me. I forgive that. But the two deaths you are responsible for, those men were like brothers to me.” Thomas then undoes the buttons on his shirt sleeve, showing tattoos representing the children in his life. He points to the two orphaned in the MCP robbery, calmly yet firmly presenting the tattoo’ed arm inches from Daniel’s face. “I am a Tauron. Blood for blood.” When Daniel once again denies responsibility, Thomas notes that not only will he increase his offer to buy the Bucs to 500 million to make the offer too good for the company to refuse, but he will systematically take Graystone’s company down. But before that? He’ll remove everything else precious in his life, until the debt is paid. Well hot damn.
Some more thoughts on tonight’s excellent episode…
** On one side of the STO we have drug use and polyandry; on the other isolation and self-mutilation. That’s a pretty inclusive organization.
** Keon blowing up the bomb adds both another face to the tragedy as well as depth to his general actions on the show to date. The fact that he removed explosives during Durham’s raid should have been a tip-off that he was involved. It’s nice to see a show slip in small details like that in order to make an organic payoff down the road.
** I enjoy the use of Baxter Sarno’s show for both host and guest to consolidate power and manipulate public opinion. In many ways, Thomas went on the show to sell the show’s version of the American Dream: the immigrant that comes to partake in citizenry as well as commerce. There’s a palpable sense in the universe of “Caprica” that moving from Tauron to Caprican is a step up the social spectrum. Thomas uses that naïve, ethnocentric perspective in order to curry favor from the ignorant, stuffy masses to kill them kindly, smiling as they accept boxes of Tauron cigars.
** I understand why some people would find the Zoe/Philo cyber-date boring, but I’d say two things about this particular plot strain. Firstly: Zoe’s father makes her rip arm off and her mother calls her a “frakkin’ ugly monster.” Philo’s literally the only person that treats her…well, like a person. So I get why she’s trying to give him a bit of happiness in return. Secondly, it’s clear that eventually this relationship will sour and send Zoe into a spiral of rage and anger that will feed into the eventual apocalypse. I’m not sure in what context, but that seems to be part of the overall trajectory of the show. So if eCaprica doesn’t float your boat now, I’d suggest you give it a little while to fully flesh out before dismissing it outright.
What are your thoughts as the season heads towards its mid-season finale? Did the introduction of Barnabus and Thomas increase your interest, or simply add more characters to an already crowded show? Leave your thoughts below!