Last week’s premiere of “Caprica” was a relative one: chances are, many of you that watched it might have already caught it via DVD in the time since its release last Spring. But tonight marks the start of the series good and proper with its first hour-long episode. It’s fitting that the title of this episode was “Rebirth.” After all, the theme of this week’s episode centered around alternative parent/child relationships in the wake of the train bombing. Dr. Phil would have a FIELD DAY in Caprica City, methinks.
Let’s look at the lost children of “Caprica,” one by one.
[Full recap of Friday's (Jan. 29) "Caprica" after the break...]
With his father too wrapped up in the grief over the deaths of Shannon and Tamara, William is the odd man out right now in the Adama household. His dislocation is two-fold: not only does he feel like he doesn’t have a family, but he doesn’t have a homeland, either. The former is evident with him skipping school to learn some (unsavory) life lessons from Uncle Sam. The latter is evident with his distaste for Tauron cuisine, much to the chagrin of his grandmother.
It’s unclear how much William understood his uncle’s involvement with the Tauron underworld before their time together this week, but it’s clear that he enjoyed his first involvement with it. And come on: if you were in need of a father figure, wouldn’t Uncle Sam more than do in a pinch to fill that spot? He’s funny, charismatic, and seems to know how to throw a trash can through a window in front of the cops and yet not land in jail. Look for a sci-fi version of “A Bronx Tale” to bust out, with Joseph and Sam fighting for the soul of the Man Who Will Be Admiral.
If Lacy were a character from an 80’s movie, she’d probably be Andie Walsh from “Pretty in Pink,” a girl from the wrong side of the tracks with a heart of gold and a hearty taste for monotheism. OK, so maybe the latter trait wasn’t exactly featured in the John Hughes classic, but we learned this week that despite having a lot in common with Zoe, “economic status” was not one of those things.
Sister Willow seeks to capitalize on Lacy’s vulnerable state in the wake of Zoe’s death and invites her over for lunch at her house. Upon arrival, we see a gaggle of people already there. Turns out Sister Willow exists at the nexus of a “group marriage.” Alright, it’s “Big Love,” Caprica-style! (She even looks like Barb/Margene hybrid, but totally acts like Nicki. Spooky, really) She makes sure that Lacy spends plenty of time with Husband Nestor, a man so young that I think Sister Willow is qualified to make a guest appearance on “Cougar Town.” The other wives and husbands are leery of Sister Willow’s fascination with Lacy (and seem to insinuate that Nestor himself was a former student she seduced with mention of a “track record”), but quickly back down when confronted by her. Looks like she runs that group roost.
Quick take on this storyline so far: It seems clear that she values Zoe’s work as a key to the future of the Soliders of the One, and wants to use Lacy to access whatever information may have been lost with Zoe proper. Something about Zoe’s work will take her life to the next level, with the current one strained at best for her. Of course, unbeknownst to Sister Willow, Zoe Improper still exists inside the prototype Cylon. And this Zoe/Cylon hybrid (a Zylon?) still has enough parental issues to fry a circuit board.
The show establishes a new visual trick/motif this week: it oscillates between the Cylon body and Zoe proper onscreen to ram home the intertwined nature of the outer and inner composition of the prototype robot. It’s not quite a “Chip Six” trick, for those of you that watched “Battlestar: Galactica,” but it’s a similar trick all the same. (Also? Probably a ton cheaper, decreasing the overall number of CGI shots needed on a weekly basis.)
That being said, while it’s obviously a practical need, it does take certain scenes that should be “emotional” and render them “completely ridiculous.” Having the Zylon call Lacy for help is more than a little weird. Watching the POV change from Lacy hugging a 5’ Zoe to Lacy hugging an 8’ Cylon is straight-up giggle inducing. I didn’t mind the first pan in which Zoe turned into Cylon turned into Zoe as someone walked around her/it/her, but by the fifteenth pan, I got the point. Glad we got this out of the way, even if I think the show’s already written itself into a hole from which it may never fully escape. Back to the recap proper.
When we first see the Zylon, it’s from its POV: a mixture of the familiar red glow, memories of Zoe’s life, images from Club V, and moments from inside the fight simulation created by Daniel for the lucrative government contract. For reasons Daniel’s engineers can’t figure out, the MCP only works in the original, prototype body. Even though all Cylon models were built identically, the MCP renders all other units as “dummies” if inserted into them. Problematic, in that Graysone is contracted to provide 100,000 robots but currently only has one.
Daniel orders that the Zylon be taken to his private lab for testing. Two assistants are tasked with dismantling and moving it to his mansion. One (Philomon) chooses to feminize/humanize it (smart!); the other chooses to mock it (dumb!). I’ll leave it to you to decide which one ends up soothing the savage Zylon with the power of his voice and which one will never, even use a spoon again. Philomon will either be 1) a calming force on an ever-increasingly aggressive Zylon, 2) be the sole protectorate of Zoe’s secret inside Graystone’s operation, 3) be the unwitting person that helps accelerate the apocalypse, or 4) all of the above. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Amanada Graystone is as distracted as her husband, though for different reasons. She makes public appearances as Buccaneers’ games (LOVE the Caprican National Anthem), but scoots out before the games even begin to watch old home movies of Zoe. While watching these, Agent Durham returns to her house to inquire further about Ben. Amanda confesses no knowledge of the boy, which surprises a skeptical Durham. After all, didn’t Amanda know he was her daughter’s boyfriend? Oops. Guess not. Distraught, Amanda visits Lacy and learns about a “new family” that supposedly waiting for her on Gemenon.
In fact, most of her face time this week revolved around just how little she knew Zoe at all. The point gets driven home fully when she meets Ben’s mother at the memorial service for those that died in the train accident. She’s at first ashamed to learn that Ben’s mother knew about the relationship. Then, she’s aghast to find an infinity symbol among the affects Zoe left behind in Ben’s room. It’s the same symbol featured in the videos she had been watching throughout the episode, but only now did she realize what she missed right in front of her eyes the entire time.
With Daniel distracted by Joseph at the memorial (he’s literally haunted by Tamara and anxious to find her in the virtual world again), Amanda takes the microphone at the service and announces to the world that she thinks Zoe may have been behind the bombing. Watching in the crowd? Agent Durham. Watching at home? The Zylon.
This will not end well.
Other tidbits from tonight’s episode…
** While the show can be overwhelming in terms of its cultural denseness, I do appreciate that “Caprica” inhabits a fully fleshed out world out of the gate, one in which its denizens are well-versed and we are only being acclimated. It keeps me on my toes, even if it leaves me at times scratching my head.
** I’m digging the little eccentricities/character tics given so far to Daniel Graystone (piano playing in the lab, his Mark Cuban-esque ownership of the Buccaneers), but a little goes a long way, “Caprica.” He’s much more interesting the closer he stays to normalcy. There’s plenty of time to let him go off the deep end as he searches the Zylon’s circuits for Zoe’s whereabouts.
** I got the impression that group marriages are not uncommon in Caprican society, as evidenced by Lacy mentioning she knew kids from school that were products of such a set-up. Then again, she goes to Sister Willow’s school, which makes me think that a lot of people would be protesting Athena Academy if it existed in modern-day America.
** I realize that this show is setting the stage for mass genocide as its inevitable endpoint, but a touch more humor/fun would go a long way towards making this a more easily digestible hour of TV. And no, the Zylon breaking Zoe’s old bed doesn’t count.
With Amanda’s announcement, the pressure to root out the Soldiers of the One will increase, as will the Zylon’s anger and frustration in captivity. Will Tamara be used in the virtual to offset Zoe’s anger, or be a soldier to fight alongside her? Will the battle between Daniel and Joseph play on both the surface world and electronic world? And what happens with Sister Willow realizes the Soldiers’ best fate lies in the hands of one of her former students? Good questions all, and I look forward to the show addressing them this season.
What did you make of tonight’s episode? Is it keeping you in on Friday nights? The perfect thing to watch during Saturday morning breakfast? Or a show not worth your time? Leave your thoughts below!