Recap: 'Caprica' Spring Finale - 'End of Line'
In what’s becoming a pandemic of programming, tonight marks the start of a long hiatus for “Caprica.” Following in the less-than-ideal footsteps of shows such as “FlashFoward,” “V,” and to a lesser extent its own parent show “Battlestar: Galactica,” fans of the show will now have to wait a few months until getting the second-half of what’s nominally the first season of the show.
At some point, talk of a show’s “season” will be meaningful only in terms of semantics and DVD packaging. As such, I’m treating tonight’s episode “End of Line” less as a season finale and more as a planned cliffhanger in anticipation of an extended absence. So, how do things stack up as we reached the end of the line for “Caprica” for now? Let’s find out!
[Full recap of Friday's (March 26) "Caprica" after the break...]
The Adama storyline got almost next-to-no time this week. It started off with Sam sitting over his brother in their apartment, worried that Joseph had become “addicted” to the virtual life. Last week I worried we were going the addiction route, and here it is. Sigh. In short order, we learned during Emanuelle’s conversation with Tamara in the virtual world that Joseph was losing touch with real life, was hooked on AMP, and that reuniting with his daughter might not be the best thing for either of them.
Summoned to Tamara’s virtual abode, Joseph immediately AMPed up, and discovered his daughter with a speed that essentially drained any drama out of his search. What followed, however, took things back up a notch. Tearfully, Tamara told her father that his search for her had hollowed him out. She says, “If that’s all you do, that’s all you’ll ever do.” She then shot herself, and then her father, ejecting him forever from New Cap City.
What followed was even better: we learned that Joseph’s legal “friend” Evelyn was Emmanuelle all along. The implication? She used knowledge of Heracles from her investigation on Joseph’s behalf in order to ingratiate herself further in both his life and his heart. Pretty clever. Thought it’s the kind of clever that usually ends up with pet bunnies being boiled.
As Joseph’s time in New Cap City came to a close, Lacy’s life as a relatively innocent girl also came to a close. Having joined STO in order to secure the Zylon’s delivery to Gemenon, she found herself in prayer meetings led by Barnabus. I loved that they gave him the first use in “Caprica” of the signature phrase, “So say we all,” although it definitely makes the initial iterations much less rousing and much creepier. Barnabus gave Lacy a mission, sort of an initiation really: he ordered Lacy to switch out Clarice Willow’s key fob in order to plant a tracking device on his rival.
If you thought to yourself, “I doubt that’s a tracking device,” well, you thought more than Lacy did. After successfully switching it at Athena Academy, she was horrified to learn that the fob was a relay device to set off a large bomb in the back of Clarice’s car. She then learned that her friend Keon designed the technology of destruction in question. Lacy begged Keon not to follow through, but Barnabus pulled a one-man John Woo sequence, threatening to kill them both unless one of them detonated the bomb. With tears in her eyes, Lacy finally did so. But Clarice was out of the car. Why? Because she had gotten out to see Amanda Graystone attempt to commit suicide by jumping off Pantheon Bridge. Let’s step back a bit and follow Amanda’s steps there.
The name of the bridge has obvious symbolism: harkening back (or, I suppose, technically forward) to the Roman edifice as a temple for all gods, the central point for the gods that Amanda’s daughter Zoe rejected before her untimely death. Amanda, for her part, was also stripped away of everything by the time she wandered aimlessly (or subconsciously) towards the bridge: with Clarice heading to Gemenon to speak directly to STO’s head brass about Barnabus, and Daniel all but confirming Vergis’ accusation, she was left to her pills, her memories, and her possible hallucinations. (I think the flashes to a bloody razor hint suggest at least one previous suicide attempt before tonight’s jump.)
Daniel received a phone call soon after this leap, and while it’s implied that the jump and the call are related, we won’t learn for sure until the show comes back. But Daniel had already reached a crossroads of his own earlier in the day. In order to provide the 100,000 Cylons dictated by the government contract, he finally agreed to the sale of his beloved pyramid team. He also ordered Philo to “burn” the MCP chip: treating the generative anomalies not unlike cancerous growths. The implication? Such an action would burn Zoe from what little existence she has left.
Putting even more pressure on Daniel was the military procurement officer, who like many in the government looked away from Graystone’s clear theft of the MCP so that a Caprican could claim the contract. But above all, she demanded results: as Daniel struggled to figure out how to meet her newer, more aggressive deadline, the officer was already wining and dining Vergis with promise of the contract after Daniel’s failure. So, in short: by episode’s end, he’s lost his pyramid team, he’s possibly lost his wife, and oh, by the way: he also lost his Cylon.
Threaded throughout the episode were “Alias”-esque glimpses of a near-future scene in which the Zylon sped down a back road with airships in hot pursuit. Having learned about her father’s plan to wipe the MCP, Zoe had begged Lacy to up the time table in delivering her to Gemenon. When Lacy could’t deliver, Zoe turned to Philo, both in the virtual world (in what looked like a Faith Hill video crossed with “American Beauty”), and finally, in the real world. When she spoke through the Cylon, I’m not sure if Philo or myself jumped higher.
She explained to Philo in plain (albeit computerized) words, begging for release before wiping. Philo seemed to understand/sympathize: he’d told his lab partner that he would love whatever “Rachel” looked like in the real world, and Lord knows he’s ogled the Zylon’s shiny shelf this season so far. But his acceptance of her was all a ruse, which bought him enough time to trigger the security alarms. For his efforts, he earned a quick and probably painful death at the hands of the Zylon. RIP, Philo. With blood on her metallic hands, Zoe drove away from the house only to encounter a roadblock. As the episode cross-cut between the various parties in the episode, Zoe flashed back to memories pre- and post-death of those around her letting her down. She then drove the van headlong into the roadblock, creating a huge fireball. See you later this year, “Caprica”!
So, at the break, what’s working and not working?
Daniel and Zoe Graystone: In general, the interactions between these two were compelling, especially in last week’s standout episode “Ghost in the Machine.” Eric Stoltz is an acquired taste as an actor: maybe not quite as divisive as say a Vincent D'Onofrio but still possessing enough quirks that can either thrill or grate depending on your personal preference. Me? I’m in. I like that Daniel’s a better husband than father, since usually men are portrayed as either equally adept or inept at both.. His fusion of Mark Cuban and Bill Gates worked for me, and I enjoyed Kailyn Stratton’s ability to give her own version of Stoltz’s fusion of mental brilliance and emotional immaturity. Her flashes of anger tonight should only flourish when the show returns. (For more on Zoe’s general motivations, check out the latest Firewall/Iceberg podcast, in which Dan Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall tackle this and another “Caprica”-related issues. If for no other reason, listen to calm your fears about the possible ratings drop that might occur due to the show’s absence.)
Sam Adama: Joseph’s brother hasn’t always had a lot to do, but he’s always a compelling, disarming presence. As the primary link to our understanding of Tauron culture, he almost literally wears his heart on his sleeve (or, rather, on his tattooed body). There have been plenty of gangsters-with-morality in the history of television, but Sasha Roiz brings something new to the table. It’s easy to see why William would gravitate towards him versus his own father.
New Cap City: Looks like a million bucks on a show that really doesn’t have that big a budget. (Most of the show’s design is smart, but NCC stands out above all.) Costume-wise, it is hit or miss, but stylistically, it is “Sin City” meets “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” meets “really scary zeppelins.” I’m still hoping the search for the “meaning” of that virtual world’s game ties into the theistic concerns that the show deals with on a weekly basis.
Clarice Willow: Her search for Zoe’s avatar has never truly worked. I enjoy that the show treats her polyamarous relationship in the same way it deals with Sam’s homosexuality (which is to say, as one aspect of the character, not their sole, defining identity) but I’m personally not sure how finding the avatar will help her cause at all. Also: since Barnabus, in his precious few scenes, is about 50x more interesting than her, I suppose I just want STO to turn straight-up evil and get on with it. After all, the Cylons will eventually kill billions in the name of the one true God. Might as well start sooner rather than later building up to that.
Joseph Adama: I love Esai Morales as an actor, but it’s clear that the show hasn’t given him enough to do on the show to date. Joseph’s largely been a passive character: either unwilling to do anything, unable to do the task assigned to him, passing off said task to another person, or needing chemical assistance when he finally does spring into action. It’s sort of unclear why Evelyn’s so hot for him, quite frankly. I hope the show elevates his character to the level of his brother when it returns from hiatus.
Lack of plot integration: This is largely a function of the show coming together over its first few hours, with the groundwork being laid for connections down the road. But for a show that purportedly shows the effects of a terrorist act on two families, those two families really haven’t had a lot to do with each other. As such, the show feels at times oddly cleaved: at times, the plots parallel each other, if not directly overlap; at other times, it feels as if they might as well be in two different shows. Obviously, the defense contract ties in with the STO’s emergence with the avatars of two teenage girls as virtual X factors. But for now, it’s all unconnected, pieces floating down the river that might currently house the body of Amanda Graystone.
Will your summer be lacking without new “Caprica”? Or did tonight’s episode leaving you feeling lackluster about your chances of watching once the show returns? Leave your thoughts below!