With “The Imperfections of Memory,” “Caprica” featured three people searching elusive, out-of-reach goals. Joseph Adama spent the hour looking for his daughter’s avatar. Daniel Graystone sought to unlock the mystery of the MCP with his rival breathing down his neck. Amanda Graystone sought solace through drugs and alcohol. All got closer to their goals, but not without working through demons from their past.
Read on for my full take on another solid episode from the increasingly engrossing SyFy drama…
Amanda Graystone walks up from a fevered dream. In it, a man runs down a hallway of what looks like a hospital. Upon waking up, she glances at an envelope tucked inside a book on her bed. The envelope is from the Delphi Convalescent Institute. Elsewhere on this fine morning, Olaf awakens Clarice and informs her that the swipe drive doesn’t contain Zoe’s avatar, but the computer that she swiped once did. She decides to find out the new location via Amanda, who goes to the memorial site on a daily basis.
When Clarice arrives, she finds Amanda in a shouting match with an employee of “Gideon Enterprises.” The man claims that he’s moving the memorial items (including photos, candles, and various remembrances) to another, more permanent site. Amanda calls the site itself “sacred ground,” and with Clarice’s help, raises enough of a stink that a crowd soon forms around them. Frustrated, the Gideon employee leaves. For her part, Amanda is startled to see a familiar face in the ground. She confesses soon after to Clarice that familiar face is her dead brother, Darius.
Back at the Graystones’ lab, Zoe summons Lacy into the virtual world and tells her friend of Clarice’s actions. “She looked me right in my eye!” Zoe exclaims. Noting that time is suddenly of the essence, she gives Lacy further marching orders to deploy to Barnabus. Her flirtation with Philomon comes into focus during this exchange: she plans to use him to escape from the lab itself. But it’s up to Lacy to secure her delivery to Gemenon.
Elsewhere in Caprica City, Joseph tracks down Tad outside the restaurant in which he works. Tad’s not anxious to meet up with Tamara again in the virtual world: “Dead people shouldn’t have avatars!” he tells Joseph. But to this grieving father, the avatar IS his daughter. The two then don holobands and slip into the tunnels leading to New Cap City. Tad tries to give him ground rules: death will prevent re-entry for good (which we learned in “There Is Another Sky”), and superpowers don’t exist (which we learn tonight via a humorous faux flying lesson). The two then make their foray into the violent, virtual world.
As Amanda walks through the town, she witnesses a car crash. She rushes to help, but pauses, remembering her suspended medical license. As another doctor appears on the scene, she sees Darius again in the near distance. She gives chase, but eventually loses sight of him. Pausing to catch her breath, she spies a poster for a contemporary art museum. Featured on the poster? A all too familiar bridge. She pops a few pills, rolls up the poster, and leaves.
Meanwhile, Clarice steals a bottle of rare scorpion ambrosia from one of her wives for Phase Two of “Operation: Amanda.” Seems she thinks that Zoe’s amazing gift might have been inherited from her mother, who’s now pulling a Haley Joel Osment. “God is using these women to speak to me,” she tells Olaf. As Amanda mixes booze with prescription drugs, she tells Clarice of her latest Darius sighting, but also adds a key piece to the puzzle: the aforementioned bridge? The sight of the car crash that killed Darius. Wow, the answers are coming fast and furious tonight. If this were “Lost,” we wouldn’t have learned about the bridge until Season 4.
Over at the arena that houses the Caprica City Buccaneers, Tomas Vergis shows up to check in on his potential new acquisition. He notes to both Daniel and Cyrus that the original MCP never even worked, which confuses Daniel’s right hand-man. Daniel thinks Tomas’ lack of knowledge about the working Zylon is good, but Cyrus isn’t so sure: with only one working prototype, the company is stretched too thin. Only selling the team to Tomas will ensure enough funds for mass production. Daniel fumes at that notion, and leaves the room.
In the virtual world, Zoe arranges another date with Philomon. What does he choose for their activity? Tandem fighter pilot flying! Um, OK. Nerd. As he tries to lead Zoe down the highway to the danger zone, she manages to bump into him, spin out of control, and barely eject herself in time before water impact. When the two meet up on a nearby shore, she explains that she’s not fond of the way people “cheat” by either adding skills they don’t possess or perform acts they wouldn’t in the “real world.” In other words, she would HATE Neo. Let’s just say she’d rather learn kun fu through years of practice. Virtual practice, yes, but it’s as real as things can get for her now.
As the two talk further, she points out the “fakeness” of the virtual world, which is both instructive on a narrative level (Graystone programmers only designed so many trees) and amusing on a meta level (seems like the show is apologizing for its budget). She speaks of a modulatory program that could design infinite amounts of trees…or, say, robots. She uses this line to try to plant the seed in Philo to let the Zylon roam free, but instead it sparks an idea in Philo’s head of why replicating Zoe is so difficult. He shares the idea with Daniel, who catches his assistant in mid-virtual smooch in the labs. Philo suggests treating the MCP not as a digital entity (easily and seamlessly iterative), but as having analog properties, as impossible to replicate as a human being. Daniel stares intently at the Zylon, armed with this new information.
In New Cap City, Tad and Joseph come across Dirigible of Doom, which takes out Tad. “Frak you…you’re on your own now,” screams an upset Tad in the alleyway. That night, Joseph returns, passing by a wall with the message, “This is not me. It’s just my body vehicle,” written next to a ghosted face imprinted too. He’s chasing Tamara, but someone’s following him: a woman named Emmanuelle. She’ll lead him to his daughter, for a price. In THOSE heels? Impressive that she can even walk, never mind lead a noob through hostile territory.
As Daniel works on the Zylon, Amanda and Clarice enter their own type of virtual world via the dive bar that sells Caprican wacky tobaccy. Seems like this isn’t the first time around the pipe for Amanda, either. She pulls out the envelope from earlier in the episode, and utters a line that “Battlestar: Galactica” fans probably cheered upon hearing again: “All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.” She tells Clarice that she spent 2.5 years at the Delphi Convalescent Institute, but not for physical injuries: for mental ones years after the actual accident. “They say that surviving is the punishment for leaving things left unsaid,” she confesses to her new BFF. Clarice’s solution? Conversion to monotheism. And perhaps a place in Clarice’s polyandrous household, given the strong signals being sent out in this scene between these two.
Down in Daniel’s lab, he mulls over Philo’s words as his dog tries to play fetch. When Daniel throws the ball towards the Zylon, it barks at the robot, as if sensing Zoe inside it. Daniel walks over, stares into its unblinking eye, and starts to finally realize exactly where his daughter has been this whole time.
A few more thoughts about tonight’s episode:
No Barnabus tonight: just a brief mention of him as Lacy tries to use her feminine wiles to convince Keon to let her officially join the Soldiers of the One. Yea, in no way can THIS end badly.
The idea of an “authentic virtual experience” as espoused by Zoe in this episode is fascinating, since it gets to the heart of the problems that the 12 models faced in “Batttlestar: Galactica.” Those models were both in a world, but keenly away of the differences that made their place in it feel foreign.
Loved the creepiness of the “This is not me. It’s just my body vehicle,” graffiti in New Cap City. Clearly, the point of that game is tied into the overarching plot of “Caprica” itself, and as Daniel comes to grips with the “game” he’s playing with Tomas Vergis, we’ll see the unrest in the virtual world bubble up and start appearing in the real one as well. (Also: does the face next to the graffiti belong to the “Heracles” mentioned by Emmanuelle?)
I couldn’t tell if Clarice was upset or not by Amanda’s revelation that she spent two and a half years in a mental ward. In so much as Amanda is supposedly God speaking to Clarice, would she take Mrs. Graystone’s confession as a strike against her supposition, or will anything and everything Amanda does be confirmation of her hypothesis? Maybe when Clarice sobers up, I’ll have a better taken on things.
With only two episodes left before a seasonal hiatus, is “Caprica” building up to a satisfying mid-season finale? Do you think Tamara is inspiring an underground revolution? Will Amanda leave Daniel behind in search of forgiveness? Leave your thoughts below!