Wednesday 20 October 2010

Caprica - Don't betray me.

Caprica: 1x11 Retribution.

Lacy and Clarice

I wonder how long it is going to take for Lacy to get out of this impossible situation. Every single character is dealing with Zoe’s contributions and decisions, but Lacy’s path since Zoe’s death (actually, that’s two “deaths”, in a way) has been particularly grim, while her motives were mostly noble, or at least as noble as the flawed characters of “Caprica” can be. I know that a lot of viewers aren’t very interested in her as a character, but I would be delighted to find out how the friendship between the original Zoe and Lacy worked to create that particular one-sided faithfulness and dependence.
As brave as she might pretend to be, she is entirely unsuited for the life as a teenage terrorist. In the beginning of the episode, she fails at completing a mission for Barnabas when she realizes that he expects her to place explosives in a building that isn’t empty. She acts suspiciously and flees without getting rid of the bomb – thereby guaranteeing that her more eager partners in crime can’t detonate theirs. “Have you ever not frakked something up in your life, Lacy? Why do we bring her?” asks one of the former disciples of Clarice who is now working for Barnabas, but she is just particularly bad at acting against her own principles, while remaining an expert in landing herself in situation that require her to do just that. With Zoe gone (Lacy doesn’t know that she still exists virtually), she doesn’t really have any other objectives apart from getting out of the STO; but it’s not just Barnabas now, it’s Clarice as well, who takes revenge on the “children” who abandoned her for her enemy. Clarice needs Lacy alive because she is one of the few connections to Zoe, and Clarice knows fully well that Amanda’s knowledge about her own daughter is limited.


Daniel is more successful at and less hesitant to put common morality aside; in order to get the board of Graystone Industries to reinstate him, he names all the sins of his former friends. Like Clarice, he is taking revenge for betrayal, but he has a more concrete objective in mind while her actions are more about making a point about her new-found power and her future ambitions (“Others need to be taught the price of disobedience.”). She kills Pan (“I do forgive you. But I’m the easy one. It’s god you should be worried about.”) and has Hippolyta killed, and finally, in a rather anticlimactic confrontation with Barnabas, gets rid of her worst enemy with the same method he tried to employ to kill her.
Indirectly, Daniel gets blood on his hands as well: one of the board members decides to kill himself instead of living under the constant threat of blackmail. His wife accuses him and asks, “What kind of man are you?” – a question Daniel probably couldn’t answer himself. What drives him? Is he obsessed with creating his “cure for grief” and willing to do everything to get in a position where he can realize that vision, or is it simply about power? Has he lost himself, now that everything that connected him to his previous life is gone?
We see how lost he is in a flashback to the moment when he first saw Amanda again, after her suicide attempt:
Daniel: “We can’t always know where our actions will need. It’s in the stars. Do I blame you for Zoe?”
Amanda: “No no, don’t stop, go on. I’m waiting for you to bring this analogy home. How is you hiring thugs to rob and murder people, how is that equivalent to me being a bad mother?”
Daniel: “I never said you were a bad mother.”
Amanda: “You think it’s my fault that Zoe hated me?”
Daniel: “What are you talking about?”
Amanda: “The idea that I could control her behaviour is just stupid. I mean who are you? What kind of man have you become? I don’t even know you.”
This exchange is interesting for a number of reasons: it reveals Daniel’s justification of his own actions to himself. It reveals that he DOES blame Amanda for what happened to Zoe, and I guess we are supposed to assume that her relationship with her mother was much more strained because she at least shared her passion for technology with Daniel. There is also a more general point about how (particularly, we haven’t really seen much of the other planets yet) Caprican society struggles with keeping their children in check. It’s a society dominated by light entertainment and extreme violence (I assume that is the point the show is trying to make whenever a character zaps through channels to reveal this awkward co-existence), and Caprican adults are terrified of the youth culture these influences breed (both the entertainment and the violence translate neatly into exactly the kind of place the V club is). One of the most intriguing things about “Caprica” is how it’s the teenagers, the non-adults, who are responsible for some of the radical shifts in society. Zoe invented the technology. The young “children” of Barnabas and Clarice are responsible for the terrorist acts that shape Caprican politics.
Zoe is merely a memory/a recurring nightmare in the episode. She haunts Amanda, who remembers her as a hateful teenager and has terrible dreams (“Do you have to make everything unpleasant, all the time?” / “You know, maybe it’s because I hate you. But don’t worry, I’ll be dead soon, and then we’ll both be happy.”), while Daniel, interestingly enough, seems to have the image of a more innocent and happier version of Zoe stuck in his head, a version of her we have never seen. While being the ghost that haunts her family, she is also the phantom so many characters, knowingly or not, pursue: Clarice needs her knowledge to achieve Apotheosis, and Amanda watches her while she has the holoband on, whispering her name. Daniel knows her if he ever wants to achieve his goal of creating life, not just killing machines, because he can not recreate his daughter’s genius invention on his own (although I guess there is a slight chance that there is some of that magic spark of life in each and every one of the Cylons already, but we’ll see about that).


What drives Amanda Graystone? She has a vague idea about what she does not want, but no idea at all about her own future. Her fond memories of Clarice taking care of her after she jumped off the bridge slowly get marred by allegations and suspicions. The police officer who is still investigating the bombings tells her that other students of Clarice have been planting bombs, that he suspects her to be a terrorist who seduces innocent children to join her (“Now I believe that Clarice Willow pulled your daughter into that organisation, she got her to trust her, she brainwashed her, and then she put her on that train with the bomb.”), and finally asks her to spy on Clarice. Amanda’s first instinct when she decides for herself that Clarice is guilty (when all the pieces fall into place) is to kill her, but then she doesn’t, and instead starts collecting information. What are her motives? Can’t she bring herself to kill the person who says “You know I think you might be the only person I can talk to.”? Does she believe she can do more good by destroying the STO, not just the woman she believes responsible for her daughter’s death?

Random notes:

When Barnabas asks Lacy to promise her loyalty to him, she says “I’m committed to god”, which seems to be an entirely different thing altogether. Am I the only one who doubts that commitment? She seems more eager to return to a normal life than anything else, and I’ve always taken her to be more pragmatic than idealistic in everything except her friendship with Zoe.

I have a question about the Twelve Colonies: who exactly is the “other” that they need protection against? Why does a self-contained empire without any outside threats require an army of Cylons, if the most terrifying threat is terrorism and the economic divisions between the planets? With the amount of money the department of defence puts into weapons, you’d think that this was a Cold War scenario, but it’s not, and ironically, this behaviour creates the enemy.

Amanda has “intimate access” to Clarice. I AM SO EASILY AMUSED.

On a completely unrelated note, oh, they sleep in separate beds. Well, that settles that.

Is Barnabas really dead? People have tendency not to really die on this show, and James Marsters is a bit too precious to be gone for good.

Considering that Daniel paid off people so one of his “friends” could continue hurting girls, I am now rooting for a terrible death for him. Does this guy have any redeeming qualities? To a certain extent, the STO has a point about Caprican society. 

Oh, Keon dies, and has a somewhat more heroic exit than he probably deserves.

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