Sunday 7 March 2010

Caprica - This isn't the way home.

Caprica: 1x03 Gravedancing.

Sadly, since I am very much pre-occupied with a different show, three or four episodes of „Caprica“ get the short notes treatment. Sorry. I believe there are excellent recaps of the show over at The A.V. Club).

While “Battlestar Galactica”, especially in the first season, was about a very limited universe (the ever-shrinking number of human beings remaining in the fleet) and how it got muddled and complex when you started to look at how politics worked within that space, the universe of “Caprica” expands witch each episode. We started with the families and how they dealt with a very private loss – but now we see the very same loss, re-interpreted in the media of “Caprica”, re-imagined after Amanda’s public confession last episode. Daniel isn’t dealing with Zoe’s death or even her politics and religious beliefs anymore, he is forced to occupy himself with the question of how to “spin” his daughter’s death in public to cut his company’s losses (after late-show-host Sarno introduced a very simple theory about how the holoband itself is to blame for the acts of terrorism because it lacks the sense of values and responsibilities).
Daniel: “This is a script.”
Pryah: “It’s a list of talking points.”
Daniel: “I loved my daughter very much. But I knew she was troubled. There were disturbing signs way before I developed the holoband technology. All it needs are stage directions. Shall I point to my heart?”
It’s clear that the conflict between personally dealing with Zoe’s death and trying to find a way of communicating about her to the public is ultimately going to break up the Graystones. Amanda is difficult to understand here, since she doesn’t even realize what she did by calling her own daughter a terrorist: she defends her actions to Daniel by saying that she was just talking to a crowd, he reminds her of the cameras that were also there. Daniel is very much conscious of the audience, Amanda isn’t.
Amanda: “Look. Can’t you just go out there and say that this is a very sad time for our family and that we need time to process?”
Daniel: “This doesn’t play.”
Amanda: “Doesn’t play? Doesn’t Play? Did you actually hear what you just said? It won’t play? You sound like Cyrus. It won’t play? We are not company’s spokespeople, we are parents.”
Amanda: “Parents? Actually, we’re not.”
The fact that the first time they confront their loss together is on a tv show, in front of millions of viewers, just shows how estranged they really are: they somehow do manage to preserve her memory and when they are back home, they have a little moment of real mourning (“I miss her. I really do.” – I’m not sure Amanda even realized this before), but they are still essentially falling apart over the loss. Daniel accidentally mentioned that he talked to Zoe after her death, and I wonder whether his “Just a picture of her, nothing more” is how he rationalized it to himself, or a lie he chooses to tell Amanda.
Daniel’s decision to give up his 60 per cent of his company’s profits means that Graystone’s industries needs a new profit scheme, and we already know what that is going to be. It’s impossible to control the content on the holoband, so Daniel turns to the technology he believes to be completely controllable: the Cylons. It’s ironic that all the discussion about whether the medium is inherently bad, this easy explanation of a terrible act of violence by a teenager, prevents a less pointless discussion about religion and beliefs in the open (on the surface) society of Caprica (where, as we’ve seen so far, drugs are legal, and polygamy is allowed).
“Caprica” is more about the post 9/11 world than “Battlestar Galactica” ever was, because this is a society confronted with terrorism changing into something different right in front of our eyes. In the beginning of the episode, a bomb goes off, and the STO is immediately blamed – it is turning into the buzzword extremist organisations became after 9/11, used to justify an increase in executive power (after the search of the lockers in Zoe’s school, Duram, the investigating officer, demands to be given access to all communication – which would be crossing a line in Caprican society). I am wondering how relevant the fact is going to be that this is the moment in which Daniel is going to make the Cylon available to the government.


Cultural identity is also an issue “Caprica” tackles quite elegantly. In the last episode, Joseph made a decision that was shockingly unexpected, but he can’t go through with it. He wants Amanda killed quickly, but Sam takes his time instead. I thought the conversation between the two in the car was done brilliantly, because it showed how ill-prepared Amanda is for whatever will come her way in the future:
Sam: “They’re cultural. Tauron.”
Amanda: “Oh yes, of course. They have meanings, right?”
Sam: “Yeah. Lot a people here on Caprica think they mean that you’re a gangster, but they don’t.”
Amanda: “Of course.”
Sam: “I mean they might, but doesn’t have to. I mean, you get inked because you’re a parent, or because you got a fancy pedigree, or there’s some sort of ritual, maybe you made a mistake.”
Amanda: “I could give you a fancy pedigree, I could add a few accomplishments, take away some mistakes.”
Sam: “Well that wouldn’t be real, I’m afraid.”
Amanda: “Very little is real these days, I’m afraid. This isn’t the way home.”
Amanda, the plastic surgeon, is learning that some things are permanent and can’t be fixed. Sam uses her to teach Joseph a lesson: he shouldn’t be starting things that he can’t go through with (“Fracking Caprican in that Tauron body.”). It’s a strange moment in “Caprica” because I remembered how Lee Adama, Joseph Adama’s grandson, always felt like Caprican aristocracy to me, and now here we see how his father, William Adama, finds the Tauron way much more tempting and useful, and is slowly slipping away from his father, who is stuck in-between.


Clarice is starting to remind me a little of Adelle DeWitt: she is losing control over something, the Global Defense Department is getting closer and closer (who is her contact?) as they search her student’s lockers, and she still doesn’t know what Zoe’s project was, so she is leashing out (the scene in which she broke down in the hallway, still covered in the contents of the lockers, completely frustrated, felt a lot like the elevator-scene in “Meet Jane Doe”). By the end of the episode, she’s heard Daniel’s confession that he “created an electronic ghost of his dead daughter”.

Random stuff:

Bill Adama’s grandma is awesome in a very, very creepy way. I wonder what will come out of her little speech to him about how to get stuff:

“You think you only get things from friends? You get the best things from enemies. Because they’re scared of you. Sam is going to look into it, okay? Your uncle knows how to make things happen”

Also, possibly the best dead-pan line ever: “That was a joke. The bones are from chicken feet.”

Lacy can fix motorcycles and continues to be awesome and baffle Keon. I wonder what will happen if she realizes that she actually HAS choices.

Philomon, the tech guy working on Cylon Zoe, is a little bit like early Topher – much more at home surrounded by his machines, and more comfortable with the Cylon than with real people. Let’s say they have an interesting relationship? (the dancing… it’s interesting to see Zoe behave like an actual teenage girl, and so differently than the real Zoe when we first saw her).

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