Wednesday 5 January 2011

Caprica - How can anyone truly know the mind of god?

Caprica: 1x16 The Heavens Will Rise.

Caprica is almost finished and I feel like I’ve lost the grasp of what Zoe Graystone’s intentions are. She has carved out a place for herself and found a corner of the world in which she makes all the rules, with no outside interference, but it remains unclear if this is all she wants: to be left alone, now that she is something completely new, or if she still has a sense of what Zoe originally intended her to be. For now, Zoe has been resigned to being the angry daughter again, the girl that feels wronged by the horrible things Daniel has put her through (when he admits to using her fear of fire to get a reaction from the Cylon, Amanda simply slaps him – his wrongdoings are way too easily forgiven). When Daniel uses the few privileges he still has in the place he created, that has now gotten out of his control, she kills him (“Thank the gods” / “There is only one”) upon which he gloomily remarks that she is obviously still angry, and that he now has to play by the same rules everybody else does – the next time he enters New Cap City, or rather, the place Tamara and Zoe have turned it into, he will only have that one life.
Amanda, in turn for his secrets, tells him that she has been spying for Duram on Clarice. She exchanges the holobands for him but he gets shot, and only barely survives. At the same time, Daniel approaches Sam with the information that Tamara is alive in New Cap City as well, and that he is thinking about ways to get both of them out of there – with artificial skin and artificial bodies, seemingly forgetting that this goes against any concept Taurons have about death and letting loved ones go. He goes in under false pretences and with the actual intention to kill Tamara – but Zoe seems to be well prepared for whatever is going to come their way. “
Zoe: “They’re here. I can feel it.”
Tamara: “Are you okay?”
Zoe: “Oh yeah. Let them come.”

“How can anyone truly know the mind of god? How do we know that you speak for him?”

Nestor is starting to have doubts about the terrorist attack on the stadium. He points out that the actual death is only showmanship – the avatars can exist while the original still lives. Clarice once again bends reality to her own wish and responds that it makes a difference to god, when in fact she merely needs the show, the event, to prove her own power to possible dissenters and to the leadership on Gemenon. While her family still seemed to be peripherally important in previous episodes, she has now transcended such trivialities: she points out to Nestor that there is still one spot open for a willing martyr, and that she has reserved that spot for him, while she, sadly, still has responsibilities to fulfil.
When Nestor realizes that someone has replaced her holoband, and that the only possible explanation is that Amanda was the informant, not the wife Clarice murdered, things fall apart. Her husbands lose confidence in her, and Clarice realizes that the only person she has trusted has actually betrayed her.

“By your command.”

Everything so far has pointed towards the mass produced Cylon being non-sentient and devoid of whatever made Zoe special – the ghost in the machine lost in the process of copying.
Lacy has discovered the presence of Cylons on Gemenon, fighting for the STO, doing its dirty work – but, what is even more important, they reveal their true nature to her when she consciously objects to one of her friends being assassinated for disobeying. She tells it to stop, and it does. Whatever remained of Zoe in these models, it is enough to recognize Lacy, and to recognize that her commands overwrite anybody else’s. Lacy’s destiny has always been determined by whatever others wanted her to be, but now it seems that she incidentally has gotten herself an indefeatable Cylon army – and among all the people that know about the Cylons, she, along with Daniel, knows best that they are much more than just machines.
Diego: “I tell you what, Lacy Rand, when you’re in charge you can run things your way.”
Lacy: “I’ll remember that.”
Diego: “How did you get that robot to stop?”
Lacy: “I don’t know. I just told it to.”
Diego: “Are you aware that it is impossible for a U87 to respond to anyone except an authorized controller?”
Lacy: “Maybe he has a sense of decency.”
Later, she goes to find out how much of Zoe really is in the army.
Lacy: “You are the one, aren’t you? Raise your arm. Robot, lower your arm. Zoe? Are you in there? If you’re in there, I need you to let me know. Raise your arm if you’re Zoe. Please. Zoe. I need you.”
And they all raise their arm for Lacy Rand. This is such a beautiful variation of what Zoe used to do to Daniel whenever he asked her to reveal herself to him.
Odin: “So, who the frak is Zoe? What, you don’t trust me? Suit yourself.”
Lacy: “Zoe was my friend. She died.”
Odin: “And…”
Lacy: “And it’s hard to explain.”
Odin: “Tell me when you’re ready.”
Lacy: “Zoe Graystone was a true believer in god’s grace, an inspiration. She was my friend and I loved her. “
Odin: “Wait. Graystone. That’s the Zoe we’re…”
Lacy has never before tried to explain her motivation. Admiration, guilt, a true belief in what Zoe was doing – but we’ve never really seen their friendship before Zoe died. We don’t know their dynamics. Her love and admiration of Zoe has driven her life to this point, and now she is slowly getting idea of where it might lead her further – to a point where she makes binding decisions, to a position of power.
In the world of Caprica, every shift of power is met with a reaction. Lacy’s unexpected power is dangerous to the established leadership of the STO, and the Holy Mother tells Diego that “our training is so harsh, I worry about the children. All that bullying around with the weapons and dangerous chemicals and explosives. It’s a wonder any of them make it through the programme alive.” – and that she would rather not know where Lacy’s powers come from.
Diego: “This is troubling.”
Holy Mother: “Only if you try to explain it.”
Diego: “I’m sorry, Mother, I don’t understand.”
Holy Mother: “Secrets have answers. Now mysteries, they don’t have answers. That’s why I love them, they’re full of endless possibilities and permutations like god himself, but if you solve a mystery, what are you left with?”
Diego: “A secret.”
Holy Mother: “Exactly. So ordinary.”
Random notes:

The first thing I wrote down when I capped this episode was: “I care way more about Lacy than about anybody else in this show”, which is ACCURATE. Can she please be in Blood and Chrome?

Lacy Rand and her robot army.
Lacy Rand and her robot army.

I am really fine with complex and complicated shows but Caprica introduces way too many characters at the last moment, and sometimes it’s hard to catch their names and their connections. In this episode: The Ha’la’tha’s daughter, an old “friend” of Joseph and recently out of prison. Her turn on the “If I told you I’d have to kill you” thing was fun though.

Also, good job with the juxtaposition of holographic pornography and the real thing with Lacy and Odin (it was also fun in that “I just found out that I am incredibly powerful; let’s have sex” kinda way).

I believe Amanda mentions a Doctor Cottle when she talks about the guy taking care of Agent Duram? Would have been a nice shout-out to the BSG veteran, and he actually really was old enough to already have been a doctor fifty years ago. Alternatively and less excitingly, she might have actually said Cobble.

A recurring, subtle theme in Caprica: what the places we create for ourselves say about us. Clarice designs heaven, Daniel designs a cure for grief, and Zoe builds herself a fortress in the woods against her impeding parents.

There are some interesting parallels between Zoe (and Tamara, by extension) and Rei Toei from William Gibson's Bridge Trilogy - all of them are completely new beings and are trying to figure out how they fit into the real world. The Walled City of the book also bears some resemblance to New Cap City/or the space that Zoe builds there. 

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