Wednesday 5 January 2011

Caprica - We’re not running.

Caprica: 1x17 Here Be Dragons
Daniel: “I’m just saying, it’s one thing to write code but what Zoe’s done here is closer to what the gods did in the old creations myths.”
Amanda: “Whatever our daughter is, she’s not a god.”
Daniel admires his daughter’s ability as a creator because he does not understand HOW she creates the incredibly detailed landscapes, which is the closest to a god-like creature she can get – being able to create inexplicably. Amanda on the other hand still sees Zoe as her daughter, as “just a child”, as the person that is only acting out her frustration at her parents. Zoe has both of these sides in her – in this episode, she proves that even if she is a god, an almost god, she is a childish one, drawing from the books of her childhood to fight off her impeding parents. The episode contrasts Zoe’s position with Lacy’s: Zoe has build a fortress in which she can basically preserve a childhood ideal of breaking all her parents’ rules without any consequences, while Lacy has to grow up quickly and leave all the childish things behind on Gemenon.
Caprica is at its best when it explores similar themes in different storylines. Lacy is threatening the established regime of the STO on Gemenon and the reaction is immediate – the Holy Mother commands that she shall be killed before she can change the way things have always been. Meanwhile, Joseph and Sam threaten the power of the Guatrau by sending Cylons to Tauron because the act gives them power in the Tauron community, and any power they gain they take from the Guatrau. Caprica is also about the struggle between conservatism and how new ideas are asserted against an established order: The Holy Mother is suspicious of the technology Clarice brings to her, but ultimately she recognizes its power. Sam and Joseph, and the Guatrau, find Daniel’s technology unnatural and distasteful, yet they also see that it gives them money and power. New ideas are accepted if they have the potential of increasing the power of the established regime, but those bearing it immediately turn into threats when they develop the potential to question, and ultimately replace, this established power. This is the very same mechanism that will cause the first Cylon war: as long as the machines are helping humanity to lead a more comfortable life, they are accepted, but once they assert the same rights and a piece of the cake, there’s war.

The Graystones

Daniel, Amanda and Sam are looking for Zoe and Tamara when Sam reveals to Daniel that he intends kill Tamara when he finds her, and Amanda realizes that he will use this information to kill Zoe /” the creature that you think is your daughter.”) as well, who he does still blame for his niece’s death. She shoots him without hesitating.
Daniel: “Sweetheart, we were negotiating.”
Amanda: “Oh yeah? Told you I did not trust that guy. If you tell him how to kill Tamara, he’ll kill Zoe.”
Daniel: “You don’t know that.”
Amanda: “Yes I do. How did you survive without me all these weeks?”
They finally realize that hunting Zoe in a world in which she makes all the rules is pointless, and that they should instead let her “come on her own terms” when she’s ready.
Amanda: “If we do win her back, do we put her in the robot again?”
Daniel: “I’ve been working on it just in case but I can’t imagine it will keep her happy. For the time being we have the virtual version of our house, we could meet her there, interact. Holding her will feel as real to both of you as this.”
Amanda: “But it’s not real. It’s useless without a body. You can make her one, can’t you?”
Zoe is conflicted. She realizes that the memories of her love for her parents is something that has been given to her by Zoe. These feelings are not authentic, they do not belong to the autonomous person that she claims she is. On the other hand, they feel real – her disgust for Amanda (“I frakking hate you stupid disgusting cow.”) ,her inherent desire to live in the world Daniel created for her, a world that looks like her childhood, a ´safe place in which she can be the child.

“I just wanna talk to you.”

Existing in the virtual world is an either/or kind of deal: If you do decide to live there, and you don’t happen to be either Zoe or Tamara, the part of you that exists in the real world is going to suffer. In the Graystone’s case that is quite literal: While they try to get their daughter back, vengeful Clarice and her two not quite so devoted husbands are trying to break into their electronic fortress, slowly removing all the security barriers. When they finally do wake up from their recent reconnection with Zoe, they find themselves in a world that has turned against them. Their house is under siege, and there is nothing Daniel can do to prevent the intruders from entering.
Clarice: “I loved you. I thought you were special. You made Zoe.”
Amanda: “Don’t talk about my daughter.”
Clarice: “Why not, I mean, I was more of a mother to her than you ever were.”
Amanda: “You sent her to die on that train.”
Clarice: “Oh, you think I led her? No, she led me. She was the one who talked to angels. They guided her. Zoe saw it all.”
Amanda: “She was just a kid.”
Clarice: “You didn’t really know her at all, did you? Neither of you.”
Both Daniel and Amanda still don’t know that there is a piece of Zoe in each and everyone of the Cylons. They recognize the side of her that wants to be their child again, that wants to live in their house and wait for her parents to come home – but in their yearning for that idealized childhood,  they also fail to recognize what Zoe has become, what her potential is. Clarice misunderstands her too because she thinks she fully grasps Zoe’s intentions, which she doesn’t (or the fact that what and who Zoe is is still constantly changing) – but she does understand that the Graystones only understand an aspect of her character.
Zoe isn’t just the person inhabiting her own world, or the house Daniel built. She is also still the fragment of sentience in the Cylon Daniel kept around for nostalgia’s sake, andn that very Cylon saves Amanda’s and his life (and kills Nestor). Clarice finally ends up running away – actually, from the very thing that she believes to advance her religion.
Daniel: “You and –I could operate in tandem. Sharing data as we go.”
Zoe: “Data for what?”
Daniel: “Building you a new body. Compact. Agile. With full sensory input.”
Amanda: “and with skin.”
Zoe: “Skinjob.”
Amanda: “If you will.”
Daniel: “It’s as good a name as any. Are you in?”
Lacy and her Cylon Army

The thing that always dooms an established regime is when it underestimates its opponents or doesn’t pay close enough attention (this could also be said for the Twelve Colonies and how they approach Cylons before the rebellion). The STO leadership underestimates Lacy and her powerbase, and instead of killing her quickly, they decide to test Odin’s loyalty. He tries to kill Diego and another STO soldier instead of killing Lacy, but his gun isn’t loaded – but those of his friends are, and they quickly win the fight. It takes Lacy a beat to realize that she doesn’t just have the Cylons which will follow her obediently, but also a group of friends who seem to be waiting for a leader. Instead of leaving Gemenon, instead of fleeing, she decides to stay, and activates the Cylon army to claim her newfound power. “We’ve got work to do.” Of all the characters who have tried to gain power by using Zoe’s invention, it turns out to be Lacy who actually succeeds, the one person who started out with no aspirations at all.

Random notes:

Tamara has disappeared completely – once the writers aligned her with Zoe, there wasn’t really anything else to work on, but it would have been interesting to see how her character would have developed in a second season.

Cheap looking special effects don’t exactly bother me but some of the stuff in this episode looked pretty bad.

Willie Adama doesn’t like building model ships. Admiral William Adama LOVED building model ships.

Also, Willie Adama is shot as the Guatrau tries to eliminate his competition.

Poor Serge. He becomes the first victim of Clarice’s revenge against Amanda.

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