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April 23, 2014

Review: 'Caprica' - 'Reins of a Waterfall'

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 6th 2010 9:55AM
Esai Morales, 'Caprica'(S01E03) Now begins the reign of mistrust. With the characters generally established, as well as their relationships to one another, it's time for the show to start sowing the seeds of conflict, and they get right down to it. The first thing they do is establish the Adams Adamas as even more brutish than I anticipated. The hats, coats and the whole 1950s gangster look should have been a tip-off, it appears.

Add to that the difficulties the Graystone's are dealing with now that Amanda has blurted out to all the twelve colonies that their daughter Zoe was a terrorist, and responsible for the train bombing that killed her, her boyfriend Ben and Joseph Adama's wife and daughter, among many other people. The unfair thing to Zoe is that while we know better, how can anything different be proven?

It's becoming clearer why old 'Battlestar Galactica's' Bill Adama is such a hard-ass. Hell, as hard as he was on that show, I'm not sure he holds a candle to the diamond-hardness of Joseph's heart. First, he vents his frustration about Graystone's involvement in his daughter Tamara's death by having his brother kick his ass in an alley, and then he demands to be reunited with her in the dark room Daniel created before he lost Zoe in the beta-Cylon.

Because Zoe is lost to him -- or so he thinks -- he tells Adama he can't recreate his wife. But Tamara was there, at least until Zoe and Lacy found her and, thinking she was completely fictitious, set her free into the V-Club. It should be incredibly interesting to see what becomes of poor, confused Tammy in this virtual world of hedonism and sin. She seems like such a good girl.

Daniel, on the other hand, is headed down a desperate path that appears to be leading to the near-annihilation of the human race, with Zoe as the first Cylon. But first, he's facing the near-annihilation of his company, which is why he reluctantly and ultimately agrees to go on Patton Oswalt's show, which the dialogue implies is the Caprican equivalent to 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.'

As for Zoe, she managed to find a way back into that virtual world, away from her Cylon body, just a bit too late. Her deadpan comment about seeing "things" while in that robot body was simply brilliant. As was the body fidgeting to try and not watch its parents getting freaky on the basement floor.

Tensions were pretty high between Lacy and Sister Clarice Willow as well. It's hard to tell at this point at what level Clarice was involved in the terrorist bombing aspect of the monotheistic movement, but she's still creepy as hell. It was weird how Lacy kept asking for one more item for her tea, and then didn't drink it at all; it must have been the writer's way of showing us how incredibly uncomfortable she was to be so near the Sister.

I'm a little disappointed that Joseph Adama has so quickly gone from a sympathetic victim, albeit with a hard side, to an outright villain. I know he was a tough man, based on the back story we got in the earlier/later 'BSG' series, but I didn't expect him to be such a cold bastard. That said, it's also pretty unlikely he'll go through with the hit on Mrs. Graystone, just to even things up.

It may just be that we're seeing what a hard man he's been, and a lot of that has to do with the rampant racism in the Colonies, and the way Taurons are treated in the elitist Caprican society. That way we can appreciate his growth into a more decent human being. As for his brother, Sam, that guy's just a dick.

I do appreciate how casually alternate marriages and lifestyles have been depicted so far. For all their racism and religious fanaticism, these people are incredibly tolerant of various forms of sexuality. Those little details help to not only establish this as a world different from our own, but they are the building blocks that make this reality look, feel and smell as real as our own; in some ways better, and in some ways far worse.

The pacing, the drama, and that attention to detail make 'Caprica' unlike almost any sci-fi show on television, even 'BSG.' More than any of those action-romps, 'Caprica' looks and feels like a prize-winning science fiction novel, and that's a tremendous achievement indeed. I'm not sure if it will help it find a wide enough audience to succeed, but as a fan of quality science fiction writing, I am very quickly falling for this world... 58 years before it falls.

[Catch up on your "reading" with clips and full episodes of 'Caprica' on SlashControl.]

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Ruben

Well, I'm liking a lot this show.
Since I've seen the BSG series it's hard not to be influenced, but even so, the show it's great.
The review is great as always, and there's only one thing that I'm don't agree with, and it's Sam Adama. I don't know why, but I love this character.
Anyway, waiting for the next episode and to when James Marsters will appear.

February 07 2010 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy_MO

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Caprica, but I also wonder if that's what will doom this series to only one season. Quality science fiction is great, but Syfy needs ratings to justify their investment and I'm not sure 1.6 million viewers is good enough.

As for this episode, it's interesting to see how they're portraying Joseph Adama. It makes me wonder what happens in the relationship between Joseph, Sam, and William that drives William to the more structured, black and white life of the military. Possibly, he was drafted for the first war, but there's definitely something negative that Admiral Adama carries with him well into adulthood.

The other thing that I'm finding interesting about this series is the treatment of the robotic characters. How they're treated like slaves. How the humans talk and do things as if the machines are nothing, not even there.

All in all, Caprica is turning out to be a really good series. It's certainly not for everyone, but Caprica is a great science fiction drama.

February 07 2010 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob

I'd agree. I'm looking forward to how Caprica progresses, but I have my doubts that it's going to last very long. It seems to me that if BSG had so many regular viewers complaining about it during it's 'filler shows' and slow times, then the same people just wont have the patience to watch Caprica.

All in all though, I'm enjoying watching the groundwork being laid for the cylon 'psyche' and Adama backstory.

February 06 2010 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rob's comment
ctunightfall

Patton seems to be more Leno-esque to me.
While the episode might have been slow, I think the pacing is just right for the overall story arc. It's like a Punctuated Equilibrium for storytelling.
I will be very satisfied if Caprica keeps the "story of the week" episodes to a minimum--which this ep definitely was not

February 06 2010 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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