Daniel Graystone -
Joseph Adama -
Zoe Graystone -
Amanda Graystone -
Lacy Rand -
Clarice Willow -
Sam Adama -
OTHER CYBORG SHOWS
The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Two fathers are brought together when their daughters are both killed on a train in a terrorist attack. One of them, head of a major science conglomerate, discovers that his daughter (computer genius that she was) created avatars that lived in a virtual world, avatars that still retain some of the personality, the soul, of the girls that they were.
So, this is CAPRICA, the spin off prequel show to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, one of the most well received science fiction shows of the last several decades. That's a tough act to follow and CAPRICA wisely sidesteps the whole issue by being completely different from the outset. Where BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was bleak and gritty and mainly shot in enclosed spaces, this is sunny and full of wide vistas, cityscapes and outdoor places. At its heart, however, it is just as dark.
We have a virtual nightclub where anything you could possibly want happens, including the sacrifice of virgins. It's a sign of the moral decay of the 12 colonies and Zoe is determined to stop it. There are others just as determined, but they have the more mundane weapons of the terrorist bomb. So we have a morally corrupt society and terrorists determined to bring it down. Sound familiar?
Also sounding familiar is the story of the Graystone company's fortunes. They are trying to make a cybernetic soldier, but another rival seems to have stolen the march on them and they stand to lose everything that they have built up. If there was a Green Goblin suit somewhere then this would be straight out of SPIDER-MAN.
Everything else, though, is top notch. The cast are excellent and the show's opener moves so slowly that it allows the charactes all the time that they need to develop and deepen. Perhaps a little too much time as things don't move too quickly at any time. The internal strife of the Graystone family may be well-played, but do we really need all of their little spats played out for us?
There's the shock of seeing the prototype soldier, so obviously a prototype Cylon centurion and enough questions are raised for us to be interested to see where this might be going, but it needs to start going there with a little more urgency.
Zoe Graystone is still coming to terms with finding herself inside a machine body following her death and her father taking her avatar out of the virtual world it was inhabiting. Daniel is struggling to understand why this one prototype works fine, but he cannot duplicate the success. He is rejecting the attempts by Joe Adama to contact him about his daughter's avatar. Amanda Graystone is learning that her daughter is a girl that she didn't really know and that she might possibly have been one of the terrorists, something that she chooses to announce to the world at the worst possible moment.
The slow burn that is CAPRICA continues to smoulder, but fails to ignite. The scenes with Zoe in the machine body are very effective, cutting back between the machine and the actress, but that trick does get a bit overused by the end.
The actors continue to simmer and there is plenty of character development, but this is still all about set up as we learn a bit more about Sister Walker's home life, but not about her plans for Zoe's best friend Lacy.
It still all looks tremendous, but is starting to creak a bit.
Reins of a Waterfall
Following her announcement at the remembrance ceremony that her daughter may have been responsible for the train bombing, Amanda and Daniel Graystone face a hostile response. None more hostile than that of Joseph Adama who arranges a meeting with Daniel without his consent, beating him up and demanding to see his daughter's avatar again. Daniel tells him that the avatar is gone, lost at the same time as his own daughter's. This news causes Joseph to take a dark decision. In the virtual world, Zoe and Lacy locate Tamara and free her from the dark room she has been locked in, but have no way of getting her all the way out. Zoe asks Lacy to help her find a way to get to the planet that the real Zoe was planning to escape to so that she can find out what her creator's plan for her was.
There is an awful lot of what we need to term 'filler' in this episode. Nothing very much happens beyond Daniel being beaten up by Sam Adama and Amanda getting glass bottles thrown at her. That means a lot of talking and not much else. There is comment on the media's determination to spin out any story that it gets its hands on no matter what distress it causes and perhaps on the public's response to disaster, specifically terrorist acts, but on the whole this episode stands still.
Daniel Graystone prepares to go onto television to answer questions live about his daughter's involvement with the Soldiers of the One and the train bombing. Amanda is far less interested in safeguarding the company’s image than trying to understand her daughter's actions. Sam Adama, meanwhile, prepares to take proper Tauron revenge against the Graystones at his brother's behest. Joseph then has a change of heart, but can he get to his brother in time?
A whole episode set around a television interview? That's a hard sell in anyone's book and it's not hard to get interested in the episode it is very hard to stay interested in it. Even the interview itself is unconvincing being a mix of out of place jokes that surely not host would use in the face of two grieving parents.
The subsequent kidnapping of Amanda and threat to her life is tense and left on a teasing note for a while.
There Is Another Sky
Joe Adama's daughter Tamara died in the train bombing, but she had an avatar in the virtual world at the time and that avatar remains alive, no matter what Graystone told him. She makes her own attempts to break out, going to see a mistress of the virtual world who agrees to help if Tamara, who doesn't de-rezz when she is killed in the game, agrees to help her. As a result, Tamara enters the game world of New Cap City and discovers that she has some very special talents that might help get word to her grieving father.
CAPRICA may be a spin-off from BATTLESATAR GALACTICA, but it's borrowing from all over the place in this episode. The whole Tamara avatar storyline is liberally cribbed from THE MATRIX as she discovers that dying in the real world has left her with steadily increasing powers. The threat to Daniel Graystone's command of his own company continues to come straight from SPIDER-MAN, but his resolution of the challenge is a less bloody version of a key scene from ROBOCOP. Both of these 'homages' are far more interesting than the tedious relationship drama going on between Joe and his son.
It's also difficult to see what Zoe is doing in this show at all. Locked inside a mechanical body, she continues to do exactly what she is asked and nothing else, which includes ripping her mechanical arm off. This doesn't strike us as the girl who was rebelling against everything in sight in the Pilot.
Know Thy Enemy
The head of the Vergis Corporation, from whom the chip now holding Zoe's avatar was stolen, comes to Caprica to threaten Daniel with a blood feud to take away everything that he loves. Joseph takes his first steps in the search for his daughter's avatar. Sister Clarice also makes steps towards finding Zoe's avatar.
CAPRICA returns to a pace that would probably make glaciers impatient. When you have good actors then you want to give them stuff to do, but there is an awful lot of sitting staring moodily out of windows. Zoe goes on a date inside the virtual world and Lacy tries to find a way of getting Zoe off planet (meeting James Marsters from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER along the way, but neither of these plot strands rate more than a single scene and neither scene gets them anywhere.
Six episodes in a new storylines are still being woven into the tapestry with new characters arriving. That would be fine if the existing storylines were going anywhere, but they're not.
The Imperfections of Memory
Amanda fears that she is going mad when she sees the ghost of her dead brother and turns to Sister Clarice for comfort. Daniel gets some more information about the company's financial situation that he wished he hadn't. Zoe goes on a date and Joseph enters the virtual world in search of his daughter's avatar.
CAPRICA inches closer to the category of snoozefest with another episode in which not a lot actually happens. The bonding between Clarice and Amanda is just more of what happened last time out and the head of the Vergis corporation threatening to take Daniel's team away from him is a complete rerun of what happened the last time they met. Joe entering the virtual world moves his story a step forward, but the conversation he has about the rules being like those in real life is then repeated between Zoe and her date in the real world.
It still looks great, especially the graphics in New Cap City, and the acting is top notch, but it is in serious need of a kick up the backside.
Ghosts In The Machine
Daniel has finally come to suspect that Zoe's avatar is insie the head of his prototype cylon and attempts to elicit an emotional response from her in increasingly extreme fashion. Joseph Adama is inside the virtual world, trying to master the skills he will need to find his own daughter's avatar. Vergis visits Amanda to tell her what her husband has done.
The makers of CAPRICA would like to believe that it is densely plotted and full of character, but it is really slow and repetitive. The tests that Daniel puts his daughter through may be necessary, but they are simply the same test a bit more severe each time (repetitive task, set on fire, kill the dog) and Joseph's learning curve inside the virtual world isn't a hundred million miles away from that of his daughter's. The planning for Zoe's escape from the lab has ground to a halt, Zoe's dating inside the virtual world has stopped and even Vergis's visit to Amanda smacks of conflicts he's already had with Daniel, only more like schoolyard telling the teacher.
End Of The Line
Daniel has his deadline for the delivery of the operational fighting robots moved up by the military and orders that the prototype be wiped of its anomalies and put into immediate production. This means that Zoe's mind within the machine will be destroyed, so she decides to take immediate action. Action is also on the mind of Barnabas as he manoeuvres Lacy into taking murderous action.
CAPRICA comes to the end of the first part of its run, taking a break to consider its success and its future. And there is a lot to think about. This, then, is something of a midseason finale and needs to come up with something a little bit special to keep people interested over the break. It only partially succeeds.
Finales bring conclusions or cliffhangers and CAPRICA comes up with several of the latter. Joseph Adama's search for his daughter's avatar comes to an end, but it is a rushed and inconclusive denouement that is something of an afterthought, as his whole story has been. The main source of the creators' interest has been in the Graystone family and the Adamas have just been sidlined and brought in wherever the plot needs them. This is unsatisfactory and the way that Joseph and Tamara's story is signed off, no doubt temporarily, is the height of that disastisfaction.
Lacy's story has more interest to it as she is dragged deeper into the terrorist underground and James Marsters takes more of a role at last. The infighting between him and Sister Clarice is more interesting than anything else going on. Take Amanda Graystone, lost after the death of her daughter, she struggles with the discovery that her husband is a thief and killer and takes an entire episode of flashbacks to decide to kill herself. Will she? Now therein lies the first cliffhanger.
The second cliffhanger is Zoe's fate. Having spent several episodes grooming her guardian scientist to help her escape, she kills him in an instant and takes off, being chased by the military in flashes that promise some real action that never quite materialises. Since she is the prototype Cylon, we know she will survive, but in what shape?
SyFy has already assured the show's continuation, but it is to be hoped that the makers take a long, hard look at the show to date and find some way to build on the signs of improvement that are finally being shown here.
A sports arena is bombed and the suicide bombers appear in a virtual reality heaven. This is Clarice's plan to create a new religion, but the elders of her order aren't happy about it. Daniel Graystone isn't happy about losing his company and makes a deal with the Tauran mobsters to get it back, promising them avatars of dead loved ones as the ultimate drug.
CAPRICA returns after its mid season break and it remains thoughtful and slow-paced, but there is more of a sense of drive about this returning episode. The scale is kicked up by Clarice's visit to the world of Gemenon and the political wranglings amongst the religious order there provides some impetus. Add to that the explosive opening and the unkillable girl in the New Cap City and there is more action than almost any other episode of the show so far.
The thing is that none of it means very much yet. The threads are still flapping around in the breeze and it is hoped that they are going to come together more quickly than in the first half.
The apparent loss of Zoe and the robot's story is also something of a shock since it was the focus of much of the first half of the season. The guest appearance of Meg Tilly is an ineffectual distraction.
Whilst Daniel starts blackmailing board members in order to regain control over his company, his wife learns the truth about Sister Clarice. Clarice herself survives an attack on her life by Barnabbas and decides to remove them from the equation.
Sister Clarice has become the central character in the show since its return and she provides the driving narrative again as she ruthlessly wipes out those that would plot against her. Amanda's discovery of what really turned her daughter against her is told only against the backdrop of her relationship with Clarice. By comparison, Daniel Graystone is a mere bystander to the main event.
This is the first time since the midseason break that we have seen Alessandra Torreson's Zoe and that might herald some of the threads starting to come together, but there is no other evidence of this and all the stylish direction and photography in the world can't hide the fact that this is a merely competent episode.
Things We Lock Away
The avatar Zoe, released back into Caprica City's virtual reality goes after the Tamara avatar. In the real world Amanda and Sister Clarice continue their dance around each other and Daniel finds that his deal with the gangsters comes at a bloody price.
Despite the threat of cancellation looming large, the show displays no sign of changing its slow burn approach, or rather its no-burn approach. Lacy spends the entire episode in an attic to no real purpose at all. At least the avatar Zoe gets an all-action outing as she takes on Tamara inside the computer and gives us some flashbacks as to how she came to be created in the first place.
Everything else is all about the style and the look of the thing and the actual plotting could probably fill less than a third of the running time.
Amanda is now installed in Clarice Willow's house, but she is not welcomed by everyone. Daniel is struggling to make the avatar of his wife more realistic, something that is vital if he project to simulate the dead is going to succeed. Sam Adama uses one of the prototype cylons to deal with a rival gangster.
Crawling along at a snail's pace and obsessing over tiny details, thinking that it adds to the complexity of the characters, the show continues to ignore the need for something of interest to actually happen. Then Sam gets hold of one of the cylon machines and takes it into battle against the rival gangsters and for a brief moment the whole thing comes alive and displays the kind of action that might save the show.
Daniel's struggles with his wife's avatar start off as intriguing, but end up repetitive and tedious.
Lacy arrives on Gemenon to go to the STO training camp, but the transport is hijacked by opposing terrorists and a tense hostage situation ensues. Amanda's handler is forced to reveal the source of his information which causes Sister Clarice to take some serious action.
A much better episode sees Lacy involved in some real action. Hostage sieges are by their very nature dramatic and hard to mess up, but this is well-handled, though the final twist to the story is predictable from early on.
The coincidence that Clarice happens to have a source within the department handling Amanda Graystone's information is hard to take, but the consequences of the revelation of the traitor in her house are at least suitably dark.
Daniel fears that success in creating the resurrection program will lead to his death. He looks to Sam to avoid this and learns that Zoe and Tamara's avatars are still in New Cap City. The Adamas remember their parents.
Forget the barely noticeable steps forward in the overarching plot, this is all about the events that shaped their childhood and started them on the path that has brought them to the place where they are. This is a nice sequence in sepia tinted tones that tries to channel THE GODFATHER and provides some great drama as well as casting light onto the characters of the brothers.
What it doesn't do is aid the show's case in getting renewed as the plot is brought back to a crawl and is completely impenetrable to anyone who hasn't been following from the start.
The Heavens Will Rise
Daniel's attempts to meet Zoe in the new virtual world that she has created with Tamara run into a violent end. Amanda carries out one last act for her disgraced police contact, but Clarice learns that it was Amanda working against her and that her innocent family member was murdered as a result. Lacy finds that she can control the cylon robots.
Some of the plotlines are starting to come together just as little bit as Daniel and Amanda attempt to contact Zoe and Clarice becomes aware of Amanda's treachery. Clarice's own megalomania is growing all the time and the only surprising development is Lacey's ability to control the robots.
None of this actually goes anywhere, but it does indicate that there is a somewhere for everything to go eventually and that the next few episodes might actually take us there.
If this page was useful to you please sign our