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Old 01-29-2010, 09:19 PM   #31
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No, there are no Graystones, !
I am thinking that at least one Greystone got uploaded and made it to the Cylons, it is only 58 years later right?

Could be the daughter or Eric Stoltz himself?
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:29 AM   #32
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Sorry, deep. I skimmed your answer, but I don't want to fully read it because I like to be surprised and I'm terrible at predicting stuff. Your guess could prove true.

My favorite parts comedically were when Daniel Graystone has Serge applaud his basketball-type game (Pyramid, I think). Also, when he was joking with his wife about why he wanted to leave Serge alone with the U-80. Very subtle humor.

I loved Aponowicz's acting. She's very likeable. I like that she's from a more working class background, allowing the writers to explore class issues. I wasn't so sure about the Polly Walker subplot. I guess she's like a mentor or teacher in one of these radical madrassas in the Islamic world who lure in young people.

I loved how William is being taught the wrong lessons by his uncle and the creepiness of him manipulating his father's guilt. I didn't get how you could just pay a fine to avoid prison, though.

I loved the ending with Amanda confessing that her daughter was responsible; she was so shocked at this info and just reacted out of guilt; she was reaching out. Quite terrifying for the Graystones!

Not BSG Season 1 good, but pretty good. I'd give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Excited about next week's ep. I've looked it up and it's directed by Ronald D. Moore, the father of all BSG, and written by the amazing Michael Angeli, lover of Radiohead; he created Romo Lampkin. Amazing writer!

It's important to note that these first 2 post-pilot eps were written in Fall 2008, when the network was trying to decide if it wanted to go to series and wanted an example of where the show could take off from.
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:48 AM   #33
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I agree it is not as good as BSG season 1, but it is very good.

Don't worry about my questions about if any Greystrokes make it to the Cylons, my speculations have a way of being way off.

I thought I had Lost figured out early on and was not even close to the direction they went.

I can kind of see a parallel with the Cylons and Christians
we have the believers in the one true God being resurrected and having eternal life

And Zoe was referred to as the Trinity, and also we have one of the guys saying that code that is written can outlive the author,
I'd say Zoe wrote the code or scripture that is the keys to the kingdom.
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:01 PM   #34
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I dig this show.
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:02 PM   #35
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I saw the pilot way back when and watched it again the other day. I still have to see the first regular episode, but the series shows promise.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:55 PM   #36
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and even our Canadian channels require cable to watch them properly.
thanks....

wow, at least here -- well, actually,NOT Always b/c buildings and stuff can mess up a signal and you have to keep moving the antennae around a lot -- a lot of the time you can watch free TV without or little problems.
At least the channels that you can get easily while you have to do the antennae swivel dance for others!

Hopefully by the fall I'll be able to get Internet connection. I have so many interests that The Net is an never-ending source of fun, silliness, beautiful photos, and good & helpful information of all kinds!
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:51 AM   #37
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Episode ruined by what I imagine are Jane Espenson's add-ons.

The main story involving Joseph Adama and the two Graystone parents was very good. Maybe an 8.5.

However, so many things were poorly written, acted and cliche.

1. The talk show host is still a terrible idea and poorly acted by Patton Oswalt, who can't act!
2. Lacy's scenes at school with the kids harassing her were uninteresting. The boy who looked at her funny is a terrible actor! The scene in which she pinned him down and threatened to beat him up was ridiculous and uninteresting.
3. Sister Clarice continues to bore me, and using that Robotech-style voice for the ultra bad guy was cheesy. You can hear an example on Robotech at 1:53 here:
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:58 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by deep View Post
I agree it is not as good as BSG season 1, but it is very good.

Don't worry about my questions about if any Greystrokes make it to the Cylons, my speculations have a way of being way off.

I thought I had Lost figured out early on and was not even close to the direction they went.

I can kind of see a parallel with the Cylons and Christians
we have the believers in the one true God being resurrected and having eternal life

And Zoe was referred to as the Trinity, and also we have one of the guys saying that code that is written can outlive the author,
I'd say Zoe wrote the code or scripture that is the keys to the kingdom.
Yeah, I liked that trinity thing, too, but hopefully they'll draw parallels to all monotheistic religions and not just Christianity.

I remember Ron Moore did an interview a few years ago in which he found historically that monotheistic religions had a tendency to be much more moralistic and intolerant than polytheistic ones. I had never thought of things that way and I thought it was a very thought-provoking point to make in our monotheistic-dominated media.
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Old 02-19-2010, 07:32 AM   #39
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New episode of Caprica today at 9 pm Eastern on both Syfy and Space in Canada.

If you listen to the podcasts, things aren't expected to get amazing until Episode 8.
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:02 PM   #40
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Those idiots on Space got the time wrong. It's 10pm Eastern, not 9pm. I hate CTV owning this channel.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:49 AM   #41
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Review of “Gravedancing”

While this episode is slightly better than last week’s and this show is the best on TV, after “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”, they all pale in comparison to Battlestar Galactica’s drama-heavy episodes.

The problem upon which I commented last week was that the supporting characters were boring or off-track, while the main cast was engaging. This week, supporting characters like the police and talk show host Baxter Sarno are more interesting, but the main cast declined in interest.

Patton Oswalt performed quite well as Sarno. I liked the old fashion music in the background of his show. I retract my earlier contention that he is a bad actor; he’s not incredible, but quite fine. I’m still not sure how I feel about this venue, but it’s an interesting idea.

I liked the police chief and the drive conveyed by his subordinate, police investigator Jordan Duram, much of which might have been owed to better dialogue than the previous episode. I especially liked how their discussions brought up issues of violating the Greystones’ rights for the sake of security. However, this theme wasn’t pushed hard enough or discussed in a thought-provoking way for the audience to think about the real world. Hopefully, future installments will.

The scenes between Lacy and her schoolmate, Keon, were painfully dull. Having her get in his good graces by helping him fix a motorcycle was an uninspired choice. The actor playing Keon isn't quite as bad as I felt in my previous review, but he doesn’t convey much range of emotion. There's never any stress in his reactions, as one would expect. Seeing Lacy brush against his arm thanking him, it’s disappointingly predictable that she will have feelings for him and they will become a potential couple, which is very uninteresting. Magda Aponowicz is a very good actress and it’s a shame to see her talents wasted on this subplot.

While there is something slightly cliché about the scientist obsessed with his creation, I still didn’t mind the idea of having the technician teach cylon/Zoe-A how to dance. Yet, while I appreciated that the writer or director wanted the scene to go on long enough to capture their chemisty, it went on for too long and didn’t make any real sense because she wasn’t copying any of his moves. It was sweet, though.

What was tacky and in the embarrassingly over-the-top style of “Buffy” and its creator Joss Whedon's writing was having the technician look at the robot and compliment it on its chest. It was as though the audience was supposed to giggle, “Oh, if only he knew that there’s a female teen in there and it's like he’s talking about her breasts!” The entire line was written for the double entendre. Why would he compliment the robot’s chest, anyway? He did no restructuring of any kind and didn’t design it. It’s just silly. This is surely due to Jane Espenson, who heavily rewrote Michael Angeli's surely superior script beyond all recognition. David Eick and Ron Moore deserve blame for either participating in this decision or allowing it to happen.

So far in this series, the surprising plot twists pale in comparison with the average Battlestar Galactica episode both in their number and effectiveness; Battlestar was able to have twists that were more unpredictable as well as to have more of them. In Caprica, it seems as though one can guess what the possible twist will be. That is, one can predict the likely outcome or, at least, what the dialectic of a given situation -- the range of outcomes -- will be. For example, the biggest dramatic component to this episode was supposed to be about whether Sam Adams would kill Amanda Greystone or not. From the outset, I knew it would not happen because she is a major cast member and this is early in the series. Consequently, I knew that this limitation would manifest itself dramatically in either Sam being unable to carry out the order or he or Joseph having a change of heart. The absence of any truly surprising turns in the story has been a problem since after the pilot and I fear this will remain due to the lack of more imaginative supervision from Jane Espenson, who for all her admirable talents, pales in comparison to the genius of Ronald D. Moore.

I really liked the idea that Amanda Greystone managed to save her life by appearing on Sarno’s show in a selfless effort to help her husband and the memory of her daughter.

I also liked the twist of having Joseph Adama’s mother-in-law actually encourage Willie to think in the short-term; I cringed when she asked what he wanted to do in life, but rejoiced when she clarified that she wasn’t referring to some long-term goal but a present-day aim. I was quite shocked to hear her provide advice to solicit his gangster uncle to help him reach his goal; encourage him to think one gets more in life by threats than friendship; and express to Joseph her desire to see her daughter and grand-daughter’s deaths avenged through Amada Greystone’s death. This last twist, however, somehow felt a bit forced, as though something more subtle were needed in her character. I realize that the writers sought to emphasize the twist in Joseph Adams of realizing he wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt of having ordered Amanda killed, but having his mother-in-law, say, “I could kill her with my bare hands and sleep well every night, couldn’t you?” without any sense of irony was preposterous. People don’t speak like that. It was an on-the-nose way to illustrate what Joseph was thinking; another way should have been found to show his reconsideration. Perhaps subsequent weeks will reveal more about her – as did this episode. She's one of the show’s best characters and certainly more interesting than boring old Sister Clarice, whose best moment in the post-pilot series has been to collapse on her school’s hallway floor and shriek very believably in this episode. I particularly liked how this scene was filmed from a far.

The episode’s first scene between Daniel and Amanda was wonderfully written – from the texture of him asking her about his clothing to her outburst that led to a very uneasy and dramatically satisfying argument. Yet the final scene between Amanda and Daniel Greystone was disappointing. It felt like more of the same mourning for Zoe and I didn’t feel that the writing or accompanying music was trying to emphasize the disturbing fact that Daniel was misleading his wife into believing that he and not their daughter had created the avatar. The dialogue didn’t reach the heights of “Battlestar Galactia” and ended with the usual humorous moments of levity between them, which felt a bit formulaic, though it was far more enjoyable to watch.

Ron Moore considered the Battlestar Galactica Season Three episode “A Day in the Life” to be a failure that supposedly required cutting to tension-driven action to add interest to an otherwise drama-heavy story that was not appropriate for this series. However, I completely disagreed. I found the action elements quite a bother and found the story about William Adama reflecting upon his troubled relationship with his wife and the effect of their subsequent divorce on their children absolutely engrossing. It was a fresh and surprising take on the subject and very realistic. What Ron Moore had considered a weak episode was, in fact, a far better written and acted drama than what I’ve seen so far on Caprica, and that’s a shame for this new series, whose very specialty is publicized as drama.

8.2 out of 10
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:15 AM   #42
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Based on the podcasts and some info I've obtained from writers on the show and the fact that Jane Espenson moved off as manager of the writers' room halfway through the season and that there was a major shut down, it could be that Syfy realized this, too. The pace of the original scripts by the amazing Mark Verheiden and the incredible Michael Angeli were cannibalized and spread out over several episodes to slow things down foolishly.

Even David Eick and director Jonas Pate and amazing BSG writer Michael Taylor say that things get a lot better around Episode 7 when the pace picks up. Taylor wrote the last 2 eps of this half season which are Eps 7 and 8 if you don't count the pilot; the first post-pilot ep is Episode 1.

Syfy VP of network programming Mark Stern said, in response to my question of whether they'd take back former BSG writers, "in a heartbeat!" So, it sounds like those writers perhaps wanted to leave. It's Ron Moore's fault for jumping ship.

Let's try and stick around until then. David Eick swears that the Eric Stoltz-directed Episode 10 (which will air in July or August 2010) is AMAZING.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:13 AM   #43
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Review of “There is Another Sky”
By far the best post-pilot episode yet has finally delivered on the kind of texture, quality of dialogue, political commentary, and genuine surprises for which I had hoped from this series and come to rely on "Battlestar Galactica."

This episode focused on the two main sets of characters, the Graystones and particularly the Adamas, thankfully eschewing the dull subplots of Sister Clarice and Lacy. No matter how good an actress Magda Aponowicz is, I don’t know if I can stand one more scene with Keon.

A major storyline was Tamra’s discovery of the virtual world (V-World) in which she is trapped. In this installment, she encountered a fellow teenager who expressed how the V-World’s games meant more to him, in many ways, than his own life, which he tried to avoid. Although I would have liked this psychological portrait fleshed out a bit more, I still admired these moments for the commentary they provided on how our society is increasingly dependent on living through the internet. I don't participate in the online game “Second Life” or any virtual reality stuff. Yet I recognize the teen’s depiction as justifiable criticism of even the degree to which I conduct my life through the internet – investing more time in online connections with people whom there is no pressure to meet face to face – due to difficulties in and social anxiety about the real world.

I was worried that Tamra’s behavior and ability to manipulate the V-World might resemble the film “The Matrix” a bit too much. However, I’ll give this aspect of the show the benefit of the doubt in hopes that the writers will be imaginative enough to avoid the pitfalls of mimicking it and, thereby, being less original. Genevieve Buechner, the actress who plays Tamra, does a very good job; I didn’t recognize her at all from her role on “The 4400” as Lily’s biological daughter. She’s convincingly conveys trepidation one moment and defensive aggression the next. I enjoyed the shock of watching this otherwise innocent and defenseless-looking teen suddenly react to indications that players she had just helped would force her to work for them by shooting them. Perhaps, though, her strut at the end of the episode was a tad over-confident and strangely sexy for her character.

The Adams family plot was well written, for the most part. I did think that Joseph’s son Willie and brother Sam were a little hard on him. Why was it such a big deal that Sam had to come over to get Willie ready for school? Who wouldn’t need help from one’s family to get over the death of loved ones? I was shocked at the way Sam abetted Willie’s school absences with the excuse that Joseph wasn’t being a good enough father and was “losing” him and at how Willie so flagrantly disobeyed his father; Willie clicking his pen repeatedly against his father’s wishes was a nice touch. Perhaps Sam’s harshness is to be taken as a character flaw, but I get a sense that the writers imply that he’s the good guy in all this. Still, however much I sympathized with Joseph’s pain and found his behavior quite realistic, I also could relate to Willie being deathly embarrassed of being in public with his father. I found the way Willie violently responded to racial slurs of nearby teens overly aggressive, but understandable nonetheless; I have never been subjected to that kind of overt racism and can only imagine the pain building up from constant bullying. I suppose that explains why Sam’s penchant for emphasizing Tauron identity appealed to Willie – because elements of Caprican society refused to accept him. This is the very plight many discriminated minorities face in the West and, one assumes, the world over.

I thought the funeral for Tamra and Mrs. Adams was very well acted and nicely written with lots of atmosphere conveyed by the director. I must admit to cringing every time I am reminded that tattoo-making is a celebratory part of Tauron culture because I find them gaudy. Although I wasn’t as moved as I felt I maybe should have been, it could have had something to do with the knowledge that Tamra was alive, in a sense, through her avatar. It was predictable that the message from the boy who knew Tamra in the virtual world would interfere with Joseph’s attempts to find closure. What I didn’t expect was the fashion in which the boy barely explained his connection to Tamra, and then ran away. Yet his terrified and confused reaction was very convincing, and that made this dramatic move very effective and more satisfying than if the boy disclosed everything patiently.

The subplot involving Daniel Graystone and his attempt to keep his job as CEO of his company was easily my favorite storyline - being wonderfully handled and beautifully-written dialogue-wise. I loved the commentary on my age group's illegal activity on the internet via downloads, etcetera; I couldn't help but nod at my peers’ selfish notion of expecting to have everything for free. Graystone’s idea of producing hardware that can’t be stolen online reminded me of how musicians and record companies are presently trying to offer deluxe editions of albums in an effort to entice consumers to buy them legally instead of illegally downloading the songs of an otherwise basic album. In this sense, his solution to the obstacles of profiting off the virtual world by selling hardware felt believable.

I especially loved how this episode exposed the selfish short-term thinking of private corporations. Being inherently profit-driven, they create a system of incentives that defeat attempts to look after the public good and that lead to exploitation. Indeed, Daniel Graystone’s altruistic desire to improve conditions in the V-World by promising to stop Graystone Industries from charging access to it was greeted with plans by his company’s board of directors to replace him as CEO. This oncoming coup, in turn, motivated Daniel to keep his job and power by adopting the short-sighted strategy of offering sentient cylons as a means of marketable slave labor. He even went so far as to argue that humans’ tendency to anthropomorphize – to attribute human characteristics to – the cylons would add to their appeal. Given his implication that the more human the cylons seem the more popular they’ll be, one wonders if he thinks this course of technological development might actually make the cylons more human. However – in all honesty – I would never have regarded the cylons as “human” in the manner we discover on Battlestar Galactica were I in Graystone’s place or have thought of their ill-treatment as cruel. One could justifiably argue that this path aims to lessen human exposure to dangerous working conditions, though his presentation’s framing of cylons as a profitable endeavor also implies that their use might increase unemployment. Daniel proving the cylon’s subservience to him and against its very self-interest by ordering it to tear off its arm was stunning visually and disturbing due to our realization that Zoe was inside it. It made me wonder whether she felt physical pain and, if not, whether she really minded ripping her arm off, knowing it would eventually be reattached. The exploration of the theme of how corporations affect our society really excites me and I hope it will continue!

One quibble with the special effects is that the exact same exterior CGI shots are used over and over. This is fine for the Graystone residence, but the shot of Graystone Industries has the same aircraft flying over in the exact same way every time; also, the exterior scene of the Adams home is always accompanied by the faint sound of a car alarm or some siren. This takes away from the program’s realism.

Nevertheless, I can’t overstate how much this episode impressed me. There was not a bad bit of dialogue or boring scene. I intentionally avoided looking at who wrote this episode until I'd finished watching it twice – both live and on my VHS copy - in case that might bias my opinion; I even wrote this entire review without knowing who wrote it until this moment. So, it is with pride that I say to Katherine Lingenfelter (and any other writers who might have helped) and Battlestar Galactica alumnus, director Michael Nankin, well done!

8.6 out of 10
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:05 PM   #44
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'nother episode tonight, folks. It was really good last week. Tune in!
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:56 AM   #45
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The most important part, getting at the show's systemic problems with limited moral ambiguity, is highlighted.

Review of “Know Thy Enemy” (airdate March 5, 2010)

Here we go again. After last week’s very good episode, we return to storylines in which the male leads are more interesting and original than the female ones, who are given substantially cliché parts, under Jane Espenson’s misguided and unimaginative stewardship.

This episode felt as though the storylines involving Joseph Adama and Daniel Graystone were, for the most part, written by different people than those serving the arcs of Amanda, Sister Clarice, Zoe, and Lacey/Keon/Barnabas. Again, this week, I avoided looking at who wrote the episode – but only when watching it live; I was sufficiently disappointed that it didn’t matter who wrote it, as I peeked at the identities of Patrick Massett, John Zinman, and Mathew Roberts upon the second viewing on VHS. Obviously, even a director of Michael Nankin’s experience couldn’t rescue this story from plenty of missteps. I’m quite certain that some of this is Jane Espenson’s fault because it FEELS like her rewriting of earlier episodes and she was placed as head writer from the start of the post-pilot season. Not only is her job rewriting others’ work and giving feedback, but she chooses which direction to take among all the options offered in the writers’ room.

Some of the poor quality may also flow from the limited options available from a largely Battlestar Galactica-free writers’ room; the poor guidance provided by executive producers David Eick (who is evidently heavily involved, given his role in editing and supervising, as stated in his podcasts for each episode) and Ronald D. Moore (who seems largely incognito, given the dearth of his communication with the public and fans since handing over the reins); and even the network’s participation. I’m not sure. However, I emphasize that I think Ms. Espenson talented and hard-working and not at all akin to the shamelessly commercial writers like J.J. Abrams or Tim Kring. She has heart, but perhaps not the artistic taste or the political activist streak necessary to make the most of this show as head writer. Quite honestly, I didn’t think anyone could measure up to Ronald D. Moore’s rewriting when I read he was stepping down, and I think I’ve been proven right.

Nevertheless, the first several minutes of the episode were terrific. Tomas Virgil was magnificently portrayed by John Piper-Ferguson, whose performances have always been memorable – from “The X-Files”’ 5th season two-parter (in which he was one of the few things I didn’t wish to forget) to the wonderful film, “The House of Sand and Fog.” I liked how his character’s name was pronounced as though it were Nordic or something, rather than the usual “Thomas.”

At the party, Amanda and Daniel Graystone’s light exchange was entertaining enough and established that their lives were improving. The disconnected way that Virgil reacted to Daniel’s objection that he had crashed the party was satisfyingly disturbing. I didn’t mind that Daniel refused to admit to Amanda what had precisely upset him about Virgil’s comments. Though he seems to be getting away with a lot of secrets, I liked that Amanda knew he wasn’t being completely open with her. I loved the phony way he insisted she go to sleep because he was supposedly worried about her recent sleeplessness, when, in fact, he wanted to get away from her to speak privately to his assistant Cyrus Xander; I do hate that this character took his last name from “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” though. In any case, the dialogue between Daniel and Cyrus was great, too.

There’s a nice bit of relatable texture when we see Joseph Adama struggle to open the plastic packaging of his just-purchased holoband; this happens to me all the time! I also enjoyed the difficulties he faced trying to find Tamra because she was in an illegal area of the virtual world. I particularly loved the tense scene just after this between Daniel and Joseph, as each feels the other has betrayed him and trivializes his concerns.

It was roughly after this point that the episode stopped wowing me, though I continued to find Daniel and Jospeh’s remaining scenes with other characters decent. Yet one scene that irritated me with its cliché writing was when Joseph’s female fellow lawyer or legal assistant to a judge made an obvious pass by stroking the tattoos on his chest; this was tacky and uninteresting. I love romance, but don’t appreciate this kind of predictable storytelling in a series that should be just as good as Battlestar Galactica, but isn’t. For the rest of the episode, even Daniel’s conversations with Cyrus about what Virgil has planned as well as Daniel’s scenes with Virgil just weren’t as engaging and tension-filled as one feels they could be if Ron Moore were firmly in charge of rewriting this or even if Mark Verheiden, Michael Angeli, and numerous other Battlestar writers had taken a stab at these scenes.

The basic problem was that Virgil’s motivations remained predictably obvious from the opening scene and the revelation, at the episode’s end, that he seeks to destroy everything in Daniel’s life didn’t feel particularly shocking or imaginative. The single-minded vengeance-seeker is quite conventional in fiction, but it requires greater shades of subtlety to be engaging. Otherwise, it’s as lame as Venom hating Spiderman or some embarrassing character arc on “Lost.” Human nature is often too complex to allow for this kind of focus. Speaking from my own experience with such emotions, however much I’ve been eaten away, at any given moment, by a desire for revenge, life and practical considerations get in the way; I get hungry or tired or I want to think about something else. Hopefully, Tomas Virgil’s arc won’t simply be to keep threatening Daniel and his loved ones until he is killed because that would be a shame. This actor deserves a more complex and believable role than the one I worry could easily and formulaically unfold.

Now onto what didn’t work well. Amanda’s arc in this episode was dull; she was too passive in her relationship with Daniel. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I don’t like Amanda calling Daniel “babe” because it reminds me of how the protagonist married couple refer to each other on “Friday Night Lights” – a program for which these writers have worked – and I always found that relationship annoyingly “down to earth;” it felt phony, as if to emphasize the couple’s “common man” qualities with an air of reverse-snobbery – as if that would make them more relatable. I don’t want the Graystones to become like that – to be written as though they’re the “cool” couple; I want them to be unique and, sometimes, this means appearing uncool.

In any event, Amanda’s arc from the start of this series has been too stagnant. Having a mother grieving for this long is perfectly realistic, but it’s not dramatically interesting to see over and over again. Perhaps, the mourning needs to be expressed in a different, less conventional way. Her guilt-inspired outburst at the memorial in “Rebirth” and her appearance on “Sarno” in “Gravedancing” were great examples of how to invigorate her character. Yet they stand out precisely because they’re rare. In this episode, she continued to commiserate over the loss of her daughter and the Global Defense Department’s (GDD) rude investigation of Zoe’s life – this time, in the company of the devious Sister Clarice – and it was still boring.

For her part, Clarice also remains a problematic character. Her frustrations with the Soldiers of The One (STO) hierarchy still aren’t clear enough to fully understand the stakes of what’s happening. Similarly, her conversations with her family are equally disappointing, and her drug binges remain as utterly tedious in this installment as they were in “Rebirth” and any cliché druggie scene from any commercial movie. Watching people on drugs is one of the most overused plot devices and it’s always exasperating to watch. The whole point of it here was to illustrate her guilt over her deceit of Amanda Graystone. We watched Clarice persuade Amanda to get drunk and, under the guise of wanting to see Zoe’s art work, trick her into letting her into Daniel’s lab so she could copy files from his computer that might contain Zoe’s avatar. While this was slightly more compelling than the usual tiresome Clarice plot line, it still felt quite predictable.

By far, the worst – to the point of being unforgivable – storylines involved Zoe and Lacey. Daniel Graystone’s technician acted the part well enough; I liked the moment when Daniel confronted him about pretend flirting with the cylon. Still, the very idea of delving into his lack of success at internet dating was poorly executed by having Zoe’s avatar try to bring him joy by posing as a young woman interested in meeting him. I was disgusted at the formulaic way the writers decided she should disguise herself as a supposed nerd – all hunched posture, awkward hair-style, and thick-rimmed glasses. It’s insulting to viewers to engage in such well-worn and uninspired tropes that defy respect for humanity by substituting the complexity of human behavior with stereotypes. This is the kind of mistaken foray into supposed whimsy into which I feared Jane Espenson would take the show – and my fears have been proven justified. Having Zoe and the technician dance in “Gravedancing” was bad enough.

The Lacey plot barely featured her and, when it did, failed miserably. She sought to smuggle a secret package to Gemenon, which the viewers know is to contain the cylon imbued with Zoe’s avatar. Even this holdover plot from previous episodes is a horrible, cliché idea and it’s obvious that Ronald D. Moore or some of the better writers from Battlestar would have come up with something more innovative. In any case, she was soliciting the leader of an STO cell named Barnabus, who is played by the great James Marsters. His casting was one excellent idea of Espenson, as he’s a fine and subtle actor. He did a good job here with very little – particularly when he roared at Lacey to leave, refusing her request.

Most of this storyline revolved around Barnabus and high school student/STO member Keon Gatwick, who was, yet again, acted unconvincingly and without much emotional range. The writing of their interaction was quite awful, not simply due to the uninspiring dialogue, but also the tone of their relationship, which never seemed believable. One had a sense that Barnabas is an imposing leader of this STO subgroup, at one moment. Yet, at another, it looked as though Keon was free to derisively refuse participation in Barnabas’ request that he share in a ritual of showing devotion to God by tightly wrapping barbed wire around one’s arm; Keon didn’t even seem nervous doing so, and spoke to the middle aged mastermind behind recent terrorist bombings as though he were also a peer from the teenager’s high school. When Barnabus pointed out to Keon that Lacey would be horrified to find out that Keon had made the bomb that killed Zoe, it sounded more like a row among equals – with Barnabas having to guilt-trip a friend into line – than how one with unimpeachable authority would address a subordinate. Indeed, the storytelling provided no sense of the precise boundaries of their relationship within Barnabas’ cell, let alone the STO hierarchy. Furthermore, how likely is it that a teenager is a bomb expert?

As a result, Barnabus’ introduction was a letdown. In his first scene, he showily inflicted pain on himself to demonstrate a fanaticism akin to certain monks of the Middle Ages who flagellated themselves to show their humility before God. While it’s a nice bit of historical/political parallel to our world, it’s also the only instance of its kind in the episode and a meek one at that.


There is no sense that Caprica is delving deeply and realistically into the mindsets of terrorists, based on an examination of history and present day politics from a non-Western perspective; this is what Ronald D. Moore ensured on Battlestar Galactica. Instead, one gets the impression that Jane Espenson is leading her writing staff in coming up with their notions of such people and movements on their own. This tends to lead to mythical notions of how people behave without any psychological grounding. It also leads to morally ambiguous arcs that are less ambitious and are crafted for their own sake, rather than to say something pertinent about our world.

For example, isn’t it convenient that the moral ambiguity among the show’s characters only extends to limited culpability? They’re often suspected of committing horrible acts, but they’re shown as either having not committed them or having never meant for them to occur and – therefore – are redeemable, according to conventional state-oriented notions of morality. Daniel never meant to have Virgo Industries’ employees killed; I’m sure even Sam will be absolved of complicity in their deaths and Tomas Virgo will be shown to wrongly want Daniel or the Adamas’ deaths. Similarly, Zoe is thought by her parents and the GDD to be responsible for the suicide train bombing, but we know she isn’t. Yet the guy who is, Ben Stark, still hasn’t been explored. In the same vein, Sister Clarice will predictably be found out by Amanda as a member of the STO, and Amanda will think Clarice responsible for the bombing. Yet, it’s pretty clear that she’s depicted as disagreeing with Barnabas’ violent course. In contrast, Ronald D. Moore’s pilot had a disturbing but convincing scene in which she lays out a sympathetic understanding of Ben’s mindset; a deleted scene even hinted that she was behind his actions. In this episode, we find out that Keon’s culpability is also limited because he didn’t know Stark would use the bomb in that way. It would have been harder to humanize these characters were they responsible for the horrible things of which they are or will be accused, but it would make for better drama and more insightful probing into the human condition.

In contrast, on Battlestar Galactica, the cylons INTENDED to commit genocide against the humans at the start of the show, just as the fleet MEANT to do the same to the cylons later on. Characters also willfully tortured “the other.” The brilliance of that show lay in getting the audience to feel that this cruelty could be rationalized and carried out by the same people who were capable of great kindness as well.

So, instead of the current dramatic course – composed of a series of accidents and misunderstandings – Caprica’s storytelling should push the boundaries of moral ambiguity to more extreme, albeit realistic, levels to explore the most horrific acts of humanity. Like Battlestar, it must serve to expose the most pressing issues of our time and ask viewers to question their own narratives and the mainstream North American media’s biased depictions of events. Above nearly every other issue, that is my greatest concern with the show’s present direction.


7.8 out of 10
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