Friday’s episode of Caprica was incredibly dense, packed full of information, character development and glimpses of the future. For the Adama family and the Graystone family, they are awakening from their grief states to see that while you will never “get over” the loss of a loved one, you learn to live life differently – life with another sky. For Tamara, another sky for her is finding out what her new role in life is.
As Caprica began, Joseph Adama is at one of the lowest points of depression, sleeping on the couch with the blankets pulled up over his head. Willie is not in school. Sam uses some tough love to wake him up: He has another child who still needs him. Sam pretends that he is taking Willie to school and walks out.
In the V-club, Tamara roams. Byun (actress Eve Harlow, Fringe) takes her to see Vesta (actress Camille Mitchell). Tamara has been told that Vesta can get her home. In a freaky game that resembles a hybrid game of spin the bottle and Russian roulette, the wheel spins. Once it stops, your virtual avatar picks up the virtual gun that stops in front of you. Everyone puts their respective virtual guns to their avatar’s head and pulls the trigger. The virtual gun with the virtual bullet will knock a participant out of the V-club and thus they become the loser.
Vesta tells Tamara to just take off her holoband, but Tamara responds that she cannot. With a quick draw, Vesta shoots Tamara, expecting to see her avatar de-res. Tamara has blood on her avatar’s body, but her wound heals. Vesta says that she is a “sleeper.” A sleeper is supposed to be a myth, someone who fell asleep with their holoband on and cannot wake up, like someone unconscious or in a coma. Her holoband has a time-out feature built into it, but Vesta surmises there must have been a malfunction. She can hack it and do a manual disconnect. There is always a price. Vesta wants Tamara to play a game.
Over at the Adama house, Joseph gets a call that Willie has been out sick for several days now. Joseph inquires exactly how long and is told the middle of last week (a story week for the character). Finding Willie at Sam’s business, there is an awkward moment between the three of them. Joseph tells Willie to come with him; Willie looks to Sam; Joseph sees that look; Sam motions his head to go with his father. Sam reminds Joseph of an old Tauron saying: “You lose something in the desert. Someone else finds it – it belongs to them. Permanent.” Joseph replies that he did not lose his son; Sam counters, “Then what are you doing here?”
Heracles (actor Richard Harmon, Fringe, Riese) takes Tamara’s avatar to a virtual Caprica that is totally lawless. It reminded me of being in a virtual replica of perhaps the video game Grand Theft Auto meets the movie Sin City. A dirigible hovers nearby, fighter planes detaching from it, which sprays bullets in their path on the fire escape. Heracles explains “New Cap City” to Tamara; it has all the new routines, even the one that features the Maglev train blowing up. Her memory is returning: “When MY Maglev train blew up.” If that is true, Heracles wonders how long she has been sleeping. What is the object of the game “New Cap City?” The object of the game IS the object of the game. He reassures her that the game is not real; it, however, feels very real to her.
Back to the Adama house, reality is setting in for Joseph. He finds pictures of his family. The mixture of joyful memories, mixed with pain at remembering those better times, and grief for what he no longer has rises in his face. Esai Morales did a fantastic job displaying this wide range of emotions.
Tamara and Heracles begin to play the game, going after a boss, Chiron (actor A. C. Peterson, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis). Playing tag team, Tamara serves as the distraction, while Heracles uses his device to steal the details of Chiron’s avatar. Back at the hotel, Heracles uses the device to change his avatar to one that looks like Chiron. They are planning a virtual bank heist. In a personal moment, Heracles tells Tamara that the game allows him to be something. Tamara responds that perhaps if he was not in the virtual world playing the game, he could be something out in the real world, too.
Joseph tries to move forward to rebuild his life and takes Willie fishing. As any typical teenager seeking to make life miserable for those with whom he is angry, he gets that point across quite well. Looking on is a group of kids making fun of his Tauron heritage. Fed up, Willie throws a rock at his tormentor and starts punching him.
Cyrus at Graystone Industries tells Daniel he may be ousted from the board because of his decision on world-wide television to give away holoband licensure (60% of the company’s profits). When Daniel asks Cyrus if they have the votes, Cyrus walks away, giving Daniel his answer. Daniel goes home, but cannot sleep. He shares the bad news with Amanda. Amanda reminds him about the circumstances under which he got the job that started everything for them, when she was pregnant with Zoe.
The next morning at the board meeting, Cyrus and Pryah speak up on behalf of Daniel. In what has to be one of the BEST scenes so far in all of the episodes, Daniel seals the fate of humanity of the Twelve Colonies. With U-87/Avatar Zoe at his side, he walks in and declares that holobands are over. Hacked sites are eating up more and more of their market share each quarter and that is where the kids are going because it is free. The next generation will also expect it to be free. They cannot own it forever. Daniel says they can put all their resources into that sinking ship or they can look for the next big thing, the next leap forward that will “change the world.” Oh, Daniel, if you only knew. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. He says, “We either move into the future or die trying to hold on to the past.” I’m yelling at the screen at this point (in my head, of course, so as not to upset my family: Your future is death!”) U-87 is that future. Daniel asks U-87 to “make the circuit. Take a nice look at all…these…fine…folks.” As U-87 starts to make the rounds, not only is the board uneasy as this machine checks them out, but so am I. And the Emmy goes to….”U-87!”
Avatar Zoe pops into frame, just loving making faces at all the board members, just like a 16-year-old would.
Daniel continues to speak: “What is it thinking? Or feeling? THAT is the big leap forward. Beyond artificial intelligence. This is artificial sentience.” He says that he feels like there is a being in U-87, alive, vital and special. There are test results to prove it as well. Avatar Zoe looks so proud of her dad, but happy, I believe, that he acknowledges her existence on some level. “There is a brilliant mind in here.” She is beaming.
A board member asks, “What are the practical applications of something that costs so much.” Daniel replies, “What are the practical applications of creating another race to share our universe? A tireless worker who won’t need to be paid, won’t retire, or get sick. He won’t have rights or objections or complaints. It will do anything and everything we ask of it without question.” He commands U-87 to rip off its arm. At this point I am unsure if this is purposely done this way or if it was something not thought through. U-87 hesitates. He has to repeat the command a few times to U-87 before it happens. Avatar Zoe inside of U-87 does not want to do this. Why did Daniel not pick up on this hesitation? Did he just think the model was new and he had to repeat the command more than once? He said they would do everything without question, but the model was clearly not responding to the initial command. U-87 eventually rips off its arm and for emphasis throws it onto the conference table, a thud that issued the future death warrant on humanity. The move has secured Daniel his spot in Graystone Industries.
Back at the V-club, the virtual bank heist is on with Heracles using Chiron’s avatar. Tamara and Heracles figure out the code and open the vault. Virtual coins go flying in the air. Alarms sound; they’ve been caught. When the guards try to shoot, Tamara throws him to the ground, grips her palms hard and the guards’ avatars disappear. She is not quite sure how she did that. It reminded me a lot of The Matrix.
In my reviews, I have neglected to mention how wonderful the visual effects are in Caprica. The work they are doing on this show is incredible, so incredible that I often take for granted a lot of what I see is not real. I still find great irony that the technology is so advanced in some areas, like the V-club, yet they still have hard-wired phone lines, cars that resemble those in the 1950’s.
Willie and Joseph have a tense moment in the Adama house. Sam knocks on the door. He and Larry sit down with Joseph. What has he been teaching Willie, he asks? Only the things they were taught, Sam replies. Willie needs closure. Sam wants Joseph to perform the Tauron rites.
The Tauron ceremony was very beautiful. It reminded me loosely of sitting shiva after a person of the Jewish faith has been buried. Ideally all of the direct mourners sit shiva in the house of the deceased, for it says, “Where a person lived, there does his spirit continue to dwell.” Thus the presence of the person who has passed away is strongest in his own home. But one may sit shiva in any home. Particularly, a home of one of the direct mourners will be filled with the spirit of the loved one who is now gone. Memories will come easily there, and part of the comfort of the week of shiva is sharing such memories. The Adama household was more festive than shiva, however, so that is where the similarities ended. Performing the Tauron ritual was the ferryman (actor Ian Wallace, Stargate: The Ark of Truth, Sanctuary). Both Joseph and Willie offered up a coin for the passage of the souls of Shannon and Tamara Adama. Sam Adama stands behind the two, his shirt off, showing off the story of his life through his tattoos.
Note: Show Patrol aka Curt Wagner had a wonderful intensive with Jane Espenson who shared in great detail what every tattoo means. Please see Curts fine report by clicking his link above left or Curt’s Show Patrol avatar below:
The ferryman asks them, “Will you let them go? Joseph and Willie both respond yes. “They will live forever in peace and in their hearts.” The marking of this chapter in their life is inked into them; it might even be Joseph’s first tattoo since he is embracing his Tauron roots. A beautiful Tauron song is performed by a character listed as “Tauron Rites Singers” but is actress Patti Allan (Stargate SG-1).
At the V-club, Vesta asks Heracles and Tamara for the device. Tamara is a fast learner. First, Vesta is going to wake her up. Vesta says she has bad news for Tamara – Apparently she died in the Maglev bombing, but no worries, she has plans for Tamara in the virtual world. Tamara pulls out her virtual gun and sprays the place with bullets, making all the avatars, except for Vesta and Heracles, to res-out. Tamara begs Heracles to go to the address listed in the newspaper and get her father and to meet her in New Cap City. She walks over to Vesta. Vesta says, “What ARE you?” An angry Tamara responds, “I’m awake!” and the Vesta avatar leaves the virtual world.
With the Tauron Rites ceremony behind them, the Adama family is moving forward again until a knock at the door pulls Joseph back into the world of grief: Heracles tells him that Tamara is trapped in the V-club. When Joseph starts to question him, Heracles gets scared and runs away, leaving Joseph to know that his daughter’s avatar is somewhere in the virtual world but also knowing it would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Back in New Cap City, Tamara has morphed from a frightened school girl into a virtual bad-ass tapped into her Tauron roots.
As she strolled down the street, it reminded me of the commanding presence of the human-like Cylon females (like Caprica Six) that eventually emerge in the remake of Battlestar Galactica: Confident, powerful, fearless.
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