This series continues to deliver character-rich episodes week after week and what a cliffhanger w“Ghosts in the Machine” was the second-to-last episode of the front 10 episodes of the season. From tonight’s episode, the overall theme was the extremes Joseph and Daniel will go in order to achieve their goals.
Both are trying to find their daughters, but after tonight, I believe Daniel might care more about business than he does his daughter. An outstanding performance was given by Dmitry Chepovetsky, guest-starring as Cereberus in the Mysteries club in New Cap City, and our main actors, Eric Stolz and Alessandra Torresani.
Joseph has been connected to New Cap City for a while, judging from the condition of his self-care and immediate environment. Emmanuelle has changed his virtual look and introduces him to an “amp” which she describes “a hack that bypasses the holobands’ safeties, interacting with the visual cortex to heighten player’s senses and reflexes.” Joseph uses it in the virtual game, but you can see his physical body in the real world has a response to it, almost like a methamphetamine.
Daniel powers up U-87. He wants a sign Avatar Zoe is in there. Zoe, however, will not respond; U-87 does respond to Daniel’s command to look at him. At the Graystone lab, Daniel is trying everything he can to get a response out of Zoe. While putting U-87 through gun-assembly drills, he tries to agitate Zoe with things that she hates. First, he starts smoking. He talks in great detail about why Zoe hates his smoking. There was a fire when she was 5 in the home that Amanda told Clarice in a previous episode was Zoe’s favorite house. The fire started in Daniel’s home lab and had completely engulfed the house. Zoe was trapped in the attic. Daniel describes hearing her screams of her being trapped in a box (which would explain why U-87/Avatar Zoe freaked out when she was placed in a box for transport, as if it was a coffin), the fire making screams of its own, and those being the longest 7 minutes in Daniel’s life.
As he lights another cigarette, his lighter no longer works so he uses a match. Whether or not this is deliberate, I cannot tell for sure (I believe it was), he allowed the flame to burn his hand. When he screams, “Ow!”, it is then U-87/Avatar Zoe pauses in her gun assembly and then in another reflex that made the viewer believe that she realized that and that is the release we see in the second movement.
Amanda visits the site of the accident in which her brother was killed. As she looks up from the tree they hit, she sees her dead brother, Darius, driving in a car that passes.
Zoe is livid and vents to Lacy. Lacy ponders if Zoe should just let Daniel know she is in there. Zoe does not trust him. She says, “Business first, same old daddy.” She then realizes exactly what he was trying to do: Get her to react. Zoe tells Lacy she just needs to be the robot. Lacy laments if she can even do that anymore.
In New Cap City, Joseph and Emmanuelle stumble on to Joseph’s home. He wonders if Tamara is in there. A drug abuser is occupying the home (actor Stefan Arngrim, V, Fringe, BSG). The word “motherfracker” is finally used in the Caprica series at this time, which made me smile, having missed this term from Battlestar Galactica. He shows him a picture of Tamara. His character, credited as Amphead, says that she is the dead girl and may be at a club called “Mysteries.” Another character, credited as “Shotgun” enters (actor Ron Selmour, Stargate Atlantis, BSG), who wants some payback with Tamara. A shoot-out occurs. Thank goodness Joseph had Emmanuelle along because he had difficulty pulling the trigger. She was able to take all of them down, getting only grazed in the process. She tells Joseph to leave until he learns not to hesitate when shooting.
Clarice and Amanda chat about seeing her brother Darius and the exact car that was in the accident in the last episode, Imperfections. During their conversation, apparently Clarice got Amanda to ask Daniel about Zoe’s avatar and Clarice tells her that the program was unstable.
Finally outside the lab, U-87/Avatar Zoe is forced to listen to Daniel explaining to her that he saw her “tell”, that he knows she is in there. A very emotional scene ensues between them. He tells her no matter what she did or what she is, he still loves her. She still does not respond. Then in a moment that shocked me, he shows his dark side again. Exploiting her fear of fire, he encircles U-87/Avatar Zoe with gasoline. He tells her all she has to do is take 4 steps out to clear the fire. Then he orders U-87, however, to stay. He throws the cigarette on the ring and flames engulf U-87/Avatar Zoe. There is only one point in that where U-87 moves the hand slightly, but I do not believe Daniel sees it. Zoe, however, seems to be hyperventilating. Once the flames die down, she is pissed. Awesome special effects with U-87 and Zoe (the cut scenes between the two of them) with the fire, giving us a camera view from her perspective as well.
Sam visits a disheveled Joseph. Joseph shocks Sam when he asks him what goes through Sam’s head when he kills someone. Thinking it is important to what is currently going on with Joseph, he says that that he tells himself it is not real, that they are not people but targets, and the whole thing becomes a game.
I loved the subtle red in the monochromic theme in Emmanuelle’s dress that tied directly into the name of the place, “Mysteries” back in New Cap City. This place lives up to its name. Emmanuelle warns Joseph to steer clear of the person who asks riddles. Of course, the entertainer picks him right out of the crowd and brings him on stage to ask him a riddle, asking if the stranger is their new Prometheus. Throughout the scene, you do not know who the name of this character is, but when I saw it in the credits, it was perfect: Cereberus (played by Dmitry Chepovetsky, Stargate SG-1). There are a few actors here that play on other shows we follow: Bouncer #2 was King Lau (Human Target); Cigarette Man was Amos Stern (Fringe); Weasley Bouncer was actor Patrick Sabongui (Fringe, Stargate Atlantis as Kanaan).
This segment is so rich in mythology it is fascinating. Cereberus in Greek and Roman mythology is the multiheaded (most commonly depicted by three heads) guardian of the gates of Hades to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx (the river between Earth and Hades) from ever escaping. He was the son of Echidna, a hybrid half-woman, half-serpent, and Typhon, a fire-breathing giant. Each of Cereberus’ heads is said to have an appetite for only live meat and thus allows the spirits of the dead (perhaps Tamara) to freely enter the underworld, but allowed none to leave. Capturing Cereberus alive without using weapons was the final task assigned to Heracles (another character in Caprica, who helped Tamara and then helped Joseph try to find Tamara) by King Eurystheus for Heracles killing his own wife and children after he was driven insane by Hera (the first Cylon/human hybrid child in Battlestar Galactica). After being given the task, Heracles went to Eleusis to be initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries (the club Mysteries in Caprica?) so that he could learn how to enter and exit the underworld alive. The Mysteries are possibly related to the myths surrounding Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility, which is known in the Homeric Hymns (around 650 BC). According to the hymn, Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, was gathering flowers (Tamara represents the letter “T” in her name with a sunflower), when she was seized by her uncle, Hades, with the consent of father, Zeus. Hades took Persephone to the underworld kingdom. Demeter searched everywhere for her daughter (perhaps this is represented by Joseph?). Another thought was that the Eleusinian Mysteries were begun around 1600 BC. Modern scholars believed “to elevate man above the human sphere into the divine and to assure his redemption by making him a god and so conferring immortality upon him.” (Reference: Nilsson, Martin P. Greek Popular Religion “The Religion of Eleusis” New York: Columbia University Press, 1947. pages 42 – 64).
Prometheus was a Titan, son of Iapetus and Themis. He was a champion of human-kind and known for his wily intelligence. He is also known for fire-stealing and giving it back to mankind. Again, Heracles is connected to this mythological figure. When Prometheus is chained to a rock where his liver is eaten out daily by an eagle only to to regenerate at night (because of immortality), Heracles shoots the eagle and frees Prometheus from his chains.
Now back to Caprica. The riddle is asked: “As the gods overthrow the Titans, so has man overthrown the gods, but when man visits his sins upon his children, how shall he be repaid?
There are two very rich things in just that simple sentence. First is from our own mythology: The Titans were the 12 supreme deities, sons and daughters of Gaia and Uranus. They were eventually overthrown by 12 younger gods, known as the Olympians (which includes, in Greek mythology, Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Ares, Demeter, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes and Dionysus; in Roman mythology, Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Minerva, Mars, Ceres, Apollo, Diana, Vulcan, Venus, Mercury, Bacchus). Secondly, is how it relates back to Battlestar Galactica, in the miniseries, where Commander William Adama gives his speech for the decommissioning of the Battlestar Galactica (before the Cylons attack): “The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. The cost of wearing the uniform can be high, but…sometimes, it’s too high. You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question, why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we’ve done. Like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. When that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn’t our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of that you’ve created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.”
Joseph cannot answer the question and begs to help him find his daughter. He is escorted out. He is about ready to leave when he sees the “T” that is similar to how Tamara used to write her name. Double-amping himself, he shoots the gun-check man. He goes back into the club and shoots many there until he gives them a chance to take off their holobands and leave on their own, after all, if you are shot in New Cap City, you can never come back again. Interrogating Cereberus, he finds out that Tamara was on the stage seeking answers to the afterlife. As Emmanuelle shows him the backway out, Cereberus smells a sunflower. The first thing I thought was that Tamara has changed the look of her avatar and that was actually her hiding from her father, just as Avatar Zoe is hiding from Daniel.
I love the small details they do not leave out on the show. Like on the backstage door, it says “Astra” which means stars, as in that was the stars’ entrance.
As soon as they walk out, Joseph sees a wall of the “T”’s that Tamara has written. The head is in the shape of a sunflower, which is symbolic for adoration and longevity, and let’s face it, Tamara’s longevity as a one of the two ghosts in the machine is guaranteed at this point.
Tomas Vergis visits the Graystone home to put his plan into motion of destroying everything Daniel holds dear. His target for this visit: Amanda. He shares what happened to his 2 employees and how the MCP was stolen, only for Daniel to have an identical MCP just a few days later. To her credit, she does not show any signs of knowing this information. She asks Tom to leave.
Setting up one more test in the lab for U-87/Avatar Zoe, you can see Daniel’s eyes are red and tired. He commands U-87 to shoot the dog. He loves the dog, but he loves his daughter more. I drew in a deep breath, not knowing for sure whether the writers would allow the dog to be shot. I thought certainly no, but…..? I have been shocked before. U-87 pulls the trigger, the dog winces, and my heart stops. Yes, I know the irony there that I am more upset about the dog being shot than the other characters in the show. But I am a big dog lover. I scream, “Holy frack!” And in a split second, Daniel informs U-87 that the robot did not miss; they were blanks. He then commands U-87 to shut itself down for the night.
Daniel comes out of the lab, grabs something to drink, and watches videos of Zoe on the window. Amanda is sitting outside, undoubtedly processing the information Vergis gave her. There is such beauty in the shot. There is a great divide between Daniel and Amanda, the void as big as the distance of where each were presently sitting. Also, I noticed that Daniel was “inside” while Amanda was “outside.” I am sure she was feeling very outside once Tomas Vergis shared with her that tidbit of information.
Back in the V-club, Zoe tells Lacy that the robot knew that the bullets were blank because of the weight. Had there been real bullets, she might have shot her father instead. Zoe tells Lacy she better get her out of there soon before something happens that she is going to regret.
In seeing the scenes from next week’s episode, I believe that unfortunately becomes reality for Zoe. Syfy promotes that someone is going to die. They show various scenarios of who that might be. I have not seen the actual episode so this is a 100% guess on my part based on watching the promo over and over again. I think Philomon dies next week. You see U-87 trying to get out of the lab, then you see U-87 driving the van (the lights from the helicopters following it shine through the driver’s side. It looks like Philomon might get whacked with U-87’s arm near his head. The coroner is at the Graystone’s house, what looks to be the lab, with Daniel and Cyrus present. Cyrus tells Daniel he is losing control of the project. Amanda looks like she is going to jump, but that could just be a dream she is having. Clarice has a gun to Barnabus’ head. Lacy joins STO, and Joseph and Tamara point guns in each other’s faces). This mid-season finale (the end of the first 10 episodes) is going to be a wild ride.
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