CAPRICA seems to have evolved into a state of “meh” for me. Ever since it returned from hiatus, CAPRICA feels like something I watch if there’s nothing better on. Which is sad, because it began with such promise.
The problem probably stems from the concentration on Daniel Graystone’s (Eric Stoltz) soul-searching and Sister Clarice’s (Polly Walker) search for souls to add to Soldier of The One. I am simply not as interested in Daniel’s sudden attacks of conscience — c’mon, surely the man did not become a business titan by being nice and playing by the rules! — or Clarice’s metaphysical mumbo-jumbo.
The term “game-changer” tends to get overused with TV shows, but I think this episode of CAPRICA really did alter the game because so much was…well, changed. The Zoe/Tamara alliance, Vergis’ death at Daniel’s hands, Clarice indoctrinating Lacy and taking in Amanda. It sounds like a cliché, but things should never be the same again.
The opening scene in the gladiator arena was thrilling, as Zoe (Alessandra Toressani) looked for the other Deathwalker — and found her! Tamara (Genevieve Buechner) wielded that shotgun like a pro. The entire sequence hinged on misperceptions by both women: Tamara resented Zoe as the terrorist who killed her and everyone else on the mag-lev. Zoe mistakes the Deathwalker Tamara for a copy of the real Tamara. Apparently AvatarZoe doesn’t know that RealZoe didn’t do the bombing, because instead of telling Tamara that Zoe was innocent, AZ merely argues that she’s not the actual Zoe — and thus shouldn’t be blamed for “Zoe’s” crime.
Forced to explain why she botched her attempt to bomb the Trojan Spaceport in this episode, Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) stammered, “It got complicated.” I get the feeling that CAPRICA itself is getting complicated – to the point where it is taking on a life of its own; one that its creators are having trouble reining in. Which is pretty ironic for a series about runaway technology.
On the surface, this week’s installment was about Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker) settling accounts with Barnabas (James Marsters), who dared to challenge her control of Soldiers of The One field operations. But beneath the surface, it was a story swallowing its own tail. The political intrigue within the STO seems to be just story filler and a way to inject action into an overall story that is about ideas. The problem is, it is difficult to make ideas look interesting onscreen. It’s tough to dramatize, say, consternation. So why not bring in a bunch of good-looking young people and let them blow them stuff up?
Last week viewers got to visit New Cap City in V-World, but this week we finally visited one of the other planets of the 12 colonies when we got a glimpse of Tauron City, home of Vergis Industries. But the thing most people will probably remember about this week’s episode is the appearance of James Marsters as Barnabus Greeley, an authority figure in the Caprica City cell of Soldiers of The One.
Marsters’ genre cred is unimpeachable: He broke through as that other soulful vampire, Spike, on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, moved on to playing SMALLVILLE’s Brainiac and, recently, the amoral Capt. John Hart on TORCHWOOD. Here Barnabus is a True Believer: he practices self-mortification as a way of avoiding sin – yet isn’t averse to belonging to a violent terrorist cell. I guess it’s all in how he can justify it to himself. Torturing his own flesh with that cilice is pretty extreme. And, despite his asking, “What gets unleashed when this thing gets to Gemenon?” I suspect he rejected Lacy’s (Magda Apanowicz) appeal for transport to Gemenon more out of concern for getting caught by the authorities than humanitarian worry over the morality/lethality of whatever cargo she wanted to drag along. STO are in the middle of campaign of bombing holocafes, for gods’ sakes, so he’s a believer in situational ethics, at least. Important tidbit: Keon (Liam Sproule) built the device that Ben used to destroy Maglev 23. Marsters’ appearance was brief but effective. I want to know more about this guy!
Amanda and Daniel
After successive episodes that ended with jaw-dropping twists, this week’s installment of CAPRICA was a far quieter affair. It felt like the show paused to catch its breath while giving the actors a chance to breathe in character. Paula Malcomson
, Eric Stoltz
, Esai Morales
and Sasha Roiz
got to emote bog-time, and Polly Walker
added a little more depth to Sister Clarice. All this made for another impressive episode.
The main story thread continued to deal with the fallout of the bombing of the MLMT train. GDD agent Jordan Durham (Brian Markinson) stepped up his investigation into the Soldiers of The One, conducting a high-profile (and thoroughly thuggish) search of the lockers at the Athena Academy, as well as a more polite tossing of the Graystone residence. Jordan is all about chasing down the terrorists who blew up the train. “I lost everyone on that train,” he tells Amanda. Later, he tells his partner, Agent Youngblood, that he feels responsible for everyone, not just family members. His searches turn up no evidence terrorist activity (beyond an infinity symbol), but Jordan is strangely comforted by the idea the school and the home were “too clean.” So coming up empty-handed strangely reinforced Jordan’s dedication to the cause. I liked this little chunk of characterization.
Daniel and Joseph
The latest CAPRICA saw some characters undergo big changes: Amanda (Paula Malcomson) was compelled to resign her position at the hospital, and husband Daniel’s (Eric Stoltz) company took a financial pounding even as he endured a physical beating from Sam Adama (Sasha Roiz). The Graystones had been on top of the 12 worlds, but now they are pariahs.
But perhaps no one has changed as radically — and certainly as willfully — as Joseph Adama (Esai Morales). As the bloody pulp that was Daniel gasped “Adams” at his tormentor, Joseph sneered, “It’s ‘Adama’ now,” signaling his transformation from genteel gangster who engaged in polite bribery, into a guy who ordered his brother to pound Daniel; a thug who literally gets blood on his hands. But Joseph is still completely devoted to his daughter, just like any other doting father. In fact, one could argue that Tamara (Genevieve Buechner) and her mother Shannon (Anna Galvin) — or, more precisely, their loss — are fueling Joseph’s descent into the criminal underworld of the Ha’la’tha. And it is a descent that is rapidly spiralling out of control. Witness Joseph casually suggesting to Sam that he should take out Amanda Graystone to “even out” the two families’ losses. That shocking order constituted the second jaw-dropping CAPRICA ending in two weeks.