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.
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.
There’s something rotten on CAPRICA, and I love it. There’s a palpable sense of menace lurking just beneath the surface of gleaming Caprica City, and that makes it interesting. There’s something festering deep down, and it will be a wonder if the Twelve Colonies last long enough to be brought down by the cylons.
Let’s start at the end of the episode: Amanda (Paula Malcomson) “outing” her daughter as a member of Soldiers of the One, based on nothing more than a piece of jewelry and her own fears. The episode piled up revelation after revelation about Zoe — both for viewers and Amanda. Plus, as as a devoted polytheist, Amanda reacted with shame and disgust at the prospect of her daughter being a monotheist. Lashing out seemed like an obvious release of her shock. If Amanda really did not know her daughter, then maybe Zoe could have been a religious extremist. But was her bruised ego worth turning an entire world against her family?