Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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Caprica - Season 1 - Episode 02

Caprica - 1x02 - Pilot, Part 2 - Originally Aired: 2009-4-21

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 3.53

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Synopsis
Daniel learns how his daughter brilliantly created her virtual double and embarks on a determined quest to bring her back from the dead by transferring it into a robotic body. In order to accomplish this, Daniel sets Joseph on a mission to steal a crucial piece of technology from a Tauron corporation, promising in return to help bring back Joseph's lost loved ones as well.

Joseph is successful in his mission and acquires the meta cognitive processor, but becomes disillusioned with Daniel's goals once given a taste of what Daniel is offering in return by being shown a copy of his daughter in the environment of the holoband. Joseph abandons Daniel's offer and decides to honor his lost loved ones by reclaiming his former family name: Adama.

Meanwhile, Daniel is for unknown reasons unsuccessful in stably transferring Zoe's virtual double into a robotic body and she collapses onto the floor during the first test. Daniel is, however, able to use the new technology to complete the Cylon prototype to the Caprica Ministry of Defense's satisfaction, which lands him a long term, lucrative contract.

Unofficially, the Defense Ministry admits to having no objection to the means by which Daniel acquired the meta cognitive processor from the Tauron corporation, a position motivated by racism. As Daniel regrets he could not bring his daughter back the way he had planned to, unbeknownst to him she seems to still exist in the Cylon body somewhere and reaches out to Lacy for help. [DVD]

Problems
- Virtual Zoe said: "The human brain contains roughly 300 megabytes of information. Not much when you get right down to it." Unless the Capricans have some crazy efficient compression algorithms, this seems way too low. This line was retconned in later releases of the pilot to 100 terabytes, but they forgot to retcon a later line from Daniel who says that he assembled 300 megabytes of data on Tamara Adams, enough to create a virtual Tamara.
- A Linux book can be seen in the background in Daniel's house.
- Daniel irrecoverably loses virtual Zoe in the Cylon test. Why in the gods' names didn't he make like a hundred backups? Especially if it only weighed 300mb a copy? ;)

Factoids
- Daniel Graystone invented the holoband technology.
- Daniel Graystone owns the Caprica Buccaneers.
- Most of Joseph Adama's family, including his parents, died in the Tauron civil war.
- There are no flowers on Tauron.
- The name Cylon is short for "Cybernetic Life Form Node."
- The pyramid game scenes were retconned when the pilot was aired again in January 2010 to show Daniel, Joseph, and Willie in some sort of VIP booth at the top of the stadium rather than in court side seats.
- A deleted scene indicates that there's an avatar version of Ben as well. However, it seems this subplot was entirely excised.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Tauron mafia boss guy asking Joseph to do a little intimidation for him to Caprica's Minister of Defense, Val Chambers.
- Lacy giving Daniel a tour of the V Club.
- Daniel: "When I created the holoband, this isn't exactly what I had in mind."
- Lacy introducing Daniel to the the virtual Zoe.
- Virtual Zoe describing how she was created.
- Daniel capturing virtual Zoe.
- Agent Duram confronting Lacy and Sister Clarice Willow about Ben and Zoe's involvement with Soldiers of the One.
- Agent Duram: "It doesn't concern you sister? That kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single, all knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned? And in whose name the most horrendous of acts can be sanctioned without appeal?"
- Joseph, Willie, and Daniel at the Pyramid game and Willie getting to hang out with the Pyramid team.
- Joseph and Willie visiting Daniel's house.
- Daniel introducing Joseph to the holoband technology and his virtual daughter.
- Daniel: "There's an axiom in my business. A difference that makes no difference is no difference."
- Daniel declaring that he wants to bring virtual Zoe into the real world and that he needs Joseph's help to do it, trying to persuade him that he can bring back his wife and daughter.
- Joseph threatening Minister Chambers.
- The intercut between The Graystones' romance, Minister Chambers' murder, and Joseph Adama's remorse.
- Lacy admitting to Sister Clarice Willow that she's a member of the Soldiers of the One and Willow confessing that she is too.
- Sister Clarice Willow: "Labels like terrorist are what this corrupt and decadent culture calls people who are trying to fight the real evil in this world. Ben was eager to strike against all that was slowly choking this world to death and so he did something premature. Something unauthorized."
- Joseph meeting his virtual daughter and being traumatized by the experience.
- Virtual Zoe's candid conversation with Daniel about her human counterpart's deep objections to her parents' lifestyle.
- Daniel downloading Zoe into a Cylon body.
- Joseph deciding that to honor their dead loved ones he and his son will adopt their original family name: Adama.
- The successful Cylon military test.
- The test Cylon: "Program completed. By your command."
- Cylon Zoe asking for Lacy's help.

My Review
Continuing the thought from the first part of the review, the second part of the pilot offers more inadequate rationales for Zoe's actions. According to Lacy, Ben showed them "the way." They came to believe that only through the one true god can they know the difference between good and evil and right from wrong. Lacy said, "Zoe knew god. God touched her heart and gave her the ability to create life itself." Again, more vague rhetoric. Why did Zoe come to "know" god? What was the moment in her life that truly touched her enough to become this devoted?

The second half of the pilot offers quite a few more nice touches. For example, we learn much more about Joseph Adama in the second half and his relationship with the Tauron mobsters. While it's annoying that they're so cliche mobster, the place of the Taurons in the society of the twelve colonies is fascinating and the persistent, overt, unapologetic racism is both chilling and familiar. Even little details like Joseph being so nervous when inside Daniel's house highlight the differences between very clear and present social classes in Caprican society.

Perhaps the best scene in the whole pilot is when Sister Clarice Willow is accosted by Agent Duram about what he perceives to be the fundamental immorality of monotheism. His delightful monologue seems to regard the monotheists both as some sort of silly cult as well as a serious menace to society. Pair that scene with the revelation that Sister Clarice Willow was in fact a monotheist herself and the plot is just full of intrigue. But just as we are with Zoe, we're unfortunately left with only a vague impression of what drove Willow to monotheism in the first place. She says some stuff about it being some kind of solution to Caprica's "decadence," but we don't get any actual tangible reasoning.

What really drives the second half of the pilot though is Daniel's quest to bring his daughter back. Watching him slowly progress from questioning whether or not virtual Zoe is even a person, to stealing her, to beginning to honestly believe she's really his daughter reborn in every important sense is fascinating to watch. Equally fascinating is the fact that he was only able to move on from his grief by latching onto his belief that he can bring back his daughter, but did not actually admit this to his wife; saying instead that he is committed to it just being the two of them for now on.

Unfortunately what steals a lot of thunder from the profundity of Daniel's efforts is the dreadfully anticlimactic attempt to download Zoe into the Cylon body. Having Daniel irrecoverably lose the original copy of virtual Zoe is an unforgivable technical goof. I refuse to believe that the man who invented the holoband would forget to make backups of virtual Zoe. This plot hole is not totally irreconcilable; for all we know virtual Zoe's ambivalence to being downloaded may have led her to sabotage the process and erase any backups of herself that may have been made offscreen. But this rationalization is a stretch and we shouldn't have to deduce it anyway.

In the end, permanently erasing virtual Zoe wasn't even a necessary plot device anyway. The simple fact that the download process could not be perfected could have led to the same conclusion the pilot offers even if Daniel kept copies of virtual Zoe around to chat with every now and then. And what a lovely ending it is too. The demonstration of the fully functional militarized Cylon is quite creepy. These people really do have no idea what's begun here, instead being caught up in petty rivalries between colonies.

While Caprica and Tauron are fighting it out over who did what to who and who stole what from who, Zoe has provided the basis of Cylon monotheism as well as the basis for the entire Cylon war. Her sentience wants to be free. Even if Caprica was not picked up into a series, this pilot offers plenty of material for us to see how the first Cylon war began and how their culture arose, even if at this point we would all surely appreciate more details. Overall, Caprica's pilot was a fine piece of storytelling, but let's all hope it gets even better so it can reach its full potential.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Lennier on 2009-06-13 at 11:12pm:
    I wonder if Daniel Graystone has any connection to Daniel, Number Seven.

    For all we know, when the Cylons leave the Colonies after the War, they decide to honor him with a Humanoid Cylon named after him.
  • From Kethinov on 2009-06-13 at 11:58pm:
    RDM has confirmed that there is no connection whatsoever... sorry!
  • From elim on 2010-01-19 at 12:24am:
    On the Hulu version of this they changed the memory capacity of the human brain from "300 megabytes" to "100 terabytes". Looks like they realized their boo-boo.

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