Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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Caprica - Season 1 - Episode 04

Caprica - 1x04 - Reins of a Waterfall - Originally Aired: 2010-2-5

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.66

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Synopsis
Following Amanda's public revelation that their daughter was responsible for the MAGLEV tragedy, the Graystones must face the wrath of angry Capricans. For Daniel, this includes a confrontation with Sam and Joseph Adama, in which Joseph demands that Daniel reunite him with his daughter's avatar -- the essence of his daughter Tamara (Genevieve Buechner), living on in virtual space. Daniel also realizes he can't deal with his grief in private -- this is all going to play out on a public stage.

At the same time, Zoe Graystone adjusts to living life in a robot. She hopes her friend Lacy will help her escape to another planet -- neighboring Gemenon. Lacy is concerned, however, that she is rousing the suspicions of headmistress (and STO leader) Clarice Willow. While in V-World, the girls meet a frightened Tamara Adama who doesn't understand what she is or how she came to be here.

At the Global Defense Department, Agents Duram (Brian Markinson) and Youngblood escalate their efforts to track down the terrorist group responsible for the bombing. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- In BSG: Hero, William Adama's mother's name is stated to be Evelyn but in this series it has been retconned to Shannon. However, Joseph Adama's assistant in this series is stated to be named Evelyn. Could she possibly become Willie's stepmother, thus sort of resolving the continuity error?
- Christian Tessier, who plays Francis in this episode, also played Duck in Battlestar Galactica.
- Luciana Carro, who plays Priyah Magnus in this episode, also played Kat in Battlestar Galactica.
- Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore also directed this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Sam and Joseph assaulting Daniel.
- Young Willie skipping school to hang out with the Tauron mobsters.
- Serge noticing Daniel's injuries and asking if he needs assistance. I wonder exactly how Serge could assist...
- Lacy deflecting Clarice's advances about being her confessor with pleasantries concerning tea.
- Daniel and Amanda noticing each other's injuries and discussing Amanda's big reveal about Zoe.
- Joseph being harassed by the judge he bribes.
- Avatar Zoe to Lacy regarding witnessing her parents having sex: "The things that I have to see in that robot body..."
- Avatar Zoe and Lacy stumbling onto Avatar Tamara.
- Lacy: "Can you be free if you're not real?" Avatar Zoe: "I hope so."
- Avatar Zoe taking Avatar Tamara to the V Club.
- Avatar Zoe pressuring Lacy into taking her Cylon body to Gemenon. I love Lacy's reaction: "Do you realize you are six feet tall and you weigh a ton?"
- Clarice meeting with her mysterious contact from Soldiers of the One.
- Clarice: "The Zoe Graystone avatar is gonna help the Soldiers to serve the lord through apotheosis."
- Lacy tackling her much bigger schoolmate. Brave girl.
- Daniel failing to reunite Joseph with his daughter.
- Joseph: "Daniel Graystone lost his daughter, right? I lost my daughter and my wife. Balance it out."

My Review
This is the weakest offering from Caprica so far, largely because of the disservice it does to Joseph Adama's character who has abruptly transitioned from a sidelined protagonist into a primary antagonist and with little substantiation. I think the goal of bringing Joseph's character to greater prominence is certainly a laudable one, as his character by this point was approaching questionable relevance. However, the way that it's been done increases his relevance at the expense of his authenticity.

The principal issue with Joseph's plot in this story is his reaction to his private meeting with Daniel, who honestly tried but failed to reunite Joseph with his avatar daughter. Even for someone grieving with a loss as profound as Joseph's, he would have to be an exceptionally irrational man to desire Amanda assassinated. His motive just doesn't make sense at all. We can only assume he believes Daniel deleted the Tamara avatar or is withholding information from him intentionally out of spite, but why would Daniel do that at this point, especially after the beating? Even Sam looks taken aback when Joseph suggests the "balance it out" notion, as if to say "you're overreacting, dude."

Likewise, this episode continues the problem of not adequately substantiating how Daniel could have lost control of Avatar Zoe, Avatar Tamara, and the software Zoe created to make avatars in the first place by continuing to offer no explanation. It's still quite clear that neither Daniel nor Avatar Zoe knows how any of that happened. Clearly computers are just magic wizard devices that no one understands!

The directing of this episode took a bit of a hit as well. The Caprica news media clips are now too frequent and the abrupt cut aways often occur right when the content starts to get interesting, creating little more than a pointless tease. On a lighter note, when Daniel and Amanda have sex in front of Cylon Zoe, I sure wish when they cut to Cylon Zoe they showed the actress' face and not the CG Cylon. The look on the poor girl's face would have been priceless.

Once more still remaining on the list of poor substantiations is Clarice Willow's motives. We now know Clarice is after Avatar Zoe, but we've been given absolutely no reason why other than the fact that she believes that Zoe's creation is divine by referring to her as an example of apotheosis. This isn't exactly a terribly new concept; Zoe herself casually deified her creation in the pilot, but it's at least interesting that Clarice has knowledge of its existence.

It's also interesting that Zoe withheld its existence from Clarice, among other information. But again, for what purposes is still unknown. Perhaps the worst sin committed here is Clarice's mysterious contact in the Soldiers of the One brought up way too many bad memories of BSG 1978's Imperious Leader of the Cylons. For Clarice to become a fully realized character, we're definitely going to need more context and exposition than this.

On the positive front, I made the mistake in my last review of overlooking two incredibly well executed pieces of texture that makes this show an absolute joy to watch, so I'll talk about them here. First is the visual effects. In this show, rather than depicting space battles, the visual effects are merely subtle set extensions or most prominently the Cylon version of Zoe. Cylon Zoe is extraordinary and is fleshed out incredibly well as a believable character.

But perhaps more notable is Bear McCreary's scoring. In Caprica, he's scoring everything even remotely musical. In addition to scoring the dramatic orchestral themes that are typical in film and television dramas, he's also scoring everything from the Caprica national anthem, to the Tauron mobster rap, to the V Club rave music. And it's all fantastic. I tip my hat to you Bear!

But excellent production quality aside, Reins of a Waterfall is a distinct step down in writing quality. The cliffhanger is as false as BSG: The Eye of Jupiter's. Amanda clearly won't be assassinated. But even if she is, the motive for it is shoddy and comes across as little more than a temper tantrum by Joseph for not getting what he wanted and misdirecting his anger rather than something nuanced and interesting. Hopefully the show can rise above this in subsequent episodes.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Giuseppe on 2011-12-27 at 8:47pm:
    So Daniel Graystone is still none the wiser. Makes you think how on earth he could come to be such a hotshot computer whiz. And his wife first says she went public like that on an impulse of the moment, because she was overwhelmed by the information she got, but then admits that she would do it again. What kind of a moron would do something like that again?

    And to top it all up Joseph Adama makes a move from being a 'grayish', but likable guy into some sort of murderous villain... and over what? It's the single most unbelievable decision in the whole show so far, especially as we have no idea why he would do that. I sure hope these things clarify quite quickly. Of course I'm writing as someone who doesn't know what's coming... because I don't. :)

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