Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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Caprica - Season 1 - Episode 16

Caprica - 1x16 - The Dirteaters - Originally Aired: 2010-11-9

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 3.62

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Synopsis
As Joseph and Sam gain rank in the Ha'latha, they reflect on their past and how Sam's actions as a child accidentally caused the death of their parents, orphaning them. Meanwhile, Daniel bargains for his life with Sam, Daniel locates Zoe in New Cap City, and Zoe and Tamara together begin reshaping New Cap City in their own image. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- The "Sinny McNutt's Den of Iniquity" establishment in New Cap City is a reference to Steve McNutt, a cinematographer on Caprica's production staff.
- The Ha'latha were formed 30 years ago on Tauron as an armed rebellion against Tauron's president. This action initiated a two year civil war. The Ha'latha were defeated and genocidal tactics were used against them. The surviving Ha'latha exited politics and refocused to organized crime throughout the Twelve Colonies.
- The Ha'latha is officially organized under a "shell" corporation called Obelisk, incorporated on Leonis.
- The Ha'latha has acquired many companies over the years, the most recent of which are Nextelecom, Edincords, Tecustar, Serveti, and Tampanoy.
- Joseph Adama's lighter makes its first chronological appearance in this episode. It will later become a treasured keepsake by Willie when he's much older on BSG and plays a major role in the plot of BSG: The Hand of God.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Guatrau promoting Joseph and Sam.
- The flashback to Joseph's "mark of manhood" ceremony with his mother and father on Tauron.
- Olaf's reaction to getting killed in New Cap City.
- Joseph using a boxing match with Daniel as a means to drop Daniel a hint about the fact that the Guatrau is planning to kill him.
- Daniel discovering that the Guatrau always kills the CEOs of companies he takes over.
- Daniel barging into a Ha'latha hangout and demanding to speak with Sam, wanting to know how and when Sam will kill him as ordered by the Guatrau.
- Daniel offering to send Cylons to Tauron in exchange for Sam sparing his life.
- The flashback to the Herac soldiers blaming Joseph's and Sam's parents for the murder that took place outside their house the night before.
- Gara firing Duram.
- The Herac soldiers killing Joseph's and Sam's mother in a flashback.
- Daniel meeting a crazy, overwhelmed fanboy in the street and buying his "avenging angels" tee shirt off of him.
- Zoe and Tamara reshaping New Cap City in their image.
- Willie thoroughly failing to stall his father for Sam.
- Joseph in a flashback taking out the Herac soldiers who attacked his family and then mercy killing his father.
- Daniel revealing the truth about the Zoe avatar to Amanda.

My Review
This Adamarama of an episode fills in some rather large gaps about the details of Joseph's and Sam's past. The story is as dark and dramatic as I've come to expect from this show and tells a strong tale. Sam blames himself for inadvertently getting his parents killed. His role in their deaths, while accidental, is quite direct. A stupid mistake he made as a child brought the wrath of the Herac soldiers down on their family in less than a day. What a horrible thing to have to have to live with!

The rest of the episode is somewhat less compelling. While I enjoyed Daniel bargaining for his life with Sam, Daniel's discovery of Zoe in New Cap City just wasn't a very strong a plot thread and ending the episode on this plot thread diminishes the episode to some degree. Even less compelling was watching Zoe and Tamara wander around New Cap City raising a ruckus for no apparent reason. Finally, Clarice's household seems to be floundering somewhat as well. Now that they have Zoe's avatar program and they're designing their virtual heaven, they're way less interesting to watch.

But all those plots are merely interludes. The overwhelming focus of the story is the Adama backstory. The political history of Tauron also gets some interesting exposition in this episode. We learn that the Ha'latha originally began as a political rebellion rather than a criminal organization. This makes the Guatrau's disinterest in Tauron politics even more striking to Sam, who sees this disinterest as a betrayal of the organization's original purpose. As a plot device to work over Joseph to Sam's side in secretly sending Cylons to the Tauron rebels, this episode is quite effective. Without the backstory, Joseph's quick reversal of his position might seem too abrupt. But now that we understand the emotional shorthand between the two brothers, their scenes together are intimate, if brief.

As children, the actors who portrayed Joseph and Sam were adequate. Their strongest scenes were when their parents were being assaulted. Young Joseph murdering the soldiers and mercy killing his father was a particularly effective scene. But when the two boys had scenes alone, the child actors in my opinion weren't cutting it. Overall though, this episode continues the back half of the season's trend of delivering strong stories, despite this episode's rather constrained focus. An impressive feat.

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