Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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Caprica - Season 1 - Episode 17

Caprica - 1x17 - The Heavens Will Rise - Originally Aired: 2010-11-16

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 5.28

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Synopsis
Lacy demonstrates an inexplicable ability to control all the Cylons purchased by the STO, Daniel and Amanda continue to pursue Zoe in V-World, and Clarice finally discovers that Amanda is a spy. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Amanda mentions that a Dr. Cottle was the practitioner on duty at the ER treating agent Duram. This is likely the same character who serves as the Battlestar Galactica's aged military doctor on BSG.
- This episode establishes that Nestor has a photographic memory.
- Joseph Adama once had an affair with Fidelia Fazekas, which he regrets.
- Carmen Moore, who plays Fidelia Fazekas in this episode, also played Sister Tivenan in the BSG: The Resistance webisodes.

Remarkable Scenes
- Daniel revealing to Amanda that he exploited Zoe's fear of fire to flush her out of the U-87.
- Zoe stabbing Daniel in V-World.
- Lacy displaying an inexplicable ability to command the Cylon to stop the execution of one of her fellow soldiers in training.
- Diego: "I'll tell you what, Lacy Rand. When you're in charge, you can run things your way." Lacy: "I'll remember that." Diego: "How did you get that robot to stop?" Lacy: "I don't know. I just told it to." Diego: "Are you aware that it is impossible for a U-87 to respond to anyone except an authorized controller?" Lacy: "Maybe it has a sense of decency."
- Daniel revealing to Sam that Tamara is still alive in V-World and further revealing that he's planning to design a lifelike humanoid robot complete with artificial skin for the disembodied souls of the wayward girls.
- Duram getting shot by an unknown assailant.
- Willie coming home with an "avenging angels" shirt on, thoroughly offending everyone in his family. Especially Sam.
- Odin having sex with Lacy in a holoband simulation shortly before Lacy rips his holoband off his face.
- Lacy discovering that she can control the robots because fragments of Zoe's personality have somehow been imprinted on all of them.
- Olaf, Nestor, and Clarice realizing that Clarice's holoband has been swapped by Amanda and that Amanda was the spy the whole time, not Mar-Beth.

My Review
The Heavens Will Rise is the biggest mixed bag of the back half of the season. Clearly written as a transitional episode into events which are undoubtedly much bigger in scope and focus in what follows, this story suffers somewhat under the weight of not only some issues with focus, but also some issues with the coherence of the plot logic. The two biggest gaffes are in the degree to which this episode assassinates the characters of both Daniel and Clarice.

With regards to Daniel, this episode establishes that Daniel has created backdoor means of hacking to any V-World, but his measures are swiftly defeated by Zoe. Sure, she's a genius and all, but the idea that Daniel would give up so easily seems implausible. Why can't Daniel just do a the V-World equivalent of a traceroute, locate the physical server where New Cap City is being hosted, gain physical access to it, and initiate some kind of improvised hardhack to compensate? As they say in the computer security business, physical access is the mother of all hacks. This is one of the reasons why I have a hard time taking Zoe's and Tamara's sole existence in V-World very seriously to begin with. Their status as gods in New Cap City has little more significance than that of a server admin in any online game.

Worse yet, Daniel indicates in this episode that he knew Zoe was in the U-87 all along. So why did he give up in Ghost in the Machine? Why did he order her destroyed in End of Line? As for Clarice, at the end of Retribution, it's strongly implied that Clarice has intuitively sensed that Amanda was planning to kill her, or at least was beginning to distrust her. In this episode, Clarice responds with complete and total shock and disbelief that Amanda could be a spy. As a consequence of these events, we're forced to just see Clarice as foolishly lucky at the end of Retribution, which in part undermines the impact of the episode. Though admittedly not by much. A profoundly lucky Clarice is nearly as amusing as a profoundly ruthlessly intelligent Clarice.

Even the subplots of the episode have issues. For instance, when Duram was shot, why did Amanda run toward the gunfire? That's not a very smart thing to do. Who shot Duram anyway? If it was the GDD as Amanda seemed to think, it's a good thing they're not very smart either, because not only did they fail to take out the only witness to the shooting, they also failed to actually even kill Duram. Speaking of stupid, why did Duram give Amanda a defective holoband to swap out with Clarice's? Were it not full of static, Clarice may never have discovered the deception. What a nonsense plot thread.

Equally pointless is Sam's useless quest to destroy the "avenging angels." I don't really get what makes Sam think he can actually accomplish this and what's more they haven't quite sold me on his basic motivation for caring so much in the first place anyway. If he doesn't regard virtual Tamara as real to begin with, then why try to destroy her?

Still worse, even the smaller details of the story also drag it down a bit too. My least favorite detail was watching Zoe and Tamara stand around evidently for vast swaths of time in their virtual wonderland marveling at their creation. Also up there on the list of bad aesthetic choices was Nestor suddenly questioning the morality of their mission seemingly out of nowhere. This seems outstandingly inconsistent with this character. Finally, the female member of the Ha'latha doing special work for the Guatrau was a particularly annoying character. Her less than subtle attempts to uncover the Adamas' deception were quite drab scenes.

There is one plot thread in this episode that not only works well, it works incredibly well. Lacy's. Poor Lacy has been dropped into something she clearly wasn't prepared for, but her resourcefulness and wherewithal has finally begun to pan out. Her creepy capability of exerting total, irrevocable control over the Cylons is not only a pivotal development, it's a piece of an explanation for the long hanging question as to why these U-87 models aren't "morons" as Cyrus described the earlier prototypes. Somehow when Vergis was in charge of Graystone Industries, he must have found a way to replicate the MCP in a fashion that replicated Zoe along with it, or at least fragments of her. This is still not a complete explanation, but at least it's heading in that direction.

Lacy also reprises her tendency to woo over the impressionable young men close to her to exploit them and create allies. I hope poor Odin doesn't meet the same fate as poor Keon! Lacy also nets what is clearly the best scene of the episode where she faces off against Diego as he questions her as to how she was able to control the robots. When she stated "I'll remember that" in response to Diego telling her that when she's in charge she can run things her own way, the scene rang of foreshadowing. Likewise, when she stated that maybe the Cylon has a sense of decency as a justification for why it obeyed her commands, I just loved how she didn't even flinch in the face of a man who could easily order her executed for her willful lack of respect for the chain of command.

Also, despite my complaints concerning Clarice's plot thread, watching Clarice and her husbands react to the knowledge that they murdered an innocent woman when they murdered Mar-Beth for supposedly being a spy was a powerful scene. It brilliantly reinforced the idea that while these people may be morally contemptible by our standards, they do have a moral code that they strictly adhere to. It's just not one we'd approve of. Finally, this episode reveals that in just one more day, Clarice's plan to destroy the C-Bucs stadium will be executed.

On the whole, the episode isn't bad, but it's got enough annoying details to drag it down below the high standards set by most of the others this season; not the least of which is the weak ending featuring Zoe proclaiming "they're here... I can feel it... let them come..." Ugh.

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