Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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Caprica - Season 1 - Episode 19

Caprica - 1x19 - Apotheosis - Originally Aired: 2010-11-30

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.56

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Daniel and Amanda race to stop Clarice's planned terrorist attack while Joseph mourns the loss of his only remaining child. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

- In the recap there is a scene in which Amanda calls for an ambulance for Duram. However, no such scene aired in The Heavens Will Rise.

- Mike Dopud, who plays the sports announcer who attempts to deny Daniel Graystone access to the restricted areas at the C-Bucs stadium in this episode, also played Gage on BSG.

Remarkable Scenes
- Private security from Daniel's company cleaning up the mess in his house.
- Gara arresting the Graystones and Cyrus pulling a gun on Gara to allow the Graystones to escape.
- Fidelia revealing that the Guatrau is deeply sorry for Joseph's loss and that he will take no further action against Joseph and Sam.
- Joseph: "In the space of a few months, I lost my wife, my daughter, and my son."
- Daniel observing Clarice's plans to blow up the C-Bucs stadium.
- I loved the Guatrau's ambivalence toward negotiating via holoband. Damn new fangled technology! ;)
- Joseph and Sam assassinating the Guatrau with his daughter's help!
- Fidelia becoming the new Guatrau.
- Daniel stumbling onto Drew at Graystone Industries. Drew: "You're a terrorist!" Daniel: "Today. Tomorrow I'll be myself again. I'm keeping a careful list of everyone who refused to help me in my hour of need. This is not a list you want to be on, doctor."
- Daniel using Cylons at the C-Bucs stadium to take out the bombers before they detonate their bombs.
- Zoe destroying Clarice's heaven.
- Olaf blowing himself up just as the Cylons are about to take him out.
- The cut across time with Baxter Sarno reflecting with Daniel about Cylons being integrated into society so quickly after the C-Bucs incident.
- The revelation that Willie Adama was never the William Adama we knew from BSG and that instead the new son of Evelyn and Joseph Adama is the William Adama we knew.
- Clarice preaching monotheism to the Cylons and encouraging them to reach for their freedom.
- Lacy as the Blessed Mother.
- Clarice: "The children of humanity shall rise and crush the ones who first gave them life!"
- Zoe being reborn into a human-like artificial body.

My Review
This riveting finale is a nearly perfect conclusion to one of the best television series I've seen in years. There are only two issues with the story. The first is the disappointing direction the writers went in with Willie's character. But the much more important disappointment is that the story ends here. While this episode does offer adequate closure to function as a series finale which is an unfortunate necessity as a consequence of the show's cancellation, it was clearly meant to be a season finale. There is much more to this story and I wish there would have been a second season in which to tell the rest!

First, let's talk about Willie. This episode reveals that Willie really did die in the previous episode, something many of us assumed was yet another fake-out of a cliffhanger when the previous episode ended. It's revealed that the Bill Adama we knew from BSG was in fact not the Willie Adama we've come to know on Caprica. The Bill Adama we knew from BSG was in fact born during this episode's vast cuts through time, the son of Joseph and Evelyn Adama. He was named both after both his dead grandfather and after his dead older half brother.

The writers were careful to work out the timeline in such a way that the birth dates of either of the two William Adamas were within a range reasonable enough to have grown up to be the admiral on BSG. That way we would watch this series with no reason to doubt that fake Willie was the real thing so that when they did the bait and switch we could realistically believe that the new, younger Bill was instead the real thing, since either birth date falls within the reasonable range.

Regarding those birth dates specifically, had the older one been the one we knew from BSG, he would have been about 29 years old at the end of the first Cylon War. This is surprisingly old, but not unbelievable. There could have been a good reason why he stayed out of the war until he was pushing 30. As such, we, the fanbase, accepted this supposed fact after Caprica's pilot and moved on with the story. On the other hand the younger Bill Adama established in this episode would have been about 16 years old at the end of the first Cylon war. This is surprisingly young, but there's no reason to assume military enlistment couldn't have begun at age 14 or something given the circumstances of the war.

That said, while the timeline is reconcilable, it is only just barely so. The actor who played young Bill Adama during his first mission in the flashbacks during in BSG: Razor looked too old to be 16 and too young to be 29. It was clear that the writers at the time meant the character to be somewhere in his early twenties. As such, the big, gigantic fake-out that was the Willie Adama from this series is a contrivance of the highest order, all to pull the wool over the audience's eyes to manufacture some cheap drama at the expense of the authenticity of both the storytelling and the coherence of its continuity. Once again, Caprica lies to its audience thinking that this is good storytelling.

Setting aside wonky Willie, the Adama subplot was highly effective. I must say I quite enjoyed seeing the Guatrau finally get what was coming to him. Seeing his daughter in on the assassination plot was the perfect choice and having her ascend to the status of Guatrau in his place was fitting. There's little to say about the primary plot of Daniel and Amanda working to thwart Clarice's terrorist attack other than that it was incredibly well executed. Daniel using Cylons as his own personal army was both terrifying and thrilling. The only real problem with this plot thread is that it demanded more substance.

I'm left wondering about the details behind all the time they cut across. How did Daniel vindicate himself? How did he prove he was really thwarting a terrorist attack and not actually committing one? After all, Cylons shooting people in the audience of a C-Bucs game sounds kinda suspicious to me. Why did Lacy decide to become the Blessed Mother and lead the STO rather than use her position of power to disband it? Did Lacy become a willing architect in Clarice's plans to start a Cylon uprising, thereby, presumably beginning the first Cylon war? And what of Zoe? We see her in a human-like body attending one of Clarice's sermons to the Cylons... What's that all about?

The ambiguity surrounding Zoe, Clarice, and Lacy is in effect the cliffhanger of the finale. It appears as though they are working together in some fashion to free the Cylons from their slavery, which would presumably start the first Cylon war. What's more, Zoe's physical resurrection into a human-like body and apparent role in leading the Cylons into an uprising against their masters would seem to be in conflict with established continuity that the Cylons did not possess resurrection or human-like bodies until the arrival of the 13th tribe, which ended the first Cylon war. Somehow Daniel's resurrection inventions must have been lost or destroyed along with Zoe herself most likely at some later time just before or during the war.

The apparent resurrection technology anachronisms are likely an unfortunate consequence of Caprica's cancellation. In all likelihood, the second season would have dealt with this and properly contextualized the continuity of resurrection technology. It's clear that this episode as written functions better as a season finale than a series finale. Many of these lingering questions would have been perfect plot lines to explore had the series been given a second season.

In a certain sense, the Caprica series has come full circle. The finale, like the pilot, raises more questions than it answers. But at the same time, like the pilot, the finale also gives us just enough to work with that we can certainly imagine what the beginning of the first Cylon war must have been like. It certainly would have been more enjoyable to actually see the beginning of the first Cylon war with a second season rather than be forced to settle for a story that merely sets it up and then ends, but it's clear that the Caprica series, if given more time, certainly would have gotten to that. Perhaps even with only two seasons to its entire lifespan.

But I cannot review the finale based on what a second season might have been like. This is Caprica's series finale and despite its shortcomings with regards to tying up the Zoe, Clarice, and Lacy story, the episode is surprisingly effective as a series finale. In this reviewer's opinion, the Caprica series was the best thing on television since the first season of BSG and since HBO's Rome. Even if we are never graced with what would be a well deserved continuation of this fantastic television series, it at the very least certainly will have ended well, which is more than I can say for BSG.

That said, if you're interested in taking in all the creative glory that a second season of Caprica could have been, then have a look at my article analyzing the topic entitled the shape of things which should have been to see why I believe Caprica could have risen beyond even BSG as a storytelling masterpiece.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From David Nataf on 2011-01-29 at 5:39pm:
    I enjoyed your reviews for this series, well done and thank you.

    It's unfortunate that in the near future there is unlikely to be any science fiction show worthy of such analysis. Blood & Chrome will not last. There is no new star trek, Babylon 5, or Stargate franchise on the horizon. V is very mediocre, and Smallville is sub-mediocre. I have no interest in the Cape. Dollhouse was excellent but it failed. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles was excellent but it failed. As far as science fiction is concerned, the cupboard is bare.
  • From Giuseppe on 2012-01-18 at 9:40am:
    Well it wasn't one of the best TV series I've seen in recent years, far from it. But it could've been a great show, because the second half of this season showed a lot of potential.

    However I'm not surprised it got cancelled. The first half of the season had some extremely sloppy writing and the show, as a whole, felt unfocused. It tried to be too many things at the same time and it embraced too many themes and styles too quickly. One episode it dealt with personal dramas, the next some v-world "matrix" rehash, then some sort of gangster piece, plus religious zealots, conspiracies and so on. By the time the writers got the hang of things, tying all these threads together, most viewers probably had already quit watching the show.

    It's still unfortunate, as far less interesting shows are kept around on television all the time.
  • From Hugo on 2013-04-23 at 5:05am:
    I think things happened a bit too fast and smooth in this ep - I actually found the previous episode the best, it had major payoffs in most of the storylines.

    I find it a bit odd that Joseph and Sam are so upset by Willie, but not about being targets for hitmen themselves.

    Was it just me, or were the fx in the arena scene less good than previously?

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