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Caprica, Season One, Episode One: Rebirth (Review)

[Minor spoilers for Rebirth, major ones for Pilot]

Caprica on SyFy is getting better and better. The writers keep bringing on those details us sci-fi geeks love. Caprican seedy drug world! Planetary anthem! Little Tauron neighborhood! I must note that this first episode after the two-hour pilot (which would be episode zero) opened with a gorgeous series intro that reminded me of those newer SyFy channel promos. Very well done! Check it out here:

 


This episode focused mostly on the Graystones, and we begin as Daniel Graystone tries to fulfill his robot order to the Caprican military. He needs to program 100,000 Cylons and so far the MCP device that allowed him to transfer Zoe into a mechanical Cylon (a U-87) isn’t replicating correctly and he’s ending up with a bunch of  units that aren’t responding well to commands. Meanwhile the prototype we saw from the Pilot that has Zoe’s programming is hiding in plain sight- she doesn’t want anyone but her best friend Lacy to know that she’s still there behind the glowing red eye.  (I think Cesar the Dog knows!)

Esaí Morales’ Adama didn’t do much in this episode. However, we see how his character evolves from complete rejection of the “resurrection” concept to a somewhat sad acceptance that he misses his daughter and wife too much to let go completely.

 

Olaf and Zoe

I didn’t realize we had at least one other cast member of Latin American heritage! The Canadian of Haitian heritage Panou plays Olaf Willow, a member of Sister Clarice’s family. I don’t actually recall if he’s in this episode, but Clarice did introduce him. Panou (one name) has been in other science fiction TV series in minor roles including Stargate Atlantis, SG-1, and Sanctuary. Here’s hoping that his Caprica role gets more interesting.

I like that Caprica allows itself a sense of humor. Battlestar Galactica rarely got that privilege considering the context.  In this episode Shmoo Serge, the Graystone robotic butler, had a great line that made me laugh out loud. Also Sam Adama has an interesting sense of humor, dark, but practical. We see him showing his nephew Will some mafia techniques.  The lab assistants Philomon and his (unnamed?) lab partner are also amusing although I don’t think they’re meant to be.

One thing I didn’t notice from seeing the Pilot the first time was that the MCP device that Graystone stole came from the Vergis Corporation on Tauron. That changed my concept of that planet and again, made me want to see more of it. So it isn’t just a war-torn planet without flowers- can we get some space travel and have a look?

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Caprica Pilot Review (Spoilers)

No, really, it's the future

The new Battlestar Galactica series Caprica (SyFy) begins fifty eight years before the fall of Caprica to the Cylons. We finally get to see what life was like before humanity ended up living in run-down spaceships jumping from place to place in an attempt to outrun the Cylons. You don’t need to have seen BSG to understand the Caprica prequel, but you would certainly have a different perspective considering future events.

This is a richly created world.  The details are wonderful. Little things like mourning customs, a silly “So Say We All” hand gesture (nice try, but glad it didn’t survive the genocide), the Pyramid sports game that for some reason reminded me of Quidditch…

In Caprica City, teenagers don’t merely flirt online; they enter virtual nightclubs where every type of decadence is permitted. The Holoband technology that allows this is the Caprican answer to the holodeck. (Bonus- when you get scanned for your avatar you tingle.) House robots that resemble large floating dildos guard your house. Levtrains looking eerily like Cylons transport the masses. Extremely large deity statues benignly observe the Pyramid games. Proto-centurions play paintball with mechanical Shmoos.

Not everything is a utopia. There is a terrorist organization called the Soldiers of the One, a monotheistic group amongst the gods-worshipping Colonials. Prejudice according to what planet you’re from substitutes for racism.

Daniel Graystone, the creative genius behind the Holoband and Joseph Adama, lawyer, both lose family members in the same event, and they “coincidentally” meet while having a smoke.  They end up talking for hours about their loss over coffee and more cigarettes.

Joseph Adama, played by Esaí Morales, is a lawyer from the planet Tauron, the “racial” underdog of Caprica.  He and his brother Sam are orphans due to a Tauron uprising and civil war. Adama is an unbeliever of sorts and lives in the city with his mother in law and son Billy (future Admiral Adama). His brother Sam is a member of the Tauron mafia and has the tattoos to prove it. Seems like Adama gets to defend Tauron syndicate members in court but isn’t involved directly with them so he can feel ethical about it. Yet during this episode he gets called upon to do dirty work not only for the syndicate but also for Graystone. He doesn’t get a break. He routinely deals with anti-Tauron prejudice, even to the extent of modifying his surname to fit in. He can’t quit smoking. He has to deal with a nagging mother-in-law. The one bright spot in his life is his son. It’s a rich character for Morales to interpret.

The Caprica series looks very promising. I was a bit worried by the promos heavily featuring the decadent virtual V-Club and Graystone’s daughter- naked. Looks like it will be an excellent addition to the BSG world. Hopefully we’ll get to see some more planets during the series. Tauron would be a good place to start. Gemenon too, since it might be related to the Soldiers of the One.

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