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Caprica Season One, Episode Five: Know Thy Enemy (Review)

I know what you did last month, Graystone

[Many spoilers]

 

Since the episode title quotes from The Art of War, I expected Know Thy Enemy to be a precursor to battle. It is (sort of). The episode jumps one month ahead from the Vergis Corporation robbery of the Meta Cognitive Processor (MCP) device. Two research lab employees, close to Tomas Vergis, were killed during the break-in. Vergis confronts Daniel Graystone at a museum fundraiser. They speak in front of the beautiful Bill Reid sculpture The Raven and the First Men. The sculpture is inspired by a human creation myth where the raven coaxes people out of a clamshell. I find it appropriate that the Vergis/Graystone chat would have Raven as background since they argue about a device that aids artificial intelligence in leaving the virtual world.

On a different battlefront, Soldiers of the One serial bomber Barnabas, a much-anticipated new character, is introduced. I’m not too impressed with the character yet- using razor wire as an arm bracelet was overkill. I suppose the writers want to make him seem crazy. Or they like torture porn. Keon takes Lacy to see Barnabas in a bid to help transport the Zoebot to Gemenon. Unfortunately Lacy is being tight-lipped about what she wants to transport so Barnabas says nyet.  Barnabas is played by James Marsters so he better not be wasted! Or else the Whedon people will revolt.

The Graystone household gets two visitors, both with decidedly unfriendly intentions, making you wonder if they have any friends at all. Clarice Willow visits Amanda, gets her drunk, and manages to get invited to the lab in her search for the Zoe avatar. I used to make excuses for Amanda, but wow, this was really stupid of her. Separately, Daniel gets a third visit from Tomas Vergis. Vergis wants Graystone to know that his MCP robbery hurt him and he has the tattoos to prove it. The lab assistants that got murdered were close to Vergis; he was nonós (godfather) to their children. As a viewer, I can’t sympathize with Vergis yet because we haven’t seen much of him, even though he promises to be an interesting character. Vergis lets Daniel know that he wants to buy his precious Caprican Buccaneers just because Daniel loves them so much. Graystone Industries needs the cash to fulfill their military contract on time. The Vergis character could be as hard-ass as Sam Adama. Here’s hoping.

Speaking of Sam Adama, I wonder why he was so nonchalant about the MCP lab murders. After all, it the Guatrau learns of a Tauron-on-Tauron hit, he will be most displeased. Food for thought.

 

This holoband better work because I threw away the receipt

 

As for our Latino actors, Esaí Morales’ Joseph Adama buys a holoband to find Tamara’s avatar. His newbie status is humorously and painfully on display when he tries to interact with the obnoxious Daniel avatar. Adama is interrupted by the real Daniel who is shitting his pants about the MCP murders and needs someone else to blame.

Adama’s assistant Dr. Fraiser Evelyn is totally smitten with her boss. Who wouldn’t be? She used the old “let me see your new tattoo” trick to get close. Adama of course ran away. They would make a cute couple.

Our friend Panou’s character got a tiny bit more developed. Olaf seems to be the techie in the Willow family.  He gets his wife Clarice a swipe drive to copy Zoe avatar data in the Graystone lab. Clarice thinks the Zoe avatar is the key to eternal life of the soul. Speaking of Panou, I recently caught up with all the Sanctuary episodes and loved his character there. Would have loved to see more of him. As for Caprica, Panou sightings are few and far between, and it’s hard to see how he could become anything more than another Willow husband. Prove me wrong, Caprica!

Some random tidbits only the obsessed fans would notice:

  • Daniel Graystone suffers from back issues. I totally sympathize.
  • Joesph Adama got his holoband at Emptor Electronics. Emptor means ‘buyer’ in Latin.
  • The Vergis Corporation is in Tauron City. I get the feeling that each planet has a main metropolis with “City” attached to its name. Would be nice to show a bit more originality here. You know there’s a Vergisville somewhere on Tauron!
  • Tauron is known for its steak preparation, brandy and cigars.
  • If you’re interested in online dating, check out V-Match. “V” is the “i” of tech marketing on the Colonies.
  • The Willows have a beautiful matrioshka doll in their bedroom, presumably to enhance their fertility. Or maybe they just like Russian nesting dolls.
  • Joe Adama smokes Forge cigarettes.
  • Slang for getting a Tauron tattoo is “I got some Tauron on me.”
  • Scorpion Ambrosia is green. Heads up for the Caprica party planners: make sure it’s too strong and smells like sulphur for realistic effect.
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Caprica Season 1, Episode 3: Gravedancing (Review)

Sam Adama and stakeout buddy Bob the Bull

[Minor plot points in this review]

Gravedancing starts off with a bang, so to speak, and a frantic press-covered search for terrorist evidence. Graystone goes on the Backtalk TV show to fix the PR nightmare about his family and holoband technology- after being extensively coached on what to say.  The episode title refers to Daniel Graystone and his PR team trying to enhance the Graystone Corporation image by tarnishing that of deceased Zoe.

This episode of Caprica was more about character development than moving the plot forward. We learned more details like: Amanda Graystone’s specialty is plastic surgery (who else thinks that’s a useful skill to have for when Cylons get humanoid skin?); Zoe played the cello; Avatar Zoe finally gets a new dress!; robot lab geeks can’t dance; and the Global Defense Department investigators hold personal grudges against the Soldiers of the One. The show stealers however, were Sam’s stakeout partner and Will Adama’s grandmother; interestingly enough, both are deep-rooted symbols of being Tauron.

In this episode, Joseph discovers that his mother-in-law is the Tauron mafia boss. Not really- but she could be.

As for our Latino watch, we see Joseph (I’ve started pronouncing it “Yoseef” in my head) Adama’s inner turmoil after asking his brother Sam to kill Amanda Graystone. He kinda wants to, but he kinda doesn’t. By the time he makes up his mind it might be too late for Mrs./Dr. Graystone.  Esaí Morales does a great job showing increasing desperation, and I loved how Sam Adama’s character played off his brother’s anxiety. Olaf Willow (Panou) finally shows up in the Willow super-huge bed in a brief but memorable family moment.

Panou (Olaf Willow, lower right) gets some interesting face time

One final note: Did you catch the old school Battlestar Galactica music homage? It was frakkin awesome!

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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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