So Say We All
I’m pretty bummed Caprica is going on break – but boy did they leave us with an action packed, fun episode to keep us on the hook! This one was framed by Zoe’s escape, and the slow reveal of the 20 hours prior, leading up to the deaths or potential deaths of a pretty significant number of characters.
Let’s start with Amanda. I think they’ve struggled to integrate her story in the past few weeks, which is a shame because Paula Malcomson is a pretty phenomenal actress. Plagued by memories of her brother’s death, her own attempt at suicide, and now the likelihood that her husband – the one who keeps her sane with his own sanity – is actually pretty crazy himself, Amanda climbs to the top of a bridge and, it seems, steps off. Of course, when you don’t get to see the dead body on the ground in a tv show, you’re left wondering if she actually fell. The phone call that Daniel gets at the end of the episode doesn’t make things look good for Amanda, but I also can’t imagine they’ve just written her off – especially when her story doesn’t make much sense yet, probably because they’ve been forced to over-edit facing cancellation (but I’ll get to that problem below). Cliffhanger #1!
Our second major death, of course, was Joseph Adama…at least, V-world Joseph Adama. Tamara kills herself so that he’ll stop searching, and then kills him so that he really can’t renew the hunt. Emmanuel has continually dropped hints that she doesn’t really look like herself in the real world, so we’ve wondered who she was. I can’t say that I guessed Evelyn, which leaves me wondering, why?! Why Evelyn? Who sent her in there? And why? It’s not clear what Sam knows, and it doesn’t seem like Tamara had anything to do with it. And it remains unclear to me why Joseph and Tamara can’t now just hang out in V-world. All the time spent in there was bad for Joseph because he was seeking her out. Now he’s found her, can’t things just go back to normal…or normalish? Cliffhanger #2?
We also had poor Philemon accidentally killed by a crazed Zoe on the run from her maniacal father. There was such spite in Daniel’s voice as he threatened to strip the chip down, I had to wonder if this was one more test (Cliffhanger #3?). But despite the fact that Zoe was running for her life, it’s Lacy I really felt bad for. She has worked damn hard to help out her friend/friend’s avatar and, while I understand that Zoe is facing extinction, the way she treats Lacy like a servant really gets to me sometimes. On the other hand, I have to respect the ongoing development of Zoe’s drive for life against all odds; her defining characteristic if we were to say she has one, which is probably not coincidental seeing as Zoe is Greek for Life. But watching Lacy and her boyfriend face down a gun if Lacy wouldn’t kill Clarice and Nestor was heartbreaking. Of course, what Lacy doesn’t get to see is that Clarice and Nestor have left the car to watch Amanda jump and so they are standing yards away when it explodes.
One of the things I love about this show is its interest in issues around trauma. These came to the fore last week with Zoe and her fire fear; themes that got echoed last night. But we’ve also seen trauma dealt with on the sidelines with Amanda. I wonder now how we’ll watch Lacy deal with the aftermath of thinking she’s killed someone, only to realize she hasn’t. That’s a lot for a girl to bear! As Lacy has flitted between these two STO groups, where will this experience make her land? Cliffhanger #4.
And on these two STO groups: I’m not sure I’d realized how intense the battle between Sister Clarice’s and Barnabus’ cells were…a problem certainly heightened by the fact that I have no memory of that scene from the “previously on” with the bicycle flyer! Dear Caprica producers – if you’re going to cut vital information onto the editing room floor, please don’t just slip it into previews! No wonder we’re confused!
That being said, now that these two groups are appropriately introduced, they are certainly interesting. They remind me of some of the Jewish sects living around the time of the advent of Christianity; appropriate because of the messianic expectations put on Zoe in this show. While the more mainline sects around the time of Christ’s birth (the Pharisees and Sadducees) had varying beliefs with regards to the coming of a Messiah, two more fringe sects had high expectations: the Essences and the Zealots. The Essenes were a monastic group who lived in community together. They were spiritually motivated, waiting for a coming religious figure. The Willows, with their own small commune remind me of these Essenes – motivated by religious motivations and driven by theological concerns. The Zealots, on the other hand, awaited a messiah who was political and a military leader. They advocated violence – so much so that they often got the broader Jewish communities in trouble with the Roman authorities because their activities would get all Jews branded as disrupters of the state (in other words, terrorists). They cared less about religious concerns and were more interested in their own political autonomy and they, quite obviously, are called to my mind with Barnabus’ crew. I don’t think Clarice and Barnabus are necessarily supposed to summon up visions of these two sects. But I find the parallels interesting because they show how Caprica isn’t going to give us one simple vision for how people might await a messianic figure. There’s not a neat divide between those who believe and those who don’t. The really dangerous divisions happen among the believers; something I imagine we’ll see more of as the season picks back up.
So this was a great episode, but it was also hampered by the fact that they had to fit a lot in. This happens to the best of shows when they face cancellation (consider Veronica Mars and Undeclared). They need to speed up the story and so they over-edit, leaving viewers a bit confused and certainly erasing much nuance. This show is so good, though, I’m hoping that sci-fi chills out a little and just lets them work their magic. An inferior product isn’t going to win over more viewers – let Caprica be Caprica!
At least that’s my two cents.
Posted by Natalie