Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review: Caprica "Retribution"

Non Spoiler Review:
A quieter, more intimate episode that focuses primarily on Amanda and Clarice's relationship since the suicide attempt/car bombing. Daniel and the Adamas get bad ass on the Graystone Industries board of directors in order to initiate their upcoming coup. Lacy screws up a terrorist attack and sets in motion a lot of problems for her STO cell. And, as the title suggests, Clarice initiates her own revenge against those who have betrayed her.

After the myriad plot points from Unvanquished, this episode is a bit of a breather to catch us up on some other characters, and to set up some further developments. Amanda is still very messed up, and is forced to face truths about Clarice, Zoe and Daniel, as Planetary Defence officer Jordan is more determined than ever to destroy the STO at pretty much any cost.

Retribution played out like The Godfather on a couple of levels, and worked very well. Caprica has proven it can do both action-oriented sci-fi and more intimate character driven episodes that are equally compelling. But can the show handle all the characters turning to the dark side?

Spoilers Now!
Lacy and the STO gang royally screw up a plan to bomb the spaceport, resulting in the death of a guard. Lacy is to blame for everything going south because she got cold feet at the last minute, which sends everyone off in different directions to avoid the heat from authorities. But the authorities are the least of their worries, because...

Clarice, freshly back from Gemenon with her new author-i-tay starts getting rid of her former turncoat terrorists, including Hippolyta and Pann (also former students of the Athena Academy), which ultimately leaves Barnabus, Lacy and Keon to hole up in Barnabus' apartment.

Jordan from the Planetary Defence Office wants to smash the STO in a big way. With news of former students of Clarice turning up dead, he ties her to the STO, then harasses Amanda to become his inside agent. He pulls out all the stops to get her to cooperate, including playing the Zoe card, so Amanda is completely torn up throughout the episode while putting together all the pieces and wondering whom to trust. It doesn't help that Clarice is muttering Zoe while she's lying in bed with a holoband.

We also fill in the gaps of what Amanda's been up to since she jumped off the Pantheon Bridge. She escaped with a broken leg and Clarice hung out at the hospital with her because Amanda was in no mood to talk to Daniel after Tomas Vergis' revelations. The two have formed a bond, living together in Clarice's cabin somewhere in the woods while she takes a much needed Daniel break.

Daniel did get a chance to speak with her in the hospital but totally says all the wrong things, equating her accusations of killing Tomas' men to Amanda being responsible for Zoe's death. Not the best analogy to make under those circumstances. Amanda is not impressed.

Daniel and the Adamas are going through the files on the Graystone board of directors, pulling up dirt on everyone in order to assure every one's vote. This ultimately results in one board member killing himself, but Daniel is firmly set on regaining his company at all costs. Cyrus does give him the banged up Cylon prototype he saved from being melted down. Daniel advises him to keep his head down with what's coming with the company.

Barnabus is unhappy with Lacy, considering his other operatives are starting to drop dead. Keon just wants out at this point, but it's too late for everyone. Clarice arrives with her allies and Keon is shot in the head, Barnabus is handcuffed and blown up in his apartment, and Lacy is hauled off with them.

"Are you going to kill me?" she asks. "I hope not!" Clarice answers honestly.

As both Clarice and Daniel seem to have their pawns in place, we're left with Amanda. She's concluded that Clarice was responsible for Zoe's involvement in the bombing and has even gone so far as to retrieve a gun from the Graystone home. But as Clarice relaxes with her after her long day, confiding she's the only one she can talk to, Amanda opts to delay her personal revenge and Jordan now has his insider in the STO.

What Worked:
It rained the entire episode, which provided a nice moody backdrop to all the terrible things our characters were doing.

I love Caprican corporate machinations. But will taking back the company be so easy? It seems odd to set up Vergis' takeover only to have it revert back after a few weeks, unless it sets up something bigger we have yet to see. Caprica is getting its battle robots, but without sentience, won't they behave like the messed up prototype at the beginning of the pilot?

Polly Walker continues to excel as her character. Clarice has become a force to be reckoned with in the charismatic tradition of Gaius Baltar. Amanda's choices here weren't entirely expected. My initial thoughts from last season pointed to Amanda becoming part of the STO, but now it looks like she's smart enough not to fall for Clarice's lies.

Joseph hasn't really gotten the needed focus yet to bring us up to speed on what's going on in his head. He and Sam are turning into Daniel's muscle, so we need to see what's going on inside the Adama household at this point to address how Joseph has dealt with being severed from New Cap City.

What Didn't Work:
I do enjoy Amanda's crazy cam viewpoint, but we don't necessarily need to see a montage of flashbacks every time she makes a decision, including flashbacks to the previous scene which are still fresh in our mind.

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