Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Caprica "Blowback"

Non Spoiler Review:
Probably one of the most effects-heavy episodes to date, Blowback continues to further the tension as characters feel the repercussions of their choices, and storylines ramp up for the conclusion of the season (and, sadly, the series, which has been cancelled).

Lacy is off to Gemenon for terrorist training camp with a few new characters thrown in, but on the way, their ship is hijacked by the nefarious polys. Daniel finds out just what the Guatrau is up to with Graystone Industries, which creates major friction and ethical problems for the Adamas. Jordan and Clarice further their respective agendas without consideration of the cost to those around them. And we find out who the insider is at the Global Defence Department.

While several plot points could be seen coming, they resolved themselves a little bit differently than expected. There were tense moments as characters manipulated and maneuvered one another into position and committed some very, very ruthless acts. Blowback followed nicely from the buildup of previous plotlines. Caprica just continues to get better and better, so it's very unfortunate it's been yanked from the airwaves. But luckily Space is broadcasting the final episodes here in Canada, so at least there is some continuity until the end.

Spoilers Now!
We get Lacy heading towards the STO retreat, introducing Keon replacement, Odin Sinclair. We meet a few others on the flight, which seemed surprisingly Harry Potteresque, complete with a very red haired Ron Weasley type (was this all intentional?). 

On the way, a larger vessel hijacks their transport, and they're boarded by polytheists who take them prisoner, appear to shoot Clarice's number one, Diego, and proceed to execute Ron Weasley and dump his body off the ship (this occurs out of view, of course). The next boy renounces the one god in favor of the pantheon by swearing on poly leader Kevin's Arrow of Apollo (!) pendant, and he's escorted away for a warm meal.

Lacie and Odin are trying to free a pipe to use as a weapon but it's proving difficult, and when another of their new friends refuses to renounce god and is shot in an equal manner as Ron, they finally get it free and a commotion ensues in which Lacy manages to lay the smackdown on Kevin. Diego miraculous reappears telling them all to calm down and that this was just their first test. The dead kids are returned (dummies were tossed out of the ship), and everyone starts to relax. The transport is released and proceeds on to the STO temple we saw back when Clarice did her purge.

Amanda is nearly caught spying on Clarice by Mar-Beth, and has to come up with an excuse that she's concerned Clarice is using again, which alarms Mrs. Willow. Amanda seems secure for now, but meeting later with Jordan says she can't risk getting caught again, and needs a bug to plant for surveillance. That means Jordan would need a warrant and would have to give up his informant, and he knows they have leaks in the Global Defence Department. He decides to do it on the downlow, talking to his superior, Singh about getting a camera. But Singh won't agree to it. we later see Singh gets into the evidence room and retrieves Zoe's broach from the confiscated Graystone evidence. He's STO, and the shadowy voice that Clarice is always talking to in her v-world confessional. Olaf picks up the broach and the Willows are elated to find software inscribed on it. They download the backup to Zoe's resurrection program. "They will write about this moment in the sacred scrolls," Clarice whispers.

Jordan decides to go to the evidence room to grab a camera obtained from an old case, and while there, checks in on the Graystone evidence box to find an empty bag. He suspects Singh, as only upper officers have access, so he goes to him with a folder giving up his informant in the Willow house as long as he gets to order whatever equipment he wants. Singh agrees.

We're back in the v-world confessional when Singh tells Clarice he's hoping she's sitting down because he's got something to tell her she won't want to hear. Choking on bile, Clarice takes off her headset  and looks out the window at Amanda and Mar-Beth bringing in groceries.

Daniel has discovered through surveillance that the Gautrau is shipping Cylons offworld. Sam and Joseph are in the meeting, and Sam is in the dark about this. But Joseph is not, surprisingly. When Sam learns they're not going to Tauron, but to Gemenon, he's infuriated, and when Joseph reveals they're going to the STO, both Daniel and Sam can't believe what they're hearing. They're funding the murderer of his wife and daughter. Weak-kneed Joseph says his hands are tied. Daniel demands a meeting with the Gautrau—giving military information to an offworld terrorist group would mean Daniel could be executed, and they'd likely not stop until they got the Ha'la'tha.

Daniel tries to reason with the Gautrau that he needs three months to finish resurrection, and that would mean a fortune beyond anything they can imagine—much more than the meagre windfall he would get from selling Cylons. The Gautrau gives him two weeks before he resumes exports.

Later, the Gautrau tells the Adamas he admires Daniel and likes his ambition, but that means he's dangerous, so Daniel will have to die. And by Sam's hand.

Daniel, meanwhile, has had enough of his v-world Amanda who is hyper-sexual and generally crazy. So he deletes her. We next see him talking to a different Amanda. Is this another program? He confides that he did some bad things, but can't tell her. Amanda is surprisingly tolerant of this, but she tells him his fear always makes him work harder to succeed. And they kiss and end up in bed. This is real Amanda! She later gets a phone call and leaves Daniel sleeping. 

Clarice is on the phone, too, waiting in the woods. Amanda is also in the park, and though it appears they're meeting one another, it's Mar-Beth who is on her way with the baby for a stroll with Clarice, and Amanda who is heading to a drop-off point to retrieve the camera Jordan has left for her.

Clarice emerges from the trees and slices Mar-Beth's throat without a moment's hesitation, the Willow husbands retrieve the body, and Clarice wipes the blood from her hands and walks on, pushing the baby carriage. Jordan meets up with Singh, telling him a body was found in the river, hands missing, recently having given birth. And Clarice has reported her wife is missing after a fight. Singh comments that he had nothing to do with it. Jordan says no worries, he knows they're all on the same team, and Singh walks away while Jordan's face betrays his fury.

At an STO welcome party, Lacy and Odin have settled in. The girl who refused to renounce god is also there, and Diego and Kevin are impressed and friendly with the new recruits, promising the hard stuff starts tomorrow.

Odin, who's parents had him forcibly taken to Gemenon for their faith, wanders over to the balcony to look down into the courtyard. Lacy joins him, and together they watch poor Ron Weasley and the other guy who renounced god get shot by a firing squad. "Never underestimate who these people are," Odin says.

Lacy watches as the assassin strides out from the shadows. The firing squad is a Cylon warrior, and it turns to look at her as she realizes what it is.

What Worked:
This episode continued to tease and deliver with a twist. It seemed evident something was up on the hijacked transport, given we weren't seeing the kids getting shot. So when they showed up again unharmed, it felt like a bit of a cheat. But by the end the STO rejects were shot anyway.

Jordan hates, hates, hates the monads, given the absolute rage on his face when Singh walks away from him. I had assumed he wasn't giving up Amanda's cover, and confess to being giddy at the thought that he used Mar-Beth. But we really get a sense at how ruthless Jordan is. He framed and sacrificed a new mother to be killed so he could get to the STO.

Juxtaposed with that is Clarice's righteous fury at being betrayed by her wife. Polly Walker is a joy to watch every episode—the ruthless, casual way she cuts her wife's throat and moves on to the next task. She and Jordan are excellent counterparts, just two sides of the same coin. Both forces are moving forward quickly on their agendas, and it's become a race against time to see who completes their agenda first.

V-world Amanda provided a few laughs with the random craziness of the avatar and Daniel's frustration at being unable to match her personality. Then we get another meeting with him and Amanda which turns out to be real. That was a bit jarring, but ultimately I'm glad they did get a scene together in the real world.

Cylons on Gemenon, fighting for the STO—the threads of the Cylon monotheism are starting to be sewn. If the series ends with just this amount of continuity established, then that will be worth it. 

What Didn't Work:
The writers haven't sufficiently explained how often Amanda and Daniel see one another, if at all. Amanda walks into their house last episode, but does Daniel even know about that? Does Serge let him know that Amanda was home? Are they talking on the phone more often? She suddenly appears at the house to chat with him so he can confess he's done some bad things. Has she heard if Tomas Vergis died yet? Is that death public?

It was just a tad convenient that Jordan discovers the missing Graystone evidence when he wants to grab a camera from the evidence room. Apparently the Global Defence Department is the size of a city precinct.

Joseph Adama's character is stuck in the mud. For several episodes he's been nothing more than a glorified note-taker in meetings at Graystone Industries while Sam does all the heavy lifting. I'm sure this is all leading to something, but knowing we're now going to have limited incite into Willie's father, I hope his character gets some needed focus very soon.

Speaking of Willie? Remember him? 

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