Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Caprica "False Labor"

Non Spoiler Review:
A very good Adama-centric episode, focusing primarily on Sam and his loyalty to the home world, which is currently enduring another civil war. Joseph gets some development, as well, though he's not front and centre. Meanwhile, Daniel struggles to reproduce the nuances of Zoe's avatar program, but struggles with his own guilt with Amanda. Finally, Amanda continues to infiltrate Clarice's family.

A lot was going on here, but it made for a very fulfilling episode, and likely one of the best of the new batch. The twelve worlds continue to be fleshed out—first Gemenon, and now Tauron gets some airtime. The work spent on worldbuilding has really paid off, as this universe feels like a real place. Sam is a great character and his marriage problems and obsession with the old world play nicely here.

Spoilers Now!
Tauron is in the midst of a civil war in an attempt to overthrow its dictator. Sam is obsessed with it, sending money home, as well as buying some weapons, which is causing serious tension with husband Larry (who already seems to be putting up with a lot). There is friction between Sam's ties to Tauron, and Joseph's ties to the Tauron diaspora now established on Caprica, which plays out throughout the episode.

Sam's reckless gunrunning brings him to the attention of weapons dealer Atreus, who shoots his partner and gets the Gautrau involved, who orders Sam to rectify the matter himself or die. Given the involvement in Graystone Industries, Sam ponders that these Cylon robots might be useful, so brings  one along on a mob hit to kill Atreus. When he suggests to the Gautrau that they start exporting some of the warriors to Tauron to help the rebellion, the old man tells him to stay out of politics and let go of his past. They're on Caprica now, and that's their home. Sam remains torn.

As mentioned, the Ha'la'tha is tinkering with Graystone Industries, and Cyrus creates a creepy commercial advertising their new resurrection software, called Grace. Daniel is not happy with his image being used, but a cold stair from the Gautrau and he's willing to reshoot the commercial. They have other problems, as Cyrus discovers the mob is moving stuff around secretly in the company. Daniel tells him to quietly look into it.

Daniel is struggling to recreate Zoe's avatar program, unable to find the nuances that created the perfect copy of personality. He's spending a lot of time with v-Amanda, who just isn't coming off quite right. He uses her as a foil to air his guilt and secrets to her, but can't accept her eager forgiveness and hyper sexuality. He wants real Amanda back.

Speaking of Amanda, she's having to deal with the hippie ├╝ber-bitch Mar-Beth, who's major preggers and wants an all natural birth and hates having a doctor in the house. Jordan tells her to do whatever is necessary to gain their trust, so Amanda pulls off a great lie about post-partem depression with Zoe and Mar-Beth is all " all can stay as long as you want." She has her baby by the end of the episode.

Oh, and if you blinked, you may have missed that Joseph and Evelyn totally hooked up!

What Worked:
Hints of Tauron politics were great, and hopefully we see things up close there soon. More Sam and Joseph, as well as a welcome conversation between Daniel and Joseph to bring their relationship up to speed, were nice moments. They are all so wounded from the bombing, but they haven't had much personal screen time together since the series came back.

It's also welcome to get more explanation about what was just so amazing about Zoe's software program—the way it captured the personality of the living more than a normal V-world avatar could mimic. Daniel's struggle to figure it all out through the faux Amanda was interesting, as the Amanda avatar was just off enough to be really creepy.

Clarice was busy doing STO things in the background, and continues to spout "It is god's will" whenever she's questioned about anything. Clarice had a scene with Mar-Beth when confronted how far she would be willing to sacrifice for god's will — Keep pushing, Mar-Beth!

Clarice ends the episode with a nice prayer with the new child as we see a montage of the character arcs explored in this episode.

What Didn't Work:
Considering Evelyn is likely going to be rearing little Admiral Adama, the amount of time spent on Joseph and her getting together was very little, with a few suggestive remarks from evil grandma and then they're going at it on the couch during the final montage. Someone as important as Joseph's future wife should get a little more development. It felt tacked on and inevitable.

Can Sam and Joseph just wander around and get Cylons out of the factory without any problem? Did they have an instruction manual, at least? And still no explanation what all the Cylons will be used for by the Caprican government?

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