Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review: Caprica "The Heavens Will Rise"

Non Spoiler Review:
Another extremely dense episode. If all of Caprica's earlier episodes had kept this pace, then the show might have built up some early momentum. While those storylines that got brief mention last week were expanded upon, my only concern is how much plot is going to be left dangling at the end of the series.

The Graystones embark on their quest to find Zoe, and enlist some muscle to help them through New Cap City (now Rivendale, apparently). Another Tauron character is introduced that looks like she will be nothing but trouble for the Adamas (including a nasty little revelation about Joseph—as if killing his father wasn't enough!). Jordan and Amanda slip up, leading what will likely be a big problem with Clarice next week. Finally, some serious weirdness is going on with the Cylons on Gemenon. That covers about everyone!

This was really exciting, including a bit of a shocking teaser with Daniel that set the pace for the rest of the hour. It was very enjoyable to see both the teamwork with Amanda and Daniel and their new honesty pact. Developments with the STO were surprisingly creepy—they've acquired a lot of Cylons, and they seem to be acting a little off. So much to think about, and only two episodes left. 

Only one big nasty was revealed about Joseph that kind of soured things. I was unsure if this revelation was necessary at all, considering the giant character development he got last week. We'll have to see what comes of it.

Spoilers Now!
While Zoe and Tamara pretty up their cool new heaven, Daniel can trace them in v-world via backdoor programs he installed in the holobands. Amanda wants to go in first as she slapped Zoe before she died, but Daniel admits he did worse—exploiting her fear of fire to get her to reveal herself in the Cylon. Slap-happy Amanda gives him a nice slap for that.

Tamara is abruptly pulled away and enters a black room in which Daniel is waiting. He just wants to see Zoe. But Zoe appears, and he thanks the gods. There's only one, Zoe says, and stabs him. Daniel's thrown out of v-world raging in pain. "She's still mad," he tells Amanda.

Zoe's shut Daniel out now, and he must only enter New Cap City like everyone else, and stuck playing by the rules, so if he gets killed, he's out of the game. Amanda muses that maybe they're supposed to learn from this. She gets a text from Jordan telling her they need to meet, and Amanda thinks it's time (given they're being all truthy with one another) to tell him about her involvement with the GDD.

Jordan tells Amanda they're on their own given the infiltration of the GDD. Amanda still thinks Mar-Beth abandoned the baby. Jordan gives her a rigged holoband to replace with Clarice's so he can get their secrets. He convinces her to get back in there and switch them, so she reluctantly does so, and returns with the special holoband.

Jordan admits Mar-Beth is dead, that he fed them false information. Amanda is horrified that she just had a baby. A baby that will become a terrorist, Jordan says insensitively. He tells Amanda she's done them a great service and she walks off. And someone shoots Jordan! She hurries back to find him at the bottom of the ravine and tries to save him.

Back at the STO's v-world pyramid stadium, Nestor, Olaf and Clarice are running through their final preparations to bomb the game—a fake repair crew will be placing charges that will be set off by the intital martyrs. The explosion will activate the remote Zoe program and the martyr avatars will be uploaded to the virtual heaven. Clarice wants the press release to go out a month later after a suitable time of mourning, at which point there will be jubilation at the knowledge the martyrs achieved their apotheosis. At least that's the plan.

Nestor is feeling guilty and having second thoughts—he understands he could upload their avatars right now if he wanted. It's all just showmanship as the death of the originals won't be going to the heaven. How does Clarice know she speaks for god? She suggests he go to the big game to see for himself, but chastises him as she knows he's not ready to die for his faith.

On Gemenon, Lacie stops a fight between a guard and a trainee after he orders the Cylon to shoot him. Lacie commands it to stop. By your command, it says. They compete for the Cylon's attention, but it ultimately obeys Lacie.

Diego wants to know how she did that, as Cylon's only obey an authorized controller. Maybe he has a sense of decency, she suggests. Lacie manages to get off without punishment by suggesting the STO inspire rather than punish. Later, Mother visits Diego, having heard about the unusual behaviour. She gives a nice little speech about how she prefers mysteries over secrets, and perhaps it's best this remain a mystery. She wonders aloud that with the rigorous training, how any of the new recruits survive at all. Then she gives Diego the late Obal's ring (the murdered conclave member), telling him he knows what must be done.

Fidelia Fizikus pops into the Tauron hangout, greeting Sam. She's been released from prison (after having taken the fall for a job that went bad, apparently involving Sam). She's doing some work for the Guatrau at Graystone Industries. She's excited to be working with the Adama boys again. It's immediately obvious she will be nothing but trouble.

Daniel needs his family back and begs Sam to help him by coming into V-world to find Zoe (and Tamara). Amanda tells Daniel what happened. Jordan is in the hospital, but it seems that her cover is blown. They can't call the GDD either. And the incriminating holoband is apparently missing.

Sam, Eveyln and Grannie Ruth are making dinner, when Willie walks in with an Avenging Angels shirt he traded at school. Sam pulls it off him and sends him to his room. Eveyln tells him the Avenging Angels are everywhere. She wants him to take Graystone up on his offer and kill or destroy the avatar. Joseph needs to move on. "Yeah, move on to you," Sam says harshly, then apologizes, and gets a nasty glare from grandma.

At Graystone Industries, pencil pusher Joseph works late and Fidelia shows up, giving him a big kiss. Joseph protests, and she tells him insensitively he's not married anymore. It was a mistake, he admits. He was married.

Fidelia is taking accounts for the Guatrau, finding some inconsistencies in the Cylon shipments to the government. In addition to the STO ones they're funnelling out, they're missing about one in every twelve Cylons they're shipping. Joseph tries to bluff his way out of it about faulty models, but it's obvious she's not buying it.

Odin is enjoying some Lacie holoporn when real Lacie wakes him up and asks him to be lookout as she walks into the Cylon barracks to figure out what's going on. She enters the chamber full of inactive warriors, but at her instruction they all power up. She speaks to the one she initially stopped from shooting, and it obeys her instructions. Zoe? she asks. She wants it to react if it's really Zoe inside by raising its arm. Slowly the others begin to intermittently raise their weapons, and Odin drags her out. They share a toke and she tells him her friend was Zoe Graystone, a true believer, and then frak for real.

Sam calls Daniel and agrees, for 10,000 cubits. This is at Evelyn's advisement, who seems to be scheming with Sam to get rid of the Tamara avatar.

Amanda tells Daniel the holoband was missing and someone took it. Apparently it's not the Willows, as we see them using the replacement band and Nestor realizes it has a different identification code. The three of them realize at the same time it's Amanda who is the spy, and that they killed an innocent Mar-Beth. Clarice has a moment of horror, and calmly says at last that she needs to talk to Amanda. They still have twenty-four hours before the bombing, enough time to get Amanda and retrieve their holoband that contains all their plans. Has the GDD been playing them the whole time?

Sam, Amanda and Daniel all arrive in v-world on horseback. From their tower, Zoe senses their approach.

What Worked:
The whole creepy Cylon angle on Gemenon felt quite ominous. What's going on with them? Are all the warriors bearing some hint of Zoe's presence in the original prototype? Still no explanation on how Vergis began mass producing them to meet his government quotas, but if they did contain a lingering aspect of Zoe's presence, then that might explain how they are better fighters than the pre-Zoe prototype.

Lacie has seemed erratic and conflicted in her motivations and development as a believer, with the implication that she will ultimately lead the STO. She regards Zoe as a true believer. Is this her destiny, to replace Clarice at some point?

Amanda and Daniel work so well as a couple and it's satisfying to see them tackle the Zoe problem together rather than persuing their own separate agendas.

Who has the STO holoband? Singh? Is it some double-agent that is also working against the Willows?

What Didn't Work:
Okay, I get that Tamara and Zoe have decided to become gods, and they've built a magnificent fortress from which they stand and watch...and that's it. Every scene has them standing on the parapet surveying their world. Do they do anything else? Have coffee? Wander around? Where is everyone? We see no one else except Sam, Amanda and Daniel at the end. Were all the players booted off? Or are they wandering aimlessly around the forests of the former New Cap City?

Daniel and Amanda are now totally honest? Fine. Does that mean Daniel told her about Vergis? All of this must have happened offscreen. But are we  to assume there are no secrets between them?

More offscreen developments—the Avenging Angels. Willie is wearing a t-shirt because he thinks it's cool, but has anyone until now discussed that Tamara is wandering around in there? Evil grandma and Evelyn know that Tamara must still be in there, though they thought she was dead after what Joseph said, but the extent of all this is unclear. How did Willie deal with this news? Wouldn't he want to go into New Cap City and see his sister?

Why, why, why tell us Joseph had an affair on Shannon? After strengthening the character last week, suddenly we get this black spot on him now. No wonder Admiral Adama had issues with his father.

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