Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: Caprica "Here Be Dragons"

Non Spoiler Review:
The penultimate episode of Caprica brings the Graystones to New Cap City and a reunion with Zoe, while Clarice and the Willows invade the Graystone house to get the incriminating holoband. Undermining the Guatrau brings harsh retribution against the Adama brothers, and Caprica pulls the biggest twist of the series to date.

While a bit fragmented in places and suffering from some contrived moments—Lacie's plotline seemed very rushed—it can be mostly overlooked given this episode jammed in a lot, as has been the case for this half of the season. It was satisfying on many levels watching some plotlines come to their conclusion. But the big surprise (or not, depending on how astute an observer you are) is at the end, where a lingering question about Battlestar Galactica's ties to Caprica is answered.

Spoilers Now!
The Graystones are trekking through v-world with Sam as their guide, but Amanda immediately doesn't trust his motivations. Zoe is well aware they are approaching, as she turns their horses into dragons that they have to shoot, so the rest of the way will be on foot.

Sam just wants to kill Tamara, but says he doesn't care what they do with Zoe. Amanda doesn't believe that so shoots him, sending him out of New Cap City. Daniel is a bit chagrined, but they ultimately decide they will get to their daughter together.

Back at the Graystone house, Amanda and Daniel are sitting together in the lab on their holobands. But Clarice, Nestor and Olaf break in (having disabled the home's separate power supply). Daniel has a safe room, though, and the doors come down, forcing the Willows to spend much of the episode trying to bypass the security. Poor Serge is destroyed defending the house.

Fidelia is the Guatrau's daughter, and informs her father the Adama boys are likely sending Cylons to Tauron in defiance of his wishes. Reluctantly, he orders a hit on them, and so Joseph is woken in the night by one of the Guatrau's men, who tells him he needs to come with them. Then he tries to strangle Joseph. During the commotion, grandma Ruth kills the man with her meat cleaver—in front of Willie, no less—and the Adamas attempt to figure out a plan and contact the missing Sam. They will get money and passports from their safe at the hangout, and then escape to Tauron.

On Gemenon, the young terrorists are smoking up and discussing true belief in the one god. Odin advises Lacie that it's only a matter of time before Diego and Kevin kill her given she can control the robots. Then he does something odd—he goes to see them and tells them that whatever they're planning with Lacie, he doesn't want to be involved. So of course they involve him, and tell him he has to kill her.

Later on, he takes Lacie into the caverns and gets her to kneel as he prepares to execute her. Diego and Kevin arrive, and under pressure, Odin tries to shoot them. But the gun is empty (big mistake not checking on that before). So he's failed their test. But their other friends have their back and Diego and Kevin are killed, and Lacie leads them into the Cylon barracks where she commands her new army to power up and follow them out.

The Graystones decide to sit and wait for Zoe to come to them on her terms, and she does so, confronting her parents at last, calling her mother a stupid cow. But all she really wants is a hug, and mother and daughter finally embrace. Amanda is the logical one, and tells Zoe to come to them when she's ready (in the v-world version of their house). So she disappears after saying she'll think about it.

The Graystones remove their holobands only to find the house under seige and the Willows get in. Clarice is a tad upset with Amanda, telling her she loved her, but right now she's going to kill them both. Daniel notices something happening with the Cylon prototype on the table, so stalls for time by asking to be taught about the one true god. Nestor is too impatient for that, having already burned his arm trying to get through his security. And then the Cylon rises, smashing Nestor's head in and Clarice and Olaf flee. Zoe's voice comes from the prototype telling Clarice it's her.

The Cylon collapses and Amanda and Daniel pull on their holobands and meet Zoe in the v-world house. Daniel lets her know she can stay there as long as she wants until he builds her a body with imitation flesh. A skinjob, she suggests. They can even work in tandem together in his virtual lab. She seems amenable to that, and muses she'll stay there for awhile.

Sam finally checks his messages and meets Joseph and the family outside Goldie's, and the two of them are met with some former compatriots before they can escape. But Willie runs out of the car, pushes one of the men and provokes a battle ending with Willie shot in the hand. Sam manages to dispatch both. Except Willie has actually been shot in the stomach, and he dies in front of a horrified Joseph, Evelyn and Sam.

What Worked:
Clarice's confrontation with the Graystones was played well with her familiar righteous rage. Now that Amanda and Daniel seem to have reforged their marriage, they are quite fun to watch, working together to bring their daughter home.

Clarice's harsh indictment of Amanda's mothering was very effective, and also notable that she mentions Zoe spoke to angels. How much does Clarice know of this? Nestor went out in a big bloody head-bashed in blaze of glory, leaving just one husband left. Clarice's obsession has nearly completely destroyed the Willow family.

Finally, the great controversy over Willie's parentage and eye color has been settled. Halfway through Here Be Dragons I realized Willie was witnessing an incredible amount of mafia nastiness to go unnoticed in adult Admiral Adama's life, so when he ran into the Ha'La'Tha hangout it seemed inevitable he would catch a bullet. Poor Willie and Tamara Adama are dead, and Joseph's whole family with Shannon now erased. But Evelyn is there to pick up the pieces.

What Didn't Work:
Sam's inclusion in Amanda and Daniel's trek through New Cap City was completely pointless aside from keeping Sam occupied while Joseph was attacked. There seemed to be a lot of set up to get him into v-world in order to have some confrontation with his niece, yet Amanda shoots him right off the bat (not that bad-ass Amanda isn't fun).

Speaking of Sam, where was Larry? Hopefully someone did warn him that the Tauron mob had put a hit out on everyone.

What was the point of a genius like Daniel having a safe room that could be infiltrated relatively easily by a computer hacker like Nestor? There were several plot holes here that evidently served to further the story along—the Adamas worry about making a clean getaway, but store all their money and documents at Goldie's rather than at home? The Willows barely leave the basement before the Graystones ignore the fact that the house is wide open and throw on their holobands to visit their daughter? The house is on its own power source to conveniently allow Nestor to knock it out alone.

What could Odin possibly be thinking in talking to Diego about Lacie—is he strictly out for his own skin despite falling for her? And what of Tamara? Once Zoe appears to her mom and dad, that's the last we see of Tamara or their magic land.

Poor Serge! Please tell me Daniel had a backup.

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