Here’s a case-in-point for why I like Caprica so much. Early in this week’s episode, Daniel Graystone is prepping for his appearance on Baxter Sarno’s late-night comedy/talk show, and is fighting with PR flack Pryah over the wording of his statement of contrition. He understands why his business associates need him to go public: to get the sales of holobands moving again, and to clarify that whatever involvement Zoe Graystone had with the STO, it was because she was confused and angry, not because she was obsessed with virtual reality. But Daniel hates his prepared talking points—“Should I point to my heart?” he asks sarcastically—and he hates that he’s being asked to reduce the complexity of his daughter to an easily understood narrative.
Yet later, when Daniel’s talking with his wife Amanda, he reacts defensively to her criticism of his decision to go on Sarno’s show, and essentially argues the position he was fighting against before. He even dismisses her attempt to shame him as a parent by reminding her that they’re “not parents anymore.” As I noted in last week’s write-up, I find the capriciousness of Caprica’s characters pretty damned compelling, especially for a genre show. (Battlestar Galactica was similarly complicated.) The reactions and motivations are fluid, as they are in real life. We often behave differently depending on who we’re talking to.
Daniel’s televised duel of wits with Sarno was obviously the centerpiece of “Gravedancing,” and it’s a measure of how invested I’ve become in these characters that I was actually a little nervous when the episode reached the Sarno scenes. And Daniel didn’t exactly put me at ease with his paying his makeup artist a grand to let him smoke, and then bombing his attempt at on-air humor. (“My Solstice wish was for free publicity. I should’ve been more specific.”) Then when Sarno goes on the attack, decrying Daniel’s invention of a world where young people learn there are no consequences for their actions, Daniel gets flustered, even after Amanda rushes on-stage to try to bail him out. He confesses to his creation of the Zoe avatar, and blurts out that he’s planning to forgo all profits on holobands and v-world licensing, using that money to help at-risk teens. (See how easy it is to say something you didn’t mean to say? And just how do you think Daniel’s going to spin this when he faces his investors in next week’s episode?)
Meanwhile, the war of wits between the police and The Soldiers Of The One continues, with Agent Durham inviting the press to a raid of the Athena Academy, believed to be a hotbed of STO activity. But Sister Clarice gets a tip before raid commences, and gets her recruits to clear their bombmaking equipment out of their lockers. One of those teen terrorists, Keon, is another fine example of how we often say one thing and do another, as he continues to treat Lacy like a leper in public while meeting with her in secret to discuss the possibility of setting up a meeting with STO bigwig Barnabus, who might be able to get Lacy (and maybe Zoe, in some form) to Gemenon.
As for Zoe, her screentime this week was limited, but poignant. We saw her hanging out in the v-world, watching the other kids get crazy, and then we saw her in robot form, enjoying the attention of dad’s geeky tech, Philomon, who makes admiring comments about her chest, and then programs her to dance. Dead Zoe might’ve resented Philomon’s gall and vulgarity, but Zoebot seems charmed, perhaps because of the context.
And in the other big development of “Gravedancing”—one as tense as the Baxter Sarno show, really—Joe Adama sweats his impulsive decision last week to ask Sam to kill Amanda Graystone. At first he wants it done quickly, but as Sam urges patience, Joe begins to waver. By the time Sam is working his way backstage at Back Talk—calling on the aid of a fellow Tauron, who steps aside and lets him pass and shows his tattoos—Joe is having serious second thoughts. When his mother watches Amanda spar with Sarno, she says, “I could kill her with my own hands, couldn’t you?” And when Joe realizes that he couldn’t, he frantically tries to reach Sam, to call off the hit.
That’s people for you. So damned inconsistent.
-As much as I continue to enjoy the characters, the situations and the philosophical musings of Caprica, I still find some of the actual plotting abrupt. Amanda racing on-stage was an example of that. The results of that choice were exciting to watch, but the choice itself was overly melodramatic.
-Amusing transition from Agent Durham’s boss jokingly asking him to “keep it tasteful” on his Athena Academy raid to a scene of Sister Clarice waking up in her communal bed with three of her spouses. Tasteful, indeed!
-Bill’s grandma doesn’t much care that he’s skipping school, since in Tauron culture, a boy is considered a responsible adult at 13.
-We get a hint of what might prove to be a positive influence for the wayward Bill when he admits to his grandmother that he’d like to be the Pyramid equivalent of a batboy. His dad could probably swing that with Daniel easily. As Grandma notes, “You think you get the best things from friends? You get the best things from enemies, because they’re scared of you.” After Sam frightens Amanda, I’m sure the whole Graystone family knows that the Adamas mean business.
-Tauron children play jacks with the bones of children who lose at jacks. (Or with chicken bones… whatever.)
-“Was that sarcastic?”