Caprica may be the spawn of Battlestar Galactica, but its the kind of child who doesnt look very much like the parent. Nevertheless, Reins of a Waterfall features some subliminal shout-outs to its predecessor, such as Daniel Graystone blowing off steam by throwing punches in the ring, not unlike Battlestars boxing episode. The new episode also featured some delightful conjugations of the word frak, such as virtual Zoes announcement ta-frakkin-da when she separates herself from the Cylon prototype.
If virtual Zoe didnt have enough reason to free herself from the robot (does this Cylon body make me look fat?), Reins of a Waterfall presented the hilariously squirmy notion of the AI adolescent girl forced to witness her parents stress-relieving frak in Daniel Graystones lab. Back in the on-line black-box theater space and able to interact with Lacy face-to-virtual-face, Zoe doesnt just want to get out of her parents house; she wants to get off their whole planet. The Zoe-vatar doesnt know what her alter egos intentions were for her on Gemenon, but she resolves to go the colony and find out. How she, Lacy and creepy Keon will transport the Cylon body off-world promises I Love Lucy levels of farce.
Capricas treatment of artificial intelligences may be the shows most intriguing premise. The Zoe-vatar knows shes not Zoe and reveals an increasingly distinct personality the longer shes self-aware. Ill bet shell ultimately reject whatever plan the real Zoe had in mind for her. Meanwhile, Tamara, the avatar of Joseph Adamas deceased daughter has yet to realize that shes an undead computer simulation. Club V freaks her out, but that might be less an aversion to teen hedonism than a dawning awareness that nobody she sees is technically alive. (The episode could have the title "Virtual Teens Run Wild!") I confess Im a little confused as to what Sister Clarice and the Soldiers of the One know about the Zoe-vatar, and what the Zoe-vatar knows about the real Zoe, but clearly the shows just getting started.
Sister Clarice meets an STO higher-up in what appears to be an on-line version of a Catholic confessional. Apart from the general monotheism, I find the STOs agenda to be extremely vague for a terrorist organization. Are they theologically opposed to the pantheon of the 12 colonies? Do they harbor class resentments for Capricas shining cities? Do they represent a political or corporate power play? Given that the premise of the show hinges on the STO, a little clarity would be appreciated. (Or, if I'm missing something, please clue me in.)
Nevertheless, Reins of a Waterfall proved to be much more snappy and charged than last weeks less-focused Rebirth. Seemingly every other scene featured some kind of confrontation or power struggle, from Sam Adama punching out Daniel Graystone to Lacy parrying Sisters Clarices questions with requests for tea service. Amandas public announcement that Zoe was a terrorist (something the virtual Zoe doesnt deny) turns the Graystones into public scapegoats for the MagLev bombing, kind of like the parents of the Columbine shooters, who didnt know their sons were plotting a massacre.
Joseph Adama brings his frustrations with Daniel to a head and demands a reunion with virtual Tamara, unaware that she escaped into cyberspace only hours earlier. At the end, Joe tells his brother that the Graystones lost a daughter, but he lost a daughter and a wife, and adds, Balance it out. The Vultures recap declares
"Caprica" has a penchant for cliff-hanger endings, but the threat falls flat. Thug-with-a-heart-o-gold Sam will have a moral crisis over it. Or the police presence at the Graystones will make it impossible. But really, we just dont buy that Joseph, whos been half-present (and half-acted), is at his breaking point yet.
When Joseph discovers Tamara is gone, however, Esai Morales shoots Eric Stoltz a spooky, positively murderous look, so his implicit assassination order does not come as a surprise. And perhaps Adama, after getting chewed out by a crooked judge in a piss-yellow corridor, is under more pressure than the Vulture appreciates.
In other subplots, Willie serves as a go-fer at the Ha'la'tha hangout, which is reminiscent not so much of The Sopranos as that "Sopranos" prequel Martin Scorsese made, Goodfellas (especially those scenes with Michael Imperioli as Joe Pescis ill-fated errand boy). Theres also a plot thread akin to The Wire as the Feds discover, through old-fashioned videotapes, that theyd picked up Zoes suicide bomber boyfriend a year earlier, but let him go, and seek new avenues to investigate Amanda, aka Terror Mom.
I like the shows portrayal of Caprican financial news and other media, like the program Cubits and Pieces (in the U.S. it would be called Dollars and Sense) and the appearance of Patton Oswalt as political pundit/comedian Baxter Sarno. The man is anti-corporation, someone remarks, which suggests that when Daniel goes on the show next week, hell be Jim Cramer to Sarnos John Stewart.
Favorite line: If this is a dream, I think its too long, says the freaked-out Tamaravatar, whose ghost-in-the-machine plight was the shows most poignant element. Somehow I suspect that shell provide a means for the Adamas and Graystones to become friends again.
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