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Taking Care of Business

October 12, 2010

By spacepug

“Have you ever NOT frakked up something in your life, Lacy?”

It’s an important question, asked early on in Caprica’s latest episode, “Retribution.”  When we first met Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) in the pilot, she didn’t go through with her part of Zoe’s flight to Gemenon and that decision saved her life.  She fails to follow through on something important in this episode and like the title implies, there are serious consequences.

What follows is a recap and review, and therefore contains SPOILERS.

For the second week in a row, the episode begins with each major character giving us a brief description of their current motivation.  Exposition overload, but unfortunately necessary when so many characters seem to be changing sides.  Useful, but frustrating at the same time.

The episode takes place during the worst rainstorm we’ve ever seen in Caprica City.  Lacy, Pann and Hippolyta are at the spaceport, and they’re up to no good.  Lacy thinks there are too many people, even though the place looks deserted. The others convince her to go through with the plan.  As she tries to set a bomb, a security guard interrupts her.  She gets flustered, he gets shot, and for some silly reason she runs away with the bomb.  Carries it right into the getaway car.  Hence the question from Pann, “Have you ever not frakked up something in your life, Lacy?”  Hits too close to home and she runs.

Meanwhile, Daniel Graystone has been replaced by some guy in a scary beard and he’s spilling secrets on all the former Graystone board members and trying blackmail to get his company.  Oh, I guess it is the same Daniel, just without any morals whatsoever.

Amanda is in the shower at the secluded log cabin she’s sharing with Clarice.  She’s trying to wash away the memories of what she thinks Daniel did last season.  Wait until she finds out what he’s up to now!

Clarice is using the holoband to meet with her secret contact in the virtual world, and Amanda is secretly watching her and hears her call out Zoe’s name. 

In the meeting, Clarice learns of  the failed attempt by Barnabus’ STO cell to blow up the spaceport just as she was passing through.  That will not do.  Time for retribution.  Pann is in the bath, flipping channels just as Daniel was doing last week.  He just happens to come upon the important news story at 4am which moves the plot along.  We learn the police are gathering evidence against his team.  He knows he’s in trouble, but he’s taking a nice bath and watching TV.  No wonder Clarice is able to get the drop on him.  They make us think she’s going to shoot him, but fake out and have her electrocute him instead.  By dawn she’s across town, exacting the same revenge on Hippolyta, but this time she doesn’t get her hands dirty. It is one of her husbands, Olaf Willow, who finishes the job.

Lacy knows she’s in trouble.  She turns to Barnabus.  He’s upset, in the crazy sort of way.  He needs her loyalty.  All she can give him is her commitment to God.

Daniel’s dissolution is complete.  One of the board members he tried to blackmail with the blackest secrets imaginable has taken his own life, and his widow confronts Daniel as he drives by in the car…and keeps on going.    He must have some kind of conscience left since he is also flashing back to the first time he saw Amanda after her suicide attempt.  Once again, she asks him if he had two men killed when he had the MCP chip stolen from Tomas Vergis.  Finding even his own lame excuse hollow, “We can’t always know where our actions can lead,” he turns around and attacks his wife, implying she caused Zoe’s death.  Way to go, supportive husband.

Policeman Jordan Duram (Brian Markinson) is investigating the case of the two “dead monos.”  He already knows the trail leads straight to Clarice Willow.  His partner tries to discourage him.

Cyrus is back to visit Daniel again, bringing him the U87 in a box.  We had an awkward “bonding” scene with these two last week, and it is similarly out of place in the story.  It just sends up a red flag…the prototype robot chassis is important, so don’t forget who has it, k?

Duram won’t give up.  He has no luck confronting Clarice directly, and afterwards, he gets a talking to from his boss, Global Defense Director/Chief of Police, Gara Singh (Peter Wingfield).  It’s a short conversation.  Duram doesn’t trust his boss any more than he trusts Clarice.  His parting “Go Team” drips with sarcasm. (Capricatv.net highlights a video clip this week with several characters talking about the Global Defense Department and their changing role in an atmosphere of terrorism.  Interesting perspective.)

Duram’s boss might be correct about his not being objective.  He tries to recruit Amanda Graystone to help him.  Her “intimate” relationship with Clarice puts her in the perfect position to find the people responsible for murdering her daughter.  He doesn’t pull his punches, and Paula Malcomson clearly shows us the pain Amanda feels as she learns that yet another person she trusts may have betrayed her.  When she next sees Clarice at the cabin, she is no longer caring, but suspicious.  She goes back to the mansion and gets her gun.

Barnabus is beyond paranoid and into full on crazy.  He wants to blow Clarice’s brains out and wallow in her blood.  It’s a bit much for Keon and he bows out.  But paranoid Barnabus won’t let him go.  Keon dies at the madman’s hands just as his saviour arrives.  Clarice has arrived for her final retribution, with Olaf in tow.

For the final confrontation between Barnabus and Clarice, I was hoping for much more.  They only exchange a few words.  She says she believes she will be forgiven for all she has done.  He says apotheosis is a fraud.  She straps him to a bomb, walks away and pushes the button.  Boom.  Bit of a letdown.

Back at the cabin, Amanda arrives with the gun in her purse, and finds Clarice drowning her sorrows.  Strange that she goes out to kill with her husband, but is still sleeping over in the cabin with Amanda.  It’s just another character she’s playing.  Two of her students have been murdered.  Who could do that?  Who indeed.  Amanda reaches for the gun, only to be caught off guard by Clarice’s plea “I think you might be the only person I can talk to.”  It’s not quite a subtle enough performance and Amanda isn’t fooled.

Amanda chooses to side with the fanatical cop rather than the fanatical terrorist. “Tell me everything.”

My verdict

While last week’s episode delivered the action fans have been waiting for, this episode clearly demonstrated the flaws that have frustrated me.  The story is so complex, the characters so meandering that we can’t follow who’s on what side without a “cheat sheet” at the beginning.  Daniel is almost unrecognizable from the first half of the season, and Joseph Adama is just not there, even when he’s in a scene.  Right now, the only one I’m cheering for is Jordan Duram.  I’m fascinated by the sheer bravado of Clarice and Amanda, but that says more about the talent of the two actresses than the material they have to work with.

While James Marsters brought some life to the mix, I’m glad Barnabus is  gone.  They needed to simplify the storylines and burying that hatchet was the easiest one to do, even though they didn’t do a great job of it.

Here’s my big nitpick….what’s with the shaky cam?  When Amanda went home to get the gun out of the safe, I nearly got motion sickness watching it. I can see the use of a handheld camera inside the confines of a car, but everywhere else?  Too much.

Ratings:  Last week’s episode garnered less than 890,000 viewers in the US, the worst rating of any episode so far.  Ron Moore and David Eick may have been putting on a brave face at NYCC this past weekend, but with ratings like this, there is no way the show will get a second season.

Spot the Location:  The exterior of the cabin Amanda and Clarice are using is one at Buntzen Lake.

Next week:  the Deadwalkers take centre stage, Tamara, and Zoe. The episode is called “Things We Lock Away.”

5 comments

  1. First, don’t assume Barnabus is gone. Had they wanted to ensure we knew that they’d have flashed to him right before the explosion. As it is, the last time we see him is just after the elevator doors have closed, giving him the entire time that Clarice went to ground level and walked to the car to escape.

    Second, you are right. The plot is too convoluted, too contrived to create tension and conflict. What made battle star great was that during the entire 1st season there was plenty of conflict but we new certain things that kept the viewer centred. It was human vs cylon and we knew where we lay our loyalties. Baltar was good Boomer was bad and fake Boomer was there to represent the ambivalence we were beginning to feel. The characters were flawed but their relationships were found in the group they belonged to, and when those lines were blurred we had a the other three characters to make us feel not so alone.

    Caprica has none of this. There is no moral side of good and bad. There is no way for the viewer to become invested in a side or character because as soon as we think we understand something it is taken away from us. The only relationship that gave us a place we knew wouldn’t change was that of Sam Adama and young William but it has been nowhere in the last few episodes and we viewers are left afloat, treading water after the ship has sunk with nothing to keep us afloat.

    And I don’t think I may be about to drown.


  2. The show has too many problems to be “fixed” – it was dead a long time ago. It has too much going on, all poorly. The women in this show are either ugly or stupid or both – compare that to the strong women characters we had in BSG. And it’s ruined both shows in that we now find the Cylons are based on a pack of narcissistic terrorists who replicated portions of their memories onto a server of WoW somewhere.

    So don’t care about it anymore. But I do like the scenic cityscapes!


  3. You all are so negative! I think building this world is hard and coming to a point requires a lot of background. They’ve got solid storylines brewing, I choose to just be patient. The characters are flawed, but ugly and stupid? This begs the question to me, did BSG get a disproportionate amount of good critical review (from men) because they cast sexy manipulative Cylons? (…and then there’s Starbuck). Amanda has just the kind of naiveté that I would expect from someone who has always lived a life of privilege. By all accounts, nothing terrible happened to her before the death of Zoe. Zoe herself is the poster child for intelligent spoiled idealistic teenagers. Clarice is exactly what she needs to be – two faced (and certainly not stupid). I don’t understand sadly sad about Caprica’s point of view.
    In the end, the thing that makes me sad about Caprica, is the fact that they have so much story to wrap up if it gets cancelled, they won’t be able to do it. We’ll end up with another waste of film like Daybreak. I sure hope they give it a second season, but I’m not holding my breath. Thanks for blogging, Spacepug!


    • Oops! Forgot about her brother. Sorry, I’m a terrible geek! Even still, I would expect someone like Amanda to be naive.


    • Thanks William. I also disagree with the “ugly and stupid” comment. I think there is enough substantive flaws with the characters that dismissing them as ugly isn’t relevant. There are more than enough fans out there who will describe Allessandra, Paula and Polly as very attractive.

      Sadly, the ratings were down by a further five percent for this episode. I believe SyFy will air what they have shot, and I will also bet that the creators knew their chances of renewal were slim, so we may get some resolution….or a cruel cliffhanger!



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