Caprica episode 4: Gravedancing

February 22, 2010

Backstage at the Baxter Sarno show

In this episode, nothing goes as planned.

by Millari

This week’s Caprica episode, “Gravedancing” was one of plans thwarted and threats averted or recanted, and concerned itself with the questions of grief and responsibility, often with disturbing answers.

This review contains SPOILERS:

Following up last week’s cliffhanger, we watched Sam Adama closing in to kill Amanda Greystone, pretending to be a chauffeur taking her home. The distracted and grieving mother is an easy target for Sam’s smooth machinations, and the suspense comes not from whether or not he can do the deed, or whether or not Amanda will be able to get away, but from whether or not Sam will get the frantic cell phone messages Joseph Adama (the man who requested the hit on Amanda Graystone in the first place) leaves telling Sam not to go through with it. In the end, of course, Amanda is unharmed, but Sam takes the opportunity to lecture his brother Joseph to be true to his choices, especially the toughest choices.

Amanda herself is an easy target because she herself is is part of another plan thwarted – talk show host Baxter Sarno’s plan to manipulate a grieving Daniel Graystone into admitting on national television that Graystone Industries’ invention, the ubiquitous holoband, is an innovation that teaches people – especially the young – that all behavior is permissible because there are no consequences, and therefore no boundaries. It all seems to be going according to plan, with Graystone stumbling over his words and being backed into verbal corners by Sarno, until Amanda spontaneously shows up on stage during the filming and saves the day for her husband. She takes control over Sarno’s characterizations of the Graystone’s daughter Zoe, changing the story from one of a troubled daughter to that of an angry one, who saw a society in the holobands she hated for its violence, cruelty and dissipation. She also manages to provoke a free and open exchange of ideas that leads her husband to spontaneously give away its core business – the holobands – and, with it, sixty percent of the company’s profits.

The Graystones’ interview with Sarno also brings up the show’s other interesting question – what is our responsibility to the dead and why? Because Zoe hated the world the holobands had created, her parents decide it is important for them to stop making profits off its sale. Joseph Adama’s Tauron mother-in-law, Tsattie suggests that we owe a very different responsibility to the dead. And ironically, Tsattie’s traditional Tauron attitudes towards death and responsibility seem every bit as as violent and visceral as the futuristic world Zoe hated.

In this episode, Tsattie voices the traditional Tauron belief that the dead are not really truly dead until they are avenged. It suggests that the dead live in a limbo between life and death until the living do right by them (which is interestingly, a way one could describe Zoe Graystone and Tamara Adama’s new existences as avatars trapped inside a virtual computer world, somewhere between life and death). In a fascinating set of character revelations, Tsattie steps out of the shadows of archetypal grandmother characterization she’s had up until this episode, (always in the kitchen, doting over her grandson) and emerges as a force to be reckoned with. She eggs her son-in-law on to kill Amanda Graystone out of a desire for vengeance; tells her grandson Bill to demand a coveted job for children on the Caprica City Bucaneers team from Daniel Graystone by having his uncle Sam intimidate the man into it (telling Bill, you get the best things from enemies because they’re scared of you); and tells Joseph that she could kill Amanda Graystone with her own bare hands. All the while that she pontificates about the need for vengeance, the scene turns on her sociopath settings all the way to eleven: She tells Joseph that she’d sleep easy every night after killing Amanda in cold blood while ominously taking vicious whacks at raw meat parts in a dowdy grandmotherly apron.

Meanwhile, the police are still looking for evidence to link Zoe to STO and find out who the STO contact is at Zoe’s school, Athena Academy. To that end, they conduct surprise raids on both the Graystones’ home and Zoe’s school, although a last-minute tip off to Athena Academy headmistress Clarice allows a student to remove explosives from his locker, and a sweep of Zoe’s home turns up nothing useful. Again, plans are thwarted, and again, the issue of our responsibility towards the dead arises. In frustration, Amanda asks the chief detective leading the search of Zoe’s things, “Who did you lose?” In a dramatic moment so unconvincing that it must be intentionally fake, Agent Duram tells her he lost “everyone” on that train. It’s the archetypal lawperson’s answer, but this detective’s agenda, which may simply be one of career advancement and ass-covering but may be something more complex, has yet to be revealed. Still, one can almost be sure that like with many of the people that populate the world of Caprica, his agenda is probably corrupt.

The only person who sets out to accomplish something and does so in this episode is Zoe’s friend Lacey, who wants Keon (the potential terrorist with a bomb in his locker) to put her in touch with his STO contacts, so she can help Avatar!Zoe get to Gemenon. In a plot device that verges on silly but gets the job done, Lacy turns out to have hidden talents in motorcyle repair, which wins Keon over when she helps him with a stubborn job on his plate and he gratefully gives her the little information he knows.

Next week: Will Lacy get to meet Keon’s STO contacts and get Zoe to Gemenon? What is going on with Tamara Adama, who last week disappeared from the virtual world of the holobands and is in parts unknown?  Will the PDD accomplish anything with their investigation of the bombing besides making the Graystones miserable?

Wyrdwritere contributed to this review. Thanks to http://lucianacarrofans.wordpress.com for the image

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