Tamara Adams, What Are You?February 27, 2010
The following is a review of Caprica, episode 5, “There is Another Sky” and therefore contains spoilers.
Caprica cranked it up a notch this week, showing us a whole new world, and surprising depth to a character who should have very little. Hold on to your fedoras, more after the chop.
The Adama family is falling apart. Joseph sleeps the day away, unaware his son hasn’t been to school for several days. Indulging in nostalgia, he takes his son on the lamest excuse for a fishing trip, ever. If there is a reason both his son and Romo Lampkin come to fear and despise him in the future, we cannot see it here. Joseph is floundering and weak and it is up to his brother to convince him to do what’s right for himself and his son.
Willy Adama is struggling to figure out who he wants to be, trying out his pugilistic skills against some older kids who called him a dirt eater and doing his best to provoke his father.
And then, there’s Tamara. The avatar of Joseph’s dead daughter is still stuck in the V-World, unaware of what she is. She wants to “wake up” and seeks the help of brutal gamer Vesta (Camille Mitchell). The price for her help is Tamara’s participation in a game, helping Vesta and her cronies rob an avatar named Chiron. With Tamara’s unusual regenerative abilities, they are able to get just want they want, but of course, they can’t help her and they finally tell her so after she’s been shot three times in one episode. What they don’t count on is Tamara (Genevieve Buechner) taking matters into her own hands. She is an Adama after all, even is she doesn’t know it. Tamara suddenly becomes an interesting character. Fascinating. Whether or not the game she was playing has any relevance to the overall story arc, other than to introduce us to the way cool New Cap City, doesn’t matter as much as what the game helped her learn about herself. She is awake. And clearly she is trouble with a capital T.
I’ve been saying for a long time that Caprica could improve it’s ratings by having Esai Morales take his shirt off. He obliges the female fans just a bit here as Joseph undergoes a Tauron tattoo ritual as part of the funeral rites for his wife and daughter. (For more information about Tauron tattoos, check out Jane Espenson’s explanation here.) The farewell scene, very reminiscent of the Greek myth of Charon and the price of crossing the river Styx was very compelling. But still, with a twist at the end, the audience realizes that no one ritual is going to heal this broken man. Given the slightest encouragement, he is desperately eager to find his daughter in V-World.
Daniel Graystone’s path through this episode closely echoes Joseph’s, though his is more an intellectual than an emotional arc.
When Daniel confesses to his wife that he could be on the verge of losing his company, she walks him down memory lane, reminding him of the man who started with nothing and despite obstacles, triumphed when it counted. It’s a cliche and it only works because Paula Malcomson delivers the lines so earnestly. So the next day Daniel stands before his Board of Directors and confidently hands them a new vision of the future of Graystone Industries: The Cylon.
“Do you not understand the enormity of this creation? It’s more than a machine. This Cylon will become a tireless worker, who won’t need to be paid. It won’t retire, or get sick. It won’t have rights, or objections, or complaints. It will do anything and everything we ask of it, without question.”
Yet when he asks U87 to rip it’s own arm off, the audience sees the initial revulsion on the face of Cylon!Zoe. She does what he asks, but it is her choice. And thus we understand the rot at the heart of Caprica itself. Daniel Graystone doesn’t have a clue what he has created, not in his Cylon, or in the Tamara avatar. He is no more in control of his progeny than Joseph Adama is. And that will have disastrous consequences.
The ill-fated Adama fishing trip was shot in Lynn Headwaters park in North Vancouver. The “bank” where Tamara and the gamer try to steal Chiron’s fortune is the main lobby of the Marine Building on the corner of Burrard and Hastings in downtown Vancouver. Next week, it appears viewers will get to see one of Bill Reid’s famous sculptures and a selection of other West Coast native art housed at the UBC Museum of Anthropology.