Caprica: Know Thy EnemyMarch 6, 2010
False pretenses, and dire consequences for heedless, reckless, passionate actions abound in the latest installment of Caprica. Spoilers abound, too, so don’t click the link if you don’t want them.
This episode opened with a brief recap and introduction of the main characters and the story so far, perhaps in hope of reaching out to new viewers? Regardless, after almost two minutes of catch up, we’re onto the biggest new development since the pilot: a new character, and new set of problems for Daniel Graystone.
In the first episode, Daniel had Joe Adama arrange to have the MCP chip stolen because he needed it to bring back his dead daughter. The theft led directly to the murder of two associates of Tomas Vergis, which has left two children without fathers, and, at last, we get to meet Vergis and see how he responds. He takes his time, but in the final scene he lays it out: “my dream,” he tells Daniel, “is to tear up your dream.”
Vergis’s embrace of the Tauron culture of vengeance is total. He is moving a new world, changing his citizenship, and offering to spend lavish sums, all to hurt Daniel. Tomas will do this “until the debt is paid.” Rarely has a fictional nemesis more plainly announced itself.
(I suspect that Vergis will, sooner or later, succeed in wresting the C-Bucs from Daniel, and then proceed to ruin them.)
Meanwhile, Sister Clarice inveigles her way into the Graystone home with a gift of books that she tells Amanda were Zoe’s (they weren’t.) Her sole motive in doing so is to steal a copy of Zoe’s avatar program from Daniel’s workshop. She feels no compassion for a grieving mother, or loyalty to her dead protégé. She wants the program to offer a tangible afterlife to non-believers, a way of recruiting people en masse to her faith… by, effectively, removing the need for the new believer actually to have faith. Evil means in pursuit of an unworthy goal? Small wonder she has relapsed into her opium addiction.
Lacy continues to be the only character acting from pure motives: driven by her guilt for not dying with her friend, she attempts to carry out that friend’s last wish by getting Avatar!Zoe to Gemenon. This week, she meets face to face with Barnabas, the STO cell-leader who actually organized the Mag Lev bombing (and, thus, Zoe’s murder.)
Barnabas responds to Lacy’s appeal with an apt question: “What gets unleashed when this thing gets to Gemenon?” Then, after he’s turned her down, he chides Keon (who made the actual bomb that murdered Zoe) that “God doesn’t want us keeping secrets.” Barnabas is the only character I can recall over the course of the entire series thus far who has balked at doing something because he’s not sure of the consequences… and he’s a fanatical mass-murderer.
It’s a sad contrast to the other characters driving the plot this week. Tomas Vergis is a dreamer, an inventor, and a tremendously successful businessman. He’s clearly someone who not only can imagine a better world, he has the experience and resources to make it happen. Yet, he chooses to dedicate his life to ruining Daniel’s. It’s fascinating that Tomas doesn’t do anything as straightforward as kill Daniel (or his wife, as Joe Adama considered), or to publicly expose Graystone’s guilt. Instead, he effectively transforms himself from an autonomous human being into a foil, from a character into an obstacle. Note, I don’t say this a criticism of the writers or of the show, but as an indictment of a fictional person making a terrible choice.
Tomas isn’t alone, though. Sister Clarice and Lacy are both hard at work with no real idea of what they will accomplish, but they’re willing to do what they must to make it happen. (It’s an interesting parallel to the New Cap City ‘game’ of last week’s episode, in that no one really knows what the point of the game is, or how to keep score.)
Even Avatar!Zoe, who feuded with her father because she was disgusted by the immoral fictional worlds her father’s invention made possible, lies about her identity, and about why she looks like she does, during her date with Philomon. How ironic that he compliments her by saying that namesake at least had principles. Those principles, of course, are what put her led her to stand next to a suicide bomber when he detonated.
Wild Guess of the week: at some point, if the show goes on long enough, we’ll find discover some crucial secret behind the fire that destroyed Zoe’s beloved childhood home when she was five.
Cool in joke of the week: Amanda telling Clarice to ignore what Serge the robot butler says, because Daniel’s been programming him to say weird things. A subtle shout out to Serge’s twitter account?