The Imperfections of CharacterMarch 13, 2010
The following is a review and therefore contains spoilers.
I really wish I was enjoying Caprica more than I have been, but the latest episode helped me put a finger on what I’m not enjoying about the series. The Imperfections of Memory finally saw a couple of characters figure out a key element that will advance the story. But there are so many other characters wandering aimlessly through scenes that don’t show us anything new about themselves, their environments or the story. And there’s a whole lot of whining going on.
More after the cut.
The character I’m most enjoying right now is Tomas Vergis, deliciously played by John Pyper-Ferguson. He knows how to push Daniel Graystone’s buttons and takes such delight in each little jab. His brief appearance in the box at the Buccaneers game was the most enjoyable part of the episode. He drops the bombshell that the MCP chip they have never worked properly. “Hey, someone scored. Yes! Fantastic.” And we have no idea if he’s lying or not. It’s a critical clue that gets a payoff at the end of the episode.
We got the briefest glimpse of Lacy and Keon. The only characters acting like adults have a discussion on a swing set in a playground. Nice touch. Lacy’s holding her ground on not giving the STO any more info about the mission to Gemenon than she has to, and doing her very best to make Keon an ally.
Amanda is a tough character to like. Understandably, she is falling apart. Paula Malcomson does a wonderful job of finding new layers of grief and confusion in the once formidable Dr. Graystone. We learn in this episode that she has a history of mental illness, having lost touch with reality years earlier after her brother’s death in a car accident. Now, new nightmares and visions make her wonder if she’s going crazy again. I find Amanda frustrating because does not act, only reacts. She does not actively pursue even her own destruction. She leaves that up to the forces around her, whether they be the gods, or the formidable Sister Clarice. Malcomson does her best to propel Amanda through the streets of Caprica City in pursuit of her dead brother’s ghost, even into the opium den frequented by Clarice. For most of the episode, she does little more than shriek and complain.
The early promise of the Sister Clarice character is disappearing into a drug-induced haze. Her manipulations are no longer subtle, and barely effective. Leave it to her convenient husband characters to decipher the contents of the lab computer while she sleeps off a hangover in the next room. If she truly believes that Amanda has been touched by God, why does she sound like she’s just trying to convince herself of that to justify her own agenda?
The Joseph Adama storyline is also going nowhere fast. Another conveniently disposable character gains him admittance into the New Cap City portion of V World before getting himself killed and leaving Joseph alone to wander aimlessly. What is the point of the Joseph Adama character, other than to tie Caprica into Battlestar Galactica by virtue of his last name? When he acts, he is enjoyable to watch. When he is left to react to events and other characters for episode after episode, he gets boring fast. New Cap City is full of pretty pictures, dirigibles and fighter planes among them, but what is the point of his wanderings?
Philomon and Rachel!Zoe’s first date was uncomfortable, though at least it served the plot. Zoe’s lame attempt to get her geek date to let the robot out into the real world was the kind of manipulation a silly teenage girl might actually think would work. That she accidentally revealed enough information to Philomon that he had a eureka moment and figured out the missing piece of the puzzle as to why the MCP chip works and why it can’t be copied, was a nice turn of events. But his lip-smooching action while wearing the holoband was both inconsistent with what we’ve seen of other people using the devices, and way too reminiscent of the worst depths BSG sank to regarding Baltar having sex with an invisible woman, over and over again. It was only funny the first time.
I love the idea that Caesar the dog can clearly tell Zoe is in the robot, and loved the way they used his simple “throw my ball” demand to help Daniel finally figure out that the avatar is in the robot. Nicely done. That one was a three-pointer, and that alone will get me to watch next week.
But with only a couple of episodes left before the show disappears for several months, the creators are going to have to deliver one hell of a cliffhanger to keep fans hooked. With so many seemingly unfocused characters and wandering plotlines, they have set themselves a monumental task.