Frakkin’ Eh (A)November 2, 2010
I love being Canadian. I wear the flag proudly. But even I wondered at today’s sudden announcement that SyFy Channel was going to allow Canada’s Space Channel to air the remaining “Final Five” episodes of Caprica. Honestly, Canada doesn’t register on SyFy’s priorities, anywhere. So, why? Because SyFy gets to have their cake and eat it too. They can cancel a poorly rated show and suffer no harm to their ratings during the all-important November sweeps, all the while garnering positive buzz from Canadian bloggers like myself who loved the new episode. Win, win. And I will happily be used.
This week’s episode “Blowback” was what I’ve been waiting for, a character-driven action piece with bold choices and a quick pace. Grade A (or Eh, if you’re from Toronto).
What follows is a recap and review and therefore CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Lacy is hanging around the Gemenon Spaceport (which for locations fans is the interior of the Vancouver Central Library, site of the BSG wrap party and the exterior of which has been used in both BSG and Caprica, as the courthouse in Caprica City.) There she meets Odin Sinclair (played by Ryan Kennedy) a dark and handsome young man who just happens to be going her way. Diego (Ryan Robbins) is there to hustle them off to a jumpship which eerily resembles the original series shuttles which seat passengers back to back. Their pre-flight announcements include the warning that they are bound for the Holy Birthplace of Monotheism, and while “they enter children, they will exit warriors of the One True God.” If they survive.
Back on Caprica, Amanda is caught spying outside Clarice’s room as the good Sister is communicating with her mysterious contact via holoband. Marbeth is the one who catches Amanda spying. She’s has already told us she’s proficient at lying, but her claim that she is worried Clarice is using again is lame. Either way, Clarice’s conversation goes uninterrupted, and she is able to tell her contact that the infinity pin at the GDD is what she needs. The contact terminates the call, and in the worst kept secret ever, GDD Director Gara Singh (Peter Wingfield) is revealed as the mysterious contact. I mean really, didn’t you guess? When you cast an actor as good as Wingfield, you have to give him something meaty to do. Very glad to see him properly utilized, finally.
Back on the shuttle, Lacy and Odin are getting to know each other. Seems Odin isn’t here of his own free will, and Lacy’s having doubts. There is an ominously Cylon-sounding track playing in the background as the jumpship is attacked, seized and boarded. Gunfire explodes. Diego goes down without fanfare, and Odin translates the hijackers intentions, “The many gods are striking back.”
And all that happened in the teaser. No kidding, a 10 minute teaser!
Back from commercial, Amanda and Jordan Duram meet in the park. She is worried they will kill her if they catch her spying again. Honestly, that fear seems a little unwarranted since at most Marbeth would probably ask her to leave, but it serves the purpose of ramping up the tension. Duram says that in order to get a listening device for her to use, he would have to get a warrant and reveal her identity. Amanda is afraid, so he says he’ll get one anyway.
Not surprisingly, Singh won’t give him one without the name of his informant. We know he’s digging on behalf of the STO and by now Duram also suspects. “You work for me,” Singh says. “I work for Caprica,” Duram replies.
Where is Your Outrage?
Daniel and Sam and Joseph are in the meeting room. Daniel plays his card. He has video surveillance of the Ha’La’Tha stealing Cylons and sending them off-world. It’s Sam that blows his top. He knows the Guatrau isn’t sending them to Tauron like he wanted. It’s Joseph who has to admit that he knows the Guatrau is sending them to the STO on Gemenon. The two brothers yell at each other, not caring that Daniel hears it all. It is a wonderful payoff for the events of the last episode, and one of the first times the show has built on its progress successfully. After Sam storms out, Daniel demands a one on one meeting with the Guatrau.
The situation on the shuttle has deteriorated predictably. The hijackers are on the phone, demanding an exchange of hostages. When they don’t get what they want, they say they will kill someone. And they do. A Ron Weasley look-alike begs for his life, but gets dragged away and shot in an adjoining compartment. Lacy looks out the window and sees a body floating out into space.
Duram is outside the evidence locker at the GDD HQ. He bribes the clerk to “take a smoke break.” Yeah, that’s a predictable device too, but it works. He wants to retrieve a camera he seized in a porn bust ages ago. He just happens to notice the Graystone evidence has been tampered with, and quickly notices the infinity pin is missing. The clerk lets him know only the top brass have the entry codes. Duram’s a smart guy, he figures it out.
The Guatrau pays a visit to Daniel’s home office. He already knows he’s been caught selling Cylons off-world, but he doesn’t care. Daniel thinks his language of money and profit will sway the Ha’La’Tha leader, but once again he is wrong. The Guatrau gives him a two-week deadline to deliver the resurrection program. Later on the street, the Guatrau orders Sam to kill Daniel. Joseph is stunned. His moment of choice has arrived, and the promise in that one reaction is not only a) the best performance we’ve seen from Esai Morales these last few episodes and b) the very best reason to tune in next time.
Back on the shuttle, Odin is working to wrench loose a pipe from under the seat. The lead hijacker asks the hostages to renounce their God or be shot. One boy does, and is rewarded with food. But the girl chosen next to die goes bravely. She looks her killer in the face and touches her forehead in the sign of the One True God. We hear the shot, and Lacy sees another body go out the airlock.
At the last minute, the pipe comes loose.
Always Have a Backup Plan
Singh drops the infinity pin in a newspaper box, sends a text to Clarice, who sends Olaf to pick it up. (Another locations tip, this is outside the Vancouver Central Library, facing “The Centre” on Homer Street)
Daniel is back in V World. Avatar!Amanda is back and she’s further off the mark than ever, and emotionally unstable to boot. He deletes the program and the backup.
Speaking of backups, Clarice finally has the pin in her grasp and just as Lacy predicted, there is a storage device embedded. As Olaf begins to download the files, Clarice says “Remember this moment, Olaf, they’re going to write about it in the holy scrolls.” Downloading, really? I don’t recall a word even remotely like that in the stuff Laura read to us many years later.
Jordan goes to his boss. He agrees to name the informant he has in the Willow household in exchange for the warrant to use a listening device. Considering he already has the camera, he doesn’t need permission. It’s a setup for Singh and he falls for it. He logs into V World and tells Clarice she has a spy in her house. We see her fury, and know it is directed at either Amanda or Marbeth. She’s so mad the camera shakes.
Bad things come in threes, and sure enough Lacy is the third victim picked by the hijacker. Hardened by her time with Barnabus, Lacy doesn’t go willingly. “I’m sick of you making bad decisions in God’s name.” She lashes out verbally at Odin, then grabs a gun and beats the hijacker senseless. Kicked into action by Lacy, the others follow suit, and even Odin uses the pipe to good effect. Then Diego shows up and tells her to stop. Diego, who was shot earlier. Nope, not dead. It was all a test, to see who would crumble and who would step up. The victims return to the shuttle, not dead after all. Lacy passes the test. She’s a true warrior in the mold of Starbuck.
Now, what follows is the one scene I really didn’t like. Daniel is back at his house, meeting with a new version of Amanda who challenges him, but still seems a little wrong. Is it just because we’ve seen so many versions of Amanda that I can’t recognize her? She still seems to have the same pre-programmed sex drive. They sleep together, but then she wakes up because her cell phone vibrates. So, she’s real. Cheap trick.
Clarice is calling. She wants to know where Amanda is, and she’s got a knife. She’s stalking someone, like a lioness in the tall grass. We realize soon enough that even if she is calling Amanda, it is Marbeth she is stalking. Without hesitation, she brutally slits her wife’s neck. Her husbands dispose of the body while she continues off with Marbeth’s baby.
Duram meets once more with Singh, smugly delivering the news that Marbeth has been found dead. Singh protests that he had nothing to do with it, but it is clear Duram has caught him. He doesn’t let on that Marbeth was never the informant. Has our gritty detective just painted an STO target on his own back?
On Gemenon, the pseudo-hijackers greet the students at the training camp. They really like Lacy, and she seems to enjoy the praise, but when Odin hangs back, she follows him. He had told her when they met he was not a true believer, and now he wants to remind her the people they are with are brutal killers. The point is driven home when they observe the Ron Weasley look-alike who begged for his life and the guy who recanted his faith get executed on a field below. “Never forget who these people are and what they are capable of.” It is only Lacy who sees the shooter is a Cylon.
So ends “Blowback,” in my opinion the best episode yet. Lacy completes her transformation from gawky schoolgirl to fierce warrior. Clarice goes just crazy enough to become far more dangerous. Duram takes a stand so risky it could either cost him his life or destroy the STO. The stakes are finally as high as they should be.