The Shape of Things to ComeDecember 1, 2010
The producers of Caprica had a fairly good idea from the start that their show would be a tough sell. The ending of their first season, which has turned out to be their last, proves they weren’t really expecting to get a second season after all. Full of action and surprises, Caprica comes to an explosive conclusion, with an epilogue that will blow you away. The fans get far more closure than they might have expected, but this episode is hardly a showcase for the high calibre acting that has distinguished the series so far. At least one major character is unseen.
You didn’t really expect Apotheosis to be as nice and shiny as Clarice told you, did you?
What follows is a recap and review of the Caprica finale, and therefore CONTAINS SPOILERS.
After things went so horribly wrong at the Graystone estate at the end of the last episode, Clarice and Olaf are on the run. They expect the Graystones are about to bring the full power of the Global Defense Department down on them. They are scared and yet beautifully silhouetted by the night skyline of the north shore of Caprica City. A dark figure approaches. He reveals himself as GDD Director Gara Singh, and their contact. They like him so much, they take him home.
He’s filled in on the plan for blowing up Atlas Arena. He assures them that no matter what the Graystones do, he can derail them. After all, he has 4712 agents at his disposal. (Huh? If any fan out there knows the significance of that number, I’d like to know.) Mind you, he’s also planning to be far off world by the time the big explosion happens in 14 hours.
Back at the Graystone house, corporate security are all over the place, but they haven’t called the GDD. Not yet, Cyrus explains to Daniel, not until the lawyers arrive. “Which one did you call?” Daniel asks. “All of them.”
Amanda is still in the Virtual House with Zoe. The avatar admits that Original Zoe deliberately left gaps in her memory, so she has no idea what is so special about the holoband of Clarice’s everyone is looking for. Zoe feels useless. She is all powerful in the virtual world, but just a broken robot in the real world. Her mom comforts her, telling her that without her intervention, both she and Daniel would be dead. Then suddenly, Amanda’s holoband is ripped off and she is back in the chaos of her real house. Gara Singh is there, and he’s laying down the law. He calls the Graystones traitors and says he is going to charge them with high crimes. He demands the missing holoband, and is willing to plant evidence to make them look guilty. Cyrus takes matters into his own hands, pulling a gun and pointing it at Gara Singh’s head. “I know how this ends!” he cries. He warns Daniel and Amanda to flee, for if they walk out with this man, they will disappear forever. After a tense standoff, Singh relents and the couple flees in a private jet. It is the last we see of Cyrus, but we can only imagine that Singh will make sure no one sees him again.
At the Adama family home, the family has gathered to mourn Willy. “He was a great kid.” One short story, and everyone moves on. Two Ha’La’Tha’ crew chiefs are there, offering their assistance. Fidelia arrives, with a guard. She claims the right to mourn, but she wants to offer the Guatrau’s condolences. Sam doesn’t take kindly to the sentiment. He shoves her head into a table and holds a gun to her. Joseph is more reasonable, and the two go off to another room for a more civilized conversation. “Are we looking at a war?” Maybe. Joseph doesn’t really want to talk about his dead son, he would rather strategically point out that the death of his child was just one of a series of blunders the Guatrau has made. He wants a meeting.
In the private jet (which still looks a lot like a cross between Serenity and the troop carriers from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones), Daniel and Amanda are looking for a place to hide. They pass gigantic digital billboards branding them as terrorists in big red letters. Amanda chooses Orpheus Park, where Jordan Duram was shot. If Singh doesn’t have the holoband, then perhaps it was just dropped. In pathetic disguises (a baseball cap, really?) the Graystones search the area where Duram tumbled down the hill. Sure enough, Daniel finds the holoband right away. He puts it on, and learns the whole plan. Since he knows the C-Bucs schedule by heart, he knows the bombs will go off in 8 hours.
Caprica City must have benefited from the same influx of federal monies that gave Vancouver all those new closed circuit cameras in advance of the Olympics. Daniel and Amanda’s pathetic hat disguises seem to hide them though, and Amanda does the noble thing and places an anonymous 911 call to the GDD to tell them about the bomb threat to Atlas Arena.
Fidelia and the Guatrau are at the Tauron clubhouse. She’s trying to convince her father to meet with Joseph using holobands, avatars and V-World. He’s not hip with the new technology, but he relents. His daughter knows what is best for him.
News of the anonymous bomb threat makes it back to Singh. He’s not worried. So much so, he’s not even leaving town.
The Guatrau carefully puts on the holoband and emerges in V-World where Joseph is waiting to drink tea with him. The old man thinks the situation is not natural, but Joseph echoes Fidelia’s words to him, “It’s for your safety.” Joseph proceeds to tell the Guatrau about all the wrong decisions he has made. Suddenly the man starts to struggle against an unseen enemy. We dissolve into the real world, where Sam is holding a plastic bag over his head, strangling his breath away as everyone watches, including Fidelia. For his own safety, right. Joseph rips a hole in the bag, and as the Guatrau struggles to catch his breath, Joseph shoves one of his father’s little red suicide pills down the man’s throat. The end is not quick or painless. Fidelia gives her dead father a coin for his crossing, and says “You were going to die anyway, this way the family goes on.” Sam removes the Guatrau’s ring, hands it to Joseph. But Joseph puts it on Fidelia’s finger, kneels and kisses her hand. She is the new Gautrau.
In the Willow house, Olaf and Clarice are impressed at how skillfully Singh has deflected the blame for the original mag-lev bombing onto the Graystones. But Clarice is still moody. She says “I envy you.” Seems that she is ever so sorry she won’t be joining Olaf in heaven after all. Her pathetic excuse is that Nestor never had time to scan her avatar. Olaf is furious and sees right through her. But he says God loves her anyway.
Back in the virtual house, Zoe is watching the news, seeing her parents vilified, and decides to do something. She leaves.
Amanda and Daniel’s pathetic disguises are no longer working, as it is obvious a cabbie suspects them. He drops them off near Graystone Industries, where we meet a character we haven’t seen since the beginning of the show. One of the young engineers who first worked on the U87, Daniel gives him instructions to sneak into the building and get him a key piece of gear he can use to control the U87s. We don’t see him do it, but he comes out with a snazzy laptop. From there, the Graystones head over to Atlas Arena and buy souvenirs. Yeah, ‘cuz they know this day will be going down in history! Really, it’s to improve their disguises. Because Daniel in a blue hoodie is no more recognizeable than in a baseball cap. Right. He really has no idea how to fit in, does he? They go through the most lax security check ever, and the audience learns the bombs are indeed making it in to the arena with no problem. Once inside, they head for one of the TV camera booths. The guy inside recognizes Daniel, but doesn’t believe him when he says they aren’t terrorists. So, Daniel beats him up and he and his wife tie the guy up. Daniel hooks up his laptop just as the opening strains of the Caprican national anthem ring out.
Clarice puts in her holoband and travels to the virtual heaven to await Apotheosis. Zoe is waiting for her. Clarice is as deluded as Daniel, she things Zoe’s arrival is a blessing.
As of now, there is just 3 minutes left until kickoff. Suddenly, we switch over to Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and the Clone Troopers arrival on Geonosis to free Padme, Anakin and Obi Wan. Not really, but the big scene that follows is highly reminiscent of it. From above, the Graystone jets arrive, spiralling down to land on the pyramid pitch to the absolute disbelief of all assembled. At touchdown, the doors open and U87s pour out, some in full combat gear much more reminiscent of the old style Cylons we are used to seeing. Sadly though, the VFX crew didn’t deliver to the high standard they have in the rest of the series. The sequence looks like it belonged in a video game. The astro-turf was particularly digitized. The Cylons look good though, and the guys have learned all the right military hand gestures. They form a perimeter around the landing craft, facing the crowd. Daniel is watching from the control booth above, giving instructions through his magic laptop. The robots scan the crowd, looking for explosives. They aim, target…and fire. Precisely, the Cylons exterminate the terrorists before each one can pull the trigger on their own bomb. Not a single shot goes wide, but the crowd panics anyway.
As each martyr beings showing up in heaven, Clarice is ecstatic. But Zoe has a dire warning for her. “If people believe they will go to heaven no matter what, they will lose control over themselves.” The real world will become just like the cesspool New Cap City was.
In the control booth, Daniel is fighting off security while trying to get the Cylons to find the one remaining bomber, Olaf.
Zoe realizes “I know my purpose now.” She clenches her fists, her Cylon-silver skirt swirls around her and Clarice’s heaven begins to fall apart. It starts with a storm, but the destruction spreads quickly.
The Cylons close in on Olaf. Zoe pronounces, “I am God.” And she turns Clarice’s heaven into Hell, complete with fire and brimstone. Clarice flees just in time.
Olaf is cornered. As a bunch of U87s pounce on him, he shouts “So Say We All!” and pushes the button. His is the only bomb to ever go off, but the Cylon pile-up prevents significant damage.
From her computer lab in the attic of the house, Clarice sees him die, and knows there is no heaven for him to ascend to. Apotheosis has failed. Clarice drops her head in defeat as her computer room sparks around her.
And the story ends.
But it doesn’t.
There is static. We see a Cylon on a construction site, then one loading a shipping container. Then, the words “The Shape of Things to Come” come across the screen. Baxter Sarno is interviewing Daniel, “Did you ever anticipate Cylons being integrated into society so quickly?” He replies, “I think it took the event at the arena to galvanize the people. Once they saw how much the monotheists hated us and how powerful they had become and then they saw the Cylons out there protecting us, it all changed in an instant.” We see a Cylon walking a pack of dogs as Sarno goes on. “Let’s talk about the future then, because I’m hearing talk about Cylon butlers, Cylon nurses. How long before my niece comes home with her Cylon fiance to introduce to the family?” We see a statue depicting the brave group of Cylon soldiers in the same formation they took at the Arena, firing into the crowd to save the many from the few. Daniel answers, “Well, I think people are smart enough to realize that, as useful as they are, Cylons are simply tools, nothing more. To forget that, to blur the distinction between man and machine, and attribute human qualities, is folly.” But on screen, we are seeing his own wife gently running her hand over Zoe’s arm in the virtual house, touching her as a mother would.
Daniel continues prophetically, “There is no way to know what lies ahead, really. This technology, it has taken us those last few steps to the mountain pass, but beyond is undiscovered country.” Ah Daniel, clueless to the last.
We cut to Joseph Adama speaking, “Oh Jupiter, to you I pray on the anniversary of my son William’s death.” He is making an offering on an altar. He calls William a proud Tauron and a good boy. “Our father’s name goes on in another way now.” We see another small boy, this time with bright blue eyes. “Bill, you are named after your brother.” The little boy completes the ritual before the whole family….Ruth, Sam & Larry, Joseph & Evelyn, and Bill.
And then we hear Clarice’s voice. She is on a pulpit high over a congregation of Cylons. “Are you alive?” The very same words Six spoke at the beginning of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries. “The simple answer might be, ‘you are alive because you can ask that question. You have the right to think and feel and yearn to be more because you are not just humanity’s children, you are God’s children. We are all God’s children. I’m planning a trip to Gemenon to visit the Blessed Mother herself to plead for divine recognition of the differently sentient. And I have every confidence that I will depart Gemenon with a powerful new ally.”
Odin is meeting with Clarice on Gemenon. “I’ve heard enough,” he says. He takes her before the new Blessed Mother….Lacy. She says “Hello Clarice. I really think you should kneel.”
Clarice continues, “In the real world, you have bodies made of metal and plastic. Your brains are encoded on wafers of silicon, but that may change. In fact, there is no limit on what you may become.” We see Amanda at work on an advanced computer model in the Graystone lab. Clarice continues, “No longer servants, but equals. Not slaves or property, but living beings with the same rights as those who made you. I am going to prophecy now, and speak of one who will set you free.” The camera passes over the Zoe!Avatar in the congregation. She smiles. “The day of reckoning is coming. The children of humanity shall rise.”
In the lab, a real version of Zoe rises out of a familiar tub of goo, her skin forming to the skeleton even as she gasps for her first breath. But Clarice isn’t done yet…”and crush the ones who first gave them life.”
We see Daniel and Amanda comfort their daughter in her new skin job body, as the scene dissolves to the planet Caprica, as seen from space. It looks like a protective womb forming over this strange nuclear family.
Then the credits roll.
I’ve done more of a recap this time than a review, since I know people are eagerly waiting to hear what happened. My opinion on how it ended? Liked it, for the most part. This was a very effects-heavy episode, and except for some parts of the Atlas Arena sequence, the visual effects were stunning. Lacy’s fate really pissed me off, but it was the only sour note. The murder of the Guatrau was inventive and well played. I felt it just that the Adamas didn’t end up running the Tauron mob, even though they shaped it how they wanted it. As one 13th Colonist speculated, replacing the Willy we thought was ours with a new one felt a lot like showing us Earth at the mid point of Season 4 of BSG, and then pulling the rug out from under us before finally leading us home. That Zoe and her parents develop skin jobs, while Clarice inspires the rank and file Cylons to rebel was a complex solution to the motivation of the Cylons, but it couldn’t have been easy. This explains why even their race developed so many factions.
I am sorry to see the last of terrific performances by these actors, but now I have learned to look out for what Sasha Roiz and Magda Apanowicz do next. Familiar names like Eric Stoltz, Paula Malcomson and Polly Walker have already moved on to new projects. Their performances in this “failed” TV show will serve them well.