Caprica, Episode 3: Reinvention Night

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Caprica is just on a roll. Knowing what I know now, I almost feel like the two-hour pilot was a stand-alone concept, last week’s second episode was a way of re-routing all the themes into the format of a series, and Friday night’s edition gave us a first glimpse at where everything’s ultimately heading. (Check out our interview with the series’ co-creator)

Over the arc of episodes 2 and 3, each and every character has changed course radically:

Daniel Graystone – In the pilot, he was preoccupied with bringing his dead daughter back to life. But now, he is being forced to essentially disown his daughter, if he hopes to save his company and good name. Surely his government contract is about to be yanked as well, with the disclosure that his daughter was a terrorist. Near the end of Friday’s episode, he was being openly mocked, and assaulted, and his company’s stock is plummeting. Witness his fall from grace.

Amanda Graystone – She was a grieving mother, struggling to discover the truth about a daughter that it turns out she hardly knew. But now she knows a little too much, is moritified by her daughter’s terrorist connections, and she has gone from an object of sympathy in her society to one of vilification. There’s even a hit out on her. Amanda the wounded queen of Caprica is now Amanda the monster.

Zoe Graystone – I am utterly perplexed and fascinated. She’s a virtual representation of a deceased person, but now she’s also showing some serious determination to complete her maker’s mission. Is this not in itself a quest for self-actualization? She exists now only in a robot body, but she can still transport her consciousness into the virtual world, and in the process, this virtual Zoe suggests that the virtual world may actually matter more now than reality. Zoe is dead, but Zoe lives.

Lacy – The world is starting to look at her more and more as a conspirator, and then she’s hit with this head-spinning ethical paradox: If she was Zoe’s friend when Zoe was still alive, then is she also a friend to Zoe’s avatar? If Zoe’s avatar asks for help in getting her robot frame off the planet, must Lacy help? And is this a way to make up for her cowardice at the beginning of the pilot? To relieve her guilt?

Joseph Adama – Adama is out for blood now. He’s taken back his Tauron name. He is obsessed with seeing his daughter’s avatar again, and when he can’t, his anguish over her second death and his anger at Daniel for failing to replicate her, turns to all-out vengeance. Hearing about Zoe’s terrorist connections, he blames the Graystones for his daughter’s death. And now he blames Daniel for her avatar’s death as well. If Daniel had never given Joseph hope for a resurrection, then he believes he now wouldn’t feel this bad. Adama wants Graystone’s head – or to be more precise, his wife’s head – and one gets the sense that things are about to explode between these two families.

It’s not just that the stakes keep skyrocketing, but that they keep getting redefined. I’m really liking Caprica because it’s taking these issues of life, death, loyalty, honor and technology and rotating them so that we are forced to continually re-consider it all. This is a great show. Thoughts?