Saturday, January 30, 2010

Caprica 1.2: Dawn of a Different Machine

Caprica moved from its pilot to episode 1.2 on the SyFy Channel tonight. The most interesting part, for me, was the development of young Bill Adama. I guess that's because I'm still more grounded in the Battlestar Galactica than the Caprica world.

The main story on Caprica concerns Zoey Graystone - killed by the terrorist bomb on the maglev in the pilot.   Her mind was already in an avatar - Second Life-like - program.  Her father moved the chip with Zoey's mind from the avatar program to a robot assembly, and thus we have what may be the first thinking Cylon.

Tonight we see how uncomfortable Zoey is in the Cylon body - lugged around like a bike or a lawnmower in the back of a pick-up - but she has an indomitable spirit that will make this new life work.  She reaches out to one her friends, and clearly has feelings.  She's more human than Cameron on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but Caprica at this point does have something deeply in common with the dawn of the machines in the Terminator stories.

The reveal tonight, though, concerned what Zoey may have done when she was still human: was she not only a victim but a perpetrator of  the terrorist bombing?   I'd say not, but it raises the question of whether the bomb was set off by someone else we may know.

That certainly wouldn't be young Bill Adama, whose sister was also killed in the attack.   Tonight we see the influence on Bill not just of his father, Joseph the attorney, but his uncle, Sam, who has a roughness and street-sense that we can recognize in the adult BSG Bill.

Given the power of Bill Adama in Battlestar Galactica, it's hard not to be pulled to anything we can learn about him in Caprica.   But the show ultimately has to fly on its own.

5-min podcast review of Caprica

See also:  Battlestar Galactica Caprica: Exquisite, Flawed Copies

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