Thursday, October 21, 2010

Caprica's Back 1.10-1.12: Cleaner More Powerful Lines

I finally had a chance to sit down with the resumed season of Caprica - episodes 1.10-12 to be exact, courtesy of SyFy On Demand - and was pleasantly surprised, though pleasant is about the last word I would use to describe this intellectually and emotionally powerful, wrenching prequel series to Battlestar Galactica. But by pleasant I mean that these three new episodes were a lot better than the most of the episodes last Spring, which ranged from pretty good to superb.

The main theme, so far, is the difference, the intersection, the interface between virtual and physical reality - between images and flesh and blood, and the human brains that propel them both.   It's a theme I explored in depth in my 2003 book,  Realspace: The Fate of Physical Presence in the Digital Age, On and Off Planet - soon to be available in a Kindle edition - and I consider one of the defining issues, if not the defining issue, of our age.  In Caprica, Daniel and Clarice each use the immortality of the virtual being to further their own ends - Daniel's business and power, Clarice's religion and power.   Both are keenly interested in Zoe's digital self - Daniel because he loves her as his daughter, but also because she's connected to her third, Cylon self, and Clarice because she knows that Zoe possesses valuable information, which could be key to Clarice's cementing of power in the terrorist/monotheistic surge that threatens Caprica and the other planets.

We don't see much if any of Zoe-Cylon in the first three episodes, but we do see perhaps a fourth Zoe, who comes to her as a child, and serves as her angelic adviser in the virtual world, similar to some of what we saw in Battlestar Galactic.   Virtual Zoe is consolidating her power in V-world, forging a painful alliance there with Adama's daughter, who understandably hates Zoe because she considers Zoe responsible for the bomb on the train that took Adama's wife and daughter's lives, as well as flesh-and-blood Zoe's, at the very beginning of this series.

Meanwhile, Daniel is back in power at Graystone in the flesh-and-blood world, partnering with the Ha'la'tha to oust Vergis.   First on his private list of things to do is re-create Zoe the prototype Cylon.   And Amanda is alive.  She was taken in by Clarice, but trenchcoated cop Duram has apparently convinced her that Clarice was responsible for Zoe's death.   Duram also thinks Clarice was responsible for the bungled attempt to blow up the Caprican space port - which I was glad to see failed, since I like space ports (see Realspace for more) - but in fact the culprit in that instance was Clarice's rival for power Barnabus, whom she soon dispatches.

So the resumed season is off to a complex continuation of where we left off in March, but the lines feel cleaner, more poetic and convincing than what we were given back then.   I'm looking forward to more.

See alsoBattlestar Galactica Caprica: Exquisite, Flawed Copies ... 1.2:  Dawn of a Different Machine ... 1.3:  Daughters, Missing and Present ... 1.5: Adama's Daughter ... 1.6: The Chip and its Roots
... 1.7: The Cylon and the Dog ... 1.8: The Metaphysics of Flesh ... 1.9: Zoe at Large

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