EPISODE REVIEW: Caprica: “Retribution” (Episode 11)

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Daniel attempts to blackmail the board in order to regain control of his company, with the assistance of theoretical co-star Joe Adama. (Who frankly seems mostly incidental to the show at this point). He gleefully betrays one of them with personal info. Another kills himself rather than let information about his violent hooker habit come out. Daniel blows off the hysterical widow. He regains the U-83 proto-cylon corpse.

MEANWHILE, Barnabus attempts to kill Creepy Clarice by having Lacey et al blow up the spaceport. This goes south accidentally on purpose, with Lacey attempting to not plant her bomb, when she’s spotted by cops. Shootout and mad dash ensue. Clarice finds out about this, and kills them off one by one. Barnabus kills Lacey’s boyfriend, and Clarice kills Barnabus. Good riddance. Finally.

MEANWHILE, the bald inspector guy - remember him? - is still trying to crack the case based on the lead that all the terrorists are students at the same school. He approaches the not-at-all-dead Mrs. Greystone to help him spy on Clarice.

MEANWHILE, the not-at-all-dead Mrs. Greystone is still living with Clarice, and we get some flashbacks to how she survived her suicide attempt (Evidently she simply wasn’t high enough to die on impact), and Daniel lies to her a lot in the hospital about how he didn’t know people would die because of his theft. Presently she realizes that Inspector Balderson is right about Clarice, and is about to kill the creepy woman when Clarice decides to open up about everything

The End

OBSERVATIONS

I really liked the rain in this episode. It adds a nice visual element, a sense of a rapid change of the (metaphoric) weather for all our characters, and it ties things together in a way that helps emphasize the rapid passage of time. This whole episode takes place in, really, less than half a day, and the water makes that pop.

Why is Clarice living in a log cabin? Remember she had the creepy bisexual Heinleinian line marriage thing going on. Has she abandoned her family? Why? Did the network get squeamish about such creepifying, and asked ‘em to tone it back? Did the writers realize it was a thematic dead end? Is she just doing it to be near Mrs. Greystone? What?

Daniel has become a very, very, very bad man very, very, very quickly, implying he was always a bad man, he just had little reason to use it until now. It’s been apparent since the pilot that he loves his company more than anything or anyone else. Losing his daughter and (effectively) his wife has removed any human considerations from the equation. He’s obsessed with creating an artificial daughter - and perhaps family - to replace the ones he lost, but in a larger sense he’s becoming more of a sapient robot himself with each passing story. Perhaps the Cylons are an attempt to recreate himself in some psychological (Non-literal) fashion? His descent is echoed by his beard, which has become a mask, hiding most of his face from view, a shield between himself and the accusing eyes of his prey.

I’m glad the Barnabus thread is done. He was tedious from the getgo, and though I realize they needed to show rival factions, neither of them has ever really made sense, and his cell always seemed unhinged. I don’t mean crazy violent unhinged, I mean just in the sense of ‘nothing they do follows logically from anything else they do.’ It was all just a bunch of outrageous stuff there for the sake of being outrageous, not because it was coherent, or even advanced the plot much. Though there is a thematic reason for it being there, it generally felt like a make-work subplot. We really didn’t even find out what his deal was until the final episode, and it so totally wasn’t worth the wait. Also, I really disliked James Marsters in the role. I felt he was miscast. He really didn’t have the presence needed to pull something like that off.

The inspector takes his religious seriously. That’s very interesting.

Something I’ve never quite gotten about their portrayal of Monotheists in this show is that the movement seems to lack any kind of moral code. The STO is a kind of IRA/Islamic Terrorist kind of thing, with the full (if unofficial) sanction of their church. Well, obviously, that kind of thing does happen - there IRA does exist, after all - but terrorists generally have relatively rigid rules for ‘acceptable’ conduct. Religions generally have moral codes and taboos, and much of them are very sexual in nature. It seems odd to me that every monotheist we’ve met in the show is a sexual deviant. (A slight exaggeration on my part, admittedly) Still, if an IRA or PLO terrorist was a creepy bisexual group sex enthusiast with an opium addiction, I’m pretty sure the IRA or PLO chiefs would tell ’em to knock it off, or possibly just whack ’em.

Yeah, I know, it’s not our society and it doesn’t have our morals, but in fact it *generally* does, so when they go this far off it’s distracting and needs some kind of explanation. Again, I feel it was done strictly for outrageous purposes, and the whole thing seems filled with dangling threads that go nowhere (Such as Clarice using one of her husbands to seduce teenaged girls). A lot of this is probably due to the new writing team who came in around episode six or seven. They probably jettisoned a lot of that kind of crap, probably for just the reasons I’ve stated, but it does still seem odd to me. It’s also worth noting that despite the trendy neopagan propaganda to the contrary, polytheists had (And have) taboos too. In fact, generally more than us monotheists do, simply because there are more gods to deal with, each with their own rules.

This show was pitched as “The Greystones and the Adamas,” but I find in actual practice it’s become “The Greystones and Creepy Sister Clarice.” I’m not sure how I feel about that, the Adamas never really made much of a presence, and the Greystones need a counterbalance. Also, having a prequel that only tangentially affects the one crossover character is probably the best way to go about it (It would have spared us a lot in those Star Wars prequels), but it all seems rather accidental to me, not planned.

I had some other really trenchant insight, but it’s after midnight, and I’m kind of too tired to remember it. It was a good one, though.

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