EPISODE REVIEW: Caprica: “Things we Lock Away” (Episode 11)

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NOTE: I initially posted this episode under the wrong title. Sorry for the confusion.

Hoo boy.

Some of you have asked me why I title these things “Episode 9” or whatever, and not “Season 1, Episode 9.” The obvious reason is that I have never believed this show will get a second season, and the ratings since it’s return bear that out: Neither of the last two episodes have broken a million viewers. In fact, they haven’t even come in close. The best this show *ever* did, after six months of hype, was 1.6 million viewers for the premier. There have been waxes and wanes, but in general, the ratings have hovered around 1.1 million viewers. Since the return, it’s dropped around 200,000 of those. At $3 million per episode, last week’s installment paid something like $3.57 per viewer. Obviously, the show can’t survive that.



The Lucians are…oh, no, wait, that’s Stargate: Universe. Whoops. Uhm…yeah: Amanda Greystone continues spying on creepy Clarisse, and ultimately manages to infiltrate her weird bisexual group-marriage cult family. They don’t look glad to see her.

MEANWHILE, said creepy bisexual group marriage cult family is keeping Lacey drugged as a prisoner in the attic, and most of the men seem to want to kill her. She gives information to Clarisse about where she thinks a backup copy of the Zoe avatar is hidden. Clarisse sends her - unwillingly - to the STO training facility on Geminon.

MEANWHILE, Daniel retakes control of his company. He attempts to form a pact with Vergis, and together they’d take down the mob, but Vergis tricks Daniel into killing him in a pretty darn good scene.

MEANWHILE, because the budget was already spent for this week, Zoe and Tamara spend all their scenes swordfighting in the sand. Then they abruptly decide to be friends.

MEANWHILE, Zoe keeps seeing another version of herself, both in real time and in flashbacks, and she claims the other Zoe rescued her from the house fire when she was little.

MEANWHILE, in flashbacks, we discover the process that led to the creation of the Cylons and the Avatars.


I have gone on record repeatedly saying that I really like this show, and I’m actually saddened that it’s going to bite the death nugget. That said, it’s hard not to feel a bit disappointed in these last three episodes. They meander, they lack the candor of the earlier ones. I can’t really explain it, and it’s not a devastating change, but there is definitely something missing. The change in writing staff, perhaps? But that happened around episode six, I thought.

The “Other Zoe,” I think, has to be a Galactican-styled angel, like Ghost Six and Ghost Baltar from BSG. That’s the only thing that makes any sense, and it kind of turns Zoe into a trinity somewhat like they alluded to in the third episode: Original Dead Zoe (Body), Avatar Zoe (Mind), Angel Zoe (Spirit). If this other Zoe *is* an angel, then it follows that “God” (“You know He hates being called that”) from BSG is manipulating all this hoo-hah from day one. If this is the case, then it argues strongly that the Cylon/BSG God really is a divinity, and not simply a computer program, or a misunderstanding, or a hyper-evolved Kobolian AI or V’ger returning to earth, or some muddled Roddenberryesque tripe like that. Interesting, though basically we’re just exchanging one kind of muddle for another.

The whole Tauron thing about "Controlling your return to the soil" was pretty cool, and very Roman. I wonder, for like the zillionth time, who the patron Olympians of each colony are.

Zoe seems to be the only one in the show who realizes the avatars may be alive, but they’re not *really* the dead people. Everyone else - Clarisse, Daniel, Tamara - seem unable to grasp this. The way it’s presented, I have to think it’s confusing the audience, too.

As ever, Eric Stoltz effortlessly owns every scene he touches, and should I ever have an SF show of my own, I’m hiring him on day one. I don’t care what the part is, or what the show is, I want him in it. I like his wheels-within-wheels nature, and the fact that he’s a very bad man, but unwilling to completely give into it. I like that he’s convinced himself he can be redeemed, though clearly it ain’t an option. Note how, last week, when he was being overtly evil, he had a beard, and this week, now that he’s attempting to redeem himself, he’s cleanshaven again.

For whatever reason, Joe Adama’s character ended up being pretty much unable to carry any plot or interest. I’m assuming the preponderance of Clarisse in the last six episodes or so is a result of that. In essence they’ve demoted co-lead Esai Morales to minor status, and promoted minor Paula Malcomson to Co-lead. It’s weird.

I can’t help thinking it’s a mistake. First of all, it divides the action between the generally pretty fascinating Dynasty-in-Space aspects of the show and the generally incoherent religious aspects. Secondly, I can think of a jillion better foils for the series. Heck, I’d have been happy to see Greystone square off against that irritating Cliff Barnes…excuse me, Tomas Vergis every week. And thirdly, I just don’t like Clarisse.

I don’t like her on any level. I don’t like the character, the acting, the dialog, the muddled motivations, the story, the actress, you name it, I don’t like it. One could argue that this is because I’m a Christian, and I can’t completely discount that. Just the same, I really enjoy explorations of religion and faith in Science Fiction, and I’ve long been a fan of it. Granted, BSG’s efforts in this direction were uneven at best, and ultimately completely crapped out in the end in a way that, say, Babylon 5 or Lost or “The Divine Invasion” did not.

But seriously, whatever my biases, the depiction of Clarisse’ whacky dope smoking swinger cult is just a narrative mess from start to finish. None of it makes a lick of sense. We don’t really know why they’re monotheistic, we don’t know how the movement started, who founded, why, or when. We don’t know what they believe (Believing in one God is one thing, what said God expects of you is entirely another, and there’s wiiiiiiiiiide divergence in that amongst the monotheistic faiths in the real world). We don’t know why they’re terrorists, excepting perhaps a liberal bias against monotheism in general, lumping all of us in with the Taliban and the IRA. There doesn’t appear to be any kind of moral code, nor any kind of ethical one. It just doesn’t make any sense. And without a sense of what they believe, there is no foundation to the stuff they do. They could be blowing up people one day, and wearing pink bunny suits and hanging people from trees in worship of Odin the next, and it would all make about the same level of sense.

There is little more annoying in life than a bad story badly told, and these aspects of Caprica - an otherwise fine show - are heading pretty solidly in that direction.



NOTE: I initially posted this episode under the wrong title. Sorry for the confusion.