In a way, Caprica is much like a premium cable drama. The story unfolds slowly over the course of the season, episodes don’t end with any resolution, giving the occasional appearance of aimlessness, and some scenes are incredibly captivating. Caprica is going over untrodden grounds on both Syfy and the sci-fi genre itself. The show has an unmistakable soap opera vibe to it, and combined with the hard sci-fi, transcends almost everything that has come before it.
“There Is Another Sky” was probably one of the weaker episodes of the series, wandering from scene to scene with zero tension or drama whatsoever, but the episode still had just enough to keep it good. The mark of a great show is the ability to find something amazing among a sea of average. An extreme example–one I can’t seem to forget (or not write about)–is the latest Big Love episode. It flat out sucked, but there were scenes and themes that captured the full potential of the show.
Tamara has largely been ignored for the past few episodes, but she’s still here, looking to get out of the V-world. She finds a woman named Vesta who will get her out. Vesta is playing V-world Roulette, an ultimate form of bloodsport that takes Russian Roulette to a completely different level. Her solution to fixing Tamara is quite simple; she shoots her. Normally, a person who is shot will deres, but since Tamara is only virtual, she survives and heals.
This intrigues Vesta and she has Tamara go with Heracles to New Cap City, a retro version of Caprica that gives a whole new meaning to the word gaming. The goal of New Cap City is unclear, but earning money is somehow tied to winning. Heracles and Tamara steal his money first by Tamara distracting him, so Heracles can take the code, and then Heracles impersonates him to steal money from the bank. A security system activates, but like Neo from the Matrix, Tamara gets rid of the security guards with a wave of her hands. She goes back to Vesta, and learns a shocking truth: she’s dead. This revelation changes her dramatically, and she shots everyone other than Heracles who she commands to find her father. The closing shot is of Tamara walking down the streets of New Cap City, gun in hand and no fear at all.
For everyone else in New Cap City, there are no second changes. One death and they can’t go back. For Tamara, she not only can’t die, she has extraordinary powers to eliminate anyone with ease. Along with her realization that she is her life, she becomes immune to humanity. The freedom of the V-world has corrupted her and lets her take on new characteristics. (Of course this is accepting the ridiculous notion that a real person can be created in whole from computerized data. Her acceptance to violence could be because the date gathered on her isn’t sufficient.) The path she’s taken opens up many other questions. Is she the source of the rebellious Cylons?
The problem with the story up until the end was the lack of direction and the generic characters. Vesta was like a grungy Queen of Hearts, Heracles was the loser who is someone in the V-world, was the typical fat old guy in charge of everything. Other than the concept of New Cap City, nothing was stood out.
The second plot of the episode was continuing trouble between Willie and Joseph. Joseph finally figures out his son has been skipping school, but nothing really happens. Willie is insolent and Joseph is angry, but his response and attitude is clouded by everything else going on. He really has no idea what to do. He knows Sam is a bad influence, but with his wife and daughter recently killed, casting off another family member and possibility of pushing family and ethnic (planet?) tension further isn’t the best idea.
While fishing, Willie gives a kid teasing him a good ol’ Tauron beat down, stopped by Joseph after a couple brutal hits. At the end of the episode, there is a service held for Joseph’s wife and daughter. He can finally come to peace with their deaths, but Heracles shows up, and finds out that Tamara’s dead. He runs off and Joseph runs off after him, gasping as Heracles gets away
The third and strongest plot was Daniel battling the board of directors. His call last week to make the holoband free surprised them, and certainly angered them. The holoband brings in 60% of the profit, so they couldn’t afford to get rid of all the profit. As the board meets, the unmistakable clanking of a Cylon is heard. My immediate thought was a Zarek-like massacre of the board. But Daniel is just there to talk with the Cylon as a prop. He describes how Cylons are the future. They are sentient, but they feel no pain and listen to every command. It’s going well as he orders the Cylon/Zoe to walk around. Zoe has a wry smile on her face as she see how unsettled the members are. Then, Daniel tells the Cylon to rip its arm off. I don’t know if it was because Zoe was there a few seconds ago, but I got a very uneasy feeling. Although she has a look of confusion on her face, Zoe does so willingly, even flippantly tossing the arm onto the table. Alas, we couldn’t see Zoe in human form after that. It surely would have garnered tons of attention.
The cinematography on Caprica really expands the world to give a sense of wonder and difference to our world. The dark tone of New Cap City contrasts so well with the light airiness of Graystone Industries. It sucks you into the show and doesn’t let go.
The TV Obsessed reviews over 40 shows on his blog: The TV Obsessed
Follow him on Twitter