One of the most overused episode titles is “Ghost in the Machine” along with “Tabula Rasa.” Last night’s episode was named “Ghosts in the Machine,” just slightly different. Episode titles should be taken with a grain of salt, and considering how far you want to interpret, the episode could refer to the ghost of Zoe, her lingering consciousness in the virtual world, and the divide between Joseph Adama in the real world and in New Cap City. Or it has a crazy deeper meaning.
Deviating from the normally multiple-plot heavy episodes, “Ghosts” zeroed in on Daniel, Zoe, and Joseph, and had some of the most intense scenes of the series. The plot inched slowly, and nothing really happened, but the complex themes and character rendered the plot almost unnecessary. There’s one episode left before an insanely long hiatus, so we can expect much more development next week.
After the realization that Zoe in the Cylon last episode, Daniel sets out to prove his theory. First, he just talks to Zoe, hoping for a response. Zoe, knowing how selfish her father can be, is adamant about not tipping her hand. She fears he has ulterior motives other than wanting to reconnect with his daughter. Immediately, Zoe is proven right as Daniel moves to a more persuasive tactic to get a reaction. He has the robot assemble and reassemble the gun while the details Zoe’s fear of fire. His uses vivid descriptions effectively, and Alessandra Torresani is amazingly good with the expression on her face, showing Zoe’s pain as she continues to put the gun together without even making a noise.
Daniel goes even further taking the Cylon to the lake. There, he starts talking again, chastising Zoe for being scared. This leads into his next test. Daniel dumps gasoline all over her, and tosses a lit cigarette on the gas, setting a wall of fire around Zoe. She doesn’t move except for clenching her hand, and now, she’s even a bit angry.
The final test was by far the worst. Daniel orders Zoe to shoot the dog, and following in line, Zoe shoots the dog. Before everyone gets overly upset, we learn the gun had blanks. In between each test, Zoe and Lacy discuss what happened in randomly injected scenes. Zoe tells Lacy that the robot knew they were blanks, and that if the bullets were real, she may even have turned the gun on Daniel.
Daniel’s psychological terrorization of a scared girl was shocking and Zoe’s reaction was near perfect. If Daniel simply wanted his daughter back, it would be in his best interest to be nice and show that there is an inviting environment for her. Instead, he is as harsh as possibly, only looking to see if Zoe is in there. He wants the straight facts of what’s going on, not his daughter. Daniel wasn’t really a sympathetic character before this, but there’s almost no way to see him in good light after this. The episode ends with Daniel looking at old videos of Zoe, calling into question his true intentions. I’m going to stick with my assertion that Daniel is up to no good, but certainly his actions in the end were contrary to everything else he did in the episode.
Playing into Daniel’s fanaticism about the Cylon, Amanda continues her descent. She visits the scene of her brother’s crash, and see her brother once more. This time, he’s driving past in a car. Amanda gives Clarice a call to get counsel, and Clarice pushes the conversation in the direction of Zoe, setting a prelude for next week’s episode. Later, Vergis, still upset about the death of his employees, shows up at the Graystone house. He lays out all the facts as the unstable Amanda listen. She can’t believe what she’s hearing and orders Vergis to leave. It has to put at least a seed of doubt in her already unstable mind. Just wait until she finds out what Daniel has been up to.
Joseph is back in New Cap City with his companion Emmanuelle who he learns is being paid by someone else to help him. Who else would know or care about the Tamara avatar? Is there someone pulling the strings? They visit Joseph’s apartment in New Cap City where they encounter a deadbeat who tells them Tamara is in a club named Mysteries. Some guys with guns come to get answers. Emmanuelle takes them out, but Joseph is unable to pull the trigger. Emmanuelle takes a shot at him, “I thought Taurons had bigger stones.” So did I. Joseph returns to the real world and asks Sam about killing people. Sam, confused about his intentions, tells him not to think it’s real and to degrade people into targets so it’s just a game.
Joseph returns to New Cap City, advice in mind, to find his daughter. He andÂ Emmanuelle go into the strip club where the host is a cross-dressing weirdo who wants an answer to riddle. When Joseph doesn’t answer, he’s kicked out. Taking Sam’s advice in stride, Joseph shoots the guy up front keeping everyone’s guns, grabs a few guns for himself and goes charging back in the club, shooting a few before telling everyone to scatter. The host tells her that she was at the club earlier to find answers.
The host gives a warning, telling Joseph that the game changes everyone. He showed he was willing to kill people in the virtual world. As Sam says, tell yourself it’s not real. It isn’t, but where is the line drawn? Could Joseph hone his cold-blooded killing in the virtual world, and become like Sam?
Caprica is in danger of not renewed, and I’ll be very disappointed if it does not. The show has maintained the same high quality since the pilot, and “Ghosts,” which was very different than the other episode with the pure focus on several characters, proved that Caprica has the potential to be not only great sci-fi, but also a great drama that belongs in the same sentence as Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
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