If you own the DVD of the pilot episode of Caprica, then you know the story. If you don’t and this week is the first time you ever took a glance at the world before it was demolished in Battlestar Galactica, then hang on to your seatbelts… or go to the raves and nightclubs of your cities. It’s slightly the same experience. Slightly…
Part One: The Set Up
Caprica: 58 Years Before The Fall…
Welcome to Hell… Or someone’s sick idea of fun.
We have sex rooms, fight club type rings, people being shot to death in cold blood while a crowd watches and cheers. Everything is possible in this place. In the center of it all stands Zoe Graystone (Alessandra Torresani), a teen girl who is either disgusted or just plain bored with the circus in front of her. She spots out someone standing in front of the stage in the center of the room. That someone? Herself! Freaky…
As a demented freak show that would make Marilyn Manson blush commences on stage, two other kids, Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) and Ben (Avan Jogia), pop out the crowd beside Zoe to watch the spectacle below. Ben wants to know if “she” (fake Zoe) is ready and comments that it’s not the fault of those around them. He then says it will all change and Zoe pipes in that her “avatar” will help change things. A screaming young girl is brought on the stage and is slaughtered in front of Zoe 2.0, who wigs out and vanishes. The trio is dismayed and Zoe explains she must had reverted to the last copy. Then Ben, who is creepy as hell, tells her that the avatar isn’t ready to live up to Zoe’s name. They then kiss and Zoe is awakened out of her virtual Hell and is caught in a bathroom stall by a hall monitor of some sorts.
After school Zoe meets up with Lacy and Ben in the real world. They talk of Zoe getting her Holoband confiscated and them running off to Gemenon. Ben starts to protest Zoe accessing her avatar at home, but she stops him and says that there are no “buts” and that “there is only one true God” and finishes their little meeting with the phrase “so say we all!”
Hmmm… I’m creeped out already, how about you?
Later, Zoe gets the third degree about her actions from her parents, Daniel (Eric Stoltz) and Amanda Graystone (Paula Malcolmson). Daniel is Caprica’s answer to Bill Gates and also the creator of the Holoband. Amanda has had it with Zoe’s rebellious attitude and grounds her for a month, including no teen amenities like cell phones, Holobands, and the such. Zoe comments on her Dad’s dirty science and the like, which sends Amanda into a fury as she yells at Zoe about not knowing what it means to build something and work hard. Zoe’s snide rebuttal? “I guess I should just marry into money then.” So Amanda rightfully slaps the taste out of Zoe’s mouth, which causes Zoe to warn Amanda that she will feel very sorry she did that. After Zoe leaves, Amanda does feel bad for what happened…
Zoe runs to her room and enters into Club Hell again through her Holoband. She enters a room that has the Infinity symbol on the door. The room houses Zoe’s avatar, who apologizes for bailing. The avatar wonders why the people in the virtual world are so violent and when Zoe tells her that its all not real, the avatar declares that it was and that the people grew strength from their violent actions. Zoe promises the avatar that all that will change and that the avatar will help bring the change… as long as it doesn’t “de-res” on Zoe again and do the task that was handed to her.
The ride to school is an icy one between Zoe and Amanda as neither person speaks. After being dropped off, Zoe meets up with Ben and Lacy and the trio run off the school grounds to the train station. While the trio make their way to the train, Shannon Adams and her daughter, Tamara, talk to her husband, Joseph Adams (Esai Morales), via cell phone about their son, William’s, birthday party. Shannon abruptly hangs up while Joseph was in mid sentence about something he wanted to tell her.
The trio make their way to the train, but Lacy bails out at the last minute despite Zoe’s promises of acceptance and a new family on Gemenon. Also Shannon and Tamara Adams board the same train. Meanwhile, Zoe is upset that Lacy didn’t come, but notices that Ben is acting stranger than ever. Zoe sends a message to Amanda (on a slip of paper that was also a computer…) that reads “Don’t live in regret, Mom. I forgive you.” A few steps from Ben and Zoe, Tamara tells Shannon how someone said a racial epithet about their race, which is Tauron.
Zoe’s realizes that Ben is not himself, but it is too late. He tells her that he is sorry and that it is God’s will. Then he reveals a vest/belt of explosives ready to go off and yells that the one true God will eradicate the rest before blowing up the train.
Part Two: The Aftermath
Two Weeks Later
The tone has went from bright to somber at the Graystones. Daniel and Amanda are both wrecks.
Meanwhile, there is a press conference on the investigation of the terrorist attack and the law enforcement has narrowed down the suspects as being a part of the Soldiers of the One. Joseph is at this press conference, but leaves in the middle of it. He goes outside for a smoke and is offered a light by Daniel Graystone. The two mean reveal to each other over a smoke about their losses. They then decide to go to a cafe.
At school (which is called Athena Academy), Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker), a teacher at the school, talks to Lacy about the loss of Zoe and how the grieving, scriptures and the such won’t bring her back. She also remarks how the things we use to comfort us in a time of grief wouldn’t help anyway. Um, not someone I would want to counsel my kids. Just saying… Lacy thinks its all wrong and is pissed at whoever did this. She then declares that she should be dead and with Zoe, but Sister Clarice thinks otherwise and that the Gods have other plans for Lacy. When the troubled teen mentions how “gifted” Zoe was with computers, Sister Clarice advises that Lacy connect with Zoe through her work on the computer. Does Sister Clarice know anything we don’t?
Meanwhile after a somber and mostly quiet smoke and coffee, Daniel and Joseph leave the diner, but not before Daniel invites Joseph and William to a pyramid game.
While mourning in Zoe’s room, Amanda is startled out of her reverie by the announcement of a visitor: Lacy. When Lacy asks if she can sit in Zoe’s room for awhile, Amanda doesn’t hesitate in giving the OK to the peculiar request. After Lacy enters Zoe’s room, she takes a clean sheet of paper which looks like the same thing Zoe had before she died. Lacy dials some symbols on it, puts on the Holoband and enters the Virtual Club.
Once there, Lacy enters the Infinity room and finds a bloody Zoe, who remembers everything about Zoe’s death and before due to Zoe’s work on a bio-feed that let Zoe’s avatar experience Zoe’s feelings in real time. Lacy is freaked out when Zoe 2.0 starts talking about the past as if they lived it together, but Zoe 2.0 says that while she didn’t do any of those things physically, she still remembers as if she did. Bottom line: she’s all that is left of Zoe. Lacy and Zoe 2.0 hug as Lacy promises to help Zoe 2.0 understand it all. In the process, the blood on Zoe 2.0’s body disappears.
Daniel Graystone enters Zoe’s room and finds Lacy with the Holoband and demands to know what’s going on. Lacy runs without explaining anything, but leaves the Holoband pad with the Infinity symbol on it. Daniel looks over it.
After getting a gangster from the Ha’La’Tha’ (a Tauron Gang Syndicate) off for a serious crime, Joseph receives payment and a vow from the head of the organization via Sam (Sasha Roiz), his brother. Joseph doesn’t want anyone to do anything illegal in taking down Shannon and Tamara’s killers. Sam vows that if Joseph doesn’t do anything then he will. Meanwhile at Graystone Industries, Daniel watches as his early model robot (a U-87) fails to shoot the target in an acceptable speed and accuracy. He is warned by his assistant, Cyrus Xander (Hiro Kanagawa), that their U-87 contract is on verge of being revoked by the Caprican government, who is not happy with the results the machines are producing. Daniel’s rival, Vergis Corp, are in line to pick up where, and if, he fails.
Joseph walks William (Sina Najafi) home from school, asking his son if he wouldn’t mind going to a pyramid game. After he accepts, William asks his father if his sister and his mother still hurt, even though they are dead. We don’t hear if an answer was even given. At the Graystones, Daniel decrypts the code on Zoe’s Holoband pad and enters the Virtual Club world. He seems shocked at how his daughter’s spent her past time, but is pulled out of the world via a phone call. It is Cyrus with news that not only will Vergis visit the Caprican Defense Minister that day, but that Vergis has tech that Graystone Industries has been trying to crack for years as well: a meta-cognitive processor, which is basically an artificial brain. Graystone doesn’t buy Vergis’s bluff, but tells Cyrus to keep him posted. He then reenters the Virtual World and explores a little until he comes across Zoe 2.0, who runs away quicker than a rabbit from a poacher. Zoe runs into the Infinity room and when Daniel tries to gain access, he is jolted back to reality. Whoa…
At the Adams home, Joseph is irked by his mother-in-law, Ruth, who thinks that the only way for William to get over the shock of his sister and mother’s death is a trip to Tauron, the Adams’ homeworld. As if that would help… When William announces that he wants Ruth to take him to school, Joseph counters that request. Is it me or do the Adams sound more interesting than the Graystones so far? Just a tad bit?
That previous thought is trumped when Global Defense Dept. Agent Jordan Duram (Brian Markison) visits Amanda at her job (she’s a doctor) and reveals to her that they have evidence that Zoe was involved in the train bombing. Amanda doesn’t believe it. Agent Duram then presents Amanda with the last message that Zoe sent to her, which Agent Duram sums up as a final goodbye from someone who was about to die. Amanda tearfully tells Agent Duram to exit the premises.
At the Graystone house, Lacy shows up and enters. She proceeds to Zoe’s room, but is met with Daniel, who demands to see Zoe and that Lacy has to help him. Inside the V-Club, Lacy shows Daniel the sights and he is marveled, and appalled, at what his technology has created. Lacy says that it was Ben who showed her and Zoe that the V-Club was trash and that there was only one true God and I am so sick of hearing about that little lunatic Ben. Anyway, Lacy lets Daniel into the Infinity room where Zoe 2.0 sits. Daniel wants some answers, but doesn’t think that there is any sliver of his daughter in the program. Then Zoe 2.0 schools Daniel on his arrogance/ignorance and finally wins him over. Daniel embraces Zoe 2.0 in the virtual world, but in reality he takes a jump drive and connects it to something. In the virtual world, Zoe 2.0 starts to buckle and shimmer and disappear to Lacy’s horror. In reality, Lacy asks Daniel what did he do. After explaining that he captured Zoe’s avatar, he tells Lacy to leave and revokes her privileges from the Graystone house.
Elsewhere Joseph has a meeting with the Guatrau, the leader of the Ha’la’tha’, about talking to Defense Minister Chambers about some matters that are dear to him. Of course, by talking, they mean in a “civilized, stern manner”. Joseph says he will see what he can do.
Part Three: An ‘Idyllic’ Proposition
Lacy is called into Sister Clarice’s office to talk to Agent Duram who is seemingly dropping this bombshell of Ben and Zoe being a part of the train bombing all over town. With glee, I might add… Lacy doesn’t believe that Zoe and Ben would be a part of such an heinous act. Sister Clarice doesn’t believe it either. Agent Duram claims he has concrete evidence (which we have yet to see) and that Zoe wasn’t as innocent as she seemed. Lacy leaves the room, but this doesn’t bother the smugness that is Agent Duram. He chastises Sister Clarice for letting kids practice monotheistic beliefs in a school that has values of the gods. I see now that this punk is going to be trouble, but not in a good way.
At the pyramid game, Daniel asks Joseph the question that changes everything: “What would you do if you had the chance to be with your daughter again” Joseph gives him the story of his family’s arrival on Caprica.So to answer Daniel’s question, Joseph says he would tell Tamara to find the things that make you cry because they make you human. Daniel brings Joseph and William home with him. While William plays in the game room, Daniel introduces Joseph to the world of Holobands.
After getting Joseph set up, the two enter into a program that Daniel is working on. Daniel leads Joseph into a room where Zoe 2.0 is being kept. After an introduction, Joseph is rightfully shocked and is spooked out his mind. Joseph awakes back in the real world and demands to know what’s the deal. Daniel starts his Frankenstein speil of bringing back the dead through artificial intelligence, no matter if they aren’t the actual person or not. They are “perfect copies”. My back squirms in creepiness. Joseph, on the other hand, thinks Daniel is nuts. Then Daniel asks Joseph for a favor. Steal the meta-cognitive processor to make “their” dreams a reality.
While the Graystones have an intimate moment, Joseph goes to Sam for help in retrieving the MCP. But we got a “problem”. Said problem is that Vergis is a damn good friend of the Guatrau, who Sam thinks won’t take too kindly to stealing from a friend. Joseph then adds that he will deliver the message to Defense Minister Chambers for the Guatrau.
Joseph delivers the message, but is given such a racial beatdown by Chambers that I can’t believe Joseph actually let the guy live. I mean it was brutal. But Joseph, being a way better man than I would, leaves when Chambers tells him to deliver his message to the Guatrau word for word, epithet by epithet.
After all of that drama, there is on only one thing left: A MONTAGE!!!
– The Graystones engage in marital relations…
– Joseph contemplates his actions while looking at pics of his family…
– And finally, Sam enters Defense Minister Chambers’s house and kills him, stating to the dying man that you should never turn your back on a man you call a friend.
Part Four: Second Life…
Lacy enters the Athena Academy library and reminisces when Zoe revealed to her the truth about the one true God. Then we are subjected to Ben’s creepy ass again. Anyway, Zoe explains to Lacy that there is a right and a wrong, truth in the world, and one true God. This prompts Lacy to expose all of this to sister Clarice. Then, through remarkable symbolism, Sister Clarice reveals that she, too, is a member of The Soldiers of the One. Then after Lacy pieces together that Ben was the terrorist, Sister Clarice says that Ben may have acted prematurely, but that he was fighting evil. Ummm… whatever helps you sleep at night. Sister Clarice continues by saying that Zoe was, and still is, a special asset to the STO. I don’t know about you all, but if I was Lacy, I would have ran away screaming bloody murder…
Joseph delivers the MCP to Daniel, who has something for Joseph in return: He has Tamara’s avatar ready. Joseph asks to see his daughter and once he’s in there, he is met with a scared and terrified Tamara. Joseph’s heart breaks as his daughter is in hysterics of how she got there and how she feels wrong. Joseph tries to calm his daughter and say that they can be a family again, but then Tamara realizes that her heart isn’t beating, which freaks both of them out. Joseph comes out of his meeting with his daughter pissed and confused. He tells Daniel that none of this is natural, no matter how Daniel tries to swing it. Daniel says that they have the power now to basically decide life and death, which prompts Joseph to duly note that Daniel has lost his ever-frakking mind.
Later, Daniel visits Zoe 2.o to tell her that the download to the MCP is almost complete and that she will be back home on Caprica. But Zoe 2.o says she doesn’t want to go to Caprica and that Zoe was headed to Gemenon and wasn’t coming back, because she had found God. Daniel claims that Zoe 2.o doesn’t know a thing about Zoe, because mainly she wasn’t there when Zoe had the accident. But as we know, the bio-feed Zoe was working on debunks Daniel’s arrogant theory. Zoe 2.0 remarks to Daniel that it was his and Amanda’s arrogance that killed their daughter. Not a bomb.
Joseph makes it home to find William still up. Joseph tells his son that they will make a new beginning and that they will survive it. Joseph also tells his offspring that their culture is thick and rich with history and that their family name isn’t Adams. It’s ADAMA… (About damn time, because I was getting tired of typing Adams…)
Daniel places the MCP into the U-87 droid and downloads the program into the machine. It comes on and we can hear the machine trying to say “Daddy.” Daniel grins in triumph, but it is short lived as the droid refuses to take the program into its system and there is a system error, followed by a irrecoverable data loss. Daniel panics and enters the virtual world looking for Zoe 2.0. But he doesn’t find her.
The next day at Graystone Industries, the U-87 is put to the test for the Caprican government. The machine goes Terminator on anything that crosses its path, and impresses the audience beyond success and straight into ass-kissing territory. One of the officials ask Daniel what did he call it. He replies, “Cybernetic Life-form Nodes – CYLON.”
And BSG history is born…
Once the officials leave, Cyrus exclaims that they did it, but Daniel says that despite that fact, it wasn’t what he was hoping it to be. Awwww…
But later in a lab, the U-87 that just finished kicking ass awakes. It stares at its body. It looks at its face in a reflective surface. Then we see Lacy at her house answering her phone. She is shocked to hear Zoe’s voice. We then return to the Cylon, now Zoe, who tells Lacy that she needs her help…
And the path to destruction begins…
I won’t give a mini review, but read Jon Lachonis’s review of Caprica and what’s to come here. So till next time, “So Say We All…”
I really enjoyed this first episode – I didn't watch BSG, so I'm not sure I'll get all the cross-literary references…but it was a great stand-alone pilot! It makes me want to give BSG another shot.I blog about it at http://themothchase.wordpress.com – check us out!
I am in the same boat as you, never have watched BSG but its in my netflix queue now :D. Caprica is awesome! now i know i ahve something to watch once LOST is over.