Friday, March 05, 2010

Caprica, "Know Thy Enemy": Hostile takeover

A quick review of tonight's "Caprica" coming up just as soon as I struggle to open vacuum-sealed packaging...
"It's your dream. My dream is to tear up your dream." -Vergis
Once upon a time, Ron Moore talked about "Caprica" as a kind of "sci-fi version of 'Dallas.'" The show has since evolved from that, but an episode like "Know They Enemy" felt very much like the original space-opera-turned-soap-opera pitch with the arrival of Tomas Vergis to fill the role of the corporate arch-rival determined to crush Daniel Graystone at any cost.

That's a character type familiar to countless daytime and primetime soaps. I appreciate that he was written, and played by John Pyper-Ferguson(*), in a much quieter, forthright manner - like Sam Adama and the other Tauran tough guys we've seen, his menace is spoken softly but directly - but he definitely owed a debt to any business rival who went against JR Ewing or Blake Carrington.

(*) The appearance by Pyper-Ferguson (who played an officer on the Pegasus in several episodes of "Battlestar Galactica") prompts me to ask a question I probably should have raised when Luciana Carro (aka Kat) turned up as Graystone's publicst: how do you feel about the show dipping into the pool of "BSG" actors to fill guest roles? This isn't quite like how "NYPD Blue" (or "Law & Order") would often recycle the same actors into different roles, as these are two separate series that, while they share a continuity, are set decades apart. For those of you who watched "BSG," is it a distraction, or do you feel they've done a good enough job of making these people look different that it's okay?

The Sister Clarice/Amanda scenes also had a bit of a soap-y tinge, even though Clarice is starting to develop more nuance than she had in earlier episodes, where she was just the manipulative queen bee. It's now clear that there are different factions among the monotheists, and Clarice is trying to keep the movement peaceful, while Barnabas (played by James Marsters, making the rounds of every sci-fi/cult series he can hit) is content to kill as many as he can and let the one true God sort it out. That distinction makes me much more interested in Clarice, even as she's preying on a drunk Amanda's grief to get access to Daniel's private computers.

At first, I was wondering what Zoe was up to when she responded to Philomon the lab geek's dating website profile, but then it made sense: not only does she have some affection for the guy (the only person in the real world, other than Lacy, who treats her like a girl and not a hulking machine), but she gets to have a V-world romance with someone who likely will never object if she insists on keeping the relationship entirely virtual.

(Plus, it gives the costume department an excuse to keep giving Alessandra Torresani new outfits, when for a while it looked like she'd be in the purple dress for the life of the series.)

In all, "Know They Enemy" was a more sedate episode than we've had so far, and one I had some trouble engaging with at times. But there are always these little moments - like Zoe's reaction to hearing Cyrus and her father discuss the the theft of the MCP, or Joseph's frustration at having to deal with the welcome menu to the holo-band = that keep me interested in the larger world and the characters, and curious to see what's coming next.

What did everybody else think?

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

For those of you who watched "BSG," is it a distraction, or do you feel they've done a good enough job of making these people look different that it's okay?

I think for me it's that the shows are so different that I don't really connect them that way. Recognizing an actor from BSG is no different to me than recognizing an actor from Lost or Deadwood, and I wouldn't have even though of it if you hadn't mentioned it.

Anonymous said...

The characters were not major enough on BSG for it to really be a distraction. Also, since it has been a while, the actors/characters just looked vaguely familiar. Anyhow, even if I recognized them, I would just have said that they had an ancestor/descendant/relative who looked similar to them.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that its great that they're drawing upon the large and largely excellent pool of actors from BSG. Whether I recognize the actor isn't really distracting to me. What would is if the two characters were too similar in personality and actions.

While the ep was a bit sedate the combo of Vergis and Barnabas. Vergis was great and the whole reveal of tauron culture is fascinating. The tats are sweet and last ep's ceremony reminded me of russian crime tats ala eastern promises. It adds to the plot that Vergis isn't interested in profit, its a blood vendetta.

The monotheisitic split is cool because historically no religion had one orthodox belief system until a "civil" war had been fought. Marsters is awesome (admited fanboi). Its nice they seem on planning to delve into a lot of questions about religion that BSG started to ask.

On a mostly unrelated note check out The Bridge. Its a canadian cop drama that just premiered here (Canaduh!) but was picked up by cbs. It follows in the Wire's footsteps and is about street cops and the politics in the station. Its based around the career or a real toronto cop who became union head and fought corruption. But heres the sweet part, Aaron Douglas is the lead. Its not on par with the Wire, but it is good. And better than most cop shows.

M.A.Peel said...

For those in the tristate area, the Paley Center is having a Caprica event with Ron Moore, David Eick,and various cast members on March 17. Info here.
http://www.paleycenter.org/2010-spring-syfy-s-caprica

katie70810 said...

For me it was more distracting to see James Marsters. I love him, but I kept thinking, "Hey! There's Spike! Where's his accent (I know he's not British, but that is how I think of him speaking.) and why isn't his hair blond?" I had the same reaction when he was Capt. John Hart on Torchwood.

tribalism said...

I'm okay with the re-use of actors on the show. In my head I just tell myself that they must be grandparents to the BSG characters we're more familiar with. It would bother me if EJO showed up as the Tauron godfather or something. Too hard to suspend my disbelief at that point.

It was great to be reminded that the Adamas are involved in real organized crime (i.e. the robbery of the MCP chip) and not just into tossing garbage cans through windows or sitting around playing cards. I was hoping that after Joe found out his daughter was trapped in the V-World last week that there would be more interaction between himself and Daniel. The one scene together just didn't cut it for me.

If anyone is interested, you can find more of my thoughts on tonight's episode in my blog where I go into detail about what Vergis's threats represent for the future of the show as well as how Zoe is probably far more unhappy with her present state than what we've been led to believe so far. Click my username for the link.

Eldritch said...

"For those of you who watched "BSG," is it a distraction, or do you feel they've done a good enough job of making these people look different that it's okay?"

That's what actors do. They appear in one series and then they appear on others. Some producers/directors, like Michael Apted or David Milch, like to hire the same actors in each new project they do, so you see them again and again. It seem to me that stars, like James Marsters, who appear in science fiction/fantasy shows tend to get a little typecast and tend to get cast in scifi/fantasy shows repeatedly.

Why would you suppose science fiction fans would find it confusing to see stars recycled?

It's so common that I'm surprised you asked the question, Alan.

Number Five said...

As someone who loves world-building, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm frustrated with the constant Tauron references. Tactically, they're often clumsy and poorly integrated into the script, and thematically, we're rapidly getting to both racial determinism and "Magical Tauron" status. That needs to be done better.

I'm also perplexed they don't have Graystone and Adama interact more, especially since the MCP theft is perfect for forcing them together. For example, why doesn't Adama demand Graystone help him look for Tamara in exchange for promising not to turn over evidence of the MCP theft?

Despite those complaints, I'm definitely enjoying the show. One nice world-building touch was finally seeing the legal side of the holoband, although the economics of the holoband are still a bit confusing (I think of Graystone Industries as a massive combo of Apple/Microsoft/cable company, making hardware/software and distributing the content of the Colonial TV networks, websites, movie producers, etc).

I interpreted Clarice's meeting with her bosses (the confessional booth setup is a great touch) as suggesting that Zoe herself is less important to Clarice; it's Zoe's existence as a prototype for bringing immortality to humanity. In contrast, the human Zoe's comments in the pilot suggested Zoe the avatar's role on Gemenon would be more personally critical, like she'd serve as a religious prophet.

I also like the development of Clarice's character - she's under an enormous amount of pressure as leader of both the academy and her monotheism cell. She sounded dangerously desperate on the phone with Amanda, although she was much calmer in person. She has all these spouses, but they don't seem to be able to help her cope. So bring on the opium den!

Finally, was Clarice's aversion to Serge borne of her monotheistic ideological dislike of the decadence represented by a robot-manservant? Or was it a more standard "rich people and their toys!" issue?

Zoe's clever reason for why she looked like, well, herself, made me wonder if the V-world existed on Earth, how many people would have their avatars look like celebrities. It would be a new kind of copyright violation! But like illegal music downloads, it would be impossible to stop.

belinda said...

Nope, I don't mind at all - it's nice to see those actors get work - it's probably more distracting to see Street pop up now and again because I can't help but think Street!

As for Spike, I think this particular role might be dark and different enough from Spike (unlike his role in Torchwood, which I did compare to Spike) for me not to really care. Again, it's always nice to see actors you like get work.

It's a bit slower paced this episode, but I didn't mind it. I feel like they had to introduce two new characters so it was good they took the time to do so to set things up and make them characters you can care about.

Except this: I do wonder if the 'one month later' jump at the beginning was purely there so the Graystones won't have the stigma of being the parents of a terrorist, because it didn't make sense for the other storylines that one month passed before any of them moved forward with their various plans -
- between Adama meeting the boy who told him Tamara is alive in the vworld and his attempt to see Tamara through a holoband, track down the boy, or ask Daniel about it (which he still didn't, since it was Daniel who contacted him for soemthing else).
- between Clarice seeing Graystones' interview on tv and her clan figuring out out how to get info from the Graystone house
- Lacey's meeting with Barnabas I suppose could take a whole month to set up, though I keep wondering if she and Zoe saw each other at all in the vworld (and if so, they or even other teenagers must have heard about Tamara becoming a vworld god of sorts) to talk and whatnots.
- Though it might explain why Zoe was bored enough(or spent enough time with the lab guy) to initiate contact with him in the virtual world. But for the most part, the one month jump just felt weird in some of the plots.

Is it just me, or did they change the opening credits just a tiny bit? In the first scene with Daniel and Zoe, you can now see a whole production line of Cylons behind them (which I don't think we saw before in the same sequence). It's pretty darn clever, if they're altering the credits slightly to reflect what's happening in the story (like here, we saw last week that Daniel convinced the investors to move forward with Cylons).

Anonymous said...

RE: I do wonder if the 'one month later' jump...

I understood the opening scene on Tauron with Vergis discovering the theft and murder to have taken place a month in the past--right after the crime happened. The 'one month later' jump then took us forward to our present timeline.

Damien said...

Actor recycling isn't really an issue for me as I dropped BSG somewhere around season two, as it was becoming self indulgent and increasingly clear that there really wasn't any kind of a 'plan'.

Having said that, so far I'm finding Caprica really engaging, but this episode was probably the weakest so far. Nevertheless, I wouldn't say it was bad - just not as good as we've seen so far.

Stephen said...

The slightly altered opening credits were in last week's episode as well. I don't think it's supposed to reflect story elements, I think they just thought they could make it look better.

And Anonymous is right, the first scene of the episode was a jump back to right after the chip was stolen. The rest of the episode took place shortly after last week's.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why would you suppose science fiction fans would find it confusing to see stars recycled?

Because these are two shows that take place in the same universe. That's different from, say, Joss Whedon using Alan Tudyk on both Firefly and Dollhouse, or John From Cincinnati re-using so much of the Deadwood cast. In both cases, the two shows only had a creative team in common, and not a world.

Yes, you could certainly fanwank it as Pryah being Kat's grandmother or something, and so far they've used people who weren't very prominent on BSG, so it's not a big deal. On the other hand, as Tribalism says, it would be very weird if all of a sudden Olmos or Sackhoff were wandering around this show.

I'm not saying Caprica shouldn't be allowed to do this. But given the shared universe/timeline issue, I felt it worth asking.

Karen said...

Eick mentions the whole recycling of actors thing in one of the podcast commentaries for Caprica - along with lots of other things he's afraid will confuse viewers. Get the feeling he and/or the network don't give viewers much credit for being able to follow what they watch. Then again, given what's popular and what isn't, he probably has a point.

Big fan of Marsters, but I wasn't particularly excited by his appearance in this episode. Hope he'll have more to do beyond this brief introduction.

And I did love that packaging on Caprica is just as annoying as it is here in 2010.

belinda said...

Anon, thanks! That really helped clear up a lot of things for me. :D

Oh, now I'm a little disappointed that the changed credits was changed merely for aesthetics and not reflecting the birth of the Cylon production line. Oh well.

Fernando said...

When I saw Kat (and I think Billy was in the second episode) it gave me pause like are they somehow related. How is it that these 2 people (Kat/pr lady and billy/other tech geek) look so much alike. Its not completely distracting but it adds a question that a different actor wouldn't bring up.

srpad said...

I was ambivalent with last weeks but liked this one.

I am trying to keep it vague to avoid past spoilers but didn't the statue Graystone and and Vergis were standing by in the museum also show up (in worse condition of course) in BSG?

Linus said...

I didn't even notice Kat, and this week I just kept thinking I knew Tomas from somewhere.

One thing I've been wondering about is how they're going to handle young Bill Adama's future, as the actor who plays him grows older and (presumably) doesn't come to look much like EJ Olmos.

Sam said...

I am likely in the minority, but I found this episode extremely annoying. I had problems with the whole story line of the MCP theft from the beginning-and I wonder if Ronald D. Moore went to the same business school as J.J. Abrams-in which rational business decisions are never considered because it wouldn't be dramatic enough for a convoluted and contrived story line. What the hell kind of sense does it make that Tauron gangsters at the behest of Sam Adama (or Sam himself) stole the only copy of the chip? More importantly, how is there only one copy? There is no back-up? No offsite disaster recovery storage facility? And this is a multi-billion dollar software firm run presumably one of the two smartest scientific minds on the 12 colonies? Right.

So let's say I let that go-which I did to give the show a chance-why wouldn't Greystone industries which one presumes is the larger company with both an existing defense contract and tons of revenue from the commercial holoband sales-just try an acquisition of Vergis? Even a hostile acquisition? There's not even a discussion of it?

No instead of Daniel considering a business and/or technology solution he decides to go with a criminal solution with someone he has only recently met but found out is tied to the Tauron mob-and yet it never occurred to him that the company he was stealing from is led by a Tauron with possible Mob connections as well? Huh?

Now if Daniel Greystone "stole" Vergis's company from him by making an outrageously high bid to his board and shareholders over Vergis’s strenuous objections wouldn't that be a little more believable (and dare I say interesting) reason for revenge than the justification given last night?

As for revenge, wouldn’t a massive lawsuit by one major firm against another and proof of intellectual property theft, the loss of a huge defense contract, massive civil liabilities, Daniel forced out of the company that bears his name-oh and a double murder charge to boot-one would think that would allow Vergis to truly “destroy everything Daniel has dreamed about”-but instead what we are treated to is a lot of veiled (and unveiled) threats and tattoos and discussion of the most moronic aspect of this-Daniel’s pyramid team. Huh? Oh and apparently Vergis has one as well-and apparently the pyramid league (unlike sports leagues on our pathetic world) don’t have a rule preventing one person from owning two teams.

And what was supposed to be a tense conversation with a major revelation actually truns out to be a major disappointment and fairly moronic (my summary): You stole the only chip (and maybe future of my company)-No I didn't-it's ok I don't care anymore-You don't?-no instead I am going to buy your pyramid team and destroy your dream Daniel (Snyder) Greystone-no you can't-yes I can-shows tattoos and diabolical laugh as he walks off… (me turning off the tv in annoyance)

If they are going for "Dallas" or "Dynasty"-congrats boys you got it-it was that stupid. What's next is Sun Paik-Kwon going to buy both Greystone and Vergis secretly with her money from the Oceana crash?

Another brilliant moment-apparently the most brilliant mind in the quadrant doesn't have password protection on his computer-right-and doesn't believe in file back-up either.

Now putting the business angle aside-we are treated to this long discussion of Tauron code and honor and "blood for blood"-what makes more sense in that code-I am going to destroy everything you have dreamed about (ala a ridiculous Bond-villain)-or I am going to the Guatro and getting 2 or 5 or 10 hard hitting thugs-kill you and your wife and burn down your house.

I know at the end of the episode which one I was hoping for if only to spare me from the inanity of where this show is going.

Anonymous said...

Everything Sam above just said, and also, why wouldn't Greystone just poach one of Vergis' engineers if he can't reverse engineer the hardware? Wouldn't that have been easier in the first place?

I'm enjoying the show, but this ep was not as fun as last week. I want more Tamara!

Craig Ranapia said...

how do you feel about the show dipping into the pool of "BSG" actors to fill guest roles?

Didn't really notice, and now I've had it pointed out to me I don't really care. Then again, I was such a big fan of both 'Deep Space Nine' and Jeffrey Combs, I didn't really care that he kept popping up as two different major(-ish) supporting characters, who even both appeared in one episode.

I'm also used to film directors developing stock companies of actors and crew they like to work with -- just over the last couple of weeks we've seen the opening of Leonard DiCaprio's fourth collaboration with Martin Scorsese and does Tim Burton get Johnny Depp to brush his teeth at night? :)

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

So let's say I let that go-which I did to give the show a chance-why wouldn't Greystone industries which one presumes is the larger company with both an existing defense contract and tons of revenue from the commercial holoband sales-just try an acquisition of Vergis? Even a hostile acquisition? There's not even a discussion of it?

Sam: Apart from that being arse-numbing dull (a criticism that doesn't get thrown at this show enough), how would you tie the Adamas into that?

Seriously, you think there's going to be no consequences for Daniel or Sam dragging Veregis and the Ha'la'tha in their obsession with their dead children? Their little game of corporate espionage has a body count -- and you don't walk away from that.

Also, how exactly is Graystone Industries -- flat-lining share price, the product responsible for most of your profit being linked to terrorism and all -- going to finance a hostile takeover of a corner hot dog stand, let alone a Tauron corporation whose CEO hates you beyond reason?

For example, why doesn't Adama demand Graystone help him look for Tamara in exchange for promising not to turn over evidence of the MCP theft?

Number Five: Because Sam isn't stupid enough to bluff when you've got no cards to play? If I was Daniel, you know what my response would be: "Do it -- then go home and kill your brother, son and yourself. It will be kinder than what the Ha'la'tha will do when you turn rat."

Craig Ranapia said...

At first, I was wondering what Zoe was up to when she responded to Philomon the lab geek's dating website profile, but then it made sense: not only does she have some affection for the guy (the only person in the real world, other than Lacy, who treats her like a girl and not a hulking machine), but she gets to have a V-world romance with someone who likely will never object if she insists on keeping the relationship entirely virtual.

Nah... am I the only person who thinks Zoe is being a little more cold-blooded here? She still wants to get to Geminon, and there's no way she's getting out of the basement without help on the inside -- and if she's got to play Philomon like a cheap fiddle... Well, Lacy isn't really delivering the goods, is she?

GabbyD said...

@sam

from the pilot, they had to steal the chip to make their daughters live in the real world again. there was a urgency to it, which make the crime necessary, even if another solution was available.

i dont think the chip's uniqueness is an issue. surely vergis can create the chip again. his concern was the theft was a personal issue, and his "children" were killed.

Mark B said...

Put me into the camp of those completely enjoying this story. Like others, it strikes me as silly that the Caprica universe is seemly devoid of basic digital common sense like passwords and backup file copies, however, I’m willing to chalk it up to good old fashioned story telling. Once upon a time these events happened and if the minor details are fuzzy or wrong, it is the larger tale of Cylons emerging from human activity that is fascinating.

After last week’s brilliant demonstration of how Tamara is going to function as a creature of the V-world becoming aware of the real world, it is now good to see how Zoey is going to be able to manipulate both worlds. There are two Cylon Eve’s, sentient post mortem beings, coming to terms with their existence. Zoey, knowing why she was created and familiar with the elite culture of Caprican society. Tamara, mystified by the very fact of her existence and seeking grounding in the fact she has extraordinary powers in virtual space.

So once upon a time inhuman intelligence emerges and some humans want to claim them as vehicles for everlasting life, and other humans want to use them as killer robot slaves. This is as good a tale as any being told on television.

Sam said...

@Craig: I appreciate your points and I understand pacing could be an issue for such a story line. But this kind of story line is only as mind-numbingly dull as you make it-in other words this wouldn't be the first show to deal with such a plot point and others have tried to do it or even do it well - for example Mad Men. I will take a well-thought out story and well-acted show over mindless thoughtless action. Not every BSG episode had action or a Cylon attack. Not every episode of the Sopranos had someone being whacked. The Wire did a brilliant job showing you the dysfunctionality of major institutions-legal and illegal. It’s hard and it requires an audience to give the show a chance-but the payoff is worth it.

Nor do I believe the acquisition needed to be a major plot point but one of several. The problem with the way this is presented is it wasn’t corporate espionage – this was just idiocy. Corporate espionage would entail (as suggested above) stealing the chip plans or a version of it or even hiring away a member of the engineering team and reverse engineering it or building a Greystone version. You don’t have to show any of this by the way. It is two lines of dialogue tucked into a discussion between Greystone and his No. 2. But what it doesn’t entail-unless you are a lazy writer trying to make the show Dallas meets the Sopranos-hiring the Tauron mob to break into the lab stealing it and killing the lab workers. Just writing that sentence is so ludicrous I can’t even believe I am wasting the time to recount it.

As for how do they do the acquisition? You might as well ask how did they get to keep the major defense contract after the revelation about Zoe? The collapse in share prices came after the chip was stolen not before. The company we are told was doing well before the revelation about Zoe-it was the revelation about the train which led to the free fall.

But more importantly, the acquisition or a forced merger by the dept. of defense, or however they wanted to present it-did not need to be such a major plot point-but one of many points of contention for the show between Vergis and Greystone. But this was the choice of the writers-and it doesn’t feel natural (at least to me)-it hasn’t made the show more interesting - if anything it reveals a real lack of insight into how these characters would behave, what is their motivation, how do they interact with the world and each other. It was cheap and easy-and I can watch a bunch of other shows for that-and it is not what I expect from Moore and Co.

Sam said...

How does Adama fit in? Supposedly he is a lawyer-they tend to work on acquisitions, criminal cases, civil cases, even intellectual property cases, I can’t imagine the multiple ways he would fit in - plus he was tied to and does legal work for the Tauron mob as is Vergis-so why not that angle? Now what kind of lawyer is he? I have no idea as far as I can tell he doesn't practice law-he spends most days staring into space (and now in a holoband trying to get past the welcome menu)-looking for his dead daughter. Who is running the firm? Maybe Corbin Bernsen is or William Shatner or whoever else has played a TV lawyer – but even they spent more time in the courtroom than Adama has – hell even Lee Adama has spent more time in the courtroom at this point.

All that being said I more than ok with suspension of disbelief in watching a show (to a point) but it bothers me that this early into the show that the story is so contrived and characters don't do what characters should be doing or asking the questions they should be asking but what the writers need them to do for the sake of the plot and because they have 13 or 22 episodes to do that season. Alan did a great blog post hitting Lost for this, and his post summed up my feelings about that show after 5+ seasons. Frankly I get enough of that kind of writing with Lost and thankfully that is coming to a much-needed and belated end. I really don’t want to get sucked into a show where the plot and character issues are so glaring this early. At the end of the day I am having trouble with a show about two technology companies where none of the geniuses who run and work for these companies can’t be bothered to have back-up files, passwords, security cameras, or anything they should have in highly confidential and secure laboratories-and if these were minor plot points I might let it go-but they aren’t. Seriously, the GDD can't enter but Sister Clarice can go and copy files with her magic flash drive?! To paraphrase Yoda: Break me frakking give.

Now if you will excuse me I am going to get a tattoo of my “children” – one for every hour I wasted watching Caprica.

Anonymous said...

I called this show a soap opera last week and got some 'frak' for it. But here Alan compares it to Dallas or Dynasty. The difference though, is that while soap operas do indeed have multiple story lines and a huge cast of inter-connected characters, something HAPPENS to keep your interest. This episode was the worst yet. As example, one act's 'dramatic' conclusion was Vergis announcing on TV that he's going to get his citizenship. Cue reverb-drenched thundering Taiko drums. Cut to commercial. It was unintentionally funny. The music cue would have had you think the Cylons were attacking.

I want to like this show, but so far it's a meandering, talky, boring mess.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with recycled actors -- they make for great drinking games -- and it's cool to see the Joss Whedon Repertory Players and the Ron Moore Regulars start to overlap. It might be a little too hard to swallow if one of the non-Cylon BSG leads appeared, but beyond that, any good actor is welcome.

I am also constrained to point out, Alan, that the episode is titled "Know THY Enemy." (not "they" -- damn spellcheck!)

Red said...

I really enjoyed this episode and didn't think it was slow at all. In fact I was surprised when it ended, in the sense of "hey, it's over already?"

EW's reviewer, or was is io9's, thought that Vergis and Barnabus were the 2 creepiest characters on Caprica. I think it's Philomon. He's got a crush on a robot that's show that it will bite off someone's finger. That would just scare me off.

I also like the budding relationship between Evelyn and Joseph.

Chrissy said...

My understanding of the theft was not that Vergis couldn't recreate the device (I'm certain he could have), but that Greystone revealed it (and used it in potentially desirable tech) first. So it's more of an intellectual property issue - Vergis could come out with the same device but he's lost all of the oomph.

I'm with you on the silliness of Clarice's hacking drive - the fact that it worked in such a way as to bring up a big COPYING YOUR PERSONAL FILES dialog box was just goofy. But it was a small enough point, and the actresses did well with the more interesting emotional stuff going on in that scene.

dronkmunk said...

Can you spot the typo? Hint: It's in the title.

Conrad said...

Number Five,

I liked your comments and found them very well expressed. If I could focus on one passage:

"Finally, was Clarice's aversion to Serge borne of her monotheistic ideological dislike of the decadence represented by a robot-manservant? Or was it a more standard "rich people and their toys!" issue?"

It would be the height of chutzpah for Clarice -- a dope-smoking, omnisexual libertine -- to make a moral judgment about the Graystones based on their possession of a nuts-and-bolts butler.

I don't think she would object to the Graystones' wealth either. Without families like theirs, her school would be empty. I can imagine a teacher or a janitor feeling class envy, but not the headmistress.

Instead, assuming Clarice was fully aware of the Zoe/avatar plan and the possibility of downloading a human consciousness into a piece of machinery, she might have been unnerved by the charming and personable Serge and been wondering if anybody was in there.

Craig Ranapia said...

It would be the height of chutzpah for Clarice -- a dope-smoking, omnisexual libertine -- to make a moral judgment about the Graystones based on their possession of a nuts-and-bolts butler.

First, I'd not that Caprica is not 21st century America so you might want to delete your own judgemental citation of Clarice's bisexuality and marital status. And like it or not, she is a monotheist and, under the circumstances, might well have a lot of judgements (and some valid ones) about a butler that shows disturbingly human qualities brought and paid for with the profits of holobands and tacit accpetance of the decadent V-Clubs.

I don't think she would object to the Graystones' wealth either. Without families like theirs, her school would be empty. I can imagine a teacher or a janitor feeling class envy, but not the headmistress.

I don't think she put "monotheist" on her job application, do you? Just because Clarice is in a position of power and influence in a society she considers deeply corrupt and perverted doesn't mean it doesn't all make her flesh crawl. And in her current state, I don't think she's hiding her emotions as well as she usually does.

Conrad said...

Craig,

I know Caprica isn't 21st century America (you do know it's not a real place, right?), but the people watching the show are mostly 21st century Americans. I imagine the writers gave Clarice the attributes she has, in part, to make her seem out there and somewhat self-destructively rebellious.

Even though Caprica has group marriages and legalized drugs, my sense is that the general population would at least raise an eyebrow or two at such behavior, if not consider it ouright immoral. And the way she manipulates people, especially the children in her care, is, in my opinion, unequivocally immoral.

I know you've appointed yourself the official defender of Ron Moore and his team, but if you'd read my original comment carefully, you'd understand that I wasn't criticizing the show, which I think is wonderful. I was lightheartedly raising the prospect that Clarice's involvement with Zoe and the mystery avatar plan might make her see talking robots for more than they really are.

Stellar Drift said...

I thought the pilot was so bad i haven't returned. Aimed squarely at the 18 year olds.

Craig Ranapia said...

I know you've appointed yourself the official defender of Ron Moore and his team

Um... that was really uncalled for. If David Eick or Syfy want my services as a publicist, they will have to pay for it. In this economy, I can't afford to be working for free. I'll also pay Alan and the readers of this blog the courtesy of a full disclosure if I start working for any show under discussion.

And, seriously, you think Clarice Willow's sexuality or marital status is going to raise any eyebrows when Sam's passes without comment? I do think there's a fair argument that Clarice falls into the stereotype of the "evil lesbian/bisexual femme fatale" (a criticism that was put on Helena Cain after her "outing" in Razor, BTW), but in the frame of the show Caprican society may be rotten with religious and ethnic bigotry, but not homophobia.

But I think, as I've suggested, there are other ways of explaining Clarice's reaction to Serge.

Eldritch said...

Yes, you could certainly fanwank it as Pryah being Kat's grandmother or something...[but] it would be very weird if all of a sudden Olmos or Sackhoff were wandering around this show"

Perhaps some viewers might feel confused by seeing the same actors in both BSG and "Caprica." On another blog, I read the post of one such viewer, who claimed she actually found it confusing.

You do raise a good point that seeing major stars, like Olmos, appear in "Caprica" might have greater impact. But how much impact that would have, I think, would depend on the actor's acting skills and how the character is written.

A number of times, I've been stunned to see a familiar actor in a new role become so embedded in the new role that once the initial shock of just seeing the actor wore off, the actor's previous role disappeared and he suddenly fit comfortably in the new role . . . at least in my little brain. That's why they call it acting, I suppose, because the actor assumes different roles.

I saw an interview of some famous actor who made an interesting point. He said there were two kinds of actors, the kind that made a role his own and the kind that disappeared into the role. The first kind just plays himself in every role. He may be very good, but the character he plays is really always the same. For example perhaps, John Wayne.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, I think, represents the other kind. He's a chameleon, unrecognizably different in every role. He can be convincingly ruthless, wimpy, gay or whatever the part calls for.

Olmos is quite good, but I'm not sure he's a chameleon. Seeing him in "Caprica" might be difficult to adjust to. Other actors? Perhaps not so much.

Craig Ranapia said...

Eldritch:

OK, you've got a point there. No disrespect to Mary McDonnell, but I'd certainly be WTF-ing if Laura Roslin's identical twin mother turned up on Caprica as a teacher at the Athena Academy or the principal of Willie's school demanding a parent-teacher meeting with Jospeh about his son's truancy. That would be getting in lame stunt casting.

That said, I really didn't recognise Caro in make-up and wearing something besides a flight-suit.

And if you want to talk about "distracting" BSG alumni, how about what Mo Ryan calls the Mark Shepherd Full Employment Act? Love the guy, love his work, but there's nobody else in Vancouver who can play a vaguely menacing heavy?

Anonymous said...

Bring back Farscape!

Number Five said...

Because Sam isn't stupid enough to bluff when you've got no cards to play? If I was Daniel, you know what my response would be: "Do it -- then go home and kill your brother, son and yourself. It will be kinder than what the Ha'la'tha will do when you turn rat."

Craig: not sure what you mean here. When Daniel had the Tauron mob steal the device for him, he opened himself up to blackmail. The mob, or in this case Joseph, can threaten to release that kind of information to the government or Vergis without exposing themselves if they don't get what they want. Certainly it's more complicated than that, but the potential is there for a "in for a penny, in for a pound" type partnership between Daniel and Joseph and I'm surprised they haven't gone more in that direction.

Instead, assuming Clarice was fully aware of the Zoe/avatar plan and the possibility of downloading a human consciousness into a piece of machinery, she might have been unnerved by the charming and personable Serge and been wondering if anybody was in there.

Thanks Conrad. That's a intriguing possibility, that Clarice was thinking about where Zoe was and how she would come across. It seemed like she had an instant disdain for Serge, which is why I said that, but it was fairly subtle and it could have been more of a general reaction of surprise.

Rob said...

Did anyone else see Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon) in the background of one of the fundraiser party scenes? I believe this was before any diologue. I meant to rewatch, but deleted the show from my DVR.

Craig Ranapia said...

Number Five;

Craig: not sure what you mean here. When Daniel had the Tauron mob steal the device for him, he opened himself up to blackmail.

So, what does Joseph have to release to the government or Vergis without painting a target in the middle of his own brother's forehead?

Nor do I think the Caprican Ha'la'tha would want it becoming common knowledge on Tauron - or to Vergis - that they were responsible for killing their own kind at the behest of a Caprican billionaire. Not only a PR disaster, but I've not got the sense that Tomas Vergis would stop at demanding the Ha'la'tha either kill the Adama Brothers to "balance it out" or prepare to go to war. That's the Tauron way, after all.

Oh, I certainly think Vergis is going to connect ALL the dots and it won't be pretty.

John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

John, one of the things you talked about in your comment would definitely qualify as "revealing too much about BSG stories for the benefit of people watching Caprica first."

אורי said...

I don't know if anyone's reading this, as I'm slowly but surely wading my way into the present. I wanted to say though, I liked that small moment where Clarice showed something that was real - , her smile when one of her... communititty memebers said to the other member "Faith, my love.", and, I suppose the whole nappin' and crackin' bit was a representation too - as opposed to all of her personality (or personalititty) fakeness. I remember her breaking down too, letting out a frustrated cry, but I'd have to rewatch that, I don't remember it. What I mean is, that there is a coat of paint on her behaviour even with the ones she holds closest and dearest. Interesting, in any case.

I didn't make the connection to a soap opera character until you mentioned it, and now I totally see it, somewhat unfortunately. Strictly acting wise, though, I am curious about Spike's, it seems like a fairly removed style from his usual one.