Episode Reviews (9)
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While this episode is slightly better than last week's and this show is presently the best on TV, after "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad", they all pale in comparison to Battlestar Galactica's drama-heavy episodes, and that's still a disappointment.
The problem upon which I commented last week was that the supporting characters were boring or off-track, while the main cast was engaging. This week, supporting characters like the police and talk show host Baxter Sarno are more interesting, but the main cast declined in interest.
Patton Oswalt performed quite well as Sarno. I liked the old fashion music in the background of his show. I retract my earlier contention that he is a bad actor; he's not incredible, but quite fine. I'm still not sure how I feel about this venue, but it's an interesting idea.
I liked the police chief and the drive conveyed by his subordinate, police investigator Jordan Duram, much of which might have been owed to better dialogue than the previous episode. I especially liked how their discussions brought up issues of violating the Greystones' rights for the sake of security. However, this theme wasn't pushed hard enough or discussed in a thought-provoking way for the audience to think about the real world. Hopefully, future installments will.
The scenes between Lacy and her schoolmate, Keon, were painfully dull. Having her get in his good graces by helping him fix a motorcycle was an uninspired choice. The actor playing Keon isn't quite as bad as I felt in my previous review, but he doesn't convey much range of emotion. There's never any stress in his reactions, as one would expect. Seeing Lacy brush against his arm thanking him, it's disappointingly predictable that she will have feelings for him and they will become a potential couple, which is very uninteresting. Magda Aponowicz is a very good actress and it's a shame to see her talents wasted on this subplot.
While there is something slightly cliché about the scientist obsessed with his creation, I still didn't mind the idea of having the technician teach cylon/Zoe-A how to dance. Yet, while I appreciated that the writer or director wanted the scene to go on long enough to capture their chemisty, it went on for too long and didn't make any real sense because she wasn't copying any of his moves. It was sweet, though. What was tacky and in the embarrassingly over-the-top style of "Buffy" and its creator Joss Whedon's writing was having the technician look at the robot and compliment it on its chest. It was as though the audience was supposed to giggle, "Oh, if only he knew that there's a female teen in there and it's like he's talking about her breasts!" The entire line was written for the double entendre. Why would he compliment the robot's chest, anyway? He did no restructuring of any kind and didn't design it. It's just silly. This is surely due to Jane Espenson, who heavily rewrote Michael Angeli's surely superior script beyond all recognition. David Eick and Ron Moore deserve blame for either participating in this decision or allowing it to happen.
So far in this series, the surprising plot twists pale in comparison with the average Battlestar Galactica episode both in their number and effectiveness; Battlestar was able to have twists that were more unpredictable as well as to have more of them. In Caprica, it seems as though one can guess what the possible twist will be. That is, one can predict the likely outcome or, at least, what the dialectic of a given situation -- the range of outcomes -- will be. For example, the biggest dramatic component to this episode was supposed to be about whether Sam Adams would kill Amanda Greystone or not. From the outset, I knew it would not happen because she is a major cast member and this is early in the series. Consequently, I knew that this limitation would manifest itself dramatically in either Sam being unable to carry out the order or he or Joseph having a change of heart. The absence of any truly surprising turns in the story has been a problem since after the pilot and I fear this will remain due to the lack of more imaginative supervision from Jane Espenson, who for all her admirable talents, pales in comparison to the genius of Ronald D. Moore.
I really liked the idea that Amanda Greystone managed to save her life by appearing on Sarno's show in a selfless effort to help her husband and the memory of her daughter.
I also liked the twist of having Joseph Adama's mother-in-law actually encourage Willie to think in the short-term; I cringed when she asked what he wanted to do in life, but rejoiced when she clarified that she wasn't referring to some long-term goal but a present-day aim. I was quite shocked to hear her provide advice to solicit his gangster uncle to help him reach his goal; encourage him to think one gets more in life by threats than friendship; and express to Joseph her desire to see her daughter and grand-daughter's deaths avenged through Amada Greystone's death. This last twist, however, somehow felt a bit forced, as though something more subtle were needed in her character. I realize that the writers sought to emphasize the twist in Joseph Adams of realizing he wouldn't be able to live with the guilt of having ordered Amanda killed, but having his mother-in-law, say, "I could kill her with my bare hands and sleep well every night, couldn't you?" without any sense of irony was preposterous. People don't speak like that. It was an on-the-nose way to illustrate what Joseph was thinking; another way should have been found to show his reconsideration. Perhaps subsequent weeks will reveal more about her – as did this episode. She's one of the show's best characters and certainly more interesting than boring old Sister Clarice, whose best moment in the post-pilot series has been to collapse on her school's hallway floor and shriek very believably in this episode. I particularly liked how this scene was filmed from afar.
The episode's first scene between Daniel and Amanda was wonderfully written – from the texture of him asking her about his clothing to her outburst that led to a very uneasy and dramatically satisfying argument. Yet the final scene between Amanda and Daniel Greystone was disappointing. It felt like more of the same mourning for Zoe and I didn't feel that the writing or accompanying music was trying to emphasize the disturbing fact that Daniel was misleading his wife into believing that he and not their daughter had created the avatar. The dialogue didn't reach the heights of "Battlestar Galactia" and ended with the usual humorous moments of levity between them, which felt a bit formulaic, though it was far more enjoyable to watch.
Ron Moore considered the Battlestar Galactica Season Three episode "A Day in the Life" to be a failure that supposedly required cutting to tension-driven action to add interest to an otherwise drama-heavy story that was not appropriate for this series. However, I completely disagreed. I found the action elements quite a bother and found the story about William Adama reflecting upon his troubled relationship with his wife and the effect of their subsequent divorce on their children absolutely engrossing. It was a fresh and surprising take on the subject and very realistic. What Ron Moore had considered a weak episode was, in fact, a far better written and acted drama than what I've seen so far on Caprica, and that's a shame for this new series, whose very specialty is publicized as drama.
8.2 out of 10
(I should emphasize that only the rarest of shows get 10 -- only the absolute best episodes of The X-Files ("Talitha Cumi", "Paper Hearts", "Redux II", etc.), Battlestar Galactica ("Pegasus","Lay Down Your Burdens", "Occupation"/"Precipice") and Deep Space Nine ("In the Pale Moonlight"). I would give the best story of The 4400 to date, "Terrible Swift Sword"/"Fifty Fifty," around 9.0, and I really loved that.)moreless
Gravedancing was a perfect and very entertaining episode of Caprica and I really enjoyed watching as the story was further developed and characters were given more depth. Adama was wrestling over the hit he put on Amanda Graystone while both Graystones ended up on a news program, which had been hurling insults and making jokes about them, to clarify their thoughts and position on what happened. Lacy gets closer to achieving her goal to help get Zoe in robot form to Geminan. Also in this episode the fact that Zoe can tap into the Holoprogram is an indication that this could be the origins of the Cylons ability to project the environment around them. The drama, suspense, action, and characters keep me captivated and I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
Now, that was just lazy.
That was bad. Really, really bad.
If you have a central issue in your show, it is always good to not devote twenty minutes to openly discussing it on an expository chat in talk show format. Worse yet, the debate itself was terrible.
I mean, if you are giving yourself the license to preach at least try to make sense. So the "holoband" creates a moral vacuum. Mmkay. On those terms, it stands for anything from videogames to rock music. But even if that's true, it's all made better by not making money out of it. So much better, in fact, that the blue collar guy going for vengeance actually changes his mind about it (maybe he wanted to wait and see if the stockholders of the company would pay for the hit, just for giggles). Not that it matters because his mobster brother already got that he was just kidding about killing somebody and didn't mean to go through with it to begin with. Yeah.
Really, it doesn't make any sense. Everything is just off here. Take the characterization of the talk show host, who apparently is a mashup of Jon Stewart (60% of young adults get their news from him! His audience is made up of stoned slackers!), Jay Leno and Letterman, but has concerns about how technology deprives our youth of a moral compass in a very O'Reilly kind of way, for instance. The worst part is that the character gives off the vibe that the writers were quite pleased with how well they got the mix between unfortunate puns and forced human connection to work, which is just sad. I think the line that epitomizes why this episode is so bad is the one given to Sam while driving around. He casually claims that there has been an accident and he's taking a detour "through Little Tauron".
You can almost see the guy responsible for that one sitting at home watching the episode and nudging his or her significant other while pointing at the screen. "See? That's clever, innit? It's like Little Italy, only it's named after a planet. Because they're like the Mafia, see? It's a metaphor".
Really, stop it. If I wanted TV to be patronizing with me I'd watch CSI. I'm officially rescinding Caprica's license to use sci-fi to deliver poignant insight on modern society. From now on, it's either the birth of the murderous race of giant robots or I'm tuning out. You've been warned.moreless
*** Spoiler-free *** Intense and well written story, dark ambiance, convincing mature acting, some disappointing and anecdotic elements, interesting talk show part
According to Wikipedia Syfy lost more than one million of viewers after the terrible Reins of a Waterfall. However it was even worst after Rebirth, 3 millions. So appreciating Caprica is really a question of taste. Now that I have seen Gravedancing I'm glad I didn't give up on the show because this 4th installment was good even if it was far less fascinating than Rebirth. The one thing I enjoyed the most was the intense Adama driven story and its progressive evolution. It developed slowly at the beginning but at the end I was hooked. Joseph Adama's younger brother was probably the dark enlightenment of Gravedancing because the actor's performance was fierce and convincing. After what Joseph said him at the end of the previous episode I was wondering what he would do and this one was all about covering that new arc. The story is actually based on a teleplay written by Jane Espenson who previously worked on Battlestar Galactica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Apparently Michael Angeli helped to adapt it and considering he wrote the 3rd episode story I suppose his contribution was minimal. It's a good thing because it turned out pretty well.
As for the other elements some of them were interesting but others were quite disappointing. First my opinion is mixed about the investigation because in the one hand it managed to make things more intense but in the other hand I don't think using the old corrupted cops idea is original. But the problem is that they probably haven't applied the recipe well yet. It just tasted like a cold meal. Second I know Caprica is a mix of science-fiction and drama but I don't like when the second shadows the first. Third I wonder about the young engineering working for Daniel Graystone. Why such a famous scientists would hire an inexperienced employee and let him play with his expensive and precious Cylon ? He's not annoying and I can relate to his profile but he reminds me of the geek from Dollhouse and that's definitely a bad thing. It feels like if they had decided to include him just to touch a younger audience, probably teenagers. It leads us to the fourth element, one I didn't approve. Alessandra Torresani and Zoe make an interesting match but her dancing scene was just misplaced and not entertaining. There's nothing wrong with watching a pretty young woman dancing all sexy but I think they should better spend their budget on visual effects. Where are the smart editing and creative ideas from Rebirth ? I'm starting to think that they spent too much time working on that episode and decided to rush the others. Let's hope the upcoming episodes won't confirm it. Last but not least the talk show part wasn't flawless but insightful and the awkward situation some characters were involved in was quite realistic because on TV it's hard to behave normally, be prepared for anything or to always tell the truth. Sometimes you can't help lying or doing crazy things to appeal the audience. It's probably even harder to control your emotions than in real life. As for the host I found him quite pesky.
To sum things up Gravedancing strengthened the decreasing confidence I had in Caprica. How could all episodes be awesome after all ? It's the job of the leaders to make sure it happens and in this case the execution was good. The ambiance was dark, the Adama grand-mother disturbing and the mature acting top notch.moreless
Getting the story more going
I think they are finally getting out of that slow start and this episode was much more promising. The whole storyline with police riding school and then Greystone's house.. that was quite intriguing and the way all those different chars acted. It is very char driven show, as it seems.. and the whole dilemma with Adama: to even the score or not. I so waited it to happen but no.. but it was still good. The whole host show thing and Sam taking Amanda to drive.. and how Amanda managed to solve that interview for her husband. It was going to be disaster.. so.. she maybe made herself more "likable" but she is still.. I do not know.. too.. somethingmoreless
This show just keeps improving.
While some of the fans that flocked to Caprica from Battlestar Galactica wanted the huge space battles and the special effects, there were some who simply followed Ron D. Moore for his characters. I have found that ever since this show has started, the characters have been growing more and more interesting. It seems that once again, he has been able to create characters that are perfectly human. The way that the show manages to raise issues that are relevant, but in a futuristic setting (legalization of drugs anyone?) Also the purely human issues. The husband and wife struggling to cling together when their world is falling apart. The girl who has lost her best friend, but still tries to follow the dreams. Lacy is one character I am very interested to follow. I feel she has the potential to get much more interesting. What this show is all about, is human interactions, and it is doing amazingly at that. This episode is probably the best to date in my opinion, and they just seem to be getting better and better.moreless
With no understanding of what the other reviewers are watching in the same timeslot as I, this archetype sets out to speaks his mind.
Simply amazing. To those who cry a lack of development, I feel I must say (with no hope or agenda mind you) that as a student of film, literally, I find this to be the peak of the production team, screenwriting team, and producer (Ronald D Moore)'s career. A truly amazing progression, blow by blow of how characters on screen, and to a much deeper and more disturbing extent people - just like us - can break apart, held together by the most frail of family ties, barely protected by the birds of a feather, with all this serving as a breathtakingly dark precursor to the events we all know are coming, in half a century's time. Whilst this is part review of the show, and part review of the episode, it feels one and the same, the story being what it is - a serialised drama, written the RIGHT way. To all of those to fail and flail to see development of character, look again - it's the decay that you really should be watching for.moreless
Disappointed again. If this show doesn't get its act together, viewers will abandon it.
I was hoping that this week's episode would be better than the disappointing "Reins of a Waterfall". Unfortunately, I was letdown again because, as the previous reviewer pointed out, nothing happened. There was no character development, none of plots, subplots went anymore. It's really boring to wait, wait, wait for something to happen and nothing happens. By the way, what kind of 'cliffhanger' was that? How is that boring ending going to hook anyone into watching next week?
Zoe did nothing this episode. I don't understand why that tech guy has a thing for a tall robot. The dialogue might work if he was talking to Zoe, but he's talking to a walking tin can. Then the scene ends with the ridiculous Cylon dancing. I was speechless.
The Lucy scenes, Sister Clarice scenes, and grandma scenes were all boring fillers. Nothing happened in any of them. Joseph ordering Sam to kill Amanda, then changing his mind made no sense. Joseph was so determined to have her killed and kept rushing Sam to kill her. Then he flip-flops without reason and the whole thing was just the writers manipulating the audience. Surprise instead of character development - CHEAP.
The talkshow scenes were strange too : it's suppose to be talkshow like Leno or Letterman, so why book a guest to talk about how his daughter became a terrorist? The host is cracking jokes one minute in his monologue, then he's talking about mass murder (mixed in with his stupid jokes) the next minute with the Graystones. I hope I never see Oswalt again on this show.moreless
While this episode provides a much welcome followup to the last episode's events, it shows no character development, and in essence nothing actually happens.
After the long wait, I was expecting more.
While this episode provides a much welcome followup to the last episode's events, it shows no character development, and in essence nothing actually happens.
After the long wait, I was expecting more.
Zoe seems to have a very minimal part here, reactive to events happening to her as opposed to doing something of her own, and even of that there is very little.
On the Adama camp, even less happens.
The intriguing William storyline is no where to be seen, and the other Adama family members basically do nothing the entire episode. In essence, if the Adama family were not to be shown at all this episode, nothing would have changed in the long run.
The very little occurance that can be found here is with the Greystones, though it hardly makes up for basically just mentioning SoT and their storyline, while also only advancing it microscopically.
I suppose each and every episode cannot be filled with character defining events, and shocking cliffhangers, but it is also episodes like this one, where nothing really happens, that contributed to the downfall of Dollhouse. I am seriously hoping the next episode and the entire 1st season pick up the pace and fix this, and doesnt become a trend, because as much as I was saddened to see Dollhouse get canceled, I would be even more so if Caprica were, as a show with an enormous potential, and of course me being an insane BSG fan.moreless