Episode Reviews (8)
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Reins of a Waterfall
Reins of a Waterfall was a really great episode of Battlestar Galactica and I really enjoyed watching this episode because there was a lot of development for the characters and the story lines are really taking shape. It was great to see Lacy learning more about what happened and piece together what is going on. I also thought it was interesting to see Zoe come up with a game plan. Adama tells his brother to make things even between him and Graystone which seemed like a drastic decision after not being able to find his daughters avatar. I liked how Zoe rescued Adama's daughter in the virtual world. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
*** Spoiler-free *** Dead boring and annoying media driven story, poor execution, disastrous writing, no Cylon, intriguing but disappointing Graystone versus Adama, brainless character psychology and questionable young adults acting
Even if Rebirth's ending was awkward because of the Graystone mother hokey speech, I was confident that Caprica's third installment would be excellent. Well I was wrong, very wrong. I'm so disappointed by Reins of a Waterfall that I worry about the upcoming episodes quality. Do they plan to mix science-fiction and soap like in Defying Gravity or something ? I mean it was a non-event and the story was dead boring. For once it was directed by one of the three show creators and I think he did a really poor job. As for the writing it was a complete disaster. It was really like watching a completely different show with a low-budget, disjointed arcs and old fashion concept.
First the Cylon was MIA and the story focused on the after speech events. The Graystone family was trashed on TV but it's one thing to try to avoid it in the real life but when you have to watch a full episode about it well it's just unbearable. I understand that their intention was to make the story intense and to test how strong the characters are but they miserably failed. Graystone 0, Adama 1. Indeed the last family was quite convincing when Daniel and his wife disappointed me. How did they survive so long in such a tainted world ? Yes because hopefully some elements were quite surprising and I wonder how some characters will react or defend themselves. From the on-going investigation to the family collision there should be plenty of elements to nourish the upcoming arcs but now I worry about the execution. But in the end the worst element was probably some characters behavior. Daniel's wife is far too emotional but his more rational profile balances their relationship. However the teacher's game was just too obvious when her approach was far more subtle in Rebirth. I want some heavy and smart character development and not a few breadcrumbs to feed viewers that are not demanding.
Beside the terrible media part some characters also visited the virtual universe. In my pilot review I already mentionned that I didn't like the club and things got worse. One performer's acting was quite bad and I was also disappointed by Alessandra Torresani. They'll really have to take things to a whole new level to compete with what we have been accustomed to with shows like Dexter and Lost. Even Smallville's performers were better in the first seasons because there were plenty of pros to cover the cons. It's probably the issue with young actors and actresses, they look all pretty but when it comes to acting you get questionable performances. I know it's a harsh comment and that they deserve respect but I'm just puzzled by how things turned. They just weren't able to put the pieces together. What happened ?
I could spend hours listing the problems I noticed, from the bad lighting to the sharp editing, but I prefer to just forget about it and hope the next episode will be better. The pilot and Rebirth proved Caprica has an overwhelming potential and it's definitely a strong argument to not give up on it because of one poor episode. I could watch it again to better understand what went wrong but I don't want to waste my time. So if you have something more important to do my advice is just to read a quick recap and skip it ! Now I almost regret my spoiler-free policy. Laughing out loud is the only thing I'm left with, and a pencil to scratch the surface of Kaprika.moreless
I am confused (spoilers for this and Battlestar Galactica, by the way)
I was disappointed by the finale of Galactica. I mean, what a cop out, right? It's all been God's plan from the beginning because technology is a sin and we should all be humping cavemen. Either it is a surprisingly conservative view from a show that scared conservatives away by sheer depth of concept or it is a rather poorly thought out apolitical tone.
So when Caprica was announced I couldn't care less. Seriously. What's the point? I already know how all the characters end up (building up to intergalactic apocalypse kind of does that to you), I already know it's all God's plan to deprive us of iPods and Caprica's main purpose in the story was always to be nuked to ashes, so how interesting could it be to have an entire show set there?
And, as the final season of BSG, Caprica is a mixed bag. The ironic perspective on a largely catholic take on monotheism being treated like we treat islam is laid even thicker here, with all the subtlety of a planet-wiping nuclear cylon attack. The ongoing arc about the investigation of the terrorist attack is slow and ultimately pointless, as characters are missing key facts the audience has and the relationship stuff is either shallow or irrelevant.
But then, it's a show about a teenage girl with delusions of grandeur trapped in the body of a giant robot.
Only whenever you start enjoying that, the whole warped Hollywood take on Frankenstein kicks in and the show becomes a cliché again. It swings like a pendulum. For every interesting notion there is a trite aspect or an inconsistent characterization. Yes, some of the Galactica brilliance is still there, but only in the same way it was there in the final two seasons of BSG. And that, I'm afraid, is not a compliment.
So yeah, I'm watching now. And yeah, I'm not so bored or annoyed that I'm not willing to follow, but I'm spoiled. I know these guys pulled off something very tough in the early goings of BSG, and watching them wander around trying to reconnect with that without quite getting it right is disappointing, even if what they actually do is of high quality.
Also, quick tip for setting up sci-fi universes: once you've set up that an actual God exists in your story, it becomes remarkably hard to build up suspense. So don't do it.moreless
Caprica's insight into human and political drama is declining in what I assume is a bastardization of Michael Angeli's writing and a failure by Ronald D. Moore, as director, to ensure new head writer Jane Espenson doesn't tarnish the show he created.
Episode ruined by what I imagine are Jane Espenson's add-ons.
The main story involving Joseph Adama and the two Graystone parents was very good. Maybe an 8.5.
However, so many things were poorly written, acted and cliche.
1. The talk show host is still a terrible idea and poorly acted by Patton Oswalt, who can't act!
2. Lacy's scenes at school with the kids harassing her were uninteresting. The boy who looked at her funny is a terrible actor! The scene in which she pinned him down and threatened to beat him up was ridiculous and uninteresting.
3. Sister Clarice continues to bore me, and using that Robotech-style voice for the ultra bad guy was cheesy. This seems a cheap way to avoid her character being blamed for anything. It's like they do on "Lost" by having some hierarchy of greater and greater "evil" as you go up the totem pole, so that when you explore a seemingly bad character, you find out they weren't that responsible, but that someone more important and more "evil" was influencing their actions.
It's poor writing because it's a moral cop-out. You don't have to go dark enough and examine real issues because the suspected character didn't actually do it. I feel they're doing that with Zoe. Instead of examining why a terrorist would do this through Ben (who is acted poorly as well!), they just avoid the issue because Zoe never intended to kill anyone. I'm not defending blowing up civilians, but I am saying that they should explore the mindset and potential political reasons that might make someone so angry. It's the same reason why we should examine why US soldiers committed atrocities in Vietnam (Mai Lai) or Iraq (Haditha) or the phenomenon of going Columbine. By the way, years ago there was a great documentary by Frontline called "Killer at Thurston High" that showed how much in pain the kid who shot his mother and schoolmates was.
4. I really liked the bald FBI-type guy, especially in the very good pilot, but here he's not interesting. And his female partner is cliche.
5. The scenes with William Adama hanging around the mafia guys was boring, as was the gay married couple scene. Just nothing to it.
6. Luciana Carro is not a very good actress and she shouldn't have been cast.
The good stuff again involved the Adama parents. It was kinda neat seeing Zoe pressure Lacy to help her, but it felt a bit uninteresting, dialogue-wise. I really liked the idea of Zoe implying that Adama's daughter was some kind of avatar her dad had sex with; very creepy. I really liked the scene between the judge and Adama. I loved the ending in which Adama shocked the heck out of me in wanting the female medical doctor Graystone killed.
I know Michael Angeli is an amazing writer and so is Ronald D. Moore, which makes me heavily suspect that Angeli's script was severely altered and Moore didn't bother to rewrite it. Espenson is ruining this show fast! And to be fair, Ron Moore didn't cast this thing very well or make very good artistic decisions.
7.7 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
It was slow and boring this week.
Agree with the previous reviewer that Patton Oswalt is a very bad addition to the show. I am dreading Graystone appearing his character's talk-show. Cringe.
The premise involving Zoe's avatar, Tamara's avatar still doesn't make sense. Show needs more action. There is too much talking about what happened, what will happen, without much actually happening. Also, none of the elements have much connection to the main plot : Sam telling William to skip school, Joseph buying off judges, William being told to be proud of this heritage, those scenes with the cop, that lady cop and their supervisor. Fleshing out the characters and the universe is fine, but they have to be connected to the main storyline.
Not much else to say because not much happened this episode...
Oh, why was Zoe's avatar eating a sandwich? Why make Sam gay It doesn't add anything to the character.moreless
Love the philosophical questions and the intriguing ending but..
That one was better. First of all.. The ending (weird, as it was the last thing but). I really liked it. I am not sure was it because it promises some action and great story development or because I am starting to have enough of Amanda. That thing she did on that memorial service was.. I would have loved some story development and some way it did it, but it should have been more major.
I loved the whole thing with Zoe and that Adama's daughter on virtual world, letting her go. Will they ever find it? I mean.. the whole virtual world. Zoe and the other girl. That is just intriguing. What they are.. If they are.. They should have more depth on their stories.moreless
Its promising (spoilers on this ep)
I thought this episode was pretty good, i feel its starting to take shape, from Zoe's plan to get to Geminon(sp) to Tamzine escaping the program walls and of course the ending of Adama asking Sam to take care of Amanda Graystone was a bit of a shock.
I understand hes greiving for the loss of his wife and daughter but im hoping to see more information on why hes asked Sam to kill her, beginning to see a more sinister side to Joseph.
I think people are being alittle too harsh on this Talkshow host, we barely saw any of him in this episode, just a few clips on the tv, i can imagine theyll be more of him next episode as it looks like Daniel Graystone is going to go on the show to try and clear his name. But it doesnt seem that hes going to play some major role so i dont understand the harsh criticism.
Im not sure what is going to happen on the Sister Claryce front but we'll see more of that soon.
Caprica is starting to take shape and we're experiencing the life-styles and society there it just feels its lacking a tad bit of soul but im sure that will grow in time.
Looking forward to the next episode... :)moreless
A fascinating study, if marred by a few holes.
Caprica continues to redefine how a sci-fi series can be made. In keeping eith the producers' comments, what we have here is no "traditional" sci-fi drama, with episodic tales belended with intertwined story arcs. No, Caprica really *is* a science fiction soap opera, the segments aired to date blending seamlessly into one smooth, expanding arc. If you want proof of this - do what I've done: take all for segments (the 2 parts of the pilot and the two episodes aired so far) and remove the recaps, opening titles and end titles. What you are left with is pretty much a 3-hour movie, each segment dovetailing neatly into the next. This approach has instantly made Caprica compelling on a number of levels: most notably in the fact that it relaxes the pace at which the story can be told. Without the need for episodic stories topped and tailed to fit a 42-minute broadcast time (sans commercials), Caprica is free to use each segment to explore the events and characters we've been introduced to to date without the usual baggage associated with the episodic approach. There is no need for large-scale exposition or the cliche of the flashback to explain things or bring significant past events to our attention. Things don't have to be hurried along in order to tell the "story of the week".
Instead the writers are free to explore the charcters naturally, focusing firmly but gently on their actions and reactions "in the now", so to speak. In this, while Caprica dispenses with the cinema verite style that marked nuBSG, it neverthless achieves a realism that matches that of its predecessor - and yet may surpass it. Watching Caprica is not so much a case of watching some fictional drama - it is an exercise in being drawn into people's lives and being invited to observe them and understand them. In the case of the "adult" characters - the Adamas and the Graystones - this intimate, gentle peeling away of layers draws us into caring about these people, feeling their respective loss, recognising their strengths and flaws in a way that almost mirrors getting to know a new aquaintance in real life. In short, it helps these characters to step out from the screen as real, rounded, individuals, complete with everything that can both attract us towards sympathy for a person - and repell us in shock. In "Reins", Joseph Adama is the clearest example of this. During the pilot and the first espisode, we were drawn to him not just out of sympathy for the loss of his wife and daughter but because, as we witnessed his work for the Ha'la'tha and his reactions to both receiving orders and carrying them out, we saw a man of deep conviction apparently caught in a situation he resented and from which - if he could - he would gladly step away. This added depth to his vulnerability and helped draw out our sympathies towards him, much as we often want to help those around us in real life who appear trapped by circumstances beyond their ability to fully control. But in this segment, we see that far from being wholly repulsed by the Ha'la'tha's approach to things, or indeed being unable to separate himself from it, Adama is actually fully part and parcel *of* the mob. When the situation suits him, he is fully prepared to set aside his convictions and openly use ha'la'tha style thuggery to make his point - as the assault on Daniel Graystone demonstrates. Then, at the end of the episode, he demonstrates that he is prepared to go further - casually ordering the murder of Amanda Graystone. It is very possible that, without a lot of backstory and exposition, such acts on the part of a sympathetic character so early on in a series would damage his standing in the eyes of the viewer; he would be diminished, becoming someone we could never fully trust again. But, set in the context of what we've seen unfold over the previous segments, through Sam's discussions with the young William, the byplay betwen Sam and Joseph, while the order to kill Amanda Graystone comes as an unexpected shock - we have everything very naturally laid out before us as to why Adama who give so drastic an order. We see and understand his motivations we may even *identify* with them - and thus our sympathy with and for him is preserved. So to do the other adult characters - for the most part - draw us in. Sam, in particular, reveals that his conscience is at least equal to that of his brother; inded, I'm laying odds that it is Sam who gets Joseph to turn away from his desire to "balance" matters in the number of deaths he and Daniel Graystone have suffered. Even so, despite the powerful performances from the likes of Malcomson, Morales and Schultz, the story does stumble in places, and extraneous background information is introduced that we simply *don't need*. The whole thing with Ben Stark having been questioned by one of the "Homeland Security" agents looking into the STO is simply....irrelevant. It doesn't add to our knowledge of Stark himself, nor does it play any part in our understanding the boy's motivations. It is simply a means of justifying the act of "leaking" information about the investigation to the media. And frankly, the justification isn't needed. So what if "homeland security" leak information for the sake of achieving their end? We *all* tend to expect such agencies to act this way anyway. It's the nature of the beast. Does the vignette of the Stark interview work to increase our identification with the agents? No; so again, it is extraneous to the story. Similarly, while the fact that Sister Clarice appears to be working for a faction of STO that is far more sinister than Zoe and Lacy (and quite probably the majority of younger followers) had been lead to believe really comes as no surprise. Nor will it come as much of a surprise if it transpires that Clarice seduced Ben Stark in an effort to get to Zoe - and inadvertently lead to Stark blowing up the meglev...
No, what is a let down is the clumsy "confessional" reveal that Clarice is following a more nefarious agenda. Again, we simply didn't need this ramming home so abruptly or in such a contrived manner. The foundations had already been laid - and it would have perhaps been more beneficial to underline her role somewhat more subtlely than a scripted equivalent of a slap upside the head. These complaints aside, "Reins" again demonstrates that Caprica has the potential to become a truly captivating story. The wealth of information that has already been mined is phenomenal - up to and including Tamara Adama's re-emergence as an Avatar, which beggars a whole slew of questions in its own right - one just hopes that both the exectives at SyFy realise what they have on their hands, and refrain from stirring the pot in the interests of "viewability"....moreless