Episode Reviews (10)
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By far the best post-pilot episode yet has finally delivered on the kind of texture, quality of dialogue, political commentary, and genuine surprises for which I had hoped from this series and come to rely on "Battlestar Galactica."
This episode focused on the two main sets of characters, the Graystones and particularly the Adamas, thankfully eschewing the dull subplots of Sister Clarice and Lacy. No matter how good an actress Magda Aponowicz is, I don't know if I can stand one more scene with Keon.
A major storyline was Tamra's discovery of the virtual world (V-World) in which she is trapped. In this installment, she encountered a fellow teenager who expressed how the V-World's games meant more to him, in many ways, than his own life, which he tried to avoid. Although I would have liked this psychological portrait fleshed out a bit more, I still admired these moments for the commentary they provided on how our society is increasingly dependent on living through the internet. I don't participate in the online game "Second Life" or any virtual reality stuff. Yet I recognize the teen's depiction as justifiable criticism of even the degree to which I conduct my life through the internet – investing more time in online connections with people whom there is no pressure to meet face to face – due to difficulties in and social anxiety about the real world.
I was worried that Tamra's behavior and ability to manipulate the V-World might resemble the film "The Matrix" a bit too much. However, I'll give this aspect of the show the benefit of the doubt in hopes that the writers will be imaginative enough to avoid the pitfalls of mimicking it and, thereby, being less original. Genevieve Buechner, the actress who plays Tamra, does a very good job; I didn't recognize her at all from her role on "The 4400" as Lily's biological daughter. She's convincingly conveys trepidation one moment and defensive aggression the next. I enjoyed the shock of watching this otherwise innocent and defenseless-looking teen suddenly react to indications that players she had just helped would force her to work for them by shooting them. Perhaps, though, her strut at the end of the episode was a tad over-confident and strangely sexy for her character.
The Adams family plot was well written, for the most part. I did think that Joseph's son Willie and brother Sam were a little hard on him. Why was it such a big deal that Sam had to come over to get Willie ready for school? Who wouldn't need help from one's family to get over the death of loved ones? I was shocked at the way Sam abetted Willie's school absences with the excuse that Joseph wasn't being a good enough father and was "losing" him and at how Willie so flagrantly disobeyed his father; Willie clicking his pen repeatedly against his father's wishes was a nice touch. Perhaps Sam's harshness is to be taken as a character flaw, but I get a sense that the writers imply that he's the good guy in all this. Still, however much I sympathized with Joseph's pain and found his behavior quite realistic, I also could relate to Willie being deathly embarrassed of being in public with his father. I found the way Willie violently responded to racial slurs of nearby teens overly aggressive, but understandable nonetheless; I have never been subjected to that kind of overt racism and can only imagine the pain building up from constant bullying. I suppose that explains why Sam's penchant for emphasizing Tauron identity appealed to Willie – because elements of Caprican society refused to accept him. This is the very plight many discriminated minorities face in the West and, one assumes, the world over.
I thought the funeral for Tamra and Mrs. Adams was very well acted and nicely written with lots of atmosphere conveyed by the director. I must admit to cringing every time I am reminded that tattoo-making is a celebratory part of Tauron culture because I find them gaudy. Although I wasn't as moved as I felt I maybe should have been, it could have had something to do with the knowledge that Tamra was alive, in a sense, through her avatar. It was predictable that the message from the boy who knew Tamra in the virtual world would interfere with Joseph's attempts to find closure. What I didn't expect was the fashion in which the boy barely explained his connection to Tamra, and then ran away. Yet his terrified and confused reaction was very convincing, and that made this dramatic move very effective and more satisfying than if the boy disclosed everything patiently.
The subplot involving Daniel Graystone and his attempt to keep his job as CEO of his company was easily my favorite storyline - being wonderfully handled and beautifully-written dialogue-wise. I loved the commentary on my age group's illegal activity on the internet via downloads, etcetera; I couldn't help but nod at my peers' selfish notion of expecting to have everything for free. Graystone's idea of producing hardware that can't be stolen online reminded me of how musicians and record companies are presently trying to offer deluxe editions of albums in an effort to entice consumers to buy them legally instead of illegally downloading the songs of an otherwise basic album. In this sense, his solution to the obstacles of profiting off the virtual world by selling hardware felt believable.
I especially loved how this episode exposed the selfish short-term thinking of private corporations. Being inherently profit-driven, they create a system of incentives that defeat attempts to look after the public good and that lead to exploitation. Indeed, Daniel Graystone's altruistic desire to improve conditions in the V-World by promising to stop Graystone Industries from charging access to it was greeted with plans by his company's board of directors to replace him as CEO. This oncoming coup, in turn, motivated Daniel to keep his job and power by adopting the short-sighted strategy of offering sentient cylons as a means of marketable slave labor. He even went so far as to argue that humans' tendency to anthropomorphize – to attribute human characteristics to – the cylons would add to their appeal. Given his implication that the more human the cylons seem the more popular they'll be, one wonders if he thinks this course of technological development might actually make the cylons more human. However – in all honesty – I would never have regarded the cylons as "human" in the manner we discover on Battlestar Galactica were I in Graystone's place or have thought of their ill-treatment as cruel. One could justifiably argue that this path aims to lessen human exposure to dangerous working conditions, though his presentation's framing of cylons as a profitable endeavor also implies that their use might increase unemployment. Daniel proving the cylon's subservience to him and against its very self-interest by ordering it to tear off its arm was stunning visually and disturbing due to our realization that Zoe was inside it. It made me wonder whether she felt physical pain and, if not, whether she really minded ripping her arm off, knowing it would eventually be reattached. The exploration of the theme of how corporations affect our society really excites me and I hope it will continue!
One quibble with the special effects is that the exact same exterior CGI shots are used over and over. This is fine for the Graystone residence, but the shot of Graystone Industries has the same aircraft flying over in the exact same way every time; also, the exterior scene of the Adams home is always accompanied by the faint sound of a car alarm or some siren. This takes away from the program's realism.
Nevertheless, I can't overstate how much this episode impressed me. There was not a bad bit of dialogue or boring scene. I intentionally avoided looking at who wrote this episode until I'd finished watching it twice – both live and on my VHS copy - in case that might bias my opinion; I even wrote this entire review without knowing who wrote it until this moment. So, it is with pride that I say to Kath Lingenfelter (and any other writers who might have helped) and Battlestar Galactica alumnus, director Michael Nankin, well done!
8.6 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
There is Another Sky
There is Another Sky was a perfect episode of Caprica. I really enjoyed watching this episode because there was a lot of character and series development along with great special effects, costumes, acting, and editing. The Adama's hold a ritual for those they lost in the accident while Daniel Graystone makes a bold presentation to the Board of his company and so begins the birth of the Cylons. It was interesting to hear how he envisioned their use as slave labor, amongst other things. Bill Adama has some serious anger issues to work out as he went a little crazy over some bullies. This episode had every thing you could want. It was also cool how Tamara discovered a whole new world in the Virtual World along with some unique abilities. Also cool was how she sent that kid to find her father, and when he did he ran. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
Tamara explodes into the V World in her attempts to return to reality while the Adamas practice a ritual farewell to their lost loved ones. A grevious Bill Adama looks for answers from his uncle and Graystone industries looks set for a revolution.
This episode shows us some of the rules and laws of the V world and also introduces a new element of underground activity. New Cap City features prominently and seems to be a playground for many future episodes.
This episode opens up the possibility of thousands of cylons (not just the one with Zoe in it), finding sentience, all with Tamara as the original AI template. I find it difficult to describe without spoling the episode, but suffice it say, we have been given an insight into a major player in the Caprica Universe and i cannot wait to see where this ride is going to take us.moreless
What a pity to milk down a good show
Do not get it but judging by the number of reviews here with high score, we know that not a lot of people are watching. Thank god for that.This show is just milking the cow.This is a brilliant failure and i pity the people who watch it still..may be out of desperation or something. Who cares about how cylons became to be cylons. what i hate is people are watching a melodrama which has very little to do with science fiction and are in rave about it..well those who are giving the 8 and 9 scores.Please cancel this horror which is an insult to the BSG franchisemoreless
Good.. really good.. best so far?
Totally loved that and it was unexpected. I never thought Tamara would have some significant storyline and after dissapearing, I thought.. that's quite it with her.. but no.. she is back and with amazing storyline. She is almost as special as Zoe, (and even if I like Zoe).. she just.. the whole way of little innocent girl, scared, wanting get home.. and getting in one gang with wrong people and then seeing "New Caprica" virtual reality. It was visually stunning, the different kind of color schema.. The whole way that place.. the rules, the atmosphere.. the bank.. the way she realizes that she is special and what she can do.. and that scene.. she walking alone on that street.. powerful.. Want to see more of thatmoreless
What are you? I'm awake. Who didn't get a chill from that?
At least for me, the heart of this story is what's going on with Zoe and Tamara, and I really feel like that stepped up to whole new level with this episode. Zoe looked so happy in the first part of the boardroom scene, until, well, until her father described the race of slaves he would build and made his point by ordering her to rip off her own arm. Tamara has been the scared and lost one, but not anymore. Is it any wonder the Cylon's had such a bad attitude by the time of BSG, if this is how the Human's treated them right from the start! ?moreless
"New Cap City" is the world you are in right now, reading this review.
"It's almost like figuring out the object of the game is the object of the game."
"When you die in New Cap City... you never come back"
Can you be free if you're not real?
If you think you are real, you have a long way to go down the rabbit hole.
If you know why the 'answer' to life is 42 then I think we could have some interesting discussions.
If you can see the patterns all around you, including the stories that spring up from the collective subconscious, the 12 tribes of humans, and the recent acceleration of awakening... you aren't alone.
Take a good hard look at the episodes of this series, or battlestar, carnivale, misfits...
watch waking life again
there is another sky. and if you're game... you could probably find it. how far on your hero's journey are you? need help up the ladder?moreless
*** Spoiler-free *** Disjointed arcs, potpourri virtual story, demonstrative but superficial Adama arc and interesting but rushed Graystone story
Since the poor Reins of a Waterfall when it comes to Caprica I'm on guard. Of course Gravedancing was better but there was still some disappointing elements, like the intrusive soapy drama and questionable young adults acting. This fifth installment was a mix of both.
First I can't stand the Dallas-like recaps. Nostalgy should be used to unleash creativity, not to asphyxiate it. However I definitely think it's interesting to picture the collision between two families.
Second the three arcs were awfully disjointed. Either the storyboard guy was drunk or the editor is a sleep walker. One minute you see Joseph Adama fishing with his young son in bright daylight, the next Tamara Adama trapped into the dark virtual world. Moreover she's portrayed by Genevieve Buechner and I found her performance not convincing at all.
Third the virtual arc didn't feature Zoe nor Lacy when the last is played by Magda Apanowicz, the best young actress of the three in my opinion. In fact I don't think Buechner lacks talent but the situations she's involved in are inappropriate for her age and nearly absurd. I mean if you want to pull a Trinity you get Carrie-Anne Moss ; a beautiful, talented and charismatic actress. And if you want to go all Neo on some guys you get Keanu Reeves, or the gravure model next door. As for its story I thought mixing science-fiction and film noir was original but I found the execution lacked authenticity. It's like if they gathered as many ideas as possible, specially from The Matrix, throw them into a jar and prayed for their invocation to succeed. It wasn't a complete failure but only decent entertainment and I have higher expectations.
Fourth the Adama arc was demonstrative but the stories developing in parallel made it less intense. I think they should have focused on it like in Gravedancing instead of trying to cover too many topics at the same time, or leave it for the next episode. When you hunt too many preys the risk is not to catch any. However its ending was intriguing even if I found it rushed. If they don't want to lose more viewers they really have to properly connect the arcs. Lost is a role model when it comes to the process and in its sixth season dual stories are developed and edited in a very creativity manner. Such mastery should definitely inspire its peers in the future.
Fifth and last the Graystone arc was interesting but far too short. I only remember two scenes. One involved Daniel's wife and even if her motivation speech was inspiring their scene was just misplaced between the two other arcs. In fact he had to deal with what he said on the talk show about his first major invention, the Holoband. The Cylon was also featured and it actually reminded me of the RoboCop film series. Daniel's speech was engrossing but nothing Isaac Asimov didn't write decades ago. However if you're new to topics like artificial intelligence and morality then you should be fascinated by his scene. Still I didn't like how it ended because I think what happened just ruined it.
To sum things up there were some pros and cons so it was watchable but not memorable. Considering it's already the fifth episode I worry that the whole season will receive the same treatment. It's a pity because Caprica has potential and some of the topics covered fascinate me but there're still far too many disappointing elements. However I'm not ready to give up on it because despite its flaws there're plenty of things to appeal the audience. If I was a teenager I would probably not be so picky but for the moment I believe the show is not mature and smart enough.moreless
After two disappointing episode, this was the best episode so far in the series.
I thought the show was toast, but I really enjoyed this episode. Good pace, no filler scenes and the hour just flew by.
Of course, I loved all the scenes in New Cap City. I can imagine what Tamara must feel to exist in a place where she cannot die and has control over other avatars. I also liked them stealing of that rich old guy's avatars and then his 'money' so they can have influence in this virtual world. Very interesting.
My only compliant is about Daniel's argument about the Cylons to his board of directors, but I did like his argument for abandoning the Holobands. This new Tamara plot was unexpected, but I really enjoyed it. Well done.moreless
Finally the show is gaining momentum! These last episodes I was praying to the one true God, this show would lift off. Today it did.
Hopefully, the writers keep this pace. Gone are the tedious dialogues and the slow storytelling. This episode looks to be the start of the show I was hoping for. I knew it! Too bad for all those people who already gave up on this show. Ratings have been dropping, but hey, people, give the show another chance with this episode and I guarantee you'll tune in again next week. Tamara is trying to escape the V-world and there is real action going on to reach that goal. And Daniel Graystone introduces the U-87 to his board of directors. They agree to mass produce the nice little robots. What will that lead to? As I already said: Three, two, one...and we have lift-off!moreless