Season 1 Episode 4


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 19, 2010 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
182 votes
  • 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.)