Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Caprica Recap: God’s Gonna Trouble the Water

As if Daniel’s impending showdown with Sarno, the Global Defense Department’s freshly signed search warrant, and Joseph Adama’s bloodlust for the head of Amanda Graystone weren’t enough to contend with, someone just bombed a holoband café in downtown Caprica. GDD Agent Jordan Duram thinks the STO is responsible and wants to use it as an excuse to raid the Athena School to track down “the Gemenese scum that are luring good Caprican kids into a killer cult,” as his classist colleague puts it.

Ah, young love in all its fumbling glory. Lacey tries to get Keon’s attention during the raid, but his backpack’s full of the dynamite sticks he rescued from his locker, and he can’t be bothered. Pissed about being ignored, Lacy tracks Keon down at the bike shop where he works. It’s Lacy’s kinda joint: “My mom does repairs, like, for a living.” The tomboy bravado, the mechanical know-how — we so had the wrong John Hughes movie. Lacy is definitely Watts. She fixes a bike and he promises to hook her up with someone who can help her get to Gemenon. Meaningful hand-touching ensues.

Ah, young love in all its fumbling glory. Lacey tries to get Keon’s attention during the raid, but his backpack’s full of the dynamite sticks he rescued from his locker, and he can’t be bothered. Pissed about being ignored, Lacy tracks Keon down at the bike shop where he works. It’s Lacy’s kinda joint: “My mom does repairs, like, for a living.” The tomboy bravado, the mechanical know-how — we so had the wrong John Hughes movie. Lacy is definitely Watts. She fixes a bike and he promises to hook her up with someone who can help her get to Gemenon. Meaningful hand-touching ensues.

Pryah, the PR flack (played Luciana Carro, whom BSG viewers will recognize as stim-guzzling Viper pilot Kat), hands Daniel a script for his appearance on Sarno and insists he paint Zoe as a troubled teen. Even in the postapocalyptic universe of BSG, public perception and media manipulation figured heavily into any power play and we like seeing it dissected here, too.

Meanwhile, Amanda is livid at the idea of scapegoating her dead daughter, and stomps around Castle Graystone like a forties screen siren in a belted pantsuit and attendant cigarette. The way the Graystones bicker and tease and lash out and flirt — they’re starting to feel like real people, or at least characters you could invest in.

Back at the Adama’s, Willie’s grandmother Ruth finally comes out from behind the kitchen counter to do her best Livia Soprano. She sits Willie down for a heart-to-heart. At first it seems clear where this after-school special is going. Wise words from his immigrant grandma will shape him into the upstanding battlestar commander we know he’ll become. But instead of chastising Willie for skipping school, she encourages him to manipulate Daniel Graystone in order to get a gig as an errand boy for the Buccaneers. “You think you only get things from friends? You get the best things from enemies ... because they're scared of you.” Ruth, we hardly knew ye!

Of course, Caprica can only restrain itself for so long. The next time we see Gangster Grams, she’s talking about offing Amanda while she hacks at a chicken carcass with a meat cleaver.

Finally it’s time for the Back Talk with Sarno. We were looking forward to some cheap thrills, but the writers eschew the predictable path with BSG-worthy results. Daniel caves and calls Zoe “troubled,” which backfires, and Sarno skewers him for the cesspool that his holobands have begot. Suddenly, Amanda rushes the stage. Yikes, is it going to be Public Outburst: the Redux? No, she defends Zoe and ends up humanizing her family, dulling Sarno’s cynicism.

The interview then somehow transforms into a nuanced conversation that touches on the lawlessness of new technologies, how extremism can take root, and whether it’s possible for a society to change course. Daniel lets it slip that he created a postmortem avatar of Zoe (somewhere Clarice is licking her lips, but watch out, Sister, the GDD’s gunning for ya). Daniel also commits to pledging corporate dividends from the holobands to a charity that will help the lost children of the virtual world. It’s like the ultimate fantasy of a Daily Show guest segment.

Of course, the fact that everything we’re watching — the TV studio, the audience, the homes where Capricans are glued to their sets — will all be decimated by the Cylons that Daniel helped create keeps the whole thing from getting too self-congratulatory.

Monotheism was this episode’s whipping boy and, oh jeez, all that blasphemy warmed our cold empirical hearts. Duram tells Amanda the GDD is trying to find the person “who brainwashed [Zoe] into believing in a moral dictator called God.” Sarno describes Zoe’s belief system as “worshipping the big old destructo God in the sky.” Daniel says that into the spiritual vacuum of the virtual world “steps the STO offering this ultimate moral arbiter, it’s quite appealing — for a teenage girl especially.” Mmm, sacrilicious.

Despite all of Ruth’s machinations, Joseph’s resolve to kill Amanda is wavering. He furiously texts Sam, who posed as Sarno’s driver and has Amanda trapped in the back seat, to cancel the hit. Sam pretends he did the deed to teach his flip-flopping brother a lesson, but only ends up giving her a good scare.

After three episodes of relentless tension-building, the show defused two major story lines: Joseph’s hit on Amanda, which we negged from the get-go, and the public vilification of the Graystones (at the hands of the GDD or self-inflicted via bad PR). If the show can cycle through events that might be enough to sustain an entire season that quickly, and deftly, well, Jane Espenson, we’re sorry we ever doubted you.

More Recaps:
Television Without Pity just bumped Caprica up to its favorite show on TV for doing what sci-fi does best: critiquing current affairs, in a timeless way.
All that snappy dialogue over the use of the word "troubled" reminded PopWatch of The West Wing, and reinforced the show's preoccupation with its characters' fabricated public personae.
TV Fanatic thought Willie's Tsattie (Grandma Ruth) emerged as one of the Caprica's most interesting characters, but wondered if Agent Durham had a secret agenda.

Photo: Courtesy of SyFy