SyFy blew off the last batch of Caprica episodes in a one-day marathon, which I recorded and then quickly forgot about. The reboot hadn’t interested me enough. But my wife finally insisted we watch those episodes; it took a few days, but the deed is now done. I wasn’t going to say anything here, since it feels like old news, but then yesterday Jonathan Bernstein offered up a good “just finished watching it” post, and he linked to a similar post by Seth Masket, so I better join in.
Part of the problem is that I’ve written about the series a few times, and in the process I’ve repeated myself a few times. I like what was attempted in Caprica, wasn’t always happy with the execution, and felt some possibilities were being ignored in favor of what amounts to Too Much Daniel Graystone. My favorite aspect of the show was the examination of Zoe Graystone, former human/current “first” Cylon. I was fascinated with this, and felt it was a believable beginning to the tale of the Cylons. But when the series returned, the virtual Zoe was stranded in V-world, and the business shenanigans of her father took center stage.
If “Season 1.5” (I think … I really really hate Syfy’s method of naming seasons) had run consecutively, I would have liked it more, because I found the later episodes much better than the earlier ones, to the point that the season overall was redeemed. First, the purpose of Avatar Zoe became more clear, and Alessandra Torresani continued to improve in the role … her adolescent spite, combined with her enormous power within V-world, made for some riveting family drama. Second, the expansion of original Zoe into the masses of Cylons was well-done … you could see how/why the Cylons were becoming important, and the big reveal, where we learned that in some inscrutable way, all Cylons were Zoe, was fascinating. Finally, while I never minded the talky nature of the show, when the Cylons finally kicked some serious butt in the finale, it was a lot of fun.
If I were to write an essay on this, I might focus on the scene when the Cylons martyr themselves by leaping en masse on the bomb-carrying bad guy. It redefines heroism, which I always assume suggests a conscious act … ok, oftentimes our most heroic moments come when we act before we think, but the Cylons were just following orders. But we know that Cylons are more than just machines, and while it’s hard to say whether these early models are self-aware enough to recognize the concept of sacrifice, nonetheless that self-awareness is down the road, and it makes their heroic act here poignant. Of course, it’s mostly tossed off as the end of an exciting action sequence, but like I said above, I often found the idea of Caprica better than its execution.
Should I offer up a consumer-guide piece of advice? I don’t think Caprica stands on its own … I don’t know why any non-BSG fans would want to watch it. And it never reaches the heights of Battlestar. But it’s a worthy addendum. And the final montage, “The Shape of Things to Come,” did a good job of making us wish the series had more time to expand on its promise: