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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

a few thoughts on ‘Caprica’: “False Labor”

It was hard to work up the enthusiam to write about this episode of Caprica, knowing that we won’t get any more till next year, and then only the dregs of what’s already been shot. The show is cancelled. If truly so few people were watching that Syfy had to remove it immediately from its schedule, how will this situation be better next year? Why not just give us the episodes now, even if it means airing them in the middle of the night (as Michael Hinman at Airlock Alpha pleaded) so we pathetic few fans can DVR them? Why wait?

I want to say that I understand why no one was watching Caprica: it’s a tough, complicated downer of a drama about people who are merely trying to figure out how to cope with a tough, complicated world in which so few things seem to go in ways people want. The opening sequence, with all those views of Caprica City in night and day, people tossing and turning in their sleep or being comforted by someone so they don’t, the radio with news of everything from bad weather to troop movements… this is not escapist.
Sam stuck to the TV watching the news as “people like us are getting crushed under tanks because fat colonies like this one are propping up the crooks that run that place.” The dead soldier in the “Grace by Graystone” commercial. “Funny how God’s will always seems to serve your needs,” one of Clarice’s wives telling her. These are not escapist things.

But so what? Must everything on our TVs be escapist? How can it be that there are so few people who are interested in entertainment that is relevant and might actually make one reconsider the real world by looking at it from a slightly oblique angle?

I simply refuse to believe that everyone wants to be that disengaged from reality. I mean actually reality, not the “reality” that has become a euphemism for game show. How does at least a significant minority of viewers not find it enthralling to watch people like Joseph and Amanda and Lacy and Zoe and Daniel try to find ways to cope with grief and pain and disappointment? Aren’t there more people for whom sad is happy?

*sigh*

So, Joseph is still working as a lawyer. (I thought he was full-time gangster.) And I’m not sure if Joseph’s mother pushing Evelyn at Joseph — not that she needed much of a push — is a good thing, or some sort of manipulation on Mom’s part, for reasons we now may never discover.

Will Sam be considered another kind of terrorist by the GDD, for sending guns to Tauron? He’s on the outs with his Tauron bosses, with his husband, why not add to the list? We’ll probably never see how far ths could go, either.

Daniel is learning that the v-world cannot substitute for the real world… or at least v-people can’t replace the real thing. At least sometimes. What a fascinating line Caprica had been walking, not outright embracing the v-world idea nor rejecting it. It’s a logical and far more nuanced extrapolation of the issues Star Trek: The Next Generation began exploring with the holodeck. And now that’s basically over, too. (“All the flavor and none of the calories” when you eat in v-world? That’s something worth exploring. Forget the sex clubs and the suicide games: imagine the restaurants in New Cap City!)

Cylons are mob enforcers. Damn.

Will we ever learn exactly what Amanda lied to Marbeth about? About being jealous? About not wanting children and Zoe being an accident? That was a great scene, I thought while I was watching it, even though I wondered how much of it was truly revealing about Amanda. I think some of it must be true… but which parts?

*sigh*



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