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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

‘Caprica’ blogging: “There Is Another Sky”

(previous: “Gravedancing”)

(lots of spoilers! assumes you’ve seen the episode!)
Something really awful is going to happen to Willy Adama, or near Willy Adama, isn’t it? I mean, that’s what has to happen, doesn’t it, in order for this kid to turn into the man we saw captaining the Galactica? Uncle Sam is going to be the cause — maybe not even deliberately or consciously — of some huge trauma for Willy, I suspect. Or maybe Caprica will turn out to be even more unexpected than that, and the Bill Adama we already know will be the result of even more complicated and interconnected factors than we can even imagine right now.

Surely the deep and profound bigotry toward Taurons will be entwined through it all. Wow: a group of teenagers has no qualms at all about picking on an adult like Joseph Adama? That shows a level of racism (ethnicism?) that’s more like the Jim Crow-era American South than anything like the more subtle kinds of prejudice we see today. (Bet they weren’t expecting the kid to fight back like that, though!)

The ceremony for Joseph’s wife and daughter was very moving, I thought, and the reverence and meaning for Taurons in their tattoos was beautifully depicted without a single word of explanation.

One thing I really love about how incredibly well written this show is is how it doesn’t resort to that plague of science fiction and fantasy and any story set in an unfamiliar or invented world: the info dump. No clunkly blocks of awkward and unrealistic exposition here! Like with the slow reveal about Tamara’s potential in the V-world. We discover along with her — with no one saying a word about it, everyone just reacting to what’s happening… or what’s not happening, like when Tamara doesn’t de-res — just what it is that she might be able to do there. So goes from scared to lonely to claiming her power pretty quckly, but not in an implausible way. (And we’re seeing that slow reveal over slightly larger scales, too: Last epsiode, there was no more than a casual reference to New Cap City, and here is the game in all its full-grown seedy glory. Nice.) It’s the perfect culmination of the episode that she catches on that she could rule New Cap City.

Am I alone in being reminded of that boardroom scene in Robocop by Daniel’s presentation of the Cylon to his board? Of course, it ends without bloodshed… at least for the moment, anyway. Daniel wins, but he’s setting up the destruction of most of humanity and all of its civilization and culture.

I also was inevitably reminded, by Daniel’s argument in favor of the Cylons, of the orca Tilikum who killed one of his jailers last week at SeaWorld: “It won’t have rights or objections or complaints”? Can Daniel really not see that an entity that he just insisted is intelligent, sentient, and feeling might have a problem with that?

But perhaps Capricans — like their descendents here on Earth — have some sort built-in cultural blindness to accepting an “Other” as likely to want the same things that they do. If they can treat other humans like shit merely because they’re from another planet and a slightly different culture, it’s hardly surprising that they mightn’t see that a constructed metal robot could conceivably resent being enslaved.

Random thought on “There Is Another Sky”:

• I can’t be the only one, either, who thought: “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the object of New Cap City is…”

(next: “Know Thy Enemy”)

(Watch full episodes and get recaps at SyFy’s official site for the show.)

MPAA: rated TV14-V

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
  • JoshDM

    I’m waiting patiently for Adama’s sister to use digital magic to fix her front tooth.

  • I liked how casual Daniel was about asking the Cylon to maim itself. “It is just a machine, it doesn’t matter.” Now I know a little more about why the Galacticans were so vehement about the “frakking toasters”.

    I hope that someone is going to apologise to it at some point for making it/her do that. Probably that nice lab assistant.

    I wonder how much control Zoe has over her actions. Could she have refused to comply? The way it is portrayed, implies she could have, but did she choose to obey out of some inkling of why her father was making the demonstration, or did she do it because it wasn’t the right time or place to reveal her true nature.

    Those kinds of questions make me keep coming back to this show.

  • JosephFM

    Actually, what New Cap City reminded me of was less The Matrix than Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon.

  • Cori Ann

    I have seen some rumor/speculation that the Willy Adama we are seeing right now is not going to survive much longer and the Bill Adama from BSG is actually a son of Joseph’s that hasn’t been born yet. Obviously there’s no evidence to back that up, and it seems like it springs from some continuity issues with Willy’s age and the name of Bill’s mother mentioned on BSG not being the same as the name of Joseph’s wife in Caprica. Either way, I am really intrigued to see how events play out to shape the Bill Adama we already know…whether Willy grows into him or not. This show just has completely wowed me so far. It is nothing like I expected it to be and I am loving it for that!

    On a separate note, I wish there was a “like” button for your little self-description tag under the Bias Meter. I love it!

  • mortadella

    Tamara speaks the last line in the episode: “I’m awake,” she says.
    Is that a Buddhist reference, I wonder? There was a story that goes like this:

    One of his students asked Buddha, “Are you the messiah?”
    “No”, answered Buddha.
    “Then are you a healer?”
    “No”, Buddha replied.
    “Then are you a teacher?” the student persisted.
    “No, I am not a teacher.”
    “Then what are you?” asked the student, exasperated.
    “I am awake”, Buddha replied

    Maybe she’ll be Zoe’s spiritual (for lack of a better word)foil.

  • Isobel

    The whole Daniel/Cylon demonstration was interesting to me. I could see why Cylons would get pretty angry (if they’re all like Zoe – I haven’t seen BSG so I don’t know) – if they basically have all human attributes other than a human body, and the human beings they are supposed to serve can’t even see that. . . It’s like a demonstration of what ‘civilised’ people have consistently done throughout history – seen another type of human and automatically assumed they are inferior (or frantically told themselves the others are inferior, in order to feel less guilty about stealing their land, whichever you prefer).

    On a related note, apparently James Marsters will be in the next episode (and others in a recurring role). Happy me!

  • RogerBW

    Catching up…

    Definitely a more solid episode than some (“The Reins of a Waterfall” left me cold).

    Surely I’m not the only person who thought “Crimson Skies” during the first scene in New Cap City.

    The whole “should AIs be treated as people” thing has of course been done to death in written SF, so it’s kind of amusing to see TV treating it as though it were some big new idea. My theory is that the generation that reads something as children has to grow up and become TV- and film-makers before it gets made into TV and films.

    Surely the fat man should be Gutman, not Cairo – I mean “Chiron”.

  • AI as intelligence was explored in ST:TNG in the episode “The Measure of a Man” too… but to my mind, Caprica’s characters and world building are so fresh, it *feels* like a new idea. i love the fact (which was touched on in BSG) of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-level world and it’s worlds within worlds within worlds too… too much science fiction — written and other media, especially older s/f — make their worlds almost flat cardboard backdrops to the idea of the story. i love that the worlds within worlds is *part* of the story.

    also, anyone else get that old-time Mac / Steve Jobs vibe from daniel’s presentation to the board?! the days when mac was going to save the world? (i mean it still might, of course, when all the PCs have gone down to a virus-y death or something…)

  • RogerBW

    bronxbee: Indeed, I’m not claiming Caprica has nothing new to offer – if I thought that I wouldn’t be watching it. It’s just mildly funny to see this particular concept being put up as something New! and Revolutionary! when quite a few of the other things in the show really are.

    Macs? I suppose. Unix for me.

  • @rogerbw: i was actually going around you to address the people who seem to think this AI exploration is all new. i was not actually addressing your attitude towards the conceit.

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