Caprica 1×02 “Rebirth”

I was putting together something to eat before I started the episode and let the menu play through. I am not impressed by the production values of this DVD. Okay, the menus are just a little extra flair, and so long as they get me to the episodes, commentaries, and deleted scenes, and those are all high quality, great. I get that. But the top menu has the opening credits theme to the show playing. Trouble is, it’s ripped from one of the episodes. You can hear the cylon eye at the end from the zoom-in to Zoe-A. I mean, come on. I have a clean copy of the theme, and I didn’t even work on the show.

WHAT THE MAMA SAW, IT WAS AGAINST THE LAW

One of the big things in this episode is Amanda discovering more of Zoe’s double-life, culminating in the big Terror-Mom scene. I’d kind of forgotten that that happened this early in the show, so when I saw the very first shot of the episode was Zoe-A’s memory of the infinity brooch, I assumed it was a case of planning ahead, foreshadowing its importance in the second half of the season as the backup copy of the avatar program. Alas, it was not to be the case, and it proved to merely be foreshadowing the end of this episode. Well, you know, whatever. I’m already way more invested in these people thanks to the later episodes, so the show’s already retroactively become better.

I was curious last week, and more so now, as to exactly what Durham found to link Ben and Zoe to the bombing, and each other. I suppose Ben isn’t too hard- he’d be the only victim with remains on every part of the train, but there’s no indication of exactly what evidence he had to join him to Zoe and Zoe to the STO. If it was just circumstantial, since Ben was the bomber and Zoe was a classmate on the same train, then you’d expect him to have come down a lot harder on Lacy, since it seems to be a matter of fact that she played hooky on the same day and almost went on the train with them, since Amanda knew about it. Apparently, there was something deeper in the investigation that joined Ben and Zoe to STO. It wasn’t Ben’s previous pickup with bomb materials, since they won’t find the record of that for another couple episodes.

Anyway, I’m getting away from what prompted this, which is the fact that Zoe never brought Ben home to meet mom and dad. I can totally understand this. Not only was original Zoe an evil, conceited bitch who hated her parents, Ben is incredibly creepy and not the kind of guy you want to have to introduce to anyone in the age of majority. That didn’t go both ways, though, as we found with Mama Stark at the memorial. It does prompt the question of whether Druham gave her the same “Sorry, lady, you birthed a mass-murderer” talk he gave to Amanda. She seemed awfully composed, so I’m guessing not. On the other hand, she can’t have avoided the news, even if she didn’t go to the briefing for the victims’ families that Joe and Daniel met at, so she probably would’ve recognized the Monad paraphernalia for what it was. Maybe she was STO, too. Though, again, why wasn’t Durham riding her ass the way he was going after Amanda?

Speaking of the STO swag, I admire the restraint in the final edit. In the deleted scenes, we see the video Amanda was watching of Lacy recording Zoe wearing the infinity brooch in its unedited form, where Amanda would’ve seen Zoe bragging about Lacy being her first convert to the STO, talking about how God made everyone in His image, and screaming out “Look at my giant fucking Monad brooch!” Without that, it’s much more plausible that Amanda would only recall Zoe wearing it once she got the real thing from Mrs. Stark, and then flip out. Trust me, I know from denial, and you can willfully ignore all sorts of unsettling little details like wearing cult symbols, but only so long as the subject of your denial doesn’t go out and draw attention to it. That just ruins the whole “You pretend you’re not doing anything upsetting, and I’ll pretend you’re not terrible at hiding it, and we’ll both be happy” dynamic.

HE WAS A MEAN INDIVIDUAL, HE HAD A HEART LIKE A BONE, HE WAS A NATURALLY CRAZY MAN AND BETTER OFF LEFT ALONE

Back in the Adama household, Joe is having trouble adjusting, trying to pick up Willie from Tamara’s school. Apparently, more than once. Luckily, that just gives Sam more time to corrupt the little bastard, with helpful advice like “If you run, you’re guilty of two things, the thing and the running away from the thing,” “Give in on the little things, and they’ll miss the big things,” and, my personal favorite, “If someone tries to make you feel guilty, you just start talking about whatever makes them feel guilty,” which Willie used to great effect on his own father, complete with a little shit-eating grin during a heartfelt father-son hug.

It’s much easier to be down on Willie now that I know he won’t become Bill Adama. I don’t think Bill would resort to that kind of sneaky psychological manipulation. Bill was far more direct with his psychological manipulation (“I could smell her, like a dog in heat. Smelled so good”). Though I am probably going to remember that bit about asking to pay the fine. That’s the sort of thing you just don’t learn leading the exemplary (read: boring) life I have. Now I know what to do if I ever run into that son of a bitch again and can’t keep myself from beating the pretty off his face with my bare goddamn hands. Don’t run away, ask about the fine. Easy.

There’s also some good Adama in the deleted scenes, including a bit where Joe throws away Willie’s Graystone PSP and tells him to read a book, saying “He’ll thank me when he’s older.” And Bill Adama did love his books, having so many that they wouldn’t even stay on the shelves, and his quarters were filled with loose stacks of novels. A man after my own heart, who apparently benefited from his parents explicitly preventing every personality flaw possessed by his namesake. In the same scene, Ruth advises Joe to beat the crap out of Graystone, despite not knowing who Joe is upset with or why. I’m wondering if Grandma didn’t get that name because she is, in fact, ruthless.

“GOD DIDN’T CREATE THE CYLONS, MAN DID. AND I’M PRETTY SURE WE DIDN’T INCLUDE A SOUL IN THE PROGRAMMING.”

There’s some clumsy dramatic irony in Zoe-A’s flashback to first being introduced to Ben (in a V-World temple to God which… well, let’s call it a fixer-upper) being told by original Zoe that, “You’re a gift, and everyone will know it soon.” Given the schizophrenic way this show developed, I honestly can’t tell if that was intended to be an ironic comment on her being the first of the race that would bring about the end of humanity, or a double-ironic reverse because she was going to try to stop the STO later on. At least with the sly reference to Amanda’s previous institutionalization, I know that that was intentional. Also on the foreshadowing front, Philomon could’ve very easily been killed when Zoe was freaking out in the truck and he tried to talk her down, which is pretty much exactly what happened to him in the end. Odd that he was much more sympathetic to the robot when it was just a really smart robot, and couldn’t get away from it fast enough once he found out it was also his girlfriend. I mean, he didn’t even stop fetishizing the U-87 when it bit off his buddy’s finger. His buddy was an asshole, though. “It’s not a person, it’s a tool.” “She likes it rough, she told me.” Jackass, even if you are “only” risking the bosses favorite robot.

Caprica killed or wounded a lot of kids, didn’t it? Maybe it got away with it because so many of them were jerks.

There’s a deleted scene where Zoe-A talks to Serge. I actually thought that was just a little logic patch that they inserted into Serge’s twitter to explain how Lacy kept sneaking into the house, but, nope, they actually filmed him finding out that Zoe was in the robot. I’m not sure if that scene was before or after the one where Daniel tells Amanda that Serge has a crush on the U-87… could this be our first robo-mance? Are these star-crossed lovers going to foreshadow the profound weirdness that is Tigh and Caprica Six? Or the just plain horridness of Cavil and Tough Six? Oh, God, I just thought about that scene three seasons before I actually need to deal with it.

There’s fun bit of business where Zoe-A picks up a miniature giraffe extremely gently, sits on the bed, breaks it, and then puts down the giraffe, still gently. And then she sits on the bed again, not having learned her lesson, though we only see that in Zoe-vision, so it’s hard to tell if she broke it more. I’m not sure if it means anything, but there was something familiar when Zoe-A told Lacy to “Take a good look” at her robot body. I feel like that line’s used elsewhere, like a “Would you kindly” sort of thing. Zoe worrying if the robot looks like a boy is also a good beat, especially on the rewatch. By the time “Here Be Dragons” comes around, we will find nothing at all unusual in a computer duplicate of a dead teenager’s mind taking over a combat robot which proceeds to beat her principle’s college-aged co-husband to death with its own arm, so it’s nice to have the reminder that all of this is extremely weird.

“HELP ME LISA! I HAVE SERIOUS MENTAL PROBLEMS!”

Oh, speaking of Nestor, the deleted scenes confirm he was, in fact, deliberately trying to seduce Lacy on orders from Clarice, who we now know for certain was using Homer Simpson’s winning strategy of telling the truth in a sarcastic tone of voice so you aren’t technically lying when her spouses gave her grief about it. I wonder what her “track record” was, anyway.

Which brings us to the list of miscellanea, mostly related to production design and world-building. Don’t complain, I actually made an effort to be organized this time instead of just throwing up everything more-or-less as it came up in the show. If you want more editing, start paying me.

The crate the U-87 was shipped in had the same vertical-and-diagonal paneling that was frequently seen in the interior walls of Battlestars. Maybe it’s a decorative thing related to the eight-sided paper.

I understand it would’ve been a pain to shoot and keep clean, but I wish they’d been able to chrome the metal bits on the real-world U-87 when the prop shows up in a few weeks. I just kept noticing this episode how shiny and metallic the CGI one was in shots where it would’ve been played by its physical counterpart.

I caught that the Willow kids were watching the nuclear power cartoon from “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” when Lacy came over for lunch, or, at least, a cartoon with the same music. I’ll have another Bear-related musing in a few episodes, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

They mention that it’s been two days since the end of (ugh) “Pilot,” yet Joe’s successfully put through the paperwork to change his and Willie’s names to “Adama” from “Adams.” He uses both names when he calls Willie’s school, and Serge refers to him as “Adama” when he tries to visit Daniel at the house (there’s a deleted scene where Daniel doesn’t recognize the name and then calls him Joe Adams once he sees him on the CCTV), so it must’ve gone through officially by now. I gotta say, Caprica must have one hell of a streamlined bureaucracy. I know someone who’s trying to change her name, and thinking you can go from deciding to do it to having everyone down to the butler-robots know about it is insane. I’m guessing there’s a lot of computerization involved in the record-keeping. That would also be something that, and I’m just throwing this out there, would make it fairly easily to plant a false war-record for a certain drunken freighter-monkey after a devastating twelve-year-long interplanetary conflict and have it percolate to everywhere it would need to be to seem real.

Just saying.

Clarice likes the hookah. Sadly, I did not spot any kids with guitars in the delightfully-named “Dive,” but we’re getting closer. Try the purple, it’s good shit.

Amanda has a “Look! We remember the themes of the parent show!” moment when, during the Terror Mom speech, she mentions that, as a parent, she created life, but then had to face what it ended up growing into. Indeed, don’t the Cylons make them all Terror Mom, in a way?

There was another deleted scene featuring home video of toddler Zoe on an “Apple Hunt,” which looked like the Caprican version of an Easter Egg hunt. I would love to know the cultural basis for this one. All I can think of is Paris and the Golden Apple. Honestly, the egg and rabbit symbolism would make far more sense on the face of it in a pagan society like the Colonies of Kobol than they do as reappropriated Christian imagery. I mean, they celebrate Solstice, for God’s sake. Let ‘em have their naughty nature-sex traditions with fertile eggs and shagging bunnies.

There’s a mention in another deleted scene of an actor coming out of the closet as a monotheist (complete with catty announcer quipping, “That’s right, he believes there’s only one god, and that it’s him!”). We see in another cut scene that the Adamas own a Graystone laptop (which wasn’t a MacBook, at least. It might’ve been an unmodified real-world PC but, frankly, there are so many gunmetal grey boxes with blue lights out there, I’d never be able to pick it out specifically).

We don’t see too much of it, but Lacy’s house… well, “modest” is probably the nicest way to put it. I wonder how her family manages to send her to what’s apparently one of the best (and, likely, most expensive) private schools in the Twelve Worlds. Or, at the very least, in the greater Caprica City metropolitan area.

Finally, just to rob some of the magic, the deleted scenes revealed that Serge is played in real life by an RC car with a three-foot-tall stick with a blue light on the end attached to the roof. I’m ruining all your illusions, I know. I’ll stop.

Caprica: Season 1.0 is available on DVD.

~ by David Gian-Cursio on January 29, 2011.