Caprica 1×08 “Ghosts in the Machine”


I don’t know if I was just feeling off when I watched this one, or it’s because there was a six-week gap between me watching this, starting to write about it, then watching it again and actually writing about it, or what, but it didn’t seem nearly as great as the first time I saw it. It might have to do with the fact that so much of it relies on tension and not knowing how Joseph and Daniel are going to react to the continued frustration of their daughters’ refusal to contact them.

Joseph, perhaps unsurprisingly given his history, has the more drastic fall. At first, exploring the V-World version of his apartment (inhabited by a shabby man with a probably-coincidental resemblance to Saul Tigh in that flashback where he was setting fire to his medals with a hooker on his bed in another Room 3), Joe absolutely freaks out when he’s pointing a gun at a thug who’s messing with him because, hey, it’s New Cap. That scene really played differently after seeing “The Dirteaters,” where we saw the last time Joe Adama held a gun, he was about ten years old and shot his own father to end his suffering, right after hearing his mother be tortured to death in the next room. It also make’s Sam’s reaction to Joe asking how to kill someone take on some additional shading (or does it? I don’t remember if little Sam had already escaped by that point. Maybe he doesn’t know exactly what happened in the end). In any event, Joe completely fails to avoid Cerberus, the transvestite MC, on his next trip to New Cap, and shows no interest in trying to answer a riddle, which I will briefly digress upon.

“As the Gods overthrew the Titans, so has Man overthrown the Gods. But when Man visits his sins upon his children, how shall he be repaid?”

This is fairly opaque in the cut, but seeing the deleted scenes and learning more about Cerberus’s patter has given me some clues. Cerberus, like certain other people of our acquaintance, is married to the Cycle of Time, reenacting the fall of the Titans and rise of the Olympians every night, but expressing the hope that one day, someone will crack the riddle, break the cycle, and something different will happen. Sadly, on purely statistical grounds, its unlikely that Cerberus managed to survive the collapse of New Cap, the Cylon Wars, 40 years of aging, the attack and the exodus to actually see his dream come true. We don’t even know if it all worked out yet, anyway. (Also, the “your-anus” pun is apparently older than human civilization)

Back to Joe in the nightclub. After being reduced to a pouting, foot-stamping mockery of himself, he gets ticked off at being called a coward, and decides to do something about it when he sees the flower and realizes Cerberus was bullshitting him about Tamara. He then does the coolest thing an Adama is going to do until Bill goes around Galactica shooting mutineers with a gun in each hand. That whole guns akimbo thing gets to be cool again when it’s done in a show that’s typically more realistic in style.

After they see that Tamara has been tagging all of New Cap with her flower (I noticed in a deleted scene that there was at least one hidden earlier in the episode), Evelyn/Emmanuelle advises Joe to give up. This whole strange relationship they have leads to some interesting questions. Not just how she orchestrated her appearance, or why she was playing New Cap in the first place, but did she ever, you know, tell Joe what she did? And even if she didn’t, did she ever give him back his money?


Then we have Zoe and Daniel. Daniel doesn’t care to wait her out, or use the carrot (but, then, what can he give her?). Granted, I get irritated when people don’t take my calls, too, but I’ve never had someone I needed as much as a dead daughter. If someone avoids me, I generally take the hint even if I don’t want to. Oddly, Daniel almost seems to be enjoying himself when he’s thinking of new ways to get a rise out of Zoe. I guess, like Sam says, you turn it into a game so you aren’t stopped by the horror of what you’re doing.

Speaking of that line, I wonder if one of the places Caprica was going was dealing with the Cylon-on-Cylon wars. That may have been the ultimate cause for the revolution. Clarice had an army of monotheist “dumb” cylons (or maybe it was another colony with a bunch of sub-sentient Cylons), and to fight them off, Daniel and Zoe had to make sentient versions that could outthink them using the Avatar program, and then the smart ones ended up being convinced by Clarice and left the Colonials worse off than the were before.

Back to the war of the wills, Daniel reveals more of himself than he means just before he sets the robot on fire (it looks like I was wrong when I guessed that it might’ve been tylium when it first aired— the can specifically said “gasoline”), when he talks about Zoe running away. “You have to make decisions like that, and sometimes you make the wrong ones and you have to keep going anyway.” All of this business with Zoe and Vergis and Amanda has Daniel swimming like a shark, afraid to drown on air if he ever slows down.

Just to close with a little more Tauron culture, when Vergis tells Amanda about Daniel having the MCP stolen, he implies that he would’ve respected him more if he’d stolen the chip and killed the scientists personally. I mean, come on, Tommy. You and Daniel are rich men. You have people for that sort of thing.