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TV Review: Caprica Ends Run Brilliantly

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***SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of the end of Caprica, including the series finale.***

When SyFy’s critically beloved Battlestar Galactica went off the air after only four seasons, I was depressed. It was one of the best TV shows ever made, in my opinion, combining religion and politics with morality and space battles. When a prequel series was announced, called Caprica, I was elated. Set 58 years prior, it also took a lot of those same elements (except space battles), and leaned heavily on family and terrorism. It was brilliant, a worthy addition to the Galactica universe, but also its own thing entirely. Then came news of its cancellation, and depression has set in again.

Why was it canceled? The popular opinion is that it was too cerebral. People missed the space battles. AMC, you want to pick this one up? I promise you, I will watch, and so will many other people. I can’t guarantee you any solid numbers, but the show would probably fit better with AMC’s lineup than SyFy’s.

Last night marked the premiere on SyFy of the final five (Ha! Final Five!) episodes of Caprica. They were already released on DVD. Expecting unanswered cliffhangers and incomplete arcs, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case at all. Every single one of the plots begun in the two-hour pilot last year concluded naturally, and while I would have liked to see more development on some fronts, it was a full story. A look at future scenes capped the final episode, providing some idea of where the show would have gone, but more importantly, some events that came out of this year’s plots. Despite only one season, Caprica joins my list of Best Shows Ever, made even better by no cliffhangers.

I will miss the Graystones the most: Daniel (Eric Stoltz), Amanda (Paula Malcomson), and Zoe (Alessandra Torresani). They were the heart of Caprica, and often the characters with the most screen time. They were not in Galactica, and likely will not be in any other incarnation of the universe, as their story was concluded. Two grieving parents fought for the life of their daughter, who lived on in a virtual world. Their struggle was what birthed the greatest threat to humanity ever seen, and how the Cylons came to be what they were. It was the ultimate prequel, a fantastic and unexpected setup to what the original series featured. The rising of the “skinjob” Zoe out of the bath in the future scenes was the ending of their journey, but the effects they had on the rest of the world will live on for far longer.

I loved the Graystones, but they also provided the only inconsistency with Galactica. We learned in the previous show that the Cylons had been created before this era and will be again. The “skinjobs” had only twelve models, and none of them were Zoe. Given more time, I’m sure this could have been addressed. In the next show, though the Graystones aren’t expected to be featured, I hope it is dealt with in some way. While I think the family was given enough, there is still that one unanswered question left in the universe. However, surely practically no one but the Graystones ever found out about Zoe’s new body, so if they are not part of the new story, it makes it hard to foresee the answer I seek.

Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) was the most cheated by the finale. We saw her defeat the leaders at the STO camp and take control of their Cylon army in the previous episode, but she did not appear in the finale until the future scenes, when it was shown that she became the new Mother to the STO. Sure, that was perfect, fitting the plot, but I would have expected, if the show hadn’t taken time for the future stuff, a scene where Lacy and the Cylons take down Mother and her minions. Oh, well. Perhaps on the DVD.

I like that Sister Clarice (Polly Walker) lost her organization but lives to fight another day. In future spin-offs, I would really like to see what happened to Clarice, after she became preacher-to-the-toasters. Clarice was truly the Big Bad of the series, though that was not apparent at first. Her fanatical beliefs were outdone by her oversize ego. She should have perished with her followers, but she didn’t, because her will to survive is too strong. There are few characters on television played with such a mix of warring, and often hidden, agendas, and Walker was one of the best elements in an amazing show.

The Tauron story concluded nicely, with the assassination of the Guatrau (Jorge Montesi) by Joseph (Esai Morales) and Sam (Sasha Roiz) Adama. It was almost a plot written into a corner, where the Adams faced certain death, or at least, having to flee the planet Caprica, which we know to be the homeworld of young Bill Adama, Joseph’s son. Joseph had been anything but heroic yet in the series, and given Bill’s later disagreements with the man, as told in Galactica, it wasn’t surprising. What this plot twist sets up is a Joseph far more involved in the gang wars of his homeworld, though hopefully with a less villainous syndicate boss. Joseph always walked a fine line between noble and patsy; this development makes that balance even more complicated.

Many people were surely shocked at the death of young William Adama (Sina Najafi) in the penultimate episode; he was widely believed to be the younger version of Commander William Adama, played by Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica. Considering the young Bill introduced in the future scenes is at least 10 years younger than Willie, this should have been something fans had already suspected, but I don’t think it was.

In October 2011, a new two-hour TV movie called Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome will air on SyFy, with the possibility of a series pickup. Nico Cortez will reprise his version of Bill Adama from the Razor flashbacks. It will feature a new cast of characters, and is set 10 years into the first Cylon war, with Adama in his 20s, so at least 20-some years after Caprica. Ensign Adama is newly assigned to Galactica. A press release proclaims: “The talented but hot-headed risk-taker soon finds himself leading a dangerous top secret mission that, if successful, will turn the tide of the decade long war in favor of the desperate fleet.” Exciting, no?

While I am excited about this newest prequel, which will attempt to add more action, something some people (not me, especially after the finale) thought Caprica was lacking, ideally, I want to see Lacy Rand return, and possibly Sister Clarice. I also want Esai Morales to reprise his role, obviously with aging makeup, as well as other members of his family. I love the actress who played Lacy, but she’s probably too young, even with a makeup job. None of this will happen in the pilot, but if the series is picked up, I surely hope it will pay homage to Caprica, as well as being its own thing.

Until then, so say we all.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • http://mariefromromania.blogspot.com/ Kate

    I give you a lot of credit. I couldn’t get through the series although I gave it a gallant try, being the BSG obsessive that I am.

  • alan

    I also think it was a great ending for a far to short lived show, but Im I the only one that saw she came out of the bath as a robot that morphed to image of her human looking self, she was not a true skin job but we may have saw her as she always saw herself or it was an holographic image put over the robot that first came up for air. Even the computer schematic showed her as a more human looking robot but a robot at the core. Skin jobs looked human in every way down to the microscopic level. She was a rough draft of the shape of things to come.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    Ah, good point, Alan! I honestly didn’t think of that. In Galactica, we never saw a skinjob get made, just reawaken in a bath. You are probably onto something with your rough draft theory.

  • Aanthony

    yeah !!!!!!!!! FINALLY i have closure on how and why the Cylons came about

  • Nick Zales

    Caprica was not “too cerebral.” It was incredibly slow moving, hard to understand and often just downright boring. It was hard to watch. I wanted to like it like BSG, but it was never in BSG’s leauge until the last few episodes.

  • http://www.drunkrockers.com joe

    this was a crap review, spreed over 3 pages so you could get a few more ad impressions. this show never lived up to what it could have been. you failed to bring up anything about the hack writing and failed plot points. SyFy thought it was going to get “Law and Order in Space with robots” but it got something more akin to “homeboys in space” and that why they dumped it in the trash. in fact now that i think of if it this looks like a “review” to just suck up to SyFy. if you dont like what i have to say sorry.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    Actually, I don’t choose to spread the review over several pages. If you go to my blog, you will see it all on one page. That is a site formatting decision, which I fully support because I think makes it easier for people to digest long articles.

    As to your criticism of my review, I respectfully disagree. The writing was brilliant and tight, and I thought every bit of the plot worked. One of the best developed shows of the past few years. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I would be interested in specifics of your claims, as having watched the whole show, I just don’t see it.

  • http://krishnakumars.wordpress.com K

    I found the Graystone family arc to be the least interesting and shoddiest written arc of the lot. It lacked the narrative depth that was visible in the Adama or the STO arcs. It is sad that they chose to discontinue the series. I would have loved to see more of the transition to a Cylon-dependent society and the Cylon church which was shown only in glimpses in the future scenes.

  • Jake

    If everything was summed up so well, maybe you can tell me wth happened to Tamara??

  • http://andrewsongs.com Andrew

    I enjoyed the series, felt it started slow but gained a lot of momentum, and was very sad to see it end just as it was finally becoming more epic.

    Though I generally really liked the the wrap up, two things bothered my sensibilities.

    1. How did Clarice get away? She was not being arrested after it was certainly known that she was responsible for the much of the terrorism.

    2. Chloe was disgusted with Clarice at the end. Why was she sitting at her sermon smiling in consent? Clarice had effectively murdered her, her boyfriend and caused her family a lot of problems.

    Other than that, I found the story to be compelling and are sorry not to see it develop further with a lot more epic cylon scenes.