I have a theory. The success of an episode of Caprica is directly proportional to the amount of screen time given to Sam Adama. The more Sam Adama, the better the episode. “Gravedancing,” the finest episode of the season so far, was half about Sam. In “Know Thy Enemy”, which was slightly weaker that the previous week’s episode, Sam had only one scene. Episode 7 of Caprica didn’t have Sam in it at all. This should tell you something.
In “The Imperfections of Memory,” we learn that Amanda had a brother named Darius, whose death in a car accident in their youth caused her to have a mental breakdown, which seems to have been triggered again by new grief and the stress she’s been under. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, Sister Clarice is there to help her pick up the pieces. Meanwhile, Joseph is taken into New Cap City to look for Tamara, and Daniel is on the verge of figuring out exactly what’s making the MCP inside the cylon tick.
First, the good.
Amanda continues to fascinate, and this new insight into her mental history gives her character even more depth. Interesting, too, is her budding friendship with Sister Clarice. Granted, Clarice is the Bad Influence Friend with ulterior motives, but it is interesting to see the importance of female friendship portrayed; interesting and important to see that Daniel isn’t enough. Interesting, too, that Amanda’s friendship with Clarice is being alluded to as a sort of affair, as competition for her marriage. While I don’t think they’re going to go that route, though with Clarice being bisexual and in a group marriage anything is possible, there is something to the idea that there are certain things that only friendship with a woman can provide to another woman. Despite Daniel being Amanda’s perfect match and best friend, Clarice has a softness, time, and a troublemaking streak that Daniel doesn’t, which Amanda seems to need.
An exciting moment occurred between them as they smoked at Dive. As Amanda confides in Clarice, Clarice accidentally gives herself away by attempting to console Amanda with talk of the One True God and how He will help her if she gives herself over to Him. When Amanda asks “Which god?” in a drug-induced haze, Clarice is snapped back to sobriety, realizing the trouble she’s potentially gotten herself into. However, it’s difficult to know whether Amanda is asking that because she was too inebriated to connect Clarice to the STO, or whether she was asking that question pointedly, knowing exactly what Clarice’s God speech meant.
Thankfully, Esai Morales as Joseph has also been allowed to diversify a bit in this episode, which was a welcome breath of fresh air. For once, he was allowed to be funny and sarcastic, and I enjoy Joseph as the Fuddy-Duddy Dad Who’s Bad With Technology. It’s incredibly charming in this tech-savvy world, and you can easily imagine him as the guy who couldn’t set his VCR or set up his own voicemail on his phone. His interaction with Heracles, the boy who told him about Tamara being in New Cap City, is great, too. They both give great banter, and the moment when Heracles sarcastically “teaches Joseph to fly” was priceless. Also priceless? Joseph’s face when Heracles tells him that the draw to New Cap City was, in part, living in a world “where you can shoot someone in the head without going to jail.” Joseph gave him a look that was both disappointed that people sought that out for fun and said “Um, that’s Tuesday in Little Tauron.” Funny, since he keeps murderers from going to jail, like, for a living.
Lastly, I love how the show has used the Graystone dog, Ceasar, to bring Daniel closer to the truth about Zoe. Stroke of genius, writers. Nice.
Now, the not-good.
I started out loving Lacy. I saw her as the emotional heart of the show, displaying strength not through the conviction of belief in a certain dogma, but belief in her friend. She used to be quietly powerful, and Magda Apanowicz is a terrific actress. Lately, though, her storyline has become bland. This is in part due to what feels like a forced romance between her and Keon that hasn’t yet been earned. In addition to that weak choice, the writers have also decided to have her consider joining the STO herself, which I think is a huge mistake. From the pilot, Lacy was someone who valued her friendships more than the beliefs of an extremist organization. She didn’t get on the train with Zoe and Ben, because she wasn’t interested in the idea of One God enough to change her whole life for it. Now, she’s suddenly willing to sign up? For Zoe? For Keon? It’s certainly not for herself, and I don’t buy it. That, like her blatant crush on Keon, seems more like a forced plot device than an organic manifestation of her character. The one interesting bit Lacy provided was when she made the distinction between “Real Zoe” and “Avatar Zoe,” and I’d be curious to see how that distinction continues to affect her friendship with the Avatar.
Secondly, I know I might upset a lot of Battlestar fans when I say this, but I think that this episode worked too hard to work in Battlestar references. Introducing vipers on a date between Rachel and Philomon? Lame. Having Amanda mention the “old saying,” All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again? Also lame.
And speaking of that date, this episode suddenly made the Rachel/Philomon relationship less believable. Up until now, Avatar Zoe seemed genuinely interested in, and attracted to, Philomon. She seemed drawn to his geeky awkwardness, and that was something I was interested in watching develop. Now, it seems as if she’s all about her ulterior motives, and I worry that this storyline will be less complex from here on in, which would be disappointing.
“The Imperfections of Memory” suffered from some imperfections of its own. Here’s hoping that Caprica gets over these storytelling missteps and gets back to the emotionally complex stories we’ve come to love.
Teresa Jusino was born on the same day that Skylab fell. Coincidence? She doesn’t think so. She is a contributor to PinkRaygun.com, a webzine examining geekery from a feminine perspective. Her work has also been seen on PopMatters.com, on the sadly-defunct literary site CentralBooking.com, edited by Kevin Smokler, and in the Elmont Life community newspaper. She is currently writing a web series for Pareidolia Films called The Pack, which is set to debut Summer 2010! Get Twitterpated with Teresa, Follow The Pack or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.