Fans of Caprica and Battlestar Galactica were finally treated to a new story this week with Caprica‘s first new episode, “Rebirth.” (You can watch the episode on SyFy.com or Hulu on Wednesday) For any of you who might have worried about the legacy of Battlestar or whether a prequel show was necessary, worry no more. Caprica is proof that the legacy of Battlestar Galactica is thoroughly intact, and that the Battlestar universe is so rich and complex that one could tell its stories forever, and each story would be just as necessary.
In “Rebirth,” Virtual Zoe is hiding in a Cylon body and letting only her best friend, Lacy, know about her continued existence. Meanwhile, the fact that her programming can’t be copied into other Cylon bodies is thwarting her father and his lab technicians, who are trying to honor their government contract for 100,000 Cylon soldiers. Both the Graystones and the Adamses (or, the Adamas, as they are now determined to stay true to their Tauron roots) are struggling with the deaths of their respective family members. Daniel tries to forget, while Amanda buries herself almost masochistically in memories of Zoe. Joseph tries to balance love of the daughter who’s died with attention to the son who’s still alive. And that son, William Adama, while hating Tauron food and Tauron school, is learning plenty about the Tauron criminal underworld from his uncle, Sam.
One of the brilliant things about this episode is the beginning of the convention where we see alternate views of the Cylon that Daniel Graystone is working on. Sometimes it looks like the metallic Cylon. Other times, we’re allowed to see Zoe standing in its place, so we never forget that there is a human consciousness inside it. It is heartbreaking to watch Zoe trying to break her tiny wrists out of enormous metal restraints that are holding her down in the back of a truck when she is being transported from the Graystone Industries lab to the Graystone home. And it is touching to watch a huge Cylon attempting to be dainty, sitting on a bed and having it break beneath its weight, or hugging Lacy. It recalled the final scene of the film District 9, which I won’t spoil here for those who haven’t seen it, but those of you who have know what I’m talking about. Flower? *sniff*
More interesting that all of that, though, is the way one of Daniel’s lab technicians, Philomon, has started to look lovingly at the Cylon. To him, the Cylon is a graceful work of art. He has no idea that it contains Zoe’s consciousness, and yet whenever he looks at it he only sees an intelligent being. In one poignant scene, when Daniel asks Philomon about their progress on the government contract, disappointed that they’ve only made one soldier, Philomon replies, “Yeah, but uh it’s a really good one,” and looks at the Cylon, whom we see as Zoe, a little too long. It will be interesting to see how his relationship with the cylon develops. Will this be the first human/Cylon love story? It looks like it might be.
And speaking of love, it looks like that is something that will be explored in an exciting variety of ways in the world of Caprica. First, there’s the Graystone marriage, which is admirably portrayed. These are two people who clearly love each other, deal with each other honestly and with respect, and who support each other during the trying time of dealing with their only child’s death, despite grieving in very different ways. There is also the acceptability of group marriage. Sister Clarisse invites Lacy to lunch at her home, and when Lacy arrives, she learns that Clarisse is married to three husbands and three wives. This is uncommon, but not unusual or unheard of, and Lacy mentions that she knows several children from group marriages, and that “it’s cool.” Lastly, there is the fact that Sam Adama is gay, which is wonderful, considering that he is the opposite of stereotypical in that he is a tattooed gangster who is as tough as they come.
Caprica is exciting, because the very thing that might have given us cause to worry (it being a prequel show to an already successful franchise) is also its greatest asset. Battlestar took place mostly in space, on ships. Caprica works, because it gets to create a whole new world almost from scratch. This show can be interesting to people who have never watched Battlestar, while giving Battlestar fans their jollies by referencing things they’ve already seen. This television season has an awesome new addition in Caprica.
And also, I’m in love with Serge Graystone.
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.