Caprica episode 5 review

Is there a more downbeat scripted TV show on the air right now than Caprica? Mark gives the latest episode a try...

5. There Is Another Sky

Frustratingly, after an episode that pushed one or two things forward last week, the latest episode of Caprica seems to fall back into the already-familiar way of doing things. That is that it’s so determined to keep setting things up for some kind of future pay off, it doesn’t really give you too much here and now to feast upon. Once more, it’s not that it’s not good drama, because Caprica continues to intrigue. It’s just that you can’t help thinking that the writers are making things really very difficult for themselves.

The relentlessly downbeat tone doesn’t help. Caprica is a joyless world, primarily filled with joyless, albeit rounded, characters. Furthermore, it’s a joyless world in the aftermath of a joyless event. It’s not that it’s wrong that it’s demanding quite a lot of its audience to go along with all of this. It’s just that it makes it much harder to keep people engaged. And we suspect and fear that Caprica is going to struggle to do that.

This particular episode pretty much split into three: Daniel Graystone and his company, Joseph and Willie Adama, and the V-World. And that’s in reverse order of importance.

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Daniel Graystone, we discover, is on the verge of losing his company, courtesy of the pronouncement that he made on television in the last episode about surrendering profits from the holoband technology. His board don’t like that, so Graystone – just before the crucial vote – brings a Cylon into the meeting to prowl around in a manner not dissimilar to ED-209 in Robocop (save for the shooting everyone at the end). Graystone ultimately convinces his board that the Cylons are the future, and given that his board don’t have the benefit of the complete Battlestar Galactica boxsets, they go along with that.

In Adama-land, Joseph finally discovers that Willie has a) been bunking school and b) turned into a bit of a hard ass. It’s Uncle Sam who’s to blame, of course, but this does finally lead to Joseph and Willie spending some quality time together. I don’t fancy Willie’s chances of getting good grades at school, and remain curious where in the short term the character is going. He’s a kid with a rebellious streak? Hmmm, that’s hardly fresh territory that’s being harvested, no matter how heroic the end character turns out to be.

So it’s to the V-World, where the most intriguing moments of the episode were to be found. This time, it was Tamara Adams who was the centre of them, who ultimately works out that she’s invincible, dead, and a bit of a hardass herself, just not necessarily in that order. Her mere presence in the V-World, which is becoming akin to a Lost-esque flash-sideways, proves to be something different for its residents. She can’t be de-rezzed, she can be used to steal lots of money, and not for the first time, she feels like another piece of potency being placed onto a chessboard.

The real and V-World storylines crossover at the end of the episode, when a message gets to Joseph that his dead daughter is stuck in a virtual existence. Who knows what the writers are going to do with that.

Here’s the ultimate problem here, though: it’s not yet gelling, is it? I’m continuing to believe that there’s something of real substance here, and I’ve not been bored in an episode yet. But Caprica is effectively seven episodes down the line when you factor in the two-hour pilot, and you’d hardly call it gripping. Interesting, yes. But I know right now when I put a fresh episode on that I’m not going to be thrown too many bones.

There has to be, you’d expect, some degree of pay-off coming soon. It’s just right now, there are umpteen threads to work with, and there aren’t too many clues when the delivery is really going to start. In the meantime, Caprica remains quality drama. It’s just not at the point where it’s catching fire yet.

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Read our review of episode 4 here.