Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Dirteaters

Okay, first let me clarify something from last week. Duram DID give Marbeth's file to his boss, so he did indeed orchestrate the whole thing as a misdirect. It's a bit callous of him to sentence her to death to save his own investigation, but since he hates monotheists I guess he doesn't care. Plus she was getting in Amanda's way. But I don't understand how Clarice knew about it unless the edit of the show was a cheat. What we see is that "confessor man" tells her "you have a spy in your house" and she immediately takes off the holoband. So as far as we know, she was never told who the spy was! Unless this is just tricksy editing, I find it very confusing.

Now on to this episode. It's worth noting that from last week on none of these episodes aired on Sci-Fi until after the DVD was released. Then they burned off the last 5 in a marathon that January.

Synopsis: We learn in flashback of how Sam and Joseph lost their parents. Two of Clarice's husbands are killed in New Cap City by Zoe, so now they know someone's running around with her avatar (but they are too stupid to figure out that it's really her). Tamara and Zoe are now called the Avenging Angels, and hype about them has spread outside the game. When Graystone learns of it, he goes into the game to find her. She and Tamara avoid him, and use their powers to create a place just for them. Graystone tells Amanda about it, and they resolve to go back in and find her. Graystone also educates himself on Tauron and the mob, and secretly meets with Sam, asking that he find some way to avoid killing him. Amanda's spy tech is working, but she can't report to Duram as he's now been fired on trumped up charges.

Now, I'm no fan of the Tauron storyline. It just bores me. But I was glad we at least got a bit more information about the Adama backstory and the Tauron war. This is the sort of thing that LOST would have done episodes ago, and the flashbacks do feel a lot like the way LOST did it. Sam and Joseph feel like Mr. Eko and Yemi. And while there were some good emotional moments here, these flashbacks also fell back on bad writing on discontinuity. The parents show them these suicide pills, with the intent that they will use them if necessary. And then they don't. So why show us the gun if it never goes off, as it were? It's also implied that Adama's grandparents went out by suicide. Why is everyone on this show insane? Are Adama's "we're ready to kill ourselves for our cause" parents any better than the STO?

Then the series pulls another annoying twist, when we're made to think Sam will kill his father for him, but in the end, it's Joseph who pulls the trigger. I object  to this for two reasons: first, it's yet another annoying twist. This show has more twists than M. Night Shyamalan. But secondly, what about when Adama just 5 or 6 episodes ago had to ask Sam what it's like to kill someone? In that episode, he had a problem pulling the trigger even when he knew it was a virtual world and no one was getting hurt. But now I'm supposed to believe he killed 4 people, including his own father, when he was a kid! That's just very very lazy continuity (and I know Kevin Murphy joined the show late, but someone on the staff should have corrected this). Stuff like this is why I'm growing to hate Caprica. Even BSG wasn't this inconsistent in its first year.

Clarice and her family are also kind of dumb. Now that they have Zoe's avatar files and all, what are they doing with them? Nothing! And when her husbands say that saw a girl in V-world whose avatar looked like Zoe, Clarice doesn't even react! WHAT? She's more concerned with designing her artificial afterlife. There's a good moment where she argues it should have more stained glass and statues, only to have them ask, "Statues of who?" Fair point. She somewhat sheepishly implies she means of herself.

And that's really what this episode is highlighting when it's not bogged down in Adama drama: man wanted to become god. If there is to be a thematic connection to Genesis, the words of the Serpent ring true here: "And ye shall be like gods." Graystone wants to play god to bring back the dead and create a robotic slave race. Clarice wants to play god, ushering in an afterlife of her making. Zoe and Tamara are literally playing god in V-world.

What they used to call the Death Walkers are now called the Avenging Angels. Why do Tamara and Zoe keep getting nicknames that sound like bad metal bands? What are they supposed to be "avenging" anyway?

Toward the end of the episode, Zoe and Tamara opt to remake New Cap City in their image using their power over the code. And they're only just doing this now? What have they been doing all this time, just killing gamers? For what reason? Tamara finally suggests they leave New Cap City, and I don't understand why they didn't do that along time ago (apart from the financial reasons that the show already had the sets and costumes).

The club Sinny McNutt's Slash 'n Gutt seems to be a reference to the show's DP Stephen McNutt.

Again, I don't care at all about what's happening on Tauron. And I kind of don't care about Zoe either, since it seems they're never going to do anything interesting with her. We still don't even know how it is she's there, or if she's still in the Zoe-bot. But for all that, at least certain plots were building. Amanda and Daniel are reconciling. And things are heating up for Duram. So the show is starting to build toward the end, even if sometimes it's still far too slow. Not as bad an episode as "Unvanquised", and there are definitely good moments each episode, but the show just doesn't feel tight enough to me. The twists continue to be tiresome.

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