Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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Caprica: "Ghosts in the Machine" Episode Review + Meta

Caprica 1.08 "Ghost in the Machine"

Daniel Graystone, convinced that Zoe still exists inside the robot's MCP, tries to communicate with her and letting her know it's okay to speak with him. When Zoe refuses to let herself be known, Daniel decides the best way of proving whether his daughter's avatar still exists inside is to make herself known through a variety of psychological tests, to break her so-called stubborn "silent treatment", as he called it, revealing something more ruthless to his personality. Amanda continues to see the ghost of her dead brother. Meanwhile in V-World, Joseph returns to New Cap City and continues his journey to find Tamara and learns a few things, including how to survive in this virtual world.

The Morality Issue of Daniel Graystone

We've already known that Daniel treads dangerously in the morally gray area, but with this episode in particular we see an entirely different level of his morally challenged way of thinking. He resorts to making certain psychological tests to see if Zoe would give him a reaction, and he continues to push and push and push those boundaries and limitations that if someone were inside the robot they would break and give at least a simple reaction, an indication that he is in the right.

But how far is too far? Was Daniel right to be doing these tests on Zoe? If he weren't to stop at his last little experimental test, what kinds of things would Daniel make her do to prove that she was merely a robot and not someone else inside just refusing to mind him? These were the kinds of questions that went through my head as I watched the episode, complete with sitting on pins and needles during such tension-filled scenes between Daniel and Zoe and his relentless pushing of her buttons, and it triggered something inside of me and how I feel about the whole situation in general. I got reminded of what occurs in Battlestar Galactica from this episode and these experimental tests, of gaining what you want through psychological torture. It's not on the disturbing level of what happened to Gina, but since we know of the mistreatment of the Cylons it makes me sad, and angry, that Daniel would resort to something like that even to the virtual representation of his daughter just so she could reveal herself.

Now it is true, this could just be Daniel's way of grieving, that he needed an outlet for his frustrations concerning his daughter and all he's learned about her involved with the STO, and he probably needed this of a way of reassurance from that. But I completely agree what Zoe said: if he really truly believed that she was inside the robot, he wouldn't have done the things he did to her, made her endure all of that. Even though by the end of the episode he was convinced that she wasn't, what did he think would have been achieved if she revealed herself? "Sorry Zoe, I had to put your through that for my own benefit?" From unleashing emotional memories from the original Zoe's past to burning her up to test her levels of endurance to making her shoot the dog -- even though he bluffed the last part, there is nothing justifiable in what he did or thought would be necessary for her to talk to him. Hell, I wouldn't even talk to him after all of that, because it clearly points that he's doing this for himself rather than for her.

On a different note, would Daniel have done these kinds of things to his own daughter in real life if she were being defiant? What makes him think he can treat this Zoe in this manner? Something this episode mentioned is treating things like they aren't real -- Sam says this to Joseph when explaining how he manages to take another person's life; imagining that they aren't real, that it's all a game -- and I think that's how Daniel thinks of the Zoe avatar. She isn't real, she's a virtual representation of his daughter. But even so, why would he do that even to this Zoe? To me, it seemed more like a power trip, something that he could control because of how hectic his life has gotten, what with the shenanigans surrounding Zoe's death and his company, and now Vergis entering into the picture. He felt he needed something to gain control, and what better way than to unleash his frustrations than onto an obedience robotic lifeform? But what about Zoe and how she would feel about all of this? Perhaps he thought he could have his cake and eat it too, thinking that he could rant and unload and be convinced that Zoe was still inside the robot.

It's just, I'm so miffed by his actions and him thinking he's justified by reassuring himself that she might not be in there after all. And while yes, Daniel is a fascinating character in his own right because of these moral ambiguities, that still doesn't make me like what he did or defend him in saying "oh, he was just grieving" or "he just wanted to talk to his daughter" There are other methods than what he took, and he took the extreme route. Besides, he hasn't really proven he can be trusted because all he thinks about is his company and those advancements.

As you can see, this hit a hot button for me, as it was intended to strike that nerve in us. There's a lot of emotion running through here, with the writing and how it was presented to us on the screen. Daniel went above and beyond what we thought he could ever do, and it's just the manipulation of the entire matter of him testing her, and proving something to himself whether by unleashing his grief and frustrations or getting to the truth. It's also because I'm a sympathizer of the Cylons, and the maltreatment they get, the same treatment Daniel gave to Zoe in this episode, really fucking pissed me off because how do you think she feels right now? If she didn't trust Daniel before she really distrusts him now.

And because of that, you know there's going to be a shitstorm of rage and anger coming from her, and she has every right to feel that way with everything that's been done to her.

The Ethical and Moral Complexities of Caprica

The amazing thing about Caprica is that it's just like Battlestar Galactica in the way it presents its difficult issues and situations, making us ask questions about characters and their motives and reasoning for what they do, how they justify it and should they be justified or forgiven, and so forth. In spite of what I said above, I find Daniel Graystone an incredibly interesting character by means of his ways of thinking and how he justifies his own actions, and I want him to realize the reality of the situation he's in once the cat is out of the bag, and what he's going to do once that time comes. And it's not just with Daniel either, every single character on this show is presented in such a way that we're constantly questioning their motives and actions, on the consequences of their choices and decisions.

Also, the whirlwind of the writing makes for amazing ways of getting tongue-tied. For example, the issues concerning the Zoe avatar, all she wants is to complete with the original Zoe had intended for her which is to go to Gemenon, but what if Lacy is right in suggesting that going through with this plan isn't entirely good? What if the original Zoe didn't know everything there was to know about these plans? What about Sister Clarice's intentions, or what about Barnabus, if Lacy becomes STO and tells the truth, what if he and the others were the ones who are involved in that, or what if they want this plan to fail to succeed (hence Ben bombing the Lev, to prevent Zoe from ever completing the mission to get to Gemenon)? Who is in the right and who is in the wrong here, and who can we trust is telling the truth? Joseph and Daniel, they're both chasing ghosts of their deceased daughters who are now avatars, but they don't realize is that while they are virtual representations of they are not their real life daughters, not after what they've experienced. What does Joseph think when he's going to reach Tamara in V-World? He cannot take her back into the real world, and she can't die in the virtual one, so what does he think he's going to accomplish? Same with Daniel, what if he finds out about Zoe after all of this? Will he give her a completely new body like he promises, or will he just use her for his company purposes since she is inside the only working MCP for these mass soldiers, and we all know he needs dozens of working robotic soldiers for the military contract.

Caprica really brings forth the questions about morality and how each storyline is connected and paralleled to each other; entering that dark realm with Zoe and Daniel in this episode, wondering what will happen afterwards, it makes one think about what is going to happen and that's precisely how shows should work. To make us think and question, to make us feel for characters and try to understand where they are coming from; I see all sides of the equation here, it's just a matter of where this will all head and what kind of catastrophe will erupt from it once we hit that particular mark, judging from the preview for the next episode we're going to be hitting it pretty big in the climax of the first half of the season.

Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ I have to mention this because I couldn't get it out of my head, but Zoe's dress in this episode had some similarities to the white dress Number Six wore in the BSG episode "Kobol's Last Gleaming". It was the style I think. I should really compile all the dresses that Zoe has worn so far this season, because I think they are uh-mazing.

++ "You're giving me the Cylon treatment" I didn't hear this at first, but in context it makes sense that Daniel would say this. That Zoe would be responding as the robot rather than herself. Very clever, show. Very clever.

++ I am convinced that the woman helping Joseph out in finding Tamara in V-World is actually Evelyn, his assistant which helped him track down Hercules. There are definite clues and hints, telling him she was hired to help him, that she doesn't really look like that in real life, calls him "counselor", etc. The question is, how does she know and who hired her, if anybody? Or is this just her way of helping Joseph out because she wants to?

++ I think Tamara is taking control over the New Cap City game, making it her home. I loved the connection with her flower design being her symbol now.

++ I love the new room Lacy and Zoe are meeting in now, the VIP room. It's very interesting and not as closed off as the darkened room that was designed for Zoe specifically. Of course, I would like to return to that room at some point (I think it's pretty, with the candle stands and the stained-glass window).

++ The theme of chasing ghosts: Daniel and Sister Clarice with Zoe, Joseph with Tamara, Amanda and her dead brother.

++ SAM!!!!! ♥ Needed more of him, but it's amazing how he only appears for a few moments in the episode and he gives a spectacular performance.

++ Drag queens. I am loving this show, so so much. Plus, he reminded me of Eddie Izzard, I don't even know why, my mind immediately went EDDIE IZZARD as soon as I saw him. I think it's because I was watching Eddie Izzard clips right before wactching Caprica. lol

++ My strong feelings towards what occurred in this episode really says a lot with how Caprica has been affecting me, particularly with how the writing presents certain characters. I, for one, feel for and sympathize with Zoe and I am rooting for her. Daniel needs to spend more time with Amanda because she's gradually spiraling downhill and he needs to be there for her instead of torturing his Cylon daughter, for crying out loud. But at the same time, I like this because it means we're heading in the direction where we should be going towards, which is the basis of the Cylons rebelling against the humans. We're seeing this starting with Zoe, and I love it, even though I hate that they're doing this to her. You know?


Overall: This episode unleashed a lot of feelings I had, but it's great the it did because it means that I absolutely care about these characters and what happens to them. It allows me to think and judge and question based on the situations and interactions characters are having, and we're seeing a lot of things which will be leading to what will come to pass in the future. Daniel is unknowingly fueling Zoe's anger, which will lead us to exciting places once this is going to be unveiled. We're seeing the declining of Amanda's mental state, or something she needs to resolve and hopefully we'll see where this is going, and the boundaries one is willing to cross to get what they want; Joseph to Tamara, Daniel to Zoe. The writing for Caprica is incredibly clever in that sense of making us understand what is happening, and while we're getting a lot many aspects are still hidden from us, including motivations and intentions of what certain characters do and what the outcome of what some characters are wanting to achieve will be, and if it is going to be for the good or for the bad.

And it looks like the next episode will be the last before the hiatus. So this makes it what, 1.0 and towards the end of the year it'll pick up as 1.5 or something?

Also, people should check out Serge's Twitter because not only does it give his thoughts on what happened on the current episodes, but he also answers questions from other people, all in-character too. He's also fully aware about Zoe in the U87 and she talks to him frequently and just, omg. He's just too fucking adorable. Here's a couple non-spoilery Tweet he gave a while back that I thought was too cute to ignore:
I did not attend Zoe's funeral, as it was not in the house. Daniel and Amanda returned pale and sad. I made soup.

I brush Caesar and trim his nails. And Daniel and Amanda do not need to know about every accident.

It is a burden. I am small. But I am unique. I have retractable limbs and I can climb the stairs with special mechanisms.
♥ ♥ ♥!!! There's also a picture of him in a very familiar and cunning hat! :D :D :D
Tags: meta: caprica, show reviews: caprica
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