Polly Walker as Clarice Willow on 'Caprica'.
Photo Credit: Syfy
Season 1 - Episode 13
Despite the directionless feeling that seems to hang over 'Caprica', I still enjoy the program when the writers decide to stabilize the focus on particular subplots. "False Labor" concentrates mainly on three that are some to the more interesting of the series so far. We had Sam's confrontation with the gun runners, Daniel's struggles with perfecting an Amanda avatar, and the real Amanda attempting to earn the trust of the Willow household so she can dig up STO info. I also doesn't hurt that none of them occur in New Cap City.
Sam Adama has been shunted over to the side for most of the second half of the season and his return to the forefront of this episode was very pleasing. Despite his accusations towards his brother Joseph about being more Caprican than Tauron, Sam is very much a man caught between two worlds. He is very proud of his heritage, but has made a life for himself on another, relatively peaceful world. Still, his loyalty to the rebels on Tauron is manifested in his shipping weapons to them. This is not dissimilar to when Irish Americans sent money back to Ireland during the beginning of the twentieth century to help in the fight against the British. Other real world allusions come in the form of the Tauron dictator that lives richly while his people starve, drawing a comparison to Kim Jong Il.
While I enjoyed Sam's unique solution to his problem with a rival gun runner, I find it hard to believe that he would have been able to execute it practically. Maybe he can smuggle a 6' tall robot out of Graystone Industries, but how did he program it to follow his commands? This may be a bit of a nitpick. However, watching a Cylon go to town on a bunch of mobsters was a lot of bloody fun. Plus we got to here the classic "By your command" line.
Unfortunately, I don't think a sci-fi spin on a mob show at this point in television history is a good idea. Between 'The Sopranos' and the current 'Boardwalk Empire', gangsters have been done enough on television. For that matter they've been done excellently and I really doubt setting them on a distant planet will say anything new on the theme.
I'm still confused as to why the folks are spoiling scenes like the Cylon attack on the mobsters and final Amanda avatar moment in the commercials. The moment that the elevator began to ascend at the mobster lair would have been so much more fun if the viewer was given the chance to figure it out on their own. During the final Amanda avatar scene with Daniel, I was robbed from getting to figure it out halfway through before the reveal. Spoilers like this take away the participatory side of television viewing. It leaves me less invested if I know about the outcome before the show even starts.
Amanda continued to get closer to Clarice's family. While her sappy story to Mary Beth was nicely executed by Paula Malcomson, I've started to really enjoy her scenes with Brian Markinson who plays Agent Durham. Maybe it's all the 'Rubicon' that I've watched, but these really get across what's going on internally for Amanda. Clarice has been there for her as a friend, yet she is part of the organization that was responsible for her daughter's death.
'Caprica' is still meandering a bit, but this episode was a step up from the week before. I like the characters and when they are given interesting things to do or debate, it can be a very engaging show. Despite its pedigree, this is a show that has been trying to run before it can walk, and at times, like last week, it falls on its face. If it ever figures out its footing, this could be a really great show.