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Fanboy Comics Review: The Caprica Series Finale

Written by: Bryant Dillon, Special to CC2K


Fanboy Comics President Bryant Dillon offer a comprehensive review of the final five … episodes of SyFy’s short-lived series.

Earlier this month the final five episodes of Caprica were finally released and devoured by the remaining small, yet rabid, fan base. Initially available only on the Caprica Season 1.5 DVD set, SyFy aired all five episodes, back-to-back, a few weeks after.  It was an unceremonious ending for such a poignant and intellectual series that got stronger with every passing episode, even till the bitter end.

SPOILERS BELOW

The more that I re-watch and analyze Caprica, the more that I believe that, a few years from now, this series will be added to the list of brilliant television series that were cut down far too early with much too left to explore. Caprica will be buried in the graveyard for victims of low ratings, right between Firefly and Dollhouse. If you’ve enjoyed Battlestar Galactica and plan on watching the upcoming BSG: Blood & Chrome, then Caprica is an essential! There’s nothing bad in this series! The acting is top notch! The writing is edgy and provocative! And, the series finale is the best that they delivered!

Here’s a quick summary of the Caprica series finale:

While “Daniel Graystone” continues to work with “The Guatrau,” brothers “Sam” and “Joesph Adama” become uncomfortable with their leaders’ decisions, especially when “Sam” discovers that “The Guatrau” is selling Cylons to the STO. Realizing that “The Guatrau” plans to eliminate him after he’s outlived his usefulness, “Daniel” makes a deal with “Sam” to save his own life. “Daniel” agrees to supply the Taurons with Cylons in exchange for his safety.

Meanwhile, while “Zoey’s” friend, “Lacy Rand,” is sent to an STO training camp on Gemenon by “Clarice’s” order,  “Amanda Graystone” reunites with “Daniel” when they discover that the “Zoey” avatar is still alive inside V-world. “Daniel” and “Amanda” eventually convince “Zoey” to talk with them and are reunited with their daughter in digital form. After a tense beginning, the family reestablishes their bonds, with the “Zoey” avatar even taking control of a Cylon and threatening “Clarice” when the STO leader attempts to kill the “Graystones.”

The “Graystones” soon uncover “Clarice’s” plan to bomb the Caprican pyramid arena during a packed game. GDD Director “Gara Singh” reveals himself to “Clarice” as her informant in V-world.  He also tells her how he plans to accuse the “Graystones” of being terrorists and having pushed their daughter to commit the Maglev train bombing. Labelled as criminals and fleeing from arrest, the “Graystones” arrive at the arena when the STO suicide bombers are taking their seats.  “Daniel” is able to use a wireless  laptop to take control of all Cylons within 400-800 meters.  With impressive precision a team of Cylons lands in a heli-jet and eliminate the STO terrorists one by one before they can detonate their charges.

In a brief epilogue, we see where each character will end up in the coming years, leading up to the Cylon rebellion.

The Good:

– The acting and writing, as always! While there are few satisfying things to be said regarding the cancellation of Caprica, it is quite fulfilling to say that the writing and acting on the series were never short of anything but stellar, and that the final five episodes of the series maintain, if not transcend, that.  Unlike many shows, Caprica never played it safe. For a spin-off series meant to cover events to which we already knew the end (the creation of Cylons and their uprising), Caprica kept its fan base on its toes with intense moral dilemmas, unexpected character revelations, and shocking tragedies for almost every major character. The final five episodes continue with these winning traits, giving us a major upheaval in the Tauron mob that spills more than one character’s blood, revelations of secret STO operatives working inside the GDD, and our poor, submissive “Lacy” not only taking control of her own life, but also a squad of Cylons that respond to her command!

Cylons kicking a$$! I may be in the minority here, but I was never a big Cylon fan. The classic versions always seemed like silly, robotic, Stormtrooper rip-offs, and, while I accepted them in the new BSG series, if it weren’t for the skin-jobs, I probably would have found the villains of the series pretty lame. Caprica has changed all of that. Given that the original Cylons played such an important part in the series, Caprica has fleshed them out (as odd as that sounds) into bad-a$$, robot warriors that would actually be worthy of a serious Caprican military investment and a nifty action figure for this writer’s computer desk! In the final episode of Caprica (titled “Apotheosis”), we witness the equivalent of an anti-terrorist Cylon squad systematically eliminating multiple STO operatives armed with explosives with the grace of a Jedi-SWAT team! Splashed with urban camo colors, the U-89s kicked a$$ right into my little geek heart! Make a space IG-88 and T-1000…there’s a new addition to your ranks!

A finale wrap-up of which BSG should be jealous! Simultaneously heart-breaking and exhilarating is the short epilogue montage at the end of “Apotheosis.” Covering the destiny of almost every major character, and featuring a cameo by Patton Oswalt returning as “Baxter Sarno,” these short moments show us the path Caprica could have taken if granted another season or two. Almost the entire piece is composed of brilliant and thought-provoking reveals and advancements, but stand out moments include Cylons being preached to in a monotheistic chapel, “Lacy” finally turning the tables on “Clarice,” the birth of skin-jobs, and an appearance by one of the most important characters in BSG history!

The Bad:

Cancellation. Having a series with such potential cut down so quickly will always be painful, but Whedon fans have grown accustomed to this dark fate. Still, there’s some extra senselessness to Syfy’s decision to lose Caprica as they green light a BSG: Blood and Chrome miniseries set during the Cylon uprising. While I’m sure that there are many reasons, especially financially, why Caprica didn’t make the cut, Syfy really threw away the opportunity to have a BSG legacy present on their channel. If not for the efforts of the Caprica writers (special props to Jane Espenson, since we’re all Whedon addicts here!) to give us a satisfying wrap-up, it seems there would’ve been a massive whole in the Caprica/BSG story line.

Unanswered questions. While the epilogue provided many answers, some elements were, predictably, never explained. Among the unanswered questions were the fate of the “Tamara Adama” avatar after the “Zoe” avatar leaves V-world, and why “Lacy” exhibited a mysterious control over the Cylon units of Gemenon. One assumes these Cylons helped her rise to the role of Queen Mother by the end of the series

– AICN and the “final five” rumors! Herc over at Ain’t It Cool News recently stated that writer-producer Kevin Murphy mentions in the series finale commentary that the Vancouver Olympics somehow derailed an episode that would have shown the “Zoey” avatar communing in virtual space with one of the final five BSG Cylons – possibly even “Saul Tigh” or “Galen Tyrol!” How did this not happen?

The Ugly:

Fan reaction, despite Caprica’s small fan base, has been massively positive! IGN, Ain’t It Cool News, and a number of other reviewers seem to agree that the show went out on an extremely high note, with some of the best writing and acting taking place in these final five episodes. There also seems to be consensus in the feelings of disappointment in Syfy for not giving Caprica at least another season to grow! Apparently, everyone can see the show’s potential except for those suits who made the final decision to throw it out of the airlock.

Caprica Seasons 1 and 1.5 are now available on DVD, so, if you haven’t had a chance to check out the series, you can now devour it episode by episode in the comfort of your own home.

Now where is my frakkin’ Cylon action figure, “Mr. Graystone?”

’Till the end of the world,

-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer

Bryant Dillon is the President of Fanboy Comics, an independent comic book publishing company based in Los Angeles, Calif. He has produced numerous short films including Something Animal and Batman of Suburbia, and served as Legal Adviser for the film Walken on Sunshine. For more interviews, blogs, and reviews by Bryant and the FBC staff, check out the Fanboy Comics website at FanboyComics.net or sign up for the e-newsletter, The Fanboy Scoop, by emailing subscribe@fanboycomics.net.

 

Author: Bryant Dillon, Special to CC2K

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