He Never Was a Stranger: Caprica Thread

Yes, all my post titles will be Cohen allusions for a while. DEAL.



Joseph Adama, the Caprica lawyer, he said once: “Be good, but not too
good.” So what happens when your prayers are answered? What happens
when you see so clearly that you go blind? What happens when you burn
off what doesn’t work, and circumstances demand that you keep on
burning, until there’s nothing left? If you take away everything that a
person is, and everything they wanted to be, and everything they ever
were, and everything they ever loved. Orphans still have memory, and
love, and dreams: What happens when you take those away, too?

Spoilers for the pilot, supposed to be airing in January BUT I COULDN’T WAIT, inside. If you haven’t caught it on DVD and don’t want to be ruined for it, don’t continue.

Quick takes: On the opening scenes, my first thought was,
“Caprica. Like the Matrix and Fight Club had a slutty little sister.”
And I’m glad to see that even a kajillion years in the future, school
administrators continue to be the most twisted fuckers you could ever
hope to find. God Almightly, Polly Walker is a sexy beast. I would say
“new girlcrush” but I’ve loved her since Enchanted April. The robot
playing Zoe is a better actress than the actress playing Zoe. Paula
Malcomsen is like tired with her entire body, is how good she is. On
Deadwood she was pulled tight as a violin string; here she’s all
exhaustion, temples to toes. I’ve loved Eric Stoltz forever; hot
red-headed dudes are not easy to find. And maybe I’m just spoiled but
I’m having a hard time with Adama not being, well, THE Adama. I clearly
need some kind of therapy.

The show is always about a girl, trapped somewhere. Damn, Jane.

So here’s me being contrary: It would be easy to make Graystone the
villain, because we know from fucking Star Wars that the quick, easy
path leads to destruction. We know from Catholicism that suffering is
virtuous and reward suspect. It would be easy to see him as the villain
and Adama as the hero, because Adama’s doing the harder thing, right,
getting over and getting on and dealing? And Graystone’s taking a
shortcut to bind his daughter into the world with steel? Playing God?
Isn’t that uniformly wrong? Isn’t that shorthand by now, that anyone
who does that is a monster or on his way to becoming one?

Maybe. I don’t know. I’m the wrong person to ask. My family, we were none of
us raised to give up on what and who we love. I could tell you stories, but this would be the lesson: There are no limits. Which sounds easy until you admit
that there are always limits implied in love, right? We all know, now, thanks to the
self-help industry, that too much love is dangerous and can hurt you,
so we draw these lines. Any one of your friends will tell you when
you’re being stupid as hell for love, or when you’re doing too much, or
when you’re losing perspective, and tell you it’s okay to think of
yourself, take care of yourself, prioritize yourself. I’ve had those conversations and been the subject of them,
back when I was dating assholes for entertainment.

We pride ourselves on balance, which isn’t a terrible thing, but:
We continue to speak in absolutes. We continue to make unbreakable
vows. We continue to say “for better or worse.” Worse can go anywhere from a
hangnail to murder, so what does it mean when we say it? The promise we
make isn’t “for better or worse until one of us does something society
and Oprah will excuse as grounds for kicking your ass to the curb,”
it’s “for better or worse.” We say, “You are my child, I would do
anything for you.” That’s as specific as we ever get, so take that to
its natural conclusion, spin that out to its end, and what do you find? Graystone, holding his
daughter in this world with baling wire and chewing gum. Taking it
seriously. Meaning it.

Not realizing, as we all horribly don’t realize at least once in our lives, that the point of limitless love is trusting the other person won’t make you prove it.

I’m not telling anybody to stay in shitty relationships here just to keep our word. I’m
saying, we say forever, so we either need to change how we talk or we
need to think about the potential outcome which is shit like this. We say,
there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, everything I have is yours, you
are my whole life, there is nothing as important as love. What if we
were tough enough to make that stick? What if we kept all our promises
according to the original wording, without Dr. Phil-ing around about
codependency and enablement? What if we were all who we said we were?

This show turns out to be about that, about the glory and horror of
that, I could be hooked hard.

It’s the same
question Galactica asked, all the way to its end, the question that
grabbed me and held on to me since then: What would you do? The world
blows up, would you turn and fight, like Cain? Would you run, like the
fleet? Would you be a Roslin, an Adama, a Starbuck, an Apollo? Are you a Graystone or an Adama? We all
are who we say we are, and that’s it, so who would you be? It’s up to
you. It’s your choice. The unbearable, godawful freedom of believing
you’re in charge, because:
What would you do?

You have no idea.



4 thoughts on “He Never Was a Stranger: Caprica Thread

  1. I tried to get into “Caprica,” but I just cannot. To me, it’s just “Dynasty” with spaceships in the establishing shots. It’s every prime-time soap opera with nothing new. I mean, it could be set in modern-day L.A., and not much would be different.
    I kinda don’t get the reason for it’s existence, save for it simply being a Galactica spin-off.
    Sorry. I hate to seem thick, but I don’t see anything special about “Caprica.” I guess I need it explained to me.

  2. Being expected to root for religious fundamentalists is not something I’m looking forward to. Other than that, I enjoyed it. ‘The Plan’ was a bit of a disappointment though.

  3. I’m glad to see that even a kajillion years in the future
    Not to be all persnickity but don’t you mean a kajillion years in thepast?
    I saw Caprica and am so-so about it. There was a lot to set up in the pilot, so maybe the series will be better. It was an ok BSG fix for those going through withdrawals.

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