Caprica’s second episode brings us further into the show’s funhouse reflection of our world, and into the mind of Zoe-Avatar-ProtoCylon, misunderstood teen monster. It’s not perfect, but it has my vote for best series currently running on television.1

Title: Rebirth

Cast and Crew

Written by Ronald D. Moore and Remi Aubuchon

Directed by Jonas Pate

Eric Stoltz as Daniel Graystone
Esai Morales as Joseph Adama
Allesandra Torresani as Zoe
Magda Apanowicz as Lacy Rand
Paula Malcomson as Amanda Graystone
Sasha Roiz as Sam Adama
Sina Najafi as Bill Adama
James Marsters as Barnabas Greele
Philip Granger as Tanner
Polly Walker as Sister Clarice Willow
Scott Porter as Nestor

Dale Wolfe as Steve Bahara
Hiro Kanagawa as Cyrus Xander
Avan Jogia as Ben Stark (in flashback)

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Zoe-Avatar-ProtoCylon struggles with her new situation, Lil Willy Adama tussles with familial influences, and Amanda makes a startling announcement.

High Point

The somewhat confusing visual device used to show the human and robotic aspects of Zoe work very well in this episode. Technically, it’s very simple: sometimes we see the proto-Cylon that everyone else sees, and sometimes we see Zoe as she still imagines herself. The shifts allow us to understand the violations that she undergoes at the hands of callous technician and, by extension, understand the future Cylons’ point-of-view.

The tiny teen in a monster body also allows for some awkward serio-comic moments as well.

Low Points

1. See my note under “Story,” which strikes me as more a “Problem Point” than a “Low” one. However, it is the sort of thing the writers will need to watch.

2. I know I’m repeating myself to no good end, but I don’t care. The more this show focuses on the complex religious/social elements, the more Battlestar Galactica‘s final seasons seem a violation of the series’ premise. Unlike Star Wars, the conclusion here, rather than the prequel, makes hash of the rest.

3. The “previously, on Caprica” section at the start makes the show seem 35% soapier than it actually is.2

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6. We have a misunderstood monster story, well-handled, and set against a fascinating and fleshed-out world that is not quite the one we inhabit.

Effects: 6/6. They’ve integrated Zoe-Avatar-ProtoCylon brilliantly with the cast and setting.

Story: 5/6 The misunderstood monster story works very well.

I wonder about Amanda’s (inaccurate) revelations at the end of the show. She’s a grieving mother, true, and under tremendous pressure. She may behave unpredictably. She’s also a well-educated, well-heeled member of a leading industrial family who would for years have avoided public displays without consulting lawyers and/or spin doctors. It’s a stretch to imagine that her stress, combined with some uncertain revelations about her daughter (whose memory she would more likely be driven to protect) would lead her to make her shocking announcement on camera, before a huge and emotional crowd, in a manner that could destroy her family’s future prosperity.

This marks the second time in two weeks that (without further explanation or context) a character’s action seems driven more by the demands of the story arc than the character. This happens all the time on television, but it stands out in a well-acted series with a script so driven by character.

Acting: 5/6. Torresani and Apanowicz continue to excel in their roles, and most of the cast carry on the BSG tradition of strong acting. I found some of the Adama scenes a little stiff and overtly scripted.

Emotional Response: 5/6. From the handling of Zoe-Avatar-ProtoCylon to the manipulations of Sister Clarisse, this show features a lot of effective and plausible low-level creepiness.

Production: 6/6. Caprica City has this great Gotham vibe in some scenes.

Overall: 5/6. Caprica has become my new favourite show.

In total, the “Rebirth” receives 36/42

Notes

1. I’m a huge fan of Mad Men, but it’s between seasons.

2. Of course, 75% of online statistics are made up by the person posting.