Thursday, June 30, 2011

Episode #18

Well, the Adama’s child was killed. That’s the end of future Battlestar . . . I’d apologize for ruining the series but they just did that. The mob killed the Adama child but has since ceased hostilities with the Adamas. The Goitroi, no, don’t check your thyroids, this is the name of the leader of the mob, feels that any past wrongs are righted. That’s mobster math for you. Love DNE. Unfortunately, while betraying his adopted sons, the goitroi hadn’t counted on being betrayed by his daughter. This is why mob family trees are easy to draw – long and thin.
Meanwhile, the monotheist terrorists are planning on using suicide bombers in order to bring more believers to an artificial heaven. This is a syllogism with the middle part missing. It is now up to the professor, on the run from the law as he was labelled a terrorist, to personally stop this. To be fair, it sure looks like they’re terrorists: shifty eyes, going everywhere quickly, wearing sunglasses. Fortunately the professor and his wife are able to shrug off this label by commandeering military hardware to kill those bystanders (actually terrorists). More than just a lesson in stereotypes, this episode helps us understand that it literally takes 2 people to change a planet. But lessons don’t stop there. Apparently responding to violent terrorists in kind comes only with rewards.
Progress happens in the last four minutes. It takes this long to show the proliferation of cylons and the glimmer of humanity and subsequent resentment of those who would define humanity differently that prompt the assumptions behind the first ‘battlestar galactica’.

Episode #17

In a desperate attempt to unify his family one last time the professor has enlisted the help of someone schooled in the intricacies of computer programming and procedural etiquette: some mob guy. Things start looking up when they find out he can ride a horse. Yes, these are the complicated skills set necessary to free a sentient program from it’s virtual world. The end goal has also changed as it turns out that the virtual daughter of the professor and his wife has become a witch. The parents explain that the virtual daughter is just reliving memories of her favourite childhood book: ‘dragon fighters of Cobol’. My favourite childhood book was probably something by Bill Peet, Robert Munsch or Dr. Zeuss. Is this a good time to start a conversation about poor parenting or is this implicit in the intro I gave? But no time for that, we have a finale to set the stage for…
The Adama brothers have been found out! Just like the [shift + 1] command on my computer!! As he tries to kill the Adama he keeps mentioning that ‘it’s nothing personal’. I beg to differ. I would consider it a ‘personal’ act if my life were threatened – something which definitely infringes on my personhood. Unfortunately the hit man they send out is not as tough as the live-in grandmother in the Adama household. She also knows enough about the customs of getting ‘whacked’ (I believe the adjective is ‘whacking’ in the parlance) to prevent immediate vengeance.
Meanwhile the nun, using a similarly subtle technique, has decided that the sensitive nature of her betrayal by the professor’s wife requires a little B & E. As it turns out, the quintillions of 0’s and 1’s moving through a DSL line can easily be interrupted and controlled with an electrode. If you’re keeping track, that would be technical college:1, university engineering:0. The professor and his wife, being too distracted by dealing with their virtual child, don’t notice the break-in, this works well enough for the would-be intruders as their Faberge-egg intricate plan requires that not a single thing go wrong. Indeed, a lot can be learned from this and applied in life: shoot high and don’t plan for contingencies. As it stands, only the former can fit on a bumper sticker. Hijinx continue as the criminal savants attempt to break-in. . . uh-oh, one of them’s one fire, what will they do next. Checking the books around a robot? What could happen? . . . and then it does.
Seventeen episodes into the series and I think I’m coming to terms with blogging. It’s nice that it’s a one-way medium in the sense that nobody can point out the hypocrisies of calling a television show selfish from the unanswered viewpoint of one person. In the meantime, I’m on the home stretch: one more episode remains.

Episode #16

The back and forth ‘I-found-you-now-your-gone’ game performed by the professor with his daughter is nearing its’ zenith. Fortunately, this equal opportunity emotional manipulation brings the professor and his wife together – solid foundations make for solid marriages. At this point in the series the writers have to know that their show has been cancelled, they have to know that the only thing they can give their viewers is closure. Unfortunately, the writers seem to have been educated by watching daytime tv. One of the characters asks his superior a question about this problem to which she replies: ‘ problems are only problems if you want to solve them.’ Do you get to a point in your fine arts degree when you even start making no sense to yourself? Do you get published de facto or do you need to rinse off your patchouli before submitting quasi-existential rhetoric?
Next up in Caprica, emotional turmoil has spoiled one of the first scenes with an active robot army presence. To a lot of people, a highly armed robot does not mean ‘identity crisis’. To the writers of Caprica it means a chance to explore the intricacies of control and human nature. Congratulations, you’re like the contributor who adds a 5-page addendum to the 3 page review.
Finally, a new character has been added to complicate the life of the Adamas. I’m just going to make a prediction online here that characters involved in the end scenes of the show rarely make it to said ending. To make matters more predictive she seems to be trying to undermine the secrete plans of the Adamas using the powers of passive aggressive defence mechanisms – but you wouldn’t be interested if I told you about that.

Episodes #15

The Adama brothers are getting promoted: that’s right, they’re getting ink done. In order to move forward in any criminal organization you need to practice subtle criminality which is best exhibited by a tattoo on your face. Flashbacks from the childhood of the Adamas shows a family tightly knit by allegiance: ‘family ties are principal, second only to personal honor’. It’s unfortunate then that this attempt at keeping the family together ends up pushing the boys into the mob and perpetuating the cycle. One of the Adamas states that ‘there’s blood in the soil’ – I guess that’s how you grow violence.
On nun news: the professor’s wife, having infiltrated the nun’s polyamorous abode, is now working with the police in order to help indict the nun. Before you google ‘polyamorous nun’ and spending the next few hours deleting internet history keep in mind that she’s only a front-nun for a terrorist cell. The unfortunate part of this subplot is that the nun has her own informant in the police office (yes, the only police office which the planet Caprica has) who happens to be the chief. I’d say the nun has a cardinal position, but that seems too convent-ional.

Episode #14

Good news: space ships. Bad news: they’re attempting to recreate the children’s crusade. Good news: slight deviations in environment give me reason to repress this idea. Bad news: they’re bad at being subtle. Good news: the monotheist crusaders are getting robots. Bad news: Christians using firepower as a means of instituting dogma is a theme that’s just a little too historically true for comfort.
The mob has infiltrated corporate Caprica. It’s interesting how easily they seem to fit in. The only difference seems to be that the mob is honest about what they do.
Creation of an artificial intelligence is the preoccupation of the professor in this episode. As he attempts to create his perfect, albeit artificial, wife, his obsession with recreation ironically takes him further and further from reality. That might just be a clever coping mechanism as his business partners have planned on assassinating him.
Ultimately, this episode concerns itself with the development of the robot product line and the impetus behind non-human combatants. In this age of drone warfare, I’m not sure it’s an alien concept. Is having one robot army designed so as to fight another robot army laziness or the logical endpoint of dehumanization of violence?

Episode #13

This episode was called ‘false labor’. I’m interested in seeing how Braxton Hicks can become a metaphor . . .
The professor’s wife’s behaviour has become increasingly erratic. Several weeks ago she attempted suicide, stopped eating, lost interest in normal activities, increased her sleep, was consumed by feelings of guilt and had considerable psychomotor agitation. This week she seems to have feelings of gradiosity of position, decreased sleep, and has taken an interest in pleasure seeking activity. If you’re keeping track of your SIGECAPS and your GSTPAID you’ll know that her behaviour is enough to warrant lithium and an antipsychotic rather than subject herself to increased social stressors.
The professor’s relationship with his wife has hit a bit of a snag. He’s been working on a substitute version of his wife in order to create an artificial sentience: the only problem being that he recreated a copy too accurate. . . she hates him too. For a man who ‘lives for a family’ he’s remarkably proficient in destroying it – bonus marks for consecutive summative failure.
The professor states that ‘it’s the littlest rules that are hardest to break’. Is it those little rules that help us remind us who we are? Is it the relatively low risk:benefit ratio of these rules which help or is it a concrete part of one’s life one can claim to order? Apart from the iniquity to one’s ethic of choosing which parts are fit to maintain, what if the littlest rules that have a more formative effect? More than that, though, how does the professor put himself in a position of ‘chooser of rules’ if they are truly formative? If I make the rules which make myself is there room for God? A question which can fortunately be avoided if we put ourselves before all else. This brings one back to labour pains: creating ourselves (aside from an awkward gestation) is a false labour. Enter Mr. Hicks.

Episode #12

The professor’s wife has begun infiltrating the nun’s world – an interesting role reversal given that she had her own life infiltrated by the nun. Starting to limit the number of potential safe interactions any character can have given that most permutations have already been soiled.
Unfortunately, the two girls, both stuck in a computer program, have started attacking eachother for one’s membership in the group. The professor’s daughter, however, won’t fight back. She states that this is an act of contrition. Unfortunately she is caught in a virtual world wherein neither can die. This makes for a complicated environment in which to exact revenge . . . or really uncomplicated. I guess it depends on where your views of ‘just war’ theology lie.
In the meantime the friend of the trapped girl has been kidnapped following her fealty to the losing side of the terrorist cell civil war. The ‘winning side’ of a terrorist schism being a bit of an indistinct term. She’s locked in the attic of a suburban home. How many suburban homes are built to be holding cells? My childhood attic was infiltrated by pigeons. Pigeons.
In a final act of submission, the man who would have taken power from the professor
(but subsequently failed) kills himself by stabbing himself in the heart in the professor’s home. Is that even possible? Would you have the motivation or the energy for a final dramatic statement? He did. Priorities. But I suppose that’s what this episode was about – lack of regard for the destructive consequences of one’s actions in order to achieve that final goal. The would-be terrorist exploded, the nun isolated her family, the professor pushed his wife away, the police officer ignored his commanding officer – all so that their end goals could be enacted. Is this the mark of a hero, a coward, or decisively thin character development?