WRITER: Michael Taylor[SPOILERS] A lot happened in Caprica's mid-season finale (more than the past four episodes combined) and it delivered a real buzz in its final moments, leaving you excited about where the show's headed when it returns in October. But at the same time it felt rather forced and at odds with the measured pace that's been the show's style. It was as if the producers decided to throw three episodes worth of developments into one episode, almost out of desperation.
DIRECTOR: Roxann Dawson
GUEST CAST: James Marsters, Polly Walker, Scott Porter, John Pyper-Ferguson, Alex Arsenault, Leah Gibson, Jill Teed, Hiro Kanagawa, Genevieve Buechner, James Pizzinato, Liam Sproule, Teryl Rothery, Johnson Gray & Zak Santiago
We may as well just tick off the big developments: Joseph (Esai Morales), now a sofa-bound holoband addict, managed to locate Tamara (Genevieve Buechner) in New Cap City, only to watch as she (faked) her own death and "de-rezed" him from the game; Amanda (Paula Malcomson) sank into depression, pushed into a suicide bid when it became clear Daniel (Eric Stoltz) had indeed stole the MCP chip from rival Vergis (John Pyper-Ferguson); lab assistant Philo (Alex Arsenault) was ordered to destroy what makes the Zoe-Cylon's chip unique, forcing Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) to reveal her presence within the robot body to him, and go on the run in a stolen vehicle; Daniel decided to sell the C-Bucks team to Vergis to save his business from financial ruin, and was later told the military want their agreed 100,000 Cylon soldiers ready by next week; and Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) was given a crate to transport Zoe-Cylon safely to Gemenon by Barnabus (James Marsters), in exchange for planting a bomb in his STO rival Sister Clarice's (Polly Walker) car.
Again written by Michael Taylor, "End Of The Line" certainly contained plenty of moments I wasn't expecting (such as Zoe accidentally killing her boyfriend Philo during her escape), but some of the developments didn't feel worth the two-month buildup (like Tamara giving her father a reason to end his search for her), while others just felt confusing (like Daniel deciding to erase the unique elements of the MCP chip, which is undoubtedly the only thing that's made that otherwise useless chip work!) I'm still scratching my head over that latter development, and wondering why Daniel didn't threaten Zoe-Cylon with what's effectively death as one of the trials during "Ghosts In The Machine".
Elsewhere, Barnabus became a touch more interesting as a fanatical terrorist who's prepared to kill other higherups like Sister Clarice in order to remain top dog, but my patience is stretching thin with Amanda's character because the writers have saddled her with playing a drunk prone to hallucinations. I guess there's potential in the idea that Sister Clarice considers Amanda to be a prophet of sorts -- here avoiding a fiery demise at the hand of Barnabus when she was distracted by seeing Amanda jump off a bridge -- so maybe it'll help if Amanda is introduced to the STO's teachings and is told she's perhaps an instrument of the One True God.
And what of Joseph? Considering the fact Caprica was pitched as this big warring family drama, the Adamas have been a big disappointment so far. Graystone vs. Vergis has felt like a more plausible and interesting threat than the early Adama/Graystone skirmishes ever were, Joseph's been stuck wandering around V-world for weeks recently, and his search concluded in a rather offhand way here. And the little twist that Joseph's sexy virtual guide, Emmanuelle (Leah Gibson) was his besotted secretary Evelyn (Teryl Rothery) all along -- who had likely talked Tamara into faking her suicide so she could get Joseph all to herself in the real-world, likewise passed by with no sense of impact.
Overall, Caprica definitely some work to do. It's certainly more entertaining now than it was in the first month on-air, and has even pulled off a few genuinely thrilling episodes along the way, but it's not quite as good as it thinks it is yet. There are too many characters or subplots that aren't interesting or feel tired (Amanda's visions, Sister Clarice, the STO), so most of the heavy lifting's being done by Daniel's corporate feud and Zoe's existential nightmare. The promise of a very exciting and interesting storyline with the "immortal" Tamara in V-world also hasn't come about yet, although there's still time for that to take shape.
- The character of Sister Clarice hasn't worked, the producers have even admitted they're having problems with her storyline, so it was a missed opportunity to not kill her off in the bomb. Then again, she's part of those expensive opening credits, so the actress must be under contract, so they'll have to do something with her.
- This episode was directed by Roxann Dawson, best known for playing B'Elanna Torres in Star Trek: Voyager, who's now a fairly prolific TV director after getting her behind-the-camera break on Trek. In fact, her recent career echoes that of Voyager co-star Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris), who is havily involved filming Chuck. Dawson did a good job with a large-scale episode here.
- Maybe it's just me, but everytime I see an action sequence in Caprica I keep thinking it's been shoehorned in at the behest of Syfy because of early complaints the show is boring. The car chase sequence with Zoe-Cylon and two Hunter-Killers from The Terminator (weren't they?) was returned to so often (as part of a pointless flashforward device) that it irritated me.
- Is Tamara pronounced "Tam-ra" or "Tam-ar-a"? Is one American, one English? I've always said the latter. "You say Tamra, I say Tamara... let's call the whole thing off."