It is said that the appeal of the ‘One True God’ is in his absolute moral authority. People do bad things because, with a pantheon of gods, they are free to pick and choose the one that will accept whatever proclivities they may have. But true morality can not be derived from a single watchmen. After all, morality is what you do when no one is watching.
Daniel Graystone has run into some difficulty with his company’s newest innovation, the cylon. While he’s perfected the body of the robotic soldier, its mind still eludes him. Daniel’s first invention, the holoband, has made his company the most powerful in the colonies, but its continued success depends on this new project, and the government is demanding results.
The holoband is a headset that people use to transport themselves into a virtual world, V-world; a place where people live out their wildest and darkest fantasies with no repercussions. This orderless, chaotic world drives some young people, including Zoe Graystone (Daniel’s daughter, played by Alessandra Torresani) to seek structure, something to draw a line between right and wrong. The find it in the Soldiers Of the One, a cult that worships a single god.
A common argument in favor of religion is that without an absolute moral authority (and the consequences it bestows), there is no reason for people to be good. But left on their own, people tend not to kill each other. It’s human nature to seek and protect civilization and order (which, interestingly, is the same drive that sends some to religion). As it turns out, people don’t need a reason to be good; they need a reason to be bad, and blind faith is quite apt at giving people reasons.
And so, in the first episode, Zoe and her boyfriend board a train. Zoe believes they are on their way to Gemenon, the home world of the Soldiers Of the One, but her boyfriend has other orders, to set off a suicide bomb attack, killing him and everyone else on the train. The sense of moral superiority has the strange side-effect of allowing people to do horribly immoral things to those whom they deem immoral.
Zoe, aide from being a cultist, was also something of a computer genius. She had programmed an exact copy of herself; one that retained all the memories, emotions and personality of the original. In this copy, Daniel sees the solution to his problem. A truly ‘human’ brain is what his cylon has been lacking all along.
Daniel tells the copy of Zoe that he is doing it for her, to bring her back into the real world, but his true motives are murkier. Certainly, he loves his daughter and would want her back if possible, but whether or not he sees the avatar as a means of doing that, or only as a computer program that he can manipulate to his own ends is unclear.
There’s a lot more to be said, but I’ll save that for the review of season 1.5
Caprica is a fantastic series. It has layer upon layer of complex issues, some metaphorical reflections of those in the real world, and some wholly unique to the Galactica universe. The level of character development is considerably deeper than that found in BG, perhaps because the issues they face are a little more relate-able.
Despite being heavily based on the modern Earth culture, the sci-fi elements don’t feel tacked on. They are fully integrated into the Caprica world, and the lives of its characters, making the whole thing feel like window into a slightly different parallel Earth.
The nine episodes are spread across 4 discs; the first of which includes an extended version of the pilot movie (with added nudity). Extras include behind the scenes video, commentaries, and deleted scenes.