Battlestar Galactica #116: There Is Another Sky

"What are you?" "I'm awake."

SO SAY WE ALL: Tamara enters New Cap City. Adama tries to bond with his son. Graystone fights for control of his own company.

REVIEW: Though it's been weeks, this episode is really the day after the tragedy, where the characters move on and find that "other sky". Most literally, it's Tarama's story, trying to find a way out of the VR world and ultimately realizing she's dead in the real world and unable to "de-rez" and wake up. Apparently, it's possible to be trapped in VR if you're in a coma or something, which gives her hope, but would-be allies are far more interested in using her basic immortality to their advantage. We're introduced to New Cap City, a gaming sandbox with no clear goal, where you have only one life and can never return if you lose it - it's a Noir Grand Theft Auto: Caprica City with definite Ready Player One vibes (without the stupid 80s references), but it's also the Matrix, and Tamara is Neo. There are some fun "video-gamey" sequences as they execute a heist (how do they do the vanishing act after stealing Chiron's ID though?), and Tamara has powers the VR Zoe hasn't shown, at least not yet, like hacking code intuitively. Whether because a certain confidence is built up after getting "harmlessly" shot a few times, or because the sentient avatar program is very adaptable, Tamara becomes a bit of a badass, getting rid of the players who would seek to use her. She becomes a total gangster queen in the game world, and maybe that's expected of someone with Tauron values. But will her one friend Heracles agree to find her dad in the real world and tell him she's alive in there?

In fact, he does, but runs off when he hears Tamara really is dead, and a surprisingly out-of-shape Joseph isn't able to catch up to him. He's been wallowing, sleeping all day, not going to work, and after a couple of wake-up calls, from his brother and then the school principal who blows the whistle on Willie's less than perfect attendance record, he tries to become the boy's father again with an ill-fated fishing trip that ends in violence. The future Bill Adama can bean a racist prick with a rock at 10 paces. Impressive. And when Heracles shows up, it's with maximum irony, at the end of a funeral service for Tamara and her mother, as the Adamas finally let go and say goodbye to their loved ones.

And then there's Daniel Graystone, about to be pushed out of his own company after promising to make holoband technology free for all. It's public relations versus profits and the Board is sure to choose the latter. Daniel's solution is to call holobands the technology of the past. It's something they can't keep hold of because anyone can set up a virtual space; Graystone Industries doesn't really "own" it. The future, he says, is the Cylons, and the way he markets them as sentient slaves should give everyone the creeps. We know how this ends, after all. The Cylon in the room is of course Zoe, which creates more of a frisson when he asks her to rip off her arm - we're naturally not shown Zoe-as-Zoe after it's done, but I was intrigued - and the fact that she hesitates should have put a highlighted the "sentient" part of his description. You might say, well the company was always gonna make this "race" of servitors, but the way they framed the Cylon project as a money pit, it's quite possible they would have mothballed it. The best thing for the Colonies would have been to push Graystone out, but television grammar makes us want to see him succeed...

CAPRICANADA: Joseph chases Heracles down an alley south of Powell, west of Dunlevy, in Vancouver (almost always), and he goes fishing at the Inter River Park. New Cap City Bank is really the Marine Building, which was the tallest building in the British Empire when it opened in 1930. The New Cap City Bar is really the Gotham Steakhouse on Seymour street. The street Tamara walks down at the end of the episode is in the Terminal City Iron Works. Graystone's crazy board meeting room is part of the Aerospace Technology Campus in Richmond. Heracles is played by Richard Harmon, a Canadian actor also in Continuum (as many Caprica actors were) and The 100.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The Tauron funeral right mirrors elements from Ancient Greek tradition (not least of which the Tauron language being Ancient Greek), with coins being paid so souls can migrate to the underworld (though Charron and the Styx are not referenced).

VERSIONS: Deleted scenes include Graystone looking for Cyrus who is acting damn suspicious; Clarice (otherwise absent from the episode) getting very high and calling Amanda's voice-mail and revealing they were at school together, and talking about the Zoe avatar Graystone mentioned on TV (then later sobering up and realizing what she did, angering her husband Nestor); Amanda trying to fix Zoe's broken bed and discussing changing it into an office; and Adama waking Willie up to go fishing.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Derivative of other concepts, but it does feel like things are moving this week.

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