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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Caprica: Pilot (Part 1) Caprica
"Pilot" Part 1
0:00-48:57 on the extended pilot DVD
Written by Remi Aubuchon and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Jeffrey Reiner
Original airdate: January 22, 2010

Decades before the Fall, the future of humanity begins with a choice.

(This episode begins with the hedonistic rituals of the VR club and ends with Daniel Graystone forcibly downloading the Zoe avatar.)

Read the synopsis of the full 90-minute pilot episode at the Battlestar Wiki site

Didja Know?

This study is based on the unrated, extended version of the 90-minute pilot available on DVD, which was released before the pilot aired on Syfy. The only real additions to the extended edition are some shots of nudity in the various VR club sequences and a longer closing credits list. The televised version actually has more special effects shots, as the producers decided to add a little more futuristic look to the cityscape and even a space shot.

Caprica is a prequel television series to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. The series ran for one season in 2010 before cancellation; the reimagined Battlestar Galactica ran 2003-2009 (hereafter referred to as BSG2000). Caprica takes place 58 years before the return of the Cylons in the premiere of BSG2000. It tells the story of the beginning of the Cylons on Caprica and involves the Adama family as well. Since it is a prequel and does not give any important spoilers of events in the chronologically-later BSG2000, I've chosen to present the studies of this series first, even though it was produced after.

Caprica was created by Ronald D. Moore and Remi Aubuchon. Aubuchon had come to Universal with a series idea about robots as slaves that was similar to what Moore was proposing for a BSG prequel, so the studio had them collaborate on a single series, which became Caprica. Original BSG series creator/producer Glen A. Larson is credited as Consulting Producer on the various reimagined BSG series.

   Many of the concepts and terms used in the original Battlestar Galactica of 1978 (BSG70) return in the reimagined BSG universe, but many more are closely related to our own Earth culture than in the BSG70 universe; this becomes explained somewhat by the end of the BSG2000 series. "Frak" is still used as an expletive, and is much more obviously a stand-in for the English expletive "fuck" (e.g. "frak off" and "motherfraker"). The time units of BSG70 are not used here (yahren, centon, sectar, etc.), instead using our English words of year, hour, minute, second, day, week, month, etc.
   Humanity is still based out of the Twelve Colonies, having travelled from the human homeworld of Kobol almost 2000 years previous. During the events of the Caprica series, the Colonies are mostly independent of each other politically, like nations, and they all have their own alliances and wars among them. But by the time of BSG2000, they will have coalesced into a single government, by the necessity of having to defend themselves collectively from the Cylons.
   In the reimagined universe, the Cylons are not the robotic descendants of reptilian aliens from another system seeking to conquer the universe. Here, the Cylons were essentially soldier robots constructed by the humans of the Twelve Colonies to fight in battle. Caprica begins to tell the story of the development of the Cylons; by the time of BSG2000, the Cylons will have gained sentience independent of their human creators and will have rebelled, causing the first (and then second) Cylon War. 

In the reimagined BSG universe, the Twelve Colonies exist in the Cyrannus star system (not Cyrannus galaxy as in stated in BSG70). Cyrannus is a system of four stars, Helios-Alpha, -Beta, -Gamma, and -Delta, which form two binary sub-systems of Helios Alpha/Beta and Helios Gamma/Delta. The planet Caprica shares an orbit with sister world Gemenon around the star Helios Alpha; the colonies of Picon and Tauron also orbit Helios Alpha. Much of this information comes from the official Map of of the 12 Colonies available for purchase from Quantum Mechanix.

Evidence scattered throughout the series (and also in the online version of the daily Caprica newspaper The Caprican) tells us that the Colonial year in which the "current day" events of the series take place is YR42, 1,942 years since the human exodus from the homeworld of Kobol. The months of the year are similar to those of our Earth's Gregorian calendar: Ianuarius, Februarius, Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and, presumably December (which is never mentioned in the series). Many of the names are the same as those in the ancient Roman calendar of Earth (Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, and Quintilis). The number of days in each month is not known; it may be based on the 28.2 day mutual orbit that Caprica and Gemenon share around each other (revealed in the Map of the 12 Colonies) since at this point it's not known positively that Caprica even has a moon at all or whether it may have more than one. It is unknown to what extent, if any, this calendar is used on the other worlds of the Twelve Colonies.

Many wireless computer devices are seen in Caprica but are absent in the chronologically-later BSG2000. Remarks in BSG2000 episodes suggest that most wireless capabilities were eliminated by the Colonies during the first Cylon War due to the Cylons' ability to tap into them and corrupt or sabotage human computer networks.

Brian Markinson, who portrays Global Defense Department Agent Jordan Duram in Caprica, also goes on to play Commander Silas Nash, the first commander of the battlestar Galactica in Blood and Chrome.

The Adama family, though now living on Caprica, is presented as being of Tauron ancestry here. In BSG70, there was no indication that Commander Adama's background was anything other than native Caprican.

Didja Notice?

The televised version opens with a space shot of Caprica and its sister world, Gemenon, that is not seen in the extended version.

There are a fair number of topless females in the VR club scenes in the extended version of the pilot. (This shouldn't really be in the "Didja Notice?" section of this study because [unless you haven't watched the extended version], yes, you noticed.) 

Notice that the head of the woman on stage at the VR club at 2:01 on the DVD changes from human to demon and then a wolf-like creature intermittently as the strobe light flashes.

The exterior of the Athena Academy where Zoe and her friends go to school is actually the Vancouver School of Theology of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Athena is one of the gods of the Twelve Colonies. On Earth, Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, and justice.

We see throughout the series that Capricans often use the phrase "So say we all," at the end of a prayer, just as the crewmembers of the Galactica do in BSG2000.

Apparently, Capricans enjoy the game of tennis, looking pretty much exactly like our conception of the game, though the court has a diamond shape added to each half as well. It's not revealed what purpose the diamond markings have in the game; it's possible the diamonds are laid for a different game that may be played on the same court.

At about 4:10 on the DVD, Amanda claims that her husband's shot on the tennis court landed out of bounds. It's very close, but it looks like hit the boundary line to me, meaning it was fair.

The Graystones have a robot servant named Serge. Serge has a single, camera-like eye that is somewhat reminiscent of the singular eyes of the computer HAL 9000 installed in various locations of the spaceship Discovery One in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is implied throughout the series that Serge is unique and that robot butlers are not common on Caprica; Serge is essentially a prototype designed by Daniel Graystone and extremely expensive. The voice of Serge was provided by Jim Thomson, who was actually the assistant editor on the 90-minute pilot episode. Though he was not an editor on the regular series episodes, he continued to provide the voice of Serge in all episodes in which the robot appeared.

Zoe's father occasionally calls her, simply, Z. Another nickname used by some for her is Zo. Joseph calls Tamara, Tammy.

    This episode mentions that Zoe is to have a computer science wing at Apollo University named after her. She sarcastically retorts to her father that she is only getting it because he donated "about a billion cubits to the alumni fund." We learn right from the very start though, that she actually is a computer programming genius in her own right, though she presumably has not proven it publicly, only clandestinely, with her creation of her own nearly identical AI avatar.
   Apollo is one of the gods of the Twelve Colonies. On Earth, Apollo was the Greek god of the sun, truth, prophecy, healing, and the arts.

On Caprica, one is able to use computers/displays that are built into what appears to be a sheet of paper. The article "Athena Academy in Mourning" in The Caprican reveals that these are commonly referred to as "e-sheets".

Colonial paper and books are produced with the corners cut off, as occasionally seen in BSG70 as well.

The infinity symbol used by the Soldiers of the One (STO) is also seen during a Cylon funeral service in the BSG2000 episode "Islanded in a Stream of Stars", implying there may be a connection between the original human monotheist terrorist group and the later Cylon monotheistic religion.

Zoe enters a combination code of symbols on her computer sheet to enter the VR world. The symbols number twelve, arranged in a circle like a 12-hour clock. The symbols are reminiscent of astrological symbols.

As Zoe walks through the VR club at 7:09 on the DVD, notice that many of the doors have different symbols on them, including the one in which she meets her own Zoe avatar. Her door has the infinity symbol of the Soldiers of the One, with different symbols on the other doors. The infinity symbol lights up when she touches it, seemingly identifying her as someone with permission to enter; in a later scene, Daniel tries to follow her in there and cannot open the door. Presumably the other doors' symbols identify other organizations, groups, or clubs.

Zoe, Lacy, and Ben plot to run away from home and go to Gemenon, the Colony on which the Soldiers of the One cult originated. The televised version of the pilot has an opening shot missing from the extended version, of the twin worlds of Gemenon and Caprica sharing an orbit around the star Helios Alpha.

The shot at about 10:39 on the DVD, was altered fairly significantly with CGI for the televised version to make the background buildings (of Vancouver)look a little less Earth-like and adds a number of banners hanging off some of the buildings. The city shot at about 12:57, when Joseph sees some of the smoke and dust of the maglev explosion is also spruced up.

The Maglev station was filmed at Granville Station, a SkyTrain station in Vancouver.

At about 12:09 on the DVD, it sounds like Tamara's mom calls her T'Pri or something like that instead. The subtitles say "Tamara" though. Is it a nickname? Was the name changed to Tamara from the original script?

The Caprican tells us the bombing on the Maglev train occurred on Ianuarius 23.

At 13:00 on the DVD, a stop sign appears to be covered up with red in the background so the word "STOP" is not visible. Perhaps the sign was considered to be too Earth-like, so it was covered. Yet, an unobscured stop sign is seen at 45:39 on the DVD.

After the Maglev bombing, the episode jumps to two weeks later, with the Graystones still in mourning for their daughter. This would make it some time in Februarius, since we don't know the exact number of days in each Caprican month.

During the government press conference at which Agent Duram details the facts currently known about the bombing, the Caprican flag can be seen hanging in the background. (Image from the Battlestar Wiki).

Agent Duram states that the Soldiers of the One had been believed dormant for the past ten years before this bombing.

At 15:00 on the DVD, Joseph pats his pockets, trying to find his cigarette lighter, which he apparently forgot to bring. In the BSG2000 episode "The Hand of God", Commander Adama has a lighter which used to belong to his father, i.e. Joseph, which his father always carried with him into court, believing it brought him luck on his cases. We finally see the lighter in "The Dirteaters", and it is the same one seen later on BSG2000's "The Hand of God".

At 16:32 on the DVD, we can see that the motto of the Athena Academy is "Cast Aside the Temporal". (The article from The Caprican, "Athena Academy Applications at an All-Time High" reveals the full motto is "Cast Aside the Temporal. Reach for the Eternal.")

Notice that Sister Clarice wears a large ring that loops over two fingers, not just one.

The coffee shop Daniel and Joseph stop in appears to have graffiti etched into the windows!

At 19:53 on the DVD, a sign for Yagger's is seen across the street from the coffee shop. This is an actual sports bar and restaurant in Vancouver. It is seen again in "The Dirteaters".

As Joseph and Daniel get up from their booth to leave the coffee shop, several people can be seen in the second floor windows across the street observing the filming of the scene!

As Joseph and Daniel leave the coffee shop, we can see from the reverse lettering in the window that they are actually at the Smile Diner, an actual restaurant in Vancouver. It is seen again in "The Dirteaters".

At 20:48 on the DVD, we can see the reflection of a "Ramada" sign in the window of Smile Diner as Daniel and Joseph leave. There is, in fact, a Ramada hotel across the street from it in Vancouver.

Daniel invites Joseph to attend a Buccaneers pyramid game with him, since he owns the Caprica Buccaneers. In "Pilot" Part 2, we see that the pyramid game is essentially the same game that was referred to as triad in BSG70. Pyramid was a poker-like card game in that same series. Ronald D. Moore admits in the DVD commentary of the BSG2000 episode "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 1 that he mistakenly mixed up the names of the two games from the original series; in BSG2000, the card game is called triad.

At 21:41 on the DVD, there appears to be a book called My Place in Heaven on the desk in Zoe's room.

When Daniel enters Zoe's room at 25:44 on the DVD and finds Lacy there, notice there is a large, empty hook on the bedroom door. But, just seconds later, at 26:14, there is a green decoration of some kind dangling from it.

At 26:59 on the DVD, we get a couple of distant looks at the court seal of Caprica.
 
At 28:07 on the DVD, we see a Graystone Industries building where the prototype U-87 Cyber Combat Unit is tested. In the unrated version, the building and grounds look quite a bit different than they do in the televised pilot and the later hourly episodes of the series. In both cases, notice that the central tower has a pentagonal construction reminiscent of the Cylon symbol in BSG70 and which appear on the sides of the Caprican Cylon Marine VTOLs in "Apotheosis".
Graystone Industries from the unrated version of the pilot. Graystone Industries in the televised version and later episodes.
 

At 29:04 on the DVD, notice that the U-87 is using paintball guns in its test against the robotic drone.

At 29:13 on the DVD, a raised U-87 imprint can be seen on the unit's chestpiece.

At 30:15 on the DVD, we see that Willie Adama attends Wilson Elementary School.

Until the penultimate episode of Caprica, "Here Be Dragons", the audience presumably assumes that Willie Adama will grow up to become the Commander William Adama seen in BSG2000. But, Willie is killed in the final minutes of that episode, and it is revealed in an epilog of the final episode, "Apotheosis", that Joseph and his second wife, Evelyn, had a son whom they also named William, in honor of the too-short life of Willie, as is Tauron custom. The second William Adama is the one who becomes "Bill" Adama and leads the rag-tag remnants of humanity to Earth as Commander/Admiral Adama in BSG2000. In the audio commentary of "Apotheosis", executive producer Kevin Murphy explains that when they shot the pilot, a math error caused them to have a Willie Adama that was too old to become the Commander Adama seen in BSG2000; Adama would have been in his 70s by the time of that series! So the writers/producers concocted the interesting workaround of playing with viewers' expectations and flipping it on its ear with Willie's death and the introduction of a new William Adama in the proposed second season. (It might also be argued, from a continuity standpoint, that an early indication that Willie was not the same William Adama who would grow up to become Commander Adama is that Willie's eyes are brown, while Commander Adama's eyes are blue.)

Notice that what appear to be a child's drawings are hanging on one wall of Daniel's home work area. Presumably, these were made by Zoe when she was little.

The touchscreen keyboard used by Daniel in his home lab displays letter keys in the phrase "ETAOIN SHRDLU". This is roughly the order of frequency these letters are used in the English language. Historically, typesetters that printed pages mostly in the English language would have their blocks arranged in this order for ease of use.

It is revealed that the Vergis Corporation has developed a meta-cognitive processor, also referred to as an MCP. Possibly, the "MCP" term was used by the writers as a reference to the MCP (Master Control Program) of the Tron franchise.

At 38:24 on the DVD, there appears to be a cello in Zoe's room. Was she known to play it?

In the VR club, Lacy tells Daniel that the human sacrifice area of the club is for offerings to Hecate, goddess of the underworld. On Earth, Hecate was the Greek and Roman goddess of crossroads, the Moon, and witchcraft, whose abode was the underworld.

In the unrated version, Zoe remarks that the human brain contains about 300 megabytes of data. In the televised version, she says its about 100 terabytes. The second figure is a much better estimation. 

In the DVD commentary of the episode "Reins of a Waterfall", Ronald D. Moore states that the Ha'la'tha is based on the Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia.

At 48:14 on the DVD, Daniel is obviously holding a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection for downloading the Zoe avatar program. On Earth, USB is a connector and communications protocol between a computer and an external device, developed in the 1990s by seven international electronics and computing corporations.

Man, there is, like, no privacy in the Graystone bedroom!!

At 48:55 on the DVD, we see the Graystones' dog, Caesar, for the first time.

Notes from The Caprican

The Caprican is the online version of the daily Caprica newspaper The Caprican. Actually, it's an online meta-paper for fans of the show, produced by writers for Universal to give them a sidebar look at events before, alongside, and after the events of individual episodes. It was available on the Syfy website while the series was running. The articles are now archived at the Battlestar Wiki. I will be presenting a few notes from my readings of the articles of The Caprican that relate to the episode study in question. The names of the reporters writing for The Caprican are probably fictitious, though some do seem to be touchstones to real world reporters of Earth in the past: Ann Royall was the name of the woman whom many consider to be the first professional female journalist in the U.S. (1769-1854); Ralston Sinclair may be a nod to the muckraking author/journalist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968).

The article "V-Clubs: A Reality, Virtual and Otherwise" mentions the Colonial Prison in Marathon. It's not revealed where Marathon itself is located.

The article "Monotheists: A Passing Fad, Nothing More" mentions a smoke bomb set off just outside of Goldie's Off Track Betting. Goldie's shows up several times in episodes of the series as a meeting hub for members of the Tauron Ha'la'tha.

   The article "Caprica's Finest: The Graystones" of Ianuarius 12, suggests that young Zoe Graystone is already becoming known for her partying ways.
   The article also describes the Graystone mansion as "the envy of every up-and-coming business mogul this side of the Alpha Quadrant." This may be a double reference to 1) Star Trek, which describes Earth's quadrant of the galaxy as the Alpha Quadrant, and 2) the BSG70 episode "War of the Gods" Part 2, in which the Beings of Light give Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba some information about the location of Earth, including it being in "quadrant Alpha".

The article "Fares Rise and Commuter Morale Declines" indicates that not only is "maglev" a colloquial term for the magnetic levitation trains that make up a large part of Caprica City's mass transit system, but MAGLEV is the name of the government department that runs them.

The article "Medics Revive Holoband 'Sleeper'" mentions that the 15-year-old holoband victim attends Promethia High School. In "Rebirth" we learn that this is also where Tamara Adams went to school before she was killed in the maglev bombing. A mention of the VR game New Cap City is also made; many of our characters visit this virtual reality in later episodes.

The article "Athena Academy Applications at an All-Time High" has a quote from the Dean of Admissions at Athena Academy that it is "one of the most prestigious high schools of the Alpha Colonies." Presumably the Alpha Colonies are the worlds orbiting Helios Alpha: Caprica, Gemenon, Tauron, and Picon. The article also reveals that the Athena Academy is located at the School Complex on Learning Boulevard South (and the later article "Graystone-Stark Memorial Scholarship Fund Established at Athena Academy" reveals the exact address to be 5633 Learning Blvd. South, Caprica City).

The article "Teen Brawl Breaks Out at Little Tauron Eatery" is about a brawl at Connie's Place between two teenage boys from the Athena Academy, one named Ben. This must be Ben Stark, who went on to blow up himself and a maglev full of passengers in this episode. Connie's Place is a restaurant that is apparently popular with teens since Joseph and Sam both recall spending time there as teenagers in "Gravedancing".

Notes from the audio commentary by Ron Moore, David Eick, and Jeffery Reiner

The clothing worn on Caprica is a mesh of 1940-60s Earth designs. Automobiles run the gamut of "exotic" designs from the 1940s through modern times. 

Notes from the Deleted Scenes bonus feature on the DVD

It is revealed the Sister Clarice grew up in the slums on Sagittaron. (In BSG70, the colony was known as Sagitara instead.)

Memorable Dialog

go frak yourself.wav
so say we all.wav
I'm grounded.wav
there's something to be excited about.wav
marry into money.wav
I kicked him in the balls.wav
you're just a thing.wav
I'm not a person.wav
your typical 16-year-old girl.wav
new and creative ways to piss off her parents.wav
I'm not going to argue with a digital image.wav
the Ha'la'tha does not fire people.wav
a very good imitation.wav

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