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'Caprica': Daniel Graystone figures out the 'Ghost in the Machine'

March 20, 2010 |  7:07 am

Dads and the mildly morbid pursuit of their dead daughters' cyber representations is the theme for this "Ghost in the Machine" episode of "Caprica." And although one father is grounded firmly in the tangible, the other is losing himself to a virtual world that he barely understands.

Let's start in Caprican reality. Jumping off from last week's "The Imperfections of Memory" episode, Daniel Graystone's internal inquiries into robo-Zoe finally reach an engagement point. Meaning, he finally starts talking directly to Zoe in the robot body, despite her silence. We were all wondering when or if he'd ever figure it out, but he's a smart guy. Maybe too smart. His psychological probing of what, by sight, is a robot is ... smart, but as we see from Zoe's reaction while talking to Lacy in V World, it could be dangerous to try to rile up the emotions of a teenage girl in a powerful robotic body. "I just wanted to snap him." And she could.

Switch to the other dad-chasing-a-virtual-daughter, Joseph Adama. His forays into the virtual New Cap City seem to be getting longer as he continues his loud and annoying search for the avatar of his daughter, Tamara. Why is it annoying?  Because he keeps yelling for his daughter! Hate it when parents do that in a grocery store or a department store, hate it when they do that in a virtual war zone where any number of things can kill them. In this case, it doesn't show devotion or perseverance, it shows crazy -- and critical inexperience with the game. But sadly, like those parents running around yelling, it is realistic. Oh and he's also starting to use something like a virtual drug to increase in-game performance. This can't be good.

Back to Daniel. Another experiment: lighting the ground around robo-Zoe on fire. Since she has a fear of fire due to their house burning down when she was 5, he hopes to get a reaction. Zoe's still staying strong, though.

Amid the dad segments are two continuing developments. Vergis pays a visit to the Graystone home -- to see Amanda, not Daniel. By telling her about the stolen MCP chip and the two murdered officers at his company, Vergis undoubtedly is planting more seeds of chaos in Daniel Graystone's life. She tells him to get out, but the kernel is already there. Also, Amanda continues to see images of her dead brother around town, this time driving a car past the site of his fatal accident. Hopefully there will be some hint as to what this is all about. Is Amanda just going crazy?  Does this have anything to do with V World ... or will it possibly happen in the future?  Hmmm ...

Back to Joseph. After a heart-to-heart with Sam about how he should feel when killing people in real life, Joseph's desperation spurs him to "kill" avatars in a New Cap City bar/club as his search for Tamara becomes more urgent. His guide, Emmanuelle, is still an enigma, but he's definitely getting closer to finding his daughter, since Tamara's symbol is now seen on walls.  Tamara, after having found out what she is and the power she wields, will be a pivotal character.

Daniel's last experiment with robo-Zoe is to shoot the dog. We love the dog! Zoe does as she is told but, luckily, knows the gun has blanks. (Clever that he has blanks in the gun, because a lot of people would've been upset.) Zoe may be strong-willed, but this game can't last too long, especially since we know that Daniel knows about the avatar.  Sooner or later, self-preservation or robo-Zoe's frustration will cause an incident.

As the (kind of) finale nears, there are so many journeys that seem like they haven't even begun. Joseph has ventured outside of himself, but many of the others don't seem to have taken steps as far-reaching. We don't know how far this pre-"Battlestar Galactica" arc is planned -- three seasons? Four?

-- Jevon Phillips

Photos: At top, Daniel Graystone chats with robo-Zoe. At bottom, Joseph Adama and Emmanuelle arrive in a New Cap City club. Credit: Syfy