The Capture (Season 1), 2019
Signed up the 01/07/2019
In 2019, the advancement of artificial intelligence is one of the most terrifying developments. There are questions on national security and generally, the public’s perception of reality is at stake. In all honesty, it looks all fun when a tech multinational conglomerate like Google and Huawei invent A.I assisted camera softwares. Truth is, all these are not made with ill intent but what if they fall in the wrong hands? Are technical inventions bad for society? Yes, maybe and no.The Capture unlike any other series or hell even any film, offers a realistic look at the complications of photo/video manipulation aka Deepfakes. What are deepfakes? To quote CNBC, “Deepfakes refer to manipulated videos, or other digital representations produced by sophisticated artificial intelligence, that yield fabricated images and sounds that appear to be real.”
The Capture is a six episode BBC series about a recently exonerated ex-soldier, Shaun Emery who gets caught up in an assault and kidnapping scandal. He becomes a fugitive. He’s a wanted man, everyone wants this man. Not just the police, everyone.
The show mainly focuses on two characters, Emery and a detective inspector Rachel Carey. Let’s look at Emery first. This is not his story. He’s just a guest. He serves as the audience’s introduction to the criminal underworld. He embarks on a detective mission to uncover his truth. He just wants one little thing in life, to be there for his little daughter, is that too much to ask for? That’s basically his whole character arc. Towards the end of the season he makes some questionable decisions, but maybe this asks the audience what I feel like is the ultimate question of the show, how far would you go to make sure your child has a positive image of you? Like any ex militant on TV and film, Emery is full of regrets and now, the things he does makes him question his own morality. The show is full of moral conflicts.
On the other hand I found Rachel Carey a bit uninteresting. We’ve seen this character a lot of times in the history of visual storytelling. She’s the good guy. She leans towards the good, no bias whatsoever and has the best interest of all the unfairly treated characters. And what we’ve learned from the last century of visual storytelling is that it doesn’t always end well for these kinds of characters. From the pilot I could predict all this character’s turns but what I couldn’t predict was her ending. She's convinced to do something that’s against her moral principles and she ends up giving in because “it’s for the greater good.” I found it odd.
Finally, there are black people in London. This is something that has been lacking in most of the BBC cop dramas. At first I thought they were just backdrops but I was wrong. The black characters in this series are active. They are not stereotypes or caricatures. They look realistic, no subtle conformations to Western ideas of beauty were present. This is how representation works folks.
It’s with great pleasure to announce that this series works - well, for the most part. There's a lot of ambiguity. The whole time we’re asking ourselves, did he do it? Who’s really the bad guy here? It hits us with twists and complex information all the way and that builds the mystery masterfully but we’re left with a billion questions. At first we don’t mind the questions because the story is too interesting. But it all falls apart towards the end. The writer writes himself into a corner. He has to answer the thousands of questions accumulated over the first four episodes in the last two episodes. This slowed down the pace and filled the last two episodes with exposition.
The fictionalised realism (if there’s such a thing) makes for a refreshing watch. On IMDb it’s listed as a miniseries but for some reason I don’t believe that, I’ll explain. The ending and the world building of this show is elaborate and well thought out for it to be a miniseries. I don’t know the viewership numbers but I definitely see this coming back for a second season. I highly recommend this series, especially if Deepfakes and espionage are your thing.
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