Last week's premiere of Syfy's Caprica introduced fans to Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker), the headmistress at the Athena Academy, and Walker tells us that there's a lot more to the character than is apparent at first blush. (Spoilers ahead!)
"She's not what she seems, obviously, because she's not just the head of the girls' religious academy," Walker told us in an exclusive interview this month. "She's a religious terrorist, and she's the head of the terrorist organization. She's incredibly dangerous, and she runs into all the different characters and manipulates and is scheming. She has a conscience as well, but she feels like she has direct access to God. She feels like she's God's messenger."
When Walker (HBO's Rome) filmed the pilot, she sought assurances that there would be more to play in the extended run of the show. "I was promised it," Walker said. "It becomes pretty huge, what I have to do. So that's why I wanted to do it. I was promised that it's going to get crazy. It's a crazy character that I play. She's out there."
The show will deal in part with the conflict between monotheists and polytheists, and Clarice's mission is supporting the One True God philosophy. That means she'll want to see the Cylons come into common use.
"She wants that," Walker said. "That's what she wants with all her heart. She's a monotheist, and Cylons believe in One True God."
The Graystone family will be the key to Clarice's mission. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) created the first Cylon to manifest his late daughter Zoe's (Alessandra Torresani) personality. Clarice will manipulate him through the Graystone matriarch, Amanda (Paula Malcomson).
"I have a very strong connection with Graystone's wife because, basically, the Zoe character is the reason for my faith and everything like that," Walker said. "His wife, to me, is like the Virgin Mary. I don't actually have anything to do with [Daniel]. I'm stuck in my own crazy little world."
Meanwhile, Zoe's best friend, poor Lacy Rand (Magda Apanowicz), grows suspicious of Sister Clarice as she deals with Zoe's death. "Because Lacy is such a weak prey, everyone knows that this is the kind of girl you can use and take all the information from," Apanowicz said. "Lacy starts to develop this backbone and realize, 'I'm being used.' I think she starts to see that in Sister Clarice because she wants to believe that Sister Clarice is helping her. Everyone wants to help, but she starts to realize that the world is a bad place and maybe Sister Clarice might not be a good person. She's trying to figure it out herself."
In addition to the intrigue, Caprica will feature plenty of action, thanks in part to the terrorist acts of characters such as Sister Clarice. Walker herself may not be directly involved in explosions, but she might use characters like Lacy to do her dirty work.
"I'm somebody who doesn't really like to get her hands too dirty," Walker said. "She's a wonderful motivator and manipulator, so she kind of gets people to do a lot of her dirty work, but, yeah, there's massive explosions, and there's a lot of murder."
The new episode of Caprica, "Rebirth," airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.