Friday, March 27, 2015

Bones 10.11: Life after Death, Sweets in Wonderland

Bones has always been about life after death, about the bones of the dead telling their stories to Bones, who is able to use that information to help bring the killers to justice in our world of the living.   But Bones 10.11 was about this in a different, less metaphorical, more literal way, as the psychic Avalon, played by Cindi Lauper, is in touch with Sweets - on this birthday, no less.

Because it's his birthday, all of our heroes and heroines are thinking about him, in their own ways.   Avalon, called in for the case at hand, is able to segue easily into being in touch with Sweets.   Unsurprisingly, Angela has no trouble believing in her and what she's saying.  Eventually, Hodgins does too - also unsurprising, because Hodgins' love for Angela makes it difficult for him to oppose anything she profoundly endorses.  And we the audience are supposed to believe, at the end, that Avalon has been guided by Sweets to get the book he wrote about Bones and Booth to them on his birthday.

Or are we?  In classic Bones fashion, we're also allowed to believe, if we choose, that maybe Avalon's insight about the thumb drive was just coincidence, and the drive would have been discovered in the car anyway.   At least, I hope so, because I don't believe in psychics, and am not inclined to, since I'm not in love with Angela.

The denouement of tonight's episode is beautifully set, though, in a tea party with Christine, who's a little older and adorably articulate.   This tea party, like all good tea parties, features an imaginary friend. Thus, Bones and Booth and everyone at the party are like the revelers at the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice in Wonderland, where make-believe reigns supreme.  Is the episode's way of saying that Sweets communicating from beyond the grave is all make believe?

Tough to say, but the party made for a very merry unbirthday Bones, indeed.

Bones 100 and 200 podcast reviews

And see also Bones 9.1: The Sweet Misery of Love ... Bones 9.2: Bobcat, Identity Theft, and Sweets ... Bones 9.3 and NCIS 11.2: Sweets and Ziva ... Bones 9.4: Metaphysics of Death in a Television Series ... Bones 9.5: Val and Deep Blue ... Bones 9.6: The Wedding ... Bones 9.7: Watch Out, Buenos Aires ...Bones 9.8: The Bug in the Neck ... Bones 9.9: Friday Night Bones in the Courtroom ... Bones 9.10: Horse Pucky ... Bones 9.11: Angels in Equations ... Bones 9.12: Fingernails ... Bones 9.13: Meets Nashville, and Wendell ... Bones 9.14: "You Cannot Drink Your Glass Away" ... Bones 9.15: Hodgins' Brother and the Ripped Off Toe ... Bones 9.16: Lampreys, Professors, and Insurance Companies ... Bones 9.17: Spartacus in the Kitchen ... Bones 9.18: Meets Day of the Triffids ... Bones 9.19: The Cornucopic Urn ... Bones 9.20: Above the Law ... Bones 9.21: Freezing and Thawing ... Bones 9.22: Promotion ... Bones 9.23: The New Intern ... Bones Season 9 Finale: Upping the Ante

And see also Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian ... Bones 8.2 of Contention ... Bones 8.3: Not Rotting Behind a Desk  ... Bones 8.4: Slashing Tiger and Donald Trump ... Bones 8.5: Applesauce on Election Eve ... Bones 8.6: Election Day ... Bones 8.7: Dollops in the Sky with Diamonds ...Bones 8.8: The Talking Remains ... Bones 8.9: I Am A Camera ... Bones 8.10-11: Double Bones ...Bones 8.12: Face of Enigmatic Evil ... Bones 8.13: Two for the Price of One ... Bones 8.14: Real Life ... Bones 8.15: The Magic Bullet and the Be-Spontaneous Paradox ... Bones 8.16: Bitter-Sweet Sweets and Honest Finn ... Bones 8.17: "Not Time Share, Time Travel" ... Bones 8.18: Couples ... Bones 8.19: The Head in the Toilet ... Bones 8.20: On Camera ... Bones 8.21: Christine, Hot Sauce, and the Judge ... Bones 8.22: Musical-Chair Parents ... Bones 8.23: The Bluff ... Bones Season 8 Finale: Can't Buy the Last Few Minutes

And see also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ...Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ...Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max ... Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson ... Bones Season 7 Finale: Suspect Bones

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ...Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ...Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ...Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ...Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ... Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution


Neanderthal bones

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Black Sails 2.9: The Unlikely Hero

A stunningly good Black Sails 2.9 - after last week's very good 2.8, too, which I didn't get a chance to review - in which all relationships are torn apart and cast asunder, with the hope of some powerful union at the end, a union of the people least likely to want to work in concert, the pirates.

They've been at each other's throats all season.   Vane, in particular, killed the mad Low, and is bent on revenge for what Eleanor did to him.   He has no love for Flint, either.  Yet, in a brilliant and rousing speech at the end of the episode, he proposes an alliance with Flint, against the British.

Vane has come to see the wisdom of Billy's argument that the admiralty sees no difference among pirates, and just wants to destroy them all.   And we've seen the bloody brutality, if not of the governor himself, then his chief man at arms, who puts a bullet in Miranda's head, right in front of our, the Governor's, and most of all Flint's horrified eyes.  It may not be what the Governor wanted, but it's every bit consistent with the arrogant way of life that the pirates have been rebelling against in all ways.

The fate not only of Flint but of Eleanor and Nassau now hangs in the balance, to the extent that the Orca gold seems almost a thin memory.   And who would have believed, even through most of this very episode, that it would be Vane who steps up to be the savior of it all.

But who and what will he be able to save?   Will he even want to save Eleanor, if he gets anywhere near her?   I suppose he could be, if he makes way to where the Governor is, and if the King's men who took Eleanor bring her there.   How many armed men does the Carolina colony now have?  How many pirates can Vane deploy against them?   Billy is a great warrior, and Silver is cunning, but can they overcome the British forces?

Another important character will likely die.  It could even be Vane.   And, for the first time for much of this season, I'm hoping it's not.

See also Black Sails 2.1: Good Combo, Back Story, New Blood ... Black Sails 2.2: A Fine Lesson in Captaining ... Black Sails 2.3: "I Angered Charles Vane" ... Black Sails 2.4: "Fire!" ... Black Sails 2.5: Twist! ... Black Sails 2.6: Weighty Alternatives, and the Medium is the Message on the High Seas ... Black Sails 2.7: The Governor's Daughter and the Gold

And see also Black Sails: Literate and Raunchy Piracy ... Black Sails 1.3: John Milton and Marcus Aurelius ... Black Sails 1.4: The Masts of Wall Street ...Black Sails 1.6: Rising Up ... Black Sails 1.7: Fictions and History ... Black Sails 1.8: Money



pirates of the mind in The Plot to Save Socrates 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Walking Dead 5.15: The Bad Guy

As powerful an episode of The Walking Dead tonight - 5.15 - as we've seen in the entire series, after a relatively quiescent second part of the fifth season.

Let's get right down to it.   Rick pulls a gun on the people in town, especially Deanna, who are trying to talk him out of killing Pete.   This after Pete nearly kills Rick, after Rick tells Pete he's not going to let business continue as usual for Pete and Jessie, which is to say, Pete beating Jessie to the point of at one time leaving her unconscious and bleeding on the floor.   Deanna knows most, maybe all of this, but she can't go along with Rick killing Pete - her policy and therefore that of Alexandria is bad guys are exiled not killed.

But Carl at first tries to stop his father, and Michonne indeed stops him by knocking him out cold from behind.   Why did Michonne do that?   And what was motivating Carl?   The only conceivable explanation is that neither want their life in the town to be disrupted - neither wants their group to be thrown out of the town - because of Deanna's reaction to what Rick was about to do.  Both Carl and Michonne - unlike Carole - desperately want to stay and live in this town.

But does that make their reaction to Rick right?  Carl may in fact have tried to warn his father about Michonne's attack - it sounded like he was calling out to him to warn him - and I think his instincts at that moment were in fact correct.  Because: Rick was right to want to kill Pete and Deanna was wrong.  Yes, a surgeon is very valuable, and it's good not to have to kill wrongdoers, but Pete in his brutality was a step away from killing Jessie - as Rick rightly says - and in that brutal world in which they live, exiling would have left him still a danger to return and kill Jessie and who knows how many else, assuming that he would have even allowed himself to go quietly.

So I once again find myself at least a little in disagreement with the moral dynamic of this series, with the ending of the episode in which Michonne looks like the hero, when in fact I think it was Rick, trying to do the right thing, with almost no support from anyone other than Carole, who was the hero here.   Pete not Rick was the bad guy.

But such moral complexities are the stuff of excellent television, and a great prelude to the 90-minute season finale next week - when maybe we'll also find out the meaning of the "W"s on the foreheads of some of the walkers.

See also: The Walking Dead 5.1: The Redemption of Carole ... The Walking Dead 5.3: Meets Alfred Hitchcock and The Twilight Zone ... The Walking Dead 5.4: Hospital of Horror ... The Walking Dead 5.5: Anatomy of a Shattered Dream ... The Walking Dead 5.6-7: Slow ... The Walking Dead 5.8: Killing the Non-Killer ... The Walking Dead 5.9: Another Death in the Family ... The Walking Dead 5.11: The Smiling Stranger ... The Walking Dead 5.12: The Other Shoe ... The Walking Dead 5.13: The Horse and the Party

And see also The Walking Dead 4.1: The New Plague ... The Walking Dead 4.2: The Baby and the Flu ... The Walking Dead 4.3: Death in Every Corner ...The Walking Dead 4.4: Hershel, Carl, and Maggie ... The Walking Dead 4.6: The Good Governor ... The Walking Dead 4.7: The Governor's Other Foot ... The Walking Dead 4.8: Vintage Fall Finale ... The Walking Dead 4.9: A Nightmare on Walking Dead Street ... The Walking Dead 4:14: Too Far ... The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale: From the Gunfire into the Frying Pan


no cannibalism but at least a plague in The Consciousness Plague

Friday, March 20, 2015

12 Monkeys 1.10: The Last Jump

12 Monkeys 1.10 concludes with Jones telling Cole he has just one more jump - the one he's about to make to Tokyo in 1987 - before the ravages of time travel take their ultimate toll on him.   That makes this last jump especially important - though, as is the case with all of time travel, something could happen in the past which will not make Cole's jump his last.

He'll have a lot of to contend with, a lot more than usual, with Ramse, now a deadly sworn enemy to Cole and what he wants to accomplish, back in 1987, too.  This is a good move for our story - the two friends facing off as enemies in an attempt to change or not change the past - and the story of how Ramse got there, which was told in 1.10, was pretty good, too,

The episode starts with Ramse attempting to burn the time travel facility, with the machine now back up to speed due to Jones's ruthless heroics in prior episodes.  He gets the blaze going, but it burns the bulletin board on the wall, not the time machine.  Again, a good move for the larger narrative - the machine not being burned - but the resistance of the machine to scorching flames should have been a little more clear before Ramse lit the match - after all, it's not the machine that is invulnerable to the heat or whatever that energy of time travel, it's the human being who is time traveling, and that's not a very complete immunity at that, with Cole worn down to his last jump.

Ramse does come back, near the end of the episode, to finish the job - that is, destroy the time travel machine - but that doesn't happen, either.  And, indeed, Ramse instead uses the device to go back to 1987 to make sure Cole is stopped back then.  In one of the best parts of the episode, Ramse earlier has run into Jennifer Goines, much older, having lived into 2043, not time traveled to it, and she gives Ramse crucial information about what he must do.    This scene was important, not only because we get to see Jennifer in a more interesting role that just a raving lunatic, but because it gives Ramse enough knowledge to make him a worthy adversary of Cole and Jones.

So the action moves to Tokyo, with Ramse already there and Cole, I assume, to arrive imminently, and the Witness also on hand, with Ramse at least primed to look for him, having been alerted to his presence and his role in the plague by Jennifer.

A fine kettle of time traveled fish for next week and the concluding episodes to follow this season.

See also this Italian review, w/reference to Hawking and my story, "The Chronology Protection Case"

And see also 12 Monkeys series on SyFy: Paradox Prominent and Excellent ...12 Monkeys 1.2: Your Future, His Past ... 12 Monkeys 1.3:  Paradoxes, Lies, and Near Intersections ... 12 Monkeys 1.4: "Uneasy Math" ... 12 Monkeys 1.5: The Heart of the Matter ... 12 Monkeys 1.6: Can I Get a Witness? ... 12 Monkeys 1.7: Snowden, the Virus, and the Irresistible ... 12 Monkeys 1.8: Intelligent Vaccine vs. Time Travel ... 12 Monkeys 1.9: Shelley, Keats, and Time Travel

podcast review of Predestination and 12 Monkeys

 three time travel novels: the Sierra Waters trilogy

 photo LateLessons1_zpsogsvk12k.jpg
What if the Soviet Union survived into the 21st century,
and Eddie and the Cruisers were a real band?

The Chronology Protection Case movie 

~~~ +++ ~~~


American Crime: American Fine

I thought it high time I checked in with a review of American Crime, the new ABC-TV series directed by John Ridley, who produced 12 Years a Slave.   In a word, the series is excellent - original, deep, superbly acted and plotted.  Well, that's more than one word, but they're all deserved.

In a very general way, American Crime is much like True Detective, the investigation of brutal murder(s) taking up an entire season.   In the case of American Crime, we have a married couple, the husband found murdered and the wife badly beaten and apparently sexually attacked.   They're white, and the suspects, quickly identified and rounded up by police in the first episode, are African-American and Hispanic.  The unfolding story reveals schism in the relationships of both sets of parents of the victims - as well as each set of parents to the other - as well profound differences in the suspects and their lives.   By the end of the third episode, we're giving some suspicions that the suspects may not be the perpetrators of the crimes.

Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman as parents of the slain Matt are outstanding, and put in what will be counted as among the best performances of their careers.   Hutton always had a large range, ranging from the comical to the cool, but his behind-the-eight-ball father in American Crime, struggling to the do the right thing in the face of a caustic wife and pressures from the parents of his son's wife Gwen, is  especially noteworthy and just masterful.

On the other side of this narrative,  Benito Martinez - whom I first got to know on The Shield - puts in a great performance as Alonzo Gutierrez, the father of one of the people arrested, a boy whose only crime seems to have been giving a car to known gang members.   Seeing Alonzo get chewed up by the legal system,  striving to keep his son out its legal claws but mostly failing because he doesn't fully understand what's going on, is a sight to behold as well as instructive about how minorities are treated when they get pulled in the criminal system in this country, whether or not through any fault of their own.   Just to underscore this point, we get a searingly memorable scene in the third episode in which his daughter Jenny, totally innocent, is almost drawn into this sick system herself - that is, she's almost arrested, when she has been doing nothing wrong.

Also memorable is Caitlin Gerard as Aubrey, drug addict and girlfriend of one of the incarcerated suspects, not dumb, but abused by life, literally thrown in a scrapheap after passing out and being sexually abused, and doing whatever she can to hold on.   We've seen characters like this on many a police drama over the years, but none quite as effective in this role.

If the first three episodes are any indication, we can expect all kinds of twists and turns and heartbreaks and maybe a sigh or two of relief in the episodes ahead, and I'm looking forward them all.

a different kind of crime