Friday, April 17, 2015

Bones 10.14: Meets La Parure

A charming Bones 10.14 last night, in which the best part of the episode was Wendell's, which riffs on one of my favorite short stories of all time, "La Parure" by Guy De Maupassant.

The story - translated as "The Necklace" or "The Diamond Necklace" - was first published in 1884. A woman borrows a beautiful diamond necklace from her friend for an important event.  She loses it, and, honorable woman that she is, goes heavily into debt to buy a replacement, which she gives to her friend.   The two run into each other ten years later.   The woman who borrowed the necklace is a mess - she and her husband struggled all of these years to pay off the debt.   She finally tells the truth to the original owner, who replies, "but the original diamond necklace was paste" - i.e., it was just inexpensive costume jewelry!

On Bones, Wendell is desperate to fix or replace his girlfriend's clock, an heirloom from her grandmother, which Wendell thinks he broke while winding it.   Those old clocks are indeed easy to break. He enlists the resourceful Hodgins, who figures out a way to get the clock working.   When Wendell gives the clock back to his girlfriend, admitting that he broke it but did the right thing and got it working, she tells him it was broken to begin with.

But Bones comes up happier than De Maupassant, because the experience brings Wendell and his girlfriend closer together.   And speaking of happiness, we get a good Max episode, too, with a happy ending, in which his new round of secretiveness was all to retrieve a ring she loved and lost as a child.  We also learn why he left the family, and the reason brings him and Bones closer together.

And the murder in the episode?  It concerns a miniature golf course - not the most profound story in the world - but who cares, when we get a modern retelling of De Maupassant.

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 - novel on through Sunday for 99 cents

Vikings 3.9: The Conquered

Another superb episode - 3.9 - of Vikings.  Another close call for Paris, which again manages to hold on against a Norse onslaught.   Maybe it's unsuccessful because Ragnar isn't with them, in the throes of the wounds from the previous battle or maybe the illness that's wreaking havoc.   And, in the end, it's he who is conquered - at least, in part, spiritually.

Because, much to his people's horror - especially Floki - Ragnar is baptized by the reluctant French bishop.   Ragnar's motivation is clear and understandable.  He thinks he may be dying, and wants to be in the same heaven as his friend, Athelstan, whose conversation Ragnar so very much values.

The French bishop thinks Ragnar will go to hell, even if he is baptized.  But the immersion is a good move for the French, because it at least gives them some sort of common ground with the leader of the military demons who have been attacking them.

The indomitable Count Odo also sees that Rollo is the man to beat if Paris is to be successfully defended.   Rollo nearly reached Odo and the Princess last week, and in episode 3.9 he single-handedly stops a fearsome rolling engine of spikes that was literally chewing up the Vikings and obstructing their attack on the city.   I'm still expecting to see some kind of relationship between Rollo and the Princess before this series is over.  She looks at him with hate, but the intensity of that emotion could at some future point go a different way.

Meanwhile,  speaking of hate, Ecbert in Wessex is getting more hateful by the hour, now taking his son's wife as a mistress after allowing her ear to be chopped off several episodes ago.  I can't recall the last time a character who seemed so decent turned bad so quickly.

The Paris action has been the best on the series so far, and I'll be sorry to see this season end so soon.

See also Vikings 3.1. Fighting and Farming ... Vikings 3.2: Leonard Nimoy ...Vikings 3.3: We'll Always Have Paris ... Vikings 3.4: They Call Me the Wanderer ... Vikings 3.5: Massacre ... Vikings 3.6: Athelstan and Floki ...Vikings 3.7: At the Gates ... Vikings 3.8: Battle for Paris

And see also Vikings 2.1-2: Upping the Ante of Conquest ... Vikings 2.4: Wise King ... Vikings 2.5: Caught in the Middle ... Vikings 2.6: The Guardians ...Vikings 2.7: Volatile Mix ... Vikings 2.8: Great Post-Apocalyptic Narrative ... Vikings Season 2 Finale: Satisfying, Surprising, Superb

And see also Vikings ... Vikings 1.2: Lindisfarne ... Vikings 1.3: The Priest ... Vikings 1.4:  Twist and Testudo ... Vikings 1.5: Freud and Family ... Vikings 1.7: Religion and Battle ... Vikings 1.8: Sacrifice
... Vikings Season 1 Finale: Below the Ash

historical science fiction - a little further back in time


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Americans 3.12: The Unwigging

The powerhouse developments on The Americans this season, threatening to unravel the very basis of the series, have been Paige's discovery of most of the truth about her parents, and Martha in the cross-hairs of the FBI.   Both received fine treatment in last night's episode 3.12, but Martha's story was especially dangerous and traumatic.

As I said when Martha first confronted Philip earlier this season after the bugged pen in the office was discovered, I was surprised that Philip didn't kill her right then and there.   He knows as well as we the audience that Stan could intersect with them at any time, and Stan would see right through Philip's disguise with Martha.

And indeed that's just about what nearly happens in a great scene in 3.8.   Fortunately, Philip's warned off by the new KGB agent, who's keeping an eye on Martha's residence.   But, even so, let's say Stan had opened that drawer with Philip's picture.  Again, Stan would have seen right through the wig and glasses in the photograph.

It's also been slightly surprising to me that the sketches of Philip and Elizabeth on the FBI wall didn't look even the least bit familiar to Stan, nor to Martha, who might have seen something reminiscent of her mysterious husband in that drawing of Philip.   But none of that matters now, because Philip has taken off the wig himself, right in front of Martha.

Doesn't this have to be prelude to his killing her?   I would say yes, but the coming attractions show Martha still alive.

Meanwhile, although Paige wasn't in any such life-and-death scenario last night, her arc did have a good resolution - Elizabeth will take her to see ailing grandma in back in the USSR.   I'm hoping we'll get to see them in Moscow next season.

And I'm looking forward to see what happens with Martha in the season finale next week.   I suppose Philip could still maintain that he's some kind of American agent under deep disguise and cover, but it's hard to see how Martha could accept that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Justified's Finale and Future Possibilities

Justified concluded its 6th and final season tonight with about as perfect a show as you could want, which touched all the bases and then some.

Raylan goes down in an old-fashioned gun fight, but lives because the bullet went through the top of his hat and just grazed his head.   Meanwhile, he killed the gunslinger who drew on him - not Boyd, who was never as fast as Raylan with a gun.

Indeed, Boyd had earlier declined to draw on Raylan, when Raylan goaded him, because Boyd was too smart for that.  He knew Raylan would kill him in any quick duel.   So Boyd played the only card he had, telling Raylan he would have to kill Boyd in cold blood if Raylan wanted him dead, Boyd betting that Raylan was too decent deep down to do that, and Boyd figured right.  He goes off to prison instead of a grave, and Raylan gets to do the right thing by Art.

Back to the old-West-like draw in which Raylan is grazed:  Ava uses the opportunity to escape from Raylan yet again, and she stays out of his sight for four years.    When Raylan catches up with her he learns she has a boy - Boyd's boy - but even before that it's pretty clear that Raylan wasn't there to bring Ava in.  He just wanted to show her he could find her.   A great ending for these two characters.

And Raylan does one last thing for Ava: he goes to see Boyd in prison with a convincing story that Ava is dead.  Boyd apparently believes him, and that's where this great series ends.

But does it?  Is the story really over for these characters?   Well, Boyd is if nothing else preternaturally clever, and I'm thinking he'll sooner or later see some kind of hole in Raylan's story and realize Raylan was lying.   Meanwhile, we've seen that Raylan's not with Winona in Florida, and I'm still thinking he has some love for Ava, so - well, he can always go back out to California to be with her.

Who knows what the future will bring.  As for the past, Justified can be counted as one of the best shows in our current golden age of television.  I didn't review it here as often as I should have.   I'll miss it.

See also Justified 6.1: Low-Flying Duck ... Justified 5.1: Finest Words Around ...  Justified 4.1: Literate Boyd Quotes Asimov and Keynes

crime involving squirrels


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Game of Thrones 5.1: Unsetting the Table

The single most important line in Game of Thrones 5.1 is spoken by Daenerys, when she tells us she cannot control her dragons.   That one statement sets up all that will follow - or puts all that will follow in jeopardy.   If she could control her dragons, then her winning over everything other than the supernatural north would be assured.  But if she cannot control them ... well, then anything, including a Lannister victory, and certainly a Stannis victory, is well within the realm of possibility.

Speaking of the north, the death of Mance Raydor (so well played by Rome's Ciarán Hinds) was a sight to behold and more than regrettable.   But beginning with the death of Ned Stark, the loss of appealing characters has become a staple of this powerful series.   The only Game of Thrones novel I've read so far is the very first, so I'm as struck as you by deaths of major characters if you haven't read the novels, either.

But Mance's death epitomizes the consolidation of power that is going in the north, as Stannis gathers his forces to take back the throne from the Lannisters.   Stannis's assumption is that nothing credible can attack him from behind, from the north, as he moves on the south.   But Jon Snow and we the viewers already know better, because we've seen the cold terror that the north can generate.

The ultimate battle has always been between the fire-breathing dragons south of the south and the icy spectres of the north.   That battle, still a long way yet to happen, makes Stannis versus the Lannisters pale in comparison - even with the witchcraft on Stannis's side - and will likely make any victory he achieves over the Lannisters pyrrhic indeed.

But that's getting ahead of the story, where we've yet to see how Arya and Brienne play out.

See also Games of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Salient Points ... Game of Thrones 4.2: Whodunnit? ... Game of Thrones 4.3: Who Will Save Tyrion ...Game of Thrones 4.4: Glimpse of the Ultimate Battle ... Game of Thrones 4.6: Tyrion on Trial ... Game of Thrones 4.8: Beetles and Battle ...Game of Thrones 4.9: The Fight for Castle Black ... Games of Thrones Season 4 Finale: Woven Threads

And see also Game of Thrones Back in Play for Season 2 ... Game of Thrones 2.2: Cersei vs. Tyrion

And see also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms ... Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead? ... Game of Thrones 1.10 Meets True Blood

And here's a Spanish article in Semana, the leading news magazine in Colombia, in which I'm quoted about explicit sex on television, including on Game of Thrones.

And see "'Game of Thrones': Why the Buzz is So Big" article in The Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2014, with my quotes.

Also: CNN article, "How 'Game of Thrones' Is Like America," with quote from me


"I was here, in Carthage, three months from now." 


The Following 3.8: Theo

The Following taken a great turn for the worse with the appearance of Theo, played by Michael Ealy, a psycho who's the best or most evil and dangerous we've seen on the series since Joe himself.  Theo really came into his own as a monster in episode 3.8.

He not only kills his nosy friends - or his wife's nosy friend and her husband - but driven by a keen logic and survival instinct, soon kills his own wife.   His "gift" to her, as he tells her as she's slipping into unconsciousness, is that she won't be aware when he's cutting her apart.   He tells her and us that he enjoyed "playing house" with her, but he needs to move on, as he has done so many times before.

Significantly, he spares his children, leaving them unconscious but fully alive and revivable.   Why? Well, he likely thinks that they have no information about him that can help Ryan.   But how can he be sure?   Possibly he has some scruples about not killing children, especially his own.   Maybe the thrill he gets from killing has to come from killing adults.

Meanwhile, Ryan has a good evening, insofar as he throws out the doctor at his dinner table when the doctor starts lecturing Ryan about capital punishment.   I actually agree with the doctor, but Ryan not having any tolerance for such a lecture at a time like this is very much in line with his character and good writing.   So is Gwen's frustration with Ryan, and his slowness in bringing down the wall of his thorny exterior.  Their relationship is one of the best aspects of the season.  (And I still can't help being a little suspicious that she might a someone's follower herself, obvious as that might be.)

The capital punishment discussion is occasioned by Joe, who has just a few days of life left on death row.   A part of me wouldn't mind if Joe's indeed executed, and Theo becomes the new continuing cross-season villain. But I have a feeling that won't happen.

In any case, Theo has breathed new nasty life into this season, the second part of which has been much better than the first, and I'm looking forward to more.

And see also The Following Is Back for Its Second Season ... The Following 2.2: Rediscovering Oneself ... The Following 2.3: Coalescing ... The Following 2.4: Psycho Families and Trains ... The Following 2.5: Turning Tides ... The Following 2.8: Coalescing? ... The Following 2.9: The Book Signing ... The Following 2.11: Lily not Joe ... The Following 2.13: The Downfall of Mike ...The Following 2.14: Twists and Deaths ...  The Following Season 2 Finale: The Living

And see also The Following Begins ... The Following 1.2: Joe, Poe, and the Plan ... The Following 1.3: Bug in the Sun ... The Following 1.4: Off the Leash ... The Following 1.5:  The Lawyer and the Swap ... The Following 1.7: At Large ... The Following 1.9: All in a Name, Or, Metaphor in the Service of Murder ... The Following 1.13: At Last Something of a Day for the Good Guys ... The Following Season 1 Finale: Doing Dead


Like a Neanderthal serial killer in the current world? Try The Silk Code