Thursday, May 27, 2010

FlashForward Ends on a High Note

A fine finale for FlashForward tonight, which makes me feel more than ever that the series deserved at least another season.

After tempting us and taunting us all season long with which of the flashforwards would come true - the only we knew for sure did not was Gough's, who committed suicide - we had an excellent series of confirmations of the future against all odds tonight, which included
  • Bryce and Keiko meeting in the restaurant after all, when her mother distracts ICE officials at the airport, allowing Keiko to get to the restaurant, and Bryce earlier explaining to Nicole that his true love is Keiko
  • Nicole almost drowning after all - she was not being baptized - which explains her bad feeling about her flashforward - but the guy she saw briefly in the hospital didn't come to hurt her, but rescue her
  • Aaron's daughter, who seemed to have died last week, coming back to life after all.
But the most interesting, and satisfying story, concerned what happens to Mark.  He of course ends up in FBI headquarters.   Meanwhile, we've seen the first flashforward which did not come completely true - Janis's sonogram in the hospital shows her baby's all right all right, but the baby's a boy not  a girl.  So the flashforwards can be almost completely true.   At chez Benford, Olivia, Lloyd, and the kids are in place, but Lloyd elects to keep his shirt on.   When Olivia looks down at him from balcony, it's clearly not after they just made love (they did kiss pretty passionately).  So their flashforward also came almost true.   And though Vogel does say, outside the Benford house, that Benford is dead, it turns out that that's just the first part of a longer, conditional statement that ends along the lines of, there's no way he'll get out of that building.  So he's not really saying that Benford is dead, but that Benford will be dead.  Nice touch.

And though Mark's attacked by the masked team, he kills them at all, after figuring out that the next flashforward will occur in just 14 minutes.  He gets word out to Stan - who managed to kill a bad guy with a shot from the toilet - and a little of the world is warned, but there's also a bomb that's about to blow up the FBI building, and Mark may not be able to get out.

For those who may be seeing this one and final season Flashforward at some time in the future, and may be reading this, I won't tell you the very ending, except to say it is very good, indeed.

Indeed, like Coronet Blue in the 1960s, I predict that FlashForward and all concerned will fare well in the future.  The television series was a good extrapolation of Rob Sawyer's novel, and deserved a longer run, but sometimes it takes the world longer than expected to realize what's happening....


5-min podcast review of FlashForward finale

See also FlashForward Debuts and Oceanic Airlines as a Portal Between FlashForward and Lost ... 1.2: Proofs and Defiance of Inevitability ... 1.3: Conficting Visions and Futures ... 1.4: FlashForward Meets Shaft and House ... Drunk FlashForwarding in 1.5 ... Across the Universe in FlashForward 1.6 ... FlashForward 1.7: The Future Can Be ... FlashForward 1.8: The Nightie as a Grain of Sand ... FlashForward 1.9: Shelter from the Storm ... Olivia Benford at Harvard in Flashforward 1.10 ... Flashforward 1.12 Parts 1 and 2 ... FlashForward 1.13: Aaron's Daughter, Mark's Gun, and Magpies ... FlashForward 1.14:  Somalia, LA, Fate Irresistible and Resistible ... FlashForward 1.15: Who's That Lady? ... FlashForward 1.16: Mark's Gun and Demetri's Wedding ... FlashForward 1.17: Mark, Demetri, and Hari Seldon ... FlashForward 1.18: Triple Forks ... FlashForward 1.19: The Stubborn Universe ...  FlashForward 1.20: Rehearsal for Unwarranted Retirement

Listen to 40-minute interview with Robert J. Sawyer






Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NCIS Season 7 Finale: Retribution

NCIS has served up dependably excellent finales season after season, most revolving around Ziva, her family, and her love interests.   Last night's finale had Ziva getting her American citizenship, but otherwise the story was squarely around Gibbs, and it was customarily excellent.

The defining moment in Gibbs' life was the murder of his beloved wife Shannon and daughter Kelly.  Gibbs hunted and killed the man responsible, a Mexican in Mexico.  Gibbs did this off the grid, and the legally unsanctioned but morally justified killing has vexed and directed just about everything that has happened in Gibbs' life since then, an implacable inner demon.   Although the killing was not outrageous in the way that Vic Mackey's execution of a [spoiler] in the first episode of The Shield was, and although we didn't get to see what Gibbs did in Mexico until the NCIS series was well underway, the two killings are elephants in the psyches of the lead characters, and lurk behind most things they do, crying out for some kind of retribution.

That retribution begins to be taken in the NCIS Season 7 finale.   The daughter and son of the man Gibbs killed have been planning this for some time.   The son Alejandro, who is with the Mexican police, had earlier invited Abby down to Mexico, to get her to find a bullet she could trace to Gibbs - the bullet that had killed his father.   Alejandro is dangerous, and almost shot Gibbs point blank dead in the finale, but he is not Gibbs' worst problem.

That comes from the daughter Paloma, who wants not to kill Gibbs, but destroy his spirit.   She plans on doing this by insisting that Gibbs become her lackey, and if he refuses, she will kill people Gibbs cares about, starting with Mike Franks and proceeding to Gibbs' father.   Franks has recently been in a shootout with these bad guys and their mercenaries (including Jason played by Dylan Bruno - good to see him after Numb3rs) in Mexico, and they shot off his index finger.   We don't know until the end if Franks is dead, held hostage, or still at large.   When it turns out he's out and about, and apparently no worse for the loss of his finger, that's good news.  But-

Back in Washington, Gibbs is not about to do Paloma's bidding.  He and Leon stage a nice faked conversation, but it's clear when Jason's killed that Giibs is working against not for Paloma.  He earlier told his father Jackson to go someplace safe - but Gibbs' father is if nothing else even more stubborn than Gibbs - and in a final scene we see Paloma walk into Jackson's store ...

We'll have to wait until September to see whether she takes him hostage or kills him right there.   Summers are always enjoyably tense times for NCIS fans (though, before this season, I had the pleasure of seeing every episode on NCIS on my own schedule, via Netflix).




5-min podcast review of NCIS 7 finale

See also NCIS  ... NCIS 7.16: Gibbs' Mother-in-Law Dilemma ... NCIS 7.17: Ducky's Ties ... NCIS 7.18: Bogus Treasure and Real Locker ... NCIS 7.21: NCIS Meets Laura





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The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

Monday, May 24, 2010

24 Forever!

24 ended its 8th and presumably final television season tonight, with a film in the making to follow.  The 2-hour finale was a masterpiece of work, a lesson in how to end a great television series.    While comparisons to finales of other series are like apples and oranges, there's no doubt that the 24 finale was the best series finale on the air this season.

Among the highlights -
  • Jack and Chloe have never been better.  Chloe goes all out to help Jack, including shooting him.  When Jack thanks her at the end, that scene was one of the best in the entire series.
  • Jack is irrepressible.   When a jackass CTU agent is about to shoot him - and Jack is already wounded with Chloe's shot (which fortunately went clean through) - Jack almost disables the agent with an attack.  Earlier, when Jason is lording over Jack on the stretcher, Jack bites Jason's ear off.  Nothing can stop Jack except death itself, and no one is better than Jack in evading its clutches.
  • President Talyor, after watching Jack's message to Kim - recorded in case Jack doesn't make it - at last decides to do the right thing.   She won't sign the peace treaty, and will tell the world about the Russians.   Great acting by Cherry Jones (and great acting by Gregory Itzin as Nixonian President Logan).
  • The last we see of Jack is on a big screen looking at us, at CTU, which Chloe orders shut down.  A fine symbolic segue from television to movie screen.
Jack must once again leave the country - with not only the Russians but the Americans looking for him (he wounded a whole bunch of American agents).  Taylor can't protect him, because she'll be resigning in an hour we won't see on television.

But we will see it and/or its aftermath in the movie, and Chloe protecting Jack's family as she promised, and who knows what else as the most exciting, adrenalin-producing show in television history moves to the bigger screens.  The show revolutionized television with its intensity and daring.  24 attracted  the ire of commentators like Keith Olbermann, who mistakenly saw the show as just a jingoistic justification of torture.   24 did have some of that, but it was much more, including many times in which torture didn't work, and Jack was opposed by articulate characters who stopped his most extreme impulses.  This included Renee Walker, last year, and whose murder this year ironically provoked the worst we've seen from Jack.

But 24 was mostly about an indomitable, invincible spirit, struggling full throttle against the forces of terror and depravity that still threaten our country from inside and out.   Born just before September 11, being uncannily in tune with the age that followed, which continues to this day, 24 was the perfect entertainment for people who like their television searing, real, and on the edge.  As Jack Bauer, indelibly played by Kiefer Sutherland, moves into the cinema, we can expect a rollercoaster in theaters, a revolution in storytelling, as gripping as what we've been seeing in our homes for the past decade.



10-min podcast review of 24 finale

See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hour 11 ... Hour 12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hours 15-16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22

And see also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22  ... Hours 23-24 

And see also Season 6 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hours 8 and 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hour 11 ... Hour 12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22 ... Hours 23-24



The End of Lost 2: Further Thoughts: Missed Opportunities

Well, here I am the day after, still thinking a lot about Lost, and talking about it with my family, and that says something about the staying power of the show, including its ending.

But to be more specific -

As I wrote last night, there was great joy in seeing all the people whose lives we have followed finding happiness at last in better-LA.    And I was glad, too, to see Lapidus and Richard alive and pretty well on the island.

But the ending also took away a lot of the joy that the rest of the finale provided, by making this story - better LA - a purgatory, after all.    So many better ways, in my view, that Lost could have gone.   The finale made no use of Faraday, as I mentioned last night, and, if you think about it, no real use of Desmond, either.   Time travel is my favorite kind of story telling, and Lost went in a direction that abandoned both Faraday's hard science fiction time travel work, and Desmond's more mystical kind.

The story was already moving sharply away from some of the fine scientific gambits of earlier seasons.   Dharma was a great retro-science (by our standards) 1970s operation.   What Dharma wanted to learn about and harness on the island - the power of the wheel, for example, which could teleport people to Tunisia and jolt the island through time - was left largely unexplored and unexplained in the end.   Even the source of Jacob and MIB's powers - I liked their story far less than Dharma's - was not really explained, and, like everything else in the six years of Lost, became at best an interesting footnote to the purgatory story.

And even within the purgatory framework, there are holes, gaps, issues raised in the series but forgotten in the finale.   I mentioned Walt last night.  But what about the recuperative powers of the island, that cured Rose, and maybe Mikhail?

The irony about the ending of Lost is that it left off-stage so many of the building blocks and great materials it had rolled out before our bedazzled and eager eyes during the past six years.   Alternate-LA could have had the same satisfying ending, the coming together of our beloved characters which the harsh insanities of life on and off the island had pulled apart, and it could have done this without resort to purgatory, or the dead reuniting.   Lost could done this in life, by applying some of the same science fiction and magic it had used so well throughout the series.

That's the way I would have liked the series to end.    And it's a measure of how great I thought the series was that I regret so deeply that it went a different way.


10-min podcast review of Lost finale: Preliminary & Further Thoughts

See The End of Lost: Preliminary Thoughts: Jack's Story

See also  Lost Season Six Double Premiere ... Three Questions Arising from the Lost Season Six Premiere: Linkage Between Two Realities,  Dead Bodies Inhabited, Who/What Survived H-Blast? ... Lost 6.3:  Kate and Claire, Tenacious Details, and Dr. Arzt's Arse at the Airport ... Lost 6.4:  Better LA, Wilder Island, Some Partial Answers at Last ... Lost 6.5: Jack's Family and Prester John's Speculum ... Lost 6.6: Sayid the Assassin in Both Realities ... Lost 6.7: A Better Ben in Both Realities ... Lost 6.8: The Third Team ... Lost 6.9: Richard's Story ... Lost 6.10: Cloudy Sun ... Lost 6.11: Reunion of Two Realities Begins ... Lost 6.12: Libby and Hurley and Cross-Reality Communication ... Lost 6.13: Make-Up, Break-Up, Everything is Shake-Up ... Lost 6.14: Jack's Tears ... Lost 6.15: Jacob and Esau/MIB ... Penultimate Lost:  Coincidence for Fate

and Preliminary Predictions for Lost Finale

More Lost - see : The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben ... 5.8 True Love Ways ... 5.9 Two Times and a Baby ... 5.10 The Impossible Cannot Happen ... 5.11 Clockwork Perfect Time Travel ... 5.12: Ben v. Charles, and Locke' Slave ... 5.13: Lost Meets Star Wars and the Sixth Sense ... The Problem with Baby Aaron and the Return of the Oceanic Six ... 5.14: Eloise, Daniel, and Obsession Trumping Paradox ... 5.15: Moral Compasses in Motion ... Lost Season 5 Finale: Jacob and Locke



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The Plot to Save Socrates





"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

The End of Lost: Preliminary Thoughts: Jack's Story

First, here's what I think we saw in the ending of Lost: alternate Los Angeles (which I've been calling better LA, because our characters seem to be leading much better lives - for example, Sayid gets together with Shannon tonight, as Sawyer does with Juliet) turns out to be a foundation for a meeting in a church, in which many of our major characters are congregated. They're waiting for Jack, who has just died on the island, to understand his deepest fate. They're all dead. But, as Christian (also dead) explains to his deceased son, they all died at different times - Sayid and Shannon, Sawyer and Juliet, Hurley and Libby, Desmond and Penny, Locke, Sun and Jin, Charlie and Claire, Rose and Bernard, Jack and Kate, etc.

But the etc is not everyone else.   Michael and Walt are missing.   Faraday and Charlotte are not there.  Neither are Eloise and Widmore.   Some of these absences are explained, sort of.   Eloise, in alternate LA, knows she killed her son in original Lost, and doesn't want to lose him again.   But no explanation is given for Michael and Walt, who in fact did not appear at all this season (well, Michael did, but as a ghost on the island to Hurley).

Some of this finale was emotionally powerful.  Hard to have a dry eye when Sayid and Shannon got together, and even more so Sawyer and Juliet, and Jack and Kate.  But even this had aspects that inexplicably contradicted what we seemed to know.  Sawyer and Juliet were soul mates, but wasn't Sayid's truest love Nadia?  So Shannon was there because of the brief love the two had on the island, which is more important because this is really Jack's story, Jack's journey, and Jack knew Shannon but not Nadia?  Ok,  but there are a lot of suppositions there.

And there were missed opportunities.  Earlier in the season, for example, it seemed that Faraday in alternate LA was going to figure out a way to stop the H-bomb from going off, and reverse what followed.   What happened to that?   

Nonetheless, this ending did finally explain all the inexplicable coincidences that we've been seeing throughout Lost - such as Jack running into Desmond on the steps of the stadium at the beginning of Season 2.    I've been saying ever since then that the inexplicable coincidences provided the keys to understanding what was really going on in Lost.  So, now we know that the coincidences were the parts of the connections of the characters, both before the crash of 815, and after, and building to what we saw tonight.   In Jack's story, these characters were connected throughout their lives - connected because they were significant to Jack.  In other words, the inexplicable coincidences in the flashbacks are in some sense connected to Jack's take on his life.

I'm going to watch Jimmy Kimmel and some of the Lost stars and alternate endings.  I'll be back soon with more.


10-min podcast review of Lost finale: Preliminary & Further Thoughts


See The End of Lost 2: Further Thoughts

See also  Lost Season Six Double Premiere ... Three Questions Arising from the Lost Season Six Premiere: Linkage Between Two Realities,  Dead Bodies Inhabited, Who/What Survived H-Blast? ... Lost 6.3:  Kate and Claire, Tenacious Details, and Dr. Arzt's Arse at the Airport ... Lost 6.4:  Better LA, Wilder Island, Some Partial Answers at Last ... Lost 6.5: Jack's Family and Prester John's Speculum ... Lost 6.6: Sayid the Assassin in Both Realities ... Lost 6.7: A Better Ben in Both Realities ... Lost 6.8: The Third Team ... Lost 6.9: Richard's Story ... Lost 6.10: Cloudy Sun ... Lost 6.11: Reunion of Two Realities Begins ... Lost 6.12: Libby and Hurley and Cross-Reality Communication ... Lost 6.13: Make-Up, Break-Up, Everything is Shake-Up ... Lost 6.14: Jack's Tears ... Lost 6.15: Jacob and Esau/MIB ... Penultimate Lost:  Coincidence for Fate

and Preliminary Predictions for Lost Finale

More Lost - see : The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben ... 5.8 True Love Ways ... 5.9 Two Times and a Baby ... 5.10 The Impossible Cannot Happen ... 5.11 Clockwork Perfect Time Travel ... 5.12: Ben v. Charles, and Locke' Slave ... 5.13: Lost Meets Star Wars and the Sixth Sense ... The Problem with Baby Aaron and the Return of the Oceanic Six ... 5.14: Eloise, Daniel, and Obsession Trumping Paradox ... 5.15: Moral Compasses in Motion ... Lost Season 5 Finale: Jacob and Locke






Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Rent-a-Car, eBags, eHarmony, eMusic




The Plot to Save Socrates







"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

A superb finale to the second season of Fringe last night, in which the series has reinvented itself into the best science fiction series on the air, and one of the best of the decades.   The story and the action all centered around the two realities, in particular, the adventures of our Walter and Olivia in the alternate reality.   Among the crucial developments -
  • We learn much more about William Bell, who has been living and working on the other side.  His alternate self died in car crash years ago, and so there was never an Walternate-alternate Bell collaboration.   Bell reveals that he took out pieces of Walter's brain at Walter's request.  And in a great final act, Bell uses the mercurial atoms of his physical existence - rendered super-kinetic due to all of his travels between the realities - to keep the door to the two realities open long enough for our people plus one to get back home.  Outstanding, energetic performance by Leonard Nimoy, by the way, and the scenes between him and Walter - the conversations - were instantly classic.  (My wife said they reminded her of Spock and Kirk.)
  • More details on the alternate reality, including there was no Lindbergh kidnapping, JFK still alive (we saw this last year), and Obama is President (which we already knew).   This world also has dirigibles in the air (so, presumably, no Hindenburg disaster), advances in a variety of technologies (including a great little touring aircraft that Peter takes around New York City), and a rash of warped areas across the United States, including a lot of the Harvard campus, where people have been frozen in amber.   These are the result of the intermingling of the two realities - caused by our Walter - and account in part for why their Walter is such an angry, militaristic dude.   The intermingling had a much worse impact over there.  And their Walter of course hates our Walter because our Walter stole his Peter.   (Excellent acting by John Noble as Walternate, and his coldness in comparison to our Walter.)
  • Peter and our Olivia on the other side finally passionately kiss.   I've been saying since last year that I expected the two to get together.   One of the best lines of the finale was Olivia telling Peter, "you belong with me," after Peter says he belongs in neither reality.
  • But there's no happy ending here.  After our Olivia gets a lot of mileage out of dyeing her hair red, and pretending to be alternate-Olivia -  Peter says he likes Olivia better with red hair, and I agree - alternate-Olivia uses the the identical appearance to come back with Walter and Peter to our reality.  This, it turns out, is as per Walternate's plan, and the last scene shows our Olivia in a cell on the other side.
Alternate-Olivia will not be able to keep up the pretense too long - Peter will no doubt soon sense the emotional difference (he'll feel something's missing with alternate-Olivia), and so will Olivia's niece, sister, Walter, and even Broyles.    The only question is exactly how will this happen, and with what consequence.   (I guessed that alternate-Olivia had made the switch - she was too quiet on the other side.)

And this will be just part of the fun on Fringe this Fall and beyond.


5-min podcast review of Fringe 2 finale

See also Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best

Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic
 






The Plot to Save Socrates




"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye Contact and Evolution

"I taught you about eye contact, you taught me about evolution," Booth says to Bones in the best line of this fine, sad, Season 5 finale, written by exec producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan.   The second best phrases were "anthropological microcosm" and "crap," spoken respectively by Bones and Booth about a hoarder, murder-victim's cluttered apartment.

So, yes, this show was about letting go of the past - at least for a year, for our major characters - and trying something new.  This includes Sweets and Daisy splitting up because she's going to Maluku for what could be the dig of the century on the origins of humanity.   Jack and Angela off to Paris for a year, because, as Jack aptly notes, he does not want to break in a new FBI - forensic anthropologist team.  And that would be because Bones is also going to the former Spice Islands (Maluku) as head of the expedition, and Booth is back in the military and off to Afghanistan for this same year.  That leaves just poor Cam holding the bag of bones at the Jeffersonian.

In sum:  a couple split (Sweets and Daisy),  a couple together but splitting from Washington (Jack and Angela), and a couple not a couple splitting from each other as well as Washington (Bones and Booth).

A pretty grim tally, if you ask me, but there is this one important mitigating factor.   Bones the show will be back in the Fall, which is obviously far less than a year.   Were television time real time, we would be without Bones as we know it for a year.   But in reality, Bones and Booth and everyone else will only not be together over the summer, when we the viewers would not have been seeing them anyway, except via DVR or whatever, which we can still do anyway.

So what's the big deal?   Well, first of all, we can't be sure what will be going on this Fall.   Though Bones and Booth will both be in the story, no doubt, they may be in different parts of the world, and, for all we know, Jack and Angela might not ever come back at all, which would be even worse.  But even if the Fall begins with everyone back at the Jeffersonian, our willing suspension of disbelief will still be vexed - because, ordinarily, that Coleridgean state (after Samuel Taylor Coleridge - see his Biographia Literaria) would lead us to believe that Bones and Booth and team would be happily solving cases all summer long.  Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

But, part of the power and charm of Bones has always been that the relationships have not been all fun and games - far from it - so why should this be any different?   The truth is that this season finale is deeply consistent with all that is Bones, and makes me more eager than ever to see the Fall.


5-min podcast review of Bones Season 5 finale

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



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The Plot to Save Socrates





"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

V Season 1 Finale: Complex Chess and Red Cloud

V concluded its fine first season yesterday - the welcome news came last week that ABC was bringing back the Visitors for at least another season - with a ratcheting up of the complex, high-level, life-and-death chess game that has become the heart of the series.

Among the highlights -
  • Ryan may be back in the V fold.  Devastated over the loss of Valerie - who died not during childbirth (as Ryan now apparently believes) but because Anna killed her - Ryan accepts the "peace" of surrender to Anna and presumably her Visitor agenda.   This is no doubt how the next season will start.  But Ryan's smart, and may soon realize or figure out that Anna killed Valerie (that was his first instinct last night).   In any case, he now is father of a V-human hybrid, which wrapped a loving baby tentacle around Ryan's hand.
  • Chad may have finally seen the bad light about the Visitors, after Joshua tells him not only did Anna not cure him, she made Chad sick, and Chad sees what the Visitors are doing to the humans aboard the ship.
  • Speaking of Joshua, he insists that Erica shoot him, as a way of preserving Erica's position with an unsuspecting Anna.  But in a last scene, I was glad to see that Joshua isn't dead.   He's one of my favorite characters.
  • Erica and Lisa manage to destroy almost all of Anna's hatching army.  Lisa has made her choice - she's now firmly against her mother and with the 5th column.
  • Kyle and Marcus are up to something interesting.   Either they're both 5th columnists, or both loyal to the Visitors (I can't believe that about Kyle), or Kyle is 5th columnist and Marcus second in command with the V's.   The last is how it seems - but it's not clear to me what exactly else is going on in the conversations between the two.
  • Anna, of all lizards, is beginning to have human emotions.   She's anguished and furious about the loss of her hatchling lizard soldiers.
Which brings us to the ambiguous ending.  Anna causes some kind of red cloud to appear all over Planet Earth.  It's not clear - cloudy to me - what this is or why she did this. Perhaps to make Earth more like the V world.  Marcus asks in a dire voice if she's sure she wanted to do this.

I'm looking forward to seeing through the red cloud, and following the continuing chess game next season.


5-min podcast review of V Season 1 finale

See also V Returns to TV ... V 1.2: The Effects and The Characters ... V 1.3: Multiple Twists and Lizard Visions ... V 1.4: Good Medicine for Television ... V's Back in 1.5 ... V 1.6: Floating Witches ... V 1.7: Ryan's Story ... V 1.8: Is Lisa Becoming 5th Column? ... V 1.9: Moral Complexity and NonStop Action ... V 1.11:  Lisa's Loyalties



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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Penultimate Lost: Coincidence for Fate in Lost Angeles

A very satisfying even superb next-to-last ever episode of Lost, mainly because of the excellent double story of Ben, in better alternate reality Los Angeles, and back on the island.

In Lost Angeles:  Ben gets beaten by Desmond, who may want to hit and run Locke in the wheelchair again, all for the purpose of putting these alternate reality people into touch with their true (in my view) island selves.   Ben gets beaten because he stops Des in the car, but that's not the only way he's better.

In a really touching scene, Alex and mother Danielle (good to see her again!) invite better Ben to dinner.  Danielle tells Ben that Alex almost looks at Ben as a father - she lost her father when she was two, and Ben's kindness and support of Alex in school has meant everything to her.   Ben is moved to tears.   Amazing but thoroughly believable in this context.  Ben is finally finding the family and happiness that eluded him on the island.

And Ben on the island is equally satisfying, in the opposite, that is, evil direction.   Richard tries to reason with or distract faux-Locke, who turns into the smoke monster and flicks Richard away, to his death, like an irritating flea.   F-Locke approaches Ben - who essentially throws in with Locke.   He shows f-Locke where Widmore and Zoe are hiding.   F-Locke slits Zoe's throat, and before he has a chance to kill Widmore - who is pleading not for his own life, but his daughter Penny's - Ben shoots him dead.  This is the payback that Ben owes Widmore for sending Keamy to the island, where he killed Alex.  And Ben doesn't want Penny to live.

So Ben on the island is now apparently allied with f-Locke - though, I say "apparently," because you never really know with this Ben.   The one thing that consistently motivates him is revenge for the killing of Alex.   Now that Ben has gotten that revenge ...  But, as far as we can see, the two are allied - f-Locke and Ben - and are off to find Desmond on the island (Widmore told f-Locke that Des was Widmore's "fail safe" for destroying f-Locke), as well as Jacob's successor.

Which brings us to the other big part of tonight's episode.   Jacob's dying embers explain it all to Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, and Jack.   One of them has to step up and become Jacob's successor.   That would be Jack.

Back in better LA, Jack has a cut on his neck, an expression, I think, of the merging of the two realities that has already begun.   Jack intersects with Claire, Locke - and tells him "I think you're mistaking coincidence for fate," when Locke brings their intersection on the plane and now in LA to Jack's attention.  But of course Locke in LA is right.  And with Des as the continuing spark plug of the intersections, we have Desmond in jail with Kate and Sayid, with Sawyer and Miles on hand as cops.  Kate almost sweet talks Sawyer into letting her go, but it's not necessary, anyway.  Des has bribed Ana Lucia (with Hurley's money) to spring Kate and Sayid, and they all drive away in two cars (not Ana Lucia) as per Desmond's plan.

That plan has something to do with a concert to be given by Jack's son, at which all of our original, major first season Flight 815 people and maybe more will no doubt be in attendance.   For what purpose?

We'll find out this Sunday, but, as I said, I'm thinking it's for some kind of merging of the two realities, in which all of our characters will be alive, in one way or another....



6-min podcast review of Lost

See also  Lost Season Six Double Premiere ... Three Questions Arising from the Lost Season Six Premiere: Linkage Between Two Realities,  Dead Bodies Inhabited, Who/What Survived H-Blast? ... Lost 6.3:  Kate and Claire, Tenacious Details, and Dr. Arzt's Arse at the Airport ... Lost 6.4:  Better LA, Wilder Island, Some Partial Answers at Last ... Lost 6.5: Jack's Family and Prester John's Speculum ... Lost 6.6: Sayid the Assassin in Both Realities ... Lost 6.7: A Better Ben in Both Realities ... Lost 6.8: The Third Team ... Lost 6.9: Richard's Story ... Lost 6.10: Cloudy Sun ... Lost 6.11: Reunion of Two Realities Begins ... Lost 6.12: Libby and Hurley and Cross-Reality Communication ... Lost 6.13: Make-Up, Break-Up, Everything is Shake-Up ... Lost 6.14: Jack's Tears ... Lost 6.15: Jacob and Esau/MIB

and Preliminary Predictions for Lost Finale

More Lost - see : The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben ... 5.8 True Love Ways ... 5.9 Two Times and a Baby ... 5.10 The Impossible Cannot Happen ... 5.11 Clockwork Perfect Time Travel ... 5.12: Ben v. Charles, and Locke' Slave ... 5.13: Lost Meets Star Wars and the Sixth Sense ... The Problem with Baby Aaron and the Return of the Oceanic Six ... 5.14: Eloise, Daniel, and Obsession Trumping Paradox ... 5.15: Moral Compasses in Motion ... Lost Season 5 Finale: Jacob and Locke









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The Plot to Save Socrates








"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

House Season 6 Finale: Finally!

A perfect, exquisite episode of House tonight to end the season, with all the things that make House such extraordinary television.

House treats a woman pinned in a building struck by a crane.  He treats her psychologically as well as medically.   Her leg is pinned, and he supports her resisting amputation, until all other options are exhausted.  Cuddy is in favor of amputation sooner, and, when House continues to resist, she accuses him of opposing amputation just to do what she doesn't want, because he can't accept that she's now engaged, as of the evening before, to Lucas.  She gives House about as lacerating a tongue-lashing as ever we've seen.

And House goes back into the collapsed building, and convinces the woman, using every bit of his irrefutable logic, to allow the amputation.  He does this in front of Cuddy, who's impressed.  House performs the amputation himself.   The woman is freed from the building, but she dies in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.  The culprit: a fat embolism, which according to Foreman can happen in an amputation even if performed under better conditions in a hospital.   Her death is not House's fault.

But he takes it personally.   As he explains to Foreman, it's worse that he did everything right, and still the patient died.   He goes home, breaks out the hidden vicodin.

Would he have taken it?   Possibly.   I had a feeling probably not.  But the question is mooted by-

Cuddy, who comes over, to tell House she left Lucas, and loves House.

It certainly won't be, can't be, smooth sailing between these two.  But I've been a fan of Cuddy and House for years now.   She knows there's no one else on Earth like House.  And he knows that there's no one else on Earth who can know him the way she does.

House left his shrink - superbly played by Andre Braugher - last week.   He goes into the next season without drugs or shrink, without even a cane, which he left in the ruins of the building.   But he has Cuddy, and that should be make for one outstanding, exciting, no doubt frustrating, but highly satisfying next season.


5-min podcast review of House 6 finale

See also House Reborn in Season Six? ... 6.2: The Gang is Back and Fractured ... 6.3: The Saving Hitler Quandary ... 6.4: Diagnosis vs. Karma ... 6.5 Getting Better ... 6.6 House Around the Bases ... Four's a Crowd on House 6.7 ... House 6.8 and the Reverse of Flowers for Algernon ... House 6.9: Wilson ... House 6.10: Back in Business ... House 6.11: Making Amends, Mending Fences, and a Psychopath  ... House 6.12: The Progression to Mensch ... House 6.13: Cuddy's Perspective ... House Meets Blogger in 6.14 ... House 6.15: About Taub ... House 6.16: Revealing Couples ... House 6.17: Socrates on Steroids ... House 6.18: Open Marriage






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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

Monday, May 17, 2010

24 8.22: Roller Coaster Brilliantly Off the Grid

With just two hours left in one of the top 5 best shows ever on television - that would be 24, and tonight's episode 8.22 - we have the following, in a breathtaking, deadly violent multi-player chess game, which takes at least two players to new heights and lows -
  • President Taylor has sunk to new lows, now running roughshod over the First Amendment - far worse than the FCC in our own reality, more like Nixon's attempt to muzzle the press over the Pentagon Papers (in a move struck down by the Supreme Court).  Taylor's actions haven't gone to the Supreme Court yet - no one knows about them other than Tim, her Chief of Staff, who unhappily carries out her order to seize the evidence that Meridith has, which Jack collected last week or the week before last, which shows the Russians were behind Hassan's assassination.   A bad, sad day indeed for Taylor - all on behalf of that peace treaty, already born in blood.
  • Jack has gone to new heights or lows - take your pick, I'd say heights - in kidnapping and brutally questioning Nixonian President Logan, who tells Jack that the Russian ambassador in New York ordered the kill on Renee, and Logan had nothing to do with that.   Jack may or may not believe Logan's denial of knowledge, but - surprisingly - Jack chokes him but let's him live.  Was it because Jason and his team were closing in?   At first, I thought maybe so, but-
  • It turns out that Jack planted a device on Logan, which enables Jack to overhear a call that Logan makes to the Russian President, a Putin type, whose plane has just landed in New York.  He's here to sign that misbegotten peace treaty. 
So what will Jack do?   He's already gone much further than ever before, not to stop a terrorist plot, but ostensibly to spotlight a cover-up in the highest places, and most of all, for sheer, understandable revenge over Renee, shot to death just after the two had made love.  On behalf of this, Jack has butchered, beaten, tortured, killed - more bad guys than I can keep track of - and he's choked out a former President.

What will Jack do now?   Kill the Russian President?   That would be consistent with Jack's killing anyone who was responsible for Renee's murder.    Is Allison Taylor also on this list?   She didn't order Renee's killing.   I hope Jack is willing to believe that.  But Taylor has done some pretty Nixon-like, Logan-like anti-American things.

Jack's wounded.  Chloe wants to help him, but the only operative she can send is Cole, who didn't appreciate Jack's killing Dana, and is not about to allow himself to be shot at by Jack.   Jason's still dangerous.   And Taylor can order the FBI or anyone she pleases to take out Jack.

I've been saying for the past few episodes that this 8th and final season of 24 was shaping up as one of the best.   Based on tonight, and what's in store for the two-hour finale next week, I'd say this is certainly among the top 2-3 seasons of 24, and they just don't make shows like 24.


6-min podcast review of 24


See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hour 11 ... Hour 12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hours 15-16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21

And see also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22  ... Hours 23-24 






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 The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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