Monday, February 28, 2011

Big Love 5.7: Couples

Whew, what an ending to Big Love 5.7 tonight ... but, first, what the show was mostly about ... couples:

Ben and Rhonda apparently won't be one.   Ben has second thoughts the morning after, which is good, since Heather independently decides that she wants Ben to be her boyfriend.  But what happens if Heather finds out about Ben and Rhonda?  And will Ben be able to resist if Rhonda tries to seduce him back?  Rhonda's husband is with Albie - another couple  - and what will Rhonda do vis-a-vis Ben if she finds out about this?

Cara Lynn and her teacher are doing just fine, and Cara Lynn's new let-down hair looks good, too.  Nikki still has no idea, but Margene gets a glimpse at Bill and Nikki's wedding.

Speaking of which, Bill and Nikki do get married - with Barb officiating - but Barb is not happy when she sees Nikki and Margene re-sealing their marriage with Bill, after Barb has indicated she would rather not, at least not now.  In fact, Barb's so unhappy about this that she's about to walk out-

Which brings us to the ending.   Somehow, the authorities have found out that Margene was only 16 when she married Bill.   The authorities don't care about the marriage, they care about the sex, and are investigating Bill for statutory rape.  Barb's whisked away in a police car as a potential witness.

We have a perfect storm brewing in this wintry season of Big Love.  Bill's marriage closer to shattering than ever before - with Barb on the edge of leaving - but that being trumped by the law, no doubt under LDS pressure, coming after Bill hammer and tong.  And, just for good measure, Albie's moving closer to ordering Bill's assassination.

See also Big Love's Back and North to Alaska ... Big Love 5.3: Grim Christmas ... Big Love 5.5: Barb's Deal ... Big Love 5.6: "I'll Be There"

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds ... Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?  ... Big Love 4.3: Super-Compressed, Super-Fine ...  Big Love 4.4:  Bill and Don
... The Potential for Brilliance in Big Love 4.5 ... Big Love 4.6: Barb Ascendant ... Nearly Gunfight at the OK Corral for Big Love 4.7 ... Big Love Breakout Season 4 Finale

See also: Big Love, Season 3 ... 1. a 4th ... 2. Two Issues Resolved, Two Not So Much ... 6. Exquisite, Perfectly Played ... Big Love Season 3 Finale: Bigger Love ...

And from Season 2: 2: Oh, Happy Day, and Not ... 3: Sons and Mothers ... 4. Help Me, Rhonda ... 5. The Waitress and More... 6. Just Lust ... 7. Margene's Mama ... 8. Polygamy and Misgivings ... 9. Swing Vote Margene ... 10. Polygamy as the Ultimate Cool/Bad ... 11. Family in Crisis ... Big Love Season 2 Concludes



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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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia

A touching, even delicately beautiful Fringe 3.15 tonight, in which we find out a little more - in fact, a whole chapter, up until now unknown - about how Peter, kidnapped by Walter from the other side, came to grow up here into the Peter we now know.

The story, up until tonight, was that Peter's serious illness - the one that killed the original Peter over here, and motivated Walter to kidnap Peter from over there to save him - that this illness short-circuited kidnapped Peter's memory to the point of making him forget that he came from other side.

That's what we thought - because we were led to think that - but it turns not to be the truth.  Instead, kidnapped Peter knows that our Walter and Elizabeth are not his parents, and vigorously resists their efforts to convince him that he really is their son, and his memory was blurred by his illness.

What changes Peter's mind?   Well, he never really does change his mind - at least, not tonight - but his encounter with Olivia and her capacity to visit the other side makes him want to stay here.  And given those circumstances, Peter is willing to play along with his faux-mother's story.

Young Olivia has seen the dirigibles in the sky - the signature characteristic of the alternate reality, along with other nice touches such as the Brooklyn Bums never left Ebbets Field.  Her moves back and forth between these two realities not only convince Peter to stay here, but give Walternate the knowledge that his Peter is in our reality, when young Olivia, not realizing she is over there, and thinking she is talking to our Walter, leaves Walternate her book of drawings which include one of her and Peter.

Impressionism and light separated from reality at its best.   But we're still left with tantalizing questions - the main one being, our Peter seemed genuinely unaware of his origin on the other side, when we met him at the beginning of the Fringe series as an adult.  So, how did he get from where he as a boy ended up tonight ... to how we first came to know Peter as an adult?

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here

See also reviews of Season 2: 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 ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

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



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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

Friday, February 25, 2011

V 2.7: Lisa and Diana

The relationship between Lisa and Diana - grand daughter and grand mother - continues to grow in V 2.7.   But that look on Diana's face at the very end of the episode shows that she may have something more in mind.

The bond between the two is hatred of Anna - mother to Lisa, daughter of Diana - or, if hatred is too strong a word, certainly a recognition that both would do well by limiting Anna's powers.

Lisa's reasons for wanting to do this are clear.   Lisa is sick and tired of Diana trying to dictate her love life and every other part of her life as well.   Diana's reasons are at first glance equally clear - she doesn't like Anna's relegation of Diana to the dungeon of the ship.  But on closer scrutiny, we realize that we don't much about Diana at all, in particular not much about why Anna turned against her mother.

In the original three V television shows - the original mini-series (1983), the Final Battle (1984), and the single-season full-length series (1984-1985) - Diana was a ruthless, highly intelligent, literally blood-thirsty queen (the Visitors in those days actually consumed not only rodents but humans).   How that Diana ever let her daughter get the better of her needs to be explained.   We know that the current Diana is a believer in the power of human emotion, and possibly that emotion - human-like love, in particular - clouded her originally cold reptilian judgment, in particular when her daughter Anna was concerned.

The conversion is all the more important to understand, with Jane Badler giving Diana the same impressive performance in the 1980s and current versions of V.   She certainly seems to me like the same pers-  reptile.

One other note about last night's episode:  What's Ryan doing back alive?  The last we saw him, he was on the inside of a building that blew pretty badly up.  This is the second time in recent weeks that a major character has come back from the apparently dead (the first was Marcus).   One of the problems with V the full-length series in 1984-1985 was how major characters were killed off just about every week.   The current V may have the opposite problem this season, with characters against all odds and reason refusing to die.   Come to think of it, this season began with Joshua getting an unexpected ticket back to life, too.



See alsoV is Back and Badler ... V 2.2: Do Beings from Planets Have Souls? ... V 2.3 Meets 24 ... V 2.4 at Vatican and Mossad ... 2.5: Chess Game with Two-Edged Pieces Continues ... V 2.6: Double and Triple Agents

And reviews of Season 1:  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 ... V 1.12: Complex Chess and Red Cloud



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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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NCIS 8.16: Computer Games

McGee may at last have a girlfriend, in a relationship that could last.  But the hottest action in NCIS 8.16 was all about computers - ranging from the ones on the table to the big mainframes, and indeed how the power of millions of computers working together can rival or exceed a mainframe's.

Gibbs, as we know, is no fan of computers, and pulls the plug out from one on his desk after it aggravates him one time too many at the beginning of this episode.  I can sympathize with Gibbs especially today: the battery of my MacBook is caput, I've ordered a new one, but meanwhile the magnetic plug isn't as strong as it used to be and it's falling out far too often.

But back to NCIS, Gibbs' anger at his computer turns out to be just the appetizer to what he'll be feeling about computers before this story is over.  It seems that someone - who shows up at NCIS to help with their computers - has really been using distributive computing (getting millions of desktops and laptops to work in tandem) to engineer a powerful attack on the Pentagon's computer that will destroy all of its data.

McGee's new just-about-girlfriend comes into play because she's a master video-gamer, which (in addition to her looks) makes her appealing to McGee.   And the feeling is mutual - but will she survive the night?

This was an episode with happy endings, including McGee making moves like in a computer game to get Gibbs out of a deadly situation (which had the good effect for Tony and Ziva of keeping them stuck in a room for hours), but Gibbs having the pleasure, when McGee's moves fall a little short (because the computer he's up against is a little too sophisticated), of shooting the computer out of the misery it was set to deal out.

Whether we've made progress or not since the movie War Games and its apocalyptic computer being impervious to pulling the plug and more graphic physical remedies, it was still good to see Gibbs taking these digital matters into his own no nonsense hands.

See also NCIS Back in Season 8 Action ... NCIS 8.2: Interns! ... NCIS 8.3: Tiff! ... NCIS 8.4: Gary Cooper not John Wayne ... NCIS 8.5: Dead DJ, DiNozzo Hoarse, and Baseball ... NCIS 8.6: The Written Woman ... NCIS 8.7: "James Bond Movie Directed by Fellini" ... NCIS 8.8: Ziva's Father 
... NCIS 8.9: Leon's Story ... NCIS 8.10: DiNozzo In and Out ... NCIS 8.11: "The Sister Went Viral" ... Bob Newhart on NCIS 8.12 ... NCIS 8.13: The Wife or the Girlfriend ... NCIS 8.14: Kate ... NCIS 8.15: McGee and DiNozzo's Badges

And 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 ... NCIS Season 7 Finale: Retribution




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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

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Big Love 5.6: "I'll Be There"

A hot scene at the end of Big Love 5.6 tonight, as Rhonda seduces Ben, giving a sultry rendition of Gerry and the Pacemakers' "I'll Be There," as she struts her stuff in a strip club.  Rhonda had previously shown her musical acumen with a fine version of "Happiest Girl in the U.S.A" a few seasons ago.   Daveigh Chase does her own singing in this role, and she does a fine job, indeed.

Ben is kept honorable in these circumstances, with his girlfriend Heather breaking up with him just before he goes to see Rhonda.   And this isn't the only place love, ethics, and sex are at play tonight.

We learn that Cara Lynn has kissed her teacher before, and tonight they not only kiss (and perhaps/likely more), but he confesses he's falling in love with her, and Cara Lynn later seeks counsel about love from Margene.

Meanwhile, the religious tensions are boiling over, as the LDS releases a statement castigating what Bill is doing - calling his religion Mormon, and coupling it with polygamy.  In this instance, although my sympathies usually are with Bill, I think both groups have some right in the matter.  Bill is right to insist on calling his polygamous religion Morman, since the religion did start that way.  But the LDS position is understandable, given that the LDS has worked so hard to separate its mainstream Mormon religion from its polygamous past.

Throw into that dangerous brew the fact Albie is literally gunning for Bill, and Barb's mentor in her seeking to be a priesthood holder is a lesbian, and we have a concentration of volatile ingredients for the rest of this final season.



See also Big Love's Back and North to Alaska ... Big Love 5.3: Grim Christmas ... Big Love 5.5: Barb's Deal

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds ... Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?  ... Big Love 4.3: Super-Compressed, Super-Fine ...  Big Love 4.4:  Bill and Don
... The Potential for Brilliance in Big Love 4.5 ... Big Love 4.6: Barb Ascendant ... Nearly Gunfight at the OK Corral for Big Love 4.7 ... Big Love Breakout Season 4 Finale

See also: Big Love, Season 3 ... 1. a 4th ... 2. Two Issues Resolved, Two Not So Much ... 6. Exquisite, Perfectly Played ... Big Love Season 3 Finale: Bigger Love ...

And from Season 2: 2: Oh, Happy Day, and Not ... 3: Sons and Mothers ... 4. Help Me, Rhonda ... 5. The Waitress and More... 6. Just Lust ... 7. Margene's Mama ... 8. Polygamy and Misgivings ... 9. Swing Vote Margene ... 10. Polygamy as the Ultimate Cool/Bad ... 11. Family in Crisis ... Big Love Season 2 Concludes




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





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

Wallander

Just checking in here with a review of Wallander, a superb BBC series so far consisting of six 90-minute episodes over two seasons.   The character is a constable in Sweden, hero of twelve novels written in Swedish by Henning Mankel (nine of which have been translated into English), and a slew of movies and television dramas in Sweden.

I haven't yet seen any of Wallander other than in the BBC series, and those six episodes, each of which has the feel of a movie, are just wonderful.   We get a really original, refreshing (though not upbeat) detective series, with a pace and feel I've never seen before on American or British television.

Among the highlights -
  • Kurt Wallander almost always feels directly, personally responsible for the murders he investigates with his team, and he's sometimes right
  • the cinematography of the Swedish countryside is breathtaking, and in a class by itself as far as what we usually see in even the best visual presentations on television
  • the Swedish police are a lot less trigger-happy than we Americans, but they're not afraid to use lethal force when necessary, and what we get is a very good take on an alternate mode of policing
  • the Swedish public, at least in the Wallander series, are a lot more disrespectful of the police than the average citizen in the US and (from what I can tell from British series) in the UK, which also makes for an unusual dynamic.
Kenneth Branagh plays Wallander memorably, and the acting is excellent all around.  If you'd like a detective you've truly never met before, you're in for a treat with Wallander (available on DVD from Netflix).


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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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fringe 3.14: Amber Here

Another great Fringe tonight - 3.14 - focused on breaches between the two realities, what causes them, what can be done about them.

We already know that the primal cause was the tear Walter made when he went over to kidnap Peter.   Tonight we find that sheer missing someone - when a wife loses her husband on this side, the same husband loses his same wife on the other side, after both couples have been married a lifetime - can create a "soft spot" in the space-time fabric separating the universes,  leading to a destructive vortex.

One way of bandaging the breach, as we've seen on the other side, is to freeze or suspend it in amber.  But this takes not only the hole off the table, but every living human being inside the amber (which is why the other side declares them dead).

Walter has just about invented the amber over here, and gives it to Broyles to use, but Peter and Olivia have perhaps come up with another solution:  if they can get the widow (given a great emotional rendition by Phyllis Somerville) over here to realize her husband on the other side is not really her husband, then maybe she'll give him up, which will heal the breach in the universes.   Peter and Olivia's best persuasions don't seem to be working, but when the alt-husband mentions something about children - the couple never had kids over here - that makes the widow realize that she has not really been in touch with her husband, after all.

The breach repairs,  and that's about the happiest ending we'll see on Fringe, with the additional plum that Peter and Olivia end up making love.

But a final scene on other side with Fauxlivia and her boss going to their version of the couple, with the husband not the wife alive (and perhaps thinking Fauxlivia looks familiar, since he just saw Olivia through the rift),  reminds us that Fauxlivia is pregnant with Peter's baby ...



See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe
 
See also reviews of Season 2: 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 ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

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, Mozy, Zazzle




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, February 17, 2011

Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability

Bones' acting ability - not Emily Deschanel's, which we know to be winning - gets the killer to confess on Bones 6.14 tonight, as Bones (1) lies about DNA and (2) stirs up the killer's emotions.  Otherwise, there were good performances all around, and just about everyone winds up happy on Valentine Day's night, including
  • Cam and her doctor friend, who buys her all kinds of roses
  • Hodgins and Angela, who were happy already, but Hodgins sweetens the deal by giving her a mold he genetically engineered to smell like rose (a rose by any other name)
  • And funniest of all, Clark and his lady, for whom he dresses up as some kind of Cupid, and gets off a good line about where his arrow is ...
And what about Bones and Booth, you may ask?

Well, the good news is that she says no to every guy who calls her on the phone, and ends up spending the evening with Booth.   Not over dinner or even a drink, but at the police shooting range, where they happily fire the Tommy guns that Bones gives Booth as a Valentines Day present.

Thoughtful on Bones' part, given that Booth has said that Valentine's Day now most reminds him of the Valentine's Day Massacre.   If Sweets were observing - he mentioned something about Daisy, but we don't see them together - he might say about Bones and Booth on the range that it's good that they're at least getting this, the recent past, out of their systems.


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

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



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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, February 16, 2011

V 2.6: Double and Triple Agents

Some profound changes in the V 2.6 last night, as Anna engineers what she hopes will be a total death-blow to Eli's group.   She of course manipulates the FBI into staging a raid on Eli's headquarters, and salts the roof with Visitor snipers.

By the time the dust has cleared, not only is Eli (heroically) dead, but so is Tyler's father Joe (also heroic) and Ryan (not so heroic, he's tied up in a chair, after Eli took him into custody).   Ryan's death should have a been a bad blow for Anna, depriving her of her best double agent.  But-

Kyle has now gone over to the V side.   That's right, Kyle, the most vehement and violent of the anti-V fighters.   Why?  Because Anna can reunite him with his wife, whom he thought was lost for good.  I'm not sure I believe that Kyle would go over to Anna, assuming that's what's actually happening.  Given Kyle's implacable hated of the Visitors, I'm half-expecting Kyle to turn into a triple agent, and at some point strike back at Anna.

Meanwhile, speaking of hatred, the killing of Joe has ratched up Erica's fury at the Visitors.   Eli has bequeathed her his violent 5th Column, and she's emotionally ready to take this up.  Fortunately, the FBI, seeing her almost killed in the attack and crying over Joe, is convinced, at least for now, that she's just FBI not 5th Column, and Erica now has Jack as a soldier, since he was turned out of the priesthood.

But Erica also has Kyle, now working for Anna, so the future of her prospects are still very much in doubt...

See alsoV is Back and Badler ... V 2.2: Do Beings from Planets Have Souls? ... V 2.3 Meets 24 ... V 2.4 at Vatican and Mossad ... 2.5: Chess Game with Two-Edged Pieces Continues

And reviews of Season 1:  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 ... V 1.12: Complex Chess and Red Cloud


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






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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NCIS 8.15: McGee and DiNozzo's Badges

That's what Leon told Gibbs he would have - McGee and DiNozzo's badges - if the mess they were in wasn't soon resolved.

Let's look first at the mess.  We see in media res at the beginning of this fine episode 8.15 that some violent event has gotten the better of DiNozzo and McGee. This would be that the hot daughter of a central European leader has been kidnapped, as a way of getting him not to sign an important treaty.  (There's a great scene earlier with a stand-in for Hillary Clinton who looked 99% just like her.)  The kidnapping took place when the daughter sent DiNozzo out to pick up some salad, and McGee was a little distracted just before by her kissing him.

Turns out the daughter was behind her own kidnapping, which gets even more out of hand, and threatens her own life.   Leon was justified in being upset -  but even after the case is solved?

Which gets us to the deeper story tonight:  Leon's been increasingly unhappy, ever since he was almost killed along with Ziva's father's bodyguard who was, earlier in the season.   What's not clear, but no doubt provides to clues to the rest of this season, is why Leon keeps directing his anger at Gibbs.

Gibbs has tried a few times, in his generally few-words way, to find out what's really eating Leon, but to no avail.   And the last scene tonight said it all: with everyone joking around in the normal post-case-cracked mode, Leon shoots Gibbs a look with daggers in the eye from the balcony.

I have a feeling we'll be seeing those daggers thrown before too long ... a little after we find out why.

See also NCIS Back in Season 8 Action ... NCIS 8.2: Interns! ... NCIS 8.3: Tiff! ... NCIS 8.4: Gary Cooper not John Wayne ... NCIS 8.5: Dead DJ, DiNozzo Hoarse, and Baseball ... NCIS 8.6: The Written Woman ... NCIS 8.7: "James Bond Movie Directed by Fellini" ... NCIS 8.8: Ziva's Father 
... NCIS 8.9: Leon's Story ... NCIS 8.10: DiNozzo In and Out ... NCIS 8.11: "The Sister Went Viral" ... Bob Newhart on NCIS 8.12 ... NCIS 8.13: The Wife or the Girlfriend ... NCIS 8.14: Kate

And 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 ... NCIS Season 7 Finale: Retribution



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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, February 14, 2011

Big Love 5.5: Barb's Deal

Big Love 5.5 on HBO last night with packed with all sorts of important developments, but the most important concerned Barb, and her future with the family.

We last saw Barb - at the end of episode 5.4 - taking over as Bill's intern, after she dismisses the backstabbing (to Bill) and disrespectful (to Barb) original intern.   Who'd have thought Barb would end of continuing on the job, but that just what she does, as Bill assumes his elected post after being sworn in.  Barb has mixed feelings about the job, and that's about the best thing that happens to her in this episode.

Nikki soon comes to Bill with an excruciating situation:  In order to protect Cara Lynn, Nikki needs to adopt her.  But this requires a legal father, presumably Bill, except he's legally married to Barb.  The upshot:  Bill would have to divorce Barb and legally marry Nikki!

Now, the family would of course continue living just as they now do, but, even so, divorce would an unwelcome trauma to Bill, not to mention Barb.   But Bill's seriously considering it.  Barb doesn't reject it out outright, but she says she needs time to think about the whole situation.  Nikki of course is deeply pleased to have an occasion to move Barb and Bill apart, and get closer to Bill herself.

Barb has the additional complication - about as profound as it gets - of struggling with her welling belief that she can be a priest holder.  Bill has already ordained Ben, and may be even more upset about Barb's priest holder claims than he is about the possible divorce.

Bill thus is in the mold of many revolutionaries - they are conservative about anything not already in their revolutionary agenda.   But he realizes that going ahead with the divorce makes no sense.  And as for the priest holding-

But before that part of the drama is played out, Barb at last takes matters into her own hands, and tells Bill: we need to get divorced!

Is this purely a response to the Cara Lynn adoption, or is Barb saying more here - that she can't stay married to Bill, ultimately in any form, if he stands in the way of her fulfilling her priest-holder aspirations.

We shall see ...

See also Big Love's Back and North to Alaska ... Big Love 5.3: Grim Christmas

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds ... Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?  ... Big Love 4.3: Super-Compressed, Super-Fine ...  Big Love 4.4:  Bill and Don
... The Potential for Brilliance in Big Love 4.5 ... Big Love 4.6: Barb Ascendant ... Nearly Gunfight at the OK Corral for Big Love 4.7 ... Big Love Breakout Season 4 Finale

See also: Big Love, Season 3 ... 1. a 4th ... 2. Two Issues Resolved, Two Not So Much ... 6. Exquisite, Perfectly Played ... Big Love Season 3 Finale: Bigger Love ...

And from Season 2: 2: Oh, Happy Day, and Not ... 3: Sons and Mothers ... 4. Help Me, Rhonda ... 5. The Waitress and More... 6. Just Lust ... 7. Margene's Mama ... 8. Polygamy and Misgivings ... 9. Swing Vote Margene ... 10. Polygamy as the Ultimate Cool/Bad ... 11. Family in Crisis ... Big Love Season 2 Concludes



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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

CBS Mars Grammys with Bleeps, Part II

Well, CBS exceeded last year's regrettable performance of censoring artists on its Grammy Awards broadcast, earlier this evening bleeping (dead silencing) phrases from Arcade Fire, Dr. Dre, Eminem,  Cee Lo, and Lady Gaga - five artists in comparison to three (Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake) bleeped last year.


It's getting to the point - as I mentioned in one of my Tweets during the Grammys broadcast - that CBS should start calling its show "Holes in the Music".   Afraid to stand up to the FCC and its unconstitutional fines on behalf of the rights of artists and writers to say what they please ("Congress shall make no law ... abridging freedom of speech"), CBS also deprives people in America and around the world the right to enjoy performances of their favorite artists.    CBS' cowardice is especially unfortunate in a world which is daily standing up for its freedom from government repression in memorable ways.


The Grammys need to move to another station, which is willing to let the music and words flow freely.


In the meantime, here are my Tweets pointing out the acts of censorship on CBS earlier this evening, in reverse order.   I look forward to the time that I can just Tweet about how much I'm enjoying the artists and their performances.


Paul Levinson
And just for a good measure, Arcade Fire was censored. CBS should call its show "Holes in the Music"


Paul Levinson
Dr. Dre just got the censorious treatment!


Paul Levinson
Now Eminem censored twice ... the Grammys should be taken off CBS and moved to a station that respects artists and writers


Paul Levinson
And now Cee Lo was apparently bleeped by the CBS censors ... what are they, five years old?


Paul Levinson
CBS up to its old censoring, cowardly tricks: just "bleeped" Lady Gaga's acceptance speech!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe

Fringe 3.13 was so good, fired so well on so many cylinders, that I had a profusion of possible titles for this review.   I chose "Alternate Fringe" because it gives nothing away (no spoiler in the title) and encompasses the range of this story.

It's all in the alternate reality.  We learn a few more delicious differences between their world and ours.  In addition to mass dirigible flight, all of Boston was ambered 2004 (not just Harvard Yard in 1989), and avian flu killed millions.

This last difference gets to the nub of the alternate story:  Dr. Armand Silva was close to developing an insect cure - from a certain kind of beetle - when the natural host of the beetle, sheep, died out (another difference between their world and ours).  The only other host for the beetle are humans.  This sets Silva on a course of infecting humans,  which leads to their deaths, but helps him perfect the beetle as an antidote to the avian flu.  He wants above all else to be famous - remembered in history - like Salk, Crick and Watson, Pasteur, who were as famous over there as over here.   When Silva dies, at the end, he asks that his named be spelled correctly.  (Another exponent of that wonderful line, "I don't care what the newspapers say about me, as long as they spell my name right" - ironically, or appropriately, attributed to almost a dozen famous people.)

An alternate title for this review could have been "spell my name correctly".  But fame was not all this episode was about.  It was also the first time we see our alternate Fringe team at work on the cases that our Fringe team works on over here.  Previously, alt-Fringe was devoted to fighting our Fringe.

But Fringe 3.13 also had some great parallel-realities-at-war elements, too.  We see that Walternate has some redeeming human qualities.  He won't experiment on children.  This is likely because he still feels his loss of Peter so keenly.  It's now a double loss - when Peter as a boy was kidnapped by Walter, and when Peter an adult left of his own free will.

And there's Fauxlivia, who's never been more appealing.   Frank, her long time lover, returns from a stint in Texas which has kept them apart for far too long.  He wants to marry Fauxlivia, and proposes.  She's clearly been thinking of Peter, but suppresses that, and says yes.

But it turns out that she's pregnant - we find this out in a neat twist which had us thinking she was infected with Silva's (I spelled his name right) beetle.   And you know whose baby it is.

When Walternate finds out, he's thrilled, and promises he'll take good care of Olivia (that is, Fauxlivia in our parlance) and his grandson.  She'll of course continue on the team, but now Walternate has an inducement to get Peter back over to his reality: Peter's baby.

We learned last week from Sam that Peter will have to choose which Olivia to stay with, which will determine which of the realities will survive.  The chances of the alternate reality just got very much better - as the series seems to do with just about every new episode.   (Hey, I wonder what's been on television over there ... Felicity, Alias, Lost, and ?)


See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee
See also reviews of Season 2: 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 ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

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



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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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