250 reviews of time travel TV, movies, books right here

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Cloverfield Paradox: Fringe Meets Star Trek

Well, there really wasn't any paradox in it (things going very wrong does not equate to paradox), and the story was at least much horror as science fiction, but The Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix was pretty good science fiction of the alternate-reality variety anyway.

Earth in the future is in the throws of a grievous energy crisis.  Hope is placed in a new particle accelerator, to be tested in the Cloverfield space station.  A slightly nutty scientist or sooth-sayer warns that the energies that will be released in this test could rip reality apart and unleash untold monsters.  Of course, no one pays him any heed.

But indeed the tests do rip reality apart, or at least bring it into interactive smashing contact with another reality.  This is manifested by a woman who shows up in the metalwork of the station - literally - and a guy who loses his arm to the other reality (the arm comes back and writes our crew vital information), and you get the picture.  This is what I meant by Fringe (the Star Trek part comes from the crew in space).  The Cloverfield Paradox somehow mixes horror and humor in a way that only J. J. Abrams, one of the producers, can do it (hey, maybe that's the paradox).

There are good surprises, double-crosses, and breathtaking scenes throughout.  The protagonist, Ava (well played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, pictured above) is given the choice of reuniting with the family she lost in her/our reality - she can do this by going to the alternate reality - or saving our reality.   I won't tell what she does.

I will say that the changes unleashed by the particle accelerator usher in all kinds of horrors not only in space, but Earth as well.  Enjoy.

more alternate reality - "flat-out fantastic" - Scifi and Scary

Monday, February 12, 2018

Counterpart 1.4: The Switch

A really superb episode 1.4 of Counterpart last night - my favorite so far - in which the two Howards switch sides.  Again, the acting of J. K. Simmons is Emmy-worthy.  Here the kind Howard from our world has to play the tough Howard from the other side, and vice versa, and both do it just right.  This series is a pleasure to see just because of Simmons' acting.

But the storyline is deep and effective, too.  Our Howard and his Emily (now in the hospital) lost their baby, already named Anna, in a miscarriage.  On the other side, the tough Howard is long divorced from Emily, but their daughter Anna is an adult, with a commanding presence (not surprising, given her parents).

Our Howard and that Emily are of course attracted to one another, but the beginning of their relationship that we saw last night was fueled by the need that he has for his wife (she's been in a coma in the hospital since she was run down) and she for man who looks just like her husband but, in her words, is far better than he.   It's a relationship I haven't seen before in any narrative.  It's born of science fiction but is about as real as it gets for two human beings - very early, quiet, and preliminary, but already memorable and very powerful.

The Baldwin story is an interesting take on the classic spy story too.  Seduced by a woman who betrays her, by taking her gun, but Baldwin triumphs over the man who comes to kill her, anyway, with some strong one-on-one combat.  The whole sequence was a James Bond interlude for the 21st century.

Counterpart has now established itself not just as a series with an original and compelling idea, but an execution to match.

See also  Counterpart 1.1: Fringe on Espionage ... Counterpart 1.2: Two Different Worlds ... Counterpart 1.3: Identification and Pandemic

more alternate reality - "flat-out fantastic" - Scifi and Scary

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Homeland 7.1: The Worse Threat

Homeland was back in business with the debut episode of season 7 tonight, and a story that aptly captures our real predicament these days in a warped, Bizarro-world kind of way.

The gist of the set-up, which we saw fall into place at the end of last season, is this:  The worse threat to our democracy, as Carrie tells an ally she fails (so far) to secure, is no longer terrorism but the fascist in the White House.  This rings true enough to our world with Trump in the White House - except the occupant in Homeland is a woman, Elizabeth Keane, a martinetish version of Hillary Clinton, who became paranoid last season after an attempt on her life.

The switch is more than just of gender.  Everything else around and about the President is turned around.  O'Keefe, a libertarian nut-job most reminiscent of Alex Jones in our reality, is alas not so far off when he raves about Keane as the Hitler in the White House (one only wishes the real Jones would rant the same about Trump).  And, indeed, the President is hunting him down, just as O'Keefe fears.

I expected that General McClendon would be killed - the President cannot abide even the life sentence that he was given - but the big question is who gave the order.  Was it the President herself, or her Chief of Staff, the guy who tried to get Saul on the President's team.

That didn't happen to tonight - Saul's price (freedom for all the illegally jailed people) was too high, but the coming attractions show that something will convince him to take the job.   Will he once again be at odds with his star pupil, who has been more incisive than Saul for a while now?  I hope not - Carrie and Saul are always at their best when they're working together, totally on the same side.

Good for Homeland for telling us a story this season of a budding Mussolini in the White House, even if she's not the same gender as Nixon or Trump.

And I'll be back here next week with more.

And see also  Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Knightfall Season 1 Finale: Threading the Needle

The Kightfall Season 1 finale very carefully threaded the needle of miracle or natural event with Joan in the forest, speaking of drinking in the blues of the sky, in Landry's arms.

She's dying - from the sword the King thrust into her - and the doctor tells Landry it's hopeless.  As a last attempt to somehow save her life, when the end of is nigh, he remembers that she has the Grail.  He fills it with water and bids her to drink.  Which she does - but to no apparent avail.  Landry, furious with the Grail which didn't come through for him, throws it against a tree where it smashes.

But the miracle occurs.  Her baby is still alive, and the doctor is able to deliver it - a girl - via caesarean.  Joan dies, but their daughter miraculously lives.  Will this be enough to restore Landry's faith?

Probably.  But where was the miracle in what happened?  We know with our science that it's possible to deliver a live baby from a mother who has died via caesarean section.  So, what seems like a miracle to Landry is just quick thinking and knowledge from "Syria" on the part of the doctor, after Landry felt the baby moving in his deceased Joan.

The Templars and thus Knightfall are all about God and miracles.  Just before Joan's death, De Molay saves the day by riding in with reinforcements and beating back the red knights.  Tancrede, quoting Dylan from more than half a millennium later, says earlier and repeatedly that the Templars fight with God on their side.  But was De Molay's appearance with his men an act of God or the result a guilty conscience, clear thinking, and fast action by De Molay on behalf of his brethren?

We face questions like that today, as the world did in the thirteen-hundreds, and as human beings, trying to understand the word around them, the good and the bad and what may or may not be fate, always will.   Faith and science are always in the eye of the beholder.


A final thought about the finale: The death of Joan and the birth of her and Landry's daughter echoes the death of Padme and the birth of Leia, and is consistent with the resonance between the Templars and the Jedi that ran through this season.  Joan and Landry's daughter could almost be Joan of Arc, but she appeared about a century after the time being depicted in Knightfall.

I enjoyed this first season and look forward to beholding more.

See also: Knightfall 1.1: Possibilities ... Knightfall 1.2: Grail and Tinder ... Knightfall 1.3: Baby ... Knightfall 1.4: Parentage ... Knightfall 1.5: Shrewd De Nogaret ... Knightfall 1.6: Turn of Fortunes ... Knightfall 1.7: Landry's Mother ... Knightfall 1.8: Crucial Moves ... Knightfall 1.9: "More Than You Think"

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Absentia: In Your Face and Worth Watching

I binged Absentia the past few days - on AXN in 2017 and now on Amazon Prime.  It starts out with a scenario we've seen before (FBI agent Emily Byrne, played Castle's Stana Katic, shows up after presumably being held hostage for six years, and declared dead), but soon takes off in vivid and less conventional ways.  Her husband Nick Durand (well played by Patrick Heusinger), also an FBI agent, has happily remarried, and the two are raising the son Durand had with Emily.  Like The OA, The Missing (season two), Thirteen, and other reappearance stories, Emily's return continues or sets off a new series of terrible crimes.

But Emily Byrne is a much more powerful character than the "victims" in those other series, with the exception of Prairie in The OA, who is powerful, but in a more mystical rather than Criminal Minds way.  Emily soon becomes both the hunter (of the person who held her captive) and the hunted (she's implicated in a string of new murders), and the narrative plays it so close to the vest that's it's not easy to tell which she is - at least, on the basis of logic - though I never lost faith in her.

And lest you think that's a spoiler, it's actually still not clear, at the very end, what she did and didn't do during her years in captivity.  Clearly, as she herself recognizes and tells her husband, she's not the same person she was before she was kidnapped.  Is it just her mind that's not quite the same, or has she acted on those dark fantasies (assuming they're fantasies not memories).

Katic does an outstanding job in this role.  The supporting case is memorable too, especially Paul Freeman as Emily's father, Neil Jackson as her brother, and Cara Theobold as Nick's new wife.  The plot is tight - I guessed some of the suspects, and was proven wrong just about every time.  Highly recommended, but not for little children.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Counterpart 1.3: Identification and Pandemic

A very important episode 1.3 of Counterpart tonight, in which we get an answer to a central question, or at least a question which I've seen as fundamental since the first episode:

The world with the nice Howard - the mild-mannered Howard Silk - is our world.  The alternate with tough Howard, aka Howard Prime, is the reality that was created some decades ago.   How do we know this?  We're told it suffered a major pandemic in its cities which wiped out a lot of its population.  That didn't happen in our reality, the home of nice Howard.  Hence that reality is ours.  To be clear, that doesn't exactly mean that the tough reality split off from ours.  Before the split, there was only one reality, ours.  But since the split, ours is the one with nice Howard and no pandemic. And the other reality, not ours, was hardened by the pandemic, with the result (among who knows how many other results) that that Howard is a much more violent character.

We also learn more about both Emilies, but I won't say more,  lest I reveal some big spoilers.  But, clearly, there are a lot of secrets and surprises in this story.

Two other points, about the general setting.  Someone who doesn't like the relationship between two realities says he wishes they (the tough side) would just build a "wall," and forget about our side.  The mention of a wall shows that setting Counterpart in Germany is no accident.  Berlin, after all, was separated by a wall, until the end of the Cold War.

But that wall in our off-screen reality was big and forbidding.   In Counterpart - and this is the second point - the two realities are separated by a tunnel - which actually reminds me of a tunnel under the City College of New York, that connected Shepard and Harris Halls.  I used to use it when I was a student there in the 1960s, and I was late to class on cold rainy days. A not particularly cosy, but not forbidding, kind of tunnel.

Counterpart continues to be a good, special kind of spy/science fiction amalgam, with especially great acting by J. K. Simmons as both Howards.

See also  Counterpart 1.1: Fringe on Espionage ... Counterpart 1.2: Two Different Worlds

more alternate reality - "flat-out fantastic" - Scifi and Scary

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Altered Carbon: Roads, Spit, and Immortality

Critics who've said that Altered Carbon, the 10-part series I just binged on Netflix (based on the 2002 novel by Richard K. Morgan, which I haven't read) is not as good as Bladerunner, which it strives to be, are myopic - or to put it bluntly, completely wrong.  That's because Altered Carbon is at least as good if not better than the two Bladerunner movies (certainly the second), which it not only exceeds in scope and variety, but plain-out doesn't resemble in crucial ways.

Both are hardboiled cyberpunk, to be sure.   Both therefore entail murder and sets that look like Tokyo on speed.  Both have have sardonic investigators who crack wise.  And both are about the extents and limits of human and human-like minds in human and human-like bodies.

And there the similarities, impressive as they are, end.  Bladerunner is about androids, or artificial, flesh-like beings, with artificially created minds.  Altered Carbon is about transferring human minds to "stacks," composed of a crystal-like substance found on an alien world somewhere out there in space.  These stacks can be put into bodies ("sleeves") that look nothing like the body that housed the original mind, including different genders, and even an adult stacked into a child.  They can also be put into an identical body - "double-sleeved" - or cloned, with the clones having completely identical consciousnesses until the moment of the sleeving and stacking.    The possibilities for love and death (sleeve death of just the body, so the stack can be implanted in some other body vs. "real death" when the stack is destroyed, too) are almost endless.  Freud would have loved it.  I did.

Planets far from Earth are not just a backdrop. Important parts of the narrative occur there.  The characters have a media ecological sense of how minds and bodies intersect (see Human Replay for what that means).  They also understand the pivotal role of media in human history.  Quellcrist (a central character) notes that Rome went from a city to one of the most powerful empires in ancient history because of its "roads" - an observation that comes right out of Harold Innis's Empire and Communications.

The stacks in effect make humans immortal, and in one of the main threads of the story, Quellcrist heads a team of rebels who want to return humans to their pre-stack mortality.   (I like the character, but disagree with her on this, btw.)  Takeshi Kovacs is one of the team, and he's the prime protagonist in this story, which includes solving a murder ("the dead can now accuse their murderers," he aptly says), fighting off potent villains of both genders, and wending, usually fighting, his way against all manner of physical and digital constructs - if he doesn't embrace them - including an AI hotel named the Raven with an Edgar Allan Poe as its concierge avatar.

Joel Kinnaman puts in his best performance on the screen so far - and it's fine indeed - in this role, sometimes even looking a little James Dean.  He spits on a sensor which expected to get his DNA in another package, and is compassionate and brutal as need be.  Convincing acting, too, by Martha Higareda as Ortega, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Quellcrist, Dichen Lachman as Rei, Chris Conner as the aforementioned Poe, and how could I not give a shout-out to Tamara Taylor from Bones.

Slight quibbles: the story is set hundred of years in the future, but the ambience on Earth seems more like just decades away.  And there's one scene in which someone tries to elude attackers by pretending to be dead amongst a group of corpses, but wouldn't the attackers in this far-future scenario be able to digitally scan the area for any signs of life?  But these quibbles are small indeed.

There's plenty of violence (which has received some criticism) as well as nudity of all kinds (I haven't seen any criticism of that) and I think both are right and work well for the series.  There's room for a sequel, which I hope is made (Morgan published two additional novels in this saga).  Laeta Kalogridis gets the "Created by" credit on Wikipedia, and there's a full house of directors, producers, and writers in this powerfully rendered series.  All deserve kudos.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Knightfall 1.9: "More than You Think"

In Knightfall 1.9 we finally learn a little more about the Grail - it means "more than you think," Tancrede tells Landry.  And then - Joan returns in her Princess Leia hairdo to the King of France, who knows that's she's carrying not his but Landry's baby.  In other words, no more than a hint of what the Grail really means and does, but the continuation of a compelling all-too-Earthy story.

I'd love to learn that the Grail was given to us by visitors from outer space, but Knightfall, after all, is on the History not the SyFy Channel.  And the story proceeds to some prime all-too-human confrontations, my favorite being Landry on trial.

Gawain's testimony seals Landry's fate, though he would have been found guilty anyway, and it turns out his fate isn't sealed, after all.  Landry's mother explains to the Pope the "more" that the Grail is really about, or can do, and it so impresses the Pope that he frees Landry - leaving us, again, with absolutely no idea of what that "more" is.

Though the Pope's freeing Landry does tell us more than what Tancrede told Landry.  First, Landry's mother actually, presumably, told the Pope this secret of the Grail, whereas Tancrede only alluded to it to Landry.  And the Pope's freeing Landry tells us that Landry is in some way intrinsically connected to this super secret of the Grail.  Again, if this story were science fiction, it could be time travel - Landry was alive at the origin of the Grail - but this is a narrative of dramatized history and religion, not time travel.

Though, as I've been saying about Knightfall since the beginning, there is something undeniably science fictional about this story.   The Templars resemble the Jedi in many respects, and the Grail has power which is more than holy - more, even, than just the kind of magic that magicians do.  Maybe something like the Force.

And that's a good thing, too, for our characters, all in dire straits as this next-to-last episode of the first season concludes.  Landry and the Queen are now each in about the worst shape we've seen them all season.  Who will save them?

I'll be back here next week with thoughts about what the season finale tells us.

See also: Knightfall 1.1: Possibilities ... Knightfall 1.2: Grail and Tinder ... Knightfall 1.3: Baby ... Knightfall 1.4: Parentage ... Knightfall 1.5: Shrewd De Nogaret ... Knightfall 1.6: Turn of Fortunes ... Knightfall 1.7: Landry's Mother ... Knightfall 1.8: Crucial Moves

some real time travel here

Monday, January 29, 2018

Patti LuPone at 2018 Grammys: The Dark Message of this Incandescent Performance

[Note added 31 January 2018: YouTube has removed all the full-length (5mins+) videos of Patti LuPone's performance at the request of the Grammy people (The Recording Academy), ever on the edge of kicking public discourse in face.   You can find some shorter clips still on YouTube, and if I can find the complete performance on video anywhere online, I'll post it here.  In the meantime, here's a video of Patti singing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" a few years ago.]

That's Patti LuPone singing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" a few hours ago at 2018 Grammy Awards.  Tina and I missed her when we went to see Evita on Broadway in 1979 - she was off that night, though we did see Mandy Patinkin as Che - but we've always loved her performance as the very peak of peak in this musical, and, for that matter, in any other.

And here she was tonight, somehow, magically, better than ever.   Not only in the finest voice, pleading, tender, powerful - but acting to the hilt.   Look at what she does at the very end of the performance - at 4:27 into the song.   Evita beseeches the audience, sees she has them, raises her arms and flings back her head in vulnerable thanks and triumph, then puts her head down, possibly spent, modest, but raises it one more time in cool, powerful conquest, defiant and satisfied.  Soaking in the cheers and applause from the audience, both in Madison Square Garden tonight, and in Buenos Aeros, when the crowd was Evita's shirtless ones, all those years ago.   LuPone manages to convey all of this after singing her heart out and bringing herself - and anyone listening with a soul - to tears.

But there's a darker side to this - not in LuPone's incandescent performance and in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's incomparable song.  But in the message it conveys about propaganda, or deceitful appeals to the emotions that masquerade as logic.

I teach my classes at Fordham about this, and use this song as a searing example, every time I talk about propaganda.  The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, striving many years ago to understand how Hitler and the Nazis gained power in Germany, still then a democracy, called it "just plain folks".  Though the dictators have all the money and power, they tell their powerless subjects that they, the dictators, are just like the people - one of them.  Hitler was "the Leader" - der Führer - not the King.   Don't be jealous of me, Evita sings in "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" - I'm just like you.  I came from you, I am you, standing up here in my gleaming gown and jewels.  I'm you who has succeeded, so love me, as you should love yourselves.

This "just plain folks" is one of the prime ingredients of fascism.   It shouldn't matter, in a democracy, where the elected official came from in life.  FDR and JFK were both great Presidents, and swimming in wealth.  And maybe one of the reasons they were so good for our country is they didn't pretend to be something they weren't, someone just like us.

That's an important lesson to keep in mind, especially these days, with the President who tweets to be closer his supporters, as we're moved to tears along with Patti LuPone in her extraordinary performance.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Counterpart 1.2: Two Different Worlds

Counterpart was back tonight with episode 1.2 - via Amazon Prime, for me, because Starz is no longer on Cablevision in my area, which I suspect is Cablevision's fault, at least in this reality.  As for the episode, it was quite good, and moved the story forward in at least one big way.

In trying to get the difference between the alternate realities, we learned in the first episode that one reality contains a meek Howard Silk and the other contains a Howard Silk (aka "Howard Prime") as spy at least as deadly as James Bond.  Tonight we see that this distinction holds for the violin-player in meek Howard's reality, whose counterpart is none other than the ninja-like assassin Baldwin in spy-Howard's reality.  So this seems to suggest that the two realities are split along meek/violent lines - which is not to say that meek Howard is really meek - he's not - but he's certainly not as aggressive coming out the gate as his counterpart.

Pope in the violent reality makes one remark which seems to support this hypothesis, when he talks about what "they" i.e., the (slightly) more peaceful reality did to "us" (the more violent reality).  And the signal event with Baldwin and her counterpart's father, before the realities split, supports this.  Baldwin went on after letting her drunken father be killed by a train to become a master assassin.  The counterpart channeled her aggression into feverishly playing the violin, a fabulous Freudian sublimation if ever there was one.

Still a lot of questions, of course, as there should be at this point.   We still have no clue as to which reality is "ours," whatever exactly that might mean.   But we're off to a good start, with not one but two characters having significant if not continuing interactions with their alternate-reality doubles, and I'm looking forward to more.

Hey, I'm wondering if Cablevision is so blocked-headed in the other reality.

See also  Counterpart 1.1: Fringe on Espionage

more alternate reality - "flat-out fantastic" - Scifi and Scary

Friday, January 26, 2018

Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming the Beatles 21 of X: Resistance

It's been nearly a month since I posted a review of a chapter or two of Rob Sheffield's superb Dreaming the Beatles because, as I've said before, I don't want this book to end.  I want it to last forever, as I do its subject, The Beatles.  And I'm sure they - the book and The Beatles - will.

We're now into the sad and sadder part of the book.  And amidst the gathering ruins of The Beatles, no longer recording together, soon to experience far worse events, Sheffield manages to ingenuously pull together strands that no one else would or could connect, and weave into a riveting now close to heartbreaking chapter.

This time it's a comparison of John Lennon's "Revolution: (of course recorded with the Beatles) and Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs" (of recorded after the Beatles disbanded).  No one but Sheffield could possibly see and convincingly argue that these two songs are really about the same thing, and show that despite the many differences between Lennon and McCartney, they nonetheless were in many ways almost the same person, or brothers.

Both songs, Sheffield explains, are about the The Beatles' resistance to authority.  Lennon's "Revolution" is about not being dictated to by trendy political truth-tellers, of which we now in 2018 obviously have a myriad, on any screen you see.  McCartney's "Silly Love Songs" is about not being told what to do - what to sing about - by self-appointed pop-cultural gurus (of which Robert Christgau was a prime example back then, and which we all suffer a myriad of advice from, nowadays as well).  And like I once read somewhere about Immanuel Kant, a philosopher much harder to understand than is Sheffield, once you consider his hypothesis about these songs, you realize instantly that he is right.

Sheffield couples and discusses other Lennon and McCartney solo recordings, such as Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" and McCartney's "What the Man Said".  Here I'll say that I've always liked pop more than (I think) Sheffield does - "Afternoon Delight," for example, by the Starland Vocal Band in 1976, was and always will be one of my favorite recordings.  And I don't know if Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" is pop.  How could it be, with a line like "Don't need a watch to waste your time" (my favorite line in the song)  which sounds like it could have come out Dylan's "My Back Pages"?

Sheffield also says that "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" isn't played on radio anymore, because of it's "Don't need a gun to blow you mind" line, but I just heard it on The Beatles Channel on Sirius XM Radio.  The times they are a-changing, including an evolution in our understanding and appreciation of The Beatles, of which The Beatles Channel and Dreaming the Beatles are essential parts.

See also Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming the Beatles 1 of X: The Love Affair ... 2 of X: The Heroine with a Thousand Faces ... 3 of X: Dear Beatles ... 4 of X: Paradox George ... 5 of X: The Power of Yeah ... 6 of X: The Case for Ringo ... 7 of X: Anatomy of a Ride ... 8 of X: Rubber Soul on July 4 ... 9 of X: Covers ... 10 of X: I. A. Richards ... 11 of X: Underrated Revolver ... 12 of X: Sgt. Pepper ... 13 of X: Beatles vs. Stones ... 14 of X: Unending 60s ... 15 of x: Voting for McCartney, Again ... 16 of x: "I'm in Love, with Marsha Cup" ... 17 of X: The Split ... 18 of X: "Absolute Elsewhere" ... 19 of X: (Unnecessary but Brilliant) Defense of McCartney ... 20 of X: "All Things Must Pass"

lots of Beatles in this time travel 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Knightfall 1.8: Crucial Moves

One of the best Knightfalls of the season - 1.7 - on air tonight, with twists and turns and highly significant developments at every turn.

Joan turning the tables - or blade - on her cousin was one of the highlights.  Her plan about where to be Queen and raise her children and with whom is a good one, though no doubt it won't quite come to be.

De Nogaret telling the King about the father of Joan's baby closes a crucial loop.  Now that the King knows, there will be no place for Landry in France.  That would actually fit right in with Joan's plan, but there's a lot in the way of Landry living happily ever after with Joan.  He now has the Pope, and soon with have the King of France, as mortal enemies.  And Gawain is no longer a brother in arms, either.

Tancrede alive and coming back was great to see.  Landry's in desperate need of allies.  At this point, there's Tancrede and Landry's mother and I didn't catch the name of the Templar with long blond hair, but he seems pretty strong, too.

History of course tells us that the Papacy and France will survive, but not the Templars.  But we're still a long way from that, and with the surprises of the story so far this season, it's not too much to hope that our Templars and their supporters will have a long, tempestuous life on the screen - or, just the way they and we like it.

See also: Knightfall 1.1: Possibilities ... Knightfall 1.2: Grail and Tinder ... Knightfall 1.3: Baby ... Knightfall 1.4: Parentage ... Knightfall 1.5: Shrewd De Nogaret ... Knightfall 1.6: Turn of Fortunes ... Knightfall 1.7: Landry's Mother

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Vikings 5.10: New and Old Worlds

Well, I said in my review of last week's episode of Vikings - 5.9 - that I was hoping to see Rollo again, and .... I'll say no more about that now.

Otherwise, though 5.10 was good, it didn't really settle or establish anything.  The counterpoint between Floki on Iceland, trying to create a new way for his people, was effective, as the scenes cut from Iceland back to the brother-against-brother slaughter in Norway.   I also don't believe for a minute that Floki's offer to sacrifice himself will be carried out.  The smarter people, especially that woman (I didn't catch her name), will likely tell Floki that a part of the new kind of community he wants to build will leave behind the need to sacrifice one's life.

Back home, here's what I think happened.  Harald's brother is dead, killed by Harald.  Harald's wife is dead, killed by Lagertha, though it was more of a suicide than a killing.  I'm not completely sure about Hvitserk.  But that leaves all the other major characters alive, and, if not completely intact, in strong enough shape to continue the battle, at least on another day.

Which means, among other things, that Lagertha's belief that she would die this day was proven wrong.  That's good for us, the audience.  There's lots of story to be told for her and Heahmund, not to mention her and Rollo, and, for very different reasons, her and Ivar.

My only regret, as always, is that there won't be a new episode for a while.  But Vikings is always worth the wait.  And with the Iceland story opening up, and Rollo looking more charismatic than ever in his regal clothes, the next part of this season will be eminently welcome.

See also Vikings 5.1-2: Floki in Iceland ... Vikings 5.3: Laughing Ivar ...Vikings 5.4: Four of More Good Stories ... Vikings 5.5: Meet Lawrence of Arabia ... Vikings 5.6: Meanwhile, Back Home ... Vikings 5.7: A Looming Trojan-War Battle, Vikings Style, and Two Beautiful Stories ...Vikings 5.8: Only Heahmund? ... Vikings 5.9: Rollo

And see also Vikings 4.1: I'll Still Take Paris ... Vikings 4.2: Sacred Texts ...Vikings 4.4: Speaking the Language ... Vikings 4.5: Knives ... Vikings 4.8: Ships Up Cliff ... Vikings 4.10: "God Bless Paris" ... Vikings 4.11: Ragnar's Sons ... Vikings 4.12: Two Expeditions ... Vikings 4.13: Family ... Vikings 4.14: Penultimate Ragnar? ... Vikings 4.15: Close of an Era ... Vikings 1.16: Musselman ... Vikings 1.17: Ivar's Wheels ...Vikings 1.18: The Beginning of Revenge ... Vikings 4.19: On the Verge of History ... Vikings 4.20: Ends and Starts

And 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 ... Vikings 3.9: The Conquered ... Vikings Season 3 Finale: Normandy

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