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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Outlander 4.3: The Silver Filling



Another altogether excellent Outlander on Sunday - 4.3 - and I've got to say this continues to shape up as my favorite season so far.

As always, there's a time-travel nugget, in this case literally.  Claire discovers that the skull of the man who got Jamie and her back together after the wild storm separated them had a silver filling in his tooth.  Which means, as Claire says, that he's a time traveler, too.  The question, as Claire also says, is, who is he?  Or, who was he/will he be?

Meanwhile, Jamie and Claire find a place to build a home.  Jamie names it Fraser's Ridge.  It's beautiful.  The cinematography this season is especially vivid and striking.

The Brianna and Roger thread was a bit predictable.  The course of true love never did run smooth.  And why couldn't Brianna at least tell Roger that she loves him, too?   Clearly she does.   My guess (I haven't the read novels) is that this problem - Roger wanting to marry Brianna, she thinking maybe marriage isn't for her - is bound to lead to more complications, maybe involving time travel.  If that happens, this thread will have been more than warranted.

It is worth noting that Brianna and Roger headed to the same part of the South where Claire and Jamie are way in the past.  This can't be coincidence.  Which means we can expect to see Claire and Brianna reunited, or maybe Jamie and Brianna, or maybe all three, without anyone needing to go back to Scotland.  After all, the skull with the silver filling shows that time travel also happens in America.

See ya here next week.

See also Outlander 4.1: The American Dream ... Outlander 4.2: Slavery

And see also Outlander Season 3 Debut: A Tale of Two Times and Places ...Outlander 3.2: Whole Lot of Loving, But ... Outlander 3.3: Free and Sad ... Outlander 3.4: Love Me Tender and Dylan ... Outlander 3.5: The 1960s and the Past ... Outlander 3.6: Reunion ... Outlander 3.7: The Other Wife ... Outlander 3.8: Pirates! ... Outlander 3.9: The Seas ...Outlander 3.10: Typhoid Story ... Outlander 3.11: Claire Crusoe ...Outlander 3.12: Geillis and Benjamin Button ... Outlander 3.13: Triple Ending

And see also Outlander 2.1: Split Hour ... Outlander 2.2: The King and the Forest ... Outlander 2.3: Mother and Dr. Dog ... Outlander 2.5: The Unappreciated Paradox ... Outlander 2.6: The Duel and the Offspring ...Outlander 2.7: Further into the Future ... Outlander 2.8: The Conversation ... Outlander 2.9: Flashbacks of the Future ... Outlander 2.10: One True Prediction and Counting ... Outlander 2.11: London Not Falling ... Outlander 2.12: Stubborn Fate and Scotland On and Off Screen ... Outlander Season 2 Finale: Decades

And see also Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel ... Outlander 1.6:  Outstanding ... Outlander 1.7: Tender Intertemporal Polygamy ...Outlander 1.8: The Other Side ... Outlander 1.9: Spanking Good ... Outlander 1.10: A Glimmer of Paradox ... Outlander 1.11: Vaccination and Time Travel ... Outlander 1.12: Black Jack's Progeny ...Outlander 1.13: Mother's Day ... Outlander 1.14: All That Jazz ... Outlander Season 1 Finale: Let's Change History

 

It all started in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn Monroe walked off the set of The Misfits and began to hear a haunting song in her head, "Goodbye Norma Jean" ...



Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Romanoffs 1.7: End of the Line: The Adoption Racket



The adoption of Russian children by American parents has played a crucial role in Russian-American relations since 2012, when the Russian Duma, in retaliation for U. S. sanctions imposed upon Russia in the Magnitsky Act, prohibited the U.S. adoption of Russian children.  Conversations between officials in the 2016 Trump campaign, his son Don Jr., and Russian operatives - allegedly about the Russians helping Trump in the election in return for Trump's promise to work to end the Magnitsky Act - have been a large part of what the Mueller team has been examining in its investigation of possible collusion between Trump and the Russians in 2016.

The American adoption of a Russian baby in 2008 thus makes a highly timely topic for the 7th episode of The Romanoffs.  The American would-be mother, Anka, is cousin to Victoria, mother to the boy with hemophilia and Romanov descendant we got to know in the superb previous episode in Mexico City.  Anka and her husband Joe are thrilled when they first arrive in Vladivostok (end of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and hence the name of the episode).  But the euphoria soon turns to despair, anger, and discord, when the couple discover that the baby they came to adopt may be suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome.  The aftermath contains some of the most searing dialogue of the series (which is saying a lot), when Joe, for example, tells Anka that she came to Russia to adopt a white baby because she was too snobbish and racist to adopt a healthy black baby in L.A.

There is a clever, happy end of sorts - I won't tell you what it is - but it's truthfully a little hard to feel happy after all the ugliness and insecurities of the human soul bared earlier.  Excellent acting by Annet Mahendru (Nina from The Americans) as the Russian broker, and Kathryn Hahn and Jay R. Ferguson as the adoptive parents.  And kudos to Matthew Wiener for putting together a series of episodes with a common thread as different from one another as episodes you might see in seven different series.

Next week is the season one finale.

See also: The Romanoffs 1.1: The Violet Hour: Compelling, Anti-Binge Watchable Comedy of Manners ... The Romanoffs 1.2: The Royal We: A Walk on the Dark Side ... The Romanoffs 1.3: House of Special Purpose: Ghost Story ... The Romanoffs 1.4: Expectation: Unfulfilled ... The Romanoffs 1.5: Bright and High Circle: Music and Abuse ... The Romanoffs 1.6: Panorama: The Royal Disease

  
It all starts in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn walks off the set
of The Misfits and begins to hear a haunting song in her head,
"Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Romanoffs 1.6: Panorama: The Royal Disease



The connections of the stories in The Romanoffs to the actual Romanovs vary widely, and in some cases is very thin.  In The Romanoffs 1.6, the connection is hemophilia.  The Tsarevich Alexei suffered from this lack-of-blood-clotting condition - many of Queen Victoria's descendants did - and in this episode we meet a boy, Nick, afflicted with the same problem, inherited from his mother, Victoria, who is a descendant of the Romanovs.

The action all takes place in Mexico City, where the mother and son, desperate (the conventional treatment has failed - Nick developed antibodies) go to a quack medical facility for treatment.  There they cross paths with Abel (standout performance by Juan Pablo Castañeda), a reporter posing as someone with a serious illness, attempting to do an undercover story on the quack.  This doesn't lead to much - the quack quickly realizes that Abel isn't suffering from any illness - but the story takes off wonderfully in two interlocking ways.

First, we get a gorgeous, historically vibrant tour of Mexico City, as Abel takes Nick and Victoria to museums and Aztec (Mexica) pyramids.  Nowadays, I'm always sensitive to how any drama relates to Trump and his demonization of people south of our border, and the civilization and beauty spoken in this tour is one good answer to the culturally bereft American President.

Meanwhile, this episode also tells the story of the budding love between Abel and Victoria.  This is handled in a tender way.  When Victoria declines to sleep with Abel after he tells he loves her, she asks him if knowing she wants to might be enough.  He says he'll take anything he can get.

In many ways, I liked this episode the best so far - a breath of fresh air that made me want to go to Mexico City on my next vacation.

See also: The Romanoffs 1.1: The Violet Hour: Compelling, Anti-Binge Watchable Comedy of Manners ... The Romanoffs 1.2: The Royal We: A Walk on the Dark Side ... The Romanoffs 1.3: House of Special Purpose: Ghost Story ... The Romanoffs 1.4: Expectation: Unfulfilled ... The Romanoffs 1.5: Bright and High Circle: Music and Abuse

  
It all starts in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn walks off the set
of The Misfits and begins to hear a haunting song in her head,
"Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Romanoffs 1.5: Bright and High Circle: Music and Abuse



Catching with The Romanoffs, now up to episode 1.5, which features classical music (Tchaikovsky and the rest), and the talented piano teacher accused of touching his male students "inappropriately".

By the end, though it's not 100% clear that David the piano teacher is innocent, it certainly seems that way.  The police detective who asks Prof. Ford (Diane Lane) to ask her three boys if David ever did anything inappropriate never does explain why she (the detective) is looking into this in the first place.   And her boys all steadfastly deny that anything untoward happened with David.

As such, this episode becomes a tableau of the falsely accused, and how that easily can ruin the accused's career and life.  Given that surely not everyone who is accused is guilty of the accusation, this episode becomes an important statement that there may be two sides to the story.  Thus, the abuse  here is that suffered by David, for (apparently) being wrongly accused.

I think this is an important episode for our or any age.  What Ford goes through, not really believing the charges against David, but struggling to get the truth from her boys, is in its own way, however, limited, a story of our time.   And a story for any time, which provides the motive for innocent until proven guilty that is the bedrock of our judicial system.

The Romanoffs, in its first five episodes, has covered an enormous amount of territory in subject and style.  I'll be back here soon with reviews of the six and later episodes.

See also: The Romanoffs 1.1: The Violet Hour: Compelling, Anti-Binge Watchable Comedy of Manners ... The Romanoffs 1.2: The Royal We: A Walk on the Dark Side ... The Romanoffs 1.3: House of Special Purpose: Ghost Story ... The Romanoffs 1.4: Expectation: Unfulfilled

  
It all starts in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn walks off the set
of The Misfits and begins to hear a haunting song in her head,
"Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mayans M. C. Season 1 Finale: Devante's Successor




Checking with (what I hope is) a better late then never review of the first season of Mayans M. C., on FX about a week ago now.

First, I think this first season was excellent - pulsing, surprising, thriving with complex intrigue and grit.   This makes Mayans M. C. a real winner, and is especially impressive given the tradition of Sons of Anarchy that Mayans inevitably had to live up to.  Perhaps its biggest accomplishment for me is that Mayans M. C. was so compelling that I all but stopped thinking of Sons when I was watching Mayans.   This is not to say that SOA isn't one of the all-time best shows ever on television, and that Mayans has yet to get there.  But it is to say that Mayans M. C. is, at the end of its first season, right up there on the map of television series that make a difference in your head.

The most significant parts of the ending involve E. Z. and Marcus, in two separate developments.  E. Z.'s was not really surprising, in fact was inevitable, and very satisfying.  It would been unacceptable to see him walk away from the Club and live Angel's vision of his younger brother.   The way he came to stay was done just right.

Marcus's move was indeed a big surprise.  He was the biker we already knew as the Mayan who played an important role in Sons.   As the President of a Mayan Club, he had more history as a club member than anyone new we came to know on Mayans.  So his leaving to become Miguel's consigliere - Devante's successor - was a nice parting shot.   And, like all good surprises, once we saw it happen, it seemed only right and destined to happen.

The move was also gratifying because it was good to see a club member leave the club in something other than blood, revenge, payback, or just decrepitude.  Marcus moving into the mansion, if not quite the lap of luxury - or, if is, it's luxury with sweat and potentially crushing responsibility -  is certainly a big move up for him in this world.

More than enough - for example, what will happen to Marcus should the Galinda cartel and his former MC come into conflict - and there's plenty more, to make me eager for next season.



 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Outlander 4.2: Slavery



Outlander 4.2 last night, another strong episode, continued the blending of opposites that is the essence of the series.

This time it was Jamie's aunt's plantation in South Carolina. It's a beautiful, bucolic paradise on first glance.  But on closer inspection, it thrives on the backs of hundreds of slaves.  Jamie's aunt is kind - meaning, she treats her slaves well.  Claire with her future sensibilities is horrified.  Jamie's not too happy either.  And before the hour is over, we're treated to an in-depth, sensitive tour of the law and practice of slavery in pre-Revolutionary War America.

It's a wrenching picture - which, again, has relevance to this very day, where the results of the voting for Georgia governor, with an African-American woman running against a white state official, are being hotly contested.  Yes, we as a nation have made enormous progress since 1767.  But we still have a ways to go.

One of the things I'm already liking about this fourth season of Outlander is that, so far, each episode features a different venue for our band of travelers.   There's a whole continent ahead to explore, if the narrative goes that way, and it will be fun to see where it goes.

Boston, for example, would be an especially neat place to visit in 1767.  Claire could leave a hidden message for her daughter to discover in the 1960s.  (Leaving a message for Claire herself to discover in the 1940s would be paradoxical, unless Claire for whatever reason never sees it.  If she had, then, well ... she would have seen it already, earlier in her life in the 1940s, if you get the picture.)

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

See also Outlander 4.1: The American Dream

And see also Outlander Season 3 Debut: A Tale of Two Times and Places ...Outlander 3.2: Whole Lot of Loving, But ... Outlander 3.3: Free and Sad ... Outlander 3.4: Love Me Tender and Dylan ... Outlander 3.5: The 1960s and the Past ... Outlander 3.6: Reunion ... Outlander 3.7: The Other Wife ... Outlander 3.8: Pirates! ... Outlander 3.9: The Seas ...Outlander 3.10: Typhoid Story ... Outlander 3.11: Claire Crusoe ...Outlander 3.12: Geillis and Benjamin Button ... Outlander 3.13: Triple Ending

And see also Outlander 2.1: Split Hour ... Outlander 2.2: The King and the Forest ... Outlander 2.3: Mother and Dr. Dog ... Outlander 2.5: The Unappreciated Paradox ... Outlander 2.6: The Duel and the Offspring ...Outlander 2.7: Further into the Future ... Outlander 2.8: The Conversation ... Outlander 2.9: Flashbacks of the Future ... Outlander 2.10: One True Prediction and Counting ... Outlander 2.11: London Not Falling ... Outlander 2.12: Stubborn Fate and Scotland On and Off Screen ... Outlander Season 2 Finale: Decades

And see also Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel ... Outlander 1.6:  Outstanding ... Outlander 1.7: Tender Intertemporal Polygamy ...Outlander 1.8: The Other Side ... Outlander 1.9: Spanking Good ... Outlander 1.10: A Glimmer of Paradox ... Outlander 1.11: Vaccination and Time Travel ... Outlander 1.12: Black Jack's Progeny ...Outlander 1.13: Mother's Day ... Outlander 1.14: All That Jazz ... Outlander Season 1 Finale: Let's Change History

 

It all started in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn Monroe walked off the set of The Misfits and began to hear a haunting song in her head, "Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Outlander 4.1: The American Dream



Outlander's return with episode 4.1 was all too relevant and excellent, at turns splendid and brutal, which is the way Outlander has always told its stories.

The lynch pin is Claire's soliloquy to Jamie about what America will become.  Looking west from Virginia in 1767, she tells him about how America will expand and become a vibrant home of opportunity for people around the world.  Even then, Jamie counters with a question of what will become of the native inhabitants.  She truthfully tells him, from her knowledge of mid-20th-America, that the native inhabitants will be killed and forced to live on reservations.  A dream for one can be a nightmare for another, he sagely replies.

But even Claire can have no knowledge that in 2018, America will have a President determined to build a wall to stop immigrants and refugees and the American dream.  The situation in the 4th season of Outlander, in America just before the American Revolution, couldn't have come at a better and more instructive time for us in 2018.

The new villain Stephen Bonnet is suitably charming and despicable, again combining the opposites than animate Outlander.  His attack on Jamie and Claire and their kin and friends on the placid boat on the river at the end was unexpected but in retrospect thoroughly consistent with the struggles of our heroes in this story.  Nothing comes easy for them and their love and the people they love.

As a devotee of time travel, I always enjoy the little and big ways that Claire uses her knowledge of the future to guide Jamie.  In 4.1, she warns him that if he accepts the Crown's officer of land in 1767, he will be on the losing side of the American Revolution that will begin nine years later.  Nice touch.

And, I always like the easy wisdom of Outlander.  This time, it was Jamie's musing about different parts of the body and their different consciences that caught my ear.

And I'll be back here tomorrow with a review of the next episode.

See also Outlander Season 3 Debut: A Tale of Two Times and Places ...Outlander 3.2: Whole Lot of Loving, But ... Outlander 3.3: Free and Sad ... Outlander 3.4: Love Me Tender and Dylan ... Outlander 3.5: The 1960s and the Past ... Outlander 3.6: Reunion ... Outlander 3.7: The Other Wife ... Outlander 3.8: Pirates! ... Outlander 3.9: The Seas ...Outlander 3.10: Typhoid Story ... Outlander 3.11: Claire Crusoe ...Outlander 3.12: Geillis and Benjamin Button ... Outlander 3.13: Triple Ending

And see also Outlander 2.1: Split Hour ... Outlander 2.2: The King and the Forest ... Outlander 2.3: Mother and Dr. Dog ... Outlander 2.5: The Unappreciated Paradox ... Outlander 2.6: The Duel and the Offspring ...Outlander 2.7: Further into the Future ... Outlander 2.8: The Conversation ... Outlander 2.9: Flashbacks of the Future ... Outlander 2.10: One True Prediction and Counting ... Outlander 2.11: London Not Falling ... Outlander 2.12: Stubborn Fate and Scotland On and Off Screen ... Outlander Season 2 Finale: Decades

And see also Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel ... Outlander 1.6:  Outstanding ... Outlander 1.7: Tender Intertemporal Polygamy ...Outlander 1.8: The Other Side ... Outlander 1.9: Spanking Good ... Outlander 1.10: A Glimmer of Paradox ... Outlander 1.11: Vaccination and Time Travel ... Outlander 1.12: Black Jack's Progeny ...Outlander 1.13: Mother's Day ... Outlander 1.14: All That Jazz ... Outlander Season 1 Finale: Let's Change History

 

It all started in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn Monroe walked off the set of The Misfits and began to hear a haunting song in her head, "Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Democrats Regain Control of the House

Well, it wasn't quite the massive blue wave that many people, including me, were hoping for.  Republicans still control the Senate.  But Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives in today's election.  And I'll certainly take that.

Because it means that all programs - health care, environment, immigration, much more - are safe from Republican despoiling.  It take both branches of Congress - the House and the Senate - to pass a bill to send to President to sign into law.  That's just not going to happen now, not with the destructive, racist, un-American ideas that Trump and all too many Republicans want to see enacted into law in our nation.

America is still in serious danger, with Republicans in control of the Presidency, the Senate, and via that, therefore the U. S. Supreme Court.  But we now have one branch of government where rationality and decency can reign.

That's better than where we've been these past two years, and provides real hope for completing the conversion back to sanity in 2020.  A victory for democracy - this time in small districts of humanity across the United States.  Next time we'll take it all back.


Monday, November 5, 2018

The Deuce Season 2 Finale: The Video Revolution




An excellent ending to an excellent second season of The Deuce tonight - better, as I've been saying, than the first season in all respects.

My favorite bit tonight was Harvey talking about how the newly available video cassette playing on VCRs would revolutionize porn viewing.  As he correctly pointed out, this would allow everyone to see porn in the privacy of their homes on their own TV screens.  And it would give them all kinds of benefits like being able to watch the same hot scene over and over again.  As I've been saying all season, The Deuce is most viewing for all media historians, pro and amateur.

Harvey also was responsible for the funniest line on the show tonight.  After he says "mazel tov" to Frankie, the good wish is returned by Frankie as "mazel top",   That's a great title right there - "Mazel Top".

Of course, not everything was funny or fun in the episode, but in general it was almost and actually uplifting.  Larry concludes the night auditioning for a new part, signaling his departure from pimping.  And Lori makes it out to LA, free at last from C.C, since he is, after all, dead.

Candy is mostly happy, but not completely, due to her family estrangement.  She's ridiculed in a funny send-up of The Tonight Show,  replete with an Ed McMahon-like character grinning like a buffoon at the far end of the couch as "Johnny" goes for the cheap laugh at Candy's expense.  But she's on her way to becoming the well recognized movie director that she deserves to be.

Harvey is never completely, but that's his nature.  He can't help but be upset by "The Producer"-like financial entanglements of Red Hot.   But he has a breakout hit on his hands with that movie, and it will fun to where that lands him in the next and final season.

And that's all for The Deuce this season folks.  See you back here whenever the third season is back on HBO.

See also The Deuce Is Back - Still Without Cellphones, and that's a Good Thing ... The Deuce 2.2: Fairytales Can Come True ... The Deuce 2.3: The Price ... The Deuce 2.4: The Ad-Lib ... The Deuce 2.6: "Bad Bad Larry Brown" ... The Deuce 2.9: Armand, Southern Accents, and an Ending

And see also The Deuce: NYC 1971 By Way of The Wire and "Working with Marshall McLuhan" ... Marilyn Monroe on the Deuce 1.7 ... The Deuce Season 1 Finale: Hitchcock and Truffaut 

  
It all starts in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn walks off the set
of The Misfits and begins to hear a haunting song in her head,
"Goodbye Norma Jean" ..

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Ray Donovan 6.2: Father and Sons



Well, tonight's episode 6.2 of Ray Donovan showed that, even in his diminished capacity, Ray still has the smarts and brass to kill two birds with one stone.  Literally, or half literally.

He cleans up the mess that Samantha wanted him to - the dead body - but getting the Samoan who knew too much about Ray to take the fall.   The result: a drug deal gone bad, two dead bodies in a room, no one to talk to the press about what he saw of Ray last week.  A nice tidy piece of work from Ray Donovan, worthy of what he did on a regular basis back in Los Angeles in (somewhat) happier times.

And, like father like son.  Or, maybe sons.  Bunchy breaks Mickey out of the hospital by killing the guard with a hammer.  Not as smooth as Ray might have handled this, but Bunch has a bunch of that Donovan talent.  And, of course, so does Mickey.  After all, it mostly came from him.

But Mickey out of prison poses a mortal threat to Ray.  Mickey is now set on killing Ray for framing him.   Whether Mickey will actually be able to do it remains to be seen.  But it's a sure thing that he'll cause Ray all kinds of grief along the way.  And Daryll, too.  Though Mickey might forgive him.  Though I'd say never Ray.

That leaves Terry as the sanest, most together of the Donovans, as always, seen in this episode in his New York gym with Ray's new NYPD friend Mac.  Terry always provided a needed balance and ballast to the Donovans, and it will be good to see how he does that this season.

See you here next week with my review of 6.3.

See Ray Donovan 6.1: The New Friend

See also Ray Donovan 5.1: Big Change  ... Ray Donovan 5.4: How To Sell A Script ... Ray Donovan 5.7: Reckonings ... Ray Donovan 5.8: Paging John Stuart Mill ... Ray Donovan 5.9: Congas ... Ray Donovan 5.10: Bunchy's Money ... Ray Donovan 5.11: I'm With Mickey ... Ray Donovan 5.12: New York

See also Ray Donovan 4.1: Good to Be Back ... Ray Donovan 4.2: Settling In ... Ray Donovan 4.4: Bob Seger ... Ray Donovan 4.7: Easybeats ... Ray Donovan 4.9: The Ultimate Fix ... Ray Donovan Season 4 Finale: Roses

And see also Ray Donovan 3.1: New, Cloudy Ray ... Ray Donovan 3.2: Beat-downs ... Ray Donovan 3.7: Excommunication!

And see also Ray Donovan 2.1: Back in Business ... Ray Donovan 2.4: The Bad Guy ... Ray Donovan 2.5: Wool Over Eyes ... Ray Donovan 2.7: The Party from Hell ... Ray Donovan 2.10: Scorching ... Ray Donovan 2.11: Out of Control ... Ray Donovan Season 2 Finale: Most Happy Ending

And see also Ray Donovan Debuts with Originality and Flair ... Ray Donovan 1.2: His Assistants and his Family ... Ray Donovan 1.3: Mickey ... Ray Donovan 1.7 and Whitey Bulger ... Ray Donovan 1.8: Poetry and Death ... Ray Donovan Season 1 Finale: The Beginning of Redemption


 

It started in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn Monroe walked off the set of The Misfits and began to hear a haunting song in her head, "Goodbye Norma Jean" ...





InfiniteRegress.tv