"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Monday, July 15, 2024

Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.7: Jill Gideon


Episode 17.7 of Criminal Minds: Evolution on Paramount Plus expanded the retrieval of earlier Criminal Minds players with the introduction of Jason Gideon's wife Jill.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Wow!  Jill's played by Felicity Huffman, and she not only was married to Jason -- killed nearly 10 years ago (off-camera) by an unsub -- but had some kind of important relationship to Rossi, who tells Emily he doesn't want Jill brought into the BAU's current investigation into the various Stars.  (As far as I can recall, she didn't actually appear in the first few seasons in which Jason was on the show.)

Of course, Emily ignores Rossi's plea -- she's back in charge of the BAU, so no one in the BAU can tell her what to do, including Rossi -- and we get some great scenes as Emily knocks on Jill's door, and is something less than warmly received.  Again, as in last week's episode, it was fun to hear Emily go over all the missing BAU members, when Jill asks her what's happening at the BAU.  Once again, I was most interested in what Emily had to say about Spencer, characterizing his absence as "on sabbatical".  That's certainly better than dead -- which we know isn't the case for Spencer -- or even left in a huff.

Moving on to other characters, I just want to also say that Tyler should be made a member of the BAU already. No need to keep him in the vestibule of being a consultant any more.

And as for the plot of this episode and its violence -- the specific kind of depraved violence featured in this episode -- I found it suitably revolting, as I usually do.  But that's not why I watch this fascinating series.

See also Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.1-17-.2 The Elusive Profile ... 17.3: "BAU Gate" ... 17.4: Progress ... 17.6: Gideon, Morgan, Hotch

And see also Criminal Minds: Evolution 16.1-16.4: Outstanding! ... 16.5: Assessment of What Could Have Happened at the End ... 16.6-16.8: Better Than Ever on Paramount Plus ... 16.9: Elias Voit and David Rossi ... 16.10: Gold Star

===

Some reviews of episodes from earlier seasons:





 

Friday, July 12, 2024

Presumed Innocent 1.6: Tommy Molto



Well, episode 1.6 of Presumed Innocent on Apple TV+ had a shocking ending which I won't tell you about until the end of this review, in which I want to talk about something else.

I think there's a good chance Tommy Molto murdered Carolyn in this excellent version of Presumed Innocent.   We saw previously that she said she didn't want to work with him on any more cases.  And in episode 1.6 we learn that she formally told Human Resources that she didn't want to work with Tommy because he was "ick"y.  

Now, again, I know who killed Carolyn in the novel and the movie.   It wasn't Tommy.  But I've already seen some differences between those and this TV series, and I can see why Carolyn would see some "ick" in Tommy.  Does that mean he killed her?  No, but it certainly makes him a good suspect.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Now for the shocker: Rusty's lead attorney, former DA Horgan, collapses in the courtroom.  I think Horgan is a great character, and Bill Camp's doing a fine job portraying him, so I certainly hope he survives.  If he doesn't, Mya's an excellent attorney, she can take over, but she doesn't have the gravitas that Horgan has as the former DA.  

I recall Horgan in the novel or the movie, so I have no idea how he'll fare in the TV series, but I sure hope -- for Rusty's sake and the audience's -- that we haven't see the last of him.

See also Presumed Innocent 1.1-1.2: Presumed Excellent, And So Far Is ... 1.3: Sterling Performances ... 1.4: Under Fingernails



The Lazarus Project 2.5: The Status of Dr. Gray


The Lazarus Project 2.5 was all about Dr. Gray.  And she indeed deserves at least one episode of focus, being such a crucial character.

[Spoilers ahead .... ]

We already know she's building an old-fashioned H. G. Wellsian time machine.  And Wes wants to kill her before the machine becomes fully operational.  She sends Janet and Ross back to do the job.  But there's a lot more to this than meets the eye.

First, Robin seems to be a Gray supporter.  Good, Wes is clearly the villain in this second season, and Robin is the only one who can have at least some control over her.

Next, there are, of course, two versions of Janet in play here. The younger one who's sent back with Ross to kill Kitty Gray, and does.  And the older one who comes to know and respect and really care about Gray.  This older Janet knows that stopping her younger self from killing Gray will upset too many apple carts, but it's unclear if she can bring herself to stopping her younger self from doing the deed.  And we never find out what the older Janet would have done, because Wes sends the younger Janet back to kill Gray earlier than she was killed in the original reality (if it makes senses in this kind of time travel story to talk about an original reality).

I will say, again, that I think Gray (played by Zoe Telford) is a wonderful character.   Especially because, as we find out in this episode, her motive in inventing a time machine is true love.

See you back here next week with another review.

See also The Lazarus Project season 2.1: Shades of Gray ... 2.2: Shag in the Alley ... 2.3: The Plane Outside the Loop ... 2.4: 2018


And see also The Lazarus Project season 1: Time Travel Done Superbly Right

=====

my latest novel (with a touch of time travel)


“Paul Levinson’s It’s Real Life is an incredibly unique and captivating peek behind rock and roll’s mysterious curtain. The idea that the story delves into an alternate world adds to its page-turning intrigue. Highly recommended!” 

-– Steven Manchester, #1 bestselling author, The Menu


"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." 

-- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History



get It's Real Life in paperback, hardcover, or on Kindle here


Sunday, July 7, 2024

Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.6: Gideon, Morgan, Hotch


The best part of the excellent episode 17.6 of Criminal Minds on Paramount Plus is the conversation between J. J. and Emily in Emily's apartment, both stoned.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Emily asks J. J. to think about everyone who has come and gone at the BAU since she and J. J. met -- "Gideon, Morgan, Hotch".   Why did she pick those three?  Well, Gideon was the first head of the unit we met, all those years ago.  Hotchner was there the longest.  And Morgan I don't think was ever head, but he was a major player.

But I wonder why Emily didn't include Spencer in her reminisce.  It would have been easy to add a fourth name.   I'm pretty sure I heard someone mention Spencer's name earlier this season, but the stoned conversation in Emily's apartment would have been a good time to say it again.

Spencer was on the show for 324 episodes, from 2005 through 2020.  Showrunner Erica Messer says scheduling conflicts kept Matthew Gray Gubler from coming back for the first season of Criminal Minds: Evolution, and this may be the case for the second season, but his desk remains, as is the possibility that he'll be back in some future episode or season (see Screen Rant for more).

With a serial killer like Voit behind bars but still very dangerous, and the big reveal at the end of 17.6 that the BAU's historic leaders may be North Star, related in some way to Gold Star, the BAU could certainly use every bit of Spencer's brain power it can get.

See also Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.1-17-.2 The Elusive Profile ... 17.3: "BAU Gate" ... 17.4: Progress

And see also Criminal Minds: Evolution 16.1-16.4: Outstanding! ... 16.5: Assessment of What Could Have Happened at the End ... 16.6-16.8: Better Than Ever on Paramount Plus ... 16.9: Elias Voit and David Rossi ... 16.10: Gold Star

===

Some reviews of episodes from earlier seasons:





 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

The Lazarus Project 2.4: 2018

An excellent little pocket of an episode 2.4 of The Lazarus Project, in which just about everything takes  place in

[Spoilers ahead ,,, ]

2018.  Even though our band of heroes were trying to get back to 2012 to meet Dr. Kitty Gray, the inventor of the true time machine.

My favorite delightful drama in the 2018 pocket are the two Georges and two Sarahs, one of each knowing what's going on, the other not, mixing and matching at the corner of true romance.  I've thought throughout both seasons of this series that their true love story and its time travel tributions would in and of itself have made for a compelling time travel television series.

As it is, The Lazarus Project has many other riveting stories to tell. Rebrov is an excellent character in any stage of his education about the complexities of time travel, and he pulls some significant triggers -- literally -- in episode 2.4. Of course, when time travel loops are involved, death isn't what it is in our off-screen world, in which as far as we know there is not a way to redo anything, certainly not life and death.

Since this second season is the final season, I can't help wondering who will live happily ever after at the end.  I'm hoping that George and Sarah, Rebrov and Janet (and Becky), and Archie and Zhang will go on to live and prosper, but that's probably too much to hope for.

See also The Lazarus Project season 2.1: Shades of Gray ... 2.2: Shag in the Alley ... 2.3: The Plane Outside the Loop


And see also The Lazarus Project season 1: Time Travel Done Superbly Right

=====

my latest novel (with a touch of time travel)


“Paul Levinson’s It’s Real Life is an incredibly unique and captivating peek behind rock and roll’s mysterious curtain. The idea that the story delves into an alternate world adds to its page-turning intrigue. Highly recommended!” 

-– Steven Manchester, #1 bestselling author, The Menu


"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." 

-- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History



get It's Real Life in paperback, hardcover, or on Kindle here



Sunday, June 30, 2024

Podcast: It's the Debate that Failed, Not Biden


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 393, in which I argue that debate performance has nothing to do with how a candidate actually performs as President.

See also:


Check out this episode!

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Presumed Innocent 1.4: Under Fingernails



[Spoilers ahead ...]

Presumed Innocent 1.4 ended with a shocker: Rusty's DNA is found under Carolyn's fingernails.  This is obvious proof that the two were fighting ...

Of course, if we read the book or saw the 1990 movie, Rusty's DNA under Carolyn's fingernails is entirely consistent with who the real killer is, definitely not Rusty.  And since I have no idea how similar this Apple TV+ series and the 1990 movie will be, I'm keeping an open mind:  the killer could be the 1990 killer, or Rusty, or someone else entirely.

The relationship between Rusty and Raymond, his lawyer, continues be strong, and Mya on the defense team is an excellent asset.  Over on the prosecution side, Nico continues to be unflappable, but also not having 100% confidence in Tommy.  I'd like to see more focus on Tommy's character.  He actually seems to be doing a pretty good job, which makes me wonder why Nico seems so quick to disagree with him.

We also need to know more about Carolyn.  What was Tommy's relationship with her in the office? What was Raymond's relationship with Carolyn -- he after all was her boss.  Shouldn't there be more investigation of Carolyn's cases, and whether any of the people she prosecuted were now in a position to kill her?

I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this literally life-and-story, and saga of justice, unfolds.

See also Presumed Innocent 1.1-1.2: Presumed Excellent, And So Far Is ... 1.3: Sterling Performances

Friday, June 28, 2024

It's the Debate that Failed Last Night, Not Biden


Biden tried to say decent, ethical things but delivered most of his words poorly in last night's Presidential debate; Trump spoke much more clearly but said vile things and lied just about every time he opened his mouth (lies which the CNN moderators failed to call out).

What are we to think about this?

I would say it's that debates shouldn't matter as much as they seem to.  JFK looked better on TV than did Nixon, and a majority of people who saw the two on TV thought Kennedy won.  A much smaller number of people heard the same debate on radio, and thought Nixon won.  That event certainly demonstrated the importance of debates.  But though JFK proved to be an excellent President, the fact that he won the debate was really no indication that JFK would do so well in office.   The debates, in other words, were very valuable windows into the effects of media in politics, not indicators of the political character and acumen of the candidates.

It's plain logic that what a President does in office has nothing to do with the President's voice quality or appearance.  FDR was in a wheelchair throughout his presidency.  He connected to the American people in an age before television via his fireside chats on radios.  Few people knew he was in a wheelchair.  Most historians agree he was our very best President, getting the United States out of the Great Depression, and guiding us and our allies to victory in the Second World War.

I've spent my professional life as a professor of media and an author talking about the importance of televised debates, how candidates look and sound on television. JFK won the debate with Nixon because because by 1960 more than 90-percent of Americans had television in their homes. Reagan prevailed over Mondale by making a savvy joke about not making the younger age of his opponent an issue. Obama faltered in his first debate with Romney but came back strong in their second nationally televized conversation. But maybe it's time to focus on what debates really are: a 90-minute performance that has little to do with what the candidate did, is doing, or will do in office.   The truth is that the skills needed to be an effective debater have nothing to do with the skills needed to be an effective President.  Never did, never will.  Maybe it's long since time that we recognized that.

Marshall McLuhan was the first to point out that JFK won the 1960 debates and then the election because he performed so well on television, in contrast to Nixon who was judged as winning the debates on their radio broadcasts that so few people listened to. McLuhan made this observation in Understanding Media (1964), whose breakthrough message was "the medium is the message". The view that Biden's poor performance in Thursday's debate means he's no longer fit to be President strikes me as an egregious case of mistaking the medium (the debate) for the message (Biden's been doing a superb job as President).

Or, to paraphrase Shelley, maybe it's the debate that failed last night, not Biden.

***

Note added Friday, June 28th, afternoon:  And Biden amply demonstrated his power to effectively communicate in a rip-roaring speech in North Carolina.  Again, a debate is a unique mode of communication, which not only has nothing to do with Presidential decision-making and other Presidential activity, but not much in common with speech-making, interviews, and other kinds of communication, either. 

Note added Saturday, June 29The New York Times' editorial board called on Joe Biden to leave the race. They didn't say a word about Biden's speech in North Carolina. What are we to make about such an unprecedented call from the editors of what used to be known as the newspaper of record? I would say this is just more evidence of the decline of a once-great newspaper.  See my What's Wrong with The New York Times for an example this past Fall of what I'm talking about.


Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Podcast Review of Dark Matter 1.9


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 392, in which I review Dark Matter 1.9 on Apple TV+.

Further places:

See also Deadline's interview with Blake Crouch


Check out this episode!

Dark Matter 1.9: Science Fiction and Horror



I have unsettled feelings about the season 1 finale of Dark Matter on Apple TV+ -- episode 1.9 -- and they all point to a series eminently worth watching and continuing.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

I said last week that the multitude of Jasons showing up in one world gave cinematic verite to the poster for the series.  But that crucial scene near the end of 1.9, with all of those Jasons, marshalled by their leader to let our Jason -- Jason 1 -- have the life he deserved with Daniela and Charlie -- well, that scene epitomized the poster.

I also said last week that I didn't expect to see the happy ending that the ending of 1.8 was pointing to.  And we did see Jason 1 and Daniela 1 and Charlie 1 in family bliss for part of 1.9, only to have that taken away from them by a few of the marauding Jasons.  But Jason 2 saved them -- at least, I think that was Jason 2, I'm never 100% sure -- and got the crowd of Jasons to let the Jason 1 family go into a world where they could presumably have a very happy life.

That scene with the crowd of Jasons made me realize that I was watching not just a science fiction story but a horror story.  Crowds have been a part of horror at least since the notorious town folk with their torches in Frankenstein.  They weren't carrying torches in Dark Matter 1.9, and they were different versions of the same person, but they felt to me to have a kinship with those villagers in Frankenstein.  Mary Shelley's and Blake Crouch's stories, after all, are both vivid testaments to the horror that uncontrolled science can bring.  The Twilight Zone often focused on this field of dreams turned nightmares, too.

So, the Jason 1 family has a happy ending.  And Jason 2 sees the error of his ways and redeems himself. But there are an infinity of stories in that crowd of Jasons, and in this, our offscreen reality, I envision a Canterbury Tales of Dark Matter stories spanning years.


See also Dark Matter 1.1-1.2: Break-Neck Action and Philosophic Contemplation ... 1.3 Missing Fingers ... 1.4 The Multiverse Unveiled ... 1.5: The Lesson ... 1.6 "A Bunch of Chicagos" ... 1.7: Obama Tower ... 1.8: A Bevy Of Jasons


Monday, June 24, 2024

The Lazarus Project 2.3: The Plane Outside the Loop



A really tight episode 2.3 of The Lazarus Project now up on TNT.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Let's start with the end.  A plane with most of our crew traveling back in time to 2012.  It -- of course -- encounters some extreme turbulence.  Will they survive?  Can they?

Well, let's put aside the point that it's highly unlikely that the series would kill off so many major characters in the third episode of the second season.

But, wait, why would it matter if so many players were killed in this plane?  Wouldn't the time loop give them another chance to get the flight right, as it does with everything else?

Here's where we get to the nitty gritty. The folks on the plane are time-travelling -- trying to time travel -- outside of the inevitable, infuriating, but life-saving loop.  So, if they're beyond the loop, and have already traveled a few years back in time, doesn't this mean that they're on their own?

The loop is really cool.  Over and over again, a character or characters make a wrong choice, die as a result, only to come back and get it right.  There was an excellent example of this in 2.3 when Archie and Zhang (a great couple) mistakenly think a finger is needed to open a digital lock, die as a result, but come back next time around with an eyeball, which works.

Time travel outside the loop has changed everything, and I'm looking forward to seeing how those characters on the plane outside the loop fare next week.

See also The Lazarus Project season 2.1: Shades of Gray ... 2.2: Shag in the Alley


And see also The Lazarus Project season 1: Time Travel Done Superbly Right

=====

my latest novel (with a touch of time travel)


“Paul Levinson’s It’s Real Life is an incredibly unique and captivating peek behind rock and roll’s mysterious curtain. The idea that the story delves into an alternate world adds to its page-turning intrigue. Highly recommended!” 

-– Steven Manchester, #1 bestselling author, The Menu


"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." 

-- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History



get It's Real Life in paperback, hardcover, or on Kindle here

 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.4: Progress

Criminal Minds is coming together nicely (or harrowingly, depending on how you look at it) as of episode 17.4 on Paramount Plus.

[Spoilers ahead ...]

Elias Voit now has a good reason to cooperate: his daughter is showing signs of becoming a serial killer, like her old man, and he wants the BAU to help her with their expertise.  But the smile on his face at the end of the episode shows he's also happy about this for other, more nefarious reasons.  I'm half-guesing he's hoping to turn his daughter into an asset.

Penelope is allowing Tyler to come back into the fold.  Good. She still has feelings for him, and there's no point in struggling all season to keep them down.  And, I don't know, I don't think Tyler did anything that terrible, but maybe that's just me.

It's good to see the crew's excursions now actually connecting to the Gold Star case, which happens just as the BAU realizes that Gold Star is not a person but a project.  This of course puts Voit right back in the picture.  In addition to being the serial killer Internet mastermind Sicarius, Voit is no doubt part of Gold Star, and maybe it's chief?   That would be good reason for Voit's smile at the end.

One issue unaddressed in this episode are the fake porn photos of J.J.  We'll no doubt see that center stage sooner or later, as Criminal Minds: Evolution continues its perilous journey this season.

See also Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.1-17-.2 The Elusive Profile ... 17.3: "BAU Gate"

And see also Criminal Minds: Evolution 16.1-16.4: Outstanding! ... 16.5: Assessment of What Could Have Happened at the End ... 16.6-16.8: Better Than Ever on Paramount Plus ... 16.9: Elias Voit and David Rossi ... 16.10: Gold Star

===

Some reviews of episodes from earlier seasons:





 

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Podcast Review of Dark Matter 1.8


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 391, in which I review Dark Matter 1.8 on Apple TV+.

Further places:


Check out this episode!

Presumed Innocent 1.3: Sterling Performances


I was struck by the sterling performance of just about every actor in Presumed Innocent 1.3 on Apple TV+.

[And here let me advise you not so much about spoilers, but that I saw the 1990s movie with Harrison Ford, and I'll try not to in any way indicate the ending of that, because I have no idea if this series will end the same way.]

Here are some of my favorite scenes in this episode:

  • Every scene that  O-T Fagbenle as DA Della Guardia is in.  He has a strange, compelling presence that I've never quite seen before, which makes him instantly memorable.
  • Noma Dumezweni as the tough-ass judge. Perfect
  • The scene in which Rusty ( Jake Gyllenhaal) falls in love with Carolyn (Renate Reinsve), as she gently works to make a little girl who will be testifying feel safe 
  • And, yeah, every scene with Bill Camp as Horgan, former DA and Rusty's attorney
But the truth is every character shines in this series, Rusty's wife and their children, the bartender at the beginning of the episode, Peter Sarsgaard as ADA Molto.  I can't recall another series in which every character was so vibrantly portrayed.

It occurred to me that Apple TV+ currently has two series -- Presumed Innocent and Dark Matter -- situated in Chicago.   The only thing missing from Presumed Innocent is maybe a scene with one of the Jasons in the background.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Dark Matter 1.8: A Bevy of Jasons



[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Up until Dark Matter 1.8, we had a Jason -- Jason 1 -- visiting a variety of alternate realities.  All of that flipped in 1.8, where we had an onslaught of different Jasons showing up at the worst possible times in World 1. That made for a crackling episode in which all hell broke loose.  And now we finally can see the poster for the series fulfilled.

At first, it looked like Jason 1 killed Jason 2, or maybe versa.  But we soon learned that the victim was Jason 3, or the first of a flood of Jasons, all of whom were at odds with Jason 1's understandable, transcendent desire to be back with his family -- i.e., the family that he knew, and who knew him.

Here let me just tip my hat to the bartender. He's a great science fictional character.  He no longer questions or even seems to wonder about the proliferation of Jasons who show up in his bar.  He just greets them, serves them, and takes them in all in stride.

We already know that all Jasons have a violent streak, and when competing with each other for Daniela 1 and Charlie 1, sheer violence quickly comes to the fore.   Daniela is also willing to be deadly violent to save herself and Charlie from Jason 2, and she pushes him down the basement stairs.

This season could have ended right after that, with Jason 1 finally reunited with his family.  But 1.8 is not the final episode this season -- there's one more -- and there's no way that Dark Matter could end with quite so happy an ending.



See also Dark Matter 1.1-1.2: Break-Neck Action and Philosophic Contemplation ... 1.3 Missing Fingers ... 1.4 The Multiverse Unveiled ... 1.5: The Lesson ... 1.6 "A Bunch of Chicagos" ... 1.7: Obama Tower


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Lazarus Project 2.2: Shag in the Alley


 [Spoilers ahead ... ]

That was my favorite part of The Lazarus Project 2.2, up on TNT in the USA this past Sunday -- Sarah grabbing George for an unexpected, quick shag in the alley.

It was fun to see -- even though it causes George more confusion -- because their love is the truest truth in this series. Sarah doesn't quite see that yet.  She has something going on with Cormac (I agree with George that that's a strange name, though how I would I know I'm not from the UK), and is paired with Michael, whom she can't stand.  But the way her face lit up before she started kissing George in the alley shows the way she really feels.

The Lazarus Project has all the explosive trappings of a hard science fiction story, which it most certainly is.  But for me, what makes the series really unique are the similarities it has to The Time Traveler's Wife and even Outlander, two patently non-scientific time travel love stories.  Romantic love is a key player in The Lazarus Project, as are parents and children.

And George figures in a key scene at the end of 2.2, in which Becky, last seen as a little girl put into a time machine sent back to 2012, presents herself to George as a young lady in the London underground in 2024.  When George asks her how she got so old so quickly, she tells him she's time traveled, "do the arithmetic".

If The Lazarus Project has any problem, it's that it probably has too many moving pieces to put together or even make complete sense of.  But that's time travel, "do the arithmetic," right?

See also The Lazarus Project season 2.1: Shades of Gray


And see also The Lazarus Project season 1: Time Travel Done Superbly Right

=====

my latest novel (with a touch of time travel)


“Paul Levinson’s It’s Real Life is an incredibly unique and captivating peek behind rock and roll’s mysterious curtain. The idea that the story delves into an alternate world adds to its page-turning intrigue. Highly recommended!” 

-– Steven Manchester, #1 bestselling author, The Menu


"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." 

-- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History



get It's Real Life in paperback, hardcover, or on Kindle here

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.3: "BAU Gate"

I'd say the most provocative element in the provocate episode 17.3 of Criminal Minds: Evolution up on Paramount Plus today is the team's discovery of a site on the dark web, "BAU Gate".

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Actually, they've known about the site since 2014.  But AI has souped up the site with ultra-convincing fake porm, and the star of that porn is Jennifer Jareau, which makes sense, given that she started with the BAU as its media spokesperson.  Emily doesn't want Luke -- who was told about this by Voit in words we couldn't hear in last week's episode 17.2 -- to tell JJ about this, but of course he does. And in one fell swoop, Criminal Minds manages to stay cutting-edge current, bringing AI dramatically into the story, and in a way that ties together many of its numerous threads.

Numerous intersecting threads is what Criminal Minds is becoming increasingly all about.  There's Voit and his family, connected via Voit to Gold Star, and now Voit as an Internet demon tells the BAU about BAU Gate.  Also in episode 17.3, Emily is arrested by local police because a conspiracy nut -- who believes Paul really died in the 1960s and was replaced in The Beatles by someone else -- lies about Emily attacking him.  What this has to do with Voit or BAU Gate is not clear, but you never know.

The specific case that draws David and Tara on a plane out West apparently has nothing to do with the above nexus, and the team finds that refreshing.  I'm not sure about that.  Maybe it would be better if everything was connected.  On the other hand, it's good to see the BAU get an unambiguous win or two in the midst of the web of complications that is increasing drawing them and us in,

See also Criminal Minds: Evolution 17.1-17-.2 The Elusive Profile

And see also Criminal Minds: Evolution 16.1-16.4: Outstanding! ... 16.5: Assessment of What Could Have Happened at the End ... 16.6-16.8: Better Than Ever on Paramount Plus ... 16.9: Elias Voit and David Rossi ... 16.10: Gold Star

===

Some reviews of episodes from earlier seasons:





 

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