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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Outlander 5.2: Antibiotics and Time Travel



Outlander was firing on all cylinders in episode 5.2 - did they have cylinders back in the 1700s? - of course they did, the cylinder has been known since ancient times, though not in automobiles.  But Outlander 5.2 has an excellent time-travel discussion, and important development of Jamie's story, as well as Brianna's.

Claire, as always, wants to use her 20th-century knowledge of medicine in her 18th-century doctoring.  She worries that her grandson could die of an infection coming from a scraped knee, in a world without antibiotics.   So she starts growing some on moldy bread.

Brianna worries what this "playing God" could do the world and cosmos, resulting in who knows how many people living who would otherwise have died.  Actually, the healing properties of antibiotics were also known in ancient times -- "purefy me with hyssop, and I will be clean" (Psalm 51:7) -- but that knowledge was largely lost by the time of pre-revolutionary America, so Brianna's point is still well taken.

But Claire's response is even better.  She correctly says that every instant she and everyone who came from the future have been in the past has changed history, and broken whatever the pre-ordinations of space and time.  Therefore, in the interest of saving and improving people's lives, let space and time and "history be damned".  Wise words, that certainly as an aficionado of time travel I can heartily agree with.

Meanwhile, Bonnet is back in sadistic play, and Jamie is finding it harder and harder to toe the line between the Redcoats and his own very different principles.   As I said, firing on all cylinders.

See also Outlander 5.1: Father of the Bride

And see also Outlander 4.1: The American Dream ... Outlander 4.2: Slavery ...Outlander 4.3: The Silver Filling ... Outlander 4.4: Bears and Worse and the Remedy ... Outlander 4.5: Chickens Coming Home to Roost ... Outlander 4.6: Jamie's Son ... Outlander 4.7: Brianna's Journey and Daddy ... Outlander 4.8: Ecstasy and Agony ... Outlander 4.9: Reunions ... Outlander 4.10: American Stone ... Outlander 4.11: Meets Pride and Prejudice ... Outlander 4.12: "Through Time and Space" ... Outlander Season 4 Finale:  Fair Trade

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

 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist 1.2: Moondance



Well, the best song in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist 1.2 on Sunday was "Moondance" - though there was some fine singing and dancing in "I Got the Music In Me," the opening number.

But Peter Gallagher's performance of "Moondance" was just right.  And Zoey's attempt to understand what her father was trying to convey, from just making love with his wife, Zoey's mother, to recapturing the first time he told her he loved was just right, too.

As to the rest, I'd prefer more singing and less office complexity.   I mean, the ambience and the lingo in the office is cool enough, but the story of Zoey finding her footing as boss has been done countless times before.  I'd rather see Zoey find her footing on the office floor as dance floor, as she sings and moves with someone singing a great song.

That's the most interesting part of the narrative - Zoey trying to explain how she got her super power, and, as she increasingly understands it, using it in all kinds of creative and worthwhile ways, as she's beginning to do with her father.  Musicals always have to find the right balance between the music and the plot, and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist has the additional challenge and opportunity to work in the science fictional aspect of this, too.

There is actually and always has been a special connection between music and science fiction, as in the music of the spheres.   And, consider the playlist below ...




See also Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist: Science Fiction Musical

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Outsider 1.7: The Guy with the Neck



Most of The Outsider 1.7 tonight was devoted to the guy with the neck, aka Jack.

Here's what I think I get and don't get about him.  He's in pain.  That draws the evil spirit to him, for whom, as Holly has said, pain is its "wine".  I'm not clear on whether the evil spirit is making his body deteriorate more quickly, or whether the spirit is just inhabiting and going for a ride on that deterioration.

Also, I'm not clear on when and where the doppelganger appears and fits in.  Will that happen when Jack is completely taken over?  Terry had a doppelganger, but his neck with ok.  What was up - or down - with that?

Now to Holly: if she's so savvy about the evil spirit, how come it took her so long to realize that it was at least in part afflicting Jack?  Why didn't she sense something before she got in the car with him.? I guess she thought that it took 20-whatever number of days for the evil spirit to totally take over, so she had a little time?  And her escape in the car with her extra set of keys was well done.

As is Ralph's struggle to make some rational sense of what's happening.  He doesn't know he's in a Stephen King story, so his resistance to what Holly and Sablo are telling him, or trying to telling him, makes sense, i.e., is rational.  Sablo also has one of the best lines of the episode, when he tells Ralph that the difference between Ralph and him is that Ralph wants to understand what's going on, but Sablo just wants it over.

Indeed, what's gradually happening is Ralph is standing increasingly alone.  Well, at least on his side of the screen.  Because I'm with him - I'd like a rational explanation for this, too. Even though I know that's just beating my head against Stephen King's fiction.

See also The Outsider 1.1-2:  Two Places at the Same Time ... The Outsider 1.7: The Tear-Drinker




Vienna Blood 3-4: Transference



Checking in with a review of the next two-part episode of Vienna Blood - #s3 and 4, on PBS - aired two weeks ago, and the week before last.  Another excellent historical whodunnit, which, much like the first two episodes, made you feel like you were in Vienna in the first decade of the 20th-century, even though I was never there.

The big takeaway of this second story is that Max and Clara have finally come to their senses, and ended their betrothment - or, rather, Clara has come to her senses, after nearly being raped by a bad guy who is not the murderer, though that had little to do with her decision.  But Clara realizes that Max loves someone else.

That would be Amelia, Max's cured patient, who previously told Max she couldn't see him any more, in any way, given that Max was engaged to Clara, whom Amelia met with Max.   Clearly, Max and Amelia are falling in love, but that raises an ethical issue which the fledgeling Freudians of that time likely have not yet considered: transference, or patients falling in love with their therapists, and some kind of vice versa.  I was a Psych major for a while at CCNY in the 1960s, and I don't remember exactly when the psychoanalytic group became aware of this phenomenon, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't quite that early.

Meanwhile, regarding other accoutrements of that Edwardian age, we again got to see a disk playing music, and someone mentioned getting a call, which in context sounded like it referred to a telephone call.  Good.  But I was surprised that dueling was still so apparently common in 1907 Vienna.  The last time I heard about it was Hamilton vs. Burr in the United States more than a century earlier.  Did Europe hold on to that medieval-rooted custom a century longer?

In any case, Vienna Blood is a top-drawer series, and I'm looking forward to seeing more.

See also Vienna Blood 1-2: Demons in the Architecture



Saturday, February 15, 2020

For Life 1.1: For Sure!



We just caught the first episode of For Life, on ABC-TV this past Tuesday.  It's a powerful narrative, with real heart, and real relevance to these times, notably the corruption we see in the Attorney General of the United States almost every day - even though For Life is about justice in New York State, and, so far, not explicitly political.

What For Life is manifestly about is a man sentenced to life imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit.  He becomes a lawyer - not just a jailhouse de facto lawyer, but a lawyer with a degree, and with a plan to win his freedom: start winning cases against the corrupt, power-hungry DA who convicted Wallace.   The hope is that Wallace will slowly destroy the DA's reputation by winning overturns of the DA's convictions, which would open the gate on all his convictions, including Wallace's.

It might sound like a far-fetched premise, but it's based on a true story, and backed up by Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent, who executive produces.  Wallace is perfectly played by Nicholas Pinnock, who played so well in Fortitude, Marcella, and Counterpart, to name just a few.  Indira Varma, who also has a stellar career ranging from Rome to Luther, plays the warden who can be counted on to help Wallace, at least some of the time.  Boris McGiver (who could play the Rudy Giuliani story, not because they look alike but McGiver's character and Giuliani have the same persona) plays the despicable DA to a tee.   And Joy Bryant does a good job as Marie, Wallace's former wife (or maybe they're still married, but she's living with someone else, Wallace's best friend, so not completely clear).

I don't usually have much patience with network TV shows.  But For Life will get you really angry at the bad guys, cheer for the good guys, and make you feel good about the hope for our world we so much need in these troubled times.


Outlander 5.1: Father of the Bride




Here's a sneak preview review of Outlander 5.1, available now on Starz on Demand.

Most of it was devoted to Brianna and Roger's wedding, good to see after all they and Brianna's parents have been through.  Lots of kissing and love-making, between couples of all ages.  Brianna's baby has been born, and it was heartwarming to see Roger take him fully as his own.

But beneath the surface, Brianna is of course deeply apprehensive about this, and Jamie gets no peace, either, given the redcoat's insistence that he find Murtagh.  Jamie last words to Murtagh, that make himself "hard to find," pretty much says it all.  Jamie might be able to close his eyes to Murtagh, but for not too long.  And what happens if someone else finds Murtagh?

Not much mention or indication of time travel in this episode, but what there was was good.  It was fun to see Claire and Brianna and Roger at various times talking about Elvis, the mashed potato, and the twist, and Claire's trials and tribulations with the medicine available to her in this time are always interesting to see.

As for actual time travel, a brief conversation shows Roger wants to go back to their present, and Brianna does not.  To do that, the two would have to first go back to Scotland ... or maybe not.  If I recall correctly, there was some possible indication that maybe a set of stones exist right here in America.   If so, that would certainly open all kind of possibilities for our characters - including possibly Murtagh, if he needed a quick way out of colonial America, which he probably does not.

In the meantime, the scenery is lush, the accents are great, and I'll see you back here next week.

See also Outlander 4.1: The American Dream ... Outlander 4.2: Slavery ...Outlander 4.3: The Silver Filling ... Outlander 4.4: Bears and Worse and the Remedy ... Outlander 4.5: Chickens Coming Home to Roost ... Outlander 4.6: Jamie's Son ... Outlander 4.7: Brianna's Journey and Daddy ... Outlander 4.8: Ecstasy and Agony ... Outlander 4.9: Reunions ... Outlander 4.10: American Stone ... Outlander 4.11: Meets Pride and Prejudice ... Outlander 4.12: "Through Time and Space" ... Outlander Season 4 Finale:  Fair Trade

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

 


The Sinner 3.2: The Contactor and the Contactee



The plot thickened in The Sinner 3.2, as of course it always does in this deep, multi-layered well of a mystery.   We learn, for example, that Jamie initiated the recent contact with Nick, which, after who know what else happened, culminates with Jamie letting Nick bleed out and die after the car accident.

This is important.  It shows, in case we had any doubt, that Jamie's letting Nick die was far more than just letting an old friend or accomplice die, after he showed up unexpectedly at Jamie's door, implicitly threatening Jamie and his pregnant wife.  Jamie's prior recent contact with Nick tilts the balance towards Jamie being the really bad guy in this story.  Which should not be all that surprising, since Ambroise is investigating Jamie.

Jamie's earlier contact of Nick even suggests that Nick may be more of a victim of Jamie than at first we thought.   Who else was or is a continuing victim of Jamie?  Likely Sonya the artist whose house Jamie and Nick were near, and whose property Jamie goes back to visit, looking for his cellphone.  Though I suppose there's a chance she also is some kind of accomplice.

It also just occurred me to that maybe there's more of a connection between Nick and Leela than at first seemed the case.  For all we know, Leela could have been faking her lack of knowledge of Nick, for Jamie's sake.  Hey, for all we know, Nick could be the father of Leela's baby - though that's likely going too far, even for The Sinner.

But you just never know, is the whole point of The Sinner.  As Ambroise investigates, he always discovers things that were right in front of him, and therefore us, all along.  Which is what makes The Sinner such good television, and I have to say I'm so far enjoying this season more than season 2, jand ust as much as season 1.

See also The Sinner 3.1: Second Degree Murder, First Degree Detective

And see also The Sinner 2.1: The Boy ... The Sinner 2.2:  Heather's Story ... The Sinner 2.3: Julian's Mother ... The Sinner 2.5: The Scapegoat ... The Simmer 2.7: Occluded Past Unwound - Mostly ... The Sinner Season 2 Finale: The Ambiguity of Harry


Vikings 6.10: The Conversations



Catching up with a review of the momentous mid-season finale of Vikings - 6.10 - and what an episode it was, replete with superb battle scenes and some notable and at least one highly regrettable death.

Season 6 already had its momentous death - Lagertha.  I could have lived without another.  But Bjorn dies at the end of the battle between the Rus and our Vikings, which is also the end of the episode.  The presentation of this death is very effective.  Throughout the battle, we see Bjorn and Ivar, sitting on the beach, in conversation.  They're not really there - they're actually in battle.  So I guess it's their spirits who are conversing.  The denouement comes when Bjorn admits to failures in the past, but vows to succeed in repulsing Ivar and the Rus.  Ivar, remarkably calm and composed in this conversation, tells Bjorn that he failed a long time ago.  (Maybe this conversation of spirits is actually in the future?)  And, sure, enough, Bjorn is killed when he leads a last, desperate charge against the invaders, with no one behind him.

The other notable conversation is earlier, between Ivar and Hvitserk, who surprises Ivar when he says his joining Ivar is an expression of Hvitserk's embracement of evil.  Ivar, significantly, looks a little surprised at this admission.  Ivar likely considers what he does right and destined, not evil.

Meanwhile, on the death toll, Harald also dies, after raping Bjorn's lover (but not because of that).  I'm actually glad to see him go.  Not only because of the rape, but because of the way he in effect stole the kingship from Bjorn.  But one last proviso about the deaths:  my general principle of unless you see their heads blown off or chopped off comes into play, and this applies to both Bjorn and Harald.   Their heads were intact, on the beach, last we saw them.

Well, we'll find out when this final season resumes, and I'm sure much more, including how close Ubbe and Torve get to America.  See you back here then.

See also Vikings 6.1-2: Russia! ... Vikings 6.9: Othere = ?

And 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 ... Vikings 5.10: New and Old Worlds ... Vikings 5.11: Rollo's Son ... Vikings 5.12: "The Beast with Two Backs" ... Vikings 5.13: The Sacrifice ... Vikings 5.14: Fake News in Kattegat ... Vikings 5.15: Battle ... Vikings 5.16: Peace and War ... Vikings 5.17: No Harmony in Iceland ... Vikings 5.18: Demented Ivar ... Vikings 5.19-20: Endings and Beginnings

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

Science Fiction and Fantasy Songs: Newly Expanded Spotify Playlist


Monday, February 10, 2020

Homeland 8.1: Lost Time



Homeland was back tonight for its eight and final season, with a strong episode, situated mainly in Afghanistan, that fired on all cylinders.

The main, nearly choking vice that Carrie finds herself in this time is the months of missing time - time she can't remember - inside a Russian prison.  This is a theme we've seen on spy shows before - Howard Gordon was a mover of 24 and does much the same for Homeland - so it's not surprising that Jack Bauer and Carrie Mathison have been in similar situations.  But Carrie's is more laden with danger than even Jack's, given her bipolar disorder.

In episode 8.1, Carrie worries that she may have revealed information about her source in Afghanistan that got him killed.  Seeing Yevgeny in Kabul amplifies those fears - she had come to rely upon him in the Russian prison, and who knows what she may have said to him.   But I have to say, maybe it's something about Costa Ronin's manner - he played a sympathetic Russian in The Americans - that makes hope that he's not the bad guy.  In fact, he'd actually make a good partner for Carrie, but that's not likely to happen, either.  We'll just have to see.

Back to our reality, I'm also wondering if this final season of Homeland will deal in any way with Trump in the White House?  Like 24, the Presidents in Homeland have pretty much avoided any parallels to Presidents actually in office (Elizabeth Keane might have been like Hillary, but the Electoral College decreed otherwise).  But here's a thought: Homeland will be over before Americans have a chance to vote Trump out of office.   The producers had to know this when they were making this final season.  They surely must have been tempted to put something of our reality into this narrative.   It will be fun to see how much.







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


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