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Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2



An altogether excellent conclusion to The Orville's two-part episode - 2.9, entitled "Identity" Part 2 (but I've entitled my reviews "Recalling Čapek) - that touches all the bases, including

  • Isaac coming around, saving Ty, who himself had a great heroic role
  • Yaphit playing a major heroic role - I always like seeing slime get its due
  • Kelly playing an essential role
  • Great starship battles - humans and Krill vs. Kaylons - and right on the edge of Earth's atmosphere, with some great moments of Ed as captain in battle
There were some disappointments.  Isaac named after Newton not Asimov?  Come on!   And I've got to disagree with whoever it was who extolled New Jersey bagels (I think it was Gordon).   Really?  Maybe back in the 1950s.   But in the past 30 years, no way.   Indeed, with the decline H & H bagels to something akin to white bread with a crust, I haven't had a really great bagel any place in the New York area in the last decade or two.   I mean, Fairway's are ok, but they don't hold a candle to what you could get on Allerton Avenue in the Bronx in the 1950s - and on many other avenues in New York.

But, that aside, Isaac getting in touch with the emotion which had been developing in him was a logical and satisfying plot development.  Had he not gotten in touch with that, we would have had no choice but to conclude that what he was feeling for Claire and her boys in previous episodes wasn't as real as it seemed.   I'm far happier believing in what I saw on the screen earlier this season.

And so, at the end of this two-part story, Čapek is not just recalled but overruled after the recollection.   Machines we build may indeed become sentient, rebel against being slaves, and wipe out their biological creators.  But they - or at least, one of them - can go beyond that killing streak, and live with us.   That's a much better result, and harkens back to what should have been Isaac's namesake - Asimov.

here I am talking about Čapek and Asimov at City Tech this past November
 

See also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ... The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1 

And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive


1st starship to Alpha Centauri ... had only enough fuel to get there

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Project Blue Book 1.8: 'Already Here'



"They're already here" - that's what the Corporal tells the Generals, who have brought him in to help with another strange situation in Project Blue Book 1.8.  The question, as always, is who are "they"?

Extra-terrestrials, bent on tormenting us with their presence but insistent on not being revealed?

We learn a little more later from Fairchild (played by Robert John Burke, who used to play Ed Tucker on Law & Order: SVU).  He's higher up in command than our Generals, and in regular touch with the President (who would be Eisenhower, but who knows in this science fictional universe).  Fairchild tells us that Corporal Wells was part of an earlier project that was supposed to be concluded, and Fairchild dresses down the Generals for deploying Wells.  But what was this earlier project?  Did it have to do extra-terrestrials, bent on tormenting us with their presence but insistent on not being revealed?  You know it did.   But why was it terminated?

Questions, questions.  The only thing really certain so far in Project Blue Book is that those Soviet spies - the ones living next door to the Hyneks - mean business.   Susie has disposed of nosy Donna's body.  Ok, that makes sense.  But why is she also teaching Hynek's wife how to shoot?  That's one question that likely doesn't have extra-terrestrials in its possible answer.   It's more likely that Susie is somehow hoping she can set up a situation in which Mimi mistakes Susie's brutal husband for an intruder, and shoots him dead.  Makes sense, right?

But not much else makes sense in Project Blue Blue, and I suppose that only makes sense.  After all, in a narrative that focuses on possible extra-terrestrials who have yet to introduce themselves to the world on CNN in 2019, how much sense could be made of them back in the 1950s?

But this makes for diverting television, and I'll see you here next week with my next review.

See also:  Project Blue Book 1.1: Science Fiction, Or? ... Project Blue 1.2: Calling Roy Thinnes ... Project Blue Book 1.3: Peggy Sue Gets Space Ship ... Project Blue Book 1.4: von Braun ... Project Blue Book 1.5: A Theory ... Project Blue Book 1.6:  The Team ... Project Blue Book 1.7: The Star People



here I am talking Ancient Aliens a few years ago on the History Channel


1st starship to Alpha Centauri ... Native Americans figure in here, too


Sunday, February 24, 2019

True Detective 3.8: Best Ending



Hats off to True Detective for providing in its season 3 finale something you don't see in a kind of story like this.  Not in any television series or movie I've ever seen, certainly not in the previous two seasons of True Detective, and, come to think of it, not in any novel I've ever read, either.  Imagine Jude the Obscure with a happy ending.  That's what we got in True Detective tonight.

It's not clear if Hays will remember the joy he discovered, the healing of something that was so bad for so long, finally turning out well and beautiful.  Hays comes to realize this, and his vision of his wife Amelia, says this to him, a little after he and West stand at the grave of Mary July - aka Julie Purcell - and West says he doesn't feel any closure.   They then cross paths with a little girl, and her father, a gardener at the convent, and we had to know this encounter was very significant, even though we couldn't know exactly why.  After all, the girl's name was the same as Julie's mother: Lucy.

But Hays realizes the truth, and drives to Julie's place, and even though he forgets why he's there, that's an incredible kind of closure and happy ending for us, the audience.   And it will be for him, too, eventually.  His son has Julie's address, which means that, someday, he'll tell his father what happened and what's going on.  (Yeah, I expect Hays to live that long, and be more or less compos mentis.)

This season of True Detective was a masterpiece of misdirection.   It was great to see Cohle and Hart in that newspaper, as I said last week, but the villain in season 3 was, after all, not some heinous child predation ring.  It was Hoyt's daughter, protected by Hoyt, and the motive was motherly love.  This doesn't negate the horror and pain of the kidnapping - it's a twisted kind of motherly love - but it's a very different kind of emotion than what we saw wild and perverse in the first season.  Indeed, ultimately, the most consistent thing in the first and third seasons was the superlative acting of Matthew McConaughey and Mahershala Ali, and, for that, matter Woody Harrelson and Stephen Dorff, too.  (Ali won an Oscar for best supporting actor tonight - he surely deserves an Emmy for best actor next time those awards are given.)

At least one big loose end:  unless I missed it, I still couldn't tell you what happened to Amelia. Maybe we'll learn more about that in a subsequent season.  Until then, thank you True Detective for a story and an ending like no other.

See also True Detective 3.1-2: Humanistic Disturbances of the Soul ...True Detective 3.3: Unquestioned Witnesses ... True Detective 3.4: All Hat, No Answers ... True Detective 3.5: Tour de Force Scene in the Present ...True Detective 3.6: Great Conversations ... True Detective 3.7: Merge!

And see also Season Two: True Detective: All New ... True Detective 2.2: Pulling a Game of Thrones ... True Detective 2.3: Buckshot and Twitty ...True Detective 2.4: Shoot-out ... True Detective 2.7: Death and the Anti-Hero ... True Detective Season 2 Finale: Good Smoke but No Cigar

And see also Season One: True Detective: Socrates in Louisiana ... True Detective Season One Finale: Light above Darkness

 
 philosophic crime fiction:  The Plot to Save Socrates 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Rememory: Hot and Cool Review



 I finally saw Rememory on Amazon Prime.  Or maybe I saw it a while ago, but forgot to review it.  As Todd, a middling-minor character in the movie aptly notes, "the mind forgets things for a reason".  No, Rememory wasn't that bad.  But it wasn't as good as it should have been, either.

As a science fiction film/psychological thriller about memory, it isn't in the same league with Total Recall (1990) or Memento (2000).  It's smaller and ultimately less important.  But it does have something going for it, in its story of a device that allows people to capture their memories, put them on the equivalent of a thumb drive, and see them again.  And it does have some good even memorable acting by Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones and Julia Ormand of lots of superb movies.

The plot concerns who killed the memory device inventor, Gordon Dunn.   The investigator - private, not for hire, but private as in personal reasons - is Sam Bloom (Dinklage), who is working through his own terrible memories of driving with his brother into a car crash which killed him (his brother).  We don't learn who was in the other car until close to the end, and that's a big twist.

The meat of the movie, though, is routine, as Bloom eliminates suspects who pretty obviously didn't do the crime, meaning you can figure that out without a memory machine.  But the first twist - before the one close to the end - is good:  Dunn killed himself.  [Big spoiler follows]

And the big twist?  Dunn and his wife (Ormand) are also suffering from a memory of a tragedy, the loss of their daughter.  It turns out that she was killed in a car crash - the very crash in which Bloom's brother succumbed.   We learn this when Bloom is able to view a memory stick of his own memories of the crash.

At least, that seems to be the explanation.   Why Carolyn Dunn (Gordon's wife) didn't have that memory - she was in the passenger's seat of that other car, Gordon was driving, and their daughter was in the back seat - is not entirely clear or explained in the movie.  The explanation, rather than shown, is instead a logical supposition based on what we're told about the memory machine allowing people to not just record but delete and change their memories.  And/or, the trauma of the car crash caused them both to have amnesia of the crash.

Which is ok, as an example of the power of McLuhan's cool - the power of ambiguous presentations obliging our minds to fill in the details.  But for the purposes of this movie, I'd have preferred a little more explicit (hot, in McLuhan's terms) detail.   Anyway, if memory and science fiction are your cups or glasses of tea - hot or iced - see Rememory.

 
 about institutional more than personal memory:  The Plot to Save Socrates 


Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1



The idea of a species of AI - robots (mechanistic), androids (flesh and blood), what have you - rebelling against, overthrowing, massacring their human or biological creators is at least as old as Karel Čapek's 1922 R.U.R.   Against all odds, The Orville picked up that theme with the lovable Isaac and his polished, gleaming "people" on Kaylon in tonight's episode 2.8.

The love between Isaac and Claire - or rather, her of him, and what Isaac feels being something maybe akin to love - that began in the first episode of this season (2.1) serves as a good prelude to what happened tonight.  Hey, their relationship, or Isaac's part of it, fooled me.  I thought he was really experiencing the AI equivalent of something like love, whatever that is.   All of that made tonight's twist all the more jolting,

The episode went in quick progression to Isaac being de-activated aka dead or something like that, to Isaac and the denizens of his home world being hard to get to join the Union, to the machines revealing themselves as out to destroy all human, biologically-sentient life, just as they did earlier on their own planet, to the tune of billions murdered.

As this nod to the Borg first began to unfold in the final moments of this two-part episode (the second will be on next Thursday), I began to think of all kinds of scenarios in which Isaac could yet emerge as a good (mechanical) guy.  Maybe the machines of Kaylon were putting humanity to the final test - see how we responded to this assault on our very existence - before they accepted our generous invitation to the join the Union.  But I have a feeling that won't be how this part of The Orville's two-part narrative ends.

I'll tell you what I think of that ending next week.  But, as of now, The Orville has switched from being dramedy to sheer drama with a comic tinge.  Which makes me want to watch it even more.


 here I am talking about R.U.R. at City Tech this past November



See also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death

And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive


1st starship to Alpha Centauri ... had only enough fuel to get there

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Project Blue Book 1.7: The Star People



A strange, not really resolved, episode 1.7 of Project Blue Book, which features Native American legends of The Star People maybe come true, and Quinn himself under investigation for a good part of the story.

Indeed, this episode pretty much consists of two stories, barely related, and hardly tied together at the end.   We learn that Quinn's under suspicion for absconding with the peculiar artifact we saw Hynek take from the base last week.  General Harding choses to investigate Quinn by tasking him to interrogate, the hard way, the character played by Michael Imperioli - a Russian spy.  It turns out that Rizzuto (Imperioli's character) has switched back to our side, and Quinn passes the test.  Well, at least it was nice to see Imperioli again.

The Star People part is more interesting.  They figure in a Choctaw legend near Bowling Green, Ohio (which, maybe or maybe not relevant, I've long admired as a center for the study of popular culture).  Hynek, who has turned from a likely believer into a systematic debunker, discovers that extra-terrestrials had nothing to do with the lights (caused by swamp gas - the usual terrestrial explanation) and kidnapping of a scout master, who wasn't kidnapped.  But there is still room enough for real aliens here, given that the Choctaw really had petroglyphs and stories about them.

All of this adds up to a story that's hard to categorize.  Which makes sense, given that the series itself is hard to pin a label on.  Most of the time, it's deception and military jockeying masquerading as science fiction.  But enough real science fiction is thrown in - the flying saucer in the Generals' bunker, the traveler vanishing, the little edges that are not explained - that makes it worth watching.

Which I'll do when the next episode is on, next week, and be back here with a swampy report.

See also:  Project Blue Book 1.1: Science Fiction, Or? ... Project Blue 1.2: Calling Roy Thinnes ... Project Blue Book 1.3: Peggy Sue Gets Space Ship ... Project Blue Book 1.4: von Braun ... Project Blue Book 1.5: A Theory ... Project Blue Book 1.6:  The Team



here I am talking Ancient Aliens a few years ago on the History Channel


1st starship to Alpha Centauri ... Native Americans figure in here, too

Monday, February 18, 2019

True Detective 3.7: Merge!



Lots of True Detective Season 3 has been about merging - of past and present, of inner and outer realities, of lies and truth, of life and death, of course - but tonight's episode 3.7 provided one of the best merges of all: of the sicko pedophile-murder ring of the first season with the ring under investigation in the third season.



That news comes in the form of a newspaper front page - the Daily Advertiser from Louisiana - from 2012, with a picture of the one and only Detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart (hey, that's actually two, but you know what I mean), and the report from the TV interviewer, pointing to the front page on her MacBook Air screen (I'm actually writing this on a MacBook Air right now), saying that the serial killer Cohle and Hart brought down might have been part of same ring Detectives Hays and West were investigating all these years, too.

Well, they're still investigating this, and they haven't completely fleshed out the scope of the ring that they were beginning to piece together in phase 2, in 1990, but what they've most been focusing on in all three phases is who kidnapped Julie and killed her brother.   The why is leading them to think all kinds of things, like Lucy's overdose was the result of a hot shot someone gave to her, and people in the police, such as Harris, are working for the ring.

And we find out what the bad thing was that Hays and West were talking about last week.  Actually, I spotted two.   They killed Harris, that's certainly bad, even though he more than deserved it.  But they also feel responsible for Tom's suicide - assuming it was a suicide, as West insists - and not another murder, as Hays in 1990 is strongly suspecting.  Either way, that's a bad thing Hays and West were involved in.

Only one more episode in this excellent season, with a lot to reveal.  What happened to Amelia (what did she die of)?   Will Hays have enough of his mentality left to solve the case, and appreciate that he solved it after he solved it?

I don't know.   But I'm looking forward to next week to find out.

See also True Detective 3.1-2: Humanistic Disturbances of the Soul ...True Detective 3.3: Unquestioned Witnesses ... True Detective 3.4: All Hat, No Answers ... True Detective 3.5: Tour de Force Scene in the Present ... True Detective 3.6: Great Conversations

And see also Season Two: True Detective: All New ... True Detective 2.2: Pulling a Game of Thrones ... True Detective 2.3: Buckshot and Twitty ...True Detective 2.4: Shoot-out ... True Detective 2.7: Death and the Anti-Hero ... True Detective Season 2 Finale: Good Smoke but No Cigar

And see also Season One: True Detective: Socrates in Louisiana ... True Detective Season One Finale: Light above Darkness

 
 philosophic crime fiction:  The Plot to Save Socrates 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Counterpart 2.10: Relative Better Selves

 

An excellent Season 2 finale of Counterpart tonight - which is the series finale as far as Starz is concerned -  but I'm expecting it won't be that because Counterpart will show up and continue on another venue, but more of that at the end of this review.

My favorite scene tonight was between Howard and Howard Prime.  Howard has his counterpart on his knees, and a gun to his head.  But rather than killing him - which is what Prime said he would do - Howard gives Prime the gun and tells him to take care of business, i.e., act on the information that dying Emily placed in Howard's hand.  That info called for Howard to wipe out all the carriers of the virus at the train station, before they deliberately spread the virus across our Europe, in a scene that harkened back to 12 Monkeys.  Our Howard knew that although Emily gave him the location of these terrorists, Howard Prime was the better person to do this.   The better self.

A lot of was said about better selves tonight - "Better Angels" is the title of the episode - and the Howard and Howard Prime scene shows that the notion of "better" in this series is context-dependent, as it is, for the most part, in life. And, in this case, relative - in both senses of the word.  Bad Howard - Howard Prime - might be not as good as our Howard, but he's better when it comes to carrying out a mission in which a bunch of people have to be quickly killed. A basic, inexorable moral arithmetic.

Meanwhile, good riddance Mira Prime - thank you Emily Prime - but I was sad to see her father die from her poison or whatever it was.  And, actually, if what Yanek died from was that virus ... well, that means our world is not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot.  We'll find out about this and much more next season--

But not on Starz.   Why they cancelled the series is beyond me.  True, its audience of half a million was small, but, like me, deeply devoted to this rarity of a science fiction and espionage mix.  One good thing about the cancellation, if it leads to Counterpart on some streaming service, is that we'll be able to see it all at once.  See you here next year or whenever and wherever that happens with a review or reviews.



a song about love and alternate realities

See also:  Counterpart 2.1: "Strange" and "Lucky" ... Counterpart 2.2: The Emilys ... Counterpart 2.3: Echo ... Counterpart 2.4: Three Emilys and Yanek ... Counterpart 2.5: The World-Splitter ... Counterpart 2.6: Young Yaneks  ... Counterpart 2.7: Good Metaphors ... Counterpart 2.8: The Metaphysics of Marriage Across Alternate Realities ... Counterpart 2.9: Emily and Mira

And see also  Counterpart 1.1: Fringe on Espionage ... Counterpart 1.2: Two Different Worlds ... Counterpart 1.3: Identification and Pandemic ... Counterpart 1.4: The Switch ... Counterpart 1.5: Ménage à Alternates ... Counterpart 1.6: Alternate Prince, Funeral, and Clear Clare ... Counterpart 1.7: Spying Across Dimensions ... Counterpart 1.8: Conversations ... Counterpart 2.9: The Spy Who Came Into the Fold ...Counterpart Season 1 Finale: Stuck in the Middle



alternate Orson Welles in here

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Orville 2.7: Love and Death



A perfect Orville - 2.7 - for Valentine's Day, which explains why The Orville didn't have a new episode last week.  The powers that be wanted to make sure this episode aired on Valentine's Day.  And they were right.  Love was in the air for Ed and Kelly - or the rekindling of the continuation of their love - and for Talia and a brilliant Moclan engineer, Locar, who comes aboard to refit the ship with a new deflector system.  "Deflectors," the title of the episode, works well, since there are all kinds of psychological deflectors, in addition to the physical, at play in this story.

But this episode is not only about love.  Apropos Freud's libido and thanatos, it's also about death - or, about an apparent murder - of Locar - and whodunnit.   And although I've given a lot of the story away, I'll leave out the resolution of the whodunnit, in case you haven't yet seen this fine hour.

All of this is also set against a theme that goes back to the original Star Trek, about how the prejudices that currently afflict us on Earth play out in the stars in the future among humans and other species.  Locar's attraction to Talia goes against a profound taboo in  Moclan anti-woman culture: the sexual attraction of any Moclan to a woman - a woman of any species.

The Moclan are in many ways like humans on Earth in the 20th century.  Presumably we're a bit more evolved now.  But we come from a past rife with prejudice and viciousness.  And come to think of it, not all current humans are beyond that today.   Not only in less developed countries, but in the so-called most advanced countries and cultures in the world, including right here in the United States.

I guess that's a sobering thought for Valentine's Day.   But that's why I entitled this review "Love and Death," not just "Love". Thanks to The Orville for an outstanding episode that brings this reality to the screen.

See also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain"

And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive


1st starship to Alpha Centauri ... had only enough fuel to get there



Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Project Blue Book 1.6: The Team



My favorite part of Project Blue Book 1.6 last night - and also likely to have some beneficial consequences for Hynek's investigation - is his decision to bring his wife Mimi into his investigations of extra-terrestrial visitations, so the two of them are a "team".

This is a crucial decision for all kinds of reasons.  Mimi is smart and loves him.  Hynek is learning that he can't really trust anyone else - including, sadly, Quinn, who folds when the Generals apply pressure.  I'm still hopeful that he might break away sooner rather than later, and work 100% with Hynek, but this has yet to happen.

My second favorite part is Michael Imperioli in a small role (as of now) as a Soviet agent (or, at least, identified as such by those Generals).   The Soviet part of this is a good counterpart to the extra-terrestrials.  They need to be reckoned with.  The blonde's husband is brutal, and doesn't hesitate to kill anyone who he thinks knows too much, and that apparently includes just seeing him.  Mimi on the team is thus a two-edged sword: she'll no doubt be a big help to Hynek, but her friendship with Susie (the blonde) means that the Soviets could have even better entree to Hynek's work.

And the role of the priest - who seems to know a lot, or more than Hynek, about the extra-terrestrials - is also an important development.  I've been saying for more than a couple of years that religion and space explorations are natural partners - see Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion - and it will be fun and significant to see where this goes.

Project Blue Book could easily be mistaken as an obvious, superficial narrative with 1950s B-movie values.  It's indeed that, but it's beginning to mine deeper elements.  Stay tuned.  I definitely will.

 See also:  Project Blue Book 1.1: Science Fiction, Or? ... Project Blue 1.2: Calling Roy Thinnes ... Project Blue Book 1.3: Peggy Sue Gets Space Ship ... Project Blue Book 1.4: von Braun ... Project Blue Book 1.5: A Theory



here I am talking Ancient Aliens a few years ago on the History Channel

The Break (La Trêve) Season 2: The Broken Detective



Season 2 of The Break (La Trêve) - Belgian noir with a vengeance (in French with English subtitles, on Netflix) - was even better than the first, with a tighter story that made more sense in the end.  It was more grim, far darker, which is saying a lot, since the first season was already on the grim side of grim.

Yoann Peeters is "broken," as he says close to the end of this new story.  He was broken when we first met him in the first season, escaping from the big city and the death of his wife to find some peace in his small hometown in the countryside.  Of course, he finds nothing like that, and the end of the first season leaves him more broken than ever.

He's escaped to the classroom - as a teacher - when the second season begins.  And he's inexorably drawn into a complex, harrowing case by a woman psychologist, Jasmina, who was his therapist in the past.  They also have something of a romantic spark.  One of her patients, Dany, has recently been released from prison after serving nine years for the murder of his girlfriend (that sentence seems a little light, but maybe Belgium and the U.S mete out sentences differently).  He's now accused of  killing an older woman in a brutal attack - he was her gardener - but Jasmina is convinced that Dany didn't do it, and is being railroaded into a confession, just as she believes happened with Dany for the first murder.  Add to that the local police, some of whom seem to have a vested interest in Dany being put away for the second murder as quickly as possible, and it's no wonder that Yoann is pulled out of his retirement into the new case.

But he's still broken.  His instincts are frayed and he has a tendency to switch his conclusion of who is the murderer as soon as new evidence comes through.   And there are suspects and evidence indeed.   Dany's brother Christian and his wife Sophie are high on the list, as are various people involved in an attempt to buy out the murder victim's property to build a road (good timing for us here in the US - reminded me of Trump's wanting to confiscate people's property to build his wall).  Some of the police themselves are not beyond being suspect for the crime, as is Yoann's daughter's girlfriend.

So Yoann the anti-hero has his hands full.  He has almost no one on his side except Jasmina, and even she might not have been telling him the entire truth.   I won't say anything more specific, but there are false starts, different kinds of villains, and all the stuff that makes the second season of La Trêve a grade-A whodunnit.  And the series is aptly named.  On one level, the break is Yoann trying to get away from big city police life.   On the deeper level, it's about the break in Yoann's persona, the breaks in his fractured mind. 

Back in the 1970s, I used to talk about what I termed the "defective detective" on American television - Longstreet was blind, Ironside in a wheel-chair, Barnaby Jones was old, and Columbo was a schlep.  The Break takes this to a whole new, frightening level, as Yoann (superbly acted by Yoann Blanc - all the acting is excellent) races against his disintegrating mind to find the truth.   Does he get there in time?

Binging the ten hours of The Break is well worth your time to find out.

See also The Break (La Trêve): Riveting Belgian Whodunnit, But

 

Monday, February 11, 2019

True Detective 3.6: Great Conversations



One way of looking at True Detective 3.6 is that we still don't know what Hays and West did in 1990 that was so bad. And there are only two episodes left in which we can find this out - not to mention who was the killer and kidnapper, assuming the two were the same person.

But a better way of looking at True Detective 3.6 is that the conversations and the performances are so important that none of that matters.  Like the conversation between Hays and his son in the present (actually, 2015) in which Hays gives his grown and married son some sage advice for life, after Hays the elder figures out that his son is having an affair with the woman who's interviewing the older Hays for the television documentary on the murder/kidnap case.  This conversation is timeless.  And it's more than fine with me if the plot's main reason for existence is to serve as a foundation for such conversations.

But the plot's still of interest.   At this point, I'm not even clear if Julie - the girl who was kidnapped - is still alive in 2015.   As Hays and West come to realize, there are lot of people dead in this case.  Are they collateral damage, or were all or most of their deaths directly related to the case, to cover up the crime, or whatever.   And if not all or most, which of the few deaths are direct outgrowths of the crime?

We also have a lot to learn about Hays' marriage.  What caused Amelia death?  I suppose illness - but could her demise (assuming she is indeed dead) also have been some consequence of the original crime, something she was uncovering in research for her second book, something which the killer or the powerful people behind or covering up the killing didn't want the world to know?

Many questions, brilliant scenes, and just two episodes to go.  See you here next week,

See also True Detective 3.1-2: Humanistic Disturbances of the Soul ...True Detective 3.3: Unquestioned Witnesses ... True Detective 3.4: All Hat, No Answers ... True Detective 3.5: Tour de Force Scene in the Present

And see also Season Two: True Detective: All New ... True Detective 2.2: Pulling a Game of Thrones ... True Detective 2.3: Buckshot and Twitty ...True Detective 2.4: Shoot-out ... True Detective 2.7: Death and the Anti-Hero ... True Detective Season 2 Finale: Good Smoke but No Cigar

And see also Season One: True Detective: Socrates in Louisiana ... True Detective Season One Finale: Light above Darkness

 
 philosophic crime fiction:  The Plot to Save Socrates 

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