Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts... GOOD NEWS!!!

It's the news I didn't even dare to dream about... NBC has renewed Friday Night Lights, and not just for one season, but TWO!!! Apparently the love is huge for this struggling show at NBC, and despite low ratings, the suits love it too much to let it go. Score one for NBC (take THAT, Fox!) Just like this year, the season will run on DirecTV in the fall, followed by the spring run of the same episodes on NBC. If you're watching the current season, I hope you're loving it as much as I loved it when I watched it in the fall. Season 3 was the best one yet, and it can only get better. I am SO HAPPY.

And in the meantime, you can go watch Tim Riggins shake his stick as Gambit in the new Wolverine movie. Oh yeah, baby. :)

A Squidless Ending?!!

This is for all you fanboys and girls who hated what Zack Snyder did to the ending of Watchmen. (I, for one, liked the ending, but appreciated all those who posted here and said they hated it.) Thanks to Ian for this. This is the hardest I've laughed in weeks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

RIP Andy Hallett

I was saddened to hear tonight that Andy Hallett, best known to genre fans as Lorne on Angel, passed away from heart failure at the age of 33 yesterday. I know he'd been having problems with an enlarged heart during the last season of Angel, which is why he featured less in that season. When I last spoke to him in 2004, he was not well at the time. My condolences go out to his family.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dollhouse: Echoes

Oh, how I'm loving this show now!!

In last week's episode of Dollhouse, hilariously titled, "Man on the Street," Joss Whedon poked fun at critics of the show, having the usually boneheaded "man on the street" interviews interspersed throughout the episode of people saying what they think of the idea of a "Dollhouse" where people are mind-wiped, and whether it's misogynist or human trafficking or kinda cool. (Side note: If any Torontonians reading this listen to 680 News, that is one of my pet peeves of that station. They always ask ONE person on the street for their opinion of their top story, then run it, no matter how inane or mumbling or incoherent it is. It's gotten to the point where it's moved beyond pet peeve and has officially become a must-listen part of my day. "On the corner of Yonge and Bloor, I found Wanda, who says she's tired of this winter." Wanda: "I'm just tired of this winter." "There you have it John, back to you.")

ANYWAY... in recent episodes, as Echo begins to have flashes of her life before it was wiped, we were starting to find a thread between episodes. In the beginning, it was more of a mission-of-the-week feel to the series, but now it's moving to a more continuous arc, where you have to see each episode or you'll be missing out.

But last night's episode was the one we've been waiting for. This one tied together the series to this point (including having Echo back with the guy who hired her in the first episode) and for the first time, we see Caroline -- the woman Echo used to be -- in action, and what happened to bring her to the dollhouse. And, as with the last few episodes, it had lots of the funny -- the scenes of Topher and Adelle talking about her Britishness had me in stitches.

Free will versus blissful ignorance has been a favourite topic of Joss Whedon's for some time. The largely disappointing fourth season of Angel was all about it, where Jasmine came to the world wiping everyone's minds and making them fall in love with her, and all they had to do in return was give up their free will and be completely happy all the time. Oh yeah, and a few of them had to become daily lunchtime human sacrifices. There was that part, too.

On Dollhouse, we didn't know what Echo's life was before this (or Victor's, or Sierra's, etc.) but the assumption was, something bad must have happened to have made them turn to this as their solution. What could be so bad that they'd want to forget?

In Echo's case, it was losing her lover, who died in her arms as they tried to raid a lab and save some animals, exposing the Rossum Corporation for what it really is. It's still not completely enough to convince us that she'd want her mind wiped, so to provide the parallel, Joss gives us the present-day story of Echo/Alice wandering through the campus, and beginning to have memories of having been there before. After realizing who the perpetrator of the mysterious hallucinogenic drug release was, she rushes down the halls, and flashes of having run down those same halls -- moments before her lover was shot -- begin to invade her mind. By the time she gets outside, the two time periods have blended into one, and she's on top of the guy in the present, thinking he's the guy from her past.

Until now, we see Echo get off a "job" and Boyd is standing there, jolting her out of her persona with the trigger phrase, "Echo, would you like your treatment?" and it always comes as an unwelcome shock. We've seen her fall in love and have to be mind-wiped, we've seen her save lives and be forced to forget it. It all seemed like a horrible thing to do to a person. Until this episode, where the horrors of the past blend into the terrifying present, and Boyd's trigger phrase is as welcome to us as it is to her. He offers her salvation in forgetting.

And, at the end of the episode, as Adelle watches Echo walk through the dollhouse, blissfully ignorant of the pain she'd been through earlier that day, we can't help but see a touch of jealousy on Adelle's face.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Little House in Dharmaville... and Other FAQs

Each week there's lots of discussion on the most recent Lost episode in the comments section for my initial write-up on it. And sometimes there's something in there that's so insightful it demands me pulling it out and putting it in its own post. Unfortunately, I rarely find the time these days between writing and working, and I've been letting certain things fall through the cracks, and then week after week people come on asking the same questions that have been discussed on previous posts.

This week I have to give kudos to one of my most avid readers (and commentators), Benny, who was responding to a thread of comments about Sawyer going to see Kate. To some viewers, it appeared as if Sawyer were heading to Jack's house to ask his advice on what to do with Sayid, and Sawyer was surprised to see Kate open the door. From there you could conclude that Kate could have been at Jack's house, and maybe they're living together and Sawyer's surprise is the same as Jack's when Juliet opens Sawyer's door, or his face could just be surprise that he made the mistake of going to the wrong house.

In the other corner, however, fans argue it was clear Sawyer was always headed to see Kate, and his surprise was just a momentary awkwardness, a wave of emotion for her he thought had gone, but had always been there. But he had always intended, in that moment, to confront Kate and ask her why she'd come back.

I finally responded and said to me, it was a combination of the two. I think the writers wanted us to believe Sawyer was going to Jack's house, and the way they always film Dharmaville makes it hard to figure out which house is where. Yes, in the previous episode Sawyer gave an awkward little wave at Kate as she stood on her porch in the house next to Sawyer's, but as I pointed out, in this episode, Juliet is looking out the window directly at the house next to Sawyer's, and we see Jack and Kate emerging from it. But in the end, after she opens the door, I believed that we were the ones who'd been tricked, and that Sawyer really had been going to see Kate the whole time.

And then Benny stepped up. He went back through screen caps of the previous two episodes and designed a photographic rundown of each house, its position, and the camera angles through which we've looked at them, and has charted the territory of Dharmaville, concluding that the house Sawyer went to was not Kate's, and was possibly Jack's. You can go and look at the whole document here, and then decide for yourself (and please, I ask in advance, no shipper arguments in the comments, please).


A few people have mentioned this now, and I've been meaning to pull it out as its own post (especially after Pitchfork did a piece on it) but now that we're in 1977, Geronimo Jackson is taking on more than just a red herring role in the show. Sure, it still could amount to nothing more than Darlton having fun with their fans, but they've gone the distance and we actually can hear them now. Darlton have maintained that GJ were a real band that only recorded one album in 1970 (love you guys, but I don't buy that for an instant). ;) When Jin was driving his van around the island, the song we heard in the van (at the time I couldn't find anything about it and speculated it might be GJ) is a song called "Dharma Lady." Someone on DarkUFO said the words are almost exactly the same as a song called "Excelsior Lady" by a band called The Donkeys. Further digging revealed the Donkeys were a San Francisco retro-rock band on the label (wait for it) Dead Oceans.

When a Dead Oceans publicist was questioned about the band and whether they're the stand-ins for Geronimo Jackson, her response was, "It seems as though it's possible that the Donkeys also existed as Geronimo Jackson in 1977. It might be possible that they were part of a Dharma Initiative experiment on time travel."

LOL!! She added that "Geronimo Jackson is likely to appear on extras of the season five 'Lost' DVD, where they will feature the band recording 'Dharma Lady'."

Awesome. You can now download the song for free at iTunes, and you can read the whole article on Pitchfork here.


And finally, the single most frequently asked question I get (on the comments board, on the DocArzt comments board, in my email inbox several times a week) is, where the heck are Rose and Bernard? Excellent question. They were with Sawyer and company on the beach during the first flash, and then Dan and everyone headed into the jungle without them. When they came back and were attacked with flaming arrows, Rose and Bernard disappeared. There have been many speculations:

-Rose and Bernard were shot with the flaming arrows: I don't think so. They're too integral to just kill off-screen.
-Rose and Bernard joined the rest of the straggling survivors that were left on the beach and went and joined the Others
-Rose and Bernard were the only survivors of the flaming arrow attack that didn't follow Sawyer and company, and they went off and lived the rest of their days alone on the island, much like Rousseau, keeping to themselves and possibly becoming the Adam and Eve skeletons we find in the cave.

There are tons of possibilities here, but needless to say, they are very missed, and I hope we see them again soon. I know the writers won't just leave them somewhere, and this will be resolved at some point.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lost 5.10: He’s Our You

“Three years, no burning buses. Y’all are back for one day...”

So... Sawyer Knew
For the last couple of weeks we’ve been debating in the comments sections of my other episode blog posts on whether or not Sawyer would know Ben was in the camp. I’ve suggested there’s no way he couldn’t know, others have said maybe he only knows his first name or there are too many people and he’s just never put it together. But I didn’t buy it... and now it looks like he really did know. Why has he never done anything? I’m assuming he’s just genuinely bought into Dan’s assertion that you can’t change the past. He’s accepted Ben is there, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

Speaking of Ben...
... in this episode Sayid says Ben is 12 years old, which means he was born in 1965, making him 39 years old when the survivors first meet him. While I’ll grant Michael Emerson a tiny bit of leeway here and say I can accept that, that would mean that Ben in “Man Behind the Curtain” is only 8 years old, since we find out in this episode that the encounter with Alpert happened in 1973. I’m not sure I believe the kid was 8. He looked at least 10 or 12 in that episode, and he looks 14 or 15 here. Maybe Sayid was just throwing out the number in conversation, but didn’t really know how old he was for sure?

The connection between young Ben and young Sayid was really well done in this episode, however. We see Sayid’s father, a cold, hard man, pushing his son to murder in order to prove his masculinity. When Sayid first sees Ben with his father, he realizes his father is also a tyrant, belittling and abusing Ben for his own amusement. At first I thought Sayid would realize his mission is not to kill Ben, but to save him from growing up with this man, maybe thinking he’s the man who turned Ben into the monster Sayid thinks Ben has become. But in the end, Sayid sees that Ben is already beyond saving, just as Sayid was already beyond saving when he killed that chicken. And he kills Ben so Ben will never grow up to be... like Sayid.

• Hurley saying that anyone should have seen the relationship between Juliet and Sawyer.
• “Ask Sawyer.” “Who’s Sawyer?” “Who cares?” Ha! Radzinsky’s entire spaz throughout the interrogation is a highlight of the episode.
• “They just took a vote. Even the new mom wants you dead!”

Did You Notice?:
• This is the first time we see Sayid’s childhood. We’ve only had an enigmatic reference to Sayid’s father being a war hero in Iraq before, and that he was a very hard man. Now we see him, and how he helped turn Sayid into the murderer he is today.
• Sayid stepped in and helped his brother do a dirty deed he was being forced to do against his will, just like Eko had done when he was a child for his brother Yemi.
• Did that chicken deflate? He picks up a really fat chicken, breaks its neck, and it turns into the size of a drumstick.
• Ben hands Sayid a copy of Carlos Castaneda’s “A Separate Reality” (one more book to add to my reading list...) Here’s a quick synopsis from Wikipedia:

A Separate Reality is an allegedly non-fictional book written by anthropologist/author Carlos Castaneda in 1971 concerning the events that took place during an apprenticeship he claimed to have served with a self-proclaimed Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, Don Juan Matus, between 1968 and 1971. The authenticity of the book, along with the rest of Castaneda's series, has been a topic of debate since they were published.
In the book Castaneda continues his description of his apprenticeship under the tutelage of Don Juan, from which he had withdrawn in 1965. As in his previous book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, Castaneda describes the experiences he has with Don Juan while under the influence of the psychotropic plants that Don Juan offered him, peyote (Lophophora williamsii) and a smokable mixture of what Castaneda believed to be, among other plants, dried mushroom of the genus Psilocybe. The main focus of the book centered around Don Juan's attempts at getting Carlos to See, a practice best described as, in Castaneda's own words, "perceiving energy directly as it flows through the universe".
The book contains an introduction, an epilogue and two separate parts. Part One, "The Preliminaries of 'Seeing'", describes his re-initiation into the apprenticeship from which he withdrew in late 1965, and also describes his introduction to another brujo (sorcerer) named Don Genaro. Part Two, "The Task of 'Seeing'", elaborates on the mental processes involved with Seeing, and begins with Castaneda realizing that the plants are a necessary tool to arrive at Seeing.

• Now we have a date for when Ben met Alpert, which is 1973 (he’s in 1977 now, and said he met Richard 4 years earlier).
• The scene where the man is frantically running into the house and down corridors, slamming the doors behind him, is all one cut, with one frantic cameraman running behind him.
• After Quentin Crisp Ben tells Sayid that he’s killed the last person who poses a threat to his friends, he passes through a set of gates that are practically closed, symbolizing the prison-like bars that surround Sayid emotionally. I loved how they segued this one into Sayid sitting in the actual cell.
• Juliet refers to her relationship with Sawyer as “playing house,” which is what Sawyer suggested to Kate that they do in New Otherton last season.
• Sawyer is tender to Juliet only when they’re inside the house. He never touches her or looks at her lovingly in the company of anyone outside of it.
• There were a LOT of ham references in this episode. The torturer is Oldham; Juliet is burning her bacon; Hurley brings breakfast over to Jack and Kate and tells them to try the dipping sauces, because they really bring out the ham.
• In the Dharmateria, there’s a Geronimo Jackson poster on the wall near the kitchen.
• When Ben comes to see Sayid in the Dominican, you can see two saws hanging on the wall behind Sayid. One has a light-coloured handle, the other black. Together they look oddly like the black and white glasses that Sayid fashioned for Sawyer.
• There were a lot of extreme close-ups in this episode. I’d never noticed Michael Emerson’s eyes were so blue. Or Naveen Andrews’ eyes were so brown (though something tells me redeem already knew that...) Or that Doug Hutchison’s (Horace’s) lips were so oddly shaped.
• The song playing in Oldham’s tent was “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Ella Fitzgerald did probably the best known version of the song, but the version of the song I know of her singing it is much slower and quieter. This version actually sounds more like Billie Holiday to me.
Farnum Oldham steps out of a tent that looked Native American... much like the smoke lodge that Locke creates in “Further Instructions” (I was expecting “Oldham” to be someone we’d already know, like Tom or... Locke.)
• If you look closely, when Oldham emerges from the tent, behind him you can see his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl.
• Sayid is drinking MacCutcheon, the whisky that Widmore deemed too good for Desmond.
• This requires much more than a bullet point, but I’ll just mention it quickly now and perhaps write more about it later... for those who believe that Ben is actually a kind of angel on the island, Ilana comes off as the devil, a snake tempting Sayid only to ensnare him. Notice she’s wearing all black and saying the opposite of what Ben said.
• When Horace says, “Hello there,” to Sayid to bring him out of his stupor, he says it exactly the same way he says it to Locke when Locke is hallucinating and sees him building the cabin in “Cabin Fever.”
• Fool Sayid once, shame on you. Fool Sayid twice, shame on him. In “The Economist,” Elsa tricked him into thinking she just happened to run into him at a cafe, got him stuck in a long con, and boom, pulled a gun on him and said she was working for someone else who wanted to know about his employer. Now Ilana meets him in a bar, gets him stuck in a very short con, pulls a gun on him and says she’s working for someone who wants to bring him back for justice. Sayid, Sayid... when will you learn?!
• Ben is impressed by Sayid’s kung fu skills, but his will be just as impressive some day, if not more so.

Hurley’s numbers:
Ben says he ran away into the jungle 4 years ago. After Sayid shoots the man in the building, he steps out and you can see the address from the inside, which is 32. However, because we see it backwards it looks at first like 23. The house that is hit by the burning Dharma bus is Building 15.

So Many Questions...
• If the costume designers were going to dress Ben like a pimp this episode, why not complete the look with a feather in his hat?
• How did Roger Workman know about Oldham? You’d think that was intel that they wouldn’t have handed down to a janitor.
• Why is everyone so scared of Oldham? He doesn’t seem very scary to me. He puts some truth serum on a sugar cube and asks a bunch of questions... maybe they’ve seen what he does when he doesn’t administer the serum first.
• It looks like Sawyer really WAS planning on staying on the island for good. So what was his plan when it came to avoiding the Purge?
• When Amy tells Horace they have to think about Ethan, was anyone else half-expecting Sawyer to jump in and say, “Oh don’t worry about him... he won’t get shot until 2004. Er...”
• Kate says she knows why she came back... why?
• Did Sayid really kill Ben, or is it just a flesh wound? Why didn’t he unload the rest of the gun into him just to be safe?
• Does Ben have any memory of Sayid doing that to him as a kid (if he DID live), or would he only have a memory of Sayid doing that now (like Desmond only having the memory of Daniel after Daniel actually talked to him in the past)?

Next week:

While You Wait for my Lost Post...

This is actually really hilarious. At first I wondered if it was staged, but it sounds pretty genuine, especially when the order of the plot starts going haywire. This is the original Star Wars trilogy, as retold by someone who's only watched parts of it over the years.

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lost: Charlotte's Real Age Causes Big OOPS

Earlier this week, one of my readers pointed out in the comment section to my post on Namaste that Darlton had issued their weekly podcast, and finally addressed the discrepancy of Charlotte's age on the show. I've been meaning to post on it, but it's a good thing I didn't, because the story got a lot better.

As many of us have been arguing, at the end of "Confirmed Dead" in season 4, Ben announced that Charlotte Staples Lewis was born in July 1979. But in this season, when the gang zips back to 1974, Dan sees a little redheaded girl in the camp, whispers, "Charlotte!" and jumps up as if he's going to follow her. Since she looks about 2 or 3, that would put her birth date in 1971 or 1972. How could that be? We posited many suggestions:

  • It wasn't actually Charlotte. He had Charlotte on the brain, and assumed that was her.
  • Ben's intel was wrong, or he was purposely misleading people.
  • Charlotte and her mother will leave the island via Frozen Donkey Wheel Express, launching themselves off the island eight years in the future, upon which the mother is forced to change Charlotte's birth date and she's effectively born in 1979.

Well, it turns out it was none of the above. In their podcast last week, Darlton announced that when they were filming the scene where Ben announces Charlotte's age, Mader stepped up and said she didn't want to be playing someone who was 37, god forbid, because she's really only 29. So they were forced to change the date, and didn't get a chance to alter it in editing. Wow. Major screw-up is introduced into Lost because of an actress's ego.

Not so fast.

Rebecca Mader heard what they said, and on her Facebook page she posted the following comment: "The timeline error was their mistake and they are making it out to be my fault. Not cool." Was this a case of an actress not wanting set secrets spilled? Turns out... no. She was absolutely right.

Darlton then issued an email to Michael Ausiello at EW, saying this really WAS their error and they'd chalked it up to her because they'd forgotten that it was Gregg Nations who came up with it (the script editor and the dude in charge of continuity), who pointed out that Mader was in her 20s and they'd be hard-pressed to say she was 37. (With no offense to Mader, who I think is gorgeous... I think she could have totally passed for 37. It's not like they're asking her to be 82.) In their mea culpa, they admitted, "We misremembered this as having come from Rebecca herself on the set, but in fact, it came several days earlier when our continuity expert Gregg Nations pointed it out and suggested using Rebecca's actual birthday for Charlotte. And so, the mistake was OURS. Rebecca's production draft DID have the date as being 1979."

Good for the guys for issuing the email, but I must say, that was a pretty crappy thing to do. How did their brains come up with Mader having some diva hissy fit, when the date had been in her script the entire time? They say they'll be addressing the issue in the podcast. Let's hope it has a HUGE apology in it for what they've done to her reputation among fans for a week.

You can read the entire email from Darlton here. Thanks to Crissy for the link!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BSG Finale: Daybreak

It's done. In a hail of orchestral manoeuvres in space, a modern re-enactment of Roslin and Baltar's vision, and Adama finally touching the rains down in Africa, Battlestar Galactica rode off into the sunset. Or, in this case, into the heart of the sun.

I could write REAMS of stuff about my thoughts on BSG as a series, or "Daybreak" as a finale, but since I already spend far too much time doing that about Lost (and there are BSG experts far, far better suited to it), I'll keep this brief, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

I don't know what the general fan feeling was about this as a finale, but I thought it was beautifully done. There was so much action in the first hour I couldn't figure out how they'd sustain it for two. But the second hour was more of the denouement of the series, letting us know the fates of most of the people we've come to care about. By the end, it was a finale that felt very... final, much like the Six Feet Under finale (which I still maintain is the best finale EVER).

I thought Ron Moore did an excellent job of closing everything down, and lives were not lost without major emotional impact. In the first part of Daybreak the week before, we saw some of the lives in Caprica before the Holocaust, with Roslin losing her family, Gaius dealing with a difficult elderly parent, and Starbuck and Apollo getting to know one another while she was dating his brother. In doing so, we come to appreciate their end -- Roslin is dead, Starbuck disappears, and Gaius returns to the trade his father taught him. The finale brought back elements of previous seasons, giving the series the feeling that Moore knew exactly what he was doing right from the beginning.

Did anyone else think Moore might have beaten Lindelof and Carlton to the punch on some issues? On the surface, Anders' final statement -- "See you on the other side" -- seems to have been taken right from Desmond on Lost -- "See you in another life, bruthah." Lost has always been about fate versus free will, and BSG has explored that many times, too. In this case, Moore's world seems to have fallen on the side of fate. Starbuck had a purpose, just as Gaius and Roslin did. And in the end, he seems to chalk everything up to a higher power (not named God, apparently, but serving the same purpose). I'm sure some fans will be in a tizzy about that, but personally, I loved it. It takes guts to suggest something like that in today's world.

• Watching the old Centurions go head to head with the new Centurions (best part: one of the good ones blows the head off one of the old ones).
• The final answer of what the whole opera house vision and Starbuck’s purpose meant, complete with big loud music and total awesomeness.
• The fact that Caprica has been seeing little pin-striped-suit Gaius all these years, just like Gaius has been seeing sexy red-dressed Caprica. That was hilarious.
• Galen avenging Callie’s death. Oh YEAH!!
• Cavil shooting himself in the head. I didn’t see that coming... (but on the other hand, it also seemed a little convenient; it’s an easy way of disposing of the character and not having to follow through on anything)
• Ron Moore’s cameo at the end.
• Giving humanity to Boomer right after she’s shot. It would have been easy to kill her off and we’d all cheer, remembering her having sex with Helo while his wife is battered behind a door and watching, but instead, we’re reminded of who Boomer used to be, and the vulnerable, fragile person she once was, and as usual, it made her death much harder to watch.
• All of the battle scenes. That was EPIC. I’ve NEVER seen CGI like that on television, ever.

Low points:
• Adama vomiting on himself. I know you’re a method actor, man, but NO ONE wants to watch that. Ick.
• No Lucy Lawless. Come on, was she really too busy to be there at the end? I’ve never liked that she stayed behind on that other planet.

And that brings me to my question, because I don’t watch BSG the way I do Lost, so I’ll have to rely on some other fans to fill in the blanks. What was that other planet they visited? Are we to believe it wasn’t Earth? This one clearly is (you can see the continents from the sky, and from the map where they point out where people will be distributed around the world). Yet when they landed on the bleak planet, you could clearly make out the Brooklyn Bridge and other NYC landmarks. Why would Moore have put in such recognizable landmarks to convince us this was Earth if it wasn’t? Is it possible they’ve jumped in time? (Yes, I’ve been watching too much Lost.) Could they have jumped to Earth in the future in the first place, and now have jumped into the past?

In the end, it turns out, we’re all part Cylon. And while I thought that’s where they might be going, I didn’t realize they’d do it like this. I loved that ending.

So what did you think? Did it work for you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

All This Has Happened Before...

...and we should be so lucky that a show like this will ever happen again.

Tonight is the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, one of the best television shows of all time. A remake, no less, that didn't just update the sets, but completely reimagined a pre-existing series, and made it so much better the first series should be forced to change its name. (If you're a massive fan of the 1970s version, please don't hate me for saying that.) The last handful of episodes have been stunning examples of what television can, and should, be. One crew member who has been on the show from the beginning (I won't spoil in case you're waiting to watch this on DVD) is tried and charged with treason, and as he sits in the airlock about to be executed, he suddenly looks down, then looks up and delivers a line so mundane, so beautiful, and so heartbreaking it literally made me catch my breath. And then the screen instantly went black. That scene will always haunt me.

We've seen friends become enemies, we've watched the characters lose loved ones and mourn their deaths, and in one case -- something I've never seen before on TV or in movies -- mourn their own death.

This show has always had a lot to say about life, death, procreation, why we're all here, religion, not having religion, desire, following that desire, knowing when to call it quits or when to keep going. What began as a show that acted as a subtle metaphor for terrorism and 9/11 has become a show that's about all of us.

Tonight, in a 2-hour finale, it comes to an end. I hope you'll be watching. I know I will. So say we all...

Dollhouse: It's Getting Better!

So, I'm WAY behind on my TV viewing. Again. Sigh. I really need to do a post soon on the shows I'm still watching (like Big Love... oh my GOD what an awesome season this is!!!) I have about 5 Ugly Bettys, 5 Damages, 3 Flight of the Conchords, and so many old episodes of EastEnders I don't know where to start with that one. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I have a PVR that holds 200 hours of programming and there's only 50 hours left. I need a week off just to catch up on my TV.

But anyway, over the last two nights I've watched the last two episodes of Dollhouse, and I really think it's hitting its stride. Last week's episode in particular, "True Believer," was my favourite one so far. First of all, DUSTY!! Is there anyone else out there old enough to have recognized Brian Bloom when he first walked on screen as Jonas? When I was probably 10 or 11, this guy appeared on As the World Turns, and my mother, a lover of soap operas if ever there was one (I spent summers sitting next to her watching As the World Turns, Guiding Light, this boring one called Capitol, and a few years later, The Bold and the Beautiful). And then Dusty appeared one day. Oh, those metallic blue eyes... he was in love with Lily, who dumped him for bad boy Holden (HOLDEN?!) and I always thought she was an idiot after that. I think she married him or something. I haven't watched the show in 20 years (but the crazy thing about soap operas is, you can tune in one afternoon and be caught up in about half an hour after not watching it for two decades).

ANYWAY. My excitement at seeing a long lost lust aside, this episode FINALLY gave us some of the old Joss Whedon dialogue I've been waiting for. There's an excellent scene between Topher and Dr. Claire about Victor having a "man reaction" in the show when he's looking at Sierra, and I was in stitches. My husband was laughing his head off, too, and we both looked at each other and said in unison, "Joss!" Then giggled some more. It was a brilliant scene.

But five episodes in (or 6? Man, I've lost count already) long-term arcs are starting to come into place. What really happened to Alpha? Why is he so obsessed with Echo? Why is Helo so obsessed with Echo, and where does he know her from that he's on the hunt for her? What the hell did they mean this week when they said Echo should be put away in the attic? (I cannot WAIT to see what that means... is it like boxing a Cylon on BSG?) How much is Echo starting to put together? At the end of every episode, she seems to be building a mental repertoire of what's happening around her, who is a friend and who is an enemy, and things are falling apart for the people running the place. Meanwhile, Boyd is taking on a more Giles-like role than before, he's concerned about her, and he refuses to talk about her like some plastic Barbie like the others all do.

Last week's episode was really good, too, when Echo was remotely brain-wiped and turned into a shell of her character, rocking with anxiety on the floor and repeating, "Did I fall asleep? Shall I go now?" waiting for the Pavlovian response from Topher that was not forthcoming. I'm really starting to see something much, much deeper with this show, and my fingers are crossed so hard they're turning white that Fox will give this show the chance to allow it to unfold the way Joss clearly sees it eventually will.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lost 5.09: Namaste

This week's episode was awesomesauce, to quote a friend of mine. I must have said, "I LOVE THIS SHOW!" four times during the broadcast. But let's get on to business.

“Is that a runway??”
So there’s a runway on the Hydra island, meaning that Ajira 316 was always meant to land there, and the Others somehow knew it. To refresh your memory, in case you don’t remember the runway before, if you recall Kate and Sawyer when they were locked in the polar bear cages, during the day they were forced to do manual labour, putting rocks into wheelbarrows and clearing a particular spot. Later, in the season 3 finale, Sawyer walks across the island with Juliet and asks what the Others were forcing them to make:

SAWYER: So, when you pulled us out of those polar bear cages and put us on the chain gang, what the hell you have us breaking all those rocks for anyway?
JULIET: We were building a runway.
SAWYER: Runway, for what?
JULIET: [Turns to him] The aliens.
[She smirks]
JULIET: I don't know what for, do you think they told me everything?

Apparently it wasn’t for the aliens, but for another plane that was going to drop out of the sky three years later.

Oh my god, I was hyperventilating when Jin tore off in the jeep to find Radzinsky. My arms flew up in the year and I yelled, “I’ve been waiting for this for three years!!!!” I swear every 6 episodes or so I say, “Could this person be Radzinsky?” For those readers who, like my husband, went, “Uh... who the hell is Radzinsky?” here’s the quick refresher: We saw Desmond arrive on the island in 2001. He was pulled into the Swan station by Kelvin Inman, who told him about his previous station-mate, Radzinsky. Radzinsky killed himself, and he points to a giant bloodstain on the ceiling of the station and says that’s all that’s left of Radzinsky. He tells Desmond that he took the body outside and buried it, but he had to do it really quickly because he had to be back at the Swan to push the button every 108 minutes. Radzinsky is the originator of the blast door map that Locke found in “Lockdown” and that we saw Kelvin working on, and Kelvin also said that the pieces of the Dharma orientation films were missing because Radzinsky had edited them. Now we know that Radzinsky was some Paul Giamatti lookalike who actually designed the Swan station. Because he’s still working on the model in this episode, it probably wasn’t completed until the late 70s or early 80s. It has a distinct 60s/70s feel, but the design could be earlier because maybe Radzinsky had been on the island a long time already, so his sensibilities were toward designs like the other stations. In this episode, he’s working at the Flame station (where we later see Mikhail).

“We’re gonna name him Ethan”
The baby’s name is Ethan! Big points go to “theothers108,” one of my readers, who predicted that one early in the comments for “LaFleur.” What I loved best about that theory is that in “A Tale of Two Cities,” when we see Juliet at her book club, there’s an elderly woman there named Amelia. She talks to Ethan with some authority, like he’s her son. Amelia = Amy. What caused some other readers to disagree, however, is that Ethan definitely looks in his early 40s in 2004, and certainly not 27, which is what he would be if he’d been born in 1977. Could he have time traveled, aged some more, and then bounced back? In any case, when I rewatch season 1 and see Charlie kill Ethan, that scene is going to be a lot sadder for me, now that I saw his birth.

Possibly the greatest line EVER on Lost:
Chang to Jack: “Based on your aptitude test, you’ll be doing janitorial work.” HAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Score one for Sawyer!

There’s a new sheriff in town...
The tables have officially turned. Jack was always the guy in charge, and Sawyer was always made to feel useless. Now Sawyer’s the guy calling the shots, and Jack has to listen to him. Sawyer reminds Jack of the many casualties due to Jack’s bad leadership (ouch). In the first two seasons, Jack was the reluctant leader. I said it many times in my books that he had the mantle of leader foisted upon him, and was uncomfortable in the role. But he took it, and by the third season, he was the alpha male of the group and refused to let anyone else have their say. To this day he believes that he got everyone off the island, and apparently none of the rest of the Oceanic Six had anything to do with their own rescue. Sawyer, on the other hand, quietly lived under the radar of the survivors. He was the guy reading the heavy literary tomes, but he had the redneckness about him that made others assume he was some sort of buffoon. But Sawyer’s ignorance is all an act. He’s the more methodical leader, the one who started with four other people with him, and has only lost one, in three years. He figured out how to get the Oceanic 3 into the compound without anyone suspecting anything. He’s weaseled his way into the DI and is head of security. Sawyer is a smart man, and oh, what an amazing feeling it must be for him to have this showdown with Jack now after all these years of remembering how Jack treated him. He’s been waiting for them to return for three years: was it because of Kate, or was it for this moment? That said, Jack looks sincere when he admits it’s a relief to follow and not lead. But will he follow? Jack’s leadership philosophy was, “Live together, or die alone.” Sawyer’s is, “Every man for himself.” Will Sawyer continue to think that way?

• Ben’s flat response to Frank asking where everyone on the plane disappeared to: “How would I know?”
• Hurley lifting Sawyer off the ground, and then saying he misses Sawyer’s nicknames.
• Hurley’s response to Sawyer’s announcement that it’s 1977: “Uh... what?”
• Hurley to Jin: “Dude, your English is awesome.”
• Angry Jin!
• Sawyer saying he’s not here to play Nostradamus to these people.
• Ben’s response when Frank pleads with Sun, telling her that when he came on the boat, it was filled with men who were just here to get Ben: “And how did that work out for everyone?” He’s SO slimy. I love him.
• Sun clocking Ben, and then saying in a very Ben-like way, “I lied.”
• “Based on your aptitude test, you’ll be doing janitorial work.” HAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
• Sawyer calling Radzinsky “Quick Draw.”
• Christian!
• Phil: “Everyone say Namaste!” Hurley: “Nama-what?”
• The look on Sayid’s face when the boy says his name. It’s like he’s face-to-face with Hitler and has a chance to take him out before he can do any harm.

Did You Notice?:
• When Ilana first wakes up, she says, “Jarrah?”
• When Sawyer hugs Kate, she’s the only one he doesn’t give a nickname to. There was no “Freckles,” like some of us might have been expecting him to say.
• When Jack tells Jin and Sawyer who else was on the plane, he doesn’t mention Ben.
• On one of the Flame station monitors, you can see an episode of The Muppet Show. Ha!
• We’re seeing a bit of history repeating itself with the Ajira flight. When 815 crashed, Jack called everyone together and told them help would arrive. He then immediately took off with Kate into the jungle. Frank tells everyone to be calm, then takes off with Sun. Everyone has the same confusion, is going through the suitcases for supplies, and wants to know where the hell they are. Just as Sayid jumped up on a rock a few episodes in and challenged Jack’s leadership by not wanting to go to the caves, Caesar jumps the gun a little earlier and talks about searching for a radio or food, disagreeing with Frank’s instruction to stay put.
• That island magical disappearing post-pregnancy healing was as strong in 1977 (allowing Amy to look refreshed, showered, and flat-stomached the day after giving birth) as it was in 2004, when it did the same for Claire.
• When Amy says they’re going to name the baby Ethan, Juliet almost drops the kid. I thought that was very funny.
• No offense to Hurley – y’all know how much I love the guy – but there is NO WAY a baggy sweatshirt of Sawyer’s would also be a baggy sweatshirt on Hurley... unless it was Hurley’s sweatshirt to begin with. Even so, that would have come down to Sawyer’s knees.
• Radzinsky finds “the hostile” in Grid 325. In season 2, Ben sends Michael off the island by having him follow bearing 325.
• Jin might have learned English, but apparently he didn’t learn the subtlety of the wink. He pushes Sayid to the ground, tells him if he speaks, he’s dead, and as Sayid just stares at him in disbelief, Jin holds a rifle an inch off Sayid’s nose. Um... WINK?!
• In our discussions for “LaFleur,” we wondered if Sawyer knew about the Purge. His reaction when Hurley says, “You do know they all get wiped out, right?” seems to suggest he does know.
• The song playing when Sawyer et al pull into the Dharma camp is “Ride Captain Ride” by Blues Image:

Seventy-three men sailed up
From the San Francisco Bay,
Rolled off of their ship
And here's what they had to say.
"We're callin' everyone to ride along
To another shore,
We can laugh our lives away
and be free once more."
But no one heard them callin',
No one came at all,
'Cause they were too busy watchin'
Those old raindrops fall.
As a storm was blowin'
Out on the peaceful sea,
Seventy-three men sailed off
To history.
Ride, captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends
You have here on your trip.
Ride captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
On your way to a world
That others might have missed.

• Jin tells Sawyer there’s a 14J situation – we first heard that emergency code in “The Shape of Things to Come,” when the phone rings in Ben’s house and Locke picks it up, and you hear a woman’s voice saying, “Code 14-J.” When they run over to the other house to tell Ben, he freaks out, arms himself, and knows Keamy and his men are close by.
• Pierre Chang couldn’t be more wound up. Except when he’s saying, “Based on your aptitude test, you’ll be doing janitorial work.” HA! Okay, I’ll stop now.
• Sayid looks shocked when he sees Sawyer for the first time, since the last time he saw Sawyer, he was leaping out of the copter – most of them assumed, to his death.
• There’s a really creepy painting on the wall of the Flame. I’d love to see it close up.
• Smokey’s in New Otherton. If you listen closely, you don’t just hear the leaves rustle, but you hear that NY cab ticket sound that Smokey always makes right before an appearance. This would lend credence to the idea that Christian is a manifestation of Smokey. Watch when Christian hands the 1977 photo to Sun and the door blows open; you can see smoke in the doorway.
• Sawyer puts Sayid in the holding cell and tells Phil to get Sayid some food, adding, “We’re not savages.” In “Confidence Man” in season 1, where Sawyer is pretending to have Shannon’s asthma medicine, Jack tells Kate he’s going to kill Sawyer, but the only thing stopping him is, “We’re not savages, Kate, not yet.” In “The Other 48 Days,” when Ana Lucia has the man in the pit, Goodwin tells her to let him go, and says, “We’re not savages.”
• Jack hugs Juliet and tells her that he’d seen her earlier and wanted to say something, and Juliet says, “But we’re not supposed to know each other.” Yet it’s OK to hug in a doorway while Creepy Phil is watching suspiciously. Awesome.
• There seems to be a small continuity error. Sawyer sends Phil to get food for Sayid. Phil leaves, probably to tell Ben to fetch the sandwich. He’s crossing the compound and runs into Jack, who asks him where to find Sawyer. Sawyer is happily ensconced in his house, instead of standing by Sayid’s cell, where Phil had left him moments earlier. Maybe this is later in the evening, but if that’s the case, it took a VERY long time for Phil to get Ben to fetch the food Sawyer wanted to give to Sayid.
• I like how Sawyer decides he’s going to try to think things through, but come on... he hasn’t seen Jack, Kate or Hurley in three years, he’s been watching the shores for their return, and the moment they do, he doesn’t want to talk to them, find out how they’ve been, or catch up in any way? I realize he has to pretend he doesn't know them, but it wouldn't hurt to get to know the new recruits, even if just for 5 minutes apiece.
• In my blog for “LaFleur,” I said that Ben should have been in the camp by now, and I couldn’t figure out why Sawyer didn’t notice him. Now I see Ben IS in the camp, but my question still stands. Didn’t Sawyer pick up on the boy named Ben, who has a father wearing the Roger Workman jumpsuit that he later saw? I think Skeletor would have stuck with him.

So Many Questions...
• Sawyer tells Juliet that he’s got to deal with Kate and company before someone else finds them and “they screw up everything we’ve got here.” Is he referring to Kate, Jack and Hurley? Does he find their arrival an unwelcome one just like Juliet does? Had he planned on staying in the DI for the rest of his life?
• Sawyer mentions Faraday, saying he has interesting theories on what they can and can’t do, but when Jack asks if he’s here, Sawyer says, “Not anymore.” I said in my post for “LaFleur” that when the alarm goes off, Faraday runs in the other direction, and I was wrong: you do see him in the house. But I added that when we don’t see him in 1977, I wonder if he disappeared into the jungle at some point, filling his notebooks with the info on the DI that we later see when he flips through them. Does he lose his mind? Does he time travel away? How does he make it back to the 21st century?
• Now we know why Ben was very bloody when Locke saw him lying in the barracks. Did he regain consciousness and talk to Ilana and Caesar? If he didn’t, then there’s no way Ilana would have known the information she gave to Locke, that there had originally been three outriggers, but Frank and “a lady” took one in the night. Since they’re not with the other survivors, how would Ilana have known that?
• Did Juliet purposely show up to the recruitment office a little late to let Kate sweat a bit? If so, that’s kind of awesome.
• WHEN did the rest of the survivors land? Are they really in 2007 or 2008? New Otherton looks more like what it would look like a few years after the Purge than the way it did when Ben was running it. You can see the sign for the Processing Centre hanging there, and there are Dharma symbols on the doors. Neither is there when the Others are living there. Have they landed in another time? Or is New Otherton actually completely gone, and it’s become as ethereal as Jacob’s cabin, with Smokey just making it look like however he wants it to look? Those yearly photos of the Dharma recruits weren’t in the rec room before.
• When Jack asked Sawyer, “So where do we go from here?” did anyone else get the song from Buffy in their heads?

Next week: Based on Jack’s aptitude test, he’ll be doing janitorial work. By the looks of it, Sayid believes he’s been sent to the island to kill Ben, Sawyer turns on the Oceanic 4, and Kate decides to try to steal Sawyer back from Juliet. Presumably so she can sleep with him and the pretend she doesn’t know him the next day.

UPDATE: My DocArzt column is now up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lost Finale Announced!

Thanks fb for emailing me earlier today with the news, but the Lost finale is scheduled to air on May 13 for two hours. My calculations had it ending on May 20, but apparently I can't count. I then broke it down according to my writing schedule (I have a week-by-week schedule for writing the season 5 book, and on the Wednesdays I have written out the ep numbers) but again, I'd written one week's number twice. Sigh. This is why I was never cut out to be a math major.

So start planning those finale parties! I don't have one, simply because I have way too much writing to do that night... but maybe for the big, big finale in 2010 I'll have to finagle my way into a party somewhere. Anyone know of a particularly awesome one?

Oh, and I've mentioned it before, but just as a reminder, the April 22 episode will be a clip show, according to the ABC site. Which means the May 13 episode will be episode 16 for the first hour, and episode 17 for the second.

And finally, while I'm using this as my Lost scheduling announcements page, I will be off in the UK from April 14 to April 23. Thank goodness the clip show is happening while I'm away, but it means I won't be doing my usual post after the April 15 show (SOB). However, I'm planning on *cough*downloading*cough* it, and will see how much I can write up in a B&B or sitting on the lefthand side of the car while my husband bombs down tiny little narrow roads. :) Oh, how I love the UK!

LaFleur Revisited

So maybe you haven't had a chance to wade through the 227 comments that accompanied my blog post for "LaFleur." It's getting to the point where I am having difficulty keeping up! But I do read all of the comments, even if I don't respond (I usually make a mental note to do it... and these days mental notes live in my head for about 10 seconds before they disappear). But if you didn't make it through all of the comments, here are some observations I found particularly interesting.

Here's one of my favourites. mgkoeln posted this pic that a fan spotted. When Sawyer rushes out to find his favourite car mechanic, he asks a man bent over a car, who points in Juliet's direction. If you look closely, the man's nametag says, "Tom."

Does this mean our favourite Other was also in the Dharma Initiative? If this really is the Tom that Sawyer will eventually blow away on the beach in 2004, well... that's gotta make for some awkward moments between Mr. Friendly and LaFleur during the DI softball tournaments.


Possibilities for who Amy's baby could be, according to my commentators:
Hurley: A lot of fans pointed out that her curly hair could be a clue to Hurley being born on the island. Whoa, dude.
Ethan: We saw Amelia, the elderly woman in Juliet's book club, chastize him for not fixing the plumbing yet, talking to him like a son. Amelia could be Amy. (Personally, I think he's too old, but this is the island...)
Charlie: He was born on the island, grew up on the island, maybe even time-traveled and has no recollection of it. One thing that still hangs in the air for me about Charlie is the fact that he stared at that console at the end of season 3 and somehow knew EXACTLY what notes to play for Good Vibrations, and the woman who gave him the key to the security code said, "It was programmed by a musician." Part of me has always wondered if that musician was Charlie, in another time.
Sawyer: Awesome just for the creepiness of it.
Jacob: He was never meant to be born originally, which is why he's invisible to most people, and can be seen only by people who time traveled on the island. Interesting. Though, Richard knows who he is in 1954, but maybe that's because Tricky Dick was already time traveling.
Just a baby, and the significance is that it was conceived and born on the island, which is a huge feat in itself. (Unless, as one reader pointed out, Horace and Amy took out the sub for a weekend delight off the island...)


DocArzt posted the following information: That if you rewatch the most recent ComicCon video (and at this stage in the season, it's definitely worth a revisit), just as the man who sounds like Daniel is telling Pierre that his message is useless (Pierre is begging the people of the future to come back and save the DI, and change the past so the Purge doesn't happen), Pierre stands up and you can hear him say, "LaFleur, what are you doing?" I listened to it, and it really does sound like him. If you want to jump right to the spot, come in around 3:20, and he says it around 3:35.

Since it's pretty clear it's Daniel working the camera, could Sawyer be coming in behind Daniel to do something? Is he referring to Daniel as LaFleur?


Re: The little girl Charlotte, who looks about 3 in 1974, but shouldn't have been born until 1979. One reader said that just because Daniel saw a little redheaded girl skipping by and assumed it was Charlotte doesn't mean it was actually her. True enough. He had Charlotte on the brain, and maybe a chipmunk could have flitted by and he would have looked at it and said in his wavering voice, "Charlotte?!"

Another reader pointed out that if Charlotte and her mother exited the island via FDW, they could have been sent into the future. If they'd landed in a time like 1982, then three-year-old Charlotte would have been assumed to have been born in 1979.


And now, some random comments I enjoyed:

When I saw Horace blowing trees up, my first thought was that this action looked and sounded exactly like the “tree-exploder” aspect of Smokey. Did Future Smokey incorporate Exploding Trees into its repertoire because of Horace’s actions that night? Does Smokey dislike members of the DI (including Juliet in “Left Behind”) because of Horace’s tree-destruction? Is Smokey a relative of Tolkien’s Ents?

According to Lostpedia, the assumption that Olivia was related to or married to Horace was made by ABC's Lost website b/c they said her last name was Goodspeed. But yes, in the episode Man Behind The Curtain there was never any real mention that they are married, so most likely they were brother/sister.

In "Jughead," Cunningham said to Sawyer and his group that the rest of the Left Behinders were either killed or captured. Perhaps Rose and Bernard were among those who were captured, and maybe "recruited" by the Hostiles? Are they going to become Others?

Does everyone here know that if you hold down the alt key and type Hurley's numbers that upon releasing the alt key, the character µ will show up? MU, the lost continent?

I love that little tidbit about the numbers being ASCII code for the character µ (mu) and Mu being the Pacific equivalent of Atlantis, with all sorts of interesting cultural ties (to Lovecraft, Heinlein, Robert E. Howard and...Mega Man Star Force 2 and the video game for Duck Tales 2).
Aside from wondering if Locke turns out to be Mega Man, I'm reminded of the band The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu, which later became the KLF, although one of its other alter-egos was...THE TIMELORDS! Which means that Richard is really Dr. Who and the Island is his TARDIS.
It's all starting to make sense now...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

LaFleur: Deleted Scene

In honour of tonight's LACK OF EPISODE (:::sob:::) I thought of posting a fake blog on the next episode, but I did that a year ago, and some people just about choked on their coffee when they read it, at first thinking they'd missed a legitimate episode. I don't want to fake anyone out again. :) So, instead, I found out about this deleted scene from "LaFleur," from the scene where Sawyer goes out to meet with Richard Alpert. Enjoy!


SAWYER: I also know that 20 years ago, some bald fella limped into your camp and fed you some mumbo jumbo about being your leader. And then poof... he went and disappeared right in front of ya. Any of this ringin' a bell? That man's name is John Locke, and I'm waitin' for him to come back. So... you still think I'm a member of the damn DHARMA Initiative?

RICHARD: No. I guess I don't. But no matter who you are, two of my men are dead. And my people need some kind of justice. Now what are we gonna do about that?

SAWYER: Seriously? Listen here, Captain Eyeliner, I just told you that I’m a time traveler and I’ve BEEN time traveling with the very man that you’re searching for. At the very least, you should be asking me how the hell I know that and who or what I am. Then you should be asking me what I know about John Locke, and thirdly, the audience should be asking how the hell I would know any of this since I was somewhere else in the jungle while John was in your camp.

RICHARD: Look, I don’t know where your hostility is coming from, but I can assure you I know plenty about John Locke, and I don’t think I need to be getting any information from [sits back and takes a good look at Sawyer]… you.

SAWYER: Maybe I should repeat myself: I am a time traveler.

RICHARD: Show me someone on this island who isn’t, and then I’ll be impressed. You think you’re somehow special because the island has forced you to jump through time? I’ve been living on this island for a lot longer than you. A LOT longer. And check me out: I’m still young and hot.

SAWYER: How the hell do I know you’re telling the truth?

RICHARD: Are you calling me a liar?? Tell me, in this “time traveling” that you did, did you ever see a statue? Because that is a statue that was built hundreds of years ago. And I was THERE. I am a phar-OH, would you look at the time!

SAWYER: Wait a minute, there, Hoss, what were you about to tell me? That this island has something to do with Ancient Egypt or something?

RICHARD: Really, I do need to get going. I have, um… some hair growing to do. In time to make a magical appearance to Ben. I really need to…

SAWYER: Wait, what did you say there, Tutankhamen?? Ben, as in Ben Linus? Is HE in this camp, too?

RICHARD: Aw, jeez… um… look, I gotta run.

SAWYER: Is he time traveling, too? Did the two of you start some ancient civilization on this island that still carries some of the mystical properties to this day and you discovered how to separate it from the rest of the world, calling up a smoke monster as some sort of ancient protector over all, and the reason we all crashed on the island is because…


DAMON: All right, CUT! Josh, what the hell are you doing? You’re like, giving away the ending and we’re only in season 5.

JOSH HOLLOWAY: NO WAY! Did I seriously just figure it out??

DAMON: Uh… n-no? No. Absolutely not. [To Carlton] Scrap all that Egyptian stuff… we’ll have to start over.

JOSH: Oh, SNAP, I totally figured it out, didn’t I??

DAMON: No you didn’t, Josh. So just cut it out.

EMILIE DE RAVIN: [emerging from the jungle] Is it time for my line, yet?

DAMON: Sigh… No, Emilie. I told you, you need to stick around in the jungle until we need you.

EMILIE: But I don’t understand why you can’t just let me know when I’ll be used and then call me to the set on that day. I’ve been hiding in this friggin’ jungle for WEEKS, now, Damon!

DAMON: It’s all part of the mystique! Claire’s out there somewhere, hangin’ with Christian. She’ll be back in season 6, so don’t worry, and… oh.

EMILIE: Season 6?! You mean you had no reason to use me AT ALL this season?? That’s it. I spent a season just sitting on the beach holding a giant doll and asking Jack every two minutes if the kid looked sick to him, and then another season tromping through the jungle with the damn kid slung over my shoulder, and now you’ve had me picking bamboo bits out of my hair for weeks for NOTHING. I quit. [Storms off…]

DAMON: [To Carlton] CRAP. Cut out all that stuff about Claire’s part in all of this. We’ll have to reveal that Christian also fathered Kate or something.


DAMON: Let’s just get the writers together. We’ve got some work to do. [They all leave.]

NESTOR CARBONELL: Um… hello? Anyone? Can I wash the eyeliner off now?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Who's Watching the Watchmen?

I am!

I tend to read books visually, trying to imagine how a movie could be made from the words that I'm reading. In some cases, I can see pretty easily how a movie could be made. In other cases, it seems next to impossible. In the case of The Watchmen, a book I LOVED, I couldn't figure out how they could adapt the book in less than 15 hours. The pirate story alone would be a tough one. But when the trailers starting popping up for the feature film of The Watchmen, I was thrilled beyond words. Doc Manhattan looked amazing, The Comedian was awesome, and the actual look of Alan Moore's rendition of America in 1985 was true to the illustrations in the novel. I couldn't wait.

[WARNING: This review will contain some spoilers for the book and the movie.] Last night I went to see it, and I wasn't disappointed. I'll be interested to see what the hardcore fans of the graphic novel, who have devoured it dozens of times, thought of Snyder's adaptation of the book, but I thought it was beautifully done. For me, the movie would hinge on the success of a single character: Rorschach. And Jackie Earle Haley, most recently known for his Oscar-nominated turn as a child molester in "Little Children" (and not known RECENTLY for anything else, since he was a child star who disappeared for ages before this film), is PERFECT. He portrays the morally ambiguous man who denies his very self -- his mask is his "face," and even it is an ever-changing inkblot, and he never uses personal nouns and pronouns like I, me, or my, as if they don't exist to him. His interpretation of the character was amazing, from Kovacs' underlying seething rage to his annoyed, "Hurm," that he mutters throughout the book. I loved him.

I thought Patrick Wilson's Dan Dreiberg was also great. In the book, there are panels where he's quite dashing, and in the very next one he's schlubby. Wilson somehow managed to convey that, though thankfully, he wasn't quite as schlubby as he is in the comic. The Silk Spectre was good (her lines were delivered in a bit of a stilted way, but considering she's a little flat in the book, too, I didn't mind) and had that square-jawed face like the illustration, without the masculinity that's always been part of the drawing of that character.

LOVED The Comedian. Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives him the cigar-chomping awfulness, and Snyder stayed extremely faithful to every panel that we see the Comedian in, whether he's committing personal atrocities in Vietnam or leaping out of Archimedes to blow away a group of protesters.

I wish we'd seen a little bit more of Hollis Mason (not just because I loved the character in the book, which I did, but also because the Canadian actor, Stephen McHattie, who portrayed him, is the star of Pontypool, a Bruce McDonald film that also opened this weekend and was similarly fantastic). But I don't think the film loses too much by denying us Dreiberg's repeated visits to him. I was surprised it didn't reveal his vicious murder, however. I kept waiting for that to happen.

Moloch was well done by Matt Frewer (I'm about to reveal my age here, but I can't look at him without thinking of Max Headroom). Adrian Veidt was played by Matthew Goode, an actor I wasn't particularly familiar with, but I thought he was pretty good, too. I found it a little strange that his accent kept flipping from American to British to... something... but I think it added to the distance we sort of have from Veidt, not being able to nail down any sort of distinct origin for him. (It's been a little bit since I've read the book, and I remember Bubastis being red... was I remembering that incorrectly? She's blue in the film. Maybe her colour changes throughout... now I can't remember... in any case, I thought the cat was beautiful, and exactly the way she's supposed to look.)

And then there's Doc Manhattan. I always pictured him to be a quiet speaker, detached, speaking in a bit of a monotone, saying something colossal as if it were nothing, and Billy Crudup did exactly that. Doc Manhattan was stunning.

Speaking of stunning, the look of this movie is enough to fall in love with it. I could have watched it on Mute and would have still been impressed. Manhattan's crystal palace on Mars... that scene of Veidt sitting before the bank of televisions with Bubastis by his side... Archimedes rising above New York... it was shot-for-shot.

So what's missing? The pirate story is gone (it WAS filmed, however, and will be appearing on a separate DVD). The newspaper salesman and the kid reading the pirate comic aren't throughout the film, though they do appear right before the apocalypse. The doctor who is psychoanalyzing Kovacs in prison plays a much smaller role, and isn't nearly as sympathetic as he is in the book. There's quite a bit missing from the book, but it's SO multi-layered, pulling out several of those layers and focusing on just the most important ones was essential. The actual Veidt-engineered apocalypse was changed completely... that giant alien squid was gone, and was instead replaced by a blue ball of energy not unlike the one that surrounds Manhattan and Spectre when they're on Mars. And, hopefully without incurring the wrath of any of my readers, I kinda liked the movie version more. It just made more sense, and seemed like something that would have been immediately blamed on Manhattan, whereas the alien thing was just... yeah.

There were things I didn't like about the film. First, someone needs to throw that music supervisor into a prison cell with Rorschach for a minute. What a huge disappointment that was. It was like the only requirement was to find the MOST OBVIOUS song for each scene and throw it in there. So to show the opening montage about how much the times have changed, they play The Times Are A-Changing. As Rorschach and Nite Owl approach Veidt's Antarctica castle, we hear All Along the Watchtower, because, you know... two riders are approaching. (Sigh.) As the world dies, we hear Mozart's Requiem. And, just in case you were worried this movie was set in 1967 and not 1985, we hear "99 Luftballoons" at one point (which, sorry, now I can only picture as a German lullaby that Liz Lemon's grandmother sang to her). The music was a massive disappointment, and required sublety to counteract the huge things happening on screen. (Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during a sex scene between Owl and Spectre... seriously??) It's not like they had to try very hard: Alan Moore references Elvis Costello, John Cale, and numerous other singers and songs throughout the book... so stick with those.

I didn't like the look of Sally Jupiter. In the 1940s, she has her hair coiffed in the up-do that was all the rage at the time. In the 1980s, her hair is white, but still styled exactly the same way because Sally has never stopped being the original Silk Spectre. She will always be sitting in one spot, nostalgic for who she used to be. In the film, they updated her hairdo, which was entirely out of character (and she looked like she lived in a weird split-level ranch, not a retirement home).

In the book, Rorschach dies alone. It's a devastating moment that only Jon sees (and commits) but in the movie, his death is punctuated by the long "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" from Nite Owl. I thought it should have been left a little more desolate, with Dan not knowing what happened to Rorschach.

But these are relatively minor quibbles with an otherwise stunning film. At two hours and 45 minutes, it never actually felt like it was dragging. And there's a scene where Spectre and Nite Owl come charging into the prison where Kovacs is being held, and the film turns it into an exhilarating scene that rivals the spectacle of Neo and Trinity entering the building near the end of the Matrix in a hail of gunfire and acrobatics. My heart was racing during this scene. In fact, everything to do with the prison was the best part of this film, from Rorschach's curt putdowns ("Tall order." "Fat chance.") to the best line in the film, delivered in the cafeteria, to Rorschach's extraction. Brilliant.

A friend of mine is a film critic who emails me after he's seen screeners, and I generally agree with his quickie reviews of whether or not I should see it. But in the case of The Watchmen, he told me that he didn't read the book because he wanted to know if a person could understand the film without having done so. His conclusion? Absolutely not. This is a film for the readers of the book.

I'm not sure I agree with that. Of course, it's hard to say, since I did read the book, but my husband only read the first half of the book and he seemed to follow the movie okay.

But I want to hear from you. Are you a diehard fan of the book? What did you think? Did you like the changes Zack Snyder made? Do you think the stuff left out was okay being gone? Or are you someone who never read the book and went to see the film? Were you able to follow it? Did you like it? I'm eager to hear what other people are saying about this movie.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lost 5.08: That Statue

In my blog post yesterday I made a case for the statue (which we only see from the back) being Set.

It could be Anubis, but the long jackal ears aren't there. Instead, as I pointed out in my post, Set was the mortal enemy of Horus, and was the god of chaos and destruction. He was eventually banished to the desert. Horace seems to be the enemy of the Others (who presumably worshipped the statue in their earlier days) and when you go off the island, you are banished to the desert.

But one of my readers, Chris Temple, emailed me making a case for another Egyptian god. This is Taweret:

She is the Egyptian goddess of sagging breasts pregnancy and childbirth. She has small ears, like the island statue, and that flat hat on her head. And... she has four toes. But more importantly, her importance is a goddess of fertility, and when we know what happened on the island, could the Others have always had fertility problems and they once called upon gods and goddesses to help them?

I think this is an excellent case. However, I think I'm still leaning to Set, simply because from the back the statue looks male and muscular, not, well, fat with her breasts hanging down to her waist. (Why is it that the childbirth goddess has to be a friggin' hippo?)

Here's a particularly wicked picture of Set.

I'll let you decide.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lost 5.08: LaFleur

“The record is spinning again. We’re just not on the song we want to be on.”

Well, you guys certainly had a lot to say about last week’s episode. There were 143 comments on my original blog post, and 34 on a follow-up I did about part of one scene.

This week’s episode gives us a bridge between 2005 and 2008 (or 1974 and 1977...) and there’s a LOT of food for thought in it. This one will become extremely important in episodes to come, just for what has been established.

“That Was More Like an Earthquake”
So what happened with that time jump? One minute we’re facing what appears to be the back of the four-toed statue (YEEEEESSSSSS!!!!) and the next minute, we’re jumping away (NOOOOOO!!!) Everyone grabbed their heads like they were about to explode, but then realized their headaches were gone and everything had stopped. Did they go all the way back to the beginning? Could Locke heading down the well have somehow jumped them back a couple of thousand years to an ancient civilization? And then they suddenly jumped forward again? It doesn’t explain why it hurt so much to jump forward, but not back, other than the donkey wheel was involved the second time (presumably the headaches came from the, um, record turntable coming to a sudden stop). There were a few Egyptian references in this episode, but that was definitely the most exciting (see below for more).

And I thought JACK had the worst facial hair...
WHAT was up with Sawyer’s beard?? When he jumps into the filled-in well, his beard was on its way to Jeardsville. It’s dark and thick and looks like it’s been growing in real time as they’ve been jumping around. Then they head to Daniel, and it’s light-coloured and normal again. They head to the beach and it’s black again. They hear shots, and run toward them, and it’s normal again. It’s dark on and off later in the camp. I’m thinking they shaved his beard to do the flashforward scenes, and then cut pasted coffee grinds or something on his face (remember doing that when you'd go out as a hobo on Halloween?) and certainly weren’t very consistent about it.

Three Years Forward... Three Years Back
By zipping forward three years in the beginning, I thought they were setting up a new version of where we were in season 1... for the rest of the series we’d be forced to piece together what we’d missed over those three years (we’ve had quite a number of episodes filling us in on the Oceanic 6 and what we’ve missed over there). But by the end of the episode, I was a little worried that that’s ALL we’re going to see of the three years. We’ve spent 4 years watching the first three months on the island, and less than 40 minutes seeing what happened to these people over the following three years in their time. And they’ve certainly put the Skaters (those shippers who want to see Kate and Sawyer together) in a difficult position, because now you have the moral quandary of Suliet to deal with. Kate was in Sawyer’s heart for 3 months. Juliet’s been there ever since. To us, it doesn’t work – there’s almost no chemistry, we don’t have the long lead-up we got with Sawyer and Kate, and the tension of Jack glowering beside them the entire time isn't there either. But to them, it’s been a long time. Sawyer is clearly not over Kate (or he wouldn’t have lied to Juliet) but where is this going to put Juliet? Will she become the other woman yet again? Have the writers just made Kate’s decision for us, and now she’ll end up with Jack no matter what? Hm... (I know I rarely comment on the ships, because frankly for the most part I couldn’t care less, but in this case, it’s a difficult one.)

• The statue!! The statue!! It’s the four-toed statue! We’re finally going to see what it looked like and how big it was and we’ve gone way back to the civilization that made it and... oh, balls.
• Sawyer jumping in the well to save Locke.
• Miles jumping in the car and calling Sawyer “Boss,” and Sawyer calling him “Enos.” HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
• “Yeah, thanks anyway, Plato.” LOL! Sawyer’s nicknames were at an all-time high in this episode.
• Daniel seeing Charlotte again.
• Sawyer telling Alpert about John Locke, and the look on Alpert’s face.
• Sawyer seeing the Oceanic 3 again.

Did You Notice?:

•The giant statue looked very much like one of the Egyptian gods. Seen from behind, it could be any number of them, but I’m thinking it’s either Set or Anubis. Anubis (this photo is a statue of Anubis that was in London, England) has the head of a jackal, body of a man, and we can see ears sticking up on the top of the head (the ears on the island statue don't look this long). He is the god of the afterlife, and that could be essential to this island, feeding back into all the early fan theories about the island being heaven or hell or purgatory. Set the Destroyer is the other possibility, and probably the stronger one for me: he was the god of the desert (notice where Ben and Locke both ended up when they turned the wheel), but also the god of Chaos. His enemy was Isis: Set killed Osiris, and thwarted Isis’s efforts to get him into the afterlife. When Isis’s son grew up, he swore revenge on Set and fought him viciously, with Set removing one of his eyes. Eventually Set was driven out into the desert. Isis’s son’s name was Horus. Or maybe we'll eventually see the other side of the statue and it'll be Locke's face. Now THAT would be creepy. (Kind of like the outside of Dr. Evil's lair in the Austin Powers movies.)
• I pointed out a couple of weeks ago that in Jack’s bedroom he had a reel-to-reel tape deck, and we see a guy queuing one up in the Dharma station.
• How freakin’ excited was I to see Herc from Friday Night Lights (out of his wheelchair!) and Jimmy Barrett from Mad Men in the Dharma Station?? SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED! Aw, thank you, Darlton. I love when my shows come together...
• As the gang heads to New Otherton, Sawyer tells Miles and Juliet to keep their mouths shut and let him do the talking, and that they have to come up with a lie. He’s become the Jack of this gang, just like Jack was telling everyone to let him do the talking and perpetuate the lie about what really happened in the plane crash.
• The fact that Horace offers everyone a one-way trip off the island on the sub shows that the Dharma Initiative didn’t have the same interest in keeping the island a secret that the Others have. Horace clearly didn’t see how special the island was.
• When the alarm in the compound goes off and everyone is ushered into the house, Daniel runs in the other direction (he's not in the house with Juliet, Sawyer, Jin, and Miles). We don't see Daniel three years in the future, either. What happened to him??
• Well, that’s one way to make the English-speaking a lot easier for Jin.
• The necklace that Paul was wearing is the Egyptian ankh symbol. The ankh is the symbol for eternal life.
• As Sawyer is walking through the barracks, right before he picks the flower, you see two people playing chess.
• When Sawyer wakes up on the couch after being zonked by the sonic fence, Horace says, “How’s your head?” and Sawyer just says, “It hurts.” Three years later, the same exchange happens after Horace wakes the morning after his bender, only the speakers are switched.

So Many Questions...
• Presumably, Horace got the dynamite from the Black Rock. Three years earlier, he claimed to know nothing about the boat when Sawyer said he was searching for it on an expedition. Was he lying to Sawyer? Or did he find it in the meantime?
• In “Man Behind the Curtain, we see Ben arrive on the island about ten years after he was born. Fans assumed that was the early 1970s and that Ben was born in the early 60s. But in this episode, Horace has a son by Amy in 1977. Ben is clearly not on the island yet or I think Monsieur LaFleur would be a little freaked out by him. When Ben DOES arrive, Horace is married to a blonde woman named Olivia, and there’s no mention of a child, or Amy for that matter. What happened to the baby and Amy?
• Why did Charlotte disappear instead of travelling to the new time? Do dead people go somewhere else and they don’t time travel? If Charlotte is a child in 1974 when they first arrive at the camp, do the rules of time travel dictate that her dead body can’t travel to that spot? (Jeremy Davies is phenomenal in every scene of this episode, by the way.)
• What did Paul do? Did the hostiles actually kill him, or did Amy? We only see one of them reaching forward to grab a gun away from her, but she never says they killed Paul. Why was he shot? Why were the hostiles about to execute Amy?
• When Mikhail stepped into the sonic fence, he began spewing blood from every orifice. These guys had seizures and passed out. Did Amy set the fence on a lower frequency, one that she could cut out with earplugs?
• Why was Amy able to bring the baby to term on the island? What caused the women to stop having them? The Purge?
• How are they going to explain that Car Mechanic Juliet is actually Fertility Specialist/Surgeon Juliet?
• What would Sawyer know about Creole names?
• Did anyone see the title of the book that Sawyer was reading?
• Will there be any significance to Amy’s baby? Could it be someone we know? (Will they name it Boone, for example?)
• So let me get this straight: Horace isn’t a drinker, and he finds a token that Amy has kept from her dead husband, and he goes nuts, has a fight with Amy, gets really drunk and begins tossing lit sticks of dynamite around? Mountains out of molehills much??

Next week: NOTHING. SOB....... But don't worry, I'll find a way to post on Lost. Don't forget to tune in! :)

UPDATE: Here is the preview for the episode in two weeks: