Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LOST Jughead, first thoughts

As always, SPOILERS if you haven't seen the episode yet.

Let's start with the big one, Charles Widmore was an Other.

I have to admit, I thought it was a possibility that "Jones" was Widmore, A. because he had an English accent while wearing a US Uniform, so that meant it probably wasn't his and B. because he said "my Island" in a very similar way to old Widmore, but I was a little shocked by Widmore being an Other.  I wondered if at some point he was the leader of the Others similarly to Benry and John, that he had been chosen by the Island to lead the inhabitants, but was somehow ousted and that's why he called it "my Island", but didn't think he would be an Other subordinate.  Very interesting.

The episode also served to tie him to Dharma, however.  He has been tied to Dharma previously by bidding on and winning the journal of the first mate of the Black Rock (the slave ship in the middle of the Island with the Dynamite in it), the ship of course was owned by Magnus Hanso, the great grandfather of Alvar Hanso who helped set up Dharma.  In this episode, there is a hanging on his office wall, which we don't get a great look at, but which clearly has "Namaste" written atop it.  Namaste, of course, is a common Dharma greeting.
So, while we have learned that Widmore was at one point an Other, I think we should also keep in mind his ties to Dharma.

Faraday's mother

Widmore gives Desmond an address he says belongs to Widmore's mother.  I, along with most everyone else I've talked to or read theories of, believe Faraday's mother to be Ms. Hawking, the woman who Desmond met in the episode Flashes Before Your Eyes, when he tried to buy Penny's engagement ring from her and she told him that it wasn't the way it happened.  We learned at the end of The Lie last week that Ms. Hawking is indeed in LA (since that's where Benry is, and they interacted at the end of the episode), so this strengthens the theory that Ms. Hawking is in fact Faraday's mother.  (Also there is the fact that Faraday tried to tell Desmond his mother's name but was unable to due to the time shift.  His inability to say the name to Desmond as well as our inability to hear it leads me to believe it would be a name we would know, hence Ms. Hawking).  So the question is, does Widmore actually know that Ms. Hawking is in LA or is he trying to mislead Desmond.  And if he does know that Ms. Hawking is in LA, does he know that she is working with Benry?

Widmore tries to warn Desmond to keep Penny safe.  This is important because of events in The Shape of Things To Come when Benry came to Widmore in his penthouse suite.  Benry told Widmore that he would kill Penny since Widmore killed Alex.  And, of course, at the end of this episode, Desmond and Penny are headed towards LA where Benry awaits.  Not good.

Faraday's Research

So, Widmore also funded Faraday's research.  Probably because of having run into the castaways in the past (including Faraday, although we haven't seen them meet yet) and hearing of their tales of time travel.  My guess is that their travels and interactions with the Others directly leads to Widmore leaving the Island and subsequently trying to get back.  He also is apparently covering up Faraday's research.  I have to assume that the "fumigator" works for Widmore.

Meanwhile, Theresa Spencer (or maybe Spenser) appears to be suffering from the same thing that afflicted Desmond in The Constant.  She appears to be unstuck from time.  Her sister Abigail Spenser (or Spencer, but I like Spenser) is watching over her (and, of course, it is all payed for by Widmore).

Why do I think it is Spenser and not Spencer?  Because of the poet Edmund Spenser.  He wrote the epic poem The Faerie Queene as well as a book called A View on the State of Ireland in which he talked about ways to subdue Ireland (an Island) and it's natives (sound familiar?) and one of the ways was the destruction of the land to cause famine, an idea he got from something the English had done to Ireland earlier which in what was known as (get this) The Desmond Rebellions.  Not sure where the Theresa or Abigail come from, but I'm feeling pretty confident about the Spenser.

Speaking of ruining land and causing famine, a pretty effective way to do that would be a Hydrogen bomb, which begs the question, how important is the bomb?  Faraday tells Ellie how to deal with it, so theoretically, the issue could be over.  If Richard believes them (and why wouldn't he when they disappear in a flash of light so theatrically) then surely he follows Faraday's advice and buries the bomb, rendering the bomb into merely a MacGuffin device.  However, if it is a MacGuffin device, then why is the name of the episode also the name of the bomb?  That seems to add a little more importance to it.  So I shan't be surprised if the bomb comes up again, and at the moment am inclined to believe it will (sorry Hitch).

Of Interest

I loved the quote that young Widmore gave us...
"Follow me? Their leader is some sodding old man. What, you think he can track me? You think he knows this Island better then I do?"

I also loved, loved, loved that Desmond named his son after Charlie.  Awesome, and I totally buy it.

Until Next Time, I'm off to watch Life on Mars now, because it is awesome.  I hope that you all watch it also, because I am tired of awesome new shows getting canceled way before their time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

BSG A Disquiet Follows My Soul, first thoughts

Battlestar is always at it's best when it focuses on the small things.  Sure, the majority of the episode dealt with how humanity (aka the majority of the fleet and a few members of Galactica) is handling the realization that everything they had placed their hopes and dreams in were false, and that's certainly not small things, but the episode was grounded with the relationship of Roslin and Adama and her finally taking her life into her own hands as opposed to being what everyone else needs her to be, and the discovery that Tyrol is not, in actuality, the father of Cally's baby.  (I thought for sure that it was going to be Baltar, but it turns out it was Hot Dog).

Taking away the other Half Cylon, the show added some intrigue to the full Cylon being born to Saul and the 6, as 6 acknowledged the importance of the baby saying, "This means we can survive without resurrection." 

There will most certainly be more on this as the show finishes.

Meanwhile, bigger picture, Zarek and Gaeta are planning a revolution, upset with the way things have turned out, and very suspicious as to any further alliance with the rebel Cylons.  For those confused as to why Felix is so adamantly anti-Cylon these days, check out the webisodes at

Ultimately, I think that there are only two ways the show can end.  The humans and rebel Cylons end up destroying Cavil's fleet and ultimately decide to resettle Kobal, leading to a future in which the humans head to resettle the 12 colonies and the Cylons head to resettle Earth as the 13th colony (something that was hinted at in the Cylon's price for their technology, they wanted to essentially be the 13th colony), proving once again that all of this has happened before and all of it will happen again.  Or, the characters will realize that and somehow break free of the circle landing on a new home and finally ending the cycle for good.

At least that's how I see it.

Until Next Time, sadly only eight episodes left, but BSG: The Plan (a movie written by the great Jane Espenson and directed by Edward James Olmos) is finished with production and moving into post and Caprica is set to air next season, so at least the universe will continue.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

LOST Because You Left and The Lie, first thoughts

LOST is back and with two power packed (and far more blood and gore filled then normal) episodes.

I loved how the opening scene was very similar to the opening scene from Season 2.  We follow someone although we don't know exactly who it is.  They put on a record and go through there morning routine.  This time, however, instead of Desmond it is Marvin Candle/Edgar Halliwax/Mark Wickmund/Pierre Chang.  And instead of the music working fine until an explosion stops the recording, this time the music repeats over and over one line while skipping.  (Skipping record).

So the scientist with many names goes to record on of his award winning orientation films when he is informed of trouble at the Orchid Station and goes to warn the workers there that if they mess with the power behind that wall "God Help us All!" and gives some talk about Time Travel.  The construction worker doesn't buy it and laughs about it to none other then Daniel Faraday.  I think now is a good time to watch this if you haven't seen it already.

It's the beginning of the latest ARG where you could become a member of the newly reformed Dharma Initiative.  Ignore the beginning and the end and just pay attention to the part featuring Marvin Candle et al and the person who is working the camera is most certainly Daniel Faraday.

We know from the episode that our main characters who remained on the Island, all of them who weren't natives it appears, are somehow unstuck from time.  Skipping like a record (see) according to Faraday.  Faraday claims that they can't do anything to change the past, but it appears that he is trying to do just that.  How?  Because apparently some people aren't as beholden to things like time as the rest of us are.  Desmond is one of them.  Flashes Before Your Eyes from Season 3 and The Constant from last season both appear to be episodes that will bear rewatching for this season.  After Faraday gives Desmond that message, he awakens in the present remembering it.

Faraday sends him to find his mother, as he is about to reveal her name however he shifts again.

I'm betting that his mother's name is Mrs. Hawking.  Someone that Desmond is familiar with, as was Brother Campbell the monk that Desmond served under, and as we find out at the end of the premiere, so is Benry Gale.

Using what appears to be a Foucault pendulum (popularized in the Umberto Eco novel Foucault's Pendulum, which certainly makes Mr. Eko's name more interesting) Ms. Hawking has apparently established a way back to the Island.  She tells Benry that he has 70 hours.  This is, of course, made more difficult by the fact that Hugo has turned himself into the police.  Also, he'd better succeed or "God Help Us All."  Making that a bookend phrase, interesting.  It starts and ends the premiere night.

Following Sayid's advice, Hurley did the opposite of what Benry wanted, but in doing so he ignored Ana Lucia's advice.  When Hurley was trying to flee the (not so) Safe House with a drugged/passed out Sayid he got pulled over by the police.  When that happened I was sure that it would be Ana Lucia's partner most recently seen in last season's premiere (also a Hurley-centric).  My friend Alec called it though right after I suggested it would be her partner.  Very impressive.  I, on the other hand, was momentarily shocked when it turned out to be Ana Lucia herself.  Once I got over my shock I remembered Hurley sees dead people.  Ana Lucia's advice to him was to avoid the police and specifically not to get arrested.  The advice didn't stick with Hurley for very long.  Ana Lucia probably pushed it out of his head by also saying that Libby said hi.  Damn we'd better get some Libby satisfaction soon.  What is up with her?  I still want to know why she was in the mental institution with Hurley.

Meanwhile Dr. Jack and Benry Gale discuss how to get the band back together and Kate and Sun have a chat.

The gaping plot hole in the O6 story has been snuffed out by someone.  According to their lie, Kate was 6 months pregnant when she was arrested in Australia (shouldn't be hard to disprove) and Sun should have conceived before the crash (since the father of the baby supposedly died in the crash) and yet we know that she conceived on the Island.  These lies are the ones that can trip them up and Kate's already seems to be.  Sun tells her to react with violence.  Man losing Jin has changed her.  (Still standing by the belief that he's not dead, by the way, and if you noticed his name is still in the opening credits, so that bodes well for me being right).

So, some of the questions raised in these episodes

-Who shot the flaming arrows and who subsequently caught Juliet and Sawyer?  (side note, lots of things in these episodes were nice throwbacks to earlier episodes not just the opening scene, but Frogurt's death was very reminiscent of Leslie Artz's at the Black Rock).  They weren't Others and they weren't Dharma.  Of course we don't know that the Flaming Arrows and the Off With Her Hand folk are the same people, but it stands to reason.

-When are they at the end of the episode, and is there any pattern to the flashes?  I'm betting no on the latter, but if there is a pattern, Faraday should be able to find it.

-Who is the lady at the Butcher shop who knows Benry so well she isn't surprised he pulls up with a dead Locke?  Is she an Other or something else?

Well, it's getting late so I'm going to wrap it up, but one interesting thing I noticed.  When Locke sees the drug runners plane crash and is climbing to check it out he gets shot in the leg by Ethan Rom (what goes around comes around, as Richard says).  If you think way back to season one episode 19 Deus Ex Machina when Boone and Locke first find the plane, Locke's leg gives out on him as if somehow being in that spot his body remembers the injury that he hasn't yet received and yet had already happened for Ethan.  Not sure if it is just coincidence, but it sure is something to think about.

Until Next Time, they're obviously going to have to get Hurley out of jail.  Now that Prison Break is ending I wonder if Michael Scofield is available (speaking of constant headaches and nose bleeds happening to TV characters).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BSG: Sometimes A Great Notion, first thoughts

Wow.  Holy Frak and Wow.  Those were my first thoughts.

Some thoughts during the episode?  HOLY FRAK! I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!


I was shocked and dismayed by Dee's death.  I had no idea that it was coming and the manner in which it occurred blew me away.  I was a little surprised that she was capable of it, and it just didn't seem like something that would occur to her right at that moment.

As I've reflected on it, however, I've come to realize that she was preparing herself for it the whole day. 

Watching Hera and playing with her, then going on a date with Apollo and reliving the happiness that they shared for too short a time.  She was soaking up the good and refusing to live any longer with the bad.  It was heartbreaking and it was powerful.  She will be sorely missed.

Earth was inhabited by Cylons.  This was a bigger reveal to me then the idea that Earth has been decimated by a nuclear holocaust.  The show has told us over and over that "All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again."  Clearly that is the case if the thirteenth tribe were Cylons.  I suppose that the remaining humans and Cylons are ultimately supposed to return to Kobal and settle there.  Then, when the tribes leave Kobal, the Cylons will go separate from the humans and go to Earth, the humans will go back to the twelve colonies.  Then thousands of years later, the humans will end up creating Cylons having no memory that they once lived with Cylons and the newly created Cylons will evolve and start a war with the humans. 

Meanwhile the original Cylons will somehow have destroyed themselves on Earth two thousand years earlier. 

Everything has happened before, everything will happen again.

Except I take some hope from something Apollo said in the mid season finale.  He answers D'Anna saying that it doesn't have to happen again.  They can change it.  As of now, they don't seem to be headed in a "let's change things" direction, but there are 9 episodes left.

What is really interesting was the realization by our Final 4 that they had lived on Earth and been there when the devastation occurred.  Why are they back and amongst the fleet that was headed towards Earth?  And how are they back?

We got a little clue at the same time we discovered the Final Cylon.  Ellen Tigh (and unlike what seems to be a lot of people I like this revelation) tells Saul (who had both eyes, ah, good times) that everything is in place. 

They'll be reborn and live again together.

This tells me a couple of things.

One, that at least the two of them had some idea that this holocaust might occur, and probably Anders, Tory, and Tyrol knew as well.

And two, by reappearing in the right time when it would be necessary to return to Earth, the reappearance of the Final Five either caused the Cylon War or it was actively planned by the reborn Cylons.  Ellen always seemed to know a little more then she let on.

So, will Ellen be back?  After all, Tigh killed her long before they blew up the Resurrection Hub.  And she was somehow privy to a way to bring her and Tigh back to life nearly two thousand years after they died many, many light years away.  I think that she will be.

I'm always fascinated by the Cylon numbers.  Why are the 7 known Cylons (excluding the Final Five) numbered 1 (Cavil), 2 (Leobon), 3 (D'Anna), 4 (Simon), 5 (Doral), 6, and then 8 (Boomer, Athena).  Why is 7 skipped?  We know the Final 5 are different then the other Cylons, and I'm wondering if 8 might actually be one of them.  From the beginning, 8 has shown herself to be different from the other Cylons.  Athena is an accepted member of the humans, and it was an 8 that broke the tie by severing herself from the rest of the 8s and siding with Cavil.  I don't know, but it certainly bears thinking about.

As for Starbuck, I honestly have no idea what to think.  She found herself and her ship destroyed and dead on Earth.  It was the signal from her destroyed Viper that her new Viper was able to follow.  What the frak does that mean?  Is Starbuck a clone of some kind?  Was a duplicate Starbuck created by traveling through some sort of wormhole?  Is Ellen somehow behind all of this?  Or is the Cylon God?  I really don't know what to think yet.

But I'm way ready to find out.

Until Next Time, I was blown away by the episode and am excited about the start of the final 10 episodes.  This is without a doubt the best television show I have ever seen and for my money is the best television show ever produced.  What'll they throw at us next?

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Return of BSG

The greatness that is Battlestar Galactica returns tonight on the Sci-Fi Network and I am extremely pumped (although also a little sad that this is the beginning of the end).

I now can say with some certainty that this is the greatest television show ever on television, and I will be extremely heartbroken when it ends.

However, we still have ten episodes to go until that happens, so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves and instead bask in the glory that is the final season while we have it.


Sorry about going pirate there, don't know where that came from.

Anyway, the rumor is that we'll know the final Cylon by the end of this episode, so we have one more chance to try and figure out who it might be.  My money is on Tom Zarek.

Here's what I wrote in an earlier post and I'm sticking by it...
Speaking of the Final Cylon, I think I know who it is.
Tom Zarek.
I actually have very little doubt.  Here's why.
1. He's certainly one of the most important characters not on the Last Supper photo.
2. He's the Vice President of the Fleet, but isn't really in the Roslin camp.  The Cylon's have the four we know about in important places, Tigh is Adama's right hand man, Tory is Roslin's closest confidant politically, Anders is along on the Starbuck mission, and the Chief (up until this week) was in charge of maintaining all of the ships, the humans best weapon against the Cylons.  Outside of Adama or Roslin (which would invalidate the need for Tigh or Tory) Zarek is in the most important position in the fleet, especially with Roslin dying.
3. His first name is Tom.  Seriously, that's my argument.  Think about it, what do we know about the newest four Cylons, what do they have in common?  Saul Tigh, Galen Tyrol, Samuel T. Anders, and Tory Foster.  First of all, why do we know Anders's middle initial at all?  Is it just a nod to Star Trek (after all, it could stand for Tiberius)?  Maybe, but I think it is also a clue.  Of the four we know, there are two whose last name starts with a t, one whose middle name starts with a t, and one whose first name starts with a t, I think ultimately it will be two whose first names start with a t, two whose last names start with a t, and one whose middle name starts with a t.  Not that I think they'll make a big deal of the T thing or that it has any meaning, but I do think that it is a clue pointing to Tom Zarek.  If we find out Felix's middle name starts with a t, though, I might switch to him.
I'm still liking all of that logic.  Felix Gaeta is still a possibility, of course.  Some other interesting theories I've heard include Zach Adama and Ellen Tigh.  Those two made me think of Adama's wife as well.

Luckily, we won't have too much longer to wait.

Other burning questions...

What happened to Earth?  (not to mention us, it's inhabitants)

Who or what is up with the 6 in Baltar's head and the Baltar in Caprica 6's head?

What happened to Starbuck when she died? (and how is she back)

What does the prophecy of "Harbinger of Doom" mean?

How did Tigh get 6 pregnant when they're both Cylons?

And What will be the resolution of the Cylon Civil War and Cavil's Cylon's beef with humanity?

Until Next Time, soon we will know the answer to these and any other lingering questions, but mainly let's enjoy the ride of the last ten episodes of Television's Greatest Show Ever.

Monday, January 12, 2009

To Get You Ready

I am generally a lot later on my top ten lists then most people.  That's due in part because I'm slow on seeing some films and I want my list to be as comprehensive as possible.  (I still haven't seen Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, or Valkyrie among others this year).  Plus I like to do it around the time of the Oscar nominations and the actual Oscars.  If they wait that long to name the best movie of 2008, so can I.  But seeing as it is now 2009, I thought it might be fun to look and see what the top 10 films of ten years ago were, so without further ado...

The Top 10 Films of (Party Like It's) 1999

The honorable mentions...

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY  Still the most realistic football movie ever made and an underrated sports movie.  Plus the film that made us realize that Jamie Foxx could act.

GALAXY QUEST  An hilarious spoof of the Star Trek genre and a damn good sci-fi film in its own right.

MAGNOLIA  P.T. Anderson's trippy follow up to Boogie Nights.  I'm still not entirely sure what it was about, but man was it interesting.  Also featured Tom Cruise's best acting job until Tropic Thunder.

MYSTERY MEN  A brilliant spoof of the comic book genre that was way ahead of its time.  If this movie came out now it wouldn't be so underrated.

STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE  I know that I'm in the minority, and there is no question that the new trilogy is no where near the genius of the first trilogy, but the story that George concocted for the prequels helps make the entire series the most brilliant story ever told.  Darth Vader is the hero.  I had been saying that way before the prequels were released, but it was nice to be vindicated.  If only there had been less Jar Jar this probably would have made the top 10.

10.  EYES WIDE SHUT  -  The last film from Stanley Kubrick is a fascinating look at guilt, especially the guilt our society feels associated with sexual feeling.  I find it a little ironic that a film about the over sensitized view our society has about sex was edited to include fully clothed digital people in place of the action in the orgy scene.

9.  OFFICE SPACE - One of the most quotable films of all time, I will never get tired of watching this movie, and no, I haven't finished those TPS reports as of yet.

8.  SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, AND UNCUT -  What a brilliant film this is, funny, smart and irreverent.  When I saw this film in theaters, the opening scene involving the boys seeing The Terrance and Philip Movie featuring the song "Uncle Fu@%&#".  In the movie, animated adults get up and leave the theater disgusted.  Meanwhile in the very theater that I was in, adults got up and left the theater disgusted.  That my friends is some prescient satire.

7.  TOY STORY 2 -  What was originally going to be a direct to video feature ala Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar and Lion King 2: The Return of Scar (okay, I made up the second one's subtitle, but talk about synergy, Disney missed an opportunity there if you ask me) turned into a film even better then it's predecessor as well as the movie that proved what Pixar could do.  (And what they've continued to do with every movie since.)

6.  DOGMA - Kevin Smith's fantastic look at modern, organized religion.  In my opinion this is the movie to watch to understand the take that my generation has on religion (those of us who are religious).  The so-called experts talk about how The Church is dying, and this film was way ahead of its time in explaining why.  It's time for a new approach.

5.  THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY - A movie that gets better each time I watch it and without question the best acting job the overrated  Matt Damon has ever done.  Man he was creepy in this film.

4.  THE GREEN MILE - One of the best Stephen King adaptations ever, and little surprise it is from the writer/director who brought us the best, The Shawshank Redemption.  At the time this was by far my favorite movie of the year and one of my favorite movies of all time, but then I hadn't seen the next three on this list yet.

3.  BEING JOHN MALKOVICH -  Pure genius.  Charlie Kaufman is probably the greatest screenwriter of all time and this film introduced us all to his crazy, insane brain, where this is a conversation.  "Malkovich?"  "Malkovich malkovich."  "Malkovich malkovich malkovich."  "Malkovich!"  Pure Malkovich, I mean genius.

2.  THE MATRIX - I didn't see this in theaters and am eternally thankful for the technology that has since allowed me to recreate the theater experience in my home (in what is generally referred to as Home Theater, talk about a perfect name for something).  I didn't see it in theaters because I had a full on Keanu Reeves ban at the time.  It was my opinion that anything he did would suck and therefore not worth my time.  Add that to the fact that the directors prior film is among the worst movies ever made in my opinion (Bound) and I felt like this would be pure drivel doing nothing but giving a bad name to my all time favorite genre, Sci-Fi

1.  FIGHT CLUB -  Another film that I'm glad for the Home Theater experience.  I don't know why I didn't go see this movie in theaters, but somehow I missed it.  When I did see it I not only decided that David Fincher was one of the greatest directors ever to walk the earth I also fully came over to the side of good in realizing that Brad Pitt was not just a pretty face, the dude could flat out act.  And still can as evidenced by this years Brad Pitt/David Fincher collaboration.

Until Next Time, congrats to Heath Ledger (who we all met 10 years ago in the classic 10 Things I Hate About You) as he won the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe last night.  Not much longer till he wins Oscar glory as well.  It should have been the first of many.