Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mini-movie review: Hamlet 2

What a peculiar and funny little movie! calls it "irreverent," the box art calls it "demented," its own writers (one of whom has many South Park credits to her name) call it "offensive" and Tucson (AZ) just plain hates it. Me, I laughed a lot but don't have a lot to say about it now that it's over.

Hamlet 2 is about Dana Marschz (Brit Steve Coogan a/k/a the exploding director from Tropic Thunder), a high school drama teacher who, when faced with the termination of his department, pulls out all the stops for one last school play. The production, written by Marschz, is of course the sequel to Hamlet, despite the fact that everybody dies at the end of Shakespeare's play. How does Marschz get around this? With a time machine, of course. Plus, it's a musical. Along the way, Marschz has to deal with his unhappy wife (Catherine Keener) and a class full of unruly kids who were forced into drama when all the other electives were cut.

In the DVD extras, the writers say that the idea for this movie arose when they realized how offensive many inspirational teacher movies are - when a white teacher walks into an ethnically-mixed class and "saves" all the at-risk kids (Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeiffer was referenced). Hamlet 2 is then a parody of these kinds of movies - the Latino kids that Marschz thinks need saving are actually affluent honor students, the little white girl is a racist who boosts television sets, and Marschz needs saving more than anyone else - while in the end actually being an inspirational teacher movie - both Marschz and the kids put on a truly incredible show in the final act.

What I'm not getting across here is that Hamlet 2 is also very funny in a twisted, subversive way. I mean, there's Hamlet and Jesus and a time machine, fer cryin' out loud. The best part, however, is the musical number "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" - when Jesus (Coogan) moonwalks on water ... it's quite awesome and two hours later, I still can't get the damn song out of my head.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lost episode recap – “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” (S5E7) airdate 2/25/09

A man – the man sitting across the aisle from Hurley on flight 316 – walks into what looks like an anthropology lab. He’s looking for something and breaks into a wooden file cabinet. He finds maps and charts, and then he finds a sawed off shotgun under the desk. He stuffs the gun in his bag. “Caesar!” It’s the woman who I thought was a TSA agent escorting Sayid onto the plane. Ah – they’re on the Island: she’s come to fetch Caesar because a new man, dressed in a suit, has arrived on the beach. They go out to the beach where a number of folks are gathered. There’s wreckage from a plane, and bonfires. Caesar goes to the new man and introduces himself. The new man turns his face into the firelight: it’s John Locke.

Is this like Lost 2.0? Where are my familiar Losties?

Daytime. Locke stands on the beach – looking across the strait at the Island. Ooh! Caesar et al. did not crash on our Island, but on the little one near it (where Sawyer had his rabbit issues?). The woman who escorted Sayid introduces herself to Locke: she’s Alana. There are a couple of dugout canoes behind them on the beach. Alana tells Locke that there used to be three canoes, but the pilot and a woman took the third and took off. Locke asks for a passenger manifest and Alana says he’ll have to ask Caesar about that. She asks why Locke is wearing a suit. “[It’s] what they were going to bury me in … I remember dying.”

Flashback to Locke turning the Island’s wheel and disappearing into a flash of light. When the light fades, he’s lying in the Tunisia desert, leg still compoundly fractured (yuck), vomiting nastily. He comes to enough to notice surveillance cameras nearby and shouts for help. But he’s pretty much unable to move and, come nightfall, just lies there shaking. Then, a truck approaches quickly and a bunch of Tunisians toss him into the back and drive off.

They take him to a hospital. A doctor forces some pills down his throat. Locke looks around and Matthew Abaddon (!!!) is there (apparently on leave from Fringe). With lots of screaming and nasty noises from the patient, the doctor re-sets Locke’s leg and he passes out from the pain. When he comes to, Charles Widmore is there at his bedside. Locke doesn’t remember meeting him from the Island flash-arounds and Widmore asks him how long it’s been since Locke left the camp: four days. Widmore is impressed.

He has been looking for Locke, hence the surveillance cameras in Tunisia. Widmore says that he led the Others until Ben exiled him from the Island. Locke protests that he wasn’t exiled – he left voluntarily. Then Widmore pulls out a tabloid with an Oceanic Six story on the front page and tells Locke that the O6 have been off the Island for three years now and have not spoken a word of truth about their experiences there. Locke’s mind reels but he sticks to his mission: “I have to bring them back.” Widmore says he’ll help – “…because there’s a war coming, and if [Locke is] not back on the Island when it happens, the wrong side is going to win.”

Later, Widmore gives Locke a new Canadian passport, “Jeremy Bentham,” some money and a phone. There’s also a dossier containing information on all the O6’s whereabouts. Locke is a little suspicious of Widmore’s motivations, but Widmore insists that he’s really only trying to get rid of Ben so that Locke can take his place. An SUV arrives, driven by Abaddon, to take Locke wherever he needs to go. Locke asks if Widmore knows why Richard told him he’d have to die to bring the O6 back but Widmore professes not to know. As Locke lurches towards the car, Abaddon brings out a wheelchair for him and Locke gives the chair the stinkeye. Abaddon drives them to the airport and Locke says they’re going to Santo Domingo first.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Locke (in his wheelchair) finds Sayid there, building houses for some Habitat for Humanity-esque organization. They talk, and Sayid is outraged that Locke is asking him to return to the Island. He says that Ben manipulated him for two years after he got off the Island, thinking that he was helping the folks still stranded there; he asks who is manipulating Locke. Locke doesn’t push too much and gives him his contact information in case Sayid changes his mind.

New York, New York. Locke asks Abaddon to see if he can find Helen Norwood, formerly of Los Angeles, formerly the one woman he ever loved. A bell rings and Locke asks for help getting out of the car. They watch some kids getting out of school: there’s Walt. “He’s gotten big,” notes Abaddon. Heh - he’s like nine feet tall and 30 years old now. Locke waves and Walt comes over. He’s not surprised to see Locke as he’s been having dreams about him lately. Walt asks if there’s anything Locke needs from him but Locke says no, he just wanted to see if Walt was okay. They shake hands and Walt leaves. Bye, Walt! Abaddon gives Locke some static about his 0 for 2 record on getting Losties to go back to the Island. Locke’s like, I only need one and if I get him, the rest will come. They get back in the car and leave. And the camera pulls back to reveal Ben, standing near a subway entrance, glaring daggers at them.


Santa Rosa, California. Locke rolls up to Hurley, who is hanging out on the asylum lawn and who immediately assumes Locke’s dead. “Hugo, I’m not dead.” When Hurley realizes that Locke is real, he jumps up – whoa! Locke asks him to come back to the Island with him but Hurley tells him that everyone has moved on with their lives. Then he notices Abaddon leaning on the car and freaks out some more, saying that Abaddon is evil and not to be trusted. Locke tries to calm him down but Hurley runs up to an orderly and insists on being taken back to his room. Locke disgruntledly rolls back to the car for still more static from Abaddon (0 for 3). He asks Abaddon just what exactly it is that he does for Widmore that gets people so agitated. Abaddon reminds him that he was the orderly in the hospital that told Locke to go on the walkabout that got him to Australia – and then the Island – in the first place. I totally forgot that. Abaddon says that he gets people to the places they need to be – that’s what he does for Widmore.

Los Angeles. Locke is at Kate’s house and she flat-out tells him that no, she will not go back to the Island, even if it means that all the stranded Losties still there will die. Blah blah blah, have you ever been in love, John? Locke rolls back to the car, asking if Abaddon was able to find his Helen Norwood. No. But Locke thinks he’s just not trying hard enough.

Santa Monica, California. Helen is dead (brain aneurysm) and Abaddon takes Locke to her grave. There’s some talk about fate and inevitability, blah blah blah. As Abaddon loads the wheelchair into the trunk of the car, there’s a sudden gunshot and splatter of blood on the rear window. Locke lunges into the front seat of the car, leg cast hindering him somewhat, as Abaddon gets shot again and again. Locke finally takes off, leaving Abaddon’s body in the street and driving like a crazy person until he runs a red light and gets crushed in the intersection. The aftermath of the accident seems eerily familiar – didn’t he get in a car crash in his little red Beetle in S1?

Locke wakes up in a hospital. Poor guy – things sure went better for him back on the Island. Jack is sitting at his bedside: he wants to know what Locke is doing here in L.A. He’s bearded, by the way, but it’s short – so before the drinking and drugging really kicked in. Locke immediately launches into the “we need to go back/it’s fate that I’m here in your hospital.” Plus, he thinks someone is trying to kill him, to keep him from going back to the Island because he’s special to it. Jack is terribly nasty to him, telling him that he’s lonely and delusional and not special at all. As Jack gets up to leave, Locke snottily tells him that Christian said to tell him hello, right after he told Locke to move the Island. Jack freaks out: “My father died in Australia! It’s over! We were never important, you leave me alone and you leave the rest of them alone!”

Later, in a dreary hotel room, Locke writes his one-line suicide note to Jack. Using his crutches, he hobbles around the room, stringing up enough electrical cord to make a noose. He’s pretty matter-of-fact about it and I guess that he thinks he has no other choice since all his attempts to talk the O6 into returning have failed so he’s clearly not the Chosen One he thought he was. He puts the noose around his neck and is just about to hop off the table when there’s a knock on the door – and then Ben bursts in. “John – stop!”

Ben says that he’s been watching all the O6 and is here right now to protect Locke. He’s the one who shot Abaddon because Widmore is extremely dangerous. Ben reiterates that Widmore is the reason that Ben moved the Island, to protect it. He pleads with Locke, saying that he can help, Locke is important. Locke is a little sniffly and self-pities that he failed to get any of the O6 to agree to go back. Ben lies to cheer him up, saying that Jack booked a ticket to Sydney already. Locke pauses, hopeful that he wasn’t a complete failure, and Ben unties the cord from the radiator and offers Locke his hand, helping him off the table he was standing on.

Locke comes down, sobbing. Ben says they can go talk to Sun next but Locke says he promised Jin he wouldn’t bring her back. Ben is surprised that Jin is still alive and says, “A promise is a promise.” I’m betting he lifts Jin’s wedding ring off Locke’s body after he kills himself. Locke is starting to get more hopeful now, musing that they should go see Eloise Hawking (as Christian told him to do) who can help them. Ben finds this interesting and, moving quickly behind Locke, wraps the electrical cord around his neck. Locke struggles but is not match for evil little Ben: at the end of it, Ben has strangled Locke to death. Damn.

Before Ben leaves, he straightens the room, wiping it down and stringing Locke up to look like suicide – he brought gloves and everything. And yes, he takes Jin’s ring, just like I thought he would. “I’ll miss you, John. I really will,” he says before leaving and locking the door. He almost sounds sincere.

Back to the island next to the Island. Locke finds Caesar poring over some Dharma Initiative files. Caesar asks some questions about how Locke got here, and when was he here before, etc., but Locke says that the timeline would just confuse him. Caesar wants to know why some of the passengers on Flight 316 just disappeared in a flash of light when the turbulence got rough. Locke, wondering just who got on the plane, asks again for a passenger list but Frank Lapidus took it with him when he ran off. Caesar says that everyone is accounted for, however, except for the people who got hurt. Locke wants to see who got hurt.

In the infirmary there are several people lying on cots with various injuries. Locke is only interested in one of them: “He’s the man who killed me.” I hope Ben is a light sleeper!

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Monday, February 23, 2009

Heroes – “Cold Wars” S3E17 (airdate 2/23/09)

Costa Verde. Parkman, Peter and Mohinder are preparing to take Bennet down. Mohinder doesn’t like this plan but Parkman insists that Bennet has the information they need. Peter thinks that Parkman should just read Bennet’s mind regularly instead of this kidnapping and drugging business, but Parkman is like, no, Bennet’s too well trained - we’ve got to get creative.

Bar. Bennet falls off the barstool and the boys swoop in and collect him. They take him back to the motel and shoot him up with something I didn’t pay attention to. Parkman gets into his head differently somehow, trying to access Bennet’s memories to find out who’s behind the government abductions of Heroes. Whatever drug they’re using to facilitate this mind-invasion seems to leave both Parkman and Bennet a little woozy and Mohinder frets about the physical ramifications.

Five weeks ago. Ooh – black and white, how stylish. Bennet meets with Angela Petrelli on a park bench. She has gorgeous legs but is starting to look a little haggard face-wise. She thanks Bennet for his role in burning down Primatech, giving him a severance check and a watch for all his years of service. Bennet wants to know what’s going on. She says it’s over, the whole one of us/one of them schtick is over – he should go back to his family. But this is all I’ve ever known, he protests.

Building 26 (in color). Nathan stomps through the halls until he finds Danko: “This better be good.” The hunter reports that Bennet has gone off grid for over three hours now – this is not SOP. Danko bitches about how Bennet may be compromised what with the special treatment Claire is being given. Nathan connects the dots, realizing that Danko is suspicious of him as well.

Motel. Peter wants to move things along – this is taking too long. Mohinder is upset because this isn’t an interrogation, it’s torture and is stressing Bennet’s system. The three fugitives bicker among themselves, then Parkman dives back into Bennet’s head.

Four weeks ago (the flashbacks are all black and white while present day is in color – I’m not going to make note of it each time). Bennet’s doing the crossword puzzle at home, clearly unhappy with the routine of housebound life. A knock on the front door rescues him: it’s Nathan and he’s not here to see Claire – he wants to talk to Bennet, alone. They go into Bennet’s office and Nathan says that he’s “set some things in motion … but Claire’s going to be saved.” Bennet: “What have you done?” Which is what we say (and in that exact tone of voice) to the dog when she’s gotten into the garbage.

Nathan tells Bennet his round ‘em up/incarcerate ‘em plan. And then, once everyone is “safely” locked away, a crack team of scientists will figure out how to rid people of these pesky abilities once and for all. Bennet points out that Nathan will be considered a villain by the Heroes, not to mention his brother; Nathan says that he’s gone so far around the bend over the course of the last two seasons – trying to kill Peter, for crying out loud – that clearly imprisoning and experimenting on the empowered individuals for their own good is the only way to go. Whatever, Nathan. This is just the writers trying to explain why Nathan has been so wishy-washy.

Bennet wants to know what Nathan wants with him. Nathan points out that Bennet has spent the last twenty years of his life tracking Heroes – his experience is invaluable. So Bennet takes him to his secret storage unit where he keeps boxes and boxes of files on the Heroes, as well as boxes of guns and money. Nathan’s like, we’re the government, we have lots of guns and money. Bennet replies, “You don’t have perspective,” noting that Nathan undid a well-kept 30-year-old secret with a 30-second confession to the President. Nathan whines that he thought Bennet would enjoy more time with his family. Bennet: “There are only so many crossword puzzles you can do.”

Motel room. Parkman pulls out of Bennet’s memories and gasps that Nathan is the one who planned the whole thing. Nice of you to catch up with the rest of us. Peter grumps that he tried to stop his brother. Then Parkman and Mohinder get in a shouting match because Parkman reads Mohinder’s thought that maybe he should be locked up, while for his part Mohinder thinks Parkman is looking for revenge for Daphne’s shooting. Can’t we all get along? “You want proof?” yells Parkman. He writes down the combination to Bennet’s storage container and Peter goes to check it out. Once there, he quickly finds the guns and money. What he doesn’t find it the hidden camera which reports straight back to Danko in Building 26. “Gotcha,” grins Danko.

Nathan comes up and checks out the live feed. Danko is reserving judgment as to how Peter might know about Bennet’s storage unit – perhaps they are working together. That guy, always with the conspiracy theories. Nathan insists that he wants Peter captured, not killed, when he learns that Danko has an extraction team surrounding the storage facility. The team moves in; Peter distracts them with a grenade and flies safely away.

Motel. Mohinder is worried about how long Peter is taking. Bennet wakes up enough to say that the storage unit was a trap, under surveillance, and Peter’s been captured or killed by now. Their only chance is to let him go. Mohinder starts packing their things but Parkman says no, he’s not done rooting around in Bennet’s memories. “You’re not getting into my head,” cries Bennet but he can’t keep Parkman out.

Three weeks ago. Nathan introduces Bennet to Danko. When Bennet says he’d like to implement the one of us/one of them protocol, Danko shoots him down, figuratively, not caring that some of the Heroes are good and useful people. When Danko stomps off, Bennet turns to Nathan: “I thought I was running this show?” But Nathan brushes him off, saying that things are more complex than before.

Some unspecified time later, Bennet gets into Mohinder’s cab. He tells him about the government program “that’s going to blow up in their face” and asks for Mohinder’s help. At this point Parkman yanks himself out of Bennet’s memories and screams at Mohinder: you knew about this, you didn’t tell me! They throw each other around the room a little bit, breaking all the mirrors, until Mohinder’s super strength finally pins the former cop to the floor. “If I’d told you,” he shouts, “I’d probably be the one tied to that chair!” At which point they look over to Bennet – but the chair is empty and the door is ajar. Bennet has gotten away while they were fighting amongst themselves.

They give chase. Bennet is in the motel parking lot. He is just about to hotwire a car when BANG Peter lands on the windshield. This time Bennet gets duct-taped to the chair. Parkman says that now he’s going into Bennet’s head without the painkillers – he wants Bennet to feel everything. Mohinder protests but Parkman snaps that he doesn’t get a vote this time, quickly bringing Peter up to speed on Mohinder’s knowledge of, if not complicity with, with Bennet’s scheme. And then, with a constipated look on his face, Parkman forces his way back into Bennet’s memories.

One week ago, in Washington D.C. Bennet knocks on an apartment door. Danko is inside, living out of moving boxes. Bennet thinks they’d gotten off on the wrong foot and has brought some scotch to try to smooth things over with his new coworker. Danko is resistant, saying Bennet is unfocused and this job needs focus. Bennet reminds him that the Heroes are people, humans. “Targets,” insists Danko. He asks Bennet if he’ll be taking orders going forward. Bennet lifts an eyebrow: “You’re the boss.” I think Bennet is up to something.

Motel room. Bennet’s nose is now bleeding and both he and Parkman are shaking, panting. Mohinder grabs Parkman and wrestles him away but Parkman breaks free and lunges for a scrap of paper, writing down Danko’s address. Peter takes the address and a gun and heads out as Parkman rants about needing to weaken their enemies. Bennet pleads with the boys, telling Peter that confronting Danko will be a big mistake, death and misery to all of them, but Peter will not be swayed. Outside, unbeknownst to the guys, heavily armed commandos are pulling into the motel parking lot.

Washington. Danko enters his apartment, on the phone with his commandos in California. He fires up his computers to “have eyes on the scene.” However, Peter is there already, gun aimed at his head – Peter can apparently fly supersonically or lightspeed or something. Over at Building 26, Nathan and various other agents watch the goings-on in the apartment via more surveillance cameras. Danko tells Peter that the hunt for the Heroes will never ever stop, particularly if Peter kills him because then everyone will see that the Heroes are dangerous. “He’s right,” says Nathan suddenly, nonchalantly strolling into the apartment. Danko is startled, asking the senator how he got here so fast and definitely noticing that Nathan’s hair is all windblown. I think Nathan just outed himself.

Nathan makes a move towards his brother and jumpy Peter fires the gun, plugging Danko in the arm. Oops. Nathan tries again, saying that Parkman and Mohinder are about to get nabbed. Deciding, wisely, that saving his comrades is more important than murdering Danko, Peter leaps out the window and heads back to California. Danko grimaces at Nathan for ratting him out and grabs his phone, ordering the commandos to move in pronto.

Motel. The commandos don’t know what room the fugitives are in, so they take their sweet and noisy time busting each door down. Parkman starts to panic and threatens to shoot Bennet. Bennet instead offers this: that Daphne is still alive – she’s been captured but she’s alive – and Parkman is welcome to read his mind for proof. Mohinder promises to hold off the commandos while Parkman sees for himself.

Building 26. Two days ago. Bennet walks through a long corridor full of body bags. Daphne is there, shrieking wordless animal cries. Bennet grabs a syringe, telling the medics that it’ll take three times the regular dosage to keep this girl calm. He injects her and she quietens immediately. In the memory Danko looks on with interest. Parkman pulls out of the memory, upset but glad to know she’s alive.

Outside Mohinder is tussling with the commandos, throwing the soldiers hither and yon with his super strength. They shoot him at least five times with their sedative guns before he finally drops.

Parkman has his gun pointed back at Bennet’s head when the commandos break in and take him down. They hook him up with the nasal sedative thing and Bennet says he’ll walk him out. When they get down to the vans, however, another flash grenade is lobbed at their feet and Peter flies in, snatches up Parkman and zooms off, leaving Bennet to stare up into the night sky after them.

Building 26. They’ve got Mohinder shackled to a chair, waking him up with a bucketful of water to the face. Nathan comes in, saying that he was certain that his containment and ability-elimination plan – for which he needs Mohinder’s help – would work but the aftermath of the plane crash put the hardliners in control – and the hardliners want Heroes executed. Nathan shows Mohinder a feed of captured Daphne, saying that if Mohinder doesn’t cooperate, she’ll be killed, as will Mohinder, and Parkman, and Peter. “You’ll all be dead.”

Costa Verde. Danko suggests that Bennet take a few days off to recover but Bennet says that his wife won’t let him home and his daughter is afraid of him, so he’s got nothing left but the job. He says his focus is sharp now and he is Danko’s man. As they’re talking, the black and white fades back into color – and I guess we’re up to speed now. Danko drives off as Bennet watches with an inscrutable expression.

And then goes to sit on a park bench with Angela Petrelli. He tells her that it went well, all things considered – Danko trusts him. Angela scoffs, saying that Danko doesn’t trust anyone. But Bennet insists that he’s in where he can work against Danko and Nathan. She reminds him that he’ll have to make some tough choices to stay on the inside. Bennet smiles, reminding her that he’s always been “comfortable with morally gray.” He walks away, leaving the retirement watch behind on the bench. She smiles, picking up the watch.

Isaac’s studio. Peter and Parkman are there, and Parkman has been painting like crazy. Staggering, he comes out of trance and looks around wildly. There are paintings of bombs and weapons and he cries out, upset. Peter tries to calm him, saying that he’s not a killer. Oh yeah, says Parkman, then explain this. And the camera draws back to show a new floor mural: instead of a mushroom cloud over NYC, it’s Washington D.C. in flames.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bacon bits

I recently heard the question "has bacon jumped the shark?" Horrified, I hit the interwebs and found that yes, some people are tired of all the recent bacon press. This, to me, is just proof that aliens walk amongst us.

I, obviously, believe that you can never have too much bacon:

Bacon Today has a recent post about bacon paintings.

My Cuzzin Hannah let me know that she tried a rauchbier at Chuckanut Brewery (Bellingham, WA) and it had a definite essence of bacon - and so she thought of me. How sweet!

In support of this, Friend of the Blog Kevin C. found a link to an article on rauchbiers, described as “liquid bacon,” just as my cuzzin said. He also checked out BeerAdvocate and found a review for an actual "bacon beer" on tap at the Front Street Ale House / San Juan Brewing Co. in Friday Harbor (also in WA - I'm beginning to think that Washington State is a haven for bacon-lovers).

Friend of the Blog Jessica R. recently had fantastic eggs drizzled with bacony goodness for breakfast at the Front Room.

And now, after all of this, I have a wicked craving for a BLT. Off to the kitchen!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spaced - DVD review

I don’t know why it took me so long to discover this Brit-com, but shame on me! Written by and starring Jessica (Stevenson) Hynes and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), and directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), Spaced ran on the BBC for two seven-episode seasons (1999-2001). The premise is simple: Stevenson and Pegg are two slackers, Daisy and Tim, who fortuitiously meet each other in a coffee shop as they are both in need of a place to live – Tim has been chucked by his girlfriend; and Daisy has been squatting in an abominable flat. They find an ad for a 2BR flat which sounds perfect, except for the “professional couple” requirement … so they decide to pretend to be in a long-term relationship and get the flat.

And that’s pretty much it. The show follows all the adventures that comic book artist Tim and unemployed Daisy get into with learning about each other, dealing with jobs (or lack thereof), going to pubs, adopting a dog, smoking spliffs; going clubbing, engaging in robot wars and interacting with their friends. Their friends are a hoot too: Marsha, their lonely landlady with a golden heart and a sodden liver; downstairs neighbor Brian, an avant-garde painter; Tim’s BFF Mike, lunatic soldier wannabe played by Nick Frost (SotD, HF); and Daisy’s BFF, Twist, who says she works “in fashion” but who really works for a drycleaner.

Pegg and Stevenson are a well-matched comedy team, both in their writing and their acting. The show is overflowing with pop culture references, from movies (Platoon, Fight Club, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Wars) to television (BtVS, the X-Files) to comics (Stan Lee, Dark Horse) to music. Fortunately the DVD contains a special subtitle feature called “Homage-o-meter” that, when activated, subtitles each and every reference in the show – very awesome. In addition, it was fun to recognize in a couple of the episodes actors/scenes/shots that Pegg and Wright would later use to good effect in SotD and HF. Spaced also was a proving ground for Wright’s cinematic style, being shot with only one camera (very un-sitcommy) and interspersed with fantasy scenes (the idea for which the creative team credits Northern Exposure).

I thought Spaced was laugh-out-loud hilarious, although I do have a soft spot for British comedies; Mr. Mouse stayed awake for the first two episodes and then went to take a nap. Bloody colonial.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost episode recap – “316” (S5E6) airdate 2/18/09

This episode is Jack-heavy and exposition-heavy. Luckily, we learn a lot and things keep moving forward (or backward, since you never can tell for sure) fairly quickly.

Jack awakes up, on his back, in the bushes. Is this going back to the day of the crash? He hears shouts and takes off through the jungle towards the voice. Coming into a clearing, he sees Hurley flailing in a pool, clutching a guitar case. Like a total action hero, Jack dives off a 40-foot cliff into the pool and tows Hurley, and the guitar case, to shore. I don’t remember this from the pilot. And no, it’s not from the pilot because then Hurley looks at Jack and says, “It worked” and Jack nods at him. They look across the pool and see Kate lying on some rocks, unconscious. Jack shakes her awake. “We’re back,” he says. Kate: “What happened?” Methinks we’re about to find out.

Los Angeles, the end of last episode. Eloise Hawking takes Sun, Jack, Ben and darling Desmond downstairs to her secret lair under the church. The music is quite ominous and there’s a Dharma insignia on a heavy metal door. Behind the door is the laboratory. In the center of the laboratory is a pendulum. Eloise tells the assembled that the Dharma Initiative called this place “the Lamppost” and it was here that they found the Island.

Jack asks Ben if he knows about the Lamppost; Ben says no; Eloise says that Ben is probably lying. A U.S. Army photo of the Island dated 1954 distracts Jack. Eloise exposits that this room is on top of a pocket of electromagnetic energy which is connected to other pockets around the world. The Dharma Initiative was only looking for the Island, however. The pendulum came into play when “some fellow” figure that they should look for where the Island was going, not where it was. The Losties are like, um, where it’s going? Eloise: “Of course. Why do you think you were never rescued?” Anyhoo, “this fellow” started calculating equations – who else here thinks the “fellow” is that slippery Daniel Faraday? – to figure out when certain windows in time will open, enabling people to get to the Island. Eloise tells them that their specific window will close in 36 hours.

Desmond interrupts here, saying (in essence) are you people fucking nuts? You’re going back to the Island willingly? Sun: “Yes.” Desmond thinks they’re all a bunch of nutters and delivers his message to Eloise: Daniel sent him to tell her that the folks stuck on the Island need her help. Eloise: “I am helping, dear.” And when Desmond turns to leave, she tells him that the Island is not done with him yet. Desmond gets pissed, shouting that Eloise cost him four years of his life by telling him that his “purpose” was to go to the Island. He gets up in Jack’s face and growls that the Losties are being used, and to ignore whatever Eloise tells them to do. Jack: * blink *. Desmond stomps out, muttering that he doesn’t care if the Island isn’t done with him – he’s had enough.

Eloise gives Jack a binder, saying that Ajira Airways 316, from L.A. to Guam, will fly through the correct coordinates if they hope for the Island to bring them back. And as many of the Oceanic 6 as possible must be on the flight or results may be “unpredictable.” Jack says that’s it, just get the Oceanic 6 on the flight? Eloise chides him: oh no, that’s not quite it for you, Jack.


Next, Eloise takes Jack into her office as what she has to say to him does not concern Ben and Sun. She gives him a sealed envelope containing, she says, John Locke’s suicide note. Jack is shaken, not having known that Locke hung himself. Jack asks why Locke did it. Eloise says that Locke is going to help them get back, being a proxy … for Christian Shepard. To spell it out: because there’s got to be a body in a coffin that the Island is connected to on the plane. Eloise instructs Jack to get something that belonged to Christian and give it to Locke. Understandably, Jack gets quite upset, shouting at how ridiculous this is. Eloise tells him that ridiculous or not, this is a leap of faith.

When Jack comes out, Ben is sitting in the church alone, Sun having left. Jack asks where Locke’s body is. Ben says he’ll pick it up on the way to the airport. Jack asks who Eloise is, and why would she help them. Ben blah blah blah Thomas the Apostle and I tune out, because it’s Bible stuff. And I’m a heathen. “We’re all convinced sooner or later, Jack,” says Ben, and takes off to do a favor for an old friend. “I’ll see you at the airport.”

Jack decides to kill some time in a bar. His scotch-flavored drink is interrupted by a call. Cut to Jack walking into an assisted living facility to find an old guy named Ray. Great, another new character. Apparently Ray is a bit of an escape artist and the facility is having trouble keeping him here. Ah: Ray is Jack’s “granddad” and by “granddad” I mean “plot device.” Jack tells Ray that he thinks he might be going away for a while and won’t be visiting much. While putting some of Ray’s stuff in the closet, Jack finds a pair of shoes that belonged to Christian, and he asks his grandfather if he can have them. “Be my guest,” says Ray, fulfilling his sole purpose on the show.

Later, back at his apartment, Jack is just getting down to drinking in earnest when he hears his door slam. It’s Kate. She’s let herself in and lain down on his bed. “Are you still going back to the Island?” she asks, “Then I’m going with you.” Jack asks where Aaron is. She gets up in his face and snarls that if he wants her to go with him, he’ll never ask her about Aaron again. Okay, says Jack, because he’s whipped. And then they have sex.

The next morning Jack makes coffee. He’s got morning-afterglow. Kate just looks hunted until he remembers that she likes milk and two sugars. Way to drink your coffee like an adult, Kate. She sees Christian’s shoes and smirks that hiking boots would make more sense for the Island. Jack spins some story about why he’s taking the shoes back to the Island but doesn’t tell her the truth – because it’s just too weird.

The phone rings: it’s Ben. He’s calling from a payphone on the waterfront and he is all over bloody. He asks Jack to pick up Locke’s body from the butcher shop. When Jack gets there, Jill is expecting him. Man, Jack is looking OLD under these fluorescent lights. Jill leaves to pull the van around and Jack takes advantage of her absence to switch out Locke’s shoes with Christian’s. I guess they fit. He also tucks Locke’s suicide note, unopened and unread, into Locke’s suit pocket, and saying that he’s already heard everything Locke has to say. I think he should have read the note.

Jack checks in at the airport and is informed that security will have to open the coffin to inspect the body. He’s fine with that, nervous only until he sees Kate show up to check in. He finds Sun in the line to go through security; they both see Sayid being escorted by a terribly familiar looking TSA agent (the actress was recently a cop on some show that got canceled …?); and Hurley is in the waiting room as well. Are we not going to see what transpired to get those two on board with the plan? Maybe in a later episode as this is the Jack Show tonight.

Hurley is reading a Y: the Last Man trade paperback, Spanish translation. (I haven’t read that one yet.) When he hears that there are standby seats available on their flight, he jumps up to inform the agent that he has bought all 78 available seats, not wanting anyone extraneous on the flight. The agent is apprehensive but doesn’t argue with him. Boarding is called. There’s Jack. Sayid, already on the plane with his TSA agent. Sun. Kate, looking totally stressed. Hurley with a guitar. A few extras. And, just as the doors are about to close, bruised and bloody Ben, arm in a sling. Hurley is NOT happy about Ben being here but sucks it up when Jack tells him to chill. The flight attendant hands Jack a folded envelope – it’s Locke’s suicide note that Customs found in his “cargo.” Jack puts it in his pocket and ignores Ben who wants to know what it is. Jack has a question of his own for Ben, however: “What’s going to happen to the other people on this plane?” Ben: “Who cares?” Heh.

Ajira Airways Flight 316 takes off. What – no safety presentation? Kate looks like she’s going to upchuck. When the fasten-seat-belts light goes off, Jack moves up to sit with her. It’s a frickin’ empty plane, Jack, you could have sat there to begin with. He marvels that Hurley and Sayid showed up but Kate doesn’t really want to talk.

The captain comes on over the intercom: it’s Frank J. Lapidus! Wow – totally didn’t see that coming! Neither did Jack, who asks the flight attendant if he can speak with Frank, seeing how they’re old friends and all. The flight attendant says she’ll deliver Jack’s message and whaddya know, ol’ Frank comes out of the cockpit. They chat, friendly-like, until Frank sees who all is on this goddamn plane. He’s not stupid: “We’re not goin’ to Guam, are we?”

As the flight continues, Jack gets more and more nervous. Looking over at Ben who is reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, he asks: “how can you read?” Ben: “My mother taught me.” I want Ben and Miles to be BFFs and say snarky things to everyone else all day long. Jack asks if Ben knew that Locke killed himself. When Ben says no, Jack pulls out the suicide note. Ben asks if he’s afraid to read it, afraid to learn if it was Jack’s fault Locke killed himself. Jack says it wasn’t his fault. Ben rolls his eyes and gives Jack some privacy.

Jack opens the envelope. It’s a single piece of notebook paper. He reads: “Jack – I wish you had believed me. – JL.” That’s it. And then the plane starts to shake and shudder. Badly. Hurley pulls down his sleeping mask. The turbulence gets bad and the flight attendant is thrown into the side of the plane. Then there’s nothing but bright light …

And Jack wakes up to the scene at the start of the episode. In fact, they replay the whole damn scene. When Kate regains consciousness, the three of them wonder what happened to the plane, to Sun and Sayid, and to Ben. None of them remembers a crash and there’s no wreckage from the plane, so they decide to start searching. Before they can make a move, however, they hear music and a crashing in the underbrush. The Dharma VW van, in pristine condition, pulls up and the Dharma-jumpsuited driver gets out, pointing a rifle at them. Hurley: “Jin?” It is indeed Jin, and he appears to recognize them.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another indication that Mr. Mouse and I are going straight to hell ...

because we prefer to watch The Biggest Loser while eating homemade pizza* and drinking red wine out of a box**. And ice cream*** if we've got it.

* usually pepperoni and black olive; and pesto, onion and black olive
** this week: Free Range 2005 merlot
*** Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip

Monday, February 16, 2009

Heroes – “Building 26” S3E16 (airdate 2/16/09)

Costa Verde. The whole Bennet family is having breakfast together, HRG explaining that his new consulting job will keep him local for a while. Claire gets another text from “Rebel” but isn’t in the position to respond seeing how she hasn’t finished her omelet yet. Sandra asks how the college tour went; Bennet liked Brown; Claire acts weird and pouts up to her room. Bennet follows. It seems that Claire is angry about having to lie to her mom and brother again. Bennet reminds her that he is trying to protect all of them, especially in light of the government hunters being after her after the plane crash. In addition, instead of private college he has enrolled her in the local juco – she’s already registered for classes – so he can keep an eye on her. She gets another text from Rebel: warn “Alex” at the comics shop.

At the government HQ (Building 26, I will presume hereforth), Danko is debriefing his team. Nathan joins the meeting with news of their funding being doubled so the renegade Heroes can be brought in alive. Is that where my stimulus check went?

Sylar and Luke are on their road trip and Luke thinks he’s having the time of his life. Sylar thinks he’s being played with and pulls over, demanding that Luke tell him where they’re headed. Luke tries a couple of lies, which Sylar sees through immediately; Luke is still strangely (stupidly) unafraid. They start driving again, not noticing the video camera under the highway overpass that records their progress and sends footage back to Bldg. 26.

Costa Verde. Claire goes to “Alex’s” comic shop and tells him that he’s in danger and must leave immediately. Alex thinks she’s pretty and this is a total put-on set up by a buddy of his – “we don’t get many girls in here.” To convince him, Claire slices open her palm with a box cutter and holds her hand up so he can see the healing. “Your life is in danger,” she growls. Just then the bell over the door chimes. She looks up to see her father walk in. Claire turns back to Alex and snarls at him to get going. They can’t get out, however, so Alex walks up to meet Bennet (who has some parking ticket cover story), while Claire calls her dad on his cell to distract him. Alex shoves a magazine rack onto top of Bennet; he and Claire run to his car and take off. Bennet struggles to his feet and calls for back up.

India. Oh Christ – Hiro’s got another mission with destiny: he thinks he has to stop a wedding. Ando, slightly calmer, finds the bride, Anapurna, crying on her wedding day. She tells him that she’s been feeling lost and confused, asking the heavens for a sign as to whether she should marry or not. Ando sparks up his hands and she is thrilled – there’s her sign! The wedding is off! Hiro is very unhappy that Ando stole his predestined thunder.

Building 26. Abby Collins, Homeland Security, introduces herself to Nathan while Danko mutters about another bureaucrat. Anyhoo, Nathan tells Abby that the prison Homeland Security has designated for his prisoners will not be not strong enough. Abby’s like, right, ‘cuz they’re all magic. She has no idea what she’s dealing with so Nathan wants to speak to the President – he’s having trouble containing the one prisoner he has here in the building, much less when the others start coming in. Abby: That’s not going to happen; I’m your new boss and I want to see your prisoner now.

Road trip. Luke tells Sylar about his dad. Sylar reminisces. Luke says that his dad sold Sylar for money. Sylar thinks that’s just awful. FM thinks this is boring as hell.

Building 26. Nathan brings Abby to see Tracy who is chained to a chair in front of numerous heat lamps. That’s pretty clever, actually. Nathan tries to explain that they tried gloves on her but Tracy kept freezing right through them. But Abby knows Tracy from her lobbying days and is horrified at this torturous treatment. She says she will file with the Attorney General about this human rights violations – this is over, Senator Petrelli!

Costa Verde. Claire and Alex drive his little Volkswagen convertible out to the beach. Alex doesn’t understand why Bennet would be after him and Claire asks if he has a power. Alex admits that he can breathe underwater. Well, that would be it, dumbass. He says he never told anyone and didn’t know that he wasn’t alone. Claire grins at him, calling him a freak. Then she notices a car following them. They ditch the car, hiding in an alley as two cars full of agents pull up.

India. Anapurna has taken Ando and Hiro to the restaurant she owns with a friend and feeds them. She explains that the man she was supposed to marry was an arranged marriage and that she really wants no part of it. When she goes to get them more food, the Japanese men fight about Ando stealing Hiro’s thunder. Then Deepak, the furious groom, shows up and brains Ando with a pot, dragging him out of the restaurant.

Costa Verde. Bennet calls in to report Alex’s escape. Danko has seen Claire’s car parked around the corner via surveillance cameras and is suspicious. After he relays this information to Bennet, Bennet is suspicious too.

Road-trip. Sylar gets mad when Luke flexes his microwave power just to fuck with another diner customer. He tells the boy to stay focused, have a purpose – the powers are not for frivolous use. Blah blah blah, I just want to meet my dad, find out why I turned out this way. His sob story cuts through Luke’s bullshit and he writes down the address for Sylar. Sylar: “You shouldn’t have done that. Now there’s nothing to keep me from killing you.” Luke: “I’m just hoping that you won’t.” Suddenly, commandos take over the diner. It’s not nearly as cool a fight scene as the one in Luke’s house: Sylar gets shot a bunch of times before blowing out a window that he and Luke jump through. They run to the car and Sylar jumps in. But he won’t unlock the door for Luke and drives off without him. Luke watches in disbelief, shock all over his face until a commando shoots a tranquilizer in his back and drops him.

Anapurna says that Deepak will let Ando go if she goes forward with the wedding. But in the middle of the ceremony, Hiro interrupts, saying that Deepak has kidnapped his friend pluswhich Annapurna doesn’t want to get married anyway. Deepak tries to drag Anapurna off too and Hiro punches him out. Deepak is like whatever, Anapurna is too much trouble for me to marry and you can have Ando back.

Costa Verde. Bennet finds Claire as she returns to her car. She doesn’t even try to lie about what she was doing with Alex. He asks her if she understands what will happen to her if the government thinks he can’t control her. “That’s just the thing, Dad,” she replies, “you can’t.”

Building 26. Danko reports that Luke is in custody but Sylar got away. Abby comes back in with a cease and desist order for Nathan. He asks her to suspend her disbelief and imagine that these people do have powers, some of them horrific. Abby: it still doesn’t justify torture, these people are American citizens with constitutional rights. Meanwhile, Tracy has managed to work her chains free of a broken bolt. Her cell door is open too and she grabs a hostage. Everyone comes out into the corridor to see what the commotion is about. Surrounded by agents, with no escape and nothing to lose, Tracy freezes her hostage and shatters him just because she can. The agents drop her with a tranquilizer and drag her off. Nathan looks back at Abby, whose jaw is on the floor. I’m guessing that Nathan’s funding is going to be tripled now.

After the commercial, Abby takes a look at Nathan’s corkboard of renegade Heroes. He reiterates his conviction that these people are dangerous. She tells him “Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of funding.” I totally called that.

Costa Verde. Claire tells her mom that Bennet is lying to her again, but this time it’s worse, telling her about the plane crash and the abductions of all Heroes, good and bad. Then Bennet walks in with Indian takeout. Sandra sends her daughter upstairs. She is pissed, telling her husband that she can’t take it any more. They argue, loudly. Claire listens in from the stairway and is sad – even though she’s the one who started it.

Building 26. Nathan visits Tracy in her cell. He tells her to get used to the heat. Tracy grins up at him: there was a broken chain and an unlocked door - you wanted me to escape ... next time I will.

Road-trip. The commando van is pulling away from the diner when it starts to shake and rock. There are muffled shouts and then everything is quiet. The van doors open and one masked commando hops out. His boots leave bloody footprints. He pulls off his mask and it’s Sylar. He leans into the van and pulls an unconscious Luke out. Slinging the boy and a case of some kind over his shoulder, Sylar walks away in slo-mo.

India. Ando apologizes to Hiro for trying to change the course of his destiny. But Hiro says it’s okay – the point of his trip to India was to prove to himself that he didn’t need powers to be a hero. Meanwhile, Anapurna has a fax for them from Rebel: return to Los Angeles and save Parkman.

Costa Verde. Bennet comes into Claire’s bedroom carrying a suitcase. He tells Claire that Sandra has asked him to move out, and that he thinks that’s probably a good idea for now. He needs to try to be a better person to his family but he’ll still be around, don’t worry. They are both crying and she hugs her dad tight, guilt, fear and self-righteousness mixing in her expression. Bennet leaves and Claire puts her resolve face on. O-ho! She’s got Alex hidden in her closet.

Road-trip. Luke thanks for Sylar rescuing him. Sylar’s like whatever, I didn’t do it for you – now I’ve got some of their technology and can figure out how they’re tracking me.

Building 26. Nathan thinks that Danko might like to know that Mark Leggett is the name of the analyst who Tracy killed today. Nathan thought Danko would want to know … because Danko’s the one who let Tracy out. Danko says he did it to ensure that the project didn’t get tanked, which it was about to. Nathan’s pissed about it because an innocent man died and because HE’S WISHYWASHY.

Costa Verde. Bennet has some scotch-flavored drinks at his current hotel. As his vision gets blurry and he falls off his barstool, it seems as though those drinks might have been drugged since I can’t believe ol’ HRG would get blotto. And yes, drugs it is, as Parkman, Peter and Mohinder come into the bar and carry Bennet out, assuring the bartender that they’ll take care of the drunk. Very sneaky, guys!

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Holy mackerel, that's tasty

Today for lunch I had Fried Mackerels in Chilli Sauce (on crackers) from the good folks at Smiling Fish. This was a pretty self-explanatory food item: chunks of fried mackerel in a chunky sweet-sour-spicy chili sauce. But it was quite nummy and, once the 5.5 oz. can was consumed, I reserved the leftover sauce to add to this evening's soup (Mr. Mouse is working late and I do NOT cook for one). The Smiling Fish site lists tons of different products, only a few of which could be found at the Back Cove Hannaford, but I have managed to obtain a can of their Fried Fish with Chilli (fried "grinner fish," whatever those are) and expect tastiness there too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

DVD review: GRΣΣK: Chapter Two

ABC Family’s GRΣΣK (rated TV-14 for language and suggestive dialogue) is back for a second semester with this DVD release. This surprisingly good television dramedy series, focusing on the social lives of a group of college students at the fictional Cyprus-Rhodes University, picks up where Chapter One left off, the Cartwright siblings, popular junior Casey (Spencer Grammer) and geeky frosh Rusty (Jacob Zachar), return to campus after winter break. All the cast regulars have returned as well: Cappie (Scott Michael Foster) Casey’s ex-boyfriend and president of Rusty’s frat, Kappa Tau Delta; Evan (Jake McDorman), Casey’s ex-boyfriend and president of the WASPy Omega Chi house; Ashley (Amber Stevens), Casey’s best friend and roommate; Rebecca (Dilshad Vadsaria), Casey’s Zeta Beta Zeta little sister and nemesis; Cal (Paul James), Rusty’s friend who is rushing the rival Omega Chi house; and Dale (Clark Duke), Rusty’s Southern Christian roommate.

As in the first chapter, the campus’s Greek social life is the focus of the show – I don’t recall even seeing the inside of a classroom. Episode 1, “A New Normal,” shows all the characters settling back into college life in the aftermath of last semester’s break-ups and scandals. In episode 2, “The Great Cappie,” Cappie and Rebecca hide their relationship from Casey when the Zeta Betas and the Kappa Taus co-host a prohibition-themed party to boost morale.

The theme of episode 3, “Highway to the Discomfort Zone,” is acceptance, as Casey and Rebecca have to work together for a ZBZ event, Rusty feels ostracized by his KT pledge and Dale attempts to cure Cal of being gay. In “War and Peace,” episode 4, Cappie initiates some retribution against Evan’s ratting out their prohibition party to the Dean and Rusty and Cal’s friendship is strained due to the tensions between their rival houses.

Episode 5, “Freshman Daze,” is essentially a flashback episode in which we get to see how all the main characters met each other and how their early interactions have tempered their relationships now. The bonus featurette, “And So It Begins,” is a behind-the-scenes with lots of interviews about filming this episode; all the actors really enjoyed getting a glimpse into their characters’ pasts and motivations.

Episode 7 (“47 Hours and 11 Minutes”) covers Parents’ Weekend and Casey, Rusty, Rebecca and Dale all have issues. Episode 9 is “No Campus for Old Rules,” in which tensions heighten between the Greeks and the non-Greek students (this episode contains references to both Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the original Beverly Hills 90210 which I suspect the young folks will miss entirely).

Episode 10, “A Tale of Two Parties,” was my favorite: when Omega Chi throws a party to celebrate the campus restrictions being lifted from the Greek system, the uninvited Kappa Tau house throws their own shindig. “Spring Broke” (episode 12) is the finale to Chapter Two as the gang packs up and heads to Myrtle Beach for spring break.

GRΣΣK continues the character development begun in Chapter One: these kids are pretty realistic, aside from being ridiculously attractive. Casey struggles to forgive the people who’ve hurt her in the past, realizing that she has to deal with them on a daily basis – they’re not just going away. Cappie begins to mature a little from his Animal House-esque beginnings: the show’s choice as hero, he’s thoughtful and caring in his dealings with both Casey and Rebecca, supporting the former as a friend (with some unresolved feelings) and allowing the latter to let down her guard and become more human. In addition, Evan and Frannie, Casey’s ZBZ big sister - characters who would be presented as villains in other shows – are shown as conflicted, struggling with themselves to make decisions they and the people around them can live with.

There are not much by way of extras in the 3-disc DVD set: the aforementioned flashback episode featurette; a blooper reel; several commentary tracks; and the music video for “Natural Disaster,” a song by the show’s house band, The Plain White Ts.

Fluff with a heart of gold, GRΣΣK continues to improve in this second Chapter. I have high hopes for it in seasons to come.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In Joss we trust


The long-awaited return of Whedon to network television

Tomorrow, Friday, February 13, 2009
9:oo p.m. (Eastern) on Fox

Watch it.

And be patient: like fine wine, Joss's shows need to breathe for several episodes before blooming into full tastiness.

Whither Joss goest, I go.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lost episode recap – “This Place Is Death” (S5E5) airdate 2/11/09

I thought this was a pretty darn good episode. It didn't jump around too much in time and/or space; there was a lot of ground covered and even some possible answers; Kate and Jack were scarcely on-screen; pretty, pretty Desmond and the Smoke Monster have cameos; and Jin's not dead yet. Well, maybe he is, it's not clear, but he's definitely got a lot to do.

Los Angeles. Sun watches the goings-on at the marina, but is interrupted by a call from her mother in Seoul. Her mom puts her baby on the phone and, hearing her daughter’s voice, Sun’s resolve wavers just for a moment. Then, she picks up her gun and gets out of the car. Cocking the gun, she strides up to Ben. Everyone freaks – Kate mostly because Aaron is alone in the car! – until Ben calmly tells Sun that he didn’t kill Jin. Jin is still alive and Ben can prove it.

Island. A confused Jin stares at the ocean while the French folks busy themselves with their equipment. Rousseau lets him know that the current year is 1988 and Jin freaks out understandably. The French are picking up a radio signal and ask Jin if he knows where the radio tower is. He says yes, and reluctantly agrees to lead them there, figuring he can determine the location of the Losties’ beach camp from there. Rousseau notes his distress and asks who he hopes to find at his camp. “My wife,” he mutters.

As they walk through the jungle, Rousseau gets a twinge in her belly. Her husband is concerned, seeing how she’s seven months pregnant and all, but she says the baby just kicked. Jin is sad, watching how tender they are with each other. Soon the group notices that one of their party, Nadine, is missing. As they call for her, a rumbling is heard in the trees. Rousseau is frightened and they ask Jin if he knows what made that noise. Jin: “Monster.” Ooh, it’s the return of the Smoke Monster at long last! I bet it likes French food.

The French folks are like, um, monster? Whatever, let’s go find Nadine. Jin thinks this is a bad idea but tags along for the safety in numbers. They find Nadine’s pack and then AWESOME! the Smoke Monster starts ripping trees out by their roots and then Nadine’s body plummets to the ground. She lands hard. They run, but the Smoke Monster corners them, grabbing one of their guys and dragging him off into the underbrush. They give chase and manage to grab onto him, trying to keep him from being pulled into a pit in the ground. The Smoke Monster keeps yanking on him, however, and eventually PULLS THE GUY’S ARM OFF. The severed arm goes flying; the remaining French folk collapse, screaming; and Jin just looks beaten.

They hear their fallen comrade’s voice coming from way down in the cave. “Help me! I’m hurt!” Well, no shit, mon ami – your arm just got ripped off at the shoulder. And you are sounding remarkably calm under the circumstances – I think it’s a trap and the Smoke Monster is trying to lure them to their doom. Despite Jin’s protestations the Frenchies decide to go in after their guy. Jin does manage to keep Rousseau from following them at least, for the sake of the baby. As the two of them stand guard, the light starts to flicker, however, and Jin clutches his head in pain. “What’s wrong?” asks Rousseau, seemingly unaffected. Jin can’t answer her before FLASH and he’s all alone, in the same spot above the Smoke Monster’s cave. The Frenchman’s arm is still there, no longer fresh; and we can now see that there are hieroglyphics carved into the stone walls above the cave. Jin looks like he might lose his mind trying to figure out WTF is going on. Again, understandably.

He hikes away from the cave and, from a hilltop, sees a trail of smoke. He heads towards it and ends up at a beach covered in luggage and wreckage. It’s someone’s camp: he finds a palm lean-to, a music box, a violin … and two bodies laid out on the sand. They’re flyblown and I think it’s a couple of the Frenchmen. Jin hears shouting down the beach a-ways. It’s Rousseau. She’s got her husband at gunpoint: “You’re not Robert … you’re sick … the monster changed you.” Robert tries to reason with her that it’s not a monster per se – it’s a security system that guards the temple [hieroglyphic walls]. Rousseau hears him and lowers her gun slightly, so Robert lifts his own rifle and pulls the trigger! It’s a misfire, lucky for her, and so she shoots him in the head. I’m guessing she shot those other two guys too. Then Rousseau sees Jin skulking in the bushes and starts firing at him as well, having pretty much gone off her nut, so he has to run off into the Island’s interior to escape her. A little ways in, he gets another flash.

When he comes to, someone is behind him cocking a gun. It’s Sawyer! Totally adorably, once Sawyer realizes whom it is he’s seeing he gives a joyful whoop and grabs Jin into a huge hug. Juliet, Locke and etc. are there too, all wearing big goofy grins, and Jin looks from face to face hopefully. “Where’s Sun?”

Miles wants to know where Jin came from; Daniel figures that he was in the water off the boat but close enough to get caught up in the time flashes – whatever, we’ll go with it because it’s just so nice to have Jin back. Sawyer tries to explain to Jin that every time the light flashes they slip through time, but Jin has had enough. His English fails him utterly and Sawyer turns to Miles, as the other token Asian guy, to translate. Miles: “What? He’s from Korea, I’m from Encino.” I think I love Miles. Charlotte, however, can speak Korean, and tells the group that Jin is asking if they’re sure Sun is off the Island. Locke, through Charlotte, says yes, they’re sure, plus they’re heading to the Orchid to try to get her back.

Los Angeles. Sun is angry: she has been mourning her husband for three years and now Ben says he has proof that Jin is still alive? She shoves the gun into Ben’s neck. Ben, slightly less calmly, says that there’s someone here in L.A. who can give her the proof she needs, and that someone will also show them all the way back to the Island. Now it’s Kate’s turn to wig out. She turns on Jack, furious at his complicity in Ben’s plan to return them to the Island, and stomps back to her car. Sayid turns away too and Ben’s voice breaks a little when he calls after him. Sayid shakes his head, saying he doesn’t want any part of this and if he sees either Jack or Ben again it will be “extremely unpleasant for all of us.” He leaves. Ben looks back at Sun: they can get the proof she needs in thirty minutes, or she can shoot him now and never find out. Sun: “Let’s go.”

Island. Locke’s group is on the move. Jin wants to go with Locke but Locke says that can’t happen, promising to bring Sun back. Daniel asks Charlotte if she speaks any other languages. Charlotte: “Just Klingon.” Me: heh. She asks Daniel if what they’re trying will work; he’s hopeful but not sure. Then FLASH, and FLASH again. These flashes are terribly painful to everyone; both Juliet and Sawyer get nosebleeds and Charlotte collapses after the second one. When she comes to, she speaks urgently in Korean to a shocked-looking Jin, then switches to English so he doesn’t have to translate: don’t let them bring Sun back to the Island – “this place is death!” And we have a title, folks.

Los Angeles. Ben drives Sun and Jack, Sun antsy at how long it’s taking. Ben: “I didn’t account for traffic.” Jack tries apologizing to Sun for leaving Jin behind but it just pisses her off. She asks if he’s just saying this now so she won’t kill Ben. Jack gets all puffed up and says that for what Ben just did to Kate, if Sun doesn’t kill him, he’ll do it himself. Now Ben gets pissed off and pulls the van over. He shouts that if the two of them knew what he’s had to do to keep them and their friends safe, they would never stop thanking him. Ungrateful jerks. Sun tells him to keep driving.

Island. Charlotte’s mind is pretty much free-floating now. Sawyer and Locke want to leave her behind as the flashes are coming faster now and they’re running out of time. Daniel protests, but then sends them on ahead, saying he’ll stay with her. As they go, Sawyer points out that if they don’t know when they are, how do they know the Orchid Station will even be there? Crazy Charlotte tells them to “look for the well.” And with that in mind, they head off. They do find the Orchid but just as they get there, there’s another flash and they end up in a time in which the station isn’t there. Locke remembers what Charlotte said, however, and just around the corner finds a well. Miles is impressed.

Back with Charlotte and Daniel, Charlotte confesses that she grew up on the Island - her folks were part of the Dharma Initiative. But when they got back to England, she would ask her mum about the Island and her mum would tell her that she’d imagined it, that it wasn’t a real place. So that’s why she became an anthropologist – to find the Island again. Wouldn’t becoming a geographer be more helpful than an anthropologist? I’m just asking. Daniel’s like, okay, but why are you telling me this? Charlotte, starting to cry now, says it’s because she’s remembering a scary man on the Island who told her that once she left, she must never come back because if she did, she would die. Daniel doesn’t understand. Charlotte: “Daniel, I think that man was you!” Well, I wouldn’t call him “scary” necessarily … twitchy, maybe.

At the well, Locke gets ready to climb down but Jin stops him, saying that he doesn’t want Sun brought back here – “this Island is bad!” He threatens to cut the rope Locke was planning to climb down until Locke promises not to seek Sun out. Locke does ask what happens if Sun finds him, and Jin, eyes tearing up, says that he should say that Jin is dead, body washed up on shore. He hands Locke his wedding ring to give to Sun as proof. Juliet thanks Locke for what he’s trying to do, and then he climbs down the rope, hand over hand.

They watch him descend until, horribly, the light changes. A flash is coming and it seems to be emanating from the bottom of the well. Everyone cries out and Sawyer grabs Locke’s rope, shouting for him to hang on. But the flash has other plans, and Locke falls to the bottom of the well. There’s a snap of bone and he screams. Topside, Sawyer is still clutching the rope for all he’s worth. Miles looks at him and says that he can probably let go now: the well, and Locke, is gone and the rope disappears into solid earth. Sawyer scrabbles at the ground, yelling for them to dig, but Juliet just kneels beside him. “James, we can’t help him now.”

Charlotte is having a rough time, coughing up more and more blood, and Daniel begs her to stay with him. He says that he sent Desmond to find his mother to help them but Charlotte is too far gone. She giggles that they’re not allowed to have chocolate before dinner, gives a little cough, and shuffles off her mortal coil. Daniel shakes and cries and says her name over and over. If they’d had any sort of chemistry together, I might care.

Down in the well, Locke is still screaming. And well he should: he has a compound fracture in his lower leg. He shouts for Sawyer but the opening of the well is gone. Then there are footsteps and Christian, Jack’s dad, comes around the corner with a lantern. He’s here to help Locke the rest of the way. Christian also points out that the last time they spoke, he specifically told Locke that he, Locke, was to move the Island to save it. Locke protests that Ben said he knew what to do and Christian chides him, asking when did doing anything Ben said do any good. Locke is confused and slightly panicky. “The good news,” Christian continues, “is that you’re here now. Are you ready to go?” He tells Locke that he must convince all the Oceanic Six to return to the Island and that a woman named Eloise Hawking can help them with the actual returning. Locke stutters that Richard told him he was going to die; “I guess that’s why they call it a sacrifice,” replies Christian.

He tells Locke that behind this wall is a wheel that has slipped off its axis and all Locke has to do is give it a little push. Locke asks for help standing up but Christian refuses. Crying out in pain, Locke pulls himself up and lurches to the wheel. It’s the one that Ben turned before and now it’s stuck. Locke gives it a big yank and it slips back into gear. A greenish-white light fills the chamber. Smiling, Christian bids Locke good luck and tells him to say hello to his son. Locke: “Who’s your son?”

Los Angeles. Ben pulls up at Eloise Hawking’s church. Before they go inside, he reaches into his pocket and hands Jin’s wedding ring to Sun. He tells her that he got it from Locke, to whom Jin gave it before Locke left the Island. Again, he asks Sun if she will come back to the Island with him. She stares at the ring and says yes, she will – completely forgetting about the daughter she’s about to leave behind. Jack just stands there, catching flies. Just then, pretty Desmond turns the corner. Surprised, he wants to know what they’re doing here. Ben suspects it’s for the same reason that Desmond's here. Des: “You’re looking for Faraday’s mother too?”

Everyone thinks that’s a little weird so they all go into the church where Eloise Hawking is lighting candles. Desmond seems to remember her from when he bought Penny’s ring from her. She is displeased that Ben has not brought the whole group but guesses that it’ll do for now when he says it was the best he could do on such short notice. “All right,” says Eloise, “let’s get started.”

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

V is for Vacation Mouse

"So, Friend Mouse," you say, "just where were you that you couldn't possibly get last week's Heroes and Lost recaps up on time*?" Well, I'll tell you: I went on a family vacation to a tiny, unspoiled, gorgeous Caribbean island. And by "tiny" I mean "has only 1.5 towns and two grocery stores," by "unspoiled" I mean "there are no golf courses and the dogs, roosters and horses roam freely in the streets of the 1.5 towns," by "gorgeous" I mean "gorgeous" and by "Caribbean" I mean "you take a regular-sized plane to Puerto Rico and then you take the smallest plane you've ever been on to another island."

So let me tell you how my week broke down.

Books. I read five books: The Alienist by Caleb Carr (which I'd read before but just love-love-love so I read it again); Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton; The Brethren by John Grisham (pretty light-weight even for a Grisham book, frankly); Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg; and Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra (now I have got to see the movie again - what a story).

Bug Bites. Between the mosquitos and the sand fleas I lost count at 50+. But after I commandeered the mosquito bed net from the Mouse parents (and they weren't getting mosquito-bit, so don't get all elder-abuse on me - jeesh), and stopped walking on the neighborhood beach at dusk, I was new-bite-free for the remainder of the trip. Good news: the island mosquitos don't itch. Bad news: the sand fleas do.

Booze. We put away a case of beer (Medalia Medalla Light, yo!) and a bottle of rum a day, plus an additional six bottles of wine and a pitcher of sangria. Not bad consumption for the six of us, although one adult would only take a sip of beer and then hand off the can to someone else, and the 2 1/2 year old had hardly any at all.

Beaches. There is absolutely nothing to do on this island except go to the beach and snorkel, go to the beach and read or go to the beach and swim in the turquoise waters. La Lanchita was the local beach for Sunday; Caracas and Playuela on Monday; Sombe, Media Luna and Navio Tuesday; Blue Beach and Playa Plata on Wednesday; Green (great shelling) and Mosquito Pier (good snorkeling) on Thursday; and back to Caracas on Friday.

I am not joking - this was a definite stress-detoxification vacation. I mean, this place is mellow. The locals are friendly but interested in doing their own things; the ex-patriate population is in the 50-70 year age range; there is one t-shirt shop. It was fantastic - so much so that some in our group are seriously considering buying some property there.

But no, I'm not going to come out and tell you what island it was: in the event that real estate does get bought, I want to be able to mooch off my relatives without having this little paradise spoiled if the unwashed masses have discovered it. (If you really, really want to know, send me an email and I'll reply with links and everything).

And to the taxi driver who told us that alcapurrias were so delicious ... you were right. Thank you!

* You will note, however, that I busted my tail and got completely caught up before this week's Heroes ep. So, kudos to me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Heroes – “Trust and Blood” S3E15 (airdate 2/9/09)

43 hours after the plane crash, the news is not good: all hell broke loose; the plane broke apart when it hit the ground; and some of the prisoners escaped.

Hiro, Mohinder and Parkman hide in a gully from the commandos. When Parkman gets the white eyes of vision, he leads them to safety. Meanwhile, Peter and Claire are running when Bennett jumps out and grabs Claire: “You’re both coming with me.” Claire pleads with her dad and distracts him long enough for Peter to run off. Claire tells her dad that now, after the crash, people are going to start to ask questions. But Bennett begs to differ as an air strike blows the plane – and, presumably, any corpses inside it – to bits. Claire stares at her father, horrified. His expression is unreadable.

Nathan is getting pushback from Danko, the head commando guy. Danko has designated the escaped Heroes as terrorists - to be killed, not collected. Danko snarls that Nathan has to deal with Claire and stomps off. Meanwhile, Peter finds Tracy, hiding in the bushes. She’s pissed off, protesting that she’s not a rebel – she liked her life. Peter’s all, Nathan can’t be trusted and you’ve got to come with me now. She does. Also meanwhile, Parkman’s white vision eyes have led him, Mohinder and Hiro to an RV. He breaks in and brings out a piece of paper and some crayons. Now is not the time for sketching, Parkman, cripes! Mohinder and Hiro take advantage of the downtime and steal clothes off the clothesline to get out of their orange jumpsuits.

Daphne superzips into Tokyo and finds Ando. She tells him that Parkman is missing and she’s worried. Ando says that Hiro is missing too and he has tracked him by GPS to Arkansas, but has been having trouble getting a flight there. “Why fly when you can run?” Daphne asks. She grabs his arm and they speed off.

Back in Arkansas, Mohinder tells Hiro that he should surrender since he doesn’t have his powers anymore and maybe he’ll be let go. Hiro refuses, determined to fight the good fight. Parkman comes out of his trance and the boys all look at his drawings, unable to make much sense of them. They are at least able to determine that Daphne gets into trouble at the crash site, however, and Parkman rushes back that way to help her, ignoring Mohinder’s protests.

Newark, New Jersey. Oh good, new characters. (That was my sarcastic voice.) Mary and Luke Campbell, a mother and son who live across the street from Samson Gray apparently, come home after she’s bailed him out of juvie for fighting. There’s someone in their house: Sylar, and a hogtied commando. Sylar is interested in getting information out of the commando and thinks that torturing the Campbells in front of him might be a good way to go about it.

Daphne and Ando arrive at the crash site. They duck behind some wreckage, sussing things out. In the woods, Peter and Tracy manage to incapacitate two guards. Peter is planning to go back to the crash site, disguised as a guard, to confront Nathan. Tracy has a better idea because she thinks she knows Nathan better. Peter’s like, you think you know him ‘cause you slept with him? Okay – let’s try your plan.

Meanwhile, Claire is bitching at her father. He tries to explain that he has made “certain arrangements” for her safety, but these people with abilities have to be controlled. Nathan strolls up and tries to tell Claire that it’s for her own good. She snarls at both her fathers, not interested in anything they have to say. Nathan and Bennett take a sidebar, and Bennett tells the young senator that he’s got to keep his hunter (Danko) on a leash. Taking advantage of their distraction, Daphne zips in and frees Claire. As they watch the girls go, Nathan barks at Bennett that he better get her under control as she’s running out of favors. Not one to be threatened, Bennett replies that he wonders what Danko would do if he knew Nathan was one of Them.

Claire, Daphne, Ando, Hiro, Parkman and Mohinder all regroup on the hillside above the plane wreckage. Then all hell breaks loose - again. The commandos shoot Daphne, and then Claire – who could take it. But Parkman, wild over Daphne’s presumed demise, gives a big mental push and the commandos start firing on each other. As Nathan says in his voiceover, it was a bloodbath. Danko handcuffs Claire and drags her off while the rest of the boys scurry away.

Newark. Sylar isn’t getting anywhere with his captive commando so he goes to work on Mary Campbell. When he gets too tough, Luke demonstrates a power of his own, breaking free of Sylar’s TK hold and sending a force field or heat wave at their tormentor. Hmm, says Sylar, letting go of Mary for a moment, you and I need to talk, Luke.

Crash site. Danko drags Claire back to his headquarters and threatens to put a bullet in the back of her skull, ending things once and for all. Both Bennett and Nathan rush to her defense and Bennett says he’ll take her home. As Nathan glares from a distance, Claire pleads, “What about Peter and the others?” Bennett, because he really is a good man, glances at Nathan then tells his daughter that he’ll do what he can. He puts her in a car and sends her off.

Nathan gets a phone call from Tracy, interrupting a threatening interlude with Danko. She tells him that she wants her old life back, immunity, and in return she hands over Peter. Nathan thinks that will be fine. When she hangs up, Peter looks at her. She tells the younger Petrelli that Nathan is on his way. Now, we know she’s double-crossing one of the Petrellis, but which one? And why can’t she get killed off instead of Daphne or Elle? Ugh.

Newark. Sylar wants a demonstration of Luke’s power, standing an action figure on the table. While his mom watches, Luke sends another heat wave towards the plastic figure, melting it. He says that some stuff melts, some burns, water boils and “you should see it around pacemakers.” Sylar is intrigued, seeing a lot of himself in young Luke: the antisocial behavior, nasty little secrets, drone of a mother and absentee father. He wants to know what Luke knows about Samson Gray. While this is going on, the commando manages to free himself, grabbing for his gun. Luke, starting to make a connection with Sylar, pushes him out of the way and melts the commando’s gun, and then pretty much makes the commando’s blood boil until he collapses. Mary screams, horrified at what her son has done. Sylar just smiles.

Later, Luke asks Sylar to take him along, saying that Sylar is the only one who might understand what he’s going through, plus he can help Sylar find Samson Gray. Sylar knows Luke isn’t lying and they take off together in Mary’s car. I wonder if they left her alive?

Nathan drives up as Peter and Tracy lurk in the shadows. As far as Peter knows, the plan is for Tracy to incapacitate Nathan with her powers,. But Nathan calls her bluff, saying although he knows this is a trap he’ll still honor their deal: hand over Peter and she gets her life back. Peter comes out, holding a gun on Nathan but it’s a double-doublecross and Nathan’s commandos have surrounded them, rifles trained on both Peter and Tracy. Peter grabs Nathan long enough to snatch his power and then flies away to safety; Tracy, on the other hand, gets taken shrieking and screaming into custody by the commandos. Nathan approaches Bennett, noting that Bennett had Peter cold in his sights just then. He thanks Bennett for not taking the shot and Bennett nods.

Parkman, Mohinder, Peter, Ando and Hiro meet up sometime later. They peruse Parkman’s newest drawings. Hiro thinks he has to go to India to regain his powers. Whatever, Hiro. Parkman doesn’t want justice, he wants revenge for Daphne. Peter says that their old lives are over and they will have to do whatever it takes to survive, as well as preparing to take the fight to their enemies. They all put on their resolve faces.

In Costa Verde, Claire sits and broods on her bed. That’s a frickin’ huge bedroom she’s got there. Sandra comes in, noting that she’s been quiet since she got back. Has Claire made any college decisions? No, she’s thinking of staying close to home and getting a part time job – which Sandra thinks is a great idea as she’s missed her daughter a lot. As her mom leaves the room, Claire gets a text from someone telling her that rebellion is at hand and not to give up as she is not alone. She puts on her resolve face.

Nathan is on the phone with Angela, relating the recent events and asking for her assistance for when Peter contacts Claire, as he knows he will. Angela notes that her eldest son seems to be asking for reassurance and absolution, things that she is not willing to give since he pushed her aside for political gain. She pages through Danko’s file and hangs up on Nathan.

And then my DVR cuts me off before the end of the episode. Grrr – anyone know what happened in the very last scene?

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Lost episode recap – “The Little Prince” (S5E4) airdate 2/4/09

Two days after the Oceanic 6 have been rescued, Jack and Kate prowl the decks of Penny’s boat, Kate cradling a sleeping Aaron. She asks Jack what they should do about the baby. Kate says she knows that Claire was planning to give Aaron up for adoption and she tells Jack that they should say that Aaron is hers. Jack thinks that’s extreme, but Kate replies that after all the people they’ve lost, she can’t lose the baby too. As she gets up to go below decks, Jack asks her if she’s with him, if she’ll support his plan to lie to the rest of the world about their experience. “I’ve always been with you,” breathes Kate.

Three years later, Los Angeles. Kate leaves Aaron in Sun’s care at the hotel while she runs an errand. After Kate leaves, Sun gets a delivery, going into the bedroom to open the envelope. It contains recent photos of Ben and Jack and a box of Godiva chocolates … with a gun hidden under the top row of candy. Sun lifts the firearm out, studying it intently. I love badass Sun.

Island. Miles fills a water bottle and runs it back to where Daniel and Juliet are examining an unconscious Charlotte. She’s been out for ten minutes. Juliet asks Daniel if he knows what’s going on; he says he thought it might – a neurological symptom of Charlotte’s brain trying to keep up with all the time shifts. Juliet thinks he’s full of shit, saying that it’s not happening to any of the rest of them, so what gives. Daniel just murmurs that he’s grateful that it’s not affecting the rest of the group.

Los Angeles. Kate is at the law firm, meeting with the attorney who wanted blood samples from her and Aaron. She tells him that she’ll agree to the blood tests only if she can speak to his client about it first. Lawyer says he’ll ask the client but he’s pretty sure that the answer will be no – because Kate really doesn’t have a leg to stand on here, seeing how he already has a court order for the exchange of custody. Kate’s all “exchange of custody?” Lawyer says yup, she’s going to lose the kid for sure.

Island. Locke tells Sawyer that they should go back to the Orchid Station – that’s where this all started, so maybe that’s where it can end. Plus, Locke wants to try to get off the Island using the same escape route Ben did, reasoning that all this is happening because the six got off the Island. “Don’t you want her to come back?” he asks a bewildered Sawyer. “Doesn’t matter what I want,” gruffs Sawyer. Charlotte wakes up, disoriented and dizzy. Now what, asks Miles. “I’ll tell you what,” says Sawyer, glaring at Locke, “we go back to the Orchid.”

Los Angeles. Jack and Sayid are arguing gently in the hospital, Jack saying that Hurley will be safe with Ben, Sayid insisting that he will not. They are interrupted when a pissed off doctor yanks Jack out of the exam room to remind him that his medical license has been suspended and just WTF does he think he’s doing? Then they are interrupted when Jack gets a call from Hurley. The big guy wants to know if Sayid is okay and tells Jack that he’s safely away from Ben in L.A. county lock-up. Jack: “Um, what?” Jack hangs up the phone as Ben pops up. “Good, you’re here. How’s Sayid?”

Sayid is being attacked by a fake orderly who tries to shoot him with more tranquilizer darts. Sayid is onto him, however, and there’s a fight. Sayid quickly gets the upper hand (people should stop trying to tussle with Sayid) and shoots the guy full of his own tranqs. There’s an address in the guy’s pocket and, when Jack and Ben burst into the exam room, boggling at the unconscious thug on the floor, Sayid asks them if they know anyone at that address. Jack looks pole axed as he realizes it’s Kate’s address.

He calls her, telling her that she’s got to get out of her house. She’s way ahead him, telling him that Aaron is safe with Sun at her hotel. (Ooh – any chance Sun is the one planning to take Aaron away? That would be cool.) Jack insists that he must meet with Kate and so Ben tells him to meet up back at the marina – and hurry. He and Sayid will go after Hurley.

Nighttime on the Island. Sawyer wants to know what Locke plans to say to Kate to get her back to the Island but Locke hadn’t figured that out yet. The group stops in their tracks when they see a huge beam of light rising straight into the sky out of the jungle. Locke wants to avoid it. Daniel wonders if Locke knows when they are but Locke can’t (or won’t) say. They keep walking. As they do, Miles notices that his nose is bleeding too, but he doesn’t tell anyone about it.

Suddenly, horrific screaming comes out of the jungle. Sawyer goes to investigate. He turns a corner and the screaming is Claire, giving birth to Aaron. Kate is there too, helping, and Sawyer gets all misty-eyed as he watches. Is this a retcon? Because I totally don’t remember the birth. Then, to Sawyer’s dismay, the white light flashes again and the girls are gone. Locke comes up to ask if he saw anything but poor sad Sawyer says it doesn’t matter now. Aw.

Los Angeles. When Jack walks up to Kate’s car, she gets all mushy since he shaved that fugly beard. Fickle twit. She tells him that someone is after Aaron. Just then, the lawyer drives by. Kate snaps at Jack to get in or don’t, she’s gotta go. Jack jumps in her car and she takes off after the lawyer.

Island. Locke persists in asking Sawyer what he saw, saying that both of them know when they were because of what they saw: as Locke recalls it, it was the night that Boone died. They all keep walking. Miles tells Daniel about his own nosebleed. Daniel thinks it might have something to do with length of time of exposure to the Island. Miles thinks he’s nuts, saying he’s only been here for two weeks. Daniel: “Are you sure?” When they get back to the beach, the camp is there again, albeit trashed and deserted. The zodiac is gone too, but there’s something new: a couple of dugout canoes. “Who came in these - other Others?” snarks Sawyer. Locke decides to take advantage of what they’ve got and they launch one of the canoes to paddle to the other side of the Island where the Orchid station is.

As they are paddling, Sawyer confides to Juliet what he saw before the last flash. This tender moment is interrupted when gunshots are fired from the now pursuing second dugout – paddled by whom we do not know. Juliet hands Sawyer her paddle when his is splintered by a bullet and stands up to fire back with her own gun. Then, the light changes and they get another flash, Sawyer howling out as they flip through time, “Thank you lord!” Of course it is a terrible storm when the flash ends and Sawyer then shouts, “I take that back!” as they all paddle like crazy for shore. The other dugout is nowhere to be found.

Los Angeles. Kate and Jack follow the lawyer to a motel. Now what, Jack wants to know. The motel room door opens and reveals Claire’s mother, a/k/a Aaron’s grandmother. You know, Kate really doesn’t have a leg to stand on here. Some time later, the lawyer leaves. Kate and Jack are still sitting there. Kate is ready to go but Jack wants to go talk to Claire’s mom. Ooh! He thinks he’s got some pull because Claire is his half-sister, although Kate doesn’t know this. She thinks he’s just being nice and lets him go. Claire’s mom lets him in. When he tells her that “Everything [he and Kate] did, [they] did for Aaron, Claire’s mom asks, “who’s Aaron?” So Jack runs back to Kate to tell her that whoever is trying to take Aaron, it’s sure not Claire’s mom – she’s just in town to pick up a settlement check from Oceanic Airlines. Kate thinks it’s an awfully strange coincidence that Claire’s mom’s lawyer is the same as the mystery client’s lawyer. It’s got to be part of Sun’s revenge, I’m just sure of it!

Ben and Sayid drive Ben’s van to a parking garage. The lawyer is there (he’s everywhere!) to hand Ben a file, saying that there’s no case against Hurley. Ben says thank you; Sayid looks pensive.

Island. The gang beaches the canoe, exhausted and unsure of where/when they are. Juliet wants Sawyer to tell her how it felt to see Kate again. He doesn’t want to but he does, saying he was close enough to touch her, talk to her. “Why didn’t you?” Juliet asks. Sawyer, sad and gruff: “What’s done is done.” Then he notices that Juliet’s nose is bleeding. They are distracted, however, when Charlotte calls them over to take a look at wreckage washed up on shore. Locke flips a canister open and the writing on it is in another language - “anybody speaks French?” he asks.

Cut to a life raft on the ocean in the pouring rain. Everyone speaking French – with no subtitles so I have no idea what they’re shouting about although I’m guessing it’s about being stuck on a life raft in the pouring rain. They see someone clinging to some debris in the water and drag the person onto their raft. I am absolutely certain that it will be Rousseau … until they turn the body over and it’s Jin. Even better!

Los Angeles. Kate and Jack pull up at the marina. Kate wants to know why today of all days Jack called her. He shows her the address they got from the guy who attacked Sayid in the hospital. Then Ben and Sayid show up. Kate starts to wig but Jack says that Ben is here to help. Kate is having none of it, saying that Ben must have been behind the plan to take Aaron. When Jack protests, Ben hilariously deadpans “No, she’s right, it was me. Sorry.” His smirk is awesome. Kate gets up in his face, telling him to leave her and her son alone. Ben calmly reminds her that Aaron is so very much not her son, which shuts her up. Meanwhile, Sun is watching all of this go down from her own car, Aaron sleeping in the back. She snatches up the gun and gets out of the car.

Island. Jin awakens on the beach. His face is burned from the explosion and he’s disoriented. Luckily, these French folks can speak a little English and they ask Jin who he is and how he ended up in the ocean, so he gets some exposition about the freighter blowing up. One of the French girls is nice to Jin, giving him some water. She is pretty and pregnant and when she introduces herself to Jin, she is Danielle Rousseau. Awesome!

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost