Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mini-movie review: RocknRolla

Let me just go on record by saying that I love early Guy Ritchie. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are two of my all-time favorite movies - smart, clever, funny, fast, hella-entertaining and excellently soundtracked. Love-love-love.

I think Madonna* ruined Guy Ritchie.

RocknRolla is a friggin' disaster. Here's the plot, as best I can: the Wild Bunch (One-Two/Gerard Butler; Mumbles/Idris Elba; and Handsome Bob/Tom Hardy) borrows some money from gangster Lenny (Tom Wilkinson). Lenny is taking big money from some shady Russians to smooth the paperwork for a real estate project. The Russians try twice to pay off Lenny but each time the cash is stolen by the Russians' accountant, sexy Stella (Thandie Newton) who has hired the Wild Bunch to do the actual robbing. Meanwhile, as a show of good faith, the Russian boss lends his favorite lucky painting - apparently a striking work of art that the audience never gets to see - to Lenny, whose junkie rockstar stepson, Johnny, steals. (BTW: I really wanted to feed Johnny a sandwich - scary skinny.) After the second pay off theft, a couple of scary nigh-unkillable Russian thugs go after the Wild Bunch. Of course, this being a Guy Ritchie film, everything gets wrapped up, only sort of: the unkillable Russians get killed, as does Lenny (death by crawfish); the junkie rockstar gets straight; and, god help us, it ends with "Johnny [...] and the Wild Bunch will return in The Real RocknRolla." *shudder*

I'm sure that a one paragraph synopsis of LSaTSB and Snatch would yield similarly sketchy results, but I promise you that RocknRolla is by no means on a par with those two movies. It's S L O W for one thing - I was actually bored. Bored! At minute 57 I actually said out loud (to myself because Mr. Mouse had already gone to bed): "I miss the old Guy Ritchie." There's no catchy soundtrack either, so the music didn't even hold my interest. And Tom Wilkinson was utterly unconvincing as a Big Bad.

Two good things about this flick: Gerard Butler uses his yummy real accent; and One-Two and Stella dance like total spazzes - it's like they're channeling Elaine Benes.

* Also for the record, I have been a Madonna fan - up until the whole "I have a British accent and will save the world by adopting it all" thing - so it's not like I'm a big hater or anything.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lost episode recap – “The Variable” (S5E14) airdate 4/29/09

Oooh - big 100th episode tonight! Very exciting ...

We open with Desmond being rushed into the ER in the aftermath of his being shot and subsequently beating Ben. Penny and baby Charlie wait and wait for news. Eloise Hawking comes to the hospital and apologizes, telling Penny that it is her son’s fault that Des has been shot. Penny: “Your son is Benjamin Linus?” Eloise: Ugh – no, my son is Daniel Faraday.

Thirty years earlier, Island – After helping Daniel get out of the sub, Miles wants to know why Daniel came back. Daniel shows him that group photograph, saying this is the reason he came back. He cuts off Miles’s sputtering and says he needs to see Jack pronto. When they get to Jack’s cottage and wake him up, Daniel immediately pounces, asking how they got back here to 1977. Jack looks to Miles for explanation. Miles: “Don’t look at me – I just carried his luggage.” Jack babbles about being on a plane, being told by Daniel’s mom that it was their destiny to come back. “I got news for you, Jack,” says Daniel, “She was wrong – you don’t belong here at all.”

Quite some time earlier, little boy Daniel is practicing the piano. His mum tells him that his playing is beautiful, then asks him if he knows what “destiny” means. She goes on to tell him that his gift is his mind, his talent for science and mathematics, and her job is to keep him on his path, with no more time for distractions. Hence, no more piano. Young Daniel is sad, saying that he likes the piano and he’ll make time for it. Manipulative Eloise shakes her head, “If only you could.”

Island, 1977. Daniel rushes out of Jack’s cottage and asks Miles to take him to Orchid Station. They jump in a Dharma jeep, driving away over Jack’s shouts of “What do you mean your mother was wrong?” Jack then goes to Sawyer’s cottage and reports that Daniel is back and talking all kinds of nonsense. Sawyer frowns, and then says that he’d love to trade theories on this but he’s busy right now. He tries to close the door but Jack puts his hand out, wondering what Sawyer could possibly be busy with at 6:00 a.m. Um, that’s a little personal, dontcha think? But then a fully dressed Juliet tells “James” to let Jack in on their little secret: they’ve got Phil trussed up and stuck in a closet.

Out at the Orchid, Daniel impatiently waits until Dr. Chang shows up, and then tells Miles he’ll be back in ten minutes. He follows Chang into the Orchid, thumbing through his leather-bound journal (remember that – with all the calculations and wacky notes?) on the elevator ride down. He overhears Chang instructing the worker not to vary a centimeter from the prescribed coordinates and sees the dead guy being carried out on the stretcher (remember that from earlier this season?). Then he introduces himself to Chang and tells him that he needs to order the immediate and entire evacuation of all people on the Island. Chang’s like, um, what? Daniel says that the dead guy that just left is a casualty of the electromagnetic energy the Dharmites have tapped into down here – Chang interrupts to say that the energy is currently contained; Daniel agrees that it is, “down here” – and in about six hours, a catastrophic eruption of that same kind of energy is going to burst through the Swan Station. Chang laughs at him, asking what could possibly qualify him to make such a prediction. With much gravitas, Daniel replies: I’m … from the future.

They ride the elevator back up and Daniel chases after Chang, begging him to look at the equations in his journal. Miles tries to pull Daniel away but Daniel rides right over him and says, “Dr. Chang, Miles is your son … from the future.” Chang looks intently at Miles and asks if this is true. Miles, unable to look at his dad, says no. Chang has had enough and drives off in a Dharma van. Miles looks at Daniel unbelievingly and Daniel just says, with all earnestness, that he’s trying to make sure Chang does what he’s supposed to do. But then he won’t tell Miles what that is.

Flash to Daniel in graduation robes. He introduces Theresa (remember her from “The Constant”) to his mother but Eloise completely snubs the girlfriend and tells her son that she is taking only him to lunch. At lunch, Eloise chides Daniel, telling him that he is losing focus – he needs to put his work first, over all other distractions. Daniel complains, saying that he is focused … he even just got a huge research grant from some industrialist magnate - Widmore, he thinks the name is. Eloise’s eyes go wide at Widmore’s name. Then she hands her son a wrapped gift and leaves. Daniel opens the gift distractedly: it’s the leather-bound journal.

Island, 1977. Sawyer has called a meeting: Kate, Hurley, Jin, Jack and Juliet are there. He starts by reminding the new arrivals that he’s been back on the Island for three years now. It’s his home and he doesn’t want to leave - he looks at Juliet when he says this – but they don’t have a damn choice now that Phil is onto them. He says their options are two: they commandeer the submarine and go back to the mainland or they head off into the jungle and start from scratch. Jin immediately says that he will not leave, not if there’s any chance that Sun (remember her? she used to be on this show …) is still on the Island; Hurley seconds him.

A frantic knocking interrupts them. Sawyer grabs his gun and answers the door: it’s Daniel. “Welcome to the meeting, Twitchy,” smiles Sawyer. Miles follows Daniel in and Sawyer grabs him, asking if Daniel is still acting crazy. Miles rolls his eyes and reports that he’s currently on a whole new level. Great, groans Sawyer. Daniel starts in immediately, saying that what he’s here to do is of critical importance … and does anyone know where he can find the Hostiles? Calmly, but with a slight edge in her voice, Juliet asks why he needs to know that. He says that one of them is his mother … and she is the only one on this Island that can get them back to where they belong. I’m sorry for all the ellipses but Daniel … uses a lot … of … dramatic pauses … when he speaks.

Flashback to the first time we met Daniel, crying as he watches television footage of the Oceanic 815 crash. He has a visitor, however: Charles Widmore. Daniel apologizes for getting himself dismissed from Oxford and wasting the grant money, but that’s not why Widmore is here. He’s here to offer Daniel another opportunity: the plane crash that Daniel is currently sniveling over is an elaborate fake, set up by Widmore, and the real plane is on the Island – the fabulous Island that will help Daniel’s research and heal his time-traveling fractured mind. “Your gift shouldn’t go to waste,” Widmore says gently. Daniel smiles and says that he sounds like his mother. “That’s because we’re old friends,” says Widmore.

Island, 1977. Sawyer: “Your mother is an Other?” Yup, she was Ellie way back in 1954. Juliet and Sawyer press the issue, wanting to know what Daniel is planning, but he says he’s not telling them anything. Jack tries to intercede, saying that they might as well help Daniel since they obviously don’t belong here at the Dharma camp. Sawyer snarls that he’d been belonging here just fine until the O6ers came back. So Jack turns to Kate (who has mercifully been silent this whole time) and asks her if she remembers how to find the Hostiles. He says that he never asked what happened to Aaron or what her reason was for returning to the Island, but he bets it’s out there, not here. Sawyer cuts in, saying that no matter what her reason is, “helpin’ H.G. Wells here talk to his mommy ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.” He then slips up and asks “Freckles” to come with them.

Juliet gets a sharp look on her face and then she tells Kate the code to get through the sonic fence, saying that she should take Daniel: “It’s over for us here anyway.” Kate, Jack and Daniel turn to go, Daniel first asking Miles if he’d be willing to drive them. Nope – Miles just tosses them the keys, which Daniel pockets regretfully. As they leave, Sawyer tells them that when they realize their mistake, the rest of them will be back at the beach where it all started. The door closes and Sawyer instructs the remaining Losties to gather their things and meet back here in twenty minutes. Then he goes and takes Juliet’s hand, squeezing gently. She has tears in her eyes.

Kate tells Jack and Daniel that the Hostiles will not be happy to see them and they need to bring some guns. Daniel gets distracted again and tells the other two that he’ll meet them at the motor pool. He’s seen little girl Charlotte (whose accent is rawther appalling) swinging in the compound playground. He tells little Charlotte (who is way too young to assimilate any of what he tells her, really) that if Dr. Chang tells a bunch of people to get on the submarine and leave the Island, she and her mommy need to go. Unless he can accomplish what he’s setting out to do and then everything will be fine.

He rejoins Jack and Kate as they’re raiding the weapons locker at the motor pool. Unfortunately Radzinsky and his armed goons interrupt them and things get very tense very quickly. So tense that everyone starts shooting at each other and Daniel gets winged in the neck. They are pinned down but Kate thinks they can make a run for the jeep so sharpshooter Jack gives them some cover by shooting a barrel of fuel, causing a big ol’ explosion (Mythbusters would tell you that such an explosion is a television/movie fallacy). They get away but a furious Radzinsky screams to sound the alarm.

Flash back to an adult Daniel trying to remember how to play the piano – his mind is all but shattered from having performed those time-travel experiments on himself. Eloise comes in to talk to him about the job offer from Widmore. She says that it is very important that he accept this opportunity. Daniel whines that he can’t do it; his mind is so fragmented that he can’t do the necessary math anymore. Eloise says that if what Widmore says is true, that the Island can heal him, then he would be able to go on with his work if he goes there. Pitifully, Daniel asks if taking the job would make her proud of him. She says yes, it will. Then he’ll do it.

Island, 1977. Jack examines Daniel’s neck wound (it’s jus a flesh wound) while Kate turns off the sonic fence. The two men have some time travel talk that I don’t really pay attention to: the gist is that this 1977, right now, is their present and any of them can die here. Ooh, I think that’s called “foreshadowing” – how subtle. Kate gives the okay and they start their hike.

Back at Sawyer’s cottage, Sawyer stops his frenzied packing long enough to make schmoopy eyes at Juliet, who is rightfully pretty pissed at him. He says that she called it: the end of their utopia once the O6ers arrived. Juliet: Duh. He asks her if she’s still got his back and she stares at him, hard-eyed, and asks if he’s still got hers. Just then the alarm siren starts blaring. It’s that nut Radzinsky who bursts into Sawyer’s cottage, complaining that he just got shot by a physicist who was aided by the new recruits. “We’ve been infiltrated!” he shouts. But then he pauses, because Phil is awake and banging around in the closet loud enough to be heard over the siren. Radzinsky pulls open the closet door (almost shooting poor Phil with his itchy trigger finger) then turns and aims his gun at Sawyer and Juliet. Oops. He shouts at them to get down on the floor – now!

Out in the jungle Kate uses her madd tracking skilz to lead the boys to a stream for a hydration break. Jack asks if Daniel really needs a gun to go talk to his mom. Daniel: “You don’t know my mother, Jack.” So Jack tries another tack, asking if Daniel cares to elaborate on his “we don’t belong here” theory. Daniel explains that in about four hours the Swan Station crew will tap into that massive pocket of electromagnetic energy, the release of which will be catastrophic. So then they’ll have to cement the energy pocket over, like they did at Chernobyl, and because of this one accident the Dharmites “will have to spend the next twenty years keeping that energy at bay by pushing a button. “A button that your friend Desmond will one day fail to push … causing your plane to crash.” And because the plane crashes, the freighter will come, and his beloved Charlotte will be on the freighter … and that entire chain of events will start this very afternoon. Unless they change it. You can’t change the past, but you can affect the variables that can change the future. If Daniel is successful today, the hatch will never be built and Oceanic 815 will land in Los Angeles like it’s supposed to. (But then what will I watch for the last five years?) Kate asks how he plans to destroy the energy. Daniel: “I’m going to detonate a hydrogen bomb.” Kate and Jack: Holy shit.

Back to the hospital where Desmond is (hopefully) getting his gunshot wound fixed, Penny is having a hard time getting her head around the fact that this crazy white-haired lady is Daniel’s mother. Eloise tells Penny that Desmond has become a casualty in a conflict that is much bigger than he is. Penny panics at this – is Desmond going to be okay? But Eloise says that for the first time in a long time she doesn’t know what is going to happen next. A doctor interrupts to tell the women that Desmond is in the recovery room and asking for Penny. He’s doing fine. Thank goodness!

Penny goes to see her darling Desmond. She says she thought she’d lost him. And he reminds her that he promised he’d never leave her again. Smoochies! Meanwhile, Widmore accosts Eloise as she leaves the hospital, asking if Desmond is all right. She says yes, and his daughter is in there too. Widmore starts to say that his relationship with Penny is one of the things he had to sacrifice. But she cuts him off, saying that she knows about sacrifice, having sent her own son back to the Island while knowing full well that … “He’s my son too, Eloise,” says Widmore. Really? She pauses, slaps him and marches away. So Daniel is a true Island child then.

Island, 1977. Kate, Daniel and Jack are still tromping through the jungle, Kate fretting that Daniel is talking about erasing everything that’s happened to them. “It’s insane,” she complains. Jack points out that they disappeared off a plane and ended up on the Island thirty years in the past (Friend Mouse: not to mention the polar bears and the Smoke Monster and all these people coming back from the dead and Locke walking and the three-toed statue and Ageless Richard) – so he’s getting used to insane. They finally come upon the Hostiles’/Others’ camp and Daniel dashes ahead, Kate and Jack lurking in the shrubbery. Daniel raises his gun and tells the assorted Others that he wants to speak to Eloise. Richard comes out and says that Eloise isn’t here right now … and doesn’t he know Daniel from somewhere? Daniel starts to get agitated, insisting that Richard take him to Eloise now now now. Richard speaks soothingly but Daniel raises his gun, pointing at that pretty, pretty face. He starts to count and at “3” there’s a gunshot. Richard flinches. But it’s Daniel who’s been shot. He sinks to his knees and behind him we see that it’s circa-1977 Eloise who shot him in the back.

A gasping Daniel stares up at his mother: “Eloise! You knew. You always knew. You knew this was going to happen and … you sent me here anyway.” Eloise bends over the strange little man she just shot and asks him who he is. Daniel says that he’s her son, and she recoils, slightly. And then I think Daniel dies. Aw – that’s sad.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Book review: Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink

Homecoming, (the 2008 English translation of the 2006 German novel) by Bernhard Schlink, author of The Reader, is a convoluted tale of wishing and longing, of war and peace, of family and fable. Although the complicated novel stalls under its own weight towards the end, it manages to finish its journey and prove that home is truly where the heart is.

The narrator is one Peter Debauer, who grew up fatherless in Germany, in the aftermath of World War II. His mother is a cold, distant woman and adult Peter tells us that the best parts of his childhood were the summer vacations spent with his deceased father’s parents in Switzerland. Here he learns patience and quiet and calm affection and a love of literature that will set him on his life’s path. His retired grandparents supplement their pensions by editing fiction collections, and Peter is drawn to the post-war genre of homecoming. He is particularly enamored of one fragmented book about a soldier who escapes from a Russian war camp and fights his way home, only to learn that the wife he left behind has given him up for dead; Peter is able to read only a portion of this book and becomes obsessed with learning how the novel ends.

Peter’s quest for the book’s lost ending leads him through his life: spending time with his erstwhile stepson; discovering, losing and regaining his one true love; flourishing in a two-pronged career of publishing and academia; and finally connecting with the enigmatic, manipulative author of that homecoming novel - who may or may not be his own long-lost, presumed dead father.

Homecoming is not an easy book. What starts out as a delightful reminiscence becomes a quest story, then morphs into a classically-themed quest-within-a-quest, then changes to a nearly academic discussion of deconstructionism, justice, existentialism, the “iron rule” and the rise of post-war Germany, before finally exhausting itself into an almost happy ending. Schlink’s prose is engaging as Peter recalls his time with his paternal grandparents and then moves through his early adulthood, exploring neighborhoods, women and literature with delight. The scenes between Peter and his friend, lover and, finally, wife Barbara are genuine and heartfelt. I also enjoyed Peter’s discovery that the incomplete novel that so enraptured him was modeled on Homer’s Odyssey.

But when Homecoming shifted abruptly to in-depth scholarship, I was bumped right out of the narrative. Presumably this is done to demonstrate the intense immersion into deconstructionism that the narrator himself is going through – “the separation of a text from what the author meant it to say and its transformation into what the reader makes of it” – but it is disorienting, and a relief when the book turns away from the lecture and back to the story at hand.

There is no grand moment at the end of Homecoming, no sweeping revelation or riding off into the happily ever after. Peter Debauer, like most of us, does not get all his questions answered. Instead, Schlink ends his novel realistically, his protagonist returning home, quest over, to an imperfect but good life. It’s an affecting finish, human and untidy, and shows the author's considerable skill at reconnecting the reader with the characters.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Heroes episode recap– “An Invisible Thread” S3E25 (airdate 4/27/09)

It's season finale time, y'all! (Please oh please oh please – is there any chance that Mohinder will be killed off this episode? In the meantime I shall ignore his voiceover as I have done all season.) Let's get right to it:

On the way back to D.C., Bennet pulls the car over in the middle of nowhere. He tells Claire and Angela that there’s a roadblock up ahead and they need to get out of the car now. He sends them cross-country to help Nathan and says he’ll catch up with them later. They start to hike and Bennet drives on to the roadblock where he is promptly swarmed by Building 26 agents.

Nathan’s senatorial office. Remember how Danko spiked Sylar in the back of the head, and then it didn’t work ? Well, that’s where we are now, and Danko actually looks a little nervous. He should: Sylar tells him that the shapeshifting works on the inside too, allowing him to move the magic spot to somewhere else - and he ain’t telling where it is now. That was actually a smart move. Sylar TKs Danko up against the wall and then, to negate that one good idea, he decides to confess his master plan, like all awful television and movie villains do: he’s going to absorb all Nathan’s memories, then go shake the President’s hand. But first he’s going to shift into Danko’s form and shoot a couple of agents. This is actually another good idea. As more agents rush in, Sylar shifts back into his cover form, Agent Whatsisname, and holds Danko at gunpoint. “He’s in here,” Sylar calls, grinning, and all the helpless Danko can do as the agents move to take him into custody is growl and grimace.

The Capitol. Angela and Claire have made it this far, but Angela tells Claire that from here, she’s on her own. Angela has to go find Parkman because in her dream, he’s the one who saves Nathan. Claire heads to her dad’s office. Upstairs, Sylar is getting dressed and talking to a still unconscious Nathan – from whom he can’t get any information what with the still being unconscious. When an aide knocks, announcing Claire’s arrival, Sylar morphs into Nathan and says to send her in. Knowing about the shapeshifting potential, Claire is a tad suspicious, even as her “dad” promises to head the President off before Sylar gets to him and also to bring down Building 26. But he manages to win her over by brushing his fingers over her necklace and extracting the Mexico memories. Claire says that she wants to go with him, to help in case things go south. “Nathan” thinks that’s just a dandy idea.

Building 26. Hiro and Ando watch as the agents bring a handcuffed Danko into the building. Ando thinks that Hiro needs to take a break from the heroics – he’s sick, and bleeding, and in pain (“Your head could explode!”). But Hiro is willing to take that chance as Ando’s red electricity just won’t be enough to attack the Building and he puts on his resolve face. Cut to Pulsating Tribal-Electronic Music a la Blue Man Group as Danko does the walk of shame past his glaring team. The agents throw him into a dank-looking cell. “Fancy meeting you here,” intones Bennet, stepping out of the shadows. Danko frowns; Bennet smirks.

Nathan – the real one – finally comes to back in his office, just as Peter gets there. Nathan staggers, nearly collapsing, as he says they have to go after Sylar. “Lot of help you’re going to be,” notes Peter.

Building 26. “Go ahead,” grumps Danko, "start the lecture.” He’s actually pretty penitent, castigating himself for being an idiot to trust Sylar. Bennet says there’s no sense moping about it now - they’ll need everyone on board to put a spike through the back of Sylar’s head once they find him. Danko chuckles mirthlessly and tells Bennet that Sylar “moved the spot.” Bennet: "Great." Danko asks him how he managed to do this job all these years, dealing with all of this insanity. Bennet replies that it’s all about living in the gray area – that, plus having an adopted daughter with powers which necessitated having an open mind. They agree to put their differences aside to team up, and stretch out their hands to shake on it – and then time freezes.

Because Hiro has managed to freeze pretty much the entire building (which is causing his brain to bleed out his ear, but never mind that right now). They find the room with all the sedated Heroes (including Mohinder – blech) and, in a stroke of genius, replace the Heroes with frozen agents. “Payback is kind of bitchy!” exclaims Hiro. When time is unfrozen, the agents are zonked out but Hiro himself staggers, hand to forehead. That cost him dearly.

Bennet and Danko unfreeze and see that their cell door is now open. “Something is very wrong here,” says Danko. But Bennet knows: “Hiro.” Back in the lab, resuscitated Heroes are shuffling to their freedom. Mohinder examines the ailing Hiro and tells him that his poor human body is rejecting his abilities. Over Hiro’s sputtered protests, Mohinder tells him that he must not freeze time again or there may be Dire Consequences.

Stanton Hotel, Washington, D.C. Sylar-as-Nathan and Claire are cleared through the metal detectors. When they sign into the visitors’ log, “Nathan” signs with his left hand and Claire, suspicious again, asks about it. He bluffs that he’s ambidextrous – bats right, writes left – and ushers her onto the elevator. Claire’s poker face is pretty good.

Building 26. At the lab, a baffled Danko notes that his entire unit has been compromised. Bennet rolls his eyes and reminds him that he was warned that he wouldn’t be able to handle people with abilities. Danko pulls out a syringe, saying that the dope inside will take down an elephant; Bennet taps away at some computers, commenting that they will have to get close enough to the elephant first, not realizing that Danko is poised to plunge the needle into his neck. But no! The syringe disappears out of Danko’s hand: Hiro has snatched it away, teleportingly, and doses Danko instead. He drops like a rock. So does Hiro, nose bleeding again and this time, seemingly stroked out. Bennet orders Ando and Mohinder to call an ambulance – he’s got to get to the hotel to stop Sylar.

Hotel. Sylar-as-Nathan and Claire wait upstairs for the President’s speech to be over. When Claire’s cell rings, S-a-N watches her interestedly. Bennet gets more and more nervous as the phone continues to ring until finally his daughter answers. He asks where she is, whom she’s with. She says she’s with Nathan, then puts her finger to her lips, shushing the real Claire who is immobilized. Bennet barks out how can she be sure it’s him? And Sylar morphs back into himself and breathes into the phone, “Because it’s me.” All of which makes no sense dialogue-wise, but there’s no sense complaining about that at this point. Bennet = not a happy camper.

After the commercial, Sylar plays with Claire like a marionette, forcing her to open a bottle of wine for him. He makes her sit and pours a couple of glasses. Blah blah blah – he got to meet his real dad (big disappointment), you and I are so much alike (adopted, unkillable). Claire quivers with ineffectual rage. Then he starts getting creepy/sleezy again, playing with her hair and saying that he’s going to kill everyone she loves but maybe, over time, she’ll learn to love him. She could even be “[his] first First Lady.” Claire = not a happy camper.

Downstairs, Peter and the real Nathan try to get in past Security ... who is confused since Nathan is supposed to be upstairs already. They do some fast talking (off-screen, thankfully) and soon are being escorted upstairs by a Presidential staffer (and Nathan's old school chum), Liam. When Liam wants to take Sylar down, Nathan says that the team will get obliterated – Sylar is just that dangerous. Liam sneers, “He’s one of them?” And Nathan, after a quick look at his brother, sacks up and says, “He’s one of us.” Nathan levitates himself and Security draws their guns, but Liam waves them off. Nathan says that he’s been lying to everyone for a really long time, and he will take responsibility for his crimes, but right now they need to “course correct.”

The Petrelli brothers are given a five-minute head start. As they stride manfully down the hall, Peter’s plan is for Nathan to take Sylar low, while he takes him high: “Let’s cut the sonofabitch in two.” They manfully exchange vows of filial love and It. Is. On. They burst open the doors to the hotel suite and then have to duck as Claire comes flying out in their general direction. She bounces off the wall and crashes to the floor, then shouts exasperatedly at them, “Go!” The Flying Petrellis throw themselves at Sylar, who fires up Elle’s stolen electricity in preparation and then TKs the doors closed. Claire can’t get in and is forced to watch through a crack – which is more than we see, as the entire fight takes place off-screen.

When the noise dies down, Claire manages to open the doors. Feathers and smoke swirl in the trashed room. She walks in and finds only Peter, dazed and bleeding. He says they’re out the window and he can’t go after them. Peter and Claire run out of the hotel room; moments later, Nathan gets thrown back in through the window, landing on the ruins of the grand piano. Sylar levitates himself (???) back into the room and TKs Nathan to an upright position. Then he raises a finger and slashes Nathan’s throat. There’s blood, lots of it. It’s really gross and pretty gnarly for a 9:00 p.m. network show - wow! Nathan collapses into a chair, gurgling and gasping. Sylar steps up to him, smiling nastily, and says, “Claire’s going to be sooooo mad at me.” He morphs into Nathan and heads out. Now, just how is Parkman going to save Nathan from this? Are they the same blood type or something?

Speaking of Parkman: he’s at the bus station when Angela finds him. She tells him that he has to come with her to save her son. He doesn’t want to but is unable to resist her irresistible force.

Hotel. Bennet finds Claire and Peter and after a little bit of explaining, everyone figures out who everyone is. Bennet asks if Peter took Sylar’s power and Claire realizes that Sylar can be stopped. Then the Secret Service comes up, guns drawn. Claire has no time for this. She walks straight up to them until a pistol touches her forehead. “You can listen to me now or I’ll tell you after you shoot me.” Secret Service Guy: “WTF?”

Angela and Parkman are now at the hotel, passing through all checkpoints using Parkman’s mind mojo. They find Nathan in the destroyed suite – Parkman tries to hold her back from seeing the body but once again, she cannot be stopped. She screams horribly, wild and crazed, and then clutches her eldest son to her. Rocking, she stares up at the currently useless Parkman, saying that she doesn’t understand - he was supposed to save Nathan.

Down in the kitchen, Sylar-as-Nathan catches up to Liam, the President et al. as they try to make their escape. He wastes no time morphing into Liam's body, easily accessing the President’s limo. The President is pleased to see Liam, and tells him that he’s done a good job today. “You too, sir,” says Sylar-as-Liam, holding out his hand. The President takes it and doesn’t let go. Sylar’s face bubbles, flexes, and he rapidly shifts through all the forms he’s taken before finally resolving into his own. He stares at the President, utterly confused. And then the President morphs into Peter, who neatly jams a syringe into the underside of Sylar’s jaw. “Bet you didn’t think I took that one from you,” growls Peter. Me neither, says Friend Mouse.

Back up in the ruined suite, Angela has covered poor Nathan with a sheet; Bennet drops the unconscious Sylar on the floor. They turn to Parkman who immediately starts backpedaling as fast as he can: you friggin' people are nuts! They want him to facilitate putting the contents of Nathan’s mind into Sylar’s brain so that Sylar can continue to pose as the Senator in order to protect the surviving Heroes. They tell him that Nathan is the only one who can convince the President not to hunt the Heroes down. Bennet says that the last thing he wants is for Sylar to keep living and for him to have to lie to his family about it, but this change will be “permanent” (how do they know that?). If Parkman doesn’t help them, Nathan will be gone forever.

Parkman kneels down and clutches Sylar’s face, mind power flexing: “You are no longer Gabriel Gray. Sylar is dead. You are now Nathan Petrelli.” Flashes of Sylar’s life flicker in and out, replaced with flashes of Nathan’s life. Sylar convulses, gags, moans, and his body morphs. Nathan opens his eyes and he sees Angela: “Mom?” Yeah, that’s so not going to last.

Mohinder borings his way through another voiceover as Sylar-now-Nathan lights a funeral pyre on which the dead shapeshifter-in-Sylar’s form (from a few episodes ago) rests. Everyone is there, thinking Sylar is gone at last: Peter, Claire, Mohinder, a weakened Hiro and Ando. As they watch the body burn, Bennet turns to “Nathan” and asks if the President agreed to it. “Nathan” confirms it: funding, resources, deniability … and Bennet will be heading up the new Company. “I can’t believe he’s really dead,” Claire says to her dad. “He really is, Claire. He really is,” Bennet replies. Parkman can’t stomach the lie and turns away, appalled.

Thus endeth Volume Four.

Volume Five: “Redemption.” Six weeks later, one Kent Harper, a former Building 26 agent, lets himself into his apartment after a long day at work. He is annoyed to find that his sink is overflowing, the puddle spreading across the floor. As he watches, stunned, the puddle goes vertical, coalescing into a naked Tracy. She grins, eyes rolling crazily, and informs the agent that he’s “[number ] four.” Oh fabulous: she’s next season’s Big Bad. Ugh.

Cut to “Nathan” reading a newspaper article about a fourth “mysterious drowning.” He puts the paper down, pensive. Angela interrupts, saying that she hasn’t heard from him in weeks. He is preoccupied and tells her that he hasn’t felt himself lately. She tells him to come to lunch with her but he brushes her aside, suddenly captivated by an elegant little clock in a display case. “It’s running a minute and a half fast,” he says bemusedly. And then he snaps out of it, hungry and ready for “Italian? Chinese?” Angela is dumbstruck, horrified. What - did she really not see this coming?

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gossipy girls

I have to confess something to you: I have become completely addicted to Gossip Girl. I know, I'm such a genre-queen and yet something about this frothy, over-the-top, ludicrous bitchfest of a show has captured both my attention and my heart. (For those of you living under a rock, GG is about uber-wealthy Upper East Side high school kids, their complete lack of parental supervision and their access to all things expensive). I just can't resist rich, beautiful people being nasty to one another.

Ooh, an inelegant but appropriate segue! I also watched The Women recently. No, not the by-all-accounts-gawdawful 2008 remake, but the original 1939 film starring screen goddesses Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell et al. Based on the Clare Booth Luce play, this classic movie is about a group of wealthy NYC society women who do nothing but shop, go to the spa, gossip about each other and steal each other's husbands. Totally original recipe Gossip Girl. Not a single man appears in the movie eve though the less fair sex are what motivates the characters - this movie is all women, all the time. And such women! Gorgeous fast-talking creatures, constantly dressed in divine couture ... the whole thing is simply fabulous. Norma Shearer even wears a fur coat to walk from her bathroom to her bed. At the end, Joan Crawford gets the best exit line: "By the way, there's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society - outside of a kennel." Mee-ow!

You know you love me. xoxoFM

Friday, April 24, 2009

Film shorts

Since Mr. Mouse has been less than his usually healthy self of late (he contracted the overwhelmingly exhausting chest and head cold that I had last month - and totally blames me for it), I have managed to see a fair number of movies, having loads of extra free time since he's gone to bed at, like, 6:30 p.m. each night as opposed to his regular 8:00 p.m. bedtime. I don't really have enough to say about any of these flicks individually so here's the short and sweet of it:

I Love You, Man - Mr. Mouse and I actually saw this together when we needed to be out of the house for a showing. Wonders of wonders, we both liked it, laughing out loud a lot, and - bonus - Mr. Mouse stayed awake throughout! Of course, now my crush on Paul Rudd has reached exponential levels: he is totally adorkable in this movie, bordering on excruciatingly awkward when his character tries to say hip, funny things. Jason Segal is great too, and really really tall. Plus there's a puggle named Anwar Sadat and Jon Favreau makes a fantastic jerk. I've got that damn song from Rush stuck in my head now, though.

Spiderman 3 - This was just excruciating. I hated it, fast-forwarding through all the angsty-lovey stuff and generally being bored with all the CGI stunts. Were there any actual people in this movie at all? It was far too cluttered with characters - two love interests, two villains and a half villain/half BFF - so Spidey was spread a little thin. I liked Venom but he got so little screentime that he was all but pointless. Which is sort of what I thought of this movie: pointless. The best part was Bruce Campbell's scene-stealing cameo as the snooty French maitre-d'. Awesome.

Army of Darkness - Speaking of Bruce Campbell, I also knocked off Sam Raimi's third Evil Dead movie. Unfortunately, I liked this the least of the trilogy. I loved the original - a great little low-budget gorefest; I enjoyed the second but noted the tonal shift to a horror-comedy hybrid. This third installment? I pretty much felt like I was watching an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. You know, except without Xena. I don't think AoD can be considered a horror film at all (even if it is a sequel), more like a fantasy/action flick with a heaping side of slapstick comedy. There's no gore to speak of, and no scary moments and while there's lots of violence, to be sure, it's mostly against skeletons, both stop-action animation and live-action puppets. Still, it's got Bruce Campbell, and thus can't be all bad. It's good to be the king, baby.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

DVD review: Fallen Angel (2007)

Fallen Angel - a British miniseries, based on the Roth trilogy crime novels by Andrew Taylor - originally aired in Britain in 2007 and makes its U.S. DVD debut on April 28, 2009. The story unfolds over three episodes and explores the making of a murderer: you learn who almost immediately; it’s the why that makes the mystery.

In the first episode, “The Four Last Things,” icy-blonde beauty Rosemary Byfield (Emilia Fox), a/k/a Angel Wharton, kidnaps little Lucy for a dimwitted pedophile. Deeply disturbed – Lucy is not the first child she has abducted - Rosie has a history with Lucy’s father, Michael, and his mother, Wendy Appleton (Clare Holman), from years ago; Wendy was Rosie’s mother’s best friend, and Michael lived with Rosie, her father and stepmother for a summer. When Lucy is found and returned to her family, Rosemary is apprehended and Wendy makes it her mission to understand what could have happened to create such a monster.

“The Judgement [sic] of Strangers” is the second episode, taking place in the pastoral village of Roth in 1991, when Rosie was seventeen. When Rosie comes home for school break, she is surprised to learn that her father (Charles Dance), David Byfield, the local vicar, intends to remarry. Rosie does not like her new stepmother, Vanessa, a biographer. Things get tenser when Rosie starts reading the writings of Vanessa’s latest subject, a local heretic priest who was rumored to have committed human sacrifices in the 1920s. Meanwhile, Vanessa is so obsessed with her new book that she neglects her wifely duties and her frustrated husband turns his attention to the dubious charms of the young heroin addict next door. At the episode’s climax, several people are dead, several are arrested and the village is reeling.

The third episode is “The Office of the Dead” and takes place in 1979 when Wendy Appleton comes to live with the Byfields during a rough patch in her marriage. Rosie’s mother, Janet, is grateful for Wendy’s company since David is caught up in Church politics and has no time for his family. Janet is a weak-willed woman, browbeaten by her husband, struggling with Rosie, a precocious five-year-old, and burdened by her elderly father who is at the early stages of dementia. Soon Wendy is running the household, particularly when Janet becomes pregnant and becomes completely overwhelmed. Wendy is slightly troubled by little Rosie’s mood swings, more so when numerous dead and wingless birds are found on the cathedral grounds. But she is distracted by the troubles in her own marriage and when a horrific truth is revealed to her, chooses not to act on it, something that will have disastrous consequences in the decades to come.

The narrative structure is unusual, different but not incomprehensible. The first episode shows Rosie Byfield, the end product; the second is told from Rosie’s father’s point-of-view, looking back at his daughter’s teen years and convinced that it was he who made her into a monster; the third is Wendy’s remembrance of even further back, showing where things first went wrong with Rosie, and how present-day Wendy believes that she is to blame for Rosie’s psychopathy. It’s not a truly original way to tell a story (e.g. 2000’s Memento), but it is uncommon enough to be interesting.

I enjoyed this miniseries although I found it to be a little slow, particularly dragging in the second episode. The first was exciting because we had just been introduced to serial killer and master manipulator Rosie, and the third was good because evil children are creepy and fun to watch. The second episode, however, got bogged down in the satanic priest subplot – which I thought could have been done away with entirely. Enough was going on in Rosie’s life to screw her up without bringing black magic into it. This subplot must have been much more developed in the three books Fallen Angel is based upon; I think its excision would have made for a tauter and less bloated thriller.

Fallen Angel is approximately 207 minutes long, plus a 45 minute behind-the-scenes featurette. I confess that I did not watch the featurette but it contains numerous interviews with nearly the entire cast, the source material’s author, the screenwriter, other crewmembers and a professor of psychology.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “I Am Sylar” S3E24 (airdate 4/20/09)

Washington D.C., eighteen hours before the faux Nathan press conference. Sylar wakes up, having shifted into his cover identity (“Agent Taub”) unknowingly in his sleep. “Why does this keep happening?” he wonders as he yanks a loose tooth out of his mouth. He stares into the mirror: “Who are you?” It sort of looked like he was talking to that tooth.

Then we cut away to a touching moment between Parkman and Baby Matt calling Janice on the phone. Parkman promises to bring the baby back to her ASAP. Hiro and Ando rejoin them after Parkman hangs up the pay phone. Who uses pay phones these days? They’re trying to get him to help them take down Building 26 but Parkman thinks it’s too dangerous – he doesn’t want to miss any more of his son’s life. Okay, says Hiro, you go back and save your family and we’ll attack Building 26. Parkman thinks that’s a bad idea as well, far too dangerous, especially since the two Japanese guys don’t really have a plan. But he leaves them to it and drives off with the baby. Ando mentions that perhaps Parkman has a point about the lack of plan but Hiro is resolute, spouting some nonsense about a Hero never giving up. Whatever, Hiro.

Danko meets up with Sylar and says that one of his agents claims to have caught him on a surveillance tape – surely that can’t be right since Sylar is keeping undercover these days. Plus he’s supposed to be dead. Sylar looks troubled as Danko reminds him that “Sylar died to give you your freedom.” Sylar tells him about having changed into Agent Taub in his sleep, plus the extra tooth that emerged due to his rearranging his DNA too often. Danko says that he should stay as Taub for the near future for safety’s sake. Sylar doesn’t want to – Taub is a nothing – so Danko reminds him that as Taub, he can go anywhere, kill anyone, but if he insists on staying as Sylar Danko will have no choice but to hunt down and kill him. Fine, Sylar snits, and transforms back into Taub. “Good,” says Danko, “See you at work.” When he’s gone, Sylar mind-etches “I Am Sylar” into his own forearm, the bloody letters healing almost immediately. And, my friends, we have the episode title!

Richmond, Virginia, one Tom Miller’s apartment. Tom Miller is Clint Howard and collects ceramic figurines. He gets a text: “Get out now - Rebel.” As he’s reading it, Taub strides down the hall, morphing back into Sylar as he does. In a flash he’s in Miller’s living room, helping himself to a cup of tea. Since when can Sylar teleport himself? He did it a couple episodes ago out of Danko’s car and now he’s doing it again. When did he get that power? Ahem - anyway. Miller says that Sylar shouldn’t startle him - he can hurt him. Sylar’s like yeah, whatever, I’m just like you and can help you. Miller asks if he’s Rebel; Sylar, playing dumb, says, “I’m a rebel.”

Sylar asks for a demonstration of Miller’s power. “I really hate to do this,” Miller says, placing a figurine on the coffee table. He concentrates and then snaps his fingers and the figurine shatters. Sylar: “That looks like fun!” Miller: “Are you crazy?” Sylar steps close and tells Miller that the government agents are approaching and he needs to pick sides now: Sylar or the government. Miller picks him – a perfect stranger who he just met – and Sylar grins, and slices Miller’s head open to harvest his power. As Danko and his agents come down the hall, they can hear Miller’s screams. When they burst in, Miller is dead and there is a message written in blood on the wall: I Am Sylar. “Taub” hunkers down next to Danko, saying, “Jeez, would you look at that? What an ego.” Danko rolls his eyes.

Later, back at Building 26, Sylar is in his own form when Danko finds him in his office: “You gotta be you, is that it?” Sylar tells the other man about the text Miller received from Rebel and Danko is pleased to hear it, saying he could use Sylar’s help to bring Rebel down. Sylar: “My help or Agent Taub’s?” He is all hung up over this current identity crisis, totally unable to deal. Danko tells him to find an anchor, “something to remind you of you, so when you’re feeling lost you’ll have something to hang onto.” Like Desmond! (Sorry, wrong show.)

Now in NYC, Hiro and Ando break into Isaac’s loft which the government has rigged with motion detectors, etc. Hiro has decided that Ando should be the bait and, once he’s captured, Hiro will come in and rescue him and they’ll take down the Building together. They start to bicker, as usual, about Hiro not respecting Ando’s having a power now blah blah blah and the government agents burst in, tranquilizer guns blazing. They duck together, Hiro squinting time to a stop. But when he stands up, Ando has not been frozen like the rest of the room. He is gleeful: If I’m not stopped, I don’t have to be bait! Hiro just looked confused and a little annoyed, clearly not having meant for this to happen.

“Taub” gets some files delivered to him: the unsolved mystery of his mother’s murder. He opens the boxes, pulling out her bloodstained sweater, and buries his face in it, breathing deeply. EEEEEUUW. He goes on to handle other things in the file – the scissors he stabbed her with, a couple of snow globes. He freaks out a little and throws one of the snow globes against the wall and then suddenly his mother is there – the wonderful Ellen Greene, looking much less glamorous than in her fabulous Pushing Daisies role. OMG I am so bored with Sylar’s Daddy Issues and Oedipal Complex. Blah blah blah, his mom says she loves him; he whines that he killed her; she smiles eerily and says, “But now I’m back.” A knock on the door interrupts this tender exchange and eeeuw Sylar morphs back into his own body from BEING HIS OWN DEAD MOM and if that’s not creepy and weird, I don’t know what is. He at least has the good graces to look a little squicked out by it. He answers the door. It’s Danko who reports that they’ve found Rebel: “Tell Agent Taub to come join us.”

Isaac’s partially time-stopped loft. Hiro recalls that when he stopped time holding Baby Parkman, the baby wasn’t stopped either so he must have been touching Ando just now when he froze the rest of the room. Ando, giddy: “I feel like I’m in your secret clubhouse!” He thinks that Hiro is jealous that he has to share this non-frozen time and there’s more bickering and I’m so bored again. Ando insists that he will not be relegated to a sidekick. While he’s ranting, Hiro sneakily steps behind a column, unfreezes time and doesn’t even flinch as all the unfrozen tranq darts hit his buddy. Ando screams and collapses. Hiro stops time again and apologizes to his friend. As he turns to go, he looks more closely at one of the frozen masked agents and says, “Just my size.”

D.C. Danko and his agents storm a warehouse, in hot pursuit of Rebel. Danko orders the lights cut, noting that “No electricity means no machines … it’s time to hunt down this sonofabitch.” Inside, Micah gets ready to run, shoving some notebooks into his backpack. From behind him, however, utilizing his still-unexplained teleportation power, Sylar materializes, a smug smile on his face.

After the commercial, Sylar looks around, “You’re Rebel? You’re just a kid.” Micah says that he knows who Sylar is and he can help him with his problem, his problem being that he doesn’t know who he is anymore. Sylar sneers that he’s joined the other side. But Micah, wise beyond his years, tells Sylar that he’s special - he can save all the Heroes, and the government doesn’t recognize that. And since Sylar loooooves being told he’s special, he starts to look conflicted as the rest of the agents are heard to approach.

Baltimore/Washington Parkway, black van. The agents are returning to Building 26 with Ando, all shackled and intubated with the sedative. Hiro is there as well, dressed in one of the agent’s outfits … but also wearing his glasses. Stealthy. He nudges the inert Ando with his foot and freezes the rest of the agents in the back of the van. After he wakes Ando up, he tells him to pretend to still be sedated – playing possum, an idiom that goes right over Ando’s head and one that Hiro himself shouldn’t know - and unfreezes the rest of the agents. They finally notice the eyeglasses (oops) and Ando has to let loose with his red electricity to fight the agents off. The van shudders to a halt. Hiro is disappointed because they were supposed to wait ‘til they got inside but Ando points out that he was about to get tasered. They find a GPS unit and set off on foot.

D.C. Micah has fled to the docks, pursued by Danko’s agents. They’re pretty close to him and finally corner him at the edge of the pier. Unbeknownst to the agents, however, the real Micah is hiding and watching from a safe distance and it’s Sylar in Micah form who has been caught. One of the agents hesitates, protesting that the quarry is just a boy, but Danko orders him to “take him down.” The agent fires a tranq dart into “Micah” and the impact knocks him backwards off the pier and into the water. The agents search but don’t find him. Sometime later, Danko wants to know why Sylar didn’t kill Micah and take his power. Sylar says mildly, “My head’s already spinning with the powers I’ve got – I thought talking to machines might be a little much.” Danko notes that they didn’t find Micah’s body but Sylar scoffs, saying that the boy isn’t a healer, “Dead is dead.” And folks, we have a Lost episode title! More importantly, Danko doesn’t seem to know that Sylar helped Micah escape. Danko goes on to say that they collected a bunch of intel about the Heroes Micah had been helping – it’s time to go back to hunter mode, “just as soon as you change your face.”

Actually, Micah is holed up for the night in Sylar’s apartment. He is awoken by voices, however: Sylar’s mom’s voice, telling her son that she is so proud of him. Oh, this won’t be weird. Micah listens intently and watches his host morphing back and forth between forms. But Mom catches him and Sylar is startled when he returns to himself. Micah thinks this shape-shifting thing is cool and that Sylar can use it to change into someone who is good: “[You can be] Nathan Petrelli! You can tell the President that he’s made a big mistake!” Sylar is freaking a bit and throws the boy out, saying that if he sees Micah again he’ll kill him.

But of course he breaks into the senator’s office later that night, rummaging through the desk, poring over the family photographs on the wall. He gets his crazy on again, flipping back and forth between his mom’s body and his own - identity crisis, matricide, I’m not special, blah blah blah. He apologizes to his mom and then, in his mom’s body, forgives himself. Weirdo. He finds one of Nathan’s toothbrushes, which he needs to collect Nathan’s DNA to enable the shapeshifting, and rubs his thumb across the bristles. (I was really hoping he’d stick it in his mouth but no, too germy I guess.) As he shifts into Nathan’s form, he says that he won’t let his mother down. That facial morph from Sylar to Nathan was a really cool and well done effect.

Los Angeles. Parkman and Son have arrived at Janice’s home. She’s out and has left a note on the door, so Parkman just lets himself in, noting that his ex-wife must be doing pretty well for herself judging from the swank digs. He wanders through the house, talking to the baby. Janice finally comes home, grateful to see her son, but the reunion is interrupted when Parkman overhears some agents’ thoughts from their surveillance van on the street. He tells Janice that they need a place to go and she thinks of her parents’ lake house, then asks, “But what about you?” Parkman tries to cover his shock at not being invited, and then suggests that he come with them. He doesn’t want to lose his son now that he’s found him. Janice agrees reluctantly but warns: “We have a lot to talk about.” Rats, says Parkman’s downfallen expression.

Press conference, Sylar-as-Nathan. The gist of it is: Once I shake the President’s hand, real change will come to this country and nothing will ever be the same. Back at the diner, the Petrellis and Bennets are fuh-reaking out, realizing that if Sylar touches the President, he can become the President and then All Bets Are Off. Nathan thinks that it’s all up to him – he needs to make sure that Sylar doesn’t get to the Oval Office. The others protest, saying that they got into this mess in the first place when Nathan was acting alone. Nathan insists on doing it himself and leaves; Peter takes just long enough to glance at the others around the table and then follows.

Building 26. Hiro and Ando have infiltrated and Ando is STILL whining about being put in the sidekick role. Hiro finally agrees, saying that they should be partners, so Ando puts his hand on his shoulder for the time-freeze-exemption-by-touch. But when Hiro tries to exert his power, he squeals and clutches his head. He’s in great pain and his nose is bleeding. Well, that can’t be good.

Los Angeles. Parkman has changed his mind: he’s not going to hide out with his (ex-)wife and child. He wants to have a life together with them again but he just realized that he’s going to have to take a stand and fight, just like Hiro and Ando said, in order to achieve that. They’ve lingered too long, however, and the agents have them surrounded; Parkman tells Janice to stay close.

D.C. Nathan strides purposefully into his senatorial office. Sylar-Nathan is there and has him at gunpoint. “Get the hell out of my body,” growls the real Nathan. Sylar taunts him, saying that Nathan loathes himself so much – he’s been given so much but wants to destroy the one thing that makes him special, his power. He tells Nathan that he’s not planning to be him, he’s planning to be a better him. Then he raises his head-slicing finger and bids Nathan goodbye. Before he can start cutting, however, Nathan gets dropped by a tranq dart in the back, fired by none other than Danko who chides Sylar, saying that U.S. senators need to be handled delicately. And then he maliciously shoots Nathan again with another dart. Heh. Danko steps up to Sylar and orders him to turn back into Taub: they need help taking the others down.

Ugh –a Mohinder voiceover, the words of which I shall ignore per usual. On screen: agents capture Mohinder out at Coyote Sands; Ando and Hiro try to figure out what to do; Parkman prepares to defend his family; Bennet, Claire and Angela are stopped at a roadblock on the drive home and more agents converge on their car.

D.C. Danko is not amused when Sylar steps out of the bathroom still in his own body. Sylar grunts that he doesn’t care what Danko wants him to do – and then is felled as Danko plunges that metal knife into the sweet spot in the back of his head. “What a waste,” mutters Danko, “You just didn’t know your place.” But as Danko radios for a clean-up crew, Sylar lurches to his feet and pulls the blade from his skull. “That hurt!” he says. Danko needs to practice his aim.

Season finale next week!

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I can't think of anything clever so this is just a post on great DVD and Blu-ray prices

Y'all, I don't usually like to shill for Amazon, but they've got a hugenormous sale going on right now.

They've got a mix-n-match Blu-ray and DVD special - buy two and get the third for free - now through April 24, with a list of over 400 available titles, like 300, The Terminator, The Departed, Pan's Labyrinth, Reservoir Dogs ...

Also, now through May 12 there are over 600 DVD titles on sale as low as $4.99 , while supplies last, disclaimer, disclaimer ...

Finally, they got an Earth Day sale through April 24 with hundreds of Blu-ray and DVD titles up to 50% off.

Sounds like a great opportunity to ramp up your video library - I may have to do some shopping myself! Don't tell Mr. Mouse I said that.

Friday, April 17, 2009

DVD review - Dead Like Me: The Movie

When I first signed up for Blockbuster Online, way back in 2005, the quirky, clever and profane series from Bryan Fuller, Genius, Dead Like Me, was one of the first things I rented. I loved it: cranky, cynical George, crazy but kind Delores, badass Roxie, hedonistic Mason. I loved the often gruesome deaths; I loved Der Wafflehaus; I loved to dislike George’s struggling surviving family. All too soon it ended – just like most of my favorite [clever, quirky, profane] shows - until several years later (i.e. now) the direct-to-DVD Dead Like Me: The Movie came out. I moved it up to the top of my queue, danced around my mailbox when it arrived and after watching it, said, “Meh.”

The main characters are all back, except for a badly recast Daisy (when Laura Harris bowed out at the last minute) and a sorely missed Rube (Mandy Patinkin). But everyone except for George seemed to be painted with broad strokes, caricaturized, and what was quirky in the series turned dumb in the movie. The movie does give closure to George’s conflicted emotions with regard to her family, her little sister Reggie in particular, but since the Lass family portions were my least favorite bits of the series, I wasn’t all that interested when that was the main plotline. And while I adore Henry Ian Cusick in his Lost persona of Desmond, his role as the Grim Reapers’ new boss vacillates between annoying and, well, more annoying.

I would recommend Dead Like Me – The Movie only to diehard fans who are ardent completists. Anyone else who enjoyed the show (and wishes to keep their fond memories untainted) might as well skip it and just re-rent the series.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lost episode recap – “Some Like It Hoth” (S5E13) airdate 4/15/09

An Asian lady and her five-year-old son look at a rattrap apartment – it’s Miles and his mom! Yay for Miles! As his mom deals with the lease paperwork, Miles wanders out to the pool and immediately starts to get visions. He goes to one of the apartments and lets himself in. Moments later, Miles’s mom hears him calling for her. She and the super rush to find him standing scared in front of a man who seems to have taken a bunch of sleeping pills. Little Miles starts babbling about this dead guy he’s found – how he is scared and lonely and wants to be with his wife. The super wants to know how Miles can possibly know all this about a dead man he never met. Little Miles claps his hands over his ears and shouts, “I can hear him! I can still hear him!”

Flash to grownup Miles, on the Island in 1977, being hailed on the walkie. Sawyer calls him to ask him to “accidentally erase” the security tapes for the pylon fence. After some grumbling, Miles agrees to erase the tapes. Sawyer sends Kate back to find Juliet; he’ll do his best to cover up little Ben’s disappearance. Meanwhile, Horace has found Miles and asks where LaFleur is. With LaFleur currently unavailable, Horace asks if he can trust Miles in his place. Sure, says Miles. Horace gives him something – all wrapped up - to take out to Radzinsky, and then to bring something back from Radzinsky to Horace, all without asking questions. “Welcome to the circle of trust,” intones Horace as Miles accepts his mission. Did he manage to erase the tape before Horace came in?

When he finds Radzinsky out in the middle of the jungle, Miles hands over his package. Radzinsky unrolls it – it’s a body bag - and whistles loudly, signally some Dharma goons to carry a dead guy out of the jungle and zip him up. Miles looks on with detached interest, noting the hole in the guy’s head. Radzinsky says Dead Guy fell in a ditch, and Miles needs to shut up and do what he’s told. The goons load the body into Miles’s Dharma VW van and Radzinsky orders him to take the dead guy back to Horace. Miles watches the live men walk back into the jungle before unzipping the body bag. “Okay,” he whispers to Dead Guy, “so what really happened?”

Time unknown, a bepierced and bepunked Miles goes to see his mom. She’s very ill, dying from cancer. He apologizes for not coming by sooner. She asks why he came and he says he needs her to tell him why he’s the way he is, how he can do what he does, and why she won’t talk to him about his father. She says his father never cared for either of them – kicking them out when Miles was just a baby – plus he’s dead now. Miles tears up, sad and angry. “Your dad has been dead a long time,” says Mom. “Where’s his body?” Miles asks. Mom: “Somewhere you can never go.” FM: A-ha! I think I know where that is!

Flashback to 1977. Miles returns to Horace who instructs him to take the “package” out to Dr. Pierre Chang out at the Orchid Station. Miles doesn’t really want to – can’t someone from the motor pool do it? – but Horace gets testy and Miles finally acquiesces. When he gets back to his van, he finds Hurley loading coolers into it: he’s heading to the Orchid too, having made lunch for the work crew out there. Hurley: “We can carpool, maybe prevent global warming since it hasn’t happened it.” Miles, resignedly: “Just get in.”

Juliet is in the clinic when Kate finds her. She brings Juliet up to speed and thanks her for sending Sawyer to help. Oops - Roger picks just then to return from his errand and he immediately notices that little Ben is gone. Juliet pleads innocent, saying she left for ten minutes and when she came back, Ben was gone. Roger is furious, suddenly caring about his son for the first time ever, and says that he’s calling Security. He storms out. Juliet looks at Kate and says, “Well, here we go.”

Hurley writes in a notebook as Miles drives them out to the Orchid. He asks how to spell “bounty hunter” then deflects Miles’s curiosity by saying it’s personal. It doesn’t take long for Hurley to smell something nasty coming from the back of the van. Worried that it might be the mayonnaise on the sandwiches he made, he makes Miles pull over. It then doesn’t take long for him to find the body bag. Miles tells him not to worry about it and not to tell anyone about it, but Hurley wants more information. So Miles tells him: it’s some guy named Alvarez who was digging a hole, thinking about some chick named Andrea, when a filling jumped out of his tooth and drilled through his head, killing him. Hurley wants to know how Miles can know all this. I just do, says Miles. Hurley stares at him and states: “Dude, you can talk to dead people. Your secret’s safe with me. You want to know why?” Miles: no. Hurley: “’Cuz I can talk to ‘em too.”

Flash back to the mainland. Miles is working his scam, talking to a grieving father, “Mr. Gray,” about his dead son. Who was cremated and his ashes scattered on the football field where he used to play. Miles says that it really works better if there’s a body but Gray points out that Miles’s ad simply said he can communicate with the dead. Miles concurs. Gray just wants to know if his son knew he loved him. Okay, says Miles, but this’ll cost extra. Gray hands over more cash immediately and a quick flash of remorse crosses Miles’s face. Then he takes Gray’s hands and tells him to think about his son, picturing his face. Miles is quiet for a moment, and then says that the son knew his father loved him, he always knew. He tells Gray he is sorry for his loss and takes his leave.

As Miles walks back to his car, he is accosted by Naomi Dorritt (remember her? her hair is still ridiculous). She introduces herself and says that her employer is interested in engaging Miles’s “rather unique services.” They agree to talk some more at a nearby restaurant.

Flashback to 1977. Kate finds a now drunken Roger sitting on a swing set, pounding Dharma beer. She asks if he’s okay and he snaps that his son was shot and then disappeared, so he’s pretty far from okay. Kate says she’s got a feeling that Ben will be fine and Roger shouldn’t give up hope. Roger immediately picks up on something BECAUSE KATE IS STUPID AND SCREWS EVERYTHING UP and asks if she knows more than she’s saying. Kate backpedals hastily, realizing her mistake, and Roger growls that she should just mind her own damn business. Yes, Roger! Tell her that again!

The Orchid must be really far away because Miles and Hurley are STILL driving. Hurley doesn’t understand why Miles won’t just admit what he can do. Miles wants to get this straight, though: does Hurley really have conversations with dead people* like they’re buddies? Yup, says Hurley. You actually see them? Of course, says Hurley, why wouldn’t I? Because that’s not how it works. A-ha! exclaims Hurley, so you can do it. Miles exasperatedly says that what he gets is more of a sense, a feeling – “not chatting with ghosts, you nitwit.” They finally arrive at the Orchid and Miles tells Hurley to keep his mouth shut and just “deliver [his] damn sandwiches.”

Dr. Chang comes up to them immediately and berates Miles for bringing Hurley along when he was told to come alone. Hurley immediately pipes up, promising that he won’t tell anyone about the body. Chang is not well pleased and tells Hurley that he better be able to keep this secret or he’ll ship him off to Hydra Island (a/k/a “Island Junior”) to weigh polar bear feces for their crazy experiments. Hurley shuts up. Chang orders a couple of workmen to take the “package” inside and tells Miles to wait ‘til he gets back. “Dude, that guy is a total douche,” says Hurley. Miles: “That douche is my dad.” Oooooooh.

Flash back to mainland. Naomi has brought Miles to an abandoned restaurant where she shows him a body. This is his audition and she asks what he can tell her about the dead man. Miles concentrates: “Name’s Felix. On his way to deliver something to a guy named Widmore … a bunch of papers, photos, pictures of empty graves, a purchase order for an old airplane.” Miles covers his face then asks if he passed. Naomi replies that she’s leading an expedition to an Island on which there are a number of dead people. She’s looking for a man, also on the Island, who was responsible for these peoples’ deaths and thus Miles’s talent could prove very helpful. “Much as hunting down a mass murderer sounds really safe, I’m going to pass,” says Miles. Naomi: my employer is willing to pay you $1.6 million. Miles: “When do we leave?”

Flashback to 1977. Miles and Hurley wait for Chang to come back. Miles doesn’t want to talk about it but Hurley pushes the issue and asks how he knows Chang is his father. Miles: “The third day we were here, my mom got in line behind me at the cafeteria. That was the first clue.” I love Miles! And he and Hurley are very fun together, the earnestness and the snark playing off each other nicely. Chang comes back and tells Miles to drive him back out to Radzinsky. “And you, Hurley …” he menaces. Hurley: “Polar bear poop – got it.” As they get into the van, Miles asks what happened to the body. Chang snaps, “What body?”

Back at the Dharma compound, Roger finds Jack encroaching upon his janitorial duties in the children’s classroom. Jack says that he was just trying to help since Roger must be going through a lot right now. Roger thinks for a moment and asks if Jack knows Kate at all. He says that he thinks she’s got a weird thing for his kid, first giving him blood, and then telling him that everything will be all right when Ben disappeared. He thinks that maybe he should report her to Horace. Jack suggests that maybe he’s had a rough day and should sleep it off first – plus he knows Kate and he knows that she’d never do anything to hurt Roger’s son.

VW van. On the ride back to Radzinsky, Hurley asks Chang about his family and learns that Chang has a three-month old son named Miles. What a coincidence, says Hurley, staring pointedly at the back of grown Miles’s head. He tries to initiate some father-son bonding but neither Chang nor Miles seem interested. Suddenly Chang instructs Miles to stop the van, then hops out and opens a totally hidden gate, walking through into a huge construction site. I think it’s the future underground hatch. I am proven right when Hurley hears one of the workers call out the unit number to be pounded onto the hatch door: 4815162342. He whispers the final number before the worker says it and Miles asks him how he knew the number. “Because they’re building the hatch … the one that crashed our plane.”

At some point after the “audition,” Miles is abducted whilst eating a fish taco by a man, Brant, who tells him not to go to the Island in Widmore’s employ. Brant asks him, “Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?” Miles: “No, can’t say that I do.” Then you’re not ready to go that Island, says Brant, “But if you come with us […], you’ll learn why you have a gift […], and you’ll know about your father.” Miles says that he stopped caring about his father a long time ago, but he does care about money – they can double Widmore’s offer if they don’t want him to go. “Toss him,” growls Brant. They throw Miles out of the van (pulling over first) and Brant tells him he’s on the wrong team. Oh yeah, retorts Miles, what team are you on? Brant: The one that’s gonna win. So these “shadow-of-the-statue” people are either Others or at the very least anti-Dharmite/Widmores.

Back to 1977. Hurley fills Miles in on the whole hatch deal, then asks Miles if he’s psyched to hang out with his dad. Miles slams on the brakes, shouting that he doesn’t want to hang out with his dad – he’s dead and gone. Then he grabs Hurley’s notebook and says that if Hurley wants to get in his business, he’ll get in Hurley’s. Miles starts reading out loud from the notebook: Hurley’s writing The Empire Strikes Back from memory - Chewbacca, light sabers, ice planet Hoth and all. His reasoning is that since it’s 1977 and Star Wars just came out, he thought he’d sent George Lucas the script for the sequel – saving him the trouble of writing it himself – with some improvements, of course. Miles sneers that that’s the stupidest thing he’s ever heard. Hurley: “Well, at least I’m not scared to talk to my own dad.”

Sawyer has finally made it back to the compound. When he gets to his cottage, Juliet and Jack are waiting for him. They tell him that Kate has aroused Roger’s suspicions and the looks they all give each other are variations of “what a dumbass she is.” When Jack takes his leave, Sawyer sincerely thanks him for the news. Sawyer is leaning against the porch railing still when Phil comes up. He says he knows who took young Ben and holds up a videotape. Sawyer says that there’s a perfectly good explanation for what Phil saw (Phil certainly hopes so) and asks him to step inside. Once inside, Sawyer asks if he’s talked to Horace yet. Phil says no – after three years of working together, he thought he’d give LaFleur the benefit of the doubt. So Sawyer punches him out and tells Juliet to get some rope.

On the mainland, right before getting on Widmore’s freighter, Miles returns to Mr. Gray’s home. He returns the money and says that he lied – he was unable to talk to his son. Gray asks why Miles is telling him this when he could have gotten away with the cash. Miles says it’s because it wouldn’t be fair to the son: if Gray needed his son to know he loved him, he should have told him while he was still alive. A little choked up now, Miles leaves, ready for his voyage.

In 1977, Miles and Hurley sign the VW van back into the motor pool at the compound. Hurley apologizes for giving him shit about his dad – he was estranged from his own father for a while, but is glad that he reunited with him. Miles retorts that Chang left when he was a baby and so he never knew him, and isn’t about to try now. “That’s what Luke said,” says Hurley wisely, “[…] and he got his hand cut off.” As Miles stares at him in disbelief, Hurley goes on to say that although it all worked out eventually, the lack of communication almost ruined everything and also brought about the Ewoks. As he continues to talk and talk and talk about the Star Wars trilogy, Miles’s face changes: he’s hearing the message behind the movie. And when Hurley sums up by saying, “And let’s face it, dude, Ewoks suck,” Miles is nearly in tears.

He walks across the compound and looks in the window of the Changs’ cottage. He sees his infant self sitting on Chang’s lap, reading a picture book, his mom busy in the background. Baby Miles is happy; grown Miles is crying. Chang gets a phone call and leaves the cottage so Miles turns, stepping into the shadows. Chang sees him, however, and tells him to get his van – they have to pick up some newly arrived Ann Arbor scientists at the submarine dock.

At the dock, Miles is helping with luggage when a familiar voice is heard: Daniel Faraday climbs out of the sub. Miles goggles, “Dan!” Dan smiles warmly at him: “Hi, Miles. Long time no see!” Aw – we were wondering what happened to you, Daniel. I thought you were still in a fetal position somewhere crying over Charlotte!

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

* BtVS episode title!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “1961” S3E23 (airdate 4/13/09)

Picking right up where we left off last week, Angela's group is still digging and have uncovered a lot of bodies by now. Peter sulks a bit, saying that digging up these graves is wrong and he wants to know why they’re doing it. Nathan says that their mom will tell them when she’s ready and Peter stomps off, not wanting to hear it from his turncoat (and turncoat again and then again) brother. Claire tries to mend fences but Peter isn’t interested, instead going to confront his mother as she gazes off into the distance. “What are we doing here, Mom? … we didn’t know you had a sister. What happened out here?” Angela turns, and

Flashback to February 1961 (is this Lost?), “Coyote Sands Relocation Area.” Buses pull up to the compound and dozens of folks get off, including Angela and Alice Shaw. A young Dr. Chandra Suresh greets them. He takes the new arrivals on a tour of the facility – movie theater, playground, cafeteria – and shows them their dormitories. Strangely, the children will be housed separately from their parents. Young Angela asks why the guards have guns and Suresh reassures her that it’s just for their protection. The actress playing 1961 Angela is a good cast looks-wise.

Later, it’s raining outside as Angela and Alice unpack. Charles Deveaux, Lindeman and Bobby Bishop – all in their late teens, early twenties – come in and introduce themselves to the girls. There’s a little bit of flirtation between Deveaux and Angela, and then the boys excuse themselves. Alice is scared – she doesn’t like this place and wants to be with their parents. Angela chides her younger sister, saying that the doctors should be able to cure her nightmares, the cause of which are purportedly genetic, so the whole family needs to be involved. She promises Alice that she will always be there for her; reassured, Alice smiles. The rain slows and then the sun comes out. I know what Alice’s ability is!

Flash forward to now, as Angela tells her younger son that her sister and her parents all died here. And if they’re not careful, she’s afraid history will repeat itself. They both fall silent and the camera draws back … as a woman’s hand pulls aside a curtain in one of the derelict buildings.

Later, Angela tells her group some more about 1961: the place where the government put people with abilities to “cure” them. Peter is still being difficult, pointing out that she could have told them all this “in a restaurant.” Angela says that she’s been dreaming a lot about Alice lately and she thinks she needs to find her, give her a real burial. Peter snaps that she should have told them about this place but she retorts that she wanted to spare them the pain – it’s a mother’s prerogative to protect her children.

She goes on to tell them that the Company was born here, an oath sworn to never allow such a thing to happen again. She and her cohorts kept the secret for fifty years and now she and Bennet have been working to protect the Heroes again. Claire, looking at her dad: “So that’s what you were trying to do?” Bennet: “Yeah.” Claire: “But you blew it.” Bennet: “Yeah.” Angela says that they need to go back to the old methods, the ones that worked; Claire is incredulous: “Like erasing people’s memories and killing?” Angela’s all, yup. Peter is on his high horse – I’m sorry for what happened here, but you did not have the right to treat people like that, and you still don’t – and says he won’t be a part of it. Over his mother’s protests, he flies away. Nathan zips up his jacket and says he’ll get him, flying away after his little brother.

March 1961. Young Angela awakens from yet another nightmare. When she goes outside to clear her head, Deveaux, Lindeman and Bishop are waiting for her. They say that weird things are happening to them too – Deveaux says they’re lab rats, but Bishop and Angela protest no, the government will cure them. Deveaux tells her that she needs to stop being afraid. With tears in her eyes, she says, “That doctor? Suresh? Don’t trust him.” Alice wakes up and Angela goes back inside with her. As they whisper to each other in bed, Alice confesses that she thinks she can control the weather – she once created a hailstorm to smash their dad’s car when he grounded her. Angela doesn’t quite believe her so Alice looks out the window as snowflakes begin to fall. “Is Dr. Suresh going to come for me now?” she quavers.

Now. Claire sits with Angela for a little multigenerational bonding. Angela praises her granddaughter’s strength and courage. Claire asks what happened to Alice and Angela sidesteps, musing about doing something so terrible and awful that you never want to think about it again. Suddenly, the wind starts blowing hard, whipping sand against the buildings. Angela dreamed of this – it’s Alice! she cries. They run out into the storm but it’s too strong, and Claire has to pull Angela to safety back inside a building.

Nathan finds Peter sulking at the Coyote Sands café. I would have gone a little further, I think. Nathan extends the olive branch, saying that they need to get past this. Peter runs right over him, saying that this problem in Washington, their current problem, is all Nathan’s fault. He’s not really wrong. Nathan insists that they need to work together; Peter says that he’s trying. They’re interrupted by a weather bulletin informing them of a severe windstorm in the entire valley area.

Out at the compound, Bennet is wandering around in the sandstorm, calling for Claire. A piece of corrugated metal hits him, dropping him to the ground, and then someone drags him off by the ankle as he shouts for help. A really weird and awkward editing cut later, Mohinder has shoved him up against the wall of one of the shacks. WTF is Mohinder doing there? He accuses Bennet of following him but Bennet explains that Angela brought them here, that this place was a concentration camp for Heroes. Mohinder seemingly knows nothing of this. Finally, Bennet asks: “What are you doing here?” Mohinder hands him a file, saying that he learned that his dad had been a doctor here fifty years ago and he came to find out what he was doing. “Now I’m not so sure I want to know.” That’s right: I forgot that he found those old files of his dad’s in the basement storage. Rats. I really had hoped he’d go back to India.

April 1961. Suresh asks Angela if he can speak with her – Alice is unhappy as her sister goes off to the lab with him. Suresh tests her and when he’s impressed with her responses, she confesses that she isn’t reading his mind; she had a dream about this exact moment. The actress playing Angela makes some odd choices, at first smiling and looking comfortable with Suresh and then, in her next line, telling him that she dreamed he was going to kill everyone here at the compound. Suresh says that’s not going to happen; she insists that it’s going to spiral out of his control. There’s another weird jump where Suresh tells her that she’ll ruin their work if she leaves (but she never mentioned leaving). They speak some more about dreams and then Suresh gives her an injection, saying it won’t hurt a bit. That was an awkward scene and I think it’s the writing as much as the acting.

Now. Angela shouts that she’s sure Alice is the one creating the storm and she has to stop her. She runs out into the storm. Claire rushes after her, just a few seconds behind, but by the time she’s clear of the building, the storm has stopped. Nathan and Peter come in for a landing and a bewildered Claire tells them that their mother is gone.

In another part of the compound, Bennet is showing Mohinder all the bones. Mohinder is all torn up, and feeling sorry for himself in relation to his father. Bennet tells him not to make assumptions about his father’s involvement. Claire and the Petrellis join them and they all decide to search the area for Angela. Mohinder and Peter check out one of the lab buildings and Mohinder is STILL whining about the apple not falling far from the tree: “Peter, I am weak, I am corruptible and I am selfish.” Hell to the yeah! Peter points out that they’re all selfish, Nathan having demonstrated that again and again, but they’re still basically good people. Except for maybe his mom, who wants to build the Company 2.0. Now it’s Mohinder’s turn to say that there is hope for redemption for everyone, including Angela and Nathan. Ugh. Bryan Fuller didn’t write this episode, did he? I wish he had – this is tedious, inelegant and all over the place.

Bennet, Claire and Nathan search another building. The two men agree that they pretty much made a mess of things while Claire somehow doesn’t hear them from just across the room. Bennet tells Nathan that Danko and Sylar are in cahoots, plus Sylar is now a shapeshifter; Nathan is suitably wigged out by that. Claire interrupts them with some reminiscence about her old life, and then notes that while she should be a basket case – what with the grave digging and all – but she’s not. Then she says she was foolish for being an “agent” and trying to save the world. Cripes – this dialogue is all f’ing nonsensical.

May 1961. Deveaux has come to Angela: they are ready to escape and it’s Angela’s plan. But she’s reluctant to go, since he doesn’t want Alice to come – she might slow them down. Angela feels guilty as Deveaux convinces her to lie to her sister to keep her calm. After he leaves, Angela tells Alice that she and the boys are sneaking out for a bit – she wants to hang out with kids her own age for a while – and Alice will be safe and fine if she just stays here.

Now. Angela Petrelli regains consciousness in some sort of bunker. It’s fairly well appointed and cozy for a bunker. Angela wanders around a bit, looking at the stacks of newspapers and books. A door opens and she hides as her sister – crazy, wild haired, I­lived-alone-in-a-bunker-for-fifty-years Alice – walks in. Angela begs Alice to talk to her.

1961. At the café, Angela complains that the cops don’t believe her about what’s happening out at the compound. The boys are pointedly nonchalant, enjoying their burgers and fries, and Deveaux even asks her to dance. Of course, a counterman tells them that there’s no dancing with the colored allowed in 1961. Deveaux stares at him and says, intensely, that they’re sorry and there’s no reason for anyone to be concerned. There’s a hum in the air and the townsfolk turn silently back to their meals. Angela marvels at Deveaux’s ability and he smiles at her that they don’t need to be scared. Until a weather bulletin interrupts, saying that an intense storm has hit the valley. Angela: we have to get back to Alice.

Now. Alice says that Angela looks so old she almost didn’t recognize her. Angela asks why she stayed here, alone, for so many years. Alice says she stayed because Angela told her that she would be safe if she stayed … plus she figured that the world would be safe from her. Angela kneels and asks her sister what happened the night she left her behind. Alice: “The doctor – Suresh – he came for me.”

1961. At the lab, Suresh attempts to give an injection to a frightened Alice. A lackey holds her as she struggles and she shouts, “Stop!” The door flies open with a sudden burst of wind; when the flunky tries to close it against the storm, a bolt of lightning hits him. Alice runs out into the compound yard, Suresh chasing after her, pleading with her to calm down. He grabs at her and slaps her in his panic; her dad (or someone) runs up and TKs him across the yard. Then the soldiers draw their guns and start firing. The winds are howling as poor scared Alice runs and hides under a building (the lab building, Building 26, to be specific). Screams and gunshots.

Now. Angela comforts her sister, saying that everything is all right now. She’s come to take her into the world, to keep her warm and safe. Alice grabs her into a hug. But Angela continues, saying that she’s sorry for lying to Alice that night, and Alice’s eyes turn hard. She claws Angela’s shoulders, wailing “You!” and the winds whip through the bunker. A little bit of lightning tosses Angela into a bookcase. As the storm rises, Peter and Mohinder ride in on their white horses (not literally – but that would be hilarious), Peter putting his arms around his mother. Mohinder, however, reaches out a hand to the panicked Alice, shouting, “Calm down!” which is exactly what his father said to her that night in 1961. Which she remembers. And thus hits him with a huge bolt of lightning. Awesome. I hope she killed him.

Angela reaches out to her sister, crying that Peter is her son, Alice’s nephew, family! And they are here to make everything all right again. The storm fades, Alice turns to her sister and says one word: “No.” She walks out of the bunker and when Angela runs out after her, she has disappeared. Ooh – an insane weather goddess on the loose. That’s cool.

What is not cool: Mohinder, not dead or even crispy. Peter tells him that Alice has gone – the storm having covered up all the graves again - and gives him a reel of film that he found: footage from Suresh’s experiments. Mohinder takes it, opining that maybe this, like the graves, should remain buried, and then says he’s staying here, not ready to forgive himself yet. Fine, stay. Pleeeeeeeeeeease stay.

1961. Angela tells Deveaux, Lindeman and Bishop that they cannot let anything like this (the Coyote Sands massacre) happen ever again. She had a dream and they’re going to form a group to protect themselves from the rest of the world, and to protect the world from people like them: “It’s a necessary evil.” The boys hang on her every word.

Now. Angela, Peter, Nathan, Claire and Bennet sit at a table in the café, eating burgers and fries. Peter sighs, saying that this group at the table isn’t a company, it’s family. And family has the capacity to forgive … as well as keep the secret of the Heroes. Bennet chimes in that they can maybe try to put their lives back together and Claire smiles at him fondly. So what now? Nathan declares that he’ll go back to D.C. and talk to the President, taking ownership for his actions. (Which would fall under the “not keeping a secret” category, so again I say: WTF?). Claire looks up at the television and says, “Looks like you already have.” They all look up and Nathan is on the tube giving a press conference, saying, “Nothing will ever be the same.” Bennet growls, “Sylar!” and Angela smiles a grim, grim smile.

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nibbles and bits

Ahoy, mateys - just a quickie today.

Great (if underlyingly sad) news - the final three episodes of Pushing Daisies are actually going to see the light of day! They'll air on consecutive Saturdays at 10:00 p.m. on ABC: May 30, June 6 and June 13.

In book-related news, I recently finished Stephen King's latest collection of short stories, Just After Sunset. Not his best collection and some the stories seemed to be echoing prior works, but I do love me some Stephen King regardless.

I am sorry to say that Friend Mouse Speaks is not recession-proof: although Season 2 of True Blood starts back up on HBO on June 14, I will not be recapping it since I've cancelled my HBO subscription. It sucks (little vampire joke there for you) because I do like the show quite a lot - much cleverer, more sophisticated and gothic than the source books, the first of which I am reading right now and, must confess, am thinking "meh" - and I will certainly be scooping up the S2 DVDs for viewing/recapping purposes when they come out. 'Til then, I'm guessing you can get your TB recap fix over at TWOP. (Their recaps are superdetailed and way longer so make sure you've got plenty of time).

Finally, tomorrow is The Last Ski Day of the Season for the Mouses and, by gum, I hope there's enough snow that we can ski until 11:30 a.m. when the brewpub opens.