Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

First of all, big thanks to my old in-person friend and new cyber-friend, BP, for recommending this book to me.  Second of all, a question for BP: did parts of this book tick you off as much as it did me?

I've been snapshotting The Magicians, Lev Grossman's second novel, as "Harry Potter for adults," which doesn't really work, I realize, because so many adults read that series (including me but I drifted away after the fifth book so don't spoil me, okay?).  But it also sort of works because it's about this kid from Brooklyn who is ennui-ridden with his regular life and who is surprised and thrilled when he is accepted into Brakebills, a college for magicians in upstate New York.  Quentin never knew this school existed and he didn't apply to get in, but the recruiters knew about him and once he passes the entrance exam, he embraces the world of magic and never looks back. 

At Brakebills, Quentin makes some friends, makes some enemies, undergoes some extremely rigorous course work and, after five years, he and his sorceror friends are loosed on the world, all powerful and jaded as anything.  Because here's the thing: if you can do anything at all and get anything you want whenever you want it with really no-one to answer to, what's your purpose in life?  Quentin, his girlfriend Alice, and their buddies Eliot, JuliaJanet and Josh, flit around Manhattan for a while, drinking too much, doing too many drugs, adrift.

When a kid who used to go to Brakebills with them shows up at their apartment, offering them a chance to enter legend, they find their purpose.  One thing all of them have in common is their love for a fantasy children's series a la The Chronicles of Narnia set in a land called Fillory.  It turns out that this land is real, not just in a bunch of books, and eventually they make their way there, meeting the inhabitants (talking animals and trees, magicians, fauns, etc.) and embarking upon a quest to liberate their beloved Fillory from its current oppressor.  It's an adventure all fantasy-nerds dream of.

Speaking as a fantasy nerd, here's the thing: the blurbs on the book jacket rave about how The Magicians "tips its hat to Oz and Narnia as well as to Harry" but I would take that a little further and say that it comes pretty close to ripping off its predecessors.  In the Fillory stories there are four human siblings who venture to Fillory, two brothers and their two sisters; the siblings serve as kings and queens for Fillory and fight for their new land; one of the brothers is not a very nice guy.  Sound familiar at all?  There is also a witch who is apparently trying to freeze Fillory, not in permanent winter but in permanent nighttime; she is called the Watcherwoman and you can hear her coming by the ticking of her clock.  That one rips off not only the Narnia books but also Peter Pan.  Perhaps Grossman really intends this as homage but, really, a little more imagination would be better.  (I noticed other glaring similarities but didn't make notes of them; I'll leave it to you to glean them out.)

All that is not to say that I didn't like The Magicians.  I did.  It's fast-paced, it has interesting and flawed characters (you are left wondering if Quentin really learned anything, because he sure should have), and it's expletive-laden and violent enough to remind you that no, this isn't actually a children's fantasy book.  The ending is left open enough that a sequel could happen, but I don't think it should - sometimes you don't need a series.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost episode recap – “Lighthouse” S6E5 airdate 02/23/10)

Alterna-2004: Jack comes home from work to a fairly impersonal apartment. As he’s washing up, he notices a scar on his belly that makes him pause a little. The phone rings: it’s his mom, distraught about his father’s missing body. He sees the time and has to hang up on his mom, promising to stop by later. He dashes out the door, late to pick up … his son David from school. David is pouty about having to wait, btw. Also, Alterna-Jack still has that awesome truck I loved from a season or so ago.

Island. Dogan finds Jack staring out over the pool near the Temple. He asks Jack if Kate, Sawyer and Jin are coming back and Jack admits that no, probably not. Dogan appreciates his honesty. Meanwhile, Hurley is hungry so he goes into the Temple looking for food. He asks some guy inside by the healing pool if he knows where the kitchen is; the guy does, but more importantly, he tells Hurley that he should get a pen, as he’ll need to write some things down. It’s Jacob, you see, either not quite dead or dead in that special way where Hurley can talk to him. “Someone is coming to the Island. I need you to help him find it,” says Jacob, very seriously.

Alterna-2004. David gets right down to his homework when they get back to Jack’s apartment, ignoring his dad when Jack tries to talk to him. David’s like: Look we see each other once a month – let’s just get through it. Then Jack gets another call from his overwrought mom, asking him to come by right now. David rolls his eyes and goes back to ignoring his dad. Jack’s feelings are a bit hurt.

Island. Sayid asks Jack why all the Others are staring at him. Jack says just ignore them. But Sayid presses the issue, wanting to know what Jack is hiding from him. So Jack says that the Others wanted Jack to give Sayid a poison pill, to kill him and whatever it is inside him. He goes on to say that the Others told him that what’s happened to Sayid has happened to someone else. “Who?” asks Sayid.

Cut to Rambo-Claire, forging through the jungle to Jin, whose ankle is a friggin’ mess from the bear trap. She kicks at the two Others, attempting to confirm that they’re dead, and then springs the trap, freeing him. “How long have you been out here?” he asks. “Since you left,” she replies, “how long ago was that?” Then she tells him that they’ve got to get out of here – can he walk? He says yes, and then passes out most unhelpfully.

Back at the temple, Hurley is wandering around, looking at the hieroglyphics on the stone walls. He’s about to press one when Dogan catches him and crankily tells him to go back outside. Then Jacob appears and tells Hurley what to say: “I’m a candidate and I can do what I want.” This freaks Dogan out some, and he walks away, mumbling to himself. Jacob wants to know why Hurley hasn’t brought Jack with him, as instructed. Hurley objects that Jack isn’t going to want to come with him on this snipe hunt … but the next scene has Hurley telling Jack that there’s a secret tunnel out into the jungle and Jack has to come with him, ‘cuz Jacob said so. Jack doesn’t want to go. So Hurley plays his ace (as instructed by Jacob): Jack, you have what it takes. This phrase gets Jack’s attention for some reason and he demands to know where Jacob is. Hurley: well, he’s dead, dude, but he’ll be where we’re going. With an exasperated eye roll, Jack stands and says let’s go.

When Jin comes to, Claire ahs managed to get him to her camp which looks remarkably Rousseau-esque. There are sticks of dynamite all over, and also a creepy cradle with a dressed-up animal skeleton inside it. Claire comes into the tent, dragging with her Justin the Other who was just pretending to be dead. She plans to beat out of Justin just where the Others have taken her son, but first she needs to clean up Jin’s AWFUL looking leg wound. “If there’s one thing out here that’ll kill ya,” she says to him, “it’s infection.” She says she’ll be right back but Jin interrupts, “Claire, have you been out here alone all this time?” I’m not alone, she says chirpily. Jin and Justin look at each other like this chick is totally CRAZY. Justin says they have to get out of here right now because if they don’t, Claire will kill them both – and it doesn’t matter that Jin used to know her.

As Hurley and Jack traipse through the woods, they come across Kate who nearly shoots them accidentally, having a nervous trigger finger and all. She tells the boys that she’s not going back to the Temple as she’s determined to find Claire. Jack tells her that the Others told him that something is wrong with Claire but Kate insists on sticking to her own quest, and they part ways.

Alterna-2004. Jack and his mom ransack Christian’s office, looking for his will. His mom asks if he wants a drink and Alterna-Jack politely turns her down. His mom asks how David is doing since he was so upset at the funeral they held for Christian. Jack hadn’t really noticed that his son was upset since they don’t really communicate with each other. His mom’s all, he’s your son and you should talk to him. They find the will and his mom pages through it. “Jack, did you father ever mention a Claire Littleton?” Nope, not in this reality!

Island. As Claire putters around out by her campfire, sterilizing things and sharpening her axe, Justin urges Jin to untie him. But they run out of time and she comes back in, ready to stitch Jin’s leg up. She apologizes for catching him in her trap, but she’s had to defend herself from the Others. Jin asks what she’s going to do with them next and she says she’s going to get Justin to tell her where Aaron is. Juston protests that his people don’t have Aaron but she is adamant, saying that both her father and her “friend” told her the Others have him. Jin: “Who’s your friend?” She deflects the question, asking instead if Jin is still her friend. Of course, says the poor man, tears and sweat running down his face from the trauma of being stitched up with no anesthesia. Good, she says, giving him a sweet smile. When she’s done with the needle and thread, she picks up an axe and looks at Justin: now it’s your turn.

During their wanderings, Jack and Hurley come upon the skeletal Adam and Eve in the caves by the stream, from way back in S1. The remains of Christian’s coffin are also in there with them. Jack gets all misty for a moment over the coffin. But just a moment.

Alterna-2004. Jack has brought home pizza for dinner but when he goes to check on David, the boy has scarpered. Some time later, Jack calls David’s cell yet again, apologizing for whatever he did. He drives over to David’s mother’s house – she’s supposed to be out of town (who do you think she is?) – and when there’s no answer, he lets himself in with the hide-a-key. But David is not there and sad Jack wanders around his bedroom, looking at things. He plays the answering machine – there’s a message from a music conservatory confirming an appointment; there’s also a message from Jack, calling his son from Australia in the aftermath of Christian’s death – and he gets teary again.

Island. Hurley is getting nostalgic: this is old school, him and Jack traipsing through the jungle on their way to do something they don’t understand - “good times.” He asks Jack why he agreed to come back to the Island. Jack answers by asking him why he did. Hurley tells him that Jacob shared a cab with him and told him to – now, c’mon, what’s your reason, Jack? Jack gets all teary AGAIN: I came back here because I was broken, and I was stupid enough to think this place could fix it. Hurley: Dude, I’m sorry. Finally, they emerge from the jungle at a tall stone lighthouse on a cliff overlooking the ocean. How have we never seen this before? wonders Jack. Hurley, in all his wisdom: “Guess we weren’t lookin’ for it.”

Back at Claire’s camp, Claire is freaking out, saying that the Others took her to the Temple, stuck her with needles, branded her (she shows Jin the mark), and they won’t tell her where her son is. Justin can’t say anything that she’ll listen to and she picks up her axe, aiming for his neck. Jin finally gets her attention, shouting her that Kate took Aaron off the Island and he’s okay, he’s fine, and he’s three years old now. Justin says yes, that’s true, and if you untie me, I promise to leave and not tell anyone I ever saw you. Claire takes a step back, tears in her eyes, and then swings the axe, burying it in poor Justin’s gut. Ouch. She staggers out of the tent while Jin just stares after her in shock.

Hurley and Jack are supposed to climb up the Lighthouse and get the light going. Jack kicks the door in: “After you.”

Alterna-2004. Jack has made his way to the conservatory just in time to hear David’s recital/audition. He’s an incredible pianist. Jack starts crying again. This episode should be subtitled that: “Jack cries again.” Another auditioning kid’s father is Alterna-Dogan, who tells Jack that David has a gift. Jack is discomfited to admit that he doesn’t even know how long David has been playing.

Lighthouse. The boys have made it to the top and Hurley starts setting the mirror mechanism Tell me when it gets to 108 degrees.” There are names and numbers written on the gear wheel: Jack sees that his name has the number 23 on it. He grabs the gearing from Hurley and turns it to 23 degrees: Jack’s childhood home back on the mainland appears reflected mirror. Jack connects the dots very quickly: Jacob has been watching them all their lives. That’s kind of icky. He starts to freak out and demands to know where Jacob is, why he’s been watching them: “What does he want from me?” Hurley tries to explain that it doesn’t work like that; he doesn’t have any answers, but Jack Has Had Enough. He picks up a piece of driftwood and bashes the shit out of the Lighthouse’s mirrors, shattering them into itty-bitty bits. Hurley is horrified and speechless.

Alterna-2004. Jack catches up to David after the recital. The boy is surprised and shocked to see his dad. David admits that the reason he didn’t tell Jack about the recital was because he didn’t want his father to see him fail – apparently Jack was pretty intense about his son’s piano playing earlier. Jack shares a moment from his own scary dad past, how Christian always used to tell him that he “didn’t have what it takes.” He starts crying again (what – is this Party of Five?) and tells David that no matter what, he is proud of him and he only wants to be part of his life. David gets a little misty himself. Then they go back home to bond over cold pizza.

Island. Jack and Hurley are gazing out over the ocean – separately, because Hurley wisely doesn’t want to be too close to Jack right now - when Jacob pops up to ask how everything went. Hurley freaks out that he was unable to complete Jacob’s quest until he sees that Jacob totally doesn’t care. Hurley connects the dots quickly: Jacob wanted Jack to see what he saw in that mirror. Yup, says Jacob, Jack has to figure out for himself why he’s here. Plus he had to get Jack and Hurley as far from the Temple as possible because someone bad is headed there. Hurley yelps that they have to go warn them but Jacob says no, sorry, it’s too late.

At Claire’s camp, she offers Jin some water and asks where it was that Kate was raising Aaron. Jin’s like, um, I was lying to save that guy’s life, but you were right, the Others have your baby. He tells her that he knows how to get into the Temple and can take her there. Claire smiles, pleased, and says that she’s glad that he was lying. Because if Kate really was raising Aaron, she’d kill her. Jin: gulp. (Did Jin only tell her that because he figured she’d wig out on Kate, or does he want her to go terminate the Others?)

There are footsteps outside and a familiar voice saying, “Am I interrupting?” It’s Not-Locke, and he steps into the tent with a faint smile. Jin is incredulous: “John?” Claire almost giggles: “This isn’t John – this is my friend.” Then both she and Not-Locke grin at poor Jin and it’s super-super-creepy.

Okay, this wasn't bad for a Jack-centric episode (stop crying, you big puss!).  They are continuing to tie up, or at least mention, loose ends like Adam and Eve, as well as making connections between the "real" reality and the alternate one, and we're definitely moving forward.  One question, though: when will we see darling Desmond again?

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What I've learned from watching the Olympics thus far

  1. The Nordic events (including biathlon) are rather exciting because the competitors actually race against each other, not just the clock.
  2. Watching short track speed skating makes me verrrrrrry nervous.  Did you see that clip from that Celski kid getting his leg cut and almost bleeding out on the ice last year? Yeesh.
  3. I can't decide which would be scarier: luge - feet first and on your back - or skeleton - head first and on your stomach.
  4. While I don't like sharing ski trails with them, I sure love watching the snowboarders.
  5. Women alpine skiers = wicked tough, especially that Anja Pearson.
  6. Knowing how to play bocce sure comes in handy for understanding curling.
  7. A DVR is awesome for fast-forwarding through all that figure skating.
  8. I have a huge new crush on that Aksel Svindel.  Pretty!
  9. Northern New England represent!  "The pride of Sugarloaf, Maine" - Seth Wescott kicks ass for an old guy.  (No, not as old as me, but old for the Olympics.)
I love the Olympics!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost episode recap – “The Substitute” S6E4 airdate 02/16/10)

I finally have a new DVR but – arrgh – I missed the very beginning of the show (or maybe it isn’t the DVR’s fault, but because Mr. Mouse was determined to eke out as much Olympics as he could before I kicked him off the television).

Anyway, in the world in which the plane did not crash, John Locke has fallen on his front lawn and is unable to get up when the sprinklers come on. Helen (Katey Segal) helps him up and inside the house. They’re planning their wedding, but he’s keeping secrets from her, not telling her the real reason he went to Australia - she thinks he was at a conference. But while she’s helping him unpack, she finds Jack’s card and encourages Locke to call for a consultation. “Maybe it’s destiny,” she says. “Maybe it is,” says Locke.

Island. POV of the Smoke Monster, cruising over hill and dale, snooping around the Dharma compound. Then the Smoke Monster goes back into the jungle and goes along until it finds a machete on the ground. It resumes the shape of Not-Locke, picks up the machete and hacks through a rope that’s holding a trap up in the air. When the netting hits the ground, a bloody and dazed Richard pokes his head out. “Okay, Richard,” says Not-Locke, “Let’s talk.”

Alterna-world. Locke wheels himself to his cubicle. He seems extremely dissatisfied to be there. His boss comes up and outs him for not attending the conference in Sydney – which the company paid for. Locke sort of apologizes but said what he did instead in Australia was personal. His boss fires him.

Island. Not-Locke apologizes for punching Richard in the throat and dragging him off. Richard is not interested in apologies and wants to know why he’s taken Locke’s form. “Because Locke was a candidate,” and posing as him could get Not-Locke close to Jacob. “Candidate for what?” asks Richard. Oh, poor Richard, says Not-Locke mock-pityingly, I never would have treated you like that – come with me and I’ll take care of you. Rickard refuses, saying he won’t go anywhere with Not-Locke. Richard looks bad, by the way – bruised and scared. Just then Not-Locke is distracted by a blonde boy with bloody hands who has appeared a little ways off in a clearing. When Richard turns to look, the boy is not there. Not-Locke takes off, leaving Richard behind.

Ben finds a sniveling Ilana in the room under the four-toed statue. She wants to know that happened. Ben says okay, but you won’t believe me. Try me, says Ilana. Ben lies, of course, telling her that Locke did it all himself: turned into the Smoke Monster and killed everyone, then killed Jacob and pushed him into the fire where he burned all up. He’s still so shaken that he doesn’t sound very convincing. But Ilana doesn’t challenge him on it, instead going to the fire and putting a handful of the ashes into a pouch. Ben asks her if she knows why Not-Locke would have taken Richard off into the jungle. “He’s recruiting,” she replies.

Not-Locke strides through the Dharma Compound, hearing some loud, punk-ish music coming from one of the cottages. He investigates and finds Sawyer, sitting in his underwear, getting schnockered on whiskey. “Hello, James,” says Not-Locke. Sawyer says blearily: “I thought you were dead.” “I am,” Not-Locke smiles.

After the break, Sawyer pours them both a drink. “Here’s to being dead,” toasts Sawyer. Not-Locke notes that Sawyer seems to be taking this revelation very well. Sawyer says that he doesn’t care if Locke is alive, dead or the ghost of Christmas Past. Then he cuts to the chase: who are you? He says that it’s obvious he’s not Locke, as Locke was scared even when he was being brave. Not-Locke says that perhaps he is the person who could answer the most important question in the world – and Sawyer just laughs, cutting him off. Not-Locke is insistent and suggests that Sawyer come with him for some real answers about this here Island.

Alterna-world. Post-firing, Locke is furious because a giant yellow Hummer is parked too close for him to get into his car since he doesn’t like to park in the handicapped spot. As he’s pitching a fit, the Hummer owner comes out and it’s Hurley, who now owns the company. Hurley is pretty suave and very kind to Locke. When it comes out that Locke just lost his job, Hurley gives him a phone number: he also owns a temp agency and he tells Locke that he’ll get him another job. For twice now, Locke does not bristle at the kindness of strangers.

Island. Frank Lapidus goes over to Locke’s dead body, Sun following. They cover him, Frank noting that Locke is getting a little ripe out here in the sun. Ilana comes up and asks them where everyone else went. When Sun tells her they went to the Temple, Ilana approves, saying that’s the safest place so let’s go. Sun’s like, I’m not going anywhere with you. Ilana says okay, but Jin is there. Sun immediately changes her mind, but insists that they bury Locke first. Sighing, Ilana acquiesces.

Not-Locke wants to know what Sawyer was doing back there in the cottage. “Drinkin’,” says Sawyer. Not-Locke next wants to know why Sawyer isn’t with the rest of the Losties but Sawyer says he’s done talking. Suddenly, the blond boy is there again. “Who the hell is that?” says Sawyer. Not-Locke is surprised: “You can see him?” “Hell yeah,” says Sawyer. The boy takes off running and Not-Locke chases after him. He trips and then the boy is right there in front of him. “You know the rules – you can’t kill him,” says the boy sternly. Then he turns and walks off into the jungle – I think he’s Jacob 2.0, don’t you? “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” screams Not-Locke.

Now Sawyer is wandering around the jungle, shouting for Locke. Richard comes out of the jungle to talk to him, all nervous and twitchy, and begs Sawyer to come with him to the Temple. I have never seen Richard like this. He says that Not-Locke will try to kill Sawyer and everyone else on the Island, and then, hearing Not-Locke’s approach, he disappears back into the undergrowth. Not-Locke shows up and wants to know who Sawyer was talking to. Nobody, says Sawyer.

Alterna-world. Locke’s job placement interview is not going that well and the supervisor gets involved. The supervisor is Rose – awwwww! – and, as expected, she is fabulous, not taking any shit from him when he tries to insist on a job for which he is just not suited, due to his wheelchair. When he gives her some attitude about it, all you don’t know my pain, she matter-of-factly tells him that she has terminal cancer, so yes, she might just know about physical pain and struggle. They reach an agreement to find a job for him that is more suitable. Rose is awesome, y’all.

Island. Sawyer asks Not-Locke if he reads – yes – and does he know Of Mice and Men. When Not-Locke says he is not familiar with the story, Sawyer tells him about the part where SPOILER Lenny gets tricked into walking into the field after something he’s always wanted, and then shot. And when Not-Locke turns around, Sawyer has a gun pointed at him, clearly not interested in being any sort of Lenny himself, and threatening to put a bullet in Not-Locke’s head. Sure, let’s see what happens, says Not-Locke, fearlessly. Nonplussed, Sawyer is all WTF? Not-Locke says he’s been trapped for a very long time, but before he was trapped he was a man. He knows what it was like to lose someone he loves – and he can sympathize with Sawyer. Then he really turns on the recruitment pitch, saying, Come on, James, you’re so close [to the answers] – don’t stop now. Sawyer sighs, annoyed, and puts down the gun.

Beach. Ilana and Ben carry Locke’s body. Ben is ranting about why she even brought Locke to the foot-temple. She replies that it was to give the Island folks a taste of what they were up against. She also tells him that now, for some reason, Not-Locke is stuck in Locke’s body. They bury Locke in the old Lostie graveyard with Nikki and Paolo and everyone else. No one really wants to say anything over the body, but Ben finally steps up, saying that John Locke was a believer, a man of faith, and a better man than he is: “I’m very sorry I murdered him.” Frank turns to get a shovel, muttering that this is the weirdest damn funeral he’s ever been to.

Alterna-world. Locke goes about the daily struggle of getting up and getting dressed, wrestling his useless legs into the wheelchair. Frustrated, he starts to call Jack’s office but ends up chickening out. Helen overhears and gets excited, then Locke bursts her bubble by telling her that he got fired. Eventually Locke ‘fesses up that he didn’t go to the conference when he was in Sydney, and tells her that he tried to go on a walkabout but they wouldn’t let him go because of his disability. He’s so frustrated and sad, and feeling sorry for himself, and he tells her that there is no hope that he’ll ever get out of the chair so if she’s waiting for that, she might as well give up. “There are miracles, John,” she tells him gently, but all she’s been waiting for is him. Then she tears up Jack’s card and planted a major kiss on him. Awwww.

Island. Not-Locke leads Sawyer to the edge of a cliff and starts climbing down a rickety wooden ladder. Sawyer is all, you have GOT to be kidding me. A little ways down, Not-Locke switches over to a rope ladder. Sawyer almost falls – and the stunt double messes up by wearing a wrong color shirt – and then Sawyer’s ladder does break. There’s much shouting and flailing and banging against the rocks, but Not-Locke grabs onto him and pulls him to safety. They make their way to a room carved out of the cliff. There’s a scale there, balanced with a white rock and a black rock. Not-Locke takes the white rock off and chucks it into the ocean (“An inside joke,” he explains to Sawyer who really doesn’t much care), then lights a torch and leads Sawyer further into the cave. “This is why you’re here – this is why you’re all here.” Sawyer takes the torch and stares at the ceiling of this cave, which is covered in chalk writing. Oooh – what is it?

Alterna-world. Locke’s new job seems to be as a substitute teacher (there’s the title). When he stops by the teachers’ lounge, Ben is here, ranting about no one refilling the coffee pot. Locke makes a gentle crack about just wanting some Earl Grey and Ben stops ranting (since tea is a civilized drink) and shakes Locke’s hand. He teaches European history here at this school. Locke gets a weird smile on his face – does he recognize Ben somehow or does he think he may have just made a friend?

Island. Sawyer reads the mysterious cave writing, incredulous to see all the Losties’ names. Not-Locke says Jacob wrote it all. Why are the names crossed out? Oh, not all of them: not Jack, or Hurley, or Sayid, “Kwon” (either Sun or Jin) or Sawyer. Sawyer bitches: “Why would he write my name on this wall [when] I never even met the guy?” Not-Locke says no, James, Jacob probably did meet you when you were young; he manipulated you and pushed you to this Island … because he thought you were a candidate to replace him as its protector. Sawyer: WTF? Not-Locke: you have three choices – do nothing and see what plays out; take the job and protect the Island (and when Sawyer asks “Protect it from what?”, Not-Locke replies that there’s nothing to protect it from – totally glossing over the fact that it’s HIM); or the third choice is to go home, leave the Island, Not-Locke and Sawyer together. Whaddya say, James, you want to get off this Island? Sawyer: “Hell yeah!”

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More excuses than an excuse makin' machine

Posting may be a little sporadic in the next few days: Mr. Mouse and I bought a new house and we're moving ourselves in.  The cable guy comes tomorrow, however, so I should be able to have the Lost post up in a timely fashion.  Yay for a new Mouse House!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book review: Flora's Dare by Ysabeau S. Wilce

In my January 2008 review of Flora Segunda, Ysabeau S. Wilce’s first novel in which we are introduced to Flora Nemain Fyrdraaca ov Fyrdraaca, I said that I hoped the book did well enough that a series might emerge around these engaging characters. My hope has at least materialized into the second volume, Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room). If nothing else, Wilce’s editors have not bothered to rein in her galloping titles.

Flora’s Dare picks right up where we left off, with our narrator, fourteen year old Flora quickly recounting for us the events of the first book, all of which have resulted with her still having to do stacks and stacks of chores, but this time under the unflinching eye of her newly sober and sane father. Flora chafes at the housework and the arbitrary curfews, but mostly she is frustrated because she wants to learn Gramatica, the language of magick and she can’t find anyone to teach her. Proficiency in Gramatica is imperative if you want to be a Ranger – and that’s what Flora wants, above all else. Well, she’d also like her best friend Udo to maybe like her as more than a friend, she can’t do a thing with her hair and she’d like to find a corset that doesn’t cut into her belly, but mostly it’s the Ranger thing.

As in the first book, the plot is as tangled as you can imagine. Let me take a stab at it: in an attempt to locate someone to teach her Gramatica, Flora learns that her sister, a diehard Army officer, has deserted to join the rebels who want to oust the foreign tyrants currently running the city. She also discovers that the earthquakes that are rocking the city are caused by a supernatural entity trapped in the shape of a giant squid and imprisoned in the sewers – the creature’s struggles are demolishing the city. Udo, always wanting to make a quick buck, decides to become a bounty hunter and manages to get himself possessed by an evil spirit with a penchant for flashy footwear. Flora takes it upon herself to solve all these problems, all the while sneaking out of the house so her father won’t know what she’s up to; it’s not easy and at one point she ends up in an oubliette thirty-seven years in the past with only a plushy stuffed pig for protection. (The plushy pig turns out to be more help than you might think.) And as she did in the first book, the author manages to tie most of the plot threads together – although it does get a little frantic at times – while offering up a reveal at the end that opens the door for book #3.

The Flora books are not as dark or dense as the Harry Potter series, but the characters are put in fairly serious danger and people do die. The heroine is brave, funny, clever and determined but things do not happen easily for her, either in her adventures or her regular life. As a teenager on the cusp of adulthood, Flora is still trying to figure out who she really is and as such her struggles, both the realistic and the fantastic, are readily relatable to the reader.

Postscript: The Sandman

I did it.  I've come to the end of Neil Gaiman's amazing, horrifying, heart-rending, gorgeous series about Morpheus, Lord Dream of the Endless.  I haven't read a whole lot of comic books, but the people who write the forewards to each of the Sandman volumes have, along with a lot of other books, and they all say the same thing:  what Gaiman has created here is not merely a pop culture masterpiece, but fine art and literature.  The fact that Gaiman created a whole new mythology while interweaving myths and legends and fairy tales and stories from across the globe, the fact that these stories were released one book at a time, month after month, and yet by the end of it all the characters tie together, reconnect, even the ones whom the reader considered unimportant one-offs, the fact that the main character of these comic books is largely unlikeable and standoffish and yet moves through an incredible arc, compelling readers to return again and again, just to see what comes next ... I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again:

Neil Gaiman is a frickin' genius.  Even if you are sure you don't like comic books, you should read these.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mini movie review: Inglourious Basterds

Well now, here you go: another Best Picture nominee crossed off the list: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.  Problem is, I'm so late to the game, and so much has already been written about this movie that it's tough to know what to even say - I'm not even going to recap the plot, everyone knows it - but I got some snippets at least:

Since Mr. Mouse likes QT movies, at least he likes Pulp Fiction and will tolerate Reservoir Dogs although it's really too bloody for him, I had hoped that this would be a movie he and I could watch together, and I had specifically (1) moved it up the queue ahead of some other horrorish DVDs for him as well as (2) planning our day so we would start the movie early enough that he wouldn't fall asleep in the middle of it.  It's a dang long movie, y'all.

However, like so many of QT's movies, this one is extremely talky, interspersed with frenetic violence.  Which is fine - except that 90% of the talkiness was in subtitles (something I had astonishingly not picked up on in all my reading about this flick).  I like subtitles but Mr. Mouse doesn't not, plus our movie is old and small and subtitles are a bit of a challenge on them.  He gave up after 30+ minutes, poor guy. 

I liked it although I know for a fact that I got maybe 0.2% of all the movie references Tarantino threw in there.  I thought Christoph Waltz and Melanie Laurent were just wonderful, particularly Waltz, and I am grateful to Tarantino for populating his film with actual German and French actors, not just Americans faking the accents.  (And, in poking fun at the Hollywood penchant for doing just that, having Brad Pitt's Aldo Raines be the "best" at speaking Italian was hilarious.)

Despite the scalping (just a few) and the shooting (really quite a lot), this is not your typical Tarantino fare, what I said about the talkiness notwithstanding.  I've always though that QT was a great filmmaker.  With Inglourious Basterds, however, he's finally grown into his early promise.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lost episode recap – “What Kate Does” S6E3 airdate 02/09/10)

Before we begin, you should know, if you don't, that I'm not particularly fond of the character Kate.  She flipflops (Sawyer/Jack, badass/delicate princess, want to leave the Island/want to stay on the Island) and is generally annoying.  Mr. Mouse likes her because she's "hot."  Anyway -

The LAX cab that Kate has hijacked struggles to get out of the airport; when it has to stop for pedestrians, Claire tries to make a run for it but Kate yanks her back into the cab. Then at a traffic light, the cabbie himself jumps out and Kate climbs into the driver’s seat. A little way further on, however, Kate kicks Claire out, keeping her purse and refusing to let her take her suitcase.

Back at the Island, the Losties bring a woozy Sayid up to speed, i.e., the Others have captured them, Hurley’s sort of in charge (per Miles), Sayid’s gut wound is completely healed, etc. The Others interrupt, trying to take Sayid away for some questions. Jack says he has some questions of his own, starting with why are they being held here as prisoners. Sol promises that once they’ve spoken to Sayid, they’ll answer all Jack’s questions. Some burly Others restrain Jack and a tussle starts, until Sawyer takes a pistol and starts shooting into the air. He tells the Others that he doesn’t care what they do with the rest of the Losties but he’s leaving. Kate’s all, “James!” but he just glares at her and snarls not to come after him. Then he leaves the Others’ compound.

After the commercial, the Others take Sayid away. Sol asks Jack where he thinks Sawyer went but Jack refuses to answer. Kate, ever helpful, says she can track him and bring him back: “I can be very convincing when I want to be.” Oh, spare me.

In the alternate world, Kate drives up to a scruffy mechanic (played by the character actor who was that scary bad wizard who hooked Willow on magic in BtVS S6) and convinces him to help her get the handcuffs off her wrist. When she goes into the bathroom to change her clothes, she finds Claire’s bag is full of baby stuff and has a pang of conscience.

Island. Jin and a couple of Others (Aldo - ? and Justin) are accompanying Kate. Before she goes, she tells Jack to take care of Sayid. They have a little moment when they look like they might kiss – Jack even sort of moves in for it - but they don’t. Make up your damn mind, Kate.

Meanwhile, the Asian Other has Sayid strapped to a table and is poking wires into his now healed belly. Then he cranks up a generator and zaps Sayid with electricity, torture-style. Sayid is scared and screaming, asking why are they doing this to him? In answer, the Other stabs him with a red-hot poker. Sayid screams again, understandably, and then he cries. Later, Sol comes in to let Sayid loose from the shackles, and apologizes for testing him like that. “A test for what?” weeps Sayid. “Don’t worry,” says Sol, “you passed.” More Others lead Sayid out and Sol watches them go, muttering to the Asian Other: “I just lied to him, didn’t I?” Asian Other: “Yes.”

Alternate world. Kate drives back towards the airport and finds Claire, sitting poutfully at a bus stop. She returns Claire’s purse and luggage and asks where she was headed. Claire doesn’t really want to say at first, so Kate’s all fine, whatever, and makes to leave. Then Claire has a change of heart and says she was going to Brentwood, where the people live who are adopting her baby. “Get in,” says Kate and Claire does, surprising them both.

Island. Aldo the Other is super-abrasive and annoying and snotty about Kate’s purported tracking skills; the other Other, Justin, is less annoying. Kate decides that she isn’t interested in leading them to Sawyer, however, and swiftly takes them out with her jungle-ninja skilz. “What are you doing?” protests Jin. “Escaping,” says Kate.

Back at the Temple, Sayid tells Jack, Miles and Hurley that the Others tortured him but didn’t ask him any questions. Jack pushes his way into the back room, demanding to know WTF. The Asian Other, through Sol, says that Sayid is “infected” and hands Jack a gnarly greenish-gray pill to give to Sayid. They explain that the “torture” was actually diagnosing him with this infection. They ask Jack how Sayid got hurt. “Helping me,” says Jack. And were there other people who got hurt or died because they were with Jack? Yes (lots). Then, according to the Others, giving this pill to Sayid is Jack’s chance to redeem himself - otherwise the infection will spread and that, apparently, will be dire. I have a question too: Jack, you’re a doctor, so why don’t you ask what kind of infection this is? After five seasons, I’m ready for the Losties to ask some follow up questions every now and again.

Miles and Hurley quiz Sayid about being dead. “You’re not a zombie, right?” asks Hurley. No, replies Sayid with a straight face, I’m not a zombie. Heh. Jack comes back to talk to Sayid privately and the other two give them some space. Jack tells Sayid what the Others said about his “infection” and hands him the pill. Sayid wants to know what Jack thinks. Jack says that the Others were the ones who saved Sayid’s life, not him … but Sayid says he trusts Jack, not the Others, and if Jack wants him to take the pill, he will.

Jin – whose English is quite fabulous these days – separates from Kate, saying that he thinks the Others can help him find Sun. So Kate sets off after Sawyer on her own, telling Jin good-bye because she has no intention of going back to the Temple herself, with or without Sawyer. BTW, there’s some dialogue here that I missed because Mr. Mouse, from the other room, asked me why Jin can speak English now - he hasn’t watched this show since S1.

Alterna-world. Kate and Claire arrive at the adoptive parents’ house and, since they’ve done a little bonding on the ride, Claire asks Kate to come in with her. When the prospective mom answers the door, she immediately bursts into tears, saying that her husband left her a little while ago and there’s no way she can take the baby now. Claire freaks out, as you would - and then Kate freaks out, shouting “She came all the way from AUS and you couldn’t call?!” – and then Claire grabs her belly and shrieks that the baby’s coming right now!

Island. Kate searches the Dharma compound, looking for Sawyer. She finds him in his old cottage, pulling up floorboards in the bedroom. As she watches from the doorway, he lifts out a shoebox and opens it, tears in his eyes. Embarrassed, Kate backs away but makes a noise while doing so and Sawyer finds her. He is angry at having been followed. When he asks what the hell she’s doin’ here, she mumbles that she was worried about him. Scowling, he brushes by her, leaving the cottage.

Alterna-world. Kate rushes Claire to the hospital, agreeing to stay with her until they figure out what’s going on. Claire is panicking while the nurse dithers around so Kate goes to find a doctor: it’s Ethan Goodspeed (yikes!). But in this reality, he’s actually nice, with a great bedside manner, telling Claire that either she can have the baby early or, if she doesn’t mind some needles, they can give her some drugs to stop the labor. Claire thinks about it for a bit, but says she’s not ready. A monitor goes off and Claire panics again, shouting if Aaron is okay. Ethan confirms that he is, but Kate gets a weird look on her face upon hearing that name. She squeezes Claire’s hand.

Island. Kate finds Sawyer down on the Dharma dock. She tells him that she wants to find Claire and she had been hoping that he would help her find her, so she can bring Aaron his mother back. Then she apologizes for interrupting Sawyer and Juliet’s escape from the Island (in the 1970s on the submarine) but he says it’s not her fault, it’s his: he kept Juliet from leaving the Island because he didn’t want to be alone. He’s got an engagement ring in his hands: he was going to ask Juliet to marry him. He throws it into the ocean: “I guess some of us are meant to be alone.” Then he tells Kate she can probably make it back to the Temple by nightfall and leaves her sitting there on the dock. Kate wipes tears from her face and snuffles.

Temple. Jack has a sit-down with the Asian Other (his name is Tobian or something like that). Tobian notes that Jack did not give Sayid the pill. Jack says he won’t do it unless he knows what’s in it. Tobian insists that Jack must trust him. Jack: “I don’t trust myself so how can I trust you?” then he takes the pill himself. Tobian launches himself at Jack and pounds on his stomach until Jack spits up the pill. What is in it? Jack demands. “Poison,” admits Tobian.

Note: If anyone can tell me what this guy’s name really is, I would appreciate it. Right when he said his name, Mr. Mouse asked if he was “the guy from the movies,” meaning Dr. Chang, and while I was saying no, and I missed the actual name. Stupid not having a DVR.

Alterna-world, hospital. A couple of cops stop by Claire’s hospital, asking questions about Kate … who is hiding right next door. When they’ve gone, Claire asks what Kate did. “Would you believe me if I said I was innocent?” asks Kate. Friend Mouse says: NO, NO I WOULD NOT. But Claire says yes, and then hands her credit card to Kate to aid and abet her. They wish each other luck.

Island. Kate fills her canteen from a Dharma compound faucet. Sawyer walks right past her without saying anything. She stands, and turns to go.

Temple. Tobian pours Jack some tea. Sol, incredulous that Jack tried to swallow the pill, seems a little annoyed that he hasn’t been offered any. Jack wants to know why they wanted to kill Sawyer. Tobian explains that they think Sayid has been “claimed” by something evil … the same something evil that took “[Jack’s] sister.”

Jungle. When Jin pauses for a drink at a creek, Aldo and Justin nab him, more than a little cranky at having been knocked unconscious by a girl. Aldo is about to shoot poor Jin - who, while trying to run away from them, manages to step in a bear trap (ouch!) - when someone else shoots him. Then Justin is shot. Jin looks around wildly: “Claire?” and yes, it is Jungle Claire, dirty and scruffy and apparently now a deadshot with a rifle.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It is entirely possible that the Lost recap will be late

Due to circumstances beyond my control*, it is possible that the Lost recap will not go up in its usually expedient timeframe.  If I haven't gotten it posted by midnight (Eastern time), then it will be at least a day late, if not more.  I wouldn't worry about it tho' as it's supposed to be a Kate-centric episode.  Like we haven't gotten enough of those over the years. Sigh. 

By the way, now that Juliet's dead, how long do you think it will it take for Kate to decide she lurves Sawyer again - five minutes? Ten?

* Actually, I totally could control said circumstances but depending on other circumstances which are not, in fact, under my control, I may not want to control the circumstances over which I actually do have control, and thus the recap may, depending on the circumstances's circumstances, late**. 

** Yes, I'm deliberately being obtuse.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Heroes episode recap – “Brave New World” S4E18 (airdate 2/8/10)

Wahoo! Season finale! Is there any chance, any chance at all, that one of the major characters will get killed off tonight? I shouldn’t get greedy, I know: we’ve already gotten rid of Nathan and Mohinder, but c’mon – just one more!

The teaser is a slight rewind from the end of last episode, just to bring us up to speed: Down in the buried trailer, Claire and her dad consider their options. There don’t seem to be many seeing how Lauren is standing right on top of where they’re buried and still can’t hear their cries for help. At Parkman’s house, Multiple-Eli threatens Parkman as well as Sylar and Peter. At the Carnival’s new Central Park location, Samuel speechifies once again, rallying the troops and saying that tonight, his Carnies can reveal themselves for the fabulous beings they really are, thus gaining the normals’ respect. Pretty much everyone seems excited about this; Edgar alone appears to be reserving judgment – but Ray Park’s not that good an actor so maybe that’s supposed to be his supportive face.

Multiple-Eli comes very close to stabbing Parkman to death but Sylar and Peter manage to incapacitate the main Eli, rendering the rest of them moot. Parkman is not that grateful: “What the hell is [Sylar] doing here?” He refuses to read Eli’s mind to find out what Samuel’s plan is so Peter swipes his power and does it himself. When Peter and Sylar turn to leave, Parkman manage to use his mind powers to convince Sylar that he doesn’t want to go.

At the Carnival, Samuel asks Emma to use her gift to bring the normals into the Carnival but for some reason she suddenly decides he’s a bad man and doesn’t want anything to do with him any longer. Luckily for Samuel, Doyle takes control of Emma’s body and makes her play the cello, drawing in the marks.

At the hospital, Hiro is ready to kick ass and take names, now that his ghost mom healed his brain tumor a couple of episodes ago. A nurse brings him a note and an origami crane from a patient down the hall. When he runs to the patient’s room, he finds a little old lady with red hair and a Texan accent. It’s Charlie, aged 67 years. Oops.

Benet tells Claire to stop trying to dig her way out: they’ll run out of air before they break free and then she’ll have to watch her father die right before her eyes. She refuses to believe that her father doesn’t have a plan but he wants to talk. He tells her that he can’t protect her anymore, not after the big reveal that Samuel is planning. I take it back, what I said up at the top: DON’T KILL BENET.

Sylar says that he knows what it takes to be a good person after having been inside Parkman’s head; he begs Parkman to look inside his and see if he hasn’t changed. Grudgingly, Parkman takes a look and finally, reluctantly, tells them to get out of his home. Then he turns his attention to unconscious Eli, mind-saying that he is about to do exactly what Parkman tells him to do.

Samuel is quite pleased at the crowd Emma has brought him. “Tonight changes everything, for all of us.” Edgar seems skeptical. I think.

At the hospital, Charlie explains that Samuel sent her back to 1944 and she had to live out all those years. Hiro takes her hand, apologizing. She doesn’t seem that upset about it, actually, saying that her aneurysm disappeared and she had a good life. Hiro ignores what she’s saying and insists that he can fix everything – go back to 1944 and then bring her back to the correct time. Ando pulls him aside and tells him not to do this: he would only be doing this for selfish reasons.

Benet is starting to pant and slur, telling his daughter how much he loves her and asking for her forgiveness. She cries. He asks her to promise to hide her abilities from the world to stay safe. It’s his “dying wish.” Seriously, now: do not kill the only decent character/actor on this damn show. Frantic, Claire scrabbles at the dirt and then steps back, startled as a wave of muddy water pours into the trailer. The water coalesces into Tracy who grabs the Benets, telling them that they’ve got to get out through 30 feet of dirt. “Hope you can swim,” she quips, reaching a watery hand into the dirt.

Because the special effects would cost too much, we don’t see how Tracy turns the buried trailer into a pond, allowing Benet and Claire to swim to the surface. Tracy herself does not reappear, sending the message with Claire that Benet owes her one. Lauren is there too and she’s brought a helicopter that whisks the Benets off to Central Park. They split up, searching for the bad guys. Soon enough, Edgar has a knife to Benet’s throat.

Peter and Sylar – having gotten to NYC from L.A. awfully quickly (this show does play fast and loose with spatial travel, especially now that Superspeedy Daphne and Flyboy Nathan are dead) – also split up: Peter to find Samuel and Sylar to stop/save Emma. He finds her in the House of Mirrors, fingers shredded and bloody from the rampant cello-ing. When he tries to take the instrument away from her, Puppermaster Doyle is there and ready for him.

Claire finds the Carnies and begs them to get away from Samuel, that their coming out party will in fact be a massacre of the normals. Funnily enough, the Carnies no longer seem to care. Meanwhile, Edgar tells Benet that he actually wants to stop Samuel as well: what’s Benet’s plan?

Hiro brushes Ando off and offers his rescue plan to Charlie. She thanks him for the offer, but reiterates that she already had a life, a wonderful life with a husband and four children and a whole passel of grandkids. Charlie tells Hiro that she doesn’t want to lose her family and her memories of her life, which would happen if she went back with him. Luckily, Hiro actually listens to and hears what she’s saying. And then Ando rushes in saying he’s heard from Benet and that their help is needed in Central Park. Hiro and Ando teleport away. Cutely, Charlie does get a misty look as Hiro pops out of her life.

Doyle taunts Sylar and Emma takes advantage of his distraction to smack him with a burst of sonic energy (?), knocking him across the room. Sylar then TKs a choke hold onto Doyle’s throat. When Doyle flails about, confused because Sylar is supposed to be like him – a bad guy - Sylar snarls, “No – I’m a Hero.” Oh, whatever. Next week, if there was a next week, you’d be back to killing innocent people again.

Claire explains to the Carnies that Samuel takes his power from them – that is why Joseph had kept their family small, to restrain his brother … and then Samuel killed Joseph in retaliation. Edgar and Benet show up to back her up, and then Multiple Eli also appears, on Parkman’s errand (and, again, having gotten from California to New York amazingly quickly), and confirms that Samuel ordered him to kill Lydia and make it look like Benet did it. The Carnies start to wander away, muttering. Samuel is WILD and quickly runs out in front of the crowd of normals. Proclaiming that “this is the greatest show on earth,” he starts to flex his earth-shattering power, pulling strength from the Carnies since they haven’t yet gotten out of range. People scream and run; Carnival rides start to topple. Edgar comes flying from out of nowhere and knocks Samuel off the stage and into Peter. So then Samuel and Peter have a standoff, facing each other from about twenty feet away and shoving the earth at each other while grimacing. It’s kind of silly.

Claire and her dad find Hiro and Ando, telling Hiro that he needs to teleport all the Carnies away from Samuel. He’s like, it’s too many! So Ando says he’ll supercharge his buddy. They all hold hands and it works, everyone winking out of existence. Suddenly, Samuel is completely powerless and Peter punches him right in the face. Samuel staggers to his feet, screaming, nearly incoherent, then falls to his knees and it’s over.

End of Volume Five / Start of Volume Six

Peter finds Emma who tells him that Sylar saved her. When they go to check on them, Sylar has Doyle tied up with light cords. Peter sort of rolls his eyes. Lauren calls in some favors and some old Company contacts take Samuel away. Claire complains that they can’t keep hiding the Heroes away from the world and, over her father’s protests, instructs the reporters (who had been gathered by Emma’s cello-playing) to watch her. Then she climbs up a Ferris wheel tower. Everyone – Benet, Lauren, Hiro, Ando, Peter – stare at her in horror, realizing that she’s about to change everything. Sylar seems okay with it but her dad looks as though his heart is breaking. Claire throws herself off the Ferris wheel and plummets to the earth. The reporters gasp, and then gasp again as she stands up and puts her shoulder back in place, a smug smile on her face.

See, here’s the thing. Heroes seems to spend so much time spinning its wheels and building up to the Big Finale … and then when it happens, it’s a big let-down. I mean, we get to see Samuel and Peter push some dirt at each other? What’s exciting about that? And my memory is foggy, but hasn’t it been like that even from S1? All of us all excited about the big Sylar vs. Everyone showdown and then pffft. Zippo. For all the build-up, no one actually loses anything – not like Buffy, when somebody lost something serious in pretty much every season ender, or BSG or Torchwood even. It’s hard to care when nothing’s actually at stake.

Do I care if this foolish show gets renewed? No, I don’t. I hope it doesn’t. They’ve ended this season pretty well, wrapping up the biggest loose-ends and leaving it in a place where viewers (if there are any left) can imagine just what comes next, now that Claire’s outed herself. To have it limp along for another season, rudderless and spineless … yeesh. But if it does come back – and if so, it better be Mohinderless as well – I promise you I’ll be right here to make fun of recap it for you.

Previously on Heroes / next time (if there is a next time) on Heroes

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reading 'em is easier than writing about 'em

I read all these ages ago but have put off (and put off and put off) writing about them, and now they're due back at the library and I can't put it off any longer.  On the plus side, three out of four of these titles are series installments and there's not much more I need say about them.

Like, f'rinstance, Grave Peril, the third book in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.  As I've said before: urban fantasy with a touch of noir makes for a bunch of fun.  This time, Harry Dresden is battling a ghastly Nightmare that's stirring up all the ghosts in Chicago, plus he's got to duke it out with some seriously bad vampires.  It's all fun and games until somebody dies, of course.  I like this series; I like how the mythology builds; I like Harry's dry and self-deprecating narration; I've already got the next book, Summer Knight, queued up in my library list.

I'm drawing near the end of the Endless, sad to say, having just read Volume 7: Brief Lives and Volume 8: Worlds' End of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series.  (The library doesn't have Volume 6: Fables & Reflections which contained short, one-shot stand-alones, so narratively I didn't miss anything.)  In Brief Lives, Delirium convinces her older brother Dream to help her find their brother, Destruction, who abandoned their family and his responsibilities centuries ago.  Worlds' End is another stand-alone-ish volume where some major metaphysical event forces a bunch of travelers, from all worlds and all times, to take refuge at the Inn at Worlds' End.  There, they pass the time by telling each other stories, until a strange and awe-inspiring procession brings the story-telling to an abrupt end.  I was shocked and surprised at the reveal, and saddened, and now - with still three volumes left to read - I know I'm going to have to collect the entire series to have for my own.

The last book left to tell you about is One! Hundred! Demons!, a graphic novel by Lynda Barry which I think I read about on Whitney Matheson's Pop Candy blog.  This is an "autofictionalopgraphy," according to the author, taken from and inspired by Barry's life.  Each chapter is its own story, about a specific "demon" like "Head Lice and My Worst Boyfriend," "Resilience," "Hate" and "My First Job."  The stories are touching, some funny, some pathetic; the artwork is primitive and colorful.  I much prefer comics like the Sandman series with sophisticated art and complex stories, but One! Hundred! Demons! was an interesting peek into one woman's brain.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Movie review: Paranormal Activity

Late to the dance as usual, I finally got the chance to watch Paranormal Activity, the ultra low budget scary flick that got noticed at the Slamdance Film Festival* in 2008 and then pretty much went on to take over the world. More haunting than horrific, this little movie that could is a textbook example of how to scare people through tension and suspense.

Katie and Micah are a young couple (“engaged to be engaged,” per Micah) who live in a nice new house in San Diego. They’ve just bought a video camera because there have been quite a few bumps in the night at their house and Micah hopes to figure out what’s going on while they sleep – if it’s a peeping tom neighbor or raccoons in the garbage or whathaveyou. Katie has another thought: she has felt haunted by a presence off and on since she was a child, and she thinks it’s this presence that is causing the ruckus.

As the days pass, and the creeptastic disturbances increase – loud bangs and thumps, scratching in the walls, household objects moved (or moving) of their own accord – Katie and Micah themselves begin to deteriorate. This once-happy pair start snapping and sniping at each other from the stress and lack of sleep. Micah is determined to protect his girlfriend and figure out what’s going on; Katie becomes more and more terrified and withdrawn. And as their stress level grows, so does the audience’s because we are seeing just what they are seeing, all through the eye of that video camera.

This “found footage” type of movie – like The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and [REC], etc., before it – is the perfect means of storytelling where so much of tension is off-screen – if the ostensible filmer doesn’t see it, the audience doesn’t see it, and both the characters and the audience get to use their imaginations to ramp up the scares. In Paranormal Activity almost all of anything frightening, gory or violent happens out of range of the camera which is stuck on its tripod in Micah and Katie’s bedroom; you hear the screams and the heavy footsteps tromping up the stairs, but you have to imagine just what’s happening. Of course, the truly creepiest moments are when a sleepwalking or possessed Katie climbs out of bed to just stand there, staring down at the oblivious, sleeping Micah, while the camera’s time-clock ticks off hours of passing time. Eeeeeerie.

This sort of movie freaks me out WAY more than creature features or bucket o’ blood slashers. Things that JUMP scare me; and I am entirely susceptible to a skilled heightening of tension. This is not a movie I would have wanted to see at home alone (and I think it’s ideal to watch as a rental rather than i nthe theater because hey, it’s supposed to be home-made video and it just makes sense to watch it at home). Mr. Mouse had fallen asleep as soon as I turned it on (despite the fact that it’s the perfect length for him at 86 minutes) and was snoring during the last 20 or so minutes; although I was annoyed that I had to keep poking him for the snoring, which took me out of the movie**, in the end I was grateful that I had those distractions to ease my own tension a little.

As it was, I was wound up enough that it took me over an hour to fall asleep afterward, not because I thought I was hearing my own bumps in the night, but because I was thinking about what I’d just watched and how much I liked it. It’s been a while since a movie has done that for me. Kudos, little Paranormal Activity, nicely played.

* Slamdance is the "anarchic" alternative Utah film festival that occurs at the same time as the now more mainstream Sundance Film Festival.

** The only thing that caused my willing suspension of disbelief to waver was the fact that these two young people, in their late 20s at most, Katie a “student” and Micah a “daytrader,” owned such a nice house in San Diego. Mr. Mouse and I had checked out southern California house prices and unless these two were trust fund babies, there is no way they could have bought that house on their own. But ghosts/demonic presences? Sure – you bet I’ll believe that!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

District 9 is going to the big time!

 I can’t believe that little District 9 got nominated for Best Picture – booyah! Although it really doesn’t stand a chance, does it? It’s the only Best Picture nominee I’ve seen, funnily enough, although I’m rooting for The Hurt Locker, which, by everything I’ve read, is the film that deserves to win. I really hope that Avatar doesn’t take it – I hear that what it’s got going for it is the visual spectacle, but the story, the characters and the acting just don’t hold up to close scrutiny.

Those of you who’ve seen more than one of the Best Picture noms, what’s your pick for the little gold statue?

Lost episode recap – “LA X” S6E1 airdate (02/02/10)

Here we go, folks: The Last Season of Lost. I hear they’re done with the time-travel, so that will be a relief to us recappers – last season was tough! And away we go …

The white flash recedes. Jack finds himself on an airplane in a window seat with Wendy the flight attendant offering to refresh his drink. Turbulence hits the plane but Rose, who is sitting across the aisle, reassures a nervous Jack. No one knows each other now. The turbulence shakes them up again and then smoothes out. When Bernard returns from the lavatory, Rose gives him a big smooch – they’re so cute! It’s Jack’s turn to use the lavatory and when he does, he looks at himself closely in the mirror: he looks old, and there’s a bloody spot on his neck. He dabs at it, confused and disoriented. When Jack gets back to his row, Desmond is sitting in the aisle seat of Jack’s row, looking very clean and very pretty. Jack has a serious case of déjà vu even as they introduce themselves – he doesn’t know what’s wrong, but something seems off to him.

Down below the plane, deep under the ocean, the camera rushes by over the ocean floor and we see the Island (and even the Dharma sharks) sunk far beneath the surface. The Dharma compound is there and the statue is intact, but it’s all underwater, like Atlantis.

Flashback to 1977 when Jack drops the bomb down the drill hole and Juliet is pulled in afterwards by the magnetic forces. She pounds on the bomb and FLASH.

The white flash recedes. Kate awakens, finding herself hundreds of feet up in a tree and nearly falls out from shock and surprise. The sound is funny (and at first I think it’s stupid Comcast messing up again): her hearing has been damaged by the bomb blast. When she finally makes her way down to the ground, she starts yelling for anyone who might be around. Miles finds her – his hearing is damaged too – and then they find a Dharma station. “We’re back,” she cries, and then she runs into the jungle until she finds the remains of the Swan Hatch. After Desmond blew it up, realizes Kate disconsolately. She also finds Jack there, bloodied and dazed. They try to regroup figure out what happened. But it doesn’t help much when Sawyer charges out of the jungle and kicks Jack in the face. “You were wrong! You blew us right back where we started, except Juliet’s dead!” Jack staggers to his feet, crying, apologizing, “I thought it would work.”

Jack-on-the-plane meets Kate as she’s coming out of the lav, handcuffs hidden under her jacket; she staggers into him when the plane lurches a little, the marshal watching her every move. Sawyer totally checks her out as he walks past to his seat. He overhears Hurley tell Whatisname the Blown Up Science Teacher that he won the lottery and advises him not to spread that around – people will try to take advantage of him. Hurley shrugs Sawyer off, saying that nothing bad ever happens to him – he’s the luckiest guy he knows.

On the Island, Hurley and Jin try to reconstruct what happened down at the Swan worksite, guessing that the bomb went off and they were pushed through time. Poor Sayid is still bleeding badly from his stomach wound. Down at the bomb site, everyone is yelling at each other but somehow Kate hears something coming from the debris in the drill hole: it’s Juliet and she’s alive. The rescue attempt, however, distracts everyone from Sayid’s impending death. He looks bad and Hurley, left alone with him, starts to panic. There is a rustling in the underbrush: it’s Jacob, apparently not too worse for wear for having been stabbed and burned up.

On the plane: Sun smiles to see Rose and Bernard canoodling, but Jin just tells her to button her sweater. Elsewhere on the plane, Boone (hi, Boone!) and Locke make small talk. It’s funny to see this gentler, unscarred Locke. Boone looks good.

Back on the Island, Not-Locke picks up the knife Ben used to stab Jacob and wipes the blood off the blade. Ben is on the other side of the room, shell-shocked, staring into the fire. Not-Locke tells Ben to go fetch Richard – he needs to talk to him. (Don’t kill Richard - he’s so pretty!) Out on the beach, Sun and Frank watch Richard, Ilana and Ilana’s big henchman argue, unsure of what is going on and kind of creeped out by Locke’s body lying there on the sand. Ben comes out of the statue and staggers over to Richard, telling him that “Locke” wants to talk to him. Oh, really? snaps Richard, dragging Ben across the sand. He throws Ben down so he’s face to face with dead Locke. “I think you should talk to him first,” Richard snarls. A look of horror comes across Ben’s face and he scrabbles back away from Locke’s body.

Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Miles and Jin frantically pull debris aside, trying to get to Juliet. Meanwhile, Hurley has lots of questions for Jacob, who says that none of this really matters because he died about an hour ago. “Dude, that sucks.” says Hurley, totally unfazed. Jacob instructs Hurley to take Sayid to the Temple – it’s the only way to save him – and don’t forget the guitar case. But first, they have to use the Dharma van to try to pull the heavier beams out of the hole that have trapped Juliet. Sawyer starts to panic because he can’t hear her any longer; when Kate tries to calm him down, he growls that if Juliet dies, he’ll kill Jack.

On the plane, Wendy the flight attendant is looking for a doctor: someone seems to have passed out in the lav. Jack goes to see if he can help. They’re having trouble getting the door open until Sayid shows up and kicks it in. Inside, slouched down on the pot, is an unconscious Charlie. (Yay! We’ve almost got the whole gang here! Do you suppose Ana Lucia will make an appearance? And what about Walt? How are they going to make him look like a little kid again?) After the commercial, everyone rushes around, trying to save Charlie. He’s choking on a drug balloon but Jack manages to pull it out of his throat.

The gang attaches a chain to the heaviest beam and they pull it out of the way with the van. Sawyer grabs a flashlight and makes his way down into the drill hole. He finds his Juliet, bloodied but able to open her eyes when he speaks to her. “It didn’t work,” she cries, “I hit the bomb and you’re still here!” Sawyer shakes his head, “Why would you do that?” She whimpers that she wanted to get him off the Island and he tells her to hush, he’s just got to get her out of here.

Topside, Jack tells Hurley that there’s nothing he can to do save Sayid. Hurley says he knows how to do it.

On the beach, Richard pleads with Ben to tell him what happened under the statue. Ben has apparently lost his mind, refusing to answer except for snidely telling Richard to go find out for himself. So Ilana’s henchmen grab Ben and drag him back inside. They demand to know what happened to Jacob. “He burned up in that fire,” says Not-Locke matter-of-factly. So they start shooting at him … and he just disappears. Ben, looking as twitchy as he ever has, crouches in a corner. And then the Smoke Monster arrives – because Not-Locke is the Smoke Monster is the Man in Black, Jacob’s nemesis – and tears Ilana’s henchmen to shreds. Shreds, I tell you. As suddenly as it began, it is over and Ben comes out of his hiding place, staring around at the carnage. He turns around and there’s Not-Locke. “I’m sorry you had to see me like that,” says Not-Locke. Ben’s eyes bug out farther than I’ve ever seen them go before.

Sawyer finally manages to get Juliet out from under the rubble and pulls her into his arms. She looks bad, and starts to fade in and out of lucidity. She asks him to kiss her – “You’ve got it, Blondie” – and then she says she has something important to tell him. “You tell me,” he whispers. But it’s too late and she dies right there. When Sawyer climbs out of the drill hole, Juliet’s body clutched in his arms, he is staring right at Jack. “You did this.”

On the plane, Charlie is not at all grateful for his life having been saved. Jack returns to his seat, noting that Desmond seems to have disappeared, and the plane begins its descent into LAX. Our gang all fusses around, gathering their personal belongings. (I guess Claire and Shannon are not on this version of the flight, but they should be, right?) And lo and behold, the plane lands.

When it does, the cops are waiting for Charlie – so that’s one life that was made better on the Island. The marshal takes Kate away – that’s two. Locke sits and waits for his wheelchair – that’s three. Where did Desmond go? Everyone else files off the plane uneventfully although Sayid has a bit of a spring in his step, clutching his photo of Nadia.

On the Island, Kate asks Sawyer if he’s coming with them to the Temple to save Sayid but he says no, he’s going to bury Juliet. He asks Miles to stay with him to help. Jack and Jin pick up Sayid’s stretcher, and they, Kate and Hurley, carrying Jacob’s guitar case as instructed, head out. When they get to the Temple wall, Hurley leads them all down into the tunnels: “This is gonna be awesome.” As they continue along, they hear those whispery voices and soon everyone gets separated. Worse, they are captured by the Others who drag them through the tunnels and back out into the jungle. They pause, staring across a pool at a huge stone building. “I guess we found the Temple,” obviouses Hurley.

In LAX, the airline regrets to inform Jack that his father’s coffin was inadvertently never loaded on the plane. In addition, they don’t exactly know where it is right now. Jack is not well pleased at this.

The marshal hustles Kate through Customs at LAX. He is disinclined to let her take a pee break but she pleads with him. When he lets her in the stall, she pulls a ballpoint pen out of her pocket (she lifted it off Jack on the plane) and uses it to break out of the handcuffs. She kicks the marshal, hard, smashing his head into the sink counter and knocking him out. She takes his gun and bolts, catching an elevator with Sawyer in it. He notices the handcuffs she’s trying to hide and then covers for her with airport security. She gives him a sexy smile and says thanks.

After they bury Juliet, Sawyer turns to Miles and demands that he speak to Juliet and find out what she wanted to tell him. Miles is sad that that’s the reason Sawyer asked him to stay behind, but he plunges his hands into the dirt over the grave and gives it a try. “It worked,” Miles finally says. “That’s what she wanted to tell you: it worked.” Sawyer turns and crashes blindly off into the jungle.

At the Temple, things get a little tense between the Losties and the Others until Wendy the flight attendant steps up, saying that they were on the plane with her. There’s an Asian guy who seems to be in charge, and his second in command/translator is Sol from Deadwood. The Asian guy gives the order to shoot the Losties and it looks as though all may be lost until Hurley shouts that Jacob sent them, plus there’s this guitar case he’s been carrying. The Asian guy opens the guitar case and lifts out a large wooden ankh. He splits it open and pulls out a piece of paper. He demands their names; the Losties say them, and the Asian guy seems to check the paper against what they say. He tells his flunkies to pick Sayid up and take him to “the spring.” Hurley shouts that he wants to know what was written on that paper he’s been lugging around for so long. Sol turns and replies that the paper says that if Sayid dies, everyone here is in a lot of trouble.

Sun and Jin are having some difficulty getting through LAZ Customs and Sun is torn, knowing that she can speak English and explain things but not wanting to out herself in front of her difficult husband. When the customs official finds a whole bunch of cash that Jin didn’t declare, they haul Jin off and Sun is sent to the waiting area, resolute to not betray her secret.

Inside the Temple, Sol is dismayed to see that the spring’s water isn’t clear. The Asian leader slices open his hand and dips his hand into the water. He seems surprised at what he sees. Sol asks who hurt Sayid. Jack says that he didn’t shoot him, but he is responsible for what happened to him. Sol says that there are risks to what they are about to do but Jack tells them to go ahead.

The Others take Sayid into the spring and hold him underwater. Sayid starts to thrash and the Losties get upset, fearing their friend is being drowned. But the leader has been watching an hourglass and Sayid is not taken from the spring until the sand has all fallen through. Of course, he’s no longer thrashing by then and is pretty limp. They lay him down and the leader checks him. Sol translates: “Your friend is dead.” The Others file out as Jack stumbles over to Sayid and begins CPR. Disturbed, Kate pulls him off: Jack, he’s dead. He’s not coming back.” Jack leans back, bereft. (Is Sayid dead because he was happy when the Oceanic flight landed in L.A., and heading off to a good life with Nadia? So the Island doesn’t need/want him any more? It can’t be that easy.)

At LAX, Sayid picks up his bags, tucking his picture of Nadia into his pocket. Behind him, Kate is lingering in the baggage claim area, trying to avoid the cops; she sneaks into a restricted area and emerges out by the taxicabs. When she tries to jump into one, Frogurt bumps her, telling her to wait in line like everyone else. Hi, Frogurt! She stands in the line until the marshal, on his feet now and bloodied, sees her. So she jumps into a cab, ignoring the passenger already in there – it’s Claire with really big hair! Hi, Claire! – pulls the gun and tells the cabby to get going.

Wendy has the two kids from S1 (Zack and Emma?) bring the Losties something to eat. Also, more Others drag Sawyer and Miles in, having just captured them in the jungle. Meanwhile, Sol takes Hurley to see the leader. They ask him if Jacob is coming to the Temple. I don’t think so, dude, says Hurley, ‘cuz he’s dead. You didn’t know? This news sends all the Others into a serious panic. They set off a flare and start fortifying the Temple. When Hurley notes that the Losties won’t be going anywhere apparently, Sol gasps that it isn’t to keep them in, it’s to keep “him” out.

Back at the beach, Ben is finally putting the pieces together that we all figured out at the end of last season (or at least 45 minutes ago): Not-Locke is the Smoke Monster, and since he couldn’t kill Jacob himself, he used Ben to do his dirty work for him. Not-Locke also says that he used Ben to kill Locke as well. Not-Locke doesn’t have much respect for Locke, calling him weak and pathetic, but also the only one who realized that his Island life was better than the one he left behind. “What do you want?” moans Ben, head spinning. Not-Locke tells him: “I want the one thing Locke didn’t want: I want to go home.”

Hurley kneels down and says goodbye to Sayid, mentioning that if he ever wants to talk, he’ll be around. Miles sits there, staring at Sayid too, shaking his head. Hurley wants to know what; Miles says, “Nothing.” I think Miles thinks Sayid isn’t quite dead. Sawyer wakes up, quickly realizing that the Others have captured them again. He’s sad about Juliet and glares at Jack. Kate tries to smooth things over but he cuts her off: “I ain’t going to kill Jack; he deserves to suffer on this rock with the rest of us.”

At LAX, Jack is in the Lost Luggage office, trying to explain to his mother on the phone that Christian’s body is lost. Locke is there too, since the airline lost one of his bags, and Jack ends up venting to him. They actually have a nice moment connecting with each other – much nicer than any they’ve had over the last five seasons on the Island together

Back at the beach, Not-Locke strides up to Richard, Ben trailing behind him like a beaten puppy. Richard is petrified, trembling – I’ve never seen him so dispossessed. “Hello, Richard,” says Not-Locke, “It’s nice to see you out of those chains.” Then he beats the shit out of Richard, knocking him unconscious. He picks the limp form up and stares around at the rest of the people on the beach, shouting, “I am very disappointed in you!” Then he walks off, Richard slung over his shoulder like a wild boar carcass.

At the Temple, Sol wants to talk with Jack, who is not inclined to go anywhere with any Others right now. Sol says that this is not an optional discussion and some burly Others grab onto Jack. They struggle until Hurley shouts, “Jack!” Everyone turns and stares as Sayid sits up. He wants to know: “What happened?” Dude, that’s what we all want to know.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Monday, February 1, 2010

Heroes episode recap – “The Wall” S4E17 (airdate 02/01/10)

Now that I know for sure that people are reading these recaps, I feel all sorts of pressure to Get It Right. Fortunately, since people are reading these recaps, if I don’t get it right, someone will let me know!

Sylar and Peter wander in Sylar’s dream NYC while both of their bodies rest down cellar at Parkman’s house. Sylar’s all defeatist and “I’m crazy – leave me alone!” which Peter just does NOT have the time for right now. Maybe while they’re hanging out they could go get their hair cut together. But no: Peter convinces Sylar to let him try to get them out of the nightmare. He fails.

Determined to convince Claire that her dad is a bad guy, Samuel has the memory-revealer Damien (the dreadlocked dude who scrambled Hiro’s brains) broadcast Benet’s memories from 1985 in the House of Mirrors. First of all, 1985 Benet is rockin’ a Members Only jacket and selling used cars (not very well). Secondly, he’s married to someone else who was pregnant with his child. Until she was murdered by a telekinesis wielding robber.

Now trapped in Sylar’s nightmare for what is to them a month, Peter and Sylar are not getting along. Peter realizes that Sylar doesn’t really want to get free: he thinks he deserves to be here. Sylar admits that this is true and Peter asks him once again to help him. Then, suddenly, an enormous brick wall springs up around them. It’s the wall from Parkman’s basement. They have to break through the wall to get out of the nightmare.

Emma catches Lauren sneaking into the Carnival to steal medical supplies. As she helps treat Lauren’s gunshot wound, Lauren tells her that Benet is innocent of the shooting rampage. But Samuel comes into the medical tent; Lauren hides; and Emma uses sign language to rat Lauren out to Samuel.

After seeing his first wife’s murder, Claire understands her father’s motivations for joining the Company but Damien is not done revealing Benet’s past. In 1986, Benet is trying to track down his wife’s killer but ends up just a vigilante, killing innocent “Specials” in the process. Claire is horrified to see this, and rightly so. You know, I am not psyched about this calling the Heroes, the empowered humans, “Specials.” (I am, however, psyched to see The Crazies. Scary!)

Next 1980s flashback: scary Eric Roberts offers Benet a job with the Company. “We can help you find the man who killed your wife … and you can help us find the rest.” After a little while on the job, Eric Roberts instructs Benet to get married and start a family, which will balance him out and hopefully cut down on the number of fatal accidents for Heroes Benet is supposed to bag and tag. When Benet scoffs as to how he’s going to meet this new wife, Eric Roberts suggests the cute waitress who delivered their corned beef sandwiches. The cute waitress is Sandra. Claire is disgusted that the Company arranged Benet’s marriage, but Benet insists that he loved her mother.

Next flashback: Benet is waiting in the dorm room when Gretchen comes home after dropping Claire at the Carnival two weeks ago. He tries to intimidate her, to force her to encourage Claire to live a normal life, and the Haitian is there to back him up. Seeing this very recent memory is more than Claire can stomach. Furious at her father’s duplicity and brutality, she storms out, leaving him in the House of Mirrors.

Peter and Sylar are getting nowhere fast trying to break through the giant wall. They fight, tempers flaring, Nathan’s name being tossed around. For the record, Sylar does apologize for killing the elder Petrelli brother but Peter holds a grudge. Could they try to go over the wall instead of through it? It’s not like anyone else in NYC is using any ladders right now.

Lauren and Samuel have a bit of a standoff, although she can’t hide the fact that she’s terrified of him. She begs him not to move forward with his plans to take what he thinks the world owes him. He ignores her, leaving her in Eli’s multiple hands. Yick. Luckily, Lauren manages to escape. Samuel doesn’t much care, telling Eli that he’s got some other people to track down and take care of before they can interfere. Also, Samuel totally got off on Lauren’s fear of him.

Samuel finds Claire and apologizes for putting her through that. She’s upset with her dad, sure, but she’s not buying what Samuel is selling. Samuel’s too busy to really care, however: he’s going to move the Carnival to NYC, right in Central Park, and wreak some havoc there. And, in the grand tradition of stereotypical villains, he tells Claire what his plans are. Of course, he also tells her that Benet is in the souvenir trailer and when she goes to free her father, Samuel buries the whole thing in the ground.

One night – years later in their minds, Peter gives Sylar a copy of a book, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (one of my favorites!), because he wore out his last copy. He tells Sylar that he appreciates what Sylar’s done to keep Peter’s sanity intact. They talk: Peter is still angry with Sylar for his role in Nathan’s death, but he realizes that Sylar is no longer that person. Sylar agrees: he is no longer that person. And this, my friends, is the breakthrough they need to break through the wall. In Parkman’s basement, Peter regains consciousness in time to scramble out of the way when the wall explodes into shards. Sylar staggers out. They check their watches and it’s only been half a day in real time. “Let’s go save Emma,” intones Peter. But Eli is there to make sure that they don’t, barring the way out of the basement.

Under the ground, the trailer is at least not yet crushed but Benet estimates that they’re buried 40 or 50 feet down. He and Claire start yelling for help.

Next week: the season finale of Heroes! Wait - does this mean there’s going to be another season?

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Hey – y’all should come on back tomorrow for Lost!