Friday, April 30, 2010

this blog is so empty it echoes

Yikes.  Run a Lost repeat and there's a mighty big hole here on ol' FMS.  I'd like to say that things will pick up soon, but what with the dismal state of television right now, I just don't know.  I'm halfway through a British DVD to review and am reading a clever little book, so those are upcoming.  True Blood S2 will finally be out on DVD in May and I plan to recap those episodes - am looking forward to a little trashy, Southern vampire/werewolf action, frankly.  And later this summer, Mr. Mouse and I are going to dive into Big Love (ahem - the HBO series, you perverts).  Seems only fitting since we live out in Utah now.

What else is going on?  Since I'm a glutton for punishment, I'm still watching V and Flashforward ... and they're just sooooooooo bad.  So bad.  I can't even talk about it.  Slightly better is the first episode of ABC's Happy Town, which seems to be a cross between Twin Peaks and Harper's Island.  It seems to be trying a little too hard to be edgy and weird, and some of the acting is Not Very Good.  But hopefully Amy Acker will be given more to do, because I always like her, and Sam Neill is creepily charming/charmingly creepy as always.  I have slight hopes for this series but daren't get too attached.  Finally, Justified is still holding both Mr. Mouse's and my attention - amazingly - and while I don't think that these subsequent episodes have lived up to the promise of the pilot and the story-of-the-weeks get wrapped up pretty neatly, I find many of the characters interesting and fun to watch and the dialogue is usually strong.

So that's it for now.  Sorry it's been so slacktastic around here, and what with company coming for the long weekend, there most likely won't be any updates until Lost next week.  Y'all come back and visit us then, y'hear?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book review: My Dead Body: a novel by Charlie Huston

And so, in My Dead Body, thus endeth the Joe Pitt casebooks.  It's bittersweet because I liked this series so much, but I think Charlie Huston was smart to end with a bang, rather than letting the stories dwindle away.  Pluswhich, if there were any more books, poor ol' Joe would have been whittled away to nothing: his enemies, many of them former allies, liked to cut body parts off of him and while the Vampyre Vyrus gives its host extraordinary healing powers, it can't regrow fingers or toes or eyeballs.

The end of the fourth book, Every Last Drop, found Joe in a bit of a predicament.  While on assignment to infiltrate a new Clan whose founding principal is finding a cure for the Vyrus, Joe uncovered a horrific secret.  And, because he is who he is - street smart but not sophisticated, tough, nasty, in it for himself but with uncontrollable urges to (a) make trouble for everyone else and (b) ultimately do the right thing (sometimes), he tells the secret.  Not just to the heads of the powerful Coalition and Society clans, but also to rival factions and butch lesbian activist Vampyres and his own beloved Evie.  And now everyone is fighting mad.

In the middle of this impending war is a young pregnant girl.  She's missing and her father wants Joe to find her.  What's special about this girl is that the father of her unborn child is a Vampyre - which isn't supposed to happen.  This child is being hailed as some sort of miracle, adding fanatical fuel to the Vampyre fire.  The thing is, all Joe wants to do is get back to his girl, Evie, embroiled in a power struggle of her own for control of the cult Enclave clan, before all of NYC goes up in flames.

My Dead Body was a much more satisfying volume than the penultimate one.  Huston ties up all the loose ends, bringing back characters from all four of the previous books for us to say hello to - and, for many, goodbye.  There's the usual colorful characters and frenetic and brutal violence and the fantastic dialogue - I'm not sure I've ever read a book where the spare but telling dialogue paints such a vivid picture of the characters speaking.  This series is not for everyone for sure (see above re: violence plus all the swearing plus, you know, Vampyres), but it certainly was for me and I had a blast (for the most part) reading it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lost episode recap – “The Last Recruit” S6E13 (airdate 4/20/10)

I’d forgotten that this is the first time Jack has seen Locke since he died. He tells Not-Locke that he doesn’t know what the hell he is and Not-Locke says, “Sure you do.” Jack asks the question we’d all like answered: “Why John Locke?” “Because he was stupid enough to believe he’d been brought here for a reason, because he pursued that belief until it got him killed … and then you were nice enough to bring his body back here for me.” Jack gets right to it: has Not-Locke taken the form of Christian Shepherd? Not-Locke: Yup. Jack: Why? “To lead you to water – I’ve only ever been interested in helping you. But because Jacob chose you, you were trapped on this Island even before you ever got here. But now that Jacob is dead, you can leave – we can all leave, together, all of us.” Jack goes, hm.

Alterna-2004. Ben (Hi, Ben! Miss you!) rides with John Locke in the ambulance, telling the paramedic that the injured man is a paraplegic. They arrive at the hospital at the exact same time that gunshot-wounded Sun is being wheeled in. She’s conscious and looks over at Locke. She gasps, grabbing Jin’s hand and crying (in Korean): “No, no! It’s him!” [So: Island Sun lost her English when she hit her head; and Alterna-Sun regained Island memories when she lost a lot of blood …?]

Island. Not-Locke leads Jack into the jungle, then pauses, telling Crazy Claire to stop following them. Why has she been following them, pray tell? Claire: “Because he’s my brotha?” Not-Locke leaves the half-siblings to catch up and Claire says that she’s glad Jack has decided to come with them. When Jack replies that he hasn’t decided any such thing, Claire grins. “Yeah, you have - you decided the moment you let him talk to you, just like the rest of us.” Jack makes a perplexed face.

“He’s got a submarine?” This is Hurley, being brought up to speed by Sawyer, while Kate tells Sun the escape-from-Not-Locke plan. They’re not telling Zombie Sayid, however, as he’s gone over to the dark side, per Sawyer. Hurley tries to explain that even people who’ve gone to the dark side can be redeemed (a la Anakin), but Sawyer cuts him off. Crazy Claire, Not-Locke and Jack stroll into camp – Sawyer shoots Jack an evil glare – and Not-Locke smarms that it’s so nice to have everyone together again.

Alterna-2004. Detective James Ford, wearing a leather jacket, has questions for fugitive Kate Austin, also wearing a leather jacket. He’s got her file – it’s a doozie. He says that she doesn’t strike him as the “murderin’ kind” and she snarls that she’s not. He asks her if she thinks it’s odd that they were on the airplane together last week and then today, of all the cars in L.A., she smashes into his. She wonders if he’s hitting on her and he laughs that it would never work: cop, murderer. They flirt a bit until Miles interrupts with the news about the multiple homicides at the restaurant, and the Korean victims/witnesses who don’t speak English. They’ve also got video of Sayid leaving the restaurant and Ford/Sawyer grins that there’s their bad guy. It’s all coming together – worlds are about to collide.

Island. Kate tells Jack that Zombie Sayid is different now. Jack: “We’re all different now.” Kate asks if he believes all that Not-Locke is saying but Jack’s response is interrupted when Zoë (from Widmore’s camp) shows up, asking to speak to the man in charge. Not-Locke comes out: “What can I do for you?” She wants what he took [Desmond]. Not-Locke pretends not to know what she’s talking about so she radios her boss, asking if he’s “got a fix on [her] position.” He does, and so she asks for a demonstration, and a few seconds later a rocket explodes into the bushes off to the side. Everyone but Not-Locke (and Zombie Sayid) flinches. Zoë gives Not-Locke a deadline to return what he took and flounces off. Not-Locke bares his teeth at her back: “Well, here we go!”

Alterna-2004. Pregnant Claire signs in for her appointment with an adoption agency but Dashing Desmond catches her in the lobby of the building. He tells her that it would be a good idea to have a lawyer with her at this adoption meeting but she says that she doesn’t have any money for a lawyer. He says that he’s going to meet with his lawyer now and he’d be thrilled if Claire would come with him to meet her – maybe she could help. Claire is rightly a little suspicious but goes along with it. The lawyer turns out to be Ilana – who not only has heard of Claire, but also has been looking for her. Claire is confused as she follows Ilana back to her office. Desmond, however, looks as pleased as a cat after a bowlful of cream.

Island. Not-Locke gathers his troops around. He says that enough is enough – Widmore’s people have forced his hand – so they’re going to Hydra Island to get on that plane. He asks Sawyer to go pick up some sailboat from somewhere else on the island so they can all get across to Hydra together, and Sawyer volunteers Kate to help him. Not-Locke is all, fine, whatever – he needs to talk to Sayid about something.

Sawyer grabs Jack and hisses that he’s not going to repeat this, but they are absolutely not rendezvousing with Not-Locke, what with that deal he’s made with Widmore. He tells Jack to grab Hurley, Sun and Frank and meet him at the old dock. Jack asks about Sayid and Claire. Sawyer, because he knows what I’m thinking, retorts that they’re out because “Sayid’s a zombie and Claire’s nuts” plus she tried to kill Kate. They all head out.

Meanwhile, Not-Locke tells Zombie Sayid to go out to the well where Desmond is being kept. “I thought you weren’t going to give him back?” Not-Locke: “I’m not – you’re going to kill him. That’s not going to be a problem, is it? You still want what I promised you, right?” Zombie Sayid is like, yes, of course, and shuffles away. At the well, he draws his gun and peeks over the side. It’s not actually that deep and poor Desmond is sitting in a puddle at the bottom. He says to Sayid that if he’s going to be shot in cold blood, he should at least get to know what Sayid’s getting in exchange. Sayid says that he’s going to get the woman he loved back, even though she’s dead. And since Sayid died and Not-Locke brought him back, it shouldn’t be a problem for him to do it for Nadia. Desmond wants to know what Sayid’s going to tell her about the deal he made to get her back. Zombie Sayid just blinks us into a flash-sideways.

Alterna-Sayid rushes back to Nadia’s house to pack his things. He tells her that he’s leaving and can never come back. When the doorbell rings, he asks her to “stall them.” It’s Miles at the front door. And cleverly, Sawyer is at the back of the house to handily capture Sayid when he tries to sneak away.

Island. Sawyer and Kate find the boat but Kate wants to know if this is really such a good idea, going back to [Not-]Locke. No, of course not, says Sawyer, which is why we’re ditching him and getting our peeps onto that submarine. Try to keep up, Kate. She complains that Claire isn’t in the breakaway group he listed and he gets in her face, reminding her that the Claire they knew is gone; this one is dangerous and does she really want her near Aaron? They swim out to the boat.

Not-Locke marches his group through the jungle. Jack chats with Claire, asking if she trusts Not-Locke. “Yup, because he’s the only one who didn’t abandon me.” Not-Locke seems to be getting a little fidgety and asks Sun if she’s seen Sayid, who should have been back by now. She grumpily shows him a little note that says “You did this to me” but he denies having anything to do with it. He slows his pace, telling the group to keep going while he makes sure nobody gets left behind. After he’s gone. Jack grabs Hurley, Sun and Frank and they take off in another direction. Crazy Claire sees them go, however, and feels abandoned again.

In the jungle, Not-Locke finally finds Sayid, asking what took him so long. Sayid: “I just shot an unarmed man – I needed a moment.” Heh. Not-Locke asks for clarification: “Did you kill him?” Sayid: “Of course I did, go and check if you like.” But Not-Locke has no time for that. He is on a schedule and they have a boat to catch.

Jack’s group meets up with Kate and Sawyer at the dock and Sawyer tells them about the submarine. They’re about to cast off when a gun is cocked off-camera. It’s Crazy Claire and she wants to know where they’re going. For some reason known only to her, Kate thinks she’s the best one to approach the crazy chick with the big gun. Kate asks Claire to come away with them and she can take her back to Aaron, saying that if Claire doesn’t come with, then she’s not going either. Sawyer of course thinks that’s a shitty idea. Kate continues, telling Claire that the only reason she came back to the Island was to bring Claire back to her baby. Claire finally puts down her rifle – which Kate wisely relieves her of before allowing her onboard – and says that when Not-Locke finds out about this, “[h]e’s going to be mad.”

Alterna-2004. Jack and his son enter Ilana’s office to hear Jack’s dad’s will being read – and so that’s why Ilana was looking for Claire: as another of Christian’s beneficiaries. Such serendipity! Claire tells Jack that she’s his half-sister and Jack’s world is rocked off its foundations. But then he gets paged by the hospital and has to leave to go operate on John Locke. Once again Claire gets abandoned, this time by her newfound half-brother and half-nephew!

Island. Sawyer tells his crew that the plan is to snuggle up to Widmore on Hydra Island, then “put a gun in somebody’s face and make them take us home.” When he goes to thank Jack for following through on his end, Jack tells him that this – the leaving the Island thing – doesn’t feel right. Sawyer: Um, WTF? Jack: “I remember how I felt the last time I left, like a piece was missing.” Sawyer: “They got pills for that, doc.” Jack insists that they were brought to the Island for a reason and if Not-Locke actually wants them to leave, then maybe he’s afraid of what will happen if they stay. Sawyer has had enough and tells Jack to get the hell off his damn boat. If he’s going to stay with them, he’s going to stop that crazy talk, but otherwise – into the water with you. Jack pleads his case for a moment but Sawyer isn’t buying what he’s selling, so Jack tells him that he’s sorry he got Juliet killed, and then jumps overboard. Kate’s all outraged, demanding, “What did you say to him?” Sawyer: “He changed his mind.” Kate: “We have to go back for him.” Sawyer: “We’re done goin’ back, Kate.”

Alterna-2004. Sun regains consciousness in the hospital. Jin is there, holding her hand. She asks what happened and he tells her that she’s fine, and the baby is fine. Awwwwww! A happy ending – what show is this? Meanwhile, Jack scrubs in and the nurse tells him that not only was this a bad “car v. ped[estrian],” but the guy was already in a wheelchair. Jack’s all, I can do this, but then he catches a glimpse of Locke’s face and is surprised to recognize him.

Island. Not-Locke and cronies are on the beach when Jack drags himself to shore. “Nice day for a swim,” mocks Not-Locke, “Sawyer took my boat, didn’t he?” Jack, out of breath from the swim, confirms this.

Sawyer and his cronies have landed on Hydra Island and are nearly immediately surrounded by gun-toting Widmore-ites. Zoë recognizes Sawyer before they all get shot. As she radios her boss, Jin comes around the corner and sees Sun … at the same time she sees him. Awwwwww! Even Sawyer gets choked up at the reunion (supercute). Pluswhich, Sun has found her English again in the face of true love.

The course of true love never runs smooth, however, as Zoë gets her orders from Widmore and despite the “deal,” forces Sawyer and his gang to their knees at gunpoint. Oops. Then Widmore’s gang fires more rockets at the main Island, aiming right at the beach where Not-Locke and Jack, et als, are standing. The first rocket sends Jack flying, busting his eardrums so the sound is all funny; Not-Locke grabs him and carries him off into the cover of the trees just as the second rocket homes in on them. He sets a dazed Jack up against a tree and tells him that it’ll be okay because “you’re with me now.”

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Monday, April 19, 2010

More quickies

It's not even that I'm too lazy to post more here these days, it's just that I'm too tired.  If you check out my other blog, you'll see that Mr. Mouse and I have been keeping very active and thus I've found myself far more wiped out in the evenings than I was when we were in Maine - which was when I used to do most of my writing.  Here, after a day of hiking and drinking beer, and/or skiing and drinking beer, and/or even yardwork* and drinking beer, all in the glorious Utah sunshine, I'm just beat.  I'm way behind on a DVD review I need to do and yet when I can't stay awake to watch, I can't really write an honest review, can I? 

Anyhoodle, I did manage to knock off these two books lately, in addition to that Stephen King behemoth:

A Suitable Vengeance - Elizabeth George. This is #4 in the Inspector Lynley series.  It's out of the timeline of the first three, going back into the pasts and personal lives of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, his fiancee Deborah, his estranged chum Simon St. James (who in the "current" timeline is married to said Deborah) and St. James's former lover, Lady Helen (after whom Lynley is pining most desperately in the current timeline). It's all very twisted and strange, the relationships these people have with one another.  Luckily there are a couple of murders to be solved to distract everyone from the sordid affairs of the heart:  the editor of the local paper of the village in which Lynley's family's summer home is found brutally bludgeoned to death and then, later, St. James's fashion model sister's boyfriend falls to his death from a cliff.  I didn't think this volume was as strong as the first three books because of its focus on the main characters' personal lives.  I suspect this may have been a slight sop to the fans of the series who probably wished to know how everyone got to where they are - I just didn't find it as interesting.

Every Last Drop - Charlie Huston. I also didn't find the fourth of Huston's hard-boiled noir vampire Joe Pitt Casebooks series as interesting.  Oh, Joe is in more trouble than he's ever been before, banished to the Bronx, with all the Manhattan Clans poised to take his head off should he come back to the island, Joe is all alone.  Evie is sequestered in the Enclave, and all his former allies are now enemies.  So when the Coalition offers him a way back to Manhattan for a small job - infiltrating a newly rising Clan as a mole - Joe takes it.  Of course, along the way some of those enemies take a few pieces of Joe.  When during the course of his infiltration, he discovers the most heartbreaking and horrifying secret yet, learning that there are more levels to the hell he lives in than he ever imagined.  This one just had too much going on and was clearly written as a set-up for the next (and I believe, final) book.  It's very busy and although the secret Joe stumbles onto is a huge and impactful revelation, there's no resolution.  The other books could be read as stand-alones if necessary; not so Every Last Drop.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book review: Under the Dome: a novel by Stephen King

I’m not sure why anyone ever bothers to review Stephen King’s books anymore. They’re such monstrous best sellers no matter what, and the faithful fans devour them no matter how many pages there are … they’re pretty much always a slam-dunk. Some are better (The Stand, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining) than others (Dreamcatcher) but King knows his audience and keeps them happy.
I have read nearly all of his books and this last one, Under the Dome , kept me fairly happy. It’s the story of what happens in a small (fictional) town in Maine when one day, all of a sudden, an invisible, impenetrable dome crashes down over it, cutting the town and its people off from everything. There’s no more electricity, although being rural Maine, nearly everyone has a generator, but there’s no more propane deliveries, or food deliveries, or deliveries of anything. The whole book takes place over the period of just days, following the townspeople as they deal (or not) with this strange happening.

There are no monsters or long-legged beasties in Under the Dome - only the townsfolk. One of King’s strengths, I think, is his keen depiction of reg’lar folks; here in this book he’s on his game once again, and he doesn’t paint a very pretty picture. Some of the Chester’s Mill people are stand-up types – the owner of the local newspaper, the sheriff and his wife, the hospital’s physician’s assistant, a drifter holding down a job flipping pancakes at the diner – but many are not, just like in any small town. There are the dumb thugs whose lives peaked in their high school football career, the drug dealers, the power-mad big-fish-in-a-small-pond politicians. Add an unthinkable, unescapable, rapidly worsening quality of life situation and you have trouble, friends, right here in Chester’s Mill.

At 1,072 pages, Under the Dome is a little long, which is probably the author’s biggest weakness. While reading it, I mostly didn’t find that it dragged, due to the strength of the characters, but for all that the story went on and on and on, the finale seemed a little hasty. Perhaps he could have spent some of those many pages rounding it out. Regardless, readers who are new to Stephen King aren’t going to start with this ginormous book and his loyal fans are going to find this feast of words just fine.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lost episode recap – “Everybody Loves Hugo” S6E12 (airdate 4/13/10)

Alterna-Hurley has just won some award or accolade – ah, it’s a dinosaur trophy – for something, but I don’t know for what because my DVR started late per usual. After the awards ceremony, his mom, deciding that her son needs a woman, tells him that she’s fixed him up on with a lunch date for tomorrow. Hurley is so put-upon.

Island. Hurley visits Libby’s grave, bringing her up to speed on what’s been going on. He tells her that he wishes she would come and talk to him like so many other dead people have done. Ilana interrupts, barging in to tell him that they’re leaving for the Black Rock: if they’re going to destroy the plane, they’re going to need dynamite. “Sure that’s the right move?” asks Hurley. Ilana: “No, but it’s the only move we have.” Then she asks whose grave he is at and he tells her about Libby. Ilana tells him that she’s sorry. Hurley: “Yeah, me too.” She leaves and the whispering starts. And look who’s here: Michael. A little nonplussed, Hurley asks him what he’s doing here. Michael: “I’m here to stop you from getting everyone killed.”

“Why should I trust you?”, says Hurley, pointing out that Michael murdered Libby and Ana-Lucia. Michael’s like, never mind that – if the Losties try to blow up that plane, a lot of people will get hurt. And since people are starting to listen to Hurley these days, the responsibility will be on him. Then Jack wanders up, wondering to whom Hurley’s talking. “No one” is the response.

Alterna-2004. Hurley waits for his lunch date at a Mexican restaurant; apparently “Rosalita” is a no-show. But that’s okay because Rosalita is completely forgotten when Libby (!) appears at his table. He’s beside himself because she’s so pretty and she has to explain that she’s not his blind date. She takes his hands and earnestly asks if he believes in soul mates. “I guess,” he says. Her eyes fill with years: “You don’t remember me?” And then her psychiatrist comes up and takes her away, apologizing for the intrusion as she just wandered away from him. Libby stares hard at Hurley and insists that she meant everything she said. Hurley follows them outside in time to see Libby herded onto the Santa Rosa mental health clinic bus. So, because Libby is insane in this alternate 2004, she is connected to the other timeline, the Island timeline, and remembers it – like Charlie did when he was on drugs, like when Desmond got the flashes. Gotcha.

Island. Ilana has brought back four sticks of dynamite and is rallying the troops to go across to Hydra Island to blow up the plane. Hurley comes back into camp and says that it’s too dangerous, the dynamite is too unstable, plus how is blowing up the plane helping the Losties? Ilana: “Because then that thing won’t be able to leave the Island.” Hurley: “Well, neither will we, and we’ll be stuck here with it, and it’ll be angry at us.” Heh. Ilana is focused, though, reminding them that Jacob said Richard would know what to do, and Richard said to blow up the plane. Hurley: “Jacob never said that to me – what if Richard is wrong?” Ilana gets cross and adamant and is so busy haranguing Hurley that she stops paying attention to what she’s doing … and she jostles the dynamite just a little too much and blows herself up a la Arzt. Awesome. She was annoying.

At Not-Locke’s camp, the Beast is whittling a big stick (not a euphemism) as Kate and Sawyer come up, dissatisfied with their inactivity of late. Not-Locke: “There’s a difference between doing nothing and waiting.” Kate: “So what are we waiting for?” Not-Locke says that the only way they all got back to the Island was because the Oceanic 6 all came back together, and that’s the only way they’ll get to leave now – if Sun, Jack and Hurley come too.

Just then Zombie Sayid moseys up and asks to speak to Not-Locke in private. There’s a little tension between Sayid and Sawyer, by the way. As Zombie Sayid leads Not-Locke off into the jungle, Not-Locke wants to know if he found out what Widmore’s people were hiding in the submarine. “I certainly did,” replies Zombie Sayid, pulling aside a shrub to reveal darling Desmond, whom he has tied to a tree. Desmond doesn’t seem that distressed to be tied up, actually, Not-Locke takes a gander and goes, “Hmmm.”

Back at the Losties’ camp, Hurley rummages through Ilana’s things, finding and pocketing the bag of Jacob’s ashes that she’s been toting around with her. Weird. Meanwhile, a slightly manic Richard says they have to get more dynamite or else Ilana will have died in vain. Jack points out that maybe she died to tell them to stay the hell away from the dynamite. Heh. Then Hurley pipes up: “I think Richard’s right – it’s the only choice we’ve got.” He asks Jack to trust him and Jack does.

Alterna-2004. Hurley is drowning his sorrows in one of his Mr. Cluck’s franchises when suave Alterna-Desmond runs into him. Desmond claims to recognize him from the Oceanic flight into L.A. and sits himself down at Hurley’s table. When he notes that Hurley’s got a lot of chicken there in that bucket, Hurley snaps that he eats when he’s depressed. Desmond: “So what’s her name?” Hurley says that he met the perfectest, most awesomest girl … except that she’s crazy. Desmond: “Well, all women are a little bit crazy, brutha.” Hurley: “This one actually lives in the loony bin.” When he tells Desmond that Libby said she already knew him, however, Desmond leans forward and intensely asks if Hurley believed her. Hurley says yeah, a little. And Desmond says, well, go find out what she’s talking about before you write her off.

Island. Not-Locke cuts Desmond loose when Desmond says that he’s got nowhere to run to. Not-Locke wants to know why Widmore brought him back to the Island and Desmond says he’d have to ask his kidnappers that. He tells Not-Locke about being stuck in the shed and blasted with “electromagnetism;” when Not-Locke asks how he knows what it was, Desmond says “Experience.” Not-Locke looks closely at Desmond and then asks if Desmond knows who he is. Desmond, calmly: “Of course – John Locke.” Not-Locke: Hmm. He sends Zombie Sayid back to camp, saying he and Desmond need to take a walk – there’s something he’d like to show him.

The Losties trudge through the jungle. Since he hasn’t caused any trouble basically all season, Ben opines that it’s interesting that as soon as Ilana – the handpicked bodyguard of the Candidates – let said Candidates know who they were, she blew up. “The Island was done with her – makes me wonder what’ll happen when it’s done with us.” Boy, I have missed evil, snarky, trouble-making Ben. Sun and Jack just gape at him a little. When they get to the Black Rock, Richard says that he’ll be the only one handling the dynamite, but they should hurry. He looks around, noticing that Hurley is missing. Just then, Hurley comes charging out of the old ship, screaming “Run! Run!” And then the Black Rock explodes, knocking everyone down and sending bits of wood and metal flying. When he can stand, Richard is wild, wanting to know why Hurley did that. Hurley says that he was protecting everyone.

In the aftermath, Richard is like, that’s it! We’re all dead! Miles stares at the flaming wreckage and asks WTF? Hurley said Michael told him to do it, to protect the Losties. Miles: “Who’s Michael?” Hurley: “One of the dead people who keep coming back and yelling at me.” Miles: “Does that happen a lot?” Hurley: “It happens enough.” Miles: “And you just do whatever it is they say?” Hurley: “Dead people are more reliable than live ones.”

Alterna-2004. Hurley has gone to Santa Rosa, asking to see Libby. Her doctor says that probably isn’t a good idea as Libby currently has issues with reality. Hurley’s like: you said “probably”, so it’s possible - maybe for a generous donor? He whips out his checkbook and writes a check for $100,000. Moments later, he is sitting with Libby in the rec room.

She is disappointed to hear that he doesn’t remember her but he gently tells her that he wants to hear about how she knows him. She tells him that just a few days ago, when she saw him on a Mr. Cluck’s commercial, all these memories of another life came flooding back to her: the plane crash, living on the Island, and that they liked each other. Plus, now that she’s in the mental hospital, she remembers knowing him there too. He’s very sweet when he tells her how sorry he is that he doesn’t remember any of this. She cries a little, saying that she knows she’s crazy; he shrugs, saying everybody’s got something – he’s just here to say hi to a girl. This makes her smile and she tells him he’s doing fine. Then he asks her if she’d like to go out on a date with him some time; she’s checked in voluntarily and she tells him that she’d love that.

Island. Not-Locke can’t remember how long Desmond was down in the hatch, pushing that button. Three years. Not-Locke: “And yet you’re back for more … I think this Island has it in for you.” Desmond: “This Island has it in for all of us, brutha.” Not-Locke: Yes, yes, it does. Then Not-Locke is distracted when the feral boy – older now, and not so blond – appears out of the bushes to stare silently at the two men. Desmond sees him too and asks if Not-Locke knows him. Not-Locke grumpily says to ignore the boy and they continue on. The boy smiles slightly and runs off without saying a word.

Richard has pretty much gone off his nut, deciding to raid to the old Dharma barracks for grenades, ammunition, anything explosive. Jack wants everyone to calm down and Richard rampages right over him, saying that if he knows of another way besides blowing up the plane, let’s hear it. Hurley: “I know how – let’s go talk to Locke.” Ben: “Are you trying to get us killed?” Hurley says it isn’t his idea, it’s Jacob’s. He points to the clearing and says that Jacob is right there. Richard wants him to prove it but Hurley won’t, saying he doesn’t have to. Richard states that Hurley is lying because Jacob never actually tells anybody to do anything specific. He continues, saying that “everything” is over if that thing gets off the Island … so who’s with him? Ben is and Miles is too (saying to Hurley, “I saw that thing in action, man, [and] it doesn’t want to talk. I’m sorry”) but Jack, Sun and Frank are sticking with Hurley. Richard: “Don’t get in my way.”

Later, as they walk at night, Sun (who still isn’t speaking English) writes a note to Frank, asking if they made a mistake. Frank thinks yeah, probably. Hurley wonders how to open the conversation – how does one break the ice with a Smoke Monster? – but Jack says not to worry as Not-Locke will probably do most of the talking. Or he might just kill them all - either one. Hurley ‘fesses up to Jack that he didn’t see Jacob back there. Jack says he figured that but ever since Juliet died because of him, all he’s wanted to do is “fix it.” But he can’t, and it’s been very hard for him to sit back and let things unfold, but maybe that’s what he’s supposed to do. Hurley: Or maybe your not trying to fix it will get us all killed. Jack gently says that Hurley asked Jack to trust him, and he does. Hurley: Yeah, but I have no idea where we’re going right now.

Then they hear the rustling and the whispering in the jungle. Everyone freaks out but Hurley thinks he knows “what these things are.” He goes into the jungle alone and finds Michael. Michael confirms that “the whisperers” are people who can’t move on from the Island. Michael helpfully shows him the way to Not-Locke’s camp and Hurley thanks him, and then asks Michael if there’s anything he can to do help. There isn’t, but Michael asks that if he ever sees Libby again, to please tell her that he’s very, very sorry. Hurley nods soberly and says he’ll be sure to do that.

Alterna-2004. Hurley has planned a picnic for the two of them at a beach. Libby is sporting some major cleavage, by the way. She’s a little uncomfortable, the déjà vu raging in her head. She shakes her head, saying she’s crazy so why does he want to be here with her? He scoffs, asking why she wants to be with him. Libby leans in: “Because I like you.” Hurley thinks she likes him because she’s delusional. So she kisses him … and he gets a bunch of flashes from his Island time with her. Hurley: “Whoa. Dude.” He tells her that he thinks he’s remembering stuff. Libby: So maybe I’m not crazy? Hurley: “No, I don’t think you are. The camera pulls back and there’s Desmond, watching the two of them canoodle. He smiles, Cheshire cat-like, and drives off to his next matchmaking opportunity.

Island. Not-Locke has led my darling Desmond to a well in a clearing. Have we seen this well before? Not-Locke tells Desmond that this well is very old, dug by hand long ago, by people who were looking for answers in its electromagnetic pull, not water. Not-Locke says that Widmore is not interested in answers, he’s only looking for power, and this is not the only well. Desmond is like, okay, whatever. Not-Locke is confused: Why are you not afraid of me, out here in the jungle alone? Desmond: “What is the point of being afraid?” By way of answer, Not-Locke pushes Desmond into the well. He screams as he falls down and down.

When Not-Locke returns to camp, Sayid asks how their “friend” is. Not-Locke: “We don’t have worry about him anymore.” Sawyer comes up and starts demanding some answers … but ends up finishing his sentence with “Sonofabitch!” as Hurley walks into the firelight. Not-Locke turns and says hello. Hurley: “I don’t know who you are, dude, but we need to talk to you.” Not-Locke: “We?” Hurley: “The other people with me. But I don’t want anyone to get hurt or killed, so we’re not going to do anything and I want you to swear that you’re not going to do anything either.” Not-Locke hands his big knife to Hurley and says he’s got a deal. Hurley tells his posse to come out, and they do, one at a time. Not-Locke only has eyes for Jack while Jack, for his part, stares right at Not-Locke and looks like he might cry.

Alterna-2004. As the end of school bell rings, from his car Desmond watches John Locke wheel himself in his chair out to his car in the school parking lot. Desmond stomps on the gas. Tires squeal as he speeds up, hitting Locke dead on. The crippled man goes flying out of his wheelchair, landing limp and bloody on the tarmac, and a grim-faced Desmond drives away without looking back.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Movie review: Pontypool

I don't know where I heard of Pontypool - here or here probably, but darned if I can find the actual posts - but I am sure glad I did.  I knew Mr. Mouse wouldn't be interested in it so I kicked him out of the t.v. room so I could watch it in peace; I'm actually glad that he was just in the next room, watching old Police videos on Youtube, because this is a taut, scary little movie and I might have freaked myself out if it had just been me in the house.

Set in the tiny, rural town of, you guessed it, Pontypool (an actual town in Ontario, not all that far from Rochester, New York), this is a zombie flick, but zombies in the vein of 28 Days Later or Stephen King's Cell (BTW: I heard they were trying to film that one - anyone heard anything about that?).  It's Valentine's Day and former talk radio star Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie, excellent with that fabulous gravelly, bourbon-and-cigarettes voice of his), now relegated to being the morning host of a local radio show in this one-horse town, is morosely on his way to work.  When he stops at a stop sign, a woman appears out of nowhere in the dark pre-dawn hours, snow whirling around her, and bangs on his window.  She speaks to him but it's gibberish and then she disappears back into the dark.  Disturbed, Mazzy continues on his way to the radio station.

His producer, Sydney, and the radio tech, Laurel-Ann, are already there.  Young, pretty, local women, they appreciate Mazzy's talent but wish he'd take the job a little more seriously.  Not to worry: soon enough things turn extremely serious.  The weather and traffic guy, Ken (said to be flying over Pontypool in the "Sunshine Chopper" but actually perched up on a hill in his Dodge Dart), calls in reporting a riot in town in which hundreds of people have swarmed a doctor's office.  Ken tells the radio staff that the weight of the people crawling over the building has collapsed its walls.  Stuck in their basement studio, Mazzy et al. think this may be a hoax ... until Ken calls back later, in a panic, reporting that now the swarms of people are repeating nonsense words and eating each other.

What unfolds is a classic zombie vs. survivors story except for some new and interesting twists.  First, as alluded to above, the "zombies" aren't true zombies: the people are still alive, but their higher brain functions are gone, destroyed by a virus, and all they want to do is eat the uninfected.  Second, the virus isn't transmitted by blood or saliva or even the air - it's spread by the spoken word, spoken English, specifically, and that makes it tough for the survivors as it's easy to not get bitten, but more difficult to not talk to each other.  Third, the entire movie (except for the introductory scene when Mazzy is driving to work) takes place in the radio studio.  Nearly all of the action is communicated to the audience the same way it is communicated to the main characters - over the phone - and the tension is ratcheted up (waaaaaay up) not by overt violence and gore, but through Mazzy, Sydney and Laurel-Ann's reactions to what they are learning. 

I really liked this movie.  The actors did a great job of conveying the slowly building confusion, fear and fright as the situation accelerated.  The story was just different enough to be fully engrossing.  And, speaking of gross, there's just a little blood and gore to keep horror purists happy.  Lots and lots of fun, Pontypool is one of the better horror/thriller movies you've never heard of, I promise you.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lost episode recap – “Happily Ever After” S6E11 (airdate 4/6/10)

As we begin my DVR-truncated episode, Charles Widmore has a bleeding gash on his forehead and my darling Desmond is screaming his head off whilst in restraints. Apparently Desmond had something to do that that cut on Widmore’s head. Jin wants to know why Desmond is even here. Widmore says it’ll be easier to show him than to tell him – so everyone should go to the generator room for the “test.” Zoë protests that the test wasn’t scheduled ‘til later but Widmore runs right over her. At the generator room, everyone is rather excitable, saying that the generator hasn’t been run in 20 years – and so the test might not work. A red shirt is sent to the generator to check on an iffy solenoid; when someone else unwittingly starts the generator, the red shirt gets fried extra-crispy. Everyone rushes down and is gawking at the body when Widmore arrives, dragging Desmond behind. “Are we ready?” asks Widmore. Desmond sees the charred body and freaks out.

After the commercial, they take the charred red shirt out of the generator shed. Next, two flunkies beat Desmond into submission and strap him to a chair next to the generator, asking him if he’s got any metal on him. Widmore opines that if everything he’s heard about Desmond is true, then he’ll be just fine. He does feel bad about forcing this on him – ha! – and after the test he’s going to ask Desmond to make a sacrifice. Desmond snarls, “What do you know about sacrifice?” Widmore calmly says that his son (Daniel) died on this Island, his daughter/Desmond’s wife hates him and he’s even never seen his grandson – so he knows from sacrifice. And if Desmond doesn’t help now, everything – Penny, little Charlie, everything – will be gone forever.

They shut Desmond in the shed. He flails about, breaking the chair and struggling free of his bonds. Zoë look like she feels bad about this as she watches on the CCTV. Jin tells Widmore that he’s not going to help – but Widmore cuts him off, pointing out that Desmond is the only one he knows who’s survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event, so he’ll probably be fine. Or maybe everyone will die – whichever. “Turn [the generator] on!” Widmore orders.

The generator fires up. Desmond screams, “Let me out, let me out!” And then he just screams. And the screen fades to white.

Flash sideways: LAX where everyone who was on the Oceanic flight is now at baggage claim, picking up their luggage. Hurley shows a suited and neatly-coiffed Desmond where the luggage carousels are; then Desmond helps Claire with her bags and offers to give her a lift if she needs one. Desmond finds his limo driver (who looks sooooo familiar) and instructs him to go straight to the office. The driver notes that Desmond isn’t wearing a wedding ring and offers to find him some “companionship” but Desmond isn’t interested – he’s all business. At the office, Desmond’s boss is Charles Widmore, of course – and they seem to actually like each other in this reality.

Widmore is distracted at present: he’s hired Driveshaft for his wife’s (Eloise?) charity event and he needs someone to baby-sit Charlie once he’s been bailed out of jail for the whole heroin thing. Looks like Desmond and Charlie will be together again – yay! To say thank you, Widmore pours Desmond a healthy slug of his favorite 60-year-old scotch: Sláinte!

Desmond picks Charlie up at the police station steps – or tries to, as Charlie completely ignores him and heads to the nearest bar he can find. Desmond catches up to him, telling him just one drink and then they’ll go. Charlie takes a good look at him and asks if Desmond has ever been in love? Nope, Desmond hasn’t had the time. Charlie has: when he was choking on the heroin balloon on the plane he had a vision of a “rapturously beautiful” blonde woman and he knew he loved her, knew they’d always been together. Of course, then Jack saved him and he woke up, but he saw it and it was real. Desmond: “You should write a song about that.”

Desmond goes on to tell Charlie that he’s got a choice right now: he can sit here and keep drinking and thereby extinguish his musical career, or he can come with Desmond and in twenty minutes be luxuriating in a 5-star hotel, and then by tomorrow, the very powerful Charles Widmore will owe him a favor. Charlie: “Doesn’t really seem like much of a choice.” Desmond: “There’s always a choice, brother.” They head to the hotel but en route, Charlie starts up again about how Desmond thinks he’s happy but he really isn’t. Desmond: “Why, because none of [this life] is real?” (That’s what many of the Lost theorists think, Des.) Charlie then offers Desmond a choice: Charlie can show him what he’s talking about or Desmond can get out of the car. “Why would I want to get out of the car?” asks Desmond. And then Charlie grabs the wheel and steers the car into the marina.

The car sinks quickly and Charlie just sits there, looking unconscious. Desmond gets out of the car and swims to the surface. He gasps for air then dives down again to tug at Charlie’s door. Suddenly, Charlie opens his eyes and stares at Desmond. He puts his palm against the window and Desmond stares at it; there’s a flash and the words “not Penny’s boat” are written on Charlie’s palm. Then there’s another flash and it’s this reality’s Charlie, sinking back into his seat again. Desmond finally gets the car door open and pulls Charlie out. He tows the smaller man to the pier and holds him there, gasping and shouting for help.

Later, a doctor is checking Desmond out. He had a bad bump on the head – has he had any nausea, dizziness or hallucinations? Desmond hesitates at the hallucinations question and the doctor sends him off for an MRI, over his protests that he has to find Charlie. At the MRI, the tech checks him for metal (just like they checked him before stuffing him in the generator) then straps him onto the gurney. He gives Desmond a button – “a button?” asks Desmond – the panic button in case he needs to stop the scan, which will take 30 minutes.

The scan starts and Desmond immediately starts to see visions/flashes of his Island-y life: Charlie drowning, his reuniting with Penny, their son. He freaks out and pushes the panic button. When the tech lets him out of the MRI, Desmond rushes for his clothes, saying he has to find Charlie. Up at the admissions desk, however, the nurse won’t give him any information. Just then Jack walks by and Desmond recognizes him from the plane, asking him for help. Jack is incredulous that a third person from their Oceanic flight would be at this hospital … and then Charlie runs by, hospital gown flapping.

Desmond chases him and finally catches up with him, demanding to see his hand, asking who “Penny” is. Charlie’s like, “You saw something, didn’t you? You felt it too!” Desmond tries to get him to come with him to the Widmore’s house but Charlie isn’t interested in any of this: “If I were you, I’d stop worrying about me and start trying to find Penny.”

Widmore is not impressed when Desmond reports that Charlie has escaped. “It’s only a bloody concert,” gripes Desmond. Fine, says Widmore, you tell that to my wife. So that’s what Desmond goes to do, and Mrs. Widmore is, in fact, Eloise with big hair. He ‘fesses up immediately, saying that Driveshaft isn’t going to be able to make it but she takes the news very well, shaking his hand and thanking him for telling her in person. Desmond wanders off, baffled, having expected more fire breathing than that. He overhears an assistant reading off the seating charts: “Milton, Penny, solo.” He tries to look at the list but Eloise charges up and takes him off to the side: “Hume, someone has interfered with the way you see things … and this is, in fact, a violation. Whatever you think you’re looking for, you need to stop looking for it. You’re not ready, Desmond.” And then she stalks away. Methinks someone is still in tune with the Island. Desmond, disturbed, goes back to his limo and starts drinking.

Before the limo can drive off, however, there’s a knock at the window. Desmond rolls it down: it’s Daniel and he thinks he and Desmond need to talk. Desmond apologizes for the Driveshaft debacle but Daniel doesn’t want to talk about that: “Do you believe in love at first sight, Mr. Hume?” Desmond: WTF? Daniel says he saw a woman at a museum a couple weeks ago and immediately knew that he loved her … “and that’s when things got weird.” He shows Desmond some quantum mechanics equations that he wrote down after a dream, which was extra weird because this Daniel is a musician, not at all a science guy. Desmond: WTF? Daniel says that he thinks this life they’re living now isn’t the life they’re supposed to be living at all, and maybe they could change things by setting off some kind of catastrophic event, like a nuclear bomb. Desmond: WTF – you want to set off a nuclear bomb? Daniel says “No, I don’t want to set off a bomb – I think I already did.”

Desmond has had enough of this nonsense, but then Daniel asks him why he asks his mother about a woman named Penny. When Desmond doesn’t answer, Daniel says that it happened to him [Desmond] too – he felt it. Desmond says that’s impossible because he doesn’t know anything about this Penny, he doesn’t even know if she exists. Daniel: “Yeah, she exists – she’s my half sister and I can tell you exactly where and when you can find her.” Desmond: WTF is going on here?

Later, Desmond goes to the stadium where many, many episodes ago, Jack met him while running the stairs. This time, it’s Penny – on holiday from Flashforward – who is running the stairs. Desmond watches her for a moment, and then walks to meet her: “Are you Penny?” She says yes and Desmond’s face lights up with the most beautiful smile. He extends his hand, introducing himself. She laughs and says hi and shakes his hand.

And then Island Desmond wakes up on the floor of the generator shed. Widmore’s flunkies open the door and Zoë checks him out, marveling that he’s okay. Widmore’s like, of course he’s okay and helps Desmond to his feet. Widmore starts to explain what he needs Desmond to do but Desmond cuts him off, saying “I understand. You said you brought me back to the Island for something important … when do we start?” Wait – I don't understand! Let Widmore explain!

Later, as they walk through the jungle, Zoë asks Desmond what happened to him to make him cooperate with Widmore now – she thinks the generator fried his brain. Desmond just grins and Zoë grumps that it doesn’t matter since he’s gonna … but she doesn’t get finish her sentence because Ninja Sayid launches himself out of the undergrowth and starts taking apart Widmore’s flunkies. He pulls a gun and tells Zoë to run; she does. Then Sayid looks at Desmond and says that he doesn’t have time to explain, but Widmore’s people are very dangerous and they need to get out of here. Desmond just smiles mildly and says “Of course, lead the way.” Weird.

Flash: “Hey, are you okay?” This is Penny, concerned because her new friend Desmond has collapsed right in front of her at the stadium. He awakens and sits up; she tells him that he fainted when she shook his hand. “I must have quite an effect on you,” she grins. He grins back at her and asks her out for coffee. Penny: “What, now? I’m a sweaty mess!” But she agrees to meet him in an hour and walks away, chuckling to herself.

Desmond goes back to his limo – and now I’ve finally placed the limo driver, “George,” who was the guy on Widmore’s freighter who was driven crazy by the Island. Desmond asks George to get him a copy of the passenger manifest from his Oceanic flight – when George asks why, Desmond replies that he “just needs to show him something.” What? Him who? What?

So, if I've got this right - and who would really know if I do or not - Alterna-Eloise wanted Alterna-Desmond to leave things alone and let the alternate reality alone, whereas Island-reality Eloise was all about protecting the Island.  But Alterna-Daniel thinks the alternate reality is wrong and wants to find a way to get to the Island reality, while the Island Daniel thought the Island reality was wrong and planned to set off the bomb to blow them all over to the alternate reality.  It's a turvy-topsy world here.  And Alterna-Desmond finds that everyone is healthy and happy and alive in the alternate reality, which makes Island Desmond want to get back there ...? This show makes my head hurt.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Sunday, April 4, 2010

DVD review: The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries

The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries were first brought to the airwaves by the BBC in the early 1970s, and Set One, recently released on DVD by Acorn Media, includes two feature length mysteries based on the novels by Dorothy L. Sayers. Set in the 1920s, these two episodes follow the dapper Lord Peter Wimsey and his loyal butler Bunter as they root out answers to dastardly deeds in their profoundly British manners.

The first Mystery, “Clouds of Witness,” takes place on Lord Peter’s brother’s country estate where the group is gathered for a shooting party. When Lord Peter’s future brother-in-law is found dead, Lord Peter’s older brother Gerald is accused of his murder. At the inquest, however, many inconsistencies in nearly everyone’s stories come out – plus Lord Peter’s sister’s dead fiancé is revealed to have been a card cheat and thus a man who has many enemies. Lord Peter, along with Bunter and Scotland Yard’s Charles Parker follow the leads from the countryside to Paris and even to America, trying to clear Lord Gerald’s name. Many red herrings later, the truth comes out.

In the second Mystery, which I enjoyed quite a lot, “The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club,” confusion arises as to who will inherit a fortune when both General Fenteman and his elderly sister die within hours of each other. Lord Peter’s allegiances are called into question when one of the suspects is a war buddy of his, poor shell-shocked George Fenteman, the deceased general’s grandson.

Although hugely popular when it first aired in the 1970s, this series seems dated now. The sets seem cheap and the action is staged like a play, along with outsized stage acting from the supporting players. These are very talky movies, as though the person in charge of adapting the screenplay was loathe to cut any of Dorothy Sayers’s prose. The costumes, however, are quite fabulous and the British manners of the day impeccable.

I found the acting a little uneven between the two Mysteries. In “Clouds of Witness,” there was a distance to the large cast of characters that made it difficult to sympathize with any of them. In addition, Ian Carmichael played Lord Peter extremely fey, making him more of a dilettante and a caricature, and difficult to believe as a ladies’ man, as some characters professed him to be. Carmichael was more subdued in “The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club,” portraying Wimsey as a highly intelligent and empathetic bon vivant which I think is closer to Sayers’s writing.

The DVD extras are slim: an interview with Ian Carmichael, looking back at The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries twenty-five years or so later; production notes; and a biography of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Fans of classic British mysteries will very much enjoy these DVDs of The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries , which by their popularity in the 1970s inspired PBS’s series Mystery!. It takes a little time to get used to the production values of the show but once you do, Lord Peter Wimsey makes for pretty good company.

Friday, April 2, 2010


From time to time I get too lazy to write full (or even mini) reviews for the stuff I'm reading and watching, and resort to a post giving you a paragraph-sized taste of recent acquisitions. This is one of those times.


Well-Schooled in Murder - Elizabeth George. In this third volume of George's Inspector Lynley British murder mystery series, the aristocratic Lynley and his not-quite-middle-class detective sergeant Barbara Havers go back to school, investigating the disappearance of a scholarship boy at a rundown boarding school. The missing persons case soon enough turns into a murder investigation, and rumors of bullying, miscenegation, abuse and deviance begin to swirl. Havers practically welcomes the sordidness of it all as it distracts and distances her from the increasing squalor of her own home life.

Half the Blood in Brooklyn - Charlie Huston. In this third volume of Huston's hard-boiled noir vampire Joe Pitt Casebooks series, Joe finds his life even more stressful than usual. His girlfriend, Evie, is on the fast track to dying from AIDS and he is tormented by the thought that although he could save her life by infecting her with the Vyrus that infects him, and he doesn't want to inflict his kind of life on her. Also, he gets mixed up with a family of vampire sideshow freaks and their Orthodox Jewish cousins ... who are also vampires. It's another brutal, bloody, funny and heart-wrenching visit to Joe's world - and you definitely don't want to live there.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite - I think I heard about this entry into the modern superhero comic genre over at Whitney Matheson's Pop Candy blog (USA Today). Written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way, and illustrated by artist Gabriel Ba, this TPB collects the first six issues in which we are introduced to the Umbrella Academy: seven sort of supernatural pseudo-siblings, spontaneously born to unrelated and hitherto unimpregnated women, and raised by a monocle-wearing space alien. The cool thing about this book is that it's not your typical origin story. We see the instance of their birth; then we see an incident in their youth where, acting together, they save Paris from a zombie-robot-historical figure; then we jump ahead 20 or so years, to where some of the siblings have died, and some are estranged, and the UA has to reunite to save the world again. There are many unanswered questions and I'm hoping that further stories go back and answer some of them, because now I'm intrigued.


Mr. Mouse and I have added Justified to our regularly scheduled DVR menu. After the first two episodes, I like it (but don't love it) and Mr. Mouse grudgingly likes it. For Deadwood fans - which we both are - Timothy Olyphant is just revisiting his Bullock character with a modern setting: he's an efficient lawman in a cowboy hat with violence and anger issues, dealing with bad guys for whom he has a fair amount of respect, and his personal life is complicated by two women. At least this time the writers have given him a sense of humor. Mr. Mouse and I mostly take issue with the fact that he drives a Lincoln Towncar - he's in Kentucky, for crying out loud - give the man a truck.

I've started recording/watching Flashforward again but am finding it highly dissatisfying. Thank god Dominic Monaghan is there as the amoral scientist-playboy - he is the only one who looks like he's having any fun at all. I've got V in the queue, and soon will add ABC's new Happy Town - which looks like it may turn out to be another painful Harper's Island experience. Thankfully True Blood S2 should be coming out on DVD in the next couple of months and I'll get something worthy of recapping again.

And - if you want proof that I ever do things outside of the house (besides going to movies - I haven't done that since last August), feel free to check this out.