Monday, May 31, 2010

Italian Cowboys vs. Southern Vampires

The plan had been to get my True Blood S2 DVDs up and running so as not to lag in the recap action, but and I seem to have a disagreement as to what "available" means: I think it means they should have shipping me the first TB S2 disk, while they think it means skip over the TB set and send me Extract instead. Which I don't have anyway because of the holiday.  Life as an unpaid t.v./movie blogger is so hard.

However, Mr. Mouse and I have managed to get through 3.5 movies in our spaghetti western 20-pack.  We've decided to keep a list and rank the movies as we get through them, not giving them grades but ranking the whole twenty from favorite to "OMGthatwastheworsthingever."  So far we've seen Beyond the Law (1968), in which Lee Van Cleef plays a former bandit turned Western town sheriff; Apache Blood (1975, a/k/a "Pursuit") where Ray Danton stars as an Apache chief out for blood when all of his people are killed by white soldiers; and This Man Can't Die (1967), starring Guy Madison as a government agent who returns home after years away to find his parents brutally murdered and his youngest sister raped by the parent-murdering banditos.  We're also halfway through Gunfight at Red Sands (1964, with Richard Harrison) but have had to pause in our viewing of it because we both fell asleep due to the extreme slowness of the film. 

Thus far, TMCD is at number one, then BtL, GaRS and AB pulling up the rear.  AB is a really, really bad movie and the reviews and comments on it at IMBD are hilarious.  The acting is bad, the directing is bad, the editing is gawdawful, the story - which could have been accomplished in 40 minutes - is stretched to 90, and even that is too long.  It's rated R for some reason - maybe for "Really boRing" - but certainly not for the violence because the editing cuts away from all the kill shots ... and there could have been good ones, including death by cactus and a man vs. bear fight.

We're enjoying watching these though and are interested to see if any of the other sixteen as-yet unseen movies can top Apache Blood in sheer awfulness.  And if they do, you can be sure to hear about it here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joining the last Lost discussion

The "what did you think about the Lost finale" discussions are all over the place, unsurprisingly.  Jace, over at Televisionary, has an extremely well thought-out and articulate analysis of "The End" - thanks to friend of the blog Yankee1969 for reminding me about him.  I recommend you check it out: I'm a humble recapper and not much prone to analysis but this guy does a great job.  For my part, I just have some random follow-up thoughts.

It has been baldly stated by ABC that the Losties’ adventures on-Island were real – inasmuch as Smoke Monsters and exploding bunny rabbits and four-toed statues, etc., can be real – and despite the scenes of the Oceanic wreckage at the close of the episode, they did not, in fact, all die on impact in S1E1.  The alternate reality/flash-sideways was limbo and/or purgatory and took place during and after the Island storyline, only culminating with the church meeting after everyone was dead. Which is fine as I’ve always had a taste for fantasy and like to think that the Island storyline was the real one.  But they weren’t very clear about the timeframe other than insinuating that Hurley and Ben worked together like Mr. Roark and Tattoo for some time on the Island. And although I didn’t appreciate getting smacked upside the head with all the religiosity what with the coming together at last and moving on into the bright light outside the church doors, I liked that option better than if they’d all died on impact and the whole thing was purgatory/limbo.

I do like the thought of Desmond as a guide/angel putting the Losties along their rightful paths on both the Island and the limbo-reality. But if the alternate reality was limbo, why was Eloise Widmore so upset at the thought that Desmond might take Daniel when the rest of the Losties left? And why would Ben, finally having achieved forgiveness, respect and the chance to serve the Island as he always wanted to, for some indeterminate amount of as Hurley’s #2, not want to move on too? Just to hang out with Alt-Alex and Alt-Rousseau in limbo for a while longer? That doesn’t quite sit right.

People have been complaining that the church-goin’ group was awfully white what with Michael, Walt, Ana Lucia and Mr. Eko being absent. Desmond said Ana Lucia wasn’t ready to go yet (she still needed to put in more time in purgatory?) and apparently the actor playing Mr. Eko wanted far too much money for an appearance, but what about Michael and Walt? Michael’s ghost told Hurley that he, like so many others, was stuck on the Island, unable to move on (which makes the Island sound like purgatory, doesn’t it?).  But once Desmond pulled the plug on the magic of the Island, why wasn't Michael released? And what about Vincent? If Rose and Bernard died on the Island but still made it to church for the big exodus, don’t you think sweet ol’ Vincent should have been allowed to go too?

Other questions I sort of hoped might have gotten touched on before the end: WTF with the numbers (which were apparently explored in some online episodes but not in the television eps); WTF Christian Shephard actually was if he was exposition guy/angel in the finale but seemed rather menacing in all his on-Island appearances; why the Others took the children and Cindy the flight attendant but more of the actual Candidates; if Walt was so important and psychokinetic and all, why did they just let his story fizzle out; what was the point of that pile of notebooks in the field; why couldn't women carry babies to term on the Island; and what the heck was going on with Kate’s black horse that apparently Sawyer could also see?  Jace says that the producers wanted to focus on answers that the Losties themselves wanted, not the fans, and I get that.  But still ... somebody please explain Walt to me.

And finally, my overarching issue with Kate. My old friend Joe has noted that I hate Kate as much as he loves her, thereby creating a balance much like the balance on the Island. I’m not saying Kate wasn't nice to look at – Evangeline Lilly is smokin’ hot – and I certainly appreciated her occasional bad-assery. I just hated her wishy-washiness: I love Jack, I love Sawyer, I love Jack, I love Sawyer, I’m going to stay on the beach, I’m going to stay at the caves, I’m never going back to the Island, I have to go back to the Island, I don’t want to hold the baby, I’m the best mom ever, I love Sawyer, I love Jack. Arrgh - enough! Pluswhich, she totally screwed over Nathan Fillion and I don’t think I can ever forgive her for that.

Anyway, enough from me.  What about you?  If you're a Lost fan - and you wouldn't have read this far if you weren't - you have an opinion or two about the final episode.  Let 'em rip in the comments, why don't you?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lost series finale recap – “The End” S6E17 (airdate 5/23/10)

Well, here goes six years of my life … This final episode will, of course, be largely about Jack as the erstwhile hero of the show. Sigh.

The opening music montage shows Jack’s father’s casket arriving at LAX, and Alt-Jack prepping for Alt-Locke’s surgery, and then Island Jack reeling in the face of his new job. And then Alt-Ben having tea, and Island Ben loading a gun and sending shifty looks over to Not-Locke. In fact, the opening montage checks in with everyone and their Alternate reality doppelganger. And then it starts for reals.

Alternate 2004. Desmond is there at a church to sign for Christian’s casket. He is sooooo pretty – I’m going to miss ol’ Desmond. Kate waits for him in Hurley’s Camaro, dressed in the party dress, pouting and wants to know WTF is going on. Desmond deflects her questions, basically telling her to keep her panties on and it will all come clear.

Island. Kate is clearly in her “I love Jack” phase as she gazes mopily at him while he ponders his new role. Sawyer confirms that Jack is now the new Jacob and asks for what the plan is. Jack tells him and Kate and Hurley about the glowing cave that he needs to protect. They realize that they need to collect Desmond before Not-Locke does: Sawyer tells the other three to head to the glowy cave while he “collects the magic leprechaun out of that well.” Heh. He’ll meet up with them later. He and Kate snipe at each other good-naturedly until Hurley mutters that he’s got a bad feeling about all of this.

Alternate 2004. Hurley and a surly Sayid drive up to a grungy motel in Hurley’s big yellow Hummer. Hurley is pretty cute, teasing Sayid because he remembers everything and Sayid doesn’t. Sayid waits in the truck while Hurley knocks on one of the motel doors. A drunken Charlie opens up and Hurley grins like a total goof to see his old friend again. It’s very cute. He tells the little Brit that he has to play at the Widmore benefit concert and when Charlie tells him to sod off, Hurley shoots him with a tranquilizer and drags him to the Hummer. Sayid, almost outraged: “What was that?” Hurley, dumping his friend in the backseat: “That was Charlie.”

Island. Kate nags Jack about why the hell he took the job Jacob offered, getting all intense and I’m bored with this scene until Hurley interjects: “ This would be so sweet if we weren’t all about to die.” Over by Desmond’s well, Sawyer thinks he’s being sneaky, spying on Not-Locke, but Ben gets the drop on him and marches him up to the big bad at gunpoint. Sawyer snipes with “Smokey” for a bit about his plans to destroy the Island then punches Ben in the face, grabbing his gun at taking his leave. Not-Locke lets him go without protest. Ben is protesting however, about Not-Locke intending to use Desmond to destroy the Island – when he thought Not-Locke was going to leave the Island under his care. Not-Locke says he’s sorry Ben misunderstood but he’s welcome to join Not-Locke on his boat when the Island sinks. Not-Locke then bends over, noticing a dog’s paw print in the mud by the well.

Vincent! Rose! Bernard! It is they who have rescued Desmond from the well. Unfortunately, Not-Locke has remembered his tracking skills and shows up at their camp in due course. He tells a still-woozy Desmond that if he doesn’t come with him, he’ll kill Rose and Bernard – very painfully. Desmond is more than willing to go with Not-Locke, wishing to spare these good people, who only want to be left alone. He, Not-Locke and Ben leave, leaving the couple alive and well. Do you suppose we’ll ever see them again?

It’s beginning to sound stormy as everyone marches through the jungle. Not-Locke seems preoccupied and grumpy, Desmond is strangely chipper, and Ben – sneaky little guy that he is – almost gets busted by Not-Locke when Miles tries to call him over the walkie-talkie. Miles, you see, has found pretty Richard, bruised but still alive. They’ve still got the C-4: Richard insists that they have to get across to Hydra Island and blow up the plane.

Alternate 2004. Miles arrives at the Widmores’ mansion, early for the benefit concert for his father’s museum, and catches a glimpse of Sayid in Hurley’s big yellow Hummer. Miles calls Detective Sawyer/Ford and tells him to go check on Sun - the only survivor of that restaurant massacre. Sawyer heads to the hospital. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Juliet (yay!) is the OB doctor assigned to check on Sun’s baby. She’s very sweet to Sun and Jin, noting on Sun’s chart that they don’t speak English. But when Juliet starts the ultrasound, both Sun and Jin’s memories of the Island come crashing in. They are shaken by the sudden recollections, and so very happy. And both of them have regained their English. Also, Juliet seems to be having much more fun here than on V.

Island. Sawyer catches up with Jack, Kate and Hurley, telling them that Not-Locke plans to destroy the Island and also that he couldn’t find Desmond. Jack says it doesn’t matter: they’re all heading to the same place – the heart of the Island – and that’s where it’s going to end.

Alternate 2004. Jack checks in on Locke before the surgery, offering encouraging words, enough to make Locke relax a little. It’s nice to see Terry O’Quinn smile – haven’t seen that much in recent episodes.

Island. As Miles and Richard load the outrigger, Miles notices that Richard has his first gray hair. Richard grins – thrilled by his impending mortality. As they paddle across the strait to Hydra Island, they find lots of flotsam, jetsam and dead bodies from the sub wreck. They also find Frank Lapidus, waterlogged but amazingly alive. Of course he’s alive: they need a pilot for that plane – and, as Frank points out, if they fly the plane off the Island, Not-Locke won’t be able to use it for his own escape.

Speaking of Not-Locke: his group and Jack’s meet in a mountain meadow. Kate immediately starts firing at Not-Locke until Sawyer grabs her gun away. Not-Locke sneers that she should save her bullets. He also sneers when he notes that Jack was the “obvious choice” for Jacob’s replacement. Jack is calm, saying that he volunteered for the job. He’s also calm when he says that he is going to go with Not-Locke and Desmond to the Island’s center. And there, he’s going to kill Not-Locke. Not-Locke: “How you gonna do that?” Jack: “It’s a surprise.” Heh.

Alternate 2004. At the hospital, we learn that Juliet is Jack’s ex-wife and mother of his alternate son David, and they still get along pretty well. Jack gives them tickets to the benefit concert, saying he can’t go but maybe they could take “Aunt” Claire instead. As they all disperse, Sawyer shows up, flashing his badge at the on-duty nurse and looking for Sun.

Island. The gang stops at the edge of the bamboo forest, Not-Locke insisting that it’s just to be him, Desmond and Jack going forward. As they move out, Hurley tells Jack that he believes in him. Soon enough, the good, the bad and the Scottish are at the glowing tunnel. They tie a rope around Desmond’s waist, planning to lower him into the tunnel. Desmond says that all this doesn’t matter - Not-Locke destroying the Island, Jack destroying Not-Locke - because Desmond is going to go into the light and to a place where everyone is where they’re supposed to be. He tries to convince Jack that he’s in that other place too – that they sat next to each other on the Oceanic flight – but Jack brushes him off. There are no shortcuts, no do-overs – all of this matters. And then they drop Desmond into the light.

Alternate 2004. Sayid is getting way tetchy when Hurley makes him wait in a back alley. Hurley says he can’t tell him what’s going on – there are rules – but to just wait and trust him. Sayid rolls his eyes. But then a couple of guys stumble into the alley, one beating on the other. Sayid stares intently but doesn’t move until a blonde girl chases after them, shouting to leave her brother alone, and the beater starts smacking her around. Sayid rushes over to the girl, quickly dispatching the thug, and helping her to her feet. And it’s Shannon, whose memories of the Island come back the moment Sayid touches her arm, and as he gazes at her, he remembers too. Smoochies! Hurley watches their reunion, grinning goofily, until Boone pokes his head in the window. He’s slightly bloodied from his beating, but grinning as well, in on it too. He chides Hurley for taking too long and Hurley tells him it takes however long it takes. They watch Sayid and Shannon, not wanting to interrupt the moment.

Island. Miles finally reaches Ben on the walkie and Ben yells at him to NOT blow up the plane. Miles is like, well duh, we’re flying it off this Island so get your ass over here. Then Miles is interrupted when Crazy Claire, rifle cocked, shows up. She accuses them of coming to kill her but when Richard explains that they’re going to try to get free of Not-Locke, she pauses. He asks her to come with them and she says no and goes back into the jungle. Meanwhile, on the other end of the walkie, Kate is screeching about Claire.

Not-Locke and Jack lower Desmond down into a pit where the light fills a pool. They bicker, Jack now believing everything that John Locke ever told him and Not-Locke saying that no, Locke was wrong about everything. They agree to disagree as Desmond reaches the bottom.

Alternate 2004. At the benefit, Juliet gets called back to the hospital, leaving Claire and David to go in together. Backstage, Charlotte, looking crazy-hot, wakes a hung over Charlie up for the show and then flirts a little with Daniel Farraday/Widmore, who looks ridiculous in his dorky little hat. Out at the tables, Desmond has arranged for Claire and Kate to sit at the same table. They are a little disconcerted by this. But no matter, because now Daniel is about to play the piano, accompanied by Driveshaft. [They couldn’t come up with anything a little more organic? Like Driveshaft would do this.] But no matter, because when Charlie takes the stage, he sees the pregnant and glowing (and heavily made-up) Claire and does a double take. Claire uses this moment to go into labor, of course. Kate follows to help and Desmond the manipulator just smiles.

Island Desmond, however, wades into the glowing pool of water at the base of the pit which causes some electromagnetic pulse. Desmond screams for a bit, before pulling a large stone plug out of the pool which causes both the water and the light to drain out. Then a rumbling red light, volcano-like, bubbles up and Desmond starts to scream, “No!” Well, that can’t be good. Not-Locke and Jack hear him – Not-Locke notes that he was right and Jack was wrong – and they scramble out of the tunnel as a small trembler shakes them. Once back out in the jungle, Jack jumps on Not-Locke. There’s a short struggle before Not-Locke clobbers Jack in the temple with a rock, dropping him. He grabs his backpack and strides off, leaving Jack bloodied on the ground.

Alternate 2004. Claire and Kate go backstage where Claire’s labor begins in earnest. Charlie shows up and Kate sends him off for water and blankets. In the audience, Eloise tells Desmond that she thought she told him to stop this and he mildly replies that he chose to ignore her. She asks what his plans are and he says that once “they” know, they’re all leaving. With tears in her voice, she asks if he’s going to take her son too and Desmond is kind, saying “Not with me, no.” Meanwhile, Kate delivers Claire’s baby, just like she did back on the Island and this causes both women’s Island memories to come cascading back in. When Charlie comes back with a blanket, Aaron is in Claire’s arms. She looks at Charlie, remembering him, and his memories come back too. It’s very sweet and I confess that I teared up a little. Smoochies!

Island. Earthquakes! Ben heroically pushes Hurley out of the path of a falling tree, getting himself trapped underneath instead. Kate, Sawyer and Hurley struggle to move the tree. Miles calls them on the walkie, telling them to hurry their asses up – they’re leaving in an hour. Ben pipes up: Locke has a boat and I know where it is – get me out of here and I can get you to the plane on time.

Jack comes to and staggers back into the no-longer glowing tunnel, shouting for Desmond. When he gets no answer, he runs off into the jungle. He finds Not-Locke on that big cliff, the boat tossing below in the rising waves. Jack screams his enemy’s name and they come at each other in slo-mo. After the commercial, the fight is on. Long story short, Not-Locke stabs Jack in the side (like where Christ was stabbed by the Roman’s spear, no?) but Kate shows up and pops a cap in his ass, snarling, “I saved you a bullet!” As a final insult, Jack kicks him over the edge of the cliff for good measure where he smashes on a ledge far below. Thus endeth Not-Locke – somehow more easily than I would have thought.

Alternate 2004. After the spinal surgery, Locke comes out of the anesthesia unexpectedly quickly. (Also, Jack has a strange cut on his neck, right where Not-Locke stabbed at him during the fight on the Island – proof of the realities bleeding together). The spinal surgery worked: Locke can feel his legs and wiggles his toes to demonstrate. Jack is awfully surprised at the rapid recovery. But no more so than Locke, whose Island memories flood in in a rush. When he asks Jack if he remembers, Jack gets a little flash too but shakes it off, resistant. He tells Locke that he has to go see his son and Locke, smiling gently, says, “You don’t have a son, Jack.” Jack doesn’t find this funny at all and leaves immediately. Locke calls after him: ”I hope that somebody does for you what you just did for me.”

Elsewhere in the hospital. Sawyer finds Sun and Jin getting ready to leave the hospital. They both grin at him hilariously, realizing that he still doesn’t remember the Island. Sun brushes off his offer of protection from Sayid and Jin just smiles as they leave, “We’ll see you there.” Sawyer, totally perplexed: “See me where?”

Hydra Island. Somehow, Frank, Miles and Richard get the Ajira plane working. Big Island. Sawyer, Hurley and Ben – miraculously freed from the tree – join Jack and Kate on the cliff. Jack says that despite Not-Locke’s death, it’s too late and he’s got to try to stop the Island from sinking. Kate argues but Jack is resolute. Sawyer and Kate are the only two leaving, however, since Ben says he’s going down with the Island and Hurley says he’s sticking with Jack. Ugh, whatever: Jack and Kate kiss and tell each other they love each other. I just roll my eyes and press fast-forward.

After the commercial, Sawyer and Kate are running out of time to get to the boat and the fastest way down is to jump off the cliff. So they do, then surfacing and swimming for Not-Locke’s sailboat.

Alternate 2004. Sawyer heads for the vending machines, doing a double take when he passes Jack in the hospital corridor. His candy bar gets stuck and he’s in the process of molesting the machine when Juliet catches him. She tells him the trick: unplug the machine and the candy will fall right out. He does, it does and she hands the candy to him. Their hands touch and their memories return in a rush. They are shocked at first, then drawn to each other, clutching and crying. Again, I confess that I cry a little too when Sawyer tells her he’s got her, and this time he does. Smoochies!

Jack gets to the Widmore estate long after the concert is over, but Kate finds him. She remembers him, of course, but he’s still resisting although he knows he knows her from somewhere. She touches him briefly and he backs away with a jerk, “What is happening to me?” She tells him that she knows he doesn’t understand, but if he’ll just come with her, he will.

Island. Jack, Hurley and Ben reach the no longer glowing cave and Jack takes this opportunity to hand off his Jacob-duties to Hurley, saying that he believes in him. Hurley screams and shouts and finally, reluctantly, says okay, but it’s only temporary and he’ll give it back when Jack returns. Ben and Hurley then lower Jack into the pit. He finds Desmond, collapsed on a rock slab. Desmond is babbling, hurt: “I put the light out! It didn’t work – I thought I’d leave this place! - I have to put it back” Jack says he’ll put the stone back and Desmond cries no, it’ll kill anyone but him. Jack tells him to go home and be with his wife and son, and he’ll see him “in another life, brother.” He ties the rope around Desmond’s waist so Ben and Hurley can pull him back up.

Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer have made it to Hydra Island where Crazy Claire is sitting on the beach, watching the other Island slowly fall into the sea. They can hear the Ajira plane’s engines revving up as Frank begins to move it into position. Claire is afraid to leave the Island in her current condition, saying she doesn’t want Aaron to see her crazy like this, but Kate convinces her that it’ll be okay. They run for the plane, jumping up and down on the runway until Frank sees them. Smiling, the pilot tells Richard to open the cabin door to admit the late arrivals.

In the pit, Jack struggles to replace the stone plug . He manages to do it, but at first it appears to be a case of too little, too late. Richard and Miles drag Sawyer and the two women aboard the Ajira plane and Frank powers it up again. Everyone looks like they’re praying as the plane rushes down the runway …and takes off, just barely clearing the trees. The good news: back in the pit, the light comes back on and the stream starts flowing again. Jack is crying again, of course, but I think he’s a little happy this time too. The light blazes brighter and brighter and above, Hurley, having pulled Desmond to safety, screams Jack’s name.

Alternate 2004. Now everyone is gathered at the church where Jack’s dad’s body was delivered. John Locke shows up in a cab, in a wheelchair again, but smiling. He finds Ben sitting outside and asks him if everyone else is already inside. Ben has something he wants to say: “I’m very sorry for what I did to you, John, I was selfish, jealous, and I wanted everything you had.” Locke: “What did I have?” Ben: “You were special, John, and I wasn’t.” Locke says that if it helps, he forgives Ben. Ben thanks him sincerely, saying that it does help. Locke asks him what he’s going to do next and Ben says that he’s got some stuff to work out – he thinks he’ll just stay outside for a bit. He adds that he doesn’t think Locke needs the chair anymore. Locke stands up, smiles, and says good-bye to his old nemesis, walking up the stairs and into the church.

Island. Desmond lies unconscious by the stream flowing into the now glowing tunnel but Ben thinks he’ll be okay. Hurley asks him if he thinks Jack is gone and Ben nods, saying that he did his job. Hurley cries plaintively, “It’s my job, now – what the hell am I supposed to do?” Ben suggests that he do what he does best – take care of people, like helping Desmond go home, for instance. Hurley protests that no one can leave the Island but Ben scoffs that was how Jacob ran things, and maybe Hurley can find another way, a better way. Hurley asks Ben if he’ll help him – he could use someone with his experience, at least for a little while. Ben looks surprised and pleased to be asked. “Cool,” says Hurley.

Alternate 2004. Hurley comes out of the church to see if Ben is coming in. Nope, he’s not. Hurley tells him that he was a good #2 and Ben nearly tears up at this, saying that Hugo was a great #1. “Thanks, dude,” says Hurley. Out front, Jack and Kate drive up. He recognizes the church as the one he was going to have his father’s funeral in. Kate just says that he should come inside when he’s ready.

Island. Jack has washed up in the creek where Esau washed up after the Smoke Monster took his life. He’s very shaky and bloody.

Alternate 2004. Jack lets himself into the church through the back, coming upon his father’s casket in an anteroom. As he runs his hand along the wood, his Island memories come flooding back. (And boy doesn’t Matthew Fox look young in those early episodes!) He still doesn’t look like he understands and when he opens the casket, there is no one inside. This is because Christian is standing behind him. Jack: “Dad? How are you here if you died?” Christian: “How are you here?” Jack, putting the pieces together: “I died too.” And this is where I shake my head, because this was Mr. Mouse’s theory ALL ALONG.

Jack starts to cry (again, because that is what he does). Christian hugs him, telling him it’s all okay. Jack asks his dad if he’s real and Christian says, “Yes, I’m real, you’re real, everything that happened is real and all those people in the church are real.” But all dead, confirms Jack. Yup. Jack wants to know (as do I) where they are. Christian tells him: “This is the place that you all made together so you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. You needed them and they needed you … to remember and let go.” Jack notes that Kate said they were leaving but Christian corrects him: “Not leaving – moving on.” Jack wonders where to and his father leads him into the church to find out.

The two Shepherd men walk into the church where all the Losties are milling about, clean and shiny and hugging each other. John Locke is the first to greet Jack. Then Desmond, and Boone, Sawyer, Bernard and Rose, everyone. After a little while everyone sits in the pews, and as Christian opens the door to the church, light fills the room. Everyone smiles and looks up.

Island. Bloody Jack staggers through the jungle, alone. He looks tired. When he reaches a clearing, he falls down. And then, as he’s dying, darling Vincent runs up, licks his face, and lies down next to him so Jack doesn’t have to be alone. (I might have teared up there too.) We end the show as we began the show: on Jack’s eye, this time closing as the plane flies overhead. And the last scene is a couple of shots of the Oceanic wreckage.

Random immediate thoughts: I think that means none of them survived the wreck at all? And Mr. Mouse was totally right: the Losties have been dead since the plane crash and their struggles were just to be able to reconnect and let go. In which case all that time travel crap and pushing buttons crap and Walt’s psychokinesis crap and electromagnetic crap and fish biscuits – it was all red herrings and roads to nowhere. Ugh. Although I like the thought of Desmond being some sort of an angel, guiding the Losties in the two realities, whether he knew what he was doing or not.  I do think the actors did a great job when their characters’ Island memories came crashing back ... but it diluted the impact of seeing all these characters die, having them back again. Anyway, I didn’t love it but I’m tired and it’s late and I can’t think of how they might better have ended it right now … what did you all think?

Previously on Lost

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bringing you up to speed

I've been trying to figure out how to handle the recap for the last Lost episode.  I mean, it's bad enough that the thing's going to clock in at 2.5 hours.  But we also have houseguests for the weekend and I can't really excuse myself in the middle of dinner to say, Um, I have to go watch television now - don't interrupt me and I can't answer any questions because if you haven't been watching from the beginning (or even if you have), there's no chance for you.  And if I wait and do the recap while I watch after everyone's gone to bed - which will be relatively early because of their departure flight Monday morning - I'll be up 'til 3:00 a.m. because I have to keep pausing the DVR so my typing can catch up.  It's a whole big thing, I assure you.  So what I think I'm going to do is watch it straight through after everyone's gone to bed and then watch it again Monday and recap it for you then.  It'll be late but I'll retain my sanity, such as it is.

On an entirely other note, is it my imagination or has Glee just been knocking it out of the park lately?  I don't watch it when it airs or even DVR it, but I do keep up on Hulu.  Last night I saw the latest two episodes and they were largely, although not uniformly, fantastic.  First, "Laryngitis" with Finn's adorable cover of "Jessie's Girl" and Kurt's tour de force showtune performance that made me applaud the computer screen.  And then, omigod, the Joss Whedon-directed "Dream On," guest-starring Neil Patrick Harris!  While I couldn't care less about the Rachel-wants-to-meet-her-birth-mother storyline (the show has done way too good a job making that girl annoying), Matthew Morrison and NPH's titular Aerosmith duet was absolutely incredible and sweet Artie's wonderful flash-mob "Safety Dance" number made me grin while my heart was breaking.  Bravo, Glee.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lost episode recap – “What They Died For” S6E16 (airdate 5/18/10)

I guess it’s a little late now, but you guys would tell me if anything REALLY important happened in the first minute or so that my DVR cuts off, right?

Alternate 2004. Jack, his son and Claire are all pretty relaxed at breakfast after Jack had invited Claire to stay with them. It’s cute but it’s interrupted when Jack gets a call, purportedly from Oceanic, saying they’d found his father’s body. Jack is sad and relieved all at once. The thing is, it’s Alterna-Desmond who called, posing as an Oceanic Airlines employee and clearly up to something.

Island. Jack stitches up Kate’s wound, mirroring when she stitched him up way back in S1. She’s pretty pale – she should die, really, from the blood loss. He doesn’t even take her shirt off to work on the wound, which is bullshit – I’m not even talking gratuitous flesh here, it would have been easier and cleaner with her shirt off. She hardly even flinches at the pain from the sutures, however, because she’s so upset about Sun and Jin. “Locke did this to them,” she grits, “We have to kill him, Jack.” “I know,” agrees Jack grimly.

Down the beach a-ways, Sawyer stares out at the ocean as flotsam washes up. Kate, stitched up and bloodied but still alive, staggers up to him and puts her head on his shoulder. Jack joins them, and Hurley too, and these survivors are all silent for a moment. Then Jack says that they have to go, reminding them that Sayid said that Desmond is in a well somewhere and if Not-Locke wants him dead, then they’re going to need him. Resolutely, they head off into the jungle. I guess Kate’s not going to die quite yet, is she?

Alterna-2004. Desmond watches from his car as a post-hit-and-run Locke wheels himself across the parking lot, students welcoming him back cheerily. Desmond starts the ignition but suddenly Ben is there, pounding on the hood of Desmond’s car and shouting “Here’s the man who ran over Mr. Locke!” Desmond jumps out of the car, punches Ben right in the nose and slams his face down on the hood. “I’m not here to hurt Locke,” he snarls, “I’m here to help him let go. You want to know who I am?” Then he punches Ben a bunch more times until Ben flashes back to the day on the dock when Ben tries to kill Penny and little Charlie and then the two of them fought. Desmond throws Ben to the ground and drives off while Ben lies there, dazed.

Island. In response to Miles’s bitching that this sure doesn’t seem like a shortcut, Ben remarks that he’s lived on the Island a long time – he thinks he knows his way around. “Well,” snaps Miles, “I lived in these parts thirty years before you did – also known as last week – and I don’t know where the hell we are.” Ben: “Then I guess it’s good you’re following me.” Gawd, I love these two guys. Richard wants to know just how much explosives they’re going to have access to at the Dharma compound. Plenty, says Ben - he’s got a bunch of C-4 stashed in the secret room behind his bookcase. As they enter the compound, Miles starts to wig out, I-hear-dead-people style. He’s confused by what he hears until Richard speaks up, saying that it was around here that he buried Alex after Ben left, and that’s what Miles is picking up on. Ben struggles to control his face and thanks Richard for burying his daughter.

They go into Ben’s old house. Miles notes the old stone doorway in the closet (where Ben thought he was summoning the Smoke Monster “when it was really summoning [him]”) and wants to know if that’s the “secreter room.” Ignoring him, Ben opens the safe and reveals a ton of C-4. He asks Richard if they’re looking to cripple the plane or blow it to hell. “Blow it to hell,” says Richard. “Then I guess we’d better take it all,” says Ben. As they start to unload it, there’s a noise from another part of the house and they leave the secret room, guns drawn. It’s Zoë, rummaging around in the kitchen, and her boss Widmore is there too, lurking in the doorway. “Hello,” Benjamin, he says. “May I come in?” Amazingly, Ben is at a loss for words for once.

Apparently the answer is yes, you may come in, since Widmore is helping himself to a glass of water from Ben’s faucet after the break. Widmore tells Zoë to go back to the dock, take the equipment from the outrigger and then sink it. Ben doesn’t want to let her go but Widmore snaps that if Ben shoots him, their best hope for survival will be gone. Zoë goes off to the dock. Widmore asks Richard what they’re doing and Richard ‘fesses up immediately about the C-4, causing Ben to shoot him a dirty look. Widmore rolls his eyes and says that he’s had that damn plane rigged with explosives since the moment he got here; as usual, he’s three steps ahead of ol’ Benjamin.

Ben wants to know how Widmore got back to the Island, and sneers unbelievingly when Widmore says Jacob invited him. Widmore insists, saying that Jacob visited him when Ben’s people destroyed his freighter to give him his new purpose. Ben wants to continue to debate the merits of this when Zoë breaks in over the walkie to report that Not-Locke is here and she can’t get to their equipment. Widmore tells her to run back to the compound as fast as she can. “If you don’t want to die,” Widmore says to Ben, “We need to hide.”

Alterna-2004. The school nurse patches Ben up after his beat down from Desmond. Locke rolls in, asking what happened. Ben, half-embarrassed, half-amused in spite of himself: “I got in a fight.” He tells Locke that he saw and confronted the man who ran Locke down, but while he was getting beaten up, he saw … he stops his story as Locke calls the police on his cell. “You may not want to do that,” says Ben mildly, “since the man said he wasn’t here to hurt you – he was here to help you let go.” Locke stares at Ben, then hangs up the phone. “For some reason I believed him,” says Ben, “Does that mean something to you?”

Meanwhile, at the police station, Desmond would like to see a detective. The desk cop brings Desmond back to meet with Sawyer. Desmond tells him that he was the one who hit Locke in the hit and run last week, plus just today he put some hurt on Ben. Next scene: Sawyer, thanking Desmond for saving the taxpayers some money, puts him in a cell with Sayid is already in there. “Good afternoon,” says Desmond pleasantly. Ooh, and look: Kate is over there in the next cell too!

Island. As they trudge across the Island yet AGAIN on their rescuing Desmond errand, Sawyer brings up Jack’s whole “Locke won’t kill us” theory from the sub; Jack arches an eyebrow and reminds Sawyer that he’s been wrong before. But Sawyer has other things on his mind: “I killed them, didn’t I?” Jack looks him straight in the eye and says “No, [Not-Locke] killed them.” Sawyer doesn’t look convinced. It is at this point that I am absolutely certain that Sawyer will not survive the finale.

Kate and Hurley are lagging behind the boys a little. Hurley notices boy Jacob in the underbrush but doesn’t cop to it when Kate asks him what’s wrong. When she moves on, however, boy Jacob is right there in front of Hurley, his hand out, demanding that Hurley give him Jacob’s ashes. Hurley hands them over and boy Jacob snatches them and disappears. Hurley chases after him but instead comes upon grown-up Jacob, sitting by a campfire in which his ashes are burning. When the fire goes out, Jacob will be gone forever. But for now he tells Hurley to get his friends – they’re very close to the end. No shit: one 2.5 hour finale that I’m already dreading recapping.

Not-Locke walks up the Dharma dock, rifle in hand. He looks at the equipment in the outrigger but just walks past – wonder what’s in there? Zoë bursts in to Ben’s Dharma cottage, saying that they have to go NOW. Widmore tells her that there’s no time and they’ll hide in Ben’s secret room instead. Ben says that he’s not hiding: Not-Locke will eventually find him anyway and it’s time to face the music. Miles, however, is much more pragmatic and says that he’s erring on the side of survival, and if anyone’s looking for him, he’ll be running through the jungle. I hope Miles makes it through this. Ben tells him to wait a moment, then asks for Widmore’s and Zoë’s walkies. They hand them over, then hide behind the bookcase. Ben gives one walkie to Miles – in case he needs him – and then looks at Richard, asking if he cares to join him outside to wait for “the inevitable.” Richard shakes his head, saying he knows this “man” and maybe he can convince Not-Locke that he’ll join him now, and maybe that will save them all from the coming apocalypse. “Good luck with that,” says Miles, not meaning it even a little, and bolts.

Richard goes outside, walking to the center of the compound. Ben follows him out but stays close to his house. They look around the clearing and then the Smoke Monster clarion sounds. The Monster grabs Richard, snatching him away. He cries out and is gone. (If he’s dead, that’s a pretty ignominious departure for poor Richard. Hopefully we’ll see him again for a proper goodbye.) Ben swallows hard and goes to sit on his porch. Moments later, Not-Locke strolls up, leaning his rifle against the porch railing. “Just the man I was looking for,” he says. “Well, you found me,” replies Ben, looking straight ahead. He offers Not-Locke a glass of lemonade; Not-Locke takes out his wicked big knife and conversationally tells Ben that he needs him to kill some people for him. “And why would I do that?” Ben wants to know. Not-Locke: “Because once I leave this Island, you can have it all to yourself.” All right, says Ben, willing to hear more.

Not-Locke: “Whose outrigger is that down at the dock?” Ben: “Charles Widmore’s, I believe.” Not-Locke: “Do you know where I might find him?” Ben: “He’s hiding in my closet.” FM: Ben, you are such a weasel – I will miss you sooo much when you are gone.

Alterna-2004. Alex catches up with Ben after school, horrified to see how badly he’s been beaten. She insists that he shouldn’t be driving and offers to have her mom drive him home. He demurs, but caves in when she points out that he really only has the use of one hand right now. Her mom, of course, is Rousseau, clean and sane and with combed hair. Aw. Alex and her mother invite him to dinner as well, brooking no refusal. After dinner, Rousseau thanks Ben for being so supportive of her daughter, saying that he’s the closest thing to a father Alex has had since her own father died when she was young. Adorably, Ben gets all choked up over this. Aw again.

Island. Ben leads Not-Locke into his cottage. He warns Not-Locke that Zoë is armed, although he guesses that’s not really a problem. Not-Locke tells Ben to wait outside as there’s no reason for him to see what happens next, but Ben says that he actually wants to see it. He opens the door behind the bookcase and steps inside. Completely insincerely, he says, “Sorry, Charles,” and then Not-Locke comes in, smug as anything. Not-Locke says it’s very nice to finally be able to talk without those fences in between them. Then he looks at Zoë, asking who she is. She starts to answer him but Widmore interrupts, saying that she’s not to talk to him.

With one smooth move, Not-Locke slashes her throat with his big ol’ knife. When Widmore sputters at him, he simply says: “You told her not to talk to me and that made her pointless. [paraphrasing] Now, Charles, soon this will all be over … if you don’t tell me what I want to know, the first thing I do when I get off this Island is kill your daughter. So tell me why you came back here and I won’t kill Penny.” Widmore says that he brought Desmond back here as a measure of last resort because of his resistance to the electromagnetisms. Not-Locke wants to know what he means by “last resort” but Widmore refuses to say anything further in front of Ben. Not-Locke suggests that he whisper it to him and when Widmore leans in and starts whispering, Ben shoots him dead, snarling “He doesn’t get to save his daughter.” Not-Locke, cleaning off his knife: “Ben, you never cease to amaze me.” Fortunately for Not-Locke, Widmore had already told him what he needed to know, so no harm done. Ben just shrugs: “You said there were some other people to kill?” Not-Locke smiles evilly.

It’s now nighttime and Hurley has brought Jack, Kate and Sawyer to see Jacob at his campfire. This time, they can all see him. Kate still looks very pale. She asks Jacob if the reason Jin, Sun and Sayid are dead is because Jacob wrote their names on that wall. Jack tries to calm her down and she snaps at him, saying that she wants to know that their friends didn’t die for nothing. Jacob invites them to sit by the fire and says he’ll tell them all why he chose them all, plus he’ll tell them all they need to know about protecting the Island “because by the time this fire burns out, one of you will have to start doing it.”

Alterna-2004. Locke shows up unexpectedly at Jack’s office. He says that the reason he’s here is because Desmond said he was here to help him let go, which is just what Jack told Locke the first time they met. Call it fate, call it coincidence, it doesn’t matter – Locke thinks he’s ready to let go, ready to let Jack fix him so he can get out of this chair.

Island. Jacob says he brought the Losties here because he’s trying to make up for a mistake he made long ago (killing his brother and creating the Smoke Monster) and because of that mistake, everyone may die. Sawyer wants to know why he needs to be punished for Jacob’s mistake – he was doin’ just fine in his old life. Jacob begs to differ, reminding them that each of them had pretty shitty existences before they were brought to the Island. He picked them for their flaws, because they were alone, looking for something they couldn’t find. Kate interrupts: why did her name get crossed off? “Because you became a mother, but it’s just a line of chalk through a name and the job is still yours if you want it.” Ugh: can you imagine wishy-washy Kate as the Island protector?

Jack: “What is the job?” Jacob tells them about the light at the center of the Island that must never go out. Sawyer: “Protect it from what?” Jacob is all, duh, from the Smoke Monster - you have to kill him. Jack wonder is that’s even possible and Jacob replies that he hopes so because the Smoke Monster will certainly try to kill them. Hurley asks whom he’s going to pick for the job. Jacob says that he’s not going to pick – he’s going to let them choose among themselves, something he wasn’t allowed to do for himself. There’s almost a moment of tension when it looks like no one will speak up but Jack quickly volunteers. He’s crying a little (of course). Jacob seems pleased.

After the commercial, Jacob tells Jack how to find the secret light filled tunnel. The other three stay behind, Sawyer snarking that he thought Jack had a god-complex before … “James,” admonishes Kate. Blah blah blah, Latin incantation and Jack drinks water from the creek since the wine bottle is broken. Jack asks how long he’ll have to do this job and Jacob replies, “As long as you can.”

Alterna-2004. Sawyer tells his prisoners that they’re all being shipped off to County. Kate tries to flirt a little to get him to let her go and Sawyer blows her off. Ha! In the van, Desmond announces that it’s time for them all to leave. Sayid rolls his eyes at the crazy guy who turned himself in, but Desmond insists that he’s here to set Sayid and Kate free - but they have to promise to do something for him. Now they both roll their eyes and promise. Then the van stops and the driver - Ana Lucia - lets them out and uncuffs them. A yellow Hummer drives up: it’s Hurley (recognizing Ana Lucia from his reawakening, although she doesn’t recognize him because “she’s not ready yet”). He pays her $125,000 and she drives off, leaving the four of them there. Hurley hands over the keys to his Camaro to Desmond, who drives off with Kate to go to a concert. Hurley and Sayid have another job, apparently, and leave in the Hummer.

Island. Ben asks why Not-Locke bothers walking if he can turn into smoke whenever he wants. Not-Locke says he likes the feeling of the ground beneath his feet as it reminds him he was once human. They come up to the well Not-Locke threw Desmond into but Desmond isn’t there any longer. “Looks like someone helped him out,” says Ben. “No,” says Not-Locke, “Someone helped me out.” According to Widmore, Desmond is the Island’s failsafe – the very last thing that will keep Not-Locke from leaving the Island. “So why are you happy that Desmond isn’t dead like you ordered?” asks Ben. Not-Locke smiles that evil smile and says that he’s going to take Desmond and with him, destroy this damn Island.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost
It's almost over, my friends.  The last Lost episode recap is going to be brutal, not least because Mr. Mouse and I have houseguests who need to be at the airport at like 4:00 a.m. on Monday morning ... maybe I'll just have to stay up all night.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

DVD review: The Evelyn Waugh Collection

The Evelyn Waugh Collection, recently released on DVD by Acorn Media, includes A Handful of Dust (released in theaters in 1988) and Scoop (shown on Masterpiece Theatre in 1990) based on the novels by Evelyn Waugh. Sharply funny, witty and smart, these films take satirical aim straight at the heart of British society.

A Handful of Dust pokes fun at both the British aristocracy and the merchant class. Brenda Last (a radiant, young Kristin Scott Thomas) is bored to tears with her country mouse husband Tony (James Wilby). Spending most of her time in London, Brenda takes up with the young social climber John Beaver (Rupert Graves) until a horrific accident in the country changes everything. Brenda decides she wants a divorce and Tony agrees to it, going so far as to pretend infidelity so as to give his estranged wife grounds. Brenda gets greedy, however, wishing to keep her young paramour interested, and soon her husband balks.

In Scoop, a case of mistaken identity sends young nature columnist, William Boot, on assignment as a war correspondent to war-torn Ishmaelia in Africa. The problem, besides Boot’s complete ineptitude, is that there really isn’t any war in Ishmaelia – the media has descended upon this poor, dry country and, initially finding nothing to report upon, creates the news they are sent to cover. Poor Boot, played in a charming daze by Michael Maloney, finds himself over his head at once, surrounded by bored and brash journalists and sinister government ministers.

A Handful of Dust is tonally uneven, at times wickedly funny and at others morbid and disturbing but without that fine balance that marks a successful dark comedy. Scoop seems to know better what it intends to be: a clever and funny, if slowly-paced, satire of politics and journalism. The supporting cast is incredibly strong as well, with Denholm Elliott, as Boot’s put-upon foreign editor, and Donald Pleasance, as the aristocratic publisher of the newspaper.

The DVD extras are slim, with cast filmographies and a biography of Evelyn Waugh.

I haven’t read either of A Handful of Dust or Scoop as Waugh wrote them, so I am unsure of how well these adaptations stick to the books. The costumes and settings are lush and gorgeous, however, evoking the wealth and entitlement of the times. Waugh’s sharp observations are conveyed with intelligence and biting humor. I suspect fans of Waugh’s written work will not be disappointed by these visual interpretations.

Article first published as The Evelyn Waugh Collection on

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book review: Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

I have always liked Victorian novels, Dickens notwithstanding - Jane Austen’s catalogue, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Woman in White, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Dracula, Vanity Fair. I like the stylistic affectations, the manners, the recurring motifs. Thus, it is not surprising that I liked Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton which is a perfect example of a Victorian novel. Except that it was published in 2003 and all the characters are dragons.

At the start of Tooth and Claw, the patriarch of a genteel yet almost impoverished has died, leaving only his reputation – as a good dragon who made his way in the world – and a little wealth behind to be shared amongst his five children. The oldest two have already found comfortable lives for themselves: Penn is a parson, happily married with children of his own; and Berend has married quite well, although everyone thinks her husband is a bit of a bully. The younger three are not quite so secure. Avan has a clerk’s job in town but he’s still trying to make a name for himself and his live-in lover has a less than pristine reputation. The two youngest daughters, Selendra and Haner, are devoted to each other but quite lost when their father dies. They have no one to take care of them – no husbands, no prospects on the immediate horizon – and so Selendra goes to live with Penn and his family and Haner is farmed out to Berend.

What follows are classic Victorian tropes, including (to quote the book jacket because I’m feeling lazy today) “a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father’s deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter who sacrifices herself for her husband.” There are whingeing clergy attempting to insinuate themselves into the good graces of their betters, devoted and clever servants, icy society maidens and spendthrift young rakes. There are stringent moral and societal codes, stuffy city balls and picnics in the country. Some of the characters are charming and witty, others insufferable and pompous. And, as I mentioned, all the characters are dragons. Fire-breathing (some of them), winged (all of them) dragons.

It is to Walton’s credit that she pulls it off. Not only does her vast knowledge of and affection for Victorian novels allow her to echo those earlier works faithfully, she has a deft enough hand with character, dialogue and narrative to convince the reader that yes, here be dragons. In fact, more often than not I forgot that the characters were make-believe lizards, what with the millinery and the chastity and all, until a small detail like scale color or eating weaker dragons came into it. Kudos to Jo Walton for successfully marrying the two seemingly unmingleable genres.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lost episode recap – “Across the Sea” S6E15 (airdate 5/11/10)

Let’s get this out of the way: this is a stand-alone episode, an origin story for Jacob and the Man in Black. And since we go the whole episode without a name for the MiB, I’m going to stick with my original conceit and call him “Esau.” Also, while this episode was loaded with clues and small answers, far more than I picked up on, I suspect, I didn’t really care about it. Last week was crushing emotionally what with all the regular cast carnage and you follow up with a history lesson? Color me not that interested: I assume that this show will end with most of the mysteries unsolved so why drag me away from the remaining characters I care about for forty minutes of back story? Whatever. Plenty of fans will have liked “Across the Sea,” I guess. Just not me so much. On with the recap (which was a pain because lots of talking and not so much doing)!

A long, long time ago, Allison Janney tends to a bruised and very pregnant woman, Claudia, who was shipwrecked on the Island. Allison Janney seems a little crazy and has apparently been on the Island, alone, for a loooooooong time. Claudia (who looks a little like my sister-in-law) has lots of questions – like, where are all the other people who were shipwrecked with me? - but Allison, speaking as The Show, tells her that any question she answers will just lead to more questions so why bother. Birthing pangs suddenly wrack Claudia and, some screaming later, a baby is born, a boy, which Claudia names Jacob. Allison takes baby Jacob, ignoring Claudia’s pleas to hold him. However, soon the young mother is distracted when her labor begins again: there’s another baby. Another boy. Claudia moans that she only picked one name. Allison stares at the babies for a while and then turns to Claudia. “I’m sorry,” she says, right before she bashes poor Claudia’s head in with a rock. The twin boys – the one as yet unnamed – wail.

A dark haired boy – it’s “Esau,” of course - walks on the beach, finding a carved wooden box with black and white stones in it. His blond brother Jacob runs up, wanting to play. Esau says he’ll teach Jacob the rules but only if he promises not to tell Mother as she’ll just take the game away from them. Later, Jacob returns home alone and offers to help Allison with her weaving. She nags him into telling her what he and his brother were doing down on the beach. After that, Allison goes to the beach herself to find her other son. Esau realizes at once that Jacob told on him, which Allison confirms, saying that Jacob doesn’t know how to lie – he’s not like [Esau].

Esau is curious, asking what he’s like then. Allison smiles and tells him that he’s “special.” He asks if he can keep the game and she says yes, of course, that’s why she left it for him. But Esau was hoping that it came from somewhere else – to which Allison replies – obviously lying - that there is nowhere else, the Island is all there is. Esau is disappointed at that and wonders where they came from then. “You and your brother came from me, and I came from my mother … [and in answer to Esau’s query about his grandmother’s whereabouts] she’s dead. Which is something you’ll never have to worry about.” Boy, Allison Janney is one f’ed up mommy.

The brothers chase a boar through the jungle and are startled when a spear that is not theirs fells the beast. The cannier Esau drags his brother into the underbrush, hiding from the warrior-like men who have killed the boar. When it is safe, the boys run back to Allison and tell her that they saw people who looked like them. She is disturbed by this, saying these others are not like them nor do they belong on the Island. When Esau asks why it is that he and Jacob do belong on the Island, she won’t answer, saying it’s not time for that yet. Instead, she blindfolded the boys and leads them off into the jungle. The boys pester her nonstop with questions – where did those men come from? Why are they here? Why do you think they’re dangerous? – all of which she deflects for the most part, saying that men come and destroy and hurt each other. Esau pounces on this: we’re men, does that mean we can hurt each other? She stops, removes their blindfolds and tells them that she’d made it so that they can “never hurt each other.” They she points to some sort of magical, golden glowing tunnel in the side of a hill with a stream running through it. “This is the reason we’re here,” she intones.

The boys run up to take a closer look and she warns them not to go in there. Esau asks what’s down there. She says it’s filled with the warmest, brightest light ever seen – something that’s inside every man … but men always want more, so the boys must never tell anyone about it. Jacob asks if men could take it and she says that no, but they could extinguish it and if the light goes out here on the Island, it’ll go out everywhere. Allison Janney has protected this light for a long time now and when she’s gone, the job will pass to one of her sons. Jacob looks wary about this but Esau just stares greedily into the light.

After the commercial, the brothers are playing their game with the white and black stones. Jacob makes a move that Esau says is against the rules. When his brother protests, Esau snipes that some day Jacob can make up his own game and everyone will have to play by his rules (see what they did there, those clever Lost writers?), but for now, Esau’s rules rule. Suddenly, a vision of their birth mother appears – but to Esau only. He runs into the jungle after her. Claudia tells him that she’s dead but he should come with her anyway, because she wants to show him where he came from: across the island, a place he’s never seen.

She takes him to a village, populated by the shipwreck survivors. She has to explain what a ship is because Allison’s never told him. She also explains that Allison is not his mother – she is and Esau came from across the sea with her. The “plus Allison murdered me” is implied as well. Esau is nonplused by these revelations. Later that night, when Allison is asleep, Esau leads Jacob out into the jungle, wanting to take him to the village. In a typical Lost now it’s night/now it’s day jump, as they walk Esau tells his brother that Allison is not their real mother and Jacob screams with rage and starts beating the crap out of Esau. Allison, suddenly and inexplicably there, hearing the ruckus, runs up and pulls the boys apart. Esau stands, wiping the blood off his face, and spits that he’s leaving, going to his people – his murdered mother told him all about them. Allison clutches at him and cries, “No matter what you’ve been told, you will never be able to leave this Island.” He pushes her away and snaps that he will too, and he’ll prove it, before trudging off into the trees.

After he’s gone, Allison and Jacob sit, staring at the ocean, talking. She admits to killing the boys’ mother, explaining that she was protecting the boys from the other people: “I needed you to stay good.” Jacob: “Am I good, Mother? … Then why do you love him more than me?” She says that she loves the boys differently and begs Jacob to stay with her. He says he will … for a while.

Years have passed, and now Mark Pellegrino is Jacob. As he said he would, he has stayed with Allison Janney, who looks unwell but also un-aged. A little later, Jacob visits Esau in the village for a game. They chat, Jacob asking if his brother’s people are really as bad as Allison claims. Esau grunts: “The woman may be insane but she’s right about that.” He’s lived among them for thirty years and finds them greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy and selfish. Jacob can’t imagine that they’re as bad as all that; Esau’s like, um yeah. (See, see what those clever Lost writers did there?) Then Esau tells his brother that he’s leaving – he’s found a way off the Island. Jacob looks confused. Not clearing up the matter at all, Esau tells him that there are [magnetic] spots all over the Island and he and the villagers have been digging them up, intending to harness the power under the Island somehow. He tries to get Jacob to agree to leave with him but Jacob refuses, saying that the Island is his home.

Later, like the squealy little pig he is, Jacob tells Allison what Esau has been doing. She’s feeble but gathers enough strength to find Esau down one of those wells the villagers have been digging out. There is a LOT of talking: he plans to use the energy under the Island to leave; she’s very worried because he doesn’t know what he’s messing with. Esau scoffs, saying that he’s going to use the light to turn a wheel that turns a machine that gets him off the Island and THIS ISN’T EXPLAINING ANYTHING except that hundreds of years later, the Dharma Initiative basically hadn’t improved on the turn the wheel/move the Island concept. So much for progress. Anyway, Allison is sad, saying that if he’s determined to leave then she guesses this must be goodbye. They hug each other, tearfully, and Allison sniffles that she’s so sorry. Then she lunges at Esau and cracks his skull against a stonewall.

Back home, Allison rousts Jacob out of his bed. She tells him that “it’s time” – and that she’s letting Esau go because “it’s what he wants.” Then she takes Jacob back to the tunnel of light (calling it “life/death/rebirth/the heart of the Island”). She tells him that he is now its guardian but he must promise to never go down there. Jacob wonders if he would die. Much worse that that, Allison says. Then she pours him a cup of wine from that bottle (that Jacob shared with Richard and that Esau later broke), telling Jacob that if he drinks from it, he accepts the role of guardian. Jacob protests that he doesn’t want to be the Island’s protector. She insists: “It has to be you, Jacob.” Jacob, petulantly: “No, it doesn’t – you wanted it to be him!” Allison says she realizes now that it should have been Jacob all along but all that’s moot as her time is over and Jacob doesn’t have a choice. So the mama’s boy takes the cup and drinks. “Now you and I are the same,” says Allison creepily.

In the morning, Esau wakes up, bloodied and headachy, on the ground in the center of what used to be his village. I say “used to be” because it’s been burned to the ground and all the villagers are dead. Esau walks, grimacing, through the ruins. He finds his black and white stone game and picks it up out of the ashes. Then his face totally changes, from grief and frustration to hate and white hot anger. I sure loves me some Titus Welliver.

Thunder rolls. Allison sends Jacob off to fetch some firewood before it rains, telling him to be careful. She returns home to find her things in shambles, her weaving shredded, and Esau’s game left behind for her to find. Esau is there too and he quickly stabs her in the back. As she lies there, bleeding out, he asks her why she wouldn’t let him leave. “Because I love you,” she whispers, and then “Thank you!” And she’s dead – and seems happy about it, in fact. Esau actually bends his head and cries over her … but not for long because Jacob has just come home.

First he beats the shit out of Esau and then drags him off through the jungle. Esau protests, saying that their mother was crazy – she burned all the villagers – but Jacob is resolute. “Don’t worry, brother,” he says, “I’m not going to kill you.” He brings Esau to the tunnel of light, knocks him unconscious and then throws him into the tunnel where he is quickly swept out of sight by the current. Just seconds later, the Smoke Monster roars out of the tunnel, belling for all to hear. Jacob was NOT expecting that (but I was).

Afterwards, Jacob finds Esau washed up on the riverbank, looking pretty dead. He picks the body up and takes it home, where Allison is still lying dead on the floor, by the way. Jacob sees two of Esau’s game pieces – one black, one white – and picks them up, putting them in a small sack (the same sack that Jack and Kate found ever so many seasons ago and shown to us again now in a flashback). Then Jacob lays his dead mother next to his dead brother, clasping their hands together – and thus we have the story of “Adam and Eve” in their cave from S1. Jacob cries, “Goodbye, brother, goodbye.”

The one thing I found interesting from this is that Esau really is dead – off the Island at last, as he always wished - and that he wasn’t really that bad a guy when alive. It’s the Smoke Monster, whatever it is, that has retained some of the nastier bits of Esau and continues on, ever trying to escape its Island prison.  This is why Jacob and the Esau/Smoke Monster have such animosity towards each other, Jacob feeling guilty for having gotten his brother killed and E/SM being cranky at having been killed/still trapped, but also why Jacob still deals with E/SM, because part of him/it is his once-beloved brother.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fair warning

Mr. Mouse is involved in an epic battle with Comcast (stupid effing cable company) which may result in our canceling our cable.  Before the end of Lost.

I am trying to remain calm.  It's only a T.V. show.

In which I have invested YEARS of my life.  I need a drink.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Those must be the real bandits!"

Mr. Mouse and I had to go to Best Buy this weekend for something and as we were standing there in the checkout line, we spotted what may be one of our best buys (har har) ever: a 5-disc DVD set of spaghetti Westerns, twenty movies, over 32 viewing hours, all for $6.99.  We watched the first movie last night - a gem entitled Beyond the Law and starring Lee Van Cleef and Antonio Sabato*.  Mr. Mouse is mostly excited because these movies are all short, between 85 and 114 minutes; I'm happy because other stars include Jack Palance, Klaus Kinski and William Shatner.
* Father of General Hospital's former hunk, Antonio Sabato Jr.  And boy howdee, do those two Antonios ever look alike!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mini movie review: Observe and Report

Just this moment got done watching Observe and Report and ... meh.  What an uneven movie - I felt as though it had no idea what it wanted to be.  Some parts were funny but most others were too mean-spirited to be funny, and yet it was, in parts, intentionally too goofy to be a serious twisted satire.  Mr. Mouse - who stayed awake for the whole thing, having seen it before - kept telling me how dark and twisted it was.  Well, Heathers is pretty friggin' dark and twisted, and yet knows exactly what it's doing the whole way through.  I liked seeing Seth Rogen stretch his acting chops a little out of the schlumpy Judd Apatow roles he's mostly had; I also liked seeing him slimmed down a bit - a precursor to his skinny new physique for Green Hornet or Green Lantern or whatever superhero origin flick he's doing.  And I do enjoy Anna Faris, although her character wasn't the slightest bit sympathetic.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to what comes next in my movie queue.  Don't have a clue what it is, but I'm looking forward to it.  Also, I may have to watch Heathers again soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lost episode recap – “The Candidate” S6E14 (airdate 5/4/10)

Alterna-2004. A grateful Helen hugs Dr. Jack, thanking him for saving her man while Locke beams from the hospital bed.
Island. It’s nighttime as Jack wakes up (i.e. regains consciousness) in a beached outrigger. Nearby, Zombie Sayid is starting a campfire. He says, “Welcome to Hydra Island.” As Jack looks around him, slightly dazed, Sayid snarks, “At least you didn’t have to paddle.”

Up at the polar bear cages, Widmore’s people are trying to put Sawyer’s gang into the cages. Sawyer grabs a gun away from one of the flunkies but Charles Widmore himself points a pistol at Kate’s head, saying that he’s got a list with four names on it – Sawyers, the Kwons (both of ‘em? that answers that, you list-theorists) and Hurley – but not Kate, and he’ll kill her if Sawyer doesn’t get in that cage. Kate tries to call his bluff but Sawyer thinks with his heart (or some other body part) and hands over the gun. As Widmore locks the cage door, he tells Sawyer he’s doing this for his own good. He asks his people if the fence is live yet – the answer is: nope, in about an hour – and then snaps that they don’t have an hour since “he’s coming.” The caged Losties look a wee dite worried.

Alterna-2004. Jack meets up with Dr. Nadler – a/k/a Bernard! – because he’s hoping to look at John Locke’s files from some emergency oral surgery Locke had three years ago, and Bernard was his dentist. Apparently Locke refused to tell him how he was paralyzed and Jack won’t let it go. Bernard recognizes him from the flight, good-naturedly accusing him of flirting with Rose when Bernard was in the bathroom, and says that although he won’t violate doctor/patient confidentiality, he does remember the name of the man who was hurt in the same accident as Locke three years ago: Anthony Cooper. Bernard wishes Jack luck, and says he hopes he finds what he’s looking for.

Island. Pulling himself out of the outrigger, Jack asks Zombie Sayid what happened. Sayid brings him up to speed: everyone who didn’t get killed in Widmore’s mortar attack scurried off into the bushes and it’s just the three of them now. (That’s a convenient way to lose the extras and focus on the cast regulars, no?) Not-Locke strolls up, announcing that all the other Losties got captured and now they have to rescue them from the polar bear cages: “I can’t imagine [Widmore’s] intentions are good.” Not-Locke and Sayid load their weapons as Not-Locke says that he thinks they can hit the compound hard, grab “Jack’s people” and get to the airplane before Widmore knows what’s happening. Jack’s like, I don’t trust you, plus I’m not leaving the Island. Not-Locke says, okay, I hope you change your mind about the second part there but you should trust me because I saved your life when I could kill you and all those other Losties anytime I want. So: “Will you help me?” Jack just stares at him into the commercial.

Cages. Sawyer stares at the fish biscuit button and grumps to Kate: “Feel like we’re runnin’ in circles?” (C’mon – push the button!) Kate grumps back that he shouldn’t have given up the gun as Widmore wouldn’t have killed her. Then Sawyer tells her that in the cave that Not-Locke showed him, he saw her name written and then crossed out: “he doesn’t need you, Kate.” And she knows he’s serious because he called her by her real name. Meanwhile, Jin and Sun do some catching up. It’s sweet but irrelevant. Also, for the sake of the viewing audience who has put up with Korean subtitles for six seasons, they speak English.

More relevant: the power to the sonic fence suddenly gets cut and then, eerily, wonderfully, the groaning chime of the Smoke Monster rings through the jungle. I do like that sound. The Smoke Monster circles, crunching Widmore’s people against the cage bars. One of them has the cage keys on his belt. Kate strains to reach them through the bars while Frank starts kicking at the door. Then Jack pops out of the underbrush, grabs the keys and lets everyone out. Kate, surprised: “What are you doing here?” Jack nods towards the thrashing Smoke Monster in the trees: “I’m with him.” Everyone scampers away.

The next morning, Frank leads the group to the Ajira plane. Kate asks Jack if he’s changed his mind about leaving the Island and Jack says no. Sawyer, in a rare show of friendly, thanks Jack for coming back for them. The bushes rustle and everyone cocks their guns (not a euphemism); when Zombie Sayid emerges, no one puts their guns down. Jack reassures them that Sayid is part of the team and Sayid urges them onward, saying that “Locke” is waiting.

Alterna-2004. Jack is trying to gain entrance to Anthony Cooper in some assisted living facility when Helen sees him there. She asks him why he wants to see Cooper and he explains that it’s because he wants to help Locke. She tells him that Locke doesn’t want the surgery – isn’t having saved his life enough? – and Jack struggles a little before replying no. She relents and brings him in to see Cooper, who is little more than a vegetable in a wheelchair. Alterna-2004 has not been kind to Locke’s father, you see.

Island. Not-Locke approaches the Ajira plane and quickly dispatches the two Widmore guards. Taking a wristwatch off one of them, he enters the plane, quickly sussing out that Widmore has wired it with explosives.

Meanwhile, Frank has brought the Losties to the plane. Also, he seems to have had a shave since last episode. As they approach, they are at first disconcerted to find the dead guards until Not-Locke comes out and tells them that the plane is rigged to explode: Widmore was hoping to kill them all. And since it may be impossible to tell if he found all the explosives, their best bet is now the submarine. Sawyer’s like, duh, that’s what I’ve been saying the whole time. Hurley interrupts, saying that Richard says that Not-Locke is not supposed to leave the Island but Sawyer runs right over him, acknowledging that Not-Locke has saved their butts twice now (but has he? really? I just don’t trust him and I can’t imagine that Sawyer, who doesn’t trust anyone, does either): “Guess I was wrong about you.” Not-Locke thanks him. Jack pipes up that he’ll help them capture the sub but he’s still not leaving the Island. Not-Locke says he’ll appreciate all the help he can get. He must be feeling magnanimous because he also tells Crazy Claire that he understands why she went with the Losties when she apologizes to him for going with Sawyer.

As they head off towards the sub, Sawyer pulls Jack aside, asking him for one last favor: he doesn’t trust “that thing” and wants to make sure “it” doesn’t get off the Island. When Jack asks what he can possibly do, Sawyer just growls, “Get it in the water. I’ll take care of the rest.”

Alterna-2004. Jack visits Locke in the hospital. Locke is dreaming, muttering, “Push the button! I wish you had believed me!” Jack puts on his confused/concerned face until he hears Claire’s voice in the hallway. She asks if they can talk (her belly is HUGE) and then shows him a music box that Christian wanted her to have for some reason. Jack doesn’t know anything about it, but then again, he didn’t know anything about her either. She asks how their dad died and he tells her: Christian drank himself to death in Sydney. Claire thinks that’s weird, as she just flew in from Sydney a few days ago; Jack thinks that’s weird and asks if it was Oceanic flight 815. Of course it was and this makes his mind reel more. They open the music box and the mirror in the lid reflects both their faces for a moment (for all you mirror theorists), but they still don’t know what it’s all about. Jack asks his half-sister if she wants to come stay with him instead of the motel she’s checked into. “But we’re strangers,” she protests faintly. “No,” Jack smiles, “We’re family.”

Island. The Losties crouch in the bushes near the sub. The camera pans across all their faces – everyone together again. I’m guessing this is for the last time. Sawyer gives everyone their assignments, including asking Jack and Not-Locke to stay behind to “get [their] backs.” Jack thinks he can do it. The first wave of Sawyer, Frank and Sun rushes the dock and enters the sub, guns at the ready. Once they have secured the sub, the rest of the group heads down onto the dock.

Bringing up the rear, Not-Locke again tries to convince Jack to come with them, asking who on earth told him he needed to stay behind? Jack looks his adversary straight in the face and growls, “John Locke told me I needed to stay,” and hits Not-Locke hard in the chest with his gun, knocking him into the water. Kate and Claire gape and then – awesomely – one of Widmore’s flunkies shoots Kate in the shoulder. Sayid and Claire start shooting back as Jack scoops Kate up and carries her to the sub; Claire continues to return fire as Sayid drops down inside. Not-Locke pulls himself back onto the dock and helps Claire just as Sawyer pops his head out the hatch. He shouts to Claire but then sees that only Not-Locke and her left on the dock. He makes a decision, pulling closed the hatch cover and yelling and Frank to dive.

The sub pulls away. Down below, Jack yells at Sawyer, asking what he’s doing; Sawyer retorts that it’s what they always planned to do. On the dock, Claire is wild, shrieking that they’re being left behind. But Not-Locke grabs her and holds her, and tells her, “Trust me, you don’t want to be on that sub.” He’s got a faint smile as he says it and is it me or does Terry O’Quinn just look younger with every episode or what? Being Evil must agree with him.

As the submarine dives, Kate is not in so much pain that she can’t complain that Claire’s not on board. Shut up, Kate. There’s no first aid kit on the sub so Jack asks Jin to hand him his backpack. He opens it, then freezes, horrified, pulling out the explosives that Not-Locke snuck in there. The timer has four minutes left on it. Jack stares at the group and moans that they did exactly what Not-Locke wanted them too.

After the commercial, they scramble to bring the sub back to the surface but there won’t be enough time: five minutes to surface, less than four ‘til the explosion. Everyone’s freaking out – Sayid tracing the bomb’s wiring, Sawyer getting ready to pull out the wires – when Jack starts to put it all together: it’s not going to blow up unless they try to defuse it. He thinks that the only way Not-Locke can leave the Island is if all the Losties are dead, so he put them in an enclosed space, with no way to escape, and a fake bomb. He thinks that Not-Locke can’t kill them himself but is hoping they’ll kill each other by trying to defuse the bomb. Sawyer is panicking but Jack grabs him by the shoulder and says, “James. We’ll be all right. I need you to trust me.” There’s 1:30 left on the timer. Sawyer’s eyes are bugging as he says, “I’m sorry Doc I don’t.” And then he pulls out the wires. (Speaking of eyes bugging, I wonder what Ben and Richard are up to. And darling Desmond!)

At first nothing happens. Then the timer speeds up - oops. Sayid – aww, he’s no longer Zombie Sayid, for some inexplicable reason – looks Jack straight in the eye and tells him where Desmond is, saying that Not-Locke wanted him dead so it’s obvious that Jack’s going to need him. Jack gets dumb and wonders why Sayid is telling him this. Sayid says, “It’s got to be you, Jack,” grabs the bomb and runs off. The Losties shout and chase after him but he makes it to the other end of the sub before the bomb explodes. Aw. Sad.

Meanwhile, havoc has been wreaked at the other end. A hatch door flattens ol’ Frank as water bursts in. Kate, already on the floor, nearly drowns before Jack can lift her out of the water. Sun – no, not Sun! – is screaming, pinning to the wall by a large metal locker. Jack hands Kate off to Hurley to take care of – when Hurley asks about Sayid, Jack yells, “There is no Sayid” which is sad, but also funny – and tells him how to use an oxygen tank to buddy-breathe and get out with Kate. Between the three of them, Jack, Jin and Sawyer manage to pull the locker off Sun but she’s still trapped by a bent beam. The sub lurches and a piece of metal falls, hitting Sawyer on the head. Jack grabs him, keeping his head above the rising water.

Jin can’t budge the beam trapping his wife. She tells him to get out, save himself, and he refuses. Jack tries to help him and Jin shakes his head, telling him to get Sawyer out, he’ll help Sun. Desperate, Jack tries to hand him an oxygen tank, saying he can get Sawyer out without it. But Jin refuses, and at that moment, Sun, Jack and all the rest of us realize that Sun and Jin are never ever getting off this damn Island.

Sun begs him to go but he refuses, saying he will not leave her. Then he says it in Korean, adding that he will never leave her again. They kiss and the sub plummets down, down. The last shot we have of the doomed pair is of their hands, blurred in a water focus, gently releasing and drifting apart as they drown. It would be very touching if that stupid Titanic movie hadn’t ruined it all for us.

Alterna-2004. Locke is getting discharged today but Jack waylays him on his way out to meet Helen. He tells Locke that he went to see Cooper, trying to find out what happened three years ago. Locke is upset with the intrusion but ‘fesses up: he’d just gotten his pilot’s license and convinced his father, who was terrified to fly, to be his first passenger … and then they crashed. Locke is pretty upset, saying that it was his fault that this man whom he loved will never walk or talk again. Jack reminds him that the first time they met, Locke told him that his [Jack’s] father was gone, and nothing would bring him back. “Your father is gone too, Mr. Locke” – to which Locke cries no, no! – “and you need to let it go. What happened happened.” Jack admits that letting go is not easy, and he doesn’t really know how to do it himself … and that’s why he was hoping that maybe Locke would go first. Locke at least chuckles at this and says goodbye, rolling on down the hallway. Jack calls after him: “I can help you, John. I wish you believed me.” Locke pauses for a moment, then continues out the door.

Island. Jack has made it to land, dragging Sawyer, who is breathing but not conscious, up on the beach. Hurley and Kate stagger up and Kate throws herself on Jack, crying, “I couldn’t find you!” Oh please. They ask after Jin and Sun and Jack just shakes his head. Now Kate really bawls. (Is there any chance at all that she won’t survive the finale? Please?) Hurley starts sobbing too and Jack can’t take it, walking away and down to the water’s edge where he can start crying. I admit, after all they’ve gone through in six seasons, that’s a hell of a lot of death in just a couple of minutes. It’s carnage and it’s awesome.

On the Hydra dock, Not-Locke stares out at the ocean. (BTW, it went from daylight to full-on nighttime pretty damn quickly just now.) He muses that the sub sunk and sounds a little surprised by it. Claire is incredulous: “They’re all dead?” Not-Locke, suddenly with a purpose: “Not all of them.” He grabs up his gun (not a euphemism) and strides off, purposefully, while poor Claire gets left behind yet again.

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost