Thursday, April 30, 2009

LOST - The Variable

Last night's Daniel-centric episode filled in the gaps between our first meeting with the overwrought physicist sobbing at seeing the wreckage of Oceanic 815 and the first episode of this season where we saw Daniel back in 1977 in the bowels of the Orchid station.

The show was bookended by Desmond being rushed into the emergency room following being shot by Ben. As Penny waits anxiously, Eloise Hawking appears to apologize as it was her son's fault that Desmond got shot.

Things we learned:

1. Desmond survived--Yay!

2. Daniel is indeed the son of Eloise Hawking. Duh.

3. Daniel is also the son of Charles Widmore. Whoa! (Is anyone else curious as to how the son of two Brits, and who also went to Oxford has no British accent?)

4. Theresa Spencer was Daniel's girlfriend/research assistant--and he tested time travel on himself before sending her.

5. The little red-haired girl was Charlotte--despite the fact she couldn't possibly have been born yet...Maybe she and her Mom time traveled back to 1974.

6. The release of energy from the Orchid resulted in the building of the Swan aka the "hatch" so that the energy could be released by pressing the button every 108 minutes. When Desmond did not press the button, it caused the crash of Flight 815.

7. Daniel discovered that his theory that you cannot change the past--whatever happened, happened--focused on the constants, not the variables. "We can change our destiny."

8. Daniel's plan is to detonate Jughead--the hydrogen bomb--to release the energy, prevent the "Incident" which will in turn eliminate the need for the hatch which means that Oceanic 815 wouldn't crash, the freighter wouldn't be sent to the island and everyone will live happily ever after.

Or will they? The crash of Flight 815 allowed John Locke to walk again, helped save Jin and Sun's marriage plus allowed the sterile Jin to impregnate Sun and give birth to Ji Yeon and Kate to escape prosecution for the murder of her father. No wonder Kate was more than a little dubious of Miles plan which involved "erasing everything that's happened to us."

A lot of information was disseminated courtesy of Faraday--he told Pierre Chang that Miles was his son and Jack that he and the rest of the O6 didn't belong there and that "This is our present...Any one of us can die."

Which is exactly what happened to Miles (unless Alpert offers him as a sacrifice to the smoke monster in the next episode). He survives the shootout at the Dharma corral only to get shot by his own mother.

Not too surprising since Eloise had the whole icy Mommy Dearest thing going for her. (Anyone else bothered that young Eloise seemed to have dark brown eyes while the elder Mrs. Hawking's eyes were aquamarine in hue?)

Best lines of the night:

Sawyer showing Jack the bound and gagged Phil in the closet:

"Phil, Jack. Jack, Phil."

Sawyer to Faraday:

"Welcome to the meeting, Twitchy."

Sawyer and Miles regarding Faraday:

"Is he still crazy? He’s on a whole new level, man."

Hurley after finding out about the time flashes:

"You guys were in 1954? Like...Fonzie times?"

Daniel to Kate after she hands him a rifle:

"Do you have something for a beginner?"

Sawyer and Juliet:

"You can say I told you so. Maybe after we get to the beach."

So, is Daniel really dead? What's going to happen to Sawyer and Juliet now that Radzinsky has discovered Phil in the closet? Can the O6 really change the past?

Guess we'll find out next week. In the meantime, revisit the expressions of The Variable with the recap at Lostpedia, screencaps at Dark UFO and Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney's Dueling Analyses at washingtonpost.com.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

LOST - Computing the Variable

Once again, George gives us the lowdown on what happened and what's gonna happen on our favorite show ('cuz as we all know--whatever happened, happened!):

Hello LOSTies,

You know who I felt bad for in "Some Like It Hoth"? Not Miles finding out Pierre was his dad and him having abandonment issues, not Roger who grew suspicious of Kate, but Phil who got knocked out by Sawyer after he revealed that he knew that he helped Kate kidnap Ben.

Awesome things from the episode were:
- Hurley writing "Empire Strikes Back" (with a few changes)
- Hurley and Miles seeing the number get stamped into the metal at the Swan Station
- Alvarez being killed by his filling shooting through his skull by the electromagnetic forces.
- Naomi taking Miles to Felix. Felix was carrying grave pictures and an invoice for an old plane to Charles Widmore.
- The revelation that it WAS Charles that set up the fake Oceanic crash off of Burma.

The biggest revelation went back to "what lies in the shadow of the statue?". Bram, who is on Hydra Island with Ilana, momentarily captured Miles and told him NOT to go to the island. But since Miles wanted double what Naomi was asking, Bram just let him out with a warning that he was working for the wrong side. This begs the question....Who's side is Ilana and Bram on???? Not Widmore, pretty sure not Ben's....hmmm...could they be...DHARMA????

So on to tonight....

One of the most critically acclaimed episodes of LOST's history was the Desmond-themed "The Constant" from season 4. At the end of that episode a shocking revelation occurred when Daniel's notebook said "Desmond Hume is my CONSTANT". Well what is the opposite of a constant in a science experiment?? That's right "The Variable", tonight's episode, the 100th episode of LOST. LOST writers pulled out all the tricks for tonight's episode...so get ready to ride the roller coaster!

You will probably need to see this episode multiple times but if you like "The Constant" or "Flashes Before Your Eyes", you will love tonight. From pianos to a baby daddy, from gifts between friends to reminders of Boone and Shannon. Whether you are from the past, the present, or the future one thing is for sure....tonight will blow your mind. But the biggest twist will shock everyone...someone may not survive this episode....

2 weeks left to the finale people...
Reminders of BOONE?!!! Are we gonna get to see hottie Ian Somerhalder on tonight's episode? Fingers crossed!

Hip Hop Yoga

My Tuesday night yoga class has been featuring some hip hop infused yoga chants by M.C. Yogi from his album Elephant Power. I've been digging the tracks "Om Namah Shivaya" and "Be the Change."

I mean, how can you not like a rap song about Mahatma Gandhi?







Om Namah Shivaya

chorus
Om Namah Shivaya

Now I bow to Shiva with love and respect / I invoke him with the slogan so I’m open to connect / with devotion cuz I’m knowin that he’s always in effect / in deep meditation with a snake around his neck / he’s the husband of Parvati Maha Shakti / & he rides a white bull the vehicle Nandi / he’s Ganapati’s father mister Mahadev / and the Ganges flow down, from the crown of his head / a crescent moon rests right next to his dreads / he’s the god of the dead,covered in ash / with a smile on his face his compassion is vast / living in a place called Mount Kailash / in the Himalayan kingdom known as his home / & in the shape of a lingum he’s a rolling stone / to the king of all yogi's Shankara, Shambo / singing Om Namah Shivaya, Shivaya Namah Om /

chorus
Om Namah Shivaya

To Shiva Shankar, the yoga master / known as Nataraja the cosmic dancer / lord of destruction, god of disaster / and if you don’t invite him he’s the of party crasher / to the old school mystic, who’s non dualistic / Shiva guides my mind so that I can shift it / away from a place that’s materialistic / into a space that’s more holistic / magnetic ascetic you make my soul shine / you awaken the snake at the base of my spine / third eye wide open in a yoga pose / you show us how to focus so the lotus unfolds / in deep concentration with breath control / returning to the source now you feel the force flow / when Jiva meets Shiva opposites become whole / singing Om Namah Shivaya Shivaya Namah Om /

chorus
Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya the flames get higher / as the corpse gets burned on the funeral pyre / the soul never dies so it won’t expire / when it’s time to die just take off your attire / exhale to let go of your ego’s desire / let your soul be inspired to shine even brighter / like Shiva the one that I admire / dancing on a demon in a burning ring of fire / you embody pure Truth Consciousness, & Bliss / Mahadev it’s been said that your pure auspiciousness / creating, devastating and always transformation / you save the whole world when you swallowed up the poison / destroying bad habits ignorance, and greed / practicing detachment, compassion, and peace / to the king of all yogi's I offer these prayers / to the lord of meditation living in the Himalayas /

chorus
Om Namah Shivaya




Be the Change

once upon a time not long ago / there was a boy who would grow and become a great soul / he lived in India and his name was Gandhi / he believed in human rights and he felt so strongly/ that he made a vow to train himself / he realized first he’d have to change himself / so he changed his clothes, and decided to walk / some days he practiced silence and refused to talk/ when he was young he studied to be a lawyer / and then he became a great spiritual warrior / he read from the scriptures of every religion / came to the realization that we’re all God’s children because he understood that we’re all equal / he became a spokesman for the people a karma yogi devoted to service / to spread truth & peace was his purpose /

chorus
Be the change that you wanna see in the world, just like Gandhi

Gandhi dedicated his life to the cause / even when it meant breaking unjust laws / he often faced prison and incarceration / but that only strengthened his determination / he said he would make every sacrifice / but that he would never kill or take a life / he used his heart instead of his fist / and he taught nonviolence as a way to resist / a peaceful soldier who used his mind / to fight for the rights of human kind / but not just people, animals too / his basic teaching “God is Truth” / he joined Muslims, Seeks, & Hindus / Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Jews / all the many paths that lead into / the light that shines bright inside of me and you /

chorus
Be the change that you wanna see in the world, just like Gandhi

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” / and it takes more strength and faith to be kind / with that in mind Gandhi took a stand / against the foreign occupation of his land / when things got violent Gandhi would fast / not eating for days until the riots would pass / but the biggest event that made the british halt / is when Gandhi G decided to harvest salt / the British empire installed a salt tax / and stealing salt was an unlawful act / so Gandhi and his peeps, took the streets / ten thousand deep they marched to the beach / but when they arrived they were beaten with clubs / but they didn’t fight back instead they chose love / the foreign military realized they were wrong / and eventually decided to go home / you see Gandhi G was a very great leader / but before all that he was shy and meager / as a young child he was just like you and me / before he became Mahatma Gandhi / the word “Mahatma? it means great soul / and its inside of us just waiting to unfold / if you follow your heart and act real bold / next time it’ll be your story that’s told!

chorus
Be the change that you wanna see in the world, just like Gandhi

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heroes - An Invisible Thread

The season finale of Heroes was underwhelming. The climatic battle between Sylar, Nathan and Peter took place behind closed doors. It SOUNDED exciting, but unfortunately Claire was the only one who witnessed it.

The reason Sylar survived the metal spike Danko plunged into his head? "Shapeshifting...gotta love it .Remember that little off switch in the back of my head? I moved it," he tells Danko.

Sylar then sets Danko up by shapeshifting into him and shooting an agent. Danko is dragged away and thrown into a cell with Noah Bennett. The two are about to shake hands in agreement of joining forces to stop Sylar when Hiro stops time. He and Ando release all the prisoners in Building 26. "Payback is bitchy!" Hiro exults but then a massive migraine hits him. Mohinder tells him that his body is rejecting his powers like a virus.

Danko and Bennett's partnership is short-lived as Danko is about to inject Noah with a massive tranquilizer intended for Sylar, but Hiro stops time and injects the duplicitous Danko instead.

Sylar shapeshifts into Nathan and goes to the Stanton Hotel accompanied by an unwitting Claire. When he signs his name with his left hand, however, she becomes suspicious. I had no idea Sylar was a lefty. Guess he isn't all bad! Sylar resumes his own form and teases and taunts Claire, telling her that they're both alike. "You can't die. I can't die," he says.

"Oh, you can die. I'll make sure of it!" Claire retorts. "Well, everybody needs a hobby," sighs Sylar.

Nathan and Peter arrive to take on Sylar and when the dust settles (or in this case, the feathers...), Peter is bloodied and Nathan and Sylar are gone. Claire tells Peter to fly after them but Peter tells her he can't.

In another hotel room, Sylar dispatches Nathan by slicing his throat. "Oh, Claire's going to be so mad at me," he smirks.

Peter and Claire race through the hotel only to run right into Noah who aims a gun at the pair. Claire convinces him that it's her and not Sylar and Noah asks Peter, "Did you take his power?" to which Peter replies, "Yes."

Angela, who has tracked down Matt Parkman, rushes to the hotel room. Because her dream told her that Matt was supposed to save Nathan, she is devastated to find him dead.

Sylar shapeshifts into Nathan and, in a creepy Bobby Kennedy-esque simulation, encounters the President's assistant Liam. He then shapeshifts into Liam and gets into the limo with the President. All he needs to do is shake the President's hand, but when he does his shapeshifting goes amok and the President, aka Lt. Worf aka Peter, injects him in the throat with the tranquilizer.

Nice twist.

Angela and Noah convince Matt that the only way to make things right is via Nathan. So Matt performs his brain mojo thingy on Sylar and erases Sylar's identity and replaces it with Nathan's.

So Nathan is dead but Sylar is Nathan so Sylar is "dead"--or is he?

Volume Five "Redemption" began with the return of Nikki/Tracy or whoever she is this go-round. Yeah, Ali Larter is back but instead of freezing people, she can turn into water and drown them. And Matt's brain mojo thingy may be losing its power as Angela realizes when she visits Nathan/Sylar. When she presses Nathan for why she hasn't heard from him, he tells her "Just haven’t felt like myself lately..."

He then gets distracted by a clock running a minute and a half too fast.

Yeah, Sylar's not dead...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Desperate Housewives - Rose's Turn

The Rose in the episode title referred to Rose Kemper (Gloria LeFoy)--an elderly Wisteria Lane denizen who had the misfortune of meeting up with Orson on one of his pilfering runs prior to Edie's crash.

Actually, Orson was the unfortunate one. Although as Rose told the story to Katherine, "It was Death. He came for me. I chased him out. With my baseball bat!"

A confused Katherine responded, "Death collects knick-knacks?"

Orson maneuvers poor Mrs. Kemper into an institution so no-one will figure out it was he who caused Edie's crash. He assures Bree that he will change his ways and be happy. When Bree relates this to Andrew, he asks her, "Just how happy will he be? Will he whistle while he works or just skip around the house?" Andrew is not convinced that Orson can change and tells Bree he'll be researching divorce lawyers.

When Bree finds out from Katherine about Rose's encounter with the masked intruder who was stealing her knick-knacks, she of course puts two and two together. But Orson continues to lie about how he was injured, so she tells Andrew (who can barely conceal a smirk), "Orson’s lying to me again. So I think I have to divorce him."

In the aftermath of Edie's death, the housewives are worried about Dave. He rebuffs Mike's efforts to sympathize, so Mike recruits Susan to visit. As if a visit from Susan wouldn't expedite someone on the verge of suicide to do the deed. While at Dave's house, Susan sees his gun and makes it her mission to remove it, all the knives, belts and ties from Dave's house.

On the way home, she is stopped by a police officer for not using a hands-free device. (Where are all the police officers in Los Angeles? I see someone violating this law on a daily basis!). When he asks for her license and registration he notices the basket (closed shut when Susan left Dave's place but conveniently opened in this scene...) filled with knives and the gun.

He orders Susan out of the car and has her on the ground in cuffs when Katherine drives by. Susan goes back to Dave's place to return his ties and belts and apologize. When he admits to her that he and Edie had a fight prior to her crash (omitting the fact he attempted to strangle her...), Susan tells him he can't blame himself for her death.

She then confides to him about the crash she and Mike were involved in five years ago and admits it was she that was driving. The reasoning for the switcheroo is that Susan didn't have her license with her--which is the lamest reason ever. You are required to have your driver's license in your possession while driving, but if you don't you just need to be able to produce it in court.

If Susan had had a drink, it would make more sense for Mike to lie and say he was driving. Anyway, Dave's focus has been diverted from Mike to Susan. Or more accurately, M.J.

The other subplot of neglected Tom and been-there, done-that Gabby bonding plus Carlos saving Lynette when she hit her head in the shower was pretty uneventful. Although I wonder if the writers are possibly setting up a future dalliance between either Carlos and Lynette or Gabby and Tom (or both!)...

The two-hour season finale is May 17th and for next week's episode it looks like Jackson is back in town!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Duplicity

For those who complained about the convoluted plot of this spy vs. spy caper, I can only attribute your inability to focus on years of MTV videos, predictable reality TV and too many YouTube Turtle Boy clips.

Pay attention people--it's not that complicated!

The double-crossing and triple-crossing are just fun filler to highlight the inherent problem in relationships: men and women don't trust each other. Not really.

The games, the tests, the verbal sparring is all in service of that bittersweet reality. But writer/director chooses not to get too caught up in the philosophical issues of male/female interactions but instead gives us a thrilling romp of a story about two former spies engaged in corporate espionage.

Gilroy obviously takes cues from the late 60s as Duplicity evokes films like The Thomas Crown Affair and even Bedtime Story stylistically and plot-wise. I could have done without the montage inserts--I find them intrusive and pretentious. But the interplay between Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) and Roy Koval (Clive Owen) was filled with sparks and wit. And Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti as rival CEOs only add to the film's finesse.

My only gripe with the movie was with whomever was responsible for Roberts' ghastly wardrobe. Although unconventionally beautifully, Roberts still has all the sparkle and charisma of her Pretty Woman days--even more so at the worldly-wise age of 41. Rather than enhance her looks, her wardrobe often made her look--ordinary.

Clive Owen, on the other hand, could wear Dockers and a sweatshirt and still look hot.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dexter - Season 3

I've just finished catching up with season three of Dexter, courtesy of CastTV. Despite the crappy video quality and the audio that was often times out of sync and the fact that the stupid site forced you to take 54 minute breaks for every 72 minutes of video streamed (this in an attempt to get you to sign up for the premium service which means you PAY for the crappy video quality and out of sync audio...), the third season of Dexter was as addictively engrossing as seasons one and two.

After the amazing debut season with the Ice Truck killer, I had no idea how the writers would ever be able to top themselves. But season two upped the ante with the obsessive Doakes and psychotic Lila.

How in the world could you top the Bay Harbor Butcher?

Indeed, when season three started it seemed like we were in for a series of standard serial killings...ho-hum. But in the very first episode we got a one-two sucker punch of Dexter accidentally killing an unintended victim (who just happened to be the little brother of a popular Assistant D.A.) and getting the news that Rita was pregnant.

So much for ho-hum!

Jimmy Smits' portrayal of A.D.A. Miguel Prado was a long way from his good guy roots with Victor Sifuentes (L.A. Law) and Bobby Simone (N.Y.P.D. Blue). His dark and manipulative, vain and vindictive killer lurking under the guise of upstanding public servant made Dexter's demonic dark side look positively righteous and normal in comparison. At IMDB it says Jimmy Smits' trademark is that he's "known for his portrayal of good men with deep moral convictions."

Way to blow away the typecasting, Jimmy!

Although the season was neatly tied-up with Dexter dispatching his former BFF Miguel and pinning it on season three's psycho, The Skinner (on whom he performed the patented Sayud Jarrah Ninja-breakdancing move...) and made it to the church in time to marry lovely Rita, I'm still psyched for season four. Could the files on Daddy Morgan's confidential informants that are sitting on sister Debra's desk be Dexter's next close call?

If you thought Miguel Prado's wrath was intense, wait 'til Debra finds out it was Dexter's Mom that Harry was having an affair with and that it was his brother who was the Ice Truck Killer!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Office - Broke

As I predicted, the tables were turned (or "turntables" as Michael Scott would say...) and Michael and company are back as employees at Dunder-Mifflin.

The episode started off with Angela sucking up to Charles assuring him that she will be diligent with expense reports. "Waste not, want not," she declares. "Been there, done that," Dwight snarks to Charles.

David Wallace arrives to deal with fact that the Scranton branch is bleeding due to clients lost to the Michael Scott Paper Company. Charles starts sucking up to him, which amuses Jim to no end. Then Charles makes a huge error in judgment when he asserts that it's Dwight and not Jim who is his right hand man. "Really? I find that extraordinarily unusual."

David addresses the office to ease their minds about the Michael Scott Paper Company siphoning off a large chunk of Dunder-Mifflin's core business (way to go Michael!). "Maybe if you had returned Michael's calls, none of this would have happened," Phyllis says to David. "I wonder that myself," David agrees.

Meanwhile, the Michael Scott Paper Company is having serious cashflow problems due to their deeply discounted prices. Michael mourns the impending loss of his company likening it to the day Steve Martin died. "Steve Martin's not dead," Pam informs him. "I always thought the day that he died would be the worst day of my life, but this is."

Back in the Dunder-Mifflin conference room, Dwight proposes setting bees on Michael making himself and Charles look like idiots. David Wallace responds, "The cheapest option is to make Michael an offer." So Jim is dispatched to float the idea to the Michael Scott Paper Company. "See you upstairs, you titans of business!" he tells them. "We're not only tight-ends, we're also quarterbacks!" Michael crows.

Michael struggles to keep his game face on as they go up to the office, but when they sit down at the table he is completely cool. David tells the three that Dunder-Mifflin is prepared to make them an offer to buy out their company. "And we are prepared to reject that offer," Michael rejoins.

Outside the conference room, Kelly and Angela attempt to eavesdrop with Kelly up against the wall with a glass. "What do you hear?" hisses Angela. "Wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh," replies Kelly.

I have to say, Michael was one tough negotiator. When David insinuates that Michael's paper company is on the verge of bankruptcy and that Dunder-Mifflin only needs to wait them out, Michael deftly parries with the fact that he knows a board meeting is coming up and that David's job may be on the line. "I don’t think I need to wait out Dunder-Mifflin, I think I need to wait out you," he coolly replies.

David ups his offer of $12,000 to $60,000 and Michael tells him that they need to discuss it. While the three are discussing the offer, Dwight receives a call from a former customer who defected to Michael's company--only to have Michael call him up later to tell him they needed his company to pay more for the latest shipment.

Thanks to Dwight's bee musings, Jim is easily able to undermine him when he races to Charles to report that the Michael Scott Paper Company is broke. Jim asks Dwight what other cases he's cracked and Dwight boasts about the beet bandit. Which is enough for Charles to tell both Dwight and Jim to stay away from the conference room. "You two are morons," he says in disgust.

Michael turns down David's offer to Ryan and Pam's dismay. Taking another break, Michael asks them, "Wouldn't you rather have a fishing pole than a fish?" Pam agrees and when Charles and David return to the table, Michael demands his old job back. "And I want Charles gone," Michael continues. David balks at that demand, so Michael switches tactics saying he wants Pam back. When David tells him there's already a receptionist, Michael tells him she'd be a salesperson.

Michael pushes the envelope and demands a job for Ryan as well. David argues that Ryan cost Dunder-Mifflin hundreds of thousands of dollars to which Michael shrugs saying he'll just start another paper company. "I have no shortage of company names," he threatens. "Our balls are in your court," he tells David who reluctantly agrees to his demands.

I loved the ending when Charles tried to give some parting remarks as he left and Michael interrupts saying, "No. No, you're done," cutting him off just like Charles cut him off several weeks earlier.

Nice to see the underdog come back. And the writers left things open for Charles to make an appearance now and then. But seriously people--can I call it or what? Here's what I predicted a week ago:

"I'm guessing that eventually this storyline with Michael, Pam and Ryan ousted from the office is going to end with Michael and company getting their old jobs back. Maybe Pam will come back to Dunder-Mifflin as a salesperson. Might be interesting to have her competing for sales against her future hubby Jim..."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Separated at Birth?















Am I the only one who sees a striking resemblance between Stewie of Family Guy and Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory?

Like they could be related or something.

If Stewie weren't a cartoon.

And both weren't fictional characters...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

derma e Skinbiotics

Antibiotic abuse and the rise of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureu (MRSA) has long been a concern of mine. Forget global warming or terrorism--we're more likely to be wiped out by a staph infection.

It's not just those unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions to treat a cold that are an issue. Every time you reach for the Neosporin, you risk decreasing your resistance to common infections.

This is why I was excited to learn that one of my favorite skin care lines, derma e, had come out with Skinbiotics--available in either cream or oil formulas. Skinbiotics was developed to treat bacterial and fungal skin conditions, insect bites, rashes and abrasions with a blend of Tea Tree Oil and Oregano Oil which naturally have antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties.

Whether you need a spot treatment to clear up an errant blemish or are taking proactive steps following a manicure or pedicure, Skinbiotics provides a natural alternative to over the counter antibiotic ointments. And like all derma e products, Skinbiotics is paraben-free, cruelty-free and 100% vegetarian.

Summer's coming and with it bug bites, sunburns, scrapes and abrasions. Skinbiotics is a great addition to your medicine cabinet to relieve all these problems and soothe skin to stimulate the healing process.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Heroes - I Am Sylar

If it weren't enough that Sylar has regenerative powers and can shapeshift, he is now officially indestructible. Danko put a knife in the back of his head, but Sylar just pulled it back out saying, "That hurt."

Sylar spent most of the episode titled "I Am Sylar" with a massive identity crisis. Turns out shapeshifting isn't all it's cracked up to be. Even stealing Clint Howard's ability (which is getting acting roles with little or no acting talent thanks to A-list brother Ronnie...) doesn't cheer Sylar up.

Apparently Sylar's shapeshifting comes from contact with DNA. And so as Agent Taub he orders the evidence from the unsolved murder of his adopted mom, Virginia Grey. (Unsolved? Really? Serial killer Sylar aka Gabriel Grey is her son, but they have no clue who murdered her?) It was good to see Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies) again. With the recent appearances of Ellen, Swoosie and Diana Scarwid it's a regular Bryan Fuller reunion. If he manages to insert Lee Pace into the season finale next week, I'll be beside myself with joy!

Greene is a pretty amazing actresses, chameleon-like almost. I recognized her voice but was confused by her appearance which was very un-Vivian Charles-like. I had to look up who played the role on IMDB in order to satisfy my curiosity...Anyway, Sylar goes into major Oedipal complex mode shapeshifting back and forth between himself and his murdered Mom.

His conversations with Mom bring out his nurturing side and he steps in to save Micah when Danko's agents are hot on Rebel's trail. Shapeshifting into Micah, he takes a bullet allowing the young hero to escape. Later Micah is creeped out when he witnessed Sylar's conversations with his "mother." In a huge continuity error, Micah (who watched Sylar distract the agents by shifting into Rebel) seems surprised that Sylar is a shapeshifter.

This seemed to be an excuse for Micah to tell Sylar that his deceased mother Nikki had a similar ability. "I'm not your mother," Sylar snarls.

No, but you are YOUR mother, Sylar...

It's Micah who gives Sylar the idea to shapeshift into Nathan. Pleading with Sylar he tells him, "You’ve forgotten who you really are...You don’t have to be alone...You can save us all!"

When Nathan sees Sylar on TV as him, he rushes back to D.C. to get to the President before Sylar can--because all Sylar has to do is shake the President's hand and whoosh! He's the President.

That's even easily than getting Karl Rove to rig ballots!

Face to face with Nathan, Sylar is about to do his finger forehead slice thingy when Danko arrives and shoot Nathan with tranquilizing darts. He then puts the knife in the back of Sylar's head to no avail...

Meanwhile Hiro and Ando continue their comic relief antics. Ando names himself the "Crimson Arc." Hiro muses that the name is "dangerous, yet ladylike." The two finally come to an agreement, but when Hiro goes to stop time outside Building 26 he gets a pain in his head and a nosebleed. Well, as we all know, time travel will do that to you.

Oh wait--that's another show...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Desperate Housewives - Look Into Their Eyes and You See What They Know

Last night marked the end of Edie on Desperate Housewives.

I, for one, will miss her.

There was no "will she make it"? cliffhanger. Edie pretty much bought the farm within seconds of the show. Performing a Mary Alice like voiceover (I'm thinking an Edie voiceover might be way more fun than the arch Mary Alice) throughout the episode, Edie showed us the lighter and nicer side of everyone's favorite "aging neighborhood tramp" as Marc Cherry put it.

Sheridan's had comments of her own on her final ouster from Wisteria Lane. But whatever went down between the two, Sheridan's last show was a fitting tribute to one of the more interesting characters on Desperate Housewives. "I died just as I lived--as the complete and utter center of attention," said Edie in the opening moments of the show.

From warning Susan about Karl's infidelity to refusing to let Lynette wallow while fighting cancer, to shaming Bree into visiting Orson in jail, Edie finally got her due. Sexy, strong, perceptive, beautiful, one of a kind. Sigh--if saving money was the issue, why not kill off annoying Susan?

Unfortunately Edie died before being able to warn Mike about Dave.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Is Anybody There?

I took markws' criticism to heart and went to see Is Anybody There?, a British import starring Michael Caine as an irascible former magician who befriends Edward (Bill Milner), an 11 year-old obsessed with death.

The performances are wonderful. Caine's tilting at windmills as he rails against his decline and the inevitable regrets is palpable. Milner (Son of Rambow) is once again engaging and endearing as a boy who is both fascinated and repulsed by the elderly residents he shares his home with.

I need to give a shout out to David Morrissey who played Edward's mildlife crisis struggling Dad and Anne-Marie Duff who played Edward's stoically patient Mum. Set in a privately run old folks home, of course the cast would be filled with eccentric and offbeat characters. It's a pretty realistic depiction of the indignities of aging.

Milner manages to hold his own with maestro Caine, but the story isn't anything we haven't seen before in films from Harold and Maude to last years Benjamin Button. There is no new ground covered here, no revelations about the mysteries of life or the misery of death. (Or vice versa in some cases...) Inexplicably the story is set in 1987, but aside from a few choice music selections (Come on, Eileen, etc.) the look and feel of the film suggest a much earlier time period.

If you're a big Michael Caine fan, it might be worth the price of a matinee. In any case I'm going to try to catch Duplicity next weekend. It's an American film but at least it stars one of my favorite British imports--Clive Owen.

Rebate Scam

Looks like Scott Adams has also been ripped off by Wirefly...

Dilbert.com

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The New Office

It's still a work in progress but at least we have room to work!









































Friday, April 17, 2009

The Office - Heavy Competiton

I'm guessing that eventually this storyline with Michael, Pam and Ryan ousted from the office is going to end with Michael and company getting their old jobs back. Maybe Pam will come back to Dunder-Mifflin as a salesperson. Might be interesting to have her competing for sales against her future hubby Jim...

IMDB only credits new boss Charles Miner through last night's episode. And Wikipedia reports Idris Elba had a six episode arc on the show. I guess the situation will be resolved in the next episode or two...

Last night's episode pitted the master (Michael Scott) against the sycophant--I mean "apprentice" (Dwight).

Although Dwight initially is helping Michael's nascent company as he chafes under Charles' dress code which requires him to wear LONG sleeves, he switches allegiance after a meeting with Charles.

Charles calls him into his office and asks him to sit down. "I prefer to stand. Less blood clots." But when Charles compliments his work ethic and focus, Dwight is conflicted. He tries to explain this to Michael but it's clear to Michael that he should take precedence having been in Dwight's life prior to Charles' appearance on the scene. "You respect dibs, don't you?" Michael asks Dwight. "Of course. I'm not a barbarian!" Dwight replies.

But Dwight ends up betraying his old mentor by setting Michael up for a confrontation with Charles in the parking lot. This leads Michael to threaten Dwight telling him, "I’m going to steal all of your clients and then I’m going to kill them in front of you!"

Michael pulls out his rolodex and starts working his magic. "I spent a month putting his rolodex on a blackberry which he now uses as a nightlight," Pam observes.

Dwight retaliates by breaking into the Michael Scott Paper Company office and stealing Michael's rolodex. Michael ups the ante by stealing Dwight's biggest client while keeping Dwight on speakerphone so he can hear it happening.

Dwight rushes to stop him, bursting into the meeting between Michael and Mr. Schofield. "I barge because I care!" he tells the startled client. When Dwight misuses Michael's rolodex notes and makes reference to Schofield's gay son, he botches everything.

"I wanted to start a company, not a war," Michael muses at the end of the show. Not too have Michael morph completely into wise and pithy mode, the very end of the show featured Michael, Ryan and Pam in a contest to see who could stuff the most Chee-tos into their mouth.

Now that's The Office I know and love...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

LOST - Some Like It Hoth

Favorite line of the night: Hurley to Miles using a Star Wars analogy, "Let's face it--Ewoks suck, dude."

Actually Hurley had a bunch of great lines: Hitching a ride with the reluctant Miles, "It will help with global warming which hasn't happened yet so maybe we can prevent it" or telling Miles he can not only talk with dead people, but plays chess with them as well, "You're just jealous my power is better than yours" or after Dr. Chang's warning to keep his mouth shut or else, "Polar bear poop--got it."

The biggest answer we got last night was the relationship between Miles and Pierre Chang--or as Miles put it to Hurley, "That douche is my Dad."

So how is it that older Miles can coexist in time and space with 3 month old baby Miles? I guess now that Faraday's back--arriving with the submarine full of scientists from Ann Arbor--we might get the answer to that.

We learned how Miles was recruited by Naomi and it was confirmed that Widmore was responsible for the faked Oceanic 815 wreckage. We also found out how it was he came up with the $3.2 million dollar extortion figure that he told Ben--it was double the figure Naomi offered him on behalf of Widmore to come to the island.

Bram--in cahoots with Ilana on last week's show--showed up to kidnap Miles and try to convince him not to go to the island. He quoted the same cryptic question that Ilana posed to Lapidus: "Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?" and tells Miles that he's playing for the wrong team.

Which means that Bram and Ilana are part of Team Linus. Aha--the plot thickens! Actually the plot of LOST can't get any thicker--but at least we're getting things resolved.

We also got to see the construction of the hatch. Hurley watches as the infamous numbers are embossed onto it. Miles is surprised when Hurley knows the next number in the sequence and Hurley explains he knows because it's the hatch. "What hatch?" asks Miles. "The one that crashed our plane," answers Hurley.

How funny was it that Hurley was attempting to rewrite The Empire Strikes Back (the Ewok-free version) and make it better? Hey, Hugo--if you really want to improve the Star Wars franchise, rewrite episodes 1 through 3 and remove Jar Jar Binks!

In other LOST events, Miles induction into the "Circle of Trust" by Horace which causes him to leave before he can destroy the tapes that show Kate and Sawyer kidnapping Ben. When Roger returns to the infirmary and finds his son missing, he freaks out and goes on a bender. Kate tries to lift his spirits, but instead he turns his suspicion on her.

Jack convinces Roger that his inebriated state is the cause of his paranoia, but Phil finds the incriminating tape and confronts Sawyer--who socks him in the jaw and tells Juliet to get some rope.

Poor Phil. If Oldham is the Dharma's Sayid, then Phil looks to be its Ben. Not for scheming evilness, but for being a human punching bag.

Next week fills in what happened with the O6 during the three years they were off the island. Personally I can't wait to come back and find out what's been going on with Faraday...

For more on last night's episode however, check out the recap at Lostpedia, the screencaps at Dark UFO and Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney's Dueling Analyses at washingtonpost.com.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

LOST: Some like it hoth, Some like it cold

George primes us for tonight's Miles-centric episode:

Hello LOSTies,

"What lies in the shadow of the statue?"

Well lets get through the recap, because the tease for tonight is so hoth. So in 1977, Fabio-lookalike Charles Widmore rode on his mighty horse as the leader of the Hostiles. Upset at Richard for bringing a DHARMAite into their territory, eventually it was decided to use Ben as a spy. In 1989, while still a DHARMAite, Ben and Ethan enacted the plan to kill Danielle and Alex. Unfortunately, Ben was not as smooth back in 89 as he is now. After seeing Alex, Ben spared Danielle's life and took the baby back to Hostile Jungle. This time, Charles was upset at Ben for not killing them and left Ben to be Alex's caretaker, against his judgement.

Sometime after the Purge, when the Hostiles took over DHARMA property, Charles was removed from the island, banished because of his dalliances in the outside world. With Charles gone, Ben becomes the leader of the "Others". In 2007/8, Ben does approach the marina. But when Desmond tries to stop him, Ben shoots him in the chest. Strutting along the marina, Ben confronts Penny. But, history repeating itself, when he sees Charlie, Ben could not bring himself to kill Penny (or Charlie). It wouldn't have mattered because Desmond gave Ben the beat down that caused him to become bloody when he boarded the Ajira flight.

On Hydra Island, Ben tries to put some doubt into Caesar's mind about John, so that he can detain him. But when Caesar was just talkative and no real action, Ben shot him and used it to gain Locke's trust in heading to the main island. On the main island, Ben and Locke meet up with Frank and Sun at Ben's old house (the Risk game from 2005 still on the table). Ben went into the catacombs and unclogged the drain (?) to summon Smokey.

When Smokey didn't arrive quickly, Locke led Ben to the Temple, where Locke was almost captured by Smokey. Once down under the outer wall of the Temple, Ben entered the Hieroglyphics chamber where Anubis (what the big statue was) and Smokey looked to be together. Smokey entered the chamber and began to show Ben his life with Alex. Smokey took on the form of Alex (similar to how Yemi showed up for Eko). After Ben admits to causing everything that led to Alex's death, Smokey Alex let him live but not without a warning, to become a follower of Locke, or else Ben will be destroyed.

Meanwhile, Frank get back at the Hydra island and is met by Jed, who tells him that Ilana and others have weapons. Ilana and Bram pull guns on Frank and she asks "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" When he can't answer, she knocks him out with the butt of her gun, and tells Bram to get everyone else and that Frank is coming with them. Go back to season 2 when Desmond asked Locke "What did one snowman say to the other?" and that's how Desmond knew Locke wasn't "Him".

Now on tonight..."Some Like It Hoth"

Hoth, for you Star Wars novices, is the icy and snowy planet at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. Its main area is Echo Base, which was a great defense to get Rebel intelligence out of Hoth if it was discovered by the Empire. Now what does this have to do with tonight's "LOST"? Guess you have to wait and see.

This is known as the 2nd of the "The Answers" episodes. Last week, this week, and April 29th's episode are "The Answer" episodes. So what will we find? How about the story of Miles! Our resident ghost talker's life will be addressed in this one and this poor character has seen a lot in his young life. This episode makes me want to eat sandwiches and tacos! For those of you that loved Miles and Hurley arguing over time travel, you will get more of this comedic duo tonight as well. But it's not all fun and games as Ben's disappearance from the infirmary is noticed and doubting eyes are cast. It's not like he was kidnapped or anything, right? Someone needs a package delivered to someone important in DHARMA. Why was Miles picked by Naomi? Why did he want $3.2 million from Ben? Why is Breaking Bad's Hank in this episode as a character named Howard???

Get ready to laugh and be shocked at one of the revelations in this episode...get your light sabers iPhone/iPod Touch apps ready!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Heroes - 1961

Last night's episode was lacking Sylar, Danko, Hiro, Ando and both Matt Parkmans. What it wasn't lacking in was stilted on-the-nose dialogue.

We did get to see the beginning of "The Company" with a teen-aged Angela, Charles DeVeaux, Linderman and Bob joining forces after meeting at a relocation camp. The camp was headed up by a young Dr. Suresh--Mohinder's Dad.

I loved how they tried to make Dr. Suresh the elder (in his younger days) look like this nice guy--as he pulls out a big ass needle and tells his young patients, "This won't hurt a bit."

Liar.

"My father was Dr. Mengele?" says a horrified Mohinder.

Interesting historical revision given in season one we were led to believe that Suresh the elder's interest in "abilities" was a result of his daughter Shanti's untimely death.

Anyway, Angela is searching for her sister who she believed to have died in the massacre at Coyote Sands fifty years ago. She's been dreaming about Alice and feels that somehow she is still alive.

Alice has the ability to control the weather and when storms start whipping up at Coyote Sands, Angela believes it's Alice. While young Alice had coal-black eyes and hair like Angela, old Alice appears to Angela with a mane of Medusa-like hair and the coloring of a blonde.

It's not surprising that, since being reassociated with the show, Bryan Fuller would cast one of his favorite actresses. Scarwid played the mom on Wonderfalls and had a three episode arc on Pushing Daisies. She's a wonderful actress, but she looks nothing like Cristine Rose.

Another interesting factoid: the building in the relocation camp where experiements were performed was Building 26.

Next episode is titled "I am Sylar." I can hardly wait!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cupid vs. Cupid

While the new version of Cupid has its moments, it's lacking one major component of the original: Jeremy Piven. What it does share with its predecessor is chunks of dialogue and entire scenes duplicated in both pilot episodes.

I guess you can't really accuse Rob Thomas of plagiarizing himself.




Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Love You, Man

Hollie was absolutely right about this one: so, so funny.

Paul Rudd is perfection as the awkward, semi-wussified Peter Klaven. Actually, the entire cast is wonderful from Jason Segel as overgrown man-child Sidney Fife, Rashida Jones as Peter's super cool fiancee, Andy Samberg as Peter's gay brother and Jane Curtin and J. K. Simmons as his parents.

But the movie belongs to Rudd. Every facial expression, mannerism, reaction and line delivery is pitch perfect. A comedy about male-bonding could have easily degenerated into a raunch-fest of projectile vomiting and fart jokes. Actually, there IS projectile vomiting in this movie, but for the most part the humor comes from a sense of real authenticity.

Even Jason Segel's Sidney seems flesh and bone rather than overdone caricature. If Will Ferrell had played the part there'd be a scene of him running around in his underwear. Not so with Segel. He plays Sidney with a combination of arrested development and sagacious wisdom. The film, in fact, does a great job blending comedy with an honest, realistic and smart look at relationships.

Smart, funny, sweet--this is a classic!

In addition, I loved seeing shots of some of my fave L.A. spots throughout the film.

The New Place - Settled (almost!)

Pics of the place clean (pretty much) and organized (almost):



Living room - the futon sofa and armoire are new. TV stand and coffee table (leather!) were obtained via Craigslist. About $100 for both pieces!





Bathroom - I love the shower curtain.










Bedroom - I'm not fond of the layout, but options are limited.









Another view of the living room. I still have to finish organizing my office, but most likely I'll be working at the coffee table in front of the TV.




The internet connection was fixed on Friday evening. It was sheer misery dealing with Verizon but for one super-fabulous customer service supervisor, Pat Hennigan. Verizon needs to clone her--she is a rare thing in this world: a customer service person who cares about the customer and provides excellent service.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Office - The Michael Scott Paper Company and Dream Team

The two episodes of The Office last night were not quite back-to-back. Amy Poehler's new sitcom, Parks and Recreation, was sandwiched in between. Although PnR featured the same mockumentary style and Jim Halpert's ex Karen (Rashida Jones), it doesn't quite live up to its predecessor's standards. Amy Poehler is pretty funny--I loved her line about dealing with an angry public: "What I hear when I'm being yelled at is people loudly caring at me."

Here's hoping that it will grow into its premise and be funnier in the future. I got more laughs in less than a minute watching these Roomba-riding kittens than 22-odd minutes of PnR:



Anyway, Michael's new venture had a shaky start. Pam shows up for her first day as a salesperson at the Michael Scott Paper Company perky as ever. "Apple started in a garage. We’re starting in a condo so we already have a leg up on Apple."

Michael on the other hand is overwhelmed and channels his anxieties into making mounds of French toast. He asks Pam what shape she wants hers in. "Square is fine," Pam replies. With Michael undergoing an egg-covered meltdown, Pam quickly diverts him by starting a list of do-able goals. Like song parodies.

I loved the interplay between Pam and Michael. Jenna Fischer was brilliant in both episodes.

Michael recruits Vikram from the telemarketing center and Ryan from his job at the bowling alley to complete his "dream team." Then the four head over to the Senior Center to hit up Michael's Nana for investment money. When her investment club rejects him, Vikram bails on the venture. Pam starts to get cold feet as well.

"I was just feeling impulsive--I should have gotten a tiny tattoo on my ankle!" she wails.

Michael calms her saying, "I do my best when people don't believe in me." He manages to get some office space (a closet under the bathroom actually) at the Scranton Business Park where he runs into his nemesis, Charles Minor. "The Michael Scott Paper Company is about to open a big ol’ can of whupass on the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company," Michael tells Charles.

Charles did not look pleased. Perhaps the catfight between Ali Larter and Beyonce has him worried. Oh wait, wrong story. That would be the impending catfight between Kelly and Angela. Or maybe Kelly and the new receptionist also named Kelly...

There's a power struggle between Pam and Ryan over use of the laptop or who should make copies. Pam, trying to change her image from receptionist to salesperson, refuses but confesses, "And the worst part is I like making copies!" Michael blows a gasket saying, "I don’t make copies I’m the boss. I make originals!"

The pancake luncheon (with square pancakes) is not a rousing success, although Pam manages to make one connection. Her cold feet get even colder and she tries to get her old job back from Charles--but that doesn't go well since the position has been filled. The bickering in the basement office takes its toll with Michael almost about to admit defeat telling Pam and Ryan, "I once had a dream I was eating a peanut butter and tunafish sandwich and it was delicious..."

As he's about the segue into how something that original seemed like a good idea can turn out to be a bad idea, Pam's contact from the pancake luncheon calls and places an order.

Meanwhile, Jim continues to struggle with being on the outs with new boss Charles with Dwight gloating, "Oh no, the new boss does not find Jim adorable!" When Andy's mirroring technique of pretending to like soccer scores him some brownie points with the unyielding Charles, Jim tries the same tactic saying he played soccer in school. This leads Dwight to up the ante by suggesting that Charles and Jim should play soccer together.

Jim admits: "I did play soccer in school. From second to fourth grade. I was on the orange team."

When the office goes out at lunch to all play soccer, Jim's lie is exposed when he ducks and lets the ball smash Phyllis in the face.

The best part of the show was the potential rivalry between Andy and Dwight over new receptionist, Kelly. Andy tells Dwight, "The last thing I want to do is step on your funk, man!" But their impromptu jam session turns into a weird version of Dueling Banjos (actually Andy was playing banjo, Dwight played guitar) when Kelly (the new Kelly) enters the breakroom and starts singing along to John Denver's Country Roads.

Although they initially attempting to impress Erin--upping the stakes in virtuousity with Dwight singing in German at one point--they end up impressing each other and remaining friends.

So funny.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

LOST - Dead is dead

"Dead is dead," Ben says to Sun regarding John Locke's miraculous reanimation. "You don't get to come back from that. Even here."

But like most of what comes out of Ben's mouth, was that a lie or a fact?

As George promised, we had a lot of blanks filled in last night:

1. Ben's reason for killing John - It was the only way to bring the O6 together to come back to the island. He halted John's suicide in order to obtain critical information (Eloise Hawking, I'm guessing...). And then after getting said information, (in the best line of the night) Ben says, "Well, I just didn’t have time to talk you back into hanging yourself."

2. Alex's kidnapping - Younger Ben and young Ethan (who was much, much cuter than older Ethan) were tasked with killing Rousseau, but the discovery of baby Alex stopped Ben who kidnapped the baby and let Rousseau live. Widmore was unhappy with the outcome but Ben couldn't bring himself to kill a child--much like Kate and Sawyer couldn't let little Ben die.

3. Penny's fate - Ben was at the Marina to kill Penny as he gloated via cell phone to Charles Widmore. But Desmond sees him and demands to know what he's doing, so Ben shoot Desmond. He's about to kill Penny, but is stopped again by the appearance of a child--little Charlie. (Is this Benjamin Linus' personal Kryptonite? Little kids? And more importantly--how and WHY would Des and Pen SAIL to L.A. from London? That makes even less sense than a sentimental Ben...) As he delays in pulling the trigger, Desmond revives in time to save Penny (YAY!) beat the @#$% out of him.

That was even more satisfying than Sun whacking him in the head with an oar...

4. Penny was born to an "outsider" during an off island excursion by Charles Widmore. These dalliances were what got him kicked off the island. "You broke the rules, Charles," Ben tells him. Widmore didn't turn the donkey wheel, but left via sub--which begs the question: How did he know where John would end up exiting?

When Ben awakes to find John sitting at his bedside, he tells him that he came back to the island to be judged. "By whom?" John asks. "We don’t even have a word for it. But I believe you call it the monster," Ben replies.

Ben and John start to set off in one of the boats to go to the main island, but are stopped by Caesar who has put himself in charge. Thanks to Ben, Caesar is more than a little suspicious of John--but when he goes to draw his gun on John, Ben shoots him in the chest.

I didn't see THAT coming!

"Consider that my apology," he tells John.

When they get to the main island, they see the figure of a woman pass in the window of Ben's house. I thought it might be Alex or Claire, but it turned out to be Sun who was instructed by Christian to wait for John Locke if she wanted to see Jin again. She shows Ben the Dharma photo of the O6ers stuck in the 70s.

"You didn't know about this?" she asks the incredulous Ben. "Of course not!" insists Ben.

Lying or telling the truth? So hard to tell--although I have a tendency to believe that you know when Ben Linus is lying if his lips are moving. He certainly seemed to be playing both ends of the deck where John Locke was concerned.

Speaking of Locke, it was good to see him regain his mojo and the tables were definitely turned between him and Ben. He was totally in command in the exchanges they had with each other--which I've sorely missed. "Well, now you know what it was like to be me," Locke tells him as he takes charge and leads Ben and Sun to the Temple.

The three take a route underneath the Temple and Ben tells John, "I appreciate you showing me the way but I think I came take it from here."

Then he falls through a hole in the floor--reminiscent of John's fall down the well, or Alice's descent down the rabbit hole? John rushes off to find a way to get him out and Ben is left alone in a room filled with hieroglyphic covered tablets.

The smoke monster comes up through grates in the floor and surrounds Ben showing him flashes of his life--including Alex's death. Ben sobs and it seems like this might be his retribution--to re-witness his daughter's death--as the monster disappears. But then Alex reappears (most likely the smoke monster taking Alex's form just like Eko saw his brother...) in the "flesh."

Ben apologizes to Alex and admits that it was all his fault. Alex whales on Ben (First Desmond, then Sun and finally Alex...) and tells him, "I know you're planning to kill John Locke again." She/Smokey tells him that he'd better listen to and follow Locke from now on or "I will hunt you down and destroy you."

John returns with some rope to rescue Ben. "It let me live," a shaken Ben tells him.

Is this possibly a fate worse than death for Ben? To be forced to listen to and follow Locke?

Smokey sure has a sick sense of humor.

Back on the little island, Lapidus returns to find that Ilana and two others have guns and have taken charge. "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Ilana demands of Frank. When he can't answer the riddle, she cold cocks him and tells her cohort, "Get everyone and tell them it's time."

Is this the "war"of which Widmore warned Locke? Sounds like Ilana was talking about the infamous four-toed statue...

Looks like next week's episode is all about Miles. That should be interesting!

Delve deeper into the episode with the recap at Lostpedia, screencaps at Dark UFO and Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney's Dueling Analyses at washingtonpost.com.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Customer Service Happy Ending

Recently my cohort Sara blogged about the impending iTunes increase. As such, I decided to make my purchases with my gift card before the price increase took effect on April 7th. Imagine my dismay on the evening of April 6th when a number of my song selections already carried the new $1.29 price tag!

I ended up downloading the tunes anyway, but wrote a note to iTunes protesting the unfairness of being charged the increased price prior to April 7th. I didn't expect much although I asked to reimbursed for the extra cost. That would have netted me 90 cents. iTunes gave me a THREE song credit.

How awesome is THAT?!!!

Here is my new playlist:

1. Feeling Good - George Michael
2. She Don't Use Jelly - The Flaming Lips
3. Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
4. Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
5. Maybe, Maybe - nico stai
6. Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) - Reunion
7. Love Remains the Same - Gavin Rossdale
8. Paper Planes - M.I.A.
9. Stop and Stare - OneRepublic
10. Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
11. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
12. Psycho - Puddle of Mudd
13. Ball of Confusion - Love and Rockets
14. Vida la Vida - Coldplay
15. 1, 2, 3, 4, - Plain White T's
16. That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
17. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division

LOST: Dead is dead...or is it?

George gives us some more teasers to tantalize us until 9 pm tonight:

"Hello LOSTies,

"Welcome back to the land of the living" - John Locke to Ben Linus.

Kate's flashback episode explained quite a bit to us including her unraveling Jack's lies to Cassidy and Carole. One of the biggest answers came when Kate told Carole the truth and then proceeded to leave Aaron in the care of grandmother. Back in 1977, Jin brings a bleeding Ben back to the Barracks. Juliet starts to work on him since the doctor is at the Looking Glass station. But even she can go so far, as she needs Jack's help. As he did before, Jack flat out told Juliet that he wouldn't operate on Ben.

So instead of letting him die (after a conversation with Roger), Kate decides to take matters in her own hands. With Juliet's help, Kate takes Ben out to the jungle. She is later joined by Sawyer. In the jungle, they are met by a group of Hostiles, including Erik (a new, but important character). Sawyer demands to see Richard and gets his chance. Sawyer and Kate ask for the Hostiles to save Ben's life.

Erik puts up an opposition saying that Ellie (who is Eloise Hawking, Daniel Faraday's mother) and Charles (Widmore) wouldn't like it. After Richard says he doesn't answer to them, he takes Ben with one warning: that Ben will not be the same after he goes back, nor will he remember what happened to him. Richard then takes Ben to the Temple and opens the door to take him inside. Ben wakes up in 2007/8 to find Locke staring at him.

Some interesting points about the episode include Miles and Hurley's chat about time travel. The scene was written before the season started to explain time travel to the casual LOST viewer, in case they were lost. It's funny how the LOSTaways are the ones who make Ben the man he becomes. And that "Temple" keeps coming up again this season...and there is a reason why..I just won't tell you yet :)

On to tonight's episode "Dead Is Dead"....

Tonight we head on over to the Ajira crash in 2007/8 on Hydra Island. Time to catch up with Ben, Locke, Sun, Frank, Caesar, and Ilana. Ben's plan comes to fruition to Locke's destiny. Tonight is Ben's flashbacks. Aren't you loving the return of flashbacks??

Tonight, the blanks will be filled on: How he took _________ from ___________, did _________ know that Ben wasn't her __________, why was Ben bloody at the docks, and possibly what is __________. Between redemption and comeuppance, between a shocking revelation in Alex's bedroom and Ben/Widmore's rules...lies the story of a man, Benjamin Linus, who is about to face all his demons, fears, and actions. The judgment may just be what LOST fans have been waiting for since season 2.

Oh, two sides notes:

1) Has anyone seen "I Love You Man"?? Go see it, I loved it!! There is an awesome LOST shout-out from Paul Rudd!
2) Harold Perrineau (ex-Michael Dawson, LOST) debut's along side Amber Tamblyn (ex-Emily Quartermaine, General Hospital), Jeremy Renner (Doyle, 28 Weeks Later), Adam Goldberg (ex-Nick Rubenstein, Entourage), and Monique Curnen (Det. Anna Ramirez, The Dark Knight) on ABC's newest show "The Unusuals" tonight after LOST!
Another rec for I Love You Man! Guess that's what I'll be seeing this Sunday...

I'm looking forward to seeing how Ben got all beaten before the plane crash. Hopefully it had nothing to do with Desmond and Penny. Or if it did, that Ben ended up in worse shape than either of them...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heroes - Turn and Face the Strange

The title of last night's episode comes from David Bowie's Changes. Despite Mohinder exclaiming to Hiro that Matt had changed, the only one changing was Sylar courtesy of his new shapeshifting power.

When Sandra first showed up to see Noah, I was sure it was actually Sylar in shapeshifting mode. Turns out that Sylar was being Danko. I loved his line to the albino midget: "You really ought to have that mole checked. You know the one I mean." Noah definitely doesn't buy that his nemesis is dead and, despite Angela's warning to leave it alone, he goes to the crematorium and pulls the spike out of "Sylar's" head and gets it tested for DNA.

Later Sandra shows up to serve him with divorce papers telling him that their marriage is just a cover so Noah can go around shooting people--but this time it IS Sylar. Noah gets a clue when 1. the DNA report comes back as James Martin and 2. Sandra's signature on the divorce papers doesn't match.

Noah goes to "Sandra's" hotel room to confront Sylar--but this time it IS Sandra. A well-timed phone call from Lyle prevents Noah from making a huge mistake. Noah confronts Danko by pretending to be Sylar (it would have been really awesome if Danko had actually been Sylar) and gets him to admit that Sylar is posing as one of his agents.

Noah shoots the agent thinking Sylar's regeneration powers will prove his theory. But it turns out that Danko was setting him up and the agent is dead. Noah trains his gun on Danko and then makes his escape. Later, Sylar regenerates and when Danko makes a comment about the blood, he says "I squeezed out a little extra for show."

Back to Matt Parkman--although Mohinder insists that he's changed, Matt's revenge crusade fails when he can't pull the trigger. Literally. He manages to find Emile's Achille's heel in the form of Alena. But he can't bring himself to shoot her. He does manage to expose Danko's double life and wreck their relationship. But as Danko doesn't have the same lack of conpunction in trigger pulling, Parkman escapes being shot only by Hiro managing to show up and stop time in the nick of time.

Then Hiro reunites big Matt Parkman with his son, baby Matt Parkman and now big Matt has a reason to live again after Daphne's death. Another reunion took place in the desert at a place called "Coyote Sands." Or maybe it was "Coyote Sam's." I thought Angela called it "Coyote Sam's, but that sounds like a Looney Tunes character...

Peter and Angela arrive at the abandoned encampment and Nathan and Claire fly in to meet them. Noah shows up and Mohinder, who found evidence of the location in his father's notes, should be there soon. Coyote Sands (or Sam's), according to Angela, "is where our story really begins." She hands everyone shovels and tells them to dig. Nathan comes across a skull and asks Angela if it was anyone she knew.

"I knew all of them..." Angela replies.

Sounds like we've got the mass grave from the Dharma purge. Oh wait--wrong channel, wrong show.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Television Chronicles

Since getting DirecTV, I've been exposed to television series I hadn't had access to prior. Here's a rundown:

1. The United States of Tara - While I wasn't overly impressed with Diablo Cody's Juno, I found this show engrossingly addictive from the get-go. It's an acting tour de force for Toni Collette who portrays a woman with multiple personalities but it certainly doesn't hurt that hottie John Corbett is on board playing Tara's long-suffering husband, Max. (Anyone else think Carrie made a HUGE mistake dumping Aidan in favor of Big?)

2. Mad Men - I have a number of friends who are really into this show. I'm not there yet. I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm coming into things midway through Season two, but it hasn't hooked me like USoT.

3. Damages - I watched the season two finale. It took a bit of getting into, but Glenn Close is exceptionally watchable.

4. The Real Housewives of New York - I know a lot of people count this as a guilty pleasure. I won't be one of them.

5. What Not to Wear - Speaking of guilty pleasures, I can totally understand why this show has a cult following. I wouldn't put it on the DVR schedule, but if it were on while I was flipping through the channels, I'd watch it.

6. The Tudors - I saw season one of this slightly different take on the life and loves of Henry the VIII. I missed season two which chronicled the rise, fall and death of Anne Boleyn--but that's the story that's most been told. It's still very watchable--mostly for the eye candy of set design and costumes. Gorgeous!

7. Cupid - This is network, but I had to catch this updated version of a show that definitely deserved a second chance. The original Cupid starred fast-talking Jeremy Piven and series-killer Paula Marshall. The reboot stars a doltish Bobby Cannavale and series-killer Sarah Paulson. I doubt this one will last even as long as the original and I'm sure I won't be as sorry to see it go.