He’s memorized the Earth. He has 22 degrees. He decrypted the language of the Garden of Eden in under 8 hours. He’s never had a girlfriend, and he lives with his mother. He is Flynn Carson, The Librarian. In The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, hopeless and hapless Flynn rather unwittingly gets a job as the librarian of a secret and labyrinthine treasure trove hidden below the New York Metropolitan Library. On his second day, Flynn, along with his bosses Judson and Charlene, discovers that the library’s piece of the Spear of Destiny has been stolen by the Brotherhood of the Serpent, an evil group bent on—you guessed it—world domination. Flynn’s reaction? “I really thing that you should get a parking space before being asked to fight an evil conspiracy.”
What follows is exactly what you would expect: Flynn goes on a quest to find the spear, meets the lovely Nicole Noone (Sonya Walger, who plays Penelope on Lost), decodes, decrypts, dives off cliffs, and discovers his courage. The good guys win and the bad guys lose. Flynn gets the girl.
The story’s not original, but it is delightful. Much as it shames me to admit it, my favorite part is the tour through the library-- all that stuff! They have the Grail! And secret passcodes, and those key things that two people have to turn at once, like with nuclear weapons: "Where do you think the army got the idea?" says Judson. Is it possible to be a fangirl for mythical objects? And does this librarian job really exist? Where do I apply?
The latter two-thirds of the movie, which take us from the Amazon to the Himalayas to Mongolia, are part Indiana Jones, part Dora the Explorer. It’s G-rated fun that knows its G-rated, and that there is nothing wrong with that. No one dies and there's no blood, but the bridge-collapsing scene was actually fairly suspenseful.
At times the casting took me out of the story: I kept wanting Penelope to go back to finding Desmond. And the head of the Brotherhood is Kyle MacLachlan, who will always be Special Agent Dale Cooper. But the real star is Noah Wyle as Flynn, who manages to pull off befuddled and brilliant at the same time. He doesn't pull any punches, either: his version of a tribal mating dance is a great example of an actor really throwing himself into a part and sacrificing any and all dignity. Judson (Bob Newhart, the Godfather of Deadpan) and Charlene (Jane Curtain, who comes from France) imbue the library scenes with a quaint cynicism that, of course, belies their growing affection for their new Librarian and their love for the objects contained in the library.
The object of the quest, of course, is the MacGuffin to end all MacGuffins. The Spear of Destiny (or the Lance of Longinus) has, like the Grail, a long and storied history. In my favorite version, Charlemagne receives the spear and uses its power to conquer most of Western Europe, possessing more land than any man before—well, to the historians of the time, that is. On his deathbed, along with foolishly dividing his kingdom among his sons, the great Emperor bequeathed the spear to one Athelstan, King of England. Never heard of Athelstan? Yeah, that’s why I like this version best. Maybe the spear lost its mojo when it crossed the English Channel.
World domination aside, there is something rather delightful about our continued participation in theses myths. We know the spear isn’t real, we know the Holy Grail doesn’t exist, and we know that two people probably can’t survive a 500-foot drop over a rushing waterfall in the Amazon. But we willingly suspend our disbelief in the cause of a good yarn, which not only gives us pleasure but also links us back to the generations and generations of readers, listeners, and watchers who’ve enjoyed other quest narratives.
That’s all a bit serious, of course, for a movie that’s all in good fun. While watching I started a list of funny quotes to mention, but it got a little too long (and most of them depended on Bob Newhart’s dry and halting delivery to be really funny). So instead I’ll recommend that you Netflix it, Tivo it, whatever. And enjoy.
Buffy: "I just had the strangest dream. We were back in high school. And you were there. And you were there. And you were there."
Willow: "And Toto, too?"
Buffy battles a variety of monsters, and isn't getting enough sleep. When she finally conks out in a big way (in Xander's bed), she wakes up back in her old bedroom in Sunnydale, and Joyce is yelling up the stairs that Buffy will be late for school. Buffy is understandably ecstatic that Joyce is alive. She hugs Dawn a lot, too. Dawn is much younger than we've ever seen her, because of course, she didn't exist back then. "Then" is obviously the latter part of season one.
Although I tend to downplay my feelings of negativity when I like a show, it's pretty obvious to me that Heroes is in serious trouble.
How did this happen? Maybe it was the writers' strike. Maybe they're just not doing what they should be doing. And maybe it's just the basic concept of the show. The origin stories for our superheroes in season one were exceptionally cool, definitely what got us all hooked. Maybe the regular stories will just never measure up to the origin stories. Which may be why they keep introducing new supercharacters. That, unfortunately, we don't like all that much. (Two words: Maya and Arthur.)
Or is it the format? I'm a big proponent of the arc; I love a great big, long story with a great big payoff. Why isn't it working for Heroes? The last two arcs have been disappointing. I'm actually considering dropping Heroes from my review roster this spring. It's that bad. I'm definitely going to stop watching episodes twice.
What would help Heroes? I'm not sure I know. It may even be too late, since the rest of the third season is already written. But here are some suggestions.
- Stop introducing new characters all the time, and concentrate on the characters we love. Peter is my favorite character and he gotten relatively little air time. Him losing his powers should have been a powerful (so to speak) story. It wasn't.
- Let someone actually die. Someone important. Someone we care about. When characters can't die, it kills the drama. With one exception: I think they should find a believable way to bring Elle back and make Kristen Bell a cast member. Okay, there's no believable way to bring Elle back. They should do it, anyway.
- Try a stand-alone episode. Or a two-parter. Or maybe an arc is okay, but they've been doing the wrong arcs. Maybe they've just been going too big. What if they got together to solve a more realistic problem, instead of something like the world splitting in two? Maybe some subtlety. Hey, I don't know, I'm theorizing here.
- Go with what works. What works on Heroes? Peter's empathic powers. Nathan's heroism. Claire and her dysfunctional family. Mister Muggles. :) Sylar, until they started screwing with him. Matt and Mohinder, to some extent. The Company, to some extent. Possibly time travel, although fan reaction hasn't been consistently positive.
Buffy: "I'm leaving. I don't care about your world. I have to save mine."
Buffy is unconscious, tied to a chair, surrounded by Future Willow, Melaka and Erin. Future Willow remembers that there will be an opening in the temporal rift that night. Harth and his lurks arrive, hovering above. Harth wonders why Willow told Harth one thing (that Buffy's coming would cause the future to *be*) and Melaka another (that Buffy returning to her present would cause the future *not* to be). Future Willow says that it isn't who dies, but who kills them. Gates the four-handed monkey releases Buffy. Gunther (who got away from Harth) shows up. Big battle.
Melaka: "Summers, you drive like a spaz!"
Buffy: "And *that* phrase stood the test of time?"
Buffy, reading through Fray's old books, is extremely upset about the no-more-slayers thing, as well as the world-not-being-better thing.
Aboard the stranded raptor, Brooks offers to examine the ships CO2 scrubbers. He removes a panel from the side of the ship and begins his diagnostic. Behind him, Gaeta whispers to Sweet Eight, "You're her."
Chapter One – Private Mills.
At an undisclosed facility in Tappen, NJ, Angela Petrelli interrogates Rachel Mills, one of the Pinehearst recruits. Mills is ignorant as to the whereabouts of the serum, but suggests it was stolen to synthesise a cure. Angela tells Mills that things will get much worse if the serum isn’t recovered. She expresses regret over Mills’ injury and touches her wound, causing Mills to have a brief flashback. Angela rests both hands on Mills’ head and asks her again “Now where is it?”
We go back in time twelve hours. At Pineheart HQ Mills is in a lab, talking to Hanover and Sullivan. Hanover picks up some serum samples and makes a sexist comment to Mills about girls in the military. Mills defends herself by telling him that she’s served her country the same as he has. Sullivan speaks up in her defence and reminds Hanover that she’s on their side. Hanover walks away, commenting that when the time comes she should be the first to be injected. Suddenly a massive explosion rips through the building.
Mills tries to pull Sullivan free from some fallen debris, but it’s too heavy. Whilst looking for something to help her, a piece of ducting falls from above, causing her to teleport across the room to safety. Sullivan, having observed her superpowers in action, wants to know what just happened. She begs him to forget what he just saw.
I have to admit, it was with some trepidation that I watched this weeks webisode. I do like the idea of webisodes. I think they’re an effective way of adding depth to a story, and when used correctly they can enrich a series no end. So what’s the problem you may ask? Well, succinctly put, the problem is with the payoff.
In this seasons main show finale (“Dual”) we had our first webisode payoff. Was it worth waiting for? Well, in a word no. Echo DeMille was on screen for about 30 seconds, mostly in the background. He didn’t speak, he didn’t use his powers, and half of his screen time was spent dead, killed by Sylar. So why introduce us to a character if they're to have no impact on the main storyline whatsoever? Isn’t that just a waste of everyone’s time?
So does this webisode have any redeeming features? Well actually, I think it does. Firstly, it immediately ties in with the series proper. Rachel Mills is one of the Pinehearst recruits, first introduced to us in the episode “Our Father”. Secondly, it’s not all about new characters this time. Angela Petrelli features heavily in this episode, which right away makes us feel like we’re dipping our toe into familiar waters.
The first oddity of the episode is that Mills can teleport even before being injected with the serum. Does this mean she was born with her abilities? Or has she somehow been exposed to the serum via other means? Was the explosion that destroyed the lab the same explosion caused by Flint in the third season finale (“Dual”)? How much serum is needed to cause a person to develop powers? Does it just need to touch the skin (as with Mohinder)? Would the airborne spray from the explosion in Mohinder’s lab be enough to cause a change?
It’s most likely that the missing serum referred to by Angela is the serum we saw in Hanover’s possession, seconds before the explosion. But it did occur to me for a fleeting second that she might have been referring to the serum that Daphne stole from Pinehearst in the season finale.
What was the significance of Angela placing both hands on Mills’ head whilst interrogating her? Was she just being tactile (albeit freakishly so)? Or was there something else going on there? Does she have other power's we're not yet aware of?
An interesting addition to the Heroes canon. I just hope they don’t disappoint with the payoff.
Angela: “Well, truth is a relative thing, my dear. You’ll come to learn that in life. If you live long enough. And with truth sometimes comes pain. Life. Death. Truth. Pain. They’re all related.”
Well, this episode was a bit underwhelming for a mid-season finale. It did have some shocking moments and a few action sequences, but overall, it left me in more of a befuddled “What the hell?” state, rather than an eager, “Holy crap, I can’t wait for more!” state.
I’ve watched it twice now, and I still don’t quite know what to make of the ending. That was a Skynet ship at the end, yes? I’m pretty sure we’ve seen those in some of the future sequences. What is it doing there and how did it get there? Does it have the ability to travel between the future and the past? Is the ship definitely the source of the three dots? What is going to happen to Sarah? And why the heck did the closing image linger for so long? I kept waiting for something more to happen than just the light intensifying on an unconscious Sarah. Very odd.
Not to say there was nothing to like about the episode. I enjoyed the theme of hidden, other selves and transformation that ran through each character’s part of the story: Sarah and her previous incarnations as waitress and mental patient; Alan Park’s pseudonym, Abraham, and his secret, true self, Eileen; Riley as a post-apocalyptic child trying to live in the pre-Judgment Day world; and Ellison as a father that never was.
Sarah’s journey was pretty much front and center this week. The opening scenes perfectly summed up her current state of being. She’s like the explorer from her voiceover, the UFO abductees, and Alan/Eileen. Her life has essentially been stolen from her. What she's experienced is “beyond human understanding,” leaving her more or less fearful, isolated, and deeply lonely. Like Eileen, she’s reached the point where she doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not. She’s having nightmares about dots and visions of her other selves, and trying to figure out what it all means. By the end of the episode, she seems to have reached a major point of transformation. She’s taken a human life (albeit in self defense)—the one action that she’s resisted so fiercely all this time. And she’s got her proof that the dots mean something; that she’s not crazy. It will be interesting to see where this leads her going forward.
Riley’s back story was fascinating and kind of heartbreaking. The poor girl has never known anything except life after Judgment Day and doesn't quite know how to function in this strange, new world. Her initial reaction to the present was something to behold. I loved the way she was drawn to all the soft and colorful things like pillows, flowers, towels, and big, comfy beds. The images of her wonder and rapture said so much about the cold, hard place she came from without out any words at all. That short scene put her breakdown at her foster home into context for me. Like Sarah, she’s experiencing something that no one can truly understand, and even though she’s supposedly bonding with John, she’s completely isolated and deeply lonely.
Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder if Riley’s attempted suicide is genuine or a desperate ploy to bond with John. She’s been thrown out of her foster home and rejected by her one connection to the world she knows. She was pretty close to breaking a few episodes ago, so I can believe that she really did just try to end it all. But then again, she has to know that Cameron is on to her. Maybe she is just trying to create a distraction and generate sympathy. I'm leaning toward the former.
The new revelations about Ellison’s past were very sad and kind of surprising. The series thus far has suggested that Ellison was somehow at fault for his failed marriage. That he wasn’t emotionally available to Lilah, and now regrets his past actions, wishing he could have another chance to do it right. Yet now we’ve learned that Lilah is the one who betrayed his trust, ending their marriage. I suppose his sadness and longing are for the life and the child that could have been, not necessarily regret over his own actions.
I found Ellison’s session with John Henry very intriguing. It was probably a bit off-putting for those that view Ellison as an arrogant, self-righteous, bible beater, but I don’t see him that way. I think, like all the other characters, he’s struggling to be a good man and trying to make sense of this crazy world he's caught up in. The only way he knows how to cope is to view things through the lens of his faith. That’s the tool that guides him and defines his moral center, so that’s the tool he uses to try to teach John Henry the value of human life. I think it is fascinating. Can he really teach an artificial intelligence morality? Why does Catherine want him to? Once again, I wonder if she’s up to something other than the creation of Skynet as we know it.
I thought the opening shot with Sarah driving in the desert was a great visual throwback to the end of the original movie. Especially given that the episode focused on her transformation from innocent waitress to hard, driven soldier.
This episode actually had lots of clever visuals. There were countless subtle repetitions of the dot and spoke pattern of the Skynet ship: Alan/Eileen’s images of the ship, the graphic patterns on John and Cameron’s shirts, the background on John Henry’s text screen, even numerous foreground images such as the lamp shade at the therapist's, the flower when Sarah was waiting at the bus stop, and the barbed wire near the barn in the desert. I’m sure there were a lot more that I missed.
I really liked Alan's confession that his hidden, true self was a waitress. Nice parallel to Sarah.
The actress portraying Dr. Morris, the hypnotherapist, also played Brianna Barksdale in The Wire. She was so great in that show that I was really excited to see her at the beginning of this episode. I’m very disappointed that she didn’t get more to do and ended up dead. This show is not kind to actors from The Wire. Andre Royo (Bubbles) was one of the freedom fighters sent back with Derek. He didn’t last too long either.
I think maybe Jessie was the person who killed Alan Park and Dr. Morris. I’m not sure if the timing works out right—since she was slapping Riley around earlier in the day—but the person on the motorcycle looked like a woman to me.
So who hired Alan and his carpool buddies? Are we to assume that it was Skynet and its minions sent from the future?
Final rating: 4 out of 5. When I started this review, I was leaning towards a 3, but after watching the episode a second time and getting all my thoughts on paper, I ended up liking it more than I originally thought. Even though the ending still left me totally perplexed.
On a closing note, I wanted to thank everyone for hanging in with me through the first half of the season and wish you all a happy holiday season! Looking forward to rejoining you in February. Hopefully, with the show now airing on Fridays, I can get the reviews posted a lot quicker!
Dexter: "I promise to be the very best husband and father that I can be."
Let me say up front that I doubt any season of Dexter will ever be as amazing as the first. But this season was very entertaining and suspenseful and as usual, exceptionally well-plotted, well-written, and well-acted. This finale was satisfying. I wanted a happy ending for Dexter. It's so funny how I can't help liking Dexter, our friendly neighborhood serial killer. I've stopped trying to rationalize it.
Chuck creator Josh Schwartz had a lot to live up to with the first Christmas-themed episode of the series. (Last year a mid-winter hiatus skipped right over the holiday season). Schwartz’s crowning achievement, The O.C., consistently excelled at Christmas episodes. Whether inventing the new holiday of Chrismukkhah, sending key characters to an “alt-world,” or just emphasizing the importance of friends and family, Schwartz always managed to combine the plaintive sweetness required of any good holiday episode (Buffy’s “Amends,” anyone?) with just enough flip irreverence to keep us laughing through our tears.
So how does “Chuck vs. Santa Claus” stack up against The O.C.? And the holiday-episode genre in general? Quite well—although I must admit, this episode wasn’t what I was expecting. At first, everything seemed to be going according to plan. On the sweet side, Chuck played Tiny Tim to Sarah’s Scrooge. On the flip side, warm and sunny weather and a high-speed freeway chase kept us firmly in the tongue-in-cheek Valley. A surprisingly low-key hostage takeover of the Buy More, by a down-on-his-luck sad sack named Ned, provided this week’s plot-MacGuffin. The delightful elf costumes—well, who doesn’t love a geeky elf? Even Casey getting shot is played for laughs and treated lightly.
But around the halfway mark, everything changed. Chuck realized that both the hostage negotiator and poor Ned work for Fulcrum (the CHAOS to Chuck’s CONTROL). The bad guys threatened Chuck’s sister Ellie, and—by telling them that he’s the Intersect—he gave up his freedom, and possibly his life, to save her. Sarah and Casey rescue Chuck from the Fulcrum agents, but Chuck sees Sarah shoot an unarmed man to save his own way of life. Meanwhile, the Buy More staff take down Ned, only to have Morgan think he’s lost Anna to Lester.
The stakes on Chuck never seem particularly high: the good guys usually win, the bad guys get taken to “secure locations,” and on the rare occasions that people get shot, they don’t bleed much. The spy-game antics are just an excuse for touching love stories and low-key sarcasm. Even this season’s recent arc, in which Chuck reunited with an old (and evil) flame, never ruined my certainty that Chuck and Sarah will eventually live happily ever after. But this episode asks some difficult questions: in life-or-death situations, how does a hapless nerd grapple with life-or-death stakes? And how can a good man reconcile his beloved’s potentially immoral action with his knowledge that she did it for him?
The typical holiday episode resolves tensions, brings people together, and provides a heartwarming conclusion to the front half of the season: it gives us a chance to laugh at everything we hate about the holidays and smile at everything we love about them. “Chuck vs. Santa Claus” seemed designed, at first, to do just that. But instead I’m left with an unsettled feeling, as though the rules of engagement have suddenly changed—much as Chuck himself must feel. The sudden dark turn, which was beautifully reflected in this week’s soundtrack, could mark a shift in Chuck’s unrequited relationship with Sarah as they work through a real moral dilemma, or it could just be another will-they or won’t-they plot device. Either way, I can hardly wait until February 9th to find out.
Four out of four Nerds.
All of my Chuck reviews are archived here.
(Season 2, episode 11)
Angela: "A child starved for attention throws a temper tantrum."
Claire: "Well, I'd like to give him a good spanking."
Lockdown showdown. *Yawn.*
There was a lot of running around and a lot of fighting in the darkened hallways of Primatech. Peter got his powers back. Mohinder lost his scales. Ando got a cool new power-amplification power, which isn't really a power on its own but is still neat. Although how he and Daphne could aim it at sixteen years ago in the Deveaux building in order to rescue Hiro strained credulity just a bit.
What the heck happened to Nathan? His heroism in previous seasons and love for his brother was epic, and now, in the space of two episodes, he's the bad guy? Can you say, left field? I had a theory that one of the despicable Arthur's powers was the ability to take over someone else's body, and that Arthur is now in Nathan's body. But even I have to admit that, as a theory, it's just too weird. I'll have to chalk up Nathan's current attitude as inconsistent writing, and leave it at that.
Although there was some fun consistency with previous episodes. I liked the quid pro quo of Peter saving Nathan from the fire, and Claire "killing" Sylar the same way that she and Peter "died". And the perversity of Sylar saving the world by killing Arthur was fun. I thought this episode could have used something bigger, though -- like, Sylar dying spectacularly and permanently in a great big dramatic way. Not that I don't like Sylar; he's been practically the only good thing about this season so far. But the whole nature of death on Heroes just doesn't work dramatically any more. Yes, let's give the audience another odd, ambiguous death that the writers can erase anytime they want. Even Arthur's demise doesn't seem permanent.
Did anyone die? It looked like Knox did. And possibly Meredith. Primatech is toast. Hiro didn't get his powers back. And what happened to the marines? Some of them got the red jello; will we be seeing a super squad this winter?
At least, we know for certain that Sylar is not a Petrelli. It's small, but it's something.
Bits and pieces:
-- Claire, Meredith, HRG and Angela were a really interesting family unit. Bio-mom, adopted dad, estranged/strange grandma.
-- When Mohinder fell into the red goop and his scales disappeared, I said out loud, "Quick, Peter! Jump in the goop!" Fortunately, there was a hypo lying about.
-- Nathan fired Tracy. Guess she's not going to be first lady, after all.
-- The title was given in the cable synopsis as "Duality." Actually, given what happened between Peter and Nathan, "Duel" might have been better than "Dual."
-- Flint had a helix-shaped cut on his face.
-- Sylar: "I could have been a nobody, instead of the monster I became." That sounded to me a lot like "I coulda been a contender. I could have been *somebody*. Instead of a bum, which is what I am." (On the Waterfront is one of my favorite old movies.)
-- Volume four will be called "Fugitives," and starts February 2. It showed Nathan talking to the president, who was African American. Art imitates life.
Readers rated this finale for me; it came out to two out of four stars, which isn't good. What did you think? Comments are always welcome.
One travesty of a movie after another, and an eighteen-minute webisode managed to do what none of them did -- it gave me a taste of the series again. Yes, it was just a nibble, but it was a big nibble, and it was delicious. I watched the whole thing with a great big smile on my face. And then I watched it again.
They did several things right. The big one? They centered the story around Methos. Finally! Pardon my sarcasm, but you'd think that would be a no-brainer. Why did it take them so long? They also brought back Joe and Amanda, the other two best Highlander supporting characters, and all three of them were very much themselves instead of some poorly written parody.
And the plot was centered around what I thought was the best recurring theme in the series, i.e., how to deal with growing older, and what it takes to have the endurance for immortality. Joe was, of course, quite literally older and tireder and wishing he were immortal, but Methos and Amanda apparently felt much the same as Joe. Part of that may have been an acknowledgment that the actors are a bit older (even though they still look pretty darned good), but we all know that immortals get tired of life, too.
Methos was about to plunge into marriage number sixty-nine with a mortal named Julia. He told Julia he was immortal, but nothing more -- and we Highlander fans know that being immortal is just the surface when it comes to Methos. (Amanda brought up the Four Horsemen. Quite a lot to dump on a mortal fiancee.) Is Methos ready again to commit to another mortal wife, someone who might be endangered by the Game? Or maybe Methos had had it with mortals. There was some serious Methos/Amanda flirting in this webisode. Back in season four's "Till Death", Methos said that he'd never married another immortal. Perhaps, with MacLeod out of the picture and involved with someone else, Methos and Amanda might be ready for each other. I'd be down with that.
I was completely and totally bummed by Highlander: The Source and, to continue with my food metaphor, I needed something to get the taste of it out of my mouth. Highlander: Reunion did the trick. It was yummy. Yes, it was just an appetizer, but the resolution made me hope that there may be others. I know that I will probably never get the Methos spinoff I wanted so desperately, but more webisodes would at least be something. I'll take anything I can get.
Bits and pieces:
-- The webisode was produced by the official Highlander people, Davis-Panzer Productions, and written by Highlander alum David Abramowitz.
-- Peter Wingfield, Elizabeth Gracen and Jim Byrnes were the only actors, and it was all interiors and conversations. (Looked like Malibu.) There was a battle with swords, but it took place off camera.
-- MacLeod was mentioned a few times. He is with someone named Sara, and it's serious. Joe is no longer his Watcher; Joe retired eight months ago and is bummed about it.
-- Methos actually gave his age: 5,164. Except I always had the impression that Methos doesn't actually know how old he is, and there's the whole "before recorded history" thing, so how would he know what year he was born? He was probably making it up, which would be like him. Not to be outdone, Amanda also gave her age: 1,187.
-- Methos asked Joe to be his best man at the wedding. Except that it's probably off. Methos and Joe also told each other "I love you," which was sweet.
-- In this episode's hair report, Amanda's was white-blonde and chin-length. At least it wasn't a buzz cut any more. I still think she should stick with black hair.
Amanda: "I did see a shrink once. You know what happened?"
Joe: "You slept with Sigmund Freud. (Amanda glares at him) Hey, I'm a watcher, remember?"
Methos: "She knows I'm immortal, but how much do I tell her about my past?"
Joe: "Tell it all."
Amanda: "I would leave out the part about raping and pillaging when you were one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I think it would be wrong to confuse her with too much information."
Two words. More, please.
And here it is.
I liked this episode. Another week with characters we’ve never met before, and likely won’t ever see again, but I think the writers did a better job of integrating the tale with the overall story and our characters. The episode largely felt like a stand-alone piece for Derek, but it tied into the series continuity and tone a lot better.
That said, I wasn’t entirely sure where this episode fits into the timeline from the audience’s perspective. I’m leaning towards the “six months earlier” time frame being closest to the present as we know it. The “target list” Sarah mentioned is likely the blood list on her cellar wall. If that’s the case, I have no idea how “six months earlier” could be six months prior to our present. Events this season have been playing out in a pretty tight time frame. Plus, they didn’t give too much away within Derek’s “present” time frame. Derek dropped a couple hints in his phone conversations with Sarah that things are bad on the homefront, but other than that, we didn’t learn much about his time frame beyond what we saw play out on the screen. The events with Lauren and her sister’s birth could easily take place six months from our now.
As normal, I really loved the few glimpses we got into Derek’s future/past. It was very cool to see Derek and Jessie’s first meeting. We had heard this meeting discussed before, but getting to see it in context was a treat. It made me re-evaluate some of my thoughts regarding what Jessie might be up to. I was starting to think that she didn’t care about Derek at all, but was just playing him. Now it seems more like they did have a genuine relationship at some point in the future/past, and she may still love him. But at this point, I think she’s using whatever relationship they had/have to manipulate him, possibly on behalf of Skynet.
Another week with nary a peep about the new John Henry (if you don’t count the preview). However, unlike last week, I didn’t even think about this huge lingering plot thread until the very end of the episode. Probably because more time has passed since that revelation, but I also credit the episode. Even though some of the “six months earlier” family melodrama was a bit tedious, the continually shifting time frames kept me intrigued.
No John this week. He hasn’t been as irritating lately, but I didn’t miss him at all.
Lauren made the right call at the end. Leave the old ties behind, and don’t hitch yourself to the Connor wagon any more than necessary. It really isn’t safe to hang around them for too long. She and her sister have a much better chance on their own.
Final rating: 3.5 out of 5. Not quite a 4 for me, but better than average.
They did some stuff right, and they made me laugh. They ticked me off big time, though. Writing out Kristen Bell was a huge mistake. Of course, they'd done so much screwing around with her character that she was probably relieved.
Except for the killing Elle part, it was actually fun seeing Sylar on a rampage again. And the episode became totally worthwhile when Sylar (1) made certain he wasn't really a Petrelli, before he (2) killed Arthur, while at the same time (3) preventing Peter from committing patricide. I just despise Arthur Petrelli, and not in a good "hate the villain" kind of way. A villain that works for the audience has to have some depth, some personality, some redeeming or interesting qualities. I've never even enjoyed hating Arthur Petrelli. So he'd better be permanently dead. So there.
Meeting your much younger parents a la Back to the Future is always fun (although I think Supernatural's version this season was much better). Hiro's mother had an unexpected chance to see her son all grown up, and Hiro got to be with her when she died. It was just as touching to see Noah and Claire connecting; it was almost like he knew in his heart who she was. In fact, the whole sixteen years ago thing was going great, until Arthur showed up and ruined everything.
So now, Hiro has no powers -- just like Peter. Arthur threw Hiro off a building, just like Adam threw Kaito, and now Hiro's clinging to a flagpole. Sort of like what happened to Matt. Man, I can see parallels everywhere if I try. What happened to Mama Nakamura's catalyst/healing power/white light? It levitated out of Arthur. Did Peter get it? If Peter is never getting his empath multiple powers back, it would be nice if he had something. What better gift could a nurse have?
Bits and pieces:
-- I don't have a lot to say yet about the super marines, "intelligent design," and the magic red jello. We'll see where it goes in the next episode. Hopefully, into restoring Peter's and Hiro's powers, and not into the other forty-nine marines. It would be nice if Mohinder's scales went away, too.
-- Sylar looking up and saying hopefully, "Cake?" may have been my favorite line in the entire season. The elevator scene was also a hoot.
-- Whatever they did to make Sandra look younger just made her look weird. Come on, it was only sixteen years ago. They could have given her a younger hairstyle and put some Vaseline on the lens and left her as she was. We all have to suspend belief with this stuff, anyway.
-- Claire gave herself her own nickname: Claire Bear. That was sweet.
-- Claire and Hiro both interacted with their younger selves. (Hiro for the second time.) Claire even changed her own diaper. I kept thinking of Timecop, where Ron Silver's younger self met his older self and they violently canceled each other out.
-- Flint seems to be okay now. I thought he was in a coma.
-- Mohinder's scales have started to look like deliberately applied jewelry.
-- Poor human lie detector Sue Landers died on her birthday.
-- In this week's hair report, we had all this serious stuff with Hiro and his mother, and his hair was standing on end throughout the whole thing. If I could go back in time and be with my mother before she died, I think I'd prefer that I didn't look like Alfalfa.
Three out of four stars,
Miguel: "I accept you, Dexter. Like a brother."
Dexter: "I killed my brother. I killed yours, too."
What an extraordinary fake-out. It knocked me completely off balance, and I stayed off balance for the rest of the episode. I had, of course, thought that Miguel would be the piece de resistance for the finale, but interestingly enough, no. Fortunately for Maria.
Sylar: "A chance to reinvent ourselves, free of powers or parents."
I didn't think I'd be happy with a reset button. But I was. It was good to see everyone getting their powers back. Except I was sort of hoping Peter... ah, well. And why did Mohinder have to get scaly again?
Okay, so lied; I'm not happy. I kept putting off writing this review, a sure sign that the episode didn't work for me. What are they doing? What is this "volume" about? Heroes becoming villains, villains becoming heroes. But Sylar, after trying to become a better person and sacrificing himself to save Elle, went back to his old, evil, serial-killing self and took Elle's head off. So it was about a villain becoming a hero becoming a villain.
(Of course, we didn't actually see Elle dead with the top of her head removed and practically nobody really dies on this show, so I'm going to hold off getting really mad about Elle's death until it's confirmed. I truly hope the producers aren't stupid enough to write Kristen Bell out of the show.)
At least, Noah told Sylar that he wasn't a Petrelli after all, that Angela and Arthur were just manipulating him. Yes! Thank you! Make it so. Sylar being Peter and Nathan's brother just never worked for me in the worst, worst way.
And I did like the two comic book store guys realizing that their comic book heroes were real. "Best. Day. Ever." Apparently, the Isaac Mendez comics are pretty well known (Seth Green knew who Matt Parkman was before he walked in the door). And I was wondering if they'd ever get back to Isaac giving his notebook to the bike messenger right before Sylar crucified him with his paint brushes. I bet that final issue holds the answer to why the earth splits in two, so finding it could be a good thing. Or maybe it's about Claire dying and losing her catalyst thing. Who knows.
But frankly, the cool comic book stuff and the drug store scene (which I loved) and Sylar maybe not being a Petrelli wasn't enough. As I said last week, a big two-part story about all of our superheroes losing and regaining their powers should have been a lot better.
What do you think? Am I wrong? Am I just a rotten reviewer? Is it that I just don't "get" Heroes any more? Are we just going through a bad patch? Now that they're bringing new writers on board, will things get better? Or is Heroes a flash in the pan that has finished flashing?
Bits and pieces:
-- Nathan has apparently bought into Arthur's plan to "save the world." Nathan, have you learned nothing from your mother wanting to blow up New York?
-- Sylar got his throat cut, but he got better. Claire died because she had no immune system whatsoever, and she recovered. What did the Haitian do to Baron Samedi? Is he really dead? We didn't see his body decomposing on the jungle floor, did we?
-- Claire's psychotic Uncle Flint did yet another stupid thing and got Mohinder mad at him, and now Flint is in a coma. Stupid Flint.
-- Why was Mohinder going to visit Maya? Was he checking to make certain she didn't get her powers back? Or was it just a booty call?
-- The whole eclipse thing reminded me of Superman and his relationship to the yellow sun.
-- Daphne has cerebral palsy.
-- Daphne called her scarecrow Ray. In the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow was played by Ray Bolger. There was definitely a parallel to the movie, which was about people going to the Wizard to ask for something special that they already had. Maybe Baron Samedi was the Wizard. He thought he was all powerful but in truth, he was nothing.
Peter: "I needed to know I could be a hero without my powers." And yet, there wasn't much about Peter. I miss Peter having powers. I miss Peter having air time.
Ando: "He doesn't want to grow up."
Seth Green: "Everyone has to grow up, dude."
Ando: "He says, you guys didn't grow up. You read comic books and eat junk food."
Noah: "You're not their son. They're just leveraging your mommy issues to turn you into their weapon."
Seth Green: "There's a legend I heard from a guy at a convention, who heard it from a dude, who heard it from another dude, that one more Ninth Wonder story exists."
I don't know what to rate this episode. I feel like Heroes is losing me. I don't want Heroes to be losing me. Talk to me, folks. What did you think?
Quick postscript: guest blogger Paul Kelly has reviewed the four chapters of the Heroes webisode, "Destiny" -- right here.
This episode did not work for me. I didn't hate it, but I didn't really enjoy it either. Overall, it felt too disconnected from the main story, and it largely focused on characters we've never met before and may never see again.
While I liked learning what Cameron does with her nights (delivering doughnuts, researching medieval siege weapons, and practicing her human interactions), her search for Myron Stark's true mission and her efforts to help her "friend" weren't terribly entertaining. The "flashbacks" to the 1920s felt off tonally, and I didn't really care about what Myron Stark was up to. In the end, his mission appeared to have no relevance to the overall story; it was just an evening's diversion for Cameron. I suppose the future governor targeted by Stark could come back into play somewhere down the line (the writers have a knack for doing that), but for now, it felt like a one-shot "night in the life of Cameron" episode. ("Data's Day," anyone?)
The Riley and John portion of the story was also less than compelling, but it didn't annoy me as much as usual. It was pretty similar to the boring teenage angst stuff we typically get with them, but now that we know Riley's not what she seems, it adds an intriguing undertone to all their interactions. I find myself watching more closely and trying to figure out what she's really up to. It is all very puzzling. It does seem like she's trying to get John to become more emotionally attached to her, but I can't figure out why. If Jessie's story is true, I guess Riley's efforts would make sense to me, but I'm more convinced than ever that she's working for the metal. ("I like shiny things.") And I can't figure out why they want John to be bonded to Riley. Just to cause a rift between Cameron and John? Maybe so that Riley can influence him in their favor, unlike future Cameron.
I missed the other main characters this week. We barely saw Sarah, and we didn't see Derek, Ellison, or Catherine Weaver at all. After last week's jaw-dropping reveal of the new John Henry, I was bummed they didn't touch on that part of the story at all.
Final rating: 2 out of 5. Can we get back to the main story, please?
Strange things indeed. Another strong episode with some pretty shocking moments. And a fantastic reveal at the end!
This week's theme was all about getting played. Nearly all our main characters were or are being hoodwinked in one way or another. Sarah got played by Akagi. John is being completely snowed by Riley. Jessie still seems to be putting one over on Derek. And poor, deluded Agent Ellison was victimized by Catherine Weaver.
Sarah's part of the story was the least interesting to me this week. It was painful to watch her invest so much energy and money into this company when we knew it was a waste of time. Although, seeing her slowly lose it at the end was pretty intense. When she went off on Akagi it was almost like seeing T2 Sarah. One second she's controlled and tough, and the next she's borderline psychotic. The whole Connor team is spiraling out of control. More and more they seem to be their own worst enemy. Meanwhile, the rise of the machines approaches. I'm very curious to see where the writers take things from here.
The reveal that Riley is, in fact, a human from the future sent to manipulate John for some ulterior motive was pretty shocking to me. At first, it totally seemed to come out of left field. But on further reflection, it does kind of fit with what we've seen so far. She's always been a bit of an oddball, and when she first showed up, I often wondered if she had some secret agenda. After all, she approached John. And she's shown some major nonchalance in the face of all the strange crap that surrounds John. I chalked it up to her being a rebel drawn to the weird loner, but it also fits with her being a plant. I guess in the end, I was more thrown by her sudden, weepy, "you're all gonna die!" behavior. It just didn't fit with what we've seen from her before (although I did kind of like her spiel about the poster of the fish being captured by a bear).
My biggest question with Riley is what the heck is her real mission? Is she trying to get some kind of information from John? Or is she just supposed to be his human connection? Did they send her back to become his girlfriend and confidant so that his closest ally will be human and not metal? Is there more to it than that?
Based on Jessie's conversation with Riley, it seems that she may be playing a similar role with Derek. I got the very strong impression that she doesn't love him at all, and is manipulating him for some larger purpose. (Or maybe she does love him, but is still manipulating him.) For what, I don't know. To stay somewhat close to the Connors maybe? I have my doubts about what she told Derek about her true mission, and think that her ultimate endgame still remains to be seen. On the re-watch, I found myself wondering if Riley’s tale of the fish and the bear is a clue that she and possibly Jessie are working for the metal. She’s the fish caught by the bear, and the other fish don’t notice or care.
Which brings me to Agent Ellison, Ms. Weaver, and John Henry. That was one hell of a reveal at the end. On the one hand, I was completely freaked out by John Henry and what it means for Skynet. On the other, I'm thrilled that they found a way to keep Garrett Dillahunt around. Catherine's story about the legendary John Henry was the perfect lead in to that moment. Very nice parallels with Agent Ellison's story, only with him in the John Henry role. He stopped the machine, but he can’t stop progress.
I was completely rocked by the murder of Dr. Sherman. I enjoyed his interactions with the Connors and was hoping for more. I knew that he'd likely end up dead at some point, but wasn't prepared for something so sudden and off-screen.
Cameron looked fantastic in her dinner attire.
It was nice to see John reaching out to Sarah. His efforts didn't really help matters in the end, but she's going to need that connection more than ever, if she's going to regain some stability.
Final rating: 4 out of 5.
Part Four. Escape
Elisa tells Santiago that they need to escape. She tells him that neither of them belong there. She also reveals that his Father wasn't a bad man. He was simply destroyed by The Organization. They kiss and she dissolves.....slips under the door and unlocks it from the other side. MBL and her henchmen appear. Santiago uses his powers to get both himself and Elisa to safety.
Outside, Santiago realises he's no longer in Peru. He's in Chicago. A car speeds towards them and Elisa saves them from injury by pushing Santiago to safety and turning herself to water. The car passes right through her.
They arrive at Santiago's church where his Mother Iris is praying alone. Santiago tells her that his Father had been keeping secrets from them. Iris tells him that she's been keeping some secrets of her own, and creates a fire in the palm of her hand. She warns him that now they know about his powers, running is no longer an option. It's time to fight. Santiago gets a text through on his phone, urging him outside.
Outside, MBL is arranging to kill all three of them, when Santiago's father Edward appears, seemingly out of nowhere. He confesses to staging his own death to protect Santiago. But MBL has betrayed him. He uses some kind of lightning charge to incapacitate her. Santiago appears behind him and they embrace. Behind them, MBL regains consciousness and clutches a key tightly in the palm of her hand.
Another comparatively long webisode, clocking in at around 6:42. I must say, I think this second batch of webisodes worked slightly better than the first. The first series was too short, and when you're coming at new characters cold, there's just not enough time to warm to them. Plus, each webisode in the first series followed too predictable a pattern. Baddie turns up, baddie gets obliterated. Rinse and repeat.
Edward's abilities appear to be a combination of accelerated probability, super speed and some kind of lightning power, which he can mould into the shape of a ball.
Why didn't MBL do something the instant she saw Edward powering up? She just stood there and watched him for almost 8 seconds. I mean, come on! You know what's coming. Get behind a tree. Run away. Shoot him with your taser. Do something!
The appearance of Santiago's Father, although partially set up by his mention in previous webisodes, still felt a little tacked on. Too much clichéd exposition in the last minute or so of the episode. I think I'd have preferred to see Elisa, Santiago and Iris take MBL and Co out themselves (although to be fair, Elisa and Iris' powers would probably have cancelled each other out).
Iris' power appears to be pyrokinesis, a power also possessed by Flint, Meredith and Peter Petrelli. Present day Peter absorbed the power from Flint, whilst future Peter absorbed it from Meredith. Wow! Complicated.
Was this the last webisode of the series? It was billed as a tetralogy, so I'm assuming that it was. But what happens now? Who is MBL working for? What's the key for? Questions I hope we get answers to, and soon.
Elisa: “You don't belong here, Santiago. Neither do I.”
Elisa: “I met your Father. He was a proud, brave man. But they destroyed him. Every day, every mission they took another piece of him until there was nothing left. I feel it happening to me. They're changing me. I don't want that to happen to you, too.”
Iris: “Now that they know about you, we can't run. Not any more. It's time to fight.”
Edward: “I staged my own death, to get out of this life. To protect my family.”
MBL: “There were never any guarantees.”
Edward: “So you betrayed me? After all we've been through?”
MBL: “Like I said, I had no choice.”
Edward: “No, but you are responsible. And we always have choice.”
Dexter: "Just what I ordered. Feigned civility with a heaping side of betrayal."
Dexter seriously underestimated how completely ruthless Miguel is. But then again, Miguel still does not realize with whom he is screwing.
Chapter Thirteen: So it begins
Where it fits:
Right before the Pilot episode.
Vincent is running through the jungle when he hears a whistle. Christian Shephard appears and calls Vincent to him. He tells him to go wake up his son who's unconscious nearby. He says he has work to do. We then see Jack regaining consciousness. Vincent approaches him, their eyes meet, and Vincent runs off into the jungle again.
Episode Twelve: The Envelope
Where it fits:
During the episode “A Tale Of Two Cities.”
Whilst rescuing burning muffins from the oven, Juliet burns her hand. She runs it under a cold tap and reassures a concerned Amelia that she's fine. Amelia senses there's a problem between her and Ben, and asks whether Juliet has invited him to the book club meeting. Juliet admits that things are currently a little awkward between them. Amelia guesses that Ben has told Juliet how he really feels. Juliet tells her that he hasn't said anything, but admits to there being other complications. Amelia wants to know what's going on. Juliet tells her that they're in trouble, and after making Amelia swear a vow of secrecy, she removes an envelope from the kitchen drawer. Before we get to see what's in the envelope, the door bell rings.
Pretty short and uninformative this one. In fact, the webisode seems to be more of a deleted scene than anything else. The kitchen sequence is discussed by Elizabeth Mitchell and Damon Lindelhof in the audio commentary of “A Tale Of Two Cities.” The kitchen stills were used to promote the episode, but the filmed footage never made it into the final cut.
We find out what's in the envelope in the episode “One of Us.” Karl gives the envelope to Juliet. It contains Ben's X-rays, which reveal a tumour on his L4 vertebrae.
I was a little disappointed with this webisode. It tries its best to be mysterious, but since we already know the answers to the questions it poses, it has no real impact.
Amelia: “What happened, Julie?”
Juliet: “I think... I think we're in big trouble.”
Amelia: “Are we?”
Juliet: “I need... if I show you something, do you promise not to tell anyone? Do you swear? Not anyone?”
Chapter Eleven: Jin Has A Temper Tantrum On The Golf Course
Jin, Michael and Hurley are playing golf. All Jin needs to do to win is sink the putt. But he misses by about 10 inches. As Michael celebrates, Jin suddenly and inexplicably flips out. He's angry at how stupid the game is. He's angry about not being happy. He's angry that no one can understand him... and he's angry about losing the game to Hurley and Michael, of all people.