Sunday, October 25, 2009

flashforward: s01 e05 gimme some truth

I don't know what just happened, but I lost this whole post and I'm too tired to redo it, so we'll skip to the questions at the end.

- Who sent that message to Olivia? There were only three people with Mark when he admitted what happened, unless someone else at the bar is a spy. Did someone else entirely know through other means, and it's only a coincidence that it happened then? And why would they send the message at all?
- Why were they attacked-- was it the President's call, or was it independent? And why are the attackers all Asian?
- Is Janice going to die? If so, that changes the future and ups the ante on the show, since the Flashes are only what would have happened then and things can be changed. Which puts Noh back in the game and totally tosses Mark out the window, since the whole Mosaic project is based on his Flash.
- That lady at the door was the same one in the picture, right? If so, why does the kid know Stan so well, while his mom is all frigid? And what did Stan "do to that girl"? And why wouldn't his wife know about it?
- What's going on in the rest of the world? The other doctor and his mystery woman, the call Lloyd got, the babysitter's drowning, all of that?
- Are the Towers still there? And if they're intrinsic tot he Flash, where are the bigger ones that would have set it off for the whole world?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

classic who: The robots of death

This is frequently considered one of the best eps of all time. I don't know about that, but it's not bad, and the robots, though generally idiotic and easy to confuse, have a really awesome design that is now in action figure form. I might need to get them.


The Doctor and Leela wash up on a ship that's out mining sandstorms in search of riches. Miners again. ::sigh:: The crew of the ship are a mix of high-class and low-class from some planet where that's really important, but it can be evened out by bringing home enough lucanol (which sounds like an expensive medicine). Except that their whole society is dependent on robots, and there's many more of them then there are people. The robots apparently have enough of a reputation for harm that one of the crew members mentions that he heard of one ripping a dude's arm off once, but it's considered an urban legend... until people start turning up dead.

Then there's a bit of the ol' The There Were None while the Doctor and Leela get blamed for the crimes and talk their way into solving them. Like you do. It seems that one of the robots that's supposed to be a basic and mute labor drone has been modified to be much more intelligent and to figure out what's up with threats on the home world of a robot revolution-- started by a sceintist who was raised by robots and doesn't like people, and is thought to be aboard. Several more people are murdered while the survivors alternately believe and disbelieve the Doctor, and eventually the engines get sabotaged; they have to cut power so they can not explode, which makes them sink, which forces them to ask the Doctor for help. Once that's sorted, they start looking for the cause of the robot malfunctions and find that they're being reprogrammed with a giant glitter-pen syringe to the brain. (they call it a laser of some sort)

It's revealed that the engineer is actually the terrorist they're looking for, and they start looking for ways to shut him down.

They manage to get all the robots except the crazy ones and the helpful one shut down, and the Doctor builds a machine to bust up the rest while he gives Leela the task of releasing helium gas to change Taran's voice so the robots won't recognize him. He's offed by his own reprogrammed robots, and D84, the helpful one, triggers the Doctor's device, which offs the rest, and all of a sudden, everything's fixed.

I have trouble remembering the Doctor in this episode. I mean, he was there, but it was mostly miners fighting with eachother and cool-looking robots getting reprogrammed and killing people.

Leela's kind of boring so far, and not terribly useful on a ship. I miss Sarah Jane.

Miners, ugh. I'm getting so tired of miner politics. It's like the fallback when they can't think of anything more interesting.

There's a lot about this ep that are mirrored in Voyage of the Damned. It doesn't' really make it more interesting, but it's nice to see continuity over such a long stretch of time.

And then it just ends. The old eps seem to have issues with the idea of ending a show...

flashforward: s01 e04 black swan

According to Blondie McTerrorist, a black swan is something so outside everything you know that it changes the world when you see it. Hm. Like a FF?

Anyway, what happened this ep:
Nicole saw herself being drowned and died before the end of her flash, and that's why she's been missing, although no one mentioned that detail. And she felt like she deserved it, and saw the killer's face. Now she's back babysitting. Also, she was friends with Arron's daughter-what-is-still-dead.

Ned was saved from dying on the operating table by using his flash forward to diagnose a disease he hadn't had any symptoms of previously, and came to the conclusion that the future saved him.*

Al's looking for someone named Celia, and Dr Cutie is drawing pictures of someone he hasn't met yet who probably has something to do with how he's not suicidal anymore.

Blondie McTerrorist sent them on what's probably not really a wild goose chase, where they found a would-be drug lord hiding out in a startup restaurant, and I'm willing to bet they wind up back there later, and find out that they just didn't have all the details the first time. Also, she says Mark's not the sort to give up everything for his goals. Yet, anyway. And really, maybe it's better of the things he values are taken from him rather than willingly being given up-- taken means it'll add to his drive, whereas giving means he's losing his humanity.

Lloyd manages to connect with Dylan, after taking Dr B's advice even though she didn't want to give it. She sent Dylan to physical therapy, trying to get rid of him so she doesn't have to face her FF, but he got sent back, so that's a bust. Oh, and according to Charlie-who's-now-called-Simon-apparently, he's at least partially responsible for what's happened. Which I totally called because that fuzzy not-asleep-guy looks like him. Even though he apparently has a FF to prove he was out. Maybe an evil twin? That'd be fun. Or stupid.

* like I said, more ordinary, but weirder. Not as weird as I was hoping, though, like some sort of transplant...

flash forward: s01 e03 137 sekunden

You know how sometimes a show feels like the whole episode exists so you can get the emotional punch-in-the-stomach at the end? Yeah, this is one of those. I thought it would be another not-as-cool-as-the-pilot episode, and it kind of was, and then there was that last bit with the kid in Ethiopia that didn't really need to be there, but worked so well I'm glad it was.

The Plot: Nazi war criminals = assholes. Got it. But this one was an asshole in service of the Mosaic, and he gave Mark the piece of info that lead to the wonderfully creepy-named murder of crows, which led to the website that charted populations, which led to Ganwar, Ethiopia, and the idea that maybe this has happened before. All in the last, like, three minutes of the show, after all that boring Nazi crap.

And some developments: Dimitri's fiancée saw him at their wedding, which got him off his moping-ass and into a more active mindset... after tracking the don't-get-killed phone message didn't get him anywhere; Aaron followed his gut and dug up his daughter's grave, which proved to actually be her's which means she can't still be alive*; Mark's boss's wife, it turns out, is Gina Torres, who I love, and she's going to be adopting a Muslim kid that she saw for the first time at the funeral held by the FBI for the ones who didn't make it out of the Blackout; and Marcy isn't sure she wants a baby and shows a tendency toward drowning her sorrows in alcohol**.

But man, that last scene. The goats all spook at the same moment, and shy away from the city. All the birds fly over, then just stop, and plummet from the sky. All the people are laying on the ground. And there's that cloud that's haunted the planet's imagination since WWII-- or at least something that looks enough like it that it gave me chills, looking like nightmares I've had since I became socially conscious when I was a teen. I feel so bad for that kid, the only one who wasn't knocked out.

This I hope they follow up on:
- Why crows? Are other birds affected? Is it a consciousness, thing, and if so, all the apes, most of the monkeys, a lot of the bigger parrots, squids and octopi and most, if not all the whales and dolphins should have been affected, too. (If they come up with something like this to explain the crows, and don't mention other higher-minded animals, this will totally become a pet peeve of mine.)

- What about the mushroom cloud for the one that took out the whole world? Someone, somewhere, should have gotten footage of it, even if no one actually saw it.

- The CDC keeps crazy-good records; someone who was there must've noticed the similarities, and someone who's read the records must've noticed that it's the same thing.

- Tangent: what about the people on the ISS? If they were affected, too, then the field or whatever was much bigger than they thought.

*...unless the plot thickens in such a way that reality starts changing, which would explain all the times when something from the flash seemed impossible. So maybe she's still alive in an alternate reality. And either way, maybe this bit of crazy starts the reuniting of her parents. This might also explain Ned being a black man in the future, but I'm thinking it's something more ordinary, but probably weirder. If that makes sense.

**... which would be an easy way for someone without a boyfriend to get preggers soon, so that she can be that far along in six months.

fringe: s02 e05 dream logic

Olivia's buying in to whatever the fixer tells her to do, which is slightly troubling, though I like him. That might actually be part of why it's troubling, because I also liked Charlie. Anyway, she does what he tells her, under the faith that it'll help, even when it has no obvious reason to help. It seems to be, so far, but he's not offering anything, and the mystery puts me on edge more than the mysteries they're solving.

This week was a chip in the brain to fix sleep disorders that allows people access to the brain / dreams of those with the implant. First, they think it's an attempt at mind-control, but when Walter experiments on the brain of Agent Zachary Ty Bryant, he realized that it's like all the craziest drugs all at once, everything that goes through the other person's mid-brain poured into yours-- and the culprit is an addict of the rush that causes. But the result is that those he feeds off are living their dreams and killing people. This week's ick: several shots of slimy brain surgery, and pulling things out of said brains.

Pretty weird.

But the background of the show was shifting around while all this was happening. Olivia's dealing with Charlie's death and whether or not it's her fault and the creepiness of finding out that he was dead ages before she knew it (though they haven't really mentioned that part...). Peter is remembering that he used to have horrible night terrors when he was a kid, and now that he remembers, he starts having the dreams again. They apparently involve talking in his sleep, and what he's saying freaks Walter out. Meanwhile, Astrid is continuing to be adorably fond of Walter, and he's responding well. I like watching that weird little friendship happen.

I think Peter is remembering his own snatching. And I think that's going to be the arc of this season-- getting around to Peter's realization that he's not who he thinks he is, and therefore, everything he thinks about his life isn't right. The trust between him and Walter is only barely starting to solidify, and it'll be shattered. Maybe they'll even set it up so Other Walter shows up, and then he'll have to choose sides in the Coming War. Maybe he'll choose the other side and wind up facing off with Olivia, which I think would be horrifying, unless the result is to bond them closer as a team so they can work together to save both universes. There's so much potential for crazy pathos there.

The show is less about Olivia these days. She's sort of out of the equation by being messed up and frequently off doing something she isn't sharing with the others, and Peter finally having a purpose means he's doing a lot of the work these days. I'm not comfortable with the shift away from Olivia being a strong, empowered woman with a tech-savvy genius behind her left shoulder, but I'm willing to let them find a new equilibrium.

Otherwise, the episode was kind of slow...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

sanctuary s02 e01

Somewhere along the line, when I gave up watching season one because it was taking too long to get anywhere, it seems to have gotten really cool. Now I'll have to go back and watch the rest of the season.

So here's where we are: Late last season, Ashley was kidnapped by the Cabal, who want to control all the Abnormals, and they've been running weeks of experiments on her, activating her latent Abnormal DNA, then grafting in new DNA from this Source Blood that happens to be the reason why Jack the Ripper and Helen Magnus don't age and haven't died. And she's the pilot of a program to make more like her: mindless soldiers with healing and retractile claws and unstoppable strength, and I'm assuming maybe some other powers. (Ash has teleportation from her father, but the other five were scrubbed clean of all abnormalities when they were children, so they could be grafted, theoretically, with any power they wanted to give them)

The goal is to take down the entire Sanctuary network.

Oooh, big! I was scared that it might still be slow and dull like the first season's beginning, but apparently I should have held out. Now I'll be watching this (because I don't have enough to watch already!), and I'll eventually go back and catch up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

flash forward: so1 e02 white to play

The problem with these high-concept shows is that the pilot can be fantastic, but then the actual making-it-into-a-show is really complicated. I'm willing to see it through, but this episode seemed like alot of waiting, and I'm not a big fan of wheel-spinning (it's what plagues whole seasons of Lost sometimes, and it makes me feel bad for Penny). It's not that this was a bad ep, only that it wasn't as fast or as tense as the first.

So here we go:

Olivia and Mark are starting to feel a little rocky because of her affair in the Flash, and they haven't forced Charlie (why does this lady keep having kids named Charlie?) to tell her story, which means they don't know why she's acting up at school. All the kids keep playing Blackout, where they all lay on the ground and reenact the Flash, then wake up and tell everyone what they saw, and it's all good things-- though who knows how much of that is real. Probably most kids would have seen something ordinary. But not Charlie, and she doesn't want to play, and she runs away. Which brings her face to face with a military blockade that hasn't had much to do with the story yet, but brings into focus that the seeming return to normalcy isn't real-- everything's still weird just around the corner.

So her mom takes her to work, and while she's at the hospital, she sees Dylan, the kid that knew Olivia's name in the pilot, and flips out over the fact that someone hurt him, said she knew him from her dream, but wouldn't say more.

Meanwhile, Dylan's dad is Loyd, who happened to be the man Olivia saw in her Flash, but he apparently didn't see her, so she has the option to change history-- he doesn't know her, and maybe she can avoid him and the affair that comes with. Except that Dylan asks for her, so now he knows that she's something important to them.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Mark is following the leads from his wall. All the D Gibbons' in the country are being tracked, but the one in question walks into the office with cupcakes (and really, this convenience of the future already happening might start getting old if they don't shake it up and get a little more creative; it's bad plotting to have characters know when they should enter, though it could be a really great meta-commentary about plot itself if they do it right). She's never done anything wrong, but she dreamed about an argument with her creditors and knew Mark and Dimitri, and came looking for them to see what it meant. investigating her led to finding that someone had stolen her credit info and was using the card elsewhere in Utah, which led them to another D Gibbons who's been hacking networks, apparently doing what they're doing. And his phone says he was awake during the blackout and talking to the person at the stadium that they know was also awake. And it sounds like a conspiracy.

he blew everything up and got away, but the picture of the burnt doll happened there, and that's proof that they don't know enough to change anything yet, and so far, things are going to happen. So much drama. It's a shame it took this long to get to it.

Other things that happened this episode:
- Homeland Security was questioning how they had the chutzpah to assign themselves as the head of the investigation, which resulted in them showing her the video and getting the green light to continue allocating government funds.
- Charlie tells Mark that 'D Gibbons is a very bad man'-- so apparently her vision is some sort of lynchpin we really need to know about.
- Dimitri and tech girl enter their stories into the Mosaic on the off chance that someone has info they can use to help them make sense of their own visions, and by the end of the night, very shortly after, Dimitri gets a call from a woman with an accent telling him that she was looking at a case file that said he was going to get murdered.
- Lloyd doesn't know how to be a dad, but alot of the pressure of telling his kid that his mom is dead is lessened by the fact that the kid already knows from his Flash. But he's also autistic, and that'll probably come into play later, or else there's no reason for it.
- Joseph Finnes continues to have a nice, even, believable bland American accent.

So, like I said, not a bad ep, but not as tense as the first, and not as exciting, though there was alot of info delivered, and less of the quick decisions and acceptance of weirdness that was my only complaint with the first ep. And I'm even more excited to see how it goes.

fringe: s02 e03 fracture

I think I didn't review last week, but it had Olivia acting weirder than usual, her hearing heightened, her leg still damaged, her concentration off, and Nina Sharp gave her the name of a guy who 'put her back together'-- I'm assuming the one who gave her a robotic arm, or maybe someone involved after that. This week, she's still going to see him, three or four separate visits in this one episode that can't take place over more than a few days, and he keeps pissing her off.

Meanwhile, the case they're on is about people who are crystallizing and then exploding, becoming their own bombs and shrapnel in one-- a guy goes off in a train station and blows up alot of innocent bystanders, and that's what gets Fringe Division on the case, via a news filter Astrid's invented that looks for weird events.

It turns out that they've stumbled on something called Tin Man, a secret project that was supposed to help American soldiers exposed to a synthetic nerve toxin in Iraq. Most of the people treated died-- more than two hundred-- but a few of them didn't. They have to treat themselves with a top-secret serum they can't let anyone know about every day, but it's that serum that's exploding them. Their Colonel is calling them back into active duty and sending them to intercept people in black trench coats carrying briefcases, then triggering a super-high frequency that catalyzes the serum while also jamming all electronics so there's no proof of what happened.

They manage to stop him before he blows up the next one, but they don't catch the man in the trench, and in holding, the Colonel tells them that it's to send Them a message: they can't just pick a war with us. He doesn't actually mention alternate realities-- he doesn't know who or what they are-- but the montage while he talks shows us the man in the trench coat taking that briefcase to the Observer, while he says that they're collecting info on our culture and our defenses to use against us.

The plot, she continues to thicken. The last shot is of what's in the briefcase, the info that will doom us all, and it's observation photos of Peter and Walter. (dun dun DUN!!!!)

My reactions:
- I like that working with Olivia on her cases has changed Peter enough that people from his past who have plenty of reason to distrust him (though he won't say why), can now trust him on the force of his convictions alone.
- I like that we get to see something of what Peter did before he was recruited, and a little of who he was-- which was apparently both untrustworthy and somewhat dangerous. I hope it doesn't degenerate into Peter's 'I know a guy' replacing Walter's 'I remember working on this', though.
- I like that Peter could hold his own against a seasoned Colonel who has 'no regard for human life'.
- I like that when Olivia was in Iraq, everyone looked at her like she was nuts, but she had the decency to cover her hair.
- This guy that's helping Olivia deal-- I like him. He's vague and distracting and strange, but he seems sincere, if a little jaded, and he accomplished what he meant to do-- which seems to have been to piss Olivia off enough that she pushes past her fear. Because when he's done, she suddenly doesn't need her cane and can hold a gun without her hand shaking (does that means she doesn't need a robotic arm? It'd be neat if she does...). I wonder what else she has to go through with this dude?
- Astrid gets to have a little personality, and she seems to be getting kind of fond of Walter, alternating between sweetly guiding him where he needs to go emotionally, and firmly telling him where his boundaries need to be. The news before hand said he'd be getting romance from an unexpected quarter-- could be be Astrid? Talk about an odd couple, but I think it could work. She's so unfazed by everything, and she knows how to handle him, which has got to be good for Peter.
- Peter and Walter get to have their own apartment soon! So maybe they can both have some privacy. And it makes relations simpler, too, doesn't it?
- Olivia's still putting on a brave face and not sharing info with the others about what she's going through, and Peter's still seeing through it but not pushing her. This, I like. What I don't like is when a show has this sort of awareness of eachother's moods and mentality, and keeps insisting that they don't want to have a romance. These two-- I don't get a platonic siblingness off them, and if that's what they're aiming for, they really sort of missed that one and need to focus on shifting the intensity. It's frustrating in an X-Files way, and if that's one of the ways they emulate the previous show (ie: drag it out and keep denying the love and then toss us a single warped little bone very late in the series when we're all ravenous for a payoff), I'll be more than a little ticked.

But so far, it's lovely.