Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Following 2.13: The Downfall of Mike

Well, The Following 2.13 concluded on a resoundingly tragic note last night, as Mike pumps bullets into Lily, to the horror of Ryan and Max.

Neither lifted a weapon to stop him.  They hoped their appeal to Mike's humanity might have stopped him, and it almost did.   Of course, it could be argued that what Mike did was in humanity's best interests, given Lily's propensity for dealing out death.   (I'm assuming here that she's indeed dead - you clearly never know for sure on The Following - and short of someone's head being blown clean off, you never know for sure on any television show.)

But was Mike's pulling the trigger multiple times - which he certainly did, even if Lily somehow survives - in his best interests?  Ryan thinks not, and sees what Mike did as turning Mike into Ryan, which for Ryan in a Shakespearean moment is a bad thing.  More practically, what will Max do about having witnessed this execution?  I can't see her arresting him or turning him in to the authorities - but I can't see her just forgetting about it, either.

As for the series, as I said in my review of last week's episode, I was liking Lily as a killing-cult leader better than Joe, so she'll be missed.  But Joe became a little more interesting last night, in the intense conversation with Ryan in which Joe indicated that he knew he didn't have many more days left on this Earth.   I had thought, earlier in the season, that it might end with Joe being killed and Lily surviving. But with Lily now presumably dead, will this season end with Joe being killed - for real, this time - too?

One point to bear in mind is that Joe was at his fatalistic worst before he learned that Claire was still alive.    Might that give him more of a will to live?

Should be a compelling season finale next week.

See also The Following Is Back for Its Second Season ... The Following 2.2: Rediscovering Oneself ... The Following 2.3: Coalescing ... The Following 2.4: Psycho Families and Trains ... The Following 2.5: Turning Tides ... The Following 2.8: Coalescing? ... The Following 2.9: The Book Signing ... The Following 2.11: Lily not Joe

And see also The Following Begins ... The Following 1.2: Joe, Poe, and the Plan ... The Following 1.3: Bug in the Sun ... The Following 1.4: Off the Leash ... The Following 1.5:  The Lawyer and the Swap ... The Following 1.7: At Large ... The Following 1.9: All in a Name, Or, Metaphor in the Service of Murder ... The Following 1.13: At Last Something of a Day for the Good Guys ... The Following Season 1 Finale: Doing Dead


Like a Neanderthal serial killer in the current world? Try The Silk Code

Bones 9.21: Freezing and Thawing

A strong triple-threat Bones 9.21, with a great case, and two relationships pitched into interesting and important developments.

The case begins with the mystery of how a dead body can be composed of pieces that apparently died at three different times.   The solution involves cryogenics - the freezing of bodies and brains for later revival, at a time when we can do that, and, in the case of the frozen brain, construct a body to go with it, too.  This is not science fiction -- not the freezing part, in any case, which has been occurring in labs around the world for years.  When you inject into this scenario an unrequited love, you get a story which is a fine scientific mystery.   Bones 9.21 did a fine job with this, offering up one of the best scientific murders mysteries of the season, and indeed the series.

The personal relationships were also excellent.  One involved Cam and Arastoo, and what happens when Arastoo's parents come to town.  About Cam, I should mention that several readers took me to task for being so critical of her last week, and pointed out that her behavior regarding Wendell was the fault of the writers.  Of course it's the writers' fault - Cam is not a real person, everything she says and does is the result of the writers.   In any case, she behaved well with Arastoo and his parents tonight - and it was nice to see Shohreh Aghdashloo playing Arastoo's mother.  She did a great job as Behrooz's mother on 24 a bunch of years ago - speaking of which, I'll be reviewing episode of that classic series when it's back on Fox with a new, short season in May.

Back to Cam - and, again, this is the writers' fault - there is a serious inconsistency in her character which makes her even less sympathetic.   She's willing to break the rules and sleep with an intern, but not allow another intern to use marijuana to help ease the pain of his cancer.   The writers should resolve that - otherwise they're leaving us with little choice but to conclude that Cam is a hypocrite.

But the most important personal story tonight is about Bones and Booth, who may be offered a job in Germany, to head up a counter-terrorism center.  He doesn't want this.  Bones will support him whatever he does, but the ambiguous way in which this thread ends means that there will likely be emotional fireworks ahead.

All in all, an outstanding episode, and I'm looking forward to more.

See also Bones 9.1: The Sweet Misery of Love ... Bones 9.2: Bobcat, Identity Theft, and Sweets ... Bones 9.3 and NCIS 11.2: Sweets and Ziva ... Bones 9.4: Metaphysics of Death in a Television Series ... Bones 9.5: Val and Deep Blue ... Bones 9.6: The Wedding ... Bones 9.7: Watch Out, Buenos Aires ...Bones 9.8: The Bug in the Neck ... Bones 9.9: Friday Night Bones in the Courtroom ... Bones 9.10: Horse Pucky ... Bones 9.11: Angels in Equations ... Bones 9.12: Fingernails ... Bones 9.13: Meets Nashville, and Wendell ... Bones 9.14: "You Cannot Drink Your Glass Away" ... Bones 9.15: Hodgins' Brother and the Ripped Off Toe ... Bones 9.16: Lampreys, Professors, and Insurance Companies ... Bones 9.17: Spartacus in the Kitchen ... Bones 9.18: Meets Day of the Triffids ... Bones 9.19: The Cornucopic Urn ... Bones 9.20: Above the Law

And see also Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian ... Bones 8.2 of Contention ... Bones 8.3: Not Rotting Behind a Desk  ... Bones 8.4: Slashing Tiger and Donald Trump ... Bones 8.5: Applesauce on Election Eve ... Bones 8.6: Election Day ... Bones 8.7: Dollops in the Sky with Diamonds ...Bones 8.8: The Talking Remains ... Bones 8.9: I Am A Camera ... Bones 8.10-11: Double Bones ...Bones 8.12: Face of Enigmatic Evil ... Bones 8.13: Two for the Price of One ... Bones 8.14: Real Life ... Bones 8.15: The Magic Bullet and the Be-Spontaneous Paradox ... Bones 8.16: Bitter-Sweet Sweets and Honest Finn ... Bones 8.17: "Not Time Share, Time Travel" ... Bones 8.18: Couples ... Bones 8.19: The Head in the Toilet ... Bones 8.20: On Camera ... Bones 8.21: Christine, Hot Sauce, and the Judge ... Bones 8.22: Musical-Chair Parents ... Bones 8.23: The Bluff ... Bones Season 8 Finale: Can't Buy the Last Few Minutes

And see also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ...Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ...Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max ... Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson ... Bones Season 7 Finale: Suspect Bones

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ...Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ...Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ...Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ...Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ... Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution


Like scientific mysteries and science fiction?  Check out The Pixel Eye

Monday, April 14, 2014

Game of Thrones 4.2: Whodunnit?

At last, a satisfying shocking killing in Game of Thrones 4.2 last night. After death coming down on Stark after Stark, and the villains suffering only a lost hand, we get to celebrate the poisoning of one of the most despicable characters in the series and indeed in all of television:  the just-married King Joffrey.   George R. R. Martin tweeted "You're welcome" after the show last night, and millions including me were thankful indeed that we won't have to see this sick vicious twit of a character again.

But two intriguing questions ensue - actually one question, in two parts: What will happen to Tyrion, denounced by Cersei as the killer, and who really killed Joffrey?

Tyrion clearly didn't do it.   Jamie and Tywin will likely see this, once they get over their shock, and I doubt if they'll let anything really bad happen to Tyrion, whatever Cersei's true beliefs.  (I've read only the first novel in the series, so I have no knowledge of what will happen.   Given, of course, what has already happened, anything is possible.)  Indeed, the early scene with Tyrion and Jamie suggests that the two may have the beginnings of some real rapport.

So who did the deed, if not Tyrion?   There are motives everywhere you look, especially with the Starks.   Sansa has more than ample reason to want Joffrey dead.  Did she act on it?  I don't think so.

Was the killer on hand at the wedding party, to witness his or her deed?  Probably - it's much more fun that way.

Is the killer someone we don't know, an agent from the north, or maybe Daenerys?  Possibly, but it would be more fun to already have seen the killer, in plain sight, maybe even a moment or two before the deadly cake event.

I'm putting my money on Oleena, who couldn't have been happy, deep down, about her beloved Margaery married to Joffrey, despite the power that would give the Tyrells.  But it's also not clear who will wield the power now with Joffrey gone.  Will Margaery, as Queen?  Will Stanis have a new claim to the throne?  If Joffrey's death gives Margaery more power, then that gives Oleena a pretty powerful motive.

Whatever comes down the road, we should be for some wild times in Game of Thrones, and we haven't even gotten to the dragons and the ghost hoard.

And see also Game of Thrones Back in Play for Season 2 ... Game of Thrones 2.2: Cersei vs. Tyrion

And see also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms ... Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead? ... Game of Thrones 1.10 Meets True Blood

And here's a Spanish article in Semana, the leading news magazine in Colombia, in which I'm quoted about explicit sex on television, including on Game of Thrones.

And see "'Game of Thrones': Why the Buzz is So Big" article in The Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2014, with my quotes.


"I was here, in Carthage, three months from now." 


Mad Men 7.1: Vignettes and Playboy

Mad Men was back with its seventh season last night - it will be its last, though presented in  two seven-episode parts, over two years.   As was the case with much of season 6, this first episode of the final season offered a compelling series of interlocking vignettes, rather than a single overarching narrative. Indeed, the plot barely moved forward, making the episode more like a sequence of still life paintings, brilliantly rendered, hanging on diverse walls, than a story across time.

Among the highlights of this new form of television story telling -

  • Don's slowly deteriorating relationship with Megan:  It was already on the beginnings of the rocks last season, and is moving along to break-up ever so exquisitely slowly.   Megan, out in Los Angles and receiving Don's visit, barely wants to sleep with him.  She might have been more open to Don, had he not been rushing back to New York the very next day on a red eye.  But, understandably, she can't quite see where their relationship can go with this series of in effect one-night stands.  For his part, Don flirts with a blonde real estate agent in LA who looks like a young version of Betty, and a woman on the red-eye, who looks like an older version of Megan, and whom he might even have wanted to have some sex with, if it had been confined to something on the plane.
  • Don's business is more blurry than a watercolor: he's still on leave, but pitching some kind of business, while he's still a collecting a check from what's left of the grand old firm.   The merger has made the firm even less recognizable than it was last year, giving it a faintly alien quality accentuated by Don, Roger, Bert, and Harry not on hand in the office - for different reasons - and Ken with a patch over his eye, courtesy of the hunting accident he had last season.   (Actually, I'm assuming Bert and Harry were absent for different reasons, because no reason was presented.)
  • Peggy and Joan are still have difficulty getting their good ideas accepted, again for different reasons.   And I've got to say that I found Joan's character more interesting than Peggy's in episode 7.1, because Peggy's problems seem a rehash of what we've seen in just about every season.
  • The visual details were outstanding, as they always are.   My favorite was seeing a copy of Playboy in Don's possession.  Let's see: its January 1969 - Nixon is being inaugurated - would have been cool had that copy of Playboy been the March 1969 issue with the McLuhan interview, and a tip of the hat to "the medium is the message" line that we heard lo those many seasons ago on this series.  It wasn't, but its these resonances, real and imagined, that make Mad Men such a fine piece of television.
And it's great to see this series right back where it belongs: on television, not in our recollections - at least, not until after 2015.

See also Mad Men 6.1-2: The Lighter and the Twist ... Mad Men 6.3: Good Company ... Mad Men 6.4: McLuhan, Heinz, and Don's Imagination ... Mad Men 6.5: MLK ... Mad Men 6.6: Good News Comes in a Chevy ...  Mad Men 6.7: Merger and Margarine ... Mad Men 6.8: Dr. Feelgood and Grandma Ida ... Mad Men 6.9: Don and Betty ... Mad Men 6.10: Medium Cool ... Mad Men 6.11: Hand in the Cookie Jar and Guy de Maupassant ... Mad Men 6.12: Rosemary's Baby, Dick Cheney, and Sunkist ... Mad Men Season 6 Finale: Beyond California

See also Why "You Only Live Twice" for Mad Men Season 5 Finale ... Mad Men Season Five Finale

See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree ... Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl ...Mad Men 5.9: Don's Creativity  ... Mad Men 5.10: "The Negron Complex" ... Mad Men 5.11: Prostitution and Power ... Mad Men 5.12: Exit Lane

And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..." 4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ...4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season TwoMad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season OneMad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ...Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ...Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes