Thursday, November 02, 2006

Smokey and the Bandit
Episode 3:04 Every Man for Himself
Episode 3:05 The Cost of Living

So. That happened.

So here's why I avoid spoilers. I would really have liked last night's big moment to be a shocker (especially since the rest of the episode was so dissapointing), but some DICK on a message board posted that particular spoiler without the customary 'SPOILER' tag. Like I said, DICK.

Anyway, I guess Mr. Eko's dead now. Again...huh. Ok. Apparently Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was a real pain on set, like was rumored about a certain now-unemployed Latina cast member last season. We can't all get married and bond whilst skinny-dipping, you know. Regardless, Eko's gone. And I thought he was going to be really important to the overall arc of the island.

He was, in that he put in doubt exactly what is causing everyone's visions (Jack and his dad, Shannon and Walt, Locke and Boone, Eko and Yemi), is the island out to help the survivors, or letting them serve some purpose then killing them? And also, we needed to see the monster again and be reminded that it is a genuine threat. So how better to show that than to have it off the one who sent it cowering last season? But Eko was a strong character, he played well off of Locke, and Adewale's performances were wonderful, even if he turned into a prima-donna on-set.

But on to how the episode played as a whole, which is to say: not well at all. This was an episode for people who have never seen a single episode of LOST (yes, I know it's very important for the show's health to grab new folks, but let's not start pandering, please). The opening segment, always an attention grabber, was instead a recap how Eko came to be a priest.

Dude-I know. I know how that happened because I watched it in my living room last year, and if I've forgotten I can pop in Disc Three of my Season Two DVD set. And so can anyone with Netflix. We've got a lot to get to here, just jump right in. Man.

I also wonder how a couple of newbies, Alison Schapker and Monica Owusu-Breen got the call from the bullpen to handle a moment this major. It certainly seemed to be the writing that was off.

And Paolo and Nikki: shut up. Just shut up. "Eko's brother is in that plane!" Fucking hell. What, did she learn that little fact while braiding Claire's hair? They're like that annoying couple at the movies that won't stop talking through the feature. Nikki's a little yummy, though. Still, keep it shut sister, I'm watching my stories.

But I did like a few things, among them Patchy McPatcherston here: We'll see him sometime in Season Four.

I liked bad-ass priest Eko scaring off the villagers. Note to McFarlane Toys: this is the Eko action figure I want, gripping that bloody machete in his hand.

And the island's taunting of Eko: "You speak to me as if I was your brother." Great line, good moment, and a nice cliffhanger.

Part of the reason this one seemed so dull is that LOST had been on a roll. Every Man for Himself was some great TV. Love the torture scenes, especially the twisted moment with Ben and the bunny. And Michael Emerson's brilliant delivery on full display at the end, quoting Steinbeck while staring with Sawyer at the survivor's home island. How do I feel about that? Why not? Pour on the weirdness. I love the show most when it throws you for a genuine loop. But what I really enjoy is the character moments, and seeing the ever-proud Sawyer genuinely decimated was awesome, and Josh Holloway actually brought something to the moment. Cheers all around.

Elsewhere: the producers have been getting my letters after all...
So they teased us with a Sawyer death, and I know I keep saying it, but despite the whole Eko thing, I still think possibly as soon as next episode, James Ford's gonna bite it.

What else is going on? A lot to cover in two episodes. Jack and Juliet's moment with the whole Bob Dylan cue card thing was ok. But we saw something like that coming. I don't know if that was the most effective way to do it. But it does set the good doctor up wth a genuine moral dillema. Oh, hell, people, it's JACK. He won't kill him. You haven't been paying attention the last three years if you think he will.

And back to 3:04, and the return of Cassie with baby in tow, I can't believe that Mr. Bad Ass con artist didn't even ask for a damn blood test before giving the kid a cool $10 million. Get it together, James! You taught the woman how to run a con, remember?

So we've got one more until the break (no LOST until February, not counting the LOST Nikki and Paolo Holiday Special featuring Bea Arthur), and a lot of end will probably be wrapped up in tiny ways while probably leaving us with at least a few GASP moments to tide us over all that time. This season really has been great so far, I have faith, and Damon and Carlton writing. And Captain Browncoat himself, Nathan Fillion is guest starring. What more do you geeks need?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"I was wrong": The Return of John Locke
Episode 3:02 ;The Glass Ballerina
Episode 3:03; Further Instructions

In a clip aired in the preview for Further Instructions (but not, I believe, a moment that made it to the final airing, unless I missed it. Tim, help me out here!), John Locke holds a hunting knife in his grimy hands and says, "I missed this."

So did we, John. So did we.

There was a hint (ok, more than a hint) of 'give 'em what they want already' about 3:03. Didn't like the hatch? It's a crater now. Been missing the snarky hobbit (Beth Sweeney, I'm looking in your direction)? Here he is, in rare sarcastic form. Missed the John Locke whose faith in the island carried the castaways through Season One? Got 'im. Oh, and missed the polar bear? Yup. He's here too, horrid CGI and all.

Locke episodes are almost always good. This was good, if a bit rushed. I love that we're getting the mystical John again. But what I will say in defense of the way he was presented last year is that without his loss of faith, this episode wouldn't have felt so special. Like the retun of an old friend.

Speaking of old friends, Boone was back, and apparently Ian Sommerhalder couldn't be bothered to cut his friggin' hair for the guest appearance. Well, I guess your hair and nails do continue to grow after you're dead. I always loved the way that John and Boone played off each other in Season One. I had hoped to see a bit of Boone hauntings last season, but I guess this will do. I liked the airport hallucination, and I liked the hippie commune flashback. But really, did you think for a minute that John was going to pull that trigger?
But once again, we have a John Locke who gets betrayed by someone he tried to help, and being rejected by those he calls 'family'. This is why Locke works so well as a character. For all his mystical bravado, Locke is merely a lost little boy seeking daddy's approval (like every other male island resident, come to think of it). But still, it's very, very nice to have the hunter back.

Oh, and let me say this: Desmond is Jesus. Told. You. So.

I'm one to find some sort of religious symbolism in damn near anything (I was raised Catholic, that's what we do), but really:
That's a halo, people. And he sees the future now? Miracles! Hope! Where the hell is Penny?

Oh, and where have Nikki and Paolo been all this time? Are they staying in Cousin Oliver's tent?


I love that moment. But I don't believe that will be enough to make Jack pull a Michael and betray his friends. But with this show? You just never know.
And again, mad love for Michael Emerson as, apparently, Benjamin Linus. He's more fun to watch than any other actor on television. His delivery, his expressions, he's brilliant.

The Glass Ballerina was good. The more we see of Sun, the less we're able to sympathize with her. She got the MAID fired, for Chrissakes! And she's lied the her husband about every...single...thing. Quite an interesting turaround from the Sun we were first presented with, way back in the Pilot, who we felt sorry for because her husband was yelling at her to button her top button. Jin, you don't know the half of it! She can't keep her clothes on at all.

I doubt the efficiency of Sayid's 'let's build a bonfire and shoot whoever shows up' plan. But let's not forget that Sayid is operating out of revenge for Shannon's death (remember Shannon? I know we're all trying to forget). Even though it was Ana's fault and Michael took care of that a mere four days ago in island time. But when The Others did show up, it wasn't Sayid or Jin doing the shooting. There are other, better, websites tracking the amount of island residents who've taken a life either before or after the crash. Suffice to say: a LOT of them have now.

Sawyer is right, by the way: no matter how peaches and cream she is to Jack, Juliet would have plugged Kate in a second. This is a woman what loves her job. Does anyone else think that Sawyer might...die this year? Just a feeling, don't get all teary-eyed now.

In other news, Kate Austen tastes like strawberries. I knew it. I just knew it.

Season Three is on the right track. We're getting a return to the strengths of some of our heroes and we're playing on the weaknesses of others (Jack really, really wants to go home...). Everybody's all heroic and desperate.
But, please, can Charlie start using again? He was so much more interesting then. Don't choose life, Charlie! Who needs reasons when you've got heroin? And give Evangeline Lilly something to do as well, other than play the damsel in distress. Girl's got chops, let her show them off.
Boy, marry a couple of actors off and their characters get all the life sucked out of them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

'Tis the East: The Evolution of LOST
Episode 3:01;A Tale of Two Cities

We're back in business and true to form we open with a dodge. This is the problem with the modern era of fandom: obsessives knew it was a Jack flashback episode, even by avoiding any major spoilers. So Juliet HAD to be on the island. And she is, along with apparent former lover 'Ben', otherwise known as the twitchy, squirmy Henry Gale. Interesting to see Henry as a calm, collected leader, not as a captive scrambling to stay ahead of his story.

The opener was different from the norm in many ways, but the most essential was the fact that none of our captured regulars had any contact with each other until Sawyer and Kate had their moment in the cages. Which was sweet. And after all that time without our usual banter, we were just as relieved as Kate to hear Sawyer call her "Freckles" again. And really, the moment in the cages showed exactly why Kate is attracted to Sawyer, had that been Jack across from her he would have been moody and intense, desperately plotting a way out (as he spent all of his time in the aquarium), not cracking wise to ease a girl's mind.
But the producers know that as much as we love Sawyer, we love to see him get hurt even more. So here comes Juliet (who's frigging everywhere on that island, apparently) with the taser.

J.J. Abrams was back with Damon Lindelof for the first time since the pilot episode, and Jack Bender was directing, as he did with last year's Desmond bookends. Last season, our focus was shuffled onto the tail section survivors, but only after we'd learned the fate of the raft crew and the scret of the hatch. This season we're having new characters integrated into the cast AS we find out the fate of those who were either kidnapped or potentially magnetically blown up. Or whatever.
This, I think was the cause of some of the negative online response to this episode, and a lot of female Juliet bashing seems to be out there.
But you know what? I'm an Elizabeth Mitchell fan. From as far back as Frequency, and Gia before that. I think she brings an intelligent sweetness to Juliet that grounds her. Of course this woman's favorite book is The Stand by Stephen King.
I also think they're setting her up well as Jack's romantic interest, she is after all a "woman of Science" and argues for free will right before 815 goes down. She's not going to be an ultimately useless 'Libby'. I'm looking forward to her flashbacks, and I think she works. So there.

But Jack. Poor, poor Jack. The further down his story we get, the more we realize that the Jack we've known is a man with little to no grip on himself. How far removed from attacking his father at a frigging AA meeting was the doctor when he crashed anyway? And he's hallucinating daddy again (I know, I he?). I'm still waiting for the mid-season Thailand era flashback. I bet I'm right about the good doctor chasing the white horse.
But man oh man, can Jack not give up (like the childhood bully said, "You should've stayed down, Jack."). I thought Matthew Fox did his usual Matthew Fox job in this one. I think he works as Jack because he brings with him an unassuming nature. The whole point is that Jack doesn't want to be the center of attention, but always will be. And I thought he did a great job at episode's end, when instead of asking for the name of the man that stole his wife he simply asks, "Is she happy?"
Maybe an old dog can learn a few tricks after all.
If you had problems with this one, watch it AGAIN. It was disorienting, and strange, but it was also very good.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

GEEK u.s.a: Back on the air

Ok, so how did you all spend your summer vacations? Mine was clearly not spent blogging, as the lack of posts since Spidey's big trailer debut shows.

I had many reasons for the lack of posting, but keep in mind that I was posting a ridiculous three times a week at my peak. My current job does not allow for that, not in the slightest. I've been working twelve hour days and barely buying comics or watching things geek.

Oh, but that all changes on October 4th, doesn't it?

Yes, kids, I am posting again because LOST is soon to be back on the air. And if there's one thing worth blogging about, it's America's favorite sci-fi soap opera. Year Three is big. We lost a few viewers last season, but so did Desperate Housewives, so there. Those that stuck around got some genuine shockers and some brilliant episodes (ok, LOST geeks, how many times have you watched Live Together, Die Alone since it aired?).

Here is the preview for the premiere, featuring Sawyer all angry and stuff behind bars and Jack staring down a wall of water with very Jack-like earnestness and integrity.

Oh, fun. Anyway, I have to keep Matt's mom happy, so I'll be posting episode recaps again. I promise, Mrs. Gill, that I'll keep the swearing to a minimum. You know, until Michael shoots someone again.

I'll also be getting around to a few things I've wanted to post for awhile, most notably high praise for some recent comics, especially the always amazing All-Star Superman (also, I've been meaning to post a public apology to Joss Whedon for some time. I hate admitting I'm wrong).

But, careful attention will show that the REVIEWS is gone from the blog title. That's because I've decided that, in general, I'm a bit judgemental in life. Why carry that over to the geek world I love so dearly?
So: the commentary remains, the letter grades are gone. Dig?

I look forward to hearing from all of you again. Excelsior!, as the man says.

-Matthew Guerrero

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Yes! Just...I mean...yes!

Take notes, Brian Singer: this is how you handle a superhero franchise.

Spider-Man 3 looks awesome, the fan-boy in me in squealing like a Beatlemaniac. I'm glad they're going with the black suit story, and I think Topher Grace is the perfect 'bad twin' to Tobey Maguire.
After the jaw-dropping brilliance of #2, I trust Raimi to the ends of the earth with Spidey, and I think he may be able to pull out an interesting Venom.
I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gill throws a Frosty gauntlet

In his comment to my review of Astonishing X-Men #15, Matt "you down with SPP?" Gill said the following:

"We have an entire page devoted to Emma Frost forcing her tears. Stan Lee could have gotten the same thing across in one alliterative caption."

First of all, I agree with Matt that the scene is dull and that information could be conveyed either more simply, or more dynamically by any number of comic writers.
However, I think that Matt is perhaps forgetting Mr. Lee's long winded nature.
One panel? I'm sure he'd devote at least half a page to Emma's internal struggle, something the more 'subtle' Whedon has only hinted at.

So! What's that caption, dear reader? What would Stan the Man put in Emma's beautiful, wicked head? Extra points for alliteration, per Matt's suggestion.

The challenge is before you, now bring it!