Lost Review – “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

“There’s a war coming, John. And if you’re not back on the island when that happens, the wrong side is going to win.”

In reality, tonight’s episode of ABC’s Losticon probably should have been called the “Death and Life of Jeremy Bentham”. It’s unusual, on Losticon, to see someone die and then come back to life (unlike what usually happens on NBC’s Heroes) so when they revealed in the opening of the show that John Locke is not only alive, but on the island with the other survivors of flight 316 (the kind of revelation that’s usually reserved for the end of an episode), I thought that the remainder of the episode would be pretty exciting.

Well, I can’t say that I was blown away by anything else this episode showed, but I am intrigued by the notion that Charles Widmore might not be the bad guy after all. You have to admit, his tactics tonight were much less heavy-handed than Ben’s. Plus, we did see a younger Widmore closely associated with Richard Alpert when Locke, Kate, Sawyer and the others were time jumping, so we know that he did have quite a long history with the island. It’s just so hard to know whom to believe and it’s one of the things that makes Lost something that’s worth returning to every week.

We also got to know a little more about Matthew Abaddon, who was the creepy orderly who guided Locke into taking the Australian walkabout that made him end up on the island. This reveal leads me to wonder if we’re going to see him in everyone else’s back-story at some point in time encouraging them to be on the ill-fated Oceanic flight that brought them to the island in the first place. It would make sense if Eloise Hawking is working for Charles Widmore’s group and would have been able to predict that Oceanic 815 would have brought them into the path of the island. She sure didn’t seem to care enough for Ben to be working for him.

In recent weeks, I had a feeling when Ben showed up with Jin’s ring and used it as a tool to convince Sun to return to the island, that Ben had in reality killed John Locke because of Locke’s desire to be true to the word he gave Jin that he wouldn’t bring Sun back. I knew Ben wouldn’t allow that so I just figured that Ben was the one who killed Locke. Looks like this is one of those rare moments when I was right.

I don’t really have all that much more to say about “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” other than that it was nice to see Locke’s interactions with the Oceanic 6 that we had only heard them tell of in previous episodes, but I can’t say we learned anything by it.

One more thing I can say is that it’s nice that we’re finally into the stage of this series where there are more questions being answered than asked. The creators of this show have an end date and a plan to get us there, and it’ll be nice when it’s over to look at this series as a completed work and finally understand what it’s all about.

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TV Review: Medium, “…About Last Night”

>Mediumicon on NBC is a show that doesn’t get a lot of fanfare. It’s a show that doesn’t have the most glamorous of actors and doesn’t do many stunts to produce a lot of hype. Sometimes I find that it’s even easy to forget that Mediumicon is on and I miss it. It’s interesting, then, how just about every time I watch Mediumicon I come away from it thinking that it’s one of the best shows on television.

Now in it’s fifth season, Mediumicon is about an average family living in Phoenix, Arizona. The dad, Joe Dubois (played by Jake Weber), is an inventor. The mom, Allison Dubois (played by Patricia Arquette), is a consultant for the District Attorney’s office. And they have 3 daughters: Ariel, who’s just learning to drive, Bridgette, who offers much comic relief, and the youngest is Marie. Did I mention that mom, Allison, is a psychic who sees dead people, has visions, and other paranormal experiences?

Yes, the thing that keeps Mediumicon from being a modern day version of Leave It To Beaver, is that it’s really a crime drama centered on a psychic who is trusted by the District Attorney for her paranormal insights. Much of the time Mediumicon is a fantasy grounded in the mundane of every day life, and that seeming mismatch of genres is what makes this show so compelling.

In last night’s episode, “…About Last Nighticon”, Allison blacks out for 6 hours, not realizing how she got from the supermarket in the late afternoon to laying on the sidewalk under a freeway overpass in the middle of the night. As she begins to realize what she’s done, she’s terrified that she may have killed at least one person, maybe two. (SPOILERS FOLLOW) It turns out that she was actually possessed by a recently murdered woman who takes over Allison in the hopes of stopping the deaths of many other people.

Mediumicon is interesting because Allison’s visions and dreams aren’t always clear and she frequently misinterprets them. This leads everyone else to doubt her when her visions don’t make sense, at the same time they realize that her visions often do include important clues that they trust will help them solve whatever mystery they’re facing.

If you’ve never watched Mediumicon, I’d suggest that you give it a try. Often there are great twists at the ends and great writing throughout. Also refreshing about this show is that there are only very minor ongoing storylines. Each episode is a self contained story, so there are no worries that if you miss one or haven’t watched from the beginning, that you’ll be lost, as in ABC’s Losticon or NBC’s Heroesicon.

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Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock



As the Sci Fi channel original series, Battlestar Galacticaicon, comes to a close, it’s interesting to see how the storyline is wrapping up. As someone who has watched the series from the beginning, I’m a little unsure if some of the issues will be satisfactorily resolved in the four episodes that are remaining before the series ends.

One of the problems that I have with tonight’s episode is that as they are preparing to end the series in a handful of episodes, we are seeing a lot of things that I can’t help but think aren’t really important to the resolution of the overall storyline. Are the political issues about the poor on the lower decks really going to help tie up the bigger questions about a final home for the fleet? Or answer the questions about what’s going on with Starbuck? I understand that the reunion of Ellen Tigh with the final five was going to cause conflict between her, her former husband Saul Tigh and Caprica Six who’s four months pregnant with his pure Cylon child, I just wish it wasn’t the primary plotline of tonight’s episode.

In my book, the best ending to a series came from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where they had a 10 episode arc that tied up all the outstanding plotlines from the series and then a two-hour finale where we were able to say farewell to all the characters and feel like things were tidied up well. The worst ending to a series came from Star Trek: Voyager where they vowed to keep you guessing up until the last moment as to whether or not they were going to make it home. When the answer to that question was given that yes, they had finally made it back to earth, 5 seconds later the show ended.

There are 4 episodes left to Battlestar Galacticaicon, and next week promises to focus heavily on the mystery behind Starbuck. They’ll probably need another one to resolve what’s happening with Gaius Baltar and the lower decks and then hopefully they’ll take care of the other group of cylons that the rebels on Galactica abandoned. I’m sure sprinkled in all of that will be the working out of the love triangle between Saul Tigh, Ellen Tigh, and Caprica Six; whether or not Laura Roslin is going to succumb to her cancer; and how many more frakking times are we going to see Adama shaving or brushing his teeth in his bathroom? I mean, can’t that wait until he’s safely home on New, New Caprica? Or New Earth? In his New Bathroom?

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Lost Thoughts: 316

LOOK OUT! Spoilers ahead

I’m sure that everyone noticed, as I did, that tonight’s episode of Lost on ABC was the first since the Pilot not to include any kind of flashback or flashforward. Well, I guess that’s not technically true since the beginning of the episode showed them just moments after Jack, Hurley and Kate returned to the island with the rest of the episode revealing the events that led up to their getting there. But the limited flashbacks made me think that this episode was serving as a hub, or a restarting point for the rest of the series.

Tonight’s episode, “316” began by showing Jack, Hurley and Kate suddenly finding themselves on the island, but quickly flashed back to show us how they got there.

The flashback begins where we left off last week with Jack, Sun, Ben and Desmond speaking with Daniel Faraday’s mother Eloise Hawking. She explains that the island moves through both space and time and that the place she is working, the Lamppost, was created by the Dharma Initiative for the purpose of finding the island. She reveals that she has discovered a time and place where the island will be and she believes that if the “Oceanic 6” are in a plane as it’s flying over, then they will somehow return to the island.

The remainder of tonight’s episode revolved around Jack’s preparations to return to the island, but what really surprised me is that they actually got on the plane and back on the island by the time the episode was over! That was a huge leap forward in the plot in my opinion because I was expecting to have to wait until the end of the season to see how Jack managed to convince everyone that they all needed to go back.

The insertion of Jack’s granddad into the story that seemed to come from out of nowhere. Unless that particular character is going to play a more substantial role in the future, it seems like they could have accomplished the same if jack just went to his apartment and pulled out a shoebox labeled “Dad’s shoes.” Viola! Plot problem fixed… I should have been a writer.

By the way, I think we received a couple of messages that everything Ben says is a lie. Ms. Hawking revealed that Ben was probably lying about not knowing about the Lamppost station and later in the episode when Jack asked Ben on the plane, “How can you read?” and Ben answered, “My mother taught me.” Remember back… Ben’s mother died in childbirth. The man is a habitual liar.

One of my favorite moments on this episode came when Jack was speaking with Frank Lapidus who just happened to be the captain of Flight 316. During the conversation Lapidus looks around and quickly comes to realize that just about everyone from his doomed helicopter flight from the freighter is on his plane and he says, “We’re not going to Guam, are we?”

Once back on the island, the first thing they see is none other than Jin in Dharma duds driving a brand new Dharma VW bus. My theory about this is that when John Locke fixed the frozen donkey wheel last week, the Oceanic survivors remaining on the island were stuck in the time that they just happened to be in and ended up becoming part of Dharma. This also explains how Daniel Faraday appeared at the excavation of the donkey wheel cave in the Orchid Station in the beginning of this season.

But, as the creators of Lost so masterfully do, although they seemed to tidily wrap up getting them back to the island, they left many questions unanswered. Here are some of the questions this episode has left me with:

  • What made Hurley and Sayid suddenly decide to get on the plane?
  • Who was that lady with Sayid?
  • Who was it that worked over Ben and why didn’t they finish the job?
  • What happened to the plane and all of the other passengers?
  • What happened to Aaron and why won’t Kate talk about it?

I’m confident that all of these questions and more will be answered eventually, and since there is a scheduled end date for the show in 2010, which means that they will actually be able to end the story with plenty of time to tie up all the loose ends. At the very least, now we can have a fairly good idea of what the flashbacks throughout the rest of the season will involve.

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Lost Thoughts: This Place is Death

BEWARE: Spoilers spoken here.

The farther along I get into ABC’s Lost, the less I’m sure of how I want all of this to end. Right now there is the Oceanic 6, including Jack, Kate, Sun, Hurley, Sayid, and Aaron who are trying to get on with their old lives back on shore. Only a few of them believe that it’s imperative that they go back to the island. Meanwhile back on the island, the remaining Oceanic survivors are time shifting at random intervals and Locke believes that they need to get the 6 escapees back to the island in order to get it to stop. So whom should I be rooting for? Are all of the Oceanic survivors fated (or doomed) to live the rest of their lives on this island? Should we, as viewers, still be hoping that they’ll be rescued in the end?

Last night’s episode explored some interesting topics. We got to see a little about how Rousseau came to be on the island, plus a little more about the smoke monster. Could it be that the others came to be the way they are because of their long term exposure to this creature? Rousseau’s companions sure seemed to have been negatively affected.

Also in this episode is the reunion of Jin with the other remaining Oceanic survivors. I’m excited to see Jin back. I don’t feel fooled as if they brought him back from the dead—the truth is, I never really believed he was dead to begin with. They didn’t really show Jin die. In fact, he was very much out in the open on the freighter when it blew up so he could have easily jumped or have been thrown overboard. I actually have a lot of respect for the producers of Lost because they aren’t afraid to let even a main character remain dead if it’s the honest progression of the story.

Another thing I like about this show is that it’s to the point where they are answering questions, but they are also introducing new ones. Here are some of the questions that I find compelling as I’m looking to the future of this show:

How did Ben get Jin’s ring? If we’re to believe Locke, he was going to honor Jin’s request and tell Sun not to return, it’s possible that Ben wouldn’t allow that and that Ben may have been the one responsible for Locke’s death.

Did Locke resetting the frozen donkey wheel stop the island’s time jumping? If so, is it still imperative that the Oceanic 6 return to the island?

Is the time jumping on the island the same thing that was happening when Walt kept appearing to Shannon before her death? Are we going to see what started his time jumping since he’s not with the group currently on the island?

Questions, questions. I’m just glad they have a time frame to end this that they’re shooting for so that it’s not like they’re just trying to fill in the time. It’s still a great show!

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