LOST 6.12: Hugs for Hugo

Libby jogs Hugo's memory

“Everybody Loves Hugo” is the kind of episode that every LOST fan can love: not only did viewers get to see old friends Libby and Michael again, there was some important new information.

Checking in on Hugo in the L.A.verse, we saw he is still a sad-sack, despite being a rich, philanthropic businessman. His mother still gets on him about meeting a woman. And then he does. And what a woman she is!

There was something off about Libby — as once again personified by Cynthia Watros — from the moment she appeared. And it was more than this strikingly beautiful woman crossing the room to talk to Hugo. She insisted that she somehow knew him. Or felt like she should know him.“Do you believe two people can be connected, like soul mates?” she asked him. Of course, we at home know they are connected, and are soul mates.
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SURVIVOR: Heroes vs. Themselves


Regular readers of this column know that I do not usually write about the so-called “reality series” because I do not like them. I would rather listen to a sink backing up than the caterwauling on AMERICAN IDOL (and the singers are pretty tough on the ears, too!) And I would rather be homeless than endure a night in the BIG BROTHER house. However, SURVIVOR is one of the few unscripted series I enjoy (along with THE AMAZING RACE and UNDERCOVER BOSS — yay, Tiffany Network!) and, as I have pointed out before, this season’s HEROES VS. VILLAINS is SURVIVOR at its absolute best.

Not only are the competitions exciting, but the intra-tribe squabbling is great soap opera. Each physical challenge was played in a previous season, so some contestants are already familiar with the obstacles. Add that to the familiarity with the other players, and practically every challenge — reward or immunity — becomes a grudge match. At least the rate of physical injuries has slowed.

The power struggles within the camps earlier in the season were a riot, as would-be alpha dogs battled for supremacy. But now that the power structures have stabilized the emphasis is on…well, survival. As veterans of the game, everybody knows there are “secret” alliances among players, so they all talk openly about alliances; seeing what people reveal (or don’t reveal) shows home viewers a lot about character.
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FRINGE 2.18: Gotta get back in time


FRINGE always does strange and off-the-wall pretty well, but this week’s episode excelled at creating a sense of melancholy that hung over the story like low cloud cover.

Genre demigod Peter WellerRoboCop himself, who will always be known as the eponymous hero of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension – guested as Alistair Peck, a scientist who discovered a way to travel back in time. While his mission was selfless – he wanted a chance to stop his fiancée from being killed in a car crash 10 months ago – his methods were selfish: His technology consumed huge quantities of energy; energy that was sucked out of electrical devices and human beings alike, killing them. Mad scientists like Peck are usually played with eye-rolling mania or loopy enthusiasm, but Weller played Peck with quiet determination. He was undermining his own humanity by replacing his own body with mechanical parts, so matter if were to lose something as ephemeral as a soul? Peck said it himself, that science itself is God; technology is the only higher power he needs. (And no, the irony was not lost on me that Weller was playing yet another tragic character that was more machine than man – and this time it was his own doing.)
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BEING ERICA 2.13: Pick a Door, Any Door…

Give Erica a hand...

Before moving on to the greatest time-travel series of all…er, time this weeked – a little series called DOCTOR WHO — I would like to close the book on the most recent season of the best time-travel series currently on the air that is not called…well, you know.

The second season saw humungous changes for Erica Strange (the adorable Erin Karpluk). She went from a bewildered patient undergoing time therapy she barely understood, to essentially a therapist-in-training when she was enlisted to help Kai understand the limits of this line of treatment. Along the way, Erica’s relationship with Ethan blossomed and then withered, as she grew to understand that they were simply not right for each. Erin and Ethan experienced everything from a foray into a sex club to arguments over her career – and they locked horns every step of the way. Ethan’s lack of support for Erica’s business aspirations devastated her – almost as much as his vision of the future, in which they are married with kids and a dog. “We are in completely different places,” Erica sniffled, her eyes welling up. “I don’t think that we’re right for each other. And there’s no amount of talking that will fix it. I think we should break up.”
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GLEE 1.14: Hello, I Love You

Will and Emma

Psssst! Have you heard? GLEE is back!

I am certain other folks will go on at length about the Finn/Rachel/Jesse triangle, and Sue’s condo in Boca and casual contempt for Will’s hair, the or the way Santana and Brittany manipulated Finn — and especially Brittany’s observation that “dolphins are just gay sharks.” So I would like to go in a different direction and look at one of the show’s unsung pairings: Will and Emma.

Will crooned Neil Diamond’s “Hello” to Emma as they danced, and the admiration in Emma’s eyes was evident. The camera swirled around them in an approximation of the giddiness of love, and it was almost enough to make the viewer lightheaded and get swept up in the moment. Like Emma almost did. But she stopped things to reveal — in a painfully awkward moment — that she is a virgin. Jayma Mays packed so much embarrassment into that little half-whispered admission. She was actually blinking, and Emma never blinks. But her lashes were batting like crazy. “It’s not cool, I can tell,” she sighed. Will was taken aback, but handled it sensitively.
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STARGATE UNIVERSE 1.12: Live together, die alone

TJ, Camile and Chloe

“To put it bluntly, we’ve taken the ship.”

With those civilized yet ominous words, STARGATE UNIVERSE’s Camile Wray basically declared war on the military contingent aboard Destiny, igniting a conflict that has been simmering since the first episode.

Camile (Ming-Na) and the “science/civilian” faction plotted to isolate the Stargate personnel from most of ship so she could seize power by controlling the ship’s functions and the stargate. However, the execution did not go as planned, and Col. Young (Louis Ferreira) was left in control of life-support functions, giving him a bargaining chip for negotiations. Not that he really needed it, since Young swiftly took action to regain command of the ship.
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Project Runway: Dalek edition

Series 31 Dalek

The Daleks are back on DOCTOR WHO this season. Or are they? Are the creatures in those slick new casings really the same pepperpots fans have known and loved for four decades?

There is a firestorm raging among Whovians (Yes, I am proud of that traditional name!) this week, sparked by the release of images of the new Daleks 11th Doctor Matt Smith will battle in the upcoming “Victory of the Daleks” (See the trailer here). The Doctor’s most enduring enemies have undergone a bit of makeover.

Horrors? Hardly.

While I agree that the basic Dalek design is sacrosanct and should never be radically changed — no proper arms and legs…ever! — some noodling about and variations of the theme are perfectly fine with me. The hideous mutations from Skaro still have eye stalks and sucker arms and those round balls; if the skirts have some additional detailing, that’s not a sin. If the eyestalk looks more menacing now, I’m good with that. This Dalek looks sturdier, sleeker and thus more commanding. Dalek tweaking is not new. We have seen new Dalek colors introduced at intervals; a Special Weapons Dalek was trundled out in “Remembrance of the Daleks” (which also featured a reimagined Emperor!). And Russell T Davies gave us bigger, bulker Daleks topped with the squarish, cylindrical headlamps from the movies!
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LOST 6.11: Not-so-easy Des it…

At last, thanks to good ol’ Desmond, this week we began to see that the “sideways” L.A.verse actually does relate to the original LOST timeline. There always was something about Des that made his travels unique. I guess it’s a good thing that, as Charles Widmore state, “the Island isn’t done with [Des] yet.”

Although, technically, I suppose it was Widmore (Alan Dale) who was not finished with Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) yet. Widmore ordered Des placed in a magnetic chamber to test if he can survive another catastrophic event (presumably referring to the time he turned the failsafe key). Can I just ask why Widmore insisted on subjecting Des to the experiment before it was properly prepared? This is a frequent theme in fiction, the idea that a megalomaniac will needlessly rush things just as his plan is nearing fruition. Widmore has clearly spent years and major resources on this mystery project, so why bungle it now, with mere hours to go, simply because he was too impatient to wait for the final tweaks to be made? Whatever the reason, Des was placed in a magnetic chamber, and for a moment there, I thought I was watching the movie Watchmen, and Des was going to get his intrinsic field ripped out of him, turning him into another Dr. Manhattan. But instead of transforming into a naked blue god, Desmond wound up in the Sideways Universe, working as Widmore’s right-hand man. In this reality, Widmore is so fond of Des that he eagerly shares the 60-year-old MacCutcheon whisky – the very same Scotch that Widmore claimed Des was not worthy to drink back in the original timeline.
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STARGATE UNIVERSE 1.11: Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Am I blue?

STARGATE UNIVERSE returned to our screens with a taut, action- and emotion-filled episode that revealed Dr. Rush’s surprising fate — and the torment experienced by Col. Young over marooning the scientist on a wasteland planet.

TJ (Alaina Huffman) tried to get Young (Louis Ferreira) to talk about what happened, but the commanding officer was understandably hesitant to expound on his feelings. Young claimed that Rush (Robert Carlyle) was killed in a rock slide, but the truth is Young beat Rush unconscious and abandoned him in the midseason cliff-hanger. Two points made this scene significant: It demonstrated that Young felt remorse, and showed the Young/TJ relationship ran pretty deep. We know it was not just a sexual fling; the pair clearly care for each other.
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GH’s Sins of the Father: Nature vs. Nurture

Dante (Dominic Zamprogna)

Soaps tend to try to have it both ways on the Nature vs. Nurture question, depending on what may make the best story. When it comes to an issue like paternity, soaps tend to downplay genetics and play up the idea that a “father” is the person who raised a child — biological or not. In that case, nurture is praised as more important. But if a character is worried about growing up to be just like his/her villainous father/mother, then genetics are presented as a practically inevitable destiny.

I was mulling this after watching the sequence in which GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) asked his mother Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) if she thought he could ever abuse a woman. He was tortured by the idea that he might have inherited an “abuse gene” from bad dad Sonny. To me, the mere fact that he was concerned about the question proves he is not that kind of man. Even if there was an abusive chromosome in his body, Olivia raised him the right way — to always respect women — and that’s the kind of training one doesn’t abruptly shrug off one day. Even if he somehow felt an urge deep in his bones to strike out violently, his moral code would quash it. C’mon, Dante is a police officer who is so dedicated to the straight-and-narrow that he is determined to put his own father behind bars. That is the mark of a man with scruples.
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