LOST 6.14: The one with all the deaths

WHY?

Why? Why did Sun, Jin and Sayid have to die?

Simple. They gave their lives in service of the story. Because their deaths added to the drama. Because a higher power — the-powers-that-be behind LOST — realized that sometimes story threads need to be snipped rather than tied off. Because TPTB have set the endgame in motion, and after six seasons, this all has to mean something. Plus, the characters died heroic, self-sacrificing deaths — the best kind possible, I suppose.
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GLEE 1.17: Don’t give a damn ‘bout my bad reputation

GLEE got off to a rough start for me this week, because I actually did not like the opening number, a rendition of “Ice Ice Baby” performed by Will (Matthew Morrison). I don’t have a problem with Morrison’s rapping – I really enjoyed his versions of “Gold Digger” and “Bust a Move” for example; it’s just that something about “Ice Ice Baby” left me cold. In fact, it wasn’t just Will. I thought the backing vocals were off as well. Maybe the song just wasn’t mixed properly from broadcast. I’ve been trying, but I can’t recall another performance on GLEE that I really actively disliked.

In another misfire, Sue Sylvester did another video, which meant the wonderful Jane Lynch got to perform with guest star Olivia Newton-John on a refurbishing of her hit “Physical.” I thought the vocals were electronically manipulated a little too much, but perhaps the producers had to do it to cover up some mistakes. Sue herself suffered from the mistake of giving Kurt access to her office, so he was able to get hold of video of Sue rocking out to the original “Physical.” The video went viral on the Web (after the gleeks uploaded it) and Sue was humiliated — on a global scale. Of course, in Sue’s case, everything is larger than life, right? Still, it was shocking to see Sue on the other side of the popularity coin – as the butt of “slow-motion laughter.”
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GLEE 1.16: Home is where the singing is…

Will and April duet right.

Each episode of GLEE since its return has been better than the one before, and this week’s installment, called “Home,” was no exception. A treatise on the concept of finding someplace to belong, the story also saw the welcome return of Kristen Chenoweth as April Rhodes. This was one of those episodes that had viewers laughing, singing along and then crying – sometimes practically all at once.

The storyline saw Sue (Jane Lynch) boot the glee club from the auditorium, sending Will (Matthew Morrison) in search of rehearsal space. That quest brought him into contact with April, who was running a roller rink because she got sidetracked on her journey to Branson. April, too, was searching for someplace to belong – was she really happy playing the mistress of a local strip-mall king? When she and Will dueted on “Fire,” it felt like she rediscovered where she belongs: by his side. Morrison’s and Cheno’s voices mesh perfectly, and they look good together, so it was no wonder April wanted to move in with him immediately. (I’m sure Emma would have something to say about that…) Their duet on “One Less Bell to Answer” was heartbreaking.
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LOST: 6.13: Come together, right now

Jin and Sun

THE A-TEAM’s Hannibal Smith famously loved it when a plan came together, and LOST the-powers-that-be reunited key characters this week as they position their players for the endgame. And that made longtime viewers the winners this week.

The most important development was the reunion of Sun and Jin, who have not seen each other (in the original timeline) since the explosion of the freighter Kahana at the end of Season 4! Let’s hope he can keep his vow: “We’ll never be apart again. I promise you.”
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GLEE 1.15: The Power of Madonna

Sue's new look

GLEE channeled “the power of Madonna” this week — not that the show needs to borrow anyone else cachet at the moment — and the episode was even better than last week’s. GLEE is moving from strength to strength with the initial installments of the back nine, with next week’s story being even better still.

But this week the show cashed in on an offer from one of its highest-profile fans, after Madonna made her entire songbook available to the high-school musical series. The result is an inventive, funny episode peppered by a plethora of the Material Girl’s songs.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that Sue Sylvester would worship Madonna — she is the very personification of a self-made woman. And Madonna’s quote, “I’m tough, I’m ambitious and I know what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay,” clearly would not be unusual as a line of dialogue coming out of Sue’s mouth.
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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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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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