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05 October 2006 @ 11:51 am
TV... overload? Is that possible?  
Hommina hommina.  The anticipation was finally quelled a bit, as Lost triumphantly returned for season three.  I'm gonna go ahead and make real cuts for this here because I feel like it - even if it is long.  The thread for its discussion at Wicked Insanity is HERE.  Reactions under the cut:

Lost: 3.01 - "A Tale of Two Cities"

Holy schnikes. The S2 and S3 premieres for this show have definitely raised the bar for what actually merits the term "unpredictable". I actually went back to read yesterday's Ask Ausiello to see what he had said, and compare that to what we got last night.

Ausiello: ... Now, as I informed you in the Ausiello Report, I've already seen tonight's season premiere and you guys are in for a treat of epic proportions. The episode was fraktastic. Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams' script was jam-packed with thrills, chills, twists and turns aplenty, and Matthew Fox delivered what, IMHO, was an Emmy-clinching performance. Seriously, the gold statue is his to lose. And while we're at it, let me also extend mad props to the underrated Julie Bowen, who was handed the Herculean task of uttering the single most heartbreaking line of dialogue this TV season — and she knocked it outta the park. I have 16 sopping-wet Kleenex to prove it.


Ausiello: First off, nothing about the episode is predictable, particularly where the Others are concerned. In fact, I'll go so far as to say your perception of the creepy outcasts will be completely shattered within the first five minutes. I should also point out that one of the show's three newbies is featured very prominently tonight, and let's just say this rookie made an extremely favorable impression on me. (Best. Casting. Decision. Ever.) And as I mentioned in AR, a grilled cheese sandwich also gets a good deal of airtime, as does a very familiar-looking dude named Ben. Oh, and one more thing: someone comes out of the closet. I think. Keep your ears attuned (and turn your gaydar on) right around the time Kate steps foot in the shower. That's when the telltale clue gets dropped.

First off - as _cinjudes_ and I got to convo a bit about last night after it was over - Matthew Fox has had many episodes in the series' run that should easily merit an Emmy win for him. The man is an ACTOR - of the highest caliber, and the emotional highs and lows that get written for Jack continue to allow him to show his range time and again. The fact that the Emmys are an essentially outdated, biased organization of a Hollywood-buddy-buddy system of favorites with a skewed heirarchy makes his snubs mean little to me - I know he's awesome, as do most of the fans. But a little hardware to show off to the showbiz-types would be appreciated, I'm sure. This will be the third go-round for a nom and win at next year's awards, and if he's not seriously in the running, heads should roll.

Now that that's out of the way... I was curious (understatement) to see how compelling an entire ep could be with its focus on just four of the regular characters, and a few more of The Others. This was thoroughly addressed with one of the creepiest and most "oh crap" episodes in the series to date. The first five minutes kinda had my jaw on the floor, and me on the edge of my seat - which continued for pretty much the entire hour. When we see Juliet and the other 'Others' (which we've yet to realize who they are at that point) sitting down for the book club, after the images of her own faux domesticity, I was reeling with possibilities - especially after last year's premiere where we first saw Desmond's routine in The Swan.

When the rumbling, quasi-earthquake began, my gut immediately told me that this is happening on the island - making these new strangers more of The Others. And then Ethan pops up from his repair work, and "Henry" - i.e., "Ben" - comes out to see the ruckus. And then we see them look up to watch as FLIGHT 815 BREAKS APART IN THE AIR! Holy frak! I was pleased with the hook, to say the least.

And biased as I am (so what), my Jack Shephard love was back as we got to see more flashbacks for his character-centered episode. I found these looks back to be especially intriguing, though, as we're closing in on a time in Jack's life after his marriage has fallen apart, but before he's completely estranged from his father - and subsequently gets him fired. Jack's ultimate 'type A' personality is showcased in dramatic fashion even more. We've known he's a medical perfectionist, always seeking to make things better, to gain control of things he knows (or believes) he can change, but we also see the obsessive-compulsive side to that, when he's determined to find out who Sarah has left him for - to see what person can do the things for her that he could not. Which then gets ugly, as Christian is revealed to be a contact on her cell-phone, and Jack's suspicion of his own father worsens.

Throughout those flashbacks, though, Christian actually exacerbates things by not being straight with Jack as to why Sarah had been in contact with him - to make sure Jack was doing OK - and instead just telling him to "let it go." SO not the thing to say, to appease a son whom he's marginalized and put down for years and years. It's almost a request for Jack to validate his own perceived failures, to just abandon his pursuit of control. The scene in the A.A. meeting was inevitable at that point, with the physical confrontation and Jack's arrest. The kicker was the final scene with Sarah as she bailed him out, which Ausiello referenced above. Not sure if it's THE most powerful line of TV this season - but its implications are devastating and so very telling on how we now see Jack and who he's become. She confirms that Christian fell off the wagon after 50 days of sobriety following Jack's blow-up, and then says that now he has "something to fix." After letting that stew in my own head overnight, it's pretty gorram harsh, and she KNEW it would eat Jack up inside. Thus, the mountain of guilt that Jack has carried on his back since the pilot gets a little more explanation, as he shoulders a lot of personal burdens for causing his own father to drink himself to death, even before he had gotten him fired.

Now, onto the island stuff.

Going into this, I was still undecided on the spoilers that had Elizabeth Mitchell as a recurring newbie, as to whether or not she'd fit in. But I gotta say, Juliet could turn out to be kinda fascinating, with how much she knows about Jack (and possibly Kate and Sawyer and everyone else, too), and the apparent little good-will she and Ben have for each other. He shut her inside the aquarium-surrounded room with Jack as it filled with water, and had a "so what" smirk on his face in the process. This could have been another ploy to get Jack to start trusting Juliet just a bit - to see that she saved him from drowning, but she was also kinda just saving her own ass, too. If any of The Others could ever have a change of heart and actually switch teams for the benefit of our Flight 815 survivors, she'd be a prime candidate. But we'll just have to wait and see.

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it seemed to me that as Jack first woke up, and saw the band-aid from having his blood drawn, that he looked to the other side of the room, expecting to see Kate (or Sawyer). Was he just shouting "hey" or also "Kate"? The way the room was set up, with the glass partition, it's possible Kate could have initially been held in there, before we find her woken up in the locker room by Tom. And in that scene, does Tom's "not my type" line infer he's gay? Could be. *shrug* Later, after Kate's been "dressed" and escorted outside, just the fact that Ben tells her at breakfast that the next two weeks would be "rather unpleasant" should give all fans a little bit of the willies. She really should have chowed-down on that bacon and eggs, since all she ends up left with is Sawyer's recently acquired... dog food? It's what that 'food' looked like - kibble and a fish-shaped dog biscuit.

The adjacent cages are just wild. Seeing Sawyer figure out how to play the 'game' with levers for food and water (and "punishment") was sort of amusing and creepy at the same time. Tom comments on the bears working it out in "only" two hours, and Sawyer asks how many were in there. Good stuff. And it wouldn't be surprising if the the guy that escaped from the cage and tried to free Sawyer was actually just a psychological plant by The Others, in order to give a little false hope and demoralize him a bit. We hadn't seen that guy before, so that's my guess.

Also, Cindyhad commented in earlier Lost character discussions we've had that Sawyer and Kate have similar demeanors and response-personalities, when it comes to dealing with the stress and dangers of these life-threatening situations and relating to their captors, and I agree for the most part. They kind of lean on each other for a little moral/psychological support, while keeping a stiff-upper-lip for as long as possible - sort of an unspoken "if you can get through this, so can I" attitude. Which is why I think having them detained relatively "together" - in contact with each other - makes sense, and why neither of them was forced into solitary, with the other in contact with Jack. I don't think either would last as long, with a psychological break probably not too far off in that scenario.

Which leads to why I think Jack was kept by himself - for those above reasons, that Sawyer and Kate need to rely on some mutual support of one another, and that Jack could probably last a little longer on his own than either of them would, with the kind of psychological wringer they'll all be put through. That's just character spec and supposition, but it's my personal hunch. As it is, Jack's on the verge of just giving in to whatever they ask right now, as he's exhausted and dehydrated, which compound what I feel is his biggest personal issue with everything that's happening: he just doesn't know what's going on, and has no control over anything right now. He's completely at the mercy of someone else's designs, has no idea where Kate and Sawyer are or if they are OK, and all of that just driving him nuts inside.

And somehow, The Others know all of this - and have a friggin' book on his life-history. That's like adding insult to injury to Jack's psyche - that he has no clue what's happening or what they want, yet they know everything about him. Plus, this is further evidence that The Others definitely have some current regular contact with the outside world, able to gather whatever information they need on whoever they want. But the biggest stumper is still WHY Jack, Kate and Sawyer are captive, and what exactly it is The Others hope to gain from them.

Now we have to wait a week for more. ::sigh::  At least this anticipation was finally abated. I'm not sure if I could have taken another week - I was ready to explode. This just reinforced why this show is the best and most unique on TV.

And, in spite of my continued thrall with that show, there actually were two other shows on last night worth commenting for.  Blurbs for each under the cuts:

Bones: 2.06 - "The Girl in Suite 2103"

Okay, so trying to formulate thoughts on this ep is a little difficult after re-hashing all the big stuff from the new Lost that also aired last night, but I'll add a few things here.

Government beurocracy was shown in its most critical form through the investigation, as the State Department had to maintain its foreign diplomatic relations at the expense of FBI evidence gathering. Diplomatic immunity is almost a 'four-letter word' when it comes to actually serving justice.

I really liked, though, that once again Booth's ethical integrity shines through in order to make the laws - unfair though they may be - the final say in how they can and cannot make/pursue the case. Cam was ready to falsify their conclusions from the evidence, to smoke out the real culprit - Dolores Ramos - if her son was implicated as the killer. But Booth shut that down right away. He sees her point, and agrees with what she's trying to do, but not how to go about it. The image of the country - and safety of its citizens in captivity abroad - was brought up, showing that he sees the bigger picture of the global politcal structure.

It was validating, though, that he was able to appeal to Ramos's own sense of fairness and what is right. Not to mention the threat of the evidence gathered being turned over to her own government by the State Department, where her trial and punishment would be much worse for her than the more fair procedure she would get in the U.S., if she waived her immunity. Nicely played.

Brennan's continual references to Alex Radziwill's stature was hilarious, as she's consciously aware of the offensiveness of what she says and what is inferred, thus pointing it out in order to make her points - that he could use his size to his advantage in manipulating conversations. She was having none of it, and even justified herself quite reasonably. Her comments on sparing his "tiny feelings" and Booth literally being able to "kick him out the window" had me LMAO.

Hodgins and Angela are still edging closer and closer with their flirtations. It's pretty much openly acknowledged between them now, and they also both share the secret of Booth's hook-up with Cam. The looks on their faces as they found out - first Jack (which he later teases her with), then later it dawns on her, and they share a mutual-knowledge look. Good stuff.

Now we have to wait until November. ::sigh::

The Nine: 1.01 - Pilot

After watching this, my first thought was "Gorrammit, another show is going to get me hooked!"

Granted, my actual reactions to the entire thing may be a little skewed by the fact it followed the premiere of Lost, which I then discussed with Cindy for 45 minutes after it finished. So I was a wee bit tired when I started this, but could still appreciate it nonetheless. Just a few comments.

The shift in the pacing was a little jarring at first - from the beginning, to the middle, to the end - but as I saw where the story was going, it made sense, and keeps the hook in the audience.

The setup inside the bank, as we encounter each of the characters for the first time, was nice and steady. We also get to see a glimpse of the personal lives of each of the soon-to-be hostages, with all the mundane things people do day to day. Right up until Randall and Lucas make their violent take-over, and then the cutting gets fast-paced and chaotic as we cut to 52 hours later, with a sense that these people have been through some major shit, and it's finally over as we see Eagan make his "heroic" move at the standoff's dramatic conclusion.

Then we cut to a week later, back to a more balanced pace, as the nine survivors attend the funeral of bank-teller Eva, whose death is still shrouded in mystery, as are a myriad of other changes in these characters, based on what happened over those two days inside the bank. They later convene at a restaurant, and confirm that they want to try and keep in touch.

I can easily see this as being a show that keeps the cliffhangers coming, with reveals of things that have happened/changed in the relationships for all these characters who are now forever intertwined, while only letting the audience in on the "how" and "why" piece by piece. The defined 'heroes' and 'villians' of the story may not be so clear-cut, and seeing the actual events of what really happened during those 52 hours will keep me around for a while.

*wipes brow*  Phew!  Tonight is all new with My Name is Earl, The Office, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Six Degrees, Smallville, and Supernatural.  AND Florida State plays N.C. State tonight on ESPN  - so I'll need to record the shows through my DVR/VCR(s) (yes - plural) while watching my 'Noles try to not lose again.  Tomorrow night brings eye candy with The Ghost Whisperer, and another so-excited-for-I-can-almost-burst premiere with Battlestar Galactica.

Frak. Me!

This TV season is just getting rolling, and my plate is filled to the max.  

Oh, the work it takes to be a devoted TV-obsessor...