The Universe and Me

Friday, March 30, 2007

Lost : Expose

Lost. 3.14. In the flashback, Nikki guest stars in an Australian television show called Expose. She’s ingratiated herself with the director, Zuckerman, who’s also hired Paolo as a personal chef. Nikki and Paolo, lovely people that they are, conspire to poison Zuckerman and steal a matryoshka doll, or whatever’s inside it. When the plane crashes, they can’t find their bag. Professor Arzt talks to Nikki about the medusa spider he’s collected but we’re guessing she didn’t listen as carefully as she should have in school. Ethan suggests they look inland for their stuff. She and Paolo find the Pearl hatch, the small plane and the pond, but tell no one. Paolo lies and tells her the bag wasn’t at the bottom of the pond when it was. Locke later sees him digging a hole and warns him things don’t stay buried on the island. Especially when the beach erodes during high tide.

Paolo puts the doll in the Pearl hatch, seeing Henry and Juliet as he does so. Again, he tells no one. But viewers learn that Henry’s intention was to manipulate Jack into performing surgery, not to take Locke. He planned to find out what Jack was emotionally invested in and exploit it. When Locke finds the Pearl hatch, Paolo goes with to recover the doll. Later Nikki sees some nicotine gum Paolo has. Gum that was in the bag. She asks Sawyer for a gun but he’s not giving his stuff away so Nikki takes Paolo on a little walk. She knows he has the diamonds. To get them, she throws a medusa spider at him. The spider bite quickly paralyses him, with his heart rate slowed to near death. He’ll stay that way for eight hours. Unfortunately Nikki didn’t pay attention to Arzt when he said the pheromones released during a spider bite will bring lots of little friends. She’s bitten too but only has time to run towards the beach.

Before collapsing, she says something to Hurley and Sawyer. Power lines or plywood or Paolo lies. They can’t tell. Her trail leads to Paolo who’s also dead. There’s no forensics hatch that Sawyer knows about, so they can only try to piece together what happened. Sawyer does a perimeter sweep, a la Jack Bauer. Hurley checks with Desmond but as far as superpowers go, his are kind of lame. Sun suspects the Others, since they abducted her which leads Charlie to confess that he was the one who did that, although he’s quick to add it was Sawyer’s idea and way of getting even with Locke. Everyone suspects Sawyer who doesn’t wait for the villagers to get themselves some torches. He says he noticed dirt under Nikki’s nails so she must have hid something. They dig up the diamonds that were in the doll and then dig a grave for Nikki and Paolo, not realizing Nikki was saying “Paralyzed.” By the time her eyes open, she and Paolo have been buried alive.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

24 : 8 - 9 p.m.

24. 6.15. Gredenko contacts some dude named Mark Hauser with a brother named Rainman, or Brady. Same difference. Brady doesn’t like red food but he’s excellent with computer files. Chloe picks up on the phone call and, while she can’t determine what was said, she finds Mark’s address. Nadia’s been classified an enemy combatant. One of the gang brings Ricky an access monitor on Nadia’s computer which she could never have known about. The nuke happy VP’s assistant passes him a note which I suspect contains boxes for him to check off whether he likes her or not. No, wait, the doctors are taking Wayne out of a coma. A tact team, led by Jack, who’s not letting floating rib fragments get him down, storms Mark’s house. Why Mark would keep a shotgun right out in the open with a mentally challenged and/or autistic brother there is anyone’s guess. But he shoots back and is hit in an artery.

Jack handles the questioning of Brady well. Must have been all that experience with the lesser watt bulb Kim. Mark wanted Brady to go through some firewall instead of a proxy server. Jack warns the heavily bleeding Mark to give up Gredenko or be prosecuted for treason. Apparently dying is not an option, though it sure appears Mark is on that route. He tells Jack he was getting some security specs for a nuclear power plant and is wheeled off to the hospital. Jack needs Brady to go through with the transaction with Gredenko. They’ll meet in the convenient parking lot across the street. Jack orders the tranquiliser darts, making me wonder why they weren’t using them all along, since they could have learned a lot from some of these now dead Bad Dudes. Brady performs well and Gredenko is captured.

Milo’s ticked that Ricky sat on evidence to clear Nadia. Ricky begs to differ. He gave it to Morris because they had to make sure it was real. Nadia’s cleared. Bill thinks her first instinct would be to quit CTU. I think it would be to whack a certain someone upside the head. Saundra/Sandra gives the okay to take Wayne out of a coma. He suffers an increase in brain swelling and crashes. Within minutes, though, he’s on the phone, ordering a stand down. The strike is called off and he’s resuming his duties. No hostile action will be taken. The VP is sure Wayne can’t be thinking clearly. He can’t allow him to remain in power and summons the Attorney General.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lost : the man from Tallahassee

Lost. 3.13. In the flashback, the con artist formerly known as Anthony Cooper is set to marry some woman whose family is worth two hundred million dollars. Through medical records, which some hospital clearly didn’t keep confidential, her son tracks down Locke as having donated a kidney. Locke says it was anonymously and he never met Cooper. Who donates a kidney for the fun of it? Locke tracks down his father and orders him to call off the wedding or he’ll tell the woman. Shortly afterwards the police inform Locke that the woman’s son was found dead. She calls off the wedding because she’s too devastated. As Locke picks up the phone to call her, his father, who just said he wasn’t a murderer, pushes him out the window. Locke falls eight floors but survives. What is he, a cat? Explanation of paralysis, finally.

On the island, we see Locke using binoculars. I don’t remember him doing binocs before. Maybe he picked them up at Patch’s place. Kate seems to want to start shooting Others and hope for the best but Locke thinks it would be better to approach Jack when he’s alone. They wait until nightfall. Kate enters his house and finds him playing piano, seemingly alone except for the video camera watching him. The Others easily capture her and Sayid. Locke went in search of Henry. Alex hears them talking. Locke spirits her into the closet when Henry calls for help. He asks the help (Richard?) to bring him the Man from Tallahassee. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a code for: there’s a man in my closet with a gun held on my daughter, although he should.

Locke wants to know where the submarine is. Henry questions how he’ll operate it. “You don’t just press submerge.” Since Locke mentions Patch, Henry figures out that he also found the explosives and is planning on blowing up the sub. Henry knows a lot about Locke’s life pre-island whereas Locke shares a bond with the island that Henry, although born there, seems to lack since he’s not healing as fast as he should and probably shouldn’t have become sick in the first place. Locke objects to Henry’s use of electricity, created by “two giant hamsters running in a massive wheel in a secret underground lair” according to Henry. Communicating with the outside world is cheating and hypocritical.

Sayid intimates to Alex that her mother is still alive. After some discussion about a magic box that creates whatever you think about, Alex leads Locke to the sub. Jack either believes Henry's promise is good or he doesn't care about Kate and Sayid's fate. He and Juliet, ready to leave the island, arrive at the sub just as Locke blows it up. Jack’s furious with Locke. The sub loss is very convenient for Henry, who was looking for a way to keep his dissenting people and the Lostaways on the island. Henry takes Locke to a door, behind which is a bound Anthony Cooper. Real or magic box/smoke monster illusion? Line the writers probably wish they’d thought about sooner: “This is gonna be more complicated than we thought.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

24 : 7 - 8 p.m.

24.6.14. Jack has floating rib fragments. We don’t imagine that will slow him down. With the fuzz moving in, Gredenko orders a drone launched. CTU’s tracking ability appears mysteriously disabled. Chloe’s more concerned that, during a security upgrade, she discovered Nadia is using Milo’s code. He may be just trying to help but that’s a felony and someone else is bound to notice too. The nuke happy VP isn’t just rattling his sabre. Put that away before someone gets hurt. Marilyn makes a move on Jack who moves out of the way. First he needs to talk to Audrey. Marilyn isn’t torn up to tell him she read about a year ago in the newspaper Audrey had a car accident in China. Furious, Jack grabs Chloe’s phone. She should have told him and he wants the file now. Chances are Audrey was murdered while trying to find and free him. If she’s really dead, that is.

Karen returns to the bunker and quips over Tom’s boo boo. He jokes that he tripped over her ineptitude. She finds the VP’s actions dangerous and reckless, rather than the US standing up for herself. In a moment of comic relief, Chloe checks Morris’s breath for alcohol. Nope, he’s fine. Something about anticipating repositioning directives leads them to discover a leak at CTU. Ricky suspects Nadia because she’s “Mooslim.” Mooslim? Is that the official religion of moose? Is someone directing this show? Anyway, some signature trace matches Nadia’s. She’s taken into custody and interrogation. The drone is scheduled to hit San Francisco in twenty minutes.

Wayne has a build up of intracranial pressure. A coma has been induced but Karen needs to speak with him. The doctor won’t take responsibility for any ensuing brain damage. She’ll have to gain consent from sister Saundra/Sandra. Some feedback on Morris’s computer leads him to the location of the drone pilot. Just a couple blocks away on Hillcrest. That’s sure convenient. Jack accompanies the team who shoot their way in. He takes the pilot’s controls, which are navigation only. Never mind he’s been away from technology for almost two years. Also, never mind there’s a large body of water close by. He lands the drone in an industrial park. The firemen are exposed to its radiation. That’s enough of an attack for the VP to proceed with his warning strike. No word on either Logan this hour. Best line: “We don’t have time for your personal differences.”

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lost : Par avion

Lost. 3.12. In the flashback, a Goth Claire has a car accident which leaves her passenger mother with severe head trauma and comatose. Expenses have been taken care of and a new American doctor arrives on the scene. He’s not there to treat Mom, though. He’s there to tell Claire he’s her father. He visited her lots when she was little, but keeping two families going didn’t work well, I guess. He never tells Claire his name (or that she has a half brother named Jack) but he does mention there are alternatives to keeping her mother alive on machines. Hope isn’t the same as guilt, in his experience. Claire kicks him out.

On the island, Desmond wants to engage Charlie in a spot of boar hunting. Why Desmond cares so much whether Charlie dies or not might be a good question to ask. No one does. Claire notices some migratory seabirds heading south. She figures they’ll be tagged and someone will read those tags. If they can catch a bird, they can send a message to the outside world. Charlie doesn’t see the point. He thinks it’ll only encourage false hope. Desmond continues to linger, seemingly subverting Claire’s plans. She follows him and sees him catch a bird for her. He explains that Charlie would have tried but slipped on the rocks and broken his neck.

Sayid is still brooding over Locke blowing up the house. Locke thinks Sayid should have warned him the basement was rigged. Patch informs them that two weeks ago the underwater beacon stopped. He mentions an electromagnetic pulse and something I couldn’t catch as my cats have developed spring fever and were racing through the living room. Whatever it was, he doesn’t explain further to Kate because she’s not capable of understanding because she’s not on the list because she’s flawed. Somehow he knows their names. More curious is that he remembers Locke from the past. Locke interrupts him before he can elaborate.

They reach a security perimeter of pylons that encircle the barracks. There’s no way around it. Locke shoves Patch in. After strangely thanking Locke, Patch dies a gruesome death. Life amongst the Others must not be so great after all, if they’re so keen to die. (See Mrs Klugh from last episode.) Kate figures they can go over the barrier. They rig up a tree and she climbs up. The rest of the gang follows. Sayid sees Locke has some explosives in his backpack. So he knew about the basement after all. Go figure. Shortly the gang arrives outside the Others village where people are riding bicycles and Jack is involved in a friendly game of catch football with Tom. Everybody say, Huh?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

24 : 6 - 7 p.m.

24. 6.13. Logan is taken for debriefing at CTU. They’ve brought in the night manager, Mike Doyle. We like to think of him as Ricky. Milo wanted to think wouldn’t be a jerk. No such luck. Mike/Ricky and Morris don’t hit it off either. But Morris’s shirt is a blend, it doesn’t wrinkle, so that’s okay. Mike/Ricky’s putting a tactical profile together. Liberating Jack is a secondary goal. They need to abduct Markhov, even though that constitutes an act of war. Jack’s captor pushes him down a flight of stairs, onto the dead guard whose belt Jack surreptitiously liberates, then uses it to whip captor’s gun from his hand in one of the hour’s few exciting moments. He calls CTU and reaches Morris, but the line goes dead. CTU figures Markhov won’t let himself be taken alive. Since Martha is friends with Anya Subaru, she could call and convince her to speak on their behalf to her husband.

Martha’s been “institutionalized” which means she’s shacked up in a cozy bungalow with Aaron Pierce, reading gossip rags, eating fruit and probably playing the occasional tennis match. Charles calls but she refuses to see him. Aaron doesn’t have to deal with his sarcasm anymore, either. Logan’s not playing games. There’s an international incident brewing and he’s choppering in. Jack happens upon a Russian couple. He sends the man for a phone and tells the girl not to be scared, she’ll be fine. Seriously. Has Jack spent any time around himself? No one around him is ever fine and should be scared to death, because that’s how they usually end up.

The VP coerces Tom into telling some ambassador that Assad carried in the bomb. He saw the detonator. Now they’re holding his country responsible. The peace plan was all a ruse. Aaron’s worried Martha’s getting herself all stirred up. We couldn’t have that, could we? She goes a little ballistic chopping the fruit. As soon as we saw the knife, we figured it would be used. She jabs Logan in the neck, hitting an artery and is surprised to end up in handcuffs rather than given a medal. But she must have got through to Anya (I zoned out until the neck jab) because Subaru orders Markhov to surrender and turn over Jack. Of course he refuses. Subaru authorizes CTU’s use of force. They storm the consulate as Markhov calls Gredenko to launch the drones now. Logan crashes in the ambulance. Quote of the hour that could apply to any hour: “What you understand really doesn’t matter.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Red Dwarf series 7 quotes

  • Ship’s log… one.
  • Garbled, confusing, and quite frankly duller than an in-flight magazine produced by Air Belgium.
  • Sometimes, you just gotta say, the laws of time and space? Who gives a smeg!
  • The ability to sing the Bay City Rollers greatest hits is no longer a priority.
  • Bet he’s a sour krout.
  • How are those kippers doing?
  • That suit's as sharp a page of Oscar Wilde witticisms that have been rolled up into a point, sprinkled with lemon juice and jabbed into someone's eye!
  • According to the log, we’re down to our last 3000 vomit bags. It’ll never be enough.
  • I’ve begun researching the definitive history of pockets and, I've alphabetised our entire stock of alphabet soup, grouping each individual letter together with it's fellows.
  • I want him to choke to death on his smug gittyness.
  • This is where you must be to become Maria Von Trapp.
  • 67% more weasely.
  • Stoke me a clipper, I’ll be back for Christmas.
  • I accepted shopping was unlikely.
  • Cheese slice snap can only entertain for so long.
  • He’s a bit of a psychopathic killing machine, but he has his good side.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The party on the left

According to the test at The Political Compass, me and Gandhi are like this. That is, in about the same place on the resultant graph, a libertarian leftie. Go figure. The exact compass bearing:
Economic Left/Right: -4.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.79

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lost : Enter 77

Lost. 3.11. The Lostaways find a ping pong table leftover from when the hatch collapsed or exploded. Hurley doesn’t ask questions. He just makes himself a salad and moves on. Sawyer’s still lamenting his stolen stash, flinging nicknames left and right. Poor Hurley, i.e. Avalanche. Sawyer challenges anyone to a game of ping pong in return for his stash. Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon think it’d be a hoot if he had to give up the nicknaming for a week if he loses. Sawyer gets three points, which is better than zero. Best part of this comic relief was his questioning who Nicky was.

Kate and the rescue team have been walking north at a compass bearing of 3:05 for two days. They end up discovering a farmhouse with a large satellite dish. Rousseau’s survived by avoiding such encounters. She bails. Sayid foolishly walks right up to the house and is winged. Kate and Locke corner the culprit who says he’s Mikhail, the last living member of the Dharma Initiative. But we like to think of him as Patch. Wanting to do something good after being dismissed from the Soviet military eleven years ago, he replied to a newspaper ad. Everyone else died in the war, or purge, against the hostiles. The Others offered him a truce. If he didn’t cross their imaginary line, they’d leave him alone. Although his only companion seems to be a cat named Nadia, after the gymnast, Sayid suspects someone else is around.

Locke snoops around and finds a computer chess game that Patch says he can’t win since the computer cheats. Way to go. Tell Locke he can’t do something and that’s what he’ll become determined to do. He wins in no time and the screen is replaced by Dr Candle. Mainland communications are down. The sonar access is inoperable. If there’s been an incursion of hostiles, Locke is to enter 77. You’d think his experience with the hatch would have made him realize it’s not wise to go messing with other people’s things. During this chess match, Kate and Sayid realize Patch isn’t their friend. He attacks them but the fend him off. They find an operations manual and Mrs Klugh in the wired basement.

Patch has recovered from the fight and taken Locke outside. An exchange of prisoners would make sense. Mrs Klugh telling Patch to shoot her would not. Maybe she didn’t want to be on the receiving end of Kate’s wrath anymore. Rousseau reappears. She thinks Sayid should kill Patch. The episode’s pointless flashbacks have to do with mercy and regret or whatever (seeing Sayid beaten to a pulp is not any more entertaining to me than seeing Sawyer beaten to a pulp), so he doesn’t. BTW, the wife in the flashbacks must not know cats. They all do that. Because Locke entered 77, the house explodes. Luckily, we guess, Sayid took a map of some barracks they can check out next week. Best line: Sawyer’s “It was mine when I took it.”

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

24 : 5 - 6 p.m.

24. 6.12. Logan thinks Jack should listen to the voice in his head. Um, no. For all his efforts at peace, Assad is dead. There must be doctors and a mini hospital on stand by at the bunker because Wayne is taken to surgery after being hit by shrapnel. The Secret Service starts to sweep the bunker. Reed's friend (I still haven't learned his name) thinks getting caught was never part of the plan. It rarely is. He wants to kill Tom but Reed thinks they can reason with him. The FBI will blame Assad who conveniently can't set them straight. Instead, first chance he gets, Tom rats out Reed & Co. Once a weasel, always a weasel. But I was proud of him. The VP Daniels isn't so impressed. He figures Tom was the architect of the plan and it would be best to go with the "blame Assad" motto.

At the Russian consulate, Logan asks Markhov where Gredenko is. The Russian boys aren't close anymore, so Markov doesn't know. Logan threatens to send tapes of Markov's involvement in last season's nerve gas/canister fiasco to President Subaru but that doesn't work any better than asking. Logan's positive Markhov is lying. He knows the signs. So Jack has Chloe hack the DWP server and disable the consulate's power so he can sneak back in. How long has Jack spoken Russian? I don't remember any foreign language knowledge before. He takes Markhov hostage at gunpoint, then phones CTU to inform them he has "a situation." It's a gross violation of sovereignty and he needs to go through proper diplomatic channels. Let's all laugh.

Markhov doesn't know Jack who starts lopping off the Russian's fingers until he confesses Gredenko is in Shadow Valley launching some unmanned aircraft drones or clones or something. The Russki's blast through the door and capture Jack. Karen decides she best return to the bunker. We'd almost forgotten she existed. Almost. VP Daniels prepares to implement his "aggressive agenda of national security" which will suspend civil liberties. It appears Morris also knows Russian, as he figures out Jack is a prisoner. CTU prepares a special ops team to rescue him, something they never thought about doing when he was in China, we guess. Jack convinces a guard to call CTU and tell them about the drones, but the guard is shot.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Plastered in Paris

Movie: Marie Antoinette. Other than the storming of the Bastille and subsequent guillotining of whoever’s heads the peasants felt like lopping off, I know little about French history. And didn’t learn much more from this film. They several times blamed the high taxes on supporting the US Revolution and Marie’s excessive gambling but I suspect there was more to the peasants starving than that. Namely, the horribly poor weather conditions which caused years of crop failure. What the movie did provide was an extremely gorgeous visual, since it was filmed at Versailles. The lives of the royals didn’t seem that bad, especially since the brutal imprisonment and assassinations weren’t dealt with. At the end, they just rode off in a lovely carriage. Most unusual, right off in the opening credits and throughout the movie, viewers are rather assaulted by present day music. And punkish music at that. A little jarring. Ignoring that, I kept wondering how, with all the champagne, candy, sugary cakes, confectionaries and immense meals gorged upon, Marie and Louis didn’t end up weighing 400 pounds.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lost : Tricia Tanaka is Dead

Lost. 3.10. “How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?” The little dude Hurley must have been listening to an oldies station because there’s no way he’s about the same age as me. When he can’t fix the car, his father, Cheech, reminds him that having hope is never stupid and “you make your own luck.” Does that include bad luck? Then Cheech does the Deadbeat Dad Shuffle so Hurley too has father issues. His parting gift: a chocolate bar. The rest of the flashback focuses on many chocolate bars later when the adult Hurley won the lottery. He buys Mr Cluck’s where reporter Tricia Tanaka interviews him for a puff piece that isn’t fluff enough. A meteor or asteroid CGI’s into the restaurant, killing Tricia. Hurley wants to go to Australia to break the curse but wait, his father has returned home after 17 years.

Concerned about Hurley’s mental health, his mother phoned Cheech who admits he dropped by for the money. Hurley decides it might break the curse to give away the money. Cheech has a better idea. They visit a psychic who knows the numbers sequence. She thinks death surrounds Hurley because there’s a curse on him. When the curse’s removal involves some untoward exorcism practice, Hurley figures out that his father told her what to say and offers her money to admit it. “The mystic arts are not subject to bribes.” Not small ones, anyway. She goes for the big bucks. Cheech doesn’t think travelling to Australia will break the curse. Hurley should fix up the old car and give away the rest. Then they’ll go to the Grand Canyon on a road trip. Guess that didn’t fly.

On the island, Vincent brings Hurley a skeleton arm that’s clutching a rabbit’s foot attached to a keychain. Hurley chases the dog who leads him to a tipped over “hippy car.” They kept calling it a car, but we always called them VW vans back in the 60s. The skeleton in the car wears a Dharma t-shirt with Roger Workman on it. Hurley tries to engage the Lostaways in fixing up the car but only Jin, who has no idea what he’s talking about, volunteers. There’s a payoff when they find beer in the car. Just before Kate and Sawyer return, he steps on a dart that looks to be from Desmond’s pub days. She yanks it out unceremoniously. Sawyer’s none too pleased that the munchkin, Oliver Twist, stole his stash. Hurley figures Sawyer will help fix the car because there’s beer involved. No one told him about the skull in the back seat. “That’s just Roger.” Or Skeletor, one of the many Sawyerisms in this episode.

While Sawyer teaches Jin all the English he needs to know (i.e. “Those pants don’t make you look fat,”) Hurley admonishes Charlie to “stop feeling sorry for yourself ‘cause someone says you’re gonna die.” Instead, they should “look death in the face and say, whatever, man!” Jumbotron and Jimminy Cricket decide to pull a Thelma and Louise (with a push start a la Little Miss Sunshine) with Hurley driving down into the valley and Charlie riding shotgun. They manage to miss the deadly rocks at the bottom and enjoy their ride as the eight track coincidentally plays “Shambala.” Meanwhile, Kate decides to search for Jack. Sayid and Locke, a little put out that she didn’t ask them to go with, find her. The sunlight hitting Mr Eko’s Jesus Stick showed them the direction they need to go. Shots fire out but Kate tells the shooter she’s there to talk. Rousseau steps out of the jungle. Kate explains Rousseau’s daughter Alex helped her escape The Others. Line of the episode, Sawyer re Jin: “Somebody’s hooked on phonics.”