As was the case last week, assume that spoilers abound here, so if you haven’t seen the latest episodes of things, you may not want to read further. (You may also not want to read further if you don’t give a flying fig for television, which is an entirely different matter, although on a non-television related note, I watched a pretty sweet Canadian movie called Wilby Wonderful which I would highly recommend.)
First of all, two shows I like that I didn’t get to see this week: Lie to Me and Bones. Seriously, Fox, please stop preempting good programming for your stupid reality shows. I get that they are big moneymakers, but this is starting to get annoying. No Bones for almost a month is simply not acceptable. Don’t assume that the show’s high ratings will persist when your schedule is so erratic, because people lose momentum when they can’t watch their stories. And Lie to Me is so new that it seems like a bad call to preempt it right as people are getting into it, but what do I know, I’m not a television executive.
I don’t actually have much to say about the show this week. I liked the episode, but it was mainly a situation where viewers needed to be filled in on some backstory. It didn’t really leave me with lingering issues/questions, for the most part. (Why did Ben kill Locke? Obviously, he needed to get info from him, he got the info, so he killed him. Why didn’t Locke try to get Walt to come back? Because Walt is special and Locke sees that. Etc etc.) Although, actually, I am curious to know what will happen with Ben, who allegedly can’t go back to the Island; will there be hijinks with him trying to get there and all these mishaps occurring? (I assume that they are on the secondary island, the Ajira crash victims and Ben and Locke, I mean.) So yeah. Maybe I will have more to say next week. In a way, as someone else already pointed out, this episode was almost like a pilot, or maybe the title page for a new section, to borrow a metaphor from the book world.
Ok, I liked this week’s episode much more than previous offerings. I still think that the show is problematic, but some of my issues are starting to get addressed. We’re seeing a lot more plot/character development, which I am loving, as well as some more moral exploration. This is why it is important to have faith in the Joss.
Couple things: I love the scene at the end between more self-aware Echo and wiped Sierra, where Echo gestures Sierra away because she sees that they are being watched. It was a little more subtle, more like the Joss Whedon I enjoy. I also liked that I finally laughed at a witty line, a moment I have been waiting for since I watched the pilot. There was much more Whedon flavour in this episode, and I liked that.
A note to the producers: probably shouldn’t have included Victor in all of the still photos used as promos, because the “big reveal” in this episode wasn’t very much of one for anyone who saw those photos and said “huh, looks like Lubov is an Active.” They were smart enough to keep Alpha’s casting semi-secret (and because it would be a spoiler for unaired eps, I’m not going to mention who it is*), and they maybe should have thought of that with Victor.
The character of Rayna fascinated me. Yes, she was a spoiled brat of a popstar, but she was also empty inside, and I think that was a great commentary on a lot of things. We are supposed to feel sympathy for Echo because she is literally wiped blank, but Reyna, in her own way, is also a doll. She’s the puppet of her producers and handlers and she feels trapped and helpless, and I think that was a great parallel to draw. One doesn’t necessarily need to be an Active to be a doll. Some of the reviews of the episode I’ve read seem to have missed this point altogether; oh Joss, you are too smart for the masses.
Also, Eliza really needs to break out of the Faith paradigm. It feels like all of her characters have just been reiterations of Faith, with the exception of Hostage Negotiator Lady, and I’m not really digging that. Yes, she wears different costumes, and I know that clothes make the (wo)man, but not in this case. A few times she’s used lines straight out of the Faith playbook, and it feels very clunky and irritating, because I hate Faith, and I would like to see Eliza playing someone new and showcasing this famous “range” we have yet to see any of.
Sweet ducks on skis! This week’s episode was flipping sweet. I am amazed at the way that they keep coming up with new narrative styles and fresh ideas and carrying them out in ways which continue to blow my mind. My mind becomes so blown that I can’t even communicate and I just keep repeating “awesome” “amazing” and “holy crap” while mumbling to myself.
This may be one of the best shows on television, and it is a crying shame that it will probably get canceled after this season. This is the historic problem with science fiction: no matter how amazing it is, it just doesn’t attract enough viewers to make it profitable in the eyes of the networks, even when the show is breaking new ground and doing amazing things. There have been so many cool episodes this season, and a general consistently high level of fantastic. This is the sort of thing that should be rewarded with a renewal contract, not thrown away because the show doesn’t attract enough eyeballs on an antiquated ratings system.
I loved the narrative within narrative style, the inability to tell what was real. There’s a lot of play with mythology in this series, and with interweaving of an assortment of legends and stories. It’s such an intelligent and cerebral show in so many ways that it almost breaks my heart to see all of this awesomeness lost because people can’t get over the science fiction label.
That closing scene, with Sarah putting out the eyes, was so intense and powerful and bound up in mythology that I almost wet myself. And how about that closing monologue?! “She is a bad dream. She is a bad bitch.” FUCKING AMAZING. This is a show which is totally unafraid. (And that makes me afraid for it, because television tends to cross boundaries when it has nothing to lose: look at the second season of Jericho.)
THIS is the kind of television we need to be making and showing every fucking night of the week, and I’m sorry that I’ve used so much profanity here people, but it is justified, because superlatives are just not enough.
*You really want to know? Really really? You can find out here, but remember, what is known cannot become unknown.