RSS

Tag Archives: LOST

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

When an electromagnetic interference downs an airplane, Olivia, Peter and Walter investigate but it seems the crash is the least of their worries. Stopping in the nearby town of Westfield, the team discovers that the entire town has gone insane, some on murderous rages in an eerie Silent Hill style manner. “Welcome to Westfield” is creepy, disturbing, slightly predictable, but downright intense. This is the kind of Monster of the Week episode Fringe does best.

Score: 4 1/2 of 5

>Score<

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Westfield, otherwise known as Silent Hill aka The Twilght Zone.

When a show gets into its fourth season it’s harder to do Monster of the Week episodes because there is so much of a long-plot going on that MotW’s come off as ill-placed filler. The smart move is to connect the MotW to the long-plot thought not make it completely reliant on it. This is what “Welcome” does.

First you have this electromagnetic disturbance which you think is going to affect the drivers, but instead a plane crashes ala LOST style. This is enough to call in the gang who immediately figure out that something Fringe-y is going on. In what is almost a 360 move, Peter, Olivia and Walter go to the nearby town of Westfield to get some pie on their way back to the lab.

Is there anything creepier than an empty town? I would argue probably not a lot. Add the dual personality of the restaurant owner, not to mention the dead body behind the counter and the guy bleeding to death in the freezer and you have a perfect episode of Silent Hill meets Twilight Zone.

If you’ve ever watched Silent Hill, and let’s be honest, you should, “Welcome” is very reminiscent of that style. The fluctuations, the random people walking around bloody and seemingly insane, a few lone survivors hiding out. This is the kind of episode that reminds me why Fringe fills that hole that X-Files left.

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Peter, Walter and Olivia help a victim of the town's temporal mergance.

Of course when Olivia starts having original Olivia’s memories we know exactly what is happening, the two worlds are colliding. She gets the shakes but is physically fine compared to the other victims, also, her double shouldn’t have any reason to be in Westfield. But then Olivia is special, isn’t she. It comes as no surprise at the end that she suddenly acts like Peter’s Olivia but at the same time we’re almost as surprised as Peter. That’s the sign of a very well done scene.

It would have been nice to find out what happened on the Other side when this occurred but it’s not enough of an issue to push this one down at all. The constant movement and intensity of the episode is what really keeps it going.

Still no word if this will be the last season of Fringe or not, so let’s hope that if we don’t get a season five that the finale is as intense as this episode was!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Once Upon a Time – S01E11 – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

ABC's Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time – S01E11 – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

In the real world, Mr. Glass is a shamed reporter who is looking for revenge against Regina. In the fairy world, Mirror has one of the most unlikely of back stories. While “Fruit” goes a long way towards moving the fairy-tale story along, its predictability, nonsense, and indecision causes it to fall flat and be the worst episode of the season so far.

Score: 2 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

Not sure I want to dignify this episode with a play by play so here is the list of everything that is wrong with “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”.

– Mr Glass suddenly turning his back on Regina? Yeah, like we’re really supposed to believe that? The whole thing being a set up was obvious from the trailer but the episode seemed to try to hide it as a surprise and then gave up half way.

– Wait, Mirror was a Genie? Seriously?

– But hey, we get a Genie, and turns out he’s pretty lame. Come on writers, it’s a freaking Genie! The possibilities are endless but what do they do? Don’t let him do any Genie stuff but give him one of the most overused, cliché, romantic story lines ever… and for once I’m not really exaggerating. Mirror is freed by this guy, goes seeking love, and falls for the wife of the guy who freed him. Even Shakespeare is face-palming right now. If they wanted this story for Mirror, then why couldn’t they have made him something else and used the Genie for another story and really have a go with it. Maybe not Robin-Williams-Aladdin-wild but still, even X-Files did a better Genie story and they didn’t have a fairy world to put her in.

Once Upon a Time – S01E11 – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

Evil Queen sadden by the fact the man she married in order to kill doesn't seem to appreciate her.

– So, is Snow’s dad a douche or what? This statement sparked an interesting conversation, but that aside, think about it. One moment he’s being all noble to the Genie (though it’s easy to give up wishes when you can have anything you want) and the next he is telling everyone how wonderful his first wife was while completely ignoring the fact that his new wife is only sitting a few feet away. He then proceeds to read her personal diary, steal her stuff, and send someone to find out who might possibly be making her happy… instead of, dunno, being a good husband and making her happy by being a good husband? I think the writers might have been trying to garner sympathy for Evil Queen but… something went horribly wrong from concept to screen.

– The “Stranger” is getting the LOST treatment, i.e., vague clips and references as to his real purpose and while at the moment that’s kind of cool, they keep this up and it will turn into a cheap trick stolen from, erm, LOST.

– Oh, and the trailer for this episode really made it look like it was going to be something tense but it just dragged on and on…

– And lastly, instead of admitting that he doesn’t love his wife anymore, asking for a divorce and doing all the stuff a man in his situation should do, David starts a full blown affair with Mary. Great, two classic literary characters from my childhood have now been reduced to soap opera harlots.

So, my biggest question after watching this episode is: Do the writers even know what they are doing at this point? I mean, the show started good but has slowly devolved into something just above Days of Our Lives territory. They had a clean slate with this concept and could have had so much fun, given us something so juicy without the soap opera tricks… I don’t know if they can drag themselves out of this hole they’re digging themselves into.

Next week they tackle my favorite Disney tale, Munchausen Syndrome for Kids more commonly referred to as Beauty and the Beast. Seems they already messed it up majorly but Rumple/Mr Gold has been the most interesting thing about this series, so we shall see what we see.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Chuck S05E12 & S05E13 – “Chuck vs Sarah” and “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

NBC's Chuck

This encompasses both episodes as they aired together as a two hour series finale.

Chuck S05E12 & S05E13 – “Chuck vs Sarah” and “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

Spoilers for previous episodes.

Sarah’s most recent memories have been wiped by the Intersect and Quinn has manipulated her into thinking Chuck is the bad guy. Chuck never gives up on Sarah being able to remember who she is even when she has a gun pointed at him. Will she remember in time to stop Quinn? What will happen to our intrepid group of adventures? How will it all end? Chuck goes out on a mimic of one of the most pivotal scenes of the series, a satisfying conclusion that while not utterly fantastic, deserves a nice slap on the back for a job well done.

Score: 4 of 5

>Spoilers<

Chuck – S05E13 – “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

Chuck, Sarah, and Casey defuse a bomb.

Series finales are the bane of tv shows, especially ones that have ran for longer than four years. If you have kept your audience around that long and know this is the end then you better make sure that you leave things on a note that is very satisfying for fans. While you want to be innovative and go out with a bang you don’t want to be so out in left field that you leave viewers going ‘what just happened?’ Looking at you there Seinfeld. You also don’t want to do exactly what you’ve never done and make a cop-out ending. *cough*X-Files*cough* And don’t get me started on LOST.

Thankfully, Chuck managed to barely skirt on by these hazards and pulled out a pretty decent closure that many fans just aren’t given enough credit too. I could go through the whole plot line of the two hours but really, it was your average Chuck episode. You might not even realize it’s a series finale until the last half of the second hour as the characters start to wrap up their storylines and go their separate ways. Here is what happens to them:

The General: She keeps on being the General, her door always open if the team wants to get back together to save the world again. – Good

Big Mike: Staying at the Buy More which has new owners, Subway! Yes, they lampooned the running gag of product placement. Beautiful. – Perfect

Jeff and Lester: Jeffster actually came in handy, seriously, it was like a miracle (and the singing wasn’t bad at all this time). They even got a record deal, they are going to be big in Germany… and that totally makes sense in that weird way that Germany loves The Hoff so much. – Perfect

Elle and Awesome: Moving to Chicago to take some new, quite well paying, jobs. There they can raise their child in a real home… but away from Chuck? It’s good to see that they finally moved to that point where Elle doesn’t think she has to take care of her brother anymore, but all the way to Chicago? – Passable

John Casey: He’s going to go after Verbanski and as he puts it, he doesn’t run after people, he stalks his prey. Giving Chuck a big hug he finally admits that there is one thing the Russians do right, big hugs. As much as I kinda wanted him to get back with Alex’s mom, Verbanski is probably a better fit and he’s sent off in Casey style. – Perfect

Morgan and Alex: They move in together with Casey’s blessing… and that’s it. It’s a nice, happy, ending, but nothing really happens. – Good

Chuck – S05E13 – “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

Chuck tells Sarah the 'Story of Chuck and Sarah'.

Chuck and Sarah: Sarah’s memories don’t come back to her but she does have a few pieces here and there. Chuck finds her at the beach and she asks him to tell her the story of us. In a short flashback sequence interchanged with a smiling/laughing Sarah, we get a sense of her opening up to what made her fall in love with Chuck in the first place. (Why he doesn’t use the picture from “Bullet Train” we have no idea). Just like the marriage proposal, the episode ends with Chuck and Sarah in a quiet long shot, the two kissing. While I think this is almost perfect I can see where other fans might be upset. They don’t like the reset and want to see Sarah with her memory back. Can’t please them all? – Great.

Overall it’s a decent way to end the series, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted five years of life and I truly believe that all these characters are going to live happily ever after. So I didn’t get to see it explicitly and yeah, it leaves things open for future exploration, but it’s still a conclusion, the end of a novel, and that’s what’s important.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Alcatraz – Overview – Pilot

FOX's Alcatraz

This overview encompasses both the first and second episode as they aired together as a two-hour pilot.

>Some Spoilers<

Ever since LOST went off the air, several shows have been attempting to recapture the magic of the show (which was completely lost, pun intended, when the show gave us one of the worst series finales ever, a conversation for another day). Just about every one of these shows have failed miserably, usually not making it to a second season.  But FOX is banking on Alcatraz being the exception due to the fact that it comes from LOST (sorta, kinda) creator J.J. Abrams and even includes a LOST cast member and a few LOST Easter eggs.

FOX is really pushing the LOST connection but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) you simply don’t remake magic like that, it just happens. So, does Alcatraz at least have what it takes to make a decent show? At the moment… I’d say maybe. It has potential but at the same time a lot of hurdles to leap. Let’s start, as always, with the cast.

FOX's Alcatraz

Soto (Garcia), Madsen (Jones), and Hauser (Neill)

Sarah Jones who plays the main character, SFPD Detective Rebecca Madsen, needs to call up Emily Rose of Haven and ask for some tips on how to play a strong female detective character without looking like she’s constantly pissed off or going to punch someone. As for her character, in LOST fashion she has an extremely deus ex machima connection to the overall story and if this was anything other than a LOST style show then I’d find it more than a bit annoying. Otherwise, she’s a thin character, not carrying more than the usual traits for a detective.

The great Sam Neill plays it snaky as Emerson Hauser, the FBI agent who is trying to figure out what is going on. Normally I love Neill but this character is a bit slimy and cruel hearted, and I think he plays it a little too well. Hell, even his suits don’t seem to fit well giving him an even more disjointed presence. But he’s also already been given the sympathetic treatment so I’m not sure where this character stands. It’s interesting at least, and that’s always a plus.

LOST alum Jose Garcia rounds out the top three as Dr. Diego Soto, Alcatraz specialist and comic book freak. Jose is an underrated actor and I’m glad to see him getting a lead, I just which they could give him a few better lines. At the moment he’s a bit of a token/cliché character and I hope to see more character development soon.

As with LOST we have a flashback based story telling format. This bugs me because doing an over-arching story like LOST did does not have to be flashback based, just look at Babylon 5.  Trying to recapture LOST does not mean ‘remake the whole thing except replace one island for another’. That sound you here is the thud of my head hitting a desk.

But let’s be honest, not everyone watched LOST, so they are trying to capture a new audience as well as retain some of the LOST demographic. This is one reason they aired the first two episodes together, in order to better explain to the new viewers what is going on, what the concept is, and it ends the show on a better cliffhanger to keep people interested. We all know that LOST was all about the cliffhanger.

Alcatraz - S01E02 - "Ernest Cobb"

Hauser (Neill) is searching for the latest escapee.

But does it have a decent plot? Well, it seems back in 1963, when Alcatraz closed and the last of the inmates were to be sent off the island, they all just went up and disappeared. Literally, every last inmate, guard, and civilian. The government, not knowing what to do, covered the whole thing up, creating paper trails and everything. Even in 1963, post internet age, this is a bit hard to swallow. After all, there was more than inmates and guards on the island as the show willfully acknowledges. While some of the inmates wouldn’t be missed, the guards would, and someone would have figured it out. But hey, this is TV, we’ll roll with it.

Then, inexplicably, the prisoners and at least one psychologist have been returning. (Speaking of which, the likelihood of a female, Indian, psychologist on Alcatraz in 1960… pretty much nil. It’s simply how it was back then but maybe this will come up and not be a case of political correctness.) It’s not clear if they were sent forward, put in status, or dragged forward, but someone is doing it and giving the inmates tasks to complete amongst the usual stuff like taking revenge or following compulsions.  Something was going at Alcatraz and it involved taking lots and lots of the prisoner’s blood (unless that was a red herring).

Alcatraz - S01E01 - "Pilot"

Soto and Madsen sneak into Alcatraz's off-limits areas.

In present time, apparently the government task force to deal with an event as huge as this is Sam Neill and a psychologist. Why is only one FBI agent involved? Why is there not a representative from every government agency? And no way they are hiding this from the NSA and CIA. It simply makes no sense, unless this is a plot point but I’m not sure how. Disappearing/reappearing inmates is a major freaking security risk, everyone is going to want a piece of this.

Through coincidence (and trope), Rebecca Madsen gets involved in a related case and is able to find the answers to track down the wayward prisoner of the week. This is enough to get her onto the squad along with Dr. Soto as her trusty side-kick. Again, the lack of sense is compounding.

But then LOST didn’t make a lot of sense either at the beginning, I mean, polar bear, seriously? I’m willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt, but at the moment it only pulls a solid 3 instead of lower in that it has at least peaked my curiosity… for now.

Score: 3 of 5

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fringe S04E08 – “Back to Where You’ve Never Been”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe S04E08 – “Back to Where You’ve Never Been”

Spoilers for Previous Episodes

Fringe made a pretty gutsy move at the beginning of the fourth season by erasing Peter from both universes, and that has paid off in bits and pieces, but it’s in the mid-season premiere “Back to Where You’ve Never Been” were Fringe fans really get the ‘money shot’ as it were. As the trailer promises, Peter travels over to the Other Universe in order to speak to Walternate and ask his help but that’s only the tip of the little nuances buried around this episode. Acting from John Noble is top notch, as always, cumulating in one of the best exchanges of the show’s run. And the ending is worthy of LOST and almost as frustrating. Definitely one of the best episodes this season, a great start to what hopefully won’t be the end of the series.

Score: 4 ½ Ratings Star

>Spoilers Ahead<

Peter wakes up.Peter awakes to Water cooking pancakes and Olivia greeting him with a morning kiss, all is right with the world, except that the waffle machine is broke. The waffle machine is a euphemism for the rift machine used to hold the universes together (I believe) and Peter wakes again to realize it was a dream. He goes to Walter to ask for help and the scene is stunning. From Walter’s reaction to Peter’s stoic plead, and Walter’s explanation… he tried to help Peter once and ruined two universes, lost his sanity, and his wife committed suicide. He simply can’t help Peter again because the cost is too high.

Peter then turns to Olivia who has her own reasons for wanting to get to the Other Universe covertly, to track down the shape shifters. They use Walter’s original rift machine at the theatre where the Olivia’s were switched before. Lee pretends to be himself and is pretty close to getting Peter to Liberty Island but is stopped by LieLee and Bolivia. Before this though, Lee admits that he and Olivia have their own plan to try to get information about the shape shifters, an act which could ruin Peter’s chance of getting Walternate to help him. Peter once again sees the divide between this Olivia and his Olivia growing wider and wider.

Plot point hint was dropped where Peter mentions Olivia can pop over to the other Universe any time she wants… but she doesn’t know that… maybe this will come up later?

A tale of two Lee's.During Lee and Peter’s transport to Fringe HQ, their driver gets a call, shoots his partner, then is going to kill Peter and Lee but of course they manage to get away. Lee leads LieLee and Bolivia away while Peter goes his own way. Wonderful first interaction between Lee and LieLee, you can see the similarities in the characters and how they really are the same person, just one more reserved than the other. Nice call back to Joe Flannigan’s character who was killed off in the season premiere, hopefully this means we might see him again too.

Peter has headed to the one person he knows who can help him, his mother. Of course she’s not really his mother, she understands that, and the underlying tone to the scene is very heartbroken. Joshua Jackson who plays Peter took an interesting turn in this episode, playing the whole thing straight faced, stoic even. He’s trying really hard to tell himself that these people don’t matter to him, they aren’t his people, but methinks he protests too much. They are affecting him more than he cares to admit.

Peter’s mother takes him to see Walternate and a wonderful exchange is made between the two men. Peter knows how ruthless and cold Walternate can be and Walternate has a possible enemy of an unknown quantity in Peter. Peter accuses Walternate of being behind the shapeshifters, but Waternate proves in one shocking move (literally) that he is not.

Walternate tells Peter that he is the only person he can trust because he has no allegiances to either side, he only wants to get home, and so asks Peter to help him by letting the other side know that he is not the bad guy. Then follows one of the best exchanges of the whole series:

Peter: You aren’t exactly the kind of man I thought you were.
Walternate: You are exactly the kind of man I thought you’d be.

Absolutely wonderful scene between father and sorta-son. Fringe fans couldn’t ask for anything better.

Of course, that isn’t all! An old enemy returns from the dead and LieLee and Bolivia head into an ambush because the other Broyles is a bad guy, probably a shapeshifter!

As for that ending… Olivia waits in the theater for Lee and Peter’s return only to have The Observer show up, shot, dying, and telling Olivia that he has seen every possible outcome and it’s inevitable, she has to die. Well… hell…Olivia waits.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , ,