Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Retro Review: Pygmoelian

AKA: Moe gets plastic surgery to make himself more handsome.

The Setup: After winning a contest at Duff Days, with the prize being featured in the new Duff Beer calendar, Moe is discouraged to discover his face covered up in the calendar because he's too ugly.

Favorite Lines:

Duff Man: Duff beer is brewed from hops, barley, and sparkling clear mountain ... what?
Titania: Goat.
Duff Man: Eh...close enough!
Homer: Ah. You can really taste the goat.

Moe: Yeah, hey, I've got a gift. As a child, I was bitten by the acting bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now, those eggs are hatching and I -- the feeling is indescribable.
Homer: I know what you mean. Our dog had that.

Teebore's Take: Another inoffensive yet fairly dull and unfunny episode, this one continues Moe's progression (digression?) from character to caricature, as he's transitioned through the years from a slightly misanthropic bartender to an inept social deviant. Once again, the first act, with the family's antics at Duff Days, remains the funniest part of the episode. After that, Moe's plastic surgery and the stint as a soap opera star it garners him provide little laughs. There are a few chuckle-worthy gags here and there, but I even had a hard time coming up with funny lines from this one.

Zaniness:

Moe's old face somehow reappears after he's crushed under a stage flat. He even comments on how ridiculous that is before the episode ends and he's cutoff mid-sentence.

Jerk-ass Homer:

Homer's a jerk throughout most of the episode, particularly when he's urging on Moe's desire for revenge after Moe gets his new face. In the end, though, most of his antics are done at Moe's request.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Law and Disorder

Ever hear of the constitution? It's kind of an important document. In fact, it's probably the most important document in American history AND American herstory. And, if you paid attention in American History 101, you'd know that there are amendments to the Constitution granting American citizens certain rights. You probably have heard of those rights. There's the one about allowing you to keep your loud mouth shut, there's the one giving you right to own a gun until it's pried from your cold dead hands, and there's that other one that grants paparazzi the right to give celebrities epileptic seizures with their flashbulbs. But we're not talking about those amendments.
The amendment I'm talking about is the fourth one. It goes a little something like this:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Now that sounds like an amendment we can all get behind. However, there's hole in that amendment. I mean, sure, we want to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, but what should happen if the police unreasonably search and/or seize? That's where the debate occurs. The Supreme Court ruled in 1914 (and added upon that ruling up until 1961) that any evidence found during an illegal search will be excluded from any court trial. But some of the current supreme court justices hope to change that. In fact, the US has recently taken strides in getting rid of the Exclusionary Rule. See for yourself in this article:

http://abajournal.com/news/supreme_court_limits_exclusionary_rule_allows_evidence_despite_police_error/

Furthermore, from what I've read, if Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia have there way, the Exclusionary Rule could be gone completely.

Now, you all know I'm bleeding heart liberal. So you probably can figure out where I stand on this issue. I know it's weird to think that the police could bust into my house and find all those dead hookers I have stashed under my stairway yet, if they busted into my house without a warrant, I could go Scott free. It kind of gives me the creeps too. But I still think the Exclusionary Rule is necessary.

As much as I'd like to think the Coast Guard are policing the police, that's not always the case. The Exclusionary Rule is a real good way to make sure the police are abiding by the fourth amendment. It just adds to the checks and balances, and I'm a fan of that. I'm all for locking up criminals, just do it with a warrant in hand.

That's just my two cents, though. And I'm no lawyer so take it with a grain of salt. Frankly, our civil liberties are the least of our problems. The real issue is what doing away with the Exclusionary Rule would do to one of my favorite police procedurals: Law and Order.

Ah...Law and Order. It seems that at any hour of the day I can find Law and Order in some form or another on some random channel and if I watch five minutes of it, I'm hooked for the remainder of the show. It has twists and turns and that famous duh-dum. Law and Order is just good fun and a good way to waste time. (Unless it's an episode that focuses on the personal life of one of the police officers or DAs. Please, I normally like character development, but not in a Law and Order episode.)

Anyway, my point is that about every third episode of Law and Order deals with the Exclusionary Rule. For whatever reason the police will end up obtaining evidence that, according to the Defense, they should have gotten a warrant for. Like the episode where the detectives found evidence in a homeless guy's box in a city park. You see, the Defense said that that box (and the surrounding area) was the homeless guy's "home" and thus the police needed a warrant to search it. Or there was an episode where New York underwent a blackout, and with police database offline, the police couldn't confirm the address of a store they suspected a kidnap victim was in. The police ended up busting into the store without a warrant and saved the victim. But with the Exclusionary Rule, there was a question as to whether or not the kidnapper would go free. (Thank God there's "inevitable discovery", am I right?)

Frankly, the Exclusionary Rule is Law and Order's go-to plot device. And the conservatives in the Supreme Court want to rip that away from the show. Well I say NO. Let's all band together and tell our government that we like Law and Order just the way it is!


As an addendum, I did came upon the article below and it discusses the eroding of the Exclusionary Rule. It reflects my point of view fairly well, if you're curious. I also like the fact that it brings up how Conservatives have a complete distrust of big government yet at the same time want to give unlimited power to the police department. It's just one those contradicting viewpoints that seem to be abundant amongst both extreme conservatives and extreme liberals. I find those contradictions weirdly fascinating...

http://www.reason.com/news/show/131311.html

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lost 5x10: He's Our You

"He's Our You" is humming merrily along. It's an enjoyably old-school episode, the first in a long time which features a character-centric story alternating between on-island events and off-island flashbacks. Some dots are connected:Sayid did, indeed, believe he was killing Widmore's men for Ben; Ilana is, presumably, a bounty hunter working for the heirs of one of those men and that's why he was handcuffed on the flight back to Guam. Meanwhile, on the island, Sawyer is struggling to figure out a way to saveSayid without blowing the Losties cover. Sayid goes on a trippy drug-induced voyage and tells everyone he's from the future. Dharma laughs. Buses are burned, parallels between Sayid and Ben are established, and in the closing moments, Sayid escapes from Dharma with little Ben in tow. Then...WHAPAH!

Sayid puts a bullet in Harry Potter's chest, and minds are blown clear out the door.

Did Sayid just kill Ben? Is that even possible?

For years, the producers have been saying that time travel on Lost works differently than it does on other shows (notably Heroes): there are no alternatetimelines , the past/future can't be changed. Details can be altered but what happens, happens (Charlie is going to die; nothing can change that, but the means and circumstances of it can change).

But what if the producers are intentionally misleading the audience with those remarks? They've done it before: in season one, they said there would be no time travel. Did their plans change, or were they just trying to throw off fan theories that had already started developing? If they did that then, would they do it again? There's a large contingent of fans that believe Frank and Sun's meeting with Christian in the last episode was evidence of an altered timeline. That meeting took place in theDharma barracks, barracks that looked nothing like they did when we last saw them (after the mercenary attack). Even the passage of three years couldn't account forDharma building logos that weren't there before and previously unseen new recruit pictures on the wall. Was Sayid killing Ben as a child the event that created this new timeline, his death preventing the Purge, causing Dharma to leave the island in some other capacity?

(Personally, I don't think Frank and Sun were in Dharmaville/New Otherton when they met Christian: they were in the Dharma Processing Center, where new recruits are greeted immediately after getting off the sub, before being shuttled to Dharmaville where they get their job assignments. Note that Frank and Sun walked from the dock up to the buildings in minutes; Dharmaville is further inland, within the sonic fence. That would explain the difference in appearance: the Others never occupied this location, so it's simply become rundown in the years since the Purge.)

For the time being, I'm taking the producers at their word: what happened, happened (which, as it were, is the title of next week's episode) and the past/future can't be changed. Which means that somehow, little Ben will survive his encounter withSayid. Perhaps the island steps in via Richard, or maybe its healing mojo works overtime on him. More likely, I think, is that a barely-alive Ben is found and brought back to the Dharma compound, at which point the only surgeon capable of helping him will be Dharma's newest janitor. Forced to once again decide whether to operate on Ben (and blow the Losties cover along the way) Jack ultimately steps in and saves young Ben's life.

We don't know yet why the Oceanic Five had to come back to the island, except that it isn't for the reasons given by Locke. The time shifts stopped without them, and the people they left behind are doing fine. Maybe the reason thatSayid and Jack, at least, had to come back, was because they were instrumental in making Ben the man he is: Sayid, to shoot him, and Jack, to save him.

Favorite Bits:
"They just took a vote. Even the new mom wants you dead!"
or
"Three years, no burning buses. Y’all are back for one day..."


Tidbits of Note:
Sayid has some daddy issues (or at least a jerk-ass father) like so many other characters.


Sayid prevented his brother from doing something he didn't want to do by doing it himself, just like Eko did with Yemi when they were children.

The book little Ben gave Sayid was "A Separate Reality" by Carlos Castaneda. I'd never heard of it before this episode.

Ben's childhood meeting with a disheveled jungle-Richard, as shown in "The Man Behind the Curtain," took place 4 years ago, according to Ben, placing it in 1973, the year before Sawyer and company infiltrated the DI.

There were numerous ham references throughout the episode: Sayid's ham sandwich, Oldham, Dharma's Sayid, Juliet burning her bacon, and Hurley commenting that the dipping sauces really bring out the ham over breakfast.


Oldham's tent seemed Native American-y and similar to the sweat lodge Locke built in "Further Instructions."


The internet tells me the song playing at Oldham's camp was "I Can’t Give You Anything But Love." It seemed vaguely familiar to me, but I couldn't place it.

It appears that Sawyer has known for some time that little Ben Linus is running around amongst the DI. I'd be very curious to see Juliet's reaction to discovering Ben was onceDharma.

MacCutcheon, the spendy whisky Sayid was drinking at the bar when Ilana met him, is the whisky Widmore used to humiliate Desmond.

Speaking of Sayid at the bar, I think that was the same bar at which Jack enjoyed a nightcap in "316."


For the second time, Sayid is conned by a pretty lady. Poor guy is desperate for some lovin'.


The Dharma Initiative seems to have some kind of on-island leadership council, of which Radzinsky is presumably a member, placing him fairly high in their ranks. He threatens to call "Ann Arbor," presumably the one in Michigan, which is where the DI was founded.

The burning bus hit building 15.

Questions:
What "organization" does Widmore head up? Are the people Sayid executed for Ben simply unknowing pawns Widmore uses in his search for and conquest of the island, or does he have a network of off-island followers like Ben?

Was Sayid's deportation to Guam by Ilana orchestrated by Ben or Widmore, or was it just another one of Lost's patented eerie coincidences?

Why did Radzinsky's threat to call Ann Arbor spur the others into action? Are they doing something on the island they don't want the rest of the initiative or the founders to know about?


I suppose I should ask why Kate came back to the island, since the answer was important enough to interrupt with a careening burning bus, but frankly, I don't really care about Kate all that much.

Is Little Ben dead? If so, does that threaten the entire space/time continuum? If he's not dead, how does he survive? And if he does, has he always known thatSayid was the man who shot him as a kid, or did he not get that memory until Sayid went back in time and did it (like the way Desmond recalled his meeting with Daniel outside the hatch)?

If the past CAN change but Ben survives, how does that change the future? Will Ben wake up in the Hydra Hospital a nicer, gentler Ben? Will reality warp around Locke and everyone else in the "present?"

Will Jack be forced to blow his janitorial cover by saving young Ben's life?

Next Week:
Tensions rise in Dharmaville in the wake of Sayid's escape while the Oceanic Three are a bit miffed the people they came back to the island to save don't need it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Heroes 3X20: Cold Snap

Wesley Snipes: Apocalyptic Painting
I completely overlooked this one last week: when Nathan and Matt managed to defuse the bomb with which Danko had saddled Parkman, it averted the future Matt had painted of Washington blowing up. So apparently, if a future painting shows Hiro's frickin' "destiny," that future is unavoidable, but if a painting shows a main character blowing up, than the future can be changed.

Wesley Snipes: Tracy's escape

Um, why didn't she (or at least Mohinder and Parkman) wake up more of the people in Danko's prison? Extra people would have it made it easier for everyone to escape, and it wouldn't have made the three of them seem like selfish dicks.

Harrison Ford: Janice

Hey, that appearance wasn't so bad after all. There's still plenty of things I'd rather see brought back before Janice, but as long as Daphne's death doesn't lead Parkman back to her, that was fine.

Tommy Lee Jones: The Eclipse
Mentioning that Baby Parkman started using his power after the last eclipse has me divided: on the one hand, I appreciate the show making a point of reminding us about this fairly critical piece of show mythology.

On the other hand, I really don't want to be reminded of that pointless two-parter from the last volume and the way it managed to completely waste any opportunity to explore that mythology.

Harrison Ford: Hiro's power
Say what you will about Baby Touch And Go's power (personally, I liked it until I started to think about it for a moment, at which point I realized it made very little sense and is terribly hard to quantify) but I appreciate the fact that when Hiro regained his power, the writers made it immediately clear how and in what capacity he did so, instead of leaving it unexplained except through some vague emotional babbling (ala Sylar's empathy powers last season, or his ability to hang onto telekinesis after his original power set was otherwise wiped out).

Tommy Lee Jones: Comedic Hiro
I hate that Hiro has basically devolved solely into comic relief. His antics at the beginning of the episode, especially considering they directly followed the reveal of Danko's "prison," did not amuse me at all.

Yet at the same time, I couldn't help but laugh when Hiro stopped time, suited up the baby and carried Ando 12 miles in a wheelbarrow to the bus station. I hated myself for laughing, but I did.

Harrison Ford: Peter rescuing his mom
Mrs. Teebore said she likes Peter best when he manages to strike the right balance between an emo nurse who helped a dying old man and a badass, and the scene in which he came to his mom's rescue was exactly that: Peter, the badass momma's boy. At first, I figured it was Nathan, and which point I wouldn't have been too impressed (considering it's his fault she's in this predicament). When it turned out to be Peter, I just went "aw..."

Wesley Snipes: Peter rescuing his mom
At the same time, why, exactly, did Peter wait until the doors opened, revealing himself, to scoop her up and fly away? And how did he get into the elevator shaft? Normally, I'd chalk it up to dramatic license and roll with it (and I still might; I DID really like that scene) but Heroes seems to ask us to do that a lot more than other shows.

Wesley Snipes: The winking eye
Wait, so is Tracy going to somehow pull her shattered, frozen pieces back together, like the T-1000? Cuz I don't think her power should work that way. If not, why show her frozen eye winking? I know that Ali Larter isn't "off" the show, but the other triplet, Barbara, is still out there somewhere, so maybe she'll simply be playing another character from now on? Once again, Heroes leaves us wondering not if a character is alive or dead, but rather whether we're supposed to be wondering at all. And leaving out that winking eye would have solved the problem: without it, we assume Tracy's dead. If it turns out she isn't, so be it, but at least we'd know we're supposed to THINK she's dead. Right now, I don't know what to think.

Harrison Ford: Daphne's death

Unlike her perceived death in the second episode of the volume, this time it was clear that Daphne is, in fact, dead. Furthermore, she was given a touching sendoff, the likes of which no other dead character on this show has ever received (remember when Nikki died at the hands of murderous comic book thieves?). One has to wonder why she was brought back just to die, but at least that death was well done.

Wesley Snipes: Daphne's dead
Of course, the sendoff would have been more touching if I hadn't been so pissed they were actually killing Daphne off. Seriously, Show? Not only is she the most attractive character on the show, she's the only one who seems to enjoy using her power instead of whining and being emo about it (well, her and Hiro, but he's got his own problems). Frankly, the show needs more characters like her, characters that react to their powers positively and realistically, and it shouldn't be killing off the few it has.

Tommy Lee Jones: Bryan Fuller's return
This episode marked Bryan Fuller's much ballyhooed return to Heroes as a writer. The episode itself was certainly no "Company Man" or even much of a game changer, but it wasn't terrible, either. Rather, it fit right in with the other episodes so far this volume: steadily improving (and much better than last volume's muddled mess on the whole) but still not without its flaws.

Finally, an addendum to one of my comments regarding last week's episode. I griped a bit (and believe me, compared to some on the Internet, my gripes were fairly benign) about the stereotypical portrayal of customers in the comic shop at which Claire gained employment, based largely on the fact that, while I agree those stereotypes do exist, I have yet to encounter them in the comic shop I frequent.

Well, after speaking with two of the employees at that shop last week about that episode, it turns out I need to do my shopping on new comic book Wednesdays, as they are out in full force then, even at my clean, bright, well-organized and well-staffed comic shop. Or I need to shop whenever one of the female employees is working, so I can see the men either shy away from her in fear or overspend in an attempt to impress her.

Either way, while I still bristle a bit about how the stereotype suggests we're all like that, that is the inherent nature of all stereotypes, and it turns out that not even my shop is immune to it, so perhaps I was a bit too hard on the show in that regard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

X-amining X-Men #6

"Sub-Mainer Joins the Evil Mutants"
July 1964

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone

Plot: One day Professor X and Magneto both decide, more or less at the same time, that Namor the Sub-Mariner might be a mutant. Each telepathically races to recruit him before the other. Magneto makes contact first and Namor travels to Magneto's island base, followed by the X-Men. The Brotherhood fights the X-Men, Namor fights Magneto (after seeing how Magneto treats Scarlet Witch, Namor vows to never ally himself with Magneto), then he fights the X-Men, because that's how Namor rolls. Ultimately, Namor decides he doesn't need any surface-dwelling allies. Professor X allows a captured Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to escape with Magneto, because they would be useless to the X-Men until they join of their own free will.

First and Other Notables: Marvel Girl wears a new, pointed mask. It will be gone next issue.

Sub-Mariner, a Marvel Silver Age guest-star staple, appears in "X-Men" for the first time. He was kind of like the Wolverine of his day: every new title that debuted was bound to feature an appearance by the Sub-Mariner before too long.

Marvel would toy with the idea of Sub-Mariner being a mutant (making him Marvel's "first" mutant) for years. He was declared such in the 90s in an attempt to boost sales on his title by implying a kinship withMarvel's bestselling X-Men titles. The idea is that while Namor is a half-human/half-Atlantean hybrid, he's a mutant because he can fly, a trait neither species exhibits.

A Work in Progress: Professor X states that the X-Men's mission is to locate mutants before they are found by Evil Mutants.

Magneto further demonstrates telepathic powers and an astral projection ability; his possession of both abilities goes unexplained and they are largely forgotten moving forward.

Ah, the Silver Age: To start, there's the extreme coincidence that it took Xavier and Magneto both exactly six issues to realize that the Sub-Mariner might be a mutant and that their opposite number might also be making the same deduction and attempting to recruit him right now.


At the X-Mansion, it's the cook's day off, so Jean does the cooking for the team. Of course she does...

Magneto's island contains a device that mimics his magnetic abilities. It is, what else, a giant horseshoe magnet.


Despite owning a mentally-controlled jet (as seen in issue #1), Professor X and the X-Men charter a boat to reach Magneto's island. Even though it's the 1960s, they somehow get their hands on what appears to be a 17th century sailing vessel, complete with a plank to walk.


Finally, there's an ad in this issue for a weight INCREASING supplement, including a testimonial from a Hollywood actress about how important it is for woman to keep their figures full.


Young Love: Jean is glad that the Scarlet Witch is remaining with Magneto, as she is simply much too attractive. Angel asserts that Jean is just as attractive.


It's in the Mail: The Letters Page mentions a demand by readers for "X-Men" to be published monthly; the editor assures us that once Stan and Jack figure out a way to do twice as many issues in a year, it will be.

After reading their first appearance in issue #4, this writer already believes Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are super-heroes despite working with Magneto.


It seems the pair had quite a following back in the day, even after only a few appearances. Assuming that's the case, it makes sense why Stan would eventually move them into "The Avengers."

Finally, here's a letter from a woman who loves to read the X-Men despite being a housewife.


Teebore's Take: Huzzah, the X-Men fight the Brotherhood for the third issue in a row!

Look, just because it makes sense to give the X-Men an opposite number in the Brotherhood doesn't mean they have to show up in every freakin' issue.

Attempting to change things up a bit, Stan throws in go-to guest-star Sub-Mariner, and while Namor is at his haughty-best, it isn't enough to make the issue stand out much from the previous ones.

For me, the best parts were some off the more Silver Age-y and chuckle-worthy elements of the issue, like Magneto's island horseshoe magnet and the X-Men's antiquated sailing ship. Aside from that, it's another battle with the Brotherhood, a schtick that's already wearing thin.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lost 5x09: Namaste

And with a hearty "namaste" the Oceanic Five are welcomed back onto the island.

This episode was one of the more traditionally structured episodes of the season (well, traditional for Lost): depending on your point of view, it was a standard main narrative/flashback (or flash forward), complete with the ol' whooshing sound between transitions.

In some approximation of the present, the events between the crash of flight 316 and Locke's resurrection are filled in a bit, as Frank and Sun perform their aforementioned flight off the little island, only to receive a creepy-as-hell visit from Christian. Meanwhile, back in the 70s Sawyer and Juliet rush to infiltrate the Oceanic 3 into the Dharma Initiative and prevent Radzinsky from executing Sayid as a Hostile.

While largely responsible for getting everyone in place for the back half of the season, several interesting pieces of show mythology were developed. Radzinsky is seen designing the Swan, making it clear that station wasn't part of the DI's initial foothold on the island. Perhaps its construction and use is what leads to the breakdown of the truce between the Others and Dharma? Remembering the Swan also recalls the "incident" cited in the orientation video, which led to the need for the button to be pushed every 108 minutes. What role will the time-lost Losties play in the incident? Will they have a hand in creating the mechanism that crashed their plane in the first place?

Also, the runway built in season three is used by Frank to land flight 316, which suggests that someone within the Others knows what's going to happen or has access to someone who does.
This revelation generates some interesting speculation: is it possible that the Others actions towards the Losties in the first few seasons could be caused by the Others acting, with foreknowledge of the future, to shepherd the Losties towards their ultimate destinies? After all, the Others in 1954 managed to wipe out the US Army's incursion, yet they never made a concerted effort to wipe all the Losties off the island, even though they would have had a much easier time of it than with the army. Perhaps the Others knew that Jack, Kate, Sawyer, etc. would be traveling back to the 70s, and thus couldn't kill them.

Favorite Bits:
The reunion between Hurley and Sawyer.


Juliet's reaction she found out Amy's baby was Ethan.

Sawyer dicking with Jack and making him a janitorial "workman" and their subsequent conversation about leadership styles. Eat it, Jack!

Tidbits of Note:
The runway was what Sawyer and Kate were working on during their captivity with the Others back in season three, as revealed by Juliet in that season's finale. Presumably someone within the Others (Jacob, Richard, Ben) knew a runway would be needed on that island in that spot some day.


When Ilana wakes up after the crash, the first thing she says is "Jarrah." Or "Sarah." It isn't entirely clear. But I'm assuming the former, because she was escorting Sayid.

When greeting the Oceanic 3, Sawyer doesn't refer to Kate by a nickname.

Jack doesn't tell Sawyer and Jin that Ben was on the plane.

Sawyers reaction to Hurley's questions regarding the Purge suggest he's well aware of it (there's been some question as to whether or not he knows about it).

When Jin rushes into the Flame, the Muppet Show is on one of the monitors.

Poor Man's Paul Giamatti Radzinsky was first mentioned back in season two. When Desmond was recruited by Kelvin Inman, he told him about Radzinsky, Kelvin's earlier partner in the Swan. Radzinksy killed himself, but not before starting the blast door map Locke discovered. He was also credited with making the cuts and splices in the orientation film. Apparently, he was somewhat responsible for designing the station in which he ended up dying. In 1977 he was working at the Flame, the communications station that Mikhail would later run.


Amy's baby is Ethan, presumably Ethan Rom. Now the question is how he survives the Purge and comes to be one of the Others, and how he gets the last name "Rom" (presumably, Amy has Horace's last name, Goodspeed, unless they aren't married and her last name is Rom). In the season three premiere, Juliet spoke with an elderly Other named Amelia who spoke to Ethan in a somewhat motherly way (in hindsight, at least); there has been speculation since last episode that Amy could be that Amelia, and tha both she and her son defected for the Others at some point.


Sun was the woman with whom Frank took off in one of the boats, as mentioned in "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham." Ben's presence in the "hospital" in that episode is due to Sun whacking him with the oar. Presumably someone else came upon Ben and took him and the boats back to the camp.

Radzinsky reports a hostile in grid 325, which is the same bearing Ben gave Michael to leave the island at the end of season two.


When Jin tells Sawyer about Sayid, he reports it as a "14-J" situation; this was previously heard last season when Keamy was about to attack New Otherton. Alex sent a message from the sonic fence, resulting in Ben's phone ringing and a recorded voice stating there was a "code 14-J."

Christian's appearance was hella creepy. Incidentally, Sun was the only member of the Oceanic Six who didn't attend Christian's memorial service, so she's the only one of the Six who wouldn't question his not being dead.


It seemed to me that Smokey was in the remains of New Otherton. Some of his trademark sounds effects were there, and when everyone was inside the processing center and we saw a shot outside through the open door, it looked like wisps of smoke were hanging in the air.

Questions:
Why is Sun back in the "present" and not in the 70s with the others? Is it because of the taint of Widmore on her? Does the island just need her in that time for some reason?

So where's Faraday? Is Sawyer not saying or does he not know? And when does his appearance in the under-construction Orchid at the beginning of the season take place? Was he hiding from Dr. Chang because he wasn't supposed to be there/was believed to be gone/dead?

In "The Life and Death Jeremy Bentham" Ilana tells Locke that the pilot left with a woman on one of the boats...how does she know that? Did someone see Sun and Frank leave, the same person who brought Ben back to the "hospital?"

Did Ajira 316 travel through time as well? They went from night to day as the Oceanic Four were beamed off. The time stamp refered to the events in the 70s as "thirty years earlier" which would make the time of the crash 2007, rather than 2008, which is when it left in "316." Of course, it's possible that "thirty years earlier" is just more elegant than "thirty-one years earlier" and they're rounding...

How does Dharma baby Ethan become a Claire-abducting Other?

Did Juliet intentionally leave Kate hanging for a bit in the processing room? Because that would be awesome.


Jack's a janitor: what jobs did Kate and Hurley get?

I'm still waiting for my "wait a minute, Locke told us we needed to go back to the island to SAVE you all, but you're all doing fine" conversation.

Next Week:
Things get tough for Sawyer while Kate starts singing her usual song. Meanwhile, Sayid discovers his purpose...and methinks it has something to do with a little Sandwich-bringing, Harry Potter-esque moppet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Retro Review: Missionary Impossible

AKA: Homer becomes a missionary

The Setup: In order to get his favorite show on public television back on the air, Homer makes a $10,000 donation to PBS. When they come to collect, Homer flees the country with Reverend Lovejoy's help, who sends him off to do missionary work in the South Pacific.

Favorite Lines:

Betty White: If you watch even one second of PBS and don't contribute, you're a thief. A common thief!

Marge: Homer, are you all right?
Homer: I guess so, but that first month was pretty rough.
Marge: You've only been gone two days.
Homer: Really? Without TV, it's hard to know when one day begins and the other ends.

Homer: Hmm, I can see the house is falling apart without me, so here's the new order: Bart, you're the man of the house. Lisa, I'm promoting you to boy. Maggie's now the brainy girl. The toaster can fill in for Maggie. And Marge,you're a consultant.

Marge: Guess who I just saw at the supermarket today.
Bart: Can it wait? I just got off work.
Marge: Sorry, honey, I just thought ...
Bart: Don't you do enough yapping at the beauty parlor?
Marge: That's it, Bart. You're taking this "man of the house" thing too far.
Bart: You're right, I'm sorry. Tell you what, Saturday night we'll go out for steaks, just you and me.
Marge: Hmm. A night out is a night out.


Teebore's Take: This episode manages to accomplish all three things that make for a bad episode of "The Simpsons" around this time: another "Homer gets a job" plot, with Homer working as a missionary, completely over-the-top scenarios, such as the casino built by the island natives at Homer's instruction, and the lack of a "real" ending, as Homer's imminent death by lava flow is interrupted by Betty White schilling for a Fox telethon.

Still, the episode is not without its charms: the PBS hunt at the beginning, featuring laser-shooting Teletubbies, Yo Yo Ma wielding his cello like a bow-and-arrow and Oscar the Grouch and Elmo crashing through the church window, is hilarious if completely ridiculous. And it does feature Betty White, scourge of Vets and all-around woman-you-don't-want-to-mess-with, so it has that going for it.


Zaniness:

There are no Jockey-elves, but from the PBS attack to Bart working at the power plant to Homer's missionary work to the out-of-nowhere ending, it doesn't get much zanier than this.

Jerk-Ass Homer:

Initial fake pledge to PBS aside, we're dealing more with "loveable oath" Homer than "Jerk-ass Homer."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

X-amining X-Men #5

"Trapped: One X-Man"
May 1964

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Paul Reinmen

Plot: Returning home from Santo Marco after last issue, the X-Men attend to their powerless mentor when Marvel Girl's parents show up for a surprise visit. After scrambling to get them out of the mansion without exposing themselves as the X-Men (which leads to Cyclops getting locked in the Danger Room) the X-Men relax by watching a televised track meet (??). After seeing a winning athlete mobbed because the crowd believes he's a mutant, the X-Men rescue him, only to discover he's Toad, disguised to lure the X-Men out. Magneto and the Brotherhood arrive and Angel is captured. Shortly thereafter Toad enters a trance that compels him to return to Magneto, so the X-Men follow him to Asteroid M, where they battle the Brotherhood and rescue Angel. Upon returning home, they discover that they've passed their "final exam" and "graduated."

First and Other Notables: The first appearance of Magneto's orbitting base, Asteroid M.


Marvel Girl's parents also appear for the first time, not that they're much of a big deal. They'll pop up now and then through the years, usually in the wake of their daughter's deaths.

A Work in Progress: Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch continue to play the role of conflicted villains, as they outright disobey Magneto. Scarlet Witch is shocked, SHOCKED that Magneto would ever consider murder (because would-be world conquerors are known for their benevolence and non-violent methods?) but the pair remains with the Brotherhood due to their debt to Magneto.

Ah, the Silver Age: Well, there's a track meet on TV. And somehow, the X-Men are able to see a mob threatening a mutant on TV and make it to the same track meet before the mob actually attacks the mutant.


Also, Cyclops gets locked in the Danger Room, for no reason other than it seems each issue was required to have a scene set in the Danger Room at this point.


And, when Asteroid M is breaking up and Cyclops is on a piece that is drifting away from the other X-Men, Iceman creates an enclosed ice bridge to protect Angel from "the bitter cold" of outer space as he flies to rescue Cyclops.

Maybe the next there's a fire, Human Torch can create a "fire tunnel" to keep out the heat...

No mention of whether or not Iceman's bridge protects them from the bitter lack of breathable air in outer space.

"Professor Xavier is a Jerk!": Remember last issue, when Professor X heroically threw himself onto a booby-trap to save the X-Men's lives, at the cost of his own power? Turns out he was just faking that whole "lost power" thing in order to see if the X-Men can function without him, as a "final exam" for them. Fooled you!


I'm sure that would have comforted Angel (or at least, his parents) had the X-Men "failed" their exam and Magneto killed him.

Human/Mutant Relations: Humans attack the in-disguise Toad at the track meet after he uses his powers to win. It's one of the first signs of overt fear and hatred towards mutants in the book.


It's in the Mail: This issue marks the first in which a Letters Page appears, including this raving missive:


Teebore's Take: Where last issue was a solid X-Men vs. Brotherhood Silver Age showdown, this issue suffers a bit from largely rehashing that same story without adding much new to the mix. Toad remains a sycophant, Mastermind is creepy, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch remain uneasy and openly defiant towards Magneto, and the X-Men fight them.

The issue is noteworthy for the first appearance of Asteroid M, which becomes a mainstay of Magneto's schtick, and memorable for the first big instance of Professor X being a complete dick to his students. In principle, his desire to see his students excel knowing he's unable to help them is understandable, but there has to be better ways to accomplish that goal. Fake a head cold or something, Chuck.

Meanwhile, the X-Men's passing of their "final exam" seems like less of an accomplishment considering there doesn't seem to be much Xavier could have done to help them, anyways. Powered or not, he wouldn't have journeyed to Asteroid M with them, and the X-Men more or less handled the Brotherhood themselves last issue; all Xavier did was throw himself onto a booby trapped door, and it doesn't take awesome telepathic power to help the X-Men in that way.