All right. It’s the start of the Summer 2015 TV season. Here is a short recap and thoughts of the premiere of Wayward Pines.
Wayward Pines S1:Episode 1,
S1.E1 Where Paradise is Home: A Secret Service agent goes to Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two federal agents who have gone missing in the bucolic town. He soon learns that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.
The opening shot is a mirror of the shot of Jack from LOST waking up to find he is alive, but injured. Where is he, and what just happened? This time its Agent Ethan Burke. We can’t forget Ethan from Lost S1, and Juliet Burke from Lost S3.
Wayward Pines reminds me of some recent sci-fi movies including: 1. The Truman show where a man is stuck inside an artificial city but trapped there and everyone is in on it, except him. 2. Source Code: An injured military pilot is barely alive but his mind and memory are being manipulated in order to solve a crime (that is about to happen). 3. Twin peaks and the Twilight zone: both are creepy stories of isolated societies that maybe real or maybe paranormal.
I have heard that this show will reveal a major plot point sometime before episode 5. So it would be wise to hang on until then if you are interested in this show. So far I am intrigued. It seems better than both Under the Dome and Extant.
The biggest surprise is that whatever this is, it was planned by a scientist or doctor (played by Toby Jones), and that the Secret Service seems to know about it. And as in the X-Files, the agent (played by Matt Dillon) was trying to find out about hidden secrets within the agency when he too became part of the mystery. He went looking for two people and he found one (played by Carla Gugino) who wants him to give up his old self and become part of Wayward Pines – whatever that is!) Stayed tuned.
Although it is not summer yet, it is time to write some short TV reviews. Here is a recap of the themes and reveals (SPOILERS) from Season 2 episode 1 of Penny Dreadful, “Fresh Hell”.
Penny Dreadful S2:Episode 1,
Vanessa is barraged by an onslaught of disturbing occult images brought on by the mysterious Madame Kali. Because of the massacre he committed in the Mariner’s Inn, Ethan believes he needs to leave London. Dr. Frankenstein works to bring Brona back to life while under the pressure from Caliban, who, in search of work after being let go at the Grand Guignol, applies at a wax museum. After Mina’s funeral, Sir Malcolm returns to London to discover that a whole new evil is hunting Vanessa.
As it was in Season 1, there is a main theme that the characters on Penny D all seem to believe in: Can and should they try to vanquish evil, while knowing that there is an evil inside of them. The question is: Will that “evil” or I would call it their “beastly strength” destroy them or their friends before they get a chance to finish off the evil forces around them?
The Victorian oppression of letting your true feelings and true self from showing was a big theme for the characters and was best exemplified in this episode by the Creature’s reluctance of accepting the beauty within himself, and instead taking a job at a wax museum where dead things are given life for the public to gawk at. Is this the Creature’s fate (to be gawked at) or is there hope that he will be accepted for the kind heart within him even though his face is horrible.
The spiritual world is both intriguing and dangerous in Penny Dreadful. This was exemplified by the pure and white snow being coated in red blood at the attack of the strange witches who seem to be able to appear and disappear from sight.
Vanessa and Mina – Showtime
Ethan realizes for the first time possibly how dangerous he can be to anyone even old friends (or foes). So much so, that he wants to leave Vanessa and those that offer him a chance at redemption. It caught me a bit by surprise that Vanessa had no real clue of his supernatural abilities. I guess her and Malcolm mainly wanted a gun for hire (last season).
Mrs. Malcolm has always resented his journeys to Africa and believes he went totally for selfish reasons. It remains to be seen if this is really true, but perhaps Malcolm went there for reasons that weren’t selfish. Obviously their partnership was strained when Peter died (and his body was left in Africa) but now it is totally ruined because of Mina’s death.
Poor Brona Croft. First Dr. Frankenstein killed her, now he is in love with the idea of a new life for her (without her consent) and then he is going to give her to the Creature. Will she remember Ethan in her new “undead” form?
The “witches”. Kinda boring in a way. It seems their only job is to provide the Master his desired “marriage” to Vanessa/ Ancient Deity. It doesn’t make sense to me why they would want to put a barrier between themselves and the Master (of evil). This reminded me of both Buffy the Vampire slayer and the Strain. Not good. I hope this is just one of the story lines this season and not the main one.
The new summer TV shows have started so I thought I would begin writing some short reviews. Here is a recap of the themes and reveals (SPOILERS) from Season 1 of Penny Dreadful.
Penny Dreadful S1:
As Vanessa says “She is afraid of the things she is capable of doing (evil)”, and as the priest says “Are you sure you want to be normal (without the special characteristics that make you unique)”. This dichotomy of this theme seems to apply to all the characters. Frankenstein’s monster wants to be normal in appearance so he can be loved, but realizes it’s his depraved heart that actually scared away his theater girlfriend. Malcolm loves going on adventures but has “lost” his kids due to his absences. Ethan wants people to see his gentle side and not leave him, but uses his dark side to keep from being caged.
The Victorian oppression of letting your true feelings and true self from showing was a big theme for the characters and was best exemplified by Vanessa’s fear of physical intimacy with Dorian Grey. She abandons him to save him and herself from revealing her more baser instincts.
The spiritual world is both intriguing and dangerous in Penny Dreadful. While exploring the darkness of the Grand Guignol theater they find evil creatures, and Mina warns them that the Master is close to controlling them all for eternity.
Vanessa and Mina – Showtime
Now we know why Ethan is on the run and accused of killing so many people in America. He “changes” during the full moon. But what was he like before that happened to him?
This one caught me totally by surprise… is Vanessa actually Malcolm’s illegitimate daughter? At least that’s the way I read his retort to the “dead” Mina (I have a daughter). If Malcolm was having an affair with Vanessa’s mom this is actually very possible and explains the closeness between V. and Mina. They were as close as sister’s (as the episode 4 title hinted). It also explains why Peter recoiled from V’s touch as that would make him her half-brother. Creepy yes.
Poor Brona Croft. Now she will wake up and find herself not only re-alive but also engaged to Caliban. Just wait until Ethan figures this out!
There are 10 more episodes planned for season 2 to air next year.
In the second part of the finale, we pick up the story with Charlie wanting a gun to protect Claire. Sayid refuses the request. Meanwhile Rousseau leaves the dynamite team at the Black Rock. Artz and Hurley have a funny moment, while Jack, Kate, and Locke investigate the ship. It’s a mining ship full of slaves headed to or from East Africa. They retrieve the dynamite and Artz carefully removes and wraps it up for transport. As he is warning them about the dangerous of unstable dynamite, it explodes leaving pieces of him all over the place (yuck). Too bad I liked the Doc, but we get to see him again in Expose’ and a some mobisodes.
We then get many flashbacks to what our Losties were doing just prior to the departure of flight 815. Sayid has been released after Shannon accused him of being a terrorist. Sun spills coffee on Jin which leads him to a unexpected meeting with Mr. Paik’s enforcer, who has been following JIn and warns him to deliver the watch to LA or else something will happen to her (Sun). He tells Jin he will never be free. Charlie freaks out when he is down to his last bit of drugs which also causes a groupie/addict to beat the heck out of him to retrieve them for herself.
We see Walt playing on a Game Boy SP when Michael calls his mom to try and convince her to take Walt off his hands. She refuses but Walt overhears this.
Back on the raft, Sawyer is reading the messages in a bottle left by the survivors. He wants to know who this “Hugo guy is that’s worth a hundred million”. The rudder breaks free causing Sawyer to swim after it, which leads to Michael seeing that he is carrying a weapon. The raft sails on until night when they pick up a signal on the radar. As the object starts to head away they debate whether to fire the flare, but Michael does (Walt and Sawyer convince him). The boat that returns is full of the Others including Tom Friendly who “have to take the boy”. All along we thought it was Aaron who they wanted. They take Walt, shoot Sawyer and throw Michael off the boat before they blow it up. Jin tries to save Sawyer from drowning. The last thing we hear as the boat takes his son away is Michael yelling… Waalt!
Stranger things happen back on the island: Rousseau has stolen the baby in hopes that she can lure the Others to make a swap for Alex. But the Others don’t show up and she breaks down. Charlie calls her a “nutter” and takes the baby back to a very happy and relieved Claire.
Meet our friend, the Monster
The trek back to the hatch with the dynamite is interrupted by an encounter with the Monster. Everyone runs while Locke happily chases after the monster, until it grabs him and pulls him into it’s underground lair. But Jack detonates some dynamite that he stuck in his bag (Kate thought she had it – in fact Kate says she went to the Black Rock just for this purpose), to free Locke.
What's down the hatch?
They make it back to the hatch and detonate the dynamite, but Hurley almost stops them when he sees the numbers engraved on the hatch door. Locke goes ahead with lighting the fuse anyway as he is convinced this is their destiny. They stare down the hatch while we fans must wait months (back in 2005) to find out what is inside.
It’s great how they juxtapose things on Lost. First Michael calls his mom because he doesn’t want to care for Walt. But on the island when Walt is taken, he cries out for him. I should mention that they had reconciled on the raft, when Walt said it was unfair for his mom, to keep Michael away from Walt.
In another juxtaposition we see Claire desperately wanting her baby back just a few days after the birth when she said the baby would hate her. She names him Aaron (out of the blue) and doesn’t know why she picked that name. Mr. Eko later points out that Aaron is the brother of Moses. Another reference to Exodus in the holy scriptures.
We had to wait a few months to find out what’s in the hatch. If I remember correctly the writers decided to get the hatch mystery over with quickly in Season 2. But it happens so quickly we almost can’t believe what we are seeing.
Hurley’s “lucky” good fortune to make it the plane is very funny. He encounters the Numbers everywhere from seeing gate numbers 14-23, to girls soccer jerseys with the numbers arranged in a row.
In a nod to Season 5 (or is it visa versa) we see Jack getting ready to detonate a bomb at the Swan station.
The Losties are all back on the plane again (Locke is carried on), Hurley gives the thumbs up and Jack nods to Locke. Is it possible that this is not a coincidence and that they knew they were going have to be on this plane together?
Exodus is an apt title for this finale episode. The Losties launch the raft to leave their temporary island residence in search of rescue. Of course the other Exodus is found in the story of the ancient Hebrews leaving their temporary residence in Egypt to embark on their journey to the promised land. In both stories there is a bit of a roadblock ahead.
The Raft departs the island
We saw Walt up and awake at like 5 in the morning looking out at Sydney harbor. Michael is in the hotel room trying to sleep when Walt turns on Power Rangers at full volume. Obviously Walt is not happy for their planned journey on Oceanic 815, so he annoys Michael best he can and tries to run away with Vincent. Michael grabs him telling the hotel guest that it’s okay since he’s his father, to which Walt replies “you are not my Father”.
We jump to the island where Walt sees the French chick sneaking into their camp. She has come to deliver a message. After she had been on the island she a few months she saw black smoke inland about 5 km, that’s when they came to take her Alex. The Others. And they are coming now. There are only three options: 1) Run, 2) Hide, or 3) Die. Jack chooses door #1 and #2 when he decides to put the Losties into the hatch. But first they must get it open. Rousseau knows there is dynamite at the Black Rock (within the dark territory). So they go there with Doc Artz along to help as he has volunteered to handle the unstable dynamite.
Along the way, Rousseau tells them that the dark territory is where they became sick and Montand lost his arm. Artz freaks out and heads back to camp only to be chased by the smoke monster. But Locke is not afraid, he tells Charlie to stay put while the monster passes in the other direction. Artz returns to the group and they continue the trek for the Black Rock.
Flashback to a time just after Jack tells the attendant he “needs this to be over, he needs to bury his dad”, when an attractive woman starts to talk to him. She’s pretty pushy and wants to know why he doesn’t wear a ring. He tells her he was married once but no more. (We just saw him get married a few episodes ago). She says she’s Anna Lucia and she’s on his plane in row 42 and kiddingly says she will switch seats with Jack in row 23. She gets a phone call and they promise to share a drink later. The call is most likely from her mom as we see the scene following this one in a future episode. She ominously tells Jack “don’t worry the worst part is over”. We have heard something like this phrase before on Lost, but I can’t remember when.
And now we Sawyer’s story pre-flight. He was picked up for a bar fight (the same bar Christian was in maybe) head butting a Warren Truss Head of Agriculture. The authorities decide not to incarcerate James Ford (his real name), because of his long rap sheet, they instead send him home for deportation never to be allowed back into Australia. Warren Truss is a real person. He is currently the Shadow Minister for Trade, Transport, Regional Development (which sounds really creepy whatever that is).
In Kate’s flashback the marshal makes fun of Kate’s story. He says he took the toy plane and put it in the safe deposit box. He says Kate called him numerous times about her “mitigating circumstances”, but he never believed her. After Kate gets angry and attacks him, the marshal says that’s why he needs 5 guns to carry with him on the plane. The guns are checked in first class storage, but somehow end up under the seat of two dead passengers.
There are three really well acted and beautiful scenes at the end of this episode.
1) Walt trusts Shannon to take care of Vincent (and since everyone makes fun of Shannon for doing nothing, this leads to Shannon breaking down a bit). Also Walt tells her Vincent was the only person who would listen to him when his mom died and could help Shannon over Boone’s death.
2) I really enjoyed the touching scene between Sun and Jin. Jin finally apologizes to Sun after she gives him some English phrases to use on the raft. Up till now Sun was going to use her English skills to leave Jin and start a new life on her own. Now she uses what she knows to help him. Okay I choked up a bit during their reconciliation scene.
3) The glorious launching of the raft and Micheal Giacchino’s score. This has to be an early version of the big Lost theme. I am hoping we hear it in its full grandeur at the end of the series. Of course the scene where Vincent swims out to Walt before he tells him to go back is also touching.
This episode is about making choices and sacrifices for the greater good. In this case, Sayid must decide (both on the island and in his past flashback) whether or not someone has to die to save many others.
Sayid makes a deal with the CIA
In the flashback, Sayid is being taken to interrogation in Heathrow airport. Apparently the CIA has been monitoring his movements for some time and has figured out his is looking for Nadia who he let escape from her Iraqi captures. The CIA informs him she is alive and will let him her whereabouts if he infiltrates a suspected terrorist cell in Australia. Sayid agrees, goes to Sydney and finds a old college friend named Essam who is part of the terrorist cell and has been recruited to be their martyr. Sayid quickly gets their confidence by pretending to find a listening bug in a smoke detector. Essam, whose wife was killed in a bombing, has second thoughts about the suicide attack, given his Islamic faith. Sayid goes back to his handlers to try and save Essam from his fate, but the CIA is more interested in finding the hidden C4 explosive that will be used. They remind Sayid that if he wants to find Nadia he must cooperate. So Sayid devises a plan.
When he meets Essam again the cell members take them to the C4 warehouse where a truck is waiting for the two men to transport the bomb. Essam is given a gun and points it at Sayid when he confesses he is working with the CIA, but he wants to allow Essam to escape. Essam accuses Sayid of being motivated by a woman and not thinking about helping others. Essam points the gun at himself and takes his own life. This CIA holds up their part of the deal and allows Sayid to travel to Nadia, but instead Sayid is concerned that Essam will not get a traditional burial, so he delays his trip a day, which leads him to be on the fateful flight 815.
Sayid's Got a Gun
On the island Sayid is put in a similar situation. Shannon wants to kill Locke for his part in Boone’s death. Jack has accused Locke of lying which led Jack to prescribe the wrong surgical treatment. Sayid confronts lock by the Beachcraft drug plane, Locke confesses that he led Boone there and made him climb into the plane searching for something that would get them rescued. But when asked about the hatch, Locke lies and says the plane has two hatches and is not sure why Boone would be talking about them. Sayid doesn’t trust Locke because he secretly has been carrying a gun. Locke also admits he was the one who knocked Sayid out when he was searching for the radio tower, saying going to place where Daniel said “it killed them all” wasn’t a good idea. Sayid goes back to tell Shannon the circumstances of Boone’s death. But Shannon merely steals the key Jack has to the gun case. She confronts Locke and nearly kills him except that Sayid intervenes and the bullet grazes Locke’s head instead. Sayid says he may have made a mistake but right now Locke is there best chance for survival.
According to Lostpedia, Shannon was not supposed to have known about the gun case. I picked up on this too, seemingly only Jack, Kate and Locke knew about it. However the writers seemed to have resolved this by writing a scene in the season 3 Expose‘ episode where Kate accidently lets this information out to Shannon.
Kate drugs Jack with sleeping pills in his juice, just as she did to her flashback husband, and later told Sun how to do this as well. However Michael accidently swallowed the drugs that Jin was supposed to receive.
Sayid is very swayed be woman, Nadia of course, and in this episode Shannon, and later he falls for Elsa (a spy). Each one gets him somewhat involved in something dangerous. But Nadia really tried to help Sayid.
Walt says something funny when he says while on the raft they might encounter a shark, which is exactly what happens next season.
What do you think? Was Sayid acting for the greater good or was he just interested in finding Nadia, or both?
We find hidden C4 explosive on the island as well. It’s in the Flame (communications hatch) where Mikhail lives. Coincidence, on Lost? I don’t think so. But Sayid was pretty miffed when Locke used it to blow up that station.