Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Lost Series 4 Episode 11 - Cabin Fever

We finally learn about the adolescent John Locke in ‘Cabin Fever’, as flashbacks reveal that he did have a full head of hair!

His mother was 16 years-old when she had him but the little lad had to come through many illnesses, which surprised the doctors, as they where sure he would die. However, his mother just couldn’t handle it and ran off leaving a run-of-the-mil nasty, yank, Mother-in-Law to give John up for adoption.

Later, we see John as a young boy in his adoptive parent’s home. He is visited by none other than Richard Alpert, one of the Island ‘Others’. With Richard looking exactly the same as he does in the present day, something is up! Richard went on to test the young Locke for a ‘special school’ of his. But after the young boy failed his bizarre test (choosing some objects, ranging from a comic to a knife!) Alpert looks quite disappointed and takes off. Later we learn that Alpert and Matthew Abaddon (the man who visited Hurley in the mental hospital) have been monitoring Locke’s life. Abaddon moonlighted as a hospital porter whilst Locke was trying to recover from his accident, which left him paralysed. He suggested that Locke should take a ‘walkabout’ in Australia and you know what happened next…

On the Island, Locke, Hurley and Ben are still trying to find Jacob’s cabin. They are having no luck but after a rough night’s sleep, Locke sees an apparition of a deceased DHARMA operative who shows him the way to a mass grave, in which most of the DHARMA operatives where buried during ‘The Purge’ (shown in series 3). Locke searches and finds blueprints which will lead them to the cabin.

Meanwhile, on the freighter, Keamy returns from his murderous mission but he becomes more pissed off when the Captain tells him that Michael is a spy. Keamy immediately tries to kill him but as we saw in ‘Meet Kevin Johnson’ Michael can’t be killed, without ‘completing his mission’ so Keamy’s gun jams. The Captain persuades Keamy to keep him alive, as he is the only one who knows how to fix the boat’s engines. Sayid, in fear of what Keamy is going to do with the Islanders, takes a smaller boat and heads to the Island.

Later, Keamy would lose his temper for the last time and as he hears that the doctor’s body has been found on the beach - which is impossible as he is standing on the freighter! Keamy orders Frank to take them back to Island but he refuses, so Keamy killed the doctor – and had his body thrown overboard. Frank is still in a refusal mood, so the Captain is killed as well and Frank finally submits to the Marine’s wishes. But when they fly over the Island, Frank drops a satellite phone, for the Islanders to use…

With the episode coming to an end, we needed our cliffhanger! It didn’t disappoint, as Locke enters Jacob’s cabin alone, he is met by Christian Shepard and quite creepily, Claire who is stood in the corner. Claire does seem a little odd and dismisses her abandonment of her baby son as ‘its all in the plan’. Christian tells Locke that Keamy is on his way back and that the only way to keep the Island safe from them (meaning Widmore, probably) was to ‘move it’….

It was rather a ‘jumpy’ episode but for all the right reasons! I was a bit surprised that Keamy killed the ship’s Captain, as I thought he was an interesting character that could have been given a larger role. However it was finally satisfying to finally know that the Island DOES exist in its own ‘bubble of time’, as the Doctor washed up on the beach BEFORE he was killed! But I’m stumped on what the hell is going on with Christian and Claire. And where, or more importantly - who is Jacob?

But for me, the best parts of the episode where the flashbacks to a young Locke. I thought his story was done very well and surely we are going to learn more about Richard’s role in his life?


Next Time: It’s the final episode of the series (but really its in three parts!), as we are treated to the best part of three hours! Is ‘There No Place Like Home’ – lets find out!

Friday, 30 January 2009

Lost Series 4 Episode 10 - Something Nice Back Home

Things are starting to come together for our ‘Lost-ies’ as they dream of ‘Something Nice Back Home’ and its far from nice, believe me!

Not that this is a bad episode, it chugs along nicely but what it revealed, had me thinking that the writers had bowed to ‘fan power’. Yes – Jack and Kate are together in the flash-forwards. Okay, this isn’t permanent but it was always very predictable and so I was a little bit disappointed by it. Not that I’m against the relationship in any way, I just thought that the tension in the Jack-Kate-Sawyer love triangle was building up nicely and would have been better if it carried on for a while. But as we now know, Sawyer isn’t part of the ‘Oceanic 6’, so Kate’s choice is obvious!

Back on the beach and Jack has somehow contracted appendicitis and Juliet insists that she operates. She is helped out by the morse code-reading dentist Bernard, who is used to handing out anaesthetics. However, with no bat to whack him on the head with – he uses chloroform instead! Kate’s also present, at Jack request and we could be seeing the beginning of the relationship, we saw in the flash-forwards.

Earlier, Sun, Jin, Daniel and Charlotte went to get medical supplies from one of the DHARMA stations and after spotting that Charlotte could understand Korean, Jin takes her to one side and threatens to hurt Daniel if the pair continue to lie about why they are there and if they don’t get Sun off the Island.

Sawyer, Claire, Aaron and Miles are on the way back to the beach from Locke’s camp but its not long before Miles, the expert when it comes to dead people, discovers the partially-buried bodies of Danielle and Karl. But what I want to know is – who buried them? I can’t see those snipers doing it and seeing as they took Alex away, she didn’t have an opportunity either.

Later, Sawyer’s over-protectiveness of Claire and Aaron would boil to the surface as they run into a flustered Frank, who instructs the adult trio to hide, has he has brought Keamy and what’s left of his team back to Island. After a rather anxious moment, they get away with it as Keamy troops away. Relieved, they make camp but Claire takes off in the night as she apparently spots her deceased father, Christian Sheppard and follows him, leaving Aaron with Sawyer and Miles. Is Jack and Claire’s father still alive after all? I do hope the writers know what their doing!

Back to the flash-forwards and more dead people pop up, sort of. As Hurley, locked up in the mental hospital, tells Jack that Charlie told him to tell Jack that he’s not supposed to raise Aaron as his own. However, Hurley isn’t taking his medication, so Jack dismisses this but Hurley gives him another message from Charlie – he’ll receive a visit from someone he knows. That someone turns out to be his Dad, who he sees twice. Jack thinks he’s hallucinating and asks a colleague to prescribe him some medication. I bet this is the start of Jack addiction to pills that we have seen in previous flash-forwards.

Later, Jack returns home and overhears Kate having a rather secretive phone call. After originally lying to him, she admits that she is doing an errand for Sawyer. Jack seems angry telling her that it was ‘his choice to stay on the Island’ and blurts out that she and Aaron aren’t related – just as the little lad is standing in the doorway…

It was yet another informative episode that has started tying up those many loose ends. We are still in the dark about the futures of the rest of the survivors but hopefully they’ll survive in one way or another! The tension is being built up, slowly but surely, as we start to come to the end of the 4th series.


Next Time: Locke, Hurley and Ben get lost in the jungle but they stop at the local Starbucks ™ and ask for directions!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Big Finish Doctor Who 117 - The Key 2 Time - The Judgement of Isskar

On a planet where Time stands still, the Doctor meets a woman who is just a few minutes old. She is a Tracer, sent into our Universe by her makers to locate the six segments of the Key to Time. This being without a name wants the Doctor to be her assistant, but she doesn’t tell him the whole truth. Not at first.

Their first port of call is Mars, where a society that one day will become Ice Warriors lives in peace and civility. But the Doctor’s arrival will change all that. The universe is dying, a choice must be made, and the Judgement of Isskar will be declared. The price must be paid - even if it takes centuries…

Big Finish kick off 2009 with the release of the ‘Key 2 Time’ trilogy, starring fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. However, if you are after a more in-depth look at certain characters then check out the companion chronicle release – ‘The Prisoner’s Dilemma’. Even though it acts as a prequel to the trilogy, you’re not missing out on any of the story if you are unable to purchase a copy. However, if you’re a stickler for the development of a characters back story, then by all means - check it out! The story stars Sophie Aldred as Ace and like all companion chronicles – it’s a great listen!

Anyway back on the main subject! Let’s go back to 1978 and we are introduced to Romana and the mysterious Guardians, who are both after ‘The Key To Time’, which is a crystal made up of six different segments that can give the holder the power to rewrite the state and balance of the universe. However each segment has been scattered throughout time and space and could be disguised as anything! So the poor old Doctor has to find them and restore the balance. Don’t worry – it isn’t as confusing as I’ve told it!

I think it’s a good move by Big Finish to do a sequel to that classic series. This first story – ‘The Judgement of Isskar’, is a wonderful start! We’ve got Ice Warriors, before they where ‘Ice Warriors’, insect people who are at war with each other and of course a new companion – Amy (played by Ciara Janson). Amy is a humanoid ‘tracer’, which was the device which the fourth Doctor used to find the Key last time. However this time, the Key is decaying and Amy and her sister Zara (Laura Doddington) have been tasked to find three segments each by their masters – 'The Grace', before the key destroys itself - and the universe!

From start to finish, this audio just pulls you into the narrative. The pre-Ice Warrior Mars is a fascinating concept, which has never been explored by the television series before. There is also a nice nod to ‘Red Dawn’, an early Big Finish audio, with The Ice Warriors. But it’s the performances of the two sisters, Amy and Zara that I’m most impressed with. It’s like listening to a long-established partnership between the two characters, which in reality is just barely over an hour long!

Another partnership I was impressed with was the one between Amy and The Doctor. I felt that the new-born and naive Amy was great foil for Davison’s ‘old man in a young person’s body’-type Doctor. It was almost like being back in 1963 and William Hartnell’s old professor-type Doctor I wonder, what with Peri stuck on ‘a planet of rain’, which starts the story off and no Erimem anymore, will Amy get to stay on with The Doctor, beyond this trilogy? I hope so but its very early days!

Overall, this is a great start to what could be an epic story. All credit to everyone involved for producing yet another Big Finish masterpiece! I’m very rarely disappointed with a monthly release, so let’s hope this continues for the next 12 months - as there is some very intriguing stuff to come!


Next Time: The Doctor and Amy continue on their journey, this time they encounter ‘The Destroyer of Delights’!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Lost Series 4 Episode 9 - The Shape of Things To Come

When I thought that Lost couldn’t get any better, it produces an episode like this – ‘The Shape of Things To Come’. It’s everything that an episode of Lost should be, fights, sly jokes and more weirdness than a day in the life of Michael Jackson!

This story concentrates on Ben, who is off the Island in a couple of different flash-forwards. In one, he has seemingly left the Island, as he is wearing a Dharma coat. However, he finds himself face down in the Tunisian desert, perhaps it was the same region where Charlotte found the polar bear skeleton with the DHARMA collar? Ben is then confronted by two armed locals. He kills one of them and attacks another before stealing an horse and riding to the city.

Later, Ben is in Iraq where he encounters Sayid, who is attending his wife, Nadia’s, funeral. Ben tells Sayid that Widmore ordered an hitman to kill his wife. Later, Sayid kills the assassin and agrees to become an hitman for Ben – in order to get revenge on Widmore.

Back on the Island, the corpse of the freighter’s doctor washes up on the beach. Faraday tries to call the boat using morse code. However, he lies to the others about the message, saying that ‘Everything was fine’. But, quite bizarrely, Bernard can understand morse code and told everyone about the real content of the message – ‘What are you talking about? The doctor is fine’. Angry, Jack forces Faraday to reveal that it was never their intention to rescue the survivors.

We learn that the snipers form the last episode, who killed Danielle and Karl, where the men from the boat, lead by Keamy. Alex is taken hostage, as the men shoot up Locke’s camp and kill a number of people in the process. Keamy shouts at Ben to come out and produces his hostage and holds a gun to her head. However, Ben doesn’t believe that he’ll go through with it but he (and most of the viewers, I’m sure) are left shocked when Keamy executes Alex. It was rather shocking and the acting involved is absolutely top-notch.

Ben utters something about ‘he’s changed the rules’ and runs off and seemly activates the ‘smoke monster’, which kills a number of Keamy’s men, with the rest taking cover. The rest agree that they should leave the camp but Ben stays behind for a while, to grieve over the corpse of his ‘daughter’. Meanwhile, Sawyer wants to return to the beach with Claire, Aaron and Hurley but the latter is held at gunpoint by Locke and forced to go with him and Ben, to find Jacob’s cabin. Hurley is one of the few that has seen the mysterious house, which contains the mysterious figure. Hurley agrees to go with them but it was nice to see that Sawyer cared about him!

Back to the future and Ben is in London and confronts Widmore, while in bed! He tells him that he had ‘changed the rules’ and in revenge, he would kill his daughter, Penny, so he knows what it felt like. The flash-forward was actually filmed in London, as Alan Dale was appearing in a west-end show at the time.

Overall, it was a truly excellent episode. We learnt a lot more about Ben, seeing that he was indeed human! Michael Emerson is becoming my favourite actor in Lost. Apart from his wonderful sarcastic comments and looks, his reaction to the death of his daughter was superb. And how shocking was that! The babe count has definitely gone down with the departure of Alex (Tania Raymonde)! But on a technical note, the episode was one, if not the best directed episode of Lost, since the first two episodes. For that alone, it deserves the highest praise.


Next Time: Keamy proves he is indeed a ‘bad arse’ by shooting new-born puppies - because he’s bored!


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Lost Series 4 Episode 8 - Meet Kevin Johnson

We meet the mysterious Kevin Johnson in this aptly named episode of Lost – ‘Meet Kevin Johnson’!

Infact it’s a story we’ve been waiting for since the end of series 2 – what had happened to Michael, after he and Walt left the Island. For those of you not up to speed – Kevin Johnson is Michael and he is working on board the freighter which Sayid and Desmond are on! At the start of this episode, Sayid corners Michael and angrily insists that he should tell him why he’s there.

It turns out Michael told his son all about his killing of Ana Lucia and Libby and the boy now lives with Michael’s mum. Utterly depressed, Michael tries to kill himself – twice! It’s when he’s about to shoot himself, in a dark alley of all places, that a face from the past shows up – it’s Tom from the Island!

Later, we are ‘treated’ to a scene in Tom’s hotel room, with his boyfriend, yep – he’s bent as a sixty pound note! Anyway, Tom explains to Michael that the Island ‘won’t allow him to die, until he completes his task’. I know it sounds ridiculous but I kept watching and was treated to a great story!

Michael is told all about Charles Widmore and his faking of the Oceanic plane wreck. The plan is for him to infiltrate the boat and gather information on all the crew members. That’s until he receives a call from Walt, whilst on the boat – except it’s from Ben! Ben tells him to continue to gather information for him and then kill the crew, one by one. Michael is reluctant but when he spots the boat mercenary, Keamy, pissing about with machine guns – he knows something isn’t right…

The story isn’t good enough for Sayid, who immediately shops him to the Captain. With the Captain having a fetish for beating people up – I can’t see Michael coming out of this very well!

Meanwhile, on the Island, Ben tells everyone at the barracks about the people who are after him and lets them know that they will kill everyone on the Island. Locke takes him at his word and starts setting up defences, whilst Ben tells his fake-daughter, Alex, to go with her real-mother and her boyfriend Karl, to a safe place where the Others are. However on the way, snipers kill Karl and then Rousseau. Alex sees no choice but to surrender and admit she’s the daughter of Ben. But who are the mysterious gunmen? Is this a plan by Ben, to get his daughter back? We shall see.

Overall, it was a good episode that finally told us the story about Michael’s departure and it was satisfactory enough. Although I’m not sure how the Island can stop you from killing yourself, I do hope this is explained! I was very impressed by Harold Perrineau’s (Michael) performance. I though his acting, especially with all the emotional scenes, was absolute quality.

I was also shocked to see Danielle and to some extent, Karl being killed off in such quick fashion. Although it’s great to see that Lost aren’t afraid to swing the axe, or sniper rifle if you prefer!


Next Time – Its bets at the ready as Vincent as a no-holes-barred fight with the ‘Smoke Monster’!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Lost Series 4 Episode 7 - Ji Yeon

We learn the final member of the ‘Oceanic 6’ in this, the seventh episode of series 4 of Lost – Ji Yeon.

This episode is all about Sun, who survives the Island – but is it without her husband Jin? We see flash-forwards of her about to give birth and Jin running around trying to buy a teddy Panda – its all great fun!

Back on the Island, Sun and Jin are debating whether they should join Locke’s camp because Sun doesn’t trust the people from the boat - Dan and Charlotte. Jin agrees but one person who is horrified is Juliet.

With every woman (who was impregnated on the Island) dying, Juliet is worried the same might happen to Sun and her baby, if they don’t get off the Island. Sun is adamant that she’s going to Locke’s camp, so Juliet resorts to desperate measures to keep them at the beach – she tells Jin about Sun’s affair, which she had prior to arriving on the Island.

Even though Jin can’t speak much English, he is rapidly improving and understood her words. He takes off and goes fishing with Bernard. Thankfully, the dentist is a wise old bugger and his advice seems to spark something in Jin, who forgives his wife.

Back to the future and after a scare, Sun has her baby named Ji Yeon (by Jin, on the Island) but her husband is nowhere to be seen. It’s then we learn that the parts with Jin, where infact flashbacks, as he was delivering the Panda to a client. Later, Hurley appears, to have a look at the baby – and to accompany Sun to Jin’s grave.

But that isn’t all that happened in this episode. Back at the boat, Sayid and Desmond meet the Captain who tells them that it was Ben who faked the plane crash and that his employer, Charles Widmore, is interested in getting hold of Ben to know how he did it. Whether or not he is telling the truth, is debatable. The pair are then moved to a new room, where they meet the deckhand, Kevin Johnson. But there is something familiar about this bloke – it’s Michael!

It was another solid episode that gave us some well needed depth for Sun and Jin. The writers are particularly cruel in showing us that Jin could have been alive, as its debatable whether or not Aaron should be counted as part of the ‘6’. But is he really dead? The surprise appearance of Michael was spoiled by the actors name in the credits but I didn’t notice!


Next Time: Locke starts a 'Turf War' with those on the beach - by stealing their golf clubs!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Lost Series 4 Episode 6 - The Other Woman

Juliet gets more back-story in the 6th episode of series 4 of Lost – ‘The Other Woman’, although a lot of the plot seems vaguely familiar.

The story centres on Juliet’s arrival on the Island and delves into her ‘affair’ with fellow ‘Other’ Goodwin, who was killed by Ana Lucia in series 2. The title of ‘The Other Woman’ could refer to Juliet herself, as Goodwin was married to her on-Island therapist, Harper.

Juliet also has to deal with Ben, who seems very interested in her. Her fears become even more so when she realises that it was he who sent Goodwin to infiltrate the tail-section survivors (in series 2) on purpose - to keep them away from each other. An un-compassionate Ben shows Juliet the rotting corpse of Goodwin, presumably to reinforce his authority.

Back into the present storyline and Juliet is suspicious of Charlotte and Dan, when they take off from the camp. Things get more serious when a returning Kate is attack from behind by Charlotte. The pair have also taken the gas masks, which they arrived on the Island with.

However, we learn that they are turning off a ‘poison gas factory’ that could have been activated at any time and could have killed people on the Island, just as Ben did during ‘the purge’ (a flashback in series 3). But still, the pair are being mysterious and Jack and the others still don’t trust them.

Meanwhile at the barracks, Ben pleads with Locke to set him free. In exchange he tells Locke that Charles Widmore owns the freighter and wants to take over the Island. Locke seems to be giving in but wants to know who Ben’s spy is on board the freighter and before he gets his own house at the barracks, Ben tells Locke who his spy is….

It was a rather slow episode that had a ‘filler episode’ feel to it. Although I don’t personally believe filler episode exist, that’s what it feels like! The flashbacks were too similar to Juliet’s past flashbacks and offered her hardly any character development. In fact we learned more about Ben than her! I also felt that Harper was severely underused and was surprised how easily she gave up her husband to Juliet.

However, the episodes redeeming feature was it’s scenes on the present-day Island. I felt that casting of all the people from the helicopter has been a masterstroke, I really enjoy the performances of Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies), in particular.


Next Time: Will Ben wind up Sawyer and Hurley by nicking their underwear off the washing line? So exciting isn’t it?