Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010: Survivor Recap

After last week's dramatic Tribal Council which saw Parvati play two idols, the Survivors returned to camp, where Russell was severely pissed. I understand his point that Parvati shouldn't have kept that secret from him, but at the end of the day, the move she made with both of the idols was to protect their alliance. I don't think that he should have been that upset, but considering his personality, it was expected.

I think that Parvati's response to him was a little too cavalier, but her best defense probably would have been "Look, now nobody has an idol, and we're up 5 to 4. Do you have a problem with that?" And if she would have done what Russell had said, playing the idol for herself...then Jerri would have been gone and they would have been down 5 to 4.
Good move, Parvati. Suck it up, Russell.

Every time we come back from commercial now to see the tribe name, "Yin Yang" on the screen, I shake my head at the idiocy of the name. We get it...Heroes vs. Villains. Why didn't you just call yourself "Black/White", "Coke/Pepsi", or "Duke/North Carolina?"

After a season of recycling some great challenges from past seasons, along with impressive new ones, we were treated to...shuffleboard? Come on, are you kidding me? This is what we get after last week's 'stand on a pole the longest" competition? Very very weak.

And just as I was getting ready to write in my notes that "Colby sucks in a challenge yet again", he goes and wins the challenge on the final shot. Touche, Mr. Donaldson. I retract my statement.

Although I have to say that I thought the Reward itself was pretty cool...touring Robert Louis Stevenson's home and watching a personal screening of Treasure Island. But Amanda couldn't even enjoy the tour as she was obsessively looking for a clue to the next Hidden Immunity Idol. Was she really looking inside an old-school iron?

But with all of her compulsive searching throughout the reward, Amanda was just wasting her time as Danielle fell ass-backwards into the clue by simply munching on the popcorn during the movie. What ensued was one of the most entertaining sequences in Survivor history.

Danielle tried to hide the clue on the floor. Amanda asked what she put on the floor. Danielle said "nothing." Amanda went and sat on the side of the bed. Then Amanda picked up the clue and tried to run off with it. Danielle chased after her and demanded it back. Colby tried to watch the movie.

CATFIGHT!

Is this the first catfight in Survivor history? I think so, because I can't remember another one that wasn't part of a physical confrontation during a challenge. Amanda insisted that she wasn't giving it back, and Danielle responded by screaming and calling Amanda a psychopath and psychotic. Again, Colby just tried to watch the movie.

Danielle's tantrum wasnt working, and Amanda was standing her ground, so in true tantrum behaviour, Danielle whined to Colby for help. Colby then frustratedly paused the movie and played mediator.

Now, before I continue, I have to say that if you're sprawled out on a bed in the middle of Samoa with two hot girls in bikinis on either side of you...if you're the meat in that sandwich...and they start fighting with each other right in front of you...you don't stop and watch? Maybe....maybe... I could understand it if you were so into the movie that you weren't willing to miss it...but if you have the option to pause the movie...you PAUSE THE MOVIE!

But back to Colby's mediator role, and an unexpected turn of events. I fully anticipated hearing him tell them, "work it out on your own", or "It's Amanda's, she found it on the floor" (which would have been a pretty valid point), especially since he's in an alliance with Amanda. But instead, Colby declared that it was Danielle's since she found it. I couldn't decide what was more idiotic, Colby saying it was Danielle's...or Amanda just handing it over after he said that! What the hell?

I'll tell you, if I was Danielle and I found the clue in a situation like that, where tribal divisions are crystal clear, I would have just said "Yo, look what I found", and jammed it in the crotch of my bathing suit. I'm pretty sure no one is going after it there. Problem solved.

And then back at camp, Danielle told the others that to get the Idol back from Amanda, she "wrestled her to the ground and ripped it out of her hands." Um...no...you snitched to Colby and Amanda folded like a wet newspaper. Meanwhile, Colby's main story coming out of the Reward was that there wasn't a lot of room in that bed for all three of them to sleep together. Nothing like sleeping in the back of an Aztek with your mom, huh Colby? (How many times can I make that joke in one season? I'm guessing at least one more.)
Russell found his 6th Hidden Immunity Idol. The next clue should just say "Look in Russell's pocket." But as he has done every other time, he just went and told someone. But this time, instead of telling anyone in his own alliance, who kept an Idol secret from him, he went and told Candace in an effort to gain her trust. I thought that was a pretty stupid move, but it ended up being pretty smart.

Rupert's on-camera interviews have deteriorated into the same thing each time. Speak slowly in a gruff voice and then elongate your last point. "We...need...to..get...Russell..out of the...gaaaaaaaaame. He's a piece...of...garbaaaaaaage." Come on, pirate man, mix it up a bit!
Sandra was ranting about how she has been wanting Russell out of the game for 30 days. How has this game gone 30 days already? If the final Tribal Council is on the 39th day (as it always is), and there are still eight players left after tonight, how does that work? Are we headed for double eliminations? Injuries? Daily Tribal Councils?

At it's core, the House of Cards Immunity challenge sounds pretty stupid. Like...oh, I don't know...shuffleboard? But it was actually a pretty decent challenge that saw Russell and Jerri go right down to the wire to win. I didn't think that Jerri was going to pull it out after watching her tower wobble near the top. Good for her.
I didn't believe that Candace was actually going to flip. Especially after her conversation with Russell where she was talking about how Amanda has crossed her "too many times." I thought she was lying, and lying badly, until I saw her talking to Sandra right before Tribal Council. Now I believed that she was going to align with the Villains. Remember that she was my pick to win the whole thing in my Recap of the Season Premiere.

At Tribal Council, Courtney rocked the lime green, Coach wore a ball cap instead of a ninja robe, and J.T. entered in what was the ultimate 'Walk of Shame.' Russell made some ballsy statements about Sandra, telling everyone that "Sandra's just there with us." Dumb or smart, give the little troll credit...that took balls to say at a Tribal Council where you think she's flipping.

And it took balls to play the Idol again, even though it was unnecessary. I don't have a problem with it, much as I didn't have a problem with Parvati's move last week. The Idols are a tool to be used. Use them!

What I did have a problem with, was Parvati turning to Russell and telling him "you wasted one" by playing the Idol when he didn't need to. Wait a minute, just last week, she used two idols...which means that one of them was unnecessary and therefore wasted. Hypocritical, no?

Amanda had a great line after being voted out for the first time in her 3 seasons of Survivor: "Ok Jeff, I know you've been waiting forever to do this", as Mr. Blue Shirt snuffed her torch.

Now, for those of you that don't watch the closing commentary where you see the votes, please note that both Sandra and Candace voted for Amanda, making the vote 6-3, and meaning that not only did Sandra not flip as expected, but Candace did. I like her move, I think it will get her further in the game.

Next Week: All hell breaks lose, and Russell threatens everyone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 26, 2010: Lost Recap...Wait, Scratch That

Ok, Losties...as you were warned last week, there is no new episode of Lost tonight. ABC is re-airing an enhanced version of "Ab Aeterno" instead. So whether you watch tonight or not, take tonight as a moment to catch your breath before the final 3 weekly episodes leading up to May 23rd finale event.

If you're so inclined, feel free to start a discussion in the Comments section below. Whatever you want to talk about Lost-related...go ahead.

A couple of quick tidbits as well:

- There are 2 new Lost-related links on the sidebar, Nik at Nite and DarkUFO. I highly recommend you check both of them out.

- The night before the finale (Saturday, May 22nd), ABC is re-airing the 2 hour pilot of Lost.

- This year's featured Bobblehead at San Diego Comic-Con is the Claire Squirrel Baby Bobblehead (pictured below). Anyone who can get me one of those can just name your price.

Namaste!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25, 2010: Amazing Race Recap

The Amazing Race returned this week after a two-week layoff, and with half of the remaining contestants hailing from Rhode Island, would New England reign supreme? Would the models lighten up now that the 'evil' lesbians are gone? And would Jet and Cord continue to dominate the Race? Let's head to the Far East to find out! As always, mouse over the pictures for hidden captions.

As I watched the teams exit the Pit Stop to start the episode, I couldn't help but notice that Jet and Cord left at 7:04 pm, while it was still light out, but when Louie and Michael left at 7:35 pm, it was completely dark. Something seemed fishy about that...there's no way that it gets THAT dark in 31 minutes. I demand an explanation from Bertram van Munster.

On their way to Zhoujiajau, which was amusingly referred to as "the Venice of China", the teams bonded at an airport McDonald's. Nothing says harmony and team building like an airport fast food joint. I had to wonder if this Singapore McDonald's offered the same deal that I saw earlier this month on a trip to Las Vegas.
That's not a joke. When I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, McDonald's was offering FIFTY NUGGETS for $9.99. Why on earth would anyone ever need fifty nuggets. If you want to offer such a deal, at least try to market it as a Family Meal...but no, it's just "Hey, you. Need fifty nuggets? Ten Bucks!"

But back to the show, and speaking of wonderful examples of the American way, we saw Louie and Michael say that trying to find someone speaking English in China was like "talking to Martians." Oh, thank you so much for continuing the Amazing Race tradition of perpetuating the Ugly American stereotype of being pissed that everyone in the world doesn't speak English. Reichen and Chip would have been so proud.

I get very frustrated watching teams complain that their cab driver doesn't know where he's going. Every season there are teams that maintain that their cab driver is going to cost them a million dollars. If it's that bad, just get out and call another cab, and stop your bitching!
I liked the noodle-making challenge, but I was so confused at the presence of Ping Ping? What the hell was that? What on Earth did having the world's smallest man have to do with that challenge? Did he just happen to live nearby? And he was smoking!? Just as I was writing down all the jokes I was going to make about the whole ridiculous situation, like the fact that smoking stunts your growth...Jet and Cord made the same joke, and I had to start scratching out half of my notes. And then at the end, they put a graphic up that Ping Ping was now dead...and I had to scratch out the other half. Not fair.

Jordan had a significant problem with the noodle-making challenge, but instead of working through it, he had a drama meltdown and kept complaining about how cold his hands were. I'm telling you, if I was doing that challenge, and I was going to complain about something, it wouldn't have been about the temperature of my hands...it would have been about the 21-inch guy sitting on the table smoking a cigarette while I was doing it!
Thankfully, Louie and Michael kept a lid on calling each other 'baby' this episode. But these undercover detectives were unable to find the Fashion Show location that was located right beside the clue box. The fashion show challenge was entertaining, but we also saw the return of the City Slickers music once the Cowboys finished. Oh my gravy!

In a season that had some pretty weak challenges overall, I thought that the Roadblock in the football stadium was one of the best ones of all-time. And when the wind started whipping up, Cord decided that his best defense was to somehow try to straddle all of the puzzle pieces with his own body, while Brent decided the best way to handle it would be to walk around ranting and throwing his arms up in the air. It's always fun to watch an adult throw a tantrum, isn't it? I half expected him to lay down and start pounding his hands and feet on the ground.
It was very obvious that this was a non-elimination leg when Jet and Cord arrived at the Pit Stop. Normally, as the Race goes to the final three teams, Phil tells the teams as they arrive, "You will be one of the teams racing for the one million dollars." As soon as he didn't say that to Jet and Cord, it was a certainty that this was a non-elimination leg.

Next week: The Handlebar Brothers encounter a Speed Bump, Dan has a Taxi Tantrum, and we get down to the Final Three.

April 25, 2010: Survivor Recap

I was away on Thursday night and for most of the weekend, so I wasn't able to watch the April 22 episode of Survivor until today. I had succesfully (and surprisingly) been able to avoid hearing or reading anything for 3 days, which was pretty shocking...so after finally being able to see the episode, here is this week's recap.
We all knew the merge was coming this week. It was previewed last week at the end of the episode, and the commercials all week had told us that it was coming (see photo above), so it wasn't a surprise in any way. I liked how they mixed it up with the Villains getting the key, and the Heroes getting the chest. Showing up at a challenge to hear blue-shirt Probst say "Drop your buffs" was getting a bit stale.

Although when they did merge, and opened the chest to find their new buffs, and food...and a ham (remember when Survivor contestants used to run out of food...now they get a new feast every other day)...they seemed to have a lot of trouble picking out a tribe name. So the producers made us wait, showing the team name as 'Merged Tribe' until they met up with Jeff at the Immunity Challenge. Then they told Jeff that their team name was Yin Yang, which is just idiotic because it makes it painfully obvious that they aren't merged at all, the Heroes and Villains are still sticking with their original tribes, the Yin and the Yang. Russell specifically should have never agreed to this if he wanted the Heroes to believe he was with them.

The Villains correctly assumed that they would have to come up with a story as to why Parvati was still there, and they did that...but it was with a ridiculous story of how Russell AND Parvati both played an immunity idol at their Tribal Council. As they were coming up with this story, they made a point to specifically NOT tell Sandra, which was stupid because she is the only one who could blow it for them by telling the Heroes the truth.
Which she did...and Rupert believed her. But J.T. didn't. J.T. also went on to say how ridiculous it was that Rupert believed it. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that there would have been a complex strategy implemented by the Villains which Rupert (the loveable buffoon who never won anything but a fan vote) figured out, and J.T. (the previous winner) was the idiotic moron who fell for it, I never would have believed it.

Up until the mid-point of the episode, there was very little drama. Very little to talk about. When the biggest drama of the first half of the episode is Danielle and Parvati helping themselves to bananas, you know it's a slow episode. I think that future seasons of Survivor will include a Banana Etiquette Handbook, authored by Rupert, of course.
But then something inexplicable happened. Amanda and Parvati went for a walk and had an in-depth conversation. I don't know why Amanda gave Parvati any information at all. If anyone knows how dangerous Parvati is, it's Amanda, who went to the final with her in Fans vs. Favourites...and lost. And I have no idea why Parvati told Amanda that she had an immunity idol, unless she thought that she could sway Amanda over to her side, which seemed pretty unlikely.

Curious and confusing behaviour from the 2 players that have played more of this game than anyone else in history. But I did love how their conversation ended with them telling each other "I trust you", when you know that it wasn't true for either of them.

The Immunity Challenge was another recycled event, although this time we didn't see the contestants sliding down and getting slivers in their thighs like last time. Looks like some of them actually learned from watching the show. I knew that Rupert and Russell didn't stand a chance, and I figured Danielle would win just because she could wedge the pole between those gigantic breasts of hers.
I was shocked at how many people just gave up on the challenge and stepped down. And the most shocking of all was Candace, who inexplicably stepped down with only Danielle and Parvati remaining. But not before Jeff Probst did his best to talk her out of it, which I felt really crossed the line in terms of Jeff getting involved in the game. At the time of this writing, I have not yet read his blog on this episode, so I really hope he addresses that incident. (I'll post a link to his blog at the end of this recap)

After Danielle won immunity, the Heroes scrambled back at camp to figure out what to do at Tribal Council. Amanda talked to Parvati and tried to get her to believe that she was the target, and that she should use the Idol. But Parvati was too smart to buy it. Here's an idea...if you want to lie to one of the shrewdest and smatest players in the game, don't send the worst liar on your team! And as a major bonus for Parvati, Russell (who for the first time this season, didn't tell us his name was 'Russell Hantz') kept up his lovesick puppy-dog behaviour and gave her the Hidden Immunity Idol that he got from J.T.
So off we headed to Tribal Council, and for the first time in a long time, I really had no idea what was going to happen. The conversation was uninteresting, and Coach once again looked like an idiot, but when we got to the vote, we saw what I truly believe was one of the smartest and ballsiest moves I've ever seen on Survivor.

When Parvati pulled the immunity idol out, I did not expect her to give it to Sandra (and neither did Sandra...did you see her face?), and when she pulled the second immunity idol out for Jerri, everyone except for Parvati was stunned.

This was a fantastic move. First of all, it shows that Parvati is willing to play the game...and use the idols as a tool within the game when she thinks they are necessary for her alliance...not just for her. Think of the players that have left this game with an unused immunity idol. Ozzy, Jason, and James (with two!), among others. Parvati wasn't willing to have her name added to that list.

This move also showed the Heroes that this Villains tribe is solid, and if there was a chance at splintering, Parvati's move likely solidified the trust that she needed Jerri and Sandra to have in her. Russell will assuredly be pretty pissed that Parvati didn't reveal to him that she had the idol, but what can he do? He can't switch over to the Heroes side because he just swindled them by lying to them about what he was going to do. How could they possibly trust him after he took the idol from J.T. and then voted him out? The only shot that the Heroes have now would be for Sandra to flip.

Two things to note coming out of this episode:

1) This is all Amanda's fault. If she doesn't have that conversation with Parvati, then Parvati likely uses one of the idols for herself and we have a tie vote. Who knows what happens next? But I can't think she uses the 'two idol plan' if she hadn't been tipped that she was off the block.

2) The idol was found by J.T., who gave it to Russell, who gave it to Parvati, who gave it to Sandra/Jerri, who wasn't expecting it. How crazy is that? Seems like nobody wanted it.

Next week: Looks like Sandra hates Russell enough to flip and vote with the Heroes.

Related links:
Entertainment Weekly: Jeff Probst's blog.

April 25, 2010: The Trustworthiness of Beards

(Click image to enlarge)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24, 2010: Craig Ferguson in Toronto

I'm a big fan of Craig Ferguson. I'm a regular watcher of his late night show, and I truly believe he is the best host in late night, and will one day be the successor to David Letterman. So when I found out that he was coming to Toronto on a stand-up tour, it was a no-brainer...we needed to get tickets.

The concert was last night, and we planned a dinner once again at the Lone Star Cafe beforehand, so we could just walk the one block North to Roy Thompson Hall afterwards. The show started at 7:00, so we figured we had plenty of time since we were done and leaving the restaurant at 6:30. However, when we got outside and took out our tickets, I saw that, while the envelope the tickets came in said 'Roy Thompson Hall', the tickets said 'Massey Hall'.

So now we're at the wrong place with the show starting in less than half an hour. We hustled over to the subway station and thankfully got there in time, but it was a tense ride there while we hurried along.

The show itself was quite good, although the warm-up comic appeared to not care at all...walking around with cue cards that he could refer to for his jokes, and making absolutely NO effort to segue between his bits. Some of the material was funny, but he seemed like he didn't care.

And as I looked around the venue, I realized that my girlfriend and I were well below the median age of people that were there for the show. I probably should have realized it when I heard the guy behind me say to his wife, "Remember last time we were here...for UB40." Wait a minute, now I'm going to the same shows as people who go see UB40?? When did I get this old? Do I need to go see the Eurythmics if they do a reunion tour. (The scary part...I WOULD go see the Eurythmics. Maybe I should have said 'Enya.')

We had an interesting group of people in front of us, like the poseur thirty-something sitting in front of me with his black Misfits T-shirt and 'look-at-me-I'm-Jason-Mraz' panama hat. You can't mix a Misfits shirt with a pamama hat at a Craig Ferguson...you're cross-pollinating too many pop culture items!

And then there was the guy sitting right beside him, who, like Paulie Walnuts on the Sopranos, had to repeat every punchline for his friend as he laughed. When Craig Ferguson ended a joke with "I too am a gay Austrian lion tamer", he would uproariously laugh and hit his friend in the arm, and say, 'Gay Austrian Lion Tamer!"

And the UB40 couple behind us was an interesting treat as well, as the wife just sat there silently for the whole show, never laughing, and asking her husband what the jokes meant. And the husband, who was about 55, and had to leave at some point of the show, decided that instead of asking the TWO people between him and the aisle to stand up so he could get to the aisle, he had to get all Spiderman and climb over his seat into the back aisle. Of course he kicked my girlfriend in the shoulder on the way out, and me in the arm on the way back.

So, interesting old people and ticket fiascos aside, the show was quite entertaining, and I highly recommend you check it out if you're a fan of comedy. It's quite a bit edgier than the TV show, obviously, but it was a great night.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20, 2010: Lost Recap: The Last Recruit

Normally at the end of a season of Lost, there's an acceleration for the final few episodes. If you've watched from Season 1, you'll know what I'm talking about...that feeling of as if it's a hockey game, you're down a goal, and there's under a minute left. You've got no choice to pull the goaltender and go full throttle in an effort to catch up. Tonight's episode felt a lot like that, sensory overload coupled with an ongoing effort to just "catch up."

So on that note, it's time to pull the goalie and put the pedal to the medal for "The Last Recruit."

Please keep in mind that I write this recap immediately following the episode, and as I'm sitting down, my head is still kind of muddled from everything I just watched...and there was definitely a lot to take in. If I miss anything that I think of later, I'll add it in the Comments section. (And don't forget to mouse over pics for captions.)

I had heard some theories that the Flash Sideways world was heading for a big culmination at the hospital where Jack would be operating on Locke. Right from the opening moments of 'Previously on Lost", it was clear that's where this episode was heading. I'm not sure why, but it still makes me smirk every time I see Desmond's visible "grunt" as he plows into Locke with his car.
The opening scene with Jack and Flocke maintained the tension from the closing scene last week. As the two stepped aside for a private conversation, Flocke explained to Jack that John Locke was stupid to think that he had been brought to this Island for a reason. And since we had a wrap-up answer to the Whispers last week, why not answer another long-standing mystery in this episode before the opening credits roll?

So we now have confirmation that Christian was the Man In Black (MIB) all these times we've seen him in the past. On the beach, in the woods, down by the Frozen Donkey Wheel, in Jacob's Cabin, with Claire... Apparently, all MIB needed to take someone's form was for the body to be brought to the Island "in a wooden box." I did like that this answer came as a result of a direct question from Jack, as opposed to another "Hey, by the way..." explanation.

Jack also asked why MIB as Christian led Jack to follow him through the jungle. Flocke answered that it was "because you needed to find water", since he was trying to help them leave. As seductive as Flocke was here, I didn't buy it for a second. Partially because it goes against what my gut is telling me about Flocke and his motives, and also because if Flocke really wanted the Lostaways to be able to leave the Island, I'm pretty sure his first order of business wouldn't have been to kill the pilot of Oceanic 815.

Flocke: "John Locke was not a believer, Jack. He was a sucker."

In the Flash Sideways (FS) World, we see Ben and Locke in the ambulance immediately after Desmond's hit and run on our favourite bald substitute teacher. When Locke mentioned Helen's name as a contact, he said "I was gonna marry her", which I'm sure led many people to believe that he was saying it as if he knew he was dying, especially after Ben corrected him on using the past tense (teachers are SO picky.) But my thoughts on this line were that his Island consciousness was speaking, flashing back to an off-Island time when he was going to marry Helen. If I'm right, then Desmond indeed caused a near-death experience that triggered Locke's connection to his alternate consciousness.

As Sun was being wheeled into the hospital right beside Locke, she panicked when she saw him, and started shouting "him!" in Korean. Clearly this was another instance of both worlds connecting, as Sun had yet to meet Locke in the FS World, and was sufficiently scared and intimidated by Flocke in the Island World.
Back on the Island, we got a reunion that I think a lot of people had forgotten about: Jack and Claire. The first meeting between the now-aware brother and sister was a little awkward, but did confirm for us that Flocke/MIB was honest with Claire about who he was when he appeared to her as Christian. So her choice to be working alongside him has been made with her being fully aware of the situation. Interesting.

Her closing line to Jack was sufficiently creepy: "You decided the moment you let him talk to you, like the rest of us. Whether you like it or not, you're with him now."

After a standout performance last week as the emotional soul of the show, Hurley was once again back to his comfortable role of comic relief. My favourite two lines this episode:

"You can always bring people back from the dark side. I mean, Anakin?"
"Claire...you look...great?"

And after an inexplicable switch from nightime to daytime at Flocke's camp, Flocke said what every viewer was thinking at that moment..."It's so nice to have everyone back together again."
Sawyer sat down with Kate in the FS World and flat out answered a question that I posed in my recap to Recon, why did he allow Kate to escape from the airport in LAX? As much as he tried to deny seeing the handcuffs on Kate in the elevator, she was on to him and astutely pointed out that the reason he let her go is beause he had something to hide himself. This scene didn't seem to serve much of a purpose otherwise, except to establish Miles and Sawyer as the cops assigned to the Sayid restaurant shooting.
Back at Flocke's camp, Zoe just strolled on in with a two-way radio and a threat in what was one of the least intimidating scenes I've ever seen on this show. Her threats to Flocke seemd idle and not intimidating in any way, whatsoever. I wasn't buying her 'tough girl' face as she asked to see the man in charge, and then demanded that Flocke return what he took (Desmond). It was a completely lame scene, and it was almost laughable. I would have enjoyed the scene more if Flocke actually laughed in her face instead of stick-spearing the radio.

Back in the FS World, Claire was heading into her meeting at the adoption agency when Desmond showed up for his next 'pushing' assignment. Knowing what we know about his intentions, and ultimate goals, we were all rooting for Claire to go with him, right? But let's look at what it would have appeared like to Claire:
Strange guy who I had a one-time conversation with at the airport and predicted I would be having a boy, just happens to show up at the adoption agency. Now he wants to know my name, so he looks over my shoulder as I'm signing in to the building and gets it off the sheet. Next, he follows me up the escalator and starts asking why I'm alone. Then he follows me into the elevator and says he is going to the same floor as me. Now he wants me to go with him.

Ok, if I was Claire, I couldn't have ran fast enough away from this creep, but let's remember that this is the same woman who got back into the cab with Claire after she carjacked it, dumped in the middle of nowhere, and stole her stuff. On paper, FS Claire isn't really the best decision-maker, is she? Yes, you and I know that it is all for the ideal end goal, but if you were a father, and your daughter was doing that, how would you feel?

Desmond did explain to her that there was a chance her situation could become "irreversible", which was a very interesting choice of words used specifically to echo jack's words from the season premiere..."nothing is irreversible." And it was a nice surprise to see Ilana as the lawyer in the FS World. I knew we hadn't seen the last of her.

On the Island, Flocke sent Sawyer off to retrieve the sailboat to meet them and go over to Hydra Island. So off he went with Kate, splintering from the rest of the group as they marched off. This was a mirror of what happened at the end of Season 2, as Hurley, Jack, Kate, and Sawyer went off to confront The Others, and Sayid, Sun, and Jin took the sailboat to try and meet up with them.

This was the first of many images and situations that mirrored previous moments in Lost season-ending stories. Not all of them took place in the actual Season Finale, but in the final arc leading to it. I'll call this one Mirror Image #1, and continue with the others throughout this recap. The names and characters are different, but the situations seem the same.

Sayid was sent to kill Desmond, and as he expressed trepidation when instructed to do so, Flocke appeared to become angry. Which Flocke do you, as a viewer, believe in? The one who told Jack at the beginning of this episode that he was trying to lead him to water? Or the one who told Sayid in this scene, "Go do what I said!"
What ensued was a scene between Sayid and Desmond in a shockingly shallow well. Des knew somehow (how?) that Flocke's recruitment was based on promises, but when he learned what Sayid was promised, he asked what Sayid would tell Nadia he did to get her back. As we saw in the FS, Sayid can't tell Nadi the bad things he's done, and I don't think Island Sayid could either. I don't believe for a second that he killed Desmond. But he ran a pretty serious bluff on Flocke telling him to go and check if he didn't believe him.

In the FS world, Miles showed up at Nadia's door looking for Sayid, but as he tried to sneak out the back door, crafty Sawyer tripped him up and cuffed him. Mirror Image #2: from Season 1's "Confidence Man" where Sayid had Sawyer as his prisoner before torturing him...now the roles are reversed.

Sawyer: "We're gonna ditch Locke. You, Me, Jack, Hurley, Sun, and that pilot who looks like he stepped off the set of a Burt Reynolds movie."
Mirror Image #3: Sawyer steps ino the water to swim out to the sailboat, and the scene is shot almost exactly the same as in the Season 5 Finale "The Incident", when we first saw Jacob wading out into the water to get a fish out of his trap.

As Flocke's team trods through the jungle, he asks Sun a question and is surprised when she can't respond. When she writes "You did this to me", Flocke confirms (believably) that he did nothing, debunking the theory that Flocke took away Sun's ability to speak in "The Package." As I suggested in my recap to that episode, this is a confirmation that the link between the FS and Island Worlds caused her language problems.

Immediately after this scene between Sun and Flocke, Claire explains to Jack that the reason she joined Flocke is beacuse he was the only one who didn't abandon her. And Jack responds to a clearly bitter and angry Claire by sidling off with Sun, Hurley, and Frank...and abandoning her again. Look, I'm no genius, but when the crazy lady tells you she has issues because you abandoned her, I can't think that it's the best idea to abandon her again mere seconds later!
As the mutineers headed off to meet Sawyer and Kate at the sailboat, all seemed peachy and super-keen until the tell-tale "click-click" of a gun revealed an angry Claire. As she and Kate talked on the dock, I flipped and flopped in anticipation of what was going to happen. Claire is going to shoot Kate! Now she's trying to trick Claire! No...she really wants her to come! No, she's definitely trying to trick her...damn, Claire really is going to shoot her...wait, a single tear just streaked down Kate's cheek...maybe she is sincere.
Claire: "If he finds out we're gone, he's gonna be mad."

Um...yeah. Slightly.

Side note: don't you find it funny that the Evangeline Lilly commercials for L'Oreal air during Lost. Here's dirty and grubby Kate on the Island...and here's Glamour Shots Kate!

In the FS World, Jack and David entered the same building Claire entered earlier in the episode. As Jack answered his phone call from David's mother, I hollered along with all of you "who is it???", but alas, no answer once again. Interesting that David made that face at Jack when he heard he was going back to mom's at 5:00. Was it because he didn't want to be with mom, or just that he's having so much fun with dad in the last week since they re-connected? It wouldn't matter as Jack got an emergency surgery call that would take him away to the hospital anyways. So much for Father and Son Boys' Night. And then Jack just left David while he went in to operate? Father of the year.

The reveal of Claire to Jack in Ilana's office was interesting, but I was expecting there to be a "flash" once they re-connected. I guess the a) love or b) near-death options are the only ones that trigger it...not c) meeting your long-lost sister who was also on the Island?

On the sailboat, Jack is getting all pensive looking out at the ocean once again, when Sawyer comes up for the 'punch-in-the-arm' pep talk. As he tells Jack that "taking orders isn't your strong suit," I chuckled. But when Jack said "It doesn't feel right", I knew immediately that he wasn't talking about Sawyer's comment. As Sawyer got angry and told Jack he was with them or "get of my damn boat" (people with entitlement issues...tsk, tsk, tsk), we all knew with 100% certainty that Jack would indeed take a "Leap of Faith."
Jack: "If that thing wants us to leave, maybe it's afraid of what happens if we stay?"

And as Jack jumped off the side of the sailboat into the water, we saw Mirror Image #4: from Season 4's finale, when Sawyer sacrificed himself and jumped out of the helicopter and into the water below. Again...a role reversal in a similarly shot scene.

Which was immediately followed by Mirror Image #5: from Season 3's finale, only now instead of Jack yelling after Kate, "We have to go back!", Kate is now yelling at Sawyer about Jack..."We have to go back!"

When Sun woke up in the FS hospital and asked what happened, Jin told her, "you were shot", which I have to admit, is a hell of a lot smarter than saying "I shot you."

And then we got the long-awaited Jin and Sun reunion on the beach at Hydra Island. It was nicely done...rather unexpected...and I was surprisingly moved by it, considering how little I cared if these two ever found each other again. And as Sun embraced Jin, her ability to speak English returned, which I have to think symbolizes harmony between her consciousness in each World.
But that harmony would be short-lived as Widmore's team seemingly turned on our Lostaways under the orders of Charles himself...and after confirming that they were all there on Hydra Island, set off a barrage of explosives at Flocke (and Jack). Were they trying to just get the Lostaways away from Flocke to protect them, or is it a sinister turn for Widmore (as I've suspected all along...remember this is the man who ordered ben to kill a baby Alex)?

And as the bombs rained down on Jack, Flocke carried him out of harm's way and reassured him...."Don't worry. You're gonna be ok. You're with me now."

That ought to give us a lot to talk about until Lost returns in 2 weeks.

So, do you think Widmore is protecting our peeps, or willing to discard them at a moment's notice? What happened to Desmond? And who the hell is David's mom?

April 20, 2010: Lost - Season 6 vs. Magic

It’s Tuesday, which means that I usually spend the day all geeked out getting excited for tonight’s new episode of Lost. In past seasons, I’ve devoured every bit of reading and online information I could find with regards to Lost, with the exception of any spoilers. With this final season, I decided to try not to get any information prior to each episode, in an effort to truly enjoy the shows. Yes, I watch the previews for the next week’s episode, and I know what the title of the episode is, generally…but that’s about it. For those of you that read my Lost recaps, or talk with me personally on the topic of the show, you’ll likely recognize that I don’t do a lot of theorizing. I don’t try to figure out what’s going on. And that’s for a very specific selfish reason.

I don’t want to know.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I love reading theories from Erika and Jeff Jensen and Vozzek and others…but if I ever actually figured it all out prior to the ending of the show, I would be seriously pissed off. So that’s why my approach to the show has been to talk about it, inject some humour into the analysis of what I saw, throw a few small ideas out there, and give credit where it’s due for some pretty amazing television.

Think of it like going to see a magic show. Some people will watch a magician and their brain never stops working trying to figure out how the tricks and illusions are done, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. David Copperfield does a trick where makes a bunch of random audience members disappear from the stage and re-appear at the back of the theatre. Let’s assume that you KNOW how he does it…that you know that the audience is escorted off-stage, instructed to run through a kitchen and outside to get to the back of the stage. If you know all of that, well…it’s a pretty crappy trick then, isn’t it? But if you don’t know, then who the hell cares how it’s done? You just enjoyed watching people disappear and re-appear and you don’t know how. What do you get more enjoyment out of?

That’s my approach to Lost, so I’m trying my best to avoid reading or hearing things that are intended to spoil or tease the episodes leading up to the Series Finale. I still voraciously read recaps, and info after each episode, but I try not to read or watch anything in advance.

Yesterday there was a press release item of a cast photo for Lost that Damon Lindelof and Carleton Cuse said contained a hint for the finale. (Google it if you want it, or check DarkUFO. I’m not going to put a link) Well, I don’t want a hint, so as much as I would have liked to check it out, I didn’t…and I won’t.

So, for tonight’s episode, I know it’s called The Last Recruit. Other than that, and what I saw from one 15-second trailer last week, I have no idea what to expect. I’ll assume it’s not a character-centric episode, since we’ve seen episodes on all of the major characters this year. Unless it’s Frank, I can only assume that it’s an episode that involves everyone. But having no idea is what I’m enjoying the most.

The unknown can be pretty fun. Try it sometime.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010: Pick The Best Story

Ok, what's the best sports story from the weekend?

1) Saturday Night's 20-inning marathon game between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals that saw the game remain 0-0 until the 19th inning. After the Mets scored to make it 1-0 in the top of the nineteenth, the Cards tied it up in the bottom to send it to another extra inning before losing in the 20th.

2) Jim Furyk beating Brian Davis in a playoff at the Verizon Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina after Davis called a penalty on himself after ticking a loose reed in a marshy area beside the 18th green.

3) Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks scoring on his own net in overtime of a Stanley Cup Playoff game with the series tied 1-1. Didn't see it? Check it out below.


Let's hear your pick in the Comments section.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 18, 2010: Odds and Ends

I looked at the posts for April here on my blog, and I realized that all I've really done so far this month is TV recaps for the shows I write on. That was kind of shocking to me as I usually write on a lot of different topics other than TV shows, and in general, I try to write 5-10 posts a week.

To be fair, I was in Las Vegas for a week, but I was still kind of surprised that I hadn't been updating in general. The last thing I want to be is the cliche blog writer who starts every post with "I can't believe how long it's been since I wrote my last post", so you'll be seeing more regular updates from me in the coming weeks...things will be getting back to normal.

You'll be hearing a lot about my Vegas trip, along with some pictures; you'll definitely get a tribute to my 2010 NCAA Champion Duke Blue Devils; it's been a really fun time with Lucas lately; so there's a lot to write about.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm really enjoying writing the TV recaps, which has evolved over the past 18 months from "Random Thoughts" to the form they take now. I'm especially enjoying writing on Lost, and the response it has been getting. For years I've been reading at DarkUFO for all of my Lost-related interests, and when I started writing my own recaps, it was suggested to me that I submit them to DarkUFO.

I didn't really think that my stuff was the caliber of what DarkUFO readers are used to in terms of recaps, but one of my friends (and regular readers) pressed me to just send it in. And when I did, and it was published, the response has been a little overwhelming (but in a good way). Now, only a few short weeks later, I'm seeing my name listed alongside what I feel are the top Lost recappers in the world (Erika Olsen, Vozzek, and Robz888), and it's a little humbling, to say the least.

So, thanks to Mark M. for pushing me to send my recap in, thanks to DarkUFO for publishing them, and giving me this unbelievable new audience, and thanks to the astounding number of new readers over the past few weeks. I'm glad you found my little hole in the universe, and I hope I can keep you coming back for more.

Now, with that little pre-amble out of the way, let's go old-school on some Random Thoughts:

- You may have noticed a slight change in my posts. Instead of just the date in the title of the posts, I've been including a Title Line as well. This should make things easier for you to find on the sidebar instead of just searching the tags. I hope it helps.

- The OHL playoffs have been pretty awesome if you're a Kitchener Rangers fan. Lucas had a chance to go to Game 2 of the Western Final last night against Windsor, and got a game puck given to him, which he was very excited about. For all of those people out there who insisted that this was going to be a Windsor sweep, the Rangers sure are opening a lot of eyes with a 2-0 series lead.

- Roll Up The Rim is winding down, and for those of you wondering what my stats were like this year after starting 0-for-43 last year (detailed in an earlier post), the final numbers for 2010 are 8-for-51. Much better.

- An angry and vindictive bully tried to use his intimidation tactics on me earlier this weekend, and when I didn't back down from him, he embarrassingly stumbled all over his words, muttering and searching for a verbal insult to use. The best he could come up with was, "Go write a blog!", which was pretty laughable. I find the only way to handle a malicious bully is to not allow their scare tactics to intimidate you. Then they invariably become like a whiny child throwing a tantrum, like that kid that "took his ball and went home" when he didn't get what he wanted.

- HPA is winding down after 11 months, and it's not looking like I'm going to repeat as league champion in Season 4. There's still an outside shot if I win next month, but I also need the top 4 players to have a bad showing. Stranger things have happened, but it's not looking good. Regardless, it's been another fun season, as always. Whether I win the trip to Vegas or not, I imagine I'll join the boys there for the WSOP to cheer them on and maybe play an event.

That's it for now...looking forward to getting back to normal in the next week or so. And as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010: Survivor Recap

Tonight's episode of Survivor was teased last week and on commercials throughout the week as containing one of the stupidest moves in Survivor history. I couldn't believe it would actually go down based on how much advance media I saw for it.

Boy, was I surprised.

The episode started out with the fallout from the last Tribal Council vote, which saw Coach ousted from the game. As I mentioned last week, I think it's very important to note that Danielle and Parvati changed their vote to Coach, but Russell did not. Russell mentioned this at the beginning of tonight's episode, and this could come back to be a big point for him later in the game since Coach is on the jury. Remember that Russell did not vote for Coach...we could be hearing more about that on finale night.

The Reward challenge was a really tough challenge from the Tocantins season. I liked how they mixed it up by making it head to head instead of who could just last the longest. I immediately said that the Villains had a distinct advantage since they could play 5 women, but over on the Heroes tribe, Rupert insisted that he would be great at it. Come on, Rupert..this challenge certainly does not favour an overweight guy with a broken toe. Let's be real.

Of course the Villains won easily, and off they went to a feast provided by Outback Steakhouse. Ok, product placement aside, I have a problem when I'm watching a "Reality TV" program and something this absurd happens...like a makeshift Outback steakhouse popping up in the middle of Samoa to make 6 steaks. Please. It reminded me of that absurd moment in Season 1 when Gervase won a slice of pizza which was delivered by helicopter. What about that says "reality"?

But I loved that as Jeff mentioned the Outback Steakhouse, someone moaned "Oohh...Bloomin' Onion!" in a food-orgasm voice, and then when they had their meal...there was no Bloomin' Onion! So it wasn't really the Outback Steakhouse then, was it? It was just a BBQ shack on the beach.

I loved how Parvati smoothly found the clue for the Hidden Immunity Idol, and immediately hid it. It's amazing to me that everyone at these rewards isn't constantly on the lookout for hints like this. Good job on her to find it and not have to share it with everyone.

Back at the Heroes camp, J.T.'s "We don't need no stinkin' steak" pep talk was falling on deaf ears. I'm sure as his tribemates pined for a big juicy slab of meat, they didn't need to hear him say that he's had about 1,000 steaks in his life, growing up on a cattle farm. Be a little more sensitive, Captain Beef.
When did Sandra become Ice Cube? She went from this meek little background piece to a fist-bumping thug, dropping "yo's" and "Homey's" and "aksing" people questions. What the hell is that?

And after my rant last week on the "fist bump", we saw two more instances this week on Fist Bumps that required a verbal command. Come on people! If you put your hand up in the air, you don't say "High Five" every time, do you? Or if you offer your hand to someone, do you say "Shake"? Seriously...

Ok, let's get to the meat of this episode, J.T's plan to hand off the idol to Russell. I think I'm not going to shock anyone when I say that this may be THE DUMBEST MOVE IN THE HISTORY OF SURVIVOR. Independent of the fact that he's handing it off to Russell, but the idiotic thing is to voluntarily give it to someone on the other team. And on top of that, someone who you have NO ALLIANCE with, and are only guessing is in danger of being voted off.
Now, let's keep in mind that when this season was being filmed, none of the other Survivors had seen Russell's season, so they didn't know his propensity for finding and using idols effectively. But that still doesn't explain why J.T. would try to save him instead of just letting him get voted off presumably, going to the merge 5 on 5, and knowing he has an idol in his pocket to gain the upper hand at the first vote.

This whole plan made NO SENSE.

And it came from a guy who has already won the million dollars in his season!

Yes, J.T., you made Survivor history all right, but I would imagine that it'll be alongside Erik and James.

There was so much wrong with this whole plan. J.T.'s idea was to just write Russell a note and give it to him on a piece of paper wrapped around the idol. Since when do Survivors have a pad of paper and a pen handy? I remember them making a deck of cards with leftover paint and some leaves, and now they just have a spiral notebook laying around?

The only one suspicious of this ridiculous plan was Amanda, which is why she has NEVER been voted out of this game, and lasted 100 days. That's pretty impressive. But she wasn't suspicious enough, as she went along with the other 4 lemmings.

Parvati and Danielle went looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol at their camp, but wouldn't it have looked a bit suspicious just going for a walk...with a shovel??? They found the Idol "in about 4 seconds", which didn't surprise me, even though it was barely buried under a thin layer of dirt. It didn't surprise me because, as I pointed out last week, this year the Idols are "hidden" very poorly, and on the Fans vs. Favourites season, Parvati stumbled across a Hidden Immunity Idol on Exile Island while snorkeling.

The Immunity Challenge appeared to be a new contest, instead of a recycled one from past seasons. It was obvious the Heroes would win this one, marking the 4th straight anti-climactic and predictable challenge result. Credit to Russell for not laughing uncontrollably when Colby told him the plan. And I do have to admit that it was a smooth handoff between J.T. and Russell, although I still shake my head at the stupidity.

Building Totem Poles in a thunderstorm? Really? What's next...plugging in a hair dryer while sitting in a bathtub? Or just simply running with scissors?

So now Russell has his hands on his FIFTH immunity idol, giving him an opportunity one more time to tell us that his name is Russel Hantz and that you don't mess with him. As much as I like him, I'm finding him exceedingly arrogant on this season, and I think it has to be due to the fact that at the time of filming, he didn't yet know that he had lost to Natalie. They had done the final Tribal Council but the show hadn't aired yet so he didn't know he had lost. He must have spent that whole time on this season thinking he had won his last season. Interesting...

Sandra declared that "me without Courtney is like rice without beans, you know?" Um...no, I don't know. That makes no sense to me, and even if it did, which one of you is rice, and which one is beans?

Tribal council was a serious yawn-fest other than a high-school argument between Danielle and Sandra about who said hi first, and a verbal burn on Jerri by Courtney. Oh...that and Coach walking in looking like the Last Samurai.
I loved when the first vote came out and it said "Jerry". It astounds me how people can live with each other, and watch each other on TV, and then still not be able to spell their name properly when voting. Did Skeletor Stefani really think that Jerri's name was spelled like Jerry Lewis?

So Courtney was voted out, and with a hearty laugh and a good-natured "Good Luck, Bitches", she made her way down the stairs of shame, and presumably to be whisked off somewhere were she can immediately down 5 tubs of Kool Whip. Seriously Courtney, I love ya...but that's not healthy.

Did you catch the Coach and Jerri wink to each other at the end? Hmmm...

Keep in mind now that Parvati and Russell have a tight alliance with Danielle...and two Idols. This is looking good for that trio.

Next week: The merge, and Sandra reveals that Russell is no victim.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13, 2010: Lost Recap: Everybody Loves Hugo

Jack Shepherd was the Man of Science, John Locke was the Man of Faith, but Hugo “Hurley” Reyes has always been the heart of Lost. Think back to the pure unfettered moments we’ve shared with Hurley over the course of Lost’s run, from building a golf course in Season 1, to his joyous cannonball into the ocean in Season 4, to his heartbreak over learning of the deaths of Libby and Charlie, to his self-convincing efforts to start the Dharma Van, and all the way to his current role as Jacob’s conduit. Hurley has arguably been the emotion of this show for 6 seasons (Sorry Desmond and Penny lovers, myself included)…he has been the voice, the conscience, the one who says what we’re all thinking as we watch. Tonight, with only 6 episodes left to go before we reach the end of this road that we all anticipate and dread with equality, we get our Hurley episode, “Everybody Loves Hugo.”

As the episode opened with what may have appeared to the naked eye as a eulogy, we quickly learned that in the Flash Sideways (FS) world, Hurley was being honoured as Man of the Year, partially due to his "lifelong love affair with chicken" as the owner of Mr. Clucks. Did you recognize the MC's voice as that of Pierre Chang before the visual reveal? How many Dharma Initiation tapes do you need to see to catch that one?

Yes, Hurley is overweight, and yes he has physical self-esteem issues, but is there anything more emasculating than having your mother set you up on a blind date with Uncle Tito's neighbour's daughter, Rosalita? Ouch.

On the Island as Richard and Jack ready the troops to head out, Hurley has a private moment on Boone Hill, talking to Libby. From the onset of this scene, I started crying just listening to him talk to her, womdering why she didn't appear to him the way that others did. As he explained to Ilana who Libby was, it was heartbreaking, and I was a mess. Jorge Garcia was fantastic in this scene, and I knew it was going to be a long, emotional roller-coaster of an episode.
Cue the whispers and the appearance of Michael, who told Hurley that he needed to stop him from blowing up the Ajira plane. As Hurley astutely asked "Why should I trust you? You murdered Libby and Ana Lucia", Michael responded with a dismissive "That doesn't matter right now." Well, I'm sorry, but if you murdered my girlfriend (and presumably my soulmate) and then just gave me a "doesn't matter" when I was hesitant to trust you, I'm not sure I would be ok with that. And as much as Michael gave a solid argument, I wasn't sure that Hurley would listen.

Back in the FS World, Hurley waited for his blind date at Spanish Johnny's, making me think that the only thing more emasculating than having your mom set you up on a blind date with your Uncle Tito's neighbour's daughter, Rosalita...is to have your Uncle Tito's neighbour's daughter Rosalita stand you up.

But then Libby arrived...

And that first moment between Hurley and Libby tugged on my heartstrings again, as Hurley's breath was taken away seeing her for the "first" time. As Libby tried to explain that she was connected to him, and that they were soulmates, you could see him wanting to believe it while not understanding it in the least. Then Dr. Brooks rained on everybody's parade and corraled her, herding the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute crew into a waiting van outside.

Last week in Vozzek's recap of Happily Ever After, he suggested the theory that the ones that can trigger the memories in the FS World, the ones who are, as he put it "in the know", are the ones who have died on the Island. I loved the theory when I read it, and now after seeing this, it appears to be true. First Charlie, then Daniel, then Libby...who's next?
Ilana retrieved the dynamite from the Black Rock as they prepared their plan to blow up the Ajira plane. As she was explaining things to everyone, I watched her tossing bottles of water on top of the dynamite in her bag, and made a note that I would have to point it out as a problem. I mean, how could Arzt blow up from barely handling a stick, and she can use it as a cushion for her water?

Then...BOOM!

Ok, I have to admit, that was seriously unexpected. And as shocking as it was, I have to think that after establishing Ilana as a caring, protective, and sympathetic character, she probably deserved a better end than just to be blown to bits by being careless. But perhaps, as Ben stated, "The Island was done with her."
At Flocke's camp, Sawyer has once again morphed into Stompy McStomperson, the angry sarcastic guy who storms around camp demanding answers. He corners Flocke who explains that they are waiting for Hugo, Sun, and Jack. I had to note that he didn't mention Frank, which may possibly debunk my theory that he needs Frank to fly the plane, but perhaps he was just referring to the ones that arrived on the Ajira plane. But then again, he told Claire that he didn't need Kate, so that likely isn't it either.

Flocke then told then that the were going to "get off this godforsaken rock", which is the exact phrase that Sawyer used in Episode 7, "Recon". What is the significance of the phrase being exactly the same? It can't just be a coincidence, I think. Your thoughts?

Sayid then showed up at camp again with Desmond in tow...and "in tow" is an appropriate description as Desmond was tied to a tree. Why on earth was he tied up when he went with Sayid so calmly and willingly? That didn't make a lot of sense to me, and even though it was explained that Sayid was afraid he would run...it still didn't taste right to me.

Desmond and Flocke had a one-on-one conversation about Widmore, electromagnetism, and his time on the Island. But when Flocke asked if Des knew who he was, and Des answered "John Locke", I couldn't tell if Flocke reaction was happiness, disappointment, or simply confusion. But the key element of this scene may be the fact that as Flocke offered his hand to Desmond to help him up...Desmond accepted it, which Sun and Kate bothe refused to do in earlier episodes. Why did he take it, and what does it mean. Flocke's touch clearly means something, as Jacob's did, so did Desmond just get "affected" by whatever that is, or he exempt from this, too?

As Richard and Jack argued about whether to return to the Black Rock for more dynamite, a key turning point came for Hurley as he told Jack to trust him. Hurley has always been the one who looks to Jack for direction, and now he was taking the leadership role...as Michael pointed out in their first scene together.

So off the the Black Rock they went, and before you can say 'Tricia Tanaka is Dead", the slave ship we've come to know and love since Season 1 exploded at the hands of Hurley, who declared that he did it in an effort to protect everyone. At that point, despite this episode's title, I would say that Richard definitely did NOT love Hugo.

Richard had a drama queen tantrum after the Black Rock explosion (Oh, those 140-year old's can be so moody!), and we learned that Hurley did indeed heeds Michael's advice from the beginning of the episode. When asked why he listened to Michael, Hurley answered with what I feel is the core theme of this episode:

"Dead people are more reliable than live people."

In the FS World, Desmond waited at Mr. Clucks for order #42 (nice touch!), and ran into Hurley, who he recognized from the plane. Did you notice how happy and at peace Desmond was in this scene as he talked to Hurley about his girl troubles? "All women are a little bit crazy, brutha", Des told him with a smile, as he pushed Hurley in the direction of pursuing Libby and looking for answers...
Which led Hurley to Santa Rosa in an effort to find Libby again. And after asking about the "fajita field trip" and not being able to get Dr. Brooks to agree to allowing him in to see her, he resorted to old-school bribery. $100K later we were treated to the familiar images of a game of Connect 4 and a chalkboard that will be analyzed all week, and then Libby came out...

How poignant was it to watch an Off-Island scene with someone trying to explain that they're not crazy...and it wasn't Hurley. This time, he's the one with the sympathetic ear, listening...wanting to believe. And even though he doesn't remember or understand what Libby is trying to tell him about there being "a different life", he still wants to know more. As he asks about this "bizarro alternate universe", he once again echoes what we the viewers are thinking.

And as he asks her on a date, she looks at him and genuinely declares, "I'd love that." Hurley's face lit up again, and I reached for the Kleenex again.

I'm still not prepared to fully analyze the relevance of the Kid in the Jungle that Flocke saw again in this episode. I've heard the theories that it is a young Jacob, or a young Flocke, or Aaron...but I just don't know yet. All I know is that I found it interesting that Desmond was not shocked in the least, even when Flocke became visibly angry, and telling him to "ignore him." That smirk before the kid ran off had to mean something, like he was pleased that Flocke was aggravated.

The scene between Richard and Hurley was relevant because it signalled a peak for Hurley. All throughout the episode, his confidence had been building, in the Island World and in the FS World, and as he came to a standoff with Richard on what to do next, he invoked Jacob's name. As Richard tried to call Hurley's bluff, Hurley told him "I don't have to prove anytthing to you Richard. Come with me or keep trying to blow stuff up. Your call, dude."

So, as is the case in each season of Lost at some point, we saw a splintering of factions, as Richard, Ben, and Miles left for the Barracks to retrieve grenades, and Hurley, Jack, Sun, and Frank proceeded on to look for Flocke and a face-to-face meeting.

And now Sun's obligatory one-line question per episode has been relegated to being written instead of spoken? Tell me again why this she is relevant? Tell me again (as some commenters have done in the past) that Sun and Jin are Season 6's love story...after seeing Des and Penny last week, and Hurley and Libby this week.

Hurley: "How do you break the ice with a Smoke Monster?" Seems like a pretty fair question.

The scene with Jack and Hurley was a turning point for both of them, as Hurley admitted to Jack that while he appeared confident in his standoff with Richard, he was lying about Jacob and had no idea where to go next. Jack reassuringly told him that he did indeed trust him, and went on to give us the most un-Jack-like speech in 6 seasons, as he explained that he can't fix everything, and that Hurley has no idea how hard that is for him. (But we viewers sure do, don't we?)

And then we heard the whispers again, and the next arrival of Michael. It was a scene in which I interpreted Hurley apparently silently forgiving Michael, but more importantly it gave us one of the answers to a long-held mystery: the whispers. Michael explained that he's stuck on the Island, with others, "who can't move on." (Good God, not the Purgatory Theory again!)

That's it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy we got the actual answer, which had been suspected for quite some time, but it seemed to just be a toss-aside answer to appease the viewers, like a casual "Jacob had a thing with numbers."

Back the FS World as Libby and Hurley prepared for their date. It was eerily reminiscent of the planned date on the Island, with a picnic on the beach. Libby declared to him how familiar it was, like a date they never had, and when she leaned over to kiss him, it happened...

With that one kiss, Hurley saw the same flashes that Desmond saw last week, and he knew that she wasn't crazy, that it had all actually happened...and now he remembered. I did a major fist-pump at the moment he flashed to the Island.
Then we panned back to see Desmond in his car watching them. And as he smiled and fixed his glasses in a move that would make Horatio Caine proud, all of a sudden, the end of last week episode made sense.

The reason he wanted to get the Oceanic 815 manifest, is to find the passengers and push them towards their own individual triggers that would allow them to see and feel the OTHER world. That's what he meant when he said "I need to show them something."

With only 5 episodes left after this one, I didn't think we were up for much more Island Mythology, but as Flocke explained to Desmond about the well, and the people who dug it, and Widmore's quest for power, I was trying to figure out what it all meant. And even though I saw his imminent fall coming, when Desmond declared "What's the point in being afraid?", I knew that Desmond had it all under control somehow. I don't know how, but I'm confident. This scene reminded me a lot of the end of "The Man Behind the Curtain", where Ben left Locke for dead in the Dharma Mass Grave.

Upon his return to camp, Flocke declared that "we don't have to worry about him anymore." And quicker than Angry Sawyer can say "son of a bitch", Hurley showed up and cut a deal with Flocke to talk and not have any weapons or violence. As Flocke handed over his knife and told Hurley "you have my word", did you believe him?

Then Flocke said "Hello Jack", and with his tone of voice, and Michael Giacchino's score, we're clearly in for something intense next week.

The final scene was an overload for me. I watched Ben act as the protector, and Desmond run down a wheelchair-bound John Locke. It all just seemed so wrong...and as I write this only 2 hours from the end of the show, I still don't know whatit all means in terms of timelines and ramifications, but Desmond is clearly working at something. Help me out in the Comments section and let's figure this out together.

Now, a couple of quick notes. I know that part of the appeal of my posts is that they get posted on the same night due to the fact that I can watch the show 2 hours early here in Canada. Next week, Lost will not be shown at 7 pm here, so my post will be a little later. It should still be up by midnight, but not as early as usual.

The second note that next week’s episode will be on Tuesday night as usual, but then there is a 2-week hiatus until the first of the final 4 episodes airs on May 4th. Also keep in mind that the series finale will be airing on May 23rd, which is a Sunday night. If you live in Canada, that’s the Victoria Day weekend, so you Lost Junkies had better make sure to plan in advance so that you are prepared.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010: Amazing Race Recap

After last week's shocking reversal of fortune that saw Jet and Cord go from last place (with a Speed Bump) to first place, and Steve and Allie drop from first place to last place, this week's episode saw only 5 teams start the leg. Would the cowboys be able to hold their lead after turning it around last week, or would tensions boil over between the Models and the Lesbians? Let's find out...

I love that when we saw the teams ripping open their clues at the beginning of the leg, we heard them say "Caution: U-Turn Ahead", which all but assures that you're going to see one team severely pissed off by the end of the leg. Nice foreshadowing.

I was glad to see Dan and Jordan recognize that they were in first place and that it would be foolish NOT to go for the Fast Forward. It never ceases to amaze me how teams that are trailing choose to go for it, and teams that are leading sometimes decide not to. Add in the element that the winners of each leg always win a prize now (which didn't use to be the case), and you're looking at a nice little prize and a first place finish for doing one task.

In preparation for the Fast Forward, Jordan came to a sudden realization that he has an immense fear of heights. I'm thinking that as supportive as his brother was trying to be, saying "If you fall and die, I love you" probably wasn't the most calming sentiment for him to share. And if you think Jordan was scared, what about the cameraman that had to shoot the footage!? There was one guy perched ON TOP of one of the cars shooting them as they crossed. Insane!

Although it was smart on their part to have Jordan go first, because no sense in wasting the time for Dan to get through it if Jordan can't. But get through it they did, and arrived at the Pit Stop well before anyone else, only to find out that their prizes on this leg were a motorbike for each of them. In a finely displayed combination of ingratitude, and rearing that would make their mother proud, they both declared they would never go near a motorbike. I'm glad the producers kept that in, because it's not like they were being ungrateful, just acknowledging safety in their upbringing.

I laughed at the 'Pounding The Drums' Detour, not because of the horrible displays of rhythm that we saw, but because the "drum teachers" were ten-year-olds! And Carol and Brandi looked like they got one who was about 5...who they promptly dismissed as being "on crack' and insisted on another one who would count for them.

Michael and Louie gave up, declaring that they were "off like a prom dress" (Man, I just can't get enough of that Rhode Island comedy!), and then decided to go for the Fast Forward instead of just going to the other task. I found that idiotic since it was pretty obvious Dan and Jordan had gone for it. When you leave one task, just do the other one, fools.

And after listening to them incessantly call each other "baby" in last week's episode (which I have written about before), I made a conscious effort to actually count the number of times they said "baby" in this episode. It was thirteen times...in one episode! And on top of that, there were 8 instances of them calling someone "my friend."

Jet and Cord struggled mightily with the Drumming, but eventually got it...leading Cord to declare that he never wants to be a drummer. I heartily agree, because it has been my experience that in general, drummers are douchebags.

When Caite was talking about the potential of U-Turning the lesbians, she was so excited she could barely breathe. And then when they actually got there, it was like she was having an orgasm as she realized that it was actually happening.

I love how Phil explained that this was not a Blind U-Turn, but a regular U-Turn, where teams would have to "identify themselves and face the consequences." What consequences? Unless the team is standing right there as you do it, you're long gone with just a picture left behind. And if the U-Turn works (which it almost always does), you don't even see them again because you check in long ahead of them and they generally get eliminated, unless it's a non-elimination leg.

Carol and Brandi were predictably angry, as Brandi told Carol "They U-Turned us because you're prettier than her." And then in the most juvenile display yet in this season, Carol actually HIT the picture of Caite on the U-Turn board. They also declared that it was "unbelievable," which it really wasn't.

The Road Block was easy...counting. And not counting like last season where you had to climb a tower and look for bells. The links were all there laying right in front of you. This was the easiest challenge yet. And yet I was still worried for Brent and Caite. But...predictably, everyone got it on their first try (props to Michael for his pitch counter!) Although I have to say, that with all the noise and commotion trying to distract them from counting, yelling support at your partner was probably not very helpful.

Ice cream in between a slice of bread? That's flat-out disgusting!

As usual when the ending is predictable, we saw loads of fake drama leading up to the mat, even though we all knew Carol and Brandi would be eliminated because of the U-Turn. Carol and Brandi were very pissy in their exit interview, calling Brent and Caite all sorts of names, and saying it was a dumb move...but I think that any move that eliminates 20% of the field in a contest for $1 million dollars is a pretty smart move. And I can't stand Brent and Caite. You got beat, you got outplayed...suck it up and deal with it, like Joe and Heidi did. It's part of the game. Bitter much?

Note that there's no episode next Sunday, and we'll be back in two weeks with the Final Four.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010: Survivor Recap

Since I missed last week's episode of Survivor, I watched it right before this week's episode...a back-to-back Heroes vs. Villains bonanza. I will be recapping the new episode in full below, but first, a couple of thoughts on last week's episode.

- Colby re-emerged as the physical force we all remember from Survivor: Australian Outback, and no longer appeared to be 'Superman in a fat suit', as he was lovingly referred to as by James in the last episode. AND he got a chance to completely chuck Jerri aside in the water-basketball challenge. How much fun do you think that was for him with the history those two have?

- Voting Rob out was the dumbest move that the Villains tribe could have done. Yes, I respect Russell and his game, but Russell only thinks of the NOW, and not what he needs for later. (See last season and Natalie's win in the finale) Voting Rob out and making their tribe massively weaker was a dumb move that will cost him the game. I'm not saying he would have won otherwise, but now there is no way. He just won't be able to keep numbers with his tribe constantly losing without Rob.

- How about that snub by Rob as Coach went in for the man-hug? Ouch.

Ok, on to this week's episode, which began with a "Previously On Survivor" homage to Rob that was worthy of the Fallen Comrades montage we always see heading into the final immunity challenge. The producers sure didn't want him to leave, did they?

Parvati then declared that it was "Game On." Do we really need to hear that in every episode?

And now Jerri is regretting voting Rob out? Right after Tribal Council? Did she not think this through? Why all of a sudden?

At the Heroes camp, J.T. went off and found the hidden immunity idol in about 10 seconds. I really think that the name Hidden Immunity Idol should be retired until they actually start hiding it well again. Remember a few seasons ago when Yul had to line up a tree in his line of sight with another tree, then find the spot where they met and dig deep into the sand to find it? Now they're just laying around everywhere. It should just be called the Intricately Placed Immunity Idol until they start finding better spots for them and making the contestants actually work to find them.

But as soon as he found it, Amanda stumbled upon him and he told her that he found it. Then Candace wandered by and she found out too. So he adopted the Russell strategy of "I'll just tell everyone", and told the whole tribe that he had it. Seems like a good strategy if they all make it to the merge, but not so much if the Heroes have to vote someone off before then. We'll see how it pans out.
I thought Jeff Probst's "Drop your...expectations" line was pretty inventive. But I wish that it hadn't been spoiled already by the commercials all week. Teasing a merge and then not merging is one of the greatest swerves that Survivor can pull, so I'm not sure why they tipped their hand early on this one. Remember back in Thailand when he told the tribes that they would be living on the same beach, and they all assumed they were merged until Jeff told them that they weren't? THAT was a good twist.

The bowling challenge was boring...again. The Villains might as well have been called The Gutterballs, and the Heroes won handily. How different do you think that challenge would have been if Boston Rob was still around?

Back at camp, Jerri had a little tantrum about the team's decision to tear down the camp under the assumption that there was going to be a merge. This is starting to be a trend with Jerri...acting first, and then considering that decision after the fact. She may want to consider the implications of things BEFORE she decides to do them next time. Just an idea...

She even went on to say that "Rob would have made sure that Sandra and Courtney competed", so that they could sit the two weaker players for the immunity challenge. Well, if she knows that Rob would have done it...then why didn't she?? This of course set off an argument with Sandra, who didn't like being "blamed" for the loss, and labelled a weak player.

She went on to just argue everything from that point forward, showing her fiesty Puerto Rican spirit, and declaing to the camera that she simply hated everyone. I mean, if Sandra and Courtney's game plan was to come to camp, sit out of as many challenges as possible, and try to get far...good luck to you both. But to think that you can go 20 days without your tribemates noticing this is pretty naive. Best of luck to you...

Coach lamented that "I don't want to play this game with these people. Not without Tyson. Not without Rob." This is the same argument he used in his first time on Survivor, declaring that he didn't want to play with people who weren't 'honourable', like he is. He's just a whiny little bitch who complains when things don't go exactly as he wants, like a spoiled rich kid who gets to choose his friends. Can you imagine being a player if he was your coach?

But here's the rub...as he's complaining about Rob going home, he's venting to Courtney, who he wanted to vote out! And, he still wrote her name down. I'm no genius, but I have to think that complaining to the person you wanted gone about how the last vote went, may not result in the most sympathetic ear.

The Immunity challenge was another easy win for the Heroes, as Courtney and Sandra single-(double?)-handedly assured that the Villains lost with their ineptitude. Courtney was so skinny that she should have been able to get under the gates without really getting dirty, but she still wasn't competitive. I don't really have much else to say about this challenge other than the fact that Rupert looked like a Chocolate Kraken.
At Tribal Council, Danielle declared that 'It is what it is", thus incurring another one of Sean's Reality TV Show Cliche penalties.

I was glad to see Jeff call out Courtney on something I have been mentioning since the beginning of this season, that she sits out almost every challenge. She got defensive, but came back with a pretty good line:

"It's target the weak, and I'm, like, poster child for Weak Survivor. But I'm still here over a bunch of strong players...twisted ankle, skinny chick, whatever. I'm a determined little bitch, and I'll put up with a lot of crap to get to the end."

And as great as that line was, it was followed by one of the lamest moments in Survivor history as Sandra leaned over and said "Fist Bump" before offering her fist to Courtney.
Ok, first of all, once you put your fist out to bump, it's implied that you're looking for the bump. If you have to say "Fist Bump", you probably shouldn't be bumping fists in the first place. Second of all, look at the picture above of the actual Fist Bump. Jerri is looking down at her feet, not wanting any part of it as she sits between them, and Russell and Parvati are just looking at each other trying not to laugh.

Courtney's parting shot to Coach as she was voting was pretty entertaining, as well, as she called him a "Frigging Lunatic", and scoffed at the feather in his hair.

I have a new penalty option for Survivor contestants. Anyone who writes their vote with a sad, upside-down smiley face should be eliminated immediately. Unacceptable.

So the Villains voted out Coach and continued on their downward spiral. Tyson, then Rob, then Coach. This team is going nowere fast. I also think it's important to note that Danielle and Parvati changed their votes, but not Russell or Jerri. The only thing that may save them is J.T.'s assumption that there is a female alliance, which looks like it could lead to one of the dumbest moves in Survivor history.

But I'm only saying that because that's what the preview for next week showed us...giving us some incredibly dumb moves and then teasing us that J.T. wants to give the idol to Russell. Well, that certainly would qualify...

We'll have to wait until next week to find out.