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Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the seventh episode of the second season of Person of Interest, HELP ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest

Y’all, that was a breathless experience, one of the most horrifically intense episodes of this whole show, and I am in AWE.

Amy and Madison

So, there’s a specific thing you might hear brought up when folks like myself are talking about diversity and representation: we want normalcy. Now, that doesn’t mean that I want people of backgrounds that are not of the default to be written exactly as the default stock of characters are. I know I’ve written about that in regards to folks under the LGBT or queer banners. I don’t want our culture or our history or our lives sanitized so that we just seem like everyone else. The things that make us different from het folks should be celebrated, too! The same goes for my identity as a Latinx person. I don’t want the things that make that identity a part of who I am to be ignored. Instead, it’s about leveling the playing field in a different. It’s about giving stories that have very little to do with these identities to people who don’t normally get them. I want fairy tales and sci-fi jaunts and adventures and thrillers and horror flicks full of people who look like the rest of the world, and I don’t need them to come off like after-school specials either.

Amy and Madison are presented to us matter-of-factly. They are married. The first scene they’re in, they’re affectionate the entire time. There are no jokes about them being a couple, and they’re treated as some sort of special “case” because they’re the first lesbian couple on the show. Instead, they get treated as complex people thrown into a nightmare and – most important of all – worth saving. The writers don’t invoke the Bury Your Gays trope by killing one of them off, and yet they still get a story where the threat of death hangs over everything. It’s terrifying, upsetting, and in the end, Madison makes a devastating choice to maintain her ethical commitment to medicine, even though Amy could have died because of it. It’s a rich, detailed, and gut-wrenching story, and they get a happy ending.

Is it the pinnacle of representation? No, but it was fulfilling. I got to see an interracial lesbian relationship on primetime television from one of the major networks, and the main guest character was a non-white lesbian. It meant a lot.

EVERYTHING HURTS

Oh, this whole thing was one giant exercise in suspense, and there was SO MUCH HERE meant to ruin me specifically. I have ranted and screamed about thrillers for many years here on Mark Watches and LOOK HOW MUCH IS IN JUST ONE EPISODE. There’s a ticking clock! There’s the emotional pain of knowing that if you don’t make the right decision, someone you love dies! THERE’S ALASTAIR WESLEY, WHO IS SO EVIL THAT I WILL HATE HIM ON SIGHT!!! You know what else makes this episode unbearable? A formidable foe, and we get that in Wesley. This probably wouldn’t have been such a ridiculously difficult case if not for him. That moment where he called the sniper’s phone to demonstrate to John that he’d have to take out ALL of the operatives hidden in the park to save Amy was HORRIFYING.

So you’ve got Reese up against a timeline and hidden assassins and a very motivated leader of this operation, and it’s built for suspense. That’s not even addressing the nightmare in the hospital itself! With the brilliant return of Leon Tao, the show is able to stick Finch on the scene, where he must face his revulsion of hospitals while Leon does the job he’d normally do. Look, I’m a huge fan of Leon as a character, so I hope we see him again. He also brings an interesting dynamic to the episode, since he’s not normally the kind of person that Finch would trust to leave alone in his office. (At this point, I think he only trusts Reese, so there’s that.) But it’s Michael Emerson’s performance, alongside Sharon Leal’s, that truly makes this episode such a rewarding experience. THEY’RE BOTH SO GOOD, Y’ALL.

She Has a Plan

This was 100% too much before Carter started investigating the dead body with her card and an address on it, so yeah. Suffice to say, I was not prepared in the most literal and metaphorical of senses, and I NEED THIS SHOW TO CALM DOWN. LET ME LIVE. Carter’s inclusion into Snow’s plot is another brilliant move because it forces her to ask questions. She discovers that Snow is being controlled by a woman through use of a bomb attached to his torso. Controlled to do what, though? Kara Stanton has something awful planned, but none of the pieces make any sense to me. Is this a revenge plot of some sort for being left behind? That seems like an easy guess, but this is Person of Interest. We all know it’s gonna be more fucked up than that.

It puts Agent Carter on a precipice, though. If she continues to seek out more information, she’ll learn who Snow is. What Reese used to do with Stanton. And the Machine isn’t that far away either. This series stresses that knowledge isn’t just power; it’s a risk. The more you know, the more expendable you become. So does Carter willingly choose to know more???

The video for “Critical” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

Norwich Science Fiction Group

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:34 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Went to the Ribs of Beef again for first and third Wednesday science fiction group.
We actually talked science fiction for the whole evening, helped along by an argument about AI and self driving cars and the ethics of trolley problems and so forth.

Also I complained about the shows I've been watching. ... I should find something to yaay about.

Also also I had not watched what the others said was just on TV. But neither had two out of three of them. Electric dreams? Googling says it's on channel 4 and I can probably get it on the catch up. But it's PKD and I'm not sure that's a promising start.

There's so much to watch and read and listen that we seldom have much overlap. Makes conversation interesting but difficult.

I'm always like a year behind because of waiting for DVDs. I'm getting ever more tempted to subscribe to one of the paid ways to get things quicker. Don't know though, it's not like I watch all my DVDs fast enough to get through the To Watch pile as is, having stuff to watch every week seems unlikely to very work.

But the talking worked good, so, yaays.
[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the sixteenth episode of the third season of Enterprise, I COULD NOT NOPE ENOUGH FOR THIS EPISODE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

I’ve watched a few really solid horror films in the past week (The Girl With All the Gifts, A Dark Song, and IT, if you’re curious!), and thus, I have been in a mood to be frightened by the things I’m watching. Plus, I love it when Star Trek plays with other genres, much like this episode does, so I was definitely biased in favor of “Doctor’s Orders” right from the start.

But if I put that aside, I still believe there are a couple phenomenal performances in this episode, and they’re paired with Roxann Dawson’s brilliant work as director. This was clearly a difficult story to pull off because it relied on just two actors – Jolene Blalock and John Billingsley – to carry the action with almost no input from the rest of the cast. That’s a feat in and of itself, but there’s so much here to accent that part of “Doctor’s Orders.” The premise is practically identical to that one episode of Voyager where Seven was kept alive in that radioactive nebula, and yet, I wouldn’t say these episodes are the same or that they dilute one another. Both of them can exist within the greater Trek universe, and both of them certainly entertained me.

While the Voyager episode was more about Seven’s first real experience with loneliness and isolation, I felt that “Doctor’s Orders” wasn’t as much of a character examination than a horrifying experience that toyed with the audience. Don’t get me wrong! It’s important that Phlox learns self-sufficiency, that he trusts himself and his abilities during a traumatic and frightening time. But I want to take my analysis in a different direction. See, it’s common within the horror genre to have a character seemingly “imagine” something, only to have the other characters unable to verify what they’ve seen. Within Star Trek as a whole, we usually get confirmation that the “thing” they’ve seen was real. The same goes for horror. It’s more common that some element of the supernatural or scary thing requires that it only be viewed by the main character. Given how strange the Expanse is, it was entirely believable that some sort of entity could evade the sensors and still terrorize Phlox.

But this doesn’t go in that direction. Since we see things from Phlox’s point of view, we assume (or at least I did) that there really was something on Enterprise that wasn’t appearing to T’Pol. It was only a matter of time before that was confirmed, right? So it was surprising to me that at the two-thirds mark of the episode, we discover definitively that Phlox is imagining everything. (Y’all, let’s just take a moment to acknowledge how hilarious it was that I realized this but did not realize that this should have included T’Pol. SHE LITERALLY SHOWED UP OUT OF NOWHERE AT A CONVENIENT TIME.) This isn’t a last minute twist to resolve the plot, though. Instead, the show lingers in this reality and makes it the actual conflict. It’s not about the validity of what Phlox sees, but what he does with these false visions of reality. Even if they aren’t real, how they affect him counts as VERY MUCH REAL. It’s such a fascinating choice, especially since we never really know if there was anything he experienced in his last two days that was real. Did the disturbance actually expand? Was it necessary for Phlox to engage the warp engines? I’d like to believe he really did save the crew from ten weeks in the disturbance. It fits with the general theme of Phlox’s characterization!

LET ME ALSO SCREAM ABOUT ROXANN DAWSON. Oh my god, the camera work in this episode was phenomenal. I love the way it swirled around Phlox whenever he was searching for the thing that had invaded Enterprise. There’s that incredible sequence where Phlox and T’Pol discussion isolation that’s framed with a wide shot that slowly closes in on the two of them, AND IT IS PERFECTION. So much of “Doctor’s Orders” works to exploit the anxieties of the audience. Is something behind Phlox? Will it appear at the edge of his vision? Because Dawson and the production crew hid the “thing” from being fully viewed for more than half the episode, that glimpse of the insectoid Xindi was a billion times scarier. It’s delayed gratification, especially since the audience wants so badly to know what it is that’s sneaking around Enterprise.

So yeah. I loved this episode, despite that it’s similar to another Trek adventure. BRAVO.

The video for “Doctor’s Orders” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

The Flash season 3

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:58 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Watched the musical episode.
That was bad.
The songs were just plunked in there. Running home to you was cute but sounded weird. Everything else was only there because it was designated musical episode.
If the songs donot show you things the characters couldn't speak, don't bother.
And if the elseworld is supposed to be generated by their brain then the characters alternate selves should tell you something about how the dreamers see them, or what's the point?
So, no point.
Very boring.

... to be fair I watched it mostly on fast forward and am not a fan of sound so you could guess I'm not the target audience here
but I loved the Buffy musical and have the soundtrack
so it's not like I always hate things like this.

I just don't think they bothered using their conceit, let alone for the things it does uniquely well.
Boring.

The Flash season 3

Sep. 20th, 2017 05:37 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Barry goes into the speed force to get Wally out.
Aka yet another not-Snart, why do they do this to us?

Read more... )



Lots of interesting story parts. I'm annoyed at Barry, not the writers.

... though Barry doing hero stuff again would be quite nice too.
[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the sixth episode of the second season of Person of Interest, Reese maintains a cover in the suburbs in order to protect a family. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest

This show keeps killing it, y’all, I’M SO HAPPY. I mean… well, I could use a lot more of Carter, but at least in this season, it’s Fusco who is used less this time around instead of Carter. As much as I adored the endless tension of watching Zoe and John pretend to be a married couple (which absolutely reminded me of The X-Files episode “Arcadia”), how cool would it have been if that was Carter? Look, I’m not complaining about getting two episodes in a row with Zoe in them, but it was a possibility, right???

Anyway, I’m also enamored with the recurring motif we’re seeing over the course of this show that teases Reese and Finch with possibility. The story of Graham Wyler is one that Reese and Finch can relate to, given that he once did things that he is not proud of. He left that life behind, but in the process, he stole an identity. He started a family. He got a job that had nothing to do with theft, and he also dodged responsibility. But unlike Finch and Reese, Graham found a way to find normalcy. So it was easy to see why the two of them were so willing to help Graham. He had what they didn’t, and they felt that after all those years, he deserved a family.

The reality is a little more complicated than that, of course, and Person of Interest‘s cast of writers consistently find ways to avoid extremes. Graham might be a good person, and he clearly means a lot to his family. But is it fair that by sheer luck, he refused to work a job that got his two partners arrested and thrown in jail for twelve years? Does that absolve him of all the crimes that he committed? Those are interesting questions to ask, and “The High Road” doesn’t ignore them! When his old partners find him and begin to terrorize him, it’s not easy for Graham to simply ignore them, especially when they LIGHT HIS CAR ON FIRE. Or steal his daughter’s jewelry and then threaten to murder his family if he doesn’t do one more job for them.

The truth is that I really do enjoy fiction that shines a lot on the grey spaces. While it might be more comfortable for the world to be split into a binary, for there to be categorically good people and bad people, Person of Interest is far more invested in the many shades of humanity. When faced with the choice of facing his own death or refusing to break into a safe again, Graham doesn’t see this as one of personal honor or pride. It’s about safety. Look, he’s not a fool! That man knew deep down that if he went with his old partners, they’d kill him once that safe was open. But the other path would have left his family open to constant harassment, fear, and intimidation.

So he chose to end it. BUT NOT EVEN THE WAY THAT I THOUGHT HE WOULD. I know I just wrote about complicity in regards to this show, but this is another way that the writers explored this theme. Graham chose to turn himself in, even though he could have just gone home. He chose honesty. Yes, it took him fifteen years to get there, and he was forced into the decision, and it’s important to acknowledge that. But in the end, Graham has something else that Finch and Reese don’t: the opportunity to be honest with someone else. Even Zoe is still in the dark as to what’s really going on, you know?

The truth exists in shadows within Person of Interest, and as we get new flashbacks, it’s clear that the audience barely has the frame of the whole portrait. Each new thing we learn about the Machine, about how it was programmed, and about how it destroyed lives, makes me want A BILLION MORE THINGS. There’s no mistaking that it became an intelligence anymore, especially we saw how it BASICALLY LED FINCH TO GRACE. Which is certainly a creepy way for a person to meet someone else, and I wonder how much of that we’re going to see within the show. I assume Grace never found out what Finch worked on, nor did she know how he came to know that she existed. Right??? And if the Machine can determine relationships between people, no matter how strange or convoluted, can it also measure a potential relationship? Is that why it pointed Finch in Grace’s direction???

The video for “The High Road” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

as good as

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:58 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
I was reading a couple news items about a survey that reckoned it revealed depression in a quarter of teenagers
and one thing that stuck in my mind to bother me
was they took a statement something like "I will never be as good as other kids"
to be a sign of depression.
Actually I double checked and it's “I thought I could never be as good as other kids.”

Thing is, when you're in school, everyone being graded all the time, you get a pretty good idea of if you're getting top grades or not, and what your range is, and how well your best is going to be received. And you know if you are actually as good as other kids. Because half of people are below average, and not as good... at things they're asked to do and be assessed on.

So, like, the phrasing is so broad it doesn't invite a nuanced answer, and it's trying to pick up on low self worth, but it's got nothing they mentioned to check how realistic they're being if they're interpreting it in grades A-C or other quantifiables.

And it shouldn't be that you hate yourself as a person for low grades, but if acknowledging you have low grades is taken as a sign of mental illness, that is a whole different problem. Like, realism isn't illness.

And maybe some people are good at some things and not others, and maybe some people are good at some socially or financially valuable things and not others, and it's a whole stack of assumptions to say some people are below average at everything they've tried, but, I suspect, some people are below average at everything they've tried, and noticing that isn't ill.

Though it's probably depressing.

I feel like society has lost the balance between striving to be your best and acknowledging that only one person is the best. Like, all this best rhetoric doesn't leave many places for the rest of us to stand, even though we're the vast majority.

And that's what that one survey question made me think of, even though it only had meaning in context added together with questions about miserable crying and hating themselves.



In related thoughts, thinking that the future is not going to get better may be a symptom, but it may also be a consequence of just reading the headlines...

LJ Posts

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:22 pm
debris4spike: (James silhouette)
[personal profile] debris4spike
 I have just been told by my good friend that although I export my LJ posts to DW, they are not showing up on the reading page.

So for LJ friends who no longer check in there, sorry - I haven't ignored you, but DW doesn't show the posts where it should ... so if you want to catch up read my journal.
sueworld: Heart (Default)
[personal profile] sueworld


Based on the short stories of Phillip K. Dick and trying to fill the gap left by 'Black Mirror' which was swallowed up by the Americans waving lots of hard cash at Charlie Brooker. *g*

What did I think of it so far? I think this Guardian article sums it up for me....

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/sep/18/electric-dreams-the-hood-maker-review-will-make-you-want-to-take-a-look-in-the-black-mirror

"Captivating performances, from Richard Madden from Game of Thrones, and from Holliday Grainger, who’s actually clashing with herself over on BBC1, though she’s hardly recognisable as Robin, the well-groomed, wholesome PA/wannabe PI in Strike. Here she looks more like someone you’d bump into in the stranger fields on the fringes of Glastonbury.

That’s what’s right with Electric Dreams, the first episode, at least. Are there any problems? Two, the seriousness of which I’m not sure. First, it’s not Black Mirror. To which you might say: so what, who says it’s trying to be? But when you have two ambitious sci-fi anthology series about who we are and where we’re going, comparison is inevitable, especially since the new one now occupies the old home of the other. It’s like when you’re going out with someone, and then they leave you (for someone with more money), and you get a new someone, and they’re great, but you can’t help thinking about the old one, missing them…

Actually, it’s not really like that, unless you are Channel 4 I imagine. The rest of us can obviously just spend £5.99 on Netflix to get the old one back. But if you could just have one, then you’d obviously pick the old one. Because while ED may resonate, BM hits an actual nerve, and hurts. Not so much about an imagined future, it’s about now, or no more than five minutes from now. It’s sci-fi for the non-sci-fi fan. And it’s more human, more moving, and wittier. Better, in short. And that brings us to the second – and I think more serious – issue with Electric Dreams. Which has to do with quality and consistency. The Hood Maker is terrific, thoughtful, thought-provoking and compelling. I’ve seen a couple more episodes, though, and without going into detail or giving anything away, they’re simply less engaging."

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:03 am
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Chapter Three of Ship to Wreck by [personal profile] punch_kicker15.

[personal profile] dragonydreams asks if there is interest in a ficathon ?

Too many TV Shows...Too Little Time

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:30 pm
shadowkat: (tv slut)
[personal profile] shadowkat
According to Entertainment Weekly there are roughly 145 television series. I actually don't see many new ones that spark much interest, more interested in the returning ones.

Most of the good ones are popping up in October. I remember when everything popped up the week after labor day. Now we have revolving television seasons. And about 145 shows per season, which is about well multiple that by four seasons...and that's a lot of television. That said, most of them are hard to find or require a device, a smart television, cable subscription, and payment. None of it is really free. Well, maybe the five or six broadcast channels.

Returning shows that I'm watching or thinking of watching...or haven't given up on quite yet

1. Lucifer - Now at 8pm on Fox. Starts October 3.

vague spoilers and casting spoilers from the mag on Season 3 )

2. Poldark S3 Returns to PBS at 9PM on October 1. (Poldark goes to France with the French Revolution, while Demelza must deal with her troublemaker brothers, and Elizabeth has her kid.

3. Good Behavior S2 pops up on Oct 15 - at 10PM TNT. Basically a con-artist/thief, her hitman love and her precocious son living the family life.

It's really good. A twisty and somewhat humorous noir series.

4. This is Us returns on Tuesday (used to be on Wed, confusing) - 9/26/17 at 9PM on NBC.
I can never remember what channels these shows are on. They were discussing at work what channels they watch...I was thinking I don't really watch channels just television shows.

This is Us is an ever-surprising non-linear family saga about a husband and wife who lose a triplet during childbirth and adopt a third baby at the hospital, as well as the journey of the three children, Randall, Kate, and Kevin as children, teens, and thirty-somethings.

It's the best family drama I've seen and one of the best serialized dramas of last year. If you liked Brothers and Sisters, Parenthood, and Friday Night Lights..you'll probably enjoy This is Us.

5. Riverdale returns 10/11 - CW at 8PM. (I personally would have put it at 9pm for the adult content, but what do I know?)

This is basically Archie Comics by way of Twin Peaks, except without David Lynch. So S1, Twin Peaks.
It's dark, gritty, sexy, and twisty in places.

6. The Good Place returns on 9-20 (ie, tomorrow), on NBC at 8:30 PM (yes, it also moved nights, again, confusing -- I wish they'd stop doing that, stupid network programmers. OTOH, probably doesn't matter, since most people just DVR it or watch on demand or stream.)

This is the comedy with the weird twist. I actually had given up on it, until I found out about the twist and went back to watch and decided it had a charming satirical edge to it.

Anyhow, Eleanor and her friends think they are in heaven. She believes she landed there by mistake. Except heaven is rather irritating and problematic. It's also run by a well-meaning but rather inept and bumbling Angel, who has built a new heavenly domain or so we think....spoiler )

* There's all sorts of satirical jokes on American culture, politics, and religious mythology.

7. Grey's Anatomy returns on 9-28, Still Thursdays, at 8PM. It's Season 14. It has Supernatural beat by one season. Supernatural is on S13. But NCIS has made it to Season 15, and The Simpsons and South Park are on Season 20 something.

Some shows can't die.

They are rebooting or refreshing it with new interns, a refurbished and remodeled hospital (it was sort of blown up last season), and new love triangles...because it's actually a soap masquerading as a serious medical drama. Entertainment Weekly provided a flow chart showing all the incestuous and soapy relationships between the characters...basically proving my point.

8. Once Upon a Time reboots itself on 10-6 at 8PM on ABC and it also appears to have changed nights.(Because the network programmers are bored apparently?) It's now on Fridays.

It also has basically re-written itself from scratch. You honestly could come into this without having seen the previous seasons and be fine. Instead of the story revolving around Snow White and the Evil Queen, it's revolving around Cinderella and her Wicked Stepmother...and StepSister. With Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) as a sort of portal jumping Rumplestilskin character. And the Princess from Princess and the Frog as Cindy's friend. Also, POC cast. Which is interesting. And Henry is apparently in the Emma role now, or rather an adult Henry is.

Very odd. I am admittedly curious. But the writing has been ...disappointing to date. So we'll see.

9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Pops up on 10-13, still on Friday. CW. It has managed to survive, probably because it is on the CW. The CW is rather interesting in that regard.

This is a cool sitcom, doesn't always make me laugh, but it has its moments. Sometimes it makes me cringe. But it is a great satirical critique of our gender issues, how our society views romantic love, etc. Plus it has song and dance numbers.

10. Stranger Things S2 -- shows up on Netflix on 10/27. In time for Halloween.

11. Big Bang Theory --- returns on Monday 9/25 at 8PM (Season 11)

Shows...I'm giving a second chance to:

* Lethal Weapon (I'm curious what they do with the cast shake-up)
* Gotham (Bruce Wayne is becoming Batman)
* Outlander (I may do the Starz trial and check it out)
* The Exorcist - Jon Cho
* Better Things
* Will & Grace (okay it's new, but 11 years later...)
* Poldark (see above)
* Great News (which I didn't try last year)

It's late, bed calls. Will do the new shows some other time.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:52 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
squick of the day: when reading old (old) meta and they start trying to fit Team TARDIS into a sedoretu without knowing who River is...

... canon was awkward, but not that awkward.
[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the fifteenth episode of the third season of Enterprise, a lot happened, and a lot didn’t. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Enterprise.

Trigger Warning: For consent, torture.

I’m fascinated by a lot of this episode, even if I didn’t ultimately feel it was that entertaining. See, the main plot is left hanging while the two subplots escalate matters VERY, VERY FAR. It’s also a strange follow-up to “Stratagem,” since it does the one thing I asked for from that episode. On top of that, I finally feel like I don’t have to worry about continuity as much as I used to, since season three is the most serialized season thus far.

As you can see, lots to talk about. Let’s get into it!

Reed and Hayes

I feel like I saw a plot like this on something I watched in the last year or so. Right? or maybe this specific trope – where two headstrong men have a pissing contest that ends with them beating the shit out of each other – is so prevalent that it simply doesn’t feel new anymore. It provides closure, though, and I’m not sure it does much else. I never felt like Hayes was an antagonistic force, and while Reed’s position was kind of understandable, I generally saw Reed as the more difficult party. Hayes had never truly expressed any interest in taking over Reed’s job. Indeed, their end goals felt so different! Yet Reed’s paranoia and his own military past got in the way.

At least until Archer forces Reed to work with Hayes in training, and then the two men finally took out their frustrations on one another. Good lord, they both handed out a beating! Hopefully this is the end of this plot, though, since it doesn’t really interest me.

Love Triangles

So… this isn’t going to evolve into one of those, right? Because y’all. I know this show aired over a decade ago, but I feel like the entire universe exhausted their supply of antagonistic love triangles many, many years ago. Unless a love triangle ends with a triad or a poly relationship of some sort, WE DON’T WANT THESE ANYMORE. Now, I’m not sure if this counts because I have no idea if Amanda Cole will appear again. It’s entirely possible that she existed here to give Tucker a chance to pursue someone else while T’Pol experienced romantic jealousy for the first time. If so… that’s kind of a lousy reason to introduce a character like Amanda, right? She doesn’t exist to be a character in her own right; she’s there to push T’Pol and Tucker together. EW. TRIADS INSTEAD, PLEASE.

Like the Reed/Hayes plot, there are a lot of tropes attached to this story, too. However, there’s one spectacular scene here that felt exciting and refreshing. I am ENAMORED with the decision to have T’Pol tell Tucker what Sim said about him. First of all, it’s so perfectly in-character for T’Pol. Her blunt honesty works as a way to advance the plot, sure, but it didn’t feel like a bogus moment. That’s totally how she would react! But it’s also a disarming sequence because LITERALLY NO ONE EXPECTED IT. I certainly thought she’d keep it to herself because it was such a personal thing for Sim to reveal.

But the honesty is the first moment in this plot that felt real. That felt like the writers weren’t using miscommunication or passive-aggressiveness as a plot device. That felt like these characters ACTUALLY TRYING TO UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER. So I’m hoping that despite the uncomfortable scene in the mess hall, T’Pol and Tucker ditch the awkwardness and just be real with one another. It’s way more interesting.

Harbinger

The unnamed alien at the center of this episode never truly gives us anything. Oh, there’s enough here to make an educated guess, which Archer tries to do before this being disappears out of existence. I had mentioned before in earlier reviews of this show that I wasn’t sure if some of the ambiguous resolution to episodes was very fair or satisfying, given that I had no idea if there’d ever be a follow-up.

Yet by the time I got to the end of “Harbinger,” I did feel satisfied. Even if there’s no specific update, this alien was a harbinger of what is to come, a sign of how desperate the Xindi are to eliminate humans and any threats to the weapon they’re constructing. My take is that the pod the crew found in that anomaly was a trap right from the start, something interesting enough to pique the interest of the crew of Enterprise. They’d take it onboard, and the alien’s next step would be put into motion: they’d gain the ability to walk through solid matter, and they could destroy Enterprise. It’s all a guess, but it’s one I’m safe making based on what happened.

It was striking to me, though, that this episode was so explicit about the ethical concerns that Phlox had for his patient, while “Stratagem” utterly ignored them. Was it because Phlox did not view this alien as an enemy? And what does that say about Phlox’s code of ethics if he can suspend them just because he doesn’t like someone? I don’t see this as a flaw of his character as much as I see it as a flaw in the writing. Maybe the writers just forgot to address this in the last episode? It felt like the right addition here, for what it’s worth, and it is yet another example of Archer’s desperation in the Expanse. He’s the only character consistently willing to do shit like this! So… will this be all justified in the end? Or will it come back to bite him in the ass? WHO KNOWS.

The video for “Harbinger” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

Sedoretu

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:20 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
I was reading some sedoretu fic
and it just seems, like, really practical and useful and stuff.
Like, those relationships staying together seems solid.

Read more... )
[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the fifth episode of the second season of Person of Interest, an investigative reporter risks her life to get closer to the identity of HR’s boss. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest.

I LOVE SO MUCH ABOUT THIS EPISODE, LET’S TALK ABOUT WHY.

Perpetrator or Victim

Still. STILL. This show is STILL finding new ways to twist our perception of who is a perpetrator or a victim within each of these cases. “Bury the Lede” provides us with something we’ve not seen: a perpetrator who is unknowingly leading someone to their death. At the center of this episode is Maxine Angelis, an investigative reporter who is rather ruthless in pursuing the truth. Well, even that is questioned by this script. What counts as the truth? Who is peddling it? Who benefits from the truth that’s being told?

And those are big questions for this show to ask, but it still plunges into the at-times bleak and harrowing world of HR and journalism. Given what we’d seen of HR in the past, it made sense that Maxine’s reporting had put her in the crosshairs of… well, someone. I never bought the theory that someone other than a member of HR was targeting her, but I also made the assumption that this was obvious. Her reporting style was over-the-top and cunning, so she’d made a ton of enemies over the years. Seriously, look how she treated one of the mayoral candidates! So we get the sense early on that Maxine is truly fearless, at least in the sense that she’s willing to expose the seedy underbelly of modern politics, well aware that she’s taking a risk in doing so.

But the tragic power of “Bury the Lede” is in the way it examines complicity. Maxine gets an anonymous tip about the real identity of the boss of HR, and unfortunately, her confirmation bias leads her to believe that the tip was real. After all, a guard at his property saw Christopher Zambrano arguing with Agent Donnelly of the FBI; another FBI confirmed that Zambrano was a suspect; Zambrano’s father was in the mob; and Zambrano himself was furious at the very suggestion that he was the head of HR. Thus, Maxine connected the dots – the ones that the real boss of HR wanted her to connect – and wrote a story naming him as the lead suspect. In doing so, however, she became complicit. She took the crosshairs off herself and placed them on Zambrano, and less than a day later, he was dead, killed by members of a cartel who despised HR.

It’s one hell of a twist, and I didn’t expect it because shows like this are all about saving the innocent. But this isn’t even the first time that Reese and Finch were too late! THIS SHOW DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT US AND MAKING US FEEL GOOD AT EVERY TURN. While that may be deeply uncomfortable, it’s also good storytelling. The show doesn’t ignore the fallout from Maxine’s actions, and it doesn’t exonerate her from her poor reporting. One of the things I love about this is that the solution to Maxine’s guilt isn’t wallowing or absolving her of responsibility because she simply didn’t know. It’s action. With Reese tailing her, she does what she can to prove that Zambrano was innocent and implicate the real members of HR in the process. SHE ACTIVELY WORKS TO REPAIR SOME OF THE DAMAGE SHE HAS DONE. That is better than feeling guilty or trying to dodge accountability, and I respect it a lot.

First Date

I’m also coming to admire that Person of Interest seems willing to toy with itself and its very serious nature. Look, this is an unnerving show by default because it addresses things like state surveillance and state violence openly and critically. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but it’s certainly doing a lot more than most other fictional narratives are. That means that there are moments where this show is dark. Where I’m consumed by the existential dread of our own universe. Where this show isn’t escapist, but a bitter, horrifying mirror image of our world. So I love that there are moments where the writers take a step back and comment on the sheer absurdity of this arrangement. There’s a lot of humor and entertainment taken from the delicate nature of this case, namely in that this is the first time where John cannot intervene directly. Maxine has been trying to track down the truth of The Man in the Suit, so he can’t arouse her suspicion.

So Finch’s solution is to alter the algorithm on a dating website so that it serves up Reese’s profile, and IT IS 100% COMEDY GOLD. ALSO: FINCH TAKES IT SO SERIOUSLY, AND I LOVE THIS ABOUT HIM. He prepared study notes! The profile was very detailed and specific!!! BEAR FEATURED PROMINENTLY!!! Oh my god, please tell me there was intensely detailed fanfic written of Finch constructing Reese’s profile. Wait, there’s got to be fanfiction of Finch’s scene where he is LITERALLY in Reese’s closet. Like??? Closet full of weapons??? THE FIC IS WRITING ITSELF.

The Boss

Can I just state once more that I hate Simmons? Just unequivocally hate him? Cool. It helps distract me from the fact that the real head of HR was totally on screen right before I said, on video, that I didn’t think we’d met them. And that he quite literally threatened Maxine and said he was throwing her under the bus, yet I didn’t understand the full meaning of that. I’m glad Clarke Peters is on this show because he’s such an incredible talent, and HIS CHARACTER IS THE ACTUAL BOSS. So Donnelly was right in assuming that the head of HR was not in the NYPD. Except that not one person has suspected the real culprit!

Will Fusco find out the truth? I’m worried, y’all. Simmons and HR are pulling him away from Reese, Finch, and Carter, and with his son’s life on the line, it’s possible he may continue to sabotage these cases. I’M SCARED.

The video for “Bury the Lede” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

Lost

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:05 pm
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