There Will Be Blood

In a previous post, I mentioned that "The Constant" was the climax of the ultimate Lost story-line and the rest was falling action. After viewing "The Shape of Things to Come," I have to revise this. At this point, it appears that Lost is a tragedy. The murder of Alex is the turning point, unleashing a torrent vengeful death and destruction (some of which we have seen already at the hands of Sayid). Just as the crux of Hamlet is the death of Polonius, this moment is the crux of Lost. It sets in motion many opposing actors and motives toward possibly a much more tragic blood-letting.

The murder of Alex is possibly the bravest moment of Lost. The writers broke the rules. A father is not supposed to let his daughter die. A defenseless young woman is not supposed die. Now that she is dead, no tragedy is out of bounds for any character.

Alex's death sets up the final moment of the episode, when Ben confronts Charles Widmore to tell him that he will kill Penelope. Now, it is likely the Ben will try to use Desmond to draw out Penelope. Instead of anticipating the reunion of Desmond and Penelope, we will now to have to dread it. It is also possible that Ben will utilize Sayid to kill Penelope, a man who also sought reunion with a long-lost love and who is now crushed.

One of the great things about a Shakespeare or classic Greek tragedy is that everyone knows what is going to happen. Once that turning point is reached, the audience knows that nearly everyone will suffer for it. They just don't know how. Lost has telegraphed a major confrontation and the fates of some critical characters. I believe that Desmond and Penny will make it, but that belief is now colored by a growing threat. Lost has reached is turning point. How many will suffer for it?

Bods: 10
Brains: 10


The Return of Battlestar

First off, this is less a review than a theory. Here is the verdict:

Brains: 7
Bods: 6

It was more of a table-setter episode, but still enjoyable. I think maybe the biggest questions in the episode are what was the purpose of the cylon attack and withdrawal as well as what occurred during the scanning of Anders by the raider. One theory I have not yet seen put forward is that the cylon fleet was not associated with the Seven cylons, but was sent by the final Five. A precedent for a separate cylon faction has already been set by Razor.

For one, the final five seemed to have a connection to the nebula and were able to communicate with the four on Galactica via the Bob Dylan. Second, obviously, the mission of the fleet was to communicate with one of the four after they had become aware of their status as cylons. The cylons pulled out immediately after scanning Anders. It must have been to activate further programming. Third, the cylon fleet's appearance coincided with Starbuck's reappearance. Obviously, cylons had a part in her return, but not the original seven. Fourth, the final five have been communicating via dream with Roslin, Six, etc.

The final five have a plan for the human race, in opposition to the Seven. I think their intent is to help.

The one major weakness in this theory is the warning from Razor regarding Starbuck. If the warning is correct, Starbuck is not there to help. Maybe, she was planted by the Seven and the Five intervened with the attack as a counter? I'm not sure, but this is the only way I see to read the first episode of this season so far.


Aspen Ideas: Billy Collins

Until I came across this podcast (the podcast is the "Humor in American Writing"), I had never heard the work of former US poet laureate Billy Collins. Now, I am better for having been exposed to it. Interviewed by Kurt Andersen, Collins provides numerous entertaining and humorous anecdotes, including a priceless exchange about the creation of his poem "A Paradelle for Susan" and the ensuing reaction to the poem (the Paradelle is a form invented by Collins that he passed off as a classic form). Here is a nice link explaining the form with some sample Paradelles inspired by Collins.

Other highlights include Collins' description of his father, his reading of his poems (including a biting previously unpublishing poem about names of Condo developments) and poems of peers, and his disparagement of the more aloof forms of modern poetry and literature.

Brains: 8
Bods: 8


Anthony Lane on David Lean

David Lean holds a special place in my academic career. In high school, I conducted an in-depth study of his work and even did a presentation before class dressed with T.E. Lawrence head garb. It was my first such survey and it sparked my interests in critical analysis. I was attracted to Lean's work for many of the grand impulses which Anthony Lane discusses in this New Yorker piece. Lane mentions that these impulses are often a source of derision of Lean. I, for one, can be a bit of a sucker for bombast. Despite Dr. Zhivago being weaker than Lawrence of Arabia or Bridge over the River Kwai, many images and moments from Zhivago are glued into my brain. I love that movie, precisely for its over the top moments. Anyway, Lane's piece explores Lean's psychology and English reserve, concluding that Great Expectations was possibly the purest and best expression of his art. A good read. It makes me want to watch those movies all over again.

Brains: 8 of 10
Bods: 6 of 10