Sunday, January 22, 2017

Endeavour Series 4 - Lazaretto - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Canticle.
"I suppose everyone's got their own secret sadness, 'aven't they?" 
"I suppose. What's yours?" 
"Flat feet."
Lazaretto begins quite simply, for a Morse episode. Perhaps thanks to director Börkur Sigþórsson (a Scandinavian, if there ever was one), the episode has a bare simplicity and white light that's unusual for the usually warm, cozy show. The color palette reflects the sterile hospital at the center of this week's plot. It takes Morse and co. a while to get there however, because they've another death to attend to first.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sherlock - The Final Problem - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: The Lying Detective.

Who is Sherlock Holmes? I don't mean Benedict Cumberbatch. I mean Sherlock Holmes. The deerstalker. 221B. The legend of the Great Detective. Who is Sherlock Holmes?

Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't particularly interested in telling us. When we meet Sherlock in A Study in Scarlet, we learn almost everything we need to know about him in his first appearance. He's charming, polite, and a brilliant detective. Beyond an atypical big brother and an unremarkable background pieced together from hints, Sherlock is without a history.

Obviously, in these postmodern times, we can't just leave it at that, so Sherlock sets itself the task of unraveling the mystery of Sherlock Holmes. This is the Great Detective's origin story.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Endeavour Series 4 - Canticle - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Game.

Ah, well. I guess it had to happen. Endeavour's a period show, and we can't get by too long without an object lesson. When I read the summary for this episode, I couldn't help but roll my eyes, not because of the subject material, but because I could so easily predict the plot.

Mrs. Joy Pettybon is on a crusade to Keep Britain Decent. An elderly widow, Mrs. Pettybon is quick to denounce anything to do with sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, and - it seems - fun. She's accompanied by her timid daughter, Bettina, and happy-go-lucky colleague, the Reverend Mervyn Golightly.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Endeavour Series 4 - Game - Episode Review

My review of last season's finale: Coda.

Chess, swimming pools, creepy dolls, fishing, computers, Oxford - you'd be hard pressed to figure out what these things have in common, but happily, Endeavour Morse is here to do that for us.

Series 4 of Endeavour picks up two weeks after we saw Joan Thursday pack her bags and hit the road. A lovelorn Morse and a befuddled Thursday are still working through the implications of her decision. Thursday retreats into surly irascibility. Morse, meanwhile, is resentful and thin-skinned, employing some of the snobbish sarcasm that will characterize his later life.

Sherlock - The Lying Detective - Episode Review

My review of The Six Thatchers

Just when I thought Sherlock couldn't surprise me, it comes out with this. While The Lying Detective isn't quite to level of the show's highs, it corrects almost all the problems I had with the previous episode and turns the series back in a positive direction. Whether that will last is up for grabs, but I'm feeling optimistic.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dreams Come True

Image result for carrie fisher
When I went to visit my grandmother the other day, she said, out of the blue: "Leah died."

"Huh?" I mentally ran down a list of people we both know.

"Princess Leah," she explained. And then I understood. Carrie Fisher.

Public mourning is a weird thing, especially for actors. In the last weeks of 2016, a spate of celebrity deaths caused many fans to engage in something...not quite like grief, more like nostalgia. Carrie Fisher was not Princess Leia, but it can't be denied that what most people are missing about her is the white-clad space rebel she portrayed.

And that's even more strange, because Princess Leia is not dead.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sherlock - The Six Thatchers - Episode Review

My review of the Christmas Special

The Six Thatchers is like six different stories at once. On the one hand, you have the teasing of the Moriarty revelation at the beginning, with Sherlock being a jerk to a bunch of civil servants (you know, as I write that out, it seems less annoying than it was - and it was quite annoying). Then we jump right back into the regular routine as Sherlock solves a series of cases. A dizzying montage climaxes with a rather unlikely murder case, which is notable only because it leads Sherlock to notice the theft of a plaster bust of Margaret Thatcher.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The World's a Small Place

As I wove through the streets of Antigua, sidestepping trash and leaping onto the curb just in time to avoid a motorcycle shooting through traffic, I wondered why I didn't feel disoriented. Over the scene loomed a mist-haloed volcano - it wasn't active, but the other volcano on the other side of town had been spewing lava down its side all day, a track of glowing orange in the distant night sky. The smell of frying meat and melted cheese (mixed with the ubiquitous Diesel fumes) made my stomach grumble. Musical Spanish voices crowded the night air; I had to focus to pick out my meager vocabulary from the jumble, respond, and then shell out a few Quetzales for a meal. 

And bizarrely, I felt right at home.