Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It Came From The Cineplex: Phoenix Forgotten

I've gotten a bit behind on movie reviews here at Bob Canada's BlogWorld, so I'm gonna try and get caught up in the next few days. This movie's probably no longer in theaters, but I sat through the goddamned thing so you're all gonna share my pain!

Phoenix Forgotten was "written" by T.S. Nowlin and Justin Barber, and "directed" by Justin Barber.

Nowlin previously wrote the utterly forgettable The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. Barber has worked primarily as a graphic artist for various films. Phoenix Forgotten is his first major directing job.


Take The Blair Witch Project, substitute UFOs for the supernatural elements, cram in a pointless documentary framing device and you'll have a pretty good idea what this movie's like. There's even a character named Josh!

The film's based on the famous "Phoenix Lights" incident, which occurred on March 13, 1997 in Phoenix, Arizona. Thousands of witnesses observed a formation of strange lights in the sky, which were also seen in other parts of Arizona, as well as Nevada and even northern Mexico. It was one of the most-observed UFO incidents in recent history.

Despite what the poster says about "Shocking Untold True Events," the film's "missing teen" angle is complete and utter bullsh*t pulled straight out of the screenwriters' asses. It's yet another lame attempt to ape the success of The Blair Witch Project, which also tried to convince the audience they were watching actual video footage.

The film does try to distance itself a small bit from Blair Witch by bookending the found footage with a faux documentary about the incident and subsequent disappearances. It's a nice try, but in the end it doesn't offer us anything we haven't seen numerous times before in the past two decades. In the end the documentary angle does nothing but pad the run time, making the long, slow slog to the UFO abduction even more interminable.

I just realized something. This movie is a faux documentary about a fake disappearance that resulted from a UFO incident that never happened. Trifecta!

Lastly, I'm having trouble coming to grips with the fact that a movie set in 1997 is now considered a period piece. Excuse me while I go take my rheumatiz medicine, yell at some clouds and pull my pants up to my chest.

SPOILERS, I GUESS.

The Plot:
We open on video footage of Sophie Bishop's sixth birthday party on March 13, 1997, filmed by her older brother Josh. Suddenly everyone sees a series of mysterious lights in the sky, and Josh shakily (of course) films them. They wonder if the lights were military planes or a UFO. Suddenly two jets blast over the house, apparently chasing after the lights.

Cut to the present day (I guess), as the now adult Sophie is filming a documentary about her brother Josh's disappearance. Josh and his friend Ashley and Mark all disappeared a week after so-called "Phoenix Lights Incident." No trace of the them was ever found.

Sophie's dad picks her up at the airport and drops her off at their old home. Her parents divorced after Josh disappeared, and her mother is selling the house. Sophie's mother gives her a box of Josh's old videotapes, and she begins watching them.

When then get sort of a flashback, as the tape features newscasts of the Lights, along with Josh and his dad being interviewed. There's also a press conference with the then-Governor of Arizona, who mocks the incident and dismisses it.

Another tape shows that Josh attempted to film his own documentary about the Lights, interviewing various people around town. This is how he meets Ashley, a fellow student who he has a crush on. Josh and Ashley show the footage of the Lights to two local astronomers, who say they were most likely military flares. They also interview a Native American who says the Lights are a legend within his tribe, and he's seen things like them before.

Josh wants to visit the reservation where the Lights have been seen, but neither he or Ashley have a car. Josh talks his friend Mark into driving them. He and Mark drive into the desert to search for the Lights. They spot a bright light in the distance and hike up a steep hillside. There they see a group of police standing around a spotlight, looking into the sky with telescopes and binoculars, obviously searching for the UFO. The police spot the kids, and Josh and Mark hightail it back to the car.

The next day Josh and Mark pick up Ashley, and the three drive south of Phoenix, to the Indian Reservation where the lights have also been spotted. Unfortunately Josh's tapes end here.

Back in the present day, Sophie interviews a police officer who found Mark's abandoned car. It was in working condition and there was no evidence of foul play, other than a few drops of Mark's blood. He says the police investigated the case thoroughly, but reached a dead end and were forced to call it off. The officer says he always found it odd that Josh left his camera in the vehicle.

Sophie asks for the camera, and since it's no longer evidence, the officer gives it to her. She watches the tape in the camera as we flash back again. As the three teens drive along, Josh sleeps while Mark and Ashley get to know one another. They come to the mountains and pull over and take off on foot. Josh is angry that Mark and Ashley seem to be hitting it off. They come to a clearing where they see a dozen or so coyotes that've been burned to death by... something. The tape abruptly ends there.

In the present again, Sophie can't believe Josh would leave his camera in the car and not film whatever they found. She makes an incredibly intuitive leap and says there must have been a second camera. She contacts the school and asks if a video camera was checked out in 1997 and never returned, but unfortunately their records don't go back that far.

Sophie sees an interview with the former Governor, who's now recanting his statement from 1997, and says he believes the Phoenix Lights really were a UFO. She tracks down the Governor's former press agent, but he refuses to speak to her.

Her investigation at a dead end, Sophie leaves Phoenix and returns home.

Sometime later a lady from Josh's school calls Sophie, and tells her she found something. Apparently there really was a second camera (!), and someone found it in the desert and mailed it back to the school. Sophie returns to Phoenix and picks up the camera, which is scorched almost beyond recognition. 
Sophie's boyfriend carefully removes the tape from the burned camera, and amazingly it still plays. They watch the tape in stunned silence.

After watching the footage, Sophie sends a copy of the tape to an Air Force General. She later arranges an interview with him, but all he'll tell her is to never let the footage get out. Sophie's boyfriend asks what's next, and she says, "What do you think Josh would do?"

The final half hour or so of the film is Josh's tape. He, Ashley and Mark move past the burned coyotes, and into the rocky desert. They walk through a canyon marked with Indian petroglyphs that resemble primitive UFOs. Josh and Mark argue over Ashley. Suddenly Mark sees another object similar to the Phoenix Lights in the distance, and Josh films it. They congratulate themselves for capturing the UFO on tape a second time.

Josh wants to wait and see if the lights return, but Ashley says she has a curfew and needs to get back home. They head back toward the car, but soon become lost. They find more petrogylphs in the canyon, including odd hand prints. Ashley looks at Mark's compass, and sees the needle spinning wildly. Mark climbs a hill by himself to see if he can spot the car.

Josh and Ashley here a strange sound and are blinded by a bright light directly above them. After it disappears, Mark returns, acting oddly. They then find the car, pile in and head for home. Ashley notes that Mark looks sick, as his nose begins bleeding (which is why the police found his blood in the car). Mark insists he's OK. They see a light behind them, and think it's another car at first. It gets closer and closer, and flies over them, bathing them in bright light again. The car dies, as all of the electronics stop working. Josh and Mark push it to the side of the road, where the police will eventually find it. For some reason, Mark leaves his camera in the car.

The three teens get out and walk back toward town. Mark lags farther and farther behind, as he's clearly ill. Suddenly he runs into the desert, saying he can hear his brother (?), and Josh and Ashley chase after him. Suddenly the sky lights up again, flattening the teens. Rocks float up in the air and come crashing down. When the event is over, Mark has completely disappeared.

They search for a while, but Josh finally convinces Ashley they need to get help and come back for Mark. They spot a house in the distance, and run to it for help. Josh notices Ashley's nose is bleeding, and when she runs her hand through her hair, large chunks of it come out.

Ashley then runs ahead of Josh, saying she can hear her father. The light returns and more rocks are sucked up into the air. Josh looks up and can just make out a series of spinning rings above him. The light disappears again, and Ashley's nowhere to be found.

He runs to the house and goes inside. He looks around for a phone, and sees himself in a mirror and notices that now HIS nose is bleeding. And yes, despite the fact that his friends have been abducted and he's been attacked by the light several times, he's still filming with the goddamned camera.

The intense light shines through the windows, as everything in the house rises up. The roof is ripped off and Josh flies into the air. He's sucked into a ship as he lets go of the camera, which spins crazily before hitting the ground, where it'll be found and mailed back to the school.

Thoughts:

• There's really not a lot to say about this film. There's no message here, it brings nothing new to the table, it's not the least bit scary and there's absolutely no point to it, so this should be mercifully short.

• In case you think I'm exaggerating that this movie is nothing more than The Blair Witch Project with UFOs, just take a look at the names of Phoenix Forgotten's three main characters: Josh, Ashley and Mark. That's completely different from Blair Witch's Josh, Heather and Mike!

• The footage of the Phoenix Lights seen in the film (and allegedly shot by Josh) is actual video of the "real" event taken by an eyewitness in 1997.

As you might expect, the incident has been thoroughly debunked over the years. Most people don't realize there were actually TWO different events in Phoenix on the night of March 13, 1997. The first happened at 8:30 pm, and was the infamous "V" formation. Very few people actually saw this first event, as there was no reason for them to be staring up at the sky at that time.

Later that night around 10 pm, thousands of people who'd heard about the earlier sighting spotted a second, completely unrelated event. This sighting consisted of a line of lights that slowly sank behind the nearby Estrella Mountain range. The vast majority of witnesses confused this sighting with the earlier "V" formation, which they never actually saw.

The "V" event was later confirmed to simply be a formation of airplanes flying at high altitude, which was corrobrated by witnesses viewing them through telescopes. The second formation was a series of flares dropped by a military plane, which slowly sank to the ground.

• The found footage parts of the movie are set in 1997, so you know what that means! Anachronisms Ahoy!

At one point Josh and Ashley research historical UFO sightings in a library. Josh finds an illustration of a UFO that looks like a series of spinning rings, and say sit reminds him of the movie Contact. Ashley says that's her favorite movie, and even does a spot-on Jodie Foster impression from the film.

Supposedly the three teens when missing on March 20, 1997 (exactly one week after the Phoenix Lights incident). Contact was released on July 11 of 1997, some four months after the kids disappeared. Whoops!

After the teens disappear, billboards pop up all over Phoenix urging anyone with info to call a hotline. Unfortunately the 480 area code used on the billboard wasn't a thing in Arizona until April 1, 1999. Double whoops!

• In the film we see footage of then-Arizona Governor Fife Symington holds a televised "press conference" to mock and debunk the Phoenix Lights incident.

Later, in the present day half of the film, we see an interview of an older Fife Symington as he recants his earlier statements, saying he now believes the incident was real (insert eye roll here).

Both the press conference and later interview were actual footage of the real Fife Symington.

Fife?

• Near the end of the film, Sophie sends Josh's "lost" tape to an Air Force General. After he views it, all he has to say to her is "Don't ever let it get out."

Really? That's it? Sophie has a tape which proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that UFOs and UFO abduction are real! Wouldn't the Air Force raid her house, confiscate all her video equipment and every copy of the tape and threaten her with legal action or even incarceration if it ever leaks to the public?

Phoenix Forgotten is yet another in a long, long, LONG line of imitators inspired by The Blair Witch Project. This one tries to hide its obvious roots by adding a faux documentary to the mix, which does nothing but pad the run time. Do yourself a favor and forget about Phoenix Forgotten (see what I did there?). I give it a D+.


Imitation Is The Something Something Flattery!

WARNING! We've only got about a month left before the premiere of the upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight film.

I haven't yet decided if I'm going to see this film or not. As you may remember, the previous Transformers installment is the film that very nearly broke me, both physically and mentally. I dunno if I want to put myself through that punishment again.

Anyway, I recently saw this image of one of the new Transformer designs from the upcoming film.

So apparently the Transformers have now transformed into Gundams. Got it.

Seriously, look at that thing! That is a goddamned Gundam right there! Same helmet-like head, complete with upright "ears," same lanky body, and most of all the same exact white with red, yellow & blue color scheme. Talk about blatant!

Gundams first appeared back in 1979, and had that same color palette right from the start.

Probably ninety percent of every one made since has been white with red, yellow and blue accents.

The body may change slightly, but those four colors show up over and over and over.

You'd think if Michael Bay's gonna steal their design, the least he could do is alter the color scheme a bit.

At least there doesn't appear to be any robot testicles on this new Gundam/Transformer hybrid, so there's that.

Doctor Who Season 10, Episode 6: Extremis

This week on Doctor Who, our favorite Time Lord gets a visit from the Pope himself, there's another sect of evil monks, a trip to a virtual world and even a prelude to an invasion by someone.

The biggest news though is that the mystery of Who's Inside The Vault was finally resolved this week. And as most fans suspected all along, it's Missy! The most obvious and absolute least interesting occupant possible. It figures.

I was hoping the writers would surprise us and reveal it was someone totally unexpected, like Susan Foreman or even the First Doctor himself. There've been numerous little shoutouts to Susan all season, which made me think it might somehow be her inside the Vault. Since it's not, now I'm wondering why the writers keep referencing her?

So far the first five episodes of this season have felt very much like classic old school Doctor Who. Smile and Knock Knock in particular could have been episodes starring the Fourth Doctor.

As a result of this, I've been very surprised by showrunner Steven Moffat the past few weeks. His stripped-down, back to basics approach has made this the strongest season in years. Gone are all his typical trappings— the companion who's The Most Important Girl In The Universe, the baffling, nonsensical storylines and the tons of impenetrable continuity.

Alas, that streak couldn't last forever, as this week we get the most Steven Moffatiest episode so far. In fact I didn't even have to look at the credits to know he'd written it. It's not the worst episode I've ever seen, and as Moffat scripts go it's actually pretty decent. It's just not quite as good as the previous five episodes.

Part of the problem may be that this is the first entry in a three-part story arc, so it consists largely of setup. So it's hard to judge this one on its own merits, and may actually improve once we see the next two episodes.

Funny that this episode prominently features the Doctor and Co. stuck inside a virtual, computer simulated world. Over on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. they just concluded their multi-part Framework storyline, which tacked the exact same subject! Great minds and all that, I guess.

SPOILERS!


The Plot:
We begin "a long time ago" on an alien planet, where the Doctor's being escorted by a group of Monks. The head Monk excitedly explains that his planet specializes in executions, and he's honored to have the privilege of killing a Time Lord. He breathlessly shows the Doctor their version of a Time Lord electric chair, saying it'll stop both hearts, destroy all three brain stems and prevent regeneration. The Doctor hisses that he knows how it works.

The Monk continues, saying that after a Time Lord's death, the body is placed in a Quantum Fold chamber, where it's required to be under constant guard for a thousand years. The last stipulation is that a Time Lord can only be executed by another of his kind.

The Monks then bring out Missy, aka the Master, the Doctor's arch enemy. She makes snarky small talk with the Doctor for a bit, and then the Monks tell the prisoner to kneel. Missy lowers herself to her knees, and we realize that it's not the Doctor being executed, but her! GASP! Plot Twist!

Cut to the present, as the Doctor (who's still blind, after the events of Oxygen) sits outside the Vault he's been guarding under the University for the past fifty years or so, as he mumbles to Missy. Welp, I guess now we know who's inside the Vault— the most obvious person possible! 


The Doctor's wearing his sonic sunglasses, which give him a crude form of electronic vision. Suddenly he gets a mysterious email through his glasses, titled "Extremis."

The Doctor then gets a visit from none other than the Pope himself, who says he needs his help. There's an ancient text called the Veritas, (which means "The Truth") that's older than the Church itself. It's written in a forgotten language, but recently a group re-translated it. Problem is, anyone who reads it immediately kills themselves. The Pope wants the Doctor to read the Veritas and find out why. This might be a problem for him, since he can't see.

Meanwhile, Bill brings a date home to her flat. The woman, named Penny, is feeling guilty about having a one night stand or being gay or maybe both, it's not clear. Suddenly they hear the TARDIS materialize, and the Pope emerges from Bill's bedroom. Penny flees in terror. Bill angrily enters the TARDIS and tears the Doctor a new one for ruining her date.

Back in the flashback, the Doctor's about to pull the lever and execute Missy. Suddenly a hooded priest shows up, demanding an audience with the Doctor. The priest turns out to be Nardole! He has a message for the Doctor from the late River Song, who "gave him full permission to kick his arse." The Monks insist that the Doctor carry out the execution. Missy begs the Doctor to spare her life, promising she'll be good.

The Doctor, Bill, Nardole, the Pope and his entourage of cardinals then travel to the Vatican in the TARDIS. Cardinal Angelo takes them to a deep underground library called the Haereticum, which is filled with forbidden and heretical books. The Doctor's wearing his sonic sunglasses, which help him see vague shapes and images. Bill comments on the fact that he's wearing them. Nardole asks the Doctor why he's keeping his blindness a secret from Bill.

They reach the center of the library, where the Veritas is kept in a protective cage. A light appears around a corner, and they see a shadowy figure standing there. As they approach the figure it walks into the light and disappears. Suddenly a Priest runs out of the cage, shouting, "I sent it! I sent it!"

Bill examines a laptop in the cage, and says the Priest emailed the Veritas to CERN, the world's largest particle accelerator lab. The CERN scientists reply, "Pray for us." The Doctor wonders what would scare both particle physicists and priests. 


He sends Bill and Nardole off to find the Priest, while he uses a device that "borrows" sight from his future incarnations so he can read the Veritas. As he starts to read the book, a group of mummified Monks appear and surround the Doctor. He takes the laptop and runs. He sees another light portal and jumps through it.

Back on the Executioner Planet, Missy's still begging the Doctor to spare her life. He pulls the lever and electrocutes her. He vows to guard her body for a thousand years. Missy then wakes up and brushes herself off. The Head Executioner protests, saying the Doctor lied. The Doctor says he promised to watch over her body, but no one said it had to be dead.

Bill and Nardole find the Priest, who's shot himself. They then see another bright portal, and enter it. They find themselves in a circular room with a ring of obelisks in the center, and a dozen or so portals along the walls. They walk through one of the portals and come out inside the Pentagon. When a woman asks for their ID, they quickly return to the portal room. They go through another portal and come out inside CERN.

A scientist walks by and welcomes them, and they follow him to a large cafeteria inside the lab. The scientists all drink champagne as a large clock counts down to zero. Nardole notices there are huge bundles of TNT under each table and tells Bill they need to leave now. Bill asks the scientist why they're killing themselves. He tells her to think of a random number, and she and Nardole come up with the same one, over and over. Eventually everyone in the room is able to chant the same "random" numbers they are, which I have to admit is kind of creepy.

Bill and Nardole run out of CERN just before it explodes and re-enter the portal room. Nardole says he doesn't think the portals on the wall are really doorways, but holographic projections. He sticks his arm into the middle of the ring of obelisks, and he derezzes like a TRON character and vanishes!


Bill freaks the hell out and runs through another portal. She finds herself in the Oval Office of the White House. She sees the Doctor sitting at the desk, while the President is slumped over dead in a chair by the window. The Doctor explains that he read (well, listened to) the Veritas , which says they're living inside a simulation, designed as a "practice run" for an alien invasion of Earth. He says as proof, the Veritas invites you to write down a series of random numbers, then turn the page. Your digits will be the same as the ones listed in the Veritas every time, since computers have trouble generating truly random numbers.

Bill realizes this means she's not real either. One of the Monks sneaks up from behind and touches her, causing her to derezz like Nardole did. The Doctor tells the Monk the invasion will never succeed in the real world. The Monk says there's nothing the Doctor can do about it, as he's not even real. The Doctor reveals he used his sonic sunglasses to email his real world counterpart and tell him everything that's going on.


Cut to the Doctor in the real world, slumped in front of the Vault as he's just received the email from his simulation. He talks to Missy in the Vault, telling her he needs her help to stop the coming invasion.

Thoughts:
• At the beginning of the episode, the Executioner explains to the Doctor how the Time Lord electric chair (or whatever it's called) functions. Among its features— it requires another Time Lord to operate it.


That seems like a pretty big design flaw. A fatal one, even (heh). Up until just a few years ago, the Doctor was the Last Of The Time Lords. What would have happened it he'd done something worthy of the death penalty back then? There'd be no one to pull the switch and execute him!


• This week we learn that in addition to having two hearts, Time Lords also have 3, count 'em three brain stems. That doesn't make the least bit of sense, but let's just move on.


• The Doctor's still blind this week (and next as well, according to the preview), but he's getting around by using his sonic sunglasses as sort of a crude Geordi LaForge VISOR.


I'm OK with this! Last year I blasted the thrice-damned sonic sunglasses as the stupidest thing Steven Moffat ever came up with (which is really saying something!), but he's finally found a good use for them here. Makes perfect sense that the Doctor would program them to function as his eyes.


• Nardole was a lot of fun this week, as he tried to nonchalantly serve as the Doctor's eyes. "Oh, look, it's a mysterious light, shining round a corner, approximately ten feet away!"


• It looks like after the events of Knock Knock, Bill apparently gave up on the idea of sharing a flat with her college pals. This week she's back living with her snooty roommate from The Pilot.


• At one point we get a brief shot of the TARDIS flying toward the Vatican. Note that it doesn't just materialize in the Pope's office, it actually flies through the air.

This highlights one of the bigger inconsistencies on the show— just how the hell does the TARDIS actually work?


Ninety nine percent of the time there appears to be no physical motion involved, as it simply dematerializes from one spot and reappears in another (accompanied by its characteristic wheezing sound).


On very rare occasions, we actually see it flying through the air (check out The Runaway Bride for a prime example). Every now and then we'll also see it slowly spinning along in outer space.

The flying vs. dematerialization thing has never been consistently depicted in the series or explained (imagine that!) as it seems to switch back and forth as the script demands. 

Maybe it dematerializes when its traveling in time, and flies when it moves through space?


• During his visit from the Church, one of the Bishops mentions Pope Benedict IX, who endorsed the Doctor back in 1045. The Doctor reminisces briefly, saying, "Pope Benedict. Lovely girl. What a night! I knew she was trouble, but she wove a spell with her castanets!"


OK, I don't know about Pope Benedict, but there are rumors and legends of Pope Joan, a female pontiff who reigned for a few brief years in the Middle Ages. Supposedly she was a learned woman who disguised herself as a man, and rose through the ranks of the Church until she was eventually elected Pope. 


The jig was up when she allegedly gave birth during a holy procession, and she died shortly afterwards. The Church supposedly removed her name from the records after that. 


The story was widely believed for centuries, but most modern scholars dismiss Pope Joan as fictional.


By the way, the entrance to the Haereticum is guarded by a large portrait on the wall, much like in the Harry Potter books. This particular portrait s of the aforementioned Pope Benedict, who for some reason looks a LOT like Angelina Jolie in the Whoniverse!

• Kudos to the makeup department for their work on the Monks in this episode. They were very effective, as they looked less like masks and more like REAL desiccated corpses or mummified bodies. Very disturbing and creepy!

Whenever the head Monk speaks, his mouth gapes open and a whispery voice emanates from it. Note that his lips don't move in sync with his speech (possibly because he no longer has lips!).

You know what other Doctor Who villain spoke like this? The original Cybermen from the planet Mondas, who first appeared in The Tenth Planet way back in 1966. 

I wonder... a few months back the BBC announced that the Mondasian Cybermen would be making an appearance on the show this season. Is it possible that the Monks are somehow these Cybermen in disguise? Creating a virtual world so they can practice invading would definitely be in the Cybermen's wheelhouse.

I'm probably way off base here, as it would be tough for the Cybermen to hide their bulky headgear under those hood. Still, I thought it was worth noting that both species do the "gaping mouth" thing.

• Evil Monks seem to be a very popular adversary in the Whoniverse. You can't swing a sonic screwdriver around without hitting some sort of sinister sect.

There were the Ninja Monks way back in Season 2's Tooth And Claw.

And of course the Headless Monks from Season 6's A Good Man Goes To War.

There're probably even more evil Monks from the Classic Series that I don't know about.


• There's a theory going around the internet lately (allegedly posited by actual scientists) that our universe is actually an elaborate Matrix-type simulation. There's supposedly some flimsy evidence (which I confess I don't understand) to back it up.

I am 99% percent sure that Steven Moffat read an article about this theory and was inspired to write these episodes.


• When Bill and Nardole visit CERN, they discover that all the scientists here have read the Veritas are prepared to kill themselves. In order to do it, the scientists have rigged all the tables in their cafeteria with huge bundles of dynamite.


Um... where the hell did the scientists get that? Do they really keep large quantities of TNT in the CERN supply closets?


• In order to read the Veritas without endangering anyone else, the Doctor uses a device that somehow borrows vision from his future incarnations. He wonders if this will damage them, or if he'll even be able to regenerate anymore.

Eh, I wouldn't worry about it, Doc. As we find out later, all that happened inside the simulated world, after all, so who cares?

• In the end, the Doctor doesn't read the Veritas, but rather listens to it, as he finally figures out the text-to-speech function on his stolen laptop (something I kept screaming at the screen). 


Note that he doesn't attempt to kill himself after listening to it. Is that because he possesses an ironclad alien willpower? Or is listening to it instead of reading it a form of cheating?

• At one point Bill goes through a portal that exits in the Oval Office. She sees the President slumped dead in a chair, an open bottle of pills spilled on the floor next to him. Note that this particular Commander-In-Chief is relatively fit and has black hair, so it's definitely not our current "President."

I'm jealous of the residents of the Whoniverse, who don't have to put up with a rotted orange pumpkin for a leader.

Now that I think about it, there's no way in hell Trump would ever bother to read the Veritas. It's been confirmed by White House staffers that he refuses to read anything more than a few paragraphs long. He'd get some poor aide to do it for him.

• The Doctor tells Bill that neither of them are real, and they're living inside The Framework, er, I mean a virtual world. He says the Veritas proves it, by challenging the reader to think of a string of random numbers and then revealing those exact digits on the next page. He says this proves the world is a simulation, because "computers aren't good at generating random numbers."


Believe it or not, this is a real thing. According to MIT Professor Steve Ward, computers are deterministic, which means if you ask the same question over and over, you get the same answer every time. They're specifically designed to eliminate randomness.


You can program a computer to generate random numbers, but because of the way they're built, they always start with a "seed" number and then follow a pattern. This results in "pseudo-random" numbers that appear arbitrary, but really aren't.


And that's one to grow on!


• So the virtual Doctor can use his sonic sunglasses to "email" the Doctor in the real world. Sure, why not? That's no more ridiculous than anything else that happens in the episode. But if I ever get an email from Franklin in Grand Theft Auto 5, I'm tossing my PS3 in the trash!


Yes, I still have a PS3.


• So just when did the episode switch from the real world to the simulated one happen? It's never quite clear, which I'm sure was Moffat's intention.

About two thirds into the episode, Nardole starts freaking out when he realizes they're in a computer simulation, saying, "I don't know. Maybe when we arrived at the Vatican? But I programmed the TARDIS myself, we were on target. We went to the Vatican, the real one, I'm sure of it." Based on that, it would seem they entered the simulation AFTER they got to the Vatican.


I don't think so though. At the very beginning of the episode, the Doctor sits in front of Missy's Vault, and gets an email titled "Extremis" on his sonic sunglasses. The very same email that the Virtual Doctor sends to him at the end of the episode (timey-whimey!).

So I'm thinking that EVERYTHING after that point happens in the virtual world!

The ONLY parts of the episode that happen in the real world are the flashbacks with Missy, the Doctor slumped against the Vault, and his phone call to Bill, in which they discuss Penny.

Remember that earlier in the episode Bill scolded the Doctor for ruining her date with Penny. But now he's asking her if she knows someone by that name. This implies that the Doctor screwed up Bill's date in the simulation, and she hasn't even asked Penny out in the real world.

• This Week's Best Lines:
Cardinal Angelo: "Good evening, Doctor. We have come here today direct from the Vatican."
The Doctor: "Oh, right. That's nice Well, if you've got a collecting tin, I'm sure I can find something. Leaky roof, is it?"

Cardinal Angelo: "On behalf of every human soul in this world, of any creed, of any faith with the utmost respect and in complete secrecy His Holiness, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, requests, most urgently, a personal audience."

The Doctor: "Well, if he's so keen to talk to me, why doesn't he come here himself?"
Nardole: (whispering) "He IS here. He's standing right in front of us."
The Doctor: "Hello, ah, the Pope. I'm sorry that I didn't recognise you there."

The Doctor: "Assume nothing! Assumption makes an "ass" out of you, and 'umption."


Penny: "That was the Pope! Bill, that was the Pope!"

Bill: "Yeah, yeah, give me a minute, I am about to have a truly awesome word with someone."

Bill: "Here's a tip. When I am on a date, when that rare and special thing happens in my real life, do not do not under any circumstances, put the Pope in my bedroom!"

The Doctor: "OK. Now I know."

Cardinal Angelo: "Pope Benedict said that you were more in need of confession than any man breathing. But when the offer was made, you replied, 'It would take too much time."


Nardole: "OK, so you're blind and you don't want your enemies to know. I get it. But why does it have to be a secret from Bill?"

The Doctor: "Because I don't like being worried about. Around me, people should be worried about themselves."
Nardole: "Yeah, shall I tell you the real reason?"
The Doctor: "No."
Nardole: "Because the moment you tell Bill, it becomes real. And then you might actually have to deal with it."
The Doctor: "Good point. Well made. Definitely not telling her now."

Cardinal Angelo: (talking about the 
Haereticum) "The layout is designed to confuse the uninitiated." 

The Doctor: "Sort of like religion, really."

Cardinal Angelo: "The very center of the Haereticum. Home of the Veritas for over a thousand years."

The Doctor: "Truth in the heart of heresy."
Cardinal Angelo: "And death in the heart of truth."
Nardole: "You'd be wizard at writing Christmas crackers, you two!"

The Doctor: "Particle physicists and priests. What could scare them both?"


Nardole: "You're to walk behind me now, like the Doctor said."

Bill: "Yeah, totally not happening!"
Nardole: "OK, Bill, Miss Potts, I am the only person you have ever met, or ever will meet, who is officially licensed to kick the Doctor's arse. I will happily do the same to you, in the event that you do not align yourself with any instructions I have issued which I personally judge to be in the best interests of your safety and survival. OK, Bill?"
Bill: "OK."
Nardole: "Good-oh!"
Bill: "Nardole, are you secretly a badass?"
Nardole: "Nothing secret about it, babydoll."
(he shrieks as they spot the dead priest)

The Doctor: "Thing about the universe is, whatever you need, you can always borrow . . as long as you pay it back. I just borrowed from my future. I get a few minutes of proper eyesight, but I lose something. Maybe all my future regenerations will be blind. Maybe I won't regenerate ever again. Maybe I'll drop dead in 20 minutes. But I will be able to read this!"


The Doctor: "You know, I've read a lot of books that this chair would be quite useful for. Moby Dick! Honestly, shut up, and get to the whale!"

The Doctor: "I AM the Doctor. I am what stands between you and them."
Monk: "You are not the Doctor. You are not real."
The Doctor: "Oh, you don't have to be real to be the Doctor. Long as you never give up."

Monk: "What are you doing?" 

The Doctor: (who's realized he's a simulation) "I'm doing what everybody does, when the world's in danger. I'm calling the Doctor."

Missy: "Oi! Get Get off! I've just been executed! Show a little respect."

Executioner: "You are unarmed?"

The Doctor: "Always."
Executioner: "You stand alone?"
The Doctor: "Often."
Executioner: "You're the one who should be afraid.:
The Doctor: "Never."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I Find Your Lack Of Faith... Refreshing

Last month I reviewed the dreadful new Power Rangers movie, saying that Lionsgate Studios took a fast-paced, colorful and exciting kids' show from the 1990s and turned it into a dull, dour, desaturated and overlong teen angst-fest that's completely devoid of any sense of fun.

Looks like I'm not the only one who was less than happy with the new movie. Apparently Fisher-Price agreed with me and thought it sucked as well. I was in Target last night and saw this action figure playset, based on the characters from the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers show. 

Note that I looked all around on the shelf, and didn't see a single toy (from Fisher-Price at least) based on the movie. Ouch!

It's definitely a bad sign when a toy company would rather make figures from a twenty four year old TV show instead of ones from your brand new big budget Hollywood movie.


By the way, get a load of the massive meat hooks on that Rita Repulsa figure! She definitely ain't related to Emperor Trumpy!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 22: World's End

It's the season finale of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Overall this was one of the strongest seasons yet, in a series that gets better and better every year. Unfortunately this season's finale wasn't one of their strongest, as there were way too many loose ends to wrap up.

The whole episode felt rushed, and none of the big emotional moments had the room they needed to breathe. "What's that, Mack? You just lost your daughter Hope for the second time, in a heart-wrenching scene? That's too bad. Here's five seconds of screen time to grieve about it!"

It definitely should have been a super-sized two hour episode.

I wasn't a huge fan of The Framework storyline at first, but it grew on me, and became more compelling as it went on. There were a lot of missed opportunities though. The storyline allowed the writers to bring back old characters like Ward, Tripp and even Bakshi, for Stan Lee's sake. 

So I was hoping we'd get to see virtual versions of Mockingbird and Hunter pop up inside The Framework. Alas, no such luck. Maybe there was a scheduling conflict with actors Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood. Or maybe ABC approached them, and the actors told them to f*ck off after being written off the series for their own pilot that never materialized (twice!).

So far I'm a big fan of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "story pod" approach, in which they break up their season into three separate arcs of six to eight episodes each. Having these "seasons within a season" means the storylines move along at a brisk pace, eliminating the wheel spinning and filler episodes that plague other series (Yeah, I'm lookin' at you, The Walking Dead!). Hopefully they'll continue this method in Season 5.

Now for some good news and bad news. The good news is that last week, ABC finally announced they were renewing Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a fifth season. Huzzah! The bad news is they're moving the show to Friday night at 9pm. Hmm....


Friday night has traditionally been seen as the "Death Slot," where older or low-rated series are sent to die. ABC denies this is what's happening (of course), as they claim they're attempting to turn Fridays into "a destination for fantasy and sci-fi fans," as S.H.I.E.L.D. will be paired with the long-running series Once Upon A Time.

Honestly I don't think a Friday night timeslot is the death-knell it once was. In this age of streaming and binge-watching, few people watch live TV anymore anyway, so it really doesn't matter what day a series airs.

One good thing about the move though—  Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is scheduled to return in January of 2018 (which sounds like a really long time from now, but is really only eight months away) and all twenty two episodes will run consecutively, with no interminable mid-season breaks! Wow! I've been bitching about the goddamned months-long breaks (in which I forget what the hell's going on with the show) for years now, so this is the best news possible!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Robbie Reyes, aka Ghost Rider, finds his car in the S.H.I.E.L.D. impound lot, which is apparently a thing. He gets in, revs it up and roars off.

On Zephyr One, Simmons asks Fitz if AIDA, who's now flesh and blood, is human or Inhuman. Fitz says she's both, and neither. Helpful! He tells her he's still traumatized by his actions inside The Framework, where he tortured and killed countless Inhumans. Meanwhile, Daisy tries to locate Yo-yo's mind inside the virtual world so she can extract her. She's horrified to see that AIDA's deleting The Framework, as its program slowly starts disappearing line by line.

Inside The Framework, Yo-yo's strapped to a gurney in the Triskelion. A Hydra agent enters and starts to shoot her, but Radcliffe appears and rescues her. When she asks how he knew she was here, he tells her Daisy's apparently altering the code of The Framework, causing actual yo-yos to appear in his pockets and clue him in (!). He warns her that she shouldn't have come, as things are beginning to disappear as the virtual world winds down.

AIDA and the Superior discuss their plan to use the Darkhold to make the Hydra-controlled world of The Framework a reality. Suddenly the Hell Charger roars up, and Ghost Rider emerges from it. He's there for the Darkhold, and "kills" several of AIDA's LMD henchmen. He attacks her with his flaming chain, which burns her arm before she can teleport away.

Coulson gets a call from General Talbot, saying it's time for the government's annual "Shut Down S.H.I.E.L.D." meeting, and he needs him to testify before a committee to defend the organization. Coulson politely R.S.V.P.s, saying he's way too busy to attend. Meanwhile, Daisy somehow tracks down Robbie and meets up with him.

AIDA's puzzled as to why her accelerated healing factor hasn't fixed her arm. The Superior says it's because Ghost Rider burned her, and he comes from the same darkness that made her.

Daisy brings Robbie to Zephyr One. He tells Coulson there was a tear in the dark world when AIDA was created, which allowed him to escape. He says Ghost Rider wants to find AIDA and the Darkhold and send them back to the hell from whence they came.

In The Framework, Radcliffe takes Yo-yo to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ to see Mack. She approaches him, but he has no idea who she is. Mack says people and things are starting to disappear from the HQ as The Framework winds down, and tells everyone left that they need to evacuate immediately.

The next morning, Talbot attends the government meeting. The Superior and another LMD are there as well. The Superior accuses S.H.I.E.L.D. of breeding an Inhuman army, as Talbot tries to defend them. The Superior shows them the Darkhold, saying it has the power to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. and eliminate the Inhuman threat once and for all. Suddenly Daisy enters the meeting, shoots Talbot in the head (!) and immediately runs off.

Just then Coulson, Daisy (?) and the other agents arrive. They shoot the Superior and his LMD henchman and take the Darkhold. Daisy confronts her LMD duplicate, who was the one who actually shot Talbot. AIDA's there as well, chortling that she'll 
enjoy watching Daisy have to kill "herself." Suddenly Ghost Rider appears and he and Daisy take out the LMD.

Talbot's assistant examines him and says there's still a pulse (?). She calls for her guards to arrest S.H.I.E.L.D., but Coulson says it was an LMD who shot Talbot. She doesn't believe him of course, and Coulson and the others beat a hasty retreat.

Back on Zephyr One, Coulson says the video of LMD Daisy shooting Talbot will cause fear and distrust toward S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans both, creating the fascist state of Hydra that existed inside The Framework. Coulson asks Robbie if he can borrow the Darkhold to use as bait against AIDA. He's reluctant, but agrees. Coulson says their only hope now is to return to their ruined S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ to defeat AIDA once and for all.

In The Framework, Mack, Hope, Yo-yo and Radcliffe are on a bus, trying to make it to safety. Suddenly the bridge in front of them disappears. Yo-yo tries to convince Mack that The Framework is dying, and he has to come back with her to the real world. He refuses to leave Hope, of course. Suddenly Hope screams, and they see everyone in the bus except for the four of them has disappeared. Yo-yo asks why they're still alive, and Radcliffe says Daisy must be temporarily protecting them.

At S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson and May wait for AIDA. He finally tells her that her LMD duplicate made a move toward him, and she says maybe it had the right idea (!). Daisy tries to program a backdoor out of The Framework for Mack and Yo-yo. FitzSimmons lock themselves in the server room, to keep The Framework running as long as possible (so... so it's inside S.H.I.E.L.D.?). Suddenly AIDA teleports into the room.

She grabs Simmons and jabs a screwdriver partway into her chest. She taunts Fitz, saying she'll make him pay for what he did to her by killing everyone he loves. Fitz begs her to stop, saying he'll do anything she wants. AIDA electrocutes Simmons and teleports away (!).

Back in The Framework, Mack returns to his home with the others. Yo-yo tells Radcliffe that she can't believe Mack is ready to die for a daughter who isn't real. Hope overhears and goes crying to Mack.

AIDA teleports to the S.H.I.E.L.D. portal room (that she created earlier in the season). She grabs the Darkhold from Coulson, and just as she's about to blast him, Simmons appears and shoots her from behind. Apparently the Simmons AIDA killed was an LMD, but don't ask me where they got it.

AIDA moves toward Simmons to kill her for real, but suddenly Coulson transforms into Ghost Rider! It seems Robbie temporarily loaned him out to Coulson for a bit. Coulson Rider wraps his chains around AIDA as she teleports away with him in tow. She teleports to various locations, but can't seem to dislodge the demon. Finally she teleports back into S.H.I.E.L.D., where Coulson Rider grabs her and burns her to ash.

Well then. That was... disappointing. Somehow I was expecting a more grandiose demise for the Big Bad who's plagued the agents all season.

In The Framework, a door appears in the wall of Mack's house. Radcliffe says Daisy must have programmed an escape for them. Yo-yo begs Mack to come with her, but he still refuses to leave Hope. She says if that's what he wants, then so be it, and sits down beside him, so they can all die together. Mack hugs Hope, but she vanishes in his arms. He wails in agony, as Yo-yo tries to comfort him.

Yo-yo wakes up inside Zephyr One. Daisy says she can't see Mack's code anymore, and that they've lost him. Suddenly Mack gasps and wakes up.

Coulson thanks Robbie for loaning him Ghost Rider. Robbie asks if he knows why the demon made the deal, and Coulson says he does, but he'd like to keep it between them "for now." Robbie says goodbye to everyone, takes the Darkhold and uses his chain to open a portal. He steps through into the Dark Dimension, Doctor Strange-style.

Mack & Yo-yo discuss what happened in The Framework. They receive word that Talbot somehow survived, but is in a coma (?). Oh, and the government is coming after S.H.I.E.L.D. Fitz tells the others to go, and he'll stay behind and take the fall for them, as penance for what he did in The Framework. Daisy tells him to forget about it, saying they're all in this together. Coulson suggests they all get a bite to eat before what's coming.

In The Framework, Radcliffe sits on a beach, watching the sunset. He starts to toast his old flame Agnes, but suddenly winks out of existence.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents sit in a diner, enjoying their meal. Suddenly the lights go out, and a squad of soldiers, lead by a shadowy figure, appears behind them. The shadowy man uses a glowing device to freeze everyone, and tells the soldiers to hurry, as "the window closes in two minutes."

Some time later, Coulson wakes up in what appears to be a cell. He pushes a button and opens a window, revealing he's in outer space, an asteroid field in the distance. He stares at the view a moment, then says, "All right, Phil, enough sight-seeing. Get back to work."

Thoughts:

• I'm still VERY confused as to actual physical location of The Framework in the real world. It's a sophisticated simulation of the entire Earth, so one would expect it would be stored on a massive server somewhere.

A couple weeks ago we finally found out that AIDA had the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents hooked up to The Framework inside the Superior's secret oil rig headquarters. So I simply assumed The Framework server was in that location as well. Seems logical, right?

This week though, AIDA starts shutting down The Framework, causing people, places and objects to start vanishing inside the virtual world. FitzSimmons announce that they're locking themselves inside the server room at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ to keep The Framework running long enough for Yo-yo to rescue Mack and bring him back. 

So... so I guess that means The Framework has been running on a server at S.H.I.E.L.D. all this time? Does that seem right? 

Daisy also works feverishly to program a new backdoor into The Framework so Yo-yo and Mack can escape, which again implies that it's stored there at S.H.I.E.L.D. But if Daisy can start messing with The Framework's code NOW, why couldn't she have done that weeks ago, and rescue the various agents that way instead of risking her life by entering it herself?

I'm very confused here. And I get the feeling the writers aren't even sure where The Framework is either, and just hope the audience doesn't think about it.

• Welp, so much for AIDA, I guess. She's been plaguing the cast for the entire season, and then Coulson Rider grabs her arm and burns her to a cinder in two seconds! That certainly seemed... anticlimactic. Somehow I was expecting a much more epic demise for such an awesome and interesting supervillain. 

Would it have killed them to have had AIDA and Coulson Rider punch each other a few times before he incinerated her? I'm betting this was a budget issue. Those flaming head effects probably ain't cheap, so they just couldn't afford a prolonged battle. Still, AIDA's death was way too easy and abrupt, and she deserved a better sendoff.

On the other hand, Radcliffe's "death" inside The Framework at the end of the episode was absolutely perfect. He sits on a beach and simply vanishes. All things considered, simply winking out of existence doesn't seem like a bad way to go.


• By the way, how awesome was Coulson Rider? When he first appeared I thought Robbie had somehow gained the power to disguise himself as other people, and simply made himself look like Coulson. Then I remembered that way back in Deals With Our Devils, Mack was briefly possessed by Ghost Rider, implying that the demon can jump from person to person, or be loaned out like some sort of garden tool.

At the end of the episode Coulson returns Ghost Rider to Robbie, and thanks him for the loan of his demon. Robbie says "You know why he made the deal in the first place, right?" Coulson assures him he does, and asks him not to mention it to the others.

So what was Ghost Rider's mysterious deal? Was it something specific, like he made Coulson promise to be his new host if Robbie's ever killed? Or was it vague, tit-for-tat Godfather-type promise? You know, "Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter's wedding day."

Could the deal have something to do with how Coulson (and the other agents?) ended up in space in the tag scene?

I'm hopeful that Coulson' deal means we'll see the return of Ghost Rider sometime next season. I have to admit that last year when I first heard he was appearing on the show, I thought it was the stupidest idea ever. A supernatural demon anti-hero on what is ostensibly a spy show? Ridiculous! It sounded like the worst mash-up concept ever! Imagine my surprise though when Ghost Rider fit right in with the tone of the series, and was the best thing about the entire season.

• At one point an LMD of Daisy busts into a government meeting and shoots General Talbot right in the middle of his head. With a real gun too, not an ICER! Amazingly, Talbot survives, although he's in a coma.

I always suspected Talbot had a thick skull, but this proves it!

So what's the verdict here? Is this another example of comic book "science," or can a person really survive a direct gunshot to the head? 

Turns out it IS possible, but extremely unlikely. Survival depends on a number of factors, like the type of gun used, the caliber of the bullet, the angle that it enters the skull and even the region of the brain it hits. 

Sometimes a bullet will shatter when it comes in contact with the skull and do relatively little damage. Sometimes it will penetrate the skull (which is never a good thing) but pass harmlessly through a non-critical area of the brain (!). There have even been cases where a bullet entered a subject's head, ricocheted off their skull and then traveled under the skin before exiting harmlessly out the back of their head, giving the impression it went clean through their noggin!

• Yo-yo asks Radcliffe how he found her in The Framework, inside the Triskelion. He says apparently Daisy altered The Framework's code, causing actual toy yo-yos to appear in his pockets to clue him in! Haw!

• So Yo-yo does her best to talk Mack into coming back with her to the real world, but he refuses, choosing instead to stay in The Framework with his fake daughter Hope. It isn't until Hope's sudden "deletion" that Mack realizes there's no point in staying any longer, and he finally agrees to leave.

I'm not a fan of this resolution to Mack's Framework storyline. It lacks any sense of drama, as he's never placed in the position where he has to make a difficult decision. He decides to stay until Hope disappears and then says, "Welp, I guess I better go back to this "real" world everyone keeps talking about."

Wouldn't it have been a hundred times better if Yo-yo's appearance had jogged Mack's memory of the real world? That way he'd have had a hard choice to make— return to the real world and lose his daughter a second time, or stay and die with her.

• Somehow, Fitz creates an expendable LMD of Simmons for AIDA to kill in the server room. Just how the hell he accomplished this, I have no idea. AIDA created an LMD of Daisy earlier in the episode, but that makes sense, as she and the Superior obviously have some sort of secret LMD-making machine in his new headquarters (wherever that is). 

But how is S.H.I.E.L.D. churning out fresh LMDs? Is there an LMD printer that we never heard about before somewhere inside S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ? 

Earlier in the season, LMD Fitz planned to replace Simmons with a robotic duplicate. Is that the one we see in this episode? I have no idea, and I don't think the writers do either. It's another one of those things they hope we don't think too hard about.

• I'm VERY disappointed that the series didn't give Framework Ward a proper sendoff. This season the writers did something I believed was impossible— they completely redeemed the Grant Ward character and found a logical and compelling way to bring him back to the show.


And then he simply walked off the screen a couple weeks in All The Madame's Men, never to be seen again. No goodbyes, no heroic death, nothing. He doesn't even go out with a whimper. He's just suddenly no longer on the show! Talk about a letdown!

When AIDA revealed that the purpose of her Project Looking Glass was to build herself a flesh and blood body in the real world, I was convinced that this is how the writers would return Ward to the show permanently. Just run him through the machine and BAM! Hero Ward's back on the team again. It would have been a clever and perfectly reasonable way to resurrect the character.

We later found out that wasn't possible, as A: Project Looking Glass was destroyed, and B: It used dark matter energy to build strong bodies twelve ways, and Ghost Rider would probably have killed Hero Ward the instant he saw him.


But as we saw with the Simmons-bot in this episode, S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently has the ability to make their own LMDs. Why couldn't Daisy whip one up, and then download Framework Ward's mind into it? Sure, he'd be a robot from then on, but he'd still be back on the show.

No one even mentioned him since his last appearance. You'd think at least Daisy would have said something about the guy, considering they were living together inside The Framework. His sudden disappearance and lack of a proper goodbye is one of the worst character exits I think I've ever seen on a network TV show! They Chuck Cunninghammed him!

• Ever since Fitz got out of The Framework, he's been freaking out over the things he did there. He tells Simmons, "
I performed lethal experiments on approximately two dozen people innocent people, people we've known from this world. Lincoln Campbell, Vijay Nadeer, Gordon from the Afterlife... I can still hear the screams."

It seems like he'll be dealing with the fallout of his virtual actions for months, if not years.

Then at the end of the episode, Daisy gives him a rousing pep talk about teamwork, one worthy of The Flash. And just like that Fitz seems all better! That was easy!

• So far I have absolutely no idea who the mystery people were who abducted Coulson and the others at the end of the episode, or why he ends up on a space station.

Actually I'm not even sure it was a space station, as it looked like he was in some kind of prison cell. And is he the only one in space, or are the rest of the agents there as well? These are all good questions right now.

Many fans are convinced the mystery people work for S.W.O.R.D., another secret agency with a tortured acronym that stands for "Sentient World Observation and Response Department." They're a counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D., except they protect Earth from extraterrestrial threats. 

That's not a bad theory, except I would expect an organization that protects Earth to be orbiting the planet. Wherever Coulson was at the end, it wasn't anywhere near Earth, as there was a freakin' asteroid field outside his window.

It's also possible his outer space visit has something to do with the Royal Family of the Inhumans, who have their own series this fall on ABC. Marvel Studios swore the two series wouldn't cross over or have anything to do with one another, so that's probably not the answer.

We'll have to wait until this fall to find out. See you then!

This Week's Best Lines:
Yo-yo: "How did you find me?"
Radcliffe: (pulling actual yo-yos out of his pockets) "I kept discovering these in my pockets, in the streets. I felt like a PAC-MAN gobbling up biscuits. Somebody wanted me to find you."
Yo-yo: "Daisy."

The Superior: "Why are you so upset? You created us."
AIDA: "A decision I regret."
The Superior: "There is that word again, 'regret.' You built an empire by eliminating the regrets of others. How does it taste on your tongue?"
AIDA: "I want to burn this world to the ground."

Talbot: "Three of my finest aren't so fortunate, and I have no idea what killed them."
Coulson: "We lost good people, too. The short answer is they were murdered by a vanishing banshee made of matter from another dimension."
Talbot: "You expect me to put that in my report?"
Coulson: "I have a cybernetic hand. I've been to an another planet. This stuff happens in S.H.I.E.L.D."

Daisy: "What's new?" 
Robbie: "Nothing much. Beat up a couple dudes. Turned out to be robots."

The Superior: "This book opened my eyes to the truth about Inhumans. It contains a plan to defeat them, and you can all be a part of it."
Talbot: "I smell a load of L. Ron Horsecrap!"

AIDA: "I had a lot of time after you shattered my spine to think about what I'd do when I saw you again. I decided it might be fun to watch you kill yourself."
Daisy: "Aida, seriously, therapy. Just consider it."

Daisy: "This must be Aida's payback 'cause I quaked her skinny ass out that window."

May: "This is a terrible plan."
Coulson: "You know, Robot May was way more supportive."

AIDA: "Now I understand why humans have written so many sad songs."
Fitz: "Yeah! Hey, that's a great example. There are lots of ways to express sadness and pain. There's music and art..."
AIDA: "And smashing heads on the floor. That's the one I like the best so far."

AIDA: (after Simmons shoots her multiple times) "Your weapon can't stop me."
Simmons: "I know. I just really wanted to do that."

Coulson: (after Daisy and Robbie wipe out a room full of AIDA's henchmen) "I missed it, didn't I? You two together, and we missed it. Damn."
Related Posts with Thumbnails
 
Site Meter