Paradise Lost: It’s about time

I put down a few hundred more words on the story in progress this morning, but I spent most of my time doing research so I could add a little bit of verisimilitude to the description of the setting. I could conceivably finish the first draft tomorrow morning if all goes well.

I was invited to attend the Houston Writers Guild conference this weekend. In return, they want me to conduct a mini-symposium for them in July. First time I’ve ever been paid to be a speaker somewhere. Not sure exactly what I’m going to talk about for 2.5 hours, but I’ll pick their brains on that subject this weekend.

NCIS is the only show I know that can turn multiple stabbing murders into a light, sexy comedy. One thing they’ve done a lot this weekend is play with the concept of friendship/partnership. Tim and Tony are friends who banter, are jealous of each other, etc. Last night’s bro-mance–I don’t know any other show that could have pulled that off the way they did. And then there was Gibbs’s relationship with Holly the (former?) madam. Sizzling!

I knew it was coming, but it was sad all the same. I’m talking about the second episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I think Goran is one of the all-time great TV characters and I hate to see him go that way. At least he fared a little better than Captain Ross. Not quite sure why Eames wasn’t allowed to stay on as Captain. That would have been a good development.

Episode 4 of Justified was good. One thing I like about the show is the eclectic group of characters who talk just like they leapt from the pages of an Elmore Leonard book. The two mooks in the car (“Did he mention me?” the local guy asks after the guy from Florida talks to their boss.) The old guy who swapped cars with the accountant-cum-dentist. (“Found it in your sister’s ass.”) The dentist himself. “Looks like there’s a sniper on the Mexican side,” Raylan says. “That’s not going to help tourism,” he replies. His “repo man” / “marathon man” scene at the beginning. The dialog between Raylan and the guy he just shot. “Let’s call it a draw.” All these things set the show apart from the other one about U.S. Marshalls currently running (In Plain Sight) which tries too hard to be funny (and fails). One cliche that I wonder about, though, is the less-than-Mensa-material character who admits that she knows she’s not very smart. Do people ever really do that?

And now, Lost. Boy, is there ever a lot to process concerning last night’s episode. It’s about time, Eloise Hawking Widmore tells Desmond, and of course, it is all about that. She is the joker in the deck. Ever since her first appearance, refusing to sell Desmond an engagement ring, she seems to know everything about how all the timelines are supposed to work. Is she the one who has set these somewhat arbitrary rules, or does she just try to keep everyone else in line? I’m not sure we’ll ever get the answer to that question. “What happened, happened,” she says once again.

In the sideways timeline we have the intact Widmore clan. Charles and his wife, their son Daniel (no longer a Farraday, no longer a physicist) and Penny Milton, who is Charles’s daughter, but not Eloise’s, apparently. The sideways universe is apparently truly parallel to the island timeline. There were some who theorized that the sideways reality would be the show’s coda, how people ended up once everything was put aright. Not so–they’re starting to bleed together. There were hints of that from the get-go. The way Jack looked at Kate, as if he thought he might know her. The prevalence of something akin to deja vu. Near-death experiences apparently elevate the awareness of the other, true reality. I wonder if Sun’s concussion on the island caused her to connect more strongly with her sideways persona, who seems not to be able to speak English. Her aphasia might have been a cross-over effect. There were all sorts of nods to things from the original timeline — the glass of scotch between Widmore and Desmond. The painting of scales balancing white and black rocks in Widmore’s office. Penny running the stadium instead of Jack. The clanking MRI that sounded much like the doomsday clock in the hatch.

The sideways universe appears to be the place where people get the one thing they wanted more than anything else. Desmond craved Widmore’s approval or acceptance. However, I think the moral of the story will be that they aren’t really living happily ever after in the sideways timeline. The one thing each character thinks he or she wants isn’t the thing that he or she truly needs. I suspect it will all boil down to the loving relationships many of the characters developed after getting to the island. Sun and Jin rekindled their marriage. Desmond and Penny finally got together. Jack and Kate. Sawyer and Juliette. Hurley and Libby. Daniel and Charlotte. Charlie and Claire. Charlie, who was so angry with Jack for bringing him back to life, seems to have a death wish. Does he think/know that he can’t die (hence the way he walked across the busy street) or does he want to die?

It was fun seeing Fischer Stevens back as George Minkowski. Desmond: Is there any alcohol in this car? George: Oh yeah.

Didn’t Desmond seem unusually cavalier about being “rescued” by Sayid? Is this part of Widmore’s game plan? And damn those writers for turning yet another villain around into someone we’re now rooting for: Widmore.

And did I see Michael in the previews for next week? Will he still be bellowing Waaaaaaaaalllllttttttt?

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