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Lost Discussion 10 Years Post-Finale: What Worked, What Didn’t, and What Should’ve

Lost/ABC - Photo by Mario Perez

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Lost finished airing 10 years ago on May 23, 2010. Join Jillian Pugliese and Tommy Czerpak as they take a look back at the groundbreaking series that helped usher in the golden age of television, and discuss why we love it (and what we think it did wrong).

Tommy:  Hi Jillian, fellow Lost lover. Thanks for joining me for this discussion. Can you believe the finale aired 10 years ago already? Did you watch it live?

Jillian: Nope, I’m a latecomer. I was only eleven when the show finished airing, and I don’t think anyone that age would’ve been able to keep up with it. I watched the series for the first time about three or four years ago and fell in love. It’s an insane show, but it’s incredibly addicting. I binged the series in a couple of weeks, and have rewatched it several times since. What about you? Were you always a fan?

Tommy: I was! I watched during its initial run. It was an incredible time to be a fan because internet discussion had just started to take off but streaming and DVR hadn’t, so while we had places to go online and discuss (may the imdb Lost message board rest in peace), everyone still tuned in at the same time every week. Each airing was an event we all watched together, which really promoted discussion. Television hype is so wildly different now. Not everyone watches everything at the same time with streaming and DVR, and I wonder how Lost is received by someone who was able to take advantage of the more recent methods of media consumption.

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Lost/ABC

So I’m curious, since you watched Lost right in the middle of the golden age of television that it helped launch – How did you decide to watch Lost amongst all the other great shows nowadays?

Jillian: I started watching Lost mainly because everyone always said it was too hard to keep up with. The legacy of the series isn’t its innovative forms of storytelling or usage of symbolism. It’s remembered for being the show that no one could follow. I took that as a challenge. So, I started to watch it on Netflix (sadly it’s been taken off since) and got lost in the world of Oceanic Airlines and The Dharma Initiative.

Lost can be quite convoluted at times, and there’s definitely plot holes within it, but because of how I watched the series I was never lost following it. I’d imagine if I had to wait months in between seasons I would’ve been much more confused. But getting to watch season four right after the big twist of the season three finale kept me invested. If Lost came out on a streaming service I think people would’ve stuck with it for longer. 

Waiting for episodes to come out would’ve been particularly frustrating when it comes to filler episodes that did nothing to move the plot along (think Nikki and Paulo). But instead, I was able to power through until I reached a compelling storyline that I cared about. 

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For 2004, the pilot of Lost still holds up really well. You can sense that it’s from the early 2000s based on how the characters speak to each other, but it’s not so dated it’s unwatchable for future generations. I don’t think some of the plotlines would fly nowadays, especially in regards to the way the show treats women at times, but it still manages to be an example of what a great television show can look like.

How do you think Lost holds up ten years later? Was it ahead of its time?

Tommy: I rewatched much of the series last year; parts of it hold up incredibly well, parts of it don’t. When Lost is at its best, it’s still unlike anything on television, even today. I think the pilot in particular is a masterpiece that has yet to be matched. It balances its large cast incredibly well, giving each main member a moment or two to develop while keeping the focus on Jack. It makes clear that the island and its mysteries are merely a gateway to explore the characters through, as each scene throughout the pilot provides some character revelation, whether it’s the kindness of Hurley passing out meals or Kate finding courage during their first encounter with the monster.

It’s a perfect mix of mystery for both the island and the characters, and has shockingly little exposition for a pilot. Most pilot episodes require the viewer to play a bit of catch-up, as they have to be introduced to the world the characters are inhabiting, but Lost has its characters getting introduced to the island along with the audience. Overall, I think it’s a phenomenal piece of work.

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Lost/ABC – Photo by Mario Perez

Ahead of its time, though? I don’t believe it was. I think Lost was an exact product of its time and naturally pushed network television forward. The medium had to evolve eventually, and Lost expanded the scope of character work and mythology that a network series could provide. With the rise of the internet and DVR, fans wanted to pause their favorite shows to look for clues and share them online. I think audiences were ready for something new and more serialized – something grander, and Lost filled that need. 

As for its story, it’s a series about redemption, loss, and human connection; age old themes that have existed for as long as storytelling. It’s a (mostly) well told story that has influenced dozens of series with its methods and brand of storytelling since, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as ahead of its time.

For what doesn’t hold up? You nailed it – Lost has a problem with its women. I think Kate is at her best in the pilot and the finale, but in between she’s stuck in love-triangle hell with very little narrative agency. Even Juliet, my favorite female character on the show, gets shafted by the love-triangle juice.

Jillian: My biggest issue with Lost is how they handle Kate’s character. She had so much potential in the early seasons, and the episodes that focused on her backstory were some of the best of the show. But then she started to be written as just a pawn between Jack and Sawyer when they’re struggling for power. There’s some genuinely sweet moments between her and each of the men, but I would gladly scrap any sense of romance from the show to get back the character Kate was supposed to be. 

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Lost/ABC

As for Juliet, they did her character a great disservice by involving her in the love-square mess in the later seasons. I did really like her with Sawyer, but her final moments on the show surrounded him and specifically her jealousy of his relationship with Kate. She deserved better than that.

I’ve always found it interesting that originally Jack was going to die in the pilot. Kate was the one who was supposed to lead the group. Imagine how different the show would’ve been. 

But for better or worse, we’re stuck with Jack as our lead. I’ve never been his biggest fan. He became more self-righteous as the show progressed, which made him difficult to watch. What’s your opinion on Jack? 

Tommy: I’ve heard a lot of Jack criticism over the last sixteen years, particularly in regards to self-righteousness, and I have to admit that I’ve never agreed with it. I definitely think Jack has some flaws in how he was written, particularly in some of his later flashbacks (such as when he stalks his ex-wife and the obvious, tattoo propelled tragedy of “Stranger in a Strange Land”). His actions in those flashbacks are not pleasant and do him no favors with audience perception.

On island, though, I think Jack is a great character in most instances where the series itself isn’t floundering (such as the love-triangle shenanigans we discussed above). Lost is a textbook example of how to force characters into situations that challenge the specificity of each character: Kate has no where she can run on an island, Sawyer struggles to integrate with the rest of the survivors and overcome his self-imposed loner attitude, Jin and Sun are forced to address their failing marriage, etc.

Jack’s challenge is the strongest, however, because while the other characters’ flaws are challenged, Jack’s flaws are challenged along with his entire worldview. As a surgeon, his approach to almost every problem is through reason and science, and the island throws both of those approaches out the window, essentially giving Jack a crisis of faith (even though that faith is science).

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Lost/ABC

Jack is stuck in his beliefs because to accept that he is wrong is to accept that the island is more than “just an island.” I don’t see that as self-righteousness so much as I see it as fear. He doesn’t think he’s right, he’s living in denial, and I think that’s an important distinction. There are few stronger character moments in the series than Jack immediately denying that the island disappeared moments after he watches the island disappear.

I think this denial most clearly manifests in his desperate need to be involved in saving everyone; he personally has to be the one to hunt down Charlie and Claire, to find Michael – to be the man who gets everyone off the island. I never viewed this as a self-centric “I am the messiah” attitude, I viewed this as the desperate attempts of a man to regain some control over a situation that he doesn’t understand.

If anyone on this show is self-righteous, I think it’s John Locke. That dude sabotaged equipment, blew up the hatch and the submarine, and threw a knife in a woman’s back all because he was right and everyone else was wrong. Asides from trying to control Kate’s actions half the time (which contributes to the major problem in how the show treats its women) I don’t recall Jack ever forcing his worldview on the rest of the survivors – he doesn’t force anyone to leave the beach, he doesn’t actively stop them from pushing the button – so long as their actions don’t threaten the safety of the group.

I think that most people accept Locke’s actions and attitude because he is obviously right about the island, which also hurts the perception of Jack. The audience understands that there is something special about the island, so it’s annoying to see Jack deny it and exciting to see Locke thrive on it. (To be clear, John Locke is an amazing character and truly one of television’s greats).

Of course, Jack has a massive shift in attitude in the last two seasons when he becomes a man of faith and accepts the island for what it is, finally shifting his worldview and providing the show with a strong series arc and statement, which I believe proves his value as the protagonist.

Jillian: I started another rewatch of the show recently, and my goal was to go into it and give Jack a second chance. Sometimes you dislike the main character just because they’re the main character. I wondered if that was the case with him.

But as I got further into the show I was reminded of why Jack rubbed me the wrong way. He was presented to us as our hero, the selfless doctor who’s going to save everyone. That character would’ve been dull, but at least it’s someone you can root for. Instead, as the show went on, Jack went from the archetypal good guy to a man who desperately needed to be in control of everything and everyone.

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Lost/ABC

He had a terrible savior complex that made him unlikeable. He’s not the worst character by any means, but he’s easy to hate. Especially when he’s with Kate. 

I’ll never understand the hype around that couple, when Jack consistently acted like Kate was a project he needed to fix. I know Kate’s widely hated, and as we spoke of before she didn’t really get the chance to reach her potential before being reverted to a plot device, but my main gripe with Jack was how he treated her. He was dismissive of other characters at times (Hurley and Locke especially) but his desire to “save” Kate from herself was nothing if not presumptuous. 

All the characters on Lost are deeply flawed individuals, which is what made the show so interesting. But, characters like Sayid and Sawyer who acknowledged their faults were far more compelling than Jack, who was in denial about not only the island, but himself.

My favorite character has always been Sawyer. He’s a fan-favorite for a reason. He has great character development throughout the series and provides much needed comic relief. 

But I would argue the best character on the show is none other than Ben Linus. He’s the original antihero. He’s introduced as an antagonist and pretty much remains one throughout the show (I’ll never forgive him for killing Locke), but he’s so entertaining to watch. Michael Emerson’s charismatic performance is captivating, and makes him well-deserved of the role of TV’s best villain of all time.

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Tommy: Ben is an incredible villain, and he invigorated Lost in ways no other character could due to the focus he provides for the series. He’s attached to so many of the sprawling plotlines, even if just tangentially, that his existence ends up connecting a lot of loose threads. The Others, the island pregnancy issues, Jacob, the smoke monster/Man in Black, DHARMA – Ben has a direct connection or hand in all of these plotlines, which helps keep the series together, or at least to seem together.

Because Lost can be a mess. Plotlines are picked up and dropped haphazardly at times, some due to behind the scenes logistics and some due to just plain poor writing. At times I think the only two things that hold Lost together are the thematic resonance that’s fairly consistent throughout the series and Ben barely holding the plot threads in line.

The show was frustrating to watch live at points. Mr. Eko is a badass and my friends and I all had so many theories on how his character would shake out, then NOPE.

Done-zo.

So much of the second season feels irrelevant in retrospect due to so many of the tail section survivors biting the dust. I enjoyed the second season my first time through but the lack of legitimate development that comes out of most the new characters that season really hurts it on rewatch, despite episodes like “The Other 48 Days” holding up as single serving episodes.

How do you feel Lost did with its plotting?

Jillian: It depends on the season. Season one was perfectly paced, and set up the storylines for the rest of the show. But, you’re right, season two was pointless. Ana Lucia was built up to be such an important character who ended up having very little impact on the plot as a whole. 

And then the longer the show went on the more filler episodes they included. We didn’t need to know about Jack’s tattoos, or why Nikki and Paulo were on the flight. But mostly, I feel like the show did pretty well with embedding the different aspects of their story together. 

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Lost/ABC

It can be messy at times. Especially in season five. The time travel storyline on the island was somewhat hard to follow, but it ended up furthering the arcs of the individual characters successfully. 

How do you think Lost did with establishing themes throughout its run?

Tommy: Some shows thrive in connecting their storylines to themes subtlety, some are more overt. Lost is more overt, and for a series as grand as Lost is, I think that mostly works. The show establishes its main themes very early on, with the pilot introducing the idea of two sides, “one is light, one is dark,” and just a few episodes later Jack spouts out his “Live together die alone” speech, which may be the most prominent theme in the series. And of course by the end of Season 1 Jack and Locke have the open discussion of what it means to be a man of science vs a man of faith.

No matter how ridiculous or tangential Lost’s main plots become, the show holds together thematically throughout its run. I’m still blown away by how the writers were able to come up with such an effective physical manifestation of the man of science/man of faith philosophies with the button. It’s so on the nose, but it works because it forces Jack and Locke to explore their beliefs. It’s not just a thematic tie, but a challenge for the characters and a plot point to further the narrative.

The flashbacks are also an excellent structural choice because it helps highlight the themes of redemption and letting go, as we see who these characters used to be vs who they are on the island. By using the flashbacks to show us how characters acted in similar situations previously in their lives, we are given hard evidence as to whether or not these characters are growing.

Characters like Sayid continue to torture people, consistently making the some mistakes, while characters like Sawyer seem to sway between improvement and regression, as we see in his decision not to kill the boar in Season 1, but swift disposal of the annoying tree frog in Season 3.

The flash-forwards provided similar benefits in relation to themes, giving us a reflection of how the island changed the characters, but I’d argue that the flash-forwards were a little more dependent on twists and wild setups, such as Sayid working for Ben, than character development, as the skip in time hides what the character development actually is. I love the flash-forwards, and think they were a necessary change for the series that reinvigorated the show (Season 4 is my favorite season, after all, even if it contains my least favorite episode “The Other Woman”). They just don’t tie in to the themes of the show quite as nicely.

The flash-sideways, on the other hand, are almost too closely tied to the themes. I really believe that the final season and the finale of Lost would have been better received if the reveal that the sideways universe was a purgatory of the Losties happened much earlier in the season. Saving that reveal for the end twist may have kept audiences guessing, but it kept us from understanding the context in which these adventures were taking place.

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Lost/ABC Photo by Mario Perez

I enjoyed my re-watch of Season 6 so much more on the second go because I knew that these were really flash-forwards to the afterlife, and I had context as to why Jack was a believer and Locke a skeptic regarding Locke’s ability to walk again. Instead of wondering what happened in Jack’s other sideways life to make him so positive, I could reflect on Jack’s journey throughout the show. Desmond’s journey to reunite the survivors takes on a whole new flavor when you understand that he’s acting on the “live together die alone” philosophy the show spouted enough times to make Rose want to punch Jack in the face.

So while I think the adherence to the show’s themes hurt the flash-sideways in the series’ initial run because the audience lacked the context to understand it, I do believe they are a valid storytelling method and they hammer home the concepts of faith, togetherness, and redemption (Ben’s storyline in the afterlife is one of the best examples of redemption on the show). Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the concept, but I think it works.

Jillian: Lost definitely established itself as the benchmark series when it comes to utilizing flashbacks/flash-forwards to provide insight into their characters. I’ve always been a big fan of the flashbacks especially, because it helps you understand who these people are and how they got to the island. Sawyer wouldn’t be nearly as compelling of a character if we just heard about how he became the man he hated for ruining his life. Seeing him go through that made him much more sympathetic.

Likewise, seeing the heartbreak Locke experienced every time his father disappointed him was intrinsically important to the reception of his character. We can feel the desperation he felt in those moments, and his desire to matter to someone, or something, radiating from the flashbacks. We could never understand the depth of Locke’s devotion to his faith in the island without seeing where he developed that strong sense of faith from. 

When I watched the show I knew what the flash sideways was going into it, and that’s why I loved the final season so much. If I didn’t know, I’m sure I would’ve been more focused on figuring out what the hell is going on instead of appreciating the character details embedded within it. I loved how the series tied up, and I thought the finale was a great conclusion.

However, it left audiences divided. What’s your take on the finale? Did you like it?

Tommy: It’s so interesting to discover that you knew about the flash-sideways prior to watching Season 6. What else did you know of before watching the show? I know we are a small sample size but considering your love for the final season and my renewed interest in it upon re-watch, I wonder how many other people could have benefitted from knowing the deal beforehand.

I have a weird take on the finale, as I constantly find myself defending it despite not completely loving it. Part of this comes from what I said above – I think the flash-sideways emphasizes the themes and characters of the show nicely, but it’s not how I personally would have preferred they tell the story. My favorite part of Season 6 is the lack of information about the Man in Black and his effect on the world should he leave the island, as it truly defines Jack as a man of faith. To me, the fact that there is a definitive afterlife in the Lost universe sort of pulls that away, proving that faith is rewarded, which for me, hurts the theme.

In other ways, however, it strengthens the themes, which is why I find myself defending the finale despite my distaste for some of it. The Losties literally don’t die alone. That’s fairly beautiful, and we get to see characters like Ben make the right decisions in the afterlife because they grew as people in their actual lives. I can appreciate that, even if I don’t like it.

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Lost/ABC Photo by Mario Perez

Some aspects, though, I just don’t think work. Sayid reawakening because of Shannon? Really? The series depicts Nadia as Sayid’s strongest romantic connection by far, with his love for her spanning the time frames both before and after the island. I don’t want to deny Shannon’s importance for Sayid, but I think I’m just going to. Shannon’s loss was barely felt after her death, especially compared to characters like Alex or Charlie, whose deaths continued to motivate characters like Ben and Hurley long after their demise. Shannon’s death pissed Sayid off for a while, and then Sayid, from a story perspective, just moved on. None of Sayid’s choices or actions past Season 2 seemed to stem from Shannon in any way, so why is she the one he ends up with? 

The reawakenings also reek of clip show to me, which I’m never a fan of. I can understand some fans liking them because they provide a bit of nostalgia but I find them uninteresting for the most part. And the final scene of the church. . .it’s nice to see everyone so happy and together but it also feels a bit preachy to me just by the nature of taking place in a church, even if that church is purposely nondescript. It lasts too long as well, giving me plenty of time to ask where Mr. Eko is and wonder if Walt would be a kid or an adult if he showed up.

My absolute biggest gripe with the finale is its lack of closure for the island itself. I don’t mean answers, I actually think they tried to answer too many mysteries in the final season (the whispers and donkey wheel explanations were lame and I think should have been left unanswered. It’s a magic island for God’s sake. Magic things happen there. End of mystery). I mean the island doesn’t get a goodbye. It’s such an iconic piece of television history that to this day it only needs to be referred to as “the island” to be recognized, and there isn’t even a wide shot of the place in the final 104 minutes.

It irritates me every time I watch it. It makes me want to scream. I can’t understand what happened where the island doesn’t get this final shot. Several characters are flying away from it on a plane and it doesn’t lead to any full view shots of the place????? AUGH. Would this have been so hard???

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Lost/ABC

All the on island stuff, though, I think is pretty solid. I love the ridiculous cork in the center of the island. It makes no sense at all and I love that, because magic island and story about faith. It all works to drive the themes and story home.

Love Hurley taking over the island. Love the numerous callbacks that come about the narrative naturally. Love Christian’s speech to Jack, and love the final shot of Jack’s closing eye. It’s a beautiful wrap up to a story about life, death, and what it means to find faith in others, to let go of your past, and try to be better moving forward. I think the finale holds true to everything Lost as a television show is. Character driven, thematically over-rich, nonsensical, and grand.

I just personally wish it could have found a way to be all of those things without the flash-sideways, but I can’t fault it for not being what I would have preferred. Overall, I don’t think “The End” reaches the heights of Lost at its best, but I also don’t think it’s Lost at its worst. It’s just the end of Lost, and I’m happy with that.

What about you? Did you find any missteps in “The End” or did you love it front to back?

Jillian: Since I knew going into the show there was some type of afterlife aspect in the final season, I didn’t feel “The End” was too rushed in explanations because I understood where we were headed all along.

There’s definitely a level of cheesiness when it comes to the reawakening moments with the couples, but I still loved it. It was sweet to see the characters find each other again, and for all of them to finally find some version of peace. It’s nice when you’re rewatching the show to know that no matter who dies or what happens, they all end up in the same place at the end. 

While that could take away from the narrative impact of character deaths, it’s comforting as a fan. I like being able to watch the great “Not Penny’s Boat” moment and know that Charlie eventually finds his way back to Claire. The choice to have them all literally “die together” was a great way to drive home the central theme of the show, a sense of community. Of course there’s struggles with morality and faith that are more often discussed in analyses of the show, but what makes Lost so great is the relationships between the characters. 

It’s a character driven show, and over six seasons you can become easily attached to your favorite ones. So seeing almost all of them reaching the end of their journey together was very cathartic. 

I also really loved the full circle moment between the final shot of Jack dying and closing his eyes compared to him opening his eyes in the same place in the pilot. It felt like the writers had been planning that closing shot since the beginning. 

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Lost/ABC

I agree about Shannon and Sayid. It didn’t make much sense for them to end up together. All the other couples that had their reawakening moments were much more central to the show. Shannon was barely even in the show, and had very little impact on Sayid’s character arc. 

But otherwise, I think the finale was done really well. It wasn’t perfect, and I still don’t love how Claire was dealt with in the final season, but there’s nothing about it that I have resentment towards. Everyone ended up where they should’ve, and found closure together. 

Except for Ben. But I think it was a really smart choice for him to work to redeem himself further. It wouldn’t have felt right to have him in the church with the rest of the group. 

All in all, “The End” was the perfect end for me

What did the rest of you think about “The End?”Join us in our discussion and comment with your insights, critiques, commentary, and whether or not Jack is the worst!


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Editorials

5 Powerful Shows, Movies, and Documentaries to Watch to Learn About Racial Injustice

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Shows, Movies, and Documentaries to Watch About Racial Injustice

Guest post: Hiba Abdillahi

There’s a problem in our country. If you’ve been watching new news or checked in on social media, you have seen the murder of African American men at the hands of police (most recently, the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody), racially-motivated encounters, and, as a result, protests, riots, and lootings that have spanned nationwide. 

The conversation about racial injustice, racial inequality, and systematic racism has never been louder or more charged up, and for those of you who may not know much about it or have never experienced it first hand, it’s a time to get educated.

The list of shows and documentaries that cover what it’s like to be black in America and capture institutionalized racism continues to multiply quickly as streaming services. 

But we’ve narrowed it down to a list of 5 shows, movies, and documentaries that can be a starting point for you and your family to help you understand how root of violence against black Americans and how it affects everyone. 

 

1. When They See Us (Netflix)

The jarring Netflix mini-series by Ava Duvernay is based on the story of the Central Park Five, a group of five black Latino boys failed by the justice system after they were wrongfully convinced of raping and assaulting a woman in Central Park in 1989.

 

2. 13th (Netflix)

How much do you know about the U.S prison boom? Once again filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores issues of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States in the Academy Award-nominated documentary.

 

3. I Am Not Your Negro (Youtube or Amazon Prime)

Sometimes we need to look back, to see how we can move forward. This documentary is based on an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin and covers the history of racism in America, focusing on the stories of Civil Rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

4. Dear White People (Netflix)

We could all use some comic relief these days while educating ourselves, of course. This comedy-drama series on Netflix follows a group of black college students at an Ivy League (predominately white) college. The series covers plenty of racial topics young African-Americans face including cultural bias, social injustice, misguided activism, and slippery politics.

 

5. If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu

It’s the story we’ve seen play out in our society time and time again. Based on the novel by James Baldwin, the 2018 drama focuses on a young black man imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit and a young back couple fighting for justice and the American dream.

 

Bonus: Just Mercy

Michael B. Jordan’s film follows the real-life story of defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, who fought to clear Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx), wrongfully convicted of murder and placed on death row.

Warner Bros. announced it will be free on all digital streaming platforms during the month of June to teach people about systemic racism. 

 

Click here to find out how you can donate to honor George Floyd.


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Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty Finale Review – Attack of Beth’s Clone (4 x 10)

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Season 4 finale of RICK & MORTY reveals Beth has had a space rebel clone since season 3.

Rick & Morty wrapped-up season 4 with a Star Wars homage episode, titled “Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri,” that revisited the Clone Beth and Phoenix Person / Tammy story arcs.

The seeds of this finale, of course, were planted way back in season 3 episode 10 “The Rickchurian Mortydate” where Beth discussed the idea with Rick of having herself cloned, so she can live two lives.

In the same episode, a post-credits tag showed Tammy, the treacherous Galactic Federation agent / Summer’s ex-BFF, reviving her ex-lover / Rick’s BFF Phoenix (formerly Bird) Person into a cybernetic body – a la Darth Vader.

For a long time, absolutely nothing was ever explicitly established on-screen to further develop these arcs, that is, until now.

 

A TALE OF TWO CLONES

Beth has been a pretty low-key character this season and has only played a major role in a couple of episodes, but she came back big time toward the end, gaining momentum from episode 9, and following through with a bombshell revelation in the finale.

Since “The Rickchurian Mortydate,” it’s revealed in this episode that Beth was actually cloned by Rick per her request, and there have been two Beths leading completely different lives simultaneously.

One Beth (let’s call her Space Beth) pursued adventure in the galaxy as a rebel hero fighting against the New Galactic Federation (NGF), just like Rick did when he was younger.

This version of Beth has cybernetic enhancements as well and has been put on the NGF’s “Most Wanted” list, which basically fulfills a recurring gag in her character that she is basically Rick, but a woman.

Too smart for her own good, jaded to a fault, and limitlessly stubborn.

Space Beth even has her own spaceship, which she uses to go back to Earth after finding out that Rick planted a proximity bomb on her neck in case she comes anywhere near the other Beth.

She attempts to kill Rick in this episode because of this and gloats to her father that she’s replaced him as the most dangerous being in the galaxy.

Even the NGF admits this saying that Rick becomes a “non-threat” when he is left alone.

Regardless, this Beth seems satisfied with her personal accomplishments and has reached her full potential as a badass and a person.

In the words of Morty,  “Like father, like god damn daughter.”

 

Beth in “The Rickchurian Mortydate” after realizing she may have been cloned by Rick. / Adult Swim.

 

Meanwhile, the other Beth (aka “Normal Beth”) stayed home on Earth where she reconciled with Jerry, whom she was on the verge of divorcing, and fixed her broken albeit insanely dysfunctional family.

She even managed to get everyone, including Rick, to do periodic family psychiatric therapy sessions.

This version of Beth decided to live a “normal” life and became less like Rick.

Nevertheless, she is equally satisfied, fulfilled, and self-aware of the life she had chosen.

In other words, this Beth is happy.

She isn’t even shocked at the idea that she may be a clone when Space Beth shows up.

Nothing phases her anymore because she knows who she is, and has developed a healthy acceptance of it.

This is a direct contrast to her father who, despite knowing who he is (essentially a near unparalleled genius god scientist), can not come to terms with his own existence and has a deeply suppressed depression because of it.

 

The episode explores these dynamics in a subtle way but does so in the signature dark comedic style that the show is known and loved for.

In the end, when the space dust settled Jerry, Morty and Summer now seem to accept having two different Beths as the norm.

I love having two moms,” said Summer.

Followed by Jerry who quickly responded, “I love having two wives.”

However, when Rick tries to tell which Beth is the clone via a Mindblower Vial memory, he made it so even he wouldn’t remember, his family berates him for being a bad father and claim they don’t even want to know.

Rick watches it alone, and the memory reveals that he removed the labels “Real Beth” and “Clone Beth” from the tanks he used to clone Beth, and shuffled them, so it’s impossible to know who his real daughter is.

This makes Rick come to a self-realization that he is indeed a terrible father because he would be content in killing either one of the Beths if he favored one over the other.

It should be interesting to see where the show takes this development next season.

Will Space Beth bring a new dynamic to the show permanently? Or will they just kill her off-screen?

Could go either way with this show at this point.

 

THE RISE AND FALL… AND RISE AGAIN? OF PHOENIX PERSON

Phoenix Person and Tammy Guterman / “The Rickchurian Mortydate” Rick and Morty (3×10) / Adult Swim.

 

It was simply amazing to see these two characters again and in the canon storyline this time.

They were last seen in”Never Ricking Morty,” but were basically a figment of imagination in that episode.

Tammy, before meeting her poetic demise at the hands of Rick and Summer in this episode, led the NGF to Earth to look for Beth aka “Blade Smith” and take her in.

And the absurdly morbid way she was used to defeat Phoenix Person, by Jerry no less, is a scene that should be watched because it’s simply too difficult to put into words.

Seriously, it’s messed up and hilarious at the same time.

Before that though, he has a super awesome sci-fi fight scene with Rick where he almost kills him.

In the end, Rick saves his best friend from the brink of death (the parallels with Anakin/Darth Vader continue) and stores him in the garage in hopes of rehabilitating him.

So while the arc of Tammy is permanently shut, there is potential for more Bird/Phoenix Person appearances in the future!

 

BATTLE FOR THE INVISIBILITY BELT

As usual with this show now, you can never trust the promos.

Though the invisibility belt did play a major role in the main arc of the episode, it was mostly relegated to B-storyline.

Basically, Morty and Summer fight over it so they can both do pervy teenager stuff.

And they kind of used it against the NGF invasion, which is sponsored by Wrangler jeans, apparently.

But in the end, it’s used by Jerry to save the day. Go figure.

 

VERDICT:

It’s tough to do a Star Wars homage because it’s been done before many many many times.

Rick & Morty does it by explicitly not doing it in overtly obvious ways.

They hide it in plain sight, within the characters, within the story arcs, within a blink and you’ll miss it moment, or a cleverly placed easter egg.

And that’s what made this episode special.

It had the essential elements of Star Wars, but the characters and the narrative are all original concoctions.

From Tammy acting essentially as the Empire, to Phoenix Person filling the role as Darth Vader.

Which, of course, implies that Rick is Obi-Wan.

Morty and Summer are the clumsy Luke and Leia.

So Beth essentially became something like a Rey figure?

Does that mean Jerry is Kylo Ren? Oh god why.

Anyway, the finale is a masterpiece and scores . . .

10/10


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Katy Keene

Katy Keene May Be Part of the Riverdale Universe, But It’s Far Removed From the Dark Murder Series

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When you first heard about a Riverdale spinoff, I’m willing to bet you didn’t think it would be a series revolving around the fashion and music industry, but that’s exactly what you get when you tune into The CW’s Katy Keene. 

Devoid of murders and darkness, the series (based on the Archie Comics), spearheaded by Lucy Hale in the role of the titular character, shines bright amidst the supernatural vibes of its sister shows, Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the oftentimes supernatural lineup embraced on The CW.

In place of those murder mysteries that tend to envelop the residents of Riverdale, Katy Keene sets the stage for a coming-of-age tale that propels themes of hopefulness, following your destiny, and chasing every opportunity.

Some of us might say — the ones that were old enough to have watched Gossip Girl and Sex and the City when it aired live, anyway — that the series is the younger sister of those fashion-centric show, and fills the void they left behind quite nicely with its bubbly depiction of New York’s elite, always-on-the-go, and hook-up heavy aesthetic. 

But don’t be fooled — the show’s optimistic outlook doesn’t mean it’s without its fair share of drama.

Like Riverdale, Katy Keene relies on a formula of convoluted mysteries and twists, and it thrives on throwing its characters into unpredictable and messy situations, albeit, with less murder and serial killers. 

And New York, much like Riverdale, can make or break you in a minute; it can snuff out that very hope it evokes and destroy the opportunities it’s made possible until you’re left feeling more alone than ever.

Katy Keene focuses heavily on its ensemble cast — heavier than Riverdale at times — giving each of its characters a storyline to dig into. 

The circumstances of the Big Apple  —  rent as tall as the skyscrapers and the competitiveness of its inhabitants — brings Katy, an aspiring fashion designer, closer to Jorge/Ginger Lopez (Johhny Beauchamp), an aspiring Broadway star, Pepper Smith (Julia Chan), an aspiring business owner, and Riverdale’s finest, Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), an aspiring singer.

Much like Riverdale’s core four, this unit relies on each other to navigates life’s up-and-downs. 

For Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, these trials and tribulations tend to consist of dark forces and mysteries such as figuring the identity of the Black Hood, the Gargoyle King, and how to escape and stop an organ harvesting cult, among others. 

Katy Keene, however, offers up a dreamlike vibe while showcasing real and more relatable issues of navigating your upper 20s with the focus being on every millennial’s struggle to juggle the pursuit of a dream career in an overpriced city alongside a romantic life. 

Alex says it best — you’re no one in this city without money — and thus, a lot of the drama revolves around financial situations. 

Read the full post at TV Fanatic! 


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