Monday, March 31, 2008

In case you don't have TiVo

On tonight's How I Met Your Mother, as Barney tries to determine which of his former conquests is trying to destroy him, a series of beautiful women flashes across the screen. If you're paying attention, you can see one of them isn't quite like the others, but unless you have TiVo and can go through it frame-by-frame, you probably can't tell exactly what you just saw.

Well, I have TiVo. (Okay, I have a non-TiVo DVR, but I like saying "TiVo.") And here is what you missed:

Not the exact same picture, but close enough.

Well done, Barney! Bet he's nailed Janet Reno, too.


Also also: the AV Club's Donna Bowman is my best friend. (Paragraph five.)

Also also also: someone in the Something Awful forums loves me, too. (Aside from Ian.) Thank you, Spiny Norman. Damn, who'da thunk my most linked post of the year would be the one with a picture of Madeleine Albright? Thank you, Madame Secretary!

And for the Something Awful forumer wondering why nobody was talking about the woman Ted bumped into at the St. Patrick's Day party -- I touched on it briefly here, in case you missed it. It includes the website of the actress in question, as well as a very nice photo. You're welcome.

Co-starring Larry the Cable Guy as Rick

Mike has alerted me to the dreadful news that Madonna wants to star in a remake of Casablanca.

I was all set to be outraged, and rant and rave about how this potential remake -- which would be updated and set in Iraq -- was a desecration, an abomination, a crime against classic filmmaking, and would ruin the original.

But then I realized, none other than Pamela Anderson has already starred in an updated version of Casablanca, and the original is still doing just fine.

Don't believe me about the Pam Anderson version? Think I'm pulling an early April Fool's prank? Well, I guess you've never seen this movie:

Don't call me babe!

I'm not kidding. Still don't believe me? Wow, you really didn't see this movie. You lucky soul, you. Anyway, check out IMDb's movie connections page. Told you!

If Casablanca can survive that, it can survive Madonna, Pauly Shore, and an atom bomb.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

This post brought to you by Pontiac

Spy Hunter was far and away my favorite arcade game when I was younger. And this live-action version featured in a commercial for Pontiac brings a huge smile to my face every time I see it. Though I have to say: if you had asked me which make of car should represent the Spy Hunter vehicle, "Pontiac" would not have been the first name to leap to mind. Or the second. Or the tenth.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Basketball and Reaper

I'm not too into the whole March Madness thing, especially when my alma mater isn't in the mix (and they usually aren't), but I'm keenly interested in one of the games tonight. My adopted home team, the Texas Longhorns, go up against the archenemies of all that is good and right, the Stanford Cardinal (boo! hiss!). Pray, all of you! Pray to your gods that the Longhorns triumph over the vile, despised Cardinal! Hook 'em Horns!!

Let's see, what's going on in TV? I'm in withdrawal from Lost (next new episode: April 24), which I think has been tremendously entertaining this season, but I'm still enjoying my only other Thursday night TV pleasure (at least until 30 Rock and the other NBC sitcoms return -- what's the deal with that?): Reaper. Yes, really!

It's been... I was about to say "up and down in quality," but that's really not quite right. It's been going at a pretty consistent level of quality most of the year (solidly amusing), when it's really my interest that's been going up and down. It's been a little frustrating, waiting to see if Reaper was ever going to kick it up a level to become essential viewing. And this week's episode, I think, made that step. The relationship between Sam and Andi finally made some headway, what with her professing her feelings to him and the kissing and whatnot, though the return to basically the same status quo at the end of the show (in the style of the ending of the first Spider-Man movie) wasn't unexpected. But it's the relationship between Sam and the Devil that's truly fascinating. Over the past few episodes, the back and forth between Sam and Ray Wise's brilliant portrayal of the Devil, which is always the best part of the show, has deepened in twisted ways; the Devil seems to regard Sam as a real friend, while simultaneously showing him a darker and more malevolent side than we've seen before. The additions of Cady, the (maybe) daughter of the Devil, as Sam's girlfriend (seemingly now his ex), and Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino as Sam's gay demon neighbors, who are apparently plotting to take down the Devil, have been welcome signs that there is an actual overall story being told here, that there is a mythology that is being created and developed, which will hopefully elevate the show beyond its predictable bad-guy-of-the-week routine. A lot of new potential is being revealed, and I'm very happy with that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lyrics Quiz Update

All 20 lyrics have now been correctly guessed! Well done, people! Especially Scott Tacktill and ArizonaTeach, whom I discovered had nailed the last two answers for #7 and #11 just before I was about to give up and post the answers myself.

Well played, all, but special congratulations to Johnny Bacardi, who reigned triumphant with five correct answers! Impressive. Most impressive.

Next time I do this (and I will do it again, sometime -- I really enjoyed it), I'll have to give a little advance warning, so everyone's aware when to check in and play along. Probably it'll be on the weekend, since leaving the entry un-updated as the correct answers rolled in while I was at work was kind of lame.

Meanwhile, I watched the Britney Spears episode of How I Met Your Mother, and it was surprisingly not completely awful. I didn't know Sarah Chalke was also going to be in the episode, and I adore her, so that helped. But Britney played her minor role well enough, and even got a big laugh from me in her final exchange with Barney (though by no means was she good by the standards of actual actors), and the writers used her wisely, downplaying the flashiness of her appearance by casting her in a non-flashy supporting role. And the rest of the episode was decent, with the best moments coming courtesy of Barney's tricking Ted into growing a mustache (loved the assist from Robin on that one; those two really work well together. Robin and Barney have to hook up sometime soon, don't you think?), and Marshall's forecast of his lunch ten weeks into the future ("Sloppy Joe, shrimp cocktail, milkshake").

Looks like the Britney gimmick worked: another solid ratings performance for this episode. I'm gonna call it early: I think a fourth season is in the bag. Huzzah!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Britney Spears will guest-star on How I Met Your Mother tonight. I can't wait to see how awful it is.

Good news for you other HIMYM fans out there: last week's episode, the first new one after the strike, apparently got great ratings, going a long way toward insuring a fourth season for this tremendously funny show. Woohoo!

Also: thanks for playing along with the Lyrics Quiz yesterday! I'm definitely going to have to do it again, because I had a lot of fun with it. There are still two unguessed lyrics remaining, #7 and #11. I knew 7 would be tough -- if you don't know it instantly, you'll never get it. But 11 is from a song I'm sure you've all heard, by one of the most popular rock bands ever. I have faith someone will guess it by tomorrow (which is when I'm going to call a close to the contest and reveal any unguessed answers).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lyrics Quiz

Hey all. I'm looking to awaken a bit more audience participation on this here blog, so I'm going to take a shot at something SamuraiFrog's been doing for a while: a lyrics quiz. I give you a line from a song, you give me the title and artist. Give the most correct answers, you win a million dollars. Or I will post your name as the winner. Whichever.

This is also partly inspired by the fact that I unpacked my record player today, and have been digging on '70s and '80s vinyl for about eight hours straight. Man alive, I have missed my records. I can't even properly express to you how happy the pops and hisses of analog music have been making me feel all day.

So all the lyrics are directly from my record collection, which, as I said, is primarily of the '70s and '80s rock variety. Not all, but primarily. Looking over the quiz, I feel like it's way too easy, but I think that's because I just listened to all these songs; maybe out of context, as they will be for you, I'd have a tough time nailing them down. Well, a couple of them I'd know anywhere, but those songs will probably be the toughest for you.

Leave your guesses in the comments. Make sure you're not repeating an answer already given. Hope you play along. And if you use Google to cheat, you will burn in hell for all eternity. God told me so!

1. "What the hell is wrong with you tonight? I can't seem to say or do the right thing." Joe Jackson, "It's Different For Girls" (Noel Murray)

2. "Rain comin' down and the roof won't hold 'er, lost my job and I feel a little older, car won't run and our love's grown colder." Hoyt Axton, "Boney Fingers" (Ted Houseman)

3. "We'll come again next Thursday afternoon; the in-laws hope they'll see you very soon." Elton John, "Madman Across the Water" (Johnny Bacardi)

4. "They say that these are not the best of times, but they're the only times I've ever known." Billy Joel, "Summer, Highland Falls" (Noel Murray)

5. "Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid exits into daylight, spraygun hid." Genesis, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (Johnny Bacardi)

6. "Work hard, boy, and you'll find one day you'll have a job like mine." Cat Stevens, "But I Might Die Tonight" (SamuraiFrog)

7. "They don't give a shit Keith Moon is dead. Is that exactly what I thought I read?" Pete Townshend, "Jools and Jim" (Scott Tacktill)

8. "Is it any wonder I'm null and void?" Styx, "Too Much Time on My Hands" (Gordon)

9. "You shouldn't come around here singing up at people like that -- anyway, what you gonna do about it?" Dire Straits, "Romeo and Juliet" (Davinder)

10. "And the choice is up to you 'cause they come in two classes." ZZ Top, "Cheap Sunglasses" (Johnny Bacardi)

11. "Burns like a red coal carpet, mad bull lost your way." The Rolling Stones, "Gimmie Shelter" (ArizonaTeach)

12. "Hey, callin' it your job, ol' hoss, sure don't make it right, but if you want me to I'll say a prayer for your soul tonight." John Mellencamp, "Rain on the Scarecrow" (Noel Murray)

13. "And he raped her and killed her, then he took her home." Warren Zevon, "Excitable Boy" (Johnny Bacardi)

14. "I got up to wash my face; when I come back to bed, someone's taken my place." Simon & Garfunkel, "Cecilia" (Johnny Bacardi)

15. "Nine o'clock this morning she left without a warning." Huey Lewis & the News, "Heart and Soul" (Gordon)

16. "Then I got Mary pregnant, and man, that was all she wrote." Bruce Springsteen, "The River" (Noel Murray)

17. "You lie awake and you think about the girl, and never ever think of counting sheep." Frank Sinatra, "In the Wee Small Hours" (Gordon)

18. "Yesterday a child came out to wonder, caught a dragonfly inside a jar." Joni Mitchell, "The Circle Game" (Roger Green)

19. "It's magic, it's tragic, it's a loss, it's a win." Faith No More, "Epic" (FxHx)

20. "And it's hard, so hard to take; there's no escape without a scrape." The Cars, "You Might Think" (spencer)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tom takes his fandom too seriously

Word is, MGM has plans to reboot the RoboCop franchise. Which, in all likelihood, means a remake that will totally suck due to a complete lack of the witty satirical edge and awesomely uncompromising violent action of the original. You know, kind of like RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3.

I only have this to say: back off, MGM. Don't ruin a classic with a humorless, moronic, watered-down Michael Bay-type quick-cut blurry CGI crapfest remake. Or else, I will be very mad. I'm not saying this is what will happen to you:

But I'm not saying it won't happen, either.

Now, excuse me; I'm going to go watch RoboCop. For the 2,587th time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I continue to demand that you buy my comics

Because I haven't harangued you with my eBay items for a while, here's a three-fer:




As per usual, I expect you to make me wealthy beyond my mildest dreams with your lavish and frequent bidding. Note: "mildest" is not a typo.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lost: "Meet Kevin Johnson"


Michael Dawson has come unstuck in time.

The reason I'm paraphrasing that famous opening line in reference to tonight's Lost is because of a subtle hint dropped in the background of the episode. During the scene in which Michael tries to kill himself with the gun in his apartment, his TV is tuned to a game show. And just as Michael pulls the trigger, you can hear the game show host ending a question with, "...Slaughterhouse-Five?" A contestant then buzzes in and replies, "Um, is it Kurt Vonnegut?" The host then continues, "Correct! And to triple your puzzle points in the next round: can you give us the name of the book's protagonist?"

That would be Billy Pilgrim, Chuck. But we don't get that answer, because a news bulletin interrupts the show to report on the discovery of the (fake) wreckage of Oceanic 815. The survivors of which flight now inhabit an island which, apparently, is unstuck in time.

Nice. Very nice. I wonder if that was the work of comics luminary Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight), who co-wrote the episode. I'd like to think it is.

Not a lot of forward momentum in this installment, but I still enjoyed it a great deal. I liked seeing Michael again, and learning the story of his time off the island (which wasn't tremendously revelatory, but at least established that Walt is still supposed to be ten years old, however old he is when he appears to Locke in visions). And I loved seeing Cynthia Watros return as Libby, even if it was only in a couple of brief vision-cameos. As soon as I saw the "previously on" teaser at the top of the show, recapping Libby's death at the hands of Michael, I started hoping she would somehow show up in his flashback (or flash forward, or whatever). And when I saw Watros's name in the credits, I cheered. (Figuratively.) But we're still not finished with her, are we? There are a lot of hanging plot threads on this show. A lot. But for me, the biggest, the one that bugs me the most, is the flashback which showed Libby occupying the same insane asylum as Hurley, pre-flight. What the frick was up with that? Hopefully, Watros will keep returning until we've gotten that resolved.

And for all the time on the ship, with Michael and his flashback, the biggest shock happened on the island at the very end: it appears Ben's love for his adopted daughter Alex isn't quite as all-encompassing as everyone had presumed. It appears (though, as always with this show, looks may be deceiving) that he sent her into a trap in which he had her boyfriend and her biological mother murdered, and her own survival is by no means guaranteed. Also: Danielle is dead?!? Looked pretty final to me. Dang! Again, though, looks may be deceiving. Seems like a little too abrupt and ignominious a death for one of the longest-running and most important supporting characters on the show.

Worst news of the night: no new episodes until April 24. At which point, there will only be five new episodes remaining in the season. Bummer. At least Battlestar Galactica will be here soon to help me fill the absence. That dark absence. That deep, dark, crushing absence which manifests as a bottomless pit in the middle of my soul. You know what I mean.

Season premiere: April 4

The cast of Battlestar Galactica appeared on Late Night with David Letterman tonight, reading the Top Ten list, "Top Ten Reasons To Watch the New Season of Battlestar Galactica." (Thank you to Sean Collins for alerting me to that fact.) This made me very happy. (Although Dave's forced pretense that he knew who the hell they were and what show they were from made a little sadness bubble inside my happiness: "It's a very, very popular program, the Battlestar Galactica," he prefaced, as one dude in the audience went, "Yeah!")

FYI, the list, with the characters as introduced by Dave [and the actors in brackets]:

10: Chief Petty Officer Tyrol [Aaron Douglas]: "In the dramatic season opening episode, we save 15% by switching our insurance to Geico." (Dave: "Whoa! Are you kidding?")

9: D'Anna Biers (note: Dave calls her "Diana Biers") [Lucy frickin' Lawless!]: "You'll find out what's in the hatch and who gets off the island -- crap, wrong show." (Dave: "Really?")

8: Dr. Baltar [James Callis]: "My character creates his own line of 'Honey Roasted Space Nuts'."

7: Lt. Sharon Valerii [Grace Park]: "What else are you going to do, read a book?" (Dave: "Yeah, exactly, exactly.")

Dave: "Number 6: Number 6" [Tricia Helfer]: "There's a good chance you'll get to see me naked." (Dave, "Oh, really, is that right?" Also: seen it, but hell, I wouldn't mind seeing it again, if that's how things work out, organically developing by way of the story and whatnot.)

5: Col. Saul Tigh [Michael Hogan]: "There's a good chance you'll see me naked."

4: Cpt. Lee Adama [Jamie Bamber]: "New FTL drives will allow the Colonial Fleet to better adjust to gravitational variations and achieve maximum superluminary travel to outrun the pursuing Cylon Basestars -- I don't know what the hell I'm talking about." (Dave, barely heard: "I don't either." Special nerd note: the captions say "superluminal" rather than Bamber's spoken "superluminary.")

3. Starbuck [my future widow, Katee Sackhoff]: "We engage in a life-and-death battle against evil robots... you know, same shit as last year." (Awesome. Though, of course, "shit" is both bleeped and blurred in the captions. Dave: "Wha-hey!")

2. President Laura Roslin [Mary McDonnell]: "I take on the most challenging task of my political career -- doing a lame Top Ten list on a third-rate talk show." (For the record: McDonnell's grin as she finishes is adorable. Dave: "I heard that. I, I'm sitting right here, for God sakes."

Dave: "And the number one reason to watch the new season of Battlestar Galactica, Admiral William Adama" [Edward James Olmos]: "Watch me lead us into war against the Cylons without an exit strategy."

Bonus bone thrown to BSG fans: as the cast exits after the list is done, Paul and the band play a passage from "All Along the Watchtower."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Austin Driving Tips

Never ask yourself of another driver on the road, "This son of a bitch can't possibly be that stupid, can he?" Or, "Holy shit, he's not really going to try to do that, is he?"

He can, and he is.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Look At Some Current Sitcoms

I love Parker Posey. I think she's beautiful and tremendously talented. And I loved Gilmore Girls (for the first few seasons, anyway), which was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino.

So why is The Return of Jezebel James, the new show created by Sherman-Palladino and starring Posey, so overwhelmingly godawful?

Primarily it's Posey's fault. She's every bit as miscast spouting Sherman-Palladino's trademark rapid-fire, pop culture-packed, affected, earnestly-striving-for-wittiness banter as Lauren Graham was perfectly cast doing the same in Gilmore Girls. It takes a particular talent to sell that contrived dialogue (and don't get me wrong, when it's sold properly, as by Graham, it can be fantastic), and, while Posey is a woman of many talents, this is not one of them. She seems not to know how to act on television; she seems to have set her acting dials for "sitcommy," and she achieves it in the worst way possible.

Lauren Ambrose is a small spark of life here. Posey, and every other character, appear to be reading a wordy script as accurately as possible before all other considerations; Ambrose makes an effort to create a character and differentiate it from the others. (Seriously, they all sound alike; when an 11-year-old girl archly sneers of Posey's assistant, "That one's dying alone," any semblance of distinct characterization evaporates.)

The second episode was a slight improvement over the first for me, if only for the appearance of the wonderful Dianne Wiest as Posey and Ambrose's mother. She's won two Oscars for Woody Allen films; now this is a woman who knows how to read overly-witty, awkwardly-phrased dialogue. And Posey and Ambrose work better together now that they've overcome the hurdle of setting up the premise of the show. Although I disapprove of other changes from pilot to series: in the pilot, Posey lives in a house, while in the second episode, she's been switched to an apartment, for no reason other than, presumably, to give her weird neighbors with whom to interact awkwardly in the hallway. And the pilot's theme song was Fountains of Wayne's "Yolanda Hayes," while the second episode goes with some nondescript original noodling from Sherman-Palladino fave Grant Lee Phillips. Not a step up.

In other sitcommy news: How I Met Your Mother is back. And the nation rejoiced.

It's been way too long since we've been fortunate enough to enjoy the hilarity of Barney. Seeing him pick himself off the ground from underneath a pile of garbage at the end of the episode, brush himself off, and confidently assert, "I'm awesome" as he struts away... that was worth the wait alone. And I appreciated the forward momentum of the overall storyline of the series, namely: Ted has taken one step closer to meeting the titular mother. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the woman he accidentally, momentarily bumped into and dismissed in the night club turns out to be his future wife. Really, it almost seems too obvious. But if it is her: here is her website (which has not been updated since 2006). And here is a sexy picture of her:

How I Met Your Super Duper Smokin' Hot Mother

You saw it here first. You're welcome.

The Big Bang Theory also returned with a new episode tonight, and I continue to enjoy it on a strictly guilty pleasure level. But I also caught a new episode of The New Adventures of Old Christine tonight, and I was surprised to find how unabashedly enthusiastic I was about it. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as I believe I've said before, and will probably say again, is one of those women who gets more attractive with age. And I like her as an actress more as she ages as well; I find her much more appealing here than I ever did on Seinfeld (and I certainly never disliked her on Seinfeld).

The whole cast is fun to watch. Wanda Sykes has never been better or nearly as relaxed and natural in an acting role (though she's been better as a stand-up). Clark Gregg, as Christine's ex, is an always entertaining foil. Hamish Linklater has an amusingly low-key charm as Christine's stoner-looking brother (who insists he's not a stoner). And Dave Foley, reprising his guest role tonight as a hapless would-be suitor of Christine, was hilarious as always. And I appreciated the level of edginess the writers were able to inject into this CBS sitcom; the entire episode revolved around Christine's efforts to score some weed, and featured such lines as the following, spoken dismissively by Christine while she's stealing from the lost and found box at her gym: "This is like Christmas, without all the giving and the Jesus." I'm not saying it's comedy gold, and I'm not saying it's the return of Lenny Bruce. But it's a refreshingly sharp jab from a laugh-tracked sitcom on the Old People's Network.

Also: Happy St. Patrick's Day! As always, remember: an Irishman is never drunk so long as he can hold onto a single blade of grass, and not fall off the face of the Earth. As I have proven again and again. Slainte!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

SXSW Baby!

Here's what I'm doing today:

This is happening 6 miles from my house.

And this is for free.

Yeah, Austin's pretty fucking cool.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lost: "Ji Yeon"

I'm taking the time to post yet another one of my increasingly irregular posts to talk about tonight's episode of Lost, which was one of the most emotionally powerful episodes the series has yet produced. Spoilers ahead if you haven't watched it; maybe one or two spoilers even if you have.

I have to admit, I guessed the flashback/flash forward twist immediately. I knew Sun was in a flash forward, having been rescued from the island (the pregnant belly was a hint); and somehow I knew Jin was in a flashback the second I saw him, even though it wasn't explicitly spelled out till the end of his flashback scenes. There were hints throughout his scenes, though: his old-style cell phone (as opposed to Jack's ultra-sleek cell phone in the very first flash forward, at the end of last season); his incredibly violent threat to the man who stole his taxi (indicating his thuggish pre-island persona); the mere fact of his separation from (what we were supposed to presume was) Sun when she went into labor, and his stalling over a stuffed animal rather than rushing to her side; and the toy shop proprietor's mentioning of the year of the dragon -- I had to Google the fact that the last year of the dragon was 2000 (Oceanic 815 crashed in 2004), but it felt very obvious to me that the blatant insertion of the year into the dialogue was meant to be a telling detail.

It feels like we haven't had a Sun or Jin episode in a long, long time, and the last time we had one, I felt like I'd had enough of them for a while. But this one just knocked me over. It was absolutely heart-wrenching the whole way through: during the flash forward scenes, when Sun was calling for Jin, and I knew he wasn't going to be showing up; when Juliet spilled the secret of Sun's affair to Jin, devastating both of them; when Bernard had his talk about marriage and commitment on the fishing boat with Jin; when Jin finally forgave Sun, and told her he would never leave her... all tremendously moving. And finally, when we see Sun by herself in the flash forward, and know for sure something must be wrong... when Hurley shows up at her door, as though he's the only friend she has in the world (and maybe he is)... and when Hurley at last says, "I guess we should, like, go see him," I knew where they were going, and I was already fighting back tears. Man, when they got to the gravestone, I just started saying, "Oh, no. Oh, no." They just wrecked me. It really, really worked. I was torn up. Jin doesn't make it. Jin's dead.

The rest of the episode had plenty of nice moments packed into it as well. Back on the boat, we finally get to see Zoe Bell, whose voice we've been hearing through the satellite phone all season. And what does she do almost immediately? She wraps herself in chains, steps off the edge of the boat, and drowns herself. Holy crap! You'd think, after the trouble of teasing her appearance (via the phone calls) for so long, she'd stick around longer than two scenes. Guess not! Nice shocker, guys. And they pulled off a similar shock a couple weeks back, with Fisher Stevens. He's appeared in the main cast credits for every episode this season, despite never being seen. I don't know about you, but I was really looking forward to his showing up. And the first episode he appears in, he dies! They even took his name out of the credits to hammer home the finality of his death. Damn you, Lost! Quit screwing around like that! No, wait, don't. It's things like that which are making this season so freakin' awesome.

Another new appearance on the boat: Captain Gault, whom the rest of the crew (and, presumably, Ben's spy on the boat) have been warning Sayid and Desmond about since the second they set foot onboard. Yet he seems to be the most straightforward of the whole crew. And, if he is as straightforward as he seems, we know Charles Widmore, Penny's father and owner of the boat, was not responsible for the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage discovered at the beginning of the season (as I had been leaning toward); rather, it seems Ben may have been behind it. Interesting. What can't that dude do?

And one more surprise on the boat: the return of Michael. We all knew he was coming back; like Fisher Stevens, his name (well, Harold Perrineau's name) has been in the credits all season long. And we all knew (I think we all knew, didn't we?) that he'd be coming back on the boat, as Ben's spy. Not that he's confirmed as Ben's spy yet, but I'm sure he will be. Now, we just need to find out why he's on the boat, spying for Ben; undoubtedly, it will prove to have something to do with Walt.

A few other nice tidbits: in Sun's flash forward, when Hurley shows up, he asks, "Is anyone else coming?" When Sun says no, Hurley lets out a deeply relieved, "Good." Wow, seems like the rift between Hurley and the rest of the Oceanic 6 is pretty dramatic. Speaking of which, the show's creators have stated that by episode 7 of this season, we would know the identities of all the Oceanic 6. Tonight's was the 7th episode. And we know for sure only five of them: Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, and Sun. Who is the sixth? Are thy counting Aaron (Claire's, now Kate's, child), who wasn't even born when the plane crashed? Or did Ben pose as one of the survivors? Interesting, interesting.

Also, when Sun and Hurley visit Jin's grave, his date of death is 9/22/2004. That's the date that Oceanic 815 crashed. So the story, apparently, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, is that Jin died in the crash. Which makes me wonder... is Jin still alive? Is his grave only a cover story? Are Sun and Hurley at the grave not to visit his dead body (or a marker for his dead body), but rather to use it as a proxy for speaking to Jin directly? Because, for some reason, he's still on the island? Oh, wow, man, wow. Fingers crossed.

Lost is better than ever in this fourth season. Every episode has been full of teeth-kicking twists and turns, and wonderful character moments. After all the hand-wringing (much of it from me) during the beginning of last season over whether or not Lost had lost its direction, there hasn't been a wasted episode from the second half of last season through tonight. This is a show at its peak, and it's absolutely the best show being produced by a broadcast network. I'm so glad my devotion to this show never swayed, even when my bitching about it was the loudest (as I've said many times: no matter what, I'm in till the end), because it is paying off in spades, every single week. Great, great stuff.

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