Disney Live Action: Treasure Planet

Clearly, Disney has had wild success with their live action films. I learned much in MaleficentI cried in Cinderella. I was beautifully transported back to my childhood with The Jungle Book (I watch it over and over and over again). And I had all of my practical questions answered in Beauty and the Beast in the most golden, beautiful way.

What we are finding with these magical live action movies is not that Disney is incapable of producing a new story, but rather;

Disney is using their live-action remakes to deepen and flesh out the stories and characters we are already in love with.

Why is Maleficent so angry? Surely there has to be more going on here than not getting invited to the baby shower? Is there more to a true love’s kiss than meets the eye?

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Why is Cinderella so hopeful? There has to be an answer for it, a moment, a person who motivated her to have that perspective on life despite her circumstances. Is Prince Charming just a pretty face, or is there more to him? Why does the evil stepmother hate Ella?

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Why does Shere Khan hate Mowgli? What is the mindset of a man-cub who has been raised by animals in the jungle his whole life? Does he HAVE to leave the jungle, after all, this is his home and his family?

jungle book

Why is it that Belle finds understanding for the Beast when at first glance they have so little in common? What is it like being raised by a charming but eccentric inventor in a village that looks down on him? Why is Gaston so full of himself? Just how does it feel to be a servant of the prince who has been cursed all this time for a crime you did not commit?

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Disney took these stories from our childhoods and made them 3D. Turns out, there is more behind Maleficent than getting dropped from the baby shower list. Cinderella has an incredibly strong motivation to be who she is. Prince Charming is a real human with a heart, mind, and dreams. Mowgli struggles with trying to find his place in the jungle as he is still a human. Belle doesn’t have a picture-perfect life, she has been ridiculed, mocked, and feels like an oddity. The servants at the Enchanted Castle are heartbroken as they remember days in the sun when music, love, and life thrived, oh how they long for those days to return!

This formula is working. I cannot wait for DumboThe Lion KingAladdin, Mulanand so many more movies to come! I cannot wait!

Along the lines of live-action movies, I have an animated movie suggestion to send Disney’s way for a live-action remake. If you agree with me, let’s try to get Disney’s attention.

That movie? Treasure Planet.

treasure planet gorgeous

No, Treasure Planet is not as well-known as some of the other Disney classics, but in my opinion, it’s an often overlooked gem of a story and a treasure in the storehouse that Disney would do well to bring out into the light.

treasure planet fireTreasure Planet is a “treasure island” story, told in a science fiction/steampunk/space fantasy world. It features a deeply engaging story about Jim Hawkins, a fatherless boy in search of adventure and meaning. He falls in with charming rogue John Silver, a pirate with a bigger heart than he cares to admit.

 

treasure planet

This story deals with fatherlessness (something a huge majority of our world is facing), responsibility, betrayal, bravery, maturity, honesty, mentorship, fatherhood, and choosing to become someone better on behalf of someone you love. It has deep, rich themes, made even richer by the colorful and exotic world that it’s placed in. Just LOOK at this world!

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treasure planet ship

Can’t you just imagine how beautiful this movie would be live-action? In the hybrid-filmmaking that combines beautifully crafted, physical sets with rich, intricate CGI? Can’t you just see the solid wood of the airship, the rough ropes, the creak of the many metallic costume pieces and props, mixed with a glorious CGI sky full of clouds, stars, and planets? Then we add in colorful characters from all across the galaxy, ship captains, inn-keepers, scientists, treasure hunters, and pirates! And ground it all with our deeply engaging and heart-rending character, Jim Hawkins.

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This idea is even more plausible to me now that we have discovered Tom Holland. Can you think of anyone more perfectly suited to play the raw, untrained-yet-eager-innocent and sympathetic Hawkins? Nope, it’s like Tom was born for the role.

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Beyond the role of Jim Hawkins being given to Tom Holland, I’m open to any other casting. But. This. Is. Perfection.

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This movie live-action would draw new fans from an audience who hadn’t even seen the 2002 animated movie. It would be that beautiful.

Do you agree with me? If so, share all over and let’s make some noise and let Disney know what the people want. They have a treasure in Treasure Planet, and I for one want to explore this rich story/world deeper.

#liveactiontreasureplanet 

 

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Star Wars: Every Story in the Galaxy

Back in the 1970s a creative guy named George Lucas made a little movie called Star Wars.

No one expected it to be a big thing. Sir Alec Guinness (who played the original Obi-Wan Kenobi) acted in the film because he’d always wanted to be a “children’s movie”. 

At best, they thought they might make a sci-fi cult classic that would gather a small but fierce following who met in basements and had mini-conventions. That was all they expected.

This is what happened instead…

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The world exploded, and we have never been the same since.

Why is Star Wars so popular? I had a friend of mine ask me a question along these lines recently. She’s an adult with grown children, and not super into many movies. But she loves Star Wars. “What is different about Star Wars?” she asked.

I could list hundreds of reasons why Star Wars is all that and a bag of credits, but we don’t have time for all of that today. Instead, I’m going to list the biggest reason I think Star Wars has resonated so deeply with millions of people internationally for generations.

Star Wars tells us every classic, cliche story we’ve ever heard, but they do it in an unforgettable way.

Star Wars is one of the most cliche-ridden sagas ever. We started our journey with a young hero possessing a unique “ability”, the old sage mentor, a rogue with a big heart, a princess, and a cute animal (or droid) sidekicks.

Original trio

They joined forces with the underdog (the Rebellion) and go up against Goliath (Darth Vader and the Empire). The hero uses his unique abilities at just the right moment to destroy the story’s greatest threat against all odds.

It’s not the first time this story has been told. Star Wars borrows from many classic stories, established religions, and other known influences. And yet, the world exploded.

See, we “complain” about cliches, stereotypes, and classics. But there is a reason those things became so well known. It’s because they are real, and we experience them on a regular basis.

Star Wars tells us all of the old stories. An underdog story.

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A redemption story.

Luke and His father

People bravely fighting against all odds for a better future.

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Questions about free will.

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Darkness vs the light. Free will vs destiny.

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The danger of allowing your emotions to be manipulated.

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Mentorship. Family. Friendship. Growing up with grace in times of hardship.

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Choosing to not give into victimhood, but instead to stand on your own feet.

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Making the hard choices. Becoming a part of something bigger than yourself.

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Stormtrooper Finn

Learning what true leadership is.

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And on, and on, and on.

And these classic stories are told in the most exciting and colorful way. With spaceships, planets, aliens, blasters, lightsabers, dark and light, good and bad. They are told with heart, with humor, with a connected history, a force that binds all of these stories together. With characters that feel like old friends.

Star Wars tells our stories.

I love our galaxy. I love the characters, the history, the messages, the hope. The fact that by now generations of families have all gotten to enjoy the same world and story as it is continually told. I love it all.

Happy May the 4th, may the force be with you!

Real Women: Jyn Erso (Rogue One)

6 Ways that StarWars: Rebels Differs From StarWars: The Clone Wars

 

Lost In Space: Storytelling Done Right

Is anyone else kind of obsessed with Netflix’ remake of the old 1960’s sci-fi show Lost in Space? *warning, slight spoilers ahead*

I didn’t know much about the show until I saw a preview at the movie theater. It looked shockingly interesting. As soon as I saw the first episode I was hooked. Lost in Space is one of the best TV shows I have come across in a long time, and I’ll tell you why.

Lost in Space is visually gorgeous, both the sets and the CGI are amazing. It nails the science/fiction part every single time. It has intrigue. A shadowy timeline. A colorful world. There is so much material for new plot threads that I am confident this show has a long and prosperous future ahead of it.

But none of the reasons I listed above are the core of why Lost in Space is such a phenomenal show. There’s another, more encompassing reason.

Lost in Space is storytelling done RIGHT!

The opening sequence of the pilot episode drops us into action almost immediately. We see the Robinson family seated around their “table” playing a game of Go-Fish. Sounds normal, right?

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Actually, no. The normalcy of a casual family game night is starkly contrasted by the fact that the family is wearing space suits and strapped to their seats in a ship that appears to be plummeting out of orbit onto some unknown planet’s surface.

How did they get there? Why is their ship crashing? Are they the only people in this corner of the galaxy? Is this just normal and terrifying landing procedure?

These immediate questions are grounded with a few layers of underlying tension that we are immediately shown between the characters. John Robinson is at odds with his children, especially his strong eldest daughter Judy. His wife Maureen is calm and collected, but there is a coolness in her manner towards him. Clearly, there is something going on in this family, but what is it?

We don’t have time for answers, because our ship is crashing, straight into an iceberg and cold, icy waters! The family makes it out into an ice cave, but their equipment is still inside their submerged ship and they are going to need extra help to survive the cold night.

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More family tension. The youngest Will (I adore this child) is the only one small enough to fit into the jammed hatch at the top of the ship. But he’s afraid, never fear! Brave big sister Judy is here! Judy plunges into the waters against her father John’s commands (again, what happened to this family) and attempts to retrieve equipment herself. Problem is, she is unable to get out of the icy water before it freezes over, trapping her in the thick ice just inches from the surface.

*cue panic attack* Claustrophobes know what I mean right here.

Maureen has a severely damaged leg, but her brilliant mind is still trying to work on behalf of her family. Still, her usefulness is compromised. Judy is trapped in the ice with several hours of air left in her suit, no amount of spunk or gumption is going to get her out of this mess. John is trying to keep himself to together while he attempts to free Judy, but he feels like he’s failing yet again. Will feels guilty that his beloved older sister is trapped because of his “weakness”, something you get the inkling he believes about himself a lot. Penny exhibits much of the lost behavior that is often attributed to middle children, she’s falling through the cracks yet again and doesn’t know how to contribute.

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This is a brilliant setup. Want to know why?

The best stories in any genre are always character driven. 

In just a few short moments, we already know important details about the Robinson family, the people who are the heart and soul of this show. We are given hints of their strengths, but we are more clearly shown their weaknesses in this beginning. We see how these weaknesses are not only affecting them as individuals but especially as a unit. We are put right there in their shoes, we feel their panic, their anger, their confusion. We feel the weight of every problem facing them right now, and at the same time, we have so many questions.

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This is how you tell a story without using the infamous “info dump” that so many storytellers make the mistake of using. An audience doesn’t need every detail to fall in love with a character and their story, they just need the right details and they are hooked. We were shown the heart of Lost in Space immediately as we are introduced to the Robinsons’ humanity and immediately given a chance to root for their success.

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I am pleased to say Lost in Space follows this pattern for the entire series. We are never given an information dump, we have to fight for the reveal of every piece of info we ever get, but we still don’t feel cheated in the waiting for those reveals.

Lost in Space strikes the perfect balance between the past and the present. We spend most of our time in the present, our immediate problems. Unknown robots. Fuel-eating eels. Mysterious characters who hide their true colors. Strange beasts. And above all, a need to get back on track.

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Much like real life, the Robinsons and all other characters have to stay in the moment, even as pieces of the past are revealed, and old wounds are dealt with.

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We already know that we are rooting for these Robinsons. We can’t help it. Not only are they our heroes, but we understand them on a human level. John aches over the time he missed with his family but really feels at a loss for how to repair that damage. Maureen is a red-headed Wonder Woman, is there anything she cannot do? But she’s lacking, there is something missing. Judy doesn’t know how to let herself fall apart, but she also knows she’s not fine. Penny is taking it one day at a time, but she still feels lost. Will wonders if he will ever be more than a failure and a weakling.

Other characters throw in unique problems and questions. Dr. Smith still blows my mind, I never know what to expect next. I have never seen a character quite like her, and she scares me more than 85% of the villains on screen.

 

 

 

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Don West’s I-couldn’t-care-less facade is quickly derailed by his adorable acts of compassion. He grows more endearing by the episode, and I am a huge fan of his precious chicken Debbie.

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Among all of these questions, theories, hidden histories, and secrets, one thing is starkly clear to us. This family needs to fix the fault lines within their circle. They need each other to survive. We can see who they are, how much they love each other, and how powerful they are as a unit, therefore we root for unity to be restored.

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Season 1 ended perfectly. We saw the Robinsons overcome, and reunite, and we saw the power of that newfound strength and unity.

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Maureen is smart and powerful, but she is even better when she has other strong people like her husband John at her side. John has failed to be there for his family in the past, but he’s here now and he’s never leaving again. Judy learns that it is not a weakness to be human, to not be okay sometimes, and her experiences simply feed into her already fierce compassion. Penny is not falling through the cracks, she’s a glue that holds her family together. She has a place and a purpose. And Will, sweet, kind Will learns what we have seen since the very beginning, Will is incredibly brave.

As this family repairs itself, they make a difference not just for themselves, but for those around them. Every other character is delivered because the Robinsons are together again. We started this story seeing the Robinsons’ greatest weaknesses and broken places, and we end Season 1 seeing them thriving with their combined strengths.

Robinsons stick together.

Season 1 was tough for this family. They barely hung on, but in the end, they stuck together and it changed the story for everyone. Considering that cliffhanger we were left on, this united front is going to be vital for the family’s survival going into Season 2. They are up against some terrifying unknowns, but so long as they stick together, they are going to be okay.

The writers of Lost in Space made sure that no matter where this story takes us, we would have one solid thread, the Robinson family. They are our core, our heartbeat, our purpose. We are rooting for them all the way, and no matter what colorful, frightening, or bizarre events they face in future seasons, we know we can always count on one thing….

….Robinsons stick together.

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That’s storytelling done right, my friends. Now, who else is ready for a Season 2?

Lost in Space Season 1 is Currently Streaming on NetflixIf you want a cleaner version for your family, Lost in Space is also available for filtered streaming on Vid-Angel

 

 

 

The Flash: Dear Ralph Dibney

I didn’t like you.

For 4 seasons of The Flash I have wondered why it seemed like the criminal underworld got the mega-share of metahuman gifts, seriously, didn’t any nice, normal people get hit with the dark matter and decide to help out like Barry Allen? Sure, we had a few nice ones get hit. But they appear and are usually dead in the same episode, so, they didn’t count.

And then we got Ralph Dibney. Gross, self-piteous, self-focused, dirty-minded Ralph Dibney. Really? THIS is the one we get to keep? Why in the heck couldn’t Julian have stuck around for another season?!? You actually made Joe puke, and I agreed with his assessment.

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Ralph, sir, you made yourself so hard to like. You were a mess. I hated it when you made off-color comments about women. I hated it when you ate gross food. I hated your extraneous banter. I hated the establishments you loved to frequent. I hated your self-absorbed attitude about how your life had turned out. I was delighted when we had an episode where you were mysterious “out of town” or otherwise occupied. I hated it all, and I still do.

I. Did. Not. Like. You.

Dear Ralph Dibney, I’m going to miss you.

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I know, I never, EVER expected those words to come out of my mouth. You had managed to take me beyond indifference for an unlikable “good guy” character and make me actually wish you were gone! But now that you are, all I want is for you to come back.

‘Cause here’s the truth, Ralphie-boy, even when I still didn’t like you, you started to make me proud of you.

I was proud of you when you saved someone even if it meant letting the bad guy “get away”.

I was proud of you when you decorated for Christmas, even if your taste in decorations is atrocious.

I was proud of you when you encouraged Joe to stay true to his moral standards and not plant false evidence at the DeVoe’s house to save Barry.

I was even prouder of you when you choose to step up and protect Caitlin and Cisco from the Prankster’s acid, even if it meant you died a horribly painful death.

I ached for you and was proud of you when tried to help Izzy, when you didn’t turn away from her pain but rather embraced it. I saw the heroic, protective, kind heart you had hidden under the slime, and I was proud.

But Ralph, when you sat and told Barry what you were afraid of, that you didn’t fear losing your own life, you feared losing the people you loved. When you looked him in the eye and said with passion,

I would walk into a furnace for them….they’re mine! DeVoe can’t have them!

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Ralph, at that moment, I wasn’t just proud, I didn’t just ache, Ralph, at that moment I LOVED you. You did it, you won me over. I loved you so much I couldn’t even believe I was there, but I was.

And now you are gone. Just when I loved you, you are gone. You died looking at Barry and thanked him for the gift he had given you, and my heart broke.

How did you do it, Ralph? I’ll tell you how.

We are all broken people. So many of us are unlikable, smarmy, gross, self-absorbed, jerks. Without help, many of us stay there. But someone saw you, Ralph, for who you could be, and your story took a different turn.

Love empowers. But I’m not talking about just any old brand of “love” that gets sold as lust and chocolate. No, I’m talking about real love. Real love sees someone, no matter where they are at, and sees who they can be, and that kind of love never lets go. That kind of love can happen to anyone, it’s not confined to romantic relationships. That kind of love crosses colors, nations, boundaries, personalities, and any other obstacles that get put up. That kind of love changes people.

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It changed you, Ralph. You couldn’t even believe it, not for the longest time. Someone actually cared about you? About slimy, worthless, failure-ridden-old you? They cared more about you than you cared about yourself. When you fell down, they picked you up. When you made a mistake, they forgave you. When you hurt, they hurt with you. When you didn’t feel like a hero, they told you that you were one and gave you the strength to become that person.

It changed me too, Ralph. I believe in the power of Love to change, this kind of love anyways. Love came down and saved me at the Cross regardless of how unworthy or unlikable I was.

But it was nice to be reminded, I needed to be reminded.

You died a hero, Ralph; you died a changed person. You died knowing you were loved, and you died giving your life for the people you loved. Someone offered you something that no, you didn’t “deserve”. But that’s not how true love works, love keeps giving even when we don’t deserve it. And choosing to accept that love changes us.

It changed you, Ralph. And it touched me.

Dear Ralph Dibney, I wish I had seen you sooner. I wish we had more time. I don’t know if you will be brought back or not, that episode seemed pretty final. But I had to thank you, I had to thank you for reminding me of something so precious.

You reminded me to look beyond the book cover. To see beyond the unlikable. And to love first.

Goodbye, Ralph. You made a difference and watching how your story progressed encouraged me to keep making a difference as well.

Dear Ralph Dibney, you will be missed.

hero ralph

Timeless Season 2: The War to End All Wars

*warning, many spoilers a good amount of Lyatt gushing ahead*

Last night we rejoined our Time Team with a bang! The only episode in Season One that came even close to that level of intensity for me might have been Episode 11: The World’s Columbian Exposition. But even that episode could not compare to the intensity of last night’s Season 2 debut.

First we are given an epic recap of last season to the tune of Imagine Dragons “Believer”. Can you say chills?

As with all of our Timeless episodes, we are given a small taste of our historical destination for the episode. We see a soldier desperately searching for “Captain Allbright” among the fallen on a dusty, bloody battlefield. Dog fights are still happening in the skies above. The solider finds his captain still alive, but wounded, he hurries off to find a vehicle, leaving the captain behind. Captain Allbright pats his jacket, appears to panic, and searches the ground desperately for a fallen item. He finds a small pouch beneath the dead solider behind him, inside is a cellphone?!? Clearly there is something off about this scene.

Next we are dumped directly back into the center of the action. Wyatt and Rufus are rocking the 70’s duds, wondering where Lucy is. She wouldn’t miss this mission to get her sister back. A puzzled and slightly concerned Wyatt calls Lucy yet again, and we are shown a stomach churning image of her discarded phone ringing on the floor amidst the wreckage of some kind of altercation, next to a broken bottle and a puddle of blood. 

Before Wyatt and Rufus have time to even get further, Wyatt spots a very wrong looking canister, with a blinking red light. Everyone and their dog knows what that means. We zoom outside to see Mason Industries erupt in an orange fireball.

Fast forward 6 weeks.

We are at some post-apocalyptic looking bunker that has a very Rebel-base-on-Hoth-esque vibe. We see Wyatt’s bare shoulders covered with healing lacerations and burns, but thank heavens his face is intact! You can feel the weight of his anxiety, his anger, his grief, and his helplessness. The level of joy at the end of last season when he chose to stop living in his past, and embrace his future (potentially with Lucy) has now been transferred into an agonizing worry and fear of losing yet another woman he loves.

Wyatt is determined to track Lucy down, it’s his one and only thought. He’s chafing at every delay to repair the damaged Lifeboat.

Rufus seems to be dealing with the situation with a more surface level calm. He has an outlet where he can channel his concern into manually fixing the Lifeboat. But Rufus has deep fears and concerns of his own. His mother and brother think he is dead. Rittenhouse tried to kill him. His former benefactor and boss, Conner Mason is penniless and rather useless at the moment, another one of the fugitives. And while Rufus has the love of his life, Jiya, by his side helping him restore the Lifeboat, she’s regularly being attacked with strange headaches and seizures or visions that no one can seem to explain.

Agent Christopher is attacking the problem with her usual firmness. I would NOT want to cross this woman. She rubs Wyatt the wrong way many times as she appears calloused and uncaring regarding Lucy’s fate. But we all know that Agent Christopher is the Time Team’s link to the outside world, their supply line, and she does care.

Meanwhile, Lucy is trapped with Rittenhouse. We see her dressing herself in proper World War I vogue attire, as she stares at a newspaper article written about the explosion at Mason Industries and the deaths of 22 people. Her beloved guys are gone, she is trapped in Rittenhouse and about to be sent catapulting through history to rewrite the story according to Rittenhouses’ agenda. We sense a coldness in Lucy, a tense desperation.

Lucy, Carol Preston, and Emma (who is a devil woman and scares the living daylights out of me) go back to the Western front in 1918. Their mission? Track down a single wounded soldier, and heal him. Lucy wasn’t given all of the details.

It’s easy to be in the right place at the right time when you have the proper info. The soldier Rittenhouse wants saved is literally brought to the door of the cabin the ladies have been staying in near the Western Front. A concerned young soldier brings his battered and bloody friend in, desperate to find help for him. Emma and Carol get to work on saving the young man’s life, while Lucy pleasantly distracts his friend with conversation. She’s so good at this, kindly engaging on a personal level with new people.

The wounded man is crashing, Emma pulls out a modern defibrillator, and shocks the soldier, scaring his friend into thinking these women are trying to kill his buddy. Emma doesn’t have time for this, she pulls out a pistol and SHOOTS THE POOR MAN IN THE LEG! “You’re a better shot than that, Emma.” Carol Preston says dryly. Can you believe this woman actually raised a child? #cold #notmommymaterial

“I did it on purpose, I think Lucy should take care of this.” A cold Emma hands the soldier’s rifle to Lucy, who is staring at the scene in horror.

lucy and soldier

This moment of the show haunted me. I wanted Lucy to stand in front of the soldier, to shoot Emma instead, to come up with another plan, something, ANYTHING! What actually happened broke my heart, and I do not agree with it. But I also know Lucy was in an impossible situation and felt forced to make a horrible choice, and it’s one she will grieve over the rest of her life.

She picks up the rifle, and shoots the innocent soldier in order to prove her loyalty to Rittenhouse. She goes blank for a moment, the world drowning out around her, until the voice of her mother breaks in, “Are you okay?”

Like you care, Carol! You can prepare to be disappointed next Mother’s Day!

We know our Lucy. We know her big heart, we know something is very wrong for her to have just done this dark deed.

The soldier is full of shrapnel, an x-ray machine is needed. Lucky for our Rittenhouse ladies, Marie Curie and her daughter Irene are contemporaries of this era, and happen to be nearby with their portable x-ray machine. How serendipitous!

Meanwhile, back in 2018 the Lifeboat is working! And bad news, they have tracked the Mothership to the Western Front, where it has been for two days. The look of fear in Wyatt’s eyes rise, that area’s a bloodbath. Thank heavens the mission where we are missing our historian it happens to be one involving military history!

Wyatt and Rufus jump on the Lifeboat, “We are BRINGING Lucy home!” Wyatt declares as they shut the door and jump through time to rescue their girl.

Lucy and her mother, and their armed guard “Mac” have found Marie and Irene Curie. The shared moments of mother-daughter history nerding would be way cuter if Carol Preston wasn’t a sicko. Lucy fears dragging the Curie ladies into the crossfire. Her mask is starting to slip and we see the panic starting to take over. She manages to slip away into the military camp, and seek out a tent where she finds grenades. You can see a half-baked plan form in Lucy’s mind, but as she turns to leave the tent, a hand grabs her from behind.

She whips around to defend herself, only to be brought face to face with Wyatt. She cannot believe he is still alive, and throws herself at him where they have the most delicious hug. The peace and joy in Wyatt’s eyes that he found his girl, safe and well is just overwhelming. Rufus comes in behind him and Lucy eagerly embraces him. The guys want to get out of here, but Lucy is here to stop Rittenhouse. She shows them the grenades and outlines her plan to blow up the Mothership. She was going to do it on her own, but now that her guys are back they can help her out.

time team is back

A shadow falls on Wyatt’s face, “How were you going to get home?” Lucy quiets. “I wasn’t.” You see how that quiet little statement just shatters Wyatt’s heart. She was gonna be trapped in the past, alone and grieving for the rest of her life.

Lucy rushes off to join her mother, leaving the mission of destroying the Mothership in her guys’ hands. We see our old Wyatt spring back to life, he has a mission, his sense of humor is back. Lucy is alive and well, our boy is back!

Wyatt and Rufus attempt to steal a vehicle to drive to the Mothership’s location, only to be caught by “Mac”, and a man we recognize to be Captain Allbright. We feel a cold fear in our gut as our guys are led to a tent, where Wyatt assumes they will simply have to talk their way out of this situation, but Rufus spots Mac going for his gun. “Wyatt!”

The next few minutes are fast-paced and intense as Wyatt and Rufus tag-team a fight. The teamwork chemistry between these two is simply beautiful, and you feel their brotherhood. Together, they defeat the Rittenhouse agents, and find Allbright’s cellphone? What on earth is a WWI captain doing with a cellphone?

The guys finally get to steal their jeep, and share a little personal conversation on their way to destroy the Mothership.

“You’re in love with Lucy, just admit it!” Rufus, calling it like it is! We love you, man! Wyatt balks at this statement, but doesn’t deny it.

Lucy and Irene Curie share a neat conversation about having demanding mothers, but it is clear the Irene adores her mother and their depth of love is real. You can see the longing in Lucy’s eyes, she thought she had that with her mother. But she was so, so wrong.

The Curie ladies use their x-ray machine, but the picture is not very clear. Something is interfering with it. The Rittenhouse ladies give each other a knowing look, but then attempt to send the Curie ladies on their way.

Timeless - Season 2

Lucy’s grip on the situation is slipping. Emma has made it clear that she doesn’t trust “the princess”. Emma has worked her way up through the ranks of Rittenhouse, she “earned” her place, while Lucy rejects her royalty. Cry me a river, Emma. Your rags-to-riches story does nothing for me. Emma and Carol go outside for a private conversation, and Lucy is left alone with the soldier. This goes against every instinct she possesses, but she searches for a means to kill the soldier. If Rittenhouse wants him alive, she needs him dead in order to save thousands of others. Her mother comes in on her just as she is about to smother him with a pillow.

“I was hoping that Emma was wrong.” Carol is disappointed in her daughter, you have no right to be upset, Mother Gothel Rittenhouse! She gives Lucy some baloney about still loving her, being the same woman who kissed her skinned knees, but if Lucy doesn’t shape up she will no longer be able to protect her daughter. If you have a nice mother go hug her now on poor Lucy’s behalf.

She Rittenhouse bundles up their wounded soldier, and start to take him to the Mothership, which is still operational due to the unfortunate fact that Wyatt and Rufus ran out of gas and are running behind.

The Rittenhouse ladies arrive at the Mothership, only to find the Curie ladies on site.

“We wanted to see what was interfering with the machine.” These Curie ladies are too smart for their own good! Emma whips out a pistol, and prepares to murder the women where they stand.

“No!” Lucy pleads with both her mother and Emma, even throwing herself in front of the Curie women. Her mother stands behind Emma (a contrast to Marie Curie, is standing in front of her daughter protecting her, while Carol looks on as her daughter is in imminent danger). Emma has orders from even higher up than Carol, if Lucy interferes she is to be killed. The look of pleasure in Emma’s face is evil.

“Your mother can’t save you.”

“But I can.” Can we get some hero music playing? Wyatt is standing, his gun to the wounded soldier’s head, Rufus standing by at the ready. Lucy’s guys showed up in the nick of time. Emma has her gun to Lucy’s head, but clearly the wounded man is important, Wyatt negotiates, “Let’s both leave here with the people we came for.” He’s not losing this woman.

A tense standoff happens, then Emma releases Lucy who walks towards Rufus. In a last plea, she begs her mother to return with her.

“Come with us, be on the right side of history!” Her mother looks sadly at her daughter.

“Oh, Lucy, this is so much bigger than you or me.” Yeah yeah, *gag*.

Emma has to get one last dig in. She eyes Lucy triumphantly.

“Before you came, I went on a few missions. You are NEVER getting your sister back.” In agony Lucy lunges at the devil woman, but Rufus pulls her back. It’s time to cut our losses and make a run for it.

We go back to the bunker, where Jiya, Agent Christopher, and Conner Mason are waiting. The entire team comes out, quiet and shaken.

Later we see Lucy in sleeping quarters. Her surroundings are very spartan. She’s got her hair down and is wearing plain clothes. She looks so, lost. Wyatt comes in and makes some remarks about “it’s not what you were expecting to come home to”.

Lucy shares her grief over killing the innocent soldier. “If I hadn’t, Emma would have.” Wyatt understands, he doesn’t skip a beat. The weight of her losses and the past six weeks hits Lucy like a wrecking ball, and she bursts into gut-wrenching sobs,

“I’ve lost everything.”

Wyatt comes over and envelopes her in a huge. “You haven’t lost me.” He’s been in her place before, he knows the grief, and he is not going to leave her alone in it. It’s a deeply tender scene, full of deep love and compassion.

lyatt in bunker

Jiya (poor Jiya) walks in on them as we were about to get a #lyatt kiss, but she has important news.

The cellphone the guys found back in 1918 contains a Rittenhouse manifesto, and it’s no bueno. Also, the Mothership went back in time 10 times before the 1918 mission. They have planted sleeper cells throughout time, agents awaiting to be activated to bend history to Rittenhouse’s will. The cold terror of this reality seeps in on everyone present. A name comes up as the writer of the sick manifesto, it’s Nickolas. The soldier Carol and Co saved back in ’18. The soldier who came back in the Mothership.

 

The wounded soldier from WWI wakes up in a modern-day hotel room. Carol Preston is standing over him in current clothing.

“Where am I?” He asks, puzzled by his surroundings.

“You’re with Rittenhouse.” We discover this man, Nickolas, is an important member of Rittenhouse. He believed in the possibility of time travel. And….

“I’m your granddaughter.” Carol says with a smile. Nickolas smiles back, but it’s not a smile that made me feel good.

There is one person the Time Team can turn two who might have some answers. Agent Christopher goes to a top security facility, and enters a cell where we see a chained Garcia Flynn.

“We need to talk.” He gives her one of his signature side looks.

“I only talk to Lucy.”

 

This episode was possible because of all the character groundwork laid in Season 1. The writers took their time to develop our characters, to give them arcs that strengthened them to be able to withstand the heightened darkness and stakes brought in Season 2. They aren’t trying to wrap their heads around time travel and team work any more, that part is now instinctive. Now, it’s a battle for history.

To me, I think Wyatt (Matt Lanter) was the MVP of this episode when it comes to acting.

Timeless - Season 2

His facial expressions, the unspoken words his eyes communicated, and his ability to convey multiple feelings and histories in his scenes blew me away. My favorite moment was when he was comforting Lucy. This wasn’t just a chance to cuddle the lady who has had his heart for a while now, his heart broke for her pain, and he was able to be her rock in that moment because he has walked through that pain himself. His tenderness, compassion, and love in that moment was beautiful.

I cannot wait to see what we have in store, I am so glad to be here, writing about this episode now. Until next week!

Timeless airs on Sundays on NBC at 10/9c. Catch up on Season 2 now on NBC!

Timeless: What Sets it Apart

NBC’s Timeless made history last year after it was resurrected from the “cancelled” grave in less than a week and brought back to life by a vibrant fan base of #clockblockers that refused to let their beloved show be resigned to the TV history shelves.

Why do we love our little time travel show so much? It’s not like it is the first of it’s kind, time travel shows have come and gone throughout the decades (Dr. Who, you’re still here). What makes Timeless stand out? *spoilers ahead*

I’ll tell you why.

It’s not the amazing sets that put you right on the ground of New Jersey, 1937. Or Texas, 1836, or Chicago 1893. Sets that make you feel as if you can smell, taste, and feel the past. Nor is it the costumes that leave this history nerd salivating. It’s not even the incredibly engaging and terrifying plot involving “Rittenhouse” a secret organization who has been arranging history from behind the scenes for centuries.

All of these things are wonderful, but they would fall utterly short if it were not for the true, beating heart of Timeless. That heart is, the characters.

History is the story of humanity, from Day 1 until now. Our good, our bad, our hopes, our disappointments, our triumphs and our failures. Timeless steers it’s viewers through time using the lens of people that we connect with on a soul level. It teaches history the way it should be taught, as a story about people.

Characters are the heart of every story, be it fictional or real. Timeless tells us a magnificent story that brings both fiction and reality together in an unforgettable way. There is little to connect us, in 2018, to the people of past centuries if we only consult dusty history books full of dry narrative and facts. But put a face to those narratives, give me a heart struggle, questions all humanity has asked, and suddenly I cannot look away! Through these character elements, we discover that those of past centuries were people just like us, and their stories come alive in a whole new way that both breaks our hearts and raises our spirits.

Timeless kept their character list focused and simple. We were given 4 main characters who are very skilled, very imperfect and often weak people who were thrust into an unimaginable situation that likely none of us will ever experience. And yet, we were able to understand not only these fictional characters, but also the real life historical figures they bump into along the way.

How did this happen?

It happened when we felt their pain. Their fear. When they asked questions we have all asked. When they laughed, and when they cried. They touched our hearts and we reached out for more.

time team

Lucy Preston (Abigail Spenceris a brilliant historian, a loving daughter/sister, a kind soul and a beautiful woman. She’s not perfect. She makes mistakes, she’s afraid much of the time, and she doesn’t have all of the answers. The dragon that Lucy has to slay in Season 1 comes in the form of her family legacy. She was born into Rittenhouse, a pureblood princess of an evil organization bent upon controlling millions of people. Throughout the season we see both Rittenhouse, and Garcia Flynn whispering things in Lucy’s ear in a oh-so-Emperor-Palpantine way. “This is your destiny, you cannot deny it. This is who you were made to be.” Lucy asks the question, “Can I decide who I will become? Or am I forced to be who they say I am?”

How many of us have asked this question? “Do I have to become an alcoholic like my father?”, “I grew up on the wrong side of town with no guidance and a lot of anger, is this my lot in life?”, “People find me unlikable, am I worthless and destined to be alone?” We’ve all had our devils whispering in our ears, “This is who you are destined to be.” And those whispers paint a picture of someone we do NOT want to be. Lucy’s struggle tugs at my heart, as I am sure it did yours. Her fear is one that I too, have felt.

Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanterthe handsome, protective soldier with a huge dose of regret and survivor’s guilt. He’s a warrior in every inch of his body, strong and capable. But inside his heart is failing him. He sees the ghosts, the ghosts of his fellow soldiers he had to leave behind, the ghosts of “failure”, and the biggest ghost of all, his murdered wife Jessica. Wyatt regularly asks the question, “How can something like my murdered wife be meant to be?” He grieves over the evil in the world and how powerless he feels to stop it. He’s trapped in the past, and no, I am not speaking about being stranded in a past century. Wyatt is mired in the regrets and pain of his past.

Does this ring a bell for anyone else? Show of hands please! We all have ghosts, some bigger than others. It’s easy to become mired in the pain of the past, and we have all cried out, “Why???”

Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrettis a soft-spoken, gentle, shy genius with a crush on his cute coworker Jiya (Claudia Doumit). He also feels zero courage or words to express himself. He jumps at shadows, as well as real monsters. He regularly questions his ability to be the person his team needs him to be. He’s straight-up terrified, feels out of his element, and hears a voice in his head saying, “I’m not strong enough and I can’t do this.”

Ever felt that? *entire world raises hand* Hello, Insecurity! Hello, Fear! There is not a human being on earth that has remained untouched from these very human things.

Garcia Flynn (Goran Visinjica former NSA operative who stumbled upon Rittenhouse by accident, which caused the death of his family and sent him plunging through time to destroy Rittenhouse, by whatever means necessary. Flynn is drowning in grief, anger, and he is consumed by both revenge and a desire to save his family. He performs dark, dark deeds, believing that “The ends justify the means.” He’s a man in horrible pain, doing horrible things to try and relieve that pain.

Flynn is a very vivid, crimson image of us as human beings when we are in a place of raw grief and anger. Even as I rooted for our Time Team to stop Flynn, I still ached for his pain. My humanity cried out for his broken heart. Have you ever had a broken heart that hurt so bad, you wanted to do whatever it took to stop the pain?

These were our vessels, our “Lifeboats” that dropped us right into the middle of human experience. And then these vessels, these magnificent characters took us through time. We saw them experience those of past centuries and decades. And we saw the same humanity in Robert Todd Lincoln, Ian Flemming, Katherine Johnson, Harry Houdini, and so, so many more. We saw the people of history in brilliant colors.

By the end of Season 1, our characters were giants compared to the smaller versions of themselves that they began with.

Timeless - Season 1

Wyatt realized that he was “meant to be here, helping you and saving history”. He faced his grief, his regret, his fear. He’s not completely healed, healing can sometimes take a lifetime. But he is also no longer stuck in the past. He’s moving forward and opening himself up to something new….#LYATTFOREVER

Wyatt has found a hope and a future.

 

Lucy grows bolder. She questions less about what is right and wrong, she plants her feet upon what is right and leads her team forward. She also faces the truth, “I decide who I will be, and I will NOT be Rittenhouse.” She is taking her stand and speaking in the truth of her free will.

Rufus. I think I loved Rufus’ arc the most. He believed himself to be the man cowering in the corner. In his heart, Rufus often still feels this way. But we all, including Rufus, know the truth now. Rufus is a warrior! I triumphed with Rufus every single time he was scared and did the brave thing anyway. We watched the hero be called out of Rufus, and we felt our own spines straighten as we gained courage with him.

Timeless - Season 1

Flynn. No, the ends do NOT justify the means. Flynn came to the place where I believe he hated himself. His heart was now breaking for more than just the loss of his family, it was breaking over the monster he had become. But he did not see a way to change his course. He believed himself to be too far gone.

Lucy didn’t. Lucy slayed her dragon, owned her free will and her right to choose a path other than Rittenhouse. Through that place of strength, and through the honest lens of her own pain and humanity, she reached out a hand in grace and compassion to Flynn and said, “Come on, I’ll give you a second chance.” And he took it. It was beautiful.

Meant to be.

Free will.

We can be warriors.

Second chances are possible.

We are not alone in this world, we don’t have to stumble in the dark of random chance and bad luck. I for one, know Who is at work in my world, He is the Creator and Author, as well as my Friend. I believe in meant to be, and it gives me a hope and a future.

We get to choose to rise above our past pain, our dark legacies, our hopelessness. I loved how Timeless showed how meant to be and free will are not at odds with each other. Meant to be simply means, you’re not alone, and there is a plan. Free will is our ability as thinking, creative beings to make choices in our moment by moment. It’s when these two things align, our free will, and the plan, that amazing things happen. Amazing things, like #LYATT

Timeless - Season 1

We can be braver than we think, and rise to a new level of warriorhood. Can we have a round of applause here? The stories in history that have always inspired me the most are the stories of normal, scared people who had the hero called out of them because of their circumstances. They were faced with an evil, an injustice, an obstacle, and they overcame it. It gives me chills just thinking about it.

rufus

And second chances are real. There aren’t many people in our world who are willing to give second chances. We judge each other based on performances so often that many of us are blinded to the people who are crying out for help, crying out for grace. I believe in second chances, I believe in grace. I am so glad Flynn was given a second chance, and I can’t wait to see what he does in Season 2.

flynn timeless 2

All of the above is hit-you-in-the-gut humanity kind of stuff. And Timeless captured it all while giving us a funny, terrifying, beautiful ride through history. Timeless showed us the people of the past, the present, and what will still be true for our future as human beings. And we loved it.

If you have not already seen Timeless, might I suggest you give it a try? The clockblockers would be happy to welcome you with open arms. And if you are already a fellow Clockblocker, hello, Friend. I cannot wait to join you tonight for Season 2, Episode 1: The War to End All Wars

A review of tonight’s episode will be posted tomorrow. Until tonight, clockblockers! Keep being human!

timeless season 2

Timeless airs on Sundays on NBC at 10/9c 

If you liked this article, you may like this article on Timeless‘ NBC sister show, The Brave, and why we need more of it.

 

Real Women: Jyn Erso (Rogue One)

I imagine most of you have seen Rogue One by now. If not, do not read further as there will be spoilers included. And if you have, then welcome, Fellow Star Wars Fan. We are forever changed after seeing that film.

There is so much to say on the subject of Rogue One, I have several articles waiting in the wings, but for now, I would like to focus on the titular character of the movie:

Jyn Erso.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) joined the annals of Star Wars history as yet another deserving Star Wars leading lady. She owned her role beautifully and brought a level of human authenticity to the Star Wars world that was unlike anything I have yet seen. Not to say that the other Star Wars leading ladies have failed, quite the contrary, but their stories and roles are drastically different from Jyn’s.

Rogue One was such a raw and personal movie that it was only going to succeed if it’s characters were equally raw and personal. Jyn had a brief, but fiercely important role to play in the timeline of Star Wars. And because she played that role so well, she will never be forgotten.

I want to share a few specific things I found deeply attractive about this character, and why I am adding her to my list of real women in cinema.

1. She was scared.

Based upon earlier trailers for Rogue One, I was not at all looking forward to Jyn’s character. To me, she came across as untouchable and sarcastic. In fact, before the re-shoots, I have a feeling that may be closer to Jyn’s original portrayal. But more on that another day.

When the final trailer came out I was delighted to see that she actually appeared to be far more human than I had first believed.

My secondary impression was correct. We first meet Jyn as an innocent child, yet another victim of the Empire’s cruelty that robs her of both her mother and father. She’s a sweet little girl with braids and a stuffed doll that she drops when fleeing the Storm troopers.

little-jyn

As a young woman, you can still see that haunted and frightened look of a child in her huge eyes. She doesn’t walk around with a chip on her shoulder and an exaggerated swagger (she’s no Solo after all). Instead she goes through life with her head down and keeps running. Even when she is “rescued” by the rebels she attempts to flee. Her fighting reactions are that of a cornered animal rather than a fierce warrior.

frightened-jyn

To me, this is far more accurate than if they had made Jyn some fierce and untouchable warrior. She has quite obviously gone through terrifying things, and she just wants to feel safe. She just wants her daddy back. Is there anything more human than that?

2. She was compassionate

One of my absolute favorite moments in this entire movie was when Jyn saves the little girl during the raid in Jedha. She looked at that child and saw herself, and despite the fact that she has a huge survivor’s instinct, her instinct to protect that baby was stronger. Cassian tries to call her back, but she ignores him and runs into the crossfire. She scoops up the terrified little lady and returns her safely to her mama.  As much as that moment frustrated Cassian, he was also deeply attracted to it. Compassion is a rare quality, but it’s also one of the most alluring.

Jyn’s compassion extended further when she learned the truth about the Death Star and was given the information about how to destroy it. Her earlier instinct to get in, get out, and survive is once more overridden by her desire to protect others. Jyn’s heart for others is even bigger than her beautiful eyes. These moments were a beautiful illumination of her true heart, and made her an unforgettable character.

3. She was hopeful

Hope, like compassion, is a rare quality. Jyn has a lot of reasons to stop hoping. She has been haunted and hunted by the Empire since childhood. They have taken everything from her and millions of others in the galaxy. She could just throw her hands up in despair, but instead, she chooses to grab onto hope and charge into battle with it.

Cassian was raised his entire life in this Rebellion. He’s used to sleepless nights, long odds, and big regrets. He doesn’t give up, and yet, even he seems to be awakened in a new way by Jyn’s hope and determination. Jyn’s sweet little quotation during the Rebel council,

“Rebellions are built on hope,”

was actually his original statement. And yet, Cassian’s reaction to her hopeful initiative is like someone coming alive again. It’s as if he is hearing that concept in a completely new, and reachable way. He is going into battle with a fresh countenance and renewed sense of purpose that only Jyn was able to awaken.

jyns-rallying-hope

Hopeful people heal and rally those around them. Hope is like an infectious disease, it cannot help but spread. Jyn’s hope was beautiful and rejuvenating. She rallied an entire organization, a group of incredible and effective individuals around her because of her hope and determination. I have a hard time believing a jaded and sarcastic character would have been nearly as effective.

4. She was beautiful and ladylike

Despite the fact that Jyn was in one, practical outfit, went through multiple battles, killed storm troopers, climbed towers, and did a million other “dirty” things, she was such a lady. Being termed a lady has nothing to do with keeping your clothes clean or staying out of harm’s way, it is an overall bearing and way of carrying yourself in any situation.

Jyn felt so feminine to me. She wasn’t seductive once, she didn’t try to gain attention for herself, she didn’t constantly have to advertise how smart and capable she was. And yet, by the end of the movie during that dreadful and wonderful beach scene, you could see in Cassian’s eyes how much he loved her.

She was not unnecessarily crass and she wasn’t hardened and bitter. She was strong and tender.

Jyn was so, so beautiful. Her beautiful heart and wonderful character came out and clothed her as brilliantly as if she had been a member of Princess Leia’s court. Her daddy’s sweet nick-name Stardust was perfect for this lovely girl, for she sparkled and cast light like a beautiful star.

jyns-face

*****

I loved the character work done with many of the characters in this beautiful and heartbreaking film, and Jyn was one of the finest. Gareth Edwards and Felicity Jones can be proud of what they accomplished with her, she was a wonderful character to grace the screen and I hope we have the privilege of seeing many more women like her in the future.

As I said above, I have more Rogue One articles waiting in the wings. I would love to hear from you all as well. What did you love about the movie? Did you love Jyn Erso as much as I did? What is one thing you thought they incredibly well?

Like Star Wars? Here are a few more articles you might find interesting.

5 Reasons Why Finn Is Still Going to Be a Jedi

6 Ways that StarWars: Rebels Differs From StarWars: The Clone Wars

Why Ezra Bridger Will Ultimately Choose the Light Side