Friday, July 31, 2009
"The Rain Chronicles" [PG] - Book IV
Rain Robinson of ”Future’s End” ends up on Voyager, following her adventures with Tom Paris and Tuvok in late 20th century Earth. Here is Book IV.
LIEUTENANT TOM PARIS - STARDATE 50394.46:
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would find myself torn by three people. Two women and a man. Sounds almost kinky, but it's a hell of a lot more serious than that.
Ever since Rain Robinson managed to sneak aboard Voyager, my emotional state has been in turmoil. When I told her that I had never met anyone like her, I had been serious. Serious, but not completely truthful. I have met another like Rain - B'Elanna Torres. Both are vibrant, intelligent and independent women. Both are also very fascinating. At first, the pair seemed to have one major difference. B'Elanna built walls to keep herself emotionally distant from others. Rain didn't. At least she didn't, until she boarded Voyager.
Once she found herself stuck aboard ship, Rain became distant. Cool. Especially toward me. Back in Los Angeles, she seemed determined to get to know me. Now, Rain barely acknowledges my presence. I don't think she wants anything to do with me and I don't know why! B'Elanna seemed the same as usual. A little distant, yet still friendly. Neither woman seemed interested in romance. And yet, I would gladly accept either of them into my arms.
Where does the man fit into the picture? Well, it's Harry. Quite simply, he does not like Rain. He did at first. But ever since she had caught him unawares with her less than pristine view of the Federation, he has become increasingly hostile toward her. Poor Harry. His view on life, especially life in the Federation always tended to border on the idyllic. Like so many, he considers Earth . . . (sigh) as Paradise. He has never really been aware of the Federation's . . . or should I say, humanity's darker side. And we still have one. I know from experience.
As Harry's friend, I have always tried to make him aware of life's dangers and disappointments as gently as possible. Unfortunately, Rain beat me to the punch (in a not so gentle manner). And in one conversation, came close to shattering Harry's illusions. No wonder he resents her.
Rain's remarks managed to circulate throughout the ship. Some (including the majority of former Maquis) applauded her realistic viewpoint. Others, mainly a lot of 'Fleeters, reacted with as much hostility as Harry did. And there were those like the Delaney sisters who merely accepted Rain's opinions as her own and continued on with their lives. Sensible people.
Did the Captain ever learn about Rain's comments in the Mess Hall? I don't know. Before any of us could find out, the Captain and Neelix had left Voyager to set up trade negotiations with a race called the Tik Tak.
* * * *
RAIN ROBINSON - May 26, 2373:
It did not take Captain Janeway long to learn about my little debate with Harry Kim in the Mess Hall. Who told her? I have no idea. Two days after it happened, she summoned me to her office. What she called her Ready Room.
After I had entered from the corridor, she indicated the empty chair opposite and smiled. "Sit down, Miss Robinson." As I did as she asked, her smile remained fixed upon her face. Most would describe it as warm. Not me. I found it almost wolfish. Hey, what can I say? My instincts were practically screaming at me that this lady was pissed. The Captain continued, "Miss Robinson, I understand that you brought up a certain topic in the Mess Hall, some two days ago. Regarding the Maquis." Her smile lost a touch of warmth.
As calmly as possible, I told her about the discussion between Ensign Kim and me. And how I brought up the Maquis.
She leaned forward - all earnest. "I can understand how the subject might have came up. But you must understand, the subject about the Maquis is very . . . well, very touchy on this ship. At least one-third of the crew are former members of the Maquis, including the First Officer and the Chief Engineer. We've spent at least two years trying to forge two factions into one working crew. And I would hate for our efforts to be disrupted by . . . let's just say careless talk." Another smile touched her lips.
I stared at her. "Careless?"
Blue-gray eyes hardened. "Let's be honest, shall we, Miss Robinson? Aside from what you may have read from the computer database, you really have no knowledge on the Maquis. Do you?"
"I guess not." I paused. "So what are the Maquis about?"
Janeway's eyes flickered. Perhaps she didn't expect me to ask that question. A moment later, she quickly recovered her composure. "If you insist, Miss Robinson. About six or seven years ago, the Federation had just ended a costly war with a species called Cardassians. Realizing that peace was the only way to stabilize the quadrant, the Federation and the Cardassians decided upon a cease fire and agreed to begin talks for a treaty."
She went on to describe the events I had already learned from the ship's computer. The peace negotiations, Cardassia's insistence upon settling the matter of sovereignty in the Demilitarized Zone, the Federation's decision to hand over their DMZ colonies to placate the Cardassians, the colonists' reaction and the formation of the Maquis. Her explanation nearly matched the entries from the computer - word by word. Must be the Federation mantra.
"May I ask you something?" I said, after the Captain finished.
Janeway gave me a wary look. "Yes?"
"When the . . . uh, Federation decided to hand over those colonies to the Cardassians, did they consider how the colonists would react?" She opened her mouth to speak. Not a word came out. Hell, not even a sound. Right then, I knew. "That's okay, Captain," I continued. "You've answered my question."
"No, you don't understand, Miss Robinson." What do you know? She has spoken at last! "The Federation had offered to relocate the colonists on other worlds. And they rejected our offer."
I nodded. "Yeah. I see. Only the colonists didn't want to move. Okay. I get it."
"Miss Robinson . . ."
But I didn't let her finish. "Hey, look Captain. If you're worried that I'll go spreading my opinion on the Maquis, don't be. I'll just find some other topic to discuss. You know . . . like crime statistics on Earth."
A glacial sheen covered Janeway's eyes. She gave me one of those 'you've overstayed your welcome' smiles. "This has been quite an . . . interesting conversation, Miss Robinson. That will be all."
"Yes Captain." I rose from my chair, gave her a nod and quickly left the room, via the corridor.
So, the Federation had offered to relocate the colonists in the DMZ, huh? Now they seemed like greedy landlords, trying to get rid of inconvenient tenants. As I had promised Janeway, I never brought up the subject again. I really didn't have a chance. Janeway and Neelix left Voyage for some diplomatic mission.
* * * *
RAIN ROBINSON - June 6, 2373:
Macroviruses. At least that's what the holographic doctor called the beings that attacked the ship. I personally named the entire incident as 'the Attack of the Killer Fleas'. Or mosquitoes. Judging from a brief glimpse of them, they looked more like mosquitoes.
It had all started when the Doctor went on a mission to respond to a distress call from some mining colony. At least, that's what he told me. He transported to the colony and found several being suffering from some disease. Both he and the First Officer, Commander Cha-ko-tay had thought sending a hologram would be safer. Well, they were wrong.
Like most insects, these macroviruses became attracted to the light - namely the light from the Doctor's holoimage. And he brought them back, upon his return to the ship. I had no idea what was going on, until I heard a loud, buzzing noise outside my quarters. I risked a peek outside and spotted something that resembled a giant mosquito, along the corridor. It only took one look and I immediately went back inside and locked the door.
I am happy to report that I managed to remain hidden from these macroviruses. It seemed pretty easy, hiding myself underneath the bed during the entire incident. I don't know how many hours or days had passed before Captain Janeway and the Doctor managed to destroy the macroviruses. But when the Captain announced "all clear" over the Communications system, it was a hungry and frightened woman who crawled from under her bed. Dammit! Why in the hell did I stowaway on this damn ship? Anyway, the Captain also ordered any crewman still conscious, to report to Sick Bay.
Upon my arrival, the Doctor expressed relief at seeing another being, conscious and walking. He gave me a little medication, by pressing some gray tube he called a hypospray, against my neck. Then the Doctor told me everything about what happened. I don't think he meant to, but like I said - he was relieved to see someone else, aside from Janeway and some ensign named Wildman, conscious and not infected. And the other two women were no where to be seen.
"They are applying the antivirus to the rest of the crew," the Doctor explained. He handed me three of these hyprosprays. I stared at him, questioningly. "These are hyposprays. A twenty-fourth century version of a hypodermic needle. Less painful and more hygienic. All of them are filled with the antivirus and I need you to help apply it to some of the crew. Both the Captain and Ensign Wildman are doing the same. Just press the hypospray against the neck, like I did yours. You can start in the Mess Hall."
With nothing else to do, I agreed to help. The sight that greeted me inside the Mess Hall nearly sickened me. Bodies were strewn everywhere. Bodies plastered with sores, insect bites and some green ooze. However, I came upon another sight that disturbed me even further. I found two of the figures, seated at a table together. Tom and Lieutenant Torres.
What the hell were they doing together? I had heard from Jenny that Tom agreed to serve as the ship's cook, until Neelix's return. And Lieutenant Torres was supposed to be in Engineering. How did they end up sharing one of the tables inside the Mess Hall?
It took a lot of effort on my part to squelch the jealousy within me. Unfortunately, I couldn't fight against the despair. It seemed to me that the sight of them together was an obvious sign that I was never meant to be with Tom. Oh well. Might as well accept it.
END OF BOOK IV
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
This month marks the 75th anniversary of when Depression-era bank robber, John Dillinger, was killed by the FBI in Chicago, Illinois. Below is my review of "PUBLIC ENEMIES", a recent movie on the last year of Dillinger's life:
”PUBLIC ENEMIES” (2009) Review
I must admit that when I first heard about Michael Mann’s plans to film a movie about Depression-era bank robber, John Dillinger, I became excited. It was not the subject that roused my interest. But I found the idea of Mann shooting a movie set during the height of the Great Depression – 1933 to 1934 – rather interesting. It has become a period in U.S. history that has caught my interest in the past five years. And the fact that Johnny Depp and Christian Bale had been cast in the leads as Dillinger and his nemesis, FBI Agent Melvin Purvis, merely increased my interest.
At first, I had assumed that I would love ”PUBLIC ENEMIES”. I assumed that Mann could do no wrong. Then to my surprise, I discovered that the film had received mixed reviews from film critics. From that moment on, I began to harbor doubts about the film’s quality. I never learn. Never. I had forgotten my most important rule about approaching a movie – the only opinion that should count for me is my own. And when I finally saw ”PUBLIC ENEMIES”, I realized that I had to learn that particular lesson all over again.
I want to point out that ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” is not perfect. This does not bother me one bit. Perfect movies are extremely rare. And I suspect . . . not know, but suspect I may have seen one or two in my lifetime. However, ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” is not one of those rare examples of cinematic perfection. First of all, the movie – especially its first hour - seemed to be marred by an uncomfortable number of close-ups by cinematographer Dante Spinotti. This discomfort was especially apparent in action scenes like the prison escape from the Indiana State Prison featured in the film’s opening scene , “Pretty Boy” Floyd’s death at the hands of FBI Agent Melvin Purvis, and John Dillinger’s first bank robbery featured in the film. These close-ups brought back memories of the ones featured in Disney’s ”PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL”.
But at the least the close-ups in the 2003 film were not further marred by quick editing done by Paul Rubell and Jeffrey Ford for this film. Watching their zip fast editing reminded me of those featured in movies like the last two ”BOURNE” films, ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE”, both ”TRANSFORMERS” movies, ”THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3” and ”STAR TREK”. I suspect that this new editing style is fast becoming the new thing in the film industry. Personally, I hate it. I find it cheap and confusing.
I have one last complaint about the film and it has to do with David Wenham’s appearance in the film. The Australian actor portrayed Harry Pierpont, one of Dillinger’s closest friends and a mentor. Yet, he barely spoke a few words in the movie. In fact, he seemed more like a background character than a supporting one. Giovanni Ribisi had more lines in the film and his character, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, had no real close ties with Dillinger. Why did Mann and the two other screenwriters, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman, bothered to include the Pierpont character in the first place? Instead of at least a minor exploration of the Dillinger-Pierpont relationship, the screenwriters reduced Pierpont – Dillinger’s mentor – to a minor character with a few lines.
Now that I have put all of that negativity behind me, it is time to discuss why I had enjoyed ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” so much. Perhaps I am being a bit too subtle. I did not merely enjoy ”PUBLIC ENEMIES”, I loved it. It has easily become my favorite movie this summer. So far. Fast editing and close-ups aside, I must admit that I admire how director Michael Mann handled the movie’s pacing. I was surprised to learn about the criticisms leveled at the movie’s running time (two hours and nineteen minutes) and especially its alleged running time. Personally, I was impressed by Mann’s steady pace. Expecting the movie to be over two hours long, I was surprised to discover that amount of time had passed when the end credits finally began to roll. Perhaps I had been so caught up in the story that I failed to notice the time. Which is a compliment to Mann’s direction . . . at least from me.
Many scenes directed by Man left me spellbound. They include Baby Face Nelson’s murder of a FBI Agent at a hotel ambush set up by Purvis; Dillinger’s press conference inside the warden’s office at the Crown Point Prison in Indiana; his escape from said prison; the FBI ‘s capture of Dillinger’s girlfriend, Billie Frichette; Frichette’s interrogation and beating at the hands of a FBI agent; and Purvis’ conversation with prostitute and brothel madam, Anna Sage.
But there were four scenes . . . actually, two scenes and two sequences that truly impressed me. The first one featured Purvis’ telephone conversation with his boss, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. In it, Purvis tries to convince the irate Hoover that many of their agents are not experienced enough to hunt down the likes of Dillinger and Nelson and that they need to recruit more experienced men . . . like Texas Rangers. Despite the fact that the two actors portraying Purvis and Hoover do not share the screen, the emotion between their characters crackled like flames, thanks to their performances and Mann’s direction. The other scene featured Dillinger’s arrival in Indiana by plane, after being arrested by Federal agents in Tucson, Arizona. Although brief, it struck a surreal note within me, thanks to Spinott’s photography. The cinematographer shot the entire scene with colors that projected a soft iron, mingled with a reddish-orange tint from the sun. Very beautiful.
Although I found the scenes mentioned above very memorable, I was rendered speechless by the following sequences. The first centered around the violent shootout at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin in April 1934. I am certain that many critics and moviegoers had ended up comparing this sequence with the famous Downtown Los Angeles shootout in Mann’s 1995 movie, ”HEAT”. Granted, the latter turned out longer and was filmed in the daytime, but this Little Bohemia shootout turned out to be just as effective and exciting, despite being filmed at night. But if there is one sequence that filled me with great satisfaction, it was the one that featured the last night of Dillinger’s life. Mann, along with Spinotti, production designer Nathan Crowley, Rosemary Brandenburg’s set designs, Patrick Lumb, William Ladd Skinner’s art direction, the screenwriters and the cast did a superb job in conveying the director’s own detailed account of that hot, July night in 1934. I, for one, was glad that Mann took his time in leading to that moment when Texas Ranger Charles Winstead shot Dillinger dead. The director gave movie audiences a glimpse of street life in Depression-era Chicago during the summertime. He also allowed the audience to experience Dillinger’s pleasure in viewing Clark Gable’s spunk and Myrna Loy’s beauty in the 1934 MGM movie, ”MANHATTAN MELODRAMA”. With the camera, the audience waited nervously along with Purvis, Winstead and the other lawmen who waited outside the Biograph Theater for Dillinger. This is one of the most detailed and marvelously shot sequences I have ever seen on film in the past decade or two.
Another aspect of ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” that struck me as unique was its style. Past movies about Depression-era criminals from the Midwest and the South like (1967) “BONNIE AND CLYDE”, (1974) “MELVIN PURVIS, G-MAN”, and (1975) “THE KANSAS CITY MASSACRE” tend to have this rural or “good ‘ole boy” style, similar to movies and television shows like (1977) “SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT” and (1979-85) “THE DUKES OF HAZZARD”. These films were usually filled with a great deal of wild car chases, over-the-top acting and a Country-Western tune emphasizing the action. ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” seemed to go against this rural style. Instead, most of Mann’s Midwestern criminals are not some wild, country boys that went on a crime spree as some reaction against the Depression’s economic woes. His criminals – especially Dillinger – are professional criminals, whose experiences go back long before the first impact of the Depression. Nor is Mann’s Melvin Purvis is some long experienced “good ‘ole boy” lawman with a Mississippi Valley or Southwestern accent like Ben Johnson in (1973) “DILLINGER” or Dale Robertson in his two TV movies about the FBI agent. His Purvis is a lot closer to the real one, a South Carolinian gentleman in his early thirties, who happened to be a trained lawyer and an excellent shot. Both Dillinger and Purvis come off as more sophisticated than their portrayals featured in earlier movies. And the characters’ sophistication certainly reflected the movie’s more serious tone. Something I certainly had no problems with.
John Dillinger may turn out to be one of my favorite characters portrayed by Johnny Depp. Much has been made of Dillinger’s charm and joie de vivre . . . and Depp certainly did not hesitate to replicate it in front of the camera. One prime example of this charm was featured in Dillinger’s press conference inside the warden’s office at the Crown Point Prison in Indiana. I have seen the original 1934 newsreel featuring the famous press conference and I must say that Depp did a beautiful job of recapturing Dillinger’s actions – from the bank robber’s attitude, right down to his body language.
But there were other aspects of Dillinger’s personality that Depp did not hesitate to portray – his romantic charm that won Billie Frichette’s heart and cynical sense of humor. Most importantly, Depp’s performance reminded the audience that Dillinger had been capable of being a cold-blooded criminal. After all, he had drifted into crime long before the economic upheaval of the Depression. And Depp’s performance made that clear, whether his Dillinger was expressing fury at one colleague, whose beating of a prison guard led to the death of an old friend in the film’s opening prison break; his lack of remorse toward his many crimes, his connection to the Chicago mob; and his willingness to murder anyone who got in his way. Depp not only perfectly portrayed Dillinger as a charming and extroverted rogue, but also as a tender lover, a hardened criminal unwilling to give up his profession and if need be, a killer.
I have noticed that in the past two or three years, Christian Bale has found himself in the thankless task of portraying characters less flamboyant than his co-stars. This certainly seemed to be the case in the 2006 Victorian melodrama ”THE PRESTIGE” with the more outgoing Hugh Jackman; in the 2008 Batman sequel, ”THE DARK KNIGHT”, in which his performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman contrasted sharply with Heath Ledger’s wildly chaotic Joker; and in the recent ”TERMINATOR SALVATION”, in which he seemed to be overshadowed in the eyes of many by the more overtly masculine Sam Worthington. Mind you, Bale gave superb performances in all of these films. Yet, his co-stars seemed to be grabbing most of the glory. This also seemed to be the case in ”PUBLIC ENEMIES”, in which he portrays Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent assigned to capture Dillinger, one way or the other. Whereas Depp’s Dillinger is all charm and flash, Bale’s Purvis is a resolute and educated South Carolina gentleman, who also happened to be a somewhat competent lawman determined to hunt down the bank robber by any means possible. And that included following Director Hoover’s insistence on ”taking the white gloves off” or insisting that the FBI recruit experienced Texas Rangers for the manhunt. Bale not only did an excellent job in conveying Purvis’ quiet determination in hunting down Dillinger, but the agent’s anxious fear that he may never capture the bank robber on a permanent basis. Bale also effectively portrayed Purvis’ ruthlessness in dealing with those who stood between him and Dillinger. Melvin Purvis is not a splashy role for Bale, but the latter certainly did an excellent job of portraying the lawman’s many personality facets.
Before I saw ”PUBLIC ENEMIES”, I had feared that the addition of Billie Frichette (Dillinger’s girlfriend) into the story would make her presence irrelevant and threaten to drag the film. Fortunately, Mann and the other two screenwriters – Bennett and Biderman – along with Oscar winner Marion Cotillard did justice to the Frichette character. Cotillard gave an excellent performance as a hatcheck woman who captured Dillinger’s heart. She portrayed Frichette as a slightly melancholy woman who not only resented society’s bigotry against her ancestry (her mother was half French, half –Menominee), but also feared that her relationship with Dillinger may not last very long. One of Cotillard’s best moments featured the hatcheck woman being interrogated and beaten by one of Purvis’ agents, who is determined to learn Dillinger’s whereabouts. And despite being French-born and raised, Cotillard proved that she could use a Midwestern accent circa 1933, just as well as an American actress.
”PUBLIC ENEMIES” seemed to be filled with some memorable supporting roles. And a handful of performances stood out for me. I enjoyed Jason Clarke's quiet and subtle performance as Dillinger’s close friend and colleague, the dependable John "Red" Hamilton, who seemed convinced that he and the bank robber were doomed to live short lives. Clarke especially shone in an emotional scene in which a badly wounded Hamilton tried to convince Dillinger to stop clinging fervently to all people and things that mattered too much to him. And there was Billy Crudup (a face I have been seeing with great frequency over the past few years), who gave an entertaining and sharp performance as FBI Director and publicity hound, J. Edgar Hoover. Crudup managed to capture a great deal of the legendary director’s personality as much as possible – especially Hoover’s staccato-style speech pattern. And his scenes with Bale brimmed with a layer of emotion that made their on-screen relationship one of the more interesting ones in the movie.
Another performance that caught my attention belonged to Stephen Graham as the trigger-happy Lester “Baby Face Nelson” Gillis. I have to give Graham kudos for effectively projecting a certain facet of Nelson’s persona from both Dillinger and Purvis’ points-of-view. In Dillinger’s eyes, Graham portrayed Nelson as a trigger happy clown and bad Cagney impersonator, whose criminal skills seemed to belong to an amateur. In his major scene with Purvis, Graham portrayed Nelson as a dangerous criminal, quite capable of efficiently killing Federal agents in cold blood. And it was a pleasant surprise to see the always competent Stephen Lang as Charles Winstead, one of the Texas Rangers recruited by Purvis to assist in the FBI manhunt for Dillinger. Lang first worked for Mann in 1986’s ”MANHUNTER” and the television series, ”CRIME STORY”. Since then, he has portrayed a vast array of memorable characters over the years. In ”PUBLIC ENEMIES”, he gave another excellent performance as the stoic and intimidating Winstead, whose vast experience with criminal manhunts allowed him to act as a de facto mentor for the less experienced Purvis. One last performance that caught my attention belonged to Branka Katić’s portrayal of Anna Sage, the so-called ”Woman in Red” who had betrayed Dillinger to the FBI in Chicago. Actually, Sage never wore red on the night she led the FBI to the Biograph Theater and Dillinger. But that is beside the point. Katić gave an intelligent performance as the world-weary, Romanian-born madam that found herself forced to help the FBI ambush the bank robber.
Every now and then, I eventually come across some comparisons between ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” and ”HEAT” in some of the articles I have read about the former. And the comparison usually ends in the 1995 movie’s favor. Do I agree with this assessment? Honestly, I have no answer. Both movies are superb crime dramas with a few flaws. Whereas ”HEAT” managed to capture the miasma of late 20th century Los Angeles, ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” reeked with the slightly gray aura of the Depression-era Midwest . . . especially Chicago. And whereas the pacing for ”HEAT” threatened to drag in its last hour, the quick editing and constant close-ups nearly marred the first hour of ”PUBLIC ENEMIES”. But you know what? I love both movies. And ”PUBLIC ENEMIES” proved to be another example of why Michael Mann continues to be one of my favorite movie directors.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I wrote the following article about many fans of the "NORTH AND SOUTH" trilogy:
CONFLICTING VIEWS ON THE “NORTH AND SOUTH” TRILOGY
I have been a fan of John Jakes’ ”NORTH AND SOUTH” trilogy, ever since I read the first novel - ”North and South” when I was in my twenties. After reading both the first and the second novel - ”Love and War”, I became a fan of the miniseries, upon which the miniseries are based. Because of my love of Jakes’ saga, I began perusing many websites created by fans of the saga and joined a few Yahoo discussion groups. And what I had discovered about the saga’s fandom has left me feeling not only shocked, but wondering if these fans had any idea what Jakes was trying to convey in his story.
Reading some of the ”NORTH AND SOUTH” websites and the Yahoo groups has led me to wonder if the majority of this particular fandom tend to place the saga into the same category as ”THE BIRTH OF A NATION” or ”GONE WITH THE WIND”. In other words, many of these fans tend to view Jakes’ saga with a conservative eye. Either they seemed mistaken by Jakes’ (and producer David Wolper’s) theme behind the saga . . . or they may have decided to ignore it. I suspect the latter.
Now, some might be wondering why I had even bothered to write this article. Frankly, so am I. I doubt that this article will ever change these fans’ perspective on the ”NORTH AND SOUTH” trilogy. So why do I bother? To be honest, this article is not about changing their perspective. It is about me expressing my frustration over the fact that I cannot find one fan of the saga who does NOT view it along the same lines as Margaret Mitchell’s famous novel (and David Selznick’s famous screen adaptation). I have yet to encounter a ”NORTH AND SOUTH” fan who does not view the story as some kind of ode to the Old South. Judging from Jakes’ three novels and Wolper’s miniseries adaptations, I certainly do not view it as such.
This conservative attitude has never been more apparent than in my clash with other fans over the role of the slaves owned by the family of one of the saga’s main characters – Orry Main. Aside from the character of Cuffey (portrayed by Oscar winner, Forest Whitaker), these fans try to view the slaves in a sympathetic light by labeling them as loyal to the Main family. This is especially true of the two characters – Semiramis (Erica Gimpel) and Ezra (Beau Billingslea). While perusing a ”NORTH AND SOUTH” website created by a European-born fan (the site has since disappeared ), I noticed that he had described both characters as ”loyal”, due to their decision to remain at Mont Royal (the Mains’ South Carolina plantation) after the other slaves had left in the second miniseries, set during the Civil War. What many fans failed to realize that Semiramis or Ezra had not remained at Mont Royal due to any loyalty to the Main family.
”NORTH AND SOUTH: Book 2” had started with a recently married Brett Main Hazard (Genie Francis) in Washington D.C. at the beginning of the war, and Semiramis acting as her personal servant. Hours before the Battle of Bull Run commenced, Brett received a message from South Carolina that her mother, Clarissa Main (Jean Simmons) had been injured in a barn fire. Brett made the sudden decision to make her way through battle lines in order to return back into Confederate territory and South Carolina. Semiramis accompanied her. The pair eventually reached Mont Royal in the middle of Episode 2. In the following episode, both Cuffey and Ezra separately questioned Semiramis’ decision to remain with Brett. Although the maid refused to acknowledge Cuffey’s question, she gave Ezra a vague answer about wanting to stick by Brett’s side. However, both men seemed to know the true answer. Charles Main. Semiramis had fallen in love with Orry Main’s younger cousin in the previous miniseries, ”Book 1”. And both men seemed appalled that she would harbor such feelings for a man who was related to their owner. But whereas Cuffey left Mont Royal (stealing Clarissa Main’s jewels along the way), Ezra remained behind, considering her treatment at the hands of the Mains’ former overseer, Salem Jones (Tony Frank). Even when the Main women – Clarissa, Madeline (Lesley Ann Down) and Brett – had permitted the other slaves to leave. And what was Ezra’s reason for remaining at Mont Royal? He wanted a chance to woo and win Semiramis’ heart. And Semiramis’ reason for remaining behind? She wanted a chance to see Charles Main again . . . on the chance he might return to the family’s plantation. Any loyalty toward the Main family had nothing to do with either slave’s decision to remain. However, many ”NORTH AND SOUTH” fans refused to acknowledge this. They simply wanted to believe that the two slaves had remained at Mont Royal, due to some kind of loyalty to the Main family. They especially seemed enamored of the idea of Semiramis remaining loyal to Brett. Judging from their remarks, the idea of a loyal servant . . . especially a black slave . . . seemed very appealing to them.
Another aspect about many of these fans of the trilogy seemed to be their belief that the Mains’ slaves should have been satisfied with their lot as the family’s servants and property . . . as long as they were well treated. In one of the Yahoo groups, one particular fan questioned this belief, expressing doubt that a slave would automatically love his or her master because of well treatment, pointing out that the master (or even mistress) was still robbing that slave of any kind of freedom. And another member responded in the following fashion:
”JESUS! BECAUSE THE SLAVE KNEW NO OTHER REALITY! THEY WERE SLAVES!
HOW WERE THEY SUPPOSED TO KNOW ANOTHER LIFE! AFTER A WHILE, IT HAS
TO AFFECT ONE'S SELF-BELIEF!”
Whoever had posted this response was obviously ignorant of his or her American history. If Southern slaves were unaware of the idea of freedom, why did so many of them escaped or attempted to escape from bondage? And that included famous fugitives such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, William and Ellen Craft, Henry Box Brown, Robert Smalls, Thomas Sims and Anthony Burns. Even the ”NORTH AND SOUTH” trilogy featured two fugitive slaves – Semiramis’ older brother Priam (David Harris), and Grady (Georg Sanford Brown) – James Huntoon’s slave and Virgilia Hazard’s husband. Although both former slaves had encountered a great deal of bigotry and hardship in the North, neither of them had any inclination to return to their masters and slavery. Instead, both participated in John Brown’s failed raid on the U.S. Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. Another one of the Mains’ slave – an elderly gentleman named Joseph (Harry Caesar) – seemed to be on friendly terms with Clarissa Main. He even seemed concerned for her well-being. Despite the lack of hostility between slave and mistress, Joseph did not hesitate to leave Mont Royal during the summer of 1863, when given the opportunity. Despite the Mains’ decent treatment of their slaves, one of them – a man named Caleb – reminded Orry that Mont Royal had never been their home.
If there is one character in the ”NORTH AND SOUTH” trilogy that personified some of these fans’ more conservative view of the saga, it is abolitionist Virgilia Hazard. Virgilia was not the only abolitionist in the story. Her older brother, George and his wife, Constance (James Read and Wendy Kilbourne) were also abolitionists. And Charles Main seemed to have a more liberal view of African-Americans than the others in his family. Judging from his comments to Semiramis, he never seemed to have a high or matter-of-fact opinion of slavery. But Virgilia, portrayed by the wonderful Kirstie Alley, managed to take her views against slavery to great heights. One might as well describe her as a fanatic. She had no tolerance toward all Southerners – especially slave owners. And she was very passionate in her views toward abolition and women’s rights. Many fans hate her . . . even to this day.
One can understand an initial dislike of Virgilia. She was bigoted toward all Southerners and harbored a fanatical view of her political and social beliefs. On the other hand, it is easy to admire her more liberal view toward African-Americans – especially in the mid 19th century – and abolition. This tolerance led her to fall in love and marry Grady. In ”Book I”, George had accused her of marrying the fugitive slave for political reasons. But Constance insisted that she had loved him. Virgilia’s reaction to his death seemed to support Constance’s views. And unlike other unpopular characters like Ashton Main (Terri Garber), James Huntoon (Jim Metzler), Isabel Truscott Hazard (Wendy Fulton, Mary Crosby and Deborah Rush), Harry Venable (Keith Szarabajka) and Elkhanah Bent (Philip Casnoff); Virgilia was able to face and acknowledge her flaws before her death by a hangman’s noose in Episode 6 of ”Book II”. Not only did her opinions of Southerners ease – personified by her sympathy toward a wounded Confederate officer - she also managed to make her peace with both George (whom she had accused of being a sympathizer toward Southern slave owners) and more importantly, Orry. But many fans have refused to acknowledge this character development in Virgilia. And they continue to blind themselves from her virtues. Because of this, I cannot help but wonder if their dislike of Virgilia had more to do with her liberal views than her personal flaws.
I find it ironic that the only fans of the ”NORTH AND SOUTH” trilogy I have come across, seemed to view the saga with a conservative bent. This is especially ironic, considering that John Jakes take on history in the antebellum United States seemed to be a lot more liberal – especially in his criticism of our country’s slave system. Even producer David Wolper managed to capture this view of Jakes’ saga in his three miniseries that aired between 1985 and 1994. Yet, I rarely come across any fan who seemed to view the trilogy in the same manner – especially in regard to their views on the Mains’ slaves and criticism of the Virgilia Hazard character. It almost seemed as if they would prefer to place Jakes’ trilogy in the same political category as Margaret Mitchell’s saga, ”Gone With the Wind”. And I do not know whether to find this sad . . . or ironic.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Cole stared at the thick file sitting on the glass table, in front of the sofa. And cringed out of sheer dismay.
What the hell had he been thinking? Why had he insisted upon accepting that ridiculously complicated case? Cole's employers had given him the perfect opportunity to avoid the case. Yet, he accepted it anyway. A land dispute between a wealthy winegrower and a corporation. Cole's firm represented the former.
The case promised to last several years in a series of lawsuits; counter-lawsuits and God only knew what other kinds of litigation. Cole sighed. He should have accepted Jackman's offer to hand the case to someone else. Grateful for Cole's successful handling of a pro bono case that involved the preservation of a community-based housing project. Since the successful verdict had reflected a positive light upon the firm's reputation, the senior partners decided to give Cole the chance to avoid the Giovanni case. And rather stupidly, he accepted the case anyway. All because he wanted to remain on the partners' good side. Damn idiot!
Angry with himself, Cole plopped down on the sofa and sighed. Hard. He needed a drink. A good martini with an onion. Only one person he knew made a first-rate Gibson. Cole glanced at the clock on the wall. Six-fifteen. Both Olivia and Cecile should be home, by now. The file caught his attention, again. At the moment, Cole felt more interested in a pre-dinner drink with Olivia . . . and Cecile, than a case doomed to last for . . .
The doorbell rang. Cole's mood brightened. He strode toward the door and glanced through the peephole. A surprise greeted his eyes. It was Paige. Now what in the hell did she want? Cole reluctantly opened the door. "Paige. What . . . what are you doing here? Is there something wrong?"
A nervous smile stretched Paige's mouth. "No. Well, in a way. May I come in?"
"Sure," Cole mumbled. He opened the door wide, allowing the young witch to enter.
Paige glanced around the penthouse. "So, long time, no see."
"Twelve days is your idea of a long time?" Cole shot back in his usual sardonic manner. "I mean I realize that we barely exchanged a word the last time we saw each other . . ."
Guilt flashed across Paige's face. Guilt? From Paige? What had happened to her? "What's wrong?" Cole asked for the second time. "Is . . . is Phoebe okay?"
"Phoebe?" Paige hesitated. "Well physically, yeah. But I think she's mad . . . Actually, I don't know if she's mad or not. Piper definitely is."
Cole frowned. "Piper mad at you? Why? What's this all about?"
Instead of answering Cole's questions, Paige asked if she could sit down. Cole led her to the sofa. He sat down in the opposite chair. "Okay," she continued, "how do I begin?" Paige paused dramatically. She took a deep breath and then, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what I did to you. For what all of us did to you. And I hope that you can forgive me."
Cole stared at his former sister-in-law, wondering if she had lost her mind. "Uh, what exactly are you apologizing for?"
Paige closed her eyes and sighed. "God, this is hard! I want to apologize for a lot of things, I guess. For believing that you had deliberately chosen to become the Source, when you were really possessed. For kil . . . uh, vanquishing you, when we should have tried to save you. And for . . . well, for encouraging Phoebe to stay away from you, when both of you really needed to talk." Her dark eyes pleaded with Cole. "What I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry for treating you like dirt, when you really needed a friend."
Cole remained silent. His emotions now in turmoil, he merely continued to stare at Paige. He did not know whether to feel relieved that a Charmed One had finally believed what really happened to him. Or angry, because of what he had endured for nearly a year before hearing so much as a kind word from a Halliwell.
The long pause continued. Paige's face now expressed concern. Uneasiness. "Uh, Cole? Did you hear what I just said? I had apologized for treating you so . . ."
"Yeah, I heard!" Cole growled. Anger had won. The half-daemon struggled to keep his emotions in check. He added in a tight voice. "And I forgive you."
Another pause. "Oh. Well, uh are you sure? You seem a little . . . I don't know. Pissed?"
It seemed a miracle to Cole that he did not incinerate his former sister-in-law at that moment with an energy or fireball. She was criticizing him for being pissed? Especially when he had every right to be? Instead of resorting to violence, Cole curled his lips into a sneer and retorted, "How perceptive of you! I forgot about those extra sensory powers of yours! Can you sense what I'm thinking right now?" He gave her a hard stare.
Paige's dark eyes grew wide. She literally wilted before him. "Get out?" she murmured.
Cole walked over to the door and opened it. "Good guess!"
"Cole, let me explain," Paige began. "I didn't mean . . ."
"Look, you've already apologized. I've accepted it. And I don't think we have anything further to say. Good-bye, Paige."
Paige shot him one last pleading glance. Her shoulders slumped with defeat, as she strode out of the penthouse. Cole slammed the door behind her, leaned against it, closed his eyes and heaved a large sigh.
* * * *
A half hour later, Paige returned to the manor on Prescott Street, where she found the living room empty. Sounds from a television seemed to drift from the kitchen. When Paige entered, she found Leo sitting by the table - watching TV and eating dinner. "Where's Piper and Paige?" she asked her brother-in-law.
Leo glanced up. "At P3. Someone had hired Piper to hold a private party there. Remember? Phoebe went to help."
"Oh God! I forgot. The Garner Christmas party." Paige sighed. "I was supposed to help Piper, but I guess I got side-tracked."
Something close to a smirk twisted Leo's lips. "I'm not surprised. Cole does have a talent for distracting others."
Paige stared at the whitelighter. Hard. "Why do we always do that?"
"Do what?" he asked.
A sigh left Paige's mouth. "Use Cole as a scapegoat for our troubles. I mean we had blamed him for Phoebe's problems with her powers. We blamed him for our troubles with the Source. Well, in a way, he was partly to blame, since he let the Seer trick him into using the Hol . . ."
Frowning, Leo interrupted. "Are we going to go through that, again?"
"Leo! We can't deny what Cecile and I saw. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of sticking my head in the ground like some ostrich." An odd expression appeared on Leo's face. It seemed to Paige that he could not make up his mind on whether to accept the truth, or not. "C'mon Leo! Don't tell me that you're changing your mind. Not after you had admitted that we might have been wrong about Cole."
Leo sighed. "No, I'm not. In fact, I'm beginning to suspect that you and Olivia are right about Cole being possessed by the Source. But that doesn't mean that Cole isn't dangerous. He is, you know. Especially with those new powers of his."
Paige hung her head low. Despite her new knowledge of what happened last year, not even she could deny the truth about Cole's new powers. They were dangerous. "I know," she murmured. "But like Piper said, he's the only one who can control them." Her voice grew louder. "But if that's true, why did you and Piper decided to help Tyler, last year? And just two months ago, Piper told me that the only difference between us and those we fight were our compassion, not our powers."
Leo's mouth hung open, but not a sound came out. Paige peered closely at him. "Leo? Are you okay?"
The whitelighter sighed. "Yeah. I . . . Look, I don't know what to think about Cole, Paige. I just . . . I don't know. I guess I just don't trust him. People change, yes. But that much and not as fast as you might think."
"You know, it's funny. When I first met Cole, I liked him a lot." Paige eased into one of the kitchen chairs. Recalling her early weeks as a Charmed One, she continued, "He seemed to be the only one who understood my twisted sense of humor. But when I found out that he was the same Belthazor who tried to kill Phoebe and Piper a year earlier," she frowned, "I guess I let my fears and prejudice change my opinion." Paige paused. "Maybe I shouldn't have let that happened. I don't know. I guess it's too late, because Cole doesn't want to talk to me, now."
Silence enveloped the kitchen. His face turning red, Leo glanced away. Paige sensed that he was becoming uncomfortable in her presence. "Well," she stood up, "I guess I better get to my room. It's been a long day."
Leo glanced at her and asked, "What about dinner? Piper left something in the oven for you."
Paige shrugged. "Maybe later. I'm too tired, right now." She started toward the doorway, when Leo called out her name. "What?" she asked.
"What about P3? Are you going to join Piper and Phoebe, to help?"
A smirk lifted the corners of Paige's mouth. "Somehow, I don't think either of them will feel comfortable with me hanging around, tonight. Do you?" When Leo failed to answer, Paige let out a sigh. It looked as if she was about to resume her position as the family's black sheep, again. Oh well. She had survived it once. She could do it again.
* * * *
"Are you sure you don't want to stay a little longer?" Olivia directed her question to her best friend.
Two large travel bags, along with a large shopping bag, stood in the middle of Olivia's living room. Today marked Cecile Dubois' last morning in San Francisco. She was due to board an eastbound plane for New Orleans in less than an hour. Cecile gave the red-haired woman a pitying look. "Oh honey! I'd love to stay, but it's time for me to go. I've already got a chance to celebrate the beginning of Winter Solace with the rest of you. Plus, it's three days until Christmas. I have a family and boyfriend to celebrate with." She glanced down at her belongings. "If only I didn't have to lug all this damn stuff around."
Cole stepped forward. "I'd be happy to give you and your stuff a lift," he suggested. "Right to your living room in New Orleans."
Cecile sighed. "You know, that would be just lovely. But I have a return ticket and it's gonna look real odd cashing it in New Orleans."
Olivia said, "Why don't you . . .?" A knock at the door interrupted her question. She walked over and peered through the peephole. "Oh! Paige."
Cole stiffened at the mention of his former sister-in-law's name. He had not spoken to her since her little revelation, three days ago. They had spotted each other at Sunday's Winter Solstice celebration. Only Cole went out of his way to avoid her.
What could he say? That he found it difficult to forgive Paige for his miseries of the past year? Hell, what had she expected? That he would be so grateful that one Halliwell seemed willing to acknowledge the misunderstandings that led to his vanquish, four months in the Wasteland and the end of his relationship with Phoebe? Did she really believe that one little apology would make him forget all that he had endured? Cole wrestled with the resentment that boiled within him. As Olivia opened the door, his face assumed a cool mask.
The youngest Halliwell stepped inside the apartment, wearing a nervous smile. "Hi!" she greeted. Her eyes glanced at Cole, who looked away. "I . . . uh, I thought I come by to say good-bye. To Cecile."
"Well thank you, cherie!" the New Orleans woman replied brightly. "I'm glad you came. Cole was about to take me home."
Olivia added, "But you need to cash in your ticket, first."
"Isn't it too late for that?" Paige asked. "I mean after all, today is your actual flight day."
Paige's words were met with defeated sighs. "So much for a quick trip home," Cecile bemoaned. She glanced at her watch. "And I now have less than forty-five minutes until my plane leaves."
"I can still give you a lift to the airport," Cole insisted.
Cecile nodded. "Okay. At least I can avoid a cab." The Vodoun priestess faced the two witches. She grabbed hold of Paige's hand and shook it. "You know, I've never met anyone who has been so interested in Vodoun as you, these past few days." Paige smiled. "Well, except for Livy, over here."
"Yeah, I'm gonna miss you too," Paige responded.
After Cecile released the Charmed One's hand, she turned to the other witch. The long-time friends enveloped each other with a bear hug. "I'll get in touch with you soon, cherie," Cecile said. "As soon as I get home. And thanks for the last three weeks. It's been . . ." she released Olivia and smiled, "very interesting, to say the least."
Olivia threw back her head and laughed. "You always say that whenever you visit. But then life with us McNeills can be very interesting."
"A little too interesting," Cole murmured. Fortunately, the others did not hear.
Olivia gave her friend one last hug. "You take care of yourself, Cecile. And tell Andre and your family, Merry Christmas for me."
Cole picked up Cecile's luggage. "Ready?" he asked.
Cecile nodded and picked up her shopping bag. "Yeah, let's go." She grabbed hold of his arm with her free hand and pair disappeared.
Seconds later, they reappeared in a deserted hallway, inside the airport terminal. "Here we are," Cole announced. "Delta Airlines, right?"
"Yeah." Cecile and Cole walked along the hallway, until they merged with the heavy crowd that filled the main terminal. The pair made their way to the Delta Airlines desk, where Cecile retrieved her boarding pass and checked her luggage. "Okay," she said, facing Cole. "That's it."
"You want me to hang around until you board?"
Cecile shook her head. "It's not necessary. I should be boarding in fifteen minutes or so. After that, I've got another twenty minutes until the plane takes off."
Smiling, Cole offered his hand. "Well, I guess this is it."
"Yeah." Cecile hesitated, arousing Cole's curiosity. "Listen Cole, before you leave, can I ask you something?"
Dark eyes bored into his. "Have you spoken with Paige since Friday?"
"How did you . . .?"
Cecile spoke up. "She came to me, Friday morning. Asking me to help her find out what really happened to you, nearly a year ago."
Wariness crept into Cole's composure. "And why did she need your help?"
"She had figured that I'd be able to summon a vision from your past." Cecile paused, and glanced away. "And I did. From your . . . penthouse. I'm sorry."
Outrage and anger replaced Cole's wariness. "You . . . you were inside . . ." Realizing that he could be heard, Cole lowered his voice. "You and Paige were inside my apartment?" he hissed in a deadly whisper.
Cecile shrugged helplessly. "I'm sorry, but Paige beamed or transported me over there before I could say anything."
"Orbed," Cole muttered darkly.
"Look, I realize that you're already pissed at her . . ." Cole's eyes narrowed as Cecile continued, "but Paige thought we needed something of yours so I could get a vision. Actually, your . . . um, spirit or essence inside the penthouse was just fine. Especially from the spot where . . . you know, they killed you." While Cole's gaze remained unrelenting, Cecile added, "Look, I'm sorry for breaking into your place like that. I didn't mean to. Honestly."
Realizing that no harm had come from Cecile's actions, the anger passed and Cole accepted her apology. "It's okay," he said with a reassuring smile. "I guess you meant well."
"Thanks," Cecile replied. "But why are you so willing to forgive me? And not Paige?"
Oh God! Cole rolled his eyes. The last thing he wanted was to talk about Paige or any other Halliwell. Her confession had only ignited anger long suppressed for the past three months. "What the hell are you talking about?" he demanded. "I forgave her."
Cecile sighed. "Yeah. That was pretty obvious, yesterday. Especially since you spent most of the day trying to ignore her," she said sarcastically.
"Look . . ."
"No, you look," Cecile snapped back. "I can't order you to forgive Paige for what she and her sisters did to you. But do you really want to be like them? So unforgiving? Is it really worth it, especially since Paige is genuinely sorry for what she had done?"
Cecile's words hit Cole with the force of an energy ball. He imagined himself becoming like the Halliwells - unforgiving, quick to judge and self-righteous. And the image repelled him. Cole stared directly into Cecile's eyes . . . and his lips curved into a disarming smile. "I guess not," he finally said.
"No, it's not," Cecile replied softly, her own lips smiling. Then she glanced toward the direction of the boarding lounge. So did Cole. "I guess it's time for me to leave." She took the half-daemon by surprise and gave him a tight hug. "You probably don't believe this, but Olivia is pretty lucky to have you as a friend."
Cole replied, "She's lucky to have you. Andre's pretty lucky, too."
"I'll remind him."
The pair broke into soft laughter, as they disengaged. Cole quickly sobered and asked, "Why did you accept me so quickly after we first met?"
Again, Cecile shrugged. "I don't know. I guess because Olivia told me about you. And I liked your vibes. I have good instincts, you know."
"You'd be thinking differently if we had met three years ago."
Cecile replied, "Hey, we all have our pasts to deal with. Including me. Remember? Besides, look who's my boyfriend."
A sly smile quirked Cole's lips. "You've got a point." Cecile playfully slapped his arm. "Speaking of Andre, tell him I'll be seeing him in a few days. Both of you. Probably on Christmas."
"I'll be sure to tell him." Cecile gave Cole one last hug. "See you soon." Then she picked up her shopping bag, waved one last time and headed for the lounge.
* * * *
Inside Olivia's apartment, Paige sat on the sofa while she flipped through a fashion magazine. Her hostess was busy searching for a missing bottle of garlic inside the kitchen. As she continued to peruse the magazine, Paige came upon an advertisement that featured a blond woman modeling expensive lingerie. The model strongly reminded her of Cole's former secretary from his days as the Source. What was her name? Oh yeah, Julie.
A shadow cast over the magazine in Paige's lap. She glanced up and found Olivia standing over her. "Pretty woman," the older woman commented. "Is there a reason why you've been staring at that photo for the past several minutes?"
"I wasn't staring!" Paige protested.
A red eyebrow quirked upward. "So, exactly what were you staring at, while I called your name . . . three times?"
Paige felt her face grow hot. "Okay! So, I was staring at her. I'm not coming out of the closet, if that's what you think. I . . . she reminded me of someone I once met. Cole's assistant."
"She doesn't look anything like Ms. Read."
A sigh left Paige's mouth. "I'm talking about his former assistant, Julie. When Cole was the Source."
Paige continued, "She was also a demon. Phoebe ended up killing her by using a demonic power from Source Junior."
Olivia frowned. "Demonic power?"
"You know, evil power."
Green eyes regarded Paige with slight amusement. "Oh yes. I forgot that you and your sisters believe the whole 'good and evil powers' scenario. A good number of witches do."
Now, it was Paige's turn to frown. "You mean, you don't?"
"Not really. I think it's a lot of crap," Olivia replied. She sat down next to Paige. "To me, magical powers are simply powers and nothing else. Not good or evil, but neutral. It's not what they are that counts, but how you use them."
Paige's frown deepened. "But, how many witches do you know have pyrokinesis?"
"You'd be surprised." Olivia added, "I have a distant cousin in Scotland, who has the power of pyrokinesis. He's from my grandfather's generation. And his power is very strong. He's certainly not a warlock or daemon."
"Huh." A wry smile curved Paige's lips. "You know that reminds me of Tyler, that fire starter we had helped last year. And what Piper once said to me, two months ago. Only . . ." Her smile disappeared.
Olivia asked, "Only what?"
Paige continued, "Only when it came to Cole's powers, she had definitely believed they were evil. Like the rest of us. I guess it's because he got them while he was in the Wasteland." She glanced at Olivia. "That doesn't really count, does it?"
"No, not really. Aside from Ed Miller, has Cole ever used his new powers to deliberately harm someone?"
Paige shook her head. "Well, there was Barbas. But he had used them to save us from that bastard. And he has used his powers to help us on other occasions." Shame washed over her. She sighed. "I guess I forgot that."
At that moment, Cole appeared before the two women. "Well, Cecile's on her way home." He glanced at his watch. "Or should be in another ten minutes."
Silence fell between the trio. Paige glanced at the magazine, fearful of meeting the half-demon's eyes. Olivia stood up. "I think I better pay Mrs. DiCicco a visit and see if she has any garlic. Thank God I had decided to take the day off." She strode toward the door and disappeared into the hall, leaving the two former in-laws alone.
Mustering all of her courage, Paige glanced up. "Cole," she began, "I know you're still pissed at me . . ."
"No, not any longer," he said, surprising Paige. "In fact, I want to apologize, myself. For being so . . . unforgiving. You only meant well, and I let my anger get the best of me."
Paige glanced away. "I guess I'm no different," she said in a shy voice. "Of course, in my case, I let fear and prejudice get in the way."
A smile lit up Cole's face. "Look, I forgive you. Really. Hell, everyone deserves forgiveness. Don't you think?"
Paige responded with a wry grin. "Sure. Even half-demons." Her grin disappeared. "I only wish that Phoebe and Piper would apologize."
"How did they take . . .?"
"The news?" Paige slammed the magazine shut and tossed it on the table. "Piper refuses to believe that what we had done was wrong. And Phoebe . . . I don't know. It's like she can't even face what I've found out. Or don't want to talk about it, one way or the other. But she has been pretty quiet lately. I'm sorry."
Cole shrugged. "That's okay. Piper and . . . Phoebe will have to deal with what happened . . . eventually. Besides, I don't really expect them to apologize after I had killed Ed Miller."
Nodding, Paige said, "Maybe. I mean what you did was wrong. But Ed Miller was no innocent. And who are we to point fingers after what we had done to you?"
"Cecile told me that it was she who conjured up visions of my time as the Source. And projected them to you."
A burst of anxiety flared within Paige. "Don't blame Cecile! Please! It's not her fault! I had orbed her to your place, so she could pick up on your essence. And she did. We saw everything from when the Seer tricked you into using the Hollow, until when we . . . my sisters and I . . . well, van . . . killed you."
Cole inhaled deeply. Stared at his former sister-in-law, much to her discomfort. "It's okay," he said, to Paige's relief. Then he seared her with another hard stare. "Just don't do it again."
Paige raised her hand. "Never again. Unless it's an emergency." After a pause, she added soberly, "You ever wonder, Cole . . ."
Taking a deep breath, Paige continued, "Wonder what would have happened if all of us had never met Olivia and her family? Do you think I would have found out what really happened to you, last spring?"
More than a minute passed before Cole finally answered. A shadow darkened his face momentarily. "That's a possibility I certainly don't want to consider." Paige realized with an inward shudder that she felt the same. Thank goodness her friendship with Cole would be given another chance.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
”THE ADVENTUERS OF ROBIN HOOD” (1938) Review
Seventy years ago today, the 1938 film, ”THE ADVENTUERS OF ROBIN HOOD”, was released in theaters for the first time. For many fans and film critics, the swashbuckler is considered the definitive Errol Flynn movie. They also view his character, Sir Robin of Locksley, as the pinnacle of the Australian actor’s career.
There have been previous versions of the Robin Hood tale before and after. The other most famous versions are the 1922 silent film that starred Douglas Fairbanks and the 1950s TV series that starred Richard Greene. Like the other versions, the movie told the story of the young Saxon nobleman (Flynn) who created a band of outlaws to protest against the reign of Prince John (Claude Rains) in England during the early 1190s. With King Richard the Lionhearted (Ian Hunter) a hostage of Austria’s king, John usurps the royal power to oppress the English poor – especially the Saxons – with the help of Sir Guy Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Cooper). Robin and his right hand man, Will Scarlett (Patric Knowles), recruits the likes of Little John (Alan Hale, Sr.), Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette), Much the Miller's Son (Herbert Mundin) and a band of outlaws. Soon, Prince John and his Norman cronies find their cruelties opposed and themselves harassed beyond all bearing. Robin also finds the time to fall in love with the Norman noblewoman and royal ward, Maid Marian Fitzwalter (Olivia de Havilland).
To be frank, ”THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD” is a glorious triumph not only for the Warner Bros. studio, but for Flynn as well. It has everything that the moviegoer could possibly want in a swashbuckler – great action, rich color, a superb score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and a leading man who more than embodied what the main character stood for. Warner Bros. executives Jack Warner and Hal Wallis had originally cast James Cagney in the lead. But the actor became embroiled in one of his many feuds with the studio and two years later, Flynn won the role. I cannot say how Cagney would have portrayed Robin of Locksley. But Warner and Wallis certainly struck it rich with Flynn in the lead. Not only did he look the part, he handled the physical aspects of the role, perfectly. And he managed to inject Robin with a great mixture of roguish humor and sincere compassion.
The rest of the cast were also superb. Olivia de Havilland was never more lovelier. Even better, her Maid Marian became more than just the love interest and damsel-in-distress. Once Robin had swayed her to his cause, she turned out to be a valuable recruit. Not only did she managed to come up with a plan to save Robin from execution, she was the one who discovered a plot by Prince John, Sir Guy and the Sheriff to assassinate the returning King Richard.
Claude Rains, with his soft voice, made a deliciously sly Prince John. Basil Rathbone was tough enough to serve as a physical adversary for Robin. Their duel in the final scene at Nottingham Castle is considered a classic, thanks to the fencing choreography staged by Fred Cavens. And Melville Cooper was his usual funny self as the buffoonish Sheriff of Nottingham. Although I find it odd that he was the only one who was able to come up with a successful plan to capture Sir Robin. And where would ”THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD” be without its supporting cast that portrayed Robin’s Merry Men? The handsome Patric Knowles made a sly and witty Will Scarlett. Alan Dale Sr. returned as Little John, a role he had first made famous in the 1922 film. Eugene Pallette made great use of his frog voice and gruff demeanor as Friar Tuck. And Herbert Mundin, as Much the Miller’s Son, seemed to be the best of the bunch. Not only did he proved to be as brave as Robin, he also won the hand of Marian’s nurse, Bess, portrayed by the always memorable Una O’Connor.
Surprisingly, ”THE ADVENTUES OF ROBIN HOOD” had two directors. Hal Wallis first assigned the film to William Keighley, who had directed Flynn in ”THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER” (1937). But Hal Wallis felt slightly dissatisfied with Keighley’s slow handling of the action sequences and replaced him with Warner Bros’ reliable warhorse, Michael Curtiz. Flynn, who detested the Hungarian-born director, must have screamed in frustration. But Curtiz’s direction gave the film a tighter pace and better action sequences for which the movie is famous. ”THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD” was one of the first films of the studio to use the old three-strip Technicolor process. And it paid off, giving the movie a rich color and vibrancy. And what would this version of Robin Hood be without Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Academy Award winning score. I am still surprised that Korngold had originally turned down the assignment because he felt that his score could not live up to the movie’s action. Thankfully, he proved himself wrong.
”THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD” seemed to have everything going for it – great cast, great photography, great action and great music. And it all seemed to blend seamlessly. Yet . . . it is not my favorite Errol Flynn movie. I had come across a review of the film in which a critic stated that one of the reasons this was his favorite Flynn movie was its light-hearted tone and simplistic characterizations that allowed the audience to escape from the more complex, modern world. And I could see those traits in the movie.
But as much as I had enjoyed it, there were times when the movie came off as a little too light or simple for me. Sir Robin of Locksley may be considered Flynn’s best role, but I must admit that I found his portrayal of Geoffrey Vickers in ”THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE” (1936) and Geoffrey Thorpe in ”THE SEA HAWK” (1940) more complex and interesting. In fact, I consider the two movies to be my favorites that Flynn ever made. However, I do love ”THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD” and consider it one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Below are photos from "PUBLIC ENEMIES", Michael Mann's new crime drama about the last years of John Dillinger. The movie stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard:
"PUBLIC ENEMIES" (2009) Photo Gallery
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It couldn't be true. The thought repeated inside Paige's mind, as she stood in front of the police station's entrance. It simply could not be true. That Cole had become the Source against his will.
Yet the images from Cecile's visions refused to go away. Neither would Olivia's words to Phoebe during that early Sunday afternoon at the McNeills' home. 'If the old Source didn't become a Charmed One after taking your sisters' powers, what makes you think Cole became the Source, after taking the latter's powers?' Those had been Olivia's precise words to Phoebe. But instead of answering the question, Paige's older sister merely avoided an answer.
Paige shook away the memory and stepped inside the precinct. She dodged a crowd of suspects being booked and made her way to the squad room for Homicide detectives. "Hey Paige," Darryl Morris greeted the young visitor. He stood next to a water cooler. "You wanted to see me about something?"
Smiling, Paige shook her head. "Not today. Actually, I . . ." Her smile disappeared. "I came here to see Olivia."
Darryl immediately sobered. "Is there a problem? Like something supernatural?" He obviously still remembered the last encounter with the Crozat warlocks and a Vodoun sorcerer, who had possessed him.
"No, it's . . ." Paige sighed. "This is about something else."
The police inspector's dark eyes penetrated Paige's. "Must be something serious." He hesitated. "Is this about Cole?"
"In a way." Paige took a deep breath. "It's about a mistake . . . a mistake that my sisters and I may have done."
Darryl gently replied, "About Cole being the Source. Right?" Paige's eyes widened. "Yeah, Olivia had told me what really happened to him."
"And you believed her? Believed everything?"
"This is Olivia we're talking about," Darryl continued. "She's a hard woman to fool. Even harder than you or Prue." Paige almost felt flattered that anyone would favorably compare her to late sister. Darryl added, "I can't think of the number of times she had stopped us from charging the wrong person."
Paige murmured, "Too bad we didn't know her last spring."
"What?" A moment passed before realization dawned in Darryl's eyes. "Oh. I see. Well, if you're looking for Olivia, she's at her desk."
A wan smile quirked Paige's lips. "Thanks." She headed toward the desk, where Darryl's red-haired partner sat. "Hey Olivia," she greeted.
Olivia gave Paige a polite smile. "Hi! I understand that you wanted to speak with me."
"Huh?" How did she . . . "How did you know?"
Holding up her cell phone, Olivia replied, "Cecile. She called me about an hour ago. Took you long enough." Olivia glanced at the clock on the wall. "It's only eleven-fifteen, but I guess I wouldn't mind an early lunch, today." She stood up and grabbed her purse. "Let's go."
* * * *
The two witches ended up at a popular eating spot called the San Francisco Brewing Company. The place served as both a beer brewery and a restaurant. The first sentence that came out of Paige's mouth was that she did not drink.
"Well, I don't drink beer," Olivia responded. "But the food here is great." She picked up her menu to examine it. "So, what do you want to talk about?"
Paige stared at the other woman. "Didn't Cecile tell you?"
"No, she only told me to expect a visit from you." Olivia tossed her menu on the table. "What's this about?"
Taking a deep breath, Paige revealed to the other witch on what had occurred inside Cole's penthouse, this morning. "It never really occurred to me, until today, that we had made a mistake. The Charmed Ones, I mean."
"Mistake?" Olivia's green eyes bored into Paige's dark ones. "Honey, spare me the bullshit. You did more than just made a mistake." Stunned by Olivia's words, Paige found herself speechless. "Well," the other woman continued, "is there anything else you wanted to say? Or is this lunch just a waste of time?"
Paige took another deep breath. "What else can I say? It was a mistake. I mean, how were we supposed to know that Cole . . . had been possessed against his will?" God, she sounded so lame! Apparently Olivia felt the same, judging from the hard stare in those green eyes. Olivia did not answer. Instead, she continued to stare at Paige. Who began feeling very uneasy. "Aren't you going to say something?" the latter asked in a wavering voice.
"I do have one question," Olivia said. "When did you first begin to have suspicions about Cole?"
Paige frowned. "What does that have to do with . . .?"
Before the young witch/whitelighter could answer, a waiter appeared with two glasses of water and a basket of warm rolls. He served the rolls and water, and asked the pair if they were ready to order. Once the two women placed their orders, Paige finally asked Olivia's question. "I began suspecting Cole," she murmured, "right after Phoebe and Cole's wedding."
Olivia added, "And they were married in March. Right?" Paige nodded. "And when did you three kill him?"
"About two months later."
"Two months," Olivia said with a shake of her head. She reached for a roll. "Uh, during these two months, did you ever bother to find out how Cole became the Source?"
Paige took a sip of her water and sighed. "None of us even knew he was the Source, until a week or two before his death."
"What about before? When you were suspicious about Cole during those two months following the wedding - did you bother to find out how that might be possible?"
No. The word formed on Paige's lips, but she did not utter it. No, she had never bothered to find out how Cole became demonic, again. She had been so obsessed with proving to Piper and the others that something was wrong with him that . . . "Oh God!" she murmured. "I just . . . I had assumed . . ."
Olivia nodded. "Yeah, I know. You assumed that he had chosen evil again, because of his past," she finished. She finished the last of her roll. "Would you have done the same if either Piper, Phoebe or Leo had turned evil?"
Paige's head hung low. "No," she replied quietly. "I would have tried to find out what happened. Maybe find a way to save any of them first, before vanquishing . . . Oh God! When that baby was taking control of Phoebe and Piper had considered vanquishing her, I stopped her. I stopped her from trying to kill Phoebe."
"Because Phoebe was your sister," Olivia calmly added. "I understand. I probably would have done the same with my own family. But since Cole was formerly a half-daemon . . ."
". . . we gave in to our fears and killed him," Paige finished in a stunned voice. "Without even bothering to find out what really happened. Or save him." She shook her head, eliminating any imaginary doubts. "But the Hollow! If that didn't turn him into the Source, how . . .?"
Olivia sighed. "Paige, what do you know about the Hollow?"
"It's a . . . it's a power absorbing box," Paige said. "It absorbs all magic, good and evil."
Nodding, Olivia continued. "Okay. So if that's true, how can it make Cole the Source? Yes, he used it to absorb the Source's power. Which was pretty stupid of him, by the way. But . . ."
"But if he had the Source's powers . . ."
An exasperated sigh left Olivia's mouth, causing Paige to wince. "Honey, you're not stupid. Think! The Hollow only took away the Source's power, not his essence. Now, how could Cole have become the Source at that moment, when he was still alive when you all used a Power of Three spell to vanquish the Source in the attic that night? Did the Source become a Charmed One when he stole your power? And Piper's?"
Paige murmured, "No."
"That's right. The Source only took away your powers, not your essence. Your strength as the Power of Three lay in your essence, not magical powers. My guess is that the Source's essence took possession of Cole after you had vanquished him." Olivia paused and gave Paige a hard stare. "You didn't consider that, did you?"
A long moment of silence followed, before Paige morosely answered, "No. No, I didn't. God! I can't believe . . . I mean . . . God! What have we done!"
The younger witch glanced up. "Yeah?"
Olivia leaned forward. "Just admit to yourself that what you had done was wrong. You might even have to face Cole about this. But please, don't go into a tailspin of guilt. You want redemption? Face the consequences of your actions and if you receive forgiveness, fine. If you don't, tough shit. You still need to move on. The important thing to do is face your guilt and deal with it. Not wallow in it. Like every other being in this world, you're not perfect. You're capable of both a lot of good and evil. Trust me. I've done a lot of shit that I'm not proud of. What you and your sisters did to Cole was wrong. You wronged him. If someone like Cole can admit and face the evil he has done, so can you. Just take that first step."
First step. Was that admitting that she had been responsible for a horrible act against her former brother-in-law? Or would that be asking for his forgiveness? Even more important, how would Piper and Phoebe react to what she had discovered?
* * * *
The two older Halliwells stared at Paige with disbelief. So did Leo. Apparently, all three could not believe what she had just revealed.
"What?" Paige demanded.
Piper said in a voice that barely brimmed with anger. "How can you say such a thing? To us! Paige! You're practically accusing us of committing murder!"
Okay, so they did not understand what she had just learned. Paige closed her eyes and sighed. "Piper, try to understand. I'm not accusing us of anything. What we had done to Cole was wrong! He had been possessed by the Source and we did nothing to find out what happened . . ."
"He chose to become the Source!" Phoebe declared angrily. "Remember? Cole made that choice when he decided to use the Hollow! He got what he had deserved!"
Paige shook her head. "You're wrong, Phoebe. I saw Cecile's visions. Cole had no idea that he would become the Source. Besides, how could Cole become the Source by using the Hollow, when the Source didn't become a Charmed One after stealing my powers? And Piper's?"
Shock and disbelief filled her sisters' eyes. Leo stared at Paige in bewilderment. "Oh my God! That's what Olivia had said," he murmured.
Piper stabbed her husband with a piercing glare. "What did you say?"
"I . . ." Leo hesitated. "I guess she has a point. About the Hollow."
The whitelighter shot back, "I'm sorry Piper, but there's a chance that Paige might be right. Olivia had more or less told me the same thing. So did the McNeills . . ."
"Well then, how did he become the Source?" Phoebe demanded.
Paige rolled her eyes. "Simple. The Source's essence took possession of Cole, after we vanquished the Source in the attic. I thought I had made that perfectly clear!"
Phoebe coolly added, "How do we know this isn't another trick of Cole's?"
Keeping her patience in check, Paige replied, "Phoebe, Cole has no idea that I was inside his penthouse, today. Nor does he know what Cecile had done. Well, maybe he does now. But that doesn't change what Cecile's vision had shown me. Cole was an innocent man who became a victim of the Source. And the Seer. And instead of helping him, we killed him." She paused, staring at her sisters. "With extreme prejudice." Phoebe's gaze dropped.
"May I remind you that Cole was the Source of All Evil?" Piper coolly retorted. "And that he had put us through a lot of hell?"
Paige returned the oldest sister's cool stare with a hard one. "Tell me Piper, if any of us had been possessed by the Source, would you have immediately tried to kill us? Or would you try to find a way to save us, first?"
"None of us were demons with a long history of evil!"
Paige retorted, "Gee Piper! Are you saying that it's okay to judge and kill an innocent man, because of his past? If you are, that's one opinion I no longer share."
Tension filled the manor's living room. A part of Paige wished she had never revealed what she learned this morning. In fact, she almost wished she could turn back the clock to that fateful day when the old Source had made his final attempt to kill the Charmed Ones. Paige even wished the Oracle had never stopped Cole from successfully killing the old Source, when the latter had kidnapped and brainwashed Piper over a year ago. There were so many things Paige wished had never happened. But . . .
"Look, I don't know about the rest of you," she continued, "but I'm going to see Cole. Tell him what I know, apologize and hope that he'll forgive me."
Phoebe remained uncharacteristically silent. However, a deep chill resonated from Piper. "Do what you want!" the latter retorted. "But you'll be doing it alone. I'll be damned if I go to that evil bastard and beg for forgiveness!"
Again, Phoebe remained silent. She looked up, gave Paige a long look - one mixed with disbelief . . . and horror, turned on her heels and marched upstairs. Piper stomped toward the kitchen, leaving Paige alone with Leo.
The whiteligher opened his mouth to speak. But a light noise interrupted the moment. Leo shrugged and orbed way. Paige remained in the middle of the living room. Alone. She had not felt like an outsider since those days following Phoebe and Cole's wedding. Which led her to remember the half-demon. Would he be willing to forgive her? Or will he shut her out, like her sisters?
END OF PART 3
Monday, July 20, 2009
"LOST": A Tale of Two Fathers
Back in Season 2, "LOST" aired an episode called "What Kate Did". The episode revealed the crime that led castaway Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) to being a fugitive for three years - she had murdered her father, Wayne Jensen (James Horan), and used his death to collect insurance for her mother, Diane (Beth Broderick). The episode also revealed Kate's reason for her act of murder. She had just learned that Wayne - a man she had presumed to be her stepfather - was actually her father.
Kate had made it perfectly clear that she disliked Wayne Jensen. She held him responsible for her mother's break-up with Sam Austen, the man she had longed believed was her father. She certainly disliked the fact that he was an alcoholic who physically abused Diane. And she found his habit of occasionally leering at her disgusting and beneath contempt. Many believed that Kate had been a victim of sexual abuse. And that Wayne had been the perputrator. But "What Kate Did" hinted that Wayne may not have abused Kate. In this scene, Kate talks to an unconscious fellow castaway, Sawyer (Josh Holloway), whose body she believes has been temporarily possessed by her late father:
"Can you hear me? Sawyer? Wayne? [Sawyer stirs] I'm probably crazy and this doesn't matter, but maybe you're in there somehow. But you asked me a question. You asked me why I -- why I did it. It wasn't because you drove my father away, or the way you looked at me, or because you beat her. It's because I hated that you were a part of me -- that I would never be good. That I would never have anything good. And every time that I look at Sawyer -- every time I feel something for him -- I see you, Wayne. It makes me sick.".
Judging from her comments, it seems quite apparent that Wayne had never sexually abused her. Kate did accuse him of leering at her, which he proved in a flashback at the beginning of the episode. However, there are fans that still insist that Wayne may have abused her. They are entitled to their opinions. Frankly, I have doubts that Kate had ever been abused. But if she had . . . Wayne Jensen would not be on the top of my list of suspects.
When "What Kate Did" first aired during the 2005-2006 television season, I had also viewed an episode of "HOUSE" called “Skin Deep”. I noticed how Dr. Gregory House (portrayed by Hugh Laurie) had correctly guessed that a 15 year-old female patient, who happened to be a model, had been molested by “her” possessive father. How did House come to this conclusion? He noticed the close relationship between the model and her father. He noticed how the former seemed overtly concerned with pleasing said father.
This scene also brought about memories of the movie, "DOLORES CLAIRBORNE". Based on a Stephen King novel, it told the story about a Maine woman (played by Kathy Bates) who murders her husband (David Straitharn) in order to stop him from continuing his sexual abuse of their daughter (Jennifer Jason-Leigh). What I had found interesting was that the daughter over-idealized her abusive father. And he (in flashbacks) over-idealized his mother, who may have sexually abused him.
Both that particular episode of "HOUSE" and "DOLORES CLAIRBORNE" led me to suspect that if Kate had been sexually abused, her abuser could possibly be her step-father, Sgt. Sam Austen (Lindsey Ginter). After all, Kate has expressed nothing but contempt for Wayne. Yet, she had a tendency to idealize her step-father. And in an odd way, she may have extended or projected this same tendency to idealize over to other men who probably reminded her of Sgt. Austen - Tom Brennan (MacKenzie Astin), her husband Kevin Callis (Nathan Fillion) and leader of the island castaways, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox).
Below is a link to a web page that lists traits of those (especially adult women) who may have suffered sexual abuse as a child - Beyond Victim. Included on the web page is a small list of the following traits of victims of sexual abuse:
*You feel powerless in important relationships and are terrified of honest confrontations. Yet you try to control and manipulate other people.
*If you were sexually abused by your father, you also may have felt unconsciously empowered by him; you are his special girl and you can do and be whatever you choose (as long as you don't replace daddy with a new man in your life with whom you can be truly intimate). Your troubled relationships with men present a sharp contrast to other areas of your life.
*You over-idealize your father and fail to see his destructive side while seeing the negative side of your mother and ignoring her positive attributes. Consequently, you over-value and misperceive men while devaluing and discounting women. (Or you may over-idealize your mother and see your father as totally bad. this pattern is common with men who were sexually abused by either their mothers or their fathers.)
I am not saying that Kate was definitely a victim of sexual abuse. I honestly do not know. Nearly three years have passed since "What Kate Did" aired and the producers of "LOST" have yet to follow up on that particular storyline. I do find it interesting that Kate's feelings toward Sam Austen seemed to follow a pattern similar to that of sexual abuse victims harbor toward their perputrators - as described above. Kate not only tend to over-idealize Jack, a man who not only reminded her of Austen, she ended up becoming a victim of his emotional abuse - both on the island and off.