Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Below are images from Season One of the USA Network series, "BURN NOTICE". Created by Matt Nix, the series starred Jeffrey Donovan:
TOP FIVE FAVORITE "BURN NOTICE" SEASON ONE (2007) Episodes
1. (1.10) "False Flag" - Burned C.I.A. agent Michael Weston helps an abused wife find her son, whom she claims had been kidnapped by her estranged husband, in order to raise funds to purchase a fake ID for a trip to Washington D.C. Lucy Lawless guest-starred.
2. (1.12) "Loose Ends" - Michael and ex-girlfriend Fiona Glenname plan an operation to rescue his old buddy, Sam Axe, from ex-Special Forces drug dealers whose blackmail operation they had disrupted in the previous episode. Meanwhile, Michael is contacted by a mysterious woman about his burn notice.
3. (1.06) "Unpaid Debts" - Sam asks Michael to help a former Navy SEAL teammate of his - a repo man who is having trouble reclaiming a boat for his own clients (a group of dirty cops) from Jamaican gangsters. Meanwhile, a CSS agent named Jason Bly arrives in Miami to keep an eye on Michael and dissuade him from investigating his burn notice.
4. (1.11) "Dead Drop" - While Michael continues to struggle to make an appointment with the man who might be responsible for burning him at the C.I.A., he, Sam, and Fiona help a couple who are blackmailed by former Special Forces veterans into participating in a heroin smuggling operation.
5. (1.05) "Family Business" - Michael helps an airport security guard whose family is being threatened by a family of arms dealers with connections to the Mossad. Meanwhile, he and his brother Nate clash over the possession of their father's Dodge Charger.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
"KNOWING" (2009) Review
Over five years ago, Nicholas Cage starred in a science-fiction disaster film with a plot that took me by surprise, when I saw it. Directed by Alex Proyas and written by Ryne Douglas Pearson and Juliet Snowden, the movie proved to be a surprise box office hit, despite mixed reviews.
"KNOWING" told the story about M.I.T. professor John Koestler, whose son Caleb stumbles across a piece of paper from a time capsule that had been dug up at his son's elementary school fifty years ago. In it are some chilling predictions of disasters - some that have already occurred and others that are about to occur in the near future. This discovery leads Koestler to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold, as he sets out to prevent the ultimate catastrophe.
I must admit that I had not been that eager to see "KNOWING", when it first came out in 2009. Cage’s previous movie, "BANGKOK DANGEROUS", had been such a piece of crap. And if I must be brutally honest, his movie choices have been mixed for quite some time. But after learning that the movie had managed to reach the number one spot on the U.S. box office, I decided to give it a shot. Fortunately, "KNOWING" turned out to be somewhat of an improvement from "BANGKOK DANGEROUS". Pearson’s intriguing story, along with the screenplay co-written with Snowden, Alex Proyas’ direction and Cage’s performance helped a bit. I was especially impressed by one sequence that featured a commercial plane crash that occurred not far from where Cage’s character was stuck in a traffic jam, in the middle of a highway. I liked how Proyas and cinematographer Simon Duggan hinted the horrors of the crash’s aftermath through the use of rain, fire, smoke and soot-covered bodies, instead of giving the audience more graphic images. It was probably the best moment in the film.
In the end, what started as a mystery surrounding a series of natural and man-made disasters turned into one of those "end of the world" stories. It seemed a group of aliens have been using the codes found on the list of disasters to warn children all over that the world was about to end, due to a massive solar flare that will have a global affect. This turn in the plot seemed to have a negative affect on the movie, transforming it from an intriguing mystery into a rather depressing and frantic tale. Rose Byrne, who portrayed the daughter of the young student who first left the mysterious piece of paper in the time capsule, did not help matters when her performance spiraled into a hammy rendition of a frantic mother trying to save her daughter and herself from being caught up in the oncoming apocalypse. Even worse, the story's narrative ended up reminding me of the plot for 2008's "THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL". And I found that rather unoriginal on the screenwriters' parts.
Most of "KNOWING" proved to be . . . okay. The movie's three stars - Nicholas Cage, Rose Byrne and Chandler Canterbury - gave solid performances. So did the supporting cast that included Ben Mendelsohn and Liam Hemsworth. And yes, the movie spiraled into a theatrical "end of the world" story. But despite the movie’s over-the-top ending and switch from an intriguing mystery to a badly handled disaster film, I found "KNOWING" rather tolerable. I would not mind watching it again . . . on cable television.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Below are images from "HIDDEN FIGURES", the 2016 adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly's 2016 book, "Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race". Directed by Theodore Melfi, the movie starred Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe:
"HIDDEN FIGURES" (2016) Photo Gallery
Monday, May 15, 2017
"DOUBLE EMNITY" - Chapter 3
The female minion strode into the well-furnished room that served as Prax's private office. "Pardon me, sir," she began. "We have a visitor."
Sitting behind his desk, Prax tore his eyes away from the computer screen. "Send him away. I'm busy," he muttered.
The female hesitated. "She . . . is from the police. The San Francisco Police."
The police? Mild anxiety gripped Prax. Then he remembered. This manor was not located in San Francisco. "Remind our visitor that this is Palo Alto and not under the San Francisco Police's jurisdiction. Failing that . . . kill her."
"This particular police officer happens to be Belthazor's wife. Only, she had introduced herself as Olivia McNeill."
The news stunned Prax. The anxiety within him re-emerged. How did Olivia Turner and Belthazor finally track him? Tight-lipped, Prax ordered the minion to allow their visitor inside the manor. "Escort her to the red drawing room facing the terrace."
"Yes sir." The minion nodded and left the room.
Breathing heavily, Prax made his way to Artemus' private study. There he found the senior daemon examining some documents from a yellow envelope. "Prax," Artemus said in a morose voice. "I've just discovered some unpleasant news about one of my employees." He held out what turned out to be a photograph to the younger daemon. "Do you know this man?"
Prax glanced at the photograph of an attractive man in his early thirties, standing near one of the elevators. The latter possessed light blond hair and narrow features. He frowned. "Ah, yes sir. Anjuli had pointed him out to me as one of our new attorneys. Um . . . Bryan Something. I mean . . . Deighton. Bryan Deighton. Very efficient."
"Apparently, he is a lot more," Artemus murmured. "Klymus had recognized him as a Gimle Order daemon named Cirhan. He remembered . . . Deighton from an encounter in the Gambian Dimension, nearly a year ago."
Prax stared at his superior in disbelief. "A spy?"
Artemus sighed. "Possibly. Considering Belthazor's suspicions of the Magan Corporation, I would not be surprised if he had passed them on to his uncle. Have someone kill him as soon as possible, Prax. Tonight, if possible."
"Yes sir." Prax hesitated. "Um . . . speaking of Belthazor, I have more disturbing news."
"What?" Artemus barked.
After taking a deep breath, Prax announced their new visitor. "It's Olivia Turner, Belthazor's wife."
Artemus' easy going expression tightened into a frown. "What . . . how did she find me? Is Belthazor with her?"
"According to Anjuli, she is alone," Prax answered. "And she had introduced herself, using her maiden name. I had Anjuli escort her to the Red Room."
Artemus' frown deepened. "Curious. This might be a trap to draw me out. I want you to meet with her. Find out what she wants."
"Yes sir." Prax left a frowning Artemus and made his way to the Red Room. It happened to be a wide drawing-room filled with Empire-style furnishings and its walls painted in red. The room faced a stone terrace that overlooked the property's back lawn.
A few minutes later, Anjuli appeared in the room with a human female. One look at the guest and Prax found himself taken aback by her presence. She stood at five-feet-eight and possessed a well-endowed figure that would stop anyone in his or her tracks. But what made the visitor unforgettable were her curly red hair that ended slightly past the nape of neck and vibrant green eyes filled with humor and intelligence that peered from a delicately beautiful face.
"Prax," she greeted in a husky voice. "It's good to see you, again." Belthazor's wife held out one of her hands.
The daemon hesitated, before he reluctantly grabbed hold of the redhead's hand and shook it. "Inspector Turner, I am glad to meet you at . . ."
"Inspector Turner?" Her green eyes widened in surprise. "So, it is true. About the other Olivia and Cole, I mean. They are married."
Prax frowned. "The other Olivia? I'm sorry, but what are you trying to say?"
Lady Belthazor gracefully sat down on the sofa. Prax quickly occupied a chair to her right. "Let me put it this way, Prax. I . . . am from another dimension. An alternate dimension, in which I am a warlock."
For a moment, Prax regarded Belthazor's wife with disbelief. Then he broke into an unpleasant laugh. "What do you take me for? An idiot? Nice try, Lady Belthazor. Now I suggest that you leave before . . ."
Prax's cell phone rang. He removed it from his jacket pocket and answered it. "Yes?"
It was Artemus. "Prax, escort the young lady to my study. I would like to speak with her."
"But Artemus . . ." Prax begin to protest.
The older daemon barked, "Now!" He hung up.
Prax struggled to maintain his emotions . . . and his embarrassment, as he faced the red-haired visitor. "My . . . leader would like to meet you."
The visitor smiled. "You mean, Aretemus." Prax stared at her in shock. She added sweetly, "You had mentioned his name."
Maintaining a calm façade, Prax murmured, "Please follow me." He stood up and lead the visitor out of the room.
"Not a bad dinner," Cole murmured, as he helped his wife cleared the dining table.
The red-haired witch looked slightly affronted. "Not bad? That's it?"
Cole glanced into Olivia's eyes and noticed the humor that did not matched the outraged expression on her face. He allowed himself a slight smile. "That's all you'll get from me," he replied. "Sorry, but I don't believe in encouraging ego trips."
Olivia wrinkled her nose. "You're lucky that I have these dishes in my hands, Mr. Turner."
At that moment, the dirty dishes in the couple's hands disappeared. Cole teleported the dishes to the kitchen sink. "If you like, I can clean them as well," he said with a smirk.
His wife's next words knocked him out of his sails. "That's okay." She started toward the kitchen. "I'll just clean them. Right now, as a matter of fact."
"Now?" Cole stared at Olivia through narrow eyes. Apparently, she had decided to indulge in that perverse side of her nature. He gave his right hand a brief wave. When he arrived in the kitchen, he found Olivia staring at the clean dishes neatly stacked inside one of the cabinets. "What do you know? They're already clean."
"Hmmmm." Olivia regarded her husband with a mixture of disbelief and amusement. "You really must be horny tonight. What's the matter? Can't wait . . . even for a few minutes?"
Cole grabbed her by the waist and pulled her close to him. A gasp escaped past Olivia's lips. "I've been waiting all afternoon," he murmured. "Don't you think it's time I stop?"
"Well . . ." But before Olivia could finish her reply, Cole lowered his mouth upon hers for a deep kiss.
The red-haired warlock glanced around the well-furnished study with an appreciative eye. Then Olivia's gaze fell upon a handsome, middle-aged male with thick curly brown hair that grayed at the temples and a pair of piercing hazel-green eyes. "So, you're Belthazor's lady love. It is a pleasure to finally meet you."
"Lady love?" Olivia eased into a chair facing her host. "Not . . . wife? You believe my story?"
The daemon replied, "I had you under surveillance, while you were talking with Prax. By a telepath. So, you're still Ms. McNeill. Not married yet?"
An arch smile touched the warlock's mouth. "Not yet."
Nodding, the daemon continued, "My name is Artemus, by the way. I've been the head of the Khorne Order for nearly a century." He hesitated. "As a warlock and associate of Belthazor in your world, surely you've heard of me."
"Yes, I have," Olivia answered. "But I'm not here to discuss my universe. I'm here to ask for your . . . help."
One of Artemus' eyebrows cocked upward. "Really? What exactly do you need?"
Olivia sighed. "Information. Namely the whereabouts of the Olivia McNeill of this world. I've just learned that she had moved some time ago."
Curiosity gleamed in Artemus' eyes. "Why do you need to find her?"
"She has the Staff of Aingeal," Olivia answered. "I need it. Both Cole and I need to kill the present Source." She went on to explain how her family had kept the staff hidden from her, following their discovery that no other McNeill pyrokinetic had been able to wield the staff. "I've already tried to steal it last June. In Scotland."
Prax commented, "I heard about that." The other two stared at him. "I mean that I heard that you had . . . I mean, your alter ego had been briefly kidnapped near her ancestors' Scottish home. Several warlocks were arrested. Their ringleader, Russell Pierce, had disappeared."
"He didn't disappear," Olivia coolly corrected. "I killed him. He had failed to do his job and I no longer needed him."
Both Artemus and Prax exchanged astonished looks. The former commented, "Well, I . . . congratulations. I have heard that this Pierce was a hard man to kill. Apparently not. As for the staff . . ."
"Yes?" Olivia stared at the older daemon.
"Exactly who will you use it against?" Artemus' eyes narrowed dangerously.
Olivia calmly replied, "Against the Source. Who else? Belthazor and I plan to become the new rulers of the Source's Realm."
Aretemus' eyes remained dangerously narrow. "And who exactly is the present Source in your dimension? The old one?"
"Hardly," Olivia shot back. "The Halliwells had killed him, two years ago."
A long pause followed before Aretemus continued, "Am I . . .?"
"Your alter ego had been killed some thirty years ago," Olivia said, interrupting. "On the Source's orders."
Artemus' face paled slightly. "I see. In this dimension, the Source simply had me imprisoned in the Stygian Abyss." He sighed. "At least my other self had been spared 26 years in that hellhole. But who . . .?"
"Could we return to the main subject?" Olivia demanded. "Like the information I need?"
Coolly, Artemus leaned back into his leather chair. "Of course." He paused momentarily. "You do realize that I require payment for that piece of information?"
Payment? Olivia found herself growing wary. "For an address?"
"That address contains something that you want badly, Miss McNeill," Artemus shot back. "Well?"
Olivia sighed. "Okay, what do you want?"
The daemon replied, "Someone dead. There is a spy within my organization. A daemon from the Gimle Order." He paused. "You have heard of . . .?"
"Yeah, I have," Olivia shot back. "I've had a few encounters with some of them over the years." She sighed. "I need a name and a description."
Artemus reached for a photograph on his desk and handed it to Olivia. She stared at the attractive looking male with pale blond hair and intense light green eyes. "He goes by the name of Bryan Deighton. But one of my aides had recognized him as Cirhan. I believe he comes from the Usines Dimension, but I'm not too sure."
"Okay," Olivia muttered. "So what else do you know about him?"
"My aide had learned from one of my employees that he likes to frequent a nightclub called P3." Artemus paused dramatically. "Does that sound familiar?"
With a nod, Olivia continued, "Yeah, the old Halliwell place."
"Old?" Artemus frowned. "You mean you say that the club no longer exists in your world?"
Olivia shrugged. "I'm afraid not. Mind you, I don't care since I have never bothered to visit it.
Artemus whispered, "So, the Charmed Ones are dead."
Olivia quickly corrected him. "They're still alive in my world. Trust me." She paused as a thought came to her. "Look, I'm willing to kill this guy for you. But . . . if I find the other Olivia's address first, this deal is off. You'll just have to kill this Cirhan yourself."
"I understand," Artemus said with a nod. As Olivia rose to her feet, he added, "By the way Miss McNeill, you never told me who was the new Source in your world."
A sardonic smile curved Olivia's lips. "No, I never did. I would tell you, but I don't think even you could handle the shock. Good evening." She shot a quick smile at the two daemons and left the room.
END OF CHAPTER 3
Saturday, May 13, 2017
"POLDARK" SERIES ONE (1975): EPISODES NINE TO TWELVE
It has been a while since I had last viewed "POLDARK", the BBC's 1975-77 adaptation of Winston Graham's literary series about the post-war life of a British Army officer American Revolutionary War veteran named Ross Poldark. Real life and several movies releases distracted my attention from the series. Eventually, I found the time to watch Series One's adaptation of Graham's 1950 novel, "Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1790-1791".
Episode Eight had ended on a grim note. Ross' new smelting company ended in failure after his cousin Francis Poldark revealed the shareholders' names to the former's rival, George Warleggan. Ross now finds himself in financial straights. Francis was stricken with Putrid's Throat and Ross' wife, Demelza Carne Poldark, helped Francis' wife, Elizabeth Chynoweth Poldark, nurse the stricken man back to health. Unfortunately, both Demelza and young daughter Julia were stricken with the same illness. Demelza recovered. Julia did not. Following Julia's death, one of the Warleggans' ships were wrecked off the coast of Poldark land. Despite Ross' efforts to conduct a rescue of the survivors (in this version, at least), many of the locals salvaged the goods from the ship and caused a riot on the ship. The episode ended with Ross being arrested for instigating the riot.
Episode Nine began with Ross' return to his estate, Nampara, after spending a short period in jail. While he prepares to find a barrister (attorney) to represent him in court, Demelza tries to recruit help from the local gentry to have the charges dropped against Ross or ensure a not guilty verdict. Much against Ross' wishes, who stubbornly wants to guarantee his freedom on his own. Ross' friend, Dr. Dwight Enrys, meets the spoiled heiress Caroline Peneven, when she mistakes him for a veterinarian for her pug. Francis, who continues to feels guilty over his betrayal of the Carnmore Copper Company, sinks to a new low before sets out to make amends with Ross. And George and Nicholas Warleggan, who had arranged Ross' arrest in the first place, tries to guarantee a guilty verdict for Ross by bribing the latter's former servant, Jud Paynter, to testify against him.
Following the trial in which Ross is exonerated, the Poldarks at both Nampara and Trenwith are forced to deal with their low financial straits. Ross and Francis reconcile and make plans to re-open Wheal Grace and dig for copper. To finance re-opening the mine, Ross allows local smugglers led by a man named Mr. Trencom to use the cove on Nampara land for a smuggling operation. Demelza is against the idea, but Ross refuses to listen to her. Meanwhile, Demelza discovers that she is pregnant with their second child. Due to their financial straits and the trauma of baby Julia's death, she fears that Ross will be unhappy by the news of her pregnancy. Demelza also resorts to solo fishing trips behind her husband's back to provide food for Nampara's inhabitants, while Ross' finances suffer. In fact, Episode Twelve ends with a very pregnant Demelza struggling to row back to the shore, while she goes into labor.
What can I say about the 1975 adaptation of "Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1790-1791"? I have mixed feelings about it. Perhaps my feelings for this adaptation is due to the source material. "Jeremy Poldark" is probably the shortest novel in Graham's twelve-book series. A novel's lenghth should not determine one's opinion of it. But if I must be brutally honest, I do not have a high regard for "Jeremy Poldark". It seemed more like a filler episode of a television series with a long-term narrative structure. The most interesting aspects of the novel were the emotional estrangement between Ross and Demelza, following their daughter's death and his deal with smugglers; Francis' attempt to reconcile with Ross; and of course, Ross' trial for the riot that had occurred near the end of "Demelza - A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790".
Episode Nine mainly focused on Ross' preparations for the trial, Demelza's attempts to seek help for him, and the Warleggans' preparations to ensure that Ross will be convicted. That included recruiting Jud Paynter to testify against Ross. It was a pretty interesting episode. Somewhat. I thought the episode featured a colorful quality once the setting shifted to Bodmin for both the trial and upcoming local elections. It also featured a colorful assembly ball where Demelza, wearing the same gown she had worn at the Warleggans' ball in Episode Six, tries to recruit support and help for Ross. The episode ended with a cliffhanger, as Francis Poldark, who was also at the ball and in Bodmin to support Ross, contemplates committing suicide with a pistol in his hand.
Episode Eleven mainly focused on Ross and Demelza's separate efforts to maintain their survival and rejuvenate their fortunes. And for the first time, the series delved into the strains that their their problems and Julia's death had placed upon their marriage. For Ross and Demelza, the honeymoon is finally over and I could not be any more happier. There is nothing that will bore me quicker than an idealized romance. Finally, the saga settles down to forcing the couple to work at making their marriage work. And I have to give credit to both Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees for their skillful portrayal of Ross and Demelza's struggles to make their marriage work. This was especially apparent in one scene that featured a quarrel between the couple following a supper party they had attended at Trenwith. Sometime during the evening, Ross and his former love, Elizabeth Chynoweth Poldark, had the opportunity for a private conversation that ended with Ross complimenting her appearance. Unfortunately, Demelza appeared and was able to overhear his compliment. Which would explained the Ross and Demelza's quarrel.
Ever since the current adaptation of "POLDARK" had first aired, I have encountered complaints about how actor Kyle Soller had portrayed Francis Poldark as an ill-tempered loser during the show's first season. To be honest, Clive Francis had did the same in the 1975 adaptations of "Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787" and "Demelza". I noticed that once Francis had put his friendship with the manipulative George Warleggan behind him and reconciled with Ross, he finally became that wry and witty man that so many had commented about. And the actor gave a very charming and subtle performance.
I also enjoyed the portrayal of the burgeoning romance between Dr. Dwight Enys and heiress Caroline Penvenen, thanks to Richard Morant and Judy Geeson's sparkling performances. The beginning of their relationship reminded me of the numerous Hollywood comedies between the late 1950s and mid 1960s. This was especially highlighted by Caroline's mistaken assumption that Dwight was more of a veterinarian and the latter's subtle contempt toward her privileged behavior. In a way, I find their relationship a bit more realistic than the one between Ross and Demelza. Dwight and Caroline's relationship strike me as good example of how class differences can effect a potential romance between two people of such disparate backgrounds.
But the one episode that I truly enjoyed was Episode Ten. It featured the assizes in Bodmin and especially Ross' trial. If I must be brutally honest, Episode Ten did not feature one of Robin Ellis' best performances as Ross Poldark. He spent most of the episode looking rather stoic and occasionally, disapproving. It seemed as if the world of 18th century Cornwall had merely revolved around him. And a colorful world it turned out to be. The excitement actually began in the second half of Episode Nine, which featured the local elections, a local ball and the preparations for Ross' trial. But it was the assizes itself, which included Ross' trial that made Episode Ten fascinated for me. Not only did it feature Ross' trial, filled with attempts by the corrupt prosecutor to circumvent the law; but also another in which a woman was convicted for a minor crime and punished with a public whipping.
At least three performances made Episode Ten very interesting. One of those performances came from Paul Curran, who portrayed Ross' former servant (at the time), Jud Paynter. Curran's Jud spent most of the episode getting drunk in order to shore up his courage to testify against Ross. It almost seemed as if Curran had to sustain the image of a drunken Jud throughout the entire episode. He also had to constantly irritate George Warleggan, portrayed by Ralph Bates. And the latter is the second performance that really caught my interest. I really enjoyed Bates in this episode. His George Warleggan was a man irritated not only by Jud's drunkeness, but also by the tight-fisted Nicholas Warleggan. Bates did an excellent job in basically portraying a straight man to a pair of comic performances. That second comic performance belonged to Nicholas Selby, who gave a rather subtle, yet funny performance as the venal, yet penny-pinching Nicholas. Poor George. His father is vindictive enough to demand that Ross suffers for the looting of his shipwrecked ship, but cheap enough to demand that George pay a small amount to arrange for Ross' conviction. Talk about a man between a rock and a hard place.
Despite these narrative and character virtues, I still remained somewhat unimpressed by Episodes Nine to Twelve. I was not impressed by how screenwriters Peter Draper and Paul Wheeler, along with director Kenneth Ives; structured the narrative for these episodes. One, their use of cliffhangers seemed a bit off kilter to me. In two episodes - Episodes Nine and Ten - the screenwriters and the director used cliffhangers to tell the audience what happened and not show. Episode Nine ended with a despondent Francis Poldark pressing a pistol to his head, as he prepared to commit suicide. Yet, there was no gunshot or anything to hint what happened. Audiences did not learn that the suicide attempt had failed due to the pistol's misfire in a conversation between Francis and Dwight Enys. I found this handling of Francis' suicide attempt extremely annoying. Apparently, it was easier for Draper and Ives to tell the audience what happened via Francis' revelation than show it.
As for Episode Ten, it ended with the judge about to announce the verdict at the end of Ross' trial. But audiences did not learn about the verdict, until George Warleggan had informed his father . . . at the beginning of Episode Eleven. It seemed ridiculously unnecessary to end Episode Ten in this manner. Worse, it was another example of the writer and director telling what happened, instead of showing. Speaking of "episodic interruptus", Episode Twelve, which is the last one that served as an adaptation of "Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1790-1791", ended with a pregnant Demelza rowing back to shore as she goes into labor. One, this is not how the novel ended. It ended with a conciliation between Ross and Francis during the newborn Jeremy Poldark's christening; along with Ross and Demelza at home, as they contemplated on keeping their family and household. I see now that the screenwriter had allowed Ross and Francis to reconcile before Jeremy's birth, so that they could end the episode on this cliffhanger with Demelza struggling to reach the shore. I found this a waste of time. This was simply another example of telling the audience what happened, instead of showing. Episode Thirteen, which began the adaptation of "Warleggan: A Novel of Cornwall, 1792-1793", began with Demelza reaching the shore and later, Ross announcing the presence of his newborn son. Frustrating! And unnecessary.
Although I had earlier complimented Paul Curran's comic performance of the drunken Jud Paynter, I must admit there is so much of Jud that I can take. He almost became something of a fly on the ointment to me during my favorite episode, Episode Ten. But Episode Twelve truly became something of a chore for me, due to the whole "Jud is dead" story arc. After double-crossing the Warleggans by failing to testify against Ross and keeping the fifteen shillings they had given him, Jud is assaulted by some of George Warleggan's men at the end of Episode Eleven. A great deal of Episode Twelve focused on Jud's funeral and wake, while Ross and Demelza attended another supper party at Trenwith. A great deal. To make matters worse, it turned out that Jud was never dead . . . just unconscious. No one had bothered to verify whether he was dead or not. Instead, they had mistaken his unconscious body as a corpse. Not only was I irritated that Jud was not dead, I believe that Winston Graham had committed something of a cheat with this story line. Worse, I had to endure thirty to forty minutes of Jud's wake, which seemed more than I was able to bear. I really wish he had remained dead.
I have one last quibble and it involved at least four missing characters. What happened to Jinny Carter? You know . . . Jinny? Ross and Demelza's kitchen maid? The widow of one Jim Carter? What happened to her? Actress Gillian Bailey, who had portrayed Ginny in the adaptation of "Ross Poldark" and "Demelza", seemed to be missing during these four episodes. Worse, no mention was made about her lack of presence. I find this ironic, considering that Jinny's father, Zacky Martin, was not missing. Forbes Collins, who had portrayed Zacky, had a strong presence in these four episodes - including the sequence involving Jud's funeral. So why was Jinny missing? And I also noticed that after twelve episodes and adaptations of three novels, Aunt Agatha Poldark also remained missing. I realize that she plays an important role in "Warleggan: A Novel of Cornwall, 1792-1793" and "The Black Moon: A Novel of Cornwall, 1794-1795". But why has she been missing for so long in this adaptation of Winston Graham's saga? How did producers Morris Barry and Anthony Coburn explain her appearance in future episodes, beginning with the adaptation of "Warleggan"? And what happened to Verity's stepchildren? They were first introduced in "Jeremy Poldark" and I had assumed (for which I should have known better) they would make their appearances by at least Episode Eleven or Episode Twelve. Perhaps they will appear in the production's adaptation of "Warleggan". Who knows?
There were some highlights from Barry and Coburn's adaptation of "Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1790-1791". These highlights include Ross Poldark's trial in Episode Ten; the burgeoning romance between Dr. Dwight Enys and Caroline Penvenen; and the performances of three cast members - Paul Curran, Nicholas Selby and especially Ralph Bates. But overall, I was not that impressed by Episodes Nine to Twelve. I found the narrative structure of these episodes rather troubling, especially with how cliffhangers were used. And the handling of the Jud Paynter character struck me as well, somewhat overbearing. Oh well. Onward to Episode Thirteen.