“Revelations” [PG-13] – 3/4




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 . . .?”

“When Paige?”

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-demon . . .”

“. . . 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. “Admit what you did 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 not, 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?


“LOST” – Who Ordered the Purge of the DHARMA Initiative?

Ever since Oceanic Flight 815 survivor Sayid Jarrah tried to murder young Ben Linus in (5.10) “He’s Our You”, and fellow survivor Jack Shephard refused to operate on the 14 year-old to save his life in (5.11) “Whatever Happened, Happened”, I have heard comments that compared Ben to Adolf Hitler. I have also heard comments that compared Ben’s younger self to a “young Hitler”. Many people have claimed that it was Ben who had ordered the deaths of the Dharma Initiative members on December 19, 1992. However, I have my doubts.


According to the series, Ben has offered contradicting facts on whether he had ordered the Purge of the Dharma Initiative or not. In (3.23) “Through the Looking Glass”, he had claimed to Jack that he was responsible for the Purge:

“Not so long ago, Jack. I made a decision that took the lives of over forty people in a single day”

Unfortunately, Ben contradicted this claim in the Season 4 episode (2.11) “Cabin Fever”, when he had the following conversation with another survivor of Oceanic Flight 815, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes:

HURLEY: So… This is where you shot Locke and left him for dead, huh?
BEN: Yes, Hugo, I was standing right where you are now when I pulled the trigger. Should have realized at the time that it was pointless, but… I really wasn’t thinking clearly.
[Hurley steps back a little]
HURLEY: Is that why you killed all these people, too?
BEN: I didn’t kill them.
HURLEY: Well, if the Others didn’t wipe out the DHARMA Initiative–
BEN: They did wipe them out, Hugo, but it wasn’t my decision.
HURLEY: Then whose was it?
BEN: Their leader’s.
HURLEY: But I thought you were their leader.
BEN: Not always.

Interesting. He had admitted to trying to kill John Locke. But he denied being the one who had ordered the Purge. In the final flashback featured in another Season 3 episode called (3.21) “The Man Behind the Curtain”, viewers finally saw Ben’s experiences during the actual Purge. And most of his scenes featured his last moments with his abusive father, Roger Linus:

[Ben looks at his watch]
ROGER: Why do you keep looking at your watch? You got a date? [Pauses] Listen…if it makes you feel any better, I will do my best to remember your birthday next year.
BEN: I don’t think that’s going to happen, Dad. [starts to unzip bag]
ROGER: What do you mean?
BEN: You know, I’ve missed her too. Maybe as much as you have. But the difference is, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had to put up with you. And doing that required a tremendous amount of patience.
[Ben pulls out a gas mask]
BEN: Goodbye, Dad.
[Ben puts it on and then releases a gas canister]
[Roger struggles for breath, coughing and retching as blood spurts from his nose and mouth, clawing at Ben’s mask]
[At the Barracks, Ben walks with gas mask on. He sees all the DHARMA employees lining the ground, all dead. He then notices Horace on a bench, and closes his eyes. Richard and the Hostiles arrive with masks on. Richard checks his watch, then removes his mask taking a deep breath. The rest of the team follow, as does Ben]
RICHARD: You want us to, um…go get his body?
BEN: No, leave him out there.

Does this mean that Ben had ordered the deaths of the DHARMA Initiative? I do not know. The only order Ben gave in the above mentioned scene was to leave Roger’s body in the van. Following the flashback, Ben said the following to Locke:

[In real-time, Locke stands over a mass open grave full of skeletons, some still wearing their DHARMA jumpsuits]
BEN: This is where I came from, John. These are my people. The DHARMA Initiative. They came here seeking harmony, but they couldn’t even coexist with the Island’s original inhabitants. And when it became clear that one side had to go, one side had to be purged, I did what I had to do. I was one of the people that was smart enough to make sure that I didn’t end up in that ditch.

That last passage interested me. What exactly was Ben trying to say? That he had ordered the Purge against the DHARMA Initiative? Or that he made sure that he, as a member of the Initiative, would survive the Purge? Thanks to the most recent episode of ”LOST” – ”Dead Is Dead” – viewers know that Charles Widmore was the leader of the Others in 1988. And in another Season Four episode called (4.09) “The Shape of Things to Come”, viewers learned in a flash forward that Ben had taken the leadership of the Others away from Widmore:

WIDMORE: I know who you are, boy. What you are. I know that everything you have you took from me. So… Once again I ask you: Why are you here?
BEN: I’m here, Charles, to tell you that I’m going to kill your daughter. Penelope, is it? And once she’s gone… once she’s dead… then you’ll understand how I feel. And you’ll wish you hadn’t changed the rules.
[Widmore shifts in his bed.]
WIDMORE: You’ll never find her.
[Ben turns to leave.]
WIDMORE: That island’s mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again.

So, when did Ben Linus replace Charles Widmore as leader of the Others? Before December 19, 1992? Or after? The photograph below from ”The Man Behind the Curtain” hints that Ben was still a worker for the DHARMA Initiative during that period, despite the fact that he had been one of the Others since the 1980s:

But had Ben assumed leadership of the Others by then? If not, does that mean Charles Widmore was still leading the Others in December 1992? Both the LOSTPEDIA and the WIKIPEDIA sites claimed that Richard Alpert had led the Others in the Purge against the DHARMA Initiative. But neither site made it clear who had ordered the Purge. And ”Dead Is Dead” never gave a clear date about when Widmore was exiled off the island.

In the end, viewers know that Charles Widmore had been the leader of the Others in 1988-89, when Danielle Rosseau’s companions were killed and she gave birth to a daughter, Alex, before the latter was kidnapped by Ben Linus. Viewers also know that Richard Alpert led a group of Others in the Purge against the DHARMA Initiative on December 19, 1992. On that same date, Ben killed his father, Roger Linus, in a similar manner – toxic gas. And viewers know that Widmore was eventually replaced by Ben as the Others’ leader and exiled off the island. If we only knew when Widmore had been exiled, perhaps the mystery of who had ordered the DHARMA Initiative Purge will finally be cleared.



Nine years after the release of 1998’s “ELIZABETH”, director Shekhar Kapur returned to direct a sequel called,“ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE”. Like the 1998 movie, it stars Cate Blanchett as England’s “Virgin Queen” and Geoffrey Rush as the sovereign’s most trusted spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. The movie covers a period during Elizabeth I’s reign in which she had faced the double threat of Philip II of Spain (Jordi Mollà) and Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). The movie also features a romantic triangle for Elizabeth that features Clive Owen as Walter Raleigh, famous poet and explorer (and the Queen’s object of desire) and Abbie Cornish as one of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waitng and Raleigh’s future wife, Bess Throckmorton. 

Despite having the same director and star as the previous film, “ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE” seems like a different kettle of fish from its predecessor. Michael Hirst and new writer, William Nicholson’s screenplay seem more somber and less violent than the 1998 film. The most graphic violence shown in the movie is actually heard as Mary Stuart’s neck is severed by a sword (or axe). And its sensuality almost seem subdued in compared to the earlier film. The most titillating scene seemed to be Cate Blanchett’s backside after she disrobes in one scene.

The movie covers a period in Elizabethan history that has been featured many times in the past – namely Elizabeth Tudor’s decision to execute Mary Stuart for plotting treason. It also covers the consequences of this act – namely Spain’s decision to send an armada to England. Although I found this mildly interesting, I wish that one day in the future, some filmaker would focus upon a period in Elizabeth’s reign that did not cover her early years as queen, Mary Stuart’s death or the Spanish Armada. Unfortunately, these incidents seem to define her reign in history. Perhaps that is why I found the story’s main conflict anti-climatic. At least the royal triangle between Elizabeth, Raleigh and Throckmorton managed to provide some spark in the story . . . even if this actually played out in the early 1590s, instead of the 1580s as shown in the film.

The performances are basically first-rate – especially by Rush, Owen and Cornish. Although I must confess that I found Owen’s presence in the movie to be almost irrevelant. Aside from participating in the defense of England against Spain, he had no serious role in the movie’s main story – namely Elizabeth’s conflict with Mary and Philip.

I really do not know what to make of Jordi Mollà’s portrayal of Philip II. I guess I found it rather odd. I think he had tried to portray the Spanish sovereign as someone more eccentric than he actually was. And quite frankly, screenwriters Hirst and Nicholson did not serve him well by dumping some rather pedantic dialogue upon him that seemed focused around insulting Elizabeth’s character. I do not know what he had called English queen more – ‘whore’‘bastard’ or simply‘darkness’. Quite frankly, he had made a much better villain in “BAD BOYS II”.

As for Blanchett, I really enjoyed her performance in the movie’s first half. She seemed more self-assured, mature and perhaps manipulative than she was in the 1998 movie. Yet, once when affairs of both the state and the heart began to sour for her, she engaged in more over-the-top mannerisms than Bette Davis did during her entire 17 years at Warner Brothers. Before one starts thinking that I was more impressed by Blanchett’s performance in “ELIZABETH”, let me assure you that I was not. If anything, her twitchiness in the movie’s second half only reminded me of the same mannerisms that I almost found annoying in the first movie. Yet . . . she still managed to turn in an excellent performance.

Like its 1998 predecessor, “ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE” is not perfect. It lacks the previous movie’s colorful panache, despite the lavish costumes and sets. In fact, those very traits nearly threaten to overwhelm both the story and its characters. Thankfully, Kapur manages to prevent this from actually happening. And although it is historically incorrect, at least it is not marred by an unforgivable revision of history as was the case with the Elizabeth/Dudley storyline in the first film. Despite its imperfections, I suggest you go see “ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE”. Especially if you enjoy lavish costumes in a historical setting.

“Different Paths in Brotherhood”


While reading an old review by someone named Tchaikovsky about the Season Five ”ANGEL” episode, (5.08) “Destiny”, I noticed that the reviewer discussed a lot about Angel and Spike’s relationship as ”brothers”, whether they were in their souled or unsouled states. When I first viewed that particular season, I noticed one particular thing about it. There seemed to be a great deal of focus upon brotherhood. 

In the relationship between Angel and Spike, viewers had two vampires with the potential to be close ”brothers” when they first met in 1880. However, their feelings for one female vampire – namely Drusilla – fragmented that sense of brotherhood. After his disappointments with his former object of desire, an English debutante named Cecily and his mother Anne, whom he had transformed into a vampire; Spike (or .should I say, William) saw the female vampire as his destiny, someone to love and worship.

I am not sure what Angel (aka Angelus) saw in Drusilla. Perhaps he viewed her as something or someone to completely control, perhaps? As the son of an Irish merchant, Liam never really had any control in his relationship with his father until the moment he killed the latter after becoming a vampire. Despite his rejection of his grandsire, the Master, Angelus found himself controlled by Darla, via her usual subtle way by making him believe that he was in control. And perhaps, deep down, Angelus knew this. Perhaps this is why he had decided to betray William by having sex with Drusilla. Perhaps he wanted to make the other male vampire realize that he was in control and that William’s idea of Drusilla being his destiny was nothing more than an illusion.

Due to Drusilla’s mental state, Angelus was not only Spike’s grandsire, but also acted as the latter’s sire and mentor. Yet . . . the night Angelus slept with Drusilla also marked the beginning of an antagonistic relationship and rivalry between the two. That antagonism intensified when Angel lost his soul in 1998 and became Angelus again; their antagonism deepened. Not only did Angelus resume a sexual relationship with Drusilla; Spike, in a crippled state, found himself unable to do anything about it. Until he healed and formed a partnership with the blond Slayer, Buffy Summers. Spike and Angel’s antagonistic relationship lasted over 120 years.

And yet, after Spike had reappeared in Los Angeles in Season Five of ”ANGEL”, the two vampires slowly began to form another bond. Before that could happen, the two vampires had to deal with another rivalry for the heart of Buffy Summers. After all, Spike had witnessed Buffy and Angel’s reunion kiss in the second to last episode of ”BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER”(7.21) “End of Days”. And in the following episode, (7.22) “Chosen”, Angel learned several things – namely that Buffy and Spike had formed some kind of relationship, Spike had a soul and that Buffy had chosen the blond vampire as her personal champion. The two vampires’ resentment over Buffy spilled over when Spike’s non-corporeal form appeared at the end of (5.01) “Convictions”. Yet, from the moment following their fight over the Cup of Destiny in ”Destiny”, to their bonding over shared experiences in (5.11) “Damage”, and finally to their partnership in episodes like (5.20) “The Girl in Question” and (5.22) “Not Fade Away”; the pair managed to reconnect as ”brothers”. They finally realized that they need each other in their fight against Evil. Besides, with the Fang Gang slowly disintegrating, perhaps Spike became the only person that Angel could truly depend upon.

In contrast to Angel and Spike’s relationship, Season Five marked the final destruction of Charles Gunn and Wesley Wyndham-Price’s friendship. It is interesting that back in the series’ Season Two, they were close friends and partners in a detective agency with Cordelia Chase. Many of the series’ fans would remember the secret handshakes and the ”I got your back” declarations, and the manner in which they had fought together against demons.

But in the end the relationship was destroyed by Wesley’s kidnapping of Angel’s son; and a woman – namely one Winifred “Fred” Burkle. I am not saying that she is to blame for their past or present estrangement. But their views of Fred, along with their personal demons – Charles’ insecurity (which was fed by Fred’s comment about him being the gang’s muscle) and Wesley’s secretive nature and a whore/Madonna view of women eventually brought about a complete destruction of their relationship. Fred and Connor’s kidnapping turned out to be two reasons for their first break-up.

Yet, their friendship resurrected when both men finally decided to forgo a romantic pursuit of said female in late Season Four. But Angel’s decision to allow the Senior Partners, the evil overlords of the Wolfram and Hart law firm erase their memories of Connor and any other memories linking to the vampire’s son. This decision also led to the gang becoming employees of the law firm, Charles’ decision to become an attorney by supernatural means and resurrected Wesley’s desires for Fred. The two eventually began a romantic relationship. All of this culminated in disaster when Charles makes a pact to revive his diminishing legal abilities in exchange for signing the release of an ancient curio stuck in Customs. When this curio resulted in the death of Fred and the resurrection of a demon called Illyia in Fred’s body. A grieving Wesley decided to seek revenge by the attempted murder of Charles. Although both men assisted Angel in the latter’s battle against the Senior Partners and the Circle of Thorn in the Season Five finale,(5.22) “Not Fade Away”, their friendship never returned to the state it had been during Season Two and the second half of Season Four.

I find it amazing that two different male relationships ended on divisive paths. Angel and Spike’s relationship – which began on a rocky foundation saturated with resentment, rivalry over two females- managed to reconnect into a strong brotherly bond. On the other hand, Charles and Wes’ friendship began on a strong note and ended in complete ruin before the series ended. And to think that this all happened during Season Five.

“THE LAST AIRBENDER” (2010) Review

“THE LAST AIRBENDER” (2010) Review

Director M. Night Shyamalan decided to explore the world of fantasy-adventure by filming an adaptation of an animated television series called ”AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER”. This movie is a fantasy-adventure tale set in a fictional, Asian-influenced world with Chinese martial arts and elemental manipulation. ”THE LAST AIRBENDER” tells the story of a young monk and the only surviving airbender (one with the psi ability to manipulate air) named Aang, who is believed by others to be the future Avatar – one who can manipulate all four elements of air, water, fire and earth. With his two new friends from the Southern Water Tribe, Aang seeks to learn to manipulate three other elements – water, earth and fire. In this movie, he journeys with his friends Katara (a waterbender) and her brother Sokka to the Northern Water Tribe, where he can learn how to master the waterbending skill from a master. Tracking Aang, Katara and Sokka is Prince Zuko, the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation; who has been exiled by his evil father, Fire Lord Ozai and sent to capture the future Avatar. With the Avatar’s capture, Zuko’s honor and right to the throne will be restored.

I would have never bothered to see this movie. But an office colleague of mine had really enjoyed the movie and recommended that I go see it. Needless to say, I do not regret following her advice. Mind you, ”THE LAST AIRBENDER”was not perfect. The movie’s first five to ten minutes failed to kickstart my interest. It bored me so much that I found myself on the verge of falling asleep. Most of the cast members gave performances that ranged from mediocrity to sheer boredom. And a good deal of the movie’s dialogue seemed extremely cheesy to me – the kind of dialogue one would find in the ”STAR WARS” and the ”LORD OF THE RINGS” franchises.

However, ”THE LAST AIRBENDER” definitely had its virtues. I was impressed by the performances of the two leads, Noah Ringer and Dev Patel, who portrayed Aang and Zuko respectively. These two literally kept this movie together. It also helped that both had genuine martial arts experience. I was also impressed by Shaun Toub, who portrayed Zuko’s wise uncle, Iroh; Aasif Mandvi, who played the Fire Nation’s cold-blooded military commander, Zhao; and Cliff Curtis, who portrayed the ruthless leader of the Fire Nation, Fire Lord Ozai. Andrew Lesnie’s photography, Philip Messina’s production designs and the art directions supervised by Richard L. Johnson were very impressive, if not mind blowing. However, I did find Judianna Makovsky’s costume designs to be very beautiful and memorable.

From what I understand, ”THE LAST AIRBENDER” is not exactly a hit. It has failed to fully earn back the money spent on its production. Well . . . what can I say? Regardless of whether it was a hit or not, I found it an entertaining movie to watch and look forward to viewing it again on DVD.

“Revelations” [PG-13] – 2/4




*AUTHOR’S NOTES: All flashback scenes are from actual CHARMED Season 4 scripts that I had found on the CHARMED SCRIPTS site*

Inside the Top of the Mark Restaurant, at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, Cecile and her two dinner companions finished the last of their meals. Cole pushed back his plate, while Olivia drained the last of her white wine. A waiter immediately materialized next to their table and asked if any of them would like to order dessert.

As much as a sweet dish sounded appealing, Cecile realized that she could not eat another bite. Besides, Olivia’s cheesecake awaited them back at the latter’s apartment. She noticed that both Cole and Olivia had also rejected the waiter’s offer. Instead, all three ordered a cup of coffee.

The waiter walked away. Olivia heaved a groan. “God! I think I’ve drank one two many glasses of wine.” She stood up. So did Cole. “I’ll be right back.” She headed toward the Ladies’ Restroom.

“Well,” Cole said, after Olivia walked away, “looks like it’s just the two of us.”

Cecile smiled. “You know, I just realized that in the two weeks or so I’ve been here, this is the first time we’ve been alone. Together.”

“Well, I don’t want to give Andre a reason to be jealous,” Cole joked lightly. He referred to Cecile’s boyfriend and a close friend of his for the past ten years.

Eyeing him shrewdly, Cecile shot back, “Or maybe you’re afraid to find out what I really think about you.”

“And what exactly do you think?”

Cecile shrugged. “I don’t know. You seem okay. It’s obvious that you care for Olivia, a lot.”

“As a friend,” Cole quickly pointed out. “A close friend.”

A knowing smile curved Cecile’s lips. If only he knew. Instead, she replied, “If you say so. Although I don’t recall asking.”

“I . . .” Cole shook his head. “Never mind.”

Cecile added, “I’m curious about one thing. What you had told Leon earlier, today. About what you went through, this year. Is it true?”

“Perhaps my account of the events were a little . . . well, exaggerated,” Cole replied. “But yeah, it was true.”


Cole sighed. “Actually, a lot of what happened was my fault.”

“How?” Cecile insisted.

The half-demon admitted that his decision to use the Hollow – the source of all magic, had led to the disastrous event that unfolded last spring. If he had not used the Hollow to absorb the Source’s powers and save the Charmed Ones, he would not given the Source the opportunity to possess him. “And perhaps,” he added, “I should have put up more of a fight against his influence.”

Cecile stared at her handsome companion. “Cherie, what makes you think you could have easily fought off this Source? Hell, it’s damn near impossible to fight off possession of any spirit, evil or otherwise. Trust me, I know from experience.”

“All I know is that the whole thing had cost me my marriage and Phoebe’s good opinion.”

Shaking her head, Cecile continued, “And that didn’t piss you off? You certainly seemed pissed at Leon . . .”


“Sorry, Leo. You were certainly mad at him.”

Cole replied, “Yeah, well I was pissed. I still am.”

“Well, let it out, for God’s sake! Don’t let it fester inside you! You’re just building up a lot of anger and resentment. Talk to whatshername – Phoebe, about how you feel. Maybe you two need to talk and get this thing behind you.”

An increasingly moody-looking Cole retorted, “She won’t talk to me! Let alone listen to me. None of them will. At first, I didn’t bother to deny it was my entire fault. I figured that Phoebe wouldn’t believe me, anyway. So, I tried to win her back and prove that I have some good in me.” His demeanor became less hostile. “But it didn’t work.”

Cecile took a sip of water. “Well then, maybe you should just stay away from them. Sounds like Phoebe and her family aren’t worth the trouble, if they’re going to be like that.”

“Now where have I heard that before?” Cole murmured sarcastically. “Oh yeah. Olivia’s father.”

“Well, he’s right. If they can’t handle or deal with what had happened, it’s their problem. It’s not yours, any longer. From what Olivia has told me, they keep insisting that you’re pure evil. Well, the next time they do, tell ’em to kiss your ass!”

A regretful look appeared on Cole’s face. “They’re not far from the truth. Didn’t Olivia tell you about Ed Miller?”

Cecile nodded. “Yeah. Did she ever tell you about Emile Mornay?”


Painful memories of Cecile’s past reared its ugly head. She told Cole about Emile Mornay, a New Orleans trafficker in prostitution and white slavery. He had sold her younger cousin to a whorehouse in New Orleans. Cousin Leonora had tried to escape and ended up dead. Strangled by Mornay. Cecile and Andre tracked Mornay to a warehouse, just upriver from the Crescent City. There, Cecile came close to killing the man in cold blood.

“But at least you stopped,” Cole said. “You didn’t kill him.”

Cecile leaned forward and stared directly into Cole’s eyes. “You want to know why I didn’t kill him? Because Andre had stopped me. If he hadn’t, I would have killed Mornay without any remorse. I guess that deep down; we’re really not that different. Magical or not.”

Olivia’s return ended the serious mood between the other two. The red-haired witch frowned. “What’s with you two?” she asked, as she sat down. “You both look so earnest, it’s sickening.”

A pause followed before Cole answered, “It’s nothing. Just talking about mistakes from the past.”

“Sounds depressing.” Olivia glanced around the restaurant’s dining room. “Where’s the waiter with our coffee? Hasn’t he showed up, yet?” She continued to complain, while Cecile and Cole shared understanding smiles.

* * * *

The idea came to Paige in the middle of the night. She shot up into a sitting position, and her eyes popped open. Of course! Cecile Dubois!

Paige had wracked her brain all evening long, trying to think of someone with psychic abilities, who could help her. Help her find out what really happened to Cole, last spring. There was Elise McNeill, but the old lady was still in Palm Beach, visiting a relative. Harry McNeill, like his grandmother, was also a telepath. But also like her, he did not receive visions of the future . . . or the past. And a small part of Paige did not really trust either telepath’s ability to get past the psyche of someone as powerful as Cole. That only left Cecile Dubois.

Not only was the Vodoun priestess a powerful telepath, but also like Phoebe, she received premonitions. Paige switched on the lamp, next to her bed and glanced at her clock. One forty-seven in the morning. Dammit! It was much too early to call anyone. She would simply have to wait another six or seven hours to contact Cecile. Unfortunately, she did not feel sleepy.

The youngest Charmed One remained awake all night long. She then spent the early morning hours contemplating on words she could use to convince Cecile Dubois to help her. By the time her small clock read seven, Paige bounded out of bed, grabbed her robe – it was December, after all – and rushed downstairs.

Paige ignored the voices that permeated from the kitchen, as she snatched up the telephone. Service to her cell telephone had ceased, due to her failure to pay the latest bill. As Paige began to dial, it struck her. She did not know Olivia McNeill’s phone number. Paige marched into the kitchen, where she found Piper and Phoebe in the middle of a conversation.

“. . . that every time I meet someone new, you always dismiss him?” Phoebe was saying. Then she and Piper became aware of Paige. “Oh, you’re up,” Phoebe remarked to the younger woman. Her cool manner told Paige that she had not forgotten their conversation from yesterday.

Paige smiled nervously. “Hey, morning everyone. Uh, does anyone know Olivia McNeill’s phone number?”

The two older women stared at her with surprise. A slight frown creased Piper’s forehead. “Why do you want Olivia’s number?”

“That’s a pretty good question,” Phoebe added with a touch of suspicion.

After a brief hesitation, Paige replied, “Actually, I wanted to speak with her friend. Cecile Whatshername. I uh . . . I have a few questions about . . . you know.”

“No we don’t,” Piper said.

Paige murmured the next word. “Voo . . . I mean, Vodoun.”

Piper’s brows formed arches. “Oh. You’ve really become interested in that, haven’t you?”

“Well, being attacked by a Vodoun sorcerer inside Darryl’s body is pretty hard to forget.” A nervous cough escaped her mouth. “Um, about that phone number?”

“Right.” Piper walked over to the kitchen’s message board on the wall. She removed a small card. “Olivia gave us this when we first met her. Here you go.” She handed the card to Paige.

Who took the card from Piper and slipped it inside her robe’s pocket. “Thanks Piper,” Paige quickly murmured and fled the kitchen.

To ensure privacy, Paige returned to the living room’s telephone and dialed Olivia’s home number. Three rings echoed in her ear before a voice finally answered, “Hello?”

“Hi Olivia. This is Paige. Paige Matthews.” The youngest Charmed One glanced toward the direction of the kitchen to make sure that her sisters were not eavesdropping. “Uh, is Cecile available?”

A long pause followed. Then, “Paige? Did you just say that you wanted to speak to . . .?”

“Yeah, Cecile. It’s . . . it’s important.”

Olivia McNeill sighed. “You’re in luck. She’s already up. Hold on a minute. Cecile?”

More silence greeted Paige’s ear, until she heard the New Orleans-born woman’s voice on the other end of the telephone line. “Hello?” Cecile sounded slightly groggy.

“Hi Cecile! It’s me, Paige Matthews!” Did she just sound too chipper? Paige continued in a more serene voice. “Remember me? I’m Piper and Phoebe Halliwell’s . . .”

The voice on the other end of the line interrupted, “Oh yeah. I remember. The one with the red hair.” Paige self-consciously touched a strand. Cecile continued, “What can I do for you?”

“Uh, can I come by to see you, today?” Paige asked. “Maybe this morning? Around nine o’clock?”

No one answered. Paige wondered if Cecile was pissed at being awoken so early in the morning. Then, “Did you say something about seeing me?”

Paige heaved a sigh of relief. “Yeah. Around nine, today.”

“Why don’t we make it a little later? I have some extra shopping to do, this morning. Why don’t you meet me, downtown? At Union Square, around eleven-thirty?”

Here came the tricky part. “Actually, I need to see you there. At Olivia’s place. It’s really important.”

Cecile sighed. “All right. I’ll still be at the apartment around nine.” She sounded angry, but resigned.

“Great! See you then. Bye!” Paige crowed, and hung up. At least before the other woman had the chance to change her mind.

* * * *

At precisely nine o’clock, Cecile heard the doorbell ring. Olivia had already left for work. She could not fathom why the youngest Charmed One had insisted upon meeting here, in the apartment. And why so early in the morning? Cecile began to wonder if being a Charmed One meant possessing eccentric behavior. She glanced through the door’s peephole. Sure enough, it was Paige Matthews. With a sigh on her lips, Cecile opened the door.

“Hi!” Paige greeted brightly. “Thanks for seeing me.” Despite her cheerful façade, Cecile detected nervousness in the younger woman’s demeanor.

Cecile smiled back. “You’re welcome. So . . . why is it so important that we meet here? And at this hour?”

Paige took a deep breath. “It’s about your powers. Especially your premonition power. I’d like to use them, if I can.”

Cecile stared at the younger woman. A glimmering suspicion began to form in the back of her mind. “May I ask why?” she said sarcastically.

A red flush colored Paige’s pale face. “I . . . It’s hard to explain. I guess you know about Cole once being the Source, nearly a year ago. And that my sisters and I had to vanquish him when we thought he had deliberately chosen to become evil again.”

Now Cecile understood. Her suspicion had been right. For some reason, the young witch had developed doubts over what really happened to Cole, last spring. And she wanted to use Cecile’s premonition power to find the truth. “In other words, you want to find out if you and your sisters were right about Cole,” she added. “Why didn’t you ask your sister? The one who’s psychic, like me?”

Paige hesitated. Embarrassment deepened the flush on her face. “Phoebe . . . it’s a little too personal for her. Especially since she and Cole . . .”

Cecile sighed. “I understand. What about Harry? I’m sure that he’s capable of reading Cole’s mind.” She paused. “In fact, isn’t that what happened when Olivia’s grandmother . . .” Paige’s thoughts flashed in Cecile’s mind and she immediately understood. “Oh, I see. You want to make sure that Cole had or had not manipulated their minds with phony memories.”

The Charmed One’s dark eyes cast downward. “Um, do you mind? I’m a little uncomfortable with you reading my mind, like that.”

“Oh. Sorry, honey, but you were practically broadcasting your thoughts. And as for your favor,” Cecile continued, “I’ll do what you asked.”

Paige smiled. “Great! Let’s go.” Before Cecile could do or say anything, the young witch grabbed her arm and within seconds, they were standing in the middle of Cole’s penthouse.

“What the hell?” Cecile cried. “What in the hell are we doing here?”

Breathless, Paige rushed toward Cole’s personal desk. “I figured that you might need something of his to summon a vision.” She paused and glanced over her shoulder. “You can summon one from the past, right? Phoebe always seemed to have trouble deliberately forming a vision.”

“Yeah, I can summon one, using a spell,” Cecile said, frowning. “And why would I need something of Cole’s?”

Now it was Paige’s turn to frown. “Well, you have to touch something to get a vision. Right?”

“Wrong,” Cecile shot back. “I don’t need to touch anything.” She sighed. “But, since we’re here . . .”

Paige clapped her hands enthusiastically. “Right! So, what do we do?”

Cecile smiled. “One, take me back to Olivia’s apartment. I need a few things for the ceremony I have in mind.” Paige gently took hold of her arm and orbed the priestess back downstairs. After Cecile grabbed a candle and a few other objects for her makeshift mantle, the pair returned to the penthouse. Once she created her small altar on the large table in front of the sofa, Paige lit the candle. “Okay. Let’s begin.” Cecile closed her eyes. As she began to chant, her body began to sway, back and forth. Cool, slender hands gripped hers. Cecile opened her eyes. “What are you doing?” she demanded.

“Holding you so that you can transfer the vision to me,” Paige answered matter-of-factly.

Suppressing a sigh, Cecile gently removed the younger woman’s hand. “Cherie, it’s not necessary.”

“Oh.” Paige cleared her throat.

Once more, Cecile closed her eyes and resumed the chant. Seconds passed. Then minutes. After fifteen minutes, Cecile began to wonder if the ceremony might end in failure. Once she pushed her thoughts aside, she resumed the chant. Several minutes later, the visions suddenly hit her.

* * * *

Paige had never felt anything like this, before. It seemed as if a surge of energy had struck the center of her psyche. The visions followed, one after the other. And Paige found herself witnessing all that Cole had experienced, earlier this year. In full color and sound.

* * *

[Cole appears in the Source’s cave. He looks around.]
Seer: Don’t be afraid. (He spins around. The Seer walks in.)
Cole: Who are you? Where am I?
Seer: Back in your once and future life… Belthazor.
Cole: Belthazor? (The Seer moves closer.) Seer.
Seer: Even now I can see the void where your demon half used to exist. It craves to be complete again.
Cole: How’d you know I was still alive?
Seer: I had a vision. One where you and I do great things together.
Cole: I don’t work with evil anymore.
Seer: You might reconsider if you hope to save your precious witch. Only you and I can help to beat the Source.
Cole: I’m listening.
Seer: If you take in the Hollow, you can absorb the Source’s power when he attacks. Once powerless, they can vanquish him.
(She picks up the Hollow box.)
Cole: And what happens to me after?
Seer: The witches and I will banish the Hollow back to its crypt. You will return to normal.
Cole: How do I know this isn’t one of The Source’s tricks? Or one of yours for that matter?
Seer: The Source has been corrupted by the Hollow. And is going to destroy us all. He cannot be allowed to continue with this path of madness.
Cole: If I do this, what do you see then?
Seer: A future for both sides.

* * *

Scene: Underworld. A dark cave. Cole walks in, topless, holding a sword. He looks around. He sees the Source across the room, chanting with his back turned. Cole creeps towards him and is about to swing the sword.]
The Source: Wait.
(The Source faces Cole and lifts off his hood. It’s Cole.)
Cole/The Source: You don’t really wanna kill me do you?
Cole: But how…
(Cole/The Source hits Cole and he lands on the ground. The sword flies up to Cole/The Source.)
Cole/The Source: We’re one now. I’m reborn, within you.
Cole: I’ll fight it. I’ll kill us both if I have to. I won’t let you hurt Phoebe.
Cole/The Source: You won’t have a choice.
(He stabs Cole and he screams.)

* * *

Cole: How did I get here?
Seer: The Source’s magic brought you. I see you accepting that very soon.
(Cole goes over and grabs her around the neck.)
Cole: You never told me I would become the Source if I help vanquish him!
Seer: Don’t be naive. I told you of my vision. Of you and I doing great things together, this is just the beginning. (He falls to his knees.) You cannot change your fate. As you can see the evil within you wont allow it.
Cole: I’ll fight it, I’ll kill it. I’ll find a way.

* * *

Cole: I just got back.
Phoebe: From where?
Cole: I had to, uh, get out of the house for a while, you know.
Phoebe: No, I don’t know. Do we need to talk?
Cole: Phoebe, I… Ahh! (He holds his head.) Damn it!
Phoebe: What’s the matter?
(She touches him but he pulls away.)
Cole: Uh, nothing. It’s just a migraine, I gotta go.
Phoebe: Cole, where are you… (He walks away.) Cole

* * *

Seer: Holy matrimony will be the worst possible thing that could happen. It’ll keep you from ever reigning as the Source.
Cole/The Source: That can’t be right.
Seer: It’s what I foresee. Unless of course you cancel the wedding.
Cole/The Source: I can’t. I need Phoebe.
Seer: Yes, I can see that too.
Cole/The Source: We’ve been through this. Cole’s love for Phoebe still exists within me. I can’t overcome it. If I’m to regain what I’ve lost it has to be with Phoebe, marrying her.
Seer: Even if it means losing your son?
Cole/The Source: A son? You saw a son in my future?
Seer: More than a son. You and Phoebe Halliwell will produce the most powerful child the magical world has ever seen.
Cole/The Source: That’s my boy.
Seer: No, he won’t be your boy, he’ll be theirs. On the side of good. Unless you marry the witch in a dark way.

* * *

Seer: Why would you save Paige after everything you do to destroy her?
Cole/The Source: They would’ve found a way to save her anyway. This way I get the credit.
Seer: Did you do it for credit? Or love? I supposed there’s some things even the Source can’t defeat.
Cole/The Source: Careful.
Seer: I am, but are you? We have worked too hard to let a nugget of humanity destroy a legacy of evil.
Cole/The Source: Paige has no memory. She’s not a threat to us anymore.
Seer: I’m not talking about her, I’m talking about Cole. His is the one threat neither one of us can control. He saved Paige not you.

* * *

Cole: How much longer?
Wizard: Give me a break, will you, this is tricky stuff. It’d be a lot easier if I could do this in friendlier confines.
Cole: There are no friendly confines, not anymore. This had better work or you’ll be joining the rest of your kind and not in the way you hoped for.
Wizard: Little tip. Pressure’s not the best motivating technique. If you wanna lose the Source’s powers, don’t rush me.
Cole: Fine, but just so we’re clear, once you get the Source’s powers I never hear from you again.
Wizard: Understood. Not that I’m ungrateful, but why are you so willing to do this?
(He places some lit candles on the floor.)
Cole: I lost someone I love and I want her back. That’s all you need to know.
Wizard: Love? The Source can love.
Cole: Just keep working.
Wizard: I’m done. Now, if the spell’s going to work, blood needs to spill. (He picks up a dagger and Cole holds out his arm. He cuts Cole’s arm.) Now me. (He cuts his own. Smoke starts to rise from the Grimoir.) “Holus into exitus omne. Holus into exitus omne. Holus into exitus omne! Holus into exitus omne.”
(The both rise into the air and they start to glow. The wizard extends his arm and starts to pull the Source out of Cole. The Seer and Phoebe appear.)
Seer: Save him. For your son.
(Phoebe throws fire and vanquishes the wizard. Cole falls to the floor and Phoebe rushes over to him.)

* * *

Cole/The Source: (to Phoebe) I’m sorry, it’s, it’s for the best.
Phoebe: I know it is.
(She walks over to Cole and the fireball disappears. Phoebe kisses him.)
Piper: Phoebe?
(Phoebe moves away from Cole.)
Phoebe: I’m sorry too.
(She places the crystal in its place and the trap is activated.)
Cole/The Source: Phoebe, no. No!
Phoebe: I’m sorry, baby, I’m so sorry.
Piper: “Prudence, Penelope, Patricia, Melinda…”
(Fire appears near Cole’s feet.)
Phoebe: “Ashford, Helen, Laura and Grace…”
Cole/The Source: I will always love you.
Paige: “Halliwell witches stand strong beside us.”
Phoebe: “Vanquish this evil…”
Piper, Phoebe, Paige: “From time and space.”
(They vanquish Cole and it makes a huge explosion, making the windows smash. Phoebe walks to the middle of the room and cries.)

* * *

The visions ended as quickly as they had began. Paige let out a gasp, and fell back upon the sofa, unconscious.

* * * *

The Vodoun priestess was the first to recover. Breathing deeply, she opened her eyes and found herself sprawled on the sofa. Then she spotted Paige sprawled next to her, out cold. Using her hands and arms, she raised herself to a sitting position. Cecile leaned over the younger woman. “Paige. Paige!” she cried, shaking the witch’s shoulder. “Paige, wake up! Are you okay?”

Dark eyes fluttered open. Paige let out a groan. “Oh God! I think I’m going to have one hell of a headache. What happened?”

“I guess you’re not exactly used to experiencing visions or anything like that,” Cecile calmly replied. “And those visions were strong. Even for me.” She paused and stared at the other woman. Contemplating over what she had just witnessed. “So, I guess it’s true. Cole and Olivia were right, after all.”

Paige stared at Cecile. Her dark eyes widened in realization over what Cecile had just said. “I . . .” Her voice broke off, as she shook her head, silently. “I don’t understand.”

Cecile stood up. “You don’t understand what?” She stared into Paige’s distressed eyes. “What exactly were you about to say?”

“I didn’t know,” Paige whispered. “I didn’t realize that he . . . that Cole had been possessed. We all just . . .”

Nodding glumly, Cecile finished, “You all had assumed that he chose to become the Source.” She paused. “Because of his past.”

Eyes suddenly blazing, Paige retorted, “Can you blame us? Before we had killed the old Source, we saw Cole use his powers against him!”

Cecile sighed. “Look honey, I’m not going to argue with you about this. This is something that you need to speak to another witch about. Or your whitelighter.” She blew out the candle’s flame. “But in the end, you and Cole need to have a long talk.”

The anger dissipated from Paige’s eyes. She sank back into the sofa and stared at nothing in particular.




How is it that a movie about one of the most famous blunders in British military history could remain so entertaining after 74 years? Can someone explain this? Warner Brothers’ take on the famous Charge of the Light Brigade, in which the Light Brigade of the British cavalry charged straight into the valley between the Fedyukhin Heights and the Causeway Heights during the Crimean War, is not what one would call historically accurate. Most of the movie took place in British occupied Northern India in the 1850s. Aside from the last twenty or thirty minutes, the movie really has nothing to do with the Crimean War. And yet . . . who cares? ”The Charge of the Light Brigade” is so damn entertaining that I found myself not even thinking about historical accuracy.

Directed by Michael Curtiz, and written by screenwriters Michael Jacoby and Rowland Leigh; the movie is an entertaining mixture about vengeance against the leader of a treacherous local tributary rajah in Northern India named Surat Khan (C. Henry Gordon); and a love triangle between Geoffrey and Perry Vickers – two brothers who are British Army officers (Errol Flynn and Patric Knowles) who happened to be in love with the same woman – the daughter of a British general (Olivia DeHavilland) named Elsa Campbell. I might as well start with the love story.

On the surface, the love triangle in ”THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE” seemed pretty simple – one woman torn between two men. Instead of having two best friends in love with the same woman, we have two brothers. But even that is nothing unusual. What turned out to be so unusual about this particular love story – especially in an Errol Flynn movie – is that the leading lady is NOT in love with the leading man. Within fifteen minutes into the story, the movie revealed that the leading man – namely Flynn – lost the affections of the leading woman (and fiancée) – De Havilland – to the secondary male lead – namely Knowles.

At first, it boggled in the mind. What woman in her right mind would prefer Patric Knowles over Errol Flynn? The latter had a more flamboyant character and was obviously the movie’s main hero. However . . . Knowles was not exactly chopped liver. Knowles was just as handsome as Flynn in his own way and a competent actor to boot. And his character – although less flamboyant than Flynn’s – had a quiet charm of its own. I also got the feeling that Flynn’s character seemed more in love with his job as an Army officer during the British Raj than he was with dear Elsa. Geoffrey Vickers seemed to have it all . . . until his brother Perry and Elsa’s little romance pulled the rug from under his self-assured life. And yet, he seemed damn reluctant to admit that Elsa loved Perry more than him. Reluctant may have been a mild word. Geoffrey seemed downright delusional in his belief that Elsa loved him only . . . and that Perry was merely harboring an infatuation for his fiancée. What made matters worse was that everyone – including Elsa’s father (Donald Crisp) and diplomat Sir Charles Macefield (Henry Stephenson) – supported Geoffrey’s illusions. Only Lady Octavia Warrenton (Spring Byington), wife of British General Sir Benjamin Warrenton (Nigel Bruce) seemed aware of Elsa and Perry’s feelings for one another.

Before I discuss the movie in general, I want to focus upon the cast. Flynn, DeHavilland and Knowles were ably supported by a talented cast drawn from the British colony in 1930s Hollywood (with the exception of two). American-born Spring Byington and British actor Nigel Bruce were charmingly funny as the verbose busybody Lady Octavia Warrenton and her husband, the long-suffering Sir Benjamin. They made a surprisingly effective screen pair. Donald Crisp was his usual more than competent self as Elsa’s loving, but humorless father, Colonel Campbell – a by-the-book officer unwilling to accept that his daughter had switched her affections to the younger Vickers brother. Henry Stephenson gave an intelligent performance as the competent diplomat, Sir Charles Macefield, who is charged with not only keeping the peace, but maintaining British control in a certain province of Northern India. It was easy to see why Flynn’s character seemed to hold him in high regard. David Niven was charming, but not very memorable as Geoffrey Vicker’s best friend, James Randall. Only in one scene – in which Randall volunteers to leave the besieged Chukoti Fort in order to warn Sir Benjamin at Lohara of Surat Khan’s attack – did Niven give a hint of the talent that would eventually be revealed over the years. And of course, one cannot forget American actor C. Henry Gordon’s portrayal of the smooth-talking villain, Surat Khan. Gordon could have easily portrayed Khan as another ”Oriental villain” that had become typical by the 1930s. On one level, Gordon’s Khan was exactly that. On another . . . Gordon allowed moviegoers to see Khan’s frustration and anger at the British handling of his kingdom.

Olivia DeHavilland once again proved that even in a costumed swashbuckler, she could portray an interesting female character without sinking into the role of the commonplace damsel-in-distress. With the exception of the sequence featuring the Siege of Chokoti, her Elsa Campbell spent most of the movie being torn between the man she loved – Perry Vickers, the man she has remained fond of – Geoffrey Vickers, and her father’s determination that she marry Geoffrey. Elsa spent most of the movie as an emotionally conflicted woman and DeHavilland did an excellent job of portraying Elsa’s inner conflicts with a skill that only a few actresses can pull off. And DeHavilland was merely 20 years old at the time she shot this film.

I really enjoyed Patric Knowles’ performance in this movie. Truly. One, he managed to hold himself quite well against the powerhouse of both Flynn and DeHavilland. I should not have been surprised. His performance as a sleazy Southern planter in 1957’s ”BAND OF ANGELS” was one of the bright spots in an otherwise mediocre film. And two, his Perry Vickers was a character I found easy to root for in his pursuit of Elsa’s hand. I especially enjoyed two particular scenes – his desperate, yet charming attempt to be assigned to Chokoti (and near Elsa), despite Sir Charles’ disapproval; and his anger and frustration over Geoffrey’s unwillingness to face the fact that Elsa’s affections had switched to him.

There are four movie performances by Errol Flynn that have impressed me very much. Three of those performances were Geoffrey Thorpe in ”THE SEA HAWK” (1940), James J. Corbett in ”GENTLEMAN JIM” (1942) and Soames Forsyte in”THAT FORSYTE WOMAN” (1949). The fourth happens to be his performance as Captain/Major Geoffrey Vickers in”THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE”. Not many film critics or fans have ever paid attention to his performance in this film, which is a pity. I suspect they were so flabbergasted by the idea of him losing Olivia DeHavilland to Patric Knowles that they had failed to pay any real attention to his performance as the complex and slightly arrogant Geoffrey Vickers. Superficially, Flynn’s Vickers is a charming, witty and very competent military officer. He seemed so perfect at the beginning of the film that it left me wondering if there were in cracks in his characters. Sure enough, there were. Thanks to a well written character and Flynn’s skillful performance, the movie’s Geoffrey Vickers became a complex, yet arrogant man who discovers that he is not very good at letting go at things that seem important to him, whether it was Elsa’s love or a desire for revenge against the villain. In the end, Geoffrey’s flaws became the instrument of his destruction. The amazing thing about Flynn’s performance as Geoffrey Vickers was that it was his second leading role. And the fact that he managed to portray such a complex character, considering his limited screen experience at the time, still amazes me.

As I had stated before, the movie’s historical account of the Crimean War and the infamous charge hardly bore any resemblance to what actually happened. The movie seemed to be about the British’s interactions with a Northern Indian minor rajah named Surat Khan. The British, led by diplomat Sir Charles Macefield, struggle to maintain a “friendly” relationship with Khan, while his men harass British troops in the area and he develops a friendship with a visiting Russian Army officer Count Igor Volonoff (Robert Barrat). The phony friendship and minor hostilities culminated in an attack by Khan against one of the British forts in his province – Chukoti, which is under the command of Colonel Campbell. The battle for Chukoti eventually turned into a massacre that only Geoffrey and Elsa survived. But more interesting, it seemed like a reenactment of an actual siege and massacre that happened at a place called Cawnpore, during the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-58 . . . three to four years after the setting of this movie. For a movie that is supposed to be about the Light Brigade Charge and the Crimean War, it was turning out to be more of a fictional account of British history in India during the 1850s.

But the movie eventually touched upon the Crimean War. After the Chukoti Massacre, Surat Khan ended up in hot water with the British government in India. Due to his friendship with Volonoff, he found refugee with the Russians. And he ended up as a guest of the Russian Army during the Crimean War. Following her father’s death, Elsa finally convinced Geoffrey that she is in love with Perry. And the regiment of both brothers – the 27th Lancers – is also sent to Crimea. According to Sir Charles, their posting to the Crimea would give them an opportunity for revenge against Khan. But when the 27th Lancers finally received an opportunity to get their revenge against Khan, Sir Charles denied it. And so . . . Geoffrey took matters in his own hands and ordered the Light Brigade – which included his regiment – and the Heavy Brigade to attack the artillery on the heights above the Balaklava Valley. This is so far from what actually happened . . . but who cares? I enjoyed watching Flynn express Geoffrey’s struggles to contain his thirst for revenge and eventual failure.

And then the charge happened. My God! Every time I think about that sequence, I cannot believe my eyes. Part of me is horrified not only by the blunder caused by Geoffrey’s desire for revenge . . . but by the fact that 200 horses and a stuntman were killed during the shooting of that scene. Flynn had been so outraged by the deaths of the horses that he openly supported the ASPCA’s ban on using trip wire for horses for any reason. At the same time, I cannot help but marvel at the brutal spectacle of that scene. No wonder Jack Sullivan won the Academy Award for Best Assistant Director for his work on this particular scene.

On the whole, ”THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE” is a very entertaining and well-paced spectacle. Frankly, I think that it was one of the best movies to be released during the 1930s and certainly one of Errol Flynn’s finest films. For those who honestly believed that the Australian actor could not act . . . well, they are entitled to their opinions. But I would certainly disagree with them. On the surface, Flynn seemed like his usual charming and flamboyant self. However, I was very impressed at his portrayal of the self-assured and slightly arrogant Geoffrey Vickers, who found his private life slowly falling apart. Olivia DeHavilland, Patric Knowles, Donald Crisp, C. Henry Gordon and Spring Byington gave him excellent support. Thanks to Jacoby and Leigh’s script, along with Michael Curtiz’s tight direction, ”THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE” turned out to be a first-class movie with an interesting love story with a twist, political intrigue, well-paced action and a final sequence featuring the charge that remains mind blowing, even after 74 years.

“LOST” – (5.08) “LaFleur” Review

Below is an article I had written on my opinion and observations of the latest episode of “LOST” – (5.08) “LaFleur”:


”LOST” – (5.08) “LaFleur” Review

Many fans of ”LOST” have claimed that its Season Five has been the series’ best since the first season. I have to be honest. I do not think I can agree with that sentiment. At least not for Season Five’s first five episodes. I have mixed feelings for it, just as I had for Seasons Two to Four. But there are elements of the fifth season that I have enjoyed so far. And many of those elements had a lot to do with the story arcs surrounding the island castaways left behind when the Oceanic Six departed the island at the end of Season Four.

”LaFleur”, the eighth episode of Season Five, picked up where (5.05) “This Place Is Death” left off – when John Locke turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel from ”(4.13) “There’s No Place Like Home, Part II” and vanished from the island and into the future. Following Locke’s departure, Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Miles and Daniel are relieved to discover that they no longer have to endure the constant time jumps that have threatened their existence and ended Charlotte Lewis’ in ”This Place Is Death”. However, they are surprised to discover that the time jumps have stopped in 1974, when the Dharma Initiative has been in existence for at least four years. The five survivors decide to return to the beach and make camp, when they comes across a pair of Dharma Initiative members who have been captured by some of the island’s native inhabitants, known as the Others. Juliet and Sawyer kill the two Others and free Amy (Reiko Aylesworth), but her husband has been killed. The group returns to the Barracks, where Amy resides; however, she tricks them into walking through the sonic fence which surrounds the Barracks, knocking them unconscious. The rest of the episode focused upon how the five survivors ended up joining the Dharma Initiative in 1974 and the state of their lives, three years later in 1977.

Remember when I had stated that I had mixed feelings about the series’ Season Five? Well, some of those reasons had a lot to do with how Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindehof’s writers handled the story arcs surrounding the two groups of characters during this season. Of course, there are the members of the Oceanic Six who made it off the island – Jack Shephard, Kate Austen, Sayid Jarrah, Sun Kwon, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes and the infant Aaron Littleton. And there are the members of those left behind on the island, included James “Sawyer” Ford, Juliet Burke, John Locke, Jin Kwon, Miles Straume, Charlotte Lewis, Daniel Faraday, Bernard Nadler and his wife, Rose Henderson. Quite frankly, I did not care for the episodes that heavily featured the Oceanic Six. One, I never cared for their lie that left the infant Aaron in the hands of fugitive Kate Austen for nearly three years. Two, I simply did not care for their story arc in the first half of Season Five. I found it contrived, trite and a waste of my time. On the other hand, the story arc featuring those survivors left behind turned out to be a different kettle of fish.

I found myself enjoying the segments surrounding the ‘Left Behinders’ in episodes like (5.01) “Because You Left”(5.02) “The Lie” and ”This Place Is Death”. So, it is no surprise that after eight episodes, my favorite Season Five episodes turned out to be both (5.03) “The Jughead” and ”LaFleur”, which heavily featured Sawyer, Juliet and the gang. But . . . I am not here to discuss both episodes. Only ”LaFleur”.

What can I say? I loved the episode. I love it so much that I now consider it to be one of my ten favorite episodes of the entire series. And I never thought I would be saying this about a Sawyer-centric episode. Five days after it first aired, I found myself still thinking about it. I am sitting in front of my computer, trying to think of something meaningful or witty to say about this episode. But the words continue to elude me. I have a deep suspicion that my high opinion of ”LaFleur” had more to do with how this episode had such an emotional impact upon me.

Like the Left Behinders, I felt the relief they must have felt over the end of the time jumps, following Locke’s departure. Or the confusion and they had felt upon stumbling across Amy, her dead husband Paul and the two Others. I felt Daniel’s continuing grief over Charlotte’s death . . . or Amy’s grief over Paul’s death. I felt Richard’s curiosity during his conversation with Sawyer (from now on . . . James) about Locke’s appearance twenty years earlier. I felt Horace’s despair over his suspicions that his new wife, Amy, had yet to get over her grief for her husband now dead for three years. I felt James’ desperation to find help for Amy, who was in labor with Horace’s child . . . and Juliet’s reluctance to deal with another childbirth. I certainly felt James’ relief and happiness over the successful birth of Amy’s child and Juliet’s tearful joy. I felt James’ relief and disbelief in discovering that some of the Oceanic Six – Jack, Kate and Hurley – had made it back to the island. And I especially felt the friendship and love both James and Juliet had for one another.

But the above paragraph strikes me as being too simple a way to describe my enjoyment of ”LaFleur”. Foremost, I have to commend writers Elizabeth Sarnoff and Kyle Pennington for penning a well-written episode that revealed the Left Behinders’ experiences with the Dharma Initiative in two time periods without disintegrating into a big mess. The fact that Sarnoff and Pennington also managed to inject some character development – mainly James and Juliet – into a complicated plot has raised my admiration toward their work. Another thing that I liked about ”LaFleur” is that for some reason, it strongly reminded me of my favorite ”LOST” episode of all time – (2.07) “The Other 48 Days”.

This episode is not an exact replica of the Season Two episode that revealed the backstory of the Tail Section passengers’ first 48 days on the island. But I feel that both “The Other 48 Days” and “LaFleur” allowed viewers to experience the interactions of a small group – in the case of the Season Five episode, the Left Behinders – developing a close relationship through shared experiences. Mind you, most of James, Juliet, Miles, Jin and Daniel’s worst experiences occurred in previous Season Five episodes like “Jughead” and “This Place Is Death”. Still, we got to see how they became part of the Dharma Initiative in 1974. And how they had managed to settle into their new lives in 1977.

Josh Holloway literally owned this episode with a performance that nearly knocked my socks off. His James Ford aka James LaFleur has come a long way that rough-hewed Southern con man who had irritated just about everyone back in Season One. This transformation did not happen overnight. In fact, I suspect that it had its origins during late Season Three, when Hugo Reyes forced him to take the mantle of leadership of the Losties during Jack, Sayid, Kate and Locke’s absence during that period. The Southern accent has remained intact and so did the snarky sense of humor and talent for pulling a con job. Not only did he managed to convince one of the Dharma Initiative leaders – Horace Goodspeed – that he and his fellow castaways were survivors of a wrecked salvage vessel looking for the Black Rock. Within three years, James had become Head of Security for the Initiative and found a new love, namely one Dr. Juliet Burke.

When I had earlier stated that Hollowy had owned this episode, perhaps I should have said almost. After all, Elizabeth Mitchell (who has become one of my favorite actors on this series) was just as good as Juliet Burke. After three years, she has forgone her profession as a fertility doctor by becoming an auto mechanic for the Dharma Initiative. At first, I was surprised that she would choose to become a mechanic, instead of continuing her role as a doctor. But considering her past heartaches in dealing with previously pregnant Others, I eventually understood. But the premature labor of one of the Dharma members, Amy Goodspeed (portrayed by Reiko Aylesworth of “24” fame), led James to convince Juliet to act as midwife for the new Goodspeed baby. The result of Amy’s labor led to one of the most beautifully acted moments in the series’ entire history, when Mitchell and Holloway expressed Juliet and James’ relief and happiness over the baby’s successful delivery. I could go on about the strong screen chemistry between the two actors. But I have been aware of that chemistry ever since the Season Three finale – (3.22) “Through the Looking Glass”. The interesting thing about James and Juliet’s relationship is that the series used their growing friendship in the previous six or seven episodes to show how they eventually became a couple. They seemed to have become the first romantic pairing, whose relationship started out as a mature friendship. Perhaps that is the reason why I find it so appealing.

The other cast members in this episode also did a fine job – especially Jeremy Davies, as the grieving Daniel Farady, Doug Hutchison as the Dharma Initiative mathematician who came off as less self-assured than he did in past episodes, Nestor Campbell as the Others’ ageless second-in-command, Richard Alpert and Reiko Aylesworth’s sly performance as Amy, another Dharma member, whose life James and Juliet save. Daniel Dae Kim had a nice moment when Jin witnessed Juliet’s news about the successful birth of Amy and Horace’s baby.

There were many moments in “LaFleur” that have remained stuck in my mind . . . even after five days. Here are a few that I consider truly memorable:

*James, Juliet, Miles and Jin spot a giant, Egyptian-style statue following Locke’s disappearance.
*The brief look on James’ face after Juliet saves him from being shot by one of the Others.
*Amy tricks the Left Behinders into walking past the sonic fence.
*James mentions Richard’s encounter with Locke and the ‘Jughead’ bomb in 1954 to the very surprised Other.
*James convinces Juliet to remain on the island for a while.
*Juliet and James’ happy reaction to the successful birth of Amy and Horace’s child.
*James’ conversation with Horace about dealing with past loves.
*The sight of James and Juliet in bed, with her body spooning his. She really ‘had his back’ in that scene.
*Jin delivers three of the Oceanic Six members – Jack, Kate and Hurley – to an awaiting James.

Even thought that last scene was memorable, I must admit that I found myself comparing it to the sight of a roach crawling across a white rug. It also made me wonder how the Oceanic Six’s arrival will affect the Left Behinders – now members of the Dharma Initiative. Both Kate and Jack’s presence might prove to be a trial for the James/Juliet romance. Right now, I am beginning to wonder if it will survive. And will the Oceanic Six’s presence threaten the Left Behinders’ standing with the Dharma Initiative? Or will another threat emerge – mainly in the form of the still grieving Daniel Faraday? I guess that in the remaining eight episodes, we will find out.

“KNIGHT AND DAY” (2010) Review

“KNIGHT AND DAY” (2010) Review

Once more, Tom Cruise had put himself out on a limb by appearing in a movie, recently released last summer. The movie in question turned out to be a romantic comedy thriller called ”KNIGHT AND DAY”. Co-starring Cameron Diaz, the movie was directed by James Mangold. 

Surprisingly, seventy to eighty percent of ”KNIGHT AND DAY” was told from Diaz’s point-of-view. She portrayed an auto mechanic named June Havens who found herself swept into the adventures of an eccentric man claiming to be a former CIA agent named Roy Miller. Miller also claimed that he was trying to prevent a corrupt CIA colleague named Fitzgerald from finding a brilliant young inventor named Simon Feck and his new invention, a perpetual energy battery called the Zephyr, and selling both to a Spanish weapons dealer named Antonio. Unfortunately, his former director believes he is a rogue agent that has gone mentally off the grid.

I might as well be frank. ”KNIGHT AND DAY” did not strike me as an exceptional action film. The movie featured a series of minor scenes in which a drugged and semi-conscious June found herself being moved from one location to another by Miller. And since these scenes were shown from her point-of-view, I suspect this gave Mangold and screenwriter Patrick O’Neill the opportunity to move their characters around without any real detail. Personally, it seemed like a lazy way to progress the plot along. I was also confused over how Peter Sarsgaard’s character, Agent Fitzgerald, managed to arrange for other CIA agents to appear on the Wichita-Boston flight at the beginning of the movie as the entire crew and group of passengers. Nor did I understand why he bothered to keep June on that flight after Miller tried to ensure that she would miss it. Also, Mangold’s direction failed to infuse the movie with any special energy that could have made it memorable. Despite the somewhat eccentric plot, ”KNIGHT AND DAY” moved and felt like a typical action film.

But the movie also had its virtues. It featured some beautiful photography of Boston, Jamaica (which served as the Azores, off the coast of Portugal), Austria and Spain; thanks to cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. The movie also featured one hell of a plane crash, supervised by Chris Brenczewski. O’Neill wrote a solid plot that I could easily understand – something that has been lacking in a good number of action films (comedy or otherwise) recently. ”KNIGHT AND DAY”also provided some first-rate action sequences. My favorites included Miller’s fight against his former CIA colleagues aboard the Wichita-Boston flight; the gunfight on one of Boston’s highways; and Miller’s fight against a young German assassin named Danny, aboard a train bound for Salzburg, Austria. Humor proved to be another one of the movie’s virtues. Not only did cast members such as Cruise, Diaz, Paul Dano and Marc Blucas provide some excellent comic performances, O’Neill’s script provided them with plenty of material to work with. At least two scenes struck me as particularly funny – Miller’s ”with me, you survive” speech; June’s encounter with Feck and Danny, the assassin, aboard the train; and her encounter with the arms dealer, Antonio. But my favorite scene turned out to be the encounter between Miller, June and her ex-boyfriend, Rodney inside a Boston diner. I really found that scene hilarious.

There were no bad performances in ”KNIGHT AND DAY”. But I must admit that not all of them struck me as impressive. Both Viola Davis and Jordi Mollà gave solid, yet humorless performances as the CIA Director and Antonio, the arms dealer. Peter Sarsgaard, who portrayed Agent Fitzgerald, seemed amusing at times. Otherwise, he came off as distant and slightly stiff. But the movie had its share of good performances. Dale Dye and Celia Weston provided plenty of laughs as Miller’s parents, who believed that their son was dead. Paul Dano proved that he also have a talent for comedy in his goofy and funny portrayal of Feck, the brilliant young scientist that created the Zephyr battery. But of the entire supporting cast, my favorite performance came from Marc Blucas, who portrayed June’s ex-boyfriend and a Boston fireman. Thanks to his two-season stint on television’s ”BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER”, I have always been aware of the actor’s talent for off-beat humor. But Mangold’s direction and O’Neill’s script provided him with a role that truly exploited his comedic talents. Blucas portrayed Rodney not only as a compassionate and duty-bound man, but also a self-absorbed and shallow jerk. And he managed to achieve this balance with great subtlety and skill.

But what really made ”KNIGHT AND DAY” work for me were the two leads, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. They had worked together before in the 2001 movie, ”VANILLA SKY” and it was easy to see that they both had a very good screen chemistry. Once again, Cruise proved his talent for both comedy and action as the slightly eccentric Roy Miller, whose idea of keeping his new companion safe was too keep her in a drugged state, as he carted her around the eastern United States and Europe. The actor also effectively conveyed his character’s self-assured nature without allowing it to be tainted by any signs of cockiness. This would not have been the case with a younger Cruise. What I liked about Cameron Diaz’s portrayal of June Havens was that she did an excellent job of conveying her character’s progression throughout the movie. Her June started as a reserved woman just recovering from the end of a trying relationship, progressed to the confused and frightened innocent caught up in intrigue and betrayal; and finally developed into a more confident woman who was self-assured about her love for Miller and what she needed to do to keep him safe.

”KNIGHT AND DAY” was not the best movie I had seen last summer. It certainly did not knock my socks off. But thanks to James Mangold’s direction, a solid script by Patrick O’Neill and an excellent screen team in the form of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz made it an entertaining movie.  It is not a perfect film, but it is certainly better than I had originally assumed.

“Remembering Virgilia Hazard”


My recent viewing of my “NORTH AND SOUTH Trilogy” DVD set, led me to the“Special Feaures” section that featured a behind-the-scene look at the television miniseries trilogy. In it, Patrick Swayze (Orry Main), James Read (George Hazard), Lesley Anne-Down (Madeline Fabray) producer David Wolper and the trilogy’s author, John Jakes discussed both the literary and television versions of the saga. I found their recollections of the trilogy’s production very interesting and entertaining. What I found surprising were the actors’ admissions that they found abolitionist Virgilia Hazard to be their favorite character. Even more surprising was my discovery that John Jakes shared similiar feelings.

In the saga, Virgilia Hazard (Kirstie Alley) was the only daughter of iron manufacturer William Hazard (John Anderson) and his wife, Maude (Inga Swenson) in Pennsylvania. She had three brothers – the eldest sibling Stanley (Jonathan Frakes), the youngest Billy (John Stockwell/Parker Stevenson) and middle brother George. Unlike most of her family, Virgilia became a firm devotee of causes for women’s rights, civil rights for free Northern blacks and especially the abolitionist cause in mid-19th century United States. In fact, one could honestly say that Virgilia’s devotion to abolition drifted into fanaticism.

Virgilia ended up being one of the most complex characters that author Jakes had ever created. On one hand, her fanaticism, tactless behavior, self-righteousness and bigotry toward all Southern-born whites made her a very unpleasant person. Just how unpleasant could Virgilia be? She had a tendency to air her beliefs to anyone within hearing range, regardless of whether they wanted to listen to her or not. She became so blind and bigoted in her self-righteousness toward Southern whites – especially those of the planter-class that she failed to notice that despite her brother George’s close friendship with the son of a South Carolina planter, Orry Main, he had also become a devoted abolitionist and civil rights advocate by the eve of the Civil War. If she had been willing to open herself more to the Mains, she would have discovered another potential abolitionist in their midst – namely Orry’s younger Cousin Charles.

Her tactless behavior nearly cost George’s friendship with Orry, when she helped Grady (Georg Sandford Brown), the slave of the Mains’ neighbor, James Huntoon (Jim Metzler), escape from slavery during the Hazards’ visit to South Carolina. That same tactless behavior led her to take part in John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry and expose herself needlessly to the local militia. And because of this, Grady – now her husband – rushed forward to save her ended up dead, instead. One of Virgilia’s worst acts – at least to me – was when she had tossed away her convictions and self-esteem to become Sam Greene’s (David Odgen Stiers) mistress, following her confrontation with a hospital administrator (Olivia DeHavilland) over a Confederate officer’s death. All over a matter of survival. She had no problem with confronting her family and neighbors’ scorn over her devotion to abolition. She had no problem with confronting the Mains in her complicity to help Grady escape. But when she faced a murder investigation, she threw her self-esteem to wind and lowered herself to the level of a prostitue to stay out of prison.

But for all of her faults, Virgilia also possessed a great deal of virtues. Why else would the likes of Swayze and Read declare that she was their favorite character? One cannot help but admire her resilient devotion to the abolitionist cause, which was not very popular with most of her family and fellow Northerners. She was open-minded enough to look past Grady’s skin color and view him as an attractive man, worthy for her hand in marriage. Many, including most of the Hazards, had excused her marriage to Grady as a political statement. One member of the Hazard family knew the truth – George’s Irish-born wife, Constance Flynn Hazard (Wendy Kilbourne).

And while many “NORTH AND SOUTH” fans may have abhorred Virgilia’s habit of speaking her mind, I cannot help but admired it. If I must be honest, I really enjoyed Virgilia’s habit of confronting her family and the Main family about slavery and reminding them of the institution’s horrors. I feel that it took a lot of guts on her part and I admired her for this. Virgilia’s practice of “telling it like it is” seemed very apparent in three scenes:

*Philadelphia Abolitionist Meeting – in which she gave a speech about the practices of slave breeding on Southern plantations. Despite Orry’s outraged reaction to her speech, it turns out that Virgilia had spoken the truth. Due to the United States’ official banning of the Atlantic Slave Trade in 1808, many Southern planters were forced to resort to the deliberate breeding of their female slaves to either maintain the number of slaves in the South or to make a fortune in selling such slaves when the value of their land depleted.

*Opposition to the Mexican-American War – during Orry’s first meeting with the Hazard family, Virgilia made her disgust and opposition to the United States’ threat to wage war against Mexico very clear, claiming that many of the war’s supporters saw it as an opportunity to conquer Mexican territory and use it for the expansion of slavery. I hate to say this, but slavery’s expansion had been a strong reason for those who supported the idea of war.

*Confrontation Over Grady’s Escape – this is without a doubt, my favorite scene in which Virgilia confronted her family and the Mains over her disgust with slavery. Hell, I had practically cheered the woman as she made it clear that not only the South, but the entire country will eventually pay a price for its complicity in the institution of slavery. And she had been right.

It took a brave woman to willingly pursue a cause that many found unpopular . . . and make her convictions to others, quite clear. Hell, I think that she had more balls than all of the men in her family. Even more so, she did not hide her beliefs and convictions behind a personable veneer in order to soothe the sociabilities of her family and their friends.

I had discovered that both Lesley Anne Down (Madeline Fabray) and David Carridine (Justin LaMotte) had both received Golden Globe nominations for their performances in the first miniseries. Frankly, I find this appalling for I believe that Kirstie had deserved a nomination, as well. Probably even more so, considering that she had a more difficult role. I wonder if both Swayze and Read had felt the same.