“Revelations” [PG-13] – 4/4

“REVELATIONS”

PART 4

Cole stared at the thick file sitting on the glass table, in front of the sofa. And cringed out of sheer dismay. 

What the hell had he been thinking? Why had he insisted upon accepting that ridiculously complicated case? Cole’s employers had given him the perfect opportunity to avoid the case. Yet, he accepted it anyway. A land dispute between a wealthy winegrower and a corporation. Cole’s firm represented the former.

The case promised to last several years in a series of lawsuits; counter-lawsuits and God only knew what other kinds of litigation. Cole sighed. He should have accepted Jackman’s offer to hand the case to someone else. Grateful for Cole’s successful handling of a pro bono case that involved the preservation of a community-based housing project. Since the successful verdict had reflected a positive light upon the firm’s reputation, the senior partners decided to give Cole the chance to avoid the Giovanni case. And rather stupidly, he accepted the case anyway. All because he wanted to remain on the partners’ good side. Damn idiot!

Angry with himself, Cole plopped down on the sofa and sighed. Hard. He needed a drink. A good martini with an onion. Only one person he knew made a first-rate Gibson. Cole glanced at the clock on the wall. Six-fifteen. Both Olivia and Cecile should be home, by now. The file caught his attention, again. At the moment, Cole felt more interested in a pre-dinner drink with Olivia . . . and Cecile, than a case doomed to last for . . .

The doorbell rang. Cole’s mood brightened. He strode toward the door and glanced through the peephole. A surprise greeted his eyes. It was Paige. Now what in the hell did she want? Cole reluctantly opened the door. “Paige. What . . . what are you doing here? Is there something wrong?”

A nervous smile stretched Paige’s mouth. “No. Well, in a way. May I come in?”

“Sure,” Cole mumbled. He opened the door wide, allowing the young witch to enter.

Paige glanced around the penthouse. “So, long time, no see.”

“Twelve days is your idea of a long time?” Cole shot back in his usual sardonic manner. “I mean I realize that we barely exchanged a word the last time we saw each other . . .”

Guilt flashed across Paige’s face. Guilt? From Paige? What had happened to her? “What’s wrong?” Cole asked for the second time. “Is . . . is Phoebe okay?”

“Phoebe?” Paige hesitated. “Well physically, yeah. But I think she’s mad . . . Actually, I don’t know if she’s mad or not. Piper definitely is.”

Cole frowned. “Piper mad at you? Why? What’s this all about?”

Instead of answering Cole’s questions, Paige asked if she could sit down. Cole led her to the sofa. He sat down in the opposite chair. “Okay,” she continued, “how do I begin?” Paige paused dramatically. She took a deep breath and then, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I did to you. For what all of us did to you. And I hope that you can forgive me.”

Cole stared at his former sister-in-law, wondering if she had lost her mind. “Uh, what exactly are you apologizing for?”

Paige closed her eyes and sighed. “God, this is hard! I want to apologize for a lot of things, I guess. For believing that you had deliberately chosen to become the Source, when you were really possessed. For kil . . . uh, vanquishing you, when we should have tried to save you. And for . . . well, for encouraging Phoebe to stay away from you, when both of you really needed to talk.” Her dark eyes pleaded with Cole. “What I’m trying to say is that I’m sorry for treating you like dirt, when you really needed a friend.”

Cole remained silent. His emotions now in turmoil, he merely continued to stare at Paige. He did not know whether to feel relieved that a Charmed One had finally believed what really happened to him. Or angry, because of what he had endured for nearly a year before hearing so much as a kind word from a Halliwell.

The long pause continued. Paige’s face now expressed concern. Uneasiness. “Uh, Cole? Did you hear what I just said? I had apologized for treating you so . . .”

“Yeah, I heard!” Cole growled. Anger had won. The half-daemon struggled to keep his emotions in check. He added in a tight voice. “And I forgive you.”

Another pause. “Oh. Well, uh are you sure? You seem a little . . . I don’t know. Pissed?”

It seemed a miracle to Cole that he did not incinerate his former sister-in-law at that moment with an energy or fireball.She was criticizing him for being pissed? Especially when he had every right to be? Instead of resorting to violence, Cole curled his lips into a sneer and retorted, “How perceptive of you! I forgot about those extra sensory powers of yours! Can you sense what I’m thinking right now?” He gave her a hard stare.

Paige’s dark eyes grew wide. She literally wilted before him. “Get out?” she murmured.

Cole walked over to the door and opened it. “Good guess!”

“Cole, let me explain,” Paige began. “I didn’t mean . . .”

“Look, you’ve already apologized. I’ve accepted it. And I don’t think we have anything further to say. Good-bye, Paige.”

Paige shot him one last pleading glance. Her shoulders slumped with defeat, as she strode out of the penthouse. Cole slammed the door behind her, leaned against it, closed his eyes and heaved a large sigh.

* * * *

A half hour later, Paige returned to the manor on Prescott Street, where she found the living room empty. Sounds from a television seemed to drift from the kitchen. When Paige entered, she found Leo sitting by the table – watching TV and eating dinner. “Where’s Piper and Paige?” she asked her brother-in-law.

Leo glanced up. “At P3. Someone had hired Piper to hold a private party there. Remember? Phoebe went to help.”

“Oh God! I forgot. The Garner Christmas party.” Paige sighed. “I was supposed to help Piper, but I guess I got side-tracked.”

Something close to a smirk twisted Leo’s lips. “I’m not surprised. Cole does have a talent for distracting others.”

Paige stared at the whitelighter. Hard. “Why do we always do that?”

“Do what?” he asked.

A sigh left Paige’s mouth. “Use Cole as a scapegoat for our troubles. I mean we had blamed him for Phoebe’s problems with her powers. We blamed him for our troubles with the Source. Well, in a way, he was partly to blame, since he let the Seer trick him into using the Hol . . .”

Frowning, Leo interrupted. “Are we going to go through that, again?”

“Leo! We can’t deny what Cecile and I saw. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of sticking my head in the ground like some ostrich.” An odd expression appeared on Leo’s face. It seemed to Paige that he could not make up his mind on whether to accept the truth, or not. “C’mon Leo! Don’t tell me that you’re changing your mind. Not after you had admitted that we might have been wrong about Cole.”

Leo sighed. “No, I’m not. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that you and Olivia are right about Cole being possessed by the Source. But that doesn’t mean that Cole isn’t dangerous. He is, you know. Especially with those new powers of his.”

Paige hung her head low. Despite her new knowledge of what happened last year, not even she could deny the truth about Cole’s new powers. They were dangerous. “I know,” she murmured. “But like Piper said, he’s the only one who can control them.” Her voice grew louder. “But if that’s true, why did you and Piper decided to help Tyler, last year? And just two months ago, Piper told me that the only difference between us and those we fight were our compassion, not our powers.”

Leo’s mouth hung open, but not a sound came out. Paige peered closely at him. “Leo? Are you okay?”

The whitelighter sighed. “Yeah. I . . . Look, I don’t know what to think about Cole, Paige. I just . . . I don’t know. I guess I just don’t trust him. People change, yes. But that much and not as fast as you might think.”

“You know, it’s funny. When I first met Cole, I liked him a lot.” Paige eased into one of the kitchen chairs. Recalling her early weeks as a Charmed One, she continued, “He seemed to be the only one who understood my twisted sense of humor. But when I found out that he was the same Belthazor who tried to kill Phoebe and Piper a year earlier,” she frowned, “I guess I let my fears and prejudice change my opinion.” Paige paused. “Maybe I shouldn’t have let that happened. I don’t know. I guess it’s too late, because Cole doesn’t want to talk to me, now.”

Silence enveloped the kitchen. His face turning red, Leo glanced away. Paige sensed that he was becoming uncomfortable in her presence. “Well,” she stood up, “I guess I better get to my room. It’s been a long day.”

Leo glanced at her and asked, “What about dinner? Piper left something in the oven for you.”

Paige shrugged. “Maybe later. I’m too tired, right now.” She started toward the doorway, when Leo called out her name. “What?” she asked.

“What about P3? Are you going to join Piper and Phoebe, to help?”

A smirk lifted the corners of Paige’s mouth. “Somehow, I don’t think either of them will feel comfortable with me hanging around, tonight. Do you?” When Leo failed to answer, Paige let out a sigh. It looked as if she was about to resume her position as the family’s black sheep, again. Oh well. She had survived it once. She could do it again.

* * * *

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay a little longer?” Olivia directed her question to her best friend.

Two large travel bags, along with a large shopping bag, stood in the middle of Olivia’s living room. Today marked Cecile Dubois’ last morning in San Francisco. She was due to board an eastbound plane for New Orleans in less than an hour. Cecile gave the red-haired woman a pitying look. “Oh honey! I’d love to stay, but it’s time for me to go. I’ve already got a chance to celebrate the beginning of Winter Solace with the rest of you. Plus, it’s three days until Christmas. I have a family and boyfriend to celebrate with.” She glanced down at her belongings. “If only I didn’t have to lug all this damn stuff around.”

Cole stepped forward. “I’d be happy to give you and your stuff a lift,” he suggested. “Right to your living room in New Orleans.”

Cecile sighed. “You know, that would be just lovely. But I have a return ticket and it’s gonna look real odd cashing it in New Orleans.”

Olivia said, “Why don’t you . . .?” A knock at the door interrupted her question. She walked over and peered through the peephole. “Oh! Paige.”

Cole stiffened at the mention of his former sister-in-law’s name. He had not spoken to her since her little revelation, three days ago. They had spotted each other at Sunday’s Winter Solstice celebration. Only Cole went out of his way to avoid her.

What could he say? That he found it difficult to forgive Paige for his miseries of the past year? Hell, what had she expected? That he would be so grateful that one Halliwell seemed willing to acknowledge the misunderstandings that led to his vanquish, four months in the Wasteland and the end of his relationship with Phoebe? Did she really believe that one little apology would make him forget all that he had endured? Cole wrestled with the resentment that boiled within him. As Olivia opened the door, his face assumed a cool mask.

The youngest Halliwell stepped inside the apartment, wearing a nervous smile. “Hi!” she greeted. Her eyes glanced at Cole, who looked away. “I . . . uh, I thought I come by to say good-bye. To Cecile.”

“Well thank you, cherie!” the New Orleans woman replied brightly. “I’m glad you came. Cole was about to take me home.”

Olivia added, “But you need to cash in your ticket, first.”

“Isn’t it too late for that?” Paige asked. “I mean after all, today is your actual flight day.”

Paige’s words were met with defeated sighs. “So much for a quick trip home,” Cecile bemoaned. She glanced at her watch. “And I now have less than forty-five minutes until my plane leaves.”

“I can still give you a lift to the airport,” Cole insisted.

Cecile nodded. “Okay. At least I can avoid a cab.” The Vodoun priestess faced the two witches. She grabbed hold of Paige’s hand and shook it. “You know, I’ve never met anyone who has been so interested in Vodoun as you, these past few days.” Paige smiled. “Well, except for Livy, over here.”

“Yeah, I’m gonna miss you too,” Paige responded.

After Cecile released the Charmed One’s hand, she turned to the other witch. The long-time friends enveloped each other with a bear hug. “I’ll get in touch with you soon, cherie,” Cecile said. “As soon as I get home. And thanks for the last three weeks. It’s been . . .” she released Olivia and smiled, “very interesting, to say the least.”

Olivia threw back her head and laughed. “You always say that whenever you visit. But then life with us McNeills can be very interesting.”

“A little too interesting,” Cole murmured. Fortunately, the others did not hear.

Olivia gave her friend one last hug. “You take care of yourself, Cecile. And tell Andre and your family, Merry Christmas for me.”

Cole picked up Cecile’s luggage. “Ready?” he asked.

Cecile nodded and picked up her shopping bag. “Yeah, let’s go.” She grabbed hold of his arm with her free hand and pair disappeared.

Seconds later, they reappeared in a deserted hallway, inside the airport terminal. “Here we are,” Cole announced. “Delta Airlines, right?”

“Yeah.” Cecile and Cole walked along the hallway, until they merged with the heavy crowd that filled the main terminal. The pair made their way to the Delta Airlines desk, where Cecile retrieved her boarding pass and checked her luggage. “Okay,” she said, facing Cole. “That’s it.”

“You want me to hang around until you board?”

Cecile shook her head. “It’s not necessary. I should be boarding in fifteen minutes or so. After that, I’ve got another twenty minutes until the plane takes off.”

Smiling, Cole offered his hand. “Well, I guess this is it.”

“Yeah.” Cecile hesitated, arousing Cole’s curiosity. “Listen Cole, before you leave, can I ask you something?”

“What?”

Dark eyes bored into his. “Have you spoken with Paige since Friday?”

“How did you . . .?”

Cecile spoke up. “She came to me, Friday morning. Asking me to help her find out what really happened to you, nearly a year ago.”

Wariness crept into Cole’s composure. “And why did she need your help?”

“She had figured that I’d be able to summon a vision from your past.” Cecile paused, and glanced away. “And I did. From your . . . penthouse. I’m sorry.”

Outrage and anger replaced Cole’s wariness. “You . . . you were inside . . .” Realizing that he could be heard, Cole lowered his voice. “You and Paige were inside my apartment?” he hissed in a deadly whisper.

Cecile shrugged helplessly. “I’m sorry, but Paige beamed or transported me over there before I could say anything.”

“Orbed,” Cole muttered darkly.

“Look, I realize that you’re already pissed at her . . .” Cole’s eyes narrowed as Cecile continued, “but Paige thought we needed something of yours so I could get a vision. Actually, your . . . um, spirit or essence inside the penthouse was just fine. Especially from the spot where . . . you know, they killed you.” While Cole’s gaze remained unrelenting, Cecile added, “Look, I’m sorry for breaking into your place like that. I didn’t mean to. Honestly.”

Realizing that no harm had come from Cecile’s actions, the anger passed and Cole accepted her apology. “It’s okay,” he said with a reassuring smile. “I guess you meant well.”

“Thanks,” Cecile replied. “But why are you so willing to forgive me? And not Paige?”

Oh God! Cole rolled his eyes. The last thing he wanted was to talk about Paige or any other Halliwell. Her confession had only ignited anger long suppressed for the past three months. “What the hell are you talking about?” he demanded. “I forgave her.”

Cecile sighed. “Yeah. That was pretty obvious, yesterday. Especially since you spent most of the day trying to ignore her,” she said sarcastically.

“Look . . .”

“No, you look,” Cecile snapped back. “I can’t order you to forgive Paige for what she and her sisters did to you. But do you really want to be like them? So unforgiving? Is it really worth it, especially since Paige is genuinely sorry for what she had done?”

Cecile’s words hit Cole with the force of an energy ball. He imagined himself becoming like the Halliwells – unforgiving, quick to judge and self-righteous. And the image repelled him. Cole stared directly into Cecile’s eyes . . . and his lips curved into a disarming smile. “I guess not,” he finally said.

“No, it’s not,” Cecile replied softly, her own lips smiling. Then she glanced toward the direction of the boarding lounge. So did Cole. “I guess it’s time for me to leave.” She took the half-daemon by surprise and gave him a tight hug. “You probably don’t believe this, but Olivia is pretty lucky to have you as a friend.”

Cole replied, “She’s lucky to have you. Andre’s pretty lucky, too.”

“I’ll remind him.”

The pair broke into soft laughter, as they disengaged. Cole quickly sobered and asked, “Why did you accept me so quickly after we first met?”

Again, Cecile shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess because Olivia told me about you. And I liked your vibes. I have good instincts, you know.”

“You’d be thinking differently if we had met three years ago.”

Cecile replied, “Hey, we all have our pasts to deal with. Including me. Remember? Besides, look who’s my boyfriend.”

A sly smile quirked Cole’s lips. “You’ve got a point.” Cecile playfully slapped his arm. “Speaking of Andre, tell him I’ll be seeing him in a few days. Both of you. Probably on Christmas.”

“I’ll be sure to tell him.” Cecile gave Cole one last hug. “See you soon.” Then she picked up her shopping bag, waved one last time and headed for the lounge.

* * * *

Inside Olivia’s apartment, Paige sat on the sofa while she flipped through a fashion magazine. Her hostess was busy searching for a missing bottle of garlic inside the kitchen. As she continued to peruse the magazine, Paige came upon an advertisement that featured a blond woman modeling expensive lingerie. The model strongly reminded her of Cole’s former secretary from his days as the Source. What was her name? Oh yeah, Julie.

A shadow cast over the magazine in Paige’s lap. She glanced up and found Olivia standing over her. “Pretty woman,” the older woman commented. “Is there a reason why you’ve been staring at that photo for the past several minutes?”

“I wasn’t staring!” Paige protested.

A red eyebrow quirked upward. “So, exactly what were you staring at, while I called your name . . . three times?”

Paige felt her face grow hot. “Okay! So, I was staring at her. I’m not coming out of the closet, if that’s what you think. I . . . she reminded me of someone I once met. Cole’s assistant.”

“She doesn’t look anything like Ms. Read.”

A sigh left Paige’s mouth. “I’m talking about his former assistant, Julie. When Cole was the Source.”

“Oh.”

Paige continued, “She was also a demon. Phoebe ended up killing her by using a demonic power from Source Junior.”

Olivia frowned. “Demonic power?”

“You know, evil power.”

Green eyes regarded Paige with slight amusement. “Oh yes. I forgot that you and your sisters believe the whole ‘good and evil powers’ scenario. A good number of witches do.”

Now, it was Paige’s turn to frown. “You mean, you don’t?”

“Not really. I think it’s a lot of crap,” Olivia replied. She sat down next to Paige. “To me, magical powers are simply powers and nothing else. Not good or evil, but neutral. It’s not what they are that counts, but how you use them.”

Paige’s frown deepened. “But, how many witches do you know have pyrokinesis?”

“You’d be surprised.” Olivia added, “I have a distant cousin in Scotland, who has the power of pyrokinesis. He’s from my grandfather’s generation. And his power is very strong. He’s certainly not a warlock or daemon.”

“Huh.” A wry smile curved Paige’s lips. “You know that reminds me of Tyler, that fire starter we had helped last year. And what Piper once said to me, two months ago. Only . . .” Her smile disappeared.

Olivia asked, “Only what?”

Paige continued, “Only when it came to Cole’s powers, she had definitely believed they were evil. Like the rest of us. I guess it’s because he got them while he was in the Wasteland.” She glanced at Olivia. “That doesn’t really count, does it?”

“No, not really. Aside from Ed Miller, has Cole ever used his new powers to deliberately harm someone?”

Paige shook her head. “Well, there was Barbas. But he had used them to save us from that bastard. And he has used his powers to help us on other occasions.” Shame washed over her. She sighed. “I guess I forgot that.”

At that moment, Cole appeared before the two women. “Well, Cecile’s on her way home.” He glanced at his watch. “Or should be in another ten minutes.”

Silence fell between the trio. Paige glanced at the magazine, fearful of meeting the half-demon’s eyes. Olivia stood up. “I think I better pay Mrs. DiCicco a visit and see if she has any garlic. Thank God I had decided to take the day off.” She strode toward the door and disappeared into the hall, leaving the two former in-laws alone.

Mustering all of her courage, Paige glanced up. “Cole,” she began, “I know you’re still pissed at me . . .”

“No, not any longer,” he said, surprising Paige. “In fact, I want to apologize, myself. For being so . . . unforgiving. You only meant well, and I let my anger get the best of me.”

Paige glanced away. “I guess I’m no different,” she said in a shy voice. “Of course, in my case, I let fear and prejudice get in the way.”

A smile lit up Cole’s face. “Look, I forgive you. Really. Hell, everyone deserves forgiveness. Don’t you think?”

Paige responded with a wry grin. “Sure. Even half-demons.” Her grin disappeared. “I only wish that Phoebe and Piper would apologize.”

“How did they take . . .?”

“The news?” Paige slammed the magazine shut and tossed it on the table. “Piper refuses to believe that what we had done was wrong. And Phoebe . . . I don’t know. It’s like she can’t even face what I’ve found out. Or don’t want to talk about it, one way or the other. But she has been pretty quiet lately. I’m sorry.”

Cole shrugged. “That’s okay. Piper and . . . Phoebe will have to deal with what happened . . . eventually. Besides, I don’t really expect them to apologize after I had killed Ed Miller.”

Nodding, Paige said, “Maybe. I mean what you did was wrong. But Ed Miller was no innocent. And who are we to point fingers after what we had done to you?”

“Cecile told me that it was she who conjured up visions of my time as the Source. And projected them to you.”

A burst of anxiety flared within Paige. “Don’t blame Cecile! Please! It’s not her fault! I had orbed her to your place, so she could pick up on your essence. And she did. We saw everything from when the Seer tricked you into using the Hollow, until when we . . . my sisters and I . . . well, van . . . killed you.”

Cole inhaled deeply. Stared at his former sister-in-law, much to her discomfort. “It’s okay,” he said, to Paige’s relief. Then he seared her with another hard stare. “Just don’t do it again.”

Paige raised her hand. “Never again. Unless it’s an emergency.” After a pause, she added soberly, “You ever wonder, Cole . . .”

“Wonder what?”

Taking a deep breath, Paige continued, “Wonder what would have happened if all of us had never met Olivia and her family? Do you think I would have found out what really happened to you, last spring?”

More than a minute passed before Cole finally answered. A shadow darkened his face momentarily. “That’s a possibility I certainly don’t want to consider.” Paige realized with an inward shudder that she felt the same. Thank goodness her friendship with Cole would be given another chance.

THE END

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“STAR TREK VOYAGER” – Unfit For Command?

“STAR TREK VOYAGER” – Unfit For Command?
Do many STAR TREK fans consider most Vulcan characters unfit for command? I wonder. I came across this ”STAR TREK VOYAGER” fan fiction story about the letters written to the Alpha Quadrant by Voyager’s crew in the Season 1 episode, ”Eye of the Needle”. The author of this particular fan fiction story seemed to believe that because of their emotional distance, Vulcans are basically unfit for command. Personally, I disagree.This belief that Vulcans were unfit for command certainly seemed supported by Lisa Klink’s screenplay for the Season 2 episode, (2.25) ”Resolutions”. I am sure that many recall this episode. In it, the Voyager crew is forced to leave Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and Commander Chakotay (Robert Beltran) behind on a planet after the pair found themselves infected by an incurable disease. Lieutenant Tuvok (Tim Russ) assumes command of the ship and ends up facing a possible mutiny led by a very distraught Ensign Kim (Garrett Wang). Klink’s screenplay portrayed Tuvok as a cold by-the-book officer, incapable of noticing or understanding the crew’s uneasiness of leaving behind the captain and first officer. Quite frankly, not only did I dislike this one-dimensional portrayal of the ship’s highest ranking Vulcan, I found it slightly inaccurate.

As a Vulcan, Tuvok has made it a practice to keep his emotions to himself and lead his life in a very logical manner. But this does not mean that he was exactly how Klink had described him in ”Resolutions”. Underneath the cool exterior laid a very emotional and passionate man who loved his wife and family a great deal and considered Kathryn Janeway a great friend. He also possessed a temper that he obviously must have struggled to contain all of his life.

Tuvok did possess a problem with interacting with others. This stemmed from a tendency to be a loner. This trait of his was specifically pointed out in the Season 3 episode, (3.14) ”Alter Ego”. In it, Harry Kim became infatuated with a hologram (a tall and leggy blonde named Marayna). To deal with his infatuation, he turned to Tuvok to help him recover from it. Tuvok did more than that. He became friendly with the hologram. But the hologram proved to be a lonely alien at a space station who used superior technology to prevent Voyager from leaving a particular area of space. When Tuvok pointed out her loneliness, she returned the favor:

MARAYNA: I don’t believe you.

TUVOK: I beg your pardon.

MARAYNA: I think you’re tying to isolate yourself and make a public protest at the same time.

TUVOK: Explain.

MARAYNA: You didn’t want to be here in the first place. Being the only one without a lei sets you apart from the others, allowing you to symbolically maintain your solitude. And since everybody can see that you’re the only one without a lei, you’re letting them know that you’d rather be somewhere else.

TUVOK: Your logic is impeccable.

But Tuvok’s loner tendencies did not mean that he lacked an ability to understand the emotional needs of others. Even before ”Resolutions” had aired, Tuvok managed to display this trait on a few occasions. He was the first member of the crew to sense that Seska might prove to be a dangerous problem for the crew . . . even if he did not know about her being a Cardassian spy. Instinct told him that Tom Paris may have been innocent of the murder of a Banean scientist in (1.08) ”Ex-Post Facto”. In (2.04) ”Elogium”, he expressed compassion for Neelix’s fear at becoming a parent and helped the latter come to a decision about starting a family with Kes. He was the only one who did not allow his fear or paranoia to get the best of him and realized that fighting the entity that was rearranging Voyager’s structure might prove to be the best thing in (2.06) ”Twisted”. He managed to befriend Kes. In (2.22) ”Innocence”, he managed to offer comfort to a dying Voyager crewman and a group of alien children who had been abandoned to die by their kind. And for a man who was supposed to be an incompetent leader, he sure as hell managed to avoid any problems with leading the Security/Tactical Division.

If there is one scene before ”Resolutions” that provided an excellent example of how compassionate Tuvok can be, one might as well return to his scene with the dying Ensign Bennet in ”Innocence”:

TUVOK: Tuvok to Voyager. Voyager, do you read? You must lie still.

BENNET: I can’t, I can’t feel my legs.

TUVOK: Several of the vertebrae have been fractured.

BENNET: Isn’t there anything you can do?

TUVOK: I’m afraid the shuttle’s medical supplies are inadequate. We must wait for Voyager to find us.

BENNET: It’s getting worse. My whole body feels numb.

TUVOK: I want you to slow your breathing, relax your muscles. Try not to move.

BENNET: All this time I thought I was so lucky with no family back home. Nobody to miss. Now it seems kind of sad not to leave anybody behind.

TUVOK: I believe Ensign McCormick would miss you a great deal.

I realize that Lisa Klink wanted to create some kind of conflict between Tuvok and some of the crew in ”Resolutions”. But in painting Tuvok as an emotional iceberg incapable of compassion or seeing to the needs of others, I feel that she had went too far. This is quite evident in that the mutinous and obviously immature Harry Kim had been written with far more sympathy than Tuvok. It is no wonder that ”Resolutions” has become one of my least favorite ”VOYAGER” episodes.

“PERSUASION” (1995) Review

“PERSUASION” (1995) Review

Twenty-four years after the BBC aired its 1971 version of Jane Austen’s 1818 novel,”Persuasion”; and twelve years before ITV aired its adaptation; Columbia Pictures released its own version on British television and in movie theaters across the U.S. The movie went on to become highly acclaimed, the winner of a BAFTA TV award for Best Single Drama, and regarded as the definitive version of Austen’s novel.

Directed by Roger Michell, ”PERSUASION” told the story of Anne Elliot, the middle daughter of an impoverished baronet in Regency England. Seven or eight years before the story began, she had been persuaded to reject the marriage proposal of a young and ambitious Royal Navy officer named Frederick Wentworth by her godmother and late mother’s friend, Lady Russell. After spending so many years in deep regret over her action, Anne found herself facing Wentworth again during a visit to her younger sister’s home. Now a captain and wealthy from the spoils of the recent Napoleonic Wars, Wentworth continued to harbor a good deal of residual anger and resentment toward Anne. And the latter continued to harbor remorse over her actions and a passionate love for the naval officer.

After watching the 2007 version of ”PERSUASION”, I found myself wondering how I would regard this particular version. Needless to say, I found it very satisfying. Michell did an excellent job in capturing the ambivalence of Austen’s novel. The center of that ambivalence rested on the underlying passion of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth’s romantic history. And this passion beautifully permeated the movie; thanks to Michell, screenwriter Nick Dear and the two leads – Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds. The movie relived all of the passion and emotions of their relationship – both positive and negative. Michell and Dear also did a top-notch job in revealing the initial dangers that the British aristocracy and landed gentry faced from their complacency, arrogance and unwillingness to match the ambitious endeavors of the rising middle-class; especially through characters like Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot.

As much as I had enjoyed ”PERSUASION”, I believe it had its flaws. One of those flaws turned out to be the scene featuring Anne and Wentworth’s final reconciliation on one of the streets of Bath. It could have been a wonderful and poignant moment . . . if it were not for the circus performers and pedestrians making a ruckus in the background. It nearly spoiled the romantic mood for me. And there were at least two performances that did not sit right with me. I will discuss them later. This version of ”PERSUASION”seemed to be the only adaptation that portrayed Mrs. Croft as the younger sister. Fiona Shaw, who is at least five years younger than Ciarán Hinds and looked it even with minimal makeup, portrayed his sister. Yet, both the 1971 and 2007 versions had cast an actress that was older than the actor portraying Wentworth. And I happened to know for a fact that at age 31, the Fredrick Wentworth character is at least seven (7) years younger than his sister. There is no way that the 42 year-old Hinds could have passed as a man eleven (11) younger, despite his handsome looks.

But my main problem with this adaptation turned out to be the same problem I had with the 2007 version – namely the character of William Elliot, Sir Walter’s heir presumptive. Because the baronet had no male issue, his baronetcy and the Kellynch estate will pass to William, his cousin. But William, fearing that Sir Walter might marry Mrs. Clay, the companion of the oldest Elliot daughter; schemed to woo and marry Anne in order to prevent Mrs. Clay from becoming Sir Walter’s second wife and protect his inheritance. As I had explained in my review of the 2007 version, this scenario failed to make any sense to me. Even if William had succeeded in preventing any marriage between Sir Walter and Mrs. Clay, there was no way he could constantly prevent the Elliot patriarch from considering another bride for matrimony. Even if he had married Anne. Quite frankly, it was a situation that was beyond his control. Dear tried to give urgency to William’s situation by portraying him as financially broke after spending all of his late wife’s money. As far as I am concerned, Dear’s efforts failed. Sir Walter’s lawyer had made it clear around the beginning of the story that it would take years for Kellynch to recover from the Elliots’ debts. Nor did following Austen’s story by making William and Wentworth romantic rivals for Anne’s affections really help. Anne did not seem that impressed by William’s character, despite his charm and wit. And if Dear had simply avoided Austen’s characterization of William Elliot and allowed him to retain his fortune; he could have been a formidable rival for Wentworth, just as Louisa Musgrove proved to be a strong rival for Anne in the story’s first half.

I cannot deny that ”PERSUASION” strongly benefited from the excellent performances of the two leads, Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds. Root was superb as a sad and remorseful woman who began to bloom again over the possibility of a renewed love. With very little dialogue, she was excellent in a montage that featured her character’s reaction to the Musgroves’ carping over Anne’s younger sister, Mary Musgrove. But my favorite scene happened to featured Anne and Wentworth’s first meeting after eight years at Charles and Mary Musgrove’s cottage. With her eyes and body language, Root conveyed Anne’s series of emotions from seeing the naval officer again after so many years with great skill. Despite being a decade older than his character, Ciarán Hinds was equally impressive as Captain Frederick Wentworth, the successful Royal Navy officer who tried to hide his continuing resentment toward Anne’s rejection of him with a hearty manner and friendly overtures toward the Musgrove sisters – Louisa and Henrietta. One particular scene that impressed me featured Wentworth’s recollection of the year 1806 (the year Anne had rejected his marriage proposal). Hinds skillfully conveyed the character’s lingering resentment . . . and love for Anne in what struck me as a subtle moment.

Other excellent performances came from Sophie Thompson, who did a top-notch job as Anne’s younger sister, the emotionally clinging Mary Elliot Musgrove; Simon Russell Beale as Charles Musgrove, Mary’s consistently exasperated husband; Fiona Shaw, who wonderfully conveyed Sophia Wentworth Croft’s strong mind, along with her love for her husband and her role as a naval officer’s wife in a charming scene; and Susan Fleetwood, who have a complex performance in her last role as Anne’s well-meaning, yet prejudiced godmother, Lady Russell. But the one supporting performance that really impressed me came from Samuel West’s portrayal of the conniving William Elliot. He gave a deliciously smooth performance that radiated wit and charm. I found him so likeable that I almost felt sorry for him when Anne finally announced her engagement to Wentworth.

Unfortunately, not all of the performances impressed me. Despite my admiration for the late Corin Redgrave’s skills as an actor, I must admit that I found his portrayal of Anne’s narcissist and arrogant father, Sir Walter Elliot, a little off-putting. I realize that the character happened to be one of the outrageous characters in the novel. Unfortunately, Redgrave’s portrayal of Sir Walter’s narcissism seemed a little too mannered and broad. But Redgrave’s Sir Walter seemed like a mild annoyance in compare to Phoebe Nicholls’ portrayal of the eldest Elliot sibling, Elizabeth. Nicholls portrayed the character as an over-the-top diva suffering from a damaged nervous system. I could not help but wonder if she had been on crack during the production. Or perhaps Michell was on crack for allowing such a performance to remain in the film. And why did Dear’s script include a complaint from Nicholls’ Elizabeth about Anne usurping Wentworth’s attention? Why was she even upset over the news regarding Anne’s engagement? I do not recall her ever being interested in Wentworth.

Overall, ”PERSUASION” was an excellent adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel. Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds’ performances, Nick Dear’s screenplay and Roger Michell’s direction infused the movie with a mature passion rarely touched upon in the adaptation of Austen’s other novels. Does this mean that I regard this movie as the best adaptation of Austen’s 1818 novel? No. Like the 2007 version, it had a number of flaws that prevented it from becoming “the” best. But I must admit that it is pretty damn good.

“THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE” (2010) Review

Apparently, ”THE LAST AIRBENDER” was not the only 2010 summer release struggling at the box office. Disney’s new live-action adaptation of its 1940 animated classic, ”THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE” also struggled. Directed by Jon Turteltaub and starring Nicholas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina; the movie was a fantasy-adventure about a long-living sorcerer named Balthazar Blake who is fighting against the forces of evil and his arch-nemesis Maxim Horvath in modern-day Manhattan; while searching for the person who will inherit Merlin’s powers. This person turns out to be Dave Stutler, a physics student at New York University, whom Balthazar takes as a reluctant protégé.

Did I have any problems with ”THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE”? Well, I had a few. Although some of the scenes managed to capture Manhattan in the daytime, most of the scenes were filmed at night. Manhattan makes a vibrant and colorful setting and I found it frustrating that I got to see most of it at night, when it was not really necessary. The special effect of the flying gargoyle from the Chrysler Building really did nothing for me. And the movie criminally – in my opinion – underused actors and actresses such as Omar Benson Miller, who portrayed Dave’s roommate; Monica Bellucci, who played Balthazar’s fellow sorceress and secret love, Veronica; and Alice Kriege, who portrayed the evil Morgana le Fey from the King Arthur legend.

Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed ”THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE”.  There were no cheesy lines. Yet, there was plenty of sharp humor. Thanks to the screenplay written by Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard and Matt Lopez, it was also a solid adventure story about how Dave Stutler who learns to achieve his full potential and a good deal of self-respect. Dave’s mentor, Balthazar, also learned a good deal about patience and overcoming one’s past regrets. With a great deal of humor, the pair not only teaches valuable lessons to each other; but also form a solid pair to take out Balthazar, who hopes to raise the evil Morgana le Fey and stop her from destroying the world.

Despite too many nighttime scenes, I must admit that I found Bojan Bazelli’s photography to be colorful and impressive. I found the special effects supervised by John Fraizer very impressive – especially during the Chinatown sequence and the scene featuring Dave’s use of Tesla coils. And despite the film’s failure to utilize performers such as Omar Benson Miller, Monica Bellucci and Alice Kriege; the ”THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE” could boast a very entertaining cast. Nicholas Cage was perfectly cast as the intense and sometimes impatient sorcerer, Balthazar Blake. And he had excellent chemistry with the deliciously wry and sardonic Jay Baruchel, who portrayed physics student-turned sorcerer, Dave Stutler. Alfred Molina seemed to be more in his element as the sarcastic and villainous sorcerer, Maxim Horvath than he was in ”PRINCE OF PERSIA”. And he managed to produce a surprisingly effective screen chemistry with Tobey Kebbell, who portrayed the young and self-absorbed celebrity magician, Drake Stone. And although I did not find Teresa Palmer’s portrayal of Dave’s lost interest, Becky Barners, particularly memorable; I must admit that she managed to prevent her character from becoming bland.

Looking back at ”THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE”, I cannot help but wonder if producer Jerry Bruckheimer had refrained from allotting a bigger budget to the movie. I think it had the potential to be a major crowd pleaser, but failed to do so with too many night scenes and an unwillingness to utilize the entire cast. But, the movie still had some dazzling special effects, a solid adventure story and a talented cast in Nicholas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina. In the end, ”THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE” proved to be a pretty good movie.