Monday, May 10, 2021

3 Things I Hate about Without Remorse (2021)

 

Is there possibility of the new John Clark meeting up with the new Jack Ryan?

There was a time when a trip to the mall wasn’t complete without me digging for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series at a second hand book shop. I was able to collect many including the spin-off novel Without Remorse. For those not in the know John Clark was Jack Ryan’s top field man since Ryan was more into analysis and policy especially when the books made him the President of the United States.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Travelers (Showcase) (2016 - season 1)

There are 3 travelers in this picture, from 2 teams
 

Travelers are time traveling sleeper agents embedded in the 21st century. They come in teams like Mission Impossible except the team never gets to go home. There’s a leader, medic, hacker, the muscle; and there’s usually a number 2 man whose narrative roll is to spoil the team leader.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Harlequin (The Grail Quest)

Harlequin or to the US market The Archer’s Tale is the story of Thomas, a young man of a quiet seaside town of Hookton, England. The town fell to French raiders and among those killed was his father. So young men do what is expected, they vow revenge.

Problem is he has no idea who the raider was aside from the fact they were French and he managed to note a coat of arms among them. But in the 14th century with no benefit of a Google Lens search the task ahead was still insurmountable especially on foreign soil. So the next best thing that Thomas can do is kill any Frenchman. He signs up with the English army to join a war in France as an Archer.

Plot wise this is where the story may feel stalled. The book opened up with a desire for revenge but the Hookton raid and the coat of arms was sparingly talked about if at all for maybe half the book. This is only my second series written by Bernard Cornwell, my first was the Warlord Chronicles; I’m hanging on faith that his first books are detailed setups. The action comes in the second book.

For most of this book Thomas is reacting to his orders, after all he fights for the King of England. And he cannot just pack up to go on a private revenge tour in a foreign country. So instead of revenge Harlequin becomes more an account of 14th century warfare.

There is the army composition meaning there isn’t an army in the modern sense; professional soldiers under one ministry under the head of state, which in the 14th century is the King. It seems like the King has his rich Lords do many of the hiring. If there was regular pay I cannot remember, but if the army won they’re allowed to loot the city of treasures including the rape its local women.
 
art by Sergey Shikin

 

There is also the issue of class status in the army. Thomas is an archer which is an upstart class. The armored knight fall into the romance and tradition, and wealth: armor costs money, longbows not as much. Disagreements between these classes of soldiers point further the irregular nature of the 14th century army.

Like the Warlord Chronicles, Cornwell can write you a detailed play by play from all sections of a battle line. The story is filled with battles and the sacking of the town, city, or castle afterwards. Peaceful moments are just the preparation to the next battle. The Battle of Crécy feels like it’s a quarter to half a book when I read it from preparation to every troupe movement to its ending.

As far as detail and the beauty of the writing as far as war is concerned, I’d say Cornwell has successfully put me in the mind of Thomas as I am always thinking of the French country side and the next battle. The detail was so real and specific that when the Holy Grail was mentioned it feels out of place amid the muck of 14th century warfare. I am almost as annoyed of the Holy Grail is and for exactly the same reason as Thomas.

Is it a negative on Bernard Cornwell’s part that I am not interested in the Grail after Harlequin? But I am interested in seeing justice for Hookton. Onward to Vagabond.

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Monday, May 03, 2021

The Father (2020)

Watches are more reliable than memories
 

The Father takes a brave approach to the question of aging. Florian Zeller, director and co-writer, tells the story from the point of view of Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) who is obviously not in full control of his mental faculties.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

3 in The Passenger (Deep Space Nine S01-E09)

Make...me...live!!

Religion and superstition never asked how to prolong life because the soul is the answer. When the body dies there is an eternal place of rest waiting for the living soul. Now what if the soul has a scientific angle shall we say?

Monday, April 19, 2021

3 in Dax (Deep Space Nine S01-E08)

The fugitive Dax is charged with treason... and the murder of my father.

I like this episode. Dax, in the 90s, for its entire runtime was a compelling story modeled on the Ship of Theseus argument way before Wandavision and its 2 minute scene. It’s only fault is that the episode didn’t draw attention to itself as identity metaphysics.

What I also love of the episode is that it deals with lies: those we tell ourselves, the reputations we value, and the lies a country tells to itself too.

Friday, April 16, 2021

3 in Q-Less (Deep Space Nine S01-E07)

No wonder you're not commanding a Starship.


I forget. Did Captain Picard ever do the jamaharon with Vash?

The onetime entanglement of Captain Picard resurfaces from the wrong side of the wormhole: Lt. Dax found her in the Gamma Quadrant. She said she was stranded for 2 years - probably pre-wormhole - which should have been a warning but getting lost was not a crime. In any case, Vash has dependably brought trouble aboard the station along with her previous ride to the Gamma Quadrant: Q.

This episode is a momentum killer as much as momentum can be in an episodic TV series. We’ve seen glimpses of Bajor, tackled some history of the DS9’s Bajoran crew; Tosk was just the first of what could be beyond the wormhole. 

Well, technically today’s trouble came from the wormhole, but with old faces from The Next Generation it felt more like a bridge than a road to new adventures.