nell65: (Default)
Well, I finally staggered my way through S5..... and, well, after a multi-year viewing gap?

It's actually not nearly as bad as I remembered.

I mean, yeah the plot holes are still there, as is the total failure to keep track of time passing (or not), but, overall - the 8 episodes are actually a remarkable attempt (for LFN!) to sustain a single story arc that actually focuses on the Section facing an actual (and semi-coherent and not Cold War relic) terrorist group and Section failing to do it's job well -- or even at all - because of all the many, many, many internal problems that have been fully established in earlier seasons.

Section is failing because everyone inside it hates it, and no one trusts the Section or anyone else for anything, not even their dearest friends or their lovers, and everyone schemes and cheats and breaks the rules to protect themselves and those they love, and they have no real purpose in the world other than to run around putting out fires they don't understand.

It's actually an amazingly self-aware set up. Even Jones mocks himself for his faith in a super computer oracle.

They even have Nikita suffering from ongoing effects caused by the Gellman process. Yes - they solve it in a skeevy grave robbing plot solution of great ickinesss - but, they were actually aiming in the direction of acknowledging that fucking with people's body chemistry they way they fucked with Nikita's will have potentially long lasting consequences.

There plot thread that really is the clunkiest is how they deal with Nikita's hopes for a better Section. Particularly her wish for less constant surveillance of operatives and a decrease in abeyance as a strategy. The surveillance thing makes sense, it seems to piss people off without stopping people from spying on Section at the drop of a hat, successfully! But the abeyance thing is particularly bizarre because Nikita herself has personally killed, on screen, at least four-six operatives and watched Michael kill several more, in previous seasons, all without flinching - and through the rest of S5 she staunchly defends what Michael is doing -- laying out Section to be destroyed as a way to take out the Collective -- results in the deaths of scores of operatives.

Her dialogue in that exchange with O'Brien doesn't actually match her actions -- but there is no reason offered for her to be lying/playing a role. I'm not sure what the fix is - but, you know, if we can wish away Halle (I have no idea how to spell the character's name) shooting Paul in the chest - several times - surely I can work out something to get rid of a single incoherent line of dialogue....right? ;-)

Which brings me to Paul - I think he is great in this season. Really awesome and I love him more in this season than I did in, well, any of the earlier seasons. The Section he built is falling down around his ears because of weakness he ignored/encouraged or in some cases actively created and his self-pity and righteous indignation and refusal to take responsibility for any of it and his real, palpable melancholy and grief are wonderful. (And I had never really noticed that Paul's most macho live-action episode ever is the one RD directed. Which has nothing to do with the plot, but was interesting to note all the same.) And EG has some really wonderful scenes - I love him all broken and pissed off, hiding up in the perch and spitting at anyone who comes to try to talk to him.

And all of this leads in an odd way to thinking about the reboot. Sporadically, inconsistently, and without plan or forethought - the Section itself becomes such an important character/setting for what made LFN so intriguing for those (the few, the proud) who stuck out. Such that - it makes total sense that it was Michael who nearly destroyed it, and obviously could have it that was really his goal, and it is Nikita who stays behind to try to resurrect it.

But if the reboot is going to be about Nikita on the run with Michael still on the inside .... well, that's a definite reboot --- but not a very interesting one.
nell65: (Default)
I have such conflicted reactions to this episode, and the one before it.

On the one hand - TET has awesome Paul/Madeline stuff going on.

On the other - both episodes have Greg Hillenger.

I like the first episode he is in in the (first? second? season - I've just watched them all, you'd think I could remember).

But this pair of eps? There is something about Greg and his interactions with all the other characters that triggers in me that horrible - cover my eyes because OMG (!!!111!!!!1) they are *all* going to embarrass themselves terribly over this!!!11!!!! - feeling.

There is something about the structure of the eps that is so heavy handed with it's telegraphing that "Greg=trouble" that the utter obliviousness of *everyone* else to this problem, even after Greg is deliberately guilty of murder of a sr. operative, just makes it almost impossible for me to enjoy anything else going on.

Or, seriously, for that matter - in the final scene in the hanger - when George suddenly rolls over and plays dead?

OMG - Paul!!! Wake the frak up!!!

Read more... )
nell65: (Default)
Okay, this is mostly to Jaybee in response to her question about what makes Michael interesting in my last post about LFN.

I'm in about the middle of season three now in my re-watching, just saw the 'slipping into darkness' episode, which is, you know, for LFN a pretty tightly plotted episode that I really like a lot, but I have to say - that in general, here in the middle of season three? Michael is really dull.

He had an obviously interesting opening to the season, what with the whole blood-cover reveal and loss of his mission-family, and at the end of the season he has more interesting issues as well.

But, here, in the middle? I can see, from a character-arc perspective, that Michael, as a character, obviously needs to take some time to process the previous five years, and with actual down time, has the physical and intellectual reserves to be at the top of his game, mission wise. Which, makes him a very dull boy to watch.

The only interesting Michael-related thing is Madeline and Paul's conversation at the end of that episode, about Michael's ambition, or lack thereof.

I happen to agree with Madeline - Michael doesn't have *ambition with regard to the Section,* not in the way Paul thinks he does -- Paul being incapable of imagining a man with the skills and talents Michael obviously has NOT being ambitious-just-like-Paul. But the whole bit is far more revealing of Paul, and Madeline, than it is of Michael.
nell65: (Default)
So, I'm watching my LFN DVDs as part of my whole brain dump of old LFN stories into actual words compulsion, and I got to the 2nd Season Ep - "Double Date." There is much I enjoy about this episode. David Fanning is an awesome villain. The actress who plays Lisa is charming. The setting is really beautiful, up there in the north woods I love, and a nice break from all the lurking around underground and in oddly empty buildings.

But - I hate Michael in this episode. For a character who usually is written and presented as viewing women fully human and therefor capable of acting on their own to save their own skins (YAY!), he is written in this episode as hateful and horrifyingly disrespectful of two women that he has been shown in the past (one in one episode, the other in all of the other episodes) to both a) like, and b) respect.

And then the episode itself goes and shows that Nikita didn't need him to run off and fuck Lisa, she got away from David not once, but twice, all by herself. If Michael had just hung around for a few hours with a decent rifle they could have wrapped up the whole sorry silly mess before dark. Of course, if the dimwitted operatives escorting David hadn't turned their backs on him the episode would have been even shorter.

Now - in this case - Lisa Fanning would not have reappeared in the episode - and that would have been sad, what with David being so deliciously awful and clever.

So.... I see that the writers had a big problem on their hands. They wanted David *and* Lisa in the episode. In general, they wanted to continue to torture Michael and Nikita by having them continue to have to fuck everyone but each other. But then they went and gave Michael (not to mention giving him stupid team members, one of who was already *explicitly tasked with carefully watching David*) an attack of massive buttheadedness.

One solution is obvious. Put Nikita in a coma, or break her legs or something, or the overused disease with withheld antidote trick. Provide a plot reason why Nikita can not save herself and Michael is sufficiently desperate to do this horrible thing to a woman he actually likes. Another is just flat out David escaping and running for Lisa (like he couldn't have stolen the car and left Michael and Nikita stranded?) and Michael and Nikita together chasing him down and helping Lisa rescue herself from her abuser. Or, flip the whole thing and have it turn out to be some sort of triple play, twisty screw with Fanning's head plan.

Of course - travel episodes have a bigger budget and we would leave the pretty, pretty woods which are pretty darn cool for the final hide and seek show down, so....

That instead, the writers/PTB created an episode where Nikita did in fact rescue herself and Michael's kidnapping of Lisa is merely useless and insulting to Nikita (not to mention Lisa), baffles me. Especially as I can't think of another episode -- certainly there isn't one before this -- after this one where Michael demonstrates such a lack of faith in Niktia's ability to take care of herself (well there are the story lines where she trust the wrong person and gets burned, but, well, this ep. makes perfectly clear what was clear before, which is that she thinks Fanning is a shit stain who should already be dead. So, no over trusting mistakes likely here.)

I guess this why this show drew so much fanfic - so many problems to resolve around a set of such strongly drawn central characters in a bizarre and plot hole-ridden universe. ;-)

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