Famous quotes

"Happiness can be defined, in part at least, as the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually" - Stephen Covey

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Americans : Episode 9 "Martial Eagle" Review

Another wonderful review by Ryan Sandoval of TV.com

The spies on The Americans do so much sneaking and snooping for tech plans that it’s easy to forget the spiritual ramifications of the Cold War. Ideology is what was really at stake, so it’s justifiable that fighting for what felt like a losing side might've caused someone to question the big ideas behind all the trouble. Directed by Alik Sakharov and written by playwright Tracy Scott Wilson, "Martial Eagle" promised a mission, but what it delivered was a collection of much more introspective journeys. Stan and Sandra shared a tough look at their relationship, Philip and Elizabeth dealt with the bloody aftermath of the contra plan—as well as Paige’s financial devotion to Christianity—and Gaad prepared to testify with his job and freedom on the line. It was an hour well-spent, highlighting how those tasked with saving the world keep going in the face of futility.

Mostly though, "Martial Eagle" was about Philip tearing apart Paige’s teen bible and whipping it across the kitchen before screaming, "You respect Jesus, but not us?!" The septic plan to get onto the base where our boys trained Nicaraguan soldiers worked like a charm, except for a grunt who got his throat slit, and the bound truck driver who died from exposure. Elizabeth also racked up two bodies in this episode, but it was Philip who found himself most affected by the unnecessary deaths. Just last week he had spared the driver, acting as the "good cop" when Elizabeth wanted to off the guy. Another casualty in an increasingly murky war.

Man, that glare during "Teenage Sunday" was priceless. Philip didn’t need some church leader preaching about how a selfless God could offer contentment, when he knew otherwise. Even so, as is the case with any effective sermon, the ideas stayed with him the following day. Did Philip curse these notions because it'd be too painful to hope for redemption after all the horrible things he's done? My favorite thing about Elizabeth and Philip’s disdain for Christianity is how foreign the idea of practicing any faith is to them—it's not just this particular religion. They feel very passionate about the uselessness of any sort of belief system, so Paige’s charitable donations weren't seen as a kindness, but a practical slap in the face to her caretakers. "Who told you to do it? The pastor? His wife? Stop protecting them!" Elizabeth asked, dipping into interrogation mode, more spy than mother.

Holly Taylor playing Paige Jennings

While Philip got all moody and broody, Elizabeth forced Paige to clean the house in the middle of the night to make the girl appreciate what it means to be a grown-up. "Being a grown-up means doing things you don’t want to do all the time," Elizabeth lectured (especially if you are a trained assassin), but this display was mostly about showing support for Philip. Notice how Elizabeth gave him nearly the same speech he had given her about Lucia? Normally buoyant, Philip shrugged off his wife’s help and accused her of having an easier time killing, which is what married KGB say to hurt each other. Surely he can’t believe this. I mean, of the two, Philip’s been dealing with the side effects of his expert, murdering ways much more than Elizabeth, but he also seems to be killing a lot more. If it’s so hard for him, why is he doing it so much?

Holy cow, Pastor Tim (Kelly Aucoin) has no idea how lucky he is to be alive. Philip was a straight-up tragic villain this episode, all playing Martha’s insulting tape and figuring stuff out in disguise by the sea. So when I saw those black gloves letting Philip into the empty church, I thought the religous hybrid of Matthew McConaughey and Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber was a goner. Tim was rightfully baffled at this father who was ordering him to keep the church away from his daughter, when usually dads are all, "My child, I forbid you to go to church." Speaking of which, why don’t they forbid Paige from going to church? I guess because it’s an ideology, with no clean way of pointing out the damaging effects. Also, though, Philip and Elizabeth are trying to be good parents. Lesser guardians would be like, "Hell go do whatever, just don’t get pregnant," but the Jennings care about their relationship with their kids enough to let Paige and Henry have a little bit of agency. Ironic, then, how this same freedom led to Paige’s donating to the less fortunate, in a sort of Communist fashion.

Who knows what went on at the Rezidentura this week, as our only taste of that staff was a check-in with Arkady. Which is fine, Oleg and Nina have earned a day off. Gaad plopped himself down right in front of his Russian counterpart, and basically beg-threatened Arkady before he was set to testify. Well, maybe less of a beg, and more of a threat. Who knows how much of an impact the classified testimony of the late Richard Patterson (remember, Claudia slit his throat?) will have. A report goes out, the media gets a hold of it, sure, but I feel like at most, the U.S. would increase resources in counterintelligence. It would not guarantee the removal of Directorate S. Maybe Arkady knew this, maybe he planned on taking this intel back to Oleg, but either way, the Russians are still on top here.

The only thing that can bring them down is the good old-fashioned American work ethic of one Stan Beeman, which in "Martial Eagle" involved interviewing researchers involved with the Department of Defense. Yes, Stan's life has been in a bit of a tailspin lately, what with Sandra self-helping herself right into the arms of another lover, but marriage was never his strong suit. Stan’s dedication may have cost him a lot, but connecting Emmett and Leanne’s deaths to the DoD meeting in Alexandria on January 23 is his first big step back toward making things right. How fitting that his ability to discover the facts comes as his personal code of ethics deteriorates. Operating in gray areas has gotten him in trouble, but it’s also given him more intimate access to the methods of his enemies. All that’s left is to connect the dots. Let’s just hope that by the time he does, it isn’t already too late.


– Pretty cool use of a fake war scenario to create some real deaths

– I thought Beeman’s speech to the science nerds about exploiting weakness would end with him smacking his forehead and exclaiming, "Nina’s in on it!"

– Someone please put "Today was a shitty day, with my shitty kids and my shitty husband" on a T-shirt.

– Elizabeth angling in on a Northrop employee, but also sharing feels about her hubby.

– I don’t think people should trash-talk people behind their backs, but every time Philip plays that fake tape, it’s funny hearing Gaad say "Come on guys, Martha’s ugly..." like that’s the jumping-off point for a regular conversation.

– Elizabeth’s reaction to finding out about Paige’s donation: "We’ll definitely talk about that."

– Dr. Ruth playing while Sandra packed her bags. She definitely has some plans.

– Martha’s breathy response: "Bastards..."

– "If they can keep you afraid, and ashamed, then they can keep you silent. And if they keep you silent, they can control you." No one knows that better than you, Stan.

– Philip also had God issues way back in "The Clock," remember?

– John 10:10, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Which country is the "thief"?

Friday, April 18, 2014

American horror story : Coven

After two spine thrilling seasons which kind of really freaked the hell out of me , the third season went a more dramatic but interesting route through the story of the witches. Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Angela Basset and Kathy Bates make up the all star female cast of this season. Finished watching this Season 3 last month and it never really left my mind for days.

The story revolves around New Orleans and the real life story of Madame Delphine Lalourie (Kathy Bates) and Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett). Both their real historical stories are probably more outlandish than the script of the series itself. Thats how creepy it was when i looked into New Orleans history especially Lalourie's. Incredible and sad history of that period.

Lily Rabe - my favorite actress from the previous AHS seasons returns here as the "loose woman" Misty Day who is a witch (they all are witches) with the power of resurgence and a die hard fan of Fleetwood Mac. This season introduced me to Stevie Nicks and I cant get enough of her.

The season started as an academy of witches in a historic war against another tribe but gradually transformed into a story on the changes and trials which the witches face among themselves especially with the search for a new Supreme of the coven.

The trinity of experienced actors like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates (remembered her from "Midnight in Paris" which i saw recently) and Angela Bassett (she looks amazing for a 55 year old!!) has accentuated the class and credibility of the show.Angela looks exactly the same as she was in Boyz n the hood and that movie came out in 1991. This woman doesnt age ,probably she really is a voodoo artist.

One can really see through the trend of Ryan Murphy - the show runner that through the 3 seasons of AHS women basically run the show, and all male characters are mute both literally and metaphorically. We dont see many or should I say any show which even comes closer to this unique genre which AHS seems to make its own. The eerie and scratchy title sequence itself sets the tone for the series and kudos to Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk to give us such an unique experience. Taking a more dramatic route than usual in Season 3 has helped with the ratings as it averaged around 4 million viewers which is unusually high for a Horror show. Looks like more and more people are getting into this exemplary series.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Americans : Season 2 Ep 7 "Arpanet"

Just finished watching Episode 7 of this wonderful series. The cultural and technological significance of this episode which resulted in groundbreaking innovation of the future is captured beautifully in this episode.

Here is the review of the episode from Ryan Sandoval of TV.COM

For anyone looking to turn skeptics onto this show with a single scene, "ARPANET" offered two frontrunners in the final moments of both Philip and Nina’s storylines. Each one tied up related themes of trust and deception in its own way, following two worthwhile technology-centric missions—Philip’s to "bug" the '80s internet, and Nina's to defeat a polygraph machine. Each one offered a window into the insanely stressed and extremely capable mind and heart of one of the KGB's finest—Philip a proven hero, and Nina an impresario by necessity, and possibly a triple agent. Each one also shined the spotlight on the role of high-tech machinery in the world of espionage. Whether it's spies using "technology" to complete a mission, countries warring over the right to possess it, or societies using it to communicate, it was only a matter of time before gadgetry received its much-deserved screen time in a season that keeps raising the bar.

We knew something was up when Nina took over opening narration duty with her Russian rendition of "Previously on The Americans...." Continuing her fallout with Stan from last week, Nina began what would basically be "her" episode by agreeing to the polygraph test. Did you know that before 1988, employers could use lie detectors on their employees? ("Did you work your hardest today?" "Yes." "These squiggles tell a different story....") With a newfound ability to bend the truth, Nina continued her withdrawal from the arms of the increasingly lonely Stan, while outwardly appearing to do the opposite—because she's just that good. Also, who thought a scene where one character just says "yes" and "no" could be so riveting? And that look square at Stan during the Vlad question? Dang. Tragic romance is a staple of the spy genre, and Noah Emmerich is doing a damn fine job embodying that, even if it is hard to watch the FBI agent descend further and further.

I’ve always rooted for some sort of union between Nina and Oleg, and it looks like The Americans answered my cries with a training sequence that lead straight to the bedroom. Dissections of the spy's mindset provide a fascinating insight into the headspace of pros, and in this case further connected the world of performative drama with counterintelligence. First Philip called Kate a "spy in an old movie," there's always the wigs, and then Oleg came off like a Julliard-trained acting coach, talking about believing the lie and whatnot. To think, Nina didn't trust Oleg at the outset, and now she's cuddled up with him, ducking in and out of English, possibly still in character. All the world's a stage!

Apart from the psychological stuff, the actual technical aspect of how a polygraph works earned its keep. This show is as much vintage-gadget porn as it is taut thriller, and what better device to feature than one that purports to suss out the truth as your body tells it? Scenes like Oleg drawing on insect metaphors and Cleopatra mythology to train Nina as the spy she was meant to be popped like a Communist flag whipping in the D.C. wind. Even more chilling was the notion that as Nina rose to the demands of Oleg’s secret gamble, she might have been forming a strategy herself to use against this new mentor. If anyone learns quick, it’s Nina.

I can think of several reasons why she would end up sleeping with Oleg. Self-preservation, actual romance, Stockholm syndrome. All seem like viable options. One moment she’s telling Stann she thinks Oleg’s a "pinhead who works for himself," the next she’s calling Oleg her "secret weapon" to his face and kidding naked in her native tongue. Less one language barrier, their pillow talk was effortlessly steamy ("You can bind my wrists, tie me naked to a chair..."), touching ("You were my secret weapon"), and ambiguously manipulative from both sides ("You are a very good liar, Nina Sergeevna)." Nina could never have this much fun with Stan, or at least she could never behave the way she does around Oleg. Then again, what woman could resist passionate charmers like "You passed"? Mr. Darcy eat your heart out! On the other side of things, Oleg gushed, "You have no armor. Nothing to protect you except your wits, your courage, and your beauty," along with other compliments—to which Nina replied in both Russian and then English, "What is this, Oleg Igorevich? Call and response?" Is she aware that he might be playing a part to get something from her? Is he aware that she’s aware of that?

In only its second season, The Americans has proven it knows how to juggle storylines big and small, like a classically trained cello player plucking the strings to a masterpiece, and brief-but-effective visits with Kate, Andrew Larrick, Lucia, and a few minutes dedicated to Henry’s adventures in home invasion reminded us of the overarching plots going on. Like a daughter to her mother, hot-under-the collar Lucia gave Elizabeth some grief with plans of her own to execute Larrick. "The operation and Larrick are bigger than your wish for revenge," reasoned Elizabeth the same way Claudia might have talked her down in another time.

I hope we get to see Larrick in action, what for all this talk about how unpredictable and monstrous he is. All we got this week were some vague threats along the lines of, "You can’t be too careful nowadays. It’s hard to feel safe." He might as well have continued, "It’d be a real shame if something were to happen to you." Larrick seems like he’s making an exit, but he’s at least promised to help the Jennings gain access to the Contra commanders. I bet Lucia dies in the process of killing him, only because that seems like something she might do, and something that would screw a lot of stuff up for the Cause.

Henry did a little spying of his own on the family across the street and their vacation plans. Paige has received the majority of Jennings children's screen time, so it was nice to get a taste of what was basically a little-kid adventure. You've got to hand it to Henry for making his Intellivision happen just like his old man would. If handled gingerly, these juvenile moments of illegal exploration could prove useful in both building out the Jennings as a TV family (something the '80s seemed to have a surplus of ), and offering a respite from more intense storylines. In small doses, kid danger like Paige and Henry’s afternoon with a hitchhiker in "Trust Me" reminds us just who these young people are as individuals, and why they’re worth protecting.

I definitely liked everything about Philip and Charles Duluth’s mission to gain access to the early makings of the internet, and I especially liked Professor Rosenbloom’s smooth, animated sequence (complete with the camera traveling between floors) explaining a technology that today has reshaped the world as we know it. Character actor Geoffrey Cantor was fantastic, talking us through what was partly a lesson in computer science, partly a set of heist plans, and Reg Rogers always does a remarkable job as the swaggering, drunken wit. An "interstate highway system through which all information flows" is a pretty concise description of our World Wide Web, its value certainly known to anyone alive today, but the fact that at this time the military and science communities shared a network makes it pretty clear why the Russians wanted access so bad. If ARPANET didn't seem Golden Goose-y enough, Rosenbloom even went on to compare the technology to God.

Normally on the sidelines, Duluth provided a novice’s commentary on what would've otherwise been a straightforward mission, right down to toasting the exhilaration of an improvised job well done. "I haven’t had an adrenaline rush like that," blathered Duluth, "since I did the esteemed Madame Senator from Missouri in the Capitol washroom during conference. I see how you could develop a jones for that kind of thing, it’s addictive." Easy for him, as Philip was the one to shoulder the burden of killing an innocent lab dork, all for a few "Xs and Os on a virtual highway." But maybe Duluth is onto something, maybe Philip's body is in some way addicted to the chemicals that happen during these missions. Eh, something to explore way down the road.

With moody music, this closing interaction between the two played out like something from a film noir: Philip stepping into the role of a cold, emotionally damaged hero, and Duluth the sad sack accomplice lying about his sobriety and spouting desperate claims like "I’m not pathetic!" I’ll give it to Matthew Rhys for his ability to go from warm, fatherly horsin’ off about Camaros with Henry to lecturing drunks about how many people’s he’s killed, all while ensuring that Philip feels realistic.

Apart from family and Elizabeth’s sexuality, Philip’s relationship with death has subtly become another season-long thread worthy of investigation. He killed that young restaurant worker in the first episode, walked in on Emmet’s family in a bloody heap, and caught an earful from Anton and the Mossad agent about his "monster" status (the same term Elizabeth used to describe Larrick in this episode; maybe spies fear becoming monsters). In the same way that Elizabeth went a little paranoid about protecting her family, Philip, more introspective, is looking at ways he’s damaging others, while he’s left alone to clean up the mess inside his soul.


– Computer people please chime in about the importance of these featured, real-life computer machines!

– "He was a miner. Coal." So Elizabeth was a coal miner's daughter. Huh/Heh.

– "Glad you enjoyed yourself." —Philip

– Larrick's off to Selva Negra to help mining operations.

– Kate looks like a spy in an old movie.

– "Driving my life away, looking for a better way for me," —a little Rabbit Eddie

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lin Dan : A tribute

A tribute to my favorite badminton player of all time : Lin Dan who learned to play badminton just avoid playing the keyboard. At the age of 30 years he has won 2 olympics, 5 world championships and 2 world cups. He was like Roger federer times 2 , at one stage he looked almost invincible even the great Lee Chong wei couldnt even come close to him .Lin Dan is like a immortal hero in Badminton If you look at it I dont think there is any sportsperson who can match his achievements in the past decade but still due to badminton primarily being an asian sport no one notices. A shame to an incredible era of the sport.