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  1. Bev and Dan each have an epiphany: Bev wants to contribute to the family's well-being, and Dan wants something of his own.
  2. What Michael Chabon took away from Nemesis, it seems, is that Data didn't die enough. To my surprise, I agree. Data's flickering out was a more compelling version of Tasha Yar's return into a storyline in which her death had "meaning." What this show proposed with Data, specifically, went beyond the idea that death has "meaning" if it saves something: a beloved character, the ship, or the galaxy. An outcome such as that would lend meaning to anything, from flukes to cat videos. Data's death also went beyond the idea that death has meaning if it's sacrificial, though that was the overall theme of the episode and even the season. "I'm considering the nature of sacrifice," Soji told Picard, sounding and acting exactly like Data when he'd bring his captain his latest quandary. Paraphrasing Narissa: "We destroy to give meaning to our parent's death and our forebears' sacrifice." And, "We've here to save each other," said Picard, while he died to help Soji see the light. Data himself subtly chastened Picard when he asked why Picard -- his measure of a man -- would believe that Data regretted his sacrifice to save him. Sacrifice for the greater good is itself a great good, and a Star Trek verity: the needs of the many... But then Data boldly, calmly went on to put death in the context in which humans most often experience it. Not as something reserved for heroes, reluctant or otherwise, or as a far, far better thing that puts right all that went before. He implied that death was life's essential shadow, even its twin: its Lore or its Sutra. He spoke of death as a living awareness, as a truth that has no meaning but what it gives to life. What death brings to our ongoing mission as we live it, to seek out "peace, love, friendship." Sonnet 73: "This thou perceiv'st, which make thy love more strong/To love that well which thou must leave ere long."
  3. This Is Us is a three-act play; we're at the end of Act II. At the point where Randall has had two -- that's more than one!-- 50-minute hours of therapy, for a lifelong anxiety disorder that is killing him. With Randall, I think the show is following the traditional three-act romantic dramedy structure described as "boy meets girl/boy loses girl/boy gets girl." We're the girl. Boy lost us when he started hurting or overwhelming everyone instead of listening to anyone, starting with himself. His defense mechanisms are that brutal, because what they protect feels so helpless. And Randall felt something begin to happen in therapy -- just enough so that when he lay down that night, his inner alarm gave him 30 seconds to switch back from Aware to Oblivious before all hell broke loose. (By the way, Show: nice, the "alarm set" from the digital Greek chorus in the opener as Beth and Randall headed to California, and we went to credits...) But I don't doubt that Dr. Leigh will become another latter-day Dr. K. She'll be the one who persuades him to bring home the foundling, and trust this life where he was both abandoned and beloved. Boy gets world.
  4. Absolutely. And either Cassidy or Madison will find her. "Kate's first tooth...Randall's first words...Kevin's first steps..." Show. She's only a year old. A little early to decide that the girl-child doesn't do anything? "You gave up on him a little quick there, don't you think?" said the doctor's daughter to Madison her father about Kevin the metaphorse. And that's the moment when an otherwise ordinary OB/GYN became Kevin and Madison's Dr. K: the physician who makes families on the side.
  5. I think Jalal's men were preparing to make a hostage video. It's possible that Jalal wants to try to barter for his father's life -- even though he recently plotted to have Haqqani killed. A lot's happened since then. Haqqani spared Jalal; peace is no longer an issue; Jalal may even believe that his father ordered the helicopter downed. And it's one thing to allow his father to be killed instantly, as a free man, taking a risk he chose. Quite another to have the world watch him die as a prisoner in whatever spectacle G'ulom has in mind. It's also possible that Tasneem has been in touch and suggested this.
  6. Because the parents love their child. Because the parents know their child. Because the parents know that this is the one thing that they cannot give their child, on their own. Because the parents know that their child loves them. Rebecca told Jack that she was afraid of somehow losing Randall -- years after they'd legally adopted him. What she couldn't say (she felt) was why: that she'd lied by omission when the family court judge noted, in passing, that Randall's other parents could not be found. Her guilt about that secret may explain a bit about how she went on to over-compensate with both Randall and Jack. Thirty years later she told Randall that she'd been afraid of losing him, emotionally, if he found his other father. Both fears are completely understandable, and terrible to carry alone. But Rebecca chose not to have even one other adult to confide in, let alone, seek out for help. We make our greatest mistakes as parents from what we still refuse to face in ourselves. Throughout their marriage, Jack and Rebecca were on the same page when it came to avoiding therapy for their own anxiety (hers) or depression (his). Even when she saw Randall's anxiety disorder for what it was -- "He's getting worse!" and Jack did too -- they both still bowed to Jack's defenses against the dark arts. That remained true after Jack's death, when every member of the family was in need. In the grief she bore alone, Rebecca could only hand-wave each child's childish coping mechanism. "I'll be Dad." "I'll marry a new family." "I'll be Katie Girl, professionally." Help doesn't always help. Therapy is absolutely no cure-all, with or without medication. But these are its possibilities: that self-knowledge is possible and valuable; that self-knowledge can be survived; that without self-knowledge, survival is most likely to come at others' expense, and without joy, peace, or gratitude.
  7. Kate Burton as President Warner's widow Doris: it seems unlikely she was brought on for a one-scene, two-line cameo. Unless she has a strong connection to the show or its producers, and wanted to appear.
  8. Samira Noori: she was the source of intel used against G'ulom, and very likely to re-enter the picture. Carrie left her in the car within the CIA compound after rescuing her from her Taliban brother-in-law. If he and his cohorts didn't head out of Kabul immediately, they may have gotten picked up and held in the stadium. In either case, Samira would feel free to return to her flat now, where she could provide temporary refuge to rogue Carrie. Question for another day: how did Yevgeny know that Samira was a loose end for G'ulom? I suppose the same way he was able to have a piece of paper with her name placed on Carrie's desk: sources inside the Afghani Vice President's staff and the CIA station.
  9. Becky's working two jobs and needs to hire childcare; Harris is back home and unemployed. But the episode is not called, "That Was Easy" -- the family helps its comeback kids find other possibilities.
  10. By confronting his mirror image Lore, Data learned -- or chose -- who he was. Soji will likely do the same with Sutra. Or, perhaps, with Soong. Because in searching for Data, has Picard found Lore instead? Is A.I. Soong actually A.I. Soong? Did Maddox somehow find and regenerate Lore, after his research was banned and he had nothing to lose? Did Lore become, first, Maddox's protoype and then his partner in designing the synth community? And if so, did Maddox program Lore to believe he was Noonian Soong's human son, or, is this A.I. Soong persona another of Lore's larks, for the sake of his human guests? And did Soong ultimately force Maddox from the safety of Coppelius into the danger zone of Freecloud and the reach of the Zhat Vash? Maybe not. Perhaps Soong is what he says he is: very human, a man in the last decade or two of his life, looking to download into a ghola body. And from what we saw, the only male among his kind.
  11. That's why they call it "work." In an effort to turn a buck, Darlene dons a vest and gets Harris for a supervisor; Ben doffs his beard and gets a lot of crap. Meanwhile, no one puts Jackie in the corner.
  12. I took it as Alex and Izzie leaving a light on for visitors from Seattle. I wonder, though, if "eave a light on" because a phrase used by the procuiers and writers to describe their goal: to make it possible for Chambers to return for an episode or the finale. And then somewhere along the way, that became the title. Izzie doesn't have to work in Kansas City; the farm is less than half an hour from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, which has a specialized Cancer Center. And the farm may only grow grass for haying two or three times in season; she may also lease out some or all of the field, or the barn for horse boarding. That said, about the farm footage...Maybe what they had in mind, and missed by a mile, was Days of Heaven.
  13. People who strangers will recognize may think they can't afford to fly coach.
  14. To let her know he's running the place now.
  15. After this turn of events, G'ulom's not worried about losing American support. Saul's aged anguish gave credibility to everything. Almost everything. I don't believe that no one on the ground or in the command room thought to secure the flight recorder. (Or the President's body, for that matter.) I don't believe that there was no contingency plan for every one of the many ways this photo op could have gone sideways. I don't believe that only Max survived, or that Max survived. I don't believe that Warner -- less than a year after the very nearly successful, in-house attempted assassination of the President-elect -- would have picked a dolt as his replacement. I do believe that David Wellington may as well be appointed Chief of Staff For Life.
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