StarWars-ing: The Kylo Ren Redemption Problem

I’m not sure how the Mrs. feels about this so these thoughts are my own.  We will do a podcast eventually, and I’ll bring this up as a topic.

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The three most important lines in The Last Jedi:

Luke Skywalker : I came to face him, Leia. And I can’t save him.

Leia Organa : I held out hope for so long, but I know my son is gone.

Luke Skywalker : No one’s ever really gone.

I emphasized the I because I think that’s the issue.  Luke can’t save him.  Maybe he can’t because he helped create him.  Maybe he can’t save him, because he doesn’t sense any good in him as he did with Vader.

But when you get to that last line, we have a new hope for Kylo.  Maybe someone else can.

But does he deserve it?  He led a massacre on Jakku, and it probably wasn’t his first one (I’m behind on all my Star Wars reading so I’m going off just the two movies).  He nearly killed his mother. He killed his father.

I’m not sure if he deserves it.  He is a very problematic character which is what makes him such a captivating character.  We don’t fully understand his motivations as to why he was so drawn to the dark side, but there is plenty of darkness there.  Luke could sense the smallest amount of good in Vader, but can’t sense it Kylo Ren. This in turn lead us to the question was Kylo destined to join the dark side or does he have free will?

What I find interesting is how much the dark side is Kylo Ren choosing it and how much is the force inside of him making him do this.  If you think about it, the force created Anakin and the Skywalker line. Four people in the line have the ability to be force users.  Two have chosen the light; two have chosen the dark. But did Kylo? What happened to him? Or is the force an imposing and interventionist source.

It’s so hard to say you want him to be redeemed when you don’t know why he fell from the light. Anakin had is reasons even if they were flimsy.  He fully believed he was saving the woman he loved by joining the dark side.  He definately was manipulated by Sidious, but it was by choice.

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We don’t know this about Ren.  Was he always evil? Did he show all the markers in our universe that makes up a psychopath, but lives in one where he is powerful with force.  When we first meet Kylo Ren, he is talking to  Lor San Tekka:

Kylo Ren : Look how old you’ve become.

Lor San Tekka : Something far worse has happened to you.

Kylo Ren : You know what I’ve come for.

Lor San Tekka : I know where you come from, before you called yourself “Kylo Ren”.

Kylo Ren : The map to Skywalker. We know you found it. And now you’re going to give it to the First Order.

Lor San Tekka : The First Order rose from the Dark Side. You did not.

Kylo Ren : I’ll show you the Dark Side.

Lor San Tekka : You may try. But you cannot the truth that is your family.

Kylo Ren : You’re so right.

Tekka is trying to bring up the past to Kylo Ren and Kylo acknowledges the dark side of his family only. This exchange, from Tekka’s point of view, leads us to believe that Ben was a good person and his free will led him to the Dark Side. Personally, this is where I belong, because I don’t believe the force manipulates people.

Does this make Kylo Ren a more evil character? If the force made him evil, then the force is more complex than we ever thought.  If he chooses evil, then why.  Anakin was desparate.  What was Kylo Ren’s motivation? What was so horrible in his past that he choose this? Will it change how we feel about his parents? Or was it all Snoke manipulating the family?

Kylo Ren is simply put the most fascinating character in the Star Wars universe right now.  He has the lineage and a backstory clouded in mystery.  The little bit we know we have found out Roshamon style.

To me, for there to be any chance for redemption, we have to know why he fell from the light. If we don’t it will feel tacked on. I just hope we find out more about him in the next movie.

Doctor Who-ing: Name Me a Bad Martha Episode. I’ll Wait.

Martha is the most underrated companion in the new Doctor Who.  Everyone loves Rose.  Donna helped the Doctor remember who he was. Amy and Rory are everyone’s favorite couple.  Bill made us understand the 12th Doctor.  Clara is problematic but her first season was great.

Martha’s greatest sin is that she wasn’t Rose.

However, let’s look at her season.

Smith and Jones: This is where we realize she isn’t Rose. Her falling for the Doctor was a betrayal to many fans, but come on David Tennant is dreamy.  His Doctor is everything: manly, sensitive, and smart. The episode is strong and has a great premise.  Moreover, she does have great chemistry with Tennant.

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The Shakespeare Code:  The big bad in this episode is a great premise even if I find it falls short. I like the idea of the villains, but the only thing I remember about this episode is the Harry Potter joke.  This episode was done better with Matt Smith with the Van Gogh episode.

Gridlock: I loved this episode.  The idea of people living their lives in gridlock is inspired.  Plus, this episode is filled with great single serving characters.

Daleks in NYC Arc:  These might be the weakest Martha episodes, but it isn’t awful.  The idea of a Dalek evolving is something that could have been better handled, but it was good.

The Lazarus Experiment:  This episode gets the lowest ranking on IMDb of Martha’s, but I think it is better than that.  The special effects are often not very special, but we do start to understand Martha’s motivations more, and it provides an excellent setup for the finale.

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42:  42 might be my favorite Doctor ship in a bottle episode.  He and Martha are stuck in a ship, and they only have 42 minutes to save the day.  It is a taut 42 minutes.

Human Nature and Family of Blood:  If you take this as one episode, and you should, it should be ranked number one or two or David Tennant’s turn as the Doctor.  Martha, stuck with the knowledge that Doctor may be the happiest he has ever been by not being the doctor and having to remind him of who he is, maybe the hardest thing any companion has had to do.  The end when he struggles with the decision is always devastating to watch, and I genuinely believe this arc could only work with Martha.  With Rose, it would have been easy to become the Doctor again.  Donna would have slapped him till he remembered who he was.  Martha and his relationship with her made this such a great arc.  She wasn’t his rebound relationship, being human was.  Plus, the big bad in this arc is still one of the best yet in the series.  The action was fantastic, and it reminded us how alone the doctor indeed is.

Blink:  If the above arc was number two, then this is number one.  Martha and the Doctor are not in the episode a lot, but this is the classic David Tennant episode, and it came while Martha was the companion.

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The Master Returns Arc:  These episodes have everything: Jack Harkness, vampires, a fugitive doctor and his companions, and two great actors playing the role of the Master.  Plus, Martha saves the day.  She is the companion that walked the earth for the Doctor and the world.

Plus, all the episodes she was in the next season were strong particularly The Doctor’s Daughter.

If you haven’t watched these episodes in a while, revisit them. Freema Agyeman doesn’t hit a wrong note with her acting choices.  The writers made her into NotRose, not her.  I know when ranking the companions she might still fall to the bottom of the list, but seriously ranking is silly and being on the bottom of this list doesn’t mean she’s terrible.

I’ll say it.  The Tenth Doctor is my Doctor, and Martha Jones is my companion.

Parenting: Living in a Tropical Storm Area

We never really have been afraid of low level tropical storms.  Hurricanes, yes, but where we live, tropical storms aren’t cause for alarm besides taking care of your lawn.

That was before having a kid.

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Before having a kid, we can go without electricity for awhile.  With a baby, it becomes a different ball game. We don’t have a generator yet and that is something we have to consider purchasing in the future.  Luckily, our house stays cool if the sun doesn’t come out, so in a tropical storm this shouldn’t happen.  We lowered the air all day and took care of the outside.

And Gordon never came.

Now, the Nola Nerd Couple work at the same school. Our district was extremely cautious and decided to shut down the day before landfall (it was to hit around midnight) and the day after.  As a parent, I will always think this is the right decision. This isn’t a poltical blog, so we won’t say any more than that.

We took the two days as a gift.  We got to spend more time with our favorite human. We played on the floor trying to see if she would crawl.  She’s close but not yet there.  She is getting better at sitting up.  We sang songs. We babbled with her.

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But what if the storm would have turned to us instead of toward Alabama? Our school board made the right decision.  Nothing means more to us than our child.

NOLA-ing: Things to Do This Weekend in New Orleans

Come Check out the Cellar at the Avenue Pub: Sunday from 2 to 5, the Avenue Pub will be showing off their newly refurbished bottle cellar. You can take a look at their new area and sample some free beer!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch:  This runs this weekend and the next two weekends at Cafe Istanbul.  This is a limited run so go!

Star Wars Live in Concert: Experience the Force: Friday and Saturday, the Saenger Theatre will be screening A New Hope with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra providing the score live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ComicCon-ing: Comic Cons this Weekend

Each week we try to highlight a few of the cons from around the country espcially ones that have people from our favorite fandoms such as Star Wars, Doctor Who, Buffy, the MCU, and DC (both TV and film). While all of these cons have great programming, we do focus on celebrity and comic creator appearances in our writeups. 

Rose City Comic Con:  The Oregon Convention center will be hosting this con that runs from Sept 7-9.  Here are the guests from our favorite fandoms:

  • DC:  Brandon Routh, City Lotz
  • Doctor Who: Catherine Tate, David Tennant, John Barrowman
  • MCU: Chris Sullivan, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Rooker,
  • Star Trek: Gates McFadden,  Karl Urban, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn

Of course, some of these guests overlap into other fandoms (David Tennant was in  The Clone Wars and John Barrowman is part of the Arrowverse).  Some of the comic creators that will be there are Adam Hughes, Alex Maleev, Brian Michael Bendis, Donny Cates, Gerry Conway, Greg Rucka, Jody Houser, Kelly Sue Deconnick, and Matt Fraction.  Also, this is a great con to get your new copy of Thrawn: Alliances signed by Timothy Zahn.

Wizard World Tulsa: This show will be at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Guests include:

  • Sons of Anarchy: Ron Pearlman, Ryan Hurst
  • Lord of the Rings: Billy Boyd
  • Marvel: Brianna Hildebrand (ok, we know it’s not technically part of the MCU!),
  • Buffy/Angel: Charisma Carpenter

There are quite a few other guests appearing such as Holly Marie Combs and Nichelle Nichols.  Some comic creators of note that will be there are Mike Grell, Jim Mehsling,

Arkansas Comic Con: This con will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.  Guests include Bam Margera, Paul Blake, Charles Martinet, Richard Oldfield, Sean Patrick Flanery, Tim Rose, Joe Bob Briggs, and Jason David Frank. This is the same company that puts on the Mississippi Comic Con and the Louisiana Comic Con so expect a smoothly run show!

Watching: The Exorcist and History

For some reason, I was thinking about The Exorcist the other night.  The original movie is a masterpiece.  It is pure horror and a purely psychological thriller. It’s also one of the most thought-provoking pieces on faith in the modern cinema. It’s a testament to the script and the perfect direction that a movie can work on so many fronts.

Then for some reason, the thought occurred to me that the movie also can stand for how we look at the twentieth century.  I’m sure someone smarter has written more eloquently than I will on this topic, but I haven’t looked it up to see.

When I watched the movie, and more when I read the book, how matter of fact everyone dealt with the situation.  There was something extremely wrong with the girl.  Yet, everyone kept going about the lives while trying to solve the problem.  Yes, the mother quits her job but she doesn’t abandon Reagan.  The servants keep serving. The priest doesn’t walk away.  No one does. They face the evil and they move on.

The author of the Exorcist, William Peter Blatty, was born at the start of the Great Depression. Both he and the director, Willam Friedkin, lived during World War II.  The Exorcist was written and filmed during the Vietnam War and during a presidency that was soon to undo itself.  The world had seen unspeakable horrors during this time, and with the help of modern technology in their own living rooms. The horrors of war where now in our newspapers, movie reels, and televisions. Yet, we had to carry on. Also, having the butler be German and making him of an age that he would have been a young man during the war adds another reminder that the twentieth century sucked.

Yet, everyone just carries on. The priests, wonderfully played by Jason Miller and Max Von Sydow, both know the horrors too well.  Miller’s character, Father Karras, is actually going through an existential crisis during the film. Karras is having trouble reconciling his faith with the world in front of him. Father Merrin’s character gets fleshed out in one of the later sequels and has him as a man who has seen firsthand the horrors of the Nazis and low point of man’s depravity.  We don’t actually know that in the movie, and I can’t remember if his wartime past is mentioned in the book. In the end, both men only have their faith to combat the evil in front of them.

Everyone is faced with an unspeakable horror. Yet, they survive.  They find faith whether it be in God or just in themselves.  They had so much reason to give up but never did. Winning a fight can sometimes not feel like a victory because so much as been lost, but as long as not all is lost, then it is still a victory. It will leave them scarred, with a story they will never want to tell, much like those that lived through the horrors through the twentieth century.

Star Wars: Star Wars Links

Our day jobs don’t allow us to do breaking news. So in this weekly feature, we will give our reactions to Star Wars news. 

Rain Johnson Calls Out a YouTuber: Normally, I put links on this write-up, but I couldn’t find one that actually told the story correctly.  A certain Star Wars youtuber, who I won’t mention, has found a way to make money from making up rumors about Star Wars films. From a capitalist point of view, this is fine, but he his making stuff up.  In a tweet that has since been deleted, Rian Johnson remarked in a joking way how they had someone keep tabs on the fake reports basically to have a laugh at. He deleted it because he felt it was mean.  We don’t agree. The youtuber is making money making up stuff about Rain’s work.  In the big scheme of things his videos don’t matter, but it is unethical. Furthermore, he has made up rumors about Johnson’s upcoming trilogy that have no foundation. Not only Johnson should shut him down, but so should Lucasfilm.

Solo: A Star Wars Story novel adds amazing scenes, characterization: I can’t wait to read this article and book, but I have to.  We never got to see Solo because it was just too difficult to get a sitter. Luckily, the Nola Nerd Baby is cute enough to make up for it.

Today’s Star Wars: Episode IX Black Park Location 2 jungle set photos!: We don’t normally look up a because a lot of stuff about current Star Wars filming, mainly because it is a minefield.  The only site we trust is MakingStarWars.net.