Episode Report Card
Demian: B+ | 5 USERS: B
Is That All There Is To Utopia? Is That All There Is?

Zankou and Dolta, carrying torches, wander through a chamber littered with ancient Egyptian debris including, apparently, a discarded mummy. Had I ever seen The Mummy, this is the point where I'd make some snide remark about Oded Fehr's role in said film. However, I have not and never will see The Mummy, and besides, when this scene first unreeled last Sunday night, I was too busy struggling through the state of shock into which this setting had hurled me. "Oh, my God!" I gasped. "They're actually going to explain the Avatars' Egyptian backstory? Now? After I ranted about the fact that we'd never hear anything about it ever? Typewriting crack monkeys suck ass!" And, long story short, that's exactly what they do. Um. The explaining of backstory thing, not the sucking of ass. Just so we're clear. Zankou leads a wary Dolta over to a wall filled with hieroglyphs and hots his way through the following bit of exposition: "Thousands of years ago," the Avatars remade the world from their base in Egypt, "but they never told people of the ultimate cost." At this last, the camera lands on a rendering of Anubis escorting some poor soul to the other side. "There's a price to pay for Utopia," Zankou cautions Dolta as the two contemplate the image, "a price that you suspect, but don't yet know about." The Egyptians did know about it, however, "and they rose up against the Avatars and stopped them the first time -- for good reason." Zankou goes on to note that Brody also figured out what was really going on, and "sacrificed everything" to weaken the Avatars so Zankou could draw Dolta away from The Collective and lay a little archaeological science on his massive ass. "Brody was crazy," Dolta seethes. Shout-out? "Brody was right!" Zankou cries. "You know deep down that there is something very wrong with this world, [Dolta], something you never foresaw in your myopic zeal to try to make it all better." And that's the second episode in a row in which a character has correctly used "myopic" in a sentence. What do you want to bet both Cameron Litvack and Henry Alonso Myers blew that word on a high school vocab test ten years ago and have been desperately trying to rid themselves of the associated shame ever since? "People have no free will anymore," Zankou explains. "At least not completely. The Avatars now dictate their destinies, and you let it happen!" This is all, of course, A Very Bad Thing Indeed, but I'm certain Zankou will find some way to make it all better. Because he's hot. Zankou finally urges Dolta to figure out for himself what's really going on and, once Dolta's done that, to return to help Zankou undo The Change. Dolta defiantly tosses his torch aside and angrily orbs out of the tomb with his undies in a tremendous wad. Once Captain Angry Pants is gone, Zankou stalks over to the hieroglyph wall to, um, snag some fabulous wardrobe ideas for the costume party he's going to throw down in Hell once this is all over. Or something like that.

Avatar Central. Dolta orbs onto a raised platform in front of a rough-hewn "wall" of "rock," and I've a sneaking suspicion they just slid a couple of new flats onto the P3 set for these scenes. I'm Not Candy and No Name stand in a circle with ten other Avatars around a bulky, gigantic, round, space-age plinth that features a wavering bit of ectoplasm hovering above its center. It's all terribly futuristic in that tacky, Space: 1999 sort of way, but I'm too busy pondering the significance of the fact that there are now thirteen Avatars in total to bust on the set. "What is this place?" Dolta asks. "This is where we maintain Utopia!" I'm Not Candy beams. At I'm Not Candy's prompting, Dolta descends a set of stairs to join the others around the altar thingy, and it becomes clear they're observing snippets of life on earth through that wavery gunk at its center. "What are they doing?" Dolta wonders. "Monitoring for conflict," No Name duhs. He's kinder about it than I am, but still. Duuuuuh. The image at the center of the altar switches to a middle-aged woman yelling something at someone out of our view. The camera slides up from this to take in a female Avatar, who exchanges a somewhat annoyed Look Fraught With Significance with two of her colleagues. One of them vigorously shakes his head by way of response, but it's not clear if he's decided the woman in the image poses no real threat, or if he'd rather not toast her ass with Dolta in the room. Meanwhile, I'm Not Candy's launched himself into a long explanation of what The Change has actually wrought on humanity. It involves an alteration of "belief systems" that allows the planet's population both to stop expecting evil to pop up here and there on occasion and to shake off any dark demonic force who would attempt to influence them into performing "evil acts." I'm Not Candy further explains that some people, unfortunately, have been "damaged" beyond repair, and it is these individuals The Collective is searching for at the moment. On cue, the image of a violent fistfight enters the wavery gunk, and, as the other Avatars eye each other, the image expands to fill the screen. Basically, two guys are whaling on each other in an alleyway that's either in Chinatown or in China itself. After a bit of this, both men vanish in a wisp of grey smoke. The passersby who had stumbled across the fight stare at the space the combatants had occupied for a moment before blithely continuing on their respective ways. As the image of the scene shrinks back into the gunk, Dolta cries, "Wait! You killed them!" "We removed them," No Name corrects. Potayto, potahto, No Name. "The one for the many?" No Name prompts, ignoring me. "We have an obligation to maintain the world we've created," I'm Not Candy adds. "We can't let anything threaten it," he emphasizes, "and we won't." Under any other circumstance, this utterance, too, would rate a DUN!, but because it involves the Dolt, it quite naturally becomes a D'OH! Dolta's deeply disturbed eyes dart around for a bit before vanishing into the commercial break.

Manor. Phoebe returns from the office to discover that her pack mule of a sister's concocted an elaborate spread for their little party, and God, these women bore me. I think they've actually bored me since the early part of the fourth season, but the far more intriguing presences of first the Colethazor and then Big Gay Chris masked my nagging sense of tedium. Anyway, of the endless babbling that follows, only the following bits are of any interest or importance: Piper frets a bit about Dolta's whereabouts, and when Phoebe suggests he had some "Avatar stuff" to take care of, Piper sighs, "I hope the Avatars don't keep him as busy as the [ever-useless] Elders did." "I don't think he'd put up with that, Piper," Phoebe smiles, "and you know it. He created this better world so that you guys could be together again. As a family." Piper, mollified by this notion, nonetheless retorts, "Still. I worry." "And next to cooking, that's the other thing you do best," Phoebe teases. Raige enters at this point from upstairs, and there's more of that "he's gone to a better place" stuff from her -- AUAAUAAAAAUAAUAGH! -- regarding Brody, prompting Phoebe to relate the sad, sordid tale of Oliver The Troubled Copy Boy. Piper assures her sister that it all must be for the best, "otherwise it wouldn't have happened." Phoebe's clearly not quite buying it, but goes along with Piper's sentiment for the moment. Piper then cheerily sends Phoebe upstairs to dress the kids for the party while she and Raige head into the kitchen for some last-minute prep work. The screen flares white, and we're...

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