Ahh. At long last, it's the return of my old girlfriend Barbora Kodetova. Barbora's looking hot! Actually, she's looking quite a bit like Angie Harmon here, which I suppose is appropriate, given that the only person who whines more than Alec Newman is probably Jason Sehorn. And for the love of God and all things holy, it's pronounced "Chahni," not "Cheney." I don't care what Brian Herbert says. Paul joins her in their bedroom, though not before first removing his shirt so as to better demonstrate from very early on that a fondness for being bare-chested, much like prescience and petulance, clearly runs deep in the Atreides gene pool. He climbs into the bed beside her, and Barbora's Germanic-accented dulcet tones fill me with nostalgia for the days when the desert was wild and untamed, my cable bill wasn't tax-deductible, and each new recap was an exciting adventure into the world of bad TV. They chat about his day for awhile, with Paul being forced to explain precisely what a "puddle" might be, and then, as he so often does, he begins to lament the jihad that's been carried out in his name. "Do you know what I'd pay to end these wars?" he asks. "To separate myself from this damnable myth I've become?" "Command it, Muad'dib," replies Chani. "After all, you are the emperor." Aww. The bedhead makes her even cuter. They kiss, and then we time-lapse to later, as they sleep through the deepest part of the night. Paul, however, is dreaming of the future, as he wanders through a winding stone cavern, hearing an unfamiliar voice calling him "Father" and speaking of something called "The Golden Path." The vision accelerates, with flashing cuts to scenes we haven't seen yet, and then Paul suddenly jerks awake, staring silently up towards the ceiling.
Salusa Secundus. Or, as I like to call it, Sofia Secundus. This scene features the worst casting of the entire miniseries, and no, I'm not talking about Susan Sarandon. Although she's clearly a pretty close second. No, I'm more concerned with the actress playing Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, who spends most of tonight's installment looking like she'd rather be baking cookies and telling Wally and The Beav to go do their chores. Come on, people! She's like the scariest character in all the books, and they've got a Carol Brady wannabe with a bucket on her head playing the part. Oh, well. She and Princess Wencisia are discussing their plans for toppling Paul's reign when they're joined by the third member of their conspiracy, the Face-Dancer known as Scytale. Observant readers will notice that Edric the Navigator is not present, despite the fact that he does appear several times later on. Of course, those same observant readers are likely too busy groaning about the fact that Wencisia's character has been greatly expanded here to accommodate the presence of the Lady Sarandon and her Baby's First Hanging Mobile hat stylings, so it's not like they weren't upset already. They each get to deliver a vital piece of exposition about plotlines that really never get mentioned again for the remainder of the miniseries (like the Bene Gesserit's obsession with preserving Paul's bloodline, for example), and then they move to a basement somewhere, where Scytale presents them all the cornerstone of their plot. It's the Duncan Idaho ghola (or the resurrected flesh of one of Paul's oldest friends, for those of you who have absolutely no clue what's going on at this point). They intend to present him to the emperor as a gift, albeit one with a hidden trigger that will one day doom Paul to his death. Scytale manages to resist delivering a hearty Dr. Evil-style laugh here, but Princess Sarandonia knows no such restrictions on scenery-chewing. She's practically licking Duncan's unconscious face as she gloats, for God's sake. Although he is played by Edward Atherton (a.k.a. The Late And Lamented Almost Mr. Sydney Bristow), so maybe the impulse is understandable.
Um, excuse me? What the hell is this? There's, like, a bunch of strange people interrupting the show to try and sell me stuff! What the fuck? Does this sort of thing happen often on network TV? Because I'm totally going back to HBO if it does. On the other hand, stuffed French toast from the International House of Fishca…er, Pancakes sounds really good right about now. Shut up, Jan Hooks.