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"bardo Thodol"...

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Guest ___ L@the_of_Heaven___

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Guest Jim McLean
What an amazingly insightful thread. Thank you all for the in depth coverage of what I had thought was a somewhat disjointed episode I had made some of the connections but only a few. :notworthy: Now I will be re-watching it with a renewed interest and appreciation.

I must say on a preferential note that I would like to believe that Watts was questioning the MG. Originally his character was a “true believer” but as time had passed and through his experiences with Frank elements of his faith had been tested and questions raised. I can relate to that charater trait I guess.

I would have loved to know, had the series continued, if Watts would have held to his true beliefs, those things that attracted him to the MG originally and worked within the MG to change their direction back to those beliefs or bailed out altogether?

Watts the catalyst to get Frank into the Group then Frank the catalyst to get Watts out of the Group?

Having not seen the following tales yet I can't speak with certainty, but I feel that the way the series was going was not to make Peter a staunch ally, but either make him a character with doubts or a character with his own agenda; maybe something between what Frank and the MG believe that would motivate through later seasons into something different.

I certainly feel there have been enough instances within the season which felt to me his allegiance isn't as certain as one thinks and if - as you say - we see Watts as something a little deeper than the MG's motivations, something more human willing to question or even subvert the group if needs be, then his actions in this season are of a man playing his cards very close to his chest yet showing evidence to the audience that he's perhaps not as close to the MG as they - and Frank suppose. One has to wonder when Peter meets Frank outside the school in the first episode whether he was merely intimidating Frank as the payoff with Peter in the car with the MG suggests, or whether there is a deeper angle in which Peter's being playing very carefully.

Personally, I prefer this angle because it sits better with the Peter Watts that we know. He does have allegiance not so much to the group but what he's learned through the group. I would think given what we saw in season two, the best interpretation in three (so far) is a man who isn't a staunch Group soldier, but a man who has genuine shared convictions and loyalty to the group, but only to a point, and the human element which controls the Group's destiny in season three isn't necessarily a part which Peter is behind. After all, Peter was a follower of the Old Man. I imagine after the plague the Group has changed, in fact it certainly seems far more mechanical in its methods which makes me wonder whether Peter fits in for safety as much as group allegiance, but he himself is looking for answers that don't quite follow the current leadership's ideology. That would be more the Peter Watts I know, that the more cardboard variant that season three initially seems to be suggesting.

As for Iaran's comments about Baldwin - I don't think he's a terrible character, and I do feel he was under exploited, but I think a convincing FBI department should feel wider and more professional than merely a Hollis VS Baldwin with a shouty Andy backing the wrong horse in the background. I just felt the FBI in season three felt like a lazy cop shop format, which didn't suit the dirty and honest backdrop of MM.

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Hi StuartW, I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of replying to a message of yours so I shall relish this maiden voyage and hope you will stay around for the cruise.

There's something of a nostalgic element in wondering if Peter is persuing an agenda contrary to the Group's mandate but although I would dearly love to agree, his reason for his manipulation of Hollis and the general scenario form part of a wider picture that is subsequently exposed in episodes to come. Sensitive as I am I shall not discuss this further as I know some of us have yet to taste their forbidden fruit except to add that Peter is guiding Emma and Frank as an arch manipulator here rather than a renegade element. It is clear to me why certain elements of the original script were deleted as this would tempt us to believe otherwise and would form something of an argument to be had when forthcoming episodes established their continuity.

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Guest Laurent.
As for Iaran's comments about Baldwin - I don't think he's a terrible character, and I do feel he was under exploited, but I think a convincing FBI department should feel wider and more professional than merely a Hollis VS Baldwin with a shouty Andy backing the wrong horse in the background. I just felt the FBI in season three felt like a lazy cop shop format, which didn't suit the dirty and honest backdrop of MM.

I agree 100% about that. Every case seems to end up in either Baldwin's or Hollis' hands.. feels like a bureau with three agents, one director and one technician. The final two-parter did show a more realistic FBI hierarchy but even then not as satisfying as what The X-Files did.

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Hi StuartW, I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of replying to a message of yours so I shall relish this maiden voyage and hope you will stay around for the cruise.

There's something of a nostalgic element in wondering if Peter is persuing an agenda contrary to the Group's mandate but although I would dearly love to agree, his reason for his manipulation of Hollis and the general scenario form part of a wider picture that is subsequently exposed in episodes to come. Sensitive as I am I shall not discuss this further as I know some of us have yet to taste their forbidden fruit except to add that Peter is guiding Emma and Frank as an arch manipulator here rather than a renegade element. It is clear to me why certain elements of the original script were deleted as this would tempt us to believe otherwise and would form something of an argument to be had when forthcoming episodes established their continuity.

Ethsnafu the "nostalgic element" I think is probably what has driven my observation and question.

That and the fact that I guess I have never felt that I have been that comfortable with the enigmatic handling of the character of Watts from season 1 & 2.

Thanks for your comments.

StuartW

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Guest Jim McLean
Hi StuartW, I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of replying to a message of yours so I shall relish this maiden voyage and hope you will stay around for the cruise.

There's something of a nostalgic element in wondering if Peter is persuing an agenda contrary to the Group's mandate but although I would dearly love to agree, his reason for his manipulation of Hollis and the general scenario form part of a wider picture that is subsequently exposed in episodes to come. Sensitive as I am I shall not discuss this further as I know some of us have yet to taste their forbidden fruit except to add that Peter is guiding Emma and Frank as an arch manipulator here rather than a renegade element. It is clear to me why certain elements of the original script were deleted as this would tempt us to believe otherwise and would form something of an argument to be had when forthcoming episodes established their continuity.

Thank you for the heads up on this E. I will keep quiet now on the Peter arc until I've seen the full season and then return to Bardo retrospectively and see what I think.

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  • 4 months later...
Guest queequeg914

I loved this episode. I was a bit intimidated by some of what I'd read about it- like "Crap, is this going be like watching an episode of Twin Peaks while drunk?". I was floored by Dr. Takahashi's acting- the hope in his face when Frank arrives...the quote from the old monk that "Hope is the enemy of peace"...I just thought it was all outstanding.

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Guest Laurent.

Glad you liked it.

I think people usually have problems with some elements of the plot (the red bowl, etc.) and not with the quality of the episode itself. Although, the former seems to affect the latter in most cases.

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I'm very glad you like it too Quee!

Bardo is one of my ultimate faves and I generally get the impression that I'm fairly alone in this belief. My only criticism of the episode is how impenetrable some of the concepts are unless you are fairly well versed in Buddhism and Alchemy. I adore it purely for the sheer bravery in taking some incredibly lofty concepts and forming a narrative around them.

Smiles,

Eth

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  • 8 months later...

I think bardo works on a pretty much literal level as well as a much deeper level. Although I understood the alchemy references (though not nearly as clearly as Eth has stated above) I also took it to be a scientist who's dying trying to escape an assassin who is doggedly pursuing him. On this "face-value" level the red lacquer bowl could be seen as a clue in locating the scientist.

Because of this I wasn't that perplexed on the episode as a whole, except I wanted Frank to "do" something that might save the scientist's life. That being said, the fact that he quit questioning the scientist and helped him find inner peace was very poignant.

It was also obvious that Mabius was on a "Do not kill" order for Frank otherwise, given his penchant for gratuitous violence on the Japanese Antiquities dealer I would have figured you'd have another Skull and Bones moment with an entire temple full of dead monks including Frank.

As to being perplexed, I'm FAR more perplexed at how Seven and One ends (or rather lacks any kind of denoument) than I am this episode.

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  • 1 year later...

The first time I saw this episode, it was on videotape. For reasons I can no longer recall, I had to watch this episode in 3 or 4 parts over as many days, which made it seem really long at the time!

I was then pretty sure, and now more sure, I was missing some of the Buddhism stuff. I was still able to get most of the main points. I had no idea why the hands looks so silvery until now, thank you! I initially thought it was just wierd lighting. Now that I know what I know, I think the cigarette smoking man should have taken them down to the pentagon basement at the end of the episode (just kidding!)

Without previously knowing the alchemy aspects of the story, I initially chalked up some of the vague ideas to this episode as being similar to some of the other episodes in this part of the season, with the conspiracy aspects, or potential conspiracy aspects, fuelling more mystery in the stories. Ten years later, I am realizing more that it helps to know the real life details that the writers of this show use. This is "thinking man's" television!

I'll have to watch it a few more times now...

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