Episode 169: Spoiler Free Review of Black Panther

I have recently returned from the movie theater and the adrenaline rush from witnessing the most recent entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has left me with a feeling of awe that must be shared. I will do my best to not include any of the actual content of the movie but let me explain some of the things that are worth noting.

Let me start out by saying that this movie has indeed been overhyped. It’s not the perfect film, it is not the cinematographic experience that will end all racism. With that out of the way, Black Panther is ridiculously awesome. The story progresses almost seamlessly from beginning to end without filler or moments that felt out of sync that would probably be fleshed out during the Director’s cut.

The visuals provide a look into a world that is both new yet familiar. It is an experience eerily similar to the first time I saw Lion King wherein the exotic is brought forth and central Africa looks like something that is palpable even as its an experience I haven’t felt firsthand. The landscapes, both rural and urban, are a sight to behold as Wakanda’s fields, waterfalls, mines, and even mountains are expansive and filled with detail. Big props to the amazing CGI team who made this world come to life.

The action sequences are intense too as our titular character is an acrobatic badass with and without his suit. All of the other characters have their own moments of awesomeness as fighting sequences have good use of weapons and hand to hand combat. Without Iron Man or Thor in the cast the explosions and beams are minimal but the combat is still enthralling.

As for the acting let me say that this may be the best cast in a Marvel movie I have ever experienced as even the minor characters are memorable. Chadwick Boseman continues his path as T’Challa from Civil War (which is not necessary to see beforehand but helps in fleshing out the motivations and backstory for a hero who has greatness thrust upon him). Danai Gurira is intense yet still approachable as both general and guardian of Wakanda and its king. Lupita Nyongo’s Nakia somehow balances being both a love interest that needs saving and a crafty spy that can stand toe to toe with the best of them (sorry to all the shippers of Widow and Panther). But the true standout is Michael B. Jordan as the antagonist of the film. Without giving too much away, his development into villainy borders on the cliche but still feels intense and relatable. One of the many criticisms of the MCU is that the villains don’t stand and are more a side effect of the story going forward t=rather than the drivers of the plot. Jordan breaks that mold by being top tier bad guy, second only to Loki (who is now almost chaotic neutral but still up there).

All in all the movie is amazing and yes you should stick around for all the post credit scenes. It’s visuals aren’t as psychedelic as Doctor Strange and story isn’t as grounded Winter Soldier but it is still one of the better films in the MCU. I’d go so far as to put it in my top 5 but time will tell if the post premiere glow remains afterward. If you aren’t experienced in English spoken with different African accents you might have to pay a bit more attention but it’s well worth it.

Go watch it for yourselves and stay tuned for an upcoming spoilertastic post later on.


Episode 168: A Look at Black Lightning prior to his CWification

With the upcoming premiere of the long awaited and much hyped Black Panther movie, there have been a lot of debates as to who exactly is the first African/African American superhero style character to make it big. One of the first ones to come to mind with all my years of paying attention to super hero based media was Black Lightning, the token dark character in the super old school version of the Super Friends cartoon. In the cartoon version he was named Black Vulcan due to licensing issues but he was the de facto electric centered character who helped the rest of the core heroes saving the day and such. The portrayal of Vulcan, alongside Samurai, and Apache Chief was an attempt to make the show more inclusive but wow does it look bad with hindsight. Here’s Harvey Birdman attorney at law clip spoofing just that.

The character itself was okay but it left much to be desired, especially when compared to Static Shock, who is basically the contemporary teenage version of Black Lightning. While many of the subtexts were about specific problems faced in predominantly black schools and neighborhoods, the show did its best to stay in the middle lane and not push boundaries too far, especially when considering that it was a kid’s show for Saturday mornings. Still, Black Lightning himself would remain non existent within the DC animated universe save for minimal cameo moments even as he existed within the actual comics.

A few years ago, DC decided to release some animated shorts regarding lesser known characters from their super roster. Black Lightning returned as a family man for these shorts, balancing being a dad and a hero in a vibe reminiscent of The Incredibles. With two young daughters who sometimes exhibit their own metahuman abilities, Black Lightning cleans up the streets while trying to keep a tight ship at home. Here’s one such clip:


The girls would later come back in a mini webisode of DC Super Hero Girls as the duo of Thunder and Lightning as seen here:

However, Black Lightning isn’t here. Which is why I was intrigued when I heard that this electric superhero would be getting his own CW series. It currently does not coincide with the rest of the Flarrowverse but I’m sure some sort of crossover event will manifest entirely. My initial reaction was that this would be Luke Cage meets older Static Shock. I have only seen a few episodes but I will explain more of my early thoughts on the show in tomorrow’s entry.

Episode 167: Update and Plans for Future Writing

So it’s been forever and half since I have written anything on here updating what’s going on in my life. The blog has been put on the backburner for so long that the writing itself was pretty much forgotten except for the sporadic fanfiction post and if I want to expand my academic footprint outside of the classrooms then I need to start writing more. But since I respond more to a formal challenge than just starting up again with no real fanfare.

For these reasons I have decide to use the occasion of lent, starting from February 14 to May 1st. Don’t expect any long diatribes on Catholicism or other religious discussion, just using this temporal benchmark as something more concrete than just writing “for a while”. The proverbial 40 days and 40 nights will provide me with the opportunity to engage in more consistent and disciplined moments of fancy writing.  I have no idea if I can do the all 40 posts but attempts will be made to reach the elusive episode 200. Things I can’t exactly write about, like say upcoming things for publication or pieces from my up and coming screenplay/novel, won’t be added here but I will add a brief overview of any progress made so far.

I wonder if any readers will join in for the fun. If you happen to have any suggested topics feel free to comment and I may use it for one of the many posts ahead.

Until tomorrow then.


Example for fancy comparison and contrast paper for Prof. G’s class

Hi everyone, my gmail is acting extra weird so I decided to write to you through here. Also, I talk about my weird blog every so often so it’s only fair that you get an actual link to peruse it at your leisure.

You must be thinking how exactly does the upcoming essay work and whether or not you are doing it correctly. Here is a bit of a meta example to help you out. For this particular one I will be using the option of the sequel, in this case it will be for my version of Star Wars: Episode 8: The Last Jedi. The instructions are a bit confusing for it so the best way to think about it as if you were writing the comparison and contrast paper but between the original story and your additional installment. You are not writing the story per se, but rather the connections to it and the original through various themes.

If you go through the links on the left you will find that I wrote a pitch of what Episode 8 would be like in my own mind. You do NOT have to write anything like that. The basic plot lines of your story should more than suffice. Your essay would go back to these points at different intervals to showcase the juxtapositions between the two and what could readers get from that. Additionally, you would use fancy outside sources to better define the central ideas and elements that coincide/collide between both stories. Option 1 essay would look exactly like this but without the creative element. What follows is sketch what the essay I would write under these circumstances would look like.

Force for Good and Evil: Interconnecting Dualities in Star Wars

          The Star Wars  is one of the most acclaimed sequence of films in history. It’s narrative encompasses multiple installments over the last four decades with more “Episodes” still being produced. One of the main elements that these films showcase is a clear cut dichotomy between good and evil as different characters choose to which side of morality to act upon. These decisions and actions are even more explicit when it comes to those who use the Force, i.e. the good Jedi and the evil Sith. While Episode 7: A Force Awakens serves as a passing the torch moment between the original set of protagonists and the new cast, there are still issues regarding the dual sides of the Force. In my version of Episode 8: The Last Jedi, I highlight these distinctions to show a more complex understanding of what it means to be a Jedi and Sith and it means to take that path.

Within the films, The Force is described as a mystical energy that surrounds all living beings [insert fancy definition here]. From a metaphysical aspect, the Force is quite similar to Brahman within Hinduism in that there is a presence of a guiding power, connecting anything and everything [using fancy outside source]. Morality within Star Wars is shown as a specific path leading to one of two extremes, light and dark sides of the Force. However, the Force ends up being used by both Jedi and Sith according to their own whims, rather than as a holy/unholy element that helps individuals follow either path. My version of the film has direct explanations of what the Force is depending on the perspective of those who wield it.

In order to show both sides of the Force, I need to illustrate the two juxtaposing forces of light and dark on how it is passed along to the next proteges. While Luke teaches Rei about the Jedi, Snoke will take Kylo back under his tutelage. By juxtaposing both training methods, we see how each school of thought believes the Force acts within us and how best to use it. In the meantime, I want to provide an older perspective that comes even closer to their experience with the Force and share it with another character. To do so, I will keep Finn in a coma (recuperating from his injuries at the hands of Kylo in Force Awakens) but we see various scenes of him trapped in his own mind. Finn will be visited by different “Force ghosts”, mostly CGI Obi Wan Kenobi, who serve as a guiding factor while explaining how the Force and other mystical aspects of the film work out, This exposition contrasts heavily with the biased foundations of morality expounded by both Jedi and Sith master.


Not gonna write the rest of the essay but I can tell you that each other paragraph would focus on one point that would be contrasted by both stories (original and sequel) with extra outside sources to help keep the explanation flowing. Remember that the central idea is still out there in each paragraph. If I were to continue, I would compare Force dichotomies of morality to those found in other religions/philosophies and use the fancy outside sources accordingly. Odds are that what you have written (or imagined) for either form of your essay don’t look like the above now but in due time it should come close.

Keep writing. Even if it’s word vomit just keep writing. Editing something that exists into something better is far easier than mentally prepping for perfect ideas that ultimately lead to a fraction of the whole thing. One trick I like to use is to write a draft of the essay (even if it means powering through to all the BS). By the end your conclusion will make some amount of sense. Now start a new draft but make your conclusion the intro paragraph, Find the good parts from previous one and keep going. Good luck and stay safe.



My version of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Let me reiterate (as is the case for all my speculative fan fiction) that is of course my version of the story and I am working on almost knowledge of what will actually happen in the movie. I have worked on it since almost Episode 7 came out and people were discussing why exactly was Rey portrayed in a way that many consider would place under the “Mary Sue” category.

The opening text crawl explains how Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi has been found by Rey, a Force sensitive person who helped save the Republic from the attack of the First Order. After their defeat, Supreme Leader Snoke has retreated his forces in order to regroup and create a new strategy to fight and obtain the power he believes is rightfully his. The mysterious commander has taken his protégé, Kylo Ren away from his position in the front line and has taken him in for special training. Meanwhile, General Leia Organa, tired of being passive in the war, has decided to go on the offensive and tasked a special squadron, led by Poe Dameron, with finding the remnants of the First Order. This reconnaissance mission allows the brash pilot to also find the information to save his friend Finn, who is still in a coma after the injuries he sustained during the last great battle.

We open on a busy loading dock, Poe and other fighters are loading up their X-Wings. General Organa (distraught but still with nerves of steel) relays some final orders. Poe isn’t the biggest fan of taking orders but he follows along with minimal witty banter. Leia says that since they might need more diplomacy than blasters to get the initial information and says that C-3PO is going with them. Poe thinks that having a golden droid isn’t the best companion for a stealth mission and C-3PO prefers not to go into a potential battle but the general says that is non-negotiable. Poe sighs, gives a ma’am, yes ma’am and tells BB-8 to show 3PO to its seat. Poe will be the pilot to a more standard vehicle (think the one that they use to go to Endor in Return of the Jedi) as other background soldiers are going to be on escort duty via X-Wing. Poe checks on some of the cargo in the back and reveals that there is a sort of stasis tube with Finn in it that obviously no one else is aware of. “Don’t worry buddy, you saved me and I am going to find a way to save you. I don’t care what those doctors say” Zoom in on Finn’s face and a disembodied unidentified voice says “Feel…”

Smash cut to Rey’s face reacting to Luke saying “Feel? What do you feel?” Rey begins to explain her connection to the Force. Luke basically says that just because she holds his old lightsaber (the one once held by his father) doesn’t mean she can wield it. Same thing with the Force, without proper guidance and training she may have power but it could end up hurting her and others. Rey mentions that Kylo said something similar and that she needs a teacher. Luke goes through a quick flashback sequence of a young Ben Solo excelling at his training but then drowned out by the screams of younglings as an enraged teenage Kylo slaughters his cohorts. Luke is apprehensive about being a teacher once again but sees this as a chance for redemption. Rey convinces him that if she stays with training then her friends can stay with her too.

Luke: “Wait, who came with you, how did you get here?”

Luke then heads back to the cliffs and sees the Millennium Falcon as Chewbacca does some growls and R2-D2 beeps happily. Luke’s woeful countenance subsides as he lets his guard down and (for the first time in a long time) smiles.

From there we move on to the bad guys and their current plans. Snoke has convened his top people, stand outs are clearly Hux and Phasma. Snoke is clearly disappointed at everyone for the past failures and asks for a plan that will bring the First Order back to their glory. Hux is going for a more cautious strategy and laying low. Phasma says that they need to take a planet in the Outer Rim and start their conquering spree from there. Any attempt from Kylo to lend his voice to the plan gets shushed immediately. Snoke tells them to quiet down, he will discipline the young would be Sith personally with some back to basics training on the Force. Kylo storms off and proceeds to break some stuff as he resents being treated like a child once more.

Poe has reached his initial destination, finding Maz Kanata (the tiny CGI orange lady from Force Awakens). Maz is currently in the rebuilding phase of her bar. She insists that she isn’t taking any sides; all she wants is to serve patrons from all over, give them a sense of home if even for a moment. After some witty banter between Poe, Maz, and even C-3PO, they get some information about a series of hidden outposts that the First Order still has throughout the system. Maz leaves to get a map, Poe follows but distracts the droid as he wants a chance for a one on one conversation regarding the Finn situation. Maz says that there is a nearby outpost with minimal security that could have the location of Snoke. But also there’s one with a lot more security that also serves as a prison. Lots of interesting people there, including a sort of telepath that used to be the main interrogator for the First Order but then decided to become a pacifist. They are hoping that she changes her mind and are “encouraging” her on a regular basis. Poe decides to endanger the entire team as he picks nightmare difficulty but tells them it’s their only choice. BB-8 is constantly ramming into his leg, literally trying to budge him into saying the truth it had overheard but to no avail. As they are prepping to leave. Poe checks on Finn and wonders what is going on within his mind.

Complete change in mood as suddenly an almost surgically white expanse covers the screen. Finn almost comically is running around yelling “Hello, anyone here?! If this is a joke this is not funny. I was champ at hide and seek so you better come out.” Finn is exasperated as he talks to himself, unaware that is trapped within his own psyche. Having done everything else, he decides that maybe he should stay still and quiet. He begins to take a meditative stance as he awkwardly adjusts his breathing style for a bit. Once he breathes more normally, a disembodied voice once again says: “Feel…”

Back to Luke and Rey in an open field. The old Jedi Master begins explaining how the Force is all around us. R2 and Chewbacca are observing from a safe distance. Rey is doing meditative poses as she attempts to feel everything around her. Small pebbles begin to levitate in her vicinity. Cut immediately to a boulder being cut in half with a red lightsaber. Snoke instructs Kylo that his attacks need to be stronger and more precise while chiding his protégé for his dependence on his anger. Kylo responds that the Dark side is centered on anger and emotions so why shouldn’t he use them? Snoke responds that once one’s core goes beyond a certain point it ceases to be the center: “You overextend your feelings, which make you unbalanced and vulnerable.” From here we get rapid cuts clearly juxtaposing both ideologies of the Force. Luke emphasizes that emotions should be abandoned and how the Force is like water, surrounding us in all ways. Sometimes as invisible vapor, other times an engulfing ocean, if you learn how to move alongside the Force you will find that your movements and purpose become clearer. Snoke focuses on destruction and compares the Force to heat, radiating in different forms from different things. The Sith learned to channel it like a fire, wield your power like a torch, not to light the way but to burn it. Snoke eyes his many scars as he mentions how pain is something that others shy away from but to know true power one must feel it, learn from it, and inflict it upon one’s enemies tenfold. Kylo’s hand instinctively reaches for his own facial scar as he tries to push through the fatigue of the intense training. Rey’s training on the other hand is hit or miss. Simple tasks take multiple tries while seemingly impossible situations are done without hesitation. The handstand hold that Luke did while training under Yoda takes a while yet when asked to levitate the Falcon momentarily she actually does it before Luke can even utter “do or do not, there is no try”. Luke tells her good job and let it go, but Rey is honed in, and levitates it too much. Chewbacca’s yells and R2’s beeps snap her out of it as the Falcon lands awkwardly and some equipment breaks. Luke says that she lacks focus as she apologizes without being entirely sure what happened. Simultaneously, Snoke ends his session with Kylo saying that he shows much promise but still isn’t ready for the big time. Hux and Phasma are spying on them and begin to conspire that Snoke’s fascination with the Force and the Sith will be their downfall unless they do something about it.

Back to Poe and the main mission. C-3PO of course believes this is a suicide mission and BB-8 shares similar concerns. Poe says that without risk there can be no reward and jets off as we go into a major space battle with different colored lasers shooting everywhere. Poe isn’t in his X-Wing so all the acrobatics are far more clunky as 3PO tumbles everywhere and BB-8 just sorta rolls around. After a few of the good guys get blown up, Poe realizes that his ship is unresponsive. They’ve been caught in a tractor beam. Poe tells everyone else to disengage and to meet up at the next rendezvous point, he will figure it out. C-3PO begins with the doom and gloom but Poe says “Time for Plan B, take the wheel” Both droids are super confused as Poe goes off elsewhere “to change into something less comfortable.” The ship is taken into a loading dock, several First Order Stormtroopers are on sight ready to board. Poe is behind a curtain in the ship, out of sight and tells the droids to be quiet and follow his lead. Two Stormtroopers enter, one of them immediately eyes the droids and starts questioning them, the other explores the ship, we hear a loud crash, and we see that Poe emerges with Stormtrooper attire after having taken out the real one. “Just a mess over here, nothing else” Real Stormtrooper begins interrogating C-3PO who is super confused as to what is going. Disguised Poe starts saying how they must be some sort of spies, trying to trick us into a false sense of security. C-3PO’s confusion is misunderstood as stalwartness by the real Stormtroopers as they are taken away. Poe begins to do some reconnaissance in the meantime.

As they leave the ship behind, we focus back on Finn and reenter his mind palace so to speak. He continues to meditate but is having a hard time concentrating. He begins talking to himself but then a voice from off screen says “Don’t worry, I think this falls as a new situation for anyone”. Finn turns around and we find CGI Alec Guinness Obi Wan Kenobi right there with him. Finn freaks out and starts asking all sorts of questions, the one that keeps popping up is “Am I dead?!” Kenobi responds no, not yet at least. Finn asks if Obi Wan is dead, to which he responds “In a matter of speaking yes, though all things live on in the Force.” Finn asks if he’s Luke Skywalker and the ghost Jedi corrects him and properly introduces himself. He explains how the Force connects all beings and how some Jedi have found a way to give their essence to the Force and interact with the world sporadically. Finn asks if there are other Jedi that can do that. “Rare, we are.” CGI Yoda appears as different voices and glimpses of Jedi appear. “One like you, we did not expect”. Finn tries to go for a “what do you mean ‘you’ people?” response until Mace Windu appears to say that he means a clone. We were not aware that midichlorians existed within your kind. Then, Qui-Gonn shows up as a far more translucent version of himself to say that the Force connects us all, no matter how they were born. Kenobi then surmises that Finn must be one of the only clones to have such a connection to others, as evident by his empathy. Finn says, “Well I do consider myself a nice guy.” The Jedi give a small laugh and fade away, all but Obi Wan. “So what am I doing here? And where is here anyway?” Obi wan explains how he suffered great wounds during his encounter with the Sith, in an attempt to save himself, his subconsciousness had temporarily absorbed the rest of his mind. His body is still healing but it will take even more time for his mind to properly recover but not to worry for his friends are finding a way to cure him. Finn’s face lights up and he asks what Rey and Poe are doing. Obi Wan says that Poe is trying to find a doctor but Rey is still finding herself.

Cut to nighttime and a campfire is roaring next to the Millennium Falcon as Rey and Chewie are fixing the broken gear. Old friends reunited begin sharing stories of past adventures. Rey feels completely left out as droid beeps and Wookie grunts make up a good portion of the conversation. In the midst of frustration, Rey interrupts and asks that while they were out there playing heroes why they didn’t stop Snoke or any other remnants of the Empire. An awkward silence fills the air. Luke is about to speak but R2 and Chewie both give nonverbal and verbal cues to not go there.

Luke: “It’s okay, if she is going to be the next great Jedi it’s important that she know the truth. All of it. Rey, has anyone ever told you the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise?”

Rey: Darth? Do you mean Darth Vader? I have heard that his iron fist was the perfect weapon for the Emperor to exterminate the Jedi and rule the galaxy.

Luke: All true but Plagueis was a Sith Lord whose power reigned far before the time of the Emperor. It was said that his dominion over the Force was such that he could prevent death and even create life.

Rey: Did that really happen?

Luke: I don’t know for sure but his story has served as a motivation for many Sith over the years. My father, Anakin Skywalker was a great Jedi whose fears of loss led him to search for answers outside the way of the Jedi. The Emperor fed off that weakness and led him down a path of anger and hate. In the ensuing suffering he became Darth Vader.

Rey: Your father was Darth Vader?!

Luke: Yes, and in that facing that reality I confronted the darkness within myself. Rey, the Jedi prided themselves in forsaking all attachments to life beyond the Force to avoid such fears. I don’t believe that the future of the Jedi lies in that path but I need you to be aware of anything and everything that connects you to the rest of the world.

Rey then explains how she basically has no family. Maybe once but Jakku and its unforgiving dessert led her to become a scavenger and a tinkerer. It’s not until the last few months that she has become a part of something more. Luke shares empathy with the fact that he also lost his family when he was young. Many friends were lost along the way, mostly due to the war. After the fighting ended he wanted to rebuild the Jedi Order but even in seclusion from the rest of the galaxy the suffering continues. Rey asks if the pain ever ends, is it worth it? Luke gives a solemn response to the tune that to be with the Force is to feel connected to everything. “I have tried to isolate myself, like my masters before me but I find that in helping others the pain subsides. That is the Jedi way, or at least the one I wish to forge.” Rey wonders what else the way of the Force requires of her. Luke says that it’s time for her to first build her very own lightsaber, no more hand me downs. “Chewie, I have some coordinates, how about we go on a road trip in the morning.”

Back to Poe who is sloppily trying to stealth his way through the outpost in Stormtrooper attire. He is ironically standing out while trying so hard to fit in. Other troopers notice and he says that he must be feeling ill and asks for directions to sickbay and also to all the other places around. They show him a minor map and he decides to go to sickbay, just taking the long route. Poe overhears that they are going to dismantle the droids in order to get more information from them so he quickens his pace. He makes his way to a special restricted area, with signs everywhere that say only droids beyond this point. A droid or two try to get Poe to stop but says he has direct orders. He gets to one of those special glass enclosed cells where a woman is lying on the ground like an observed Woody doll from Toy Story. As Poe draws closer, the almost lifeless figure begins to stir and slowly stands up, a nearly blank face without emotions suddenly shifts to full on smolder as the captured girl begins exuding bravado. Poe tries to act nonchalant and says that he has orders to move her. The girl interrupts quickly and basically says no, you’re not you have so many ulterior motives. Rather than try to charm his way out, Poe decides to be direct. “Seems like you’re the telepath so no need for a ruse. Help me and I’ll help you. Deal?” The girl sizes up Poe and gives him a long stare. “Deal. We’ll work out the details later. By the way Mr. Dameron, my name is Rose.”

[Author’s note: All I know is that in the actual movie there is a new character named Rose. That’s it. Too hard to properly convey in shortened story so let explain how my version of the character works. She can read minds while in proximity to people. However, she takes on that person’s traits; think iZombie but without having to eat any of the brains. In a small group of people, the balance of emotions and personalities makes it so that the real Rose comes out. Among too many people she freaks out and sorta mumbles to herself while trying to walk away. If left isolated, she basically becomes catatonic.  Droids obviously don’t affect her powers. In universe explanation is that genetic quirk makes her brain not able to emit brain waves but rather is like a radio, constantly trying to find new signals and listen in. After being so close to so much evil, Rose decides to isolate herself and has threatened to kill herself  if her former commander, Phasma comes close. Believing that this insubordination was temporary, the First Order placed her in solitary confinement.]

Poe gives Rose his Stormtrooper outfit as she is far more recognizable. She will escort him as a prisoner. Along the way, they disable any droids that could ruin the plan. Along the way we see Rose shift her walking patterns and posture as other troopers walk close by. Whenever questioned, Poe is about to speak but Rose shuts him up and gives a masterful excuse while also addressing the concerns of those guys. “Silence traitor, this one needs some extra coercing to talk. Also, it’s probably just a rash so don’t worry too much about it.” They make their way down to where BB-8 and C-3PO are about to be picked apart. There is a bit of a firefight as they save the droids. BB-8 begins doing some hacking to lock the doors and keep them safe for now. Rose tries to imitate C-3PO but has no luck though they do have some good banter along the way. BB-8 starts messing with airlocks and unlocks the cells of other prisoners as the chaos continues. The tractor beam is also disabled. They make their way out and Poe grabs an unconscious officer as they make their way back to the ship. They escape, Rose is able to get some approximate coordinates from the knocked out First Order Lieutenant and relays them. Once they are safe enough away, Rose asks if Poe will introduce him to his friend, C-3PO interjects but Poe actually says that it’s about Finn. 3PO is incensed while BB-8 is actually happy. Poe gives minor explanation as to what happened. Rose leans in close to the stasis tube and says that Finn is okay and that she can help. Also, that he isn’t alone in there. “By any chance does your friend have two brains? Has he become possessed recently?” “Nooooooooo, probably not.” After a bit of an awkward silence, Poe says that he needs to relay the coordinates to General Organa, 3PO insists that he needs to report how Finn has been smuggled unto the mission. During the communique, Leia says that she can’t commit a full strike force to the area. Poe says that he and the rest of his squadron can confirm the location. Leia agrees but says that she is sending extra back up. Before C-3PO can rat them out, Leia asks how Finn is doing and hopes that the little field trip is worth it. Poe stammers and Rose answers that it will be okay and that he takes full responsibility for the extra actions.

Cut back to Luke and Rey in the ruins of a Jedi temple, crystalline spikes protrude from several of the structures. The atmosphere is both serene and unsettling. Chewie and R2 remain in the ship. Luke explains how Yoda sent him here as part of his training to make his own lightsaber, Obi Wan’s Force ghost helped with the ensuing process. Luke tells Rey to basically dismantle Anakin’s old lightsaber. As a would be mechanic, Rey carefully and skillfully sets aside each piece and she can sorta surmise how the thing works. Luke asks that she put it back together, which she does well but soon becomes frustrated that it won’t turn on. Luke explains that the crystal and the surrounding machines can’t be put together except through the Force. Luke concentrates and is able to telekinetically disassemble and reassemble the lightsaber in a few moments. He instructs Rey to scour the temple to find the would be pieces for her own lightsaber. Rey asks about the crystal and the colors but Luke says that the Force will call out to her and find the right crystal. Luke sorta stays in the middle meditating while Rey is doing super jumps all over the place. Rey asks a few questions about the general foundations of the Force and the Jedi. Here we have quick cuts as Luke gives simple vague answers, juxtaposed back to Finn in his mind as Obi Wan answers the same questions with far more details. Midichlorians are explained as microscopic organisms who exist in different concentrations within all living things. It is a symbiotic relationship where the Jedi use them to manifest aspects of the Force. Having cybernetic prosthetics do not allow one to channel the Force, making Luke unable to do some of the more master Jedi moves and why Darth Vader couldn’t do super Sith moves like Force lightning. Finn asks if the midichlorians can do things on their own, without Sith or Jedi, Obi Wan answers that millennia ago there were rumors that those attuned to the Force who did not follow a specific path could find themselves being led astray, having no real knowledge of what had overtaken them. The discipline of the Jedi and even of the Sith allows for one to properly use the Force rather than be used by it. Rey finds all the parts that she needs but is having a tough time finding a crystal that calls out to her. She sorta gets droned out and lets her find one that is left unseen. Rey begins meditating and getting the right feel for all the parts as Luke coaches her. Chewie calls out to Luke who leaves Rey alone as he returns to the ship. There, he has a radio call with his sister. Some witty banter and pleasantries are exchanged as Leia explains that she needs a favor. Poe is out trying to find Snoke and she worries he might try to finish the mission on his own. Luke says that he wants to help and he is close to the coordinates in question but Rey just started an important meditation session as part of her training and he shouldn’t leave her alone. Leia asks how long does it take to finish the meditating and Luke says that it took him days maybe a week when he faced that challenge. Almost instantly Rey appears in the Millennium Falcon and surprises everyone. Luke says they’ll be right there and that it’s time to face Snoke once again. Chewie and R2 make their respective sounds in agreement as Rey wonders when did that happen and who/what is Snoke?

Luke: Remember what I told you about Darth Plagueis? The Emperor was trying to find his own way to manipulate life through the Force. Shortly after the Battle of Endor, we found a hidden base where the Emperor was apparently building clones of himself, his attempt to give life was to make them all Force users at massive scale of reproduction. Should he meet his demise, the clones would go forth and conquer the galaxy once again. Snoke was the first clone that had survived the experimental phase before going into assembly line mode. He was powerful, we barely survived the fight as R2 rigged the place to explode before the rest of the clones would emerge. We all thought he had died in the explosion until The First Order reemerged a short time ago.

During that explanation we cut back to Snoke who is preparing things and giving random orders around the outpost. He tells people to prepare themselves to move out soon. Hux and Phasma sense the folly in this decision and relay different orders down the command line. While Snoke is planning a surprise attack on The Republic, Hux and Phasma decide to go with the earlier plan to move their operations to the Outer Rim and amass more forces from there. Kylo is in his quarters, again staring into Vader’s helmet and wondering if this is his true path. We cut back to Finn asking Obi Wan if the Sith can do the Force ghost stalker thing. Kenobi explains that this ability requires a connection to the living Force, something that the Sith do not foster. As Anakin became more machine than man and went to the dark side, he lost that connection and even after his redemption could only appear in brief glimpses. CGI ghost Anakin (not Hayden Christensen but middle aged random dude like in original RotJ version) manifests briefly beside Kylo. “No, not like this” Kylo’s confusion continues as the he feels the familiar whisper on his ear but not understanding what it means.

Cut back to Poe in ship with X-Wing Squadron in tow. The Millennium Falcon jumps from hyperspace next to them. Banter between Poe and Rey shifts into a decent plan. The X-Wing pilots will distract the First Order from the front as the main characters slip in from the back. Poe wants visual confirmation of Snoke before risking an armada going over. Minor space fight emerges as Snoke realizes the deception of his underlings when he counts only a fraction of his forces present. The protagonists come in from the back as they emerge from their ships and a brief exchange occurs between all the characters. Rose has a great scene as she quickly imitates everyone as she goes to shake their hands. Rey asks about Finn and Poe takes them to him. Rose explains that his mind is still recovering and that she has helped him along; Luke examines him and confirms it but also saying that the Force is already aiding him. Once the group settles down they decide to spit up. Chewie, Poe, Rose, and R2 will do some reconnaissance and maybe sabotage some defenses along the way. Luke says that he will go on his own to find Snoke but Rey insists that she would be a bad Padawan if she didn’t tag along. BB-8 comes too. C-3PO is on watch from the ships and will relay any new info and also looking over Finn.

Minor shenanigans and fighting emerges as both parties make their way in. Luke is surprised that Rey is still using the old blue lightsaber and she says that she wasn’t sure she did it right and that now wasn’t the time to try something new that might not work in a pinch. Luke and Rey get to the training grounds from earlier where Kylo and Snoke await them. Both Sith agree that they have unfinished business with their master/apprentice counterparts. Dual duels take place as BB-8 rolls off to the side. Meanwhile, the non-Force people are doing some blasting as they are trying to jam radio signals and lower main shields. In the middle of the fighting, Kylo is all business as Rey is the one doing the talking this time, trying to figure out his motivations. After her time training with Luke, she can’t imagine how Ben Solo became Kylo Ren. Snoke and Luke are doing more advanced techniques as Force lightning gets thrown around and Luke dodges via many flips and other cool moves. Luke isn’t trying to convert Snoke but is trying to find his end game besides revenge. The battle continues for a few minutes as Kylo hits Rey with a Force choke and with her defense down proceeds to slice off her right hand. Luke screams nooooooo!!!!!!!!!! as he rushes to his padawan’s side. Snoke derides Kylo for not finishing her off as the man formerly known as Ben picks up the blue lightsaber and insists that she might still be convinced to join the Sith while Snoke again says that his feelings are betraying him: first anger, now hope.

In the middle of this, Finn is shaking of his coma and feels some crazy Force stuff is happening. Poe and company realize there aren’t that many soldiers in the base so contacting Leia and The Resistance would do nothing. They finish off their set of bad guys and say that they should go and help take out Snoke and Kylo. Luke is checking on Rey who seems to be going into shock.

Luke: Ben!!! How could you?

Kylo: Leave her under my care and she may still live. Kneel before my master and pray that he may grant you a quick death.

       Luke: I will not give in to fear or darkness but I will stop you both.

As Luke is preparing to take a stand against both Sith, Rey holds him back. Her face is showing zero emotion at all. She pulls out her new lightsaber in her left hand and out emerges a black blade from it. Luke is aghast and takes a step back. Rey immediately moves as if possessed and takes on Kylo, currently wielding both his red lightsaber and Anakin’s blue one. An unarmed Finn finds BB-8 who takes him to the battle. He sees firsthand how Rey overwhelms the Sith apprentice with ease, chops off his right hand and then Force pushes him into a wall, leaving him unconscious. Luke sees that Rey’s missing hand is now manifesting in a ghostly blue aura. The freak out is real. Snoke says that such tricks are no match for him. Luke tries to stop Rey but to no avail. She continues to kick ass and eventually Force chokes and levitates Snoke from the ground. The rest of the heroes come in at this moment to find the scene at hand. Poe notices Finn from a distance inching closer to Kylo and picking up the blue lightsaber, just in case as they both shrug in an “I don’t know what’s going on either” vibe. Snoke is close to death as Rey starts levitating as well. Luke is trying to calm her down and insists that this is not the path of the Jedi, this is not the way of the Force. Rey, in a voice that is not her own, screams: “How dare you attempt to explain that which you cannot fathom!!!”

In that moment, Rey force chokes and levitates Luke as well. Rose says that she can’t sense Rey’s mind in there and Finn says something about how the midichlorians have taken control over her. Kylo is barely regaining consciousness as he sees the life fade in both his master’s eyes. Snoke is flailing as he tries to shake free while Luke takes a deep breath and remains fairly calm. Rey stares a deadly gaze at both her would be victims.

“Jedi and Sith, both trying to use and manipulate the Force as a tool for your own selfish needs. Since time immemorial you try to claim as your own a power that was not meant to be wielded by mere mortals. I tried to create a balance between the two sides but now I realize that the scales are only equal when there is nothing upon them.”


With a flick of her wrists, both necks break and both Jedi and Sith fall lifeless to the ground. The heroes want to do something but fear they may be next. Force possessed Rey proclaims that she will use the body of the last of the Jedi to make sure no one else will be so callous as to use the Force again. She looks over at Finn and Kylo and says that her not worth her time just yet and that there’s someone more important to eliminate first. BB-8 rolls over to Rey and nudges her foot, trying snap her out of it. She looks down and picks up the small droid and says it might be useful for the next phase. Rey then disappears in a blinding light. As the heroes recoup their senses, they notice that one of the tie fighters is speeding off. As they wonder what just happened and who is Rey’s next target Chewie begins to growl worriedly. No one understands Shiriwook but Rose can feel his mind echoing a name. “Who is Leia?” And then everyone freaks out even more. Poe says that they have to warn her and they all run over to the Millennium Falcon. As the heroes speed off, a very injured Kylo gingerly stands. He sees that his own custom lightsaber was destroyed in Rey’s last attack. He hobbles towards the slain masters and reaches for Snoke’s lightsaber. Anakin again appears for a split second and says “No. Feel…” After some hesitation, Kylo decides to pick up his uncle’s green lightsaber instead and begins to walk in the direction of the protagonists.

Poe and company reach the Falcon and sorta dismiss C-3PO, R2 explains what just happened. They radio the base and reach Leia to try to explain the events that just transpired and that her life is in danger. As they are trying to figure the next step, Kylo gets on the ship and asks to speak with his mother. Everyone takes a step back and lets him close to the comms. He weeps as he apologizes for everything. Light side, dark side, it doesn’t matter, he will fight anyone and anything who will try to hurt what’s left of his family. Chewie gives him a big hug, then a sorta slap on the face in a “don’t you ever do that again mister” manner. Poe is apprehensive but Rose signals that he is being honest. Finn says he learned a few things about the Force and between him and Ben they can figure something out. Leia in a whirlwind of emotion says to rendezvous at some emergency coordinates and tells them that no matter what happens to her that they have a fighting chance to maintain peace for the galaxy. General Organa boards a ship with some guards and she leaves off into the proverbial sunset and through hyperspace.


The End.




El claustro del RUM se posiciona


Fecha: 24 de abril de 2017
PROTESTAmos: Profesores Transformándonos en Solidaridad Tornada en Acción
Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayagüez

Claustro del RUM se posiciona ante la coyuntura actual de Puerto Rico, su universidad pública y apoya reclamos del movimiento estudiantil.

En reunión del claustro convocada hoy por el Dr. John Fernández Van Cleve, Rector del Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez (RUM), la facultad del RUM acogió una urgente resolución que contempla acciones y pronunciamientos ante la coyuntura actual de Puerto Rico y de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

En dicha resolución la facultad resolvió someter alternativas a los recortes presupuestarios a la UPR que han sido propuestos por la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal (JSF) y avalados por el gobierno de Puerto Rico. Estas alternativas serán presentadas antes del 30 de abril, fecha límite impuesta por la JSF para que la administración de la UPR presente su plan de recortes presupuestarios.

Además, el…

View original post 483 more words

New Round of Call for Papers for the Upcoming 3rd Annual Academic Pop Culture Conference

If you read our last post, you know that the conference has been moved from March 11th to May 6th. The almost two month delay is due to various factors that were outside of the control of the conference organizers. However, we are taking this setback in stride and using this time to make sure that this year’s conference will be our best ever. If the universe has extended our time for preparations then we believe that everyone else should be given a second chance as well.

With this in mind, we have decided to do a second round of the Call for Papers for the conference. Same rules as last time, 200-250 word abstracts for individual paper submission and 750 words for panel presentations. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors from any and all programs and fields within the UPR system are encouraged to send abstracts. People outside the UPR system (or even academia) who wish to submit an abstract can be part of the conference as independent scholars. As always, papers and presentations should coincide within the theme of our conference as explained in the original CFP here.

Abstracts and small bios of presenters are to be sent to our official email, pcsarum@gmail.com

The deadline for this extended Call for Papers is April 1st. People who had already been accepted into the conference do NOT need to resubmit their abstracts,

Thank you for sharing your research interests with us and we hope to see you at the conference.