Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?


A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Blacklist - Disappoints

Okay, I checked out the two-part season four finale of The Blacklist, which wrapped up the "Mr. Kaplan" adversarial story arc, and it did indeed disappoint. Instead of Red killing her, she jumps off a bridge and commits suicide. Okay. But that wasn't how I would have written this ending. I would have made it all come together in a positive way, and everyone would have been friends again.

Which is how it should have been. Why? Because after Kaplan had recovered from Red's earlier attempt to kill her, she was remorseful. Not for what Red did, but rather for what SHE did. She admitted she was wrong, that she had betrayed Red, and that it was her fault that Lizzy had been kidnapped and put into danger. She admitted she deserved the bullet to her head.

But later, all of that was forgotten as if it had never been written or portrayed in the show. Instead, Kaplan turns into this vindictive, revenge-seeking antagonist, bent on Red's destruction. Um, what happened to all the remorse and Kaplan's concession that it was HER fault to begin with? It's called inconsistency, and that's BAD WRITING.

So, as I posted yesterday, the show dragged out this conflict between Red and Mr. Kaplan, to the point of Red's near destruction. But Red is resilient, he's the main character, after all, and he gets the jump on Kaplan. But this time Red is determined not to kill her. (Which he never should have attempted that first time!) Instead he offers her an out, which she doesn't take. Why? Because she's hell bent on destroying Red. Sheesh. What happened to her admitting she deserved that bullet to the head? It's called bad writing.

So, anyway, that's when she jumps off the bridge. And she does that because she has to die in order for her final contingency plan to be put into effect. Which is carried out by Tom, Lizzy's husband, and Red's former spy, but is now a spy for Kaplan. Upon Kaplan's death, Tom removes a suitcase from a locker and, apparently, is supposed to take it to Lizzy.

This suitcase, apparently, contains the bones of Lizzy's mother, Red's former lover, which, apparently will prove that Red had killed Lizzy's mother. Apparently. This was hinted at in a dialogue between Red and his bodyguard, Dembe, at the end of the show.

But wait a minute. Too many problems with all of this. Besides the fact that all of this is contrary to Kaplan's original remorse at having betrayed Red and her admitting she deserved the bullet to her head. Now it gets worse. I mean, since when does Tom work for Kaplan? Since, like, never. And since Red had already told Lizzy that her mother died in shame and disgrace, it makes the point that Red, if he did kill Lizzy's mother, his former lover, he had a damn good reason for doing so, which he always does when he kills someone. And Lizzy should know this by now.

Look--Red is the star of the show. He is someone the audience has empathy for and sympathy for, more than anyone else on the show. He's the hero. Yeah, he's billed as a criminal, but he's never done anything to anyone that makes the audience hate him. Never. Everyone he's killed, or dogged, deserved it, and deserved it big time. Kaplan's antics, on the other hand resulted in the deaths of several innocent people, and she even cut out an eye of an innocent man with her own hands. So, yeah, Kaplan, as it turned out was the one who resorted to evil deeds. Not Red.

But I have another complaint and it's unrelated to all of the above. For the entire season, the viewers of this show have been teased with the idea that Red is Lizzy's father. And it's something that I personally wanted to be the case. It would be the ONLY thing that would make sense out of all of this. Meaning, it's the only thing that would validate the entire series. Red NEEDS to be Lizzy's father for any of the show's storylines to make sense. So for four seasons, they hinted at it, and at one point while being tortured, Red admits Lizzy is his daughter, but he had never admitted it to Lizzy.

Now in the fourth season finale, a DNA test proves Red is Lizzy's father, and I approved of the reaction Lizzy displayed. She accepts him as her father, and is happy to have him as her family. I was cool with all of that. It's the way I would have written it too.

But then in that final dialogue between Red and Dembe, Dembe asked Red if he denied it. Why would Dembe ask Red that if Red was Lizzy's real father? Well, Red says he didn't deny it. Still, that question suggests that Red is NOT Lizzy's father. I know it's not definitive, and it may not suggest that, but perpetuating doubt is not cool. I want to know once and for all that Red is indeed Lizzy's father, and no more doubts about it.

I hate being played by a show, by a writer, or by anyone. Red better be Lizzy's father or the entire show is bullshit. Which would mean I wasted a good portion of my time watching a show that was bullshit. It wouldn't be the first time. The STARZ show Black Sails did that to me, and to countless fans who had followed that show. If The Blacklist does that too... Well, it would be unfortunate, that's all. We'll see.

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