Timeless Character Review: Emma Whitmore

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Timeless. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the first two seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Timeless to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Commitment is defined as the following:

“The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”

If one were to look up the definition of commitment in the dictionary, they would see the face of Emma Whitmore (Annie Wersching). Emma was originally a double agent, working for Mason Industries while revealing the secrets of her job to Rittenhouse. When her secret was revealed, Emma joined Rittenhouse and never looked back.

The audience and the Time Team met Emma after she had faked her death and spent several years living in Missouri in the 19th century. Emma is a tireless foot soldier for Rittenhouse, willing to do anything and everything that is needed to ensure that her teams wins.  Not above violence when needed, she is smart, strong and is more than able to take care of herself. But that does not mean that she is without weakness.

Angry and jealous that Lucy is higher in the hierarchy of Rittenhouse due to an accident of birth, Emma takes great pleasure in torturing Lucy whenever she can. However, she is not all bad. In certain instances, she has let history take its course instead of following her instructions to the letter.

To sum it up: A character who is committed to his or her cause is a great starting point for their story arc. But there has to be more than this commitment. Emma is a good example of this because though she usually follows the dictates of Rittenhouse,  there are moments when she does not follow orders. Her jealousy of Lucy and the rare times when she does acquience to history creates a well-rounded character that the audience can relate to, even if they disagree with her actions.

P.S. It’s nice to see a badass redhead on screen, even if she is one of the baddies.


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Throwback Thursday-Guy’s Grocery Games (2013-Present)

There is nothing like a challenge to test one’s abilities.

Guy’s Grocery Games has been part of the lineup on Food Network since 2013. Hosted by Guy Fieri, 4 chefs are challenged to create unique three dishes in a faux grocery store. Each challenge has a theme and at least one obstacle. Once the challenges have been completed, three celebrity judges decide who is the winner of that challenge. By the end of the show, one chef is deemed the winner and has to chance to take home up to $20,000.

What I like about Guy’s Grocery Games is that it’s fun to watch. It’s fun to watch the contestants work and guess who will be the winner. It’s almost like a guessing game that ups the ante as the contestants are eliminated.

I recommend it.

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The Lost Carousel of Provence Book Review

Family secrets are like a poison. The secret itself may stay hidden, but the emotional consequences of the secret can leach out and have an effect on the family for generations.

The new novel, The Lost Carousel of Provence, by Juliet Blackwell, is set in three distinct time periods and told from the point of view of three different characters. Cady was raised by the system in California. The only parental figure in her life is her newly deceased foster-mother. With nothing to lose and nothing to keep her in California, Cady travels to France to take pictures of carousels on a freelance assignment. In 1940’s France, Fabrice is a young man who is fighting for his country by joining the resistance. He knows that it is dangerous and he knows there will be consequences for both him and his family if he is caught, but he feels that it is the right thing to do. In the early 20th century, Maelle is young woman who wants to do more than marry, keep a house and raise children. She wants to be an artist. She gets that opportunity, but that comes with life changing experiences.

All three characters, in their own individual lifetimes, are brought together by the Château Clement, an upper class estate in Provence and its legendary carousel. Each plays a part in either hiding or revealing the secret of the Chateau and the family who calls it home.

I really loved this book. I loved it because it was well written, it was exciting and I wanted to reach the end of the book to figure out the mystery. I also loved it because of the bold choice of the narrative structure. It takes a skilled writer to jump between time periods and the narratives of individual characters while maintaining an articulate story arc. While many writers are unable to do this because of the delicate balancing act required while writing a novel with this specific type of narrative structure, Ms. Blackwell is able to do in a way that I find enviable.

I recommend it.



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I Hate To Say It, But We Should Not Talk About Impeachment, At Least For The Short Term

According to the American Constitution, a political leader at the federal level may be forced out of office via impeachment if he or she commits “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

Like many of you, I did not vote for a certain person in the 2016 Presidential Election and I have yet to agree or approve of the policies he has put into place. I also believe that the evidence that so far has been presented is legitimate and solid.

As much as I would love to see him out of office, I believe that for the short-term, we should not be discussing impeachment. My reasoning is the following:

  1. Unlike a certain President who shoots his social media mouth off at every turn, Robert Mueller and his team are only showing their hands when they have concrete evidence. Without concrete evidence, it proves that the Russia Investigation is indeed a witch hunt and a waste of tax dollars. This of course, feeds into the idea that  he is innocent and being persecuted for no reason.
  2. If he is impeached, then Mike Pence becomes President. From my perspective, Mike Pence would be a political nightmare.
  3.   Unless it is proved that this person has committed a crime, starting impeachment proceeding over political differences starts a dangerous precedent that would destabilize this country in ways that I dare not even consider.
  4. Impeachment subverts the will of the people, but again, that depends on how solid the proof is that a crime was committed.

Only time will tell if and/or when a certain person is removed from the highest political office in the land.  I only know that at this point in time, I believe that we should not be talking about impeachment until it proved without a shadow of a doubt that an impeachment offense was committed.

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Another One Bites The Dust: John Kelly Resigning At The End Of The Year

In the business world, when employees are leaving a company en masse, there are usually two reasons. The first reason is that the company is having financial issues and either whole departments are being eliminated or individual employees are seeing the writing on the wall and leaving before they are let go. The second reason is that there is an issue with management. An employee’s relationship with their direct manager can and will make or break their time with that specific company.

One of the tidbit of news coming from Washington D.C. over the past few days is that John Kelly will be resigning from his post as White House Chief of Staff at the end of the year. The hope was that when he took over from Reince Priebus last year, that he would be the adult in the room. That hope faded as soon as the tax cuts negotiations ended.

Though a few names were suggested to replace John Kelly, the most prominent one belongs to Nick Ayers, who has been Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff since last summer. Not only did he turn down the job, but he too announced that he would be leaving his job at the end of the year.

I find it ironic that while you know who mocked his predecessor for having three Chiefs of Staff during his tenure, he will soon be on his third Chief of Staff, whoever he or she maybe. While Barack Obama had three people in the position during his 8 years in office, you know who is halfway through his first term.

He think he can do it all himself, that he knows it all. He doesn’t need anyone’s advice or input. He is right and anyone who disagrees with him is wrong. That is, in my experience, the worst management style and the reason why many people change jobs.

Another one bites the dust. I wonder who is next.


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Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger Book Review

Any artist who is working toward the goal of earning their living via their art will often refer to the following quote by Thomas Edison:

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

But even with that 99% perspiration, success is not always guaranteed.

In the early 1990’s, writer Lee Israel‘s career was in the toilet. Unable to maintain another form of employment and living in New York City, she started forging and selling letters from famous writers who have passed on. Things went well until the law was onto her scheme. Her story is told in the 2008 memoir, Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger and the movie, Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy that was released earlier this year.

I loved this book. Lee Israel was a woman who pulled no punches and meant every word that she said. While the way she brought in income was not exactly legally or morally sound, the woman had guts. She created fiction in a way that was still writing, even if she broke a few rules along the way.

I recommend it.





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Becoming Book Review

When we admire someone, we forget that they are fellow human beings who go through the same ups and downs that we  all do.

When Michelle Obama became America’s FLOTUS (First Lady Of The United States) in 2009, she was more than the first African-American First Lady. She was intelligent, educated, warm, loving and a devoted wife and mother.

Her autobiography, Becoming, was published recently.

Born in Chicago in 1964, Mrs. Obama came from a normal working class family. She met her future husband (and future POTUS or President Of The United States) Barack Obama when he was hired to be summer associate at the law firm where she worked at the time; she was assigned to him as his mentor. They married in 1992 and have two daughters. As the future POTUS and FLOTUS, Barack and Michelle did their best to balance their marriage, parenting their children and work. Then politics came calling and their status as an average middle class family in America forever changed.

I absolutely loved this book. I felt like I was having a one on one conversation with her. The book is personal, deep and makes the reader feel like they have a connection to her. Unlike other autobiographies where the writer is full of it and bragging, Mrs. Obama is humble and open.

I absolutely recommend it.


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Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Mulan

Twenty years ago, Disney introduced audiences to the newest member of the Disney Princess line: Mulan.

Based on the myth of Hua Mulan, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) is a young woman growing up in ancient China. She is expected the follow the traditional path: marry, have children and live as women before her have lived.

Then the Huns attack and the men are called up to join the army. But Mulan is an only child and her father is not a young man anymore. She takes her father’s place and pretends to be a boy. The ancestors watching her are not pleased with Mulan’s decision and send Mushu (Eddie Murphy) to convince Mulan to stay home. But Mulan will not be convinced otherwise, so Mushu goes with her to battle.

Twenty years ago, Mulan was a revolutionary film for Disney. As a character, Mulan was the most progressive of the Disney Princesses up to that point. She was the second non-Caucasian heroine after Jasmine in Aladdin (1992). Marriage was not her first priority.She was also not a size 2.

In every Disney Princess film, the character’s emotional journey is kicked off by the “I Want” song. In a nutshell, the song describes what they want from life. Mulan’s “I Want” song is “Reflection”. 20 years ago, this song left its emotional mark on me and many others who saw this film. It’s about pretending to be someone else to please your loved ones and the emotional toll it takes on you.

While Disney has a long way to go in terms of how women are represented on film, Mulan was and still is a giant step forward for which I am grateful for.

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Thoughts On The 77th Anniversary Of Pearl Habor

Dec 7th, 1941, was a day that started like any other. By the time the day was over, the United States, which up to that point has stayed out of World War II, was ready to fight. Over two thousand American soldiers were killed and nearly 1200 were wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt labeled the day as day that would live in infamy.

From our modern perspective, World War II was a clean war. What I mean by a clean war was that the objectives were simple. Protect democracy, protect human rights and fight against those who would be happiest in a world where they alone had political power. The wars that followed World War II were not as clean. There were questions of motives, both political and financial and if the cost of the lives lost was worth the war.

The men and women who fought and died in World War II are called The Greatest Generation. They laid down their lives so we could be free. Today, on the 77th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we remember them, thank them and hope that they will continue to be remembered for years to come.

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Flashback Friday-Shakespeare Uncovered (2012-2018)

William Shakespeare is more than a writer. He is an icon who told human stories about human characters.

The television series Shakespeare Uncovered (2012-2018)  is an in-depth exploration of Shakespeare’s work. Hosted every episode by a different actor who at one time, played a major character in a Shakespeare play, the purpose of the program is to do a deep dive into the play that is that subject of each episode. Combining interviews, performances, historical research, the host’s personal experience while playing the character and analysis of the play, the audience is introduced (or re-introduced) to Shakespeare’s work in a way that they have not seen before.

What I love about Shakespeare Uncovered is that it’s more than a dry academic blow-by-blow of his work. The program is intellectually stimulating, fascinating and mind-blowing at moments.

I recommend it.

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