Saturday, 25 February 2017

Star Wars Rebels S03E17 "Through Imperial Eyes"


The Rebels hatch a plan to rescue Kallus as Thrawn narrows in on Fulcrom.

What I thought

We’re now well into the second half of Rebels Season 3 and heading towards Thrawn’s endgame. Now is the time to start the momentum rolling, which this episode well and truly does by introducing the reality of the threat Thrawn brings to proceedings for our Rebels. This guy isn’t like any other regular Imperial toff; he’s a thinker, a patient man but he’s also physically strong with his muscles and his ruthlessness.
We start off with a first-person perspective of Kallus being alerted to an attack on his vessel. It’s a great way to start things off, seeing events through his eyes, but a shame it doesn’t continue past the opening thirty seconds. The attack is Ezra in a shuttle from Lothal. Apparently no one in the Empire know what Ezra looks like, except Kallus. I can believe that there might be lots who don’t but we are just outside Lothal so you’d think his photo would be prominent. No, they all think he’s just a random bounty hunter ... with two droids. Yup, AP-5 and Chopper are there too in Imperial disguise. As much as I love Chopper, AP-5 always trumps everyone with his dry humour, of which he has a few excellent moments this episode, especially when he’s told to be a look-out. Also, once again, there’s no checks by the Empire on any droids. They seem to automatically trust them! Anyhow, Ezra is there to spring Kallus out after telling him Thrawn is closing in, but alas that goes out of the airlock when Thrawn and his big bad destroyer show up. He’s brought everyone’s fav Imperial “Uncle” Colonel Yularen along to help find out who the spy is. Despite everything that goes down in this episode, I’m pretty sure Thrawn is 99% convinced it’s Kallus that’s Fulcrom anyway. However, it’s still an enjoyable episode.
Kallus amusingly manipulates his commander (the super enthusiastic one) into being framed as the spy through stealing his ID card, of sorts, in the form of an ID Stick. We got formally introduced to them as a level of security early in the episode, so no surprise that Kallus used them as his way of implicating the other commander. Kallus and the Rebel gang deem that the only place to get the clearance codes needed so that the rescue party can arrive (Kanan and Rex) is to go to Thrawn’s office, and also delete the planet with the base on from Thrawn’s map. This all seems like a bad idea for numerous reasons, not least that you’d think Thrawn would be more likely to notice a planet missing than most? Anyhow, whilst in there, Thrawn is on his way back to the Office, bypassing the hapless AP-5 who alerted Ezra, which leads to Kallus unleashing some other heavy duty droids on Thrawn. We’d seen him earlier beating up these droids in training so he eventually takes them down rather masterfully as the others get away. The final bit of Kallus’s plan sees the other commander successfully implicated, the rebels get away, and then ... a twist ... as Kallus stays behind. He think he can do more good from within the Empire for the Rebels. True, but even he should have realised that by now that Thrawn is seriously smart and on to him in a big way. I wonder if Kallus does realise this and believes that getting away isn’t his plan due to his history with the Empire and all the horrible things he’s done? Maybe he knows that he’s going down with the ship and it’s only a matter of time? Can anyone really see Kallus in Season 4? I can’t.
I loved being on Imperial ships for a whole episode. I was immersed in the corridors and seeing stormtrooper here, there and everywhere. Thrawn I like, as he’s a mean machine but the interaction with all the top ranked Imperials was like being a fly on the wall and really intriguing. The episode did seem a little pointless in some aspects, given that we already got the strong suspicion that Thrawn knew who Fulcrom was episodes ago. Did we need this episode to really highlight everything? Probably not but it was still great to witness Kallus at work and seeing more of life in an Imperial world. It’s also going to be nerve-wracking but engrossing to see how Thrawn uses Kallus to his advantage and if Kallus will work it out before it’s too late.
Rating 7/10 – VERY GOOD


So, Jedi mind tricks don’t work on Pryce? I get the feeling we’ve been told this before or is this a new thing?

I’m still not getting this Kanan eyesight thing, In the shuttle he can’t see or sense all the star destroyers but outside shuttle he’s ok at walking about and sensing all the 101 hazards there are to trip over or walk into?

What I liked

95% of episode within Imperial Base with Imperial characters.

Kallus’s manipulation

Proof of Thrawn’s physical strength and “no mug”

AP-5 with all the best gags

Promise of even more tension for us watching the Kallus character.

What I didn’t like

Once again droids overlooked as “impossible to be imposters”

Not really “through” imperial eyes in terms of perspective as I thought.

Feels like we didn’t really need this episode to confirm Thrawn’s suspicions.

Kallus is woken up by the enthusiastic but inept Commander

Oh look, it's Ezra.

Oh look, it's AP-5 AND Chopper. Did it really take two of them? Probably not but I was glad AP-5 was there.

Is Kanan flying this thing with Rex?

Teacher's pet, Kallus, meets his former mentor.

Here begins Kallus manipulation of his commander.

AP-5 doing the "thankless" task of being lookout.

This feels very Force Awakens here. Deleting planets also like The Clone Wars.

Thrawn is almost unflustered as he takes down these droids.

We come in peace, says Kanan.

You can't help but cry and laugh at this poor guy.

Thrawn now formally knows it's Kallus although I reckon he already knew weeks ago.

The Curse of Oak Island S04E14


We’re well and truly stuck at the Money Pit this week, feeling as disappointed and fed up as Marty is about T1. We have discussions about the future of the money pit and a quick look (literally) at Nolan’s Cross.
What I thought

The majority of this episode is with Rick, Marty and Jim at T1 in the Money Pit. They say T1 this week, but I thought we were at C3? Anyhow, it’s a hole down the Pit. After the narrator ramped us up into a stampede at what delights could be down the T1 hole at the end of last week, it turns out it’s just stones, clay and then bedrock. T1 hits rock bottom, much like Marty, who starts kicking around his hat and anything else he can see. Unfortunately Jack isn’t there. For us viewers, we’re hitting our heads on the TV. Some of wood is sent off for carbon dating from last week that was found down T1 and with lightning flashing about, they call it a day and go to see what Dan thinks about the wood. After mostly sniffing about, mostly of the wood, Dan pretty much uses his best guesswork, much like everyone else. However, the carbon dating suggests most of the wood is within the 1650-1710 range. This is spot on for the original Money Pit date. In the War Room, the brothers, Jim and Craig Tester (via phone) decide on the Money Pit’s fate. They’ve spent millions, drilled several holes, and found various wood. Despite what they say, their money pockets run deep, as emotionally they all agree to fund another hole, this time one that Rick chooses where it will be and one that is dedicated to their parent’s names and given the name GAL1. Ok, even I felt a little emotional at that point. Not least because for the umpteenth time this series, the show ends up with them drilling a hole in the Money Pit and the narrator reading off a list of 101 mouth-watering things that might be down there, but never says that it could just be nothing.

The only other story line from this week is Rick, Jim and Jack meeting two stone masons who have a look at two of the stones that form Nolan’s Cross. I’m not sure how much they paid those two but I reckon they got a good wage given how little they appeared to do. The first stone (the one that is supposedly looking like a face) they say absolutely little about, other than confirm it’s type of stone. The second one they do at least appear to look closely at and find that part of it is smooth, which indicates that it was dragged to this location. This 5-10 minute segment felt like a simple way for those two guys to earn a quick buck. They didn’t really contribute that much.

So, this week the show hit rock-bottom in terms of developments as the Money Pit went no-where but alas they will try once more. Other than that, there’s not a lot of tangible evidence uncovered aside from carbon dating of the wood and a smooth part of a stone in Nolan’s Cross.

Rating 5/10 - Just OK.

Flash, bang, wallop. The weather stops "play" at the Money Pit.

Dan has a great nose.

Let's have some experts look at the Nolan Cross stones ...

"Yup, it's a stone", say the experts.

Marty is not happy about T1.
Marty kicks his hat about.

It may just look like a stick in the ground but this costs thousands to drill.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Star Wars Rebels S03E16 "Legacy of Mandalore"


Hoping to enlist her family to help the rebels, Sabine returns to her home world with Kanan and Ezra, but soon finds herself embroiled in her family’s power struggle for Mandalore.

What I thought

As with the last episode, I’ve been hearing good vibes about the Mandalorian storyline across social media. Once again though, it’s not really doing much for me. I’ve mentioned my issues with Mandalorian history before so I’ll not go into that again. Let’s just look at it from a half hour of entertainment perspective.

This was quite decent in terms of how the plot was set up, although the biggest issue away from Mandalorian things, was that you could see everything coming from a mile off. Sabine and co came with a plan. They knew how things would go down, so had Fenn Rau hide out in the ship after they were brought down by Sabine’s family clan. We then got to witness Fenn creeping about, watching Sabine’s mum betray the Jedi to Gar Saxon (who I believe is ruling Mandalore for the Empire). Once again, Chopper is a droid who is discarded by everyone. The Madalorians don’t even bother to clamp him etc. Droids really are like third world people in this universe most of the time. He’s seriously underestimated on almost every occasion by the opposition. Whilst the gang are doing their thing, Chopper’s fixed the shuttle and flies in at the end, giving his superman like pose. High Five Chopper!

This episode was all about introducing Sabine’s family. News Alert: She has a big brother it appears. Literally big. He looks massive compared to her, but has quite a young face. Her mum appears quite stern one moment, and then quite motherly the next. She quite willingly gives up the Jedi to Gar Saxon, and then changes her mind the next minute. Then, when Sabine is fighting Saxon, she obeys Mandalorian culture and doesn’t interfere, but the next, shoots Saxon. Sure, he was playing unfair by refusing to yield, but … oh well. It was actually a surprise to see a clear wound shot in this show and someone die on screen. Usually that’s all kept swept up under the carpet of being a cartoon but this time round it was graphically shown to all.

Overall, it was better than I expected, given it felt like we’d already seen this episode after the long wait and several clips online. It was also very predictable, with only the last minute throwing up a plot move I didn’t see coming, when Sabine chose to stay behind with her family to help Mandalore. I’d had it all figured in my mind that she’d wield the darksabre and be ruler by now. Alas, no. Although I got the distinct feeling at the end that she was hinting at Ezra or Kanan being the future ruler of Mandalore as she said that sentence whilst looking at the shuttle taking off. Unless she meant Chopper? LOL. One other thing that I constantly thought this week; the local glass-fitter on Mandalore has a job for life after all the window smashing that happened in the Sabine family’s house 😊

So, a solid episode, though rather predictable this week. Roll on next week when things should really start accelerating towards a finale. Rating 6/10.

What I liked: Glass smashing fun, scenic Mandalore, perhaps finally Sabine’s character is becoming more interesting and important. Hint of future Mandalore ruler.

What I didn’t like: It’s Mandalorian stuff, which doesn’t do much for me. Predictable storyline. Chopper being under-estimated by opposition for umpteenth time.

Reassuring to see that despite no seatbelts, Kanan at least acknowledges the crash landing.

Fenn Rau hides out in the shuttle as he gang get taken to Sabine's mum.

Sabine's mum isn't very impressed at the sight of the darksabre

Sabine and her mum discuss how to improve the look of the balcony.

To no one's surprise, apart from the brother, Saxon changes the deal.

Saxon and Sabine do battle on ice. Health and Safety are clearly all up the creek this week.

I'm reminded of Anakin and Dooku here.

Sabine stays behind, along with Fenn Rau (who I just don't trust).

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Curse of Oak Island S04E13


We’re back in Smith’s Cove digging up stones, finding wood in C3, getting lost in translation and in the War Room for one of the biggest assumptions this season.

What I thought

Continuing on from where we annoyingly, and typically, left off last week, we’re at C3 where the extractor is bringing up chunks of wood from about 105ft deep. Craig and Rick are on site and noticing that some of the wood is round, darker and more reminiscent of the original money pit wood. Is it though? Looking to next week’s clips, it appears so, but as with anything on Oak Island, quite what they are finding is subject to a lot of open interpretation. We’ll see for sure next week.

We’re back to the same documents where that old map of Oak Island came from and an encrypted code called “Le Formulae”. Previously this code seemed to match what was found on that huge stone down the money pit that translated to say that treasure lay below it. It’s didn’t as it happened and that previous dig many, many years ago was abandoned due to flood water. Which reminds me: Where is the search for that stone going? It’s been very quiet since they were in a nearby town in some basement rummaging about? Anyhow, in the War Room we have Rick, Craig, Jack, Doug Crowell (Researcher), Peter Fornetii and Jim Barkhouse. This is a big meeting for some reason as they hook up via a videocall to Dr Kevin Knight and his assistant Nada Aldarrab who have been doing more translation of the formula. They believe the code should translate into French. Well, that’s what the software suggests. If they go down the French route, then it translates similar to what was on the stone but also says to go off at a tangent in order to find the treasure. Strange that Craig seems to do the French translation and not the “experts” on the call. There’s also a lot of shortened words on the formula and probably misspellings. Basically, we have another version of the translation but it’s far from complete.

Returning to Smith’s Cove is the same gang as last week, plus the rare sight of another guy, who is a partner of the Lagina’s, plus Marty and an expert JCB guy who really handles that vehicle like a toy. Digging up quite near the temporary dam, they discover layers of stones, suggestive of an old technique used to manipulative the direction of water. Is this the entrance to the box tunnels? We won’t know any more as the permit is almost up for the dam, and any further digging might damage the dam itself. It’s yet another dig that leads to possibilities but not enough to really grasp and feel totally happy about. 

Finally, this week, we’re in the War Room again as Rick and Jim meet Gary Clayton, a Treasure hunter and the owner of a small island called ‘Little Mash’ (I think) which is right next to Oak Island. To call this an island is stretching it as it’s just a lump of sand above the water level but I guess it’s technically true. If I didn’t know better, I’d reckon Gary had been smoking something very strong just before he unleashed his information on Rick and Jim. He said his belief was based on a record and fact, before wielding off all sorts of information that he didn’t seem to have any tangible evidence for. He said they’d done major excavations on this island in the past but I didn’t seem any evidence other than a stone foot they found, which might be a foot or just looks like one. He’s got some crazy theories about how he can read the ground and thus knows about all these rooms underneath. He sounds like he got hit on the head with something but he offers to go into partnership with Rick and the gang. I’d say it’s worth talking about, but there really was little in this footage to suggest to me he’s got much basis for his views.

So, this week we did find some glimmers of tangible evidence in Smith’s Cove and C3, and heard some more interpretations both wild and more logical. This counts as a productive episode compared to many where they really do seem to be grasping at straws usually.

Rating 6/10 (OK)

Is it possible that C3 has missed all the flood tunnels? Sure, but it'll be by a fluke more than educated judgement.

Much like my spelling, this isn't the greatest of French writing, but The Formula does led to another interesting version of the text.

Oak Island Drinking Game: Someone points at something.

Jack jumps into the ditch with shoes and jeans on. I bet his mum/wife won't be happy with him when he gets home.

It's stone. It's a foot. So they say ...

This is that island next to Oak Island. It's not big enough for much more than a tent.

Smith's Cove reveals lots of interesting, and possibly, man-made stone formations.

Marty hitches a ride in yet another case of dodgy health and safety on Oak Island.

It's Wood! Please be interesting wood!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Backing up and Restoring your data on Windows 10 Mobile

Recently I needed to reset my phone (Lumia 640) as there was an issue on the particular Insider build that I was on which I hoped the reset would fix. It didn’t as it happened but that’s not relevant to this article. Anyhow, I dilly dallied for a month before I reset my mobile because I was worried that I had no backup for my text/sms messages as the Microsoft App I had used to back them up (contacts+messages backup) wouldn’t work and I couldn’t get any confirmation that messages did backup natively.

Realising there was a lack of conclusive information online, I thought I’d write this quick article to let others know what I didn’t know until recently.

What is backed up on Windows 10 Mobile?

Warning: I am on the latest fast ring insider build so I can’t be 100% sure this will apply to every Windows 10 Mobile version in history, so bare that in mind please.

However, the following should be backed up if you’ve enabled the relevant settings:

·         Text/SMS Messages

·         Call history*

·         Edge favs, reading list

·         Windows Settings**

·         Some of your installed Apps User Data

You don’t need any extra apps from the Windows Store as the above data is backed up natively (inbuilt) in the Windows 10 Mobile OS.

* I’m not 100% sure if call history was restored on my phone due to the inbuilt backup or because I have the TruCaller App installed (whose data is in the app user data backup. See Step 5). So, my recommendation would be to make sure you have everything done in this article before you reset your phone in order to maximise what you get back afterwards. Be prepared to loose some data even if you do all these steps.

** Not all Windows Settings are backed up

Step 1: Things to do as well as backing up

1.       Personal Data Storage Locations

As well as everything else in this article, it’s well worth moving all your personal data to an SD card (hopefully you have one) and changing storage settings so that all subsequent items of personal data automatically get saved on the SD Card. This way when you reset your phone, you can tell Windows to keep everything on the SD Card before it resets.

Under Settings/System/Storage you’ll see a section titled ‘Save Locations’. Make sure all the drop-down lists are changed from ‘This Device’ to ‘SD Card’.

This doesn’t move any existing data so you’ll need to load the ‘File Explorer’ app and moving every folder that you see to the SD Card in order to be sure that you miss nothing out.

2.       Upload all Photos to OneDrive

Open the Photos app, put all your photos into albums and upload them to OneDrive. You can then open up and view your photos there to confirm what’s been uploaded.

One can also use the OneDrive app (available in the Store) to have it automatically upload all Photos to OneDrive for you.

3.       Backup Messages using Microsoft App

The ‘contacts+message backup’ app by Microsoft (available in the Store) is a very good extra way of backing up your messages to the SD Card for safe keeping. If you’re extra paranoid about your messages, it’s worth using.

Step 2: Text/SMS Messages & Call History

In Windows Mobile 8.1 this section was much more obvious but in Windows 10 Mobile I found it all a little ambiguous as to what the OS was actually doing with my messages.

Go to the Messaging App, under settings, and first and foremost sign in with your Microsoft Account.

There is a toggle button option, as shown below, under the wording ‘Sync Messages between devices’.

This wording is confusing but also correct. If you open the messaging app on any other windows device where you are signed in with the same Microsoft account and syncing is on, your messages should appear. This is very handy in order to check your messages from your phone on your Windows 10 PC, for example. However, in reality, I’ve found the messages that appear on my other Windows 10 devices aren’t as up-to-date as they should be. Exactly when a Windows 10 device actually synchronises these messages is a mystery to me. Possibly you may want to make sure you turn off any metered connection setting you may have for your Wi-Fi for 24 hours prior to any reset on your windows devices if you use that setting in order to make sure everything syncs in background. Sadly, I’ve found that turning the sync off/on makes no appreciable difference to messages appearing on other devices.

Anyhow, the important thing to remember here is that if you have turned on the sync button in the Messaging app, you have effectively turned on the ‘backup my messages’ button.

There’s some more official information from Microsoft here

When I reset my phone and logged back into messaging app afterwards, the messages did slowly start to appear in the app. It’s slow and staggered, so come back after 15-30 minutes to check everything is restored.

The Call History in the Phone App was already restored after the reset but I don’t know if that’s something including in the app backup section (Step 5 in this article) in Windows 10 Mobile OS or because the Messaging App had the sync button turned on.

Step 3: Windows Settings

Under Settings/Accounts there is a ‘sync your settings’ option which you should make sure is on well before you reset your phone.

What’s being sync’d here? Again, it’s not totally clear. The url link on this screen takes you to a bing results page that refers to syncing and ‘other windows settings’ which isn’t even an option on this version of Windows 10 Mobile. If you do turn on all three sync buttons here, the text on the screen and on the webpage suggests that all sorts of settings including passwords, themes, web browser settings, device settings, file explorer settings and notification preferences will be sync’d.

Whether these are all actually sync’d based on these three toggle buttons I’m not convinced but there’s no doubt that it’s very much worth turning on as many sync options as possible before a reset so it’s best to turn all these three on in order to maximise what you have when you log back in to your phone after a reset.

Step 4: Edge Settings

Everyone’s favourite Windows 10 Mobile web browser, Edge, has some sync options that (in my experience) work between Windows 10 devices quite well.

Make sure you have this toggle button in Edge/Settings turned on long before you reset your phone:

The sync in Edge between devices isn’t perfect; the reading list is rather unreliable in terms of syncing everything perfectly between devices but favourites sync nicely. Either way, even if they don’t sync 100% between mobile and PC, the chances are that when you reset your phone and you have had this sync setting on, you’ll get a reasonable amount of your mobile edge favs/reading lists back. I can confirm that I got my favourites and reading list back as they were before the reset on my phone.

Step 5: App & OS Data

Under Settings/Windows Update there is a backup option. If you turn all of this on, it will backup data from certain apps to OneDrive as well as certain Windows Settings. I say ‘certain’ because not all apps are supported, plus Microsoft’s wording is vague on exactly what is backed up.

The wording says settings like start menu layout, accounts and passwords, which seems to be very similar to Edge’s sync settings and also vague on what other settings are backed up. Given my personal experience of using these various backup settings, resetting my phone and restoring the data, I’d say a lot is backed up but you’ll still have to do some minor tinkering after you’ve restored data. Minor settings for Wifi, Storage etc certainly don’t get backed up or restored. Over on it also mentions ‘Conversation History’ in the same breath as this backup.

This backup section is VERY IMPORTANT as it appears to be this backup that Windows Mobile 10 looks for after it’s reset your phone.

Before you reset your phone, make sure you have both options ticked on the initial backup screen for ‘back up content from participating apps’ and ‘back up settings like start screen layout, accounts and passwords’:

Then click on the ‘More Options’ link below the latter toggle button and you’ll see a screen like this:

Make sure ‘Schedule backups’ is on and that every toggle button below for each corresponding app that you care about is on.

Then, just to be doubly sure, click the ‘Back up now’ button and wait 5-10 minutes whilst it sends all that data to OneDrive. If you wish to view that the backup is on OneDrive, follow the link towards to bottom of the screen called ‘Go to’. Annoyingly you can only view this backup via this method on your phone. You won’t be able to see this backup in OneDrive on your PC.

When you log into your phone with your Microsoft Account for first time after a reset it’ll ask you if you want to restore backups from OneDrive. You’ll likely need to verify your identity during the restore (I.e. email to your backup email account with a code you need to enter on phone). This particular restoration refers only to the OneDrive backup for settings and app data, not Messaging app backup/sync.

Step 7: Checklist to maximise your backup before a reset

So, here’s everything in one easy list to tick off and implement at least 24 hours before you hit that ‘reset your phone’ button:

1.       Change Storage locations to your SD Card and use ‘File Manager’ to move all folders to the SD Card.

2.       Use the Photos App to create albums and upload all photos to OneDrive.

3.       Use the ‘Contacts+Messages backup’ app to backup text/sms messages to your SD Card.

4.       In Messaging App on phone, log in with your Microsoft account and turn on the sync button.

5.       Under Settings/Accounts enable all three buttons under the ‘sync your settings’ option.

6.       Under Edge/Settings, enable the ‘sync your favourites and reading list’ button.

7.       Under Settings/Windows Update/backup enable both toggle buttons, then click on the ‘More Options’ link, turn on the ‘Schedule Backups’ button and all toggle buttons for each app further down the screen. Press the ‘back up now’ button to back up to OneDrive.

PS – When you do hit the ‘reset your phone’ button it will ask you if you want to keep your data on the SD Card. Obviously you do!

DISCLAIMER – I can’t guarantee that this article is 100% accurate and you’ll get 100% of your data back after resetting your phone.

The Curse of Oak Island S04E12


The team decide on where to drill hole 3 in the Money Pit, and return to Smith’s Cove for the second attempt to excavate part of the area.

What I thought

Having spent the latter half of last episode in the RDF Library in New York, Rick is still in the Big Apple having a skype call with his brother to fill him in on Paul Troutman’s library finds. Looks like a nice plush hotel Rick is staying at. Well, if anyone knows how to spend money, it’s him. Anyhow, he and Paul actually look at saving time and money by calling in on fellow New Yorker, Zena Halpern. Not sure who she is? Well, she’s the historian who was on the phone to the Oak Island gang a few weeks back who had the old Templar maps that led the gang to finding the hatch – or, as it’s better named, the ditch. She goes into even more detail about the Knight’s Templar, including a record from hundreds of years ago where a lady said she knew items were buried in he Oak Island area. It’s basically spinning another theory without any real ‘x marks the spot’ tangible information. The maps are really amazing. I just hope they are truly authentic.

Crash, bang, wallop, what a dam, what a photograph. Yes, we’re back in Smith’s Cove after last week’s disaster. Even sadder, last week’s Dam expert isn’t back. We’ve got a new guy in town. I really hope last episode’s guy isn’t too traumatised. This dam is also white and inflates without a hitch. Even more amazing, they’ve got Laird Nivin, an historian and bona fida archaeologist in attendance. Yes, an expert! After draining the section of cove, they are all digging with shovels and JCB, where Laird identifies the various layers of sediment which is likely man-made. Near the end of the segment they find lots of wood. This isn’t the box tunnels they are looking for, but likely a previous excavation years ago that went looking for the box tunnels. Either way, it’s great to see a plan working and finding something tangible.

We then get a Royal Rumble of sorts in Dan Blankenship’s basement, which is nothing short of a treasure trove of Oak Island knowledge. Dan, son Jim, Craig Tester, Rick and Marty all spend time looking through documents of previous excavations in the money pit in order to decide where to spend even more money on a third hole/shaft. Did they not do this research before the first two holes? If they did, they might have not wasted so much money and episode time for us watching drills, people standing around and awful viewing conditions in cavities. They argue about where is best to drill but after the advert break they seem to have agreed without us actually seeing who won the verbal battle and how. There’s an X drawn in the money pit and the drilling team start up their equipment. For the umpteenth time, the narrator goads us over what they might find down below. I really could slap him sometimes ...

Rating 6/10
Rick enjoys the high-life in NY

Zena regurgitates her fascinating Knights Templar findings 

Yay! Second time lucky, as the inflatable dam works.

Metal detector-less, Jack points out wooden beams in the cove.

The gang actually do some research before deciding where to drill hole 3 in the Money pit.

X marks the spot for hole 3.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Curse of Oak Island S04E11


Rick travels to the Franklin D Roosevelt library to find out why the former president was so interested in Oak Island, 10X spoils are assessed and there’s a setback in Smith’s Cove.

What I thought

We left last week with the spoils of 10X being air-sucked up into a big container, and here we began this week. A minor obstruction in the pipe aside, the spoils were all harvested and the water drained from this enormous container thing, which resembled a rubbish skip. In fact, at the end of the operation, all that was left was a grainy layer of sludge which the gang then had to shovel up to be taken away by Jake “multiple hits” Begley to examine. Just before that, Jim found a bone, which is a little odd to find several hundred foot down a shaft. It looked very much like a chicken bone to me but as my knowledge of animal bones is limited to occasional KFC meals, it could belong to anything. Jack we see later going through the spoils on a table comprised of a wire mesh. Apparently, he spent days going through all that mud. Didn’t see the metal detector though that I’m sure Jack sleeps next to this time. The actual mesh doesn’t look that narrow and he uses a hose on whatever he finds that sprays out water at a torrential strength. Oh well, I supposed they know what they are doing, right? Well, anyway. Back in the war room they show the collection of wood that Jack found to Dan who is adamant that it’s not from his operations in 10X a few decades ago. Time to send all that all to actual experts then.

A change of location this week as the gang head down to Smith’s Cove where back in 1909 treasure hunters claimed to find boxed flood channels that fed the booby trap in the Money Pit. In order to confirm they actually existed, a guy is called in who operates a DIY Dam contraption. It’ll be put around the area in a semi-circle and the water will get pumped out so the gang can take a closer look below. Well, that was the plan but the dam material fails spectacularly. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy operating it, who looked genuinely devastated. He’s done this same operation 100 times without failure so it’s said. Not to worry, as the Lagina’s have wads of cash, so this operation will resume at a later date.

It’s the return of Paul Troutman this week, an historian who loves researching Oak Island. For some reason he assembles everyone in the War Room and then invites Rick to the Franklin D Roosevelt library in NY which is where Rick and Alex later head. This is an impressive facility with millions of material in terms of books, letters and photos. Here the three of them go through some of the former President’s letters and find out that FDR believed the French Crown Jewels were buried at Oak Island. So, that’s another theory then to add to the other long list of them huh?

Overall, we had glimpses of new material this week from 10X, a botched operation at Smith's Cove and some FDR revelations which all combined to give some satisfaction viewing.

Rating 6/10

This is exploration Oak Island style: Sifting through mud from 10X.

"Jack, we've found a bone!"
"I'll get my metal detector on it right away," says Jack.

If there's anything tedious to be done, Jack is on it, as he goes through the 10X spoils.

Sniff, Sniff.
"It's wood", says Dan, revealing his amazing powers of smell.

I really felt sad for this guy. He was devastated when his dam failed.

Smith's Cove and the failed dam.

Does anyone look where they're going on these shows?

At the FDR museum, Rick & Alex get away from the tedious jobs at Oak Island and perform more tedious work by reading endless material.