Folks, give yourselves a hand: you've made it to to the end of yet another week. And that's not easy! I don't want to put too fine a point on it, but I spent this entire week having one of those flus that lands you in the hospital. Fun fact: I was in the hospital this week! For the flu.
So for all my fellow sicks, especially, you've earned this — these are the top 5 stories from... The Week in Geek!
TOMB RAIDER IS RAIDING ALMOST EVERYONE'S HEARTS
At this point, Lara Croft is probably the most long-lasting woman hero in video games. Premiering in the original Tomb Raider game in 1996, Lara has starred in over ten main title games, a plethora of game spin-offs, comics, books, an animated series, two Angelina Jolie movies, and now a new movie starring that nice robot lady from Ex Machina.
And in addition to the Alicia Vikander movie dropping this week, there is also leaked news of a new game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, that will round out the latest prequel series of Lara Croft stories. And it's coming out this year. And there's no timed exclusivity on the XBOX like last time. So that's very neat!
But also some dudes on the internet are mad that Alicia Vikander's boobs aren't big and triangular enough to be Lara Croft, so let's address that critical information for a moment.
Lara Croft hasn't had giant pyramids grafted to her chest since pre-2013. Do you even game, bros?
Anyway, that's my deep, well thought-out analysis — caring about the cup size of the live-action counterpart of a video game character is web 1.0 trolling. Try harder next time. Or, better yet, try something else — like being nice to people instead of saying cruel things for clicks. We're all gonna die someday. "He wished Lara's breasts were bigger" would be a pretty s***ty epitaph, don't you think?
Also, Alicia Vikander works out and can probably kick your ass, so, you know: be smart, guy.
FANTASTIC THIRSTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
A new trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald dropped this week. The film has faced a steady uphill climb for a host of reasons: it's not Harry Potter, Johnny Depp is in it and people do not like him, and also Dumbledore still won't be an out gay man even though Grindelwald is supposed to be his evil boyfriend.
People have been very heated about these issues. And then... Jude Law had a beard. And then Jude Law smiled. And we looked upon his high-waisted trousers and his vest and that beard with the smile, and were, for the briefest of moments, sated.
Again, I have been sick with the flu all week, but, looking at Jude Law as Dumbledore, I felt as though I could run a marathon. Because Jude Law is very hot with a beard. Like, holy f***ing GOD DAMN, JUDE LAW. Why didn't you always have that beard?
Also, the trailer was pretty good.
IRIS WEST IS... THE FLASH
Have you been watching CW's The Flash recently? It's been a pretty good season. Lots of new super-powered villains. There's a super-smart bad guy who has been jumping into different bodies and framing Barry Allen for his murder.
The Elongated Man is also on the show now for some reason.
It's been pretty alright.
But I would say that Iris West has had kind of a quiet year on the whole. Last year, everyone was trying to prevent her death at the hands of a future evil alternate version of Barry, but this year she's mostly just been chilling behind a computer console doling out Flash-related advice.
This week, though, a meta with the power to "transfer DNA" (sure, alright, whatever) took Barry's super speed... and gave it to Iris on accident. And then Iris gets to be The Flash for an episode and save the day.
Candice Patton, who plays Iris, tweeted something this week about how she is unbothered by the heaps of racism she receives from "fans" of the show. It can be easy to lose sight of the goodness in life when people hate someone because they are a woman and black and in a relationship with a white superhero. That's upsetting!
But seeing the popularity of this episode, "Run Iris, Run," where Patton gets to play a speedster, and seeing the hugely positive response to it is deeply gratifying. There was fan art, there was celebration, there was purple lightning! That feels good! It's not a solution for all the world's problems, but for one hour, Candice Patton was Iris West as The Flash, she saved the day, and that was enough.
TOYS 'R' US 'R' CLOSING FO'R'EVER
Like many children of the 1980s, I was raised to believe that, should I ever grow up, I would no longer be a Toys 'R' Us kid. And so, dutifully, and at the behest of a giraffe mascot named Geoffrey, I stridently did not grow up. Despite being middle-aged, I still talk about comic books and pew-pew laser guns... and I'm barely five and a half feet tall! I DID WHAT YOU ASKED, GEOFFREY! I HAVE SUSTAINED BOTH AN EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL STATE OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, SO WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME???
Sigh... we have known for some time that big box toy store, Toys 'R' Us, was not long for this world. There was a bankruptcy in September 2017 that brought 180 store closure announcements. Then the number grew to 380 stores.
And now we know, as of this week, that all 735 remaining Toys 'R' Us stores will be sold or closed. That's a potential 33,000 United States employees out of work, which, respectfully, is a little more tragic than not being able to buy toys in a big building.
Call it a sign of the times. People tend to buy toys online or in specialty shops now more than at large, physical locations. Certainly, there's no real fondness towards Toys 'R' Us's standing policy of having gendered sections for their toys.
For those looking at the numbers, there's the issue of Bain Capital buying up the toy company back in 2005 and using most of its profit margin on debt payments. And, in that way, it wasn't even a lack of interest in the big box toy store so much as just the ugliness of corporate spending that did Toys 'R' Us in.
Mostly, though, people of a certain age are just sad to see a representation of their childhood close its doors.
When I was in college (back in the dark ages), one of my professors said that being an adult meant that you could never go home again. And for a lot of people there was a feeling of home to their local Toys 'R' Us, a place literally built on the idea of not having to grow up.
STEPHEN HAWKING PASSES AWAY AT 76
Sir Isaac Newton. Albert Einstein. Stephen Hawking. It's hard to believe how far we've come in understanding our physical universe, and even harder still to comprehend the minds of the people who are brilliant enough to question the rules of that universe. We thought Newton had it on lock. And then Einstein came along. Then we thought Einstein had it on lock. And then Stephen Hawking came along.
In addition to expanding our understanding of black holes and the very nature of time itself, Hawking was a face for people suffering with ALS. His limitless mind served as a reminder that, no matter the physical limitation, there is always a way to rise, inspire, to teach, and change people's very perception of reality.
Hawking, like you, is a lifelong fan of science fiction. He starred in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Big Bang Theory. He once joked upon seeing the Enterprise's warp core that he was "working on that."
Stephen Hawking passed away on March 14, 2018, but his studies will continue to inspire humanity to question the very nature of our universe for the rest of time, however brief its history may be.
And that's it. What a week. They just don't seem to get any easier, do they? Go see a movie — maybe Tomb Raider. Rewatch that TNG episode "Descent" starring Stephen Hawking. Try not to say anything mean and/or racist to people you don't know on the internet. I dunno, folks. I try to set the bar for achievement pretty low. Just be kind to yourselves and each other, alright? Of all the times to be alive, this is yours. And it won't come again. Do the best you can with it.
See you next week.