Monday, November 20, 2017

Z Nation, Season 4, Episode 7: Warren's Wedding



Hey, you know how this season has been surprisingly mature and sensible for Z Nation generally sticking to the plot and not involving completely out there random episodes which just cause headaches?

Zombie Juggalos.

Yup, back into the weird stuff.

So after starting all mature and moving with Lucy’s funeral the gang move son - only we can see Murphy is clearly traumatised and angry. He is attacking zombies, when normally he’s the first to hide at the back of a crowd, and quick to intervene, spoiling for a fight. He’s not listening to Warren (and has a lot of seething anger towards her)

This all leads to them rescuing a woman tied to a ferris wheel just out of reach of zombies. Warren doesn’t want to intervene, but Murphy insists

On releasing her the woman talks about, well, lots of random stuff but mainly that her son is the house from which loud music is playing. Murphy is determined to charge in - rescue, revenge - whatever they’re bad people so he’s justified in hitting them and killing them

Warren desperately tries to stop him - it’s the zombie apocalypse, there are few humans left, you can’t just kill people. But lilley points out he’s acting out of trauma - and 10k and Doc as well - and they can’t be easily stopped. But she refuses to join them; she won’t be part of it, she won’t enable it. So she stays with the released woman who talks about fraygo, partying and pretty much all the drugs ever.

While Murphy & co go inside and get captured by juggalos. Or post apocalyptic zuggalos.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Superstition, Season 1, Episode 5: Tangled Web



Time for a heavy handed flashback and the belief that putting a grown man in a baggy sweatshirt and a baseball cap you can somehow make him pass as a teenager: basically Isaac telling his sons that the ring of solomon is the family’s legacy and how they need to not touch it unless they’re fully committed to using it in ways he will never actually explain. Also stay out the damn woo-woo room.

Ok am I the only one kind of skeeved by the immortal telling his sons that he will outlive them that the family legacy is his personal jewellery? I mean there’s something there, right?

In the present Cal and May do the totally unsubtle hey we ran into each other at the same cafe, what a surprise, we should all have lunch together and share lots of happy memories and pretend to be a family, right Garvey?

Garvey is not playing this game. Nice try. Do not pass go. Do not collect the last-16-years-never-happened card

So he goes home to find they have a house guest. Aunt Nancy who knows Bea (though she doesn’t seem especially thrilled to see her) and is an old friend of the family’s. Isaac mainly. She comes with dire warnings about Dredge, how it’s connected to some bad woo-woo in the past and if she doesn’t bring those memories to the surface, someone’s going to die. She also brings pie

I think more portents of doom would be tolerable if they brought pie. We should mention this to the union

Until Tilly arrives and she really doesn’t like Aunt Nancy - or, as she reveals - Anansi. The trickster god, collector of stories and generally person Tilly doesn’t trust or doesn’t like and should not be let in your home and you certainly shouldn’t eat their pie

To underscore this point Cal collapses after eating said pie. Anansi explains he’s been sent back in his memories to Arlo.

Bea joins the Not Pleased crew since Anansi is dragging up some very painful family memories for her story here but she still trusts her and tries to calm down Tilly - Anansi is powerful but involved in the unique place of this town. But Tilly isn’t easily appeased - asking how many more towns Anansi has left in her wake, broken and destroyed, collateral damage so long as she collects her stories. She thinks Anansi just sees people as characters, sources of drama not actual people. And when Cal gets into distress it’s she who wakes Cal up with a taser and reminds them that in Anansi’s memory visions you’re in danger and can still die

It seems Tilly has a lot of inside knowledge about Anansi and this is confirmed when she confronts her in the woo-woo room. It sounds like Tilly used to live with Anansi, Anansi calls Tilly “her favourite.” But Tilly says “yeah the Artful Dodger had nothing on me” which suggests the relationship wasn’t kind of ethically ideal. I hope more of this is revealed.

Anansi notes that the Hastings treat Tilly as family but Tilly is still keeping secrets - which Tilly insists is her right to do so so there are some revelations coming. Anansi also defends her whole memory game simply because it’s better this knowledge comes from her than Dredge

Once Upon a Time, Season 7, Episode 8: Pretty in Blue



So we keep hearing all this looming fear of Henry and Jacinda getting it on, so let’s finally have an episode looking at why:

In the past we have Ella (and Jacinda) and Henry getting ever closer to each other. They’re training and we all know in these sort of situations there’s nothing like getting sweaty and trying to hit each other for romance. You know we’re only 5 minutes away before them foot sweeping the other and laying on the floor faces inches apart.

While they keep doing the “almost kissing but stopping at the last minute because neither of us can read body language” thing they’re joined by Alice who wants Henry’s help to find someone - Killian. And she calls him Papa! And we get ALL THE FEELS (also notices how he’s a lot younger than he was)

Killian is overjoyed but is very very careful, making sure they never touch because of that heart curse he’s mentioned in previous episodes. Alice insists she’s actually been cured and it’s fine - and hugs him. To which Killian collapses with lots of ugly green magic. See, this is why you never take someone’s word for it that they’re cured before getting up close with them.

Alice runs through a portal - and these portals are just everywhere these days - followed by Ella and Henry to try and bring her back while Regina stays to use her magic to work on killian so she stays behind

Sadly this seems to be something of a habit with Regina - either depowering her or coming up with some reason why her magnificent Evil Queen self needs to be sidelined.

Ella and Henry end up in Wonderland looking for Alice - and reach a tiny maze which needs people to use the drink me potion to enter - and there’s enough for one only

Time for a bit of backstory and fundamental differences between Ella and Henry. Henry is uber positive, convinced they’ll always find each other and true love finds a way yadda yadda because he has been hopelessly damaged by their Sogginesses the Charmings and their utterly relentless saccharine positivity which would totally turn me into a serial killer on general principles. Ella, meanwhile, is not. Her mother fell in love with her step father and gave him a magical locket that would always let them find each other because nothing says true love like constant surveillance and needing to find your spouse at all times. ROMANCE

Except she totally ditched them when she was a kid and daddy went looking using the Stalker Locket to Wonderland where the locket then went dead proving mummy dearest totally didn’t care any more and lo he was a broken man and Ella became bitter and true love is clearly a lie etc etc. And now she wants to go through said maze to find mummy dearest and unleash all the angst.

Once Upon a Time, Season 7, Episode 7: Eloise Gardener



Time for a big flashback and huge revelations and it’s allll getting more complicated but I still want to know what Weaver/Rumple is up to! What game is he playing!

So when we had two Hooks we were told that their worlds were basically the same until the Curse - which Regina didn’t cast in Killian Roger’s world. Which is where we catch up, Killian and Smee all ready to go all revenge on Rumple but Regina arriving and announcing, to everyone’s shock, that Snow White and Prince Charming won and stole her magic and now she needs to flee and would quite like to do so on Killian’s ship

I do like how utterly shocked everyone is that Snow White won. Poor Regina still looks awesome of course

To pay for passage she has a map to where Killian can get some shiny magic to help him defeat an immortal - without it and without the curse he has no chance against a magical Dark One. But it’s guarded by an evil witch

So off he goes and finds the tower - and Rapunzel. She is stuck in the tower, magically unable to leave because of the power of some golden petals. Killian quickly realises that he could use the same power to trap Rumplestiltskin and he will be an immortal stuck forever which sounds all evil and tortuous. Rapunzel can tell him where to get more petals to free her and trap the Dark One - though she isn’t sure she can trust Killian to come back, killian is a big bad pirate and makes it clear she doesn’t exactly have many options here.

So to get the flower which involves a giant murderous garden gnome and Killian singing lullabies

He returns to Rapunzel - much to Smee’s disapproval but Killian does get into trouble because of pretty ladies. And said pretty lady is very appreciative, so appreciative that rather than escape her prison she wants to have sex. This would be odd - but Killian in that out fit really does make this quite an understandable position

The next morning things have changed a little… and there’s a baby in the room. See, Rapunzel isn’t really Rapunzel - she drops her magical disguise: she’s the witch, Gothel. She planned to trap Rapunzel in the tower but she was crafty and locked her up instead and she’s been waiting for a loophole. Apparently she CAN escape - but only if she leaves someone of her bloodline behind. Lacking convenient sibling she’s opted to have a baby, facilitated by using magic to rape Killian (and we all know now there’s absolutely no way her actions are going to be presented as rape because this kind of rape never ever is) and then use the magic of the petals to speed up 9 months of pregnancy

She’s now free, the baby is trapped and she totally wants to go cruising with her released, raped pirate on a revenge tour, abandoning their baby. Killian declines most strongly - in fact he’s just readjusted a lot in his life. He goes back to Smee and Regina - and gives Smee the ship. He can take Regina to where she needs to be: Killian has a more important life now than revenge

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Van Helsing, Season 2, Episode 7: Everything Changes



Let’s get some back story on Dmitri, going back to the darkest and most horrendous period in human history, the 70s, to see Dmitri being arrested for crimes against fashion. Or captured by a Van Helsing - there he’s locked up in the military base everyone’s been hanging around and brutally experimented on

I’m going to have to point out how utterly random the depiction of vampire strength so often is on this show - but I guess Dmitri could be starved or drugged here. After many experiments and extracting of spinal fluid (and probably part of how Vanessa ended up how she is) Dmitri is freed by someone. He recognises them and dramatically (of course) says “guilt is not in your blood, so why?” He gets no answer and then frees himself, massacring everyone on the way

My theory is this is Abigail Van Helsing using Dmitri’s escape and massacre as cover for leaving with her daughters

So to the present we have the grand show down while Dmitri melodramatically explains how he was imprisoned to Scarlett and Vanessa, melodramatically explains who he knows they’re twin sisters (one more vampire than the other in case we missed that. Because we totally need more exposition clarification for people who aren’t following this simple point) and how the elder calling is totally dramatic. Everything is dramatic. I still can’t take Dmitri seriously as a villain.

He wants Vanessa to join him. She predictably refuses and it’s time for the fighting between Vanessa and Scarlett against the Dmitri army. Which involves lots of chopping and blood and Vanessa not biting anyone for REASONS but she does bite Scarlett to charge herself up to super power status and do more massacring. At this point it’s good to remember that vampires in the Van Helsing world aren’t just killed by, say, sunlight stakes or head chopping but also by extreme damage. This is the problem Scarlett has, they’re putting the vampires down who are just healing - at least until super power Vanessa is unleashed.

Vampires go down. There’s a brief moment when Dmitri gets the key which he declares super powerful and threatens Scarlett’s life before she cuts off his hand (a minor inconvenience for Dmitri), gets the key back and they all run. Vanessa, Scarlett and the still dying Axel get clear and seal the entrance with a grenade

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 6: Tombstone



We’re going to ignore the silly prequel at the beginning of the episode because I do not approve, no no I do not. Chronological order. It isn’t hard.

And instead go to the moment when Dean and Castiel meet after Castiel’s return from the grave. And the emotion - so much emotion! The teary eyes, the carefully excellent acting of I’m-too-manly-to-show-emotion-but-I’m-breaking-up-here-emotion. There are levels and layers here.

I’m actually a little disappointed by Dean and Castiel not being nearly as big a thing as getting Castiel to Jack, especially with everyone getting together and realising it was Jack’s big epic powers that brought Castiel back which leads to Jack and Castiel discussing Kelly and trust and Jack’s legacy to make the world a better place and how much he trusts Jack and everything’s going to be good under Castiel’s guidance.

More interesting is how adorkable Jack is trying to be one of the gang. He shows off his telekinesis, getting a handle of his powers and has even found them a case using the internet (which he’s mastered by watching Sam and Dean. Even to the point of hacking traffic cameras… which I would say was improbable but hey bringing people back from the dead Nephilim of uber powers. Mastering computers super quickly is not exactly that much of stretch). Of course this mastery is matched by both his complete ignorance of the supernatural and, well, how the world works. He thinks he’s found zombies and it’s very unlikely

But Dean is just buzzing enough he pushes to go - and I think it’s partly because he is now super happy with Jack right now and mainly because it’s in Dodge City and Dean is apparently a super super super cowboy nerd.

Welp, whatever floats your boat. And it’s actually really good to see Dean being all fanboish and gleeful. When do we ever see Dean being gleeful? Dean and glee do not usually go together.

Even if this does result in some rather embarrassing cosplay from Dean trying to fit in with the local law enforcement and instead having them wonder why random Texas Rangers have made their way into town.

Jack is also trying his hand at playing FBI agent and not pulling it off because he’s far too young and just doesn’t know enough.

People trying and failing aside, we have someone stealing bodies, a dead policeman, a living, vengeful policeman and some gnawed bones - so ghoul. A creature that eats the dead and wears their faces

Friday, November 17, 2017

Requiem: Zoo



Absolutely no-one who has been following our reviews will be even remotely surprised that we greeted the cancellation of Zoo with no great despair. Honestly I was split between quiet dread before a new season - or kind of looking forward to it just for the ridicule. Yes, I was watching this for snark.


The Good

the original concept: normal animals rising up is a terrifying concept. Never mind the lions and tigers; the fear is the common creatures all around us. The horror of family pets rising up against us. Of rats swarming from the sewers, of birds bombing us from the skies, how how different nations with their own wildlife have to react. Places which are surprisingly vulnerable to intelligent, malicious animals. How does this affect agriculture when meat farming effectively becomes near impossible? The implications are enormous and the first season did quite a good job of addressing that.


The Bad

The ridiculousness. The utter, nonsensical ridiculousness. I mean, as I said above, the original concept is terrifying. So why did we need electric ants and earthquake sloths? Even the plot lines twisted so bizarrely that it became almost impossible to follow: remember the Mother Cell? Reiden Global? The Victorian X-rays? And this is before the hybrids & sterility. Throw in the deeply implausible elements - like governments deciding to wipe out all animal life (like we could even do that - if we could rats and wasps and pigeons would no longer be a thing we had in our cities) or the US building a wall across the entire west coast (and not even trying to show the implications of that!). Then we had Jackson’s magic powers, Clem and the miracle baby, the whole Mr. Duncan/Mitch bizarreness and every week turned the whole thing into a confusing rambling Madlib. Did anyone even know what was happening at the end?

And if it’d owned it? I’d be right there. If it had gone full on Z-Nation fully aware of its own ridiculousness I would have jumped right on board, giggling along with it! Invisible giant snakes! Wooly Rhinos! Volcano sabretooths! But by all accounts it legitimately took itself seriously right up to the end. And, honestly, I am freaking impressed the actors kept a straight face managing that.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

American Horror Story Season 7 (Cult), Episode 11: Great Again



Dear gods of mercy, it’s nearly over, it’s nearly over. The end is in sight… this season of American Horror Story is ending!

I made it! I made it people! By heroic effort and stoic endurance I actually made it

Shouldn’t I be getting a medal or something? A parade? A plaque? I think I deserve a plaque

So let’s begin with my least favourite narrative trope in the world ever - a broken time line! Because telling stories in chronological order is just passe. Which means we start with Kai in prison building his own cult again

Yes, Kai is imprison. And yes, the guy who is a notorious is a cult leader so wouldn’t they have precautions about this? In a prison system where you can be put in solitary for just about any reason it seems bizarre that Kai is allowed to roam around and recruit his own army of followers.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves - why is Kai in prison?

Because Ally. After murdering “speedwagon” the poor schlub blackmailed by the local police into becoming an informant and then playing Kai like a fiddle, revealing Winter was innocent, being his peddler of anxiety meds, being his shoulder to cry on and generally wrapping him round her finger. She’s masterful at it, definitely out manipulating the ever more degrading Kai.

At the same time Beverley has just collapsed and in the end just begs Ally to kill her - but Ally just implores her to hold on a little longer

When Kai has his master plan of murdering 100 pregnant women, Ally unleashes the FBI. many of his minions die in the shoot out, Kai is arrested and Beverley released

How is she released? Well she catches up with Ally later who is living a wonderful new life, with a new restaurant, a new girlfriend and even celebrity status as the woman who survived Kai, she’s a feminist icon.