Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Z Nation, Season 5, Episode 10 State of Mine

Time for some more shenanigans. And yes, of course we have shenanigans

We have a bunch of Talkers at a scrap yard digging up things under the watchful eye of humans in haz mat suits and guns treating the Talkers as disposable animals. Until one of those Talkers bites a battery, there’s a puff of white smoke and he comes to his senses. Rallying and feeding more batteries to his fellow Talkers he leads a rebellion

There’s a big dramatic speech about freedom which kind of falls flat. It sounds like an epic anti-slavery rant from an oppressed group who has spent years under the boot of their oppressors - but Talkers haven’t even existed for years. And these words coming from a Black man is just… yeah… we see what you’re doing there Z Nation and think this is an issue.

The man then charges into the mine and is beheaded. There’s something scary down there

This is when Warren, George, 10k and Doc arrive looking for the secret ingredient in Biscuits (yes I know about the daft spelling, no I’m not spelling it that way.) They see the mining and enslaved Talkers and George realises Altura is behind it. They also see the “Hazardous materials” signs but Warren points out that, hey, it’s the apocalypse.

They split up with George pretending to be a Talker, Doc and 10k stalking around and Warren getting stuck in the tunnels

With many shenanigans, they realise that the Altura troops are gathering Lithium, crating it up to take to Altura. They find a semi-coherent Talker who explains lithium takes the edge off and grants clarity but it doesn’t last wrong. They realise this is the secret ingredient for Biscuits - and that Altura is trying to control that because if Estes controls the biscuits they control the Talkers. They can’t have that

There’s more shenanigans with Doc and 10k sneaking around watching the lithium being packed and playing with a crane. Because why wouldn’t you play with a crane? And managing to pass themselves off as Altura operatives by stealing haz mat suits. They all find evidence of people dying in horribly violent and ominous fashion.

While Warren explores the tunnels and discovers the scary force that is mincing people: a giant cyborg Talker. With a buzz saw as a hand. Oh and metal plates that stop him being head-shot and mercied.

Of course we do.

They focus on lithium and arrange various shenanigans to steal the rest of the Lithium and get the rest of talkers to Limbo. Easy enough

Shenanigans ensue, This involves a fight that doesn’t exactly go there way, the convenient appearance of slashy cyborg Talker and the gang all gathered around this giant invulnerable Talker smacking it until they wear it’s battery down. To which Warren reaches out to it as a person so it decides to commit suicide

Monday, December 10, 2018

Supernatural, Season 14, Episode 8: Byzantium

This episode Jack dies…

That’s pretty much the opening scene - and I give special kudos to Castiel telling Dean to get back to Jack’s bedside because Jack needs support and this really can’t be all about Dean for five seconds.

So we have lots of grieving. And it’s really sad and these actors have spent the best part of a decade perfecting their angsty sad faces. It’s what they do. And of course, especially with us supporting fully the idea that Jack has three dads, they needed to have this dramatic grief. Which is so well done.


But… I’m not feeling it? I mean, do I care about Jack? Does anyone care about Jack? Have we actually built up Jack into someone we all care about? I’m not the only one here right?

So after we lose half of the episode to dramatic, well acted grief, of course we realise death totally doesn’t exist in this world. Sam points out to Dean that they never ever give up on the dead (which is something I think we could explore more) and he’s looked for a solution

Enter Lily Sunder. So back in season 12 Lily was a woman who had a nephilim child who was killed by angels so she went on a rampage using angel magic (powered by her soul) to kill those angels and living for an unnaturally long time to do it. She’s now much older since she’s not using that magic any more. But by using that Jack could be reborn and keep his body going using a shred of his soul

Dean is really against this because he’s super stubborn and doesn’t like her. But Sam points out they actually always do these half-arsed desperate deals. Which is true. Dean points out that they usually bite them in the arse. Which is also true

But can they really not take the chance?

Dean confronts Lily - what’s the catch. Why did she stop using the magic and allow herself age. She points out her dead daughter is in heaven and, with only a shred of her soul left, she could go to heaven to be with her. Which is nice but she did all that angel killing stuff which means she’s probably not that welcome up in heaven. So she wants the Winchesters to guarantee her passage to heaven.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy Novella) by Ilona Andrews

It is time for Nevada’s wedding and, if her little sister Cataline has anything to do with it, Nevada won’t have to worry about anything except her poor taste in bouquet

But with intolerant, demanding extended family with a ridiculous amount of secrets, a jewelry thief. Oh and a poisoner

Most weddings don’t have this much drama

It’s an Ilona Andrews book. I will now run around, chuckling with glee. There is no such thing as an Ilona Andrews book I don’t love - their work is designed to make me lose sleep because putting their books down is impossible.

This story continues the deadly magical and political world of the Primes - with a wedding. Nevada and Rogan’s which, unfortunately, also involves a whole lot of Rogan’s less than stellar relatives who are trying to ruin things in various ways

Our protagonist is not Navada for once, but her little sister Catalina - and it gives me hope that maybe we will be able to see future books with Catalina in the lead because she is such an interesting character

I think it’s an excellent contrast between Catalina and Rogan’s rich, spoiled cousins - contrasting their entitlement with her hard work. But also contrasting how young they are in comparison to her - how inept their plotting is, how basic their plans are and how they clearly wouldn’t have worked. We see how mature and competent Catalina is

And I think that really has to be emphasised. Catalina is competent, she’s extremely capable, experienced and knows a great deal about her work as an investigator. She’s a professional despite her young age and it shows everything about her skill and character - I like her

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Midnight Texas, Season 2, Episode 4: I Put a Spell on You

We also have some highly dubious Romani tropes

Romance: Persistence is not a Virtue

The Burning Magus (Blue Unicorn #3) by Don Allmon

JT and Austin are finally facing one of the worst demons of their lives - the wizard Firelight and the heist that went so wrong. The man who killed Austin’s sister, the man who imprisoned them, the man who experimented on them. Now it’s time for a rescue rescue - and a time to do it right

I’ve said it before, one of the difficult parts of writing a review of a series is when you love the same thing about the books - because how do you write a review without being repetitive? Take the Blue Unicorn Series - how do I write this review without repeating what I’ve already written twice before?

Because everything I said there still applies. I love this magical cyperpunk world (I am so desperate to start playing Shadowrun every time I play this game). I love the mix of the magical and the technological. I love how the internet is almost a parallel dimension with such real life applications. I love how hacking and spellcasting feel so similar. I love how we can have the combination of druids and wizards with weird sea god patrons. I love the combination of the giant, terrifying dragon and the virtual godzilla which has almost as much destructive potential even though it only exists in cyberspace. This magical cyberpunk setting is excellent

And the dystopian elements are really well maintained as well - there’s no grand “the world is over!” drama nor are they travelling a lot to show the broken world like we saw in Apocalypse Ally. But still there are references, among all the excellent high tech world building, that makes it clear the nations we’re used to no longer exist, that for all the shiny technology there’s also a lot of desperation and  poverty and evidence of things being broken - especially looking at Austin and JT’s past

I also really like the plot. This is a heist book - preparing the team, checking all their skills, balancing everyone, having everyone use their various abilities to get it all together and make it work. And then it all going wrong. Of course it all has to go wrong. But before that I think it’s really cunning and imaginative and was great fun to watch - I think I’d like to see these characters perform successful heists, no violence, just to see them succeed and all the imagination and intelligence. The heist is great.

We also have all the characters here, all prominent in various ways. I think we have a three way protagonist - Austin, JT and Dante with Comet and Buzz being prominent but taking a back seat. I think that was a good plan because this helps us delve a lot into the various character’s issues - we have Dante dealing with being both an Orc (and seen as less and facing a lot of stereotyping) and a Black woman who has also been injured and disabled. She has moments of self doubt, a lot of thinking that she’s unworthy or incapable. She feels out of place but still fights back against that and reasserts her own worth and strength while also showing off their own capability

JT and Austin are gay and in a relationship - if you can call the hot mess of them together a relationship. And I like the messiness - because the messiness definitely follows through their own issues, the issues with elven glamour, their own utter denial and fear of scaring the other away, their own lack of self worth and their own tragic childhood. I know I’m not a fan of over dramatic relationships - but usually that’s because they are usually so very convoluted and unnecessary. But these work, this drama is based solidly on their characters and characterisation - it makes sense.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Charmed: Season 1, Episode 8: Big a Boo

After last episode the sisters chase after the apparent lightning demon with the Scythe but she has shields and teleportation and is juuuust a little out of their league. So they stop and regroup and head back to the house

Which would make sense if lightning woman didn’t have the power to open that evil prison cell - which she does

I mean, regrouping is sensible. Regrouping when your quarry is about to do something apocalyptic? Slightly less so.

So back to the house and calling the elders - Charity - to try and brainstorm what bad wrong naughty things are happening. This will largely involve Mel and will be important. But this being Charmed each sister has a storyline so let’s jump on those first. And they are both free to go do their thing and live their lives because, unlike ol Charmed the powers that be seem ok with them having normal lives.

So - Maggie issue. Or rather Maggie and Parker. Parker is the New Cole, only more angsty and dying from his Humanness. We have this established with a scene with his evil dad, Alistair McEvilName and his older full demon brother, Hunter. And while Alistair is all pissy that he can’t make Maggie do his bidding, his evil demon shapeshifting smoke brother is really supportive and protective of his baby half-demon brother

Which is kind of weird because he’s also worried that his baby brother is really falling for Maggie which only humans do - this whole caring emotional thing isn’t demonic. Except Hunter obviously cares about his brother and they don’t see the contradiction of that.

Anyway apparently to help Parker live he needs a serum made up of the Charmed One’s blood and he needs it soon as he’s definitely getting worse. While trying to get Maggie a job with his company in Chicago and then a fake drug test (using blood? Not urine?) fails, just saying he’s dying and needs a plasma donation so of course Maggie volunteers (it helps that he’s always thinking JUUUUST the right thoughts when she touches him. Honestly, telepathy on these shows makes me think my brain is even weirder than I know it to be - someone reading my mind wouldn’t get useful coherent thoughts but coffee obsessions, random fantasies and freaky non-sequiter questions about camels in Peru).

Not only does this get him Maggie’s blood, but Mel donates at the same time so bonus. + 10 points for Parker

Along the way Maggie decides she doesn’t actually want to go to Chicago to work or as an intern over the summer as she’d much rather spend the summer with her sisters since they could all die at any time.

Which brings us to Macy. She’s working away and her boss looks at this hardworking employee putting in unpayed overtime and declares that she needs a better work life balance! Go home you can totally be a workaholic later! Uh-huh. I’ll believe in witches, magic and all kinds of demons but I’m not buying this boss being all concerned her staff are working too hard.

Maggie agrees and thinks Macy needs to date more and be more outgoing and fabulous (and also touches Macy’s hair which Macy quickly tells her is a complete no-no and should not be happening which is nicely addressed) in part to try and get her to sign up for a dating app. Macy is reluctant, pointing out that because of sexual racism, Black women and Asian men are the least likely to be swiped on dating apps and it’s not worth her time… at least it’s not worth her time until Maggie agrees to the do the dishes