Monday, February 20, 2017

The Walking Dead, Season Seven, Episode Ten: New Best Friends

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This week's Walking Dead stomped all over some particularly damaging tropes that the Walking Dead has been exacerbating for a long time. Ultimately while we could talk about the tension between the Saviours and Ezekiel, Richard's attempt to use Carol, Rick gathering more supporters, Rosita and Tara snarling at each other, Daryl and Carol's reunion and him lying to her etc; the tropes, especially around Father Gabriel and his fawning creeping and crawling around Rick, that permeated this episode so much was just too much to swallow. Especially since we've been fed a steady diet of the same or similar tropes for several seasons now. We've written about it before and it's time to write about it again So faced with writing a more detailed recap and not properly address this (and it sticks in the craw to do so), we're going to tackle this in a Friday discussion this week. Watch this space for that

Sleepy Hollow: Season 4, Episode 7: Loco Parentis

Last episode Malcolm seemed to achieve immortality demon defeated and all sorts of things – so now it’s time of a monster of the week, but with some decent bonding along the way and some exploration of Diana and Molly

It’s Molly’s 11th birthday coming up which comes with Ichabod learning about modern childhood toys and Diana becoming increasingly concerned about the whole witness things since Milly is still a child. She’d rather be Witness by proxy and preferably tell Molly as little as possible despite Ichabod saying it’s probably not going to work that way

Into this comes Mitch, Molly’s father, Diana’s ex. And this could get messy. This could end up with Ichabod being irrationally jealous or lots and lots of jokes about Ichabod and Diana being a couple or Diana looking at her ex and seeing he’s still interested but realising she’s interested in Ichabod more…. And thankfully none of that happened. Not once. I think the eternally clueless writers of Sleepy Hollow realised that this soon after Abbie absolutely no-one, not one damn person, was here to see Ichabod head down the quasi romantic path with someone else. No-one (and if anyone does? You’re a bad person who should feel bad.)

It was surprisingly mature in a genre which generally doesn’t handle relationships in anything resembling a sensible or reasonable manner (and by “genre” I mean “media in general. At all. Ever.”) it works well. Ichabod encourages Diana to pursue her relationship if she wants to, realising what she actually wants. She explores her issues with Mitch, why the split up and why the whole Witness thing makes it a much more difficult time to reintroduce a 2 year missing father into the mix may be

While Mitch turns out to be reasonable, kind, patient, definitely wanting to reconnect with both but respecting Diana and her boundaries.

And he’s a werewolf.

Or a Barghest – except Barghest is actually a northern English monster and doesn’t especially resemble this – it’s a werewolf.

Said werewolf has been killing people and, like so many monsters, it turns out to be from ye olde colonial days which Ichabod has just remembered. And like every monster from ye olde colonial days, the people then decided to lock it in some American Artefact (the Liberty bell is actually Dracula’s tomb. The Washington Monument has Anubis impaled in the bottom). Despite the fact this creature literally needs killing with sharp rock.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 12: The Lies are Going to Catch Up with You

Noooooooooooooooo, oh my gods no. I hate this show’s morality so much. It’s definition of redemption, forgiveness et al – gah. This episode. Oh this episode.

Ok, take a breath and dive into this.

So, Kai is back because ringing the hell bell actually does open the door to hell which gave several evil evil evil souls chance to escape and come to Mystic Fall. After 8 season there were so many people who could have come back from Hell (because everyone is evil in this series, yes, everyone) we end up with Kai

Damon, being the amazingly self-centred person he is, instantly realises that this is his key for waking Elena early so is quick to stop Alaric from murdering him savagely and agreeing with Kai when he claims he can help them kill Cade. Ultimately it’s Damon deciding yet again to pursue his own goal, his own desires.

Along the way they realise that Kai is only halfway in the real world (he can’t feel anything or taste anything) and he is being pulled back into hell. Clearly killing more evil people will help with that – which Damon, grudgingly does

At least we get Kai mocking Damon’s rather feeble attempts at redemption – because, really, he’s in such karmic debt that sparing the odd life here and there doesn’t even begin to cover it. Damon finally decides to try and convert Kai to the redemption pathway by claiming Kai needs to do a big selfless act to prove to Cade he’s not evil – wake Elena. And then Damon will forgive him

Uh, Alaric won’t for killing his wife and trying to kill his children. Or what about the gazillion other deaths Kai left in his wake? One person forgiving him does not in any way make up for everything. And, for that matter, I hate this very recent fixation of The Vampire Diaries on forgiveness – that you are redeemed by your victims forgiving you and can then guilt them into it. Most of their victims are dead and they have no clue who their surviving relatives are - if at all. For that matter, most of them died en mass or died so long ago that there’s very few people they can actually seek forgiveness from. It’s a cop out – one which allows them to focus “redemption” on proximate guilt and a clear path to redemption: by foisting it on one victim who is obliged to forgive

This is especially true now we have the reality of hell. That victim is now obliged to forgive or literally send you to hell – that’s a guilt trip for you.

In other Damon self-servingness, he checks in with Bonnie to see if she’s figured out how to save Enzo – not for her, nor for Enzo or for her grief. It’s just about Damon getting his own way so they can save Kai and he can resurrect Elena.

Grimm, Season Six, Episode Seven: Blind Love

"Love looks not with the eyes, but
with the mind,
 And therefore is winged Cupid
painted blind"

I know that I've complained a lot about the Wesen of the week thing in this last season because I have been so anxious to see the meta move to a satisfying conclusion after six long years. Blind Love, is another in the long list of Wesen of the Week but this week, I forgive the writers for the simple fact that I don't think that there's ever been a funnier episode of Grimm. I simply could not stop laughing.  If they have to drag out the meta, this is the way to do it.

It's Monroe's birthday and so Rosealee arranges for the entire group to go on a weekend getaway as a celebration.  I know that Monroe and Rosealee love their friends but as a parent, I couldn't help but think about how they are blowing one of their last child free weekends.  Finding a babysitter for one child can be challenging, let alone the three Rosealee is carrying.

At Nick's, Eve wakes up to Diana the demon child questioning if her stomach hurts.  Diana explains that her stomach sometimes hurts when she's upset and now that Nick is no longer Eve's boyfriend, she has a reason to be upset.  Eve explains that things are different now and that they cannot go back to the way they used to be.  Diana then explains that she misses her other mommy Kelly and wants to know what happened to her.  Eve has a flashback to Mommy Grimm's head in a box.  We all know what happened to Kelly. Damn you Grimm. Before Eve has to respond to the demon child, Adalind appears to get Diana to pack to visit Renard.

As Adalind gets Diana ready, she brings up the drawings which Diana made of the glyphs she saw in the tunnel.  Adalind asks Diana to keep them a secret from her father.  When they are done packing, Adalind and Diana head out, leaving behind Nick and Eve.

Eve is in the shower and when she exits, she notices a dot on the mirror.  The spot gets larger until it encompasses the entire mirror. A dark red face with glowing eyes appears, causing Eve to call out to Nick.  Nick rushes into the bathroom and makes eye contact with the monster in the mirror.  The two stare at each for a few moment before the face disappears and the mirror turns back to normal.  Eve is relieved when Nick reveals that he saw the face as well. Eve explains that it looked like where she was when she was caught in the death grip. I suppose this means we haven't seen the last of Bonaparte.  Nick decides that they should keep what they saw from everyone until they get a better handle on exactly what is gong on. When has Nick ever figured anything out on his own? What sense does it make to keep a secret from those who are most able to help him?

Adalind drops Diana off at Renard's, and a hungry Diana requests cookies for breakfast.  Renard tries to be the responsible parent and suggests that they have pancakes instead.

The gang all arrives at the hotel and act like it's been years since they'v seen each other.  Randy checks everyone in and then heads to the elevator to help Nick and Adalind get to their room, since the elevator is an old fashioned one.  Randy looks at Nick strangely, as though he recognises him from somewhere. Once Randy is done with escort duty, he heads downstairs to call his mother because he needs to get into contact with his father. When Randy finally gets a call from his father who's in jail, he reveals that Nick is the same Grimm responsible for him being imprisoned. Randy promises his father that he's going to make Nick pay.
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Diana is back to drawing the glyphs and when Renard notices them he asks what they are. Diana explains that she saw the glyphs in a tunnel and promised her mother that she wouldn't tell anyone.  Renard tries to probe for more information but Diana refuses to rat her mother out any further. Renard has to satisfy himself with taking a picture of the glyphs.  The door bell rings and Renard answers the door. Renard is informed that his fellow cops have sent some topiaries as a house warming gift. While Renard is distracted with the delivery, someone sneaks into his home, and uses chloroform to knock Diana unconscious before kidnapping her. Whoever decided to kidnap the demon child messed up in a big way. When Renard reenters the house, he discovers that Diana is missing. Renard's first instinct is to panic and to call someone but he quickly puts down his phone and smiles. 

Emerald City, Season One, Episode Eight: Lions in Winter

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Next week will be the penultimate episode of this season of Emerald City.  I have to say that I've been fascinated with Emerald City from the very first episode. Unfortunately, it seems that others have not shared my interest, given the poor ratings.  It the cancellation bear is projecting that Emerald City is not likely to be renewed. If this is indeed the case, I hope that the writers thought ahead and gave us an ending which could both serve as an end to the season and the series. There's nothing worse than becoming hooked on a show and then not having any closure.

We are still waiting for the Beast Forever to appear but in the meantime, the Wizard has decided that now would be a good time to go to war.  The Wizard gathers 1000 soldiers with the intent of marching to pick up his weapons from Lady Ev, before then heading North to attack Glinda.  Eammon tries to insist on coming along but it seems that the Wizard wants him to stay to keep Emerald City safe.

In a field, West and Tip discuss who Tip really is.  West finally convinces Tip that he really is the princess Ozma by questioning what sense it would make to hide an orphan and change their sex.  West points out that if the princess were really alive, she would be exactly Tip's age and this combined with the dagger which was given the princess on her name day, is pretty damning evidence.  After informing Tip that they were born for greater things, West grabs Tip and the two soar through the air.

Now that Roan has made it clear that Glinda came first, Dorothy has been locked in a room with a heavily pregnant woman. The woman has been imprisoned for daring to love while in service to Glinda, rather than being chaste. The woman reveals that The Wizard killed the father of her child and that she believes that the true Beast Forever is in fact the Wizard himself.  She asserts that people need not fear monsters falling from the sky because the Wizard is whom they should fear.  The woman is well aware who Roan and Sylvie are and doubts Dorothy's promise to keep her and her baby safe, given that Dorothy was cavorting with Glinda's husband. That's right, Roan and Glinda are married.  

Speaking of Glinda and Roan, it's reunion time.  Glinda is so clearly happy to have her husband back but Roan clearly doesn't reciprocate those feelings. Unsurprisingly, Glinda has questions, chief among them how long Roan has been travelling with Dorothy. Roan is quick to deny that Dorothy is an assassin and explains that she saved his life and that he did the same in return when required. Roan should have explained that Dorothy isn't bright enough to be an assassin. Roan then claims that he cannot be held responsible for the things he did while he wasn't himself. Uh huh. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Supernatural, Season 12, Episode 12: Stuck in the Middle Of You

Nope, nope nope, stop this. Stop. I hate hate hate hate this whole broken time line nonsense. Can we please just tell a story in neat chronological order? And now with artsy pauses and dramatic walking and even repetition? Stop.

So piecing together this hot mess of storytelling.

Hunter called Wally calls in Mary to help him with a case. Because Wally is your basic decent hunter not Winchester Apocalypse-it-must-be-Tuesday-hunters. You can tell by the way he’s freaked out by the fact Lucifer has a kid while the Winchesters are pretty meh about it

He has a demon problem.

Demons! Yes these are actually a threat to the average hunter. I know Dean and Sam spent the last 4 seasons pretty much focused on demons and now regularly have mimosas with the king of hell which kind of takes away the fear of demons. But, of you remember back to the heady days of seasons 1 & 2 (aside – don’t go back and watch these. Because you’ll see Baby!Dean and think he was so cute and adorable and then remember you used to think he was super hot, then feel like a cradle snatcher, then realise you were so much younger then and THEN realise how old you are now and you’ll end up sitting in a corner eating a whole tub of ice cream or going to a club drinking too much and dancing in woefully regretful ways to prove you still got it. Either way it’s not pretty and regret lies that way. So I’m told. By other people. Not me of course) demons were actually waaaay up there in the scale of scary shit the hunters didn’t want to face.

Of course the fact they’re carrying an arsenal of angel blades around (he remember when they used to exorcise demons and try to save their hosts?).

So they meet in a diner, make a plan, encourage Castiel to flirt with the waitress (hey remember the whole terror of Nephilim thing?) and she thoroughly takes control and owns that exchange.

And then it all goes to shit

The night fishing demon they’re hunting is way more than a demon, has yellow eyes, is immune to their bullets and even the demon blade – can take down Castiel and has some awesome weapons. He also has minions.

Wally ends up dead. Castiel severely injured with a weapon that cancels angelic healing. Mary uses a big car as a weapon because she’s Mary and practical like that.

Of course, a yellow eyed demon is something they have history with. Except… Azazel? He was scary and all – back when Dean was adorkable – but Abaddon, Lucifer, god’s own sister have all come and gone since then. To say nothing, again, of the mimosa parties with the King of Hell. Azazel ain’t that scary any more.

Turns out that Mary was actually the one who called in Wally – so she could call on Sam and dean without them realising. And it’s the Men of Letters who’ve set her against this guy – much to Wally’s distrust (he doesn’t buy what they’re selling) but she thinks she’s been doing awesomely with their gear and intel

And she seems to have another motive – not killing the demon but stealing from him and not telling the others.

That’s an arsehole move there Mary – people risking their lives for your lies?

The Men of Letters totally deny they knew he had yellow eyes, totes not their fault.

And then Crowley shows up. No mimosas but lots of insults. He’s not impressed by them – and this is Mary’s first introduction to the King of Hell. She’s not impressed. Nor am I, with Sam:

Sam; The demons, they were yours
Crowley: Obviously

Colony, Season Two, Episode Six: Fallout

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We are just about at the halfway point of this season, which thus far has been a reset.  The characters that we have come to know in season one, are largely still with us, though they have been somewhat re-positioned.  At this point, we still don't really know the end game of the aliens but we do have a larger sense of the world itself and know a little bit about the new government.  The question is, can our merry band of survivors really create a strong enough existence to shake up the new world order?

Things are really tense for the Bowmans, and they have to watch each step they take.  Now is the time to circle the wagons because everyone else is looking out for themselves.  Let's begin at the prison camp where Bram is being housed. Nolan decides that he wants a tour because of the special shipment which is in the warehouse and Maddie hitches a ride to check on her much beleaguered nephew. Over the last few episodes, Katie has pushed Maddie hard in order to ascertain if her sister is doing everything that she can for Bram, and as it turns out, Katie's right about exactly how self interested Maddie has become. To assuage her guilt, Maddie brings Bram a bag of goodies saying that she thought he would find it a welcome relief, given that the food in the prison cannot be all that good. Bram of course isn't interested in the food and wants to know when he's going the hell home.  Maddie tries to offer Bram a bit of good news by informing him that his brother Charlie is finally home.  Bram however isn't comforted by this news and wants to know why his parents aren't doing everything for him, the way they did for Charlie. Bram promptly drops the bag of food on the ground and walks out, now sure in the knowledge that he's going to have get himself out of this bind. 

While Maddie has been busy, Snyder takes Nolan on a tour of the facility.  Even though Nolan is now the Deputy Proxy, there are still certain things which are above his pay grade.  This however doesn't stop Nolan from leaning on Snyder, claiming that he is the one responsible for Snyder landing this cushy job at the prison and that they can continue to be friends.  Snyder seems passive, which should have been a warning to Nolan that his mind is already spinning.  Snyder takes Nolan to the crates that the aliens want taken off planet and of course, Nolan is insistent on opening one up. Inside the crate, there's a tube of some sort, which Nolan sees as proof that the Greatest Day is going to happen.  At this point, I have no idea what the hell this device really is, or if it's indeed connected to the Greatest Day.

That evening, Maddie remembers that she's an aunt who's supposed to love her family and decides to advocate on Bram's behalf with Nolan.  Her change of heart doesn't last a New York minute when Nolan starts talking about how close they are to their goal.  Nolan even argues that in times like this, they have to look out for themselves. He says this bullshit with a smarmy ass smile and Maddie drinks it up hook line and sinker. 

As expected, Snyder is running his own game.  Nolan should have thought about the fact that Snyder was selected to be Proxy in the first place, thus meaning that he's no easy mark, no matter how low his star has fallen recently. Snyder gets on the phone with Helena to tell her about Nolan's little visit to the facility and his desire to see what's in the crates.  Nolan assures Helena that he didn't show Nolan the crates which really matter.  In the coup de grace, Snyder then implies that he's looking for Helena and informs her that Nolan is gunning for her job. This will probably mean problems for Maddie, if Nolan finds himself on the outside looking in; however, I'm done caring about what happens to her character. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Magicians, Season 2, Episode 4: The Flying Forest

Quentin gets patched up by some centaur doctors but this is going to take a while to put him together after the beast gave him a mauling.

That means Elliot and Margot can’t really hang around since they’re the last monarchs standing. They head back to the capital only to be reminded that Fillory is pretty much falling apart and being monarch is no fun at all.

This involves Elliot falling apart into a mopey, useless mess, as per usual. While Margot grows spikes and is vicious, ruthless leader and, probably, actually quite effective in an iron-fisted despot kind of way. She knows what needs to be done, is willing to get it done and isn’t going to be distracted by sentimentality.

Including not being interested in building a monument to Alice because she wasn’t actually their friend. She was a “package deal who came with Qunetin” She’s brutal, but I almost have to respect her adherence to a vicious honesty rather than claiming a relationship they didn’t actually have.

The problem with Fillory is that, while the Beast isn’t draining the wellspring any more, apparently gods taking a shit in it isn’t great either

This is also a problem back in Brakebills where Henry and his professor notice magic acting up.

Margot has little patience for Elliot’s moping, making the excellent point “my crown is as heavy as yours.” She’d be an evil ruler but damned if I’m not respecting her.

Elliot bemoans the awfulness of him having grown up and Margot starts looking for a loop hole for him

She finds a way to create him a golem which he can move his mind into so he can stay in Fillory while his brain is happily running around in his body and partying in Brakebills, making drinks and finding a hot guy to have sex with.

Except while having sex in golem body with his man, his “sexually aggressive wife” (who has already made comments that makes it clear they’ve had sex and while he didn’t enjoy it, she’s a definite fan) approaches his real body in Fillory, pursuing sex. And Elliot says yes to her while saying yes to the hot guy he just met

Have you noticed how every time Elliot, a gay man, has sex, a woman is involved? Seriously, that’s an issue with this damn show.

Having partied, Elliot ends up being interviewed by Dean Henry about how very very very over his head he is. Henry, rightly, points out that Elliot has to choose between his two lives: Fillory or Brakebills which is basically no choice because he can’t leave Fillory. So he has to step up and accept he has actual responsibilities – at least Henry decides he’s going to help because the whole idea of Earth students going to Fillory and sort of conquer the place. (Sort of).

This feels like an attempt at a social justice message on colonism but is so weird and clumsy and with such a kind of ludicrous context that it’s all so very very bizarre.