Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Walking Dead: Season 9, Episode 9: Adaption

The new reboot continues and we have to remember Jesus is still dead, after being already only blink-and-you-miss-it gay and having his storyline vastly cut from what it was. No, I’m not amused. Oh yet Negan is alive and free. Of course he fecking is

And we have the introduction of a new enemies, a group of people in a post technology world that exist by hanging around with lots of rotting bodies. They call themselves the Whispers. I call them the Sufferers of Septicaemia. And, of course, all the settlements have turned against each other for not apparent reason, perhaps only because without The Supreme Lord Rick everything must collapse because all hail Rick.

Which means we open with Jesus’s corpse (not over this) and Michonne and Darryl doing a fighting retreat while everyone withdraws. And having to learn that fighting human led Walkers is awkward - after all a closed gate is no longer an impassable barrier

Alas we do have to catch up with Negan and he isn’t just eaten. He is lurking around being sinister and trying to escape and is found by Judith holding a gun. He tries to talk her out of shooting him - but wisely realises she is Not Bluffing. Judith is a child of the apocalypse and ruthlessness will be baked into her.

At least I would have thought so -but she still lets him go. Aaaargh really? WHY IS HE NOT DEAD?! Everyone has to agree that “You won’t shoot” “yes I will - bang” would have been awesome.

In Alexandria a whole lot of people whose names I don’t remember are being organised by Tara and Enid. And Luke, one of the new guys I guess whose name I better remember, volunteers to help to get in with the group, teaming up with Enid’s boyfriend Alden

Alden is so going to die. He’s such angst fodder. They talk music but I’m not going to pay much attention to them until I know one or more of them is going to actually live

Either way it’s all pointless because Michonne and co make it back fine anyway. On the way they run into some Walkers and Daryl has found a convenient way to tell who is actually a Walker and who is a Whisperer… shoot them in the leg and when they scream they’re a human. And about to get eaten by all their fellows

Which kind of puts a big question on how effective the Whisperers are since they have to stumble around one trip or sneeze from being eaten, they’re incapable of running or seeking cover when faced with range attacking and have to go into battle while method acting. This has flaws as a battle strategy

Exploiting this, they manage to grab a captive to drag back to Alexandria. There everyone is sad about Jesus being dead. They quickly remind us as well that they want like ALL THE VENGEANCE because they totally care about Jesus. Honest. Unlike the writers

My bitterness rises

Michonne, after bonding with Daryl over the whole dead Rick thing, decides it’s time for her to head back to Alexandria, with Aaron declaring how he’s totally agreeing with Michonne on how they should hunker down and never co-operate with their faithful friends to launch a co-ordinated response to the army threatening them

Because… reasons? Yeah that made no sense at all.

She leaves Daryl behind to question the fragile little remaining Whisperer - he intimidates her a lot in which she talks about how grim everything is, they need the dead to survive and, oh, all settlements like this fail eventually. She mentions her mother but her estimate of the numbers of Whispers are clearly lies. Also they don’t have names.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Siren: Season 2, Episode 4: Oil and Water

Ben is listening to recorded siren song. This is a bad bad bad idea.

A very bad idea.

And while he listens to it Ryn also dreams of Ben. This feels more and more like supernatural shenanigans and not a good sign. Ryn is especially confused because mermaids don’t dream and Maddie has to explain the concept to her - and add that it means she’s thinking about Ben and wants him. Which is kind of weird coming from Maddie - like she’s trying to resurrect her relationship with Ben but also trying to set up Ben and Rynn

But there’s a new merfolk drama - it seems while they all consider each other to be family et al, their views on family are much like mine: fine in concept but that absolutely doesn’t mean you need to spend more than 2 hours in their company. The merfolk are snarling at each other constantly, they need to be separated. Also in the sea, the merfolk are always hunting and fighting and doing something - inactivity is not something they’re used to. So time to get them all

Levi is coming with Ben and learning how to be a human man (which Maddie throws in more mixed signals by saying that Ben is the best rolemodel and kissing him). Levi promptly kisses a confused and shocked Ben - because like Rynn he still doesn’t understand how human interactions work. Ben does emphasise consent.

He wants to learn - so it’s down to Ben to teach him television, music, beer, sports, family and friends and not fighting. The last is especially important because though merfolk are a martriarchal society, the men are soldiers and protectors so Levi expects to fight and Ben has a nice speech about not fighting

There’s also the Xander issue and Ben tries to talk to him about how Levi is basically a soldier and can’t really be held responsible for Sean’s death. Unsurprisingly, Xander isn’t hearing this - because Xander has his own issues and plot for revenge

Xander has found the injured Katrina and is keeping her on his boat, trying to trade her freedom for Levi’s location (which is awkward because Katrina doesn’t actually know). It’s also dangerous because Katrina is a dangerous and crafty mermaid and quite willing to rip his face off - so he takes her out to sea. Unable to enter the water because of the death noise and can’t kill him because she can’t pilot a boat. So they strike a deal - he helps her get rid of the death noise and she will then help him get Levi

Which means both sides are kind of promising things they can’t keep.

Rynn and Maddie are living together with Donna’s daughter as Maddie moving out to get her own space to allow this. This does rather disturb Sarah who thinks her daughter is leaving because of her -but Maddie assures her it’s not and even has lunch with her as a peace offering. It’s a nice bonding moment but… awkward. Sarah clearly sees this as beautiful and meaningful and nostalgic and has even engraved one of Maddie’s necklaces with “love mom” on it which is nice. While Maddie is distracted, clearly viewed this as a sop to her mother, doesn’t have the same shiny memories or nostalgia and generally isn’t taking this as nearly as seriously. Awkward.

Maddie, Rynn and donna’s daughter all catch up with Ben and Levi in a bar (where Levi went contrary to Ben’s wishes because Ben is trying to teach him how to be his own person rather than just obeying commands). Levi’s doing well with beer pong and teaching Ben how mermaid mating works (which is fairly violent and involves men displaying gleaming neck lights to attract women) since Ben is clearly interested in Ryn. There is a bar fight and Levi manages to avoid fighting, listening to Ben. Ironically Ben is the one who knocks the guy out and then they dance (with Ryn confessing to Ben that she likes singing to him and this makes them think there’s a deeper connection to their longing than just siren song while I think that this actually means siren song is just more powerful than they realise).

Maddie who wants to check up with her mother - only to find out Sarah has been visited by Glen, her dealer, and is high when Maddie gets home. Maddie leaves tearful and angry, going to Ben and Ryn and the three bond and kiss. Is this the much vaunted bisexual representation that has long been teased on this show? Hmmm… maybe? I mean we just established that Ryn actually dreamed for the first time ever after Ben listened to a RECORDING of her song and she’s started daydreaming of him after that. We’ve also seen Maddie, despite the headphones, by definitely affected by Ryn’s siren song. The timing makes this whole thing rather less compelling as authentic - mind controlled potentially dubious consent driven by a mercreature that doesn’t even understand relationships. I can see this super complicated - but not as great un-asterixed representation. Ultimately, mind-controlling woo-woo casts a shadow here

The last drama is Helen - her squirrelly relative does come to visit her and perhaps my assumption of shadiness is unwarranted. Helen talks about how out of place she’s always felt and that’s apparently common ground for both the mermaid hybrids with addiction issues common in the family. As is their funky nasty icky skin. She presents him with a home cure which works which makes him super trust her because no-one has been able to cure his icky skin before

Which is when Helen introduces him to a mermaid to feel the connection -which he does on a mystical level.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wild Hunger (Heirs to Chicagoland) by Chloe Neill

Elise is the first vampire born, the first vampire who has never been a human - and the first vampire with a dark secret presence in her mind

She has left home to live in Paris for several years to try and get some space to find herself. But with the talks to try and establish a lasting peace in Europe, she finds herself back in Chicago

And facing the beast inside her - and a plot to end the peace talks and put the whole city at risk

I… can’t say I’m a huge fan of Elisa? I mean I don’t feel any especially personality with her. And I’m trying hard not to compare her to Merit - but it’s inevitable that since this series is literally the heir to the previous Chicagoland series; the protagonists are going to be compared. And Merit with her love of books and junk food and baseball, her snark and close relationships, her determination to face down Ethan and her father - Merit had personality, Merit was a character and she was surrounded by other characters.

Elise… isn’t? I mean she likes coffee… that’s kind of like the only thing I know about her. Her personality,wishes, desires, hopes, everything is subsumed into both her struggle with the Beast and her I-hate-him-but-we’re-definite-love-interests-Connor.

What’s most frustrating is how much meat there’s there! She’s the first born vampire. She grew up never seeing the sun and literally not knowing what she was and surrounded by supernaturals. She moved away to France and spent years there trying to find herself. How can this not inform her character? How can someone so unique with such different life experiences BE SO BLAND?! Why doesn’t her years in France inform any of her character except her hanging around with French vampires who are shuffled out of the way before we have to focus on them too much. Why isn’t her being the

And there’s the “beast” which is again, blandified. If your character is literally hosting a powerful magical entity that feasts on rage and turns her eyes red I expect it to be… more? I mean now and then she struggles to control it - as in we have a paragraph of her saying no to the Beast, and we move on. And when she loses control? She beats up someone who kind of deserves it? She fights hard in a situation where she’s already fighting? The unwillingness to make Elise do anything truly bad or awful with the Beast (she beat up a man who stole from and was going to sexually assault her best friend? Merit would do that twice, no need for the Beast) makes it all feel limp and, yes, bland

To add to the blandness we have the characters around her. Merit worked because she was surrounded by fun an awesome characters as well -he conflicts and romance with Ethan was interesting. She had Mallory her best friend which waxed and waned, there was Catcher and Jeff and her grandfather and the fraught relationship with her parents and even her frustrating relationship with Morgan. There were PEOPLE in her life and they were all informed enough and interesting enough to add to the story, to her story.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Magicians: Season 4, Episode 4: Marry... Kill

Oh I’m torn

On the one side, everyone has their own storyline and it’s all separate and that always frustrate me

Except all the storylines are awesome. In fact can I say again how utterly amazing Magicians has turned things round

So first up we have Josh, now back from Fillory after the death of Bacchus, yes the Monster brought him home and Penny is rather surprised. And Josh is surprisingly mellow about the death of Bacchus - oh he’s not a fan of the whole killing but that phone call for Quentin was exactly what he feared -his dad is dead so Josh is putting a pin in that.

Elliot monster is also around and Margot is giving him shit because it’s what she does in perfect fashion - stylish, sassy, perfect fashion. She tries to convince the Monster to jump to a new non-Elliot body but he’s not into that and wants to kill more gods - so he’s off to Quentin. More on that later

So Josh has another problem - he’s having horrible bloodthirsty nightmares and when he wakes up there’s a bloody hunk of flesh in his bed. He tries to cover it up but Penny notices. Soooo between the time lines it’s hard to follow but Josh is a kind of werewolf. A sexually transmitted lycanthropy. And he is now going through the Quickening which means he either has to have sex and pass it on or brutally murder someone. He confirms this with Helen, a teacher in Brakebills who infected him and she fills in the blanks. She also makes it clear that locking yourself in a cage will only make you go mad and kill yourself.

She suggests using Tinder and infecting someone - just like she does. But on the plus side being a werewolf is generally harmless except for that once a 30 year quickening thing. Of course Josh refuses because he’s not going to infect an innocent with this.

In despair he tells Margo. Margo doesn’t do despair. Margo refuses the very concept of despair. Margo is absolutely not giving up and decides to find a cure for the curse - while Josh remembers someone else was infected and rushes to warn her. Only to find the dismembered corpse in her bed which doesn’t help her despair (Margo is completely unimpressed and decides since she slept with an uber driver she probably had a death wish. Did I mention how Margo completely rules this show?)

They pursue and Indonesian ritual to cure the curse that uses the heart of a Komodo dragon they steal from Kanye (because… Magicians. Oh and Margo is fine with killing it because it’s only vulnerable not endangered). Which all looks good… except it doesn’t work

In despair, Josh locks himself in a cage to give up and embrace death and Margo is furious and berates him for doing just that - because she’s Margo and Margo never ever gives up. Why if he has to kill someone she knows at least a dozen people who deserve it! Josh says no. And adds that her refusing to give up is just making his sacrifice so much harder

But under that determination is also the deeply sad vulnerability that she doesn’t want to lose another friend (and she has no time for men and their noble sacrifices because she’s Margo and skewering pretentious masculinity is her thing)

She gets in the cage - and removes her underwear. Josh protests but she points out she can’t cure him, doesn’t want him to die, she can’t make him kill someone but she can offer him one thing: consent. And she does like him (which is mutual)

Ok there’s definitely an argument about whether this is consent since Margo is presented with only one way to save her friend - there’s definitely pressure here. But at the same time Margo is an adult and it’s patronising to say that pressure removes her ability to make an informed decision (especially since we know Margo isn’t sexual reserved or reticent and may quite happily see sex as a useful tool in these circumstances). Also, it’s Margo - she’s equally capable of finding someone she doesn’t like and throwing them in the cage to be murdered. Oh yes she would.

They have sex, which saves Josh and they snuggle afterwards (and it’s cute and I think helps with the above semi-conflict in making it clear Margo does like him. Also he’s the one who calls it casual but she makes a semi-joke about it being far from casual since she saved his life). She is infected with the werewolf STD now but she kind of shrugs it off - it’s only communicable through penis-in-the-vagina sex which she doesn’t see as the pinnacle of sex: it’s not even in her top 10. And if she lives 30 years (which she doubts and is likely not wrong) she has people who owes her favours

They also both think that Elliot may be dead

Speaking of - Quentin says goodbye to Julia (and they have an awesome dynamic including Quentin teasing her because this Penny is clearly into her) before he heads off to handle his dad’s estate. There he meets his mother and things are… tense as he makes up various excuses for being away

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Siren: Season 2, Episode 3: Natural Order

Time for some more tours of the forest with Maddy and Ben being kind of close to each other and growing more so as they show the merfolk the forest - and it’s dangers. Including poison ivy and the idea that some plants are dangerous (Ryn is familiar with the concept of plants as medicine)

And another problem is the merfolk drive to hunt and when a deer arrives they all charge after it and run out into the road, nearly getting run down. Katrina challenges as usual

They try to talk to Ryn about not hunting on land and to make things more difficult Marissa, Sheriff Dale’s replacement, arrives to question Ben about his friends trashing the local shop. Ben tries to explain it away as partiers but it’s clear she’s suspicious and it’s also becoming more awkward to stay in the cabin. To finally push them out, Ryn is having skin issues again - she needs water. Only the oil company is going all out with their sonic thingy, now no water is actually safe. Worse, Ryn can’t show weakness before Katrina or she will attack her for leadership - and she’s quick to tell Ben to back off when he wants to interfere. That is not the merfolk’s way - she needs to do this alone.

Maddie goes looking for lotion to help Ryn and discovers they have a giant tank lurking in the back of a cupboard which is just what they need and is super convenient.

They move into the little shed but it’s only temporary - because Helen has her money! Yes Elaine was blocking it mainly out of spite because she really hates her but Ben goes to her and makes up a lie about Helen being really sick and needs the money… which obviously hits Elaine, who is disabled and we know has already struggled seeking for treatment, pretty hard. But she does show Ben the DNA test she has of Helen which shows a mysterious “12% other” which I assume means fishy person. But it also shows Helen has another relative

They tell Helen this who spares a millisecond to be angry about Elaine stealing her DNA but she’s super excited about this relative she’s never met. She goes to see him and he is super super super super shifty and she seems to be willing to overlook that in her excitement. I will put him down as sinister plot hook for now.

Another ongoing plot hook is Xander and the sinister Nicole. Xander continues to be all conflicted, hanging around the cabin and generally moping while Nicole occupies his bed and continues to poke the death of his dad - finally getting Xander to admit he was murdered. But not by fish people.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Legacies: Season 1, Episode 10: There's a World Where Your Dreams Came True

I think this episode someone on the writing team suddenly realised that Josie and Lizzie exist and ooooh shit, get them out the plot box, this looks super bad for Alaric to forget he has daughters!

And then everyone else on the writer’s team responded with “but but but can we make ti all about Hope?”

The answer to that is, of course they can make it all about Hope. It’s the Legacies after all.

So, Lizzie and Josie have returned from a nebulously labelled “Europe” (my latest petty hobby is when Americans say this I ask “how was Liechtenstein?”) and Lizzie is super pissed because Alaric was supposed to pick them up at the airport but he forgot.

I’m a little miffed that Josie is being super reasonable because it’s kind of making Lizzie look unreasonable and irrational (this whole episode is basically “Lizzie is unstable and dangerous” while ignoring she may have any kind of reason to be upset)... but really? If someone said they’d give me a lift but when I arrive at an airport after a jetlagged transatlantic flight, wait a prolonged period of time for my lift to actually show up then have to find my own way taking three hours to get home? Yeah, I would make Lizzie look calm and reasonable.

So we begin with Lizzie being miffed, which is when the monster of the week appears, going for the urn. The monster is a genie and grants wishes. And Lizzie, who, we have to remember, grew up in a MAGIC SCHOOL decides that this is a super cool idea. How can all these people be so genre blind? Honestly put me in a supernatural world and I would run into a demonic vampire’s open arms rather than spend 2 seconds speaking to a wish giving being.

Now Lizzie could have just wished that her dad pay her the slightest bit of attention or made her a priority in her life or, maybe, decide that she matters as much as Hope. Instead she wishes that Hope never came to the magic school

Yeah that won’t back fire

Uh-huh, it does

So without Hope, Alaric does focus on Lizzie and Lizzie and Josie can both fight now because without Hope consuming all his attention, Alaric pays more attention to them and gives them the training he lavishes on her. Yay for Lizzie

Except the school is a wreck, utterly run down and without the massive luxuries Lizzie has become used to. It seems when Hope went to the school Klaus, before his ridiculous demise, wrote a massive massive massive cheque which is pretty much how it runs (also we had mention of Damon and Elena having children which I think means Julie Plec is planning another spin off and YE GODS SAVE US! SAVE US PLEASE!). I think we can also guess the other Originals chip in because hey, immortal super rich people obsessed with family and all that

Also Hope is the witch who designed the school’s X-Men style cerebro which basically allows them to find budding young supernaturals all over America to recruit them to the school. Without that they’re reduced to literally trawling through newspaper articles for supernatural occurrences and their student body is like 3 people.

Lizzie tries to make up for this by replicating Hope’s spell leading them to a powerful young supernatural who needs their guidance. Hope - and a room full of people she’s slaughtered for food. Alaric recognises her and goes into full on “I’ll protect and guide you” mode playing surrogate dad within like 3 seconds of meeting her (including hugging, the creeper). Lizzie is Not Amused

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Supernatural: Season 14, Episode 13: Lebanon

It is the much vaunted 300th episode of Supernatural. And some people are going to be very very excited.

I am not one of them, to be honest

So in a standard little encounter, Sam and Dean take down someone who murdered a Hunter, to take his shiny collection. They kill him and find a whole host of shinies and promptly take it all back to the Winchester cave

There follows the best part of the episode for me, where Sam and Dean, with an actually home, are now known by the locals and have even become something of an urban legend for the local kids.

We do get some shenanigans with a teen stealing Dean’s car (how very dare they!) followed by a brief appearance of John Wayne Gacy’s ghost (ok… I’ve said before that I’m not exactly 100% comfortable with using real life serial killers for casual, throwaway entertainment like this. I find it pretty distasteful and disrespectful, especially when those serial killers are recent enough that the loved ones of their victims may still be around) which is quickly vanquished but does result in the local teens learning about ghosts and hunters. Maybe this will be a hook for later episodes

Because now we get to the meat of the episode. Among the treasures iks a Chinese pearl which apparently grants wishes - or your heat’s desire


I do not believe for one second that the Winchesters wouldn’t avoid this item like the plague. No magical item that grants wishes comes without the worst of all possible catches. Never ever ever make wishes. Never!

Instead they think this is the ideal solution to their Archangel Michael problem, after all Dean’s greatest desire is to get Michael out of his head

Waaait… how come no-one thinks “hey this could lead to Michael being released, also bad?)

So Dean grabs the pearl and thinks of his heart’s desire… and Negan appears

I mean John Winchester Appears. Yes, daddy dearest. And this is where I depart from a large amount of Supernatural fandom, many of whom like John while I tend to be very firmly in the “fuck John, Bobby is their real dad” camp.

Of course the Winchester brothers react with lots of emotion and rhapsodies and, yes they are very very very very very very good at the emotion, the shock, the pathos, the joy, the grief, it’s all there

Monday, February 11, 2019

Siempre Bruja: Season 1, Episode 2

Fangs for the Fantasy continues to review, Siempre Bruja, Netflix's latest show which has so much potential and then poisoned it's core concept