Saturday, February 6, 2016

The 100: Season Three, Episode Three: Ye Who Enter Here

Before we get started, I think we should pause to give a mighty shout for the absence of the most useless character in this series this episode. That's right folks, it was a Jaha free episode and may we have many more like it.

So, at the end of the last episode, it was revealed that Lexa had Clarke kidnapped by Prince Roan. (I'll take a lot more Zach McGowan please and shirtless is fine with me). This I am sure was a big moment for Clexa fans, even if it did nothing at all for me.  Yeah, we know already, Lexa and Clarke have unfinished business to deal with.  There are clearly feelings between these two women but there's also the fact that Lexa absolutely cannot be trusted.  This is a problem given that the Ice Nation seems to think that they should be the ones in power. Individually, it seems that no nation alone can hope to defeat the Ice Nation and therefore, it will take an alliance.  We've already seen what an alliance with Lexa looks like.  Lexa proposes that Skikru become the 13th clan - a complete joining of forces with the Grounders.

For obvious reasons, Clarke is not down with trusting Lexa and so when Roan hands her a knife, promising to protect her people if she kills Lexa, it becomes tempting quickly.  Clarke however cannot go through with it and instead agrees to partner with Lexa.  I get not trusting Roan and the Ice Queen, but that shouldn't mean trusting Lexa either as far as I am concerned. Later on in the episode Lexa does get does bend the knee and swears fealty to Clarke.  You will however note that there were no witnesses, making the possibility of Lexa's betrayal a real thing as far as I am concerned.

In other developments we are getting to see the ambassador side of Marcus of all people.  He willingly tastes grounder food and offers a trade while Abby will have none of it.  Marcus admits that he always pictured the ground empty but since it's occupied they have to deal with the results.  Abby sees Marcus as uniquely qualified for this role and offers him the leader pin.  Marcus turns it down, suggesting elections but promising that they are in this together.  Elections?  Is this the same Marcus who had Abby tortured? This represents real growth for his character.  If only we could see the same growth from Abby, who spends her time doing nothing but worrying about Clarke. It's as though someone cannot be a mother and have an alternate identity.

So, the big meeting is going down and left behind are Bellamy, Octavia and Raven.  They are sent on a mission to Mount Weather. It makes sense to the Ark people not to abandon all of that technology and the latest arrivals have set up house in the mountain.  We know no good is going to come of this because Octavia is all doom upon you.  Octavia makes it clear to Bellamy that she just doesn't fit it. Well, if she wasn't so busy appropriating Grounder culture and pretending to be something that she isn't, Octavia might find that she fits in quite well. I get that what Octavia has been through is traumatic, but it doesn't make her a Grounder, no matter how much her little heart wants to be.

Sense8, Season One, Episode Ten: What is Human?

The sense8s seem to be walking in some sort of maze in a holocaust museum but the camera focuses almost solely on Wolfie.  This is where Wolfie and Will meet for the first time. Wolfie questions why it's so loud where Will is and Will explains that its Independence Day. Wolfie takes off and Will tries to follow, only to find himself back in New York with Jonas, who suggests that Will find them somewhere to talk.

Sun's lawyer is there to see her and informs Sun that her father did everything he promised to and more.  The lawyer tells Sun that if she agrees, he may have her out of jail in less than a week. Sun hesitates and questions what will happen to Bak Joong-Ki.  The lawyer says that the court was lenient with Sun because she cooperated but they will make an example Bak Joong-Ki. Sun finally signs the paperwork.

Wolfie is by Felix's bedside when Steiner walks in saying that he heard that Sergei paid Wolfie a visit. Steiner says that it was hard to watch what happened to Felix though Felix brought it upon himself. Steiner adds that he has close friends at the hospital who agreed to keep an eye on Felix. Steiner is clearly threatening Felix, causing Wolfie to suggest trading the diamonds for a pass for Felix and himself.  Steiner responds that he is forward thinking and that they can all live happily ever after.

Jonas and Will are in a museum together and Jonas admits that while being born in India, he was raised in England and therefore he doesn't know where his allegiance lies.  Will questions if the sense8s are human and Jonas says that they are more human than any other humans. Jonas talks about his relationship with the father of his cluster. Jonas saying that the differences between Sense8s and others is very subtle.  Jonas reveals that their kind has been there since the beginning and in all likelihood were the beginning. Will asks Jonas if he has a secret and Jonas reveals that they will try to use him to get to Will and the rest of Will's cluster.  Jonas again warns Will to never look Whispers in the eye.  Will realises that Angelica killed herself to protect his cluster. Jonas says that the humanities isolation from each other has made killing easy because people feel nothing.

Kala sits with Sanyam and admits that she is confused about the wedding. Sanyam says that he knows.  Kala reveals that Manendra was at the temple to call off the wedding and that she didn't tell Rajan because she is confused about the wedding. Sanyam suggests that by telling Rajan now it will empower Manendra because it would then become Manedra's last wish.  Sanyam admits that Kala has a difficult decision but he is sure she already has the answer to what she must do.

Kala and Capheus are both lost in thought when they meet for the first time.  Naturally, Capheus is watching a Van Damn movie. Capheus explains that a big television is necessary because it takes you out of a slum.  Kala and Capheus sit to watch the movie and Kala is taken back by the violence. They both agree that life is violent.

Wolfie retrieves the diamonds which he had hidden in ice cubes. Wolfie arrives for his big meet up with Steiner.  Steiner orders Wolfie searched twice and only finds the bag of diamonds. Steiner taunts Wolfie with diamonds in hand and demands to know how Wolfie got into the safe.  Wolfie answers that he cracked it but this answer does not satisfy Steiner, who punches Wolfie several times. Wolfie starts to crawl away, as Steiner grabs a gun demanding to know if Wolfie thinks he is stupid.  Lito makes an appearance, as Wolfie looks at the gun he has strapped to the bottom of his car. Lito analyzes the situation with Wolfie and Lito suggests that Wolfie tell Steiner something he wants to hear. Wolfie however feels that he cannot lie because Steiner reminds him of his father.  It's then that Lito takes over.  He tells Steiner a lie about Felix having sex with a man.  Steiner calls Felix a cocksucker.  Steiner is distracted by the story giving Wolfie enough time to grab his gun and start shooting.  Steiner manages to get in his car and start to drive away but Wolfie pulls out a rocket launcher and blows the fleeing Steiner up.  Lito is excited by the action and the two men shake hands. Lito says that lying is easy and that this is what he does. Wolfie tells Lito that when you make a mistake, you can live with it or you can fix it.

Back home now, Lito calls Hernando and says that he made a mistake but that he is going to fix it.

Will carries beer to meet his father for an Independence Day celebration.  Will sees Riley look at the river and approaches.  They end up at the symphony where Gunnar is playing that night. Will reveals that he saw Jonas, who said that it was dangerous for Riley to be in Iceland.  Riley reveals that Ysra said that Jonas cannot be trusted because he worked with BPO. Will doesn't know what's true but believes they have to look out for each other. The two kiss again with Will clearly forgetting what this will look like to observers.

Lost Girl, Season 5, Episode 13: Family Portrait

Time for the return of Aife – yes, Bo’s long lost mother who is constantly thrown into various prisons, institutions and assumed dead. She is currently locked in one of those institutions and decides to escape. She’s a powerful determined woman and one of her guards is a Black woman – which on Lost Girl means she’s 2 seconds away from spontaneously dropping dead anyway.

Bo is kind of perturbed that Trick, her grandfather, didn’t tell Bo that her mother is alive – nor did Dyson, Kezi or anyone else; this is all put down to it happening when Bo was on the train in that very very bizarre storyline that makes my head hurt just to think about. Also, Aife apparently has psychotic episodes whenever she thinks of her daughter

Also the whole gang realises that Hades, god of the underworld, uber powerful fae and general scary dude, can’t actually be imprisoned by a sheet of glass. Funny that.

Bo goes looking for her lost mother and finds her having dinner with daddy dearest Hades. It is Awkward. But they both present a different family history to the one Bo had been taught: when Trick ended the great war between the Light and Dark Fae Aife didn’t want to go along with that and kept on killing. To prevent a new war breaking out, Trick handed Aife over to the Dark fae for execution and she spent several centuries in a dungeon with lots of nasty things happening

While everyone agrees this makes Trick a terrible dad, no-one pauses to think that it probably made him a good king (and Aife a pretty shitty princess who was willing to drive her people back into a blood soaked war for her own revenge fantasies.) Hades then rescued Aife from the dungeons and was her saviour – but had to keep her in a cage forever to protect Bo from her angry insanity.

Naturally all broken up by the idea that her beloved granddad is the bad guy, Bo leaves – only to be followed by Aife who actually really really wants to imprison Hades again. While she kind of agrees with Hades’s version of events, that doesn’t mean she thinks he’s a good guy or anything close (which means Trick’s version – that Hades rescued her in order to exploit her and combine his Ancient Fae god power with Trick’s uber-magical blood – may also be true)

Unfortunately, Aife is super unstable and violent and is convinced that Bo visited her in prison – when Bo insists she didn’t, Aife completely breaks down. Bo returns her to the institution.

From there she tearfully confronts Trick – who decides the best way to convince Bo what happened is to open up all of Aife’s journals, medical files et al for Bo – because the Mentally ill don’t get privacy, right? I get the whole “stop keeping secrets from me to keep me safe” because damn that needs repeating constantly and loudly. But that doesn’t mean other people don’t get privacy!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Night Storm, Alterations #3 (Alterations #3) by Jen Greyson

At the end of Shadow Boxer, Tiana, Evy's little sister and new lightening rider has come under the influence of  Penya.  Evy is quick to blame herself and is desperate to get her sister back no matter the cost.  Constantine, the ancient Roman fighter who loves Evy desperately and refuses to see her at risk, volunteers to travel with Evy to find Tiana.  The only problem is that they don't know where in time Tiana is. When Constantine and Evy learn from Ilif, that Penya plans to alter the life of  Augusta Ada Byron - a mathematician and scientist, whose work went unrecognized due to her gender, they become determined to end Penya's so-called evil plot.  However, even if they find the right Augusta, London is a pretty large place to have to search without any real clues.  Can they get to Tiana before she completely becomes Penya's pawn?

Penya is the antagonist in this series and yet I find it striking that she constantly seeks out women who because of sexism never reached their full potential in life.  Instead of seeing her as evil, it made me wonder how much further humanity might have advanced if it were not for patriarchy.  For so long, women were barred from education and the little they did get were largely arts and language focused and certainly not much math and science.  Whatever women managed to produce was largely ignored, unless they managed to get it published under a pen name and work had to be done with little funding and certainly for many in secrecy. It's hard to see Penya as evil for wanting to change this.
“Ada is far more genius than the men working on the first computers. This opportunity will allow her the freedom to express herself scientifically, to show off her mathematical genius , and to prove that women should never have to hide behind their initials.” 
Tiana blinked and frowned. She didn’t know much about Penya other than what Evy had told her— which wasn’t a lot— but Penya sounded like her friend Sasha’s mom after the divorce. She’d turned all wounded-bird about her soon-to-be ex, went all women’s lib weird and she was always telling Tiana and Sasha that they needed to embrace their womanhood and not take orders from men. It made Tiana feel uncomfortable and strange. Penya was as manic as Sasha’s mom on a tirade right now. 
“That’s really great.” Thankfully, Sasha had figured out the best way to deal with her mom and Tiana used it now. “It sounds like you want to make things better for her and for all girls.” Tiana pressed her clasped hands to her chest like she’d seen Sasha do.
“Thank you.” Penya preened. “You’ll do just fine, Tiana. Just fine."
Night Storm is confusing.  From the very beginning of this series, it is strongly suggested that Ilif is not to be liked or tolerated, largely based on his rampant sexism.  Ilif is dismissive of Evy instantly and is quick to point out that before her, there had never been another female lightening rider.  Then when we have Penya, who actively works through history to improve the lives of women and it is heavily implied that her passion is weird and manic.  Every gain women have made throughout history has had to be fought for and therefore I don't see her passion as out of place at all.  For her trouble, she is murdered by Constantine and slut shamed by Iliaf.  Thanks for that Greyson.

Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 12: Don't Forget About Me

Why do American teenagers even make out on these deserted roads? In fact how does the next generation of Americans even live to adulthood if this is a common right of passage? How are they not all dead at their deserted lovers’ lanes (deserted except for the hug decomposing mounds of the corpses of previous victims. I mean, can even the horniest teenager get it on surrounded by so many corpses?)

It’s a Jody episode! I’m always a little afraid of a Jody episode, always wondering of this will be the episode where Jody finally joins so many others in the Supernatural Walk-in-Freezer (Supernatural has long since graduated past mere fridges) – but so far so good.

Jody is running her home for waifs and strays with both Alex and Claire both of whom have issues; which is only to be expected given what they’ve come from and how Jody is trying to be a parent to these girls when she has no history with them: which doesn’t make it easy for Claire either since she came afterwards and feels something of an outsider

Claire has been hunting. Well… sort of. Claire has been menacing random people around her with lots of violence because she is seeing monsters everywhere. This is causing some friction – especially when she calls Sam and Dean in to help her with her hunts much to Jody’s annoyance (and wonderful, earnest awkwardness)

Now, obviously, this being Supernatural there are actual monsters – vampires to be exact – and they get predictably sliced and diced, but the main story is the Jody family coming together and, equally little insights into Sam and Dean

See, we see Dean all enthralled by one of his terrible terrible junk food awfulness early in the episode (and there is still no way he eats like that) but what makes him and Sam rhapsodise is Jody’s simple chicken dinner: because home cooked food is something they’ve never had. Or when Jody worries that Claire is using hunting to hide from her life because she doesn’t know anything else and Dean decides to pass that on to Sam because there’s way too much of himself in that statement. Or Dean being so utterly furious with Claire for disrespecting Jody because Jody has given Claire and Alex a home – an actual home; something Sam and Dean never had. Or Sam telling Claire to appreciate having a home, a family or school – because she may never have them again unlike Hunting which will always be there.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Destined (House of Night #9) by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast

Life at school becomes more tense and Zoey and her friends insist on parading a murderer around the grieving loved one of his victims and Nyx insists on not intervening with the super evil Neferet still in control

With ties of family and honour, Dragon and Kalona face hard choices: while the new being Aurox must decide exactly what he is.

Time to open another bottle of the Good Booze because it’s another House of Night review (or, as I’ve come to think of it, my penance for the terrible evil I must have committed in a former life).

The first point that struck me about this book was that I realised why Zoey’s mother died last episode – because Jack and Anastasia died. These two deaths could never ever be about Zoey. Even after a series of making everything about Zoey, this was too much a stretch. So Zoey’s mother died – and the other deaths are pushed quickly into the background. Damian gets to be occasionally “soggy” but now all deaths are eclipsed because now we have Zoey pain to focus on

I have ranted about this in so many books but the redemption/forgiveness themes in this series are truly and utterly awful.

Take Dragon. Dragon’s wife of several centuries was murdered by Rephaim the bird boy who was magically redeemed last book. Dragon is incessantly shamed and demonised in this book because this terribad evil man will not forgive his wife’s murderer when said wife’s ashes are not even cold. The idea that Rephaim should stay away from school and give this poor man a little space so he wouldn’t have to see his wife’s murderer every day (it’s not like he’d lose out on an education – this school has a terrible curriculum and Rephaim himself is over a thousand years old so how much of a high school education does he need?) is considered outrageous. Rephaim’s desire to experience life as a “normal teenaged life” outweigh’s Dragon’s soul crushing grief

iZombie, Season 2, Episode 11: Fifty Shades of Grey Matter

iZombie is back, complete with awesome banter (he really wants an atta boy!) geekiness and the best character interactions. Really, the way this team interacts with each other is just some of the best I’ve seen on TV. It makes everything more fun. I also love Peyton and Liv and we really need more of it – especially the she so casually accepts Liv’s visions

This episode’s murder is a librarian erotica novelist which means Liv ends up eating the brains of a sex focused writer. There’s good and bad here

On the good, absolutely no-one is shamed for sex (and Liv even openly calls out slut shaming). Nor is anyone shamed for liking erotica or wanting to read it. The people deriding Grace’s book as “pornography” and regarding it with contempt are clearly not cast in a positive light for doing so. Equally neither Liv nor Peyton are shamed for having sex

On the bad, the fact that Peyton at least (more on that later) and Liv potentially are going to face all kinds of sad badness for said sex. Even if it’s not overtly shamed, the negative consequences hitting is not so good.

Also on the bad, we have Liv living out this brain by crossing a lot of lines – groping Ravi and giving sexed-up brains to zombie Drake because she wants to sleep with him. Being horny is not a justification for molesting and drugging (effectively) those around you

On the good, Liv also stops them having sex until the brains wear off so she knows that BOTH of their consents are uncoerced by zombie-brain effects. I definitely appreciate that – but they do end up in bed together, is this after the brain wears off?

The actual killer is also the writer’s disabled husband who feels emasculated and ashamed by his wife writing sexy books because he can’t satisfy her. Now, Grace’s neighbour says it’s “doesn’t” not “can’t” but it’s still as very terrible depiction of disabled sexuality especially since we, as a society, continually consider the disabled to be sexless

This is especially a problem when we consider that the depiction of the disabled on iZombiehas been problematic.

Teen Wolf, Season 5, Episode 15: Amplification

We have the Beastie running amok and attacking the hospital and generally causing havoc with only one thing stopping him. Parrish. Ok Parrish doesn’t exactly WIN but since he apparently wounds the monster and turns it back human I think a case can be made for a strong draw.

The pack’s plan is to finally unite by rescuing their missing member – Lydia. She’s locked up in Eichmen house being tormented by Dr. Valack

Recap on Valack – Valack is the guy who was once imprisoned in Eichmen House with a hole drilled in his head who tended to terrify people by making them stare at the hole in his head. He now runs the place and he loves drilling holes in lots of skulls. This isn’t just a fun hobby, he does this to try and enhance the power of supernaturals. The weird part is that it actually works – yes supernatural beings all get super charged with a hole in their heads; now there’s a weird quirk, Of course that usually goes wrong (beyond, y’know, the whole hole in their head) and will go super wrong with Lydia – since she’s already damn powerful already. Supercharging Lydia will mean she hears all the deaths ever – which will be agonisingly painful causing her to unleash her Banshee scream at Adele-eclipsing volumes and melt everyone’s brain.

So it’s rescue time – which leads to a nifty plan involving the whole pack with little gems like Melissa still hating Liam because of the whole trying to kill Scott thing (hah, in line Melissa, I hated Liam before it was cool) and Malia’s awesome/terrible encouragement of Kira. I do like Malia’s complete social ineptitude and ferocious dedication.

I also have to kind of smile at the lampshading of Kira getting all her skills just magically dropped on her. Self-awareness like that can really work for a show’s cheese

They also get Parrish to play driver for both his authority and because he’s the only one who can actually go toe-on-toe with the beast.

The plan pretty much works out… sort of – except Theo and his Chimera gang also move in and they’re not stopped by Black Ash. They reach Lydia first – not that they care about Lydia but because they want Parrish and want to lure him in. Well... it works. And burny hellhounds also don’t care about Black ash. Or walls. Or doors. Now, Theo’s lured him I do wonder what he intends to do with him.