Sunday, July 23, 2017

Wynonna Earp, Season 2, Episode 7: Everybody Knows

Tying up some loose ends from last week, the gang is definitely suspicious of the Widows - Mercedes and her sister. And Wynonna is certainly not playing nice or coy about it.

They’re also conscious that their plans have gone somewhat awry but they only need to break one more seal and then “out love burns bright and true”. Whoever that is. I’m going to say most likely not good.

There’s a moment here where Wynonna and Mercedes use the word “bitch” a lot to refer to each other - which is certainly more of a slur than we like to see on a show - but there’s an interesting moment where Dolls tries to join in with Wynonna’s repeated useage and Wynonna steps in with a “you can’t say that, that’s our..” It’s nice to see her making this point about reclaiming and who is allowed to call her and her friend that - but less nice that she has a pregnancy fainting thing to interrupt her.

There’s also another random weirdness this week - immortal ghostly deputies who have returned from their deep, dusty slumber to hunt down their mark - Doc Holliday - for terribad crimes he committed way back when. They let him know about this with a boy and a brand just so he can spend the whole episode on edge and give everyone the wrong idea. No, really, this whole plot line seems to be about giving people chance to bond and lecture people.

Dolls manages to get a doctor to examine Wynonna (once she confirms that Wynonna isn’t being held against her will): among other things she wants blood tests from both parents to check if anything’s up. That would be Wynonna and Doc.

Or Wynonna and someone anyway… because there’s another candidate for the father position. There’s lots of emotion, Wynonna being torn and Waverley completely freaking out which is really not helpful and to make it worse Doc is being all kind and understanding and saying he just wants Wynonna to be happy which means Wynonna bails telling Doc (especially after Waverley runs for the hills despite her pledge to support).

Points to Waverley on Doc’s emotions: “The more he feels, the less he says. Like a masseuse.”

Instead Waverley has Nicole follow Wynonna around until she can rejoin her. This seems convoluted but hey who cares because they are AWESOME together!

Poor Wynonna now has to be sober since she’s pregnant and she and Nicole are going to go find the man she slept with. Which mean going to a strip club and Nicole drinking for both of them.

Nicole is a hilarious drunk.

Killjoys, Season 3, Episode 4: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The nerds are still battling around the remnant that Klyne left, sniping back and forth. Zeph and Johnny will never get on and Zeph will never learn appropriate boundaries around D’avin.

But there’s a celebration - Johnny has been raised of level 5 RAC agent which means a party at Pree’s and a ritual beating of Johnny, apparently it’s a thing.

Of course, there’s a bit of bitter-sweetness to this as becoming a level 5 would be nicer when the RAC isn’t controlled by evil goo-monsters, right? Also Turin drops that Johnny would have got his 5 long ago but Dutch blocked it… oookay? Tension.

We also foreshadow Dutch’s need for an army to take down the Hullen. Wouldn’t it be great if one were happily provided by this episode.

So, Filk, a Killjoy, shows up and tries to arrest Johnny for killing Delle Sayah - which he kind of tried to do, but failed because he didn’t go for the head. Anyway, Dutch isn’t having this and we have a fight which ends up with Pree getting Johnny and Dutch out while D’avin hangs around to do some investigating

D’avin has some fun tormenting people, checking Pree’s CCTV and eventually proving that Delle Sayah survived Johnny shooting her. He also experiments with Zeph and the Hullen go to zone in on Delle Sayah and see what she sees - Aneela. Which is spooky and scary especially since Aneela realises he’s there and casually banishes him. Delle Sayah continues to tread a tight rope of being trusted and close by a woman who is… at best… unpredictable and violent.

Turin also goes to Banyon and basically confirms that they both really hate each other

Pree has an idea to save Johnny - have him join the notorious mercenary group called the Ferram. Basically these guys are super awesome and super notorious. They’re also made up of soldiers who deserted because they refused to fight in unjust wars: not for corporate greed or feudal power but for actual justice. Sounds like the army Dutch needs. Johnny is all geeky about them

And when Pree arrives (with new hair) he is greeted by their leader, Lachlann, with a passionate kiss and a laser blast.

Ok, first of all: AT LAST. After 3 seasons of hints and tropes but not overtly actual stating Pree is gay (yes, I know he’s a walking stereotype. Stereotype is NOT representation) we finally have confirmation. Yes, here we have Pree kissing another man, confirming they have a relationship - a passionate, overwhelming relationship - beyond any doubt. ABOUT DAMN TIME!

He’s going to use that leverage to get Johnny shelter with them because he cares about Johnny enough to risk his life to come here. To which Johnny responds with, basically, no homo.

Really, Johnny. Pree just risked his life to save yours - and your first concern is making it clear that you’re not gay?

Ok, Pree’s complicated past with the Farran comes down to this: he was a leader of them and in a big relationship with Lachlann but the he decided to bail on them, breaking Lachlann’s heart and betraying them

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Mist, Season One, Episode Five: The Waiting Room

We are now officially half way through the season and at this point, I think the writers have absolutely given up on the series.  I cannot for the life of me see the point of The Mist.  The rules constantly shift to allow the ensemble cast to do things that others cannot and then we have the whole hey fog has landed on the town, everyone panic before we know for certain that anything is really wrong.

Kevin and his entourage make it to the hospital because Bryan has been shot in the leg.  The minute they arrive, they are asked if the military has been called in or any other outside forces to deal with the mist. Yes, just like everyone else, the people in the hospital are in full on panic mode.  We don't even really know why. Bryan is taken for treatment and as they wait to find out whether or not he is going to survive, Mia takes the time to blame this all on Kevin.  It seems that she believes they wouldn't be in this position if Kevin had just shot Clay in the first place.  Kevin however feels that they aren't at the place yet and has not accepted this brave new world they are supposedly all living in.  His denial makes more sense than Mia's let's just kill everything because really, they've all run through the mist and been just fine. 

Even though the last Kevin heard from his family they were hiding out at the mall, he decides to do a little tour of the hospital showing pictures of his family to see if they are there. This is when Kevin comes across his older brother who just conveniently happens to be there.  When the Mist rolled in, Mike was working outdoors when he was set upon by a group of teens, who just so happened to know things about Mike they shouldn't have.  This experience makes Mike doubt his senses.  Mike is dying and will probably die of an infection because the doctor is unable to get to the surgical ward because some of the mist has made its way inside of the hospital.  The best that Mike can hope for at this time is to put out of his misery but Kevin absolutely refuses to euthanize his brother. 

Kevin's big deal is that he is driven to save people and this is why he isn't willing to give up on his brother.  And how does Kevin's saviour narrative express itself? Why through a flashback of course. We go back to Kevin and Eve setting up house to learn the source of the animosity between Kevin and Mike.  Proving that the writers can be cliche as fuck, it's Eve who comes between them. We first learned that Eve had slept with a lot of men in town when she was accused of being a slut by her daughter.  Mike also makes such aspersions when he snarks about his surprise that Eve settled down with Kevin, making Eve upset.

Eve and Kevin have some honeymoon sex, with Eve encouraging Kevin to go harder and faster, shocking Kevin.  This of course leads to the revelation about Eve's past and about part of her still being that girl. Eve then reveals exactly what Mike meant by his less than cryptic comments, spurring Kevin to promise to kick his brother's ass.  Eve however chose Kevin because he's not the alpha male violent bad boy she's been attracted to in the past and has reached a stage where she no longer wants to be saved.  

Zoo, Season 3, Episode 4: Welcome to Terra Dome

It’s the reunion episode where the gang all gathers together. Sort of. Everyone has issues on issues

But first we have Mitch, Jackson, Clem and Jamie in a hut in mexico with a hybrid beacon going off. I say again, if Abigail the evil one really wanted to kill them a bomb would be way more efficient. Especially since the vulture hybrids don’t seem that scary

Vultures that burrow. Can I say again how ridiculous these are? And they can dive bomb into the soil? So, y’know giant birds dive bombing and not burrowing in the process? Still terrifying. Giant birds just swooping down and clawing you? Terrifying. Burrowing? Doesn’t actually add to the terror.

Of course, their awful aim means anything would be scarier. They just makes noise.

It turns out the burrowing vultures have a hidden super power. They cause volcanoes to erupt

Everyone kind of runs with this and they get back to the plane completely untouched. Seriously, giant burrowing birds that make volcanoes erupt and she still fails to kill them all. Use a bomb lady.

Mitch explains the volcano birds away with SCIENCE (my apologies to the intelligent world for sullying the word “science” like this). People start to be sceptical to which Jackson just points out we had Earthquake sloths last season. I almost have to give points to the way they’re confronting new ridiculous plots and just saying “Earthquake sloth!” it’s like “fuck it, we did Earthquake sloths and you’re still watching, you lost the right to expect sensible plot lines!”

Right now we have the gang together, there’s a lot of catching up to do.

Jamie and Jackson have huge issues. The reason why he’s in hiding is her tell all best selling book used pseudonyms for everyone but didn’t exactly hide Jackson’s. She said he was innocent but also said he was the son of the evil RIchard Oz who set off the sterility plague which had the Shepherd hunters try to kill him. The fact she’s still associating with the Shepherd Hunters who keep sending her updates doesn’t exactly endear her to him

Apparently his fleeing involved Abraham making lots of sacrifices which he also holds her responsible for - but I think in part this is because he feels more comfortable blaming her for hurting someone else rather than being “selfish” in his anger.

She shows off her tortured prisoner in the basement to… i don’t know, reassure him? She also lays down an ultimatum that he needs to either shoot her or get over it. He walks away, which I would as well - he is quite capable of working with her, not shooting her and NOT forgiving her. Remember, the person who wronged you never ever has the right to dictate terms of forgiveness.

This convinces Jackson that a) she’s not forgiven and b) they need to watch her because she’s going dangerously serial killer. He shares this suspicious with Mitch who is also a little leery of Jamie’s super suspicious dark personality now, signified by her apparent changing drink choices.

She also recognises Abigail as a Shepherd.

She explains to Mitch she became all direct action vigilante because, as a journalist, she kept speaking truth and exposing corruption… and absolutely nothing happened. We can see this by the fact Reiden Corporation is still doing evil things for the sheer hell of it.

Speaking of, Leanne is annoyed by all these people protesting about her kidnapping kids - so unreasonable. And the board agrees, they’re even forcing her to accept oversight and inspection from government! How dare they…

Wait.. what? You mean she doesn’t have oversight? She’s kidnapping kids and not being monitored? Seriously? And since when does she have to AGREE to oversight? Whut? Whut is this? This has also outraged Abigail

Friday, July 21, 2017

Outcast, Season 2, Episode 8: Mercy

We are reintroduced to Blake - he was the convicted possessed ex-cop in prison who Anderson tried to get Kyle to exorcise back in season one. This was the first exorcism he failed and the first time we were introduced to the idea that someone could be too far gone to be saved

Blake is now on death row about to be executed and mumbling about how “hw isn’t alone” and “everything will end” which is reassuring.

Dr. Park is among the witnesses - and he finagles things so Blake only seems dead and then gets to escape. Why is Dr. Park invested? Well since Blake has been in solitary confinement most of his time on Earth he is “pure”. He also isn’t sick and dying - last episode it was revealed that the possessing creatures can’t live on Earth very long and eventually die. Dr. Park wants to fix that, he doesn’t want the “merge” but for them to go on living as humans and Blake is an ideal test subject to figure out how to do this.

Unfortunately he isn’t co-operative, he’s far more interested in hunting down Kyle and Anderson - and questions a passing possessed to find out where Kyle is. He also mentions their “collective memory” which is both an interesting quirk on these creatures but also begs the question why Blake doesn’t have access to it.

Dr. Park, meanwhile, goes to the council of people-who-meet-in-diners to pitch his “let’s all get along” theory of Earth living. They scoff. He poisons them. Methinks Dr. Park needed to spend longer in debate class.

Kyle is back in town but not in best shape since everyone is staring at him since so many of the population is now all possessed. Of course they’re all afraid of him as well. He grabs a nurse and menaces her with his burny touch to making her sew him up and his injuries. Awkward since she can’t touch his skin. He asks about exorcising her but she says she’s too far gone. She also says “what you’re doing doesn’t help us.” and he seems shocked by this

Really? I mean, did he think it was helping the demons possessing people? Did he think they’d be happy about this?

He also finds his mother has disappeared from the hospital which sends him into a bit of a frenzy stopped by a policeman who turns out - when Kyle tries to use his burny hand - not to be possessed. He takes Kyle to Giles who has told this loyal cop to act as his boydguard - because, yes, Giles is back in the fight.

Kyle has a new plan - tell everyone about the possessed so the whole town can resist. Giles is a little uncertain about this but Kyle knows everyone saw something at the town meeting where Giles was possessed, people have to know something is up. Giles is still dubious especially since he has a lot of his own guilt over being possessed. He has his own plan - it involves junkyard guy with his huge arsenal of weapons. Kyle does not think this is the way (apart from anything else, they’re very outnumbered)

The OA, Season One, Episode Eight: Invisible Self

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Okay, we've made it to the end of The OA and we still don't have any real concrete answers.  We learned how Prairie got away from Hap and in the process was seperated from the others but we still don't know the end result of the new fangled yoga moves, or if Prairie was even telling the truth. The only thing we know for certain is that French found a video of a blonde woman playing the violin in the NYC subway and that Prairie was missing for seven years.  

It begins with another meeting of Prairie's cult and she starts her story right where she left off, with Sheriff Stan finding them trapped in the basement.  At last, Hap has been caught.  Hap however isn't without cards to play because Evelyn, the Sheriff's wife is dying of ALS.  Hap explains that he's been doing research with people who have survived an NDE and that if given the chance, they can heal Evelyn.  At first, Stan wants nothing to do with this and demands that Hap stand to be handcuffed, but it turns out that the temptation to end his wife's suffering is just too much.  We watch as Prairie and  Homer are led upstairs.

Alone with Evelyn, Prairie and Homer discuss helping her. Homer rightfully understands that if they fail to heal Evelyn, that Stan will arrest Hap and they will go free.  Prairie argues that since they have the ability to help that they should. As Stan and Hap watch via CCTV, Prairie and Homer begin their weird yoga routine. It's not long before Evelyn awakes. It seems that Evelyn had her own NDE when she was just a child and was given the fifth movement. Evelyn was told that she would have to wait a long time and that she would be in a lot of pain before she was called upon to share it with others.  Evelyn sits up in bed, much to the amazement of Hap and Stan and she does the fifth movement, as Homer and Prairie watch.

Stan is so excited to see his wife sitting up that he runs into the room, leaving his gun behind.  Hap stays and watches the entire movement on CCTV. When Hap enters the room, he finds Prairie and Homer hugging and Stan hugging Evelyn. Hap promptly shoots Stan and Evelyn and orders Prairie to get away from Homer. Hap drags Prairie out of the room, as she desperately calls out for Homer. Hap then drugs Prairie.

When Prairie awakens, she's in the back of a car.  Hap stops the car and drags Prairie outside and dumps her on the ground. Hap climbs on top of Prairie and starts to scream about not needing her anymore and that she's not as special as she thinks she is.  Hap reveals that he now knows the fifth movement and he has Homer.  Hap slashes open Prairie's dress before getting back into the car and driving away. A distraught Prairie gets to her feet and tries to follow but she obviously cannot keep up with the car.

When Prairie finishes telling her story she finds that she's ripped open her top while telling her story and that she is surrounded by her parents, as well as the parents of the kids who have come to listen to her tale. Nancy takes off her jacket, puts it around Prairie's shoulders and then the two of them walk home silently.

Later, the Johnsons try to reach out to Alfonso's family, only to be rejected. Alfonso comes rushing outside and reveals that Prairie told them everything that happened to her and that he is going to make it his mission to prove that she was telling the truth.  Nancy is shocked that Prairie didn't confide in her.

Being caught in the house with a bunch of teenagers and BBA brings more unwanted attention to the Johnsons and so they are forced to retreat to a hotel to get away from the media. Tensions are high for the Johnson family but Prairie finally starts talking about what happened to her.  Nancy is moved to tell the truth about the note to Abel. Nancy says that the reason that she didn't give Able the note is because Prairie wrote that she was going to see her father.  Able isn't buying this excuse because what bothered him was that Prairie was missing, not that she called another man father.  Nancy is finally forced to come clean and explains that she wanted Prairie because she was blind and thought that Prairie would always need her. Nancy believes that it was her neediness that finally drove Prairie away. 

French breaks into the Johnson home looking for more information to prove Prairie's story.  Under Prairie's bed he finds an Amazon box containing books on Angels, Russian Oligarchs, NDE and Homer's Illiad.  It's enough evidence for French to believe that Prairie made the whole story up. Before French can leave the house, he runs into Rahim.  Rahim tells French that allowing Prairie to tell her story helped her and that what he did was to take on aspects of Prairie's pain. Later, an upset French meets with the group to show them the books and tell them that he now believes that Prairie made it all up. 

Some time has passed, and Prairie is working with Able in the garden.  She explains that she's tired and excuses herself to take a bath.  Prairie is now wearing an ankle monitor, indicating that the police got involved after she was discovered in the house. 

Confederate: The Show We Do Not Need

David Benioff; D.B Weiss (Credit: AP/Vince Bucci)

If there was any doubt that we are not living in a post racial world, surely the election of that orange shit stain should have made it clear to all the doubters by now.  In a world in which many have even dropped the pretense of using coded language to attack Black people, for some ungodly reason, HBO has decided that what we need is a show called Confederate, whose premise is to question what would have happened if the south had won the civil war.  From the imagination of the creators of Game of Thrones, we will be treated to a program in which African-Americans are still slaves.

Understandably, the announcement about Confederate created quite a backlash. Certainly, HBO needs to fill in the gaping hole that Game of Thrones is going to leave but why fill that in with a White supremacists wet dream?  If Confederate is going to aptly depict slavery, it will most certainly come with scenes of absolute brutality and rape, rising to a level of torture porn and broken Black bodies for the sake of entertainment.  It’s bad enough that we have been subjected to the deaths of Philando Castille, Eric Garner, and Alton Sterling on repeat. Thanks to our 24 hour news cycle when African-Americans are murdered by the cops it’s all that seems to be reported on for days on end. In our hyper connected world, social media adds to the trauma with videos automatically playing on Facebook. Black death is now appropriate for the consumption of the masses.  It is absolutely important to recognise the brutality of these deaths yet it’s clear that the very frequency and availability of the footage is already leaving far too many people desensitized to the pain and suffering. Is it any wonder that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss feel emboldened enough to pitch a series about Black suffering?

HBO absolutely could have gone another way if it wanted to share a slave narrative, especially given the fan outcry when Underground was canceled by WGN when the network was purchased by the hyper conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group. Certainly, Underground didn't have the audience that Game of Thrones does but it did feature a narrative of Black empowerment.  Rather than focusing solely on Black suffering, Underground showed the courageousness of those who chose to follow ol’ Moses and liberate themselves. Underground fits quite better with Black Lives Matter, and the push to tear down civil war statues. Is it any wonder that Black liberation suddenly doesn’t have a place on television?

Even as Black people are trying to disassemble hallmarks of the former confederacy, White supremacy seems quite determined to not only celebrate it as though it represents a golden era but to return us to it. We don’t need Confederate to tell us how bad slavery was, there are plenty of first hand account slave narratives still in existence.  We don’t need Confederate to create some fantasy about African-American suffering because the extra judicial slaughter of Black men and women, combined with the housing crises which targeted Black people regardless of credit,  the cancelling of television shows with large casts of colour, the prison industrial complex and the lack of generational wealth all tell the story for anyone who has common sense enough to connect the dots.  This isn’t about education, this about subjugation. This is about reminding Black people that we are still very much viewed as second class citizens despite, the vast accomplishments in the face of white oppression.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn by Nell Gavin

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It's impossible to know the real truth about Anne Boleyn because much of the stories about her are written by her known enemies and detractors.  Gavin strives to give Anne a voice upon the moment of her death.  As she reexamines her life and relationship to Henry Tudor, the truth about what they mean to each other is revealed. Through the centuries, Anne and Henry are always together and there is a reason for this - they are soulmates.  What happens to love when you're soulmate is the one responsible for your death? 

I will admit to being instantly draw to Thread: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn the moment I saw the title. I've long been a history buff and have been quite fascinated with the British monarchy.  Thread: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn is fantasy in that it assumes thoughts and idea which historians most certainly could not verify and because it enlarges the story of Anne and Henry to encompass various incarnations throughout the centuries. Anne herself appears in ancient Egypt, in Europe as part of a traveling Romani circus, the 1800's New York, and in Brooklyn during the seventies. Each new life is a chance to grow and to pay for the sins of the last life.  As a prostitute working in the Valley of the Kings in ancient Egypt, Anne would amuse herself by mocking and bullying a fellow prostitute who had an extra finger, causing her to be born as Anne Boleyn and also have an extra finger which she would strive for the entirety of her short to life to hide. 

Because this is a historical fantasy, certain liberties were clearly taken with Anne and Henry's lives. Thread: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn is not an academic text and most certainly does not read like one.  Anyone familiar with the history however might enjoy the speculation into what Anne might have been thinking when Henry broke off her engagement, or her loss at dealing with the fact that despite her supposed power, so much was really outside of her control.  I'm not sure that Gavin's tone always rang true but that didn't detract my enjoyment with the story.

I found that when the story switched to Ancient Egypt in particular, Gavin really set a beautiful stage and I could picture all of her characters vividly and their setting. Henry as a gay male prostitute who craved the love of a family because he was rejected by his own, made sense to me. I do however wish that the only LGBT representation of sexual identity had not been reduced to prostitution and dependency on a straight woman for companionship. 

The premise of Thread: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn, is that Anne keeps returning to earth after each death to pay a penance for the mistakes that she made in each previous life and to continue to grow as a soul. Anne learns early on that she and Henry are soulmates and have been twins, husband and wife, friends many times over. They are continually drawn to each other.  Also in Anne's orbit are many people that she met in her lifetime as a queen. Some come back as her children and still others are her friends.  Percy, Anne's betrothed for instance was a regular customer of hers when she was a prostitute in ancient Egypt, while Katherine turned out to be her daughter. 

Obviously reincarnation is not a new idea, nor is the concept of learning lessons with each additional life new. I'm not disturbed by the idea of Anne and Henry being soulmates, particularly because they had varied relationships in the different lives.  What I am disturbed by is Anne reviewing her lives in order to find a way to forgive Henry.  By every definition possible, Henry Tudor was a very abusive, angry man.  He raped Anne and then had her head cut off.  Gavin worked hard to suggest that because of Henry's syphilis ( a condition that has only been speculated about and not proven) that Henry was not himself and therefore entitled to Anne's forgiveness. It was very much implied that Anne could not move on if she didn't find a way to forgive Henry.  Even in fiction, perpetuating the idea that an abuser is deserving of forgiveness from their victim is harmful.