Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Forever, Season 1, Episode 3: Fountain of Youth

In the shop we see Abe and Henry’s completely different views of his condition. Henry is excited with the chance to die, while Abe would quite like Henry to be able to pass his immortality on – especially since Henry isn’t appreciating his eternal youth while Abe has to deal with his aging body. It’s quite a nice conflict laid out in just a few lines.

Henry has prepared a whole study on how he dies, where he dies, when he dies and how quickly it takes him to be reborn (or awakened as he puts it) and discovered different deaths may take longer to be reborn from. Abe finds the whole thing kind of depressing (his dad is effectively talking excitedly about suicide). They have a full argument about whether Henry wants to die that badly and Henry romanticising the idea of growing old and Abe’s basic frustration that Henry is wasting the amazing life he could lead.

To the death of the week – a man chases down someone who steals his briefcase, catches him, smacks him around then dies of an apparent heart attack. After Henry’s terrible social awkwardness with poor Lucas, they examine the body and, among other things, they find that this 67 year old has an incredible physique for his age. But, when Detective Martinez – Jo – arrives he reveals that the man’s brain had a gazillion problems and that was what killed him. He says the man had an ancient brain and a young body which I’m sure is very unsubtle flagging for the plot. Possibly caused by a weird stuff he was drinking

They talk to the dead man’s son (yes Henry as well for some reason) who says his dad changed dramatically after his wife died; forgetting his family and focusing on physical fitness and partying. They also learn that the old man had no reason to be in Chinatown (and hated downtown) and find a business card for some kind of healing clinic and a large sum of cash in his briefcase.

To Chinatown and yes Jo brings Henry because these shows never let medical examiners stick to their actual role and Henry uses his Sherlockian powers to track down where the old man, Bill, was attacked. There they see an expensively dressed woman in high heels and decide that, like Bill, she’s out of place so they follow her to a place with the same Ouroboros symbol on the door as was on the business card they found

Inside they find a very expensive, sterile clinic for “Aterna” run by Dr. Gardener who talks about living forever on his little TV advert in the waiting room. Talking to the man himself who basically tells them Aterna is super expensive and makes you feel young again – or even better than when you were young. Gardener is unwilling to give up a sample of the product, of course.

Henry notes that Gardener has had plastic surgery (which he can see it seems) and remarks that one treatment was to make his nose longer and the other to “feminise” his jaw, which he considers unusual choices for a man to make through vanity. But possibly ways to try and change his appearance

Sleepy Hollow, Season 2, Episode 2: The Kindred

Ichabod has a nightmare about Katrina which is basically a useful illustration of what one of his books says the horsemen intend to do to her – some kind of weird, nasty supernatural wedding between the Headless Horseman and Katrina. We get some hefty info dumps reminding us who the horseman of death was, a little nice anachronistic snarking from Ichabod before he sits down to figure out where Katrina’s being held

While Abbie has to go meet the new sheriff, appointed since Captain Irving is, presumably, still in prison after confessing to murder to protect his possessed daughter. Sheriff Reyes knew Abbie’s mother and was there to help when Abbie was young – and she’s here to help Sleepy Hollow because she thinks fear and hysteria is consuming the town. She intends to stop it, as she previously worked against drug cartels.

Sounds promising, now to see how she intends to do this.

Ichabod does get an idea of where Katrina is being held and they do address whether they’re being distracted or not – Abbie is concerned that Henry’s out there while Ichabod justifies his Katrina focus by pointing out she’s a powerful witch (apparently. I mean, so people tell us – not that we’ve seen a lot of evidence of this powerful witchcraft). When they get there they confirm that the horseman and Katrina are there – and Abbie is the voice of reason pulling Ichabod away from a suicidal attack

In the cabin, Abbie, Jenny and Ichabod make plans and in one of the books they find reference to “The Kindred”. Which is basically Frankenstein’s monster – using magic and made by Katrina’s coven and Benjamin Franklin. Franklinstein’s monster; it’s supposed to be a match for the horseman of death. They never finished it because it needed a body part from the horseman of death to animate – luckily Ichabod & co have the Horseman’s head.

Ichabod is eager, Abbie thinks raising an undead monster may not be a great idea. Jenny thinks risking giving the head back to the Headless Horseman is also not a great plan. Lots and lots of excellent eye-action going on here. They finally agree to raise Franklinstein which means finding where Irving hid the head and where Franklin hid the preserved body.

Meanwhile, the not-so-headless-horseman is trying to bring Katrina on side by telling her how much Ichabod cares for Abbie instead of her.

Abbie goes to see Irving in prison – where he’s not having a great time as a former cop – he tells them where he hid the head; in a bank. Where else would you put something to keep it safe. We also recap on why he’s in prison and whether telling the truth – and being deemed insane – would be better (he would be harder to visit if he were in a psychiatric institution).

To the bank! Ichabod doesn’t like banks and is bemused by pens that are chained up, unsecured credit and the ominous wedding industry and Abbie saves the poor bank teller from his rant.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 12: Last Rites

Evil Eldritch Plamer is still dying and still not a vampire

The goodguys return to the pawn shop to mope, especially Abraham who mopes his way into a flashback to the 60s when a younger Abraham hunted the Master in Albania, taking his wife Miriam with him (who believed  but still worried about Abraham’s obsession). This is to show, in case you didn’t guess, how utterly obsessed Abraham has been with the Master and for how long.

I’m sure we needed a flashback to tell us that.

Ephraim is still the worst person in the world ever and tries to get everyone to agree how terrible it was that Abraham tried to go after the whole nest – frankly this comes off less as concern and more as Ephraim desperately trying to secure leadership again. And Dutch returns to the shop, having recovered from her hurt fee-fees to flirt with Vasiliy some more.

She has a plan (Ephraim is an arsehole) – she can hack into the emergency broadcast system to contact the whole country through the internet blackout. They can get out a warning. As they set up the system we get some more overt confirmation of Dutch’s bisexuality and more flirting between her and Vasiliy.

After a long, dramatic apology from Abraham for losing control, Ephraim gets to make his speech about the vampires and showing photographs of the bodies he’s autopsied.

As they finish the broadcast the porn shop is attacked – Bolivar (remember him?) manages to get inside and infect Nora’s mother, Mariela. He’s just one of a wave of vampires led by Eichorst

The gang barricades themselves in the basement and Abraham reveals he has a secret way out. Nora has a tearful goodbye to her mother before insisting on being the one to behead her. Abraham says goodbye to Miriam’s heart before he leaves as well.

Eichorst arrives to gloat.

Back at team evil, the Master visits Palmer and gives him his blood. Fitzwilliam finds the then bedridden Palmer active and mobile, apparently in great health.

Resurrection, Season 2, Episode 1: Revelation

Bellamy wakes up, gasping for breath, in the middle of nowhere. He remembers running with Jason – and soldiers taken Jacob from him, hitting him in the process. He runs back to town and staggers to the Langston home. He tearfully tells them he couldn’t keep Jacob safe – and Jacob comes downstairs.

At breakfast he remembers only that he was locked up in an interrogation room, injected with something – then he woke up in the middle of nowhere. In Arcadia, all Returned with loved ones got to go home to them – the rest are still in government hands and Lucille thinks they’re being spied on. As an added bonus, the media is reporting the whole incident as a hoax so it has been well covered up. Bellamy is also missing a week of memories and has stabbing chest pains.

When Marty tries to call his boss he gets a strange woman who is eager to learn where he is – he hangs up on her which is wise but likely pointless.

Rachel, who has Returned twice, is still pregnant and she and Tom see Dr. Maggie Langston for ultrasound; Tom has “claimed” her so she wouldn’t be taken away. Maggie is also not speaking to her dad the Sheriff which doesn’t surprise me at all – and she and Bellamy have a happy/shocked reunion. She checks him over and finds no health complaints. She does offer her couch to sleep on since he no longer has his room at the inn and he intends to keep investigating this mysterious government agency.

He stays with her to increase the whole “will-they-won’t-they” that may be sneaking in,  a great scene on how the Returned have affected them and Bellamy shares the full story of the case we’ve seen flashbacks – a boy was a witness in a human trafficking case who was killed. More revelations are interrupted by Bellamy’s boss, Toni, calling with a cryptic request to meet him so she can give him some answers.

Sheriff Langston is getting flak from the people of Arcadia for calling in the army (whether because of the hoax story that made them look like fools or the hassle or the removal of the Returned – hey there’s lot of reasons to be pissed at this guy). He stomps around like a bad tempered child on the discovery that his actions have consequences. He also hits the bottle. He tries stalking his daughter and “apologising” for something completely different rather than admitting his wife and nephew are back – enraging Maggie. When Bellamy appears, the fool Sherriff even tries to attack him (alas, Maggie is sensible enough to stop it) and Bellamy just pins Fred before he hurts himself.

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 1: A Tale of Two Sisters

A long time ago we had a ship at sea during a terrible storm; on that ship a queen struggles to write a letter – which is, perhaps, not the most practical thing to do during a storm (she also has a positively amazing pen considering the setting and conditions) she puts the message in a bottle – Arendelle has to know the truth or doomyness will doubtlessly happen.

5 years later we see two princesses (I’m just going to call them Elsa and Anna and stop pretending I don’t know who these people are) at two gravestones showing that queeny should have spent more time with a life preserver and less time writing her diary. Elsa is preparing a surprise for Anna’s wedding day

And now to today and the real world with an angry looking Elsa striding out of the portal leaving a trail of ice behind her.

While Elsa’s bringing a cold front, Regina leaves the party at Granny’s due to Robin’s lost love Marian being returned from the past meaning she is going to be sad and angry for yet another season. Emma comes out to try and comfort her rather than give her space and she really wants Emma to stop helping – because it never helps her and all that heroism gets Regina is more pain; she also references how hard and how completely she worked to build a new future and a new Regina which is all falling apart.

To grind some salt into the wounds, Robin also wants Regina to meet Marian so he can convince Marian Regina is a good person. Marian laces into Regina as a complete evil monster and is outraged that anyone else would even speak to her. Everyone is kind of silent - including Regina who leaves. While Mary Margaret calls after her Hook recognises her need for space – though Charming and Henry worry about Regina going to the dark side.

To Grumpy and Sleepy driving home and Sleepy is a designated driver. Who falls asleep behind the wheel (which someone really should have predicted). The out of control van nearly runs over Elsa – and gets frozen in place instead. The next day Elsa goes into town full of all the trappings of modernity that leave her stressed and panicky – which isn’t a good thing for the frosty one.

Flashback time – to Elsa giving Anna their mother’s wedding dress for the upcoming wedding and Elsa having some misgivings about the whole thing – since Kristoff is a peasant who, well, lived in a barn and is best friends with a reindeer. Until she finds her mother’s diary and discovers that their parents died because of her. Well, kind of. The diary entry is super ambiguous about how scared her mother is of Elsa and them leaving possibly for related reasons. Elsa, having been fed a steady diet of how scary she is (because of the worst parents ever), wallows in guilt. Anna is convinced it’s all a misunderstanding and the Trolls will show them.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

In the aftermath of the Erudite’s co-option of the Dauntless and attack on Abnegation, Tris and Four leave the city and try to rally their forces against the Erudite’s brutal campaign. But what can Candor and Amity do against the Erudite’s technology and the Dauntless training? What can the Dauntless do when split against itself and at risk from the Erudite’s mind control?

Forces have to be rallied in the most unlikely of places, all the while dealing with the fallout of so much loss – and the terrible things Tris has had to do. And under it all is a creeping worry of what they will do – is it right to destroy the Erudite? Can society survive without them? Can it survive if the Erudite win? How can they win a war that seems to have no good outcomes?

In some ways this book continues and confirms my opinion of the world building from Divergent. The faction system is broken, it doesn’t make much sense, it’s not workable, not a useful tool for creating peace let alone one for creating a society that works. That’s not bad world building on the part of the author, that’s what we’re supposed to be seeing – this whole book, even more than Divergent is about showing the flaws of the system, the flaws of each faction and it inevitably breaking down.

Like we see the Amity faction which looks so peaceful and beautiful – and then realise it achieves this by constantly drugging everyone (which is actually an ongoing habit of the whole world – these ridiculous factions are held together with regular doping to avoid any common sense) and, of course, the flaw of Amity being so conflict averse is that their response to evil abuse is to put their hands over their ears and pretend it’s not happening. We see Candor’s honesty is truly merciless with no accounting for people’s pain or experiences – it’s also deeply and utterly impractical in any meaningful away.  We see the factionless in their great numbers – there simply because of the deeply unjust system they operate on; not just the choosing. We’ve seen the Dauntless cruelty, but now see their ableism in discarding anyone who doesn’t fit their physical ideals – and the Erudite in their treatment of anyone who doesn’t match up to their intellectual standards

The factions only last because of constant drugging and a developed knee jerk hatred about every other faction so they constantly support their own without question for fear of being seen as disloyal or “unpatriotic.” Any attempt at thinking clearly and sensibly is clearly Erudite sympathies, any attempt to seek peace is cowardly Amity-ness etc etc. This system designed for peace only lasts because of the created conflict within each faction. Yet this conflict will inevitably lead to the war.

Intruders, Season 1, Episode 6: Bound

Richard Shepherd meets with Rose – who is wearing Amy’s body (that would be Jack’s wife) – to report Frank is dead (but not that he killed him) and the other Shepherds are looking for the killer (except him, obviously). Richard wants to continue Frank’s task, whatever that was, because of the history he shared with Amy (he did?) though not, apparently with Rose (wait, is Amy the reincarnator? Or Rose? Or Both?). Richard also apologises for taking so long to “trigger” Rose.

This job involves bringing someone back from the dead which is forbidden by a group called Reverti and if she’s caught they’ll be killed and not resurrected; especially tricky since Amy/Rose is due to become one of the 9 (whoever they are – bosses of the organisation I infer – I think they are the Reverti). She gives Richard the name and he goes to confirm whoever this guy is – and then he’ll need the trigger which Amy/Rose has. And no, we don’t get to see the name

Over to Jack (damn it, he’s the only one with no answers) who calls Amy (who he just saw in Roses’s room) to say how much he misses her and to check where she is – she lies of course. Jack goes and grabs his gun – having a flashback to his ill-defined past as a policeman in which he killed someone; expanded now to show one of them was completely helpless when Jack finished him off. He charges through the house ransacking the place to find lots of medication (which I’m guessing is fertility medication because it also comes with a flashback to Amy bloodstained that we’ve seen before which we can pretty much confirm is a miscarriage). After tearing throw her mail he finds that she’s preparing to divorce him.

He then breaks into his wife’s safe and pulls out a Que Reverti book – one of those books all the returned get with a number 9 on the cover (we’ve seen Marcus/Madison with the same book). The book is written in several languages; he also finds a box inside which is a pen, a funnel, a coin and nail polish. Because RANDOM.

He stops when he hears someone creeping outside. We then have a ridiculous amount of time with him pulling his gun, having flashbacks and being all tense and dramatic for ages before we see it’s the neighbours checking up on what they thought was an empty house. The neighbours are concerned and a little creepy. They want to tell Jack how Amy has moved on (looking ultra creepy while doing so). Yes they’re part of the creepy Reverti club and because she really liked Jack they’re going to point a gun at him and make him leave with whatever he can carry. Yeah, feel the love.

Over to Richard Shepherd at a Chinese restaurant who keeps trying to trigger one of the waiters, Peter (jazz is involved, because jazz is a thing, it seems). He then calls Amy/Rose to confirm “it’s him” which makes Amy very happy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Z Nation, Season 1, Episode 3: Philly Feast

Flashback to Cassandra’s past in Philadelphia when she was called Sunshine and used as a prostitute – or, it seems, used as bait for men which she and some men would then beat and rob. They’re led by a cultish father-figure who calls Cassandra one of his “children” and punishes her with a stun gun – which I think is supposed to explain how ineffective one was against her last episode.

In the present that’s where the gang is heading on a random, ill-defined scavenging mission. There they pick up the liberty bell. No, really, they find a truck someone was using to try and get the Liberty Bell out of Philadelphia, find it has fuel so decide to take it. They then accidentally use it to squish a whole load of zombies when they have a car accident.

Oh Z Nation so many times I can’t decide whether you’re awesome or ridiculous.

Flip to Cassandra’s cult leader and he and his family are sitting down to a meagre dinner cult leader gets substantially more of course) – the cult leader having a big speech about what a family they are and how Sunshine is missing while everyone kind of stares deadly into space (especially the woman he calls their mother). One of their family returns to say he’s found Sunshine.

Back to the gang who splits up to search for resources; Cassandra sees the cult members and manages to run, using zombies to distract her attacker – but the cult leader has spotted Addy. She manages to use a radio to get through to Citizen Z – right before getting kidnapped. Mack finds Addy gone and has a bit of a melodramatic freak out (Z Nation will never be known for the quality of its acting). Mack doesn’t have time to talk to Citizen Z and runs off looking for Addy.

At the cult the Cult leader tries to convince Addy what a good guy he is with organ music and “Mother” staring at the ceiling like a dead woman. There’s also a lot of candles. It is cringingly awful yet kind of hilarious. He introduces himself as Tobias so at least I don’t have to keep calling him “Cult Leader”.

Cassandra returns to the group and since Mack and Warren recognised some of the Cult from last episode they question her about it – Mack with a gun and melodramatic threats and Garnett trying to play a terribly acted good cop. Warren also pulls a gun since the Good Cop is so unconvincing. More terrible acting follows before she finally tells them everything. Uber melodrama follows before we finally learn that the meat the Cult keeps eating is actually the meat of their victims – they’re cannibals.

Which Addy discovers when she finds the Cult’s butcher room and still living, but sliced and diced, victim – and a whole storage room full of victims in the back. My there must be a lot of passers by. She runs out screaming into Tobia’s arms.