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

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess (Victoria Marmot #1) by Virginia McClain

Victoria is trying to get away from life for a moment, still dealing with the sudden death of her parents

But things start getting weird when a woman starts randomly narrating her life - and mentioning a quest she’s supposed to be embarking on. She has no time for such nonsense - she has a new school to attend… a school with supernatural beings which was definitely unexpected

But then there’s a surprise reunion, an actual goddess getting involved and a whole world she never expected

I’m intrigued by this book - and a little frustrated

Intrigued because as I was reading it I felt like this was something of a parody of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and paranormal YA. We open with our protagonist actually confronting the narrator in a hilarious scene where she is bemused and horrified at this person stalking her and feeling the need to describe all of her actions aloud. I laughed out loud, literally, and was hooked. Honestly this line:

"Her chestnut hair barely reflected the starlight, her mint-green eyes flashing with confusion as her caramel skin darkened to the color of milk chocolate with increasing ire.

"Who the fuck is hiding in the woods describing me like a damned dessert?"

Or that Fate is known as the “DM”. It’s geeky joy!

This follows a rather inept werewolf losing his clothes when shifting and having Victoria slightly bemused by this wolf. Oh and a vampire who keeps doing things like declaring his love and watching her while she sleeps and being treated like the depraved stalker that he is.

This is hilarious. This is awesome. Throw in a headmaster with a whole lot of cannabis and a bemusing school setting and we have a fun book here and I just want to learn more about Victoria and her weird school friends dropping real sensibilities one the rather bemusing storylines we see so often

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Magicians: Season 4, Episode 3: Bad News Bear

The gang is gathered facing the Elliot monster who is merrily deciding how to kill them in a way which will cause the most suffering.

But downstairs, Margo arrives and runs into Marina. Now Marina is running away because her god-detecting wards have done a collective Oh-fuck and since an alternate version of her (time lines are so confusing) got brutally murdered by a god she’d rather flee for the hills. But she does have a trap for a god - ambrosia that will get them super high and distracted - she tells this to Margo

Margo joins her friend, sets up the trap - and doesn’t use it. Instead trading the location of Bacchus and the means to incapacitate him in exchange for all their friend’s lives. The Monster may hate them but he really really really hates the gods so much more

Josh isn’t thrilled with this plan being a good friend of Bacchus - but Margo is nothing if not ruthless. He thinks she should have used the trap on The Monster but Margo isn’t a fool - the last time they used a god killing thing (a bullet) on the Monster, it was immune and they just killed the host. And since his current host is Elliot, Margo is not happy with that.

They’re transported magically to Fillory and Josh’s job is to poison Bacchus. Bacchus lays on ALL THE GUILT on his best friend. Josh can’t do it but he runs straight into Margo who a) nicely flips the sexism of “pussy” and b) shows her extreme ruthlessness and plans to murder the whole party if he doesn’t get on side… he does

Bacchus is poisoned.... And fed to the Beast. We get some nice exposition with the Beast telling us that he came from the same parents as the gods, that he has his “kind” were trapped together and the Beast ate them all. Hence why he’s called a monster. He knows the gods took something from him but doesn’t know what it is… but he wants it back. Bacchus can’t give it back and, while desperately begging for him to pick any other gods… the Monster slices him open and pulls out a glowy magic red heart

A heart that, to Margo’s fairy eyes, glows like the sun

Julia meanwhile meets with Henry who is just such a glorious wreck with his hidden stash of booze, confronting him about both putting a target on her gang and, at the same time, playing too safe when facing the Library and the McAllisters, compromising too easily. And I think she’s not wrong? But after last episode when we brutally saw Henry’s devastating self-doubt and hate it’s clear that Henry maybe doesn’t have the self-confidence to go all in and trust to his abilities - which is kind of what Quentin, Julia etc all did. Especially this episode. This episode pretty much sums up their entire policy of charging in and trusting that they can handle it. And Julia is even more inclined now - the reason she kept coming back to life last episode? She’s a god. Oh she lost her god powers, but there are still perks

So with Margo and Josh away, that leaves the rest to figure out how to survive. So the McAllisters (the former faerie slavers) are credited with bringing magic back - and handing it to the Library. The McAllisters have now put a huge bounty on the gangs’ lives. And, of course, Marina, not being a super nice person, intends to collect on this. Which is why she tried to bring the illusion down in the first place

Quentin steps in an insists on paying her off - with Deweys. Deweys are coins from the Library - magic credit. The Library gives a small amount of background magic to everyone - but if you want to do a bit more then you need to get some more magic from the Library. And the library has a whole set of coinage they dish out for that - the biggest is the Dewey.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Legacies: Season 1, Episode 9: What Was Hope Doing in Your Dreams?

Time for a new monster because we have a new mcguffin everyone wants - the glowy urn.

Alaric and Hope consult on what best to do and it’s time for my broken record moment! I’ll keep it brief because I’m going to revisit it at length later on - but note headmaster Alaric now has to work with his student, Hope, as an equal conspirator rather than speaking to her as an adult to a child/student. She even refuses to tell him where the urn is, dismissing his adult claims simply because she is the one with super powers. And… she’s not wrong. You can tell because Alaric backs down on this and allows her to be the sole defender of the urn be because he’s human and woefully ill-equipped to deal with this

We do have a couple of elements of angst - Hope is keeping secrets from Landon about the whole missing memories and dead mother thing. She thinks this will bring him nothing but pain but achieve little. Alaric doesn’t force the issue because he’s kind of resigned to being her lackey now. The problem is that Hope is now super awkward about this and is avoiding Landon which sends Landon’s insecurities spiralling (foster kid bounced from home to home, many of them abusive) and he tries to gently poke her with not-subtle-but-kind-of-sad “zomg please love me” near desperation

And Rafael sees this and is super concerned because he’s really really protective of Landon (who does have this whole lost puppy feel to him) and is worried that Hope is going to hurt him and isn’t happy that Hope is keeping secrets. They have a philosophical difference in which she thinks it’s ok to keep secrets and lie if it’s to help people while he thinks that’s completely unacceptable.

To top up that drama, Rafael is also having issues because he’s into Hope and realises this could be a super betrayal of Landon so ANGST

MG is also fighting with some bad self-image issues of vampirism and how vampires have to change while Kaleb is against this anti-vampire turn.

Into this steps in the latest monster - a ghostly woman who invades people’s dreams and torments them with nightmares to make them give up the location of the urn

Which doesn’t really work because only Hope knows where it is and Hope is staying awake. Alaric and Hope consult and again we have a brief debate about secrecy - and they decide the best thing to do would be to inform the school that monsters are coming. Alaric does so and evacuates the youngest students while offering the older students the choice whether they want to evacuate or stay and face mortal peril

And schools shouldn’t work this way!!!! Hey kids, want to make a life or death decision at age 13 (the mandatory evacuees seem to be very young kids)! And honest no social stigma about running away (it’s not like this may affect your reputation and future standing in packs/vampire bloodlines etc).

Yes, more on that later. Several students leave but Hope, Rafael, Kaleb and MG stay. As does Landon despite pretty much everyone telling him to get his human arse out of there. Which to me just emphasises how much Alaric should do the same.

So research - after deciding they’re being attacked by a Night Hag, a monster that manipulates nightmares, they spend a while discovering that what happens in dreams can hurt them. Rafael is injured by a nightmare of an abusive foster family (he also dreams about Hope). Landon has dull, boring first-day-at-school nightmares while MG freaks about about being a murderous vampire and Kaleb tackles his doubts as he fears vampires MAY be terribad awful mixed with his actually enjoying being one