Friday, March 23, 2018

Hell's Detective by Michael Logan

Kat was a private detective when she was alive. It was a dirty job, but she did it well - until one night it all went wrong

And it’s a night she relives over and over again in Lost Angeles - a cute name for hell. A place where she can never forget that terrible moment when everything went wrong

But also a place, for all its chaos and violence, where her skills are still in high demand. Even the secretive administrators of this hell want to recruit her - and offer some respite which is the most anyone can want from hell… but the stakes are high and who can she trust? In hell, can she trust anyone?

This review is hard to write - because some of the things I love the most is the world building and the twists connected to this world building. We have a lot of debate about the nature of hell, a lot of questions and a lot of debate as to which of the various factions are telling the truth, who is who, what powers they have and who can be trusted among the dross and doublecross.

And I can’t talk about any of it without including massive spoilers!!!! But it’s so excellent - the twists, the debates, how Kat tries to navigate through this despite the huge stakes involved. She has to choose who to trust with so much on the line - and those stakes even eclipse her own personal advantage

The way Hell works is fascinating - Lost Angeles, a city where you can’t leave, where you can’t die. A city with resources enough to continue indulging all the sins that got you there in the first place - but a city without rules, a city without any reassurances or security. And a city where, every night, everyone relives their worst sin, that which torments them with guild the most.

And a city where people eventually disappear.

It’s an interesting concept of hell in and of itself, this Lost Angeles. But as you learn more about it as Kat investigates we get more and more answers and more and more twists that really elevates Hell above what we see in the surface - as well as the nature of demons, god etc  - and I can’t talk about any of it without spoiling this excellent book!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

iZombie, Season 4, Episode 3: Brainless in Seattle Part 1

We’re introduced to another awfulness in the world of New Seattle - people trying to be smuggled into the city for various reasons. Coyotes are there to help - but the people who do this are ruthless. It’s also very dangerous - the American military surrounding the city is shooting people on sight - I presume people leaving as I can’t imagine the excuse to shoot those trying to get in

We have Annie, a young woman trying to get into Seattle to meet the man she loves… she has paid a large amount of money to get into the city for bribes and fees

And she’s this week’s crime victim. She’s found shot, her head smashed open and most of her brain taken. This is not the kind of crime anyone wants to hit the news

Also I like Ravi and Liv making tasteless jokes over the corpse but being so very disapproving over Clive accidentally saying the wrong thing. Because I miss them tormenting him. It’s also fun to see Clive openly expressing his frustration at Liv’s brain nonsense but putting up with it for visions. Their dynamic is always fun.

So what is the brain? The brain is “hopeless romantic” as you’d expect from a woman who moved across the country to a walled zombie city to hunt down an internet romance. And it may be the most annoying brain there has ever ever been. Liv on this brain is hopelessly in love with anyone who passes her by - she fixates on Allan, the distraught, equally romantic boyfriend of Annie who is devastated. And more than a little freaked out at Liv’s not-so-subtle focus on her. They are both truly nauseating, already planning weddings, children etc etc. Clive takes the box of brain chocolates off her.

Also it’s Sam Huntington which means I can’t help but seem him as a werewolf.

Clive also reminds Liv he’s a suspect so totally not an appropriate date. Instead what they need is a coyote - and Liv realises the best person to speak to is Leone - Renegade.

And she’s not the only one interested in Renegade. While Chase Graves isn’t overly interested in Major reporting his issues with the whole zombie scratch last episode (they’re now being sued) but does demand that Major get the video back. Which isn’t easy

iZombie, Season 4, Episode 2: Blue Bloody

This episode’s murder is a rich lady who is the worst ever, killed by a golf ball launched from a golf ball gun. Honestly absolutely no-one mourns this worst woman ever

Of course Liv eats her brains and becomes equally terrible, constantly insulting people and treating everyone like servants, especially Clive. The good side is Clive resolutely refuses to be treated that way - and underscores the racial implications of her behaviour. He also snarks her excellently.

The investigation has several servants all declare the dead woman to be a truly nice lady with no enemies. Clive has been with Liv on this woman’s brain for a hot minute and knows this is a terrible, awful lie and anyone who met her would clearly want her dead. Especially when they discard her gems as a motive.

A surprise comes when they find this very very terrible woman actually left $1,000,000 each to her servants and many of them have major motives to want that money. One of which is her chef - whose son is dying from a heart disease. He needs an operation, one he can’t get in the zombie city of New Seattle. She needs the money to bribe a coyote to smuggle him out of the city - and agrees to confess to the murder if they’ll get her son out

But that means going to a part of the city on lockdown (due to anti-zombie terrorists) and smuggling someone out of the city. Something Clive, a cop, can’t agree to - and Liv on terrible brains has zero inclination to do.

It wasn’t the most insightful brain to eat but it was definitely amusing.

Major is having his own dilemma struggles - he’s taking Captain Seattle (who needs an actual name) out on the street with guns and no training because Chase Graves, despite being a soldier, thinks this is a good idea. Showing either a) he is a fool or b) he is absolutely desperate. Major reminds them just how important it is to keep their helmet on since, beyond brain damage, zombies are pretty much immortal

Their first encounter is a group of people harassing a zombie business: Major tries to calm everything down and does a very good job (though I don’t see how it will stick after Major leaves) but Jordan is provoked by the humans and one of them grabs her helmet. After underscoring how important that is so we know why she freaks out she chases him down and attacks him - and goes full on Zombie

Major stops her, and they manage to stop one of his friends killing him as he begs them to when he screams that he’s been scratched. But all of this is recorded on a phone and is going to be really really really bad PR. This is going to be a trainwreck.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 18: The Last Heartbreak

This episode has a lot of flashbacks of Pierce back in 1958 where he was also a detective and…

Hey this is a really bad way to be low key. I mean I thought he tried to hide who he was, even this episode he makes the point that he moved around a lot. Coming back to the same city and the same profession (hey which may have elimination prints on file even) may not be the best bet

Back then he was investigating a serial killer - the broken hearts killer - who killed couples (where one party was cheating) in a particularly gruesome and heart squishing manner. He decides to do all his work in a bar because who cares about crime scene photos being seen by all and sundry with a bevy of women all coming on to him and him ignoring all of them

Except the bar tender who has him pegged exactly - how he wants company (so he works in a bar) but doesn’t think he deserves it so he sits alone and drives people off and how he never let’s people in.   

In the present we have a copycat killer - the broken hearts killer was found (possibly by Pierce - but the credit taken by Ray his partner) and died recently in prison - only now we have a string of similar murders

We also have Pierce and Chloe. They had an excellent time together at the concert and Ella makes a big point of the chemistry they have together in case we missed it.and so Lucifer can be super jealous of Pierce having a relationship with Chloe

Yes, this is Lucifer’s issue of the week with jhim continually being jealous and pouty about Pierce and Chloe. Especially when Pierce joins the investigation because he has so much insider knowledge about the crime which makes him a genuine asset.

Best thing? Chloe telling Lucifer they have no time for his issues when there’s a damn serial killer on the loose. Amen Chloe, no more Lucifer shenanigans when people are dying.

They follow some red herrings - the wife who was being cheated on (now in therapy and dealing with her… excessive reactions), a guy who fanpoodled the original murders and did tours (had insider knowledge but from a cop he was paying to get info for his tours). Pierce manages to find his old bar and the granddaughter of the old bar tender: and she has all the old notes of the previous case as well. Turns out the original murderer used a radio show to find cheating spouses.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Stargate Origins, Season 1, Episode 8, 9 10

So james and Catherine have clearly been happily busy since they wake up half naked in a tent in time for Asset’s arrival with her Nazi fanpoodles and professor Langford who continues to serve as nazi translator with no objections

The people all bow and scrape before Asset, their god, and for some bizarre reason Brucke the Nazi decides that he wants one of his Nazis to fight one of Asset’s soldier in hand to hand combat to the death to prove whether their minions will die for for their leaders. Which seems… bizarre. Unsurprisingly Asset’s warrior wins because a) he has a spear vs a knife and b) Asset’s arm is armed with medieval weaponry and therefore used to hand-to-hand combat more than the Nazis who are armed with guns.. I have absolutely no idea why he would think this was remotely a good idea.

When he sees his soldier about to die, he decides to shoot the warrior to save his soldier which really annoys Asset but she decides to let it go. And then he murders his Nazi soldier.

Eva is absolutely enraged that he dare kill a Nazi soldier and servant of of Hitler. She is not behind his god claims and is a loyal Nazi. So, y’know, evil either way. She keeps snarling at him from now on and has some pretty good put downs. He’s still promising Asset lots of slaves to convince her to keep allying with him.

Watching all this Catherine does her standard thing of wanting to charge in and get herself killed and James does his thing of stopping her, as he does. This dynamic is getting old.

Asset also makes a big speech about how she can give things to people and how she can take them away - and decides to break her healing stick she had given to the people. She has a tear in her eye while doing it so clearly she does care which is very un-Goa’uldy but there’s still not a lot of explanation of why she did this rather than have it used to heal her downed warrior? Serqet, the hotpants Goa’uld tries to handwave this but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

What it does do is convince Kasuf and all his people that the Nazi has corrupted their god which I’m assuming is not her goal but who even knows.

Catherine speaks to Kasuf and shows him Stargate symbols so he can lead her to a place where various codes and co-ordinates for the Stargate are. She copies them down - then destroys them so the Nazis can’t use them. Of course when she returns to James and Wasif she realises Asset can just dial it up for them. On the way she tries to talk Kasuf out of his gods, that they’re enslaving him - but he insists they’re free and genuinely worship the gods. It’s hard to convince people they’re slaves when they don’t believe it? That’s the advantage of calling themselves god in the first place.

Waif and James plot how to get to the Stargate - and Wasif is very very very concerned about what the Nazis can do with all the naqueda and the Stargate, while Catherine and James are mainly concerned with each other (Wasif is finally frustrated by this).

Langford finally finds something resembling a spine and doesn’t translate Asset asking if they should kill Catherine et al. Eva continues to give Bruke shit and Bruke continues to be more and more of a megalomaniac. Langford also finally tells Asset that nazis are not nice people and Langford and the Nazi fight, Asset and Sequet just watch to let the humans fight their own battles

Asset also seems to have raided Lady Gaga’s wardrobe while Sequet is still rocking her hotpants.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Magicians, Season 3, Episode 10: The Art of the Deal

Tensions are still high between Alice and Quentin - she is super angry that Quentin doesn’t trust her - especially since he trusts Kady (which comes with a swipe at Kady’s drug use); Quentin argues that he doesn’t know what Alice actually wants because she’s been so changeable

And Alice has an epic, awesome rant about how she is also a complex, emotionally hurting person like Quentin - and excuse her if she hasn’t been all focused and consistent after losing her father (to say nothing of rebuilding herself after the niffin-ness): this is especially on point because this kind of emotional collapse and self-loathing and ambivalence is something Quentin has had from the very beginning. Her rant here is a demand that Quentin allow her the same level of emotional complexity that he himself has. And it’s perfect.

Julia also has her reservations about Alice but, ultimately, Quentin points out they need her (probably emphasised by the musical unity key last episode). So he’s off questing - but Julia isn’t. She can’t leave the fairies yet

So she recruits Fenn who is learning the universal awesome language of emojis and still really pissed off at the fairies and not really eager to help. But as Julia asks - how does she feel about slavery?

This is another powerful moment on Magicians, you can hate someone, even have a very real genuine grudge against them, but still find the abuse they suffer to be unacceptable and not celebrate their inexcusable suffering

The problem is they still don’t know how to remove the collars from the fairies. They confront Irene and tell her all about the fairies and that they know they’re there - but craftily present the idea that they have a fairy problem and need help subduing them. Fenn’s hatred of fairies helps sell this. Irene thought they had the last of the fairies and is super excited at the thought of more. She introduces them to evil Uncle Edwin. And we know he’s evil, he’s played by Michael Hogan. He is always evil - always always a sinister older man. It’s a rule.

He has a collar for them but won’t tell them how it works - he does show off the fairy he’s owned since he was 16: a fairy that has been enslaved to the family for 400 years. He also says the way to remove the collars is with a machine they have,

Freeing the fairies isn’t easy since Skye can’t show her magic to the others and they don’t believe her when she describes her power. So Fenn has an idea - let’s show the fairies someone scarier

The fairy queen. Who reveals their history - fairies used to live on Earth but were hunted to extinction by human magicians (she never knew there were still fairies left on earth). Julia says she never knew and the fairy queen has the truly amazing, I’m-gonna-frame-it come back “short memory is the privilege of the oppressor”.

She’s worried about being lured to Earth but Fenn snarls about all the shit the fairies did to her and how obviously she wouldn’t be here by choice. Honestly I would take this as meaning she has a very good reason to lure her to Earth but the fairy queen finds this convincing. Especially when Fenn makes an awesome appeal as a mother on the part of the fairies. She even agrees to wear the collar so they can sneak in: reassured that Julia the God-touched can protect her. She also asks what julia gets out of all this, why help the fairies and Julia has an excellent speech about doing something good with her power.

With the fairy queen on display and the story of a whole town infested with fairies, they happily ingratiate themselves with the McCallisters - and the whole clan has gathered to talk business (which seems to involved a huge number of smushed up fairies). There the queen is put in a cage with the other fairies - and is duly horrified at the condition they’re in: she has an excellent speech about how fairies are the inspiration of the gods and is deeply upset to see fairies lower their head before them. Oh and she also promises a horrible death for the McAllisters once they have the collars off

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Once Upon a Time, Season 7, Episode 12: A Taste of the Heights

So in a completely unexpected twist, Victoria Bellfrey/Rapunzel died last episode leaving us something of a void where the prime antagonist should be, especially with Eloise/Mother Gothel being content to be cryptic and lurking in the background

Henry also has a podcast now, since someone on the writing team decided he needs to have some kind of income. This turning his experiences in Hyperion Heights into a story with some heavy editing to actually explain his motive for hanging around (I mean, really “suspicious property developer is buying real estate?! WHYYYY?!” is a bit of a weird motivation given this is what property developers do). He is also being pushed towards Jacinda again since we kind of forgot about that, with Lucy definitely getting in there to push them together in an ultra-creepy kind of way. Especially since after Victoria showed her the magic book, she’s realised that all her beliefs are true and she just needs Henry and Jacinda to have true love’s kiss so she can return to a medieval kingdom without electricity or indoor plumbing.


Except some shadowy figure in her room (where she’s retreated to give her parents more privacy because ucky ucky ucky) leaves a page from that storybook - the page that reveals if they break the curse Henry dies -so now she’s trying to break her parents up again. Teenagers are more stable than this child.

But this episode’s true focus is Sabine/Tiana, because she’s about to launch her food truck serving awesome cajun cooking at a food festival

This also involves flashbacks to her coronation - having led the resistance to victory against  Victoria (apparently? I mean, did that happen? They all seemed to hang around in camp while Henry and Jacinda developed sexual tension without doing a huge amount more). Now everyone is prepared to hail her as queen because she’s all kind of awesome

Except Dr. Facilier turns up; most conveniently since we’ve got rid of that pesky Victoria villain. He is all kinds of sinister but apparently has some kind of history with Regina. In her
Evil Queen days anyway. Everyone suspects he has a sinister motive, but he reveals there’s a big alligator in the swamp eating Tiana’s subjects. Being Tiana she declares she will go out personally and slay the monster and save her people because she’s awesome like that

She’s also going to seriously crash and burn as a monarch if she doesn’t learn how to delegate. You’re queen lady, you don’t have a spare army hanging around?

She sets off with Jacinda and Killian follow for… I don’t know, moral support. Regina, the super powerful magic wielding awesome force of nature is left behind because… because they kind of have to otherwise she just steals every scene

Instead they run into Naveen, a prince from a neighbouring kingdom who is here on an alligator hunt. Tiana is not having this, if any royalty is going to cause massive instability and constitutional crisis in their kingdom by killing themselves in a random monster hunt they could delegate to a minion (or visiting sorceress queen with killer dress sense, just saying) then it’s going to be her. And she’s definitely not accepting help because she’s totally doing everything alone and she resents his light hearted adventuringness

While he chides her for refusing to accept help, deciding to do everything alone and, y’know, not understanding how government works. Personally i blame Jacinda & co for Tiana’s independent streak - after all she had to do all the Resistancing thing alone because everyone else was too busy sorting out their own love life rather than actually helping.

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 17: Let Pinhead Sing

Let’s set up Lucifer’s inevitable annoying drama for the week… honestly I’m really beginning to find Lucifer’s personality quirks more than a little irritating. Every week there seems to be a whole new reason for why he’s going to act super super weird. It’s like iZombie but without the brain eating excuse.

So he sees Linda who is actually taking a page out of his book and letting her issues with Maze spill on him, thinking about apologising and reconciling with Maze. But with her input, Lucifer decides he needs to stop provoking god in case god decides to kill Chloe (he’s not ruled out this being why the bomb scare happened). And since he can’t keep god’s spotlight off him, he’s decided to pretend he’s interested in other people and doesn’t care about Chloe

Which he doesn’t even remotely pull off, even Chloe calls him out on this (putting it down to fear of losing her) so how he thought he could gool god is something of a mystery. This leads to lots of awkward scenes of Lucifer ostracising Chloe and latching on to every passer by, including bodyguards, extras etc for lots and lots and lots of cringe-worthiness.

This happens throughout the case - the murder of a back up dancer who was stepping in for a popular singer, Axara. Naturally everyone assumes the singer is the real target so there follows lots of investigating to see who would want her dead. We have the obligatory red herrings (three of them, including a dubious depiction of a drag queen complete with very coded language) as Chloe and Ella follow the clues with good police work, dismissing these as they track down the actual culprit. But they largely do this without Lucifer since he’s doing the ostracism thing and fawning over everyone else very irritatingly - but he can barely keep it up when Chloe covers Axara with her own body when someone shoots at them.

One of the things he does is offer to bodyguard Axara and since his penthouse is where no-one would expect her to go, Chloe agrees. He and Axara strike a lot of hostile sparks, fight over smoothies but eventually find some peace. She wants to have sex with him and bewilderingly for the first time ever, he refuses. He is too preoccupied with Chloe - and he doesn’t really like her very much. She does give some good advice about following your passion (in her case, singing) otherwise what is the point of life - for Lucifer what is the point of life without Chloe; despite the threat of his dad

And her passion takes her to his club to sing even though her life is under threat because she’s not giving up or letting anything come between her and what she loves. Lucifer tries to drag her back and they end up singing a lovely hostile duet which is kind of awesome because they can sing.

The performance attracts Cece, a woman with a knife, who has been killing people to scare Axara into not performing or touring any more so they can go back to being closest ever friends (or more, there’s an “I love you” in there as well) and she can have her all to herself. Axara excellently reiterates the point about her passion and no-one taking it from her and Lucifer gets himself stabbed trying to protect Chloe.