Sunday, October 22, 2017

Z Nation, Season 4, Episode 3: The Vanishing

Time for a big reunion. Murphy and Warren land from the Zona helicopter and, though Warren has a brief thought about where the other Zona soldiers are going, they both split off from them

They quickly find and rescue Lucy. Which is awkward because Lucy is really not happy with Murphy for leaving, really not happy about him not being blue any more, really not happy that he refers to his lack of blueness as a “cure”. She says she doesn’t feel anything towards him… and I don’t know if this is her saying he’s been away so long that he no longer feels like her father or she literally has no woo-woo sense with him. She does seem to have woo-woo sense for Warren...

She tells them about Newmerica and how Addey told her that is where they need to go - this seems to be how Lucy will act from now on. She’ll stay with the others (or Warren specifically) while she’s in a holding pattern for Addey to return. They all make it to the camp where there’s some nice reunions with Doc and meeting up with Lt Mueller and Sgt Lilley. It’s faintly amusing how they salute each other all the time. Of course Warren is also a Lieutenant and even staring into space for long periods of time she has enough natural authority that Mueller isn’t willing to overrule her when she demands they stay overnight waiting for 10k to return from looking for Red.

All together we have some pretty deep discussions about, well, the future, hope and despair. Murphy has remembered 2 years of utter paradise in Zona and is now back to the apocalypse and really gutted about that. And it’s not just Murphy whining - moving from thinking you’d finally found safety, finally found hope and a future to going back to the apocalypse is reeling for everyone. It also makes both him and Doc wary about Newmerica - how many times have they been told of safety, have they even found safety, only for it always to fall apart. They find a safe place, it turns out to be creepily screwed up in some way and when they leave it’s inevitably with it on fire and covered in zombies.

They’re not wrong

Lt. Mueller points out Newmerica ISN’T a utopia. It isn’t perfect. But it is a safe place they’re building and, pointedly, it’s real. I think this is a distinction. Newmerica isn’t a dream or a utopia or based on some principle or vision or higher ideal or wanting to make a better society: it’s just a place they’re trying to make safe. In Mueller’s words, it’s “real.”

And I have to say I really like Mueller. Sure I mocked him a bit for being lt. Huggy, but he is a man with a lot of military professionalism but who doesn’t just bark orders. He and his soldiers are disciplined, but he is still emotional, he cares, he listens - there’s some layers to him when a simple 2 dimensional barking commandant could have fit the role as well. I appreciate the effort that went into that.

Once Upon a Time: Season 7, Episode 3: The Garden of Forking Paths

We begin with a little flashback to the past with Cinderella, newly escaping from the ball with the murdered Prince, looking for Henry. And instead she finds a knight with a big sword and armour trying to kill her in the name of Victoria. She’s saved by Tiana in a floofy dress

And I’m all for women kicking arse in floofy sparkly dresses but I question how either of these women can navigate woodland wearing these things.

Tiana is a leader of the resistance against the Royal Family and Victoria and all the badness and she believes Cinderella isn’t responsible for the prince murder. Cinderella hits back asking where the Resistance was when her dad was murdered. At which point from here I have to insert my own dream dialogue because Tiana really should have slapped her a couple of times here.

Tiana: really lady, you’re putting that on us? We’re a resistance movement, not god, we’re trying here. What were you doing?

Ahem - Tiana expresses condolences but thinks that they have a unified cause, join the resistance for justice, freedom and bringing Victoria down. Cinderella turns her down because it’s not her fight

Tiana: Are you actually fucking kidding me here? You complain because we weren’t doing enough to fight Victoria and we need to do more, she’s just framed you for murder and you’re on the run - but you’re not stepping up?

Ahem again - Tiana tells her that not only did the prince murder Cinderella’s father but Victoria was involved as well, Cinderella decides to give this resistance thing a go. So they both get on the motorbike to drive to the resistance camp

Yes, that’s two women in giant floofy dresses managing to ride a motorbike. They have super powers. There they learn that Victoria-who-doesn’t-have-magic is transferring lots of magical artefacts from the king’s castle to her own vault in preparation for war. And one item they don’t recognise but are worried over - Cinderella does recognise it but decides to keep quiet

Thankfully a reluctant and not helpful Cinderella is joined by Regina, Killian and Henry - and Tiana is especially happy to have Regina on side because she has magic, killer fashion sense and generally kicks arse. So time for a battle plan which, bizarrely, puts completely new member Cinderella leading part of the attack…

Side note: did I catch some bubbling chemistry between Tiana and Killian there? Because I think I saw something

That night Cinderella sneaks out to see Victoria and the big box she was carrying. Which was apparently Victoria’s plan and the whole thing was a trap to lure her out. Inside the box is Anastasia, Victoria’s daughter, Cinderella’s step-sister who is almost-dead and kept alive by magic (magic which Victoria doesn’t have but keeps using because she’s a terrible Regina knock-off). Oh and Anastasia being not!dead is all Cinderella’s fault so she can feel guilty about being Victoria’s whipping girl, kind of like how Snow White was all super guilty about being responsible for Regina’s True Love David/Daniel/I neither remember nor care got himself icked. Let me say now that I’m growing rapidly tired of any scene with Victoria in it because she’s just Diet Regina with no class or development.

To save Anastasia, Victoria needs the heart of Henry because He’s the Naive Kid who Believes Any Fecking Thing (the heart of the truest believer which has been a thing before now and is apparently good rather than proof of using waaaaaay too much PTSD, but whatever). Which will be acquired by Magic which they Do Not Have and Do Not Need but still use all the fecking time because this show has put zero effort into developing Victoria and if this keeps up I’m just going to call her Diet!Regina because I’m going to forget her name.

Superstition, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

We open with a flashback and two kids running from badness in a cemetery. There’s lots of spookiness, lots of people with glowing red eyes as they run back to their parents who are locked, loaded and ready. But one child dies

The children were brothers Calvin and Arlo with Arlo being dead

Fast forward 16 years to Calvin returning home to the house after being in the army for the last decade or so - which shows just how much he wanted to run. He enters his family home and funeral parlour (the family business alongside monster hunting) and is lovingly welcomed home by his mother, Bea. And grudgingly respectfully welcomed by his dad Isaac but mainly because Bea gives him a Look.

They also interrupt a funeral but who doesn’t want a long term reunion scene (especially if it distracts from the creepy funeral where the body has been taxidermied). It’s also a nicely surreal homecoming as Bea neatly sums up how they’re renovated the house while also mentioning the anti demon measures they’ve taken - and doesn’t that perfectly encapsulate their lives? But Isaac makes his hostility clear, saying that Calvin “walked away from his life here” while Bea is quick to step in and make it far clearer she’s not standing for Isaac driving off her son.

So that’s all nicely awkward

So time to catch up with the bad guy. A man in black is using woo-woo to make snakes bite people (in a snake handling church so they kinda were asking for it, to be honest) and handing out a nasty snakey coin to one of the survivors.

In the aftermath we meet May, the Sheriff trying to bring some order to the chaos and getting the lady, Jessica home. Only at home Jessica becomes more snaky and then kills her room-mate via many many many nasty snake bites. They move her to a cell, in the dark because she can’t stand the light - and she sheds her skin. Definitely more than your average police force is expected to deal with

Thankfully May is in the Know and works with Isaac and family who she invites round to interview the snaky lady. Well, she invites Isaac round - Calvin doesn’t have clearance and is still very much persona non-grata (and Isaac makes another big display of putting him in his place). In fact, May is the only member of the police force in the know so even Isaac has to be sneaked in and out. They do find the coin and come with strict instructions not to touch it (almost too late) from Tilly

Whose Tilly? Tilly is a sassy goth coroner who looks like maaaaaybe one of the writers has been watching too much NCIS. She also performs the autopsy on the dead woman and finds she has been bitten by, pretty much, all the snakes ever despite no snakes being found on the scene. She works out of the Hasting’s house because they’re subcontracting space to the city morgue and it’s helpful to have a pathologist/woo-woo expert on staff.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Van Helsing, Season 2, Episode 3: Love Bites

All of our characters are split up at the moment, so it’s time to breeze through them all before getting to Vanessa - and hoping at some point everyone gets together

Axel and Doc are still looking for Vanessa despite having no idea where she is nor any blood to actually eat. Doc thinks he needs to feed on her so he can hunt animals she can eat which is all very practical; especially since he used to feed her when she was a vampire. He says no and gives her sharp things instead. Well that was riveting.

To Mohammed, Flesh and Lucky - they drag Mohammed to a resistance camp where his wound is infected and they have no medicine but will do their best to help him fight it off. It’s the same Resistance camp that Doc was part of because seriously everyone just trips over each other on this show. The camp has a blood shortage now so donating is mandatory (hey do they have blood testing equipment? Because if they can’t test for blood type this is going to be awkward) if you want to eat. Flesh is duly worried about this because his ex-vampire blood may be a problem? Apparently?

Mohammed, sensibly, points out that confessing all is probably a bad idea and he knows better than to trust anyone (the subtext here is he knows this because he himself is a terribly untrustworthy terrible person of terribleness). He encourages Flesh to give blood and just make sure they don’t give it to Mohammed because he’s still kind of terrible. Flesh, being the most naive person ever, tells Lucky

And she tells Jolene and he gets locked up while giving Lucky lots of betrayed looks. Seriously man? Lucky has known you for a hot minute and you decide to tell her you’re an ex-vampire and to just trust her safety and everyone else around her on that being ok? Really?

But apparently she is the worst so feels ALL THE GUILT and decides to rescue him and punch Jolene out. They also decide to “rescue” Mohammed. Why? I don’t know. I mean no-one had anything against him and they were treating his injuries to the best of their ability. Do you know what someone with a severe infected leg injury doesn’t need? A trek through the woods!

I’m rapidly becoming Team!No-One on this show.

Time to catch up with another group of humans, apparently teenagers or young adults, who have their own very very stupid way of doing things. One of their members, Felix, failed to kill a feral vampire so they decide to punish him with 10 lashes - that is brutally lash his arms 10 times with what looks like barbed wire. Not only is this brutally sadistic, it’s also ridiculously stupid. Especially since apparently this isn’t the first time he’s been lashed nor is he the only one who has been lashed by these barbs that draw blood from the first lash.

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 2: The Rising Son

We have a new enemy - down in hell Drexel and one of his fellow demons are visited by… Colonel Sanders!

Or Asmodeus. The last of the four Princes of hell - with Azazel, Remiel and Dagon already dead. Still he reminds us all that he and his fellows are pretty much made of power when he squishes several demons he decides were Crowley’s lackies in a horrible manner with little more than a look. He assumes rulership of hell until Lucifer and/or his son shows up to take their rightful place. He seems to be hoping more for the son than the dad - and he plans to be said son’s very trusted advisor… Drexel tries to warn Asmodeus that Lucifer gets… tetchy with the disloyal. Asmodeus takes exception that Drexel would think for even a second he knows more about Lucifer than he - and he has had his own run in

He has scars on his face which are not from spitting fat while frying chicken. This was part of Lucifer’s public humiliating punishment of Asmodeus after he decided to release the Shedim, basically monsters even hell wanted nothing to do with (Didn’t we do this storyline with Purgatory and the Leviathans? Or have we all decided never to mention that again?). Lucifer isn’t entirely out of his ever loving mind so had the Shedim put back and told Asmodeus to keep his chicken dusted hands away from That Which Man Was Not Meant To Know. He decides that this is proof of how loyal he is to Lucifer

While everyone probably realises that this is a somewhat dubious explanation, arguing with someone who can kill people with a handwave is generally not advisable.

Sam and Dean are driving home with Jack and we have a quick recap of how things stand at the moment. Sam thinks Jack is a person who can be good and is still holding out hope to free Mary and maybe even bring some of the dead back to life. While Dean thinks Jack will end the world, the dead are dead and so is their mother and holding onto any kind of hope that Jack won’t be dangerous is just asking for more people to be hurt and killed. Basically recapping last week: Sam is optimistic, Dean is wounded and emotionally cowering in a corner.

Dean seems angry, uncomfortable and torn as this whole debate continues and they stay a night in a motel in which Jack is rather adorkably awkward, imitating Dean like some kind of hero worshipped big brother and generally, as a 3 day old, not really knowing anything at all - not about god or Lucifer or anyone else - certainly not how to use his powers despite them experimenting.

They’re joined by Donatello Redfield, the prophet of god who had his soul taken by Amarra. See this is the joy of 13 seasons of a show - you have amazingly convoluted back stories.  He is there because he sensed Jack’s Awesome Cosmic Power (which makes Dean worried) but isn’t dark and evil like Lucifer’s (which reassures Sam). Of course if Donatello can sense the Awesome Cosmic Power then so can everyone else - including Asmodeus lurking around, pretending to be Donatello and pumping Sam for information.
Dean and Sam try to get round this by getting Jack one of their anti-possession tattoos: after a brief moment where the tattooist is knocked across the room by Jack’s reaction to tattoo pain (and Dean giving Jack a quick lesson on sucking it up) they finally get the tattoos in place… only for them to be absorbed back into his skin. Archangels don’t tattoo it seems. Dean is more suspicious

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu

Ella Patel is a con artist, a thief and a young woman who survived and even thrived on the streets of Cratetown, a vast slum that has grown up on the edge of the demilitarised zone in the aftermath of the great Alien War. And one day she found herself witness to a brutal murder, driven to intervene she never imagined she was stepping in the middle of the conflict between the Genjix and the Prophus

Or becoming the new host of the Quasing, Io. A quasing who throughout all of human history has been renowned for… her string of utter failures. This doesn’t make her the best or most useful guide for Ella now pulled into the war between the two big alien factions. A quasing can be a powerful guide - but when that quasing is Io?

In the story of Tao, we saw one of the most powerful and influential Quasing in the history of the Prophus. He has inhabited a series of powerful people who have completely and utterly shaped the world, who have achieved great things, influenced history and been at the forefront of their war against the Genjix. We’ve seen him take some extremely unprepared hosts, like Roan Tan and raise him to greatness, we’ve seen him inhabit Cameron to great effect.

Tao was a superstar, even in the most inept of hosts, Tao was a force to be reckoned with. Tao was terrifying. Tao was powerful. Tao changed the world.

Io is not a superstar. Io is an abject failure. Late to living in a human host, having great difficulty in influencing her hosts and having a long history of leaving them dead in her wake. Io is the excellent depiction of an entirely different kind of Quasing. Not all quasings are skilled world leaders, not all quasings shaped the world, not all quasings made a huge difference to world history - good and bad. And while Tao ended his arc wondering whether Quasings where good or bad for Earth and openly admitting that the Quasings are a dangerous invasive force: Io has pretty much given up on influencing the world at all. Tao is deeply invested in his host, Tao is invested in humans, Tao cares. Io is almost completely done with humanity

Through Io’s eyes we also get some really excellent insights into Quasing society when they were originally on their home planet, how their society worked, how these extremely alien creatures co-existed through the universe and how their hierarchy was structured. And from we see just how different modern Quasing are - they’re so disconnected compared to what they were and their hierarchy has been utterly turned on their head.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

American Horror Story, Season 7 (Cult), Episode 7: Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins

American Horror Story has decided to return to its grand old tradition of barely coherent nonsense.

Still clinging to the storyline we find Ally is in prison but the mass shooting and attempted assassination of  Kai by Meadow has been firmly blamed on her - since there’s footage of them

The violence was more than enough to tip the polls in Kai’s favour and sweep him to the lofty heights of city councilmen. This has apparently greatly impressed lots of alt-right neo-nazi guys since Kai is now surrounded by a lot of sinister looking white men all dressed in exactly the same not-quite-but-almost uniforms - they’re one tiki torch and a white polo shirt away from a racist statue loving nazi rally.

Bev goes to see Kai and is very very very quickly aware of how hostile everyone is to her and exactly what these men are. Suspicions which are confirmed when Kai brushes her off and dismisses her. She is Not Happy. And she is Dangerous

Introducing Bebe Babbitt and saying goodbye to reality, who meets up with Beverley and is taken by her to Ivy and Winter to tell her story

So, Bebe Babbit was the ex-lover of real life person Valerie Solanas, who tried to assassinate Andy Warhol because she thought he stole/lost her work (true) and because he dismissed her as a woman (possible). She also wrote SCUM, (actually in real life) and in American Horror Story world set up a cult - which Bebe was a member of. They formed a cult of violent women and self-hating, masochistic gay men (including using the term “gender traitor” which is a loaded slur) who are constantly degraded and abused. Per Valerie’s manifesto they start murdering men (and women who sleep with men - yes the lesbian not only hates all men, but straight and bisexual women as well) at Valerie’s instruction while she’s in prison for shooting Warhol.

Their brutal murders become the real world Zodiac killings because, well, American Horror Story. They don’t claim credit for the killing which seems like a dubious manner of getting their message across (Valerie has a somewhat… unrealistic ambition of killing a thousand people with a further unrealistic belief that 1,000 deaths will undermine the entire patriarchy). Of course then a man sends murder secrets to the papers meaning their SCUM murders are being stolen. Valerie doesn’t take this well and brutally murders one of the gross gay men following her cult - including brutal genital mutilation.

She tries to confess to the serial killing and claim credit - but the sexist police don’t believe a woman capable of such crimes and dismiss her. Defeated by patriarchy and misogyny at every turn, Valerie becomes more and more unstable and as she descends her cult leaves her. Until she hallucinates a final indignity - Warhol telling her that her legacy, all she will be remembered for, is trying to kill him - and dies.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 3: Mr and Mrs Mazikeen Smith

Maze is back and alive! I was beginning to think she had been written out of the show.

She is enjoying her new life as a Bounty Hunter which gave her a little more purpose and drive. She’s also still merrily drinking everyone - specifically Linda - under the table. Lucifer also explains a part of what makes Mazikeen kick - at least in his view. Demons don’t have souls so are very much live-for-the-day hence all party all the time. Maze is feeling a little bored about hunting humans which is super easy. Linda offers advice to… kkjbfhfcsakelncpsea. Linda is drunk. So that leaves Lucifer to offer advice - hunt the most dangerous human ever! Shine bright our demon!

So she goes to visit Lieutenant Herrera from organised crime division to get information on Rivers, the scariest scariest killer out there. Herrera warns Maze that Rivers is super super dangerous which makes Rivers really interesting

So (after an impossibly adorable scene with Maze and Trixie. Super super adorable!) Maze is off to Canada to hunt Rivers down. This means I get to make all the Canadian jokes! Especially since she sets off with no cold weather gear, no snow-shows, no moose repellent and no emergency stock of decent coffee, no emergency hockey stick… Maze is not ready.

So she beats someone up and steals their clothes. As Chloe puts it - she’s not worried about Maze. She’s worried about Canada. And because of this she keeps tracking Maze as she tears a trail of carnage across Canada searching for Rivers.

Lucifer keeps dismissing Chloe’s concerns. Ok I think this is supposed to be an indication of how shallow Lucifer is… but he has a point? Maze is an aeons old demon. She doesn’t need normal humans fretting after her or checking up on her. When Lucifer says Maze can look after herself that’s not disinterest - it’s accurate.

Maze, naturally, finds Rivers by tormenting the Nicest Canadian Ever, seducing River’s ridiculously naive girlfriend and finding him. He is charming and an escape artist - which briefly delays the inevitable… before Maze catches up with him again. He tries fighting this time and… nah, that doesn’t work, because Maze. Instead he pulls on the charm and the charisma and, in Lucifer’s words, the borderline handsomeness on Maze pleading his innocence. Maze shrugs because meh, her bounty. Still he does pull a whole lot of charm (which has apparently also captured his lawyer back in the US, who is in love with him as becomes apparent when Lucifer and Chloe question her to try and help Maze. Chloe deems Rivers “emotionally dangerous”).