Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Almighty Johnsons Season Two, Episode Two: Frigg Magnet

Axl is sitting in a restaurant when he is approached by a woman selling single roses.  He tells her that he doesn't want a flower because he is not on a date and is waiting on a guy.  Realising how this might sound, Axl quickly makes it clear that he is waiting for his brother.  There was absolutely no reason for this scene, and the writers might as well had Axl scream no homo.  As soon as the woman leaves, Agnetha enters and Axl is not happy to see her. 

At Ty's, he is trying to leave, but Eva does not want him to leave.  When she won't give up, he is forced to tell her that Agnetha is his mother.  Stacey says, "no way, having that cow for a mother. That is so surreal."  Eva reminds Ty that Agnetha walked out on him when he was 14 and suggests that maybe she wants to use him and suggests that he stay there with her.  She then handcuffs herself to him saying that he has to take her with him, or take her there and they begin to make out.

Back at the restaurant, Agnetha asks what is wrong with her having dinner with her sons, and Axl reminds her that she tried to have him killed. Agnetha tells him to forget about it and that it is all in the past.  She assures him that she really is his mother and is only trying to mend a few bridges.

Zeb and Mike are playing chess and Mike is blindfolded.  Zeb cheats and Mike warns him that it is not going to help and asks him what part of God of games he is not understanding.  When Axl returns, Mike asks how the dinner that he was not invited to went.  Zeb leaves saying that he has experienced anal leakage.  Axl admits that Ty probably didn't want him to be there because it was a dinner with their beloved mother. Mike is concerned and reminds him that they agreed to forget about her.  Axl admits that Ty didn't show up and he stayed for the free food.  He tells Mike that Agnetha wants him to stop looking for Frigg. 

In a flashback scene to the dinner when Axl asks if Frigg should come to him, Agnetha agrees.  Axl says that maybe Agnetha wants to actually help, unlike some. Mike says that often what people say and what they mean are often different things and points out that he found Kvasir.  Axl is not happy with that because all he got was a riddle and Mike points out that this is Olaf's territory.   Axl says that he is screwed and that he is looking for a sign that someone knows what is going on with his life.

Axl approaches Ty who is fixing a truck and says that they agreed not to communicate with the woman formerly known as their mother. Ty answers that when he heard her speak, it was like when he was a kid. Mike is not impressed that Ty left Agnetha alone with Axl, and he knows that whatever she wants will end in tears. He demands that Agnetha says to Ty be reported to the whole group.

Axl is back in school and their guest speaker at the lecture is Colin. The professor is in shock as Colin tells the class that being a self employeed builder will lead to bankruptcy 

Agnetha shows up at Ty's house and Stacey is not impressed by her.  When she learns that Ty isn't there, Eva makes and appearence and tells her that last night that Ty was so happy, he didn't see the point of seeing her. Agnetha says that Ty deserves better than Eva, but Eva counters saying that Ty gets unconditional love from her to the end.  Agnetha walks out and calls Ty instead. Ty says that he doesn't think it's a good idea for them to meet, and  that she needs to respect that.  Agnetha responds that she is looking after Anders affairs while he is away and that Dawn is fragile and weepy.  Agnetha digs deeper and tells him that Dawn cares deeply about him and that this is sad for Dawn.

As Colin leaves, Axl follows him to ask if his appearance is a sign. Colin answers that his firm does business with the university and he is just giving something back.  When Axl calls him on it, Colin says that it was a message about not messing around with a trade because he could help them all ascend. He tells Axl if he wants to be a God that he should think about becoming a man.  Axl answers that is exactly what Kvasir told him, to which Colin replies, "man up to God up." I know that Axl is really simple, but why does he believe a single word coming out of Colin's mouth, when he knows that Colin is Loki and therefore cannot be trusted?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Alphas Sneak Peak!

Review: Where Angels Fear to Tread by Thomas Sniegoski, Book 3 of the Remy Chandler Series

Remy Chandler, private investigator and seraphim, is still in a rut from the death of his wife, fighting both depression and his angelic nature that flares more strongly with his loneliness. Even his friend is beginning to worry about him – and not much worries the veteran cop.

He also has a new case – a man has run off with his daughter without the mother’s consent, and she is desperately worried for her child. More, this child, Zoe, seems capable of seeing the impossible including both the future and Remy’s true nature.

She has a power inside of her, a power that isn’t meant for humanity but is highly desired. Remy is faced with the challenged of finding the child with what erstwhile allies he can gather, while both the soul-consuming seductress Delilah  (yes, of Samson and Delilah) and the long weakened god Dagon both seek the same prize for their own reasons – and that doesn’t include the welfare of the child.

I’ve said before that there’s a lot of research that goes into this series and it really does show. It has a very rich, wide and broad world with a lot of weight to it. Everything is solid, non-contradictory and holds up well and still brings in a vast amount of information and different legends. The introduction of Samson and Delilah was nicely done with their lives after the Biblical legend. It was another level of richness and depth to this world.

It’s also interesting to see the depiction of deity – because it does seem to be the ultimate personification of a righteous – but incredibly harsh and unforgiving god. After all, the plot here revolves so much around Delilah trying to escape her excessively cruel punishment. I am curious where this is going to go – because it does fit very well with what we’ve seen of Remy’s Seraphim side and the other angels. Just, right, powerful, determined to fight evil – and utterly lacking in any kind of mercy, compassion or empathy. Yet, at the same time, the scene with the reclaimers suggests the powers that be have at least some level of compassion. I’m curious and I definitely want to see more and how it fits.

Teen Wolf: Bromance is easier than Inclusion

On Fangs for the Fantasy we’ve covered some of the many ways to dodge around actual inclusion of minorities in TV shows and books - usually the writers just throw tokens at us, or erase us entirely. But when it comes to GBLT inclusion there is a new crafty tactic on the horizon - the suggestive Bromance. And no show has mastered this more than Teen Wolf. Teen Wolf has already set itself apart because it is one of the few shows on television wherein the male characters are overtly sexualised and the women are not. This, in addition to being an excellent twist on the gender roles we see, unfortunately also gives perfect fodder for these Bromances and faux inclusion seen through “slash goggles.”

What is slash? Slash is fiction, usually fanfiction, which places two male characters into romantic/sexual relationships usually for the purposes of fetishization. “Slash goggles” is a term developed to refer to watching a show and looking for hints of anything (a touch, a gesture, a look, anything) that would back up these characters being a couple.

So, what is the problem with this? Well, aside from the problem of fetishisation, appropriation and homophobia that are unfortunate issues within slash, there’s a huge problem with ambiguity encouraging erasure.

For too long, writers have been using character ambiguity as an excuse to avoid including GBLT chaarcters. Rather than overtly say a character is GBLT, they can imply it - and get praise for inclusion from people desperate for inclusion (or desperate to see hot guys get it on) when they haven’t actually included anyone, or only made the slightest gestures of inclusion.

Teen Wolf doesn’t just subtly cater to this - but is probably the most blatant in pandering to it. Don’t believe me? Look at this little video made by Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Hoechlin.

You can google an image search of “stiles and derek” if you want to see more. I’m not responsible for the fanart you will see.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Blue Moon by Laurell K Hamilton, Book 8 of the Anita Blake Series

Anita is awakened by a phone call from Richard’s brother – Daniel. Richard has been arrested on charges of rape. Anita is more than a little doubtful of the charges and, naturally, having police and legal connections, she drops everything and makes the flight to Tennessee, despite Jean-Claude’s insecure reservations.

Travelling as a human servant and Lupa is not simple, however, and she quickly finds herself embroiled in local pack politics and in conflict with the local master of the city, who fears and invasion and the power of Jean-Claude’s triumvirate in his territory. Having to dance to werewolf politics and being openly at war with the local vampires complicates things a little.

But then there’s the reason they’re there. Richard has been opposing the sale of land that an endangered troll species inhabits – but the person doing the buying is far more dangerous than he imagined. With his full resources – both mundane and mystical – he is determined to make Anita and Richard leave, but this is a battle they cannot walk away from.

To complicate things further, there’s also Anita’s relationship issues – namely that she left Richard after sleeping with Jean-Claude. Between that and Richard’s exes, there’s a lot of tension to navigate.

The plot is actually really involved and written. We start with a simple mission – to save Richard and find out what’s happening. This quickly escalates not only in to a perplexing mystery (why go to this much effort to evict the trolls?) but then adds a layer of epic to become a fight that Anita simply cannot avoid. As the book says, when evil draws a line in the sand, good can’t just walk away. The depiction of Niley and Linus, their backstory and the books’ descriptive style establishes them as EVIL with a capital E. This lends a strong sense of epic to the story and the sense that there is no way Anita and Richard could just go home and let the trolls get on with it. There’s more depth and strength to it – more hangs on it than a simple local land issue and it gives and extra urgency and power to Anita’s actions and those of her enemies.

The book also continues one of the strength of many of the Anita Blake novels, there are several plots running alongside each other yet, at the same time, linked. We have Verne’s werewolf pack, the vampire and their fear of Jean-Claude, there’s Anita’s regular power hiccoughs – and there’s the core plot, Niley and his nefarious plots and the influence he spreads. All of them run together, they’re all well paced, none dominates the other and they all come together in a really neat fashion. None of them feel like distractions so much as the actual consequences in the supernatural world of moving out of state. It’s not a case of simply focusing on the plot line and the rest of the world conveniently fading into the background (except Anita’s job – which regularly seems to be cancelled at short notice without damaging Anita’s income at all).

I also like the book’s portrayal of police corruption – and how Anita and Richard are both very dependent on both their extensive connections and the fact they have lots of nice, upper class, respectable witnesses to prevent the worst of the Sherriff’s excesses. It’s made clear that these are the only things holding the corrupted police at bay – and also just how much power a crooked sheriff in a small town can actually have.

Blood Ties, Season 2, Episode 5: The Devil You Know

After the death on his door step last week, Henry is doing a role call of all the vampires he can think of in the city – to see if he really does have Christina on his doorstep. And Vicki arrives, of course, irritated that he’s trying to freeze her out. She’s irritated he went to Celluci and not her, angry that he’s pushing her out and demands he acknowledge it’s Christina moving in on his territory – the vampire who made him. Henry is far from responsive.

And there’s another body, 2 in fact – which Celluci blames on Henry. He’s convinced it’s Christina and demands Henry sorts it out.  Henry, though is both angry that Vicki told Celluci and convinced it’s not Christina because the death is too public, too blatant to be a vampire, certainly one of Christina’s age. 600 year old vampires don’t get that way by being so open. He leaves, annoyed that  Celluci is so fixed on Christina they’ve dismissed other options.

Henry takes a brooch from the crime scene and goes hunting – smelling another vampire he shouts dramatically at it and has a Christina flashback

At the same time, Vicki and Celluci are eating Chinese, discussing vampire territorialism and who Christina is (yes, it’s a well done info dump) – and realising that Henry took the brooch. Now they have to question whether they can trust him.

And to add fuel to that fire, Henry returns to his home to find Christina in his bed. Vampire hormones go, lots of snarling follows and recriminations about the past (Henry says he “loved” her past tense and they mention a time she nearly killed him for encroaching in her territory) and finally we reach the dead models – which Christina says were killed by Alexander, another vampire. A vampire who has been hunting Christina and she brought him to Toronto to involve Henry.

Henry is, unsurprisingly, not best pleased but insists Christina speak to Celluci about the model murders to at least take some of the heat of Henry. His territory, his rules. She leaves when it’s over and he grants her territory she may hunt in.

Henry calls Vicki to explain everything – including his instincts and trust for Christina, the instinct to hunt, fight and love – but the conversation is interrupted by Christina arriving at Vicki’s. She’s arrived to be all pally and friendly so they can be strong women together. Hah, no, course not. She talks about Vicki’s relationship with Henry and how Vicki can’t possibly understand him blah blah, strong women jealous over same men, blah, Vicki cannot possibly like another woman who isn’t subservient, blah, blah.  

Get some pictures of Alexander off Coreen (who lampshade’s Vicki’s jealousy – this isn’t a show for subtlty) Time to go to the morgue and fill in Celluci. Mohadevan the awesome gives them the usual vampire schtick – drained of blood etc etc, but the marks on the bodies show hesitation – incompetence, inexperience which you certainly wouldn’t expect from Christina. We also run into Dave! Remember Dave? I almost didn’t – he was Celluci’s token Black sidekick for odd flashes of season 1.

Q&A With Alphas Ryan Cartwright

Bill Brennan: Hi everyone thank you for joining us today. We will get right to it.

I just want to introduce Ryan Cartwright who plays Gary Bell on Alphas and Alphas premiers.

Ryan Cartwright:  Hi.

Bill Brennan:  So we're ready to open it up for questions.

Operator:  And our first question comes from the line Kyle Nolan with No (R) Please proceed with your question. 
Kyle Nolan:  Hi Ryan thanks for taking time to talk to us.

Ryan Cartwright:  You're welcome.

Kyle Nolan:  Your portrayal of Gary is my favorite part of the show. Could you talk about how you decided on his mannerisms, his cadence and his accent and how you prepare to get into character?

Ryan Cartwright:  Yes sure. Well I had luckily I was in a good position whereby I had a like a good month and a half from getting the role to actual production so I had plenty of time to do as much research as would make me feel comfortable stepping into Gary's shoes.

And it was great, it was really good fun just looking at a part of the world that you'd never seen before and also with autism if you research it enough you end up appreciating looking at the world through their eyes as well.

Basically I started with lots of documentaries, lots of movies and lots of like online blogs and stuff from autistic people talking about how they experience things and just reading the books like from (Daniel Pampett), (Temple Grandin) and (Oliver Sachs) and stuff. And the firsthand account stuff from autistic people in its true form really helped because it helped me understand the neurology behind it which gave me the grace to come up with the mannerisms and stuff myself knowing the reason I'd be doing them as opposed to just meeting someone and copying mannerisms.

Like towards the end they invited me to - I was invited to like go to meet a group of autistic people in the day like a camp or whatever but by that point I kind of didn't need to do it because I had already figured out Gary on his own and knew the reasons I would do certain things so it was really nice.

And I would just like pad around Toronto when I got up here, kind of walking around as Gary and doing the voice and stuff and reading poems and repeating things that people would say like with the (unintelligible) an stuff so yes it was just a really nice time to - it was a luxury to have all that time to get comfortable in his skin so that I'm super comfortable doing it now.

Kyle Nolan:  Can you talk about some of the changes that we'll see with Gary this season?

Ryan Cartwright:  Yes he's still petulant which I'm sure everyone will enjoy. He's still outspoken, I don't think that will ever change. But he's kind of making some different life decisions that affect that other alphas quite substantially like I think everyone knows now he flies the (Brewster) gang not just working at the office but he decides to move his mother's nest and descend on the office 24/7 and tries to make it his new home.

 And also his continuance of trying to keep Anna's voice alive because when she died at the end of the last season it affected his deeply and made him question his place within the alphas and also kind of people's motivations which he's not very good at figuring out but it definitely once she died it made him question Dr. Rosen and the whole alpha phenomenon and his place within it and he wants to keep her voice alive and her message because it seemed to inspire him and seemed a bit more holistic to him.

Kyle Nolan:  Great thanks, looking forward to the new season.

Ryan Cartwright:  Cool I hope you enjoy it.

Operator:  Our next question comes from the line of Renee Martin with Fangs for the Fantasy, please proceed with your question.

Renee Martin:  Hi Ryan, thanks so much for taking time out today.
Ryan Cartwright:  That's all right.

Renee Martin:  I was wondering, there's been a big push by this Disability Rights Activist, to have disabled people actually play disabled roles because there's so few opportunities within the media. So I was wondering did any of that come in to play or did you consider this at all when you were thinking about taking on the role of Gary?

Ryan Cartwright: Well, I believe, I believe it was - there was an autistic person who auditioned for it. I think, I mean I think it depends on the role, you know, I mean, this is, you know, just being cast in a role and the business of getting a role and everything it's never fair to, you know, to anyone. I think that, you know, that does need to be, I think it did start, you know, like I say with this group since - I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to audition and to go in, but you know, I think the producers and stuff felt that I was right for the role.

Yes, I guess, I don't know it's a tricky one I think. I think you can have a little bit of both and, you know, if someone's a really good actor and they can do it then why not? But, at a certain point it's the business and the industry that would have to change and I guess why I feel good about it in a way, portraying Gary is that, hopefully it will open the flood gates for more, you know, neurodiverse people and disabled people to be considered. Because before it was - a lot of the autistic roles I've seen portrayed before were pretty much one note. And were, there were, you know, there was a lot of clich├ęs out there.

So, I think that showing Gary that it's not - you don't have to write it like (unintelligible) every single damn time, hopefully people will just think about writing for more autistic people and, you know, disabled people as well. If there are other roles like that - that are being taken good care of.

So, I think the first step, that I guess Alpha's is helping is just showing a different side to autism and just more of a truer face to it. So, hopefully it will just - it will just create more - in roles I think that's where it would have to start. And then a lot of it's just, you know, if you're a good actor, if you can do it, then yes, everyone should have a chance, but then you got to get the role man. I'm always auditioning against skinny white kids, that's my battle.
Renee Martin:  Thank you, I just have one more question. In the first season, Gary faced a lot of ableism and (unintelligible), particularly from Bill, but one of the things I like about it is that he always had a comeback and he was sure and assertive. Did you have anything to do with the fact that Gary always stood up in the face of the so-called benign oppression that he played?
Ryan Cartwright:  No, there was a lot of it already there in the script. There was one specific moment last year that I was quite adamant about. When he was being bullied at school and the kid pushed him and called him a retard. And I think the original comeback that was scripted was just to say, "Oh, I'm not a retard…I'm autistic." And I was quite adamant that Gary should call him a retard back, because you live with those curses that you get off other people. And an autistic person should be able to fight fire with fire. The bully uses the R word. He’s the dickhead in that situation and he should have the same curse flying straight back at him.

I always wanted him to be just as confrontational and just as robust and throw it right back in their face. You know, because fuck them if they're going to lower themselves to that disgusting level. Then an autistic person should be able to fight back blow for blow.

I don't want him restricted, I guess because there's that danger people think, oh, he - if he's offensive himself then, you know, or that's what he's like.

Well no, he's a good guy. Good guys can swear too. So, I just felt a lot more comfortable making sure that he did stand up for himself and not just stand up for himself in an apologetic way. Let him be rude.
Renee Martin:  Thank you.

Ryan Cartwright:  You're welcome.

Operator:  Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of (Kathy Huddleston) with (Blaster).com. Please proceed with your question. 

(Kathy Huddleston):   Hi Ryan thank you for doing this.

Ryan Cartwright:  Hey, you're welcome.

(Kathy Huddleston): So when the season starts Gary's in a unique place, he's in prison and all this stuff is happening. It's really kind of a Gary story. What do you want to tell us about where Gary starts this season?

Ryan Cartwright:  Yes he's in a worst place than prison. He's like in Building 7 and he's pretty much comatose because to control alphas who are bad there's a lot more moral flexibility that people believe they can take with them so they put like these chips in their heads which make them completely comatose and devoid of any personality and sense so they're pretty much like these neutered brain-dead zombies who just sit around and drool which is my natural state normally.

So yes he's in Building 7 for he was a little bit too disruptive because they wanted him to go and work with the other people over there, the government agents, but they didn't appreciate Gary's idiosyncrasies and he ended up lashing out and got in trouble. None of the other alphas knew for awhile until they have a little visit and they can just see him sitting there kind of gawping at the floor so Gary needs rescuing.

(Kathy Huddleston):   So what would you say your biggest challenge was this season so far?

Ryan Cartwright:  I just think keeping the consistency of the character and kind of not coming out of the character to get laughs because, you know, Gary he does change as time goes on but in a different way to everyone else and it's a lot more subtle.

So kind of Gary's arc has to be a little bit more concentrated and mainly just keeping his voice the same, the dialog and just how he would react to these different situations, just keeping a close eye on that like once again not wanting to abuse Gary's personality and where he is on the autism spectrum.

And then once he's like taken care of that and you know that he's character consistent then it's just all about coming up with funny lines on the day. I have to try to make the other actors and alphas laugh and just having - once you know he's like grounded then you can like inflate him with all this hot air and just watch him ascend and annoy everyone. So yes just that.

 (Kathy Huddleston):  Thanks a lot.

Ryan Cartwright:  Oh you're welcome.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong, Book 13 of the Otherworld Series

After the events of the last book, the supernatural world is devolving into chaos. Split along the lines of those who want to reveal the supernatural and those who wish to remain concealed, there is a war fighting on every plane of existence. Not just Earth, Angels are turning against Angels, Lord Demons are mustering against each other. In the confusion, all rules are being broken, demon beasts are manifesting in the real world, Angels are taking flesh, demi-demons are possessing humans, even children, against all established laws and treaties.

People are panicking, in one move against the reveal movement, a group of anti-revealers are taking extreme measures to convince people it’s a bad idea – unleashing drugged, frenzied werewolves, manifested demons and starving vampires among groups of humans to show how bad it could be – leaving a horrendous mess and piles of bodies in their wake.

And Giles, leader of the reveal movement, is getting desperate. Harried by the Cabals, the anti-reveal movement, the interracial council and with his laboratory destroyed in a explosion, he is losing control. He tries to tighten his fist on defectors and to wave his carrot of immortality – but his serum isn’t ready – and the people who take it are becoming savage monsters. It doesn’t stop him trying to use it widely among the potentially influential.

Then there’s the Lord Demons – who are quite willing to possess without summoning, recruiting, looking for their offspring – and setting Cabals into civil war.


That sums up this book – everything is falling apart and all the rules are being broken – and it’s so excellently well done. Between the Lord demons and the Cabal squabbling and random possession and demon beasts, they run from event to event with each and every one of them being something that SHOULD NOT BE. We get a really strong sense of both the desperation and the sheer uniqueness of how completely wrong everything is.

Alphas Season Two, Episode Two: The Quick and the Dead

This episode opens with an Alpha using his super speed to drag someone out of a restaurant.  What is interesting is that before he dragged him, he seemed to be able move around water.

It then moves to Cameron getting his grove on with Rosen's daughter.  It's only now that Rosen is back he is concerned about what Rosen will think.  At the office, Gary has a tantrum because someone has used his shelf and taken his pudding.  He throws things about and even shoves people.  It is worth noting that there seem to be a lot of new people in the office all of a sudden and this is probably overwhelming to him.

Clay says that the new people are there to keep an eye on the team.  Rosen is drawn to the train explosion and because there was no signature, he believes that the culprit is Stanton Parish.  Clay suggests that Parish is a delusion, but Rosen says he is very real and very dangerous.

The team gets called to the scene where the man was kidnapped and discover how quickly Eli was moving.  They trace his scent to a factory and when they open a freezer, they find the kidnapped victim. When the team gets back to the office, Bill is surprised to see that Rachel has not taken a break but Rosen breaks in to say that he believes Rachel can handle herself. It turns out that not only suspect Eli super fast, he is aging at an advanced rate.

Gary is busy guarding the fridge, when Nina and Cameron enter. It seems that despite the tension last week, the two are getting along, until Gary points out that Cameron has six unanswered text messages.  Nina quips that he never answers his texts and walks out.  Gary in the meantime has started to read Cameron's texts: "this morning was yummy."  Gary assumes that this is about him having something yummy like pancakes for breakfast.  When he reads that the message is from Dani, Cameron gets upset and promises to kill Gary if he tells anyone.  It seems that Gary expects others to respect his boundaries but has no qualms about ignoring the privacy of others. 

In her office, Nina is hanging an actual Van Gogh, when Rosen shows up to tell her that her life is out of control.  He asks if she plans on pushing the person who shows up there to reclaim the painting, and informs her that she has to show up to work on time, and avoid pushing people unless it's absolutely necessary, or he cannot have her on the team. Before Nina can respond, Rachel enters to say that Bill needs help interviewing the victim's wife.

Nina and Rosen enter, and Nina starts to push the woman asking if she is hiding anything and she starts to list things like her affair, the fact that she masturbates, a failure to pay taxes etc,. Nina and Rosen leave and he runs into Gary yelling at the FBI agents again.  It turns out that Gary has found another abduction and it happened eight minutes ago.  Rosen realises that the victim may still be alive. 

Eli is questioning Dr. Casey trying to force him to admit that he treated him, when Bill and Hicks show up.  Hicks shoots the knife out of Eli's hand and Eli takes off.  Bill amps up to chase Eli and just misses him.  Back at the office, they question Dr. Casey, who doesn't understand why Eli kept saying that he had treated him.  It turns out that the doctor was experimenting on children.  

Dani is helping a woman who is terminal with her pain, as Staton Parish watches on.  It turns out that the woman is Parish's last grandchild, though she only knew him as a distant cousin.  Parish turns the conversation to Rosen, and Dani uses her power to show him how Rosen is feeling.  Dani suggests that he reach out to Rosen and explain how things should be, but Parish says that Rosen has to get there on his own.  Parish then asks about Cameron and Dani says that he is a nice guy and Parish responds, "I hope that you two can remain friends. With your father back, you cannot afford to lose control of your emotions." 

Cameron and Dani meet on the street and she tells him that she likes him but because her father is back  that things are too complicated and they need to end their relationship.  Cameron asks where this is coming from and says that they have a connection.  She tells him that every guy she has ever been with has said the same thing and walks off leaving him standing in the rain.

Being Human U.K Season Four, Episode Seven: Making History

This episode begins with a flashback to 1950.  Hal is it seems is in some legal troubles for illegal gambling and dog fights (which I highly suspect have to do with the werewolves).  He tells Cutler that he is going to be their new representative and that he will achieve great things. We learn that Hal was Cutler's maker.

In the present day, Cutler is making a speech about the coming of the old ones and it is interrupted by Hal, who is clearly surprised to see him.

The older Eve tells Annie that she died and went back through her own history to make contact with her, but Annie is not buying it, she is also highly uncomfortable with the adult Eve calling her mom. When Annie demands to know what this is all about, Eve tells her that she has to show her, her present and Annie's future.

Back at the warehouse, Cutler hugs Hal, clearly glad to see him and Hal of course becomes stiff as a board.  Even if Hal weren't OCD, hugging vamps just don't seem right.  Hal wants to know about the body of the coroner which was found in the exact same place where the two used to bury their corpses. Hal also wants to know why the coroner filed a report saying that human flesh was found in the stomach of the box tunnel killer, but Cutler wants to know why they are talking about this after not seeing each other for 55 years, and calls for two glasses and a decanter.

Cutler introduces him to the fellow vamps as his maker and tells them that Hal is a monster. When Hal hesitates, Cutler asks him what is wrong.  Hal just barely manages to fight the compulsion and leaves promising to return.  At home he jumps on the exercise bike. Tom walks in holding Eve asking about Annie and where he plans on taking Alex on a date. Hal says they are meeting at a bar and then going for supper. Tom hands over the baby and Hal agrees to watch her for an hour.

We get another flashback to Cutler digging a grave for a body.  Hal tells him, "you're becoming the drunk who never buys a round. All we require is everything."

It turns out that Tom left the baby to go see Cutler.  Cutler says that the old ones are going to be there tomorrow and he wants Tom to transform and kill them all.  Tom says no because all of his life he felt like a weapon, "something blunt and simple."  He reads off of cue cards to express his desire to be human.  Cutler screams that the old ones a different and that there are people who need to see him do this. When Tom still refuses, Cutler changes tactics and invites him out to diner.

In the future, Annie learns that mostly everyone is dead. Eve says that days after the old ones arrived in town, they killed the Prime Minister on national television. Fearing for Eve's safety, they ran but vampires started killing people.  Eve tells her that she didn't stop the downfall of humanity because of Annie.

Cutler returns to the vamp gathering place to find Cutler looking desolate. Cutler says that he dropped the coroner where he did because it was an homage and he is still pissed that Hal left him behind. Cutler says that Hal can go straight back to the top and all he wants "is a mention, a statue  and maybe Brazil". Cutler pours another glass of blood and offers it to Hal for old times. Hal asks if he drinks it, if Cutler will tell him what is going on.

We get another flashback to Cutler's shaking hand reaching for a glass of blood and being stopped by Hal. It seems that Hal wants Cutler to kill his wife in order to end his connections to humans. When he refuses, Hal leaves saying, "I had such high hopes for you." In the present Hal drinks the blood.

In purgatory, Annie asks why Eve is looking at her like that and Eve responds that she hasn't seen her since she was 18 and that she missed her.  When Annie asks what happened to her, Eve says that it doesn't matter and then opens another door.

Hal shows up at the bar to meet Alex who immediately starts rambling. He starts telling her that he likes her mouth and neck and she is truly getting creeped out. When she tells him to be nice, he says that he is not nice and he stars at her trembling.  In frustration, Alex walks out.

Annie asks about Tom and Eve tells her that he died right where they were standing in a dog fight. Annie learns that after everything fell apart and she lost friend after friend, she just "drifted apart, like smoke on a breeze."

When Hal gets back to the flat, Tom is getting ready to go out.  He asks how Hal's date went and tells him that Annie has not turned up yet. Before he leaves, Tom tells Hal that the old ones will be in town tomorrow. Tom's shirt is absolutely horrendous and evidences his working class background.

In purgatory, Annie sits down and refuses to go any further and she and Eve quickly get into a typical mother/daughter argument.

At the restaurant, Cutler gives Tom a tie to wear on order of management, and Tom is forced to admit that he has never worn a tie, and that he doesn't know how to tie one.  Cutler wants to know if Tom's change of heart has to do with Allison, but Tom says that he is going to fix himself up and get all proper, but Cutler is quick to plant doubt about this.  Cutler gets more evil every episode.

Warehouse 13: Season 4, Episode 2: An Evil Within

 Last episode, Artie used the Astrolabe to set back time by a day to save the Warehouse, save the team and stop Pandora’s box ending the world. There’s going to be a downside to this, of course, but compared to the alternative? Well, let’s just say the downside better be pretty damn horrendous to justify going back to it.

In Philadelphia, in a diner someone has locked the patrons inside and released a YE GODS OF MERCY THAT’S UGLY! On them. The patrons attack it desperately since there’s no way out – the police arrive. And they find they’ve just beaten up a poor innocent guy called Joe.

At the Warehouse, Artie is sad about Claudia’s absence and worried about the consequences of using the Astrolabe to save the world – something only he remembers. He sends Pete and Myka to Philadelphia to deal with the mob (and has a little twitch moment when Pete makes a “turn back time” comment). They leave and Artie has another twitch moment when a priest from the Vatican – one of the Astrolabe guys (who was killed in the brief alternate time-line, though only Artie remembers that) shows up.

He wants to report that Magellan’s Astrolabe has been stolen and *gasp* used. And he wants Artie to find it so they can find the thief and make them undo the time reset they did – because it’s the only way to get rid of the formidable evil using it unleashed (I say again formidable evil vs Destroyed Pandora’s box – scales still point pro-evil here). Poor Artie nearly swallows his own tongue several times.

Claudia, meanwhile, has had a major make over and is infiltrating the regents and their eye-of-Horus tattooed guards (rule 1 of secret societies? They shouldn’t have openly displayed secret symbols). She does a great job of infiltrating the building most excellently though she has to resort to tesla-ing people when Artie grabs her wrist – busted.

Claudia is determined to get the metronome and bring Steve back. And she asks Artie, if he could use an Artefact to set things right, to undo a huge, stupid tragedy, wouldn’t he do it? Yeah, there goes the tongue swallowing again; but Artie is adamant, it’s dangerous to use Artefacts. But then Regent Janeway arrives – the decision has been made, they’re allowing her to bring back Agent Jinks – something Artie adamantly opposes and storms off. And goes to see the priest to try and narrow down what kind of evil he’s facing from the Astrolabe – he just knows it’s unimaginable and personal. The last time it was used during the French Revolution and caused the reign of terror.

Teen Wolf, Season 2, Episode 10: Fury

 It’s time to see what happened in this series through Matt’s eyes, in particular how he found out about Jackson being the weregecko and how he became its master

First of all, when Jackson borrowed the camera from him so he could film himself shift, Matt was in his car streaming the video (I do rather wonder WHY Matt was doing this) Jackson recorded. It was then he saw Jackson shift and had his first little binding moment through the car window, followed by the killing of Isaac Leahy’s father.

Stiles and Scott have the fun job of trying to convince Stiles’s dad that Matt is the actual killer, which he doesn’t buy it.  Scott just assures him that he has to trust them (yeah, that works real well in criminal cases). The sheriff would really like to know if they have a motive for Matt to kill the swim team and its coach. Which they don’t have. They beg to see the evidence – but that’s in the police station where he doesn’t actually work any more. Stiles asks to be trusted – his father refuses, but he’s willing to trust Scott. Ouch, poor Stiles.

They check CCTV footage from the hospital where the pregnant woman was killed since it was the only time he killed someone himself, and they see Matt, albeit from the back which isn’t useful – but they do catch him talking to Scott’s mother – who does recognise him as Matt because she stopped him for tracking mud through the hospital. Which strikes another insight because they found muddy footprints at one of the scenes that they can try and match. And they had a receipt signed by Matt for an oil change at the garage where the mechanic was killed.

Apparently this constitutes enough evidence for a warrant. They call in Scott’s mother to get an official ID from her and Stiles runs to the front desk to tell the woman there to let her in. Except she’s dead – and Matt is there with a gun. Well you have some better evidence at least, guys!

He has the sheriff handcuffed to a pole and takes Scott and stiles on a police station tour of all the many many police officers he’s killed. Apparently the fun thing with being a weregecko master is that you just think about someone being killed and the gecko does it.

Meanwhile, last week we saw Derek being used by Lydia to raise Peter Hale, the last Alpha. This week he’s awakened from his gratuitous shirtlessness by Dr. Deaton using a dog whistle (hah) and letting him know that he fails as an Alpha – though he still is one. He finally tells us why he’s helping Derek so much, kind of anyway. Apparently advising the Hale family used to be an important part of his life, he promised Derek’s mother he’d look after him and he used to adviser Derek’s sister. And he has some advice for him – that he needs to not trust Hale even if he does offer him a deal to try and take down Gerard (hey, if it will kill an Argent, I’m all for team Hale!) and that he should be trusting Scott in helping him take down Gerard’s (that’s granddaddy Argent) master plan.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review of Save the Pearls Part 1 of Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

We normally put  a cover of the book at the beginning of every review, but I think that the following video better illustrates this book.

As you can see, Eden Newman, the protagonist is a White woman who wears blackface.  Eden does ths because from a  post apocalyptic earth, where Pearls (read: white people) are oppressed by Coals (read: blacks). Because of the higher levels of melanin, Coals were better able to survive the harmful suns rays.
Of course, the dark races got The Heat too, but not nearly as often.  The higher amounts of melanin in their skin protected them from the sun's radiation.  Since their numbers hadn't been decimated in the Great Meltdown, as the other races had, they now ruled the planet. [page 14]
I cannot begin to tell you how horrifying the very concept of this book is.  How this White woman thought this role reversal would read as anything more than appropriation and racism is absolutely beyond me.

Foyt even goes as far as to include a scene where Pearls perform in White face.
"On the main stage a band of Coals performed in Whiteface. Eden's sensors told her their name: The Lost Caucasian Tribe. [page 40]
So it's not bad enough that we have a protagonist tromping through the majority of the book in Blackface and whining about the fact that she is White and no-one sees the real her, but Foyt decided to appropriate Blackface. In this scene, those performing weren't othered and it did not read as a minstrel show.  There was no historical meaning to this supposed whiteface and it only served as yet another reminder of Hoyt's racial ignorance.

Asians are referred to as Ambers, which essentially calls their skin colour yellow and is offensive. We are told on page 11 that Pearls is the racist name for Whites, yet this is the word that Foyt uses for the entire book to describe White people. They are also referred to as "earth-damned Pearl" and "White death." Suddenly this reversal of power means that there are  racial slurs which effect White people and futuristic or not, this flies in the face of human history. It is further troubling that though we are told that the term Pearl is indeed a slur, so is Coal.  This tells me that Foyt has no idea how a slur really works.  A dominant group is not effected by a slur and the fact that she chose to give slurs to every racial group, undermines the supposed superiority that Coals have. If Coals were the oppressive force that they are supposedly cast as, Coal would not be considered a slur, just as honky, gringo, cracker and paleface aren't slurs today.

Sinbad Season 1, Episode 4: Old Man of the Sea

 Guess what? They’ve run out of supplies AGAIN. Someone needs to look at packing a bit more supplies since they do seem to stop to load up every other day. How far away is Barooq anyway? I’m Because the length of time they’re sailing and the number of times they have to stop for supplies makes me think they’ve sailed out of Basra and are heading for Australia.

They’re dehydrated, so much so that Cook is actually hallucinating. So, thirsty, hungry and hallucinating, Sinbad and Rina decide to row out to investigate a neighbouring ship because it has a spooky light. After all, it’s not like they’ve run into lots of mystical crap that might make you just a little leery of that and, maybe, want to wait until daylight.

They row through the dark and eerie sea, full of dead fish (and probably big neon signs screaming “you don’t want to go there!”) to the ship. The ship is silent, the sails are ragged and the planks rotten – even the neon signs yelling “go back you fools! Go back!” are flickering. Inside there’s a dinner table set for a wedding feast, covered in dust, spider webs and maggots. Faced with this, Sinbad and Rina agree to leave (yay sense!) the room and go check the hold for supplies (because the dust, spider webs and rot are so encouraging). And in the hold they find an unconscious man. Ah well , no supplies, guess it’s time to return to the Providence empty handed.

Hah, no, of course they bring the man back with them. Cook promptly, and sensibly, loses his shit over them bringing the only survivor of a deserted ship that may have been wiped out by plague onto the Providence. Cook also has a hallucination of the man with plague markings all over him.

Next day dawns and the ship is missing – though Anwar assures Sinbad it’s just a mirage and it’s still there. Gunnar checks on the unconscious man and he speaks “I see the blood on your soul” before falling unconscious again – which causes Gunnar to leave all freaked. He wakes to talk to Sinbad and Anwar, revealing his name is Anicetus, that he’s seen Sinbad before and avoiding all of their questions.

Continuum Season One, Episode Nine: Family Time

Once again this episode begins with a flashback to Kierra blowing up a building in which Kellog is in.   His sister is seriously injured and she gives Kellog something to get to Kagame and begs him to leave but she refuses.

In the present, Kiera goes into the country to talk to Roland and she is excited to be in the country.  Once again we are given a reminder that in the future, wildlife like this does not exist. Kiera wants to know about the purchase of sodium nitrate and Roland points out that he is a farmer and needs it for fertilizer. When Alec sees Kiera,, he is shocked and forgets to pretend that they don't have a relationship. Roland wants to know his connection to Kiera, and Alec quickly covers by saying that he recognizes Carlos from the paper.

Alone, Kiera tells Alec that she is there to check out the shipment of fertilizer and Alec takes her out back to show her his set up in the back.  When Kiera finds a gun, she wants to know if he has a license.  Kiera then pushes the envelop to ask about Roland's involvement and then scans Alec.  When Alec realises that he is being scanned he asks where the trust is.  He is right to ask, considering how Kiera is treating him. Alec has done nothing but support her in everything that she has asked, respected her boundaries and tried to help her acclimate but yet Kiera treats him like a common suspect. 

When Carlos sees the paperwork, it shows that Roland only ordered 400 kilos and not 1500. When Carlos asks to see the fertilizer, Roland is not impressed. In the meantime, Julian is listening to a broadcast by Kagame on his computer.  Then Roland asks if either Alec or Julian know about extra fertilizer,  but Julian counters asking if Carlos has a warrant.  It turns out that there is a new lock on the barn and no one knows how it got there.  Inside the barn is a van with a bomb and armed teens, who come out barn demanding that Carlos drop his weapon.  Roland asks them to think about what they are doing.

Kiera targets one of the boys and takes away his gun. The boys drop to the ground but Julian pulls a gun out of his back pocket and shoots Carlos. He threatens to kill Caros if Kiera does not immediately comply. 

They hold Carlos and Kiera in the kitchen and Alec comes in and knocks over one of the boys with the medical aid kit.  Kiera asks how he is doing and Alec says that he is fine and that he is not leaving his mother.  The boys tells Roland that this is the next logical step and believe that what they need is revolution.  Roland assures them that if they continue down this path, they are going to be stopped before they can start. Alec runs interference as Kiera sneaks Carlos out of the house, but before they can get to the car, the boys realise what is going on and corner them again.  In the kitchen, Alec's mom grabs her phone, dials 911 and stuffs it in her pocket.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fangs for the Fantasy Episode 78

This week we discuss the 101 plots of True Blood, most of which we dislike and how we want the Ifrit to win. We discuss the return of Warehouse 13 and Alphas – and further rooting for the villain in Continuum. We catch up on Sinbad and bring it up to date. We’re surprised to find that Teen Wolf is our favourite show at the moment and Renee is dedicated to reviewing Continuum until the show is cancelled.

We also discuss the issue with being expected to support minority work even when we don’t like it.

Our book of the week is Grave Witch by Kaylana Price.


Our next books of the week:
31/7-6/8: Kate Locke: God Save the Queen
6/8- 13/8: Chloe Neil: Biting Cold
13/8-20/8: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
20/8-27/8: Night Shifted by Cassie Alexander

Grave Witch (The Alex Craft Series #1) Kalayna Price

Alexis Craft is a Grave witch, a witch with powers over the dead and their remains. She’s just entering into a ground breaking case where a shade can be used as a witness in court – which promises a much more steady income, a major concern of hers.

Or it was, that was before people started trying to kill her. And curse her. And kidnap her.  Because there’s another case she’s been dragged into – the murder of the governor. A murder that left magical traces on his body that only she seems able to sense. A murder that may be linked to a series of other brutal murders across the city – also with magical signs that are invisible to even the most sensitive witch, but not her.

With her family closely involved with the governor, she also finds herself being dragged back into her family circles despite a long estrangement – and perhaps they’re even more closely involved than she expects. Between family, a murdered ghosts, a mystery gun man, kidnapping fae and a soul consuming curse, she has a lot of pressure to solve this case and precious little allies: only Death who is acting severely out of character, and a police officer she’s just met and has no idea if she can trust.

The plot was fun, well paced and an actual mystery that was mysterious. There were a couple of times I got a little lost because of the size of the world and the sheer number of side characters and suspects, but I did pick it up again quickly. There was a lot going on but it all added to the character, the world and the story as well as the ongoing mystery that wasn’t revealed until the end of the book when things finally came together. I think the culprit was a little out of left field, I didn’t see it coming but nor do I think anyone could – because he was such a minor character that the reaction was less “HIM?! I never saw that!” so much as “Who is that again?”. But the journey was still interesting and kept me glued just to see Alexis fit into her world and try to take the many many elements of this mystery and bring it together

We have a very large world here, the fae were slowly being reduced as technology reason and disbelief took over – so they decided to reveal themselves to humanity. In the sudden surge of belief, the fae grew back to their old levels of power. Not just the fae – but fae lands were opened again, access to faerie and “folded land” opened up, expanding the Earth. They were joined by witches – the wyrd – who seem to have inherent magical talents and can learn more, seemingly at schools and by organisations. We seem to have different courts of the fae, many many different kinds of fae and a whole raft of political and legal issues arising from the fae and the witches. We have death – actually deaths, soul collectors who only Grave Witches can see, bars that lead to fae realms and a plethora of spells and charms on the market.

It’s rich, it’s diverse, it’s complex and there’s a lot of meat to it. The reference to law and politics suggests there’s a lot of behind the scnees world building and we’re not just looking at word dropping “hey let’s include this,” without any real substance – I think there’s a lot of work gone into making this world rich and internally consistent.

True Blood Season Five, Episode Eight: Somebody That I Used to Know

True Blood opens at the hospital where the man Sam caught is being taken away from the hospital by Andy in handcuffs.  Luna is extremely upset because to her, they are everywhere.  Sam tries to calm her by saying that he is on it that she has police stationed outside her door, and then leaves for the station.  This does not calm Luna down and she shifts into Sam and promptly passes out.  

The vampires are still higher than hell from their night of debauchery, save Eric who is looking at them in a shocked state.  He has to ask Bill what happened and Bill tells him that they saw Lilith, but Eric is not convinced because they are high.

Jason confronts Sookie who says she is dumping all of her fairy light because she is a freak and wants to be normal.  Jason tells her that if she were normal that she would never have met Bill and he points out that they had real love, which is something not everyone gets. He reminds her that she got to talk to their grandmother one last time and that doesn't happen to normal folk. He even points out that her fae power is a legacy of their parents and that nothing is going to feel right until they find out who killed them. Once again, someone is there to save Sookie from herself. I know that he is her brother, but at the same time, it irks me that someone is always there for her when she is resistant to spending even two second focusing on someone else.  Given her penchant for getting into trouble, how much sense did it make to get rid of the one thing that gives her power?

Back at the hospital, Luna is coming to and is shocked to see herself as Sam.  She walks out of the hospital telling the cop to mind his own God damned business.  When Sam Trammell is given the opportunity to try something new on the show, he really invests in it.  Watching him sashay out of the hospital actually had me cracking up a little bit. 

At Fangtasia, Jessica is doing her thing, when a man starts to come on to her, tempting her with his blood.  I still very much like this new naughty Jessica, who is in control of her wants and needs.

At the authority compound, the vampires are discussing how they never really believed in Lilith until last night. Of course, Russel steals the moment by saying "God has the most beautiful tits I've ever seen."  He then declares that he is born again along with Steve Newlin.  Salome believes that this is a sign that Roman's death has been sanctioned by God. Steve is sent off to gather up a few humans and Eric bows out saying that he has had enough fun for one night. Before leaving, he and Bill share a very pointed look, but Bill remains with the other vampires.

Alcide is very busy getting his wolf thing on and can I say that I am impressed with the fact that True Blood actually decided to depict cunnilingus, because this is an act that is highly erased from sex scenes in the media.  Sex is often portrayed strictly from the male gaze, and this often precludes acts which give women pleasure. 

Salome sets up a late night snack for Bill and when he refuses, she demands that he feed on this woman as God has commanded.  Bill says that he has fathered children and cannot take this woman away from them, but Salome counters with the fact that he didn't make them vampire and keep them with him forever. We get a flashback to Bill's daughter's deathbed.  She asks him to make her like him, because she does not want to die, but Bill says that he cannot because immortality is a curse. She cries that she can feel herself rotting and begs him, as Bill pulls away from her.  Salome says that God chose to make vampires in his own likeness to transcend human notions of morality and that to refuse God's gift is blasphemy.  Bill decides to drink from the woman, as Salome says a prayer of thanks.

Hoyt arrives at the hideout of the human shifter killers and finds that Jessica has been silvered to welcome him to the group. Apparently, they targeted Jessica because she broke Hoyt's heart. They show her a gun with six shots of wooden bullets and then hand the gun off to Hoyt. They start to pressure Hoyt to kill Jessica, saying that it will feel good and then walk out of the room, leaving him alone with her.

Sookie and Jason head to the fae club hoping to find the vampire who killed their parents. When they are resistant, she asks loudly if they have any idea what it is to have someone you love murdered by a vampire.  Umm hello, Claude's sister was killed by Eric last season -- of course they know -- but Sookie cannot be sensitive when she wants to get her own way. Claude tells them that they have a bond and that he cares about her.  I for one have no idea why he would actually give a damn about little Miss Self Important.  They agree to meet at the bridge where her parents where murdered.

Lafayette is driving back and sees the wounds on his lips from them being sewn shut. When he pulls out the first aid kit behind the visor, he finds that the kit has a picture of Jesus on it. With tears in his eyes, he pulls out some V and applies it to his lips so that they can heal.  Jesus appears in the car beside him and he says thanks.  When Lafayette asks if Jesus is real, Jesus says it doesn't matter and offers him his hand. This scene was so brief, but it touched me because it reminded us of everything Lafayette lost and how deep his pain goes. 

At the station, Sam and Andy are questioning the suspect but when he refuses to talk, Andy asks for a minute alone with him. Andy says it's illegal but he leaves anyway. When Sam starts to undress, the man says "I ain't no fucking homo" and Sam responds, "neither am I," before turning into a snake. I guess it would have been too much to ask for True Blood to just have one stinking episode without some homophobia thrown in. 

Sinbad: Season 1, Episode 3: House of Games

 Sinbad is pushing his boat to race another boat – and I, like Nala, wonder why. Leading to Nala complain about Sinbad’s irresponsibility and Sinbad complain about her lack of fun. I suspect this may be the theme of this episode.

It’s time for another stop for supplies, this time at an apparently deserted dock, with Sinbad’s usual worries about stepping foot on land, and meeting up with the ship they were racing. Desperate for supplies they approach the other captain, Abdul Fahim, for food and water – though they have little to offer and are pretty much reduced to begging. The captain has an offer for them – wager with him for supplies

In the hold, Rina starts going through Nala’s things – watched, disapprovingly by the Cook (who still may be the most awesome character) who comments on her not changing her thieving nature and how it will end with her being alone.

Returning to the ship, the crew look for items of value they can wager with the captain – and Nala notices both Rina and her jewellery are gone (probably the only item they had they could wager). Anwar returns to the captain to tell him they have nothing to trade – Fahim suggests the ship. And even if they lose he will provide them with mules and supplies to walk across the desert. Anwar, incredibly foolishly, agrees without consulting the others (he’s easily lead)

Guess what happens? Yes they lose the ship and no, no-one is very happy with poor Anwar. This is when Sinbad also tells Anwar about his curse and why walking through the desert is not the best bet for him.  Running to Fahim, Anwar learns he had gone to the palace of games – which Sinbad sees as his best chance, to beat him at the games and win the ship back before the next sunrise. He also concludes that if he can beat him at a boat race, he can beat him at the gaming tables. Yes, Sinbad and logic don’t quite go together.

At Team Evil Taryn is sacrificing chickens for dark magic, as you do (y’know, I can’t get over the fact that Taryn is played by Orla Brady who plays Mrs. Sherringham in Eternal Law). After making the potion, when she drinks it she can see Sinbad and where he is. Taryn continues to make potions, but none of them work while Sinbad is in the gambling palace. Angry at her failure – Akbari banishes her from Basra.

Sinbad and co go to the palace of games, which is a series of bowls of water that open a portal when you drop a coin in them. He goes through the portal – just as Akbari drinks Taryn’s seeing potion, preventing him from seeing Sinbad. Nice timing. He wanders around the casino before being banished by a man with no eyes and a pair of brothers who run the place for not being pretty and prosperous enough. A quick visit to the merchant’s camp to steal some swaths of cloth, and the whole team is more appropriately attired to the dress code.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sinbad, Season 1, Episode 2: Queen of the Water-Thieves

Cook is giving the inexperienced sailors a crash course in how to actually sail a boat – including the importance of being able to tie good knots if you don’t want your head crushed by a boom.

After the crash course and over lunch they discuss exactly what they want to do. Anwar, the doctor, and Sinbad are all for adventure – they have their own ship, time to see things. Nala wants to go her own way and return to her own life and Rina and Gunnar point out they have nothing in common and have their own things to do. Cook, who seems to be the practical one of the whole group, says they go to shore because they need food and water – and the charts point to the nearby island of Sind, abandoned of people with only wolves inhabiting it.

That night on the boat, a child sneaks aboard to eat. Nala catches him in her cabin, but is tricked into lowering her knife by the child’s fear, seeking to reassure him instead. At which point the kid pulls a knife on her. On deck, Sinbad is ambushed by another who knocks him out

The next day, they wake and the whole crew has been captured (except Cook) and held at knife point by children, though they are joined by a few adults who row them, and the ship’s supplies, to the island. There is an ancient, partially ruined city of step-pyramids – and Sinbad worries about his grandmother’s curse. He cannot set foot on land for more than 1 day.

The Cook is still on board, with 2 guards and his emergency supplies – and he is cooking for them. I think Cook may actually be awesome, he’s rapidly becoming the most amusing character.

They are taken before the Razia, Queen of the Water Thieves, who singles out Gunnar and orders the rest caged – before Sinbad, of course, speaks up and convinces her to take him instead (by amusing her with his bravado). She rewards her people by feeding them bread (which they scramble over wildly from a trough) and promising them meat (yes, not ominous at all).

Sinbad is delivered to her chambers where he meets her pet (a massive bird of prey), learns that overpowering her would be… difficult to say the least and gets a lecture on leadership. He claims he’s the leader of the crew but misfortune brought them together – she says misfortune binds people together and a real leader sacrifices and risks for their people. She has a lot to say about the costs and burdens of leadership before bringing Sinbad to her bed.

After a visit from Razia’s son he’s given an extreme lesson on how ruthless Razia is and how impossible it is to earn her favour – she shows no favour to her son and killed both his father and her other lovers.

The rest of the crew are in cages and discussing Sinbad. Nala is disgusted and thinks he’s going to save his own neck, though Rina says she’d do the same in his situation. Anwar is convinced Sinbad has a plan for their rescue and Gunnar doesn’t understand why Anwar –or Nala for that matter – thinks Sinbad owes them any kind of loyalty or consideration.

Dark Angel, Season 1, Episode 4: 411 on the DLL

Max is enjoying a wonderful ride through the night streets of Seattle, reminding us that she doesn’t have to sleep – and she’s pulled over by corrupt cops who break her lights in order to impound her bike. A great little reminder of both Max’s super powers, what she does for fun – and the corruption of the dystopian world.

And it’s going to cost her $3,000 to get her bike back from the impound yard. Poor Max – and Cindy and Herbal can’t cheer her up about the loss (and Herbal discusses his own relationship tension). There’s also a new worker at Jam Pony, Sam, hired because he’s willing to creep to Normal and call him “sir”. Which is good timing because he fires Herbal for smoking cannabis – much to the fury of the rest of the workplace, since Herbal is both  a friend and a Rastafarian and, they point out, cannabis is a sacrament to him. Between his partner’s old lover staying with him and losing his job, Herbal is not having an easy time. Of course, Sam’s first day on the job with the collected hostility of the staff isn’t fun either

Logan also has a visitor – Val, his ex-wife, an alcoholic who is now sober and is on her apology tour for all the people she hurt. She begins to become part of Logan’s life again, and Max shows both curiosity – and, yes, the inevitable jealousy.

Max’s mind is taken off the drama of her bike by looking through the classifieds – and seeing her barcode in print with a time and a place to meet. It could be Lydecker – or it could be one of the other Mantecore kids.

Of course, it turns out to be neither, it’s Vogelsang, the private detective she once hired who was compromised by Lydecker. He wants $15,000 to give her information about Project Mantecore – something he’s not supposed to know. And that he knows there’s another X5 in Seattle. On a deadline, Max goes to Logan for the money (while he is continuing to spend time with his ex-wife) and he refuses – he’s convinced it’s a trap and he won’t help her walking into it.

Time to pay a visit to the place where her bike has been kept. Being an X5 makes for easy stealing and safe cracking. In one easy visit she has the money she needs and her bike back.

Work continues at a slow pace much to Normal’s annoyance, with his workers moving as slowly as possible in protest of him firing Herbal, and Sam not actually knowing his way around the city. And poor Sam is not finding it easy to make friends with Max and her hostile co-workers.

Vogelsang arranges to meet Max by phone – and to convince her he has information she wants, he tells her about a man having a barcode tattoo removed from the back of his neck – and the number is Zack’s, one of the X5s who escaped with her from Mantecore, the leader. Lydecker is also onto him, though, having an implant placed in Vogelsang’s ear so even though he took precautions they could hear what he said (albeit very muffled). When Max arrives at the meeting with Vogelsang, there’s already a crowd, he has been shot and killed. And, as Max watches, Lydecker arrives.

Hex, Season 2, Episode 5: With a Little Help From My Friends: Part 1

 After the machinations of last week, Ella ended up being sectioned as delusional and mentally ill. Her ranting in the hospital isn’t helping anything especially since, as we saw when she joined the school, the school is technically her legal guardian and has signed her other to be institutionalised for 28 days.

This she, rather naturally and honestly, blames on the very guilty Thelma.

At the school, awesome headmaster David is not happy with any of this – especially not with demon-priest Jez searching through Ella’s things and pushing for further institutionalisation. Something he’s also taking up with the governors and making it clear he is less than happy with the attempts to sweep everything under the rug. He hands in his resignation, leaving the school in Jez’s hands. He asks Leon to visit Ella to help reassure her.

The school has also arranged for Ella to have a private nurse – which, of course, Ella doesn’t trust even slightly.  Thelma encourages Ella to take the chance to rest – but Ella points out they’re going to poison her while she’s there and Thelma needs to get her out. Demonic nurse is, indeed, demonic and continues to force poisonous St. John’s Wart on Ella while she’s helpless.

Roxanne, in Jez’s thrall, tries to make sure Leon and co won’t visit her or have anything to do with her. Something Leon not only disapproves of, but slaps down completely. Thelma sees this is a good sign – so decides to pay a visit to Leon’s dreams. There follows the worst attempt at seduction ever in the history of cunning romance and, after Leon’s cowering in his bed hiding from Thelma, she resorts to just talking to him and encouraging him to visit Ella (and ignore Roxanne).

Leon tries to interpret his very odd dream with Tom the next day but, despite talking himself out of it, he does visit and is fobbed off by demon nurse. Showing surprising determination, he sneaks in and catches demonic nurse taking orders from Jez banning visitors. And if he wasn’t suspicious – demonic nurse causing his note to spontaneously combust will do it. He finds Ella and sees what a state she has been reduced to – but evil nurse quickly has him evicted.

At school Jez tries to reassure and, when that fails, intimidate Leon. Of course he’s as reassuring as a politician and as intimidating as a garden gnome, so that works. Then Roxanne tries to add her own little acidic note to push him away from Ella – which Leon rebuffs and loudly comments on her having sex with Jez (much to Thelma’s immense delight).

Time for another Thelma dream – where she lays out the action plan: get Ella out (Leon’s job) and find Ella somewhere to hide (also Leon’s job, well she is a ghost). Leon has a friend who was expelled for dealing drugs who will hide her – at least Thelma’s forward planning.

She goes to let Ella know of their crafty plans – but Ella is well and truly losing it under the influence of the St. John’s Wart. To add to Thelma’s suffering, she ends up hiding under the headmaster’s desk when Jez and Roxanne have sex on it. Poor Thelma.