Saturday, August 18, 2012

Alphas Sneak Peak

The Almighty Johnsons, Season Two, Episode Four: Death's Cleansing Embrace

After Ty closes Eva's eyes, he leaves the freezer to find Agnetha waiting for him in a jump suit wearing yellow rubber gloves.  She suggests that he avoids calling the police and then complains that she has been waiting for him all night.  In shock Ty tells her that Eva is dead and Agnetha simply says, "is she?" and asks if he is sad she is dead.  When Ty answers yes, she says that it's the shock.  Ty realises that Agentha locked Eva in the freezer.  When Ty again expresses shock that Agnetha killed Eva, she responds, "someone had to."

When Ty sits in shock Agnetha tells him to keep it short because they have a limited window of opportunity.  We are then treated to a flashback of Agnetha killing Eva. She asks if Ty was aware that she was on anti-depressants and we get to another flash to Eva forcing drugs down her throat.  She tells him the level of police involvement is up to him and she won't fight or deny what she did but because of what Eva was doing to him, she is proud of her actions.  Ty yells, "I was going to leave her.  After what she did to Dawn, I was going to leave her." Agnetha shakes her head and responds, "she would never have allowed that."  Ty wraps Eva in plastic and puts her body in the truck, and he drives to a park with Agnetha following in Eva's car.  When they arrive, Ty unwraps Eva and Agnetha tells him to throw her over the bank.  Agnetha quickly packs up and Ty stands for a moment over Eva's body to say he is sorry.

The two drive back into the city and Agnetha tells him that he has to keep calling Eva and leaving messages.  Ty promises to call some of Eva's friends and ask if anyone has seen her. Agnetha says that if the police don't find her by the early evening that Ty should call them and report her missing and emphasis her erratic behavior. Ty says that she doesn't have a history of murder but there are a few people who would believes this.  Agnetha finishes with the suggestion that Ty avoid calling her in the foreseeable future, to which Ty responds, "I can live with that," before getting out of the car.

Agnetha goes back to the office and talks to Anders.  She asks about Dawn and he says that she is a nice girl and not bad if you like your biscuits plain. Agnetha asks if Dawn can be persuaded to do the right thing at the right time and Anders responds, "by me she can, but then most women can." Anders wants to know what she has in mind for Dawn and Agnetha says, "I want her to keep her mouth shut," but before she can tell Anders why, Dawn enters the office. 

Ty goes to Mike's bar and leaves Eva a message. He explains that when he got home that Eva was not there.  He then goes on to phone Loki who tells him to go away. Olaf and Ingrid enter the bar arm in arm.  Olaf looks at Ty and quips about him fulfilling a false prophecy, which freaks Ty out until he learns that Olaf was only joking about Ty being the the guardian of the last beer on earth.  Mike hands over two beers and Olaf quips about them being free, but Ty puts money on the bar to pay for them, before leaving saying that he has to find Eva.  

When Ty returns, he hears a noise in the freezer and it turns out that it's Colin, who apologises for being short with him earlier. He wants to know where Eva is and says that she was supposed to leave him some venison.  Yeah, I though that was weird. He then asks if Eva is cheating on Ty.  When Ty says no, Colin again asks where she is. Suddenly there is a knock at the door and it's the police. Colin asks "what's the stupid little bitch done now?"  The cop says that they have found a body and Colin and Ty go to the station and identify Eva's body.  Colin asks for a moment alone with Ty and as soon as the cop leaves, he attacks Ty asking "what did you do?"  Ty says that he did nothing but Colin responds, "no daughter of mine would walk into a forest to fucking die.  Eva hated fucking trees and do not lie to me. Do not tell me that it was suicide; no way would she wimp out like that."  I have to admit that given Colin's relationship with Eva, I am a touch surprised at his violent response.  They begin to circle Eva's body throwing accusations back and forth until Colin says, "you are a dead man," before leaving the room.

At Colin's house, he is ranting in front of Michele.  Michel asks if Colin has any actual evidence that Ty killed Eva and he responds, "I looked into his eyes and that is all the evidence that I need."  Ty goes to see Dawn at Anders office. She thanks him for getting her home and saving her life in the process. Ty says he is sorry that she got put in that position and says that Eva is dead.  Dawn says that she is so sorry and asks how he is doing.  Ty answers that he is okay.  When Dawn asks what happened, Ty responds that Eva killed herself and that it wasn't because of Dawn.  Ty says that he wants to keep Dawn out of it and that though he told the police he was with a friend, he didn't give them her name. Ty says that he has to go and that there are things that need to be organized.

Back at Ty's, Eva's grim followers are holding a vigil playing her music.  Mike asks if the police got in touch, and Ty says that they are waiting on toxicology.  Ingrid brings over some food and Stacey comes back from the door with a dead wreath.  Ingrid tells her that she no longer has to handmaiden Eva because she is dead and points out that she was never really Hel's handmaiden to begin with. Stacey says that she has nothing else to do. When Zeb comes in, he starts checking out the Emo's until Axl points out that it is too soon.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Warehouse 13 Sneak Peak

Review: Absolution by Louis Corsair

Adams died in the 1950s. When he was alive he was a detective, not just a detective, but a poster child detective straight out of film noir, every cliché faithfully followed. His afterlife was less than ideal, having died with corruptive sins on his soul, he was banished to the Abstract realms where the Enigma tested him over and over to try and give him a chance to ascend and join the collective whole. It was better than the damned in the pit, but even so Adams was becoming desperate as his ascension is stalled and he risks dissolving into shadow.

But the powers that be have a task for him. The son of a Pit Lord has been killed on Earth – not just killed, but his soul has gone missing as well. The Pit Lords don’t trust the usual enforcement arm of the Process, the Enforcers, to investigate the death – so the task falls to Adams. Only he only has a day to do it in. And he’s 60 years out of date.

Not only does he have to get up to date quickly and delve into the very depths of the Hollywood sex trade, it also becomes apparent that the conspiracy is far deeper than he imagined, going up to the very top of the Process and an actual civil war between the entities that control the Process may be on the cards – if the Process itself and the very structure of the afterlife isn’t irrevocably changed. And, on a personal note, it’s a plot that comes round to touch his own afterlife, and that of his loved ones.

It’s a wonderful game of who to trust, find the red herring and see what the true plot behind this death – or deaths as the body count rises – truly is.

This book is genuinely unique – and that’s a rare thing in the genre where so many books seem completely formulaic.

The world, with the different echelons of celestials each with their own remits, is not something I’ve seen before. Even the method of the process with the different factions fighting and sniping at each other, is fascinating. I love the rivalry between the pit lords and the enforcers and the really real sense of conflict and tension brewing between them all. I also like that we have a lot of world hinted at – with an original goddess and a nod to the mind set of the absent leader of the council.

And the world is challenged, even the nature of torturing the souls in the pit progresses from “they get what they deserved” to a realisation of how many of them were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Blood Ties, Season 2, Episode 7: Unwrapped

Some enterprising thieves have hit a truck full of artefacts heading to a museum. In particular, they’re after the Incan mummy which they’re convinced will have lots of gold on it. They do find some gold – at which point the Mummy wakes up and drains one of them to a skeletal husk. So they’re probably not going to be spending it

Vicki and Henry have another problem – Henry has been having vivid nightmares which worry him considerably, despite Vicki’s mockery. Vampires, being undead, don’t dream – they lie like the dead while the sun is up. What does worry Henry is that the only way a vampire can die, other than being killed, is suicide – and several vampires do just that. He worries that the dreams may be a sign of his own self-immolation. Especially since he’s dreaming about the sun shining.

Coreen assures him that it’s a good omen to see sunlight in your dreams – it means all kinds of wonderful things, though Henry points out that he is a vampire and the sun is generally rather less wonderful to them. All Henry can do is describe a figure in his dream – by his clothes he was an Incan. And he’s warning Henry off.

Cellucci and Kate (wow Kate, they let you out of the plot box? Did they put Dave back in? I’m beginning to think these 2 may be the same person, or the show doesn’t particularly care which POC side kick they dredge up) are investigating the death at the museum. Except Kate thinks the body is a mummy since it’s so dessicated and the mummy is out of its sarcophagus (if it looks like the mummy, then why was it called in as murder?) but Celluci sees the spider web tattoo on the corpse’s neck and wants forensics to look.

The Incan mummy and his new little servant (Wendell. No, really. At least he’s got a good reason for his life of crime) who he spared have gone on a little soul eating spree – but he wants something special – the life of a nightwalker, another immortal, will give him ultimate power. He also did something unpleasant to the golden amulet that imprisoned him by spilling Wendell’s blood on it.

Celluci, having finally dealt with his doubting issues, has decided to drop his case in with Vicki – thousand year old corpse with 10 year old tattoo and a missing Incan mummy, which Vicki connects to Henry’s dreams not being that oblivious. So it’s find out who the mummy is, why he’s back and what he wants. Vicki follows up looking into the gang that uses the spider web tattoo.

She does her illicit checking and finds the identity of the dead guy – but not much else so hands the name to Celluci in the hope he can get his phone records. Coreen, who has one hell of a research library, of course knows the identity of the mummy – Pacha Kamaq, an Incan priest who worshipped Supay, the god of death and lead a cult to (unsuccessfully) try and take over back in ye olden times. Really, that whole building is Coreen’s library and I want to know what her indexing system is because 2 days she can find out anything.

Because Pacha Kamaq was buddy buddy with the god of death, he couldn’t be executed. So they used the amulet to bind his aya and bury him alive instead. They conclude that the newly awakened Pacha Kamaq isn’t a happy fun guy and needs to be stopped – and from Henry’s dreams they know he’s aimed at the vampire.

Alphas: The Problem with Doctor Rosen

 We were initially attracted to Alphas because it is very similar to Heroes and X-Men.  Though this is hardly unique, it still makes it interesting programming. It is clear that Dr. Rosen has been set up to be the equivalent of X-Men’s Charles Xavier - the moral center to the Alphas. Unfortunately, this is where we have to take a big step back, because Dr. Rosen is a poor fit for the role. It disturbs me that Dr. Rosen has been set up as the moral authority because he is anything but moral. Rosen is a control freak, manipulative and abusive in many ways. In each episode that I watch, I cannot help but wonder if fandom sees him for the man that he is.  When we like a program, we have the tendency to overlook the social issues and this is a mistake because it means that we internalise a myriad of issues.

Firstly and, perhaps, most problematically, Dr. Rosen acts as both their boss and their therapist. Clearly, this is a conflict of interest, which any therapist worth his salt would see right away. The privileged information a therapist receives should not be handed over to an employer - certainly not when that employer also has the power to imprison any of his workers without trial or a pretence of due process. The power Dr. Rosen has over the Alphas under him is phenomenal and already deeply immoral simply due to its scope.

Rosen doesn’t even pretend to be ethical with the information he gains from counselling the Alphas and he abuses this privileged knowledge repeatedly. When any Alpha is unwilling, for whatever reason, to follow his directives, he is always quick to use the knowledge he has gained in therapy to manipulate them. When Rosen returned to lead the alphas in the beginning of season 2, he instantly resorted to invoking Bill’s “control issues” when Bill presumed to question him - even though Bill had every reason to be irritated with Rosen and every right to question. What makes matters worse is that the story is written in such a manner to affirm his objections. When Hicks and Nina were dating, Rosen made it very clear that they should not be a couple. He clearly made this decision based in what he had learned about the both of them in therapy. Hicks made it clear that Rosen had no right to interfere in his private life but of course the relationship ended badly, thus proving Rosen right.

Gary is autistic and therefore thrives on routine; however, working with Alphas is certainly not about keeping a regular schedule. This increasingly disturbed Sandra, Gary’s mother and she worried about his safety with good reason. Rather than being honest with Sandra, he manipulated her by mentioning Gary’s relationship with Anna. He knew very well that one of Sandra’s concerns was that Gary would be unable to find and maintain a relationship. By sharing this when he did, Rosen very effectively silenced Sandra’s concerns about the danger Gary faced working with him. He wasn’t doing this to try and assuage Sandra’s concerns or, indeed, help Gary address relationship issues (both people he has counselled), but to prey on her insecurity to get his own way. How can anyone believe that Rosen had Gary’s best interests at heart in this situation?

Perhaps even more damning is Rosen’s role in Binghamton. He knew for a long time that Binghamton was rife with abuse and yet he continued to send Alpha’s there for imprisonment.  At the end of season one, he announced to the world that Alpha’s exist in an effort to stem the tide of abuse yet at the start of season two, the deal he negotiated with Clay didn’t change a damn thing. And this is after we have seen the Alphas with chips in their necks and seen Gary shipped off there with very little reason. He was always in control of which Alphas went to Binghamton and he has had made no efforts to change how the institution operates. He is, in fact, still hunting down the escapees from building seven for the government to return them to those abusive conditions he’s supposed to abhor so much. Despite getting on his moral high horse, Rosen has not changed and continues to be a party to the abuses of others.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn, Book 10 of the Kitty Norville Series

Kitty Norville is taking a holiday from her pack, and even from the US, to attend a conference in Londo. It’s the first conference on the paranatural in the world and it promises to be huge as vampires, werewolves, wizards, the fae as well as doctors, scientists and policy makers all gather to study, share their findings and discuss the many many ramifications of the newly revealed supernatural around the world.

Kitty is due to speak, and on her way over her speech is the main thing preying on her mind. In London she gets to meet up with several old friends and allies who have also gathered for the conference and has great fun being the guest of the Master of London – a Shakespearean actor.

But when she arrives she is also faced with the culture shock of European vampires – and their attitude towards humans and werewolves. But worse still, Roman’s presence is very much felt, his machinations not just threatening Kitty but also the Master of London. Again, Kitty is arrayed against him and again Kitty rallies the forces as more lines are drawn and more allies are made in the Long War against Roman, the Dux Bellorum.

The problem I have with this book is it starts at about 50% in. Before that we have a wonderful amount of foreshadowing and development – which would be great, if I hadn’t read the previous books. As it stands, I learn about Tyler, but nothing new. I learn about Roman, the Dux Bellorum, but nothing new. I learn that Dux Bellorum is plotting and sinister – I knew that – and that vampires look down on werewolves, something I also knew.

I wouldn’t say it was boring to read or painful to read. It wasn’t, it was recapping an interesting world, introducing Kitty to a new setting and introducing a new cast of characters. It was all interesting and a decent revisit of what had passed before and what Kitty was actually involved in now. But it went on too long – there was this whole conference that we barely had chance to see, development of Marid, Antony and Ned that we never really got, even further exploration of Caleb and how being werewolf of all Great Britain and Ireland worked. Since Kitty referenced them, they could have had a greater analysis

Alphas Season Two, Episode Four: When Push Comes to Shove

This episode begins with Nina having a flashback to when she was a little girl.  Her father had his bags packed and was walking out of the house, leaving her and her mother.  Nina cried and begged her father to stay and when he bent down and made eye contact with her she said, "you can't leave."  Her father repeated her and it is quite clear that this was the moment Nina realised that had the ability to push people. 

The scene then shifts to a man walking around with a baby singing to her.  When a cop approaches he mentions that an alarm is going off and the man responds that he is returning the baby to its mother.  He and the cop struggle, and the man drops the baby as he is tazed.  He then begs the officer not to hurt the baby, but the officer is shocked because the man was not actually holding a baby but a bag full of money.  Did Nina push this man into committing a robbery for her?

Back at the office, Rachel is obsessing about John. Rachel tells Bill that when John said no to the date that his pupils were dilated and his heart rate increased. Bill accuses of user her power as a lie detector because John turned her down for a date. Bill tells Rachel that she shouldn't use her abilities this way and calls her a freak.  When attributes being called a freak to her abilities, Bill responds, "no, you are a freak for a million other reasons." They see Gary run into his office in a bath towel and follow to discover that Gary is freaking out because he didn't get up on time. This is when Bill and Rachel learn that Rosen said that Gary could stay in the office until he found his own apartment. 

In his office, Rosen is having Kat put together carburetors and is astonished at her ability to learn.  Kat wants to know when she gets to do the cool stuff like track the perps and points out that she has such a short memory that she spend 1/3 of her life auditioning for him.  Of course Rosen tells her that he is not auditioning her but trying to help her.  Right, because Kat wasn't doing just fine on her own all this time and every single alpha is in need of Rosen's guidance.  Let me to tell you the ways in which I hate this character. He wants to help counteract her memory loss but Kat is fine with the way she is.  Rosen pushes and asks if she wants to know what her favourite song is and tells her about how he attaches memory to music. They are interrupted by an officer who says to Rosen, "we have another one."  Before he ends their session, Rosen hands Kat a device so that she can start recording her memories.

The man who stole the money is reported Rosen.  It seem that there have been a string of these incidents in the last 72 hours.  Rosen is handed a copy of the man's MRI by the cop.  In the office, Hicks asks if Rosen believes that Nina pushed the man who robbed his own bank. Rosen says that the results suggest Nina but Rachel counters pointing out that the robber took over and hour and Nina's ability does not last that long.  Rosen suggests that she could have grown stronger and Hick pipes up that when they were together that Nina pushed her once and he was out for half a day.  Rosen says that for her own safety they have to bring Nina in because the government has always feared her. If Rosen is in charge of what happens to Nina, there is no guarantee that she is safe at all despite the line he is selling Nina. He suggests of course that Nina could end up in Binghamton.  Rachel agrees to work with Gary to track down Nina's favourite places and leaves.  Hick to Rosen letting Bill take Kat out on this one in the belief that Nina won't want to see him, but Rosen says that Nina trusts Hicks.  When Cameron asks what they should do in the event that Nina does not one to come in, Rosen answers, "bring it in whatever it takes."

Rachel approaches John in the breakroom and says that she is pretty and smart and that if doesn't want to go out with her that she gets it but wants him to have decency to tell her the real reason.   He tells her again that it's because they work together.  Rachel does her lie detector routine and answers that his heart rate is up and he is sweating, and is therefore lying. John tries again and says that it's not her but Rachel is not willing to accept that as an answer and starts to leave the room. John stops Rachel and tells her that he was in a convoy and got injured.  When he shows her the burns below his collar, Rachel examines them visually and is clearly shocked.  When she doesn't say anything, John tells her that it's okay and that he's leaving.  I have to say that Rachel's behaviour in this scene from beginning to end was just disgusting.  The desperation to get a man and the inability to just gracefully accept a no was beyond grating.

Rachel and Hicks end up in a club and they separate when Rachel thinks she smells Nina's perfume. Rachel meets up with Nina and Tomy and quickly tells Nina that Rosen needs to see her and they need to leave.  Nina responds that she doesn't need to leave and Tommy asks Rachel about her senses. When Tommy goes on to ask Rachel if she can actually get off just from someone kissing her, Rachel turns and asks Nina if she told him that.  Nina simply says that Rachel needs to learn how to enjoy her powers and what makes her special. Nina then pushes Rachel into kissing her.  I am so not impressed that the very first same sex kiss in Alphas was absolutely predatory and totally about the male gaze.  When Hicks finds Rachel kissing Nina, he separates them.  Nina says that she is just helping Rachel have some fun. Hicks grabs Tommy and Rachel jumps on Nina and kisses her until Nina breaks the embrace saying, "you don't have to kiss me anymore." Nina then instructs Hicks to let Tommy go.  When Nina confesses to doing the robberies, Hicks says that this not her at all but Nina counters by saying that with Tommy she doesn't have to pretend and that Hicks does not know her at all. Rachel asks what Nina did to her.  In the end, this confrontation is score one Nina as Hicks comes to marching Rachel over his shoulder in a fireman carry.

Back at the office, Rosen injects Hicks with a drug to help ease the effects of Nina's push.  On the scan, Roesn says that Nina's powers have grown tremendously and this means that her pushes are going to last much longer. Rosen asks if Rachel is doing alright and she says that she is fine and heads for the door to get Gary.  Bill is shocked that Nina did that to Rachel, given how sensitive Rachel is. Hicks wants to know how the guy is and Rosen tells Hicks that he believes Tommy was her first boyfriend and is important to her.  Of course he learned this during therapy and I suppose that tells us exactly how much Rosen respects doctor/patient confidentiality. Nina says that they need to think of Nina as an addict now and that they must find her.  Bill says that Clay has been asking about the bankruptcy and admits that he lied to protect Nina. 

Q&A With Alphas Laura Mennell

Coordinator: Our first question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with Please go ahead.

Laura Mennell: Hey there Jamie.

Jamie Ruby: Hey. Thanks for talking to us today.

Laura Mennell: Oh no problem. Nice talking to you.

Jamie Ruby: Can you talk a little bit about some of the changes with Nina because she is kind of getting out of control this season.

Laura Mennell: Yes. I mean there’s a big change from last year obviously arch-wise. I mean, she’s, last year she was in a pretty good space. Nothing was perfect but her life was pretty much coming together. With Rosen’s therapy it was - she was sort of working and had some walls up but they were starting to come down. She was having relationships with her team. They were like a real family to her. She was having more of a purpose in her life.

And then obviously with Rosen being outed - sorry. Excuse me. Rosen outing the Alpha phenomenon to the world and being institutionalized and taken away, things changed, you know. The team disbanded and Nina pretty much lost everything that was important to her. She felt alone. Everything she worked for, you know, getting her life back on track. It was all gone. So now she pretty much has this emptiness, this void that her pushing fills. It’s the only thing that really makes her feel good if only for a moment.

So unfortunately it’s becoming more of an addiction.

Jamie Ruby: Okay. And is there - I know it said in the press release that your character has a lot going on in the next episode. Is there anything that you can tease us about that?

Laura Mennell:  Oh my goodness. There is so much going on in the next episode. Pretty much it’s a really great episode for the audience to get to know Nina a lot more, to get a better understanding of here, you know. Who she really is, where she came from, why her past is so troubled and a lot of it lies in her adolescence, you know, her formative years. She was particularly close to her father but had a very turbulent family life. You’ll learn more about her family and her earlier years experimenting with her ability. And all these little pieces from her past help shape how Nina came to be who she really is today.

So, yes, the audience will get to know a lot more about her. And it is a great show written by Adam Levy who really outdid himself with this episode. So I was pretty thankful and happy for him to give me all sorts of wonderful things to play with.

Jamie Ruby: Okay great. And really quick - if you had Nina’s powers is there anything where you have ever thought, you know, wow that would be so cool to do that and not get caught.

Laura Mennell:  Not get caught. You know, I would probably have a sneaky day, a really good sneaky day and probably do my favorite types of things to do like go traveling so, you know, get on a plane, go somewhere great, go stay at wonderful beautiful hotels or what not. I’d probably just have a nice fun luxurious day but it would only really be able to be enjoyable for me probably for the day and then I’d feel guilty. I know I’d feel guilty. I know myself to well. I couldn’t be Nina although it would be fun. It would be fun I have to admit.

Jamie Ruby: Alright. Well thank you so much.

Laura Mennell: Thank you Jamie.

Coordinator: Our next question comes from the line of Renee Martin from Please proceed with your question. 

Renee Martin: Hi. Thanks so much for doing this today.

Laura Mennell:  No problem Renee. Nice speaking to you.

Renee Martin: One of the things I wondered - I noticed in the first season that the rules for the female characters are very, very passive and the male characters have the active powers. So I noticed Nina’s ability...

Laura Mennell:  I think that...

Renee Martin: 
Go ahead.

Laura Mennell: Okay continue. I’ll answer in a second. I have a little not to add to that but, okay.

Renee Martin: What I noticed is that Nina’s ability - well Nina’s ability is to push people. So what I was wondering this season are we going to see it escalate to the point where she is more on par with a (Barrow) or a Cameron so there isn’t sort of this rift by gender?

Laura Mennell:
Well, I mean, in some ways sure. I mean, she’s not going to be as physically strong as, you know, Cameron and Bill. That’s not her ability. But I think the thing with Nina you know, is her ability of pushing is a mental strength in many ways. That is her strength. That is what she can do.
So I wouldn’t say she is necessarily weaker in that way. She just has a different power, a different ability and her strengths comes from somewhere else. But you will get to see her use it in different ways this season for sure.

Renee Martin:  Okay. I was wondering is she going to develop a relationship with (Cat) the new character that was introduced last episode.

Laura Mennell: Yes. She does have a little bit of a nice - they have a nice segue into sort of the beginning of their relationship starting maybe not this fourth episode we are going into. I guess the fifth they will have some kind of relationship starting there. Nina is able to do something very significant for (Cat). But I can’t quite go into that right now.

Renee Martin: Okay. And I have just one final question. I’m thinking Nina and Hicks - is there any reason to hope there at all?

Laura Mennell:  Well I think Nina would be as well obviously. Nina can’t quite get over Hicks so that’s a tough spot for her. Right now things are looking pretty difficult. I mean, things aren’t really in that ballpark. You never know in the future. You never know but right now things are looking a little tricky.

Renee Martin:  Oh that’s not fun at all.

Laura Mennell:  Keep watching. You never know. I’m sorry. I know, I know.

Renee Martin: Oh, (Danny) has got to go if she’s going to stay with Hicks.

Laura Mennell:  I’m sorry. Nina would feel the same way.

Renee Martin: Thank you so much.

Laura Mennell: Yes. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review of Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding (Dreg City #1)

Evangeline Stone wakes up in the morgue naked on a table with no idea of she got there.  If that were all that were wrong it would be terrifying, but Evangeline wakes up in the body of Chalice (could Meding have picked a worse name?) - a woman who recently committed suicide. What she does not know is that now that she has opened her eyes, the clock has started to tick and she has three hours to discover who killed her and why.

Her first barrier happens when she grabs a phone to contact Wyatt, her handler in the secret police organization that she belongs to and realises that she cannot remember his phone number.  In her former life, Evi was a hunter and her job was to issue warrants and police the dreg society in the society.  Dregs are essentially the supernatural elements of the city and include but are not limited to, fae, vampires full and half bloods, fae, elves, trolls, gremlins etc,.  Evi and her team keeps the humans safe from the supernatural element that they share the world with.  Evi manages to make her way to Chalice's home where she meets Alex - Chalice's best friend. Though this is her first meeting she cannot help but feel some of Chalice's residual emotions towards Alex.

When Evi does finally meet up with Wyatt, she learns that he gave up his free will to a powerful Elf in order to bring her back from the dead, firm in the belief that she has knowledge about an alliance which would shift the balance of power horribly. No matter how hard Evi tries, she cannot remember how she died.  Wyatt and Evi's investigtion is hampered by the fact that the triads believe that Wyatt has gone rogue and that Evi is directly responsible for the death of their team.  There are no friendly faces anywhere the pair turns.

Evi must also confront her feelings towards Wyatt.  Her new body desires him but at the same time she does not want to lead Wyatt on because he clearly loves her.  When she does finally learn that her death involved a brutal rape, she tries to push past it and make love to Wyatt but discovers that some scars just don't heal that easily.  I really liked this scene because too often this kind of brutality is swept aside.  I like that Wyatt stopped and did not blame Evi for the PTSD she was experiencing.

Warehouse 13: Season 4, Episode 4: There's Always a Downside

 Artie is sending Claudia and Pete on one mission and Jinks and Myka on another. Partly so that he can ask Pete to keep an eye on Claudia, since he keeps having that “Claudia stabbing him” vision thing because of the metronome that’s got him rather concerned.

Claudia and Pete are going to see the old computer expert, Hugo. He has Bobby Fischer’s marbles – each of which can give a person massive ambition and drive but prolonged exposure causes violence, insanity and strokes – typical artefact fodder. When he worked for the Warehouse, these were high priority acquisitions for him and he never found them – but someone anonymously fed-exed them to him. Worse, his nephew, Brady, is in a highly competitive school and used one to write a paper for an inter-school event and now the veins on his arm have gone all dark and throbbing, which is probably problematic.

Which is more problematic is that they can’t just goo the marbles because Brady’s a nice kid who shares his toys – and has leant out 4 of them.  And for added problem not only do the marbles cause violence but they’re doing so at a school that emphasises stress, tension and competition.

And yes, the students are well and truly losing it, attacking teachers who give them less than perfect grades, attacking students who have done better than them, attacking people to get on competitive teams. And with the black veins reaching his eyes, Brady collapses. They’re all entering close to the stroke zone

And the last marble is in the hands of the headmaster – who is now pursuing his goal. And his goal is to kill the budget cutting school board who he hates so much.

At this point all the marbled students try to stop Hugo and Claudia and need tesla-ing. Hugo also has a moment of doubt because he showed the marbles to his nephew in an attempt to begin recruiting him as a Warehouse agent and now blames himself for all the problems.

They hurry to the gym and discover the headmaster in the furnace room under it, preparing to unleash a toxic gas on the school board – and the entire student body. Pete gets knocked out, wakes up and knocks him out in return (concussions for everyone!)  Faced with the daunting task of turning off the furnace, Pete has to use the marble to focus and figure out how to turn it off (seriously? It’s a furnace. Not a nuclear power station).

Marbles are collected and gooed, problem solved!

Meanwhile, Jinks and Myka are looking for an artefact that miraculously cures people with severe mental illnesses. And yes this seems good but all artefacts have a downside. It is known (except for the dozen or so they use on a regular basis, including instead of guns, tasers and mobile phones and whatever else Artie pulls out of his bag of tricks as needed).

Grimm, Season 2, episode 1: Bad Teeth

 “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned…”

Grimm is back, and after the exciting events and revelations of last season finale, I have high hopes for what we’re going to see this season.

We begin with a ship full of containers – and one of those containers is making rather a lot of noise. Arriving in Portland, the harbour patrol check the container that is leaking blood. Going inside they find more blood, mangled body parts and writing on the wall in blood in French, some dead bodies – and a furry, savage, angry Wesen that promptly attacks them while roaring – some kind of sabre-toothed feline Wesen.

This all happened yesterday. Today we’re catching up with the events that happened last episode, with Nick fighting Akira Kimura and his mother making an appearance at Nick’s house. She pulls off Kimura’s shirt, saying he’ll come round soon, to check if he has been sent by the “Dragon’s Tongue”. She looks at his tattoos, confirms that he has grimm-o-vision, then when sirens sound outside she disappears. Cavalry arrives, including Police Captain Renard (who Akira tied up last season), giving Renard a chance to see the tattoos on his back.

No sooner have the police left than mummy Grimm (Kelly) reappears saying she has to get to Kimura – which is going to be fun with him in police custody. Kelly fills in the gaps of her death – his father did die, but the woman in the car was her friend Gina – she’d sent them both away in the hope they would escape the people trying to kill her. They misidentified Gina because they attackers took her head, thinking they’d killed a Grimm, and the bodies were badly mangled in the car crash. Kimura is the only link to who may have betrayed Kelly. She and Aunt Marie let Nick believe she was dead to protect him from her many enemies, something Nick is, unsurprisingly, not best thrilled about.

Juliette is still in a coma after being scratched by the cursed cat – and Eddie and Rosalie are researching the cat and a cure. Their results are disturbing enough that they rush to Nick to tell him the news since he’s not answering his phone. When they arrive they see they place is trashed and smell both Kimura and Kelly – both Rosalie and Eddie Woge to smell better and, of course, Kelly leaps on Eddie (though since when the Grimm fighting style against a Blutbad is “big bear hug” I don’t know). There follows a classic misunderstanding scene. Lots of frenzied recapping of who everyone is, time.

The infection Juliette has causes dementia-like symptoms, including memory loss and the first thing they have to do is stop the degradation as soon as possible by stopping the disease getting worse – which takes a potion that needs 16 hours to brew.

Kelly fills Nick in on what she’s been doing for 18 years –first trying to find the killers of his father and her friend, then discovering that the royal families of the Wesen and their servants (like the Verrat) were trying for a resurgence and causing all kinds of problems. She also wants him to give her the coins to have them destroyed.

Teen Wolf: Season 2, Episode 12: Master Plan

Last episode Stiles was kidnapped (not Stiles!) and we start this one with Melissa McCall going to the hospital with, presumably, Jackson in a body bag and Stiles being shoved into a basement with chained Erica and Boyd – the targets on the walls point to this being an Argent kidnapping.

And they’re joined by evil granddaddy Argent (I may drop the “evil” since it’s redundant now that all the Argents are evil) and starts beating Stiles because… because he’s an evil Argent and doesn’t need a reason.

Evil Argent Gerard is having some quality time with Evil Argent Allison when Evil Argent Chris decides to play his “I’m the good one card” and question Gerard about what happened at the game. He maintains his backbone for, oh, 3 seconds, before Gerard wanders off, all questions unanswered. We then find that Allison blames Jackson being dead and the weregecko on Derek, as she blames the death of the murderous Kate and the suicide of the murderous Victoria all on Derek. Totally none of her own evil family’s fault, oh no. She’s pouting because Chris isn’t all behind this new “kill anything that moves” Allison, which is a little unfair since she is just following in the family footsteps – including his.

At the school Sherriff Stilinski is investigating both what happened to Jackson and his missing son. Coach shows his slightly more human side (I can’t decide whether I love Coach or hate him, I think both).

Scott and Isaac rip into Stile’s locker to get clothes so they can follow his scent – and Derek arrives. With Peter. Scott and Derek have a debate about this and Scott’s feeding information to evil granddaddy Argent, Gerard (Peter adding the odd word for sarcasm’s sake. Damn I didn’t know he was sarcastic before they killed him, what a waste!) But Derek has good news, Peter can save Jackson – to which Scott and Isaac inform him that Jackson is dead. This isn’t greeted as good news since, if he’s dead, it must be because evil Argent Gerard wanted him dead – and anything an Argent wants is bad.

Stiles does return home to his dad – but rather beaten up. He blames his disappearance and beat up state on players from the opposing team. Personally I would have fed Chris and Gerard to the law. At very least the accusation should have Gerard suspended as headmaster.

Lydia comes to visit and she’s pretty devastated about Jackson, despite his treatment of her, and is shockily fixated on the fact she never had chance to return his key. She and Stiles have a cutsey, touching moment. Until Lydia gets a text message and decides she’s going to help Jackson – no matter how much Stiles wants to protect her. Stiles is left all depressed and sad – until Sheriff Stilinski drops in to assure him what a hero he is.

Chris Argent finally uses that conscious for something other than 2 seconds of backbone – and, reflecting about what side of the line he and his family are standing on – he turns off the current that’s holding Erica and Boyd captive.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: The Sword and the Prophet by Missy Larae

 Tyler and Lilly are free for the first time in their 15 year old lives. The twins have lived with their abusive mother who has controlled their every action, constantly beat them down and denied them any interaction with the outside world. Finally, they’ve had enough and are running away to the only relative they know of – their unknown father’s sister.

Everything seems to go to plan, their aunt is considerably kinder than their mother. But then the revelations start to pile up. Not least of which is that no-one they know is human – and they are caught between two powerful warring factions of aliens. Even that seems easier to grasp than the idea that their mother was the good one.

At this point the revelations tear in fast and furious as Tyler and Lilly must flee from the hunters, all the while dealing with massive transformations of their bodies and strange manifestations of new powers. They have no idea who to trust or what is real any more, but their true family is out there.

The world and story are both intriguing in many ways. Normal, human children not realising they’re not only special but not even human? They have to deal with transformations, their entire world being turned upside down. The world is rich and odd – with lots of unique, interesting elements even with its clichés. It has a lot of potential for excitement, emotional impact, epic battles and massive realisations as two abused children discover so much more.

But this book has some severe pacing issues. I’ve read books before where I’ve felt like I’ve been thrown in the deep end, because the book has been going so fast and throwing so much at me so quickly. This book doesn’t  just throw me in the deep end, it ties weights to my feet and then throws things at me. It was utterly overwhelming for the first 40%.

It starts fairly standardly, we follow Lilly and Tyler fleeing their abusive mother and heading to their unknown aunt’s home. Nice and simple.

Sinbad: Season 1, Episode 6: The Siren

 Their pleasant days sailing is interrupted by something hitting the ship and breaking a small hole in her. Everyone flails around a bit, but Sinbad ties a rope around his waist and jumps in the water to see what they hit and how bad the damage is. Cook is horrified at the idea of someone leaving eh boat while they’re at sea, but Sinbad jumps in. Soon after, they see a shape in the water – and the rope is severed.

Sinbad is revived, on shore, by a beautiful blond woman wearing gauze and sequins who gives him CPR and takes him to her little beach house full of medicine to treat his wounds. She claims it was coral, he says it was a shark or a sea beast, but she says there are none in these waters. He is on the island of Rocheen Moore (her) and she’s the only one there.

On the ship, Cook finds it was a sharp point that was forced through the ships planks. Nala and Gunnar go to shore, since the current carried their boat to the island and they assumed it could have done the same to Sinbad – though Nala is disturbed since she saw the scaled tail when the rope was cut. They find Sinbad – and Rocheen.

Gunnar is affable enough, but Nala is cold to Rocheen (is that a spike of jealousy I’m seeing? Oh dear, do we have to play this game?) Nala encourages Sinbad to leave and Rocheen even agrees – but Sinbad is determined to stay. Nala confronts him, telling him Akbari will be following them and they need to move, but Sinbad complains about running and his curse and just wants to stop. Sinbad begs for just one night where he doesn’t have to worry. Nala and Gunnar return to the ship, with Nala warning him to be back by sunrise.

Unsurprisingly, Sinbad and Rocheen end up in bed (while there are shadowy figures on the beach). Rocheen asks about his ship mates (Sinbad’s descriptions of Nala are more than a little romantic). The next day, as dawn begins, Rocheen reminds he has to return to the shop, to Gunnar and Nala. But he can’t remember them and returns to sleep. Then his curse kicks in and he staggers from the house, unable to breath as his necklace tightens. Rocheen urges him to tell her a happy memory about his grandmother. He recounts a memory of her telling stories to him, but then adds that he broke her heart, causing Rocheen to stagger, breathing black smoke, demanding he only tell good memories not bad. But the curse stops, Sinbad can breath – but he can no longer remember his grandmother.

Falling Skies: Season 2, Episode 9: The Price of Greatness

  The 2nd Massachusetts has arrived in Charleston, land of milk and honey (and all being gathered in one place for a nice big attack – yes I still question the wisdom of this) and Colonel Porter congratulates them on how long they’ve lasted out there, his own unit having been largely wiped out.

The New Charleston is an underground mall, a construction that survived the destruction of the city. They walk down into a food court  where people are eating (meals that are far better than what the 2nd Massachusetts has been eating) and they all stand to give them a standing ovation for what they did out in the field. Captain Weaver gets to reunite with his daughter. And Pope is already plotting with the berserkers to leave.

Matt is happy to be where there are other kids and even a school (and if you think a kid missing school is unbelievable, try to grasp that Ann and Tom, after weeks of rations and privations, are tucking into a salad. Yes, salad. Who, after weeks of unappetising rations, craves lettuce?)  and Tom gets to reunite with an old professor – Arthur Manchester. He’s the majority leader of the new congress and presumptive president

Weaver goes to see Charleston’s General. With the intelligence Weaver has from the field, he offers to use his people to scout. But the General doesn’t want to know and doesn’t need scouts - he dismisses Colonel Porter when he protests.

It turns out that Manchester, as the civilian leader, refuses to provoke the aliens. It’s believe that the aliens have no reason to hit Charleston again since they think it’s pacified, and it’s best to hide and “rebuild” rather than pick fights. It’s apparent that the General isn’t Manchester’s best friend.

But there’s a ruckus since the Charleston folks want to disarm the 2nd Massachusetts and spread them out around the place. Tom and Ann aren’t happy but Colonel Porter talks Weaver around, having them disarm and spread to where they’re assigned.

The next day it’s all domestic with Ann and Tom going to their various assignments – with Tom reporting to Manchester who has statesmen dreams of putting together a new government for a post-invasion world (ink on paper after the aliens aren’t about, methinks). But there’s a confidence vote for his government coming up and he wants Tom to speak for him (how can he speak for him? He has no idea what the government is doing!) Tom takes the chance to tell him about Red Eye and the rebel Skitters – which Manchester greets by saying they can stand back and let them kill each other. He’s adamantly against any kind of alliance, or poking his head out of the hole, and won’t do anything to threaten the city – which he links to the vote.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fangs for the Fantasy Episode 80

This week we discuss True Blood and the season getting past its wallowing, it’s soapiness, actually having some plot and moving forwards. Though we do complain about how easy it now is to kill vampires. But Russel was awesome.

We discuss Teen Wolf with how much we’re surprisingly loving this series – but also how awful both the Argents in general are and Allison in particular is. We also discuss how race is portrayed on Teen Wolf.

We also discuss Warehouse 13 – and how a slow paced episode was ideal at the place in the series. And we talk about Alphas and the eternally manipulative Dr. Rosen and how I’m Team Stanton Parish. We also discuss Sinbad.

Our book of the week is Biting Cold by Chloe Neill.

Our next books of the week:

13/8-20/8: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
20/8-27/8: Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
27/8-3/9: Storm Dancer by Jay Kristoff
3/9-10/9: Constantine Affliction by T Aaron Payton
10/9-17/9: Tempest Rising: Tracy Deebs
17/9-24/9: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman