Saturday, October 20, 2012

Syfy news: Defiance and Alphas

First we have a video of the making of Defiance, a show we will be following in 2013

For the season finale of Alphas this Monday, Summer Glau (who plays Skylar Adams on the show - salivating Browncoats, behave - you know who you are :P) will be tweeting during this Monday's episode at 8/7c @AlphasSyfy.

The Vampire Diaries Season Four, Episode Two: Memorial

In the woods, Elena and Stefan wake up together.  We get a flashback to Stefan and Damon arguing over a blood source for Elena.  It's Stephen's plan to get Elena used to animal blood right from the get go.  Stefan feels that if she kills someone, she will turn off her humanity. Damon believes that Elena cannot learn to control the bloodlust until she experiences the blood lust. Damon tells Elena that vampires eat people and that this is part of the natural food pyramid. Honestly, Damon's approach is the most sensible.   Back in the woods, Stefan is trying to help Elena get acquainted with her vampire senses and as he touches her he tells her that everything is heightened, taste, touch, smell.  It's not long before clothes start to come off but Elena has to pull back to spit up the blood she ingested.

Connor Jordan enters the pastor's cabin and starts exploring the scene. In the oven he finds a letter addressed to April.

Damon is drinking at a bar when Liz puts a newspaper in front of him showing a reprot of what happened at the cabin.  Damon says that if he killed people that he wouldn't have blown them up. Liz says that it happened from within.  Connor Jordan approaches Liz to talk about the fire.

Jeremy and Matt are packing up paper lanterns for the memorial. Matt asks how Elena is doing and says that Elena is a vampire because of him and he would like to pay it forward.  Didn't we have enough of  poor Elena last week? April, who is Pastor Young's daughter approaches Jeremy saying that she is not much for grief and then takes off to register for school. 

Elena is on the phone when Stefan enters with a bottle of champagne from the year she was born. He believes that they should celebrate her first feed, even though it was disgusting and traumatic. Stefan admits that he choked animal blood down for a month before he could handle the taste.  Elena notes that Stefan is so happy, and he say it's because she is alive and with him. Their kiss is interrupted with a phone call from Damon.

Elena shows up at the bar and asks Damon if he set off the explosion which blew up the town council. He denies any participation. Elena confides in Damon that she cannot keep any of the animal blood down and Damon points to different people that she can feed from.  Elena says that Stefan is right and that she has to get through this without hurting anyone. Is she ever going to clue in that she is a vampire?  Damon takes her into another room and then cuts open his hand. He tells her not to tell Stefan because blood sharing is personal.

Tyler and Caroline are having sex and she stops him saying that it's wrong because a bunch of people died.  He points out that if they stopped having sex every time someone died that they would explode. Tyler tells her that he loves her and Caroline says that she loves him too.  The doorbell rings and its Connor. He asks Carol Lockwood about the explosion and she replies that it is an internal matter. Connor says that it was a cover up and he wants to know why Carol was not at the meeting considering that she was the mayor.  Tyler comes downstairs to see what is going on and when he shakes Connor's hand his hand starts to sizzle. Connor pulls out a gun and shoots Tyler several times in the chest. On the ground Tyler opens his eyes, as Carol screams for him to run.  Hearing the shots, Caroline comes downstairs. Clearly Connor is town to clean up the vampire population, finishing what Pastor Young started.

Tyler is getting the slugs pulled out of him by Stefan, who says that the bullets were specially charged.  Tyler says that  Connor's gloves had to to be seeped in vervain and he knew what he was doing.  Finally, a new Black character that isn't a witch or a servant of the White population of Mystic Falls.  It seems that he is being set up as an antagonist though, so he is probably not going to be on the show for very long.

At the church, Matt is talking to Elena about how she feels. Matt points out that she didn't have to volunteer but she says that she had to because people she's known her whole life died.  When Elena sees April, she goes over to sit with her. They realise that they have not seen each other since Elena's parents funeral. April says that she was  asked to speak but does not know what to say and asks what happens if no one says anything.  April believes that everyone deserves to have something nice said about them at their funeral.  Elena tells April not to worry because everyone in the town loved Pastor Young.  As Elena is stoking April's arm, the blood list hits her. Elena just makes it to the bathroom in time to vomit up blood. It's a complete mess because she vomits literally everywhere.

Stefan knocks on Bonnie's door and when she does not answer, he says that it's important and he can hear her breathing.  Bonnie comes to the door and lets him in.  Bonnie says that it was like watching her grandmother die all over again and that she is a mess. Bonnie asks him what he needed and says that she is okay. Stefan shows her the slugs and says that they burn to the touch and asks if the writing on the bullets mean something.  Bonnie says that it's not magical.  Clearly Bonnie is hurting but of course she puts her pain aside to help Stefan.  She has lost so much but no one ever puts her pain first and I am so sick of how they are treating her character.  Because she is the resident witch she is nothing but a servant.

Elena is in the bathroom trying to clean up the mess and calls Damon, when Connor twists the handle trying to get in.  Damon shows up and when Connor offers his hand, Damon refuses to shake saying that he is a germaphobe. They play a little game of cat and mouse. When Elena leaves the bathroom, Damon tells Connor to enjoy his stay.  Connor then goes upstairs, and stabs Alice with a wooden stake. 

As Elena and Damon leave the church, she asks if he brought the blood bag.  She takes a bite and once again throws up the minute she tastes the blood. Damon says it might be her doppelganger nature resisting the change. Elena is worried that she is dying and Damon tells her that she needs to drink from the vein but Elena says that she cannot do that.  Stephan sees the exchange and is upset that Damon offered her human blood.  Damon tells Stefan that Elena is starving and that she cannot even keep his blood down.  

Elena goes back into the church and sits next to Matt but she is clearly struggling.  Jeremy says that April was looking for her and that she wanted help with her speech.  Stefan approaches Tyler and asks what he is doing there with a hunter out to get him.  Tyler replies that he is not going to be stopped from doing what he has to do. Did they all just forget that Pastor Young kidnapped them and tried to kill them?

Carol begins the mass but April does not show up.  What no one in the church realizes is that Connor has a weapon loaded with wooden slugs pointed at the congregation. Damon enters and crosses himself, as Elena steps forward to share a memory of Pastor Young. Damon sits with Stefan and is not impressed by how weak Elena looks.  April's blood is dripping from the ceiling, which all of the vampires can smell and Damon says nobody move, it's a trap. 

Beauty and the Beast, Season 1, Episode 2: Proceed with Caution

We open with the crime, a woman walking down an alley looking for a party, when a body falls off the roof in front of her. At the same time Catherine’s providing a non-sequiter voice over about lines and being a detective, rules, protocol, good guys and bad guys. Don’t pay much attention, it’s not actually relevant to anything that follows.

At Catherine’s home, she’s joined with her little sister, Heather, who is living with her now. But she’s a little disturbed by the big box of “files about our mother’s death” Catherine keeps lying around – and the murder board. She wants Catherine to move on, perhaps let go, especially when she starst questioning Heather about how their mother was acting before she died. Catherine’s distracted from the “let it go speech” by one of her mother’s research documents.

To the beast warehouse, breaking through the fence, she enters the warehouse and is attacked by JT. There’s a brief altercation that JT easily loses, but he still has a rant – they’ve managed to stay off the grid for 9 years and now she keeps drawing attention to them – she needs to leave them alone. She gives him her mother’s research, says it’s about DNA but her mother was a doctor for infectious diseases, it could be related to Muirfield. She then gets a call – much to JT’s dismay that she brought a mobile phone into their hide out – about the crime scene.

To the dead body for some flirting with Evan, the pathologist after which Tess urges them to just do it already and get done with it – though Catherine doesn’t want to be another notch on Evan’s belt and mocks Tess back for her “men cleanse”. Meet up with and snark with Joe, their boss and see the victim – Gemma, a ballerina, 22 who works for the ballet company that is run out of the building she fell from. They’re interrupted by Victoria Hanson who runs in crying about Gemma – she’s a friend and an understudy for her. Since she fell of a big building Catherine and Tess have to ask her how she was feeling, any change of demeanour and Victoria says Gemma was stressed – she’s dancing as Odette in Swan Lake and was struggling with it.

Evan, meanwhile, believes Gemma has defensive injuries and she fell too far into the street – so probably not an accident. Tess and Catherine go to sweep the building, finding the theatre and a room where the music is still playing where Gemma was practicing. Catherine separates from Tess to go to the roof – with a huge number of cigarettes stubbed out – and is grabbed by Vincent who is irritated by her dropping in on his warehouse. He says her mother’s research is for curing a fever and has nothing to do with Muirfield. He tells her he only told her that the killers were tracking her mother so Catherine would stop blaming herself, not for her to go investigate them. It’s too dangerous to be involved with Muirfield. To which Catherine responds with “aha! Muirfield had something to do with my mother’s death!” Uh-huh, selective hearing at its best. Before leaving he tells her that his super-duper-senses noticed Victoria was lying.

Back to Evan (more flirting) where he finds that the cut in Gemma’s scalp matches a hair pin but not the one they found (no blood on it). They also found that while she was on the roof where people gathered to smoke, Gemma wasn’t a smoker. And there was powder on hands that could be make up. Tess and Catherine think this points to another woman and, after some research, find that understudy Victoria played Odette in last year’s production – it looks like she was demoted.

Off to the theatre where they notice Victoria is Odette again. They talk to Bertrand, the artistic director who tells them money’s far too tight for them to cancel the performance. He also rejects that Victoria and Gemma were competitive, they were like sisters – and Victoria wasn’t demoted. She left for a year with a broken toe, when she’s fully recovered, she would go back to being Odette, everyone knew that Gemma was only a temporary replacement.  They check Gemma’s locker and find it completely empty – when it’s normally over flowing. They also find fresh flowers in the bin – tess points out the only time she throws away fresh flowers is when they’re from someone she doesn’t like. Touching the flowers, they get powder on their hands – lily pollen. Which flirty Evan confirms is what’s on Gemma’s fingers – and that she has the morning after pill in her system.

Catherine’s next step is obvious to the top secret warehouse where she has been told not to go! She lurks outside until Vincent hears her and invites her in. She promises she’s here about the case not her mother. They discuss the case briefly but Vincent has nothing to add – and she quickly gets to her mother, how the obsession consumes her and how she looks at old photographs of herself and she doesn’t even recognise herself any more. JT drops in to tell Vincent how risky this is, how she puts them at risk and also how Vincent’s last relationship apparently went south. He brushes Jt off and returns to Catherine with his own photo – of him and the fellow soldiers in the Muirfield programme, and how he barely recognises them either. He discusses the men in the picture who are all dead and she decides with her police resources she can investigate, she can expose Muirfield and shut them down, she can get justice for the victims! Vincent tells her Muirfield monitors everything and would just destroy her – and as for her mother’s case, all he knows is the men who killed her were from Muirfield, now leave it alone and go.

Except she doesn’t of course.

The Almighty Johnsons, Season 2, Episode 13: Does This Look Like Asgard?

The season finale of Almighty Johnsons! The point where all storylines can be wrapped up

Or not, as the case may be.

We start with everyone waking up in bed together. Well, Axl and Gaia wake up in bed together all lovey dovey. Anders and Helen wake up in bed together, Helen horny and Anders considerably less so. Mike and Michelle in bed together – with Mike still obsessing on the cameras Collin put in their house. And Ty wakes up in bed with Dawn – and Stacey and Olaf. Waking up from that dream, no-one’s in bed with him, but Olaf and Stacy are watching him to check on him now he’s mortal

It’s goddess day! Gaia’s 21st birthday, the day she becomes a goddess! Time for everyone to prepare.

Axl and Gaia try to avoid the whole thing as best they can – but Zeb is there to remind them and to give Gaia a gift – a pendant shaped like an “f” for Frigg. And he wants an invite, no-one ever lets him go to any of the god ceremonies. The goddesses arrive for the day – and Ingrid is determined to make it special since she never had a goddess day (she grew up without realising she was a goddess). Stacy, Ingrid and Michelle collect Gaia – and make it clear that, no, Zeb cannot be at the ceremony, mortals would defile the whole thing.

The Goddesses spend the day being very holy – at a spa, being pampered, preening and always having a drink at hand (these gods sure know how to knock it back). They realise they didn’t invite Helen (Idun) but no-one likes her anyway. They also make it clear to Gaia that no matter what god she is, they’re still her ally – and allies are important in the world of gods and goddesses.

At their flat, Zeb whines that can’t go and demands Axl turn him into Freki for real when he becomes Odin – but his whines are interrupted by Jerome, Leon and George who have come to claim Gaia for their deity ceremonies. Jerome, again, accuses them of hiding her and we have a 3 sided whine fest about Gaia being away. Axl finally calls Gaia for them and Jerome tries some creepy flirting over the phone, Gaia passes the phone to Michelle (“the one whose goddess name no-one can pronounce – poor Sjรถfn) who threatens to break him in half if he doesn’t leave them alone. After that, Jerome and co decide to stay in Axl’s flat until the ceremony, just in case.

The day is spent in supreme geekiness. After a beginning load of snarking and poor Zeb being kicked out as a mortal who shouldn’t even be around them (poor Zeb) there follows a brief moment of guilt when Jerome remembers he hasn’t bought Gaia a birthday present after Zeb whines that he’s actually the only one who remembered to get her one (he sends out George who comes back with vouchers…). Then they spend the rest of the day playing computer games – then designing a computer game that involves the Maori and Norse gods. And they take it seriously as only true geeks can – yes, they’re cute.

When the ceremony finally comes around, the Maori gods change into suits – and then find their van won’t start. After much bickering and childishness, Axl gives them a lift.

Mike, meanwhile, is running with his “I want to take down Loki” obsession. Since he has Kvasir with his infinite knowledge in the basement, he asks how he kills Loki. Kvasir replies that Loki cannot be killed any more than Ullr or Kvasir can be killed – and his vessel, Collin Gunderson, can be killed like any person – knife, gun, whatever. Mike, however, is rightly worried about Loki’s power since it’s considerably more than his. Kvasir says that Loki’s power is all about fire – and to counter fire you need water – or ice.

Time for Mike to see Ty who Olaf has seen as happier than he ever has been. Mike tries to bring him in on the whole “let’s kill Loki” routine and Ty breaks the news that he isn’t actually Hodr anymore and is now a mortal. Mike responds by becoming a massive arsehole and berating him for not consulting him, telling him he’s betrayed them, telling him he’s ignoring the threat to his family and telling him he turned his back on all of them. Ty points out that Mike’s just pissed because Collin filmed him having sex with Michelle. Mike ignores how happy Ty is as a mortal and storms out announcing that he hopes Ty is happy alone.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

 Rebecca is a sensible woman, a teacher and she’s about to get married. Or was, anyway, until her husband got cold feet at the altar and a strange Scotsman showed up in the humiliating aftermath to whisk her away to a new life.

With barely time to adapt, Rebecca finds that she’s an Amazon, empowered by the Amazon’s patron goddesses with the power of Earth and chosen to defend the world against various supernatural threats. More urgently, she also learns she has been tapped because the last generation of Amazons has gone missing – or died.

Rebecca must struggle to learn the fighting skills that are essential to her role – but quickly finds she is not as physically adept as her sisters nor as fast a learner. But with Amazons to find and the undead to fight, she doesn’t have time to learn slowly.

And even that is complicated by her teacher, Artair the sentinel, who is compelling to her in ways that go beyond being  teacher.

There was a lot of really excellent potential in this book. Yes, 4 warriors dedicated to the 4 elements has been done before, but there was a lot of unique twists to it, with each elements having powers above and beyond what you’d expect. The idea of demigods being evil beings who have the ambition to rise to become gods no matter what is intriguing as well as the various monsters and spirits that serve them and the gods who oppose them

It’s well written as well. The pacing is tight and regular, keeping the plot moving and not dwelling or getting bogged down anywhere but nor did it rush through things and leave it vague or hurried. The world building balance was also excellent. Often with a supernatural setting it is far too tempting to dump all of this wonderful world you’ve created onto the page whether the reader needs to know or not – and it really bogs down a story. This only ever gave us the knowledge we needed to understand the story, explaining what was necessary and leaving the rest as intriguing clues. But, despite that, the world building felt sparse.

The world building felt sparse because it gave us just enough to understand without giving us irrelevant information. Sound like a contradiction? Well, the amazons have these powers, the gods these roles and this presence, but we didn’t get a story about them. We got a story about Becca and Artair falling in love. About Becca worrying she wasn’t becoming a good warrior fast enough. About Artair thinking Becca was sexy but wanting to quit as Sentinel. Of Becca thinking Artair is sexy and wishing he wouldn’t go.

In other words, there’s this wonderful world and wonderful pacing and an admirable restraint against drowning us in unnecessary information, and it isn’t really used.

I also admit to being a mythology geek, so when I saw “Amazon” I was excited. I could see these powerful, strong, independent warrior women facing down their enemies with brutal power.

I did not expect Artair’s Angels. Harsh? Perhaps, and part of that could be due to my expectations when the word “Amazon” is raised – but I don’t expect a book about Amazons to include a man who is their leader, their trainer, their drill sergeant, paternal figure, probably their best fighter, their general and battle leader or the main love interest in the story. I would have thought at least some of these roles would be filled by women.

Supernatural, Season 8, Episode 3: Heartache

Minneaoplis Minnesota

A late night Jogger is happily running his way down a track when he is lapped by another jogger, apparently in worse shape. At the end of the track, he concedes the other jogger is faster than him – and that other jogger rips his heart out. Nice

Sam drags Dean around a farmer’s market while Dean gripes again about Sam quitting the family business for a year, in particular he notices a case in Minneapolis of people getting their heart ripped out – and there’s a pattern of hearts being removed every 6 months. Dean thinks Sam dropped the ball ignoring this and isn’t happy that people are dying while Sam concentrates on produce. Sam wants to concentrate on finding Kevin and it’s clear that he looks upon this as the last act. Hunting this monster isn’t just a distraction from finding Kevin but also dragging him back to being a full time hunter, which he’s trying to avoid.

Time for a trip to the police where it’s clear that they never considered Paul, the overweight man, a genuine suspect because of the difference in fitness between himself and the victim (which seems silly, even if you buy the idea that fat people are inherently unhealthy, surely no-one can deny that it’s quite possible to be fat and strong). They go to interview Paul and find him a happy man who, after a health scare a year ago, is very much into healthy lifestyles, he seems fairly harmless.

Meanwhile, another heart is taken in Iowa which causes a quick change of scenery. Interviewing the police they find that the victim was a pizza delivery man – he delivered pizza to Arthur Swinson, an exemplary cop, and was found outside his house with his heart ripped out. The police man was crumbled in a corner, crying and covered in blood. Checking the timing they find he was in court when the murder in Minneapolis took place – and Paul was being questioned by police when this murder took place.

They go to see Arthur in a secure cell and find he’s babbling incomprehensibly in a language they don’t understand, repeating the same line over and over and utterly non-responsive to stimulus. Holy water proves he isn’t a demon. They also draw attention to the fact Swinson’s eyes are different colours.

That night, while still chanting, Swinson rips a metal bar out of his bed and carves out his eye.

Sam listens to the recording and they run it through Dean’s translating app that doesn’t recognise it – thinking it could be a dead language, Sam sends the recording of the chanting to their anthropology professor they previously consulted on ancient Greek legends. At the hospital they interview the doctor caring for Swinson and learn he cut out an eye that he got a year ago in a transplant. Remembering Paul’s health scare, Sam checks his records and finds he also had a transplant – a kidney transplant.

American Horror Story Season 2, Episode 1: Welcome to Briarcliff

A new season of American Horror Story has begun and it’s a complete revamp, nothing from the old series applies, with a whole new setting, a whole new cast and a whole new concept.

And this is introduced by Leo and Teresa, newly weds. She’s a horror buff, so on their honeymoon, they’re doing a tour of the most haunted locations in America and having sex in all of them. That’s one way to celebrate. Which brings them to the ruins of Briarcliff. Teresa’s research says it used to be the largest tuberculosis ward on east coast in which 46,000 people died – and they shuttled the bodies out in and underground tunnel called the death chute, nice. After that it was bought by the Catholic church and turned into sanatorium for the criminally insane. They walk through the halls and find it extremely spooky with extra creepiness because of the discarded clothing and graffiti – including a reference to “Bloody Face” a brutal serial killer and the most notorious resident of the asylum.

They’re quickly distracted by a bed with restraints, which attracts the horny couple. Leo ties Teresa down and they begin to roleplay and have sex – but are interrupted by a noise. She wants to go investigate and bribes him with repeated offers of sex to go check it out. They reach a large metal door that’s closed – but it has a hatch on it. Following more inducements from Teresa, Leo agrees to stick his arm inside – and promptly gets it ripped off (silly boy)

From there we zap back to 1964, where Kit is working in a petrol station and just closing up for the night. After a moment, where everyone gasps at how cheap gas was back then, Kit gets a visit from his friends who want to borrow his boss’s gun. They want it to threaten a Black person (yes the word used was the N-word) they accuse him of being with one of their sisters. There follows a series of not-very-subtle racist allusions (does he have a maid, some comments about chocolate) that suggest Kit is in an interracial relationship. Kit ignores them and refuses to join them.

He goes home to Alma, his wife, a Black woman. He puts on his wedding ring that he took off for work – they had to leave the state, to Provincetown to get married and he has to keep it secret. He talks about wishing he could tell the world, that they broke no laws – but she says it’s not safe and they have to hide – the world is wrong and the world will change one day. They have sex before dinner and are an extremely affection couple.

Then lights appear in garden – fearing his friends are there to harass him, Kit grabs a shotgun and runs outside, telling Alma to stay inside. But the light is in the sky – he tries shooting it but it does nothing. He runs back into the house where Alma screams for help. He is overwhelmed by the light and the noise that drives him to the floor. It goes briefly quiet before everything in the house – including him – is pulled up to the ceiling – followed by a brief flash of light and a green, alien hand reaching for him. Alien abduction? Really American Horror Story? That’s not jumping the shark, that’s vaulting the damn whale.

Off to Briarcliff, still in 1964, to follow Lana, a journalist, going to the asylum to do a news report on their bakery (yeah right). She’s greeted by Sister Mary Eunice of the Wet Lettuce and lead through the asylum, where the poor people incarcerated are presented as scary and repulsive – and not just the treatment of them – sort it out AHS, this kind of portrayal of the mentally ill should be done away with. Sister Eunice takes her to see the ruler of the asylum – Sister Jude who is busy shaving a woman’s hair.

With the Wet Lettuce and the shaved woman being removed from the room, it’s time for Sister Jude to share her vision of the world with Lana the journalist. Sally, the woman who she was shaving, is a nymphomaniac and Jude is trying to shame her. Lana is troubled by this and by Jude, who dismisses psychiatry, saying that “mental illness is the fashionable explanation for sin,” alllll righty then, there’s Sister Jude explained pretty close. She runs the asylum for Monsignor Howard according to his three principles – Productivity, Prayer and Purification.

Having the asylum's credentials well and truly smashed into pieces, it’s time for Sister Wet Lettuce to burst in and advance the story – the “Bad Man” is here. That would be Bloody Face, the notorious serial killer who decapitated 3 women while wearing a mask of human flesh, who has been sent to the asylum while the courts decide if he is fit to stand trial. Jude and Lana butt heads when it becomes clear that Lana couldn’t give a damn about the bakery and its maple bread and is really there to get the inside scoop on Bloody Face.

'Revolution' and Aggressive Masculinity

Revolution is like many other dystopian fantasies.  Once again, we have White man saves the world with people of colour in servant roles when they do appear and of course, the invisible gay canaries. By that I mean no gay people, because somehow they are always the first ones to die when the world ends. With the strong White male leader, normally we get a heavy dose of hyper masculinity and the viewer is expected to accept the rightness of an alpha male leader and embrace it. Consider for a moment Rick from The Walking Dead, and Tom Mason in Falling Skies. These two men both fit the mold for leadership that we have come to expect in a dystopian setting. Revolution takes the mold and expands upon it to make hyper masculinity not only the preserve of leadership but a necessary attribute of masculinity.

From the moment we meet Captain Tom Neville, he is savage and, in fact, a sadist.  He rides into Ben’s small community with armed men and demands instant surrender on behalf of the militia. Tom uses violence and fear to keep his troops in line and the only person he seems to fear is Monroe. In episode five, for the first time we get a little insight into Neville’s backstory. We learn that Neville used to work as an insurance adjustor and lost his job when he gave clients coverage for a fire that they hadn’t actually paid for. In his boss's office, he was passive and his body language was absolutely submissive, when he was fired. When Neville returns home, he tries to ask Rob, his neighbour to keep the noise level to a minimum but is ignored. Instead of being active and pursuing a confrontation in both instances, Neville enters his home and starts to take his frustrations out on a punching bag. He tells his son, Jason, that it’s good to punch but he must never punch people.This pre blackout Neville bears absolutely no resemblance to the tough captain we have learned to be wary of. When Tom breaks into his house looking for supplies, Neville beats him to death with his bare hands and in this moment, Captain Tom Neville is born. It’s not simply a case of the strong survive but a case that this is the appropriate behaviour for a real man. For Neville, a man protects his family, and a man shows power and does not back down. He has learned that a passive masculinity has dire repercussions and strips a man of his self worth.

Passive masculinity is also represented by Aaron.  Pre black out, Aaron was an extremely powerful man - not because of his physical strength but for his wealth. Though he was beat up in the school yard as a child, for Aaron, revenge came in the form of a company with 300 employees, four homes and a private plane.  In episode three,  he expresses to Maggie the fear he feels in the world as it is today because the same type of people who bullied him in the school yard, are in power today. He calls it a joke, but clearly the loss of power and value as a man is something that haunts Aaron.  He is desperate to get the power turned back on in the hope of returning to some semblance of the former power structure.  Men like Aaron are dependent upon others for safety and he is barely functional with a weapon. His character exists often as comic relief on the show.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Grimm Sneak Peak!

Review: Imperative by P.A. Wilson, Book 1 of the Quinn Larson Quests

Quinn is a Wizard, one of the Real People, a magical being hidden from humanity. And they’re hidden for good reason – the last time one of the Real People was revealed, it resulted in the extinction of the vampires. And with their death, their power died with them, reducing all of the Real People.

Which means he especially worries when humans start dying. The fairies are killing humans and using their souls to power the Sidhe political struggle, while the Sidhe hold the threat of magical sterility over the fairies to demand their co-operation. As the bodies pile up, there is more chance of humanity noticing the body count – and the subsequent backlash that could cause yet another Real Person extinction and a reduction of all of them.

Of course, the Sidhe are too short sighted to listen to reason and Quinn, as a Spirit Wizard, is oathbound against harm – that leaves him the task to either break the Sidhe’s curse on the fairies or otherwise restore their fertility – aided by Cate a fellow Witch and Olun, a pixie who has been bound to protect humanity.

This book got a lot right for me with the story telling. The pacing was excellent, nicely maintained themes without being distracted or tangented, especially for its style. This is a book where the characters are brainstorming a solution to a problem. It isn’t an action packed battle nor is it a mystery in the sense that they all know what the problem is from the very beginning. But they need to find a solution – one that involves a lot of brainstorming, a lot of trial and error and a lot of planning. It’s a nice change from swashbuckling and action and I quite like that the protagonist Quinn, as a Spirit Mage, is denied violence as a solution anyway. Instead they’ve got to use all the tools and information at their disposal to find a peaceful solution.

The problem is that, since this is a new book of a new series in a brand new world, I’m not entirely sure what all the tools and information at their disposal actually amounts to. This means they just keep pulling out magic tricks we don’t know or understand yet. It does shows us a lot of the wide world and its residents and the limits of the wizards – so it really develops the world building – but this is the problem with Magic users with unknown magic looking to solve a problem – in the end they’re going to pull out a big bottle of Magicus Problemis Soluntionai and solve it. For all that, I’m impressed by how it did keep me engaged while they tried different magical solutions and we did get to see around some of the limits of the wizards, their powers and their world without undue info-dumping.

I had some real problems picturing the protagonist – to such a degree that I actually didn’t realise Quinn was a man until 20% into the book. He grew on me as the book progressed but I found it really hard to truly connect to him – I needed more of him in the book, as a person, as a protagonist, I had none of his history, his hobbies, his life, he had no pets or habits or friends who weren’t useful. I needed something of Quinn as a person to latch on to rather than just Quinn the protagonist, the actor, the one who drives the story. I want to see more of the history of him and how he relates to the world – what actually makes a Wizard a Wizard rather than a normal human? What is his relationship with Olan? (For that matter, what/who is exactly is Olan?) He’s 300 years old – what has he been doing, what does that mean how did he live, what does he do? The vampires were wiped out, what does that mean? What does that mean for humanity and Real People? What did that mean to him? I need some tangible hooks rather than rather coldly stated facts. And there’s no physical description of him – I know it’s a minor thing, but I can’t picture what this guy looks like at all.

Neighbors Season, One, Episode Four: Bathroom Etiquette

The Weavers enter their house bickering when they hear a scream.  It seems that Max has convinced Dick Butkus that he will be the target of bullies and so he is holding his head in the toilet to see how long he can hold his breathe.  Debbie and Marty are absolutely appalled but say that it's an educated guess. Debbie tells them that at school the toughest kid picks on the weakest kid, and Larry Bird responds, "and you wonder why the chinese are dominating you."  Debbie promises that Max will look out for Dick Butkus. The Zabvronians are overwhelmed and point out that on their planet they educate their children by feeding them the brains of their elders because it allows them to focus on nurturing them. Debbie and Matt respond that if they listen to them, everything will be fine. Larry Bird is not impressed and says, "listen to them, pardon me for being skeptical, look at how they use this room with all of their towels and soaps and excrement bowls."  This disgusts poor Dick Butkus because he realises that he has just had his head in the toilet for the last 40 minutes.  This confuses Marty because he cannot imagine what the Zabvronians do with their bathrooms. It turns out that the Zabvronians grow gardens and Larry Bird believes that this makes humans the "crazy ones."

The next morning, Debbie is preparing lunch for all of the kids, including Reggie Jackson and Dick Butkus because she doesn't want them "outing themselves at school." Marty asks if Debbie is sure she wants to get involved because he believes that you shouldn't tell other parents how to raise their kids.  Debbie agrees with this sentiment but says that there is just something about their neighbors - "they're a blank slate."  She adds, "to teach them how to live makes me feel like Oprah."

Next door, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is busy ripping the garden out of the bathroom and she tells Larry Bird that they are living like humans now.  Larry Bird is not impressed because he feels like the Weavers are rubbing it in their face that they know more about being human. They then try to decide if what he said was sarcasm or irony. When they answer the doorbell, the Weavers are there with lunches.  Dick Butkus has his shirt outside of his pants and Reggie Jackson's pants are sagging. Larry Bird immediately demands that Reggie Jackson pull his pants up and that Dick Butkus tuck his shirt in.  Marty quickly intervenes and says that the sloppier the kid the cooler they are. The Weavers then assure Dick that that if the kids are mean to ignore them and that they will find a new target soon.  When Jackie Joyner-Kersee wonders if they should alert the commander of the school, Debbie says that doing so will only put a larger target on Dick's tiny frail back.  Larry Bird says, "we are truly grateful for all of your great advice Weavers, it means a lot to us." He then whispers to Jackie Joyner-Kersee, "now that was sarcasm." Jackie Joyner-Kersee says to Debbie, "Oh there's so many rules. Is there anything more complicated than raising two school aged boys?"  This is when we hear a harsh shrill call from Amber, "Mom, I need you now!"

Debbie walks up the stairs of her home, clearly trying to get her wits about her to deal with Amber.  Debbie opens the door and asks, "honey how are you doing?"  Amber reveals that she has a zit on her chin. Debbie tries to console Amber and suggests that it's not so bad but Amber believes that the zit is volcanic. Debbie accuses her of being a bit dramatic and Amber screams, "Huh dramatic. You wanna see dramatic?  Look at my face. Look at my zit. This is dramatic. Thank you for all of the french fries mom. Learn to cook."  Debbie leaves her house and meets Marty who is waiting out front with Zabvronians, who are holding signs encouraging Reggie Jackson and Dick to learn at school.

When Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Larry Bird, Reggie Jackson and Dick Butkus leave their home, the  Zabvronians strike up a marching band. The music quickly stops when Amber leaves her house with one of the Zabvronians saying, "oh my God, what's on her face?"  Amber walks towards the Zabvronians and asks them if they want a closer look and they quickly say no.  Amber turns to Reggie and tells him that it's time to go and get the bus.  Larry Bird informs Reggie Jackson that they will walk him to school and once there, give him an emotional parental send off.  Debbie of course quickly intervenes and sends Reggie on his way saying, "I don't mean to over step, but I am going to drop a little wisdom."  Marty reminds Debbie that she is not Oprah but she persists, "well they're teenagers, so being seen around your parents is humiliating."  Larry Bird is not impressed and says that on their planet, parents and children are proud to show affection.  Marty says that he has to get to work and Larry Bird responds, "how will we survive without you?"  This excites Jackie Joyner-Kersee because Larry Bird has been sarcastic.

At school, Reggie Jackson is concerned that he looks foolish in his jeans because he has to keep pulling them up.  When they walk into a hallway full of kids, Amber does a quick analysis and quickly breaks down who the most popular dude is. A girl bumps into Amber and says,"nice zit freak show." Reggie Jackson sees this as a good thing and says that she has a cool new nickname.

When Dick Butkus gets out of the car he says, "greetings new friends, I look forward to quenching our thirst for knowledge together." The kids turn and stare for a moment and then walk away. Debbie introduces the kids to the teacher and pauses when she get to Dick Butkus briefly.  She then encourages Larry to get out of the car to say goodbye but Larry is still petulant and believes that without the influence of the Weavers that he would still be in his bathroom, with his plants and his children. The Zabvronians want to perform their good bye ceremony, which will involve gathering random school children and Dick professing his love for his mother in traditional song form.  Max starts to scream mother and Debbie tries to cut them off, as Dick starts singing about how much he loves Jackie Joyner-Kersee and that he wishes he could over throw his father.  Larry Bird proudly professes that one day he shall.  Debbie again pushes for the teacher to get the kids moving, as Jackie Joyner-Kersee asks to profess her love of Dick Butkus.  The teacher gets the kids moving and Debbie says, "now buck up because this is what's about to go down. Your little boy is going to walk into  school and instantly become the newest, most unique boy there. Because of that he's going to get targeted as the weakest.  When it all goes bad and he comes home in tears, you're going to have to pick up the pieces."  Inside the school, as the kids gather around Dick Butkus and Max, Dick turns and punches Max in the stomach saying, "look, I'm not the weakest one here and I am expressing my dominance." One of the kids replies, "hey look, the new kid just got beat up by the red headed girl."

Dark Angel, Season 1, Episode 17: Pollo Loco

Max and Cindy are happily cohabiting still – with Max bringing home a live chicken. Cindy’s not sure what for and is squeamish when Max says “dinner” especially when she kills it there without hesitating or any thought for its “cute little chicken face”, cooks it and eats some – Cindy does squicked well (but she does help herself to a bite when Max is gone). And so begins the theme for the episode – X5s are natural born killers.

Which takes us to Logan who has a lead for Max. His contact in the coroner’s office, Dr. Shankar, has a body that has come in – a murder victim with a tattoo on his back. She sends the picture and Max recognises it as X5493 – Ben, her brother. Max goes to see the body to pay her respects and learns that the man was running for his life, was posed with his left arm broken and pulled behind him – and all his teeth were removed – things she recognises from Mantecore. The draw opens and she sees an Asian man. Ben wasn’t Asian and the tattoo is fresh, still healing – this isn’t Ben. He also has a line around his neck that suggests a necklace was ripped off him. It’s at this point that Lydecker and his men arrive to claim the body.

Logan has questions but Max blocks him as best she can and goes to the woods where the body was found. There she finds a necklace of the Virgin Mary hanging on a tree near the site

We move to Ben, who is alive and has someone imprisoned He gives the man a Virgin Mary necklace and sends them out into the woods with a crosswbow and a gun. After letting him run for some time, ben hunts him down. The man manages to fire the crossbow at Ben – but Ben just catches the arrow and then breaks the man’s neck with one hand.

Logan gets news of this new body with the same tattoo and asks Max about it. He presses Max and she says she’s “not sure” if the bodies are Ben. He keeps pressing and she keeps evading before finally admitting that neither of them are Ben – Ben killed them both. And she’ll handle it, alone. Logan protests, he has a paper trail showing Ben has killed maybe dozens of people in different cities. Max is insistant, she will deal with it.

Throughout this we get some really good flashbacks of Max and the other X5s back in Mantecore as children. Ben was an imaginative child, who made shadow puppets against the walls and told stories to try and make sense of their very limited, very simple world. Good Soldiers went to a Good place. Bad Soldiers were disappeared. If you’re a Bad Soldier you get opened up and fed to the “Nomlies” (we’ve heard of Lydecker disposing of Anomalies – transgenic soldiers who didn’t work out). Walking through Mantecore they go past the cells where the feral X2s were kept, past failed experiments.

When Jack, one of their brothers, has a seizure (like the ones Matt is prone to) and they try to hide it since it will result in Jack being “given to the Nomlies”. One of the janitors gives him a picture of the Virgin Mary and tells him to pray to her. The X5 children are fascinated by it and Ben calls her the Blue Lady who will look after them and make them strong. They develop their own little religion round it, with Ben taking them to “the High Place” (on top of the building) where they make their own shrine to the picture – with offerings of stones and leaves and teeth from the men they have to hunt down in training.

But Jack’s seizures are noticed – and he is taken away and disappeared. Ben climbs to the top of the building and cries and yells, asking why and what they have to do.

In the present, Max goes to a Catholic church and approaches the statue of the Virgin Mary. At the base she finds a cloth bundle full of teeth – Ben’s tribute. After talking to the priest, revealing that she’s both troubled and not inclined to share, Ben shows up. Max asks him why he’s doing what he’s doing – he says she knows why and disappears in a blur of X5 speed.

Michonne and Her Zombies

 The season opener of walking dead brought us our first sustained look at Michonne. For fans of the comics and fans of the series itself, this was a much anticipated moment.  Because this character is a fan favourite the producers of the show made sure to give Michonne her Katana and of course her zombie honour guard.

In the comics we learn that the zombies Michonne who escorted everywhere were ex boyfriend and his best friend.  Watching her walk with the men in chains, without arms and the jaws hacked out is truly macabre; however, it reveals exactly how intelligent Michonne is. In the first season, Rick covered himself and Glenn with zombie intestines and as much body fluid as he could to walk through a crowd of  zombies in order to get to a vehicle to escape. Because they smelled and moved like zombies themselves they went unharassed until it started to rain.  By dragging zombies around with her, Michonne was basically doing the exact same thing.

Being obsessed with The Walking Dead, I pretty much read everything I can about it.  When I came across a recap on Racialicious suggesting that Michonne’s zombie escort was racist, I truly had to pause.

Two Black Men With Missing Limbs in Chains Isn’t At All Racist…Right?

Joe: Wow, we’re going to have to look at those two bizarro Venus de Milos every week?
Jeannie: Took me a second, but I just understood your reference! Haha, gross.
Joe: Eugh. Like … I know who they are (I won’t spoil it for those who don’t know,) and I know that it makes sense to use chain to keep them secure, but…you know? If there was ever a loaded image, it would be the jump cuts of those two jawless, armless black zombies, looking like a file photo from the end of the Civil War. It’s a lot different seeing this in real-person form rather than a comic book drawing. It doesn’t bother me that much, but it takes a lot more pointed forms of racist imagery to do so. However, no matter what is in the comic books, or the fact that a black woman has (owns?) them, I’m finding myself narrowing my eyes a bit. I’m pretty sure there are going to be quite a few offended by it.
Jeannie: I also have been reading the comics and did not think anything of it when they appeared on paper. But last night, I was definitely making my trademark skeptical face.
Liz: Umm…yeah her own zombie slaves? Have we figured out why she has them in the first place? Trophies? Accessories? Gross. Oh, and weird, too.
Carly: I know nothing about the comic books or any outside info, so all I can say is I definitely gave my husband the side-eye about the whole set up. I’ll be interested to see where it goes. And also it is so nice to see Andrea. And to have someone else who would also look at Lori like she was a fool for suggesting she’s behind on her laundry duties.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grimm Sneak Peak!

Revolution Season One, Episode Five: Soul Train

In Nobelsville Indiana, Neville is fighting bare knuckled against his men.  After winning his bout, he tells Danny to step forward because he knows how Danny feels about him.  Danny refuses to fight but after Neville punches him twice and says that he has to toughen up, Danny begins to fight. He beats Danny severely and than has a flashback to his pre blackout days as an insurance instructor. He is sitting with his boss discussing a claim and is fired for approving a claim that a family was not covered for.

In present day, Charlie, Aaron, Nora and Miles are gathered around Maggie's grave mourning.  Miles announces that it is time to go and Nora suggests allowing Charlie and Aaron more time. Miles feels that because he has given them thirty minutes that they have spared all of the time that they can.  Charlie asks for more time and Miles points to the grave and says, "that's just a body in the ground Charlie, but Danny, he's still alive and he's close. If you want him back, you can't do this. You can't have this luxury and hanging around here is not going to help." They pack up leave and walk until they hear a train whistle.

Miles says that if Monroe has a train that they are in trouble.  Neville tells the men to work faster because it is due to leave tomorrow.  Monroe informs Rachel that her son will be there tomorrow and she begs them on whatever relationship they used to have to let Danny go. Rachel promises to tell him everything and he responds, "I know you will, but you know how I know? 'Cause I am going to have your son right here with me." Rachel calls him a son of a bitch and Monroe reminds her that he gave her a lot of opportunities to cooperate.

Charlie walks into the town to get an idea of what is going on. Nora tells Miles that Monroe with a working train means big problems. Charlie reports back that the train leaves tomorrow for Philadelphia and Miles is certain that Danny is being put on the train. Miles says that if they don't find Danny by tomorrow, they will have lost him and he suggests that they do a search without weapons to keep a low profile. He instructs Charlie and Nora to walk away and inform him if they get a scent of Danny because they only have one shot at this.

Danny is in a cell and Neville is telling him how hard he had to work and that he never saw what he made. Danny tells him to shut up because he is sick of Neville's speeches and mind games. Neville tells him to be careful and Danny asks him if it makes him feel tough to beat up an18 year old kid and what it says about him?

We are given another flashback to the night of the blackout.  Neville's neighbours are holding a party and he asks Rob if he can keep his music down at night because it keeps his kid up. Rob doesn't answer him and Neville enters his house.  His son walks up to him and gives him a huge hug. His wife is setting the table and Neville asks if he has time before dinner.  Neville starts working out on the punching bag to get rid of his frustrations and his son Jason comes down the stairs. He asks Jason if he wants to take a swing and informs him to only hit the bag and never people, as the lights go out.

In present day, the train is being loaded up as Nora enters a printing press.  She asks for a biography of Joe Biden and is then escorted into a backroom. The man holds a knife to her and says that he just needs to be sure and so she shows him her tattoo. When Nora asks for his mark, Hutch shows her an American flag.  Apparently, Hutch represents the entirety of Nobleville's underground. Hutch says that the militia wiped out their whole unit including his wife and that he is alone now.  Nora corrects him and says that it's you and me and we're going to blow up that train.

Neville approaches Charlie and asks her what she is doing because he thinks that she is casing the joint.  Charlie smiles and says that she is spying on her boyfriend in the mirror.  In the reflection, we see a young couple and Charlie says that she believes her boyfriend might be cheating on her.  Neville smiles and asks her name and Charlie lies and says that she is Sarah McGill and he introduces himself as Captain Tom Neville.  The two shake hands and she asks if he is there for the train which surprises Neville. Charlie covers by saying that everyone is there for the train.  Before leaving, Neville says that boy is a fool if he steps out on you.  Neville leaves and Charlie quickly follows but as soon as she turns the corner, he attacks her saying, "you think I can't spot a tail, especially as clumsy as you? Now how are you?"  When she does not answer, Neville prepares to slit her throat, but Miles intervenes and tells Charlie to get out of there. Neville says, "I should have guessed. Is this the sister? Quite the family resemblance, she looks like Danny." The two men square off, and Miles again has to tell Charlie to run again.  The struggle does not last long and Miles and Neville are quickly at a stalemate, with each man having a knife to other's throat.

Miles asks, "how's the wife."  Neville says that Julia is good but he hasn't seen her in about a year because he has been busy looking for Miles.  Miles then asks about Danny and Neville says that Danny is a spirited young man.  Miles then asks to trade, Danny for one of his guys, which shocks Neville.  Miles says they have the one who has been following them with the short hair and the too tight shirt.  Neville says that Miles can keep him and so Miles reminds him that he will kill him.  This has me wondering if the person they captured is Neville's son, though he doesn't exactly look bi-racial. Neville says that Miles can do what he has to do because he needs Danny more than Miles. Neville then asks why Miles left and he replies, "you wouldn't understand." The conversation comes to an end when the militia men arrive.

Aaron is waiting for the return of Miles, Nora and Charlie.  He accidentally drops Maggie's cellphone and the necklace.  Jason grabs it immediately and comments about how ugly it is and Aaron lies and says that it belonged to his wife. When Aaron asks for it back, Jason hands it over slowly.  When Aaron hears a noise, he grabs his crossbow but it turns out to just be Nora and Hutch. Nora asks Aaron to warn Miles that she is going to put a bomb on the train because it is more important than Danny.  When Aaron asks what happens if Danny is on the train, Nora replies that Miles will find him first.

Charlie is walking and Miles catches up with her to chastise her for getting close to Neville. Charlie says that Neville bumped into her but Miles is not impressed because she followed him and has no idea how dangerous Neville is.  Charlie admits to screwing up (a first by the way) and says that because Neville has Danny she had to follow. Miles says, "you got emotional and you panicked and you blew it. Surprise is the only thing we had going and you pissed it away. It was already hard, you just made it impossible. So if we don't get Danny back, you got nobody to blame but yourself."  Charlie wants to know why Miles is being mean and says that he never used to be like this.  When Miles asks Charlie how she knows, Maggie tells him that she remembers him from when she was four. "What happened to that guy? Charlie asks. Really, she just screwed up terribly and is worried that Miles isn't being fluffy enough. Oh for heaven's sakes, this is yet another perfect example of how annoying and ridiculous Charlie is.

Neville is moving Danny to a new location and Danny asks what happened because to him Neville looks nervous. We get another flashback and this time it's six weeks after the blackout and Neville is in bed with his wife. Julia tells Neville that she believes they should leave the city but he is concerned with the looting and says that people are being murdered for a bag of chips. Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of breaking glass downstairs. Neville encourages Julia to stay in bed and he finds his neighbour Rob looting his food. Rob tells Neville to let it go and Jason comes downstairs. Neville sends his son upstairs and attacks Rob with a crowbar, but Rob quickly gets the upper hand.  The situation reverses and Neville starts beating Rob with his bare fists, even after his wife calls out for him to stop.  When he stands he has a look of determination on his face. I suppose we are meant to see this as the moment that Captain Tom Neville was born.

Review: the Dead of Winter by Lee Collins

 This book is a paranormal western. Cora and her husband Ben are monster hunters. They travel the frontier of the Old West hunting down monsters that plague the more isolated settlements – from hellhounds to vampires, they’re quick to respond with a silver bullet to put it down.

Which seems simple enough when they move into town. There’s an ornery marshal, but Cora’s dealt with those before even if they do strike more sparks than usual. And there’s a beastie that’s eating people, time to tackle it the old fashioned way, head on with a bullet to the brain.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work and it takes a bit more digging to take down this rather more unusual monster with the attached worry that one day, maybe, they will tackle a monster they don’t truly know how to fight.

And this creature is just the beginning of their problems, because there’s something far older and far more dangerous lurking in the mines around the town. And far craftier than anything they’ve faced before – or anything that Cora thinks she’s faced. As they test their mettle and knowledge against the ancient, Cora must also confront memories of her past that she has sealed for 10 years.

I really liked the plot of this story, especially how the book was almost written in two halves. On the first we got to see Cora’s standard way of living and working. Her coming into town, tracking down the monsters and putting a bullet through their brain. And if that didn’t work, her back up plans, her sources of information, the resources she can call upon. By dedicating the first half of the book to a relatively mundane moment in Cora’s hunting career (albeit with a twist of it being an unusual monster) we get to see so much more of her character and background than any amount of exposition could show. Rather than launching into the Nosferatu storyline and then trying to fill in the past, this initial battle established everything we needed to know about Cora, the way she works and the way she interacts with the local authorities. It was an extended introduction and it really worked.

And I like the characters, especially Cora. She’s not perfect by any stretch – she’s rough round the edges, she’s road, she drinks too much, she’s hard as nails and as pleasant as sandpaper. She swaggers into town, she’s insulting, arrogant, and virtually dares people to take her on and challenge her. She insists people work her way and if they don’t, she’ll move on – it’s not her hide being eaten by vampires. She is the epitome of a character who will do things her way, live life her way, no matter how objectionable or difficult that way can be. I like her, I want to hear more of her story, I want to follow more of her adventures.

Alphas Season Two, Episode 12: Need to Know

Bill is walking down the street with his wife Genie and the alpha baby. Bill says that when it is time for them to have their own children, that Genie will be a great mother.  Suddenly, an explosion goes off and the baby starts to scream. 

At the office John announces that one person died and three were injured in the explosion. This attack marks the 6th attack on the power grid this week. Rachel says that the DOD knows that Stanton is planning something big and it will occur in the next few days.  Rosen realises that two days from now is Oct 22 and this coincides with the day that Parish discovered that he was an Alpha.  Rachel says that terrorists love anniversaries. Bill believes that the best lead they have to date is the electronic shipment that they almost intercepted. Apparently, Rachel is on the hunt for Skylar Adams to help make sense of the role that these devices play; however, Skylar is very difficult to locate. Rosen believes that the best way to get into Parish's head is with Mitchel. He believes that there maybe a way to dig deeper and suggests moving Mitchel from building 7 to a New York psychiatric facility. Kat offers to go because Mitchel knows her but Rosen says no, until Bill and John support her suggestion.

Parish is surrounded by Alphas and he asks if they have gotten what they need from Skylar Adams yet.  There s a huge factory with beds and Parish says that people will be scared of the transition and will need a place to go.  Apparently, he sees this center as Dani's legacy.

Bill is in his office calming Genie on the phone and Rosen enters to say that he has an alternate approach.  Before Rosen can get into it, Bill gets a phone call from D.C., but Rosen does not want to participate because he says it's strictly unofficial. Bill is not impressed because of the scale of Parish's operation, he believes that Clay needs everyone to be working in concert.  He says, "either grab an oar or get off the boat. We don't have time to do anything cute." Kat interrupts the conversation and Rosen agrees to Bill's suggestion, then goes straight to Hicks, who asks what happens if Bill gets in their way.

That night, Kat is working the transfer of Mitchel with John. The convoy is attacked and an explosive device is thrown at the front vehicle by Cornell Scipio.   John gets out of the car and leads a squad into a garage in the hope of capturing Scipio. Kat remains in the vehicle as another alpha approaches and pulls the door off the vehicle. Kat gets out to intercept and her progress is blocked by another incendiary device thrown by Scipio. When John gets to the roof, he discovers that Scipio is long gone and Kat reports that she lost Mitchel as well.

At Parish's lab, they are dealing with their wounds and an alpha tells Parish that not only do the feds not have Scipio, they have no idea where he is. Parish is nonplussed and says that they will deal with this in due time. He dismisses everyone after the doctor removes the chip inserted in Mitchell. Parish asks him how he is feeling and Mitchel says that his neck hurts and that it is good to see him again.  Parish then asks for permission to touch Mitchell and for some reason, Mitchel's alpha abilities do not work.  Parish is upset and believes that Rosen erased his memories from Mitchel's mind.  Mitchel admits that Rosen gave him an IV and a few injections and now the extra stuff is just gone. Mitchel says that for the first time in years, he feels like himself.

Rosen pulls up to a building and inside Nina tells him that Parish took the bait.  Nina says that she feels bad for Kat but Rosen points out that she will forget everything in two weeks. Apparently, they did indeed capture Scipio and Hicks wakes  him with a smack. Rosen asks Scipio if he wants to be responsible for the death of millions. Scipio asks for a lawyer and when he gets no response, he asks if he is without civil rights because he isn't human.  Rosen assures Scipio that he is very much human and that he just chooses to deny the fact.  Scipio says that the way he is tied up means that he could burn himself if he accidentally triggered his ability.  Rosen replies, "I know that it has bothered you for a very longtime how closely aligned your emotional state is with your ability and how you've always wanted to transcend it, well you can right now." Scipio is not impressed with Rosen's attempt to "head shrink" him into getting in touch with his humanity and asks where he was when he set his parents house on fire. Scipio suggests that Rosen is 20 years too late.  Nina steps forward and pushes Scipio to get information about the shipment but Scipio says that the shipment is gone and Parish didn't give him any details because it's above his pay grade. Scipio is then asked if there were other shipments and he reveals that there were 100's and they have been coming in for months. Nina asks where Parish is right now and Scipio who is doing his best to resist says, "wouldn't you like to know." Nina pushes harder and asks where Parish is right now and Scipio says, "bite me." Rosen realises that Scipio is blocked like the senator was. Rosen then commands Rachel to prepare a syringe of drugs and she injects it into Scipio's IV.

Back at the office, Bill is comforting Kat for losing Mitchel and Jeff 'Dumpy' Kowalka. Bill tells her that they have more important things to worry about. Kat reminds Bill that Rosen said that Mitchel was the key to everything and says that she is going to re-check the scene.  Bill suggests that she call Rachel and Kat says that she thought about that but cannot get through.  Bill then suggests Nina because she always knows where Rachel is but Kat responds that she is not answering her phone. Kat admits that she hasn't seen either of them since yesterday and wonders whether or not she should be worried.  Bill steps outside of his office and calls for Hicks, but the only person who answers is Gary. Bill is surprised to see Gary, and Gary says that he was kicked out by the head nurse who says that Gary was being disruptive.  Gary says that he was scanning for Skylar and he pinged her chip to let her know that he wants to communicate.  Skylar is working on something when she hears a buzzing sound. Vince appears at the door to ask how Skylar is doing. She isn't finished working on the project and Vince reminds her that she promised him that it would be done. He offers to look after Zoe, so that she can concentrate on her work.

Parish is speaking to Vince about the device and becomes physically aggressive when he learns that Skylar has not finished it yet. Vince says that something is distracting Skylar but he is trying to keep her focused. Parish tells Vince that he intends to hold him accountable for his promise to get the device from Skylar.

Nina is trying again to push Scipio and is getting nowhere. Rachel tells her to focus and calm down because her pulse is racing. Nina says that she just needs to take a break and walks away.  Rachel tells Hicks that Nina needs a break. Rosen approaches Scipio and tells him that he is sweating profusely and should not get to excited. Rachel suggests that they call in the C.I.A because they do this for a living but Hicks is against the idea, saying that there must be a leak because Mitchel's transport was intercepted and Parish has sources everywhere. Rosen is adamant that this remain with them and says that they are the experts and are not calling anyone in. Rosen asks for the preparation of yet another injection and this shocks Rachel. Rachel tells Hicks that this new drug is very dangerous and that she is worried that they are not getting anywhere because Scipio could be a dead end. Hicks responds, "look, the only one wasting time is you. Get what Rosen wants and get it in there."  This is the first time that Rachel has questioned Rosen's actions and if you ask me, it's long over due.  I do believe however that someone should be talking about the illegality of what is happening.  Scipio was correct to ask about his rights. Rachel pepares the injection and says that it won't lower Scipio's resistance and that it is a stimulant. Nina admits that it's for her.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Haven Sneak peak!

Retribution by Jeanne C. Stein Book Five of the Anna Strong Series

Things have settled into a level of calm for Anna.  Her family is living in France on a winery they believe that they have inherited. Her partner David is on vacation and has finally separated from Gloria, the woman she hates and her vampire boyfriend is a model. As much as Anna misses her family she is relaxed and rebuilding a life for herself. 

Anna gets a call from Culebra the shapshifter and is told to stay away from Beso de la Muerte because Sandra is going to be there and she has not gotten over the fact that Anna killed her lover.  True to form, Anna goes straight there.  Anna is nothing but predictable and this is why Culebra told her to stay away, in order to ensure that she would meet Williams there.  Though Williams is no longer the police chief he still has connections and he wants Anna to investigate the death of young vampires.  He is worried that these deaths will bring attention the community does not need. Anna however is not drawn into the investigation until Culebra ends up in a psychic coma cased by an old foe - Belinda Burke.  In the process of tying to help him Fray gets drawn in and his life is also in danger.  With the clock ticking down, Anna has to find a way to stop Burke for good.

As with all of the other books in this series, there is little GLBT inclusion. Anna does end up having sex with a woman in a blood exchange but it is something she is embarrassed and ashamed of. It reads more like the magic of the exchange made her do it.  It is something that is certainly sexually one sided and done simply as payment for human blood.  Sandra, the lesbian werewolf we met in Legacy, is briefly in the novel, but is of course now grieving since her lover was killed in the last book.  Heaven forbid there be sex between people of the same gender without shame and a functioning same sex couple where neither partner dies.

The only two characters of colour are Ortiz and Culebra who spends most of the book in a coma.  Ortiz who has done little but play the role of servant for Williams ends up dead and this brings his hatred of Anna to a new level because despite what she says, Williams believes that Anna could have saved him if she only believed that she is the chosen one. For the first time ever, we actually learn a little bit about Ortiz and this rounds out his character a little bit but it pales in comparison to how much we have learned about the other characters.  His death is little more than a plot device to elevate the tension between Williams and Anna and in this way, he becomes the ultimate servant. To seal the deal we end up with Culebra pledging to give Anna anything she wants because she saved his life.  What bound them before this was an interesting friendship and what remains is now nothing more than a master/slave relationship.