Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Vampire Diaries Season Four Episode Five: The Killer

This episode begins where episode four left off. Connor tells Professor Shane that he spent the last two days tied up by Klaus. Professor Shane admits that Klaus can be terrible and Connor reminds him that Klaus is a vampire/werewolf hybrid and asks if he knows how hard it is to kill them.Connor says that he could have used some help and information but Professor Shane reminds him that the deal was that Connor would get information about the mark after he killed more vampires.
Professor Shane says that this is why he sent him to Mystic Falls and that there is a witch mixed up  in all of this that he wants kept out of harms way because she is part of her plans.  Connor replies that if anybody gets in his way they are dead. Professor Shane agrees reluctantly and says that he will occupy Bonnie himself. Professor Shane instructs Connor to do what he does because the less he knows about it the better. Connor returns to the Mystic Grill where Jeremy works. He sneaks up on Jeremy and tells him that they need to talk about vampires.

Elena is writing a diary entry and starts to by saying that she hasn't wanted to write this stuff down but does not want to say it out loud either.  Elena admits that she is now a vampire and hates it.  At the same time (cause what we need is dueling angst) Stefan is writing a diary entry about how Elena has been spiraling since her transition and how at times he barely recognises her.  Elena says she feels hopeless, depressed and angry and Stefan writes about his hope of giving her back her life.  Elena writes that she thinks of ending it but needs to find a way to get through this for Jeremy.  

Stefans journal entry is interrupted by a text from Klaus which reads, "we have a problem."  Klaus is calling from a dig site in Italy and talking to Stefan who is now standing over the chains which used to bind Connor. Stefan says that Connor could be anywhere and Klaus says that he has to find Connor and to be wary, because while he is Italy, Stefan will have no access to his blood, which is an antidote to werewolf bites. Klaus says that Connor is no good to them dead and when Stefan reminds him that Damon is looking for Connor, Klaus is adamant that Damon should be kept away because he cannot be trusted. Klaus believes that Damon likes Elena better as a vampire. Stefan counters saying that he trusts Damon more than he trusts Klaus. Klaus replies that he trusts no one and that is why his sister is lying daggered in a box.  Klaus reminds Stefan that the more they find out about the cure, the more they will be able to go after it. Klaus suggests that nations have gone to war for less. Klaus says that if  Stefan tells one person that he will throw the sword into the Mediterranean.

Matt is opening the bar and calls Jeremy to find out where he is.  April walks in and apologetically asks Matt if he has seen Rebekah.  When Matt asks why she thinks he would know where Rebekah is, April admits that she thought that Matt and Rebekah were a couple.  From a corner of the room, hidden from view, Connor has a knife to Jeremy's throat. Matt says that he and Rebekah are not a couple. When April says that Rebekah promised to help her investigate the fire that killed her father, Connor steps into view, still with the knife to Jeremy's throat and tells April that this is the least of her problems.

Damon is in Elena's bedroom, and Elena is not impressed to see him there. Damon tells her that Stefan is not answering his phone and is not there, which might be a big deal because they have a killer vampire hunter on the loose. Elena admits that she has not spoken to Stefan yet for the day. Damon asks for Elena's phone to see if Stefan is dodging him.  When she asks why Stefan would be evading his brother, Damon says that Elena probably told him about what happened on campus. When Elena makes a face, Damon realises that she didn't tell Stefan. Elena says that what happened was a mistake and that Stefan has enough to deal with, trying to get her through this vampire stuff.  Damon tells her that she is in a shame spiral but Elena denies it. When Damon calls Stefan from Elena's phone, the call goes straight to voicemail.  Damon says that Stefan is either dodging the both of them, or he is in trouble.

Back at the bar, Connor orders everyone to sit down. Connor demands Jeremy's cell phone but Jeremy begs him to let April go.  Connor says that both April and her father Pastor Young have everything to do with what is going on.  Connor tells April that the two of them have history. When he notices that Jeremy is wearing a vervain bracelet, Connor tells him he needs vervain that no one can just take off him because he would have been able to remember their conversation at Klaus' yesterday. Jeremy gets upset and asks if someone compelled him.  Matt points out that if Connor knows so much, he should realise that they're friends are going to come for them.  This however is exactly what Connor wants because each vampire that comes for them, is another vampire for him to kill. Connor asks who he should text first?

Stefan, Elena and Damon are talking about what is going on.  Damon suggests walking in there and ripping out Connor's heart and of course, Stefan cannot go along with this plan.  Tyler enters and says that he called in the hybrids and Caroline enters shortly thereafter to say that her mother has squad cars surrounding the bar now. Damon says that there are no cops and no witnesses, so they should all go in.  Tyler says that Connor shot him nine times and if they are going in, then he is coming as well.  Elena adds that because Connor has Jeremy, she is going as well.  Stefan tries to calm everyone down and says that no one is going anywhere until he figures out what they are walking into.  Damon is not impressed by this and asks how come he is the boss.  Stefan reminds everyone that Connor is known to set traps and that they would be silly to walk into one, especially if he has werewolf venom. Damon says that if Stefan wants to do reconn, he has one hour and asks where Bonnie is.  Caroline says that Bonnie cannot do magic but Damon insists that Bonnie be called. Because Bonnie never has anything better to do than serve the White people of Mystic Falls on demand.

Bonnie is with Professor Shane and she is thumbing through a book he wrote. When she threatens to go online to discover his other books, Professor Shane reminds Bonnie that she promised no internet or phones during witch therapy. When Bonnie asks if Professor Shane really believes that she will do magic again, he assures her that this is possible and tells her to drink a tea he picked up while back packing with Aborigines in Australia. Professor Shane tells Bonnie that what he has in mind might come off as a little unorthodox and then asks her about hypnosis.  When Bonnie expressed doubt, Professor Shane points out the ridiculousness of practicing magic and not believing in hypnotism.  He tells Bonnie that she is afraid to practice magic because the witch spirits told her that it is wrong, that they threatened her Grams and made her feel guilty and that she just has to confront the fear and guilt.  Bonnie says that it won't work because witches are naturally immune to any sort of manipulation.

Stefan calls Klaus to tell him the situation and suggests that Klaus get his hybrids on board with his plan.  From the window, Elena watches Stefan and wonders who he is talking to.  Damon replies that he hopes it's Bonnie. Damon pulls out schematics of tunnels under the bar which are from the Mystic Falls underground railroad. Elena gets a call from Stefan, who says that he could only make out three voices and that Matt and April are in there. Elena says that they have to get them out of there, but Stefan says that he just needs a little more time. Elena says she is going in through the tunnel but Damon stops her and says that Connor does not know that she is a vampire and they should keep it that way.  Elena plans to offer herself in exchange but Damon says that the best cases scenario is her being a hostage and the worst case scenario is that Connor figures out what she is and kills her on the spot. Elena pulls away and demands that she stop being treated like she cannot handle herself because Alaric trained her and she has been practicing with Stefan. Damon replies,"So what? Now you're going to take on a professional killer?" When Elena continues to walk away, Damon grabs a weapon from the bed and says, "bang you're dead." (Oh if only.) Elena charges forward grabs the weapon and tosses Damon on his back saying, "a head shot is no good, it has to be the heart, so now you're dead." Damon moves the weapon aside saying, "For someone who doesn't want to be like me, you sure are good at it."  Elena tells Damon that Jeremy is the only thing holding her together right now. That's an interesting statement because she has barely spent two seconds talking to Jeremy because she has been caught up in her live triangle with Stefan and Damon.

In the bar, April says that Connor is clearly delusional and Jeremy adds that Connor is a nut and that April shouldn't let him get in her head.  April asks Jeremy if Connor told him why he is doing this and Jeremy replies, "maybe, maybe I just can't remember." Matt tries to encourage Jeremy to let it go but Jeremy gets up and walks over to Connor. Jeremy asks about the conversation they had yesterday and Connor tells him that they will get into and asks him to look at his handiwork.  Apparently, Connor has rigged an explosion, which will kill vampires. Jeremy asks what Connor gets out of all of this and Connor answers, that he has realised that the mark has the answer to why he is the way he is because the more he kills, the more it grows.  Once the mark is complete, Connor says he will know his story and all of this will have meant something.  Connor turns to April and Matt and instructs them to get in the back but warns them that he has all of the other exists rigged.

Elena is looking out her window and Damon says that Stefan is on his way and that everything will be over soon.  Elena reminds Damon that they have already been through this with Jeremy and this is why they sent him to Denver in the first place.  Damon says that they will just compel him to forget and send him down to the Bahamas.  Stefan walks in and asks if they found a map of the tunnels.  When Damon says yes, Stefan says that they have to wait because Klaus is sending one of his men to take the front and that he and Damon can take the tunnel. Damon is shocked by this and asks why they are teaming up with Klaus.  Stefan says that Connor has werewolf venom and that they need someone to draw his fire and a hybrid will be immune to this. Damon is not convinced and again asks why Klaus is involved and demands the truth. Stefan says that this is the truth and that this is the best way to deal with the situation.  Damon is convinced that Stefan is being compelled and so he says, "screw your plan, I'll just take out Connor myself." When Damon turns to leave, Stefan stabs him. Elena asks why Stefan is doing this and Stefan replies, "Damon had the right idea with the tunnels but I am not going to go in there, if I can't count on him to do it my way."  Elena is still shocked that Stefan vervained Damon but Stefan points out that Damon does not care about Matt or April. Elena insists on going with him, but Stefan asks what happens if Connor attacks and Elena kills him defending herself?  Stefan says that the guilt will wreck Elena and promises her that this is the most important thing that he has ever asked her to do.  They kiss and Stefan uses his vampire speed to disappear.

Downstairs, Tyler is arguing with the hybrid that Klaus sent. When he leaves the room, Caroline notices Hayley.  When Hayley says that she has heard a ton about Caroline and has been staying there for a few days, Caroline is shocked. Caroline says that she knows all of Tyler's friends and has not heard about her and demands that Hayley cut the crap. Hayley replies, "Yeah, I don't do teen drama, take it up with Ty," before walking away.  That has got to be one of the best lines on The Vampire Diaries in quite sometime. Finally they are acknowledging the teen angst but of course acknowledgement doesn't mean that they have any plans on stopping.

Fringe, Season Five, Episode Five: An Origin Story

Editors Note:  Last week we missed our recap and review of Fringe so this post will catch us up. Tomorrow episode six will appear at its regularly scheduled time. Thank you for your patience. 

The Fringe crew are still very much grieving for Henrietta and though she was Olivia and Peter's daughter, I hope this does not go on for long because I never connected with Henrietta and certainly won't miss her now. Peter is going through her things, when he finds a compartment in her wall, which Henrietta used to stash weapons and explosives. Olivia wakes and tells Peter that she keeps waking up believing that she only dreamed about Etta's death. Olivia asks why they got Etta back, just to lose her again and then she and Peter embrace. Now alone in the bathroom, Olivia again looks at picture of Etta with her adopted family and packs up a few mementos. 

In Manhattan, on a clear day, suddenly the wind picks up and lightening starts to strike the ground. The humans quickly move out of the way, as observers and loyalists pull up and take a package out of a hummer.  A device is taken out of the package and placed in the middle of the road.  When the device is activated, the observer steps away and some sort of hole forms.  Three shipping crates come through the hole and then the hole disappears, leaving a huge Black circle on the ground.  An observer checks the crate and pronounces the integrity stable and orders everyone to prepare for transport. 

Back at Etta's apartment, Peter and Olivia have packed up what they want to take from her apartment. Walter asks to keep Etta's perfume because his sense of smell helps him to remember.  Peter gets a call from Astrid, who says that she has run into a fire hazard, so there's no tape yet.  She turns the camera to show a propane tank for Walter's hibachi and a gallon of ethanol.  Walter takes the phone and asks "Abner, why did you leave the propane tank there in the first place."  I am sick and tired of this treatment of Astrid.  Abner is a man's name for crying out loud. For the entirety of this show, Astrid has been little more than a servant. Astrid says that someone wanted to cook bratwurst. Walter is upset and says that this rate they won't get another tape until Wednesday.  A phone inside the box of Etta's things goes off and it's Anil. Anil tells Olivia that it's important that they meet. 

The Fringe team walk into the street at the site of the transport and Anil gets out of a black van.  Anil tells them that he is sorry for their loss and how important Etta was for the movement. Walter asks about the black circles and Anil says he believes it's the results of the baldies opening up a shipping lane from the future. Walter calls it a worm hole.  Olivia asks what the observers are shipping in and Anil answers components for the air degradation system that they are building in central park.  Apparently, similar burn marks were reported in France and Egypt, where the other air degradation systems have been built.  Anil says that if they finish the machine, air quality will be reduced on all continents.  Peter says that they already know that this will reduce the human lifespan to 45 years because Etta told them.  Anil says that this is the beginning of many more shipments and asks if they know anything about their language.  Anil hands Olivia a book and says it came as a package deal.  Anil calls Leland who in turns shows the Fringe time that the resistance has captured an observer.  To date, they have not been able to get any information from him. Anil says that the observer they found yesterday had a cube. Peter wants access to the cube because he wants to destroy the entire corridor, rather than one shipment. Walter says that they don't know what they are dealing with, but Peter says that he has made up his mind. Peter scans the area and Anil says, "before you go on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." Peter replies that he is not worried about being destroyed and that it's the observers who should be worried.

Peter starts to assemble the cube but when he puts to pieces together he gets an electric shock. Astrid is examining the book she was given and says that if it really is a shipping manifest that she is expecting dates and times, but cannot differentiate which of the symbols are letters or numbers. Astrid says that the decryption program has been running for over an hour. When Olivia does not answer, Astrid says that she can do this by herself and understands if Olivia is feeling overwhelmed. Olivia declines, in the belief that it is best if she just focuses. Astrid gets an epiphany and realises that she has been thinking about it all wrong and that they have to run multiple decryption programs simultaneously.

The Vampire Diaries Season Four, Episode Four: The Five

Editors note: Last week we missed an episode of The Vampire Diaries.  This is why episode four is being published today.  A review and recap of episode five will appear in a few hours to get us back on track. Thanks for your patience. 

This episode begins with a flashback to 1110 A.D., with a group of men surrounded by a witch. Of course, the witch is Black because that's the only role for us on this show.  Interestingly enough, the men all have hair free chests cause manscaping was just such a huge priority back then.

In the present day, Damon brings in a box with items he got from Connor's RV.  He claims to be searching for a supernatural handbook. Damon is suspicious of Connor because of the timing of his arrival, having a tattoo that only Jeremy can see and the fact that Klaus mentioned that Connor is one of The Five. Stephen asks what The Five are and Damon says he's hoping that this is what is in the first chapter of the handbook.  Their conversation pauses when Damon gets a cryptic call from Liz Forbes. Stefan is naturally curious but Damon says that the call was private and they are still fighting.  Stefan says that he is still not pleased about Elena feeding from Damon but they are not in a fight.  Damon tells Stefan that they didn't find any remains in the explosion site at the hospital. Damon says that he needs Stefan to look into this, because he is taking Elena to a college so that she can learn to "snatch, eat and erase." When Stefan begins to say something, Damon reminds Stefan that they are not fighting.

Elena justifies her decision to go on this trip to Stefan by saying that Damon had to rip her off Matt because she almost killed him. Elena believes that she can only drink from the vein and that it might be part of the doppelganger curse. Can we please just stop driving home the point that Elena is special, we git it.  Stefan asks about Caroline because she is a genius at self control, but Elena quickly nixes this idea because she believes that Caroline will not understand her.  Elena does assure Stefan that she wishes it could be him and then says that she and Damon are crashing Bonnie's trip to Whitmore college to see the professor who took over her grandmothers classes.  Stefan asks her to be careful and not to get caught up in the blood and the feed.

Rebekah shows up at Matt's work to give him a new truck, which she has not only paid for but insured.  Matt is not in the least bit receptive and instructs her to give it to Elena because she is the one that Rebekah killed.  From his seat, Klaus tells Rebekah that she is trying to hard.  Rebekah asks him why he is still there and Klaus says that he couldn't leave because his sister is so desperate for love and affection and is bribing the help. Rebekah just wants to cut to the chase and asks Klaus what he wants.  Klaus says that he has stumbled across something he believes will be of interest to her. This is when Klaus tells Rebekah that the brotherhood of The Five still exists.  Rebekah does not take the bait and declares that she does not care about The Five, or him.

On campus, which is once again largely White people, Damon, Elena and Bonnie arrive.  Elena is upset because she believes that college is not in the plans anymore. Oh poor Elena she get to live forever in an eternally youthful body. Why is life so damn hard? They sit through a lecture by Professor Shane, who says that witches are the archetype of the supernatural and are responsible for everything that goes bump in the night. Elena asks Damon if she might be a ripper but Damon tells her to pick someone and they can find out.  They scope out the class and Damon picks out a girl he believes is self absorbed.

Klaus has Connor trussed up and Stefan shows up to ask what information that Klaus has received so far. Stefan refuses to share information in front of Connor because he cannot be compelled. The two adjourn two a separate room and Stefan says that he should have figured out that Klaus was up to something when he cured Elena from the werewolf poison without asking for anything in return.  Stefan wants to know what is going on and says that he has nothing else to do today except get answers.  Klaus concedes because he believes that Stefan might be useful in getting Rebekah to cooperate.  It turns out that The Five were a group of highly successful vampire hunters that the originals crossed paths with in the 12th century Italy.

We get a flashback to a hunter a revealing a vampire to the sun who quickly dies.  I don't know about you but it was great to see Elijah again.  Elijah says that they haven't been discreet in their feeding but Klaus says that what they really need to do is deal with Rebekah because she is clearly involved with one of the hunters.  In present day, Klaus promises to share all of the information he learns, if Stefan will get Rebekah to talk to him because she is being stubborn. When Stefan asks what's in it for him, Klaus tells him Connor holds the answer to all of his prayers.

Back at the bar, April is having a seat and tells Matt that she is waiting for her friend.  When Rebekah arrives, he is shocked that she has a friend.  Matt says that he is keeping the truck and walks off.  I guess self interest can kick in after all. When April stares at Matt walking away, Rebekah tells her that Matt is off limits because she has dibs. I am so sick and tired of the desperate, lonely Rebekah.  This woman has lived for a thousand years and still has no confidence when it comes to men. The conversation between April and Rebekah is cut short, when Stefan sits down and glamours April into forgetting the conversation he is about to have with Rebekah.  Stefan tells Rebekah that Klaus wants to make peace with her, but once again Rebekah is not receptive and points out that if you try to make peace with Klaus that he will just betray you. Stefan tells her to forget Klaus and to deal with him because though he is unwilling to forgive Rebekah for what she did to his precious Elena, he is willing to give her a clean slate. Rebekah asks why he would do this and Stefan replies, "because you're obviously not leaving town anytime soon, and I am just looking for a way we can all get along."  When Rebekah suggests that she doesn't care what he or anyone else thinks, Stefan promises that he will talk to Matt about giving her a clean slate. At this point, I find both Rebekah and Matt to be the two most useless characters on this show and wish that they would both be dumped unceremoniously into the plot box.

Damon and Elena are stalking a young woman.  Elena approaches her and asks about the reading from one of her classes.  Elena grabs her arm and glamors her saying that it's not going to hurt and asks her not to scream.  When Elena sees a picture of the co-ed's little sister, she send her away. Damon reminds Elena that she didn't know her and that everybody belongs to someone. Elena says that she cares because she is still her. Bonnie approaches them and says that the professor found some stuff belonging to her grandmother and hands over a flyer for a frat party.

Stefan and Rebekah arrive at Klaus' and Rebekah believes the whole thing is a sham because she cannot see Connor's tattoos. Klaus says that the tats are now invisible and that this new group is not like the last. The three sit down to dinner and Klaus condescendingly tells Rebekah to eat her vegetables.  Why oh why do we have vampires eating?  It's ridiculous and makes it seem like there is no downside to being a vampire, if they still engage in all of the mundane actions that humans do.  It makes Elena's angst even more ridiculous. Rebekah and Klaus immediately start to bicker and I have to say that Rebekah is right about Klaus' abuse of her person.  Stefan says that there are a million other places that he would rather be and asks about Rebekah's hunter.

We get another flashback to Alexander (the hunter) sitting down to a meal with the originals. The originals felt safe around him because they were all wearing their daylight rings.  Alexander says that they are only five men and were bound by the dying breathe of a witch to create the destruction of vampires. Did you catch that? Once again a Black witch died so that White people could play hero. When Klaus asks how he plans to achieve this, Alexander says that they have the ultimate weapon, which no vampire can survive.  In present day, Klaus says that in order to find the weapon they need to solve the puzzle which has disappeared - the tattoo. Klaus says that the hunter told him that Jeremy is the only one who could see it and has Jeremy brought into the room.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Kasadya: Hellhound Awakened by Karen Swart

This book is one of the more original concepts I’ve come across in a long time. Demons in hell who have escaped their bondage in all their myriad forms and seek to corrupt and control humanity, feeding on their sin. The Fallen, angels that fell but sought forgiveness being tasked with defeating these demons and protecting humanity. And these Fallen come in so many forms – different kinds of fae, vampires, werewolves, even things like harpies and griffins. There’s immense diversity there. And then the hellhounds, created expressly to bring down the demons and level the playing field. It’s an amazingly rich world

Kas, as a young hellhound is an interesting character. I won’t say she’s unique in anyway, but she has some conflicts, not least of which is her frustration that she and hers must sacrifice themselves for humanity that seems driven to pursue self-destruction – and the unfairness of her being punished for what her ancestors did.

The story itself follows an incredibly interesting path with many different twists and turns, each unveiling and entirely new chapter, a new section of the world, and following Kasadya’s path from neophyte to formidable warrior in a world that is rapidly changing.

Unfortunately, despite all this good potential, the book fell very flat for me for me.

Firstly, this felt like several books rolled into one, like a series was compressed. We begin with a typical YA school setting; Kas has gone to supernatural school, she doesn’t like it, she’s bitter about her parents, there are mean girls, her teacher is mean but she’s oh-so-special-and-good.

Then we move and there’s a new threat (demons in… clubs?) and they need to train for that… but then we move again and she’s now growing and changing as a gladiator… then we move again and she’s training and fighting with a human team… then we move again.

Too many stories and none of them were developed as much as they could have been. They felt shallow and not properly built upon, almost like the author starts writing a story then suddenly switches to a different one, then suddenly she gets bored of that and moves to another one entirely.  They’d have been better served stretched out over 3 books to have greater impact, development and world building.

The second major problem is the main character’s voice. She starts as a whiny teenager, stropping and tantrumming around, drowning in angst and OMG IT’S NOT FAIR that makes her intensely unlikeable. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is, in general, pretty stilted and not very natural. And then after 2 years in the gladiator pits… she’s the same person! She’s more dangerous and lethal but her voice is the same and nothing ruins taking a level in badass like a character suddenly declaring “OMG!” Not “Oh My God”, literally “OMG”. Even Buffy would have a hard job passing that off as cool and dangerous snark. The only real growth we get out of her is a level of cockiness and a need to stare everyone down.

The story just ends up filled with loose ends and random inserts that never develop into anything because the story keeps changing. She makes friends at school, who then disappear. We have some obligatory Mean Girls, because every school must have Mean Girls who hate the protagonist on sight, but only one remains relevant and her animosity is still baseless. We have a love interest – who ceases to become relevant almost as soon as he’s introduced, and then a love triangle that does likewise and then the brother of one of the love triangle members which, again, doesn’t maintain relevance. The story changes so quickly and so shallowly that I can’t follow or becoming invested in any of these storylines in any major way.

American Horror Story, Season 2, Episode 4: I am Anne Frank: Part 1

Anne Frank? Really? You’re going there American Horror Story?

There’s a new patient in Briarcliff – she has no identification and wouldn’t talk to the police who found her so they dropped her at the asylum “involuntary psychiatric hold” since it cuts down on the paperwork. Sister Jude goes to interview her new patient and we learned she reacted vehemently in response to an anti-Semitic remark. The woman points out they made an offensive joke – and it is through these dehumanising jokes that persecution starts. Sister Jude asks if she’d lost anyone in the war – and she starts whistling.

And poor Shelley is still in Dr. Arden’s… “care” being experimented on. He’s been a busy bee, has Arden, as Kit tells Grace Arden’s been looking for the little 6 legged chip in his body again. Grace gives him her “I totally believe you honest” rely but we hear her story – because it’s important to them to have their story known and believed in a building full of people who doubt them and think them insane. It seems she heard a commotion at night and went to explore a room newly decorated in streaks of blood red – and a man chopping her father into pieces with an axe. She ran from him –into a closet filled with pieces of her step-mother. The next day, her sister accused her of murdering them, she was the axe-murderer’s lover and they wanted the farm. They framed Grace for the murder.

Dr. Oliver interviews Lana about where she went during the film – but she knows better than to answer. He says she doesn’t belong in the asylum since she isn’t a danger to anyone but Lana is scornful – she points out that the psychiatric profession considers her sick, diseased for being a lesbian. Dr. Oliver offers to help her – if she can convince them he has cured her they have to release her. Lana, visibly restraining anger, tells the Doctor she has been a lesbian for as long as she can remember – there is no cure. But he’s only there for a week and he may be her only ticket out of there.

To the common room (AAAAAARGH that damn nun song is playing again?! You make me listen to that on a permanent loop, I’d be a danger to myself and others) and  the new patient is writing a letter to someone called Kitty in which she refers to how they didn’t give up in Amsterdam and how everyone around her – crazy and diseased – is resigned to die. Lana approaches her and warns her about writing. She offers friendship but is rebuffed – this is when Dr. Arden enters the room. She says he was there in Auschwitz – and attacks him, calling him a Nazi. She says her name is Anne Frank.

Sister Jude interviews Anne, clearly thinking that she is delusional. Anne tells her story – she survived the camps but was thought dead due to the sheer number of bodies. She explains why she’s in the US and why she kept silent - her book would be more impactful and teach more people about the atrocities of the holocaust if she remained a martyred, 15 year old girl. Sister Jude calls her story “indecent” (which is the LEAST of the words I have for this storyline) and Anne calls Jude indecent since she has a war criminal working for her. She tells Jude that Arden was a doctor in Auschwitz called Groper who experimented on the inmates. Jude doubts her – and Anne shows the tattooed number on her arm.

Dr. Oliver is having another ethical dilemma – he doesn’t think Kit is insane, but nor does he think he’s evil. He thinks Kit did the murders because society forced him to and then succumbed to a delusion to deny doing something so against his character. He says he’s willing to lie for Kit – so long as Kit is willing to face the truth. The “truth” that Kit killed women and skinned and decapitated them, removing them of signs of race and identity, the things society was punishing Alma, his Black wife for – and later he turned on his wife in bottled up rage (including a brutal depiction of Alma’s murder which is so far from what we’ve seen in their relationship and was beyond gratuitous). Wait, didn’t Dr. Oliver tell Lana last week she didn’t think Kit did it?

Supernatural Season 8, Episode 6: Southern Comfort

 A man is under his car, fixing it in the middle of the night when a woman he calls “honey” shows up snarls about someone called Sarah Alcott. She kicks out the jack, trapping him under the car, then gets in it and drives off. Messy.

Dean gets news of this, but Sam wants to know why he hasn’t killed Benny. He can get being an ally with Benny while in Purgatory to get out, but why not kill him when he’s topside? Sam raises the subject of Amy (um… Amy was actively preying in people) and Dean counters with the werewolf from the most pointless episode of Supernatural ever. Dean draws the line, Benny slips up and another hunter kills him so be it – but it won’t be Dean (personally I would have gone with “he was my friend and ally while I was in Hell and you’d give up on me” because I twist the knife like that).

Dean fills in Sam and adds that the wife doesn’t remember anything. Sam doubts it’s their thing but Dean snaps at him. And speaking of pointless, we also have Garth, the most inept hunter there has ever been who is investigating the case as a Texas Ranger – in Missouri. Worse – he’s giving advice to other hunters. He’s the “new Bobby” (Dean treats this with all the horror and rage it deserves). He even plays dubious mentor to Sam and Dean (please let something eat him. Come back Bobby, even vengeful spirit Bobby is better than this).

They find ectoplasm and that the dead man had the word “Alcott” carved into his chest with the dead woman’s fingernails.  Checking with the wife, she confirms the black out, a feeling of intense rage and that Sarah Alcott was the woman her husband took to the prom – 37 years ago. Having dinner, Dean comments on the omnipresence of Confederate flags everywhere to avoid talking about Purgatory and we learn Garth’s story – he killed the tooth fairy. Please can something eat him.

To the next crime, Scott, the son of the dead man and his wife – goes to a shop and runs into Jeff, a man he doesn’t care for very much. The demands his money back, throws hot coffee on him and then beats him to goo with a shovel. In the mirror we see him overlaid with a ghostly figure. “Sussex” is written in blood at the scene. And the CCTV shows a bright white light where Scott’s head should be

Some more dead ends and Sam gets a flashback with Amelia – where they’ve scattered clothes everywhere in their eagerness to get to bed and Sam is still in bed wearing a vest and we learn that Amelia lost her husband – for the 3 people in the audience who actually care. And Garth keeps irritating Dean by trying to imitate Bobby and step into his shoes.

They do find out that Scott and Jeff were in business together and the business went bankrupt – the business was called Sussex. Bobby’s diary says the green ectoplasm they’ve been finding is a spectre – an avenging ghost, forcing people to act on their grudges.  The last time Bobby saw this it was after a grave desecration. They look up for any local reports and find the confederate tomb of the unknown soldier was desecrated – and the murders started the next day. Sam is not thrilled at the idea of burning a confederate soldier’s bones in a town saturated with the confederate flag.

That night they go in and check the grave and Sam finds a loop of strong that will be significant, no doubt. They heard there was some graffiti and the casket was open – but when they open the casket the guns are still present – they find it odd they hadn’t been stolen. They start to burn the bones but Garth thinks they should say something – Dean says “we won” and lights the fire.

But there’s another murder – a policeman getting Scott’s inhaler touches his keys and takes out the sheriff who keeps making him write his reports. Sam, Dean and pointless arrive and find the green goo – and start thinking they either got the wrong body or the grave desecrators did take an object and the spectre is in that.

Supernatural: Women in the Very Overstocked Fridge

“Women in Fridges” is a concept that was introduced by Gail Simone, a comic book writer, to refer to the hugely disproportionate number of female superheroes who were either killed, raped, depowered or otherwise discarded in the superhero comic genre. The term came about in reference to a Green Lantern comic where a villain killed the Green Lantern’s girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt and literally stuffed her into the fridge in order to hurt the Green Lantern.

The nature of this death - and similar deaths - was that the dead characters weren’t killed as part of their own storylines, but as an ancillary to another characters. Alexandra DeWitt didn’t die because of her story nor was her death even about her - she was a plot device to cause grief and pain on the Green Lantern.

Which lead to the trope that TVtropes has called “Stuffed in the Fridge,” where characters die as a plot device expressly to further the storyline or development of another character. Usually these are women who die to further the development of male characters - though we’ve seen the same with other minority side characters (and usually minorities only ever become side characters) dying for their more privileged main character’s grief and development.

And so we come to Supernatural and, perhaps, the most well stocked fridge of them all. In fact, I think this fridge must be industrial size given the number of women who have been crammed in there over the years. In fact, the very foundation of the Supernatural series is a fridging.

Sam, Dean and John Winchester all live a happy, normal life with loving wife and mother, Mary Winchester. Until Azazel, the yellow eyed demon, kills her dramatically in Sam’s nursery. And lo, the father and sons team become hunters, their lives ever changed by this dramatic fridging that set them on their path.

But that’s not the end of Mary, who nobly reaches out from her fridge to add to her menfolk’s development: whether that’s sacrificing her ghostly self to stop a poltergeist in season 1, to numerous flashbacks, dream sequences, visits to her grave and even time travel that allow the Winchester brothers to continually top up their angst and pathos over dear old fridged mother. As an added bonus, while we don’t really develop Mary at all, this time travelling introduces Samuel, Mary’s father and a hunter (she’s such a useful plot device!). Unfortunately Samuel is lured into a terrible deal with Crowley, King of Hell in exchange for bringing back his dead daughter. Yes, Mary provides motivation and development for 4 different men. She’s a multi-purpose fridging!

A fridged mother was, alas, not enough to keep Sam on the path of hunting, he needed a new motivation to get him into the story and the family business. Enter girlfriend Jessica Moore; she gets a few minutes of screen time and then into the fridge with her! One dead Jess and Sam gets a motivation to hunt and plenty of reasons to angst and mope (he had angsting-over-Jess moments right up into Season 5. That’s a long lasting fridge). We know Jess was a student and that’s about it - we don’t even know what she was studying.

Starting the story on a foundation of fridged women is already a problem, but as the series went on for 8 long seasons that overwhelming revolved around a core of straight, white men, Supernatural kept topping up the fridged women.

Perhaps most aggravating of them is mother and daughter team, Ellen and Jo Harvelle. Way back in season 2 when these were introduced, I had hope. Strong female characters! Ellen, the tough, no-nonsense mentor figure who runs the bar that was acting as a de-facto base for the Winchesters and Jo, a capable fighter and new hunter, raring to get out there and kill the monsters. I hoped for regular characters, I hoped for them to become an integral part of the universe. I hoped for them not to just disappear completely without explanation at the end of Season 2. Seriously, they completely disappear and no-one even comments on their absence. It was so ridiculous they even lampshaded it when they finally did return in the second episode of season 5 with Ellen giving them hell for not calling her.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

To T-Dog in Memoriam

As you know doubt already know, on the last episode of The Walking Dead, we lost T-Dog.  For much of the three seasons that The Walking Dead has been on the air, T-Dog has been the only Black person. We should have been suspicious at the start of this season when T-Dog suddenly started getting speaking lines. Obviously, they had to give him some characterization, so that we could actually feel pain at his passing. We feel that T-Dog is owed a little more than that and this is why we have collected the following images from various sources online.



T-Dog deserved so much more than he got on this show. If I were Oscar, I'd be worried about what's in store for him.  T-Dog was never valued in the same way as the other characters.  The writers never invested in him and he functioned a little more than a person to have in crowd scenes to add a little diversity, the least that we can do is take a moment to appreciate a character that never got any respect on The Walking Dead.

Trailer for Defiance on Syfy

Coming in April 2013 Syfy will be launching a new show, Defiance - a post apocalyptic show with aliens and humans trying to live together - and with an interesting MMO tie-in

We'll be following the show at Fangs - and we do like our trailers and sneak peaks

Review: Coyote Dreams by C.E. Murphy, Book 3 of the Walker Papers

 Joanne has relationship issues. There’s her boss who she still has a lot of unresolved feelings for and he seems to have a new girlfriend. And she wakes up with a heavy hang over and a naked man next to her. Definitely some issues to examine

But she’s in high demand, her good friend and co-worker is asleep and won’t wake up. And by her senses the problem is magical, not medical, something is draining his essence. While trying to work through the problem, it rapidly spreads consuming not only her friend’s family, but running rampant through the police force.

The hospitals become strained and the police themselves are reduced to a skeleton crew – and Joanne has only the slightest idea how to fix this, relying on cobbled together research from the internet. Worse, her mentor, coyote, is unavailable and may even be prey to the entity himself. Every time she accesses her abilities, the thing swoops in, seeking to drag her down into unwaking sleep

And the more she learns, the higher the stakes are.

This world is incredibly deep and amazingly fascinating. Joanne’s shamanic power and need to visualise her magic working around her and how that reflects in how she imagines and sees things. I’m glad she’s embracing her powers and her life and beginning to move out, into the world as a shaman.

And this book we saw a lot more of Joanne’s story, who she was as a child and why and why it took her so long to finally come into her shamanic heritage. We saw her grow and learn and learnt about the path it took to develop Joanne from the child she was to the woman she became. In terms of realism and depth it’s really well done.

We learn more on the nature of Coyote and have a lot of information about different realms. This series never just decides to raid Native American culture for concepts so we have a lot of n

The investigation is… difficult. It lags because there’s a lot of dead ends and Joanne is usually on the run. We get to see more people are open to the supernatural but it does feel like a lot of the time Joanne is flailing around not going anywhere or achieving anything. Or even making it worse as she keeps poking at her opponent and getting slapped down and others get caught in the web. There is a sense of frustration and desperation, but I think it dances on the line between portraying frustration and causing it. And towards the end of the book I was past ready for it to be over – it dragged, I’m afraid.

Unfortunately, the problems of the previous books are present in this one in spades. As a shaman, Joanne spends a lot of time in different planes of reality, switching between many many different ones. She also has prophetic dreams which can be surreal, show her the past and show her, again, different planes of reality. And she has visions in the middle of the day, also plunging her into different realms, into the past or various other supernatural, mysterious and magical places.

She can enter any of these places with almost no warning at all.  You’ll be reading along then vision, no plane shifting, wait is this a dream? Is it a memory? Is it a past life? Is this a nightmare? Is this real? Is this a vision of the future? Did this happen or that and where are we now? Is this image metaphorical? Literal? What am I even reading?

I re-read several time. I scratched my head. I frowned. I made sure I was alone and in silence because I could concentrate.  It’s very easy to get lost, very easy to be confused and there’s a lot of times when something happens that has absolutely no relevance to anything. Maybe it gets explained at the end of the book – but that doesn’t stop you being floundering and confused in the meantime.

Dark Angel, Season 1, Episode 20: Meow

Logan is still fixing his mechanical leg brace and is very frustrated by how long it’s taking to get all the parts. Sebastian points out somewhere that may have the part – if he knows a super cat burglar who might be able to acquire it. Logan wants to keep Max out of the loop and Sebastian advises a little white lie (personally, I advise telling the super-soldier killing machine the truth – but I have this pesky insistence of trying to keep all my organs in their proper places).

Max agrees after Logan makes up the most ridiculous lie you can imagine. Is keeping the being able to walk again so necessary a surprise that it’s worth asking Max risk her life for a lie?

That night Max sees Mantecore attacking. She knocks one soldier unconscious and takes the gun off another – holding him at gun point she makes him strip (well, shirtless – you’d think Mantecore soldiers would be able to follow orders better than that) and lay on the suddenly appearing bed – Max crawls on top of him… and he turns into Logan and Max wakes up. Yes, a not particularly fulfilling sex dream.

Yes, the title of this episode is “meow.” Why? Because Max is a transgenic super soldier. And to give her super fighting abilities the clever clever people at Mantecore gave her the reflexes of a cat. Literally. And in doing so also gave her the hormonal cycle of a cat – sending her into heat and basically making her very very horny at random intervals. Frankly, it doesn’t make the tiniest bit of sense and I’m bewildered as to why Dark Angel, that does so much so right, looked at this programme and decided that Jessica Alba in tight leather wasn’t sufficient appeal to the straight male gaze and they needed to drop these episodes in as well.

There follows multiple times of Max lusting after men and Original Cindy stepping in to stop her even while giving Max the advice “if you have an itch, go scratch”, no understanding why, if Max wants sex so badly, she doesn’t have it (and teasing poor Sketchy). This continues through her work day (including her fixing on Normal) and getting the chip for Logan. This means Logan gets on his feet again because the exo-skeleton works – but his surprise for their date goes on hold as Max calls and cancels, unable to control her horniness.

Over at Mantecore, Lydecker is getting pouty because Renfro has managed to blame him for Tenga’s “escape.” All the while he’s secretly being watched by Zack. Lydecker questions Brin about what happened and gets confirmation that Agent Sandoval (one of his lackies who has gone over to Renfro it seems) was one of those working with Renfro.

Lydecker meets one of his contacts for the South African government who has been trying to buy transgenic technology for some time – though he’s always refused. This time though, they say they can find Max because of the chip in her neck – if he’ll trade some technology on their older prototypes. He agrees – and signs the authorisation pointedly using Sandoval’s pen. Sandoval passes the information to Renfro who believes Lydecker is getting desperate to restore his reputation – and believes it’s time tom set up the killer drone to neutralise Lydecker.

After driving out into the city, luckily avoiding the Red tracking beacon, Max meets up with the sexy pizza delivery man, Rafer, and ends up in bed with him. Afterwards she regrets it bitterly and cries in the shower, then beats herself up over it the next day. Thankfully, Original Cindy is there with a whole double handful of reality checks.

At Mantecore, Renfro is eager to get her hands on Max – still watched by Zack – and Sandoval arranges a quiet meeting with Lydecker to set him up for the drone. The killer drone arrives – and kills Sandoval, Lydecker switched the pictures.

Renfro tries to take over the Red team searching for Max, but the surprisingly alive Lydecker beats her to the punch and they draw their battle lines.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Haven Sneak Peak!

Haven Sneak Peak!

Review: Trapped by Kevin Hearne, Book 5 in the Iron Druid Chronicles

 12 years have passed since Tricked, and Atticus has finally finished training Granuaile all she needs to know to become a druid. The final step is to connect with Gaia and tattoo her with the Celtic knots that tie druids to the Earth, a process that should take several months.

Unfortunately, the only place this can be done is Europe. Not normally a problem, but druids don’t normally have long standing grudges with Olympic gods. Through their machinations, Europe is largely off limits to plane shifting, with only one place Atticus can travel to – the very foot of Mount Olympus, right under the gaze of Bacchus who very much wants him dead.

And the Olympians aren’t the only ones plotting. Dark elves and vampires are hunting Atticus for reasons unknown and even one of the Tuatha de Danaan is sending hit squads and spreading information about him. As word of him being alive gets out, more of his old grudges surface and he finds himself, again on many people’s hit lists and enmeshed in many schemes.

If that wasn’t enough – Loki has been freed. God of chaos, of trickery, of flame – he’s immensely powerful and terrifyingly unpredictable. The first shots of Ragnarok have been fired, Hel’s armies are marching and the Norse call on Attics to fulfil his obligation to them

All told, it’s quite a busy time for Atticus.

I feel, before I fall into full fanpoodling goodness, I should begin this with a caveat. I am a mythology geek. I love mythology. I love the obscure deities from a plethora of pantheons. I love the old legends and myths. I love even the rare and unusual tales that are lurking in the Celtic, Norse and Greek lore that rarely see the light of day.

As such the story telling, the info dumping, the random encounters and references, the sudden insights and all of that wonderful drawing on lore and history and ancient stories all pull me in and make me a very very very happy geek. Especially how it does use not just the major figures from the pantheons, but even the more obscure characters that are not well known today – it shows an incredible amount of research and knowledge of someone who has really delved into not just aspects of these old myths, but someone who has embraced them in their entirety.

To me, this makes for an excellent world. It makes for a world that is rich and full and has massive possibility. It means I can gleefully devour the book in seconds and grin over every little hint and every little story and character I recognise.

It also means that if you’re not a mythology buff or mythology isn’t a major interest of yours, you may find these moments drag a little and aren’t for you. To me, I loved them but I can see how it could be a matter of taste.

Even with the stories, the book is well paced with a lot going on to keep it exciting. Atticus has to try and find a way to bind Granuaile to the earth but has to do so in the teeth of a plot that involves vampires, dark elves, Tuatha de Danaan and Olympians. Trying to keep the various factions at bay long enough to get peace is a constant battle that requires many interruptions, desperate fights and lots of cunning. If that weren’t enough, we have some extra epic and excitement provided by Atticus’s commitment to the Norse and the threat that Loki, scarily powerful and terrifyingly unpredictable, presents yet another exciting force in the world. This book is very much one of being bombarded and being manipulated. Atticus and Granuaile stand in the middle of many plots and have many obligations and ties on them pulling them different ways. Not just the Norse, but Leif the vampire is pulling his own puppet strings, Brighit and the Morrigan are duelling over the leadership of the Tuatha de Danaan and there are machinations by unknown hands we don’t even know yet. And everything they do sets off a chain reaction in this crowded world – they manage to make Bacchus and Faunus back off, but in doing so risk offending both Olympian pantheons as well, is just one example. The sheer richness of the world means there are constant domino effects and real consequences to exerting any kind of power and influence in the world.

Misfits Season 4, Episode 2

 I’ve seen some shows with weird openings before, but this episode begins with Finn (I’m mentally tagging him as the Misfit you most want to slap, but then there’s Rudy, but I figure slapping Rudy is just lazy when there’s all the blunt instruments in the world you could easily find if you bothered to look), talking to his tied up and gagged girlfriend, Sadie, about why he doesn’t want to keep her tied up and how he loves her. He goes on about her being like an “addict” who needs a cure. Needless to say, I am sceptical.

Sadie responds by using a speaking toy to ask him to make love to her. After reluctance lasting seconds they start their fumbling way – until she tries to crush his head between her legs. He struggles and reaches for a cup above her, which is pulled by his power of telekinesis and lands on her head. She let him go and he tells her how angry he is with her and how he’s trying to make the “relationship” work. And then offers her a bucket if she needs to use the toilet…

Ok, Finn can join Rudy in the being bludgeoned by heavy objects category.

At the community centre Rudy is talking. No good comes from listening anything Rudy says so just insert the voice of Charlie Brown’s Teacher’s voice. His conversation includes rape and sex but he does manage to make it through the whole babble without on reference to his penis, this may be a record. He’s also been evicted from his flat. On the plus side Jess brings some wonderful sarcasm to the proceedings. Finn arrives late – with noticeable scratches on his neck

And today they are models in a clay sculpting class for the blind. Oh. Oh this is not going to be good. The Soon-to-be-dead probation officer threatens Rudy with rather a lot of menace (jolly good). And Curtis and Rudy fight over who gets to model for the attractive, blonde blind girl. Curtis wins.

At the pub later Rudy objects to this and is talking, again. He never really stops. Jess notices the barman, Alex so I assume he’s relevant and Curtis tells Finn about Seth, about his ability to deal in powers.  He quickly makes and excuse and runs home to tell Sadie that he’s found a cure and they’re going to be ok. This is when there’s a knock at the door and – Rudy has arrived. He forces his way in “inviting” himself to stay at Finn’s.

Of course, while there he notices the door that is covered in bolts and padlocks – and during the night hears Finn having a conversation with Sadie’s mechanical voice and sees him emptying the bucket.

Back to the community centre where Rudy tells Jess and Curtis and Ali, the blonde girl in the sculpting class, wants to swap models. When Curtis asks her why she says she wants to stick to “her own kind.” She’s a racist. Curtis calls that racism exactly what it is and tells Rudy who… is Rudy. He says things. He really should stop doing that, it’s a bad habit.

Seth arrives to collect Kelly’s things and Finn asks him about taking someone’s power, overheard by the rest of the gang. Rudy says things and Finn tells his story thinking Rudy has figured it out. He’s keeping Sadie prisoner because she has the power to mould Finn into the perfect boyfriend – by making him do whatever she wants. When she went on holiday he snapped out of it and when she came back he tied her up. Jess points out he could have just left her. He turns back and curses them out for judging him and that he won’t give up on Sadie because he loves her. Uh-huh, so says every obsessive stalker.

Rudy’s magic twin, however, has been sent to the flat to let her go (Rudy thinks she’s a talking dog. It makes sense with Rudy logic) who lets her go and helps her get into a taxi (her legs aren’t working well she’s been tied up so long) and away. When real Rudy and Finn shows up he calls Finn sick but Rudy, unsurprisingly, sympathises with Finn.

Revolution: Season 1, Episode 7: The Children's Crusade

 Charlie is being held down and branded as a member of the Monroe Militia.

Confused? Now we’re going to go 2 days earlier. Yes, I don’t like this trick either. Tell your story in order – storytelling 101

The team see another prisoner being taken by the militia, Charlie, of course, wants to leap forwards and rescue them but thankfully (or not) Miles is there to restrain her from total suicide. As they move on he tells her they can’t save everyone. She says nothing and seconds later they see an unconscious child – she rushes forward (of course) and it’s an ambush by lots of other kids with home made medieval weapons.

I think Charlie’s learning curve looks something like this: ________________________

They want to know where Peter is and check their arms to see if they’re militia. Seeing that they’re not, their leader, Michael starts to turn away but Charlie speaks up, asking if Peter is the boy they say being taken prisoner by the militia – yes he is and the leader’s brother. And they find there’s a whole camp of kids with no parents at all.

Their parents hid them in the basement when the militia came for them because they had an American flag and Peter was their leader, the oldest of them. They need to get him back so plan to launch an attack on the militia – which is likely going to be as messy as it seems. Charlie decides to intervene and volunteer them to help the kids get Peter back. This time it’s Aaron’s turn to politely ask Charlie what the hell she’s thinking (Miles may have worn out his “what the hell are you thinking” speech and come to the conclusion that she isn’t. Ever.) But this time Miles is on board as well – if they don’t save Peter the kids will try. Aaargh, the Charlienesss contagious! Suddenly I think I know why she is getting branded for the militia – Miles has sent her in to spread her spunkiness through the whole militia!

At Monroe central in Philadelphia Danny is having dinner with his mother, Rachel, and showing that the spunkiness runs in the family, not eating and trying to discuss leaving at the dinner table. Before she’s called to speak to General Monroe who tries to keep up the pretence he’s a host not a gaoler. Monroe is upset that they can’t find any of her colleagues with their pendants where she says they’d be. She points out she’d been out the loop for a little while – for some reason. But they did find one – Dr. Bradley Jaffey who has been there for 3 weeks and they’ve been “cracking” him. Rachel agrees to talk to him to encourage him to co-operate – which Captain Neville appreciates.

Flashback time! 3 years before the blackout when a very pregnant Rachel sees Ben, Brad and Grace explaining their project to a man from the Department of Defence that their invention to provide infinite clean power is a failure – but dramatically it disrupts all electricity. And him becoming very excited and willing to make them very rich. Rachel takes him aside to explain how very unhappy she is he's working with the DoD and they may make his invention into a weapon. Rachel, it's the department of defence "may" doesn't come into it.

Aaron doesn’t understand why Miles has suddenly had such a change of heart but Nora tells him that the kids they saw, all the orphans, became orphans while Miles headed the militia, it happened on his watch. Which is when Miles finds that Michael has followed them. Charlie tells him he has to go back but he refuses and Miles has the line of the night “irritating when a dumb kid tells you what to do.” Yes Charlie, it is. The Aaron matches it with “awesome, like a pack of hairless ewoks.” But during the hijinks with kids, Miles sees Aaron’s necklace and notices that Aaron is nervous about it. Any speculation’s cut short by finding Peter has been taken to a re-education camp.

Time for another flashback! Rachel having pregnancy problems with Danny, which brings us back to the present in Philadelphia where the worse-for-wear Dr. Brad is brought in for Rachel to talk to. Rachel is locked in a cage – saying she’s posing as a prisoner is wrong since she is a prisoner – just not this imprisoned a prisoner. She asks him if he hid the pendant (he did) and tells him they have friends among the guards. She tries to convince him to tell her where the pendant is, but he’s not a fool and becomes suspicious and clams up.

Next step is to put Rachel in her normal rooms and have Brad brought in. She warns him they will kill him and he says there’s worst things than dying – like betraying all your friends. She counters that they have her son. And Captain Neville arrives with his daughter – Rachel’s information made it easy to find her.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Steam & Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape Book 1 in the Gaslight Chronicles

Sir Merrick Hadrian is A Knight of the Order of the Round Table. His job is to use magic and steam technology to hunt down evil, whether it be human or supernatural.  One night on the trail of a vampire he is actually saved by a group of street urchins.  He is moved to take them on as wards, when the oldest boy shows signs that he has the skills to become a trained knight.  Suddenly Merrick moves from being a confirmed bachelor to a man with a house full of children he can scarcely control.  

His aunt recommends that he hire Miss Caroline Bristol to become a governess for the children.  After finding out that Merrick is a confirmed bachelor, Caroline is determined to down the job, having been accosted repeatedly by previous employers.  It is only because the children are so endearing that Caroline decides to accept the job.  What she does not realise is that this acceptance will lead to a discovery about her true origins, place her in mortal danger and introduce her to all of the supernatural elements that polite society simply cannot bear to acknowledge. 

Essentially, Steam & Sorcery is a romance based steampunk novel, with elements of fantasy like vampires, werewolves and fae.  I am going to say upfront that I am not a lover of the romance genre; however, the elements of this story made it interesting.  Caroline, the female love interest is very much her own person and an independent thinker.  She refuses to be left behind while Merrick investigates cases.  She actively listens for clues to help him and when the time comes, is not afraid to pick up an umbrella or a gun for that matter to defend herself and those she cares for.  She absolutely refuses to be bullied into playing the frail woman. 

I didn't expect to see a single character of colour or a GLBT character in this novel as they are often erased.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was wrong.  We are told that Nell is a little girl of colour, and Merrick believes that her father was Indian.  Nell herself is unsure where her family actually hails from because when they were together they traveled a lot. She is a sensitive and speaks to ghosts.  Caroline makes it clear that even with the advantages of being Merricks ward that English society is not going to be easy on her because of the colour of her skin.  

666 Park Avenue: Season 1, Episode 6: Diabolic

 After last episode, it’s no surprise that Jane is having nightmares about the man with the axe. Henry is comforting and 2 detectives are due to interview her. They arrive and Jane is very nervous.

Jane walks the detectives through what happened – but when they take her to the dumbwaiter she climbed up they find that it’s old, dusty and festooned with spiderwebs, clearly hasn’t been used in a long long time. They ask Henry if he saw either the person who was killed or the attacker – which he didn’t (and the body has disappeared). They start suggesting it was a hallowe’en prank. The detectives start throwing a whole lot of doubt at them and Henry snaps at them.

The next morning Henry finds Jane on the computer. She quickly minimises the screen when Henry arrives and goes to make pancakes. Henry checks the site and finds she is apartment hunting. At last, the common sense to run!

Henry catches up with Detective Cooper for progress since Jane is scared enough to want to leave and Cooper talks about her imagining things or being mentally ill, and detective Jarvis is even more abrupt – they found no body and no damage. They leave and Henry gets a phone call from Laurel, his PR stalker trying to jump start his political career – which means he has to go to a political lunch. At the lunch he does very well – but he thinks Jane should have been there. Laurel thinks Jane is a liability and she doesn’t understand city politics.

Gavin hears that 4 more of his properties had also been targeted, their security system’s hacked. Someone is sending a message that they can get to him – him and his wife. Gavin insists that Olivia not be told. He even calls a doctor – Dr. Scott (still carrying the bruise from Brian last week)- to test Olivia and take blood from her to check if she’s ok after the kidnapping. He also asks Dr. Scott to bring the results to him first – with a reminder of his underpayment of the rent. It seems, with his education loans, the doctor is living beyond his means. Ah a man in need! Gavin likes them – and a loan is arranged for $50,000. You’ll regret it, Scott.

When he gets the test results back, he tells Olivia it was just too much champagne and not enough food that made her faint, but when she leaves to make coffee, he tells Gavin it was chloroform. And we find out why Dr. Scott needs the money – he gambles, a lot. And he’s already getting his regrets when his chest opens in a serious of wounds – burns almost – spelling $50,000. That’s one hell of an IOU. He goes to see Gavin who refers to his gambling debt and offers him a different way to pay Gavin back – it’s useful to have a doctor on call. But that doctor had better come when he calls.

Gavin also magnanimously forgives Tony for his failing to keep Olivia safe last week and Tony thanks him for saving his life. Of course, Gavin has a job for Tony – he wants someone brought in for a meeting, someone who will probably refuse but he’s sure Tony will be persuasive.

In a building many scales less opulent than the drake, a man unpacks his back and pulls out Gavin’s spooky wooden box. He starts to open the box but he gets a call – saying he, Mr. Wallace, just earned a million dollars for the box. Wallace thinks if he’s willing to pay a million dollars for it, someone else may be willing to pay more. The voice instantly raises his offer to 3 million on the condition that Wallace does not open it.

2 gentlemen come to see Mr. Wallace and find him prone on the table, gasping and whimpering and unable to move – he doesn’t look well at all. One of them comments that he shouldn’t have opened the box, snaps the spooky box closed and takes it. His associate sets the place – and Mr. Wallace – on fire.

Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 6: Tallahassee

Fairy Land Present
At the base of the bean stalk Emma tries to reconcile her knowledge of Jack and the Beanstalk and the reality in front of them – with Hook, at least, mocking her for the story’s dubious accuracy (and Emma’s less than perfect memory of it). Hook tells the real story – the Giants grew the beans that had the power to take them to different realms. But they used it so they could plunder all the realms. Jack and his people fought a terrible war, defeating all but one of the Giants. The beans were destroyed by the giants as they died so no-one else would have them. One Giant survived, the strongest of them all, they have to get past him to get the compass which is among the rest of the treasure the giants hoarded.

Cora has the wardrobe ashes to travel between realms but she can’t find their world without the compass. How’s that for an info-dumping introduction recap? Mulan still doubts Hook but he says they’re safer company, all he needs is a ride back. Extra problem, the Beanstalk is enchanted to repel intruders, you need a bracelet to allow you to climb – and he only has one other one. He invites them to fight it out for the other (Emma gives him the look he deserves).

Mulan argues she should go since she’s the best in battle, Snow argues she should go since it’s about getting home to their loved ones and Aurora argues she should go because… ye gods alone knows. Apparently because she has no loved ones (or talents). Personally I’d take Hook’s bracelet as well, have Mulan and Snow go (the ones with the most battle experience) and leave Emma behind to slap Hook every 10 minutes on general principles. Aurora can… I have no idea what Aurora can do.

Alas, that would be sense. Emma says she’s going because she’s the protagonist, damn it (basically). Which is also why no-one argues with her. She asks Mulan if she has anything that will help her kill a giant (“a hook!” Hook objects, yes he does). Emma and Mulan go off to a side and Mulan gives her poppy seeds (no, really) and Emma asks Mulan how strong her sword is. Mulan says the strongest in the realms and Emma asks Mulan to cut down the beanstalk if she’s not back in 10 hours. Mulan says Snow won’t like that but that’s why Emma’s asking her. Um… why? Because of the giant? He’s been content up there for some time. And Snow still needs the compass to find her loved ones – she might want to get a new enchantment and go up herself. What, if Emma can’t do it, no-one can? Anyway she announces “if I don’t get back you get her home” presumably by cutting off access to the compass which, as far as they know, is the only way to get home. She’s clearly not thought this through.

She goes back to hook and gets her bracelet – and gives him his hook so he can actually climb (or you could give his bracelet to someone you actually trust, I’m just saying).

They start climbing, Hook flirts and decides to psychoanalyse Emma, telling us many things which should have been obvious but, for some reason, the show feels the need to lamp shade about Emma’s character. He’s used to dealing with orphaned children, starved of love. And she tells him she’s never been in love.

On the ground, Mulan rests while Snow keeps watch and Aurora stays up with her. Aurora doesn’t sleep much any more since she was under sleeping curse and has terrible nightmares. Snow, sympathises, she had the same problem after she was cursed. Snow says she’ll watch over Aurora while she tries to sleep. Snow plays mother to Aurora when she has nightmares and needs talking down and back to sleep.

Emma and Hook reach the top of the beanstalk, the devastation of the last battle between the giants and Jack’s forces. Emma’s cut her hand so there follows Hook flirtily treating it and Emma noticing and commenting on his tattoo of Mila. And she puts 2 and 2 together and realises Rumplestiltskin took Mila from him.

Time for the plan – hook makes noise while Emma, perched on a statue, blows the knock-out poppy seeds into the giant’s eyes. It starts well – the giant is attracted – but the size of him surprises Emma since he’s far higher than her perch on the statue. Hook distracts the giant causing him to bend to reach for him – and in doing so bring his face into range of Emma’s poppy seeds – and he collapses.