Saturday, January 19, 2013

Haven Sneak Peak

Haven season 3 has just ended - but we're already looking forward to season 4 coming back this Autumn. Here's a peak of what's to come

The Vampire Diaries, Seaon 4, Episode 10: After School Special

This episode opens with a candlelight vigil for Carol Lockwood with Liz eulogizing her. Tyler who is sitting next to Caroline gets upset and leaves.  Elena gets up to follow Tyler and we learn that Rudy Hopkins, has been selected to be the interim mayor.  As Elena walks the halls, she runs into April who is crying.  April tells her that the death of Carol is making her think of her father.  Suddenly, April shifts the conversation and tells Elena that she knows Elena is a vampire. Elena is shocked and then Rebekah appears behind her and snaps her neck.

Caroline is making her way out of the assembly and calls Stefan, who is getting his drink on. Caroline is not the least bit impressed and Stefan replies by telling Caroline, "my brother slept with Elena, it kinda puts a little bit of a damper on things."  Caroline says that Tyler is spiraling and should get top priority.  Stefan points out the obvious - the fact that his mother just died.  Caroline is concerned that Tyler is not talking to her about his feelings and that he keeps referring to his mother's death as an accident - a code she believes for drunk.  Stefan asks if she believes that Klaus killed Carol and Caroline replies, "I don't think she drowned in her martini glass." Caroline asks Stefan to get it together because she believes she cannot do this alone.

When Elena wakes, she is in the library and is confronted by April, who informs her that the assembly is over and that the school will be empty soon.  April wants to know how many times Elena compelled her and demands that she tell the truth.  April goes on to add that Rebekah says that she lies and when Elena questions Rebekah's honesty, April reveals that she knows Rebekah is a thousand year old original vampire. Elena grabs April in an attempt to flee and she is confronted by Rebekah, who instructs her to have a seat because everyone else will be there shortly.

Damon is checking his messages and gets one from Elena, who says that she hates not being near him.  Jeremy and Matt are sparring and when Jeremy takes Matt to the ground and expects praise from Damon, Damon informs him that he moved in slow motion.  Jeremy is frustrated and points out that they have been there for days and so far all Damon has done is bark orders and so he demands to be taught something useful.  Damon concedes and picks up a stake and Jeremy attacks only to find himself quickly over powered.  A young woman drives up with a pizza delivery and Damon pays her extra not to deliver any more pizzas.  Jeremy is not impressed and asks if he is to be starved and Damon replies, "if that's what it takes to become a hunter."  Damon orders Jeremy to run around the lake twice and for Matt to follow.  When Matt says that he doesn't have to listen to him, Damon quips, "you do if you want to eat." As soon as Matt and Jeremy leave, Damon picks up his phone and listens to Elena's message again.

Rebekah calls Stefan and says that not only is she free but that she is holding Elena hostage at the highschool. Stefan asks who was dumb enough to pull the dagger out of her, but Rebekah tells him that she is the one who will be asking the questions and hangs up.  Stefan then calls Caroline and asks how she would like to drive a white oak stake through Rebekah's heart. Caroline agrees, as long as it means that Stefan will stop trying to drink his way through the Mystic Grill.

At the Mystic Grill, Liz is talking with the interim mayor Rudy Hopkins. Liz passes Rudy a folder and says, "welcome to the world of cover ups."  Apparently, they ruled Carol's death as head trauma from a fall and when Rudy looks at the folder, he points out that Carol did not go gently and asks if they have any leads. When Liz admits that they have ideas, Rudy says, "let me guess, sharp teeth and bad table manners."  Liz questions whether or not Rudy really wants this job because apparently six people were offered this position before him, but Rudy says that he is saying yes for a reason. He announces that his reason just walked up, as Bonnie approaches the table.  Rudy points out that a few of Bonnie's friends were missing at the assembly and adds, "so much for mandatory." Bonnie tells Rudy that he cannot come in here and start making rules.  Rudy replies that this town could use a few new rules.  Bonnie reminds him that she can help protect the town and Rudy responds, "I am well aware of your gifts Bonnie but I am you father, don't forget I get to protect you."

At the highshchool, Caroline texts that the second floor is clear.  Stefan is walking through the halls when someone moves by quickly. He texts back, "first floor I'll distract her."  Stefan pushes Rebekah up against the lockers and she holds up a stake and says, "I hope you're not waiting for Caroline to stake me because I already found her."  Rebekah brings Stefan into the library to join Elena, Caroline and April and says, "you've all been compelled, you know the rules, answer my questions honestly."  Rebekah reminds everyone that Klaus learned about the vampire hunters in 1114 and their tattoos revealed a map, which led to a cure for vampirism.  She adds the last time they met, Stefan tricked her to find out where the sword was and that the fact that they're all still vampires, means that something went wrong.  Rebekah sends April off on a nonsense mission, and Stefan says that Rebekah is wasting her time because they don't know anything.  Rebekah finds this hard to believe and replies, "I thought that you would do anything to save Elena, even if it means taking the cure yourself so that you can grow old and die with her."  Elena and Stefan make eye contact, causing Rebekah to ask why Elena looks so surprised.  Caroline intervenes and tells Rebekah that Stefan and Elena broke up.  This shocks Rebekah and so she says, "I'm confused, I thought Elena was your epic love Stefan.  I asked you what happened, you have to tell me." Stefan admits that Elena slept with Damon.

Jeremy is practicing assembling a gun and Damon tells him to do it like his life depends on it.  Jeremy stands up and says, "don't act like you care about my life. You care about the hunters mark and Elena, so she's not sired to your ass." Damon points out that both require his life.  Damon asks if he has talked to Elena and Jeremy asks if he is running out of voicemails to listen to.  Klaus walks out of the woods and asks how many vampires Jeremy has killed.  Damon says that if they throw Jeremy out in the world right now he's chum.  Klaus replies "yeah see, that's not a number.  Twelve, that's how many of my hybrids I slaughtered with my sword. Three, that's how many days it took to quell the urge to kill your brother, after he knowingly watched as I walked into a death trap. One, that's the number of purposes you serve.  You are here to grow Jeremy's mark, so I'll ask again, how many vampires has he killed since he's been here?" Damon answers, "zero." Klaus says that he is going to need the cure sooner rather than later because of the hybrid shortage and wonders how he can help.  Damon tells Jeremy to watch and learn, then shoots Klaus twice in the chest saying that his actions were for Carol Lockwood.

Back at the library, Rebekah says, "vampire Elena is a trollop who likes bad boys, which explains why Stefan reeks of alcohol but what it doesn't explain is why sweet, loving innocent Elena would be so heartless towards Stefan. How could she hurt you like that?"  Stefan replies that Elena didn't know that at the time that she was sired to Damon. Rebekah calls this fascinating and asks Elena what she thinks of this.  Elena replies, "I think that your sad, tired and desperate need of a hobby."  Rebekah believes that Elena is hiding something and so Elena admits, "I didn't sleep with Damon because of a sire bond, I slept with Damon because I'm in love with him."  As looks are exchanged, Caroline asks what any of this has to do with the cure and so Rebekah asks Stefan how she can find the cure.  Stefan then tells her about Shane and that he knows where the cure is.

Shane is in his office with Bonnie, who is complaining about her father.  She says that Rudy hates her witch heritage and that it's the reason he travels all of the time, so she is upset that he suddenly wants to be a protective father. Bonnie asks if there is some magic therapy that Shane hasn't shown her yet.  Shane tells Bonnie that she doesn't need his help anymore and then hands her a necklace made of human bone saying happy graduation.  Shane says that it was worn by a two thousand year old witch, who drew on it for strength.  Bonnie asks if she has to go home now and Shane says that he has a stack of papers that he has to grade for tomorrow.  When Bonnie leaves the office, she see Kol but when she goes running back to the office, Shane is gone.

Tyler is at home when he gets a call. He answers believing that it's Caroline but it's Rebekah.  Rebekah tells him that she knows Klaus made a real mess of his life and that she can relate and offers her condolences. She tells him that he should come down to the highschool, so that he can extract them in person. When Tyler asks why he would do that, Rebekah tells him that she has Caroline and adds, "maybe you have a better shot of saving her than you did your mother."  Tyler hangs up the phone and throws it. Kol enters the library and tells Rebekah that she is even worse than Klaus. Kol then brings Shane into the room.

Damon is whittling of all things, when he is approached by Klaus. Damon says, "if you're here for payback go for it because you will be stuck babysitting the little hunter that could."  Klaus says that he is perplexed as to why Jeremy hasn't killed any vampires and Damon replies, "Darwinism Klaus, he's got to protect himself before we hunt down his first vampire nest." Klaus points out that Jeremy needs more victims and that there is a town of people just waiting to be turned into vampires for the slaughter. When Damon says that of course that idea occurred to him, Klaus replies, "the tragedy is that it did occur to you and yet you chose to ignore it. My guess is that you did it to impress Elena.  Somehow to honor her, you'll find a way to spare innocent lives and walk Jeremy down the moral high ground. That's why I've already made the necessary corrections."

Haven: Season 3 Episode 13: Thanks for the Memories

 Nathan and Duke arrive at Audrey’s apartment to find duke’s guard down and out and Audrey missing – naturally, they suspect Arla. Nathan has a little freak out because, he’s Nathan. I’d put it down to concern over Audrey if he hadn’t taken every last opportunity to freak out at Duke for the last 3 seasons. They conclude that Arla would take Audrey to the field where Real!Audrey lost her memories – accessible by boat.

Audrey and Arla arrive at the field and meet Fake!Agent!Howard who tells them that James is at the bakery and even lets Arla speak to him on the phone. Arla rushes off to see him leaving Audrey with Fake!Agent!Howard over tea. She asks who he is and he just says “you’re ride”, he picks her up and drops her off. In the barn, which is now visible, which comes whenever Audrey looks for it, when she’s ready. And there’s a catch, the Troubles don’t go away when she enters the barn, she has to want to. She doesn’t want to, she rightly points out that she won’t come back, someone else will in her body – Audrey Parker, her memories will die. So she can stay and try and figure out how to stay – but the longer she stays out, the “sky will continue to fall” and the town and everyone in it will be destroyed. I’m assuming this is a metaphor and not a sign that the meteor shower is going to get far worse.

She reunites with Duke and Nathan (Duke “borrowed” a boat), Howard vanishes and a meteor destroys the lighthouse. Ok, not a metaphor then. Audrey decides it’s time to find James and his answer to stopping this.

In town there’s a fair amount of chaos and Dwight goes to see Vince who Dave, trapped in the boot of his car. Audrey, Nathan and Duke learn that James and Arla have left the bakery – and that James was sick. If the barn restored him to life, it might be the only thing keeping him alive and he can’t leave. The meteor storm continues and gets worse.

In a room, Arla is trying to treat a very sick James and making excuses for why he’s ill (“not used to modern bugs”) she dismisses questions about her age and promises to stop Audrey from hurting him again, that they have their own lives to lead. Cryptic statement or outright lie?

Duke calls Arla and reveals he knows about James’s sickness and that only the barn can cure him – and only Audrey can summon the barn, which she will to save James’s life. He also says that he knows Audrey has to go in the barn, the Troubles have to stop and he’s tired of living in a disaster movie (yeah, right – totally not buying Duke the betrayer, don’t even try Haven)

Dwight rescues Dave and gets his side of the story – while Vince loves Audrey, he wants her to go in the barn. Last time, they tried to keep Sarah out of the barn, it didn’t work and while Dave wants to try again, Vince won’t risk it. Dave wants to break the cycle and stop using Audrey as a band aid. And he can find Vince – he can always find his brother.

Duke takes Arla and James to the barn – and Duke realises Arla has done everything for James (oh well that’s alright then. Sure she’s a serial killer but she did it for love!) and Audrey and Nathan arrive – to be held at gun point by Arla. She orders Duke to take their guns and delivers her ultimatum, Audrey will take James into the barn, make him better then bring him out (why, so he can die slowly again?) and if she doesn’t, Arla will shoot Nathan.

Of course Duke isn’t really a traitor and he stole the bullets out of Arla’s gun. She’s totally shocked by this. Totally.

James is fading fast and Audrey suggests taking him into the barn  if she’s not ready to leave maybe it won’t. The choice is taken when James jumps through the barn doors alone. Audrey realises she has to go after him and Nathan insists on going with her.

Inside the barn is a long white corridor stretching as far as the eye can see in both directions with multiple doors along its length. Going through one door reveals another, parallel corridor and another beyond that. And inside, Nathan can feel. Realising this is involved with the Troubles, Nathan decides that the best solution is to blow it up.

Haven: Season 3, Episode 12: Reunion

Haven’s back for its finale – time to settle these cliffhangers.

Not!Claire reveals she killed the real Claire a few days ago and she can pass as her because Claire, as a psychiatrist, taped every session and kept excellent notes, making it easy to step into her shoes – and her skin. Unsurprisingly, the Big Bad Guy thinks she is the victim not the monster-  because of what Lucy did; though she’s only just realised that Audrey’s telling the truth and really doesn’t remember her past incarnations. Apparently James Cogan, the Colorado Kid, Audrey’s son knows how to stop the Troubles – or so Not!Claire says before bashing Audrey over the head with her gun.

This is when Nathan comes in and finds Audrey alone. He’s, rightfully suspicious, why didn’t the Skinwalker kill her when she had the chance? But Audrey easily proves her authenticity by touching Nathan – a touch he can feel. Of course, now the Skinwalker will have to change to stay hidden – so they need to figure out who is next.

Cut to a man running through a high school gym, chased by another who crushes him to death behind the bleachers.  Except, after death, the body is suddenly awfully young.

Time for Nathan and Audrey to check the body, from the wallet they find it’s Paul Sullivan who went to school with Nathan – and is ages with Nathan, despite the body looking no older than a current student, but Nathan recognises him and it’s definitely the same man. Audrey has more important things on her mind – she sees a banner, it’s Nathan’s high school reunion.

In runs several of Nathan’s former class mates – the Mean Girl (Denise), the Class Dork (Robert) and the Prom Queen (Jeanine) who are involved in the reunion. We learn that Robert is a millionaire motivational speaker (kill him with fire) and they all want to set up for the dance

Time for a meeting of the Scooby club: Nathan, Audrey, the Teagues, Duke and Dwight (who I’d lay odds on being the next Skinwalker) with the news of Claire’s death and a computer programme to put together a composite of all of the Skinwalker’s victims and the pieces they’ve been taking to make a new woman. The person the Skinwalker’s build? Looks exactly like Arla Cogan, James Cogan’s wife. We cut to the Skinwalker putting on their flesh mask – and becoming Arla Cogan.

Duke raises the possibility that the Skinwalker always was Arla – after all, Arla disappeared when James Cogan died. Everyone starts gathering information. They need answers before Audrey disappears for 27 years.

At his bar Duke briefly sees Jeanine until Arla shows up, with a gun, for a little chat. She wants Audrey to find the barn, so they can all go back to being normal; just like Lucy and Sarah did before her. She tries to use Claire’s notes to snipe at Duke – Audrey loving Nathan – and prey on his dislike of his own Trouble, and Duke asks what Arla wants (are we supposed to believe that Duke is betraying Audrey, really?)

The Teagues are doing their research and find that a woman did go missing after James Cogan died – and a body was found near the fishing shack afterwards, badly scalded or burned. Dwight drops in with his own information: the Guard are following Duke and Nathan around ready to intervene if Audrey doesn’t go into the barn.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Elemental: The First by Alexandra May

 Rose Frost has had a difficult childhood moving from place to place due to the demands of her father’s job – and it has only been exacerbated by her odd gift, a gift she doesn’t understand and has scared her in the past.

Her father’s job has now lead her to live with her grandmother, Daisy, while her family move abroad. Long estranged from the family, Rose remembers little about Daisy’s home in Warminster, Wiltshire but quickly re-establishes the few old friends she has in the area

But people are going missing in mysterious ways and there are definitely secrets being kept in the town. Not least of which the mystery of Halika Dacome, goddess, saviour, perhaps even devil who is constantly referred to – and who haunts Rose’s dreams and may be the key to everything – her gift, her family’s secrets and the enemy that is hunting her.

This book is probably a decent prologue for the series. I now know who everyone is, what everyone does, I have the world building, the concepts, the relationships, the setting – I have all the information for the whole book series now.

But it’s a long prologue and I kind of wanted to read a book, not a prequel for an actual story. I think this book can be split into 3 parts. In the first, we have a brief introduction where we’re introduced to the idea that Halika Dacome is going to be reincarnated into a young girl’s body and that there’s a bad guy who wants to kill her and he has a grandson who’s not exactly on board for this plan.

Then the bulk of the plot where we follow Rose who is 16 and has an odd gift and lots of hints about someone called Halika Dacome. And there’s a boy who is attracted to her but everyone says is a wrong ‘un and he has an evil grandfather. I felt a little like I was given the answers and then was asked the question – but everyone was acting like the question should be a great mystery.

It doesn’t help that for the majority of the book she never explores this power. She uses it to find a mysterious box she doesn’t open (I’m still not sure what this box is for?) and she uses it to make herself warm when she’s cold, even when someone is found well and truly mangled and tortured she doesn’t use her ability to heal. The result of that is that for, maybe, 75% of the book we have a paranormal novel with precious little of the paranormal – it’s a mystery, it could be a famous five book.

Supernatural: Season 8, Episode 10: Torn and Frayed

 It’s finally back – Castiel is back! It’s been a long holiday but at last the angel has returned. Oh, yeah I guess the rest of show did as well. Which is important, of course, yes. *ahem*

We start with poor fast food angel, Samandriel, still Crowley’s very very unfortunate guest. While he’s alone he quietly informs Naomi (that would be Castiel’s new boss) that he’s being held by Crowley. His guard and torturer is not happy with him using Angel radio and puts the very unpleasant spike back into the poor angel’s skull.

Meanwhile Sam and Dean meet up again and Sam is still pouting. Ugh, I didn’t agree with him pouting last episode and I still don’t agree with it now. Less Sam, more Castiel. Dean tells Sam that Benny killed the fool hunter in self-defence (why not just say in defence of the human woman he was holding hostage? Maybe Sam could understand that). Sam is upset because of Dean’s trickery using Amelia which was, yes, unpleasant – but it’s not like the man was listening to reason. On where they go from here – Sam wants to know where or not Dean is done with Benny.

Choice between Benny and Sam? I’ll take Benny.

Dean says he doesn’t know and since Sam won’t bend, he leaves.

To Castiel! YESSSS! He randomly heals a passing baby, because he’s awesome like that, when Naomi drags him up to the office on high to tell him about Semandriel. She orders him to intervene (not asks or suggests outright orders) and makes him believe it’s his idea to rescue him – not Heaven’s and not Naomi’s.

So from there Castiel goes to Dean – creepily standing over him while he sleeps, as he does. He tells Dean he’s turned on angel-radio and heard Samandriel’s predicament as well as a rough location in Nebraska. And he needs Dean’s help for the complex task of talking to people – something he just can’t do. To Dean’s laptop to research (and for Dean to hide his porn)  to research strange incidents that are caused by angel screams. Catiel also notices Sam’s absence but Dean brushes it aside (we don’t need Sam, we have Castiel!)

At which point we join Sam (hey, no, go back to Castiel!)

Go away Sam, you're taking up valuable Castiel time
Ok, fine, let’s have some Sam time. Amelia has come to talk to him about stuff. Sam assures her he’ll leave because he didn’t want to cause trouble he thought she was in trouble. She keeps finishing his sentences and points out him coming back to check on her means he cares. Just like her. Awww, they both care. For the record, I really don’t.

She spends the night in his motel, they have sex and they discuss whether it was a mistake and how Amelia doesn’t want to hurt her husband but also can’t stop thinking about Sam. If he stays she will be with Sam, if he leaves, she can’t have him return because she can’t have him with just one foot in her life. They discuss and think and angst and decide in 2 days whether to meet up again – if they both show, one shows or neither shows.

Meanwhile poor Semandriel is still being tortured by the nasty demon and is suffering almost as much as I am when I have to sit through Sam and Amelia’s scenes. With a second spike being drilled into his head, he starts chanting – chanting that is heard by a man coming from a bush outside and presumably some distance away from the little torture prison. The bush spontaneously combusts and throws the man across the garden. As far as super divine powers go, random combustible foliage seems rather low down the list.

Dean and Castiel go to interview the man with severe burns after the “ambush” (oh Dean that’s a bad one). Castel recognises the words he heard as Enochian for “obey” and also that for an angel to communicate through shrubbery and to cause it to burn would indicate he’s in incredible pain. And the “shrubbery” is his choice of words there, not my snark, honest.

American Horror Story, Season 2, Episode 12: Continuum

 We open to lots of camera panning around a house, (I think they may have let Overly Arty Cameraman out again), lots of domestic images – and a photograph on the wall of Kit with Alma and Grace and the 2 babies.

Kit himself is crying, splattered with blood and carrying a large, blood stained axe. There’s a blood covered body on the floor and a little girl calls for Kit – her daddy. He says he’ll be there in a minute

Hah, you expected a happy ending on American Horror Story?


Time to flash back before the deaths –and we have happy families going on – Grace drawing a charcoal sketch of the aliens (which Alma insists she doesn’t remember) and Alma preparing vegetables while the children play. Kit comes home all enthusiastic about some kind of activist march which Alma greets with sensible practicality about taking toddlers to a march and isn’t too keen with Grace showing the babies traumatising sketches of their alien abductors (I like Alma’s acting throughout here, it has such a powerful note of “I’m really trying to be nice about this whole thing but I’m not loving it at all”)

That night Kit and Alma are sat on the bed but Alma is concerned about Grace and her obsession with the abduction (and Kit notes Alma never talks about it). He says that Grace is just processing what happened but Alma rejects that, saying Grace is obsessed with the past because she’s unhappy in the present – and Kit needs to spend more time with her. He goes and finds Grace drawing the aliens again, she claims she’s doing it for the children so they know where they came from. Grace also reminds Kit that she has other memories that ambushing her that are even less pleasant than the aliens – the whole axe murdering her family thing.

They kiss and have sex, Alma in the next room – when the lights start flickering and go out – followed by blinding white light – alien light. Alma screams and panics, Grace grabs her and they both go and get the babies while Kit gets a shotgun. It turns out not to be aliens, but a truck full of arseholes who throw something that sets fire to the curtains before driving off, Grace puts them out and the police arrived.

The police interview Kit who knows who did it –Billy Marshall – but the policeman has little inclination to follow it up and instead takes a dig at Kit over his polygamy. He returns to the house to see Grace, Alma is crying in her room, panicking because she thought it was the aliens. Grace says Alma is repressing the memories and sends Kit to her.

Later it’s all happy daylight and Alma and Grace finally have it out about the aliens. Grace loves the aliens as miracle workers, Alma hates them as cruel monsters who experimented on them. Try to reconcile those positions. And Alma pulls out the ace – before the aliens came Alma and Kit were married and happy, after the aliens he brought home an axe murderer to play house with. Grace asks Alma if she wants Julia to grow up ashamed of who she is and Alma slaps her – and instantly apologises. Grace breaks a glass and storms out while Kit comes in and looks kind of gormless.

That night Kit leaves Alma’s bed to go see Grace in the living room, again drawing alien pictures. She talks about how she loves everything – Kit, Alma, the babies and the future is coming and it’s bright and amazing – and Alma hits her with an axe

I’m debating whether to go with “feel the love” or “so you like axe murderers, eh Kit?”

She keeps on chopping until Kit takes the axe off her. Alma panics and talks about having to hide while Kit wrenches the axe out of Grace and goes and sits in a chair.

American Horror Story and Gratuitous Rape

American Horror Story is a show that loves to push boundaries. Sometimes it does this with some terribly emotional, painful and dramatic scenes that are incredible to watch. Sometimes it does this by invoking and presenting a horrendously hard to watch issue, realistically and with no sugar-coating as it did in American Horror Story: Asylum, with the painful depictions of ex-gay “therapy” inflicted on Lana. And sometimes it does this by deciding to have Anne Frank run around in an act of line crossing that left us stunned.

In it’s urge to shock, American Horror Story loves to leap across lines it should hesitate to cross, and rarely have we seen this more evident than with the constant depiction of rape through these 2 seasons.

Rape was a consistent theme throughout American Horror Story: Asylum. In many cases, it was absolutely brutal and painful to watch.  In the media, it is not uncommon to see violence aimed at women but the degree to which American Horror Story: Asylum included rape in its storyline this year was absolutely gratuitous. One cannot even reasonably argue that the rape occurred to move the plot along - it was inserted for shock value, nothing more. Leigh didn’t need to try and rape Jude to have his revenge with her, any more than in America Horror Story: Murder House, Tate had to rape Patrick to murder him. The point of  American Horror Story: Asylum, was for the viewer to be horrified by the conditions of the inmates and this most certainly could have been done without the continual rape of women.  Rape became a facet of entertainment, a tool for setting the theme.

All of the rapists were clearly to be understood as evil and in particular Dr. Thredson played by Zachary Quinto. It is good that rape is understood as a terrible violation; however, American Horror Story: Asylum made it seem as though all rape occurs because of psychopaths. Even though the rape itself was intimate because all of the victims knew their attacker in someway, the attacks still occurred within a framework of the rapist being psychologically damaged in some way, as a way of explaining his actions. The true motivation for rape is power, not psychosis, as American Horror Story: Asylum would have us believe. It doesn’t take a mental illness to make a rapist, nor can we attempt to excuse or distance ourselves from the horrors of rape, by presenting the perpetrators as always as these evil, mentally damaged people, rather than, as is often the case, the normal man in the street, the neighbour, the friend - even the loved one. This is a trope which was continued on from  American Horror Story: Murder House, where the rapist of Vivien and Patrick was Tate, a mass murderer and someone who was again presented to be insane. This approach servers to pathologize the mentally ill and establish mental illness as a threat to the safety and society. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Walking Dead Trailer

Make a note on the calendar guys, because soon the Walking Dead will be back. Until then, enjoy a trailer to keep you hungry

Review of Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish by Andew Buckley

The devil has made a deal with God and gets to spend a week on earth.  Unfortunately for the devil, the body he had arranged to inhabit is not available, so he is forced to inhabit the body of a cat.  Things get worst for the world when the Angel of Death is then convinced by the prince of darkness into quitting in a drunken rage. So, not only is the devil free to run amok but people can no longer die.  Then there is a thing with evil elves and a penguin who becomes human.  If this sounds confusing trust me, it will all become clear when you read this book.

As I was reading this book, I kept wondering how I was going to review it.  So much happened that at times I felt that it was headed nowhere and had no discernible plot.  To add to the problem, I don't even think I can say that Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish, even had a clear protagonist. The protagonist could easily have been a penguin named Gerald, a police officer named Nigel, or a scientist named Celina. With the importance of Death in story, I'm sure some might argue that the protagonist is actually the grim reaper. The only thing that I can identify for certain is that the devil is indeed the antagonist.

Normally I wouldn't even finish a book with this much confusion but would you believe that not only did I finish Death, the Devil and the Goldfish, I loved it?   The plot was thin at best and the story seemed to move from amusing anecdote to anecdote.  Normally, this would not be enough to hold any book together but Buckley's writing is laugh out loud funny and with each absurdity, I became more and more excited to see where his imaginative mind would go next.

How could I not love a story which involved the devil inhabiting the body of a cat named Fuzzbucket and then getting frustrated about having to cough up furballs?  Then there is the penguin who shifts into the body of a millionaire, while his body is shifted to a plane where humans worship penguins.  There is also the line dancing elves, which of course makes us question how the macerna ever became a popular dance. Also, the very idea of God as a wine waiter, wisely guiding the universe along is absolutely irreverent. It is impossible to read this book and not giggle.

Death the Devil and the Goldfish takes place in London, which is a very diverse city.  There were no GLBT characters or disabled characters.  There were few characters of colour in the story and they essentially added very little to the sparse plot.  I would remiss if I didn't mention one scene in particular that I found problematic.

Dark Angel, Season 2, Episode 7: Some Assembly Required

The steelheads from last week – the ones who had their little run in with Alec – are busy robbing a store and trashing the place in their usual less-than-elegant fashion. The action is being caught on Camera and Logan is showing the security tape to Max. Why? Because the gang has 4 members now – and one of them is the newly patched together Zack with extra metal implants. Yes, Zack, X5 Zack, her brother Zack, the guy who has disappeared, presumed dead, a fair few times now. He should start his own religion.

When last we saw Zack he was being kept semi-alive in Manticore labs so they could harvest him for organs. Max falls into angst and they moot the theory of why Zack is here and not dead (and by “moot the theory” I mean “desperately spackle over the plot holes”. Renfro moved him to a different facility where they experimented on cybernetic and fitted him out as he is now – including new heart, live, kidneys, oh and helped him recover from the gunshot to the head – and when Manticore shut down after Max killed on facility, they sold this VITAL SUPER TECH THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH TRANSGENICS on the black market, apparently within the price range of a street gang. As you do). Logan, of course, isn’t fond of “British Eddie” and his steelheads who are harvesting and selling human organs.

At work, Original Cindy is making excuses for Max being late again and settles on Max needing to see a psychiatrist to deal with work stress and that she has violent fantasies involving the work place (oh, fun, mentally ill as dangerous and violent – c’mon Dark Angel, you can do better than that). This causes Normal to put on his kid’s gloves and be warily polite and nice to Max.

When Cindy learns about Zack and the Steelheads she remembers Sketchy having trouble with them and bellows for him. After Max threatens Sketchy he reveals Alec’s connection and Max goes to make his day more difficult. Getting the fully story about him trying to sell steroids she drags Alec to place he met the Steelheads and demands (in the face of his reluctance – he thinks the Steelheads will come back with guns) he pretend to start his business again to antagonise them into showing up. He also is amused/bemused at Max considering Zack her “brother.”

In the Steelhead base one is testing his cybernetic arm against Zack’s muscle and losing when the news that Alec is back comes in. Max and Alec easily take down the Steelheads who arrive – and then Zack grabs Alec by the throat and lifts him and points a gun at Max. He doesn’t recognise her at first, she keeps saying his name and hers and finally shows him her barcode. He recognises her as 452, from his unit and goes with her (ignoring poor Alec).

They go to see Sam, a doctor friend of Logan’s who, among other things, concludes that Zack’s memory is damaged because of the bullet to the head, but there’s an implant in his head that may bring his memories back – albeit confused and possibly out of order or context. Zack comes through, sees Logan and remembers him – but the shattered flashbacks he remembers largely consist of him warning Logan that Max’s attachment to him is a threat to her (no surprise since he was a bit of a one track record before).

Merlin Season 5 Review

If I were to watch the last 2 episodes of this season alone, they would both be 5 fangs, no question (depressing ending aside – but I do like the reference to the Once and Future King and that old English myth that, yes, one day Arthur will return when Britain – Albion – is in its darkest hour. And then, presumably, lose his shit when confronted with a car and be thoroughly baffled by an Iphone. Still, it’s an iconic legend). They included so much of what I’d wanted to see for so long and were, in the true fashion of Merlin season finales, extremely epic.

The problem was that the 11 episodes before that contained a lot of foreshadowing of those last 2 episodes (which would have worked far better for a whole new season but seemed a bit over the top for there to be 11 episodes of foundation for 2 of content). And the rest was very much more of the same. Evil Morgana who is still evil and still hates them all (she may have upgraded to a level of suffering as well – but she’s suffering and evil now and the vague attempts to present her as sympathetic are quickly backed away from and more evil is brought in). Arthur and Merlin who have the same fun relationship which, yes, is fun and maybe there’s more trust there but it’s still a well established and plateaued relationship. Same with Merlin and Gaius. Great relationships – but already well established and not going anywhere else.

I’m also tired of Morgana always finding evil kings/mercenaries/whatnot to ally with. How does she even recruit them? “Hey, I’m Morgana, here’s my resume of repeated dismal failures. I have no resources, no money and I promise to treat you like shit under my boot for the entire time we’re together. Let’s be besties!” I don’t believe for a second “I am the unacknowledged illegitimate daughter of Uther” or even “I have nifty powers – and still fail constantly”) is really carrying this much weight. Nor her “I’m the high priestes!” yes hon, but you’re also 100% revenge driven which, from what we’ve seen, most magic users aren’t best pleased about (hence why most of her allies AREN’T sorcerers). I’m actually getting a little tired of Morgana as the big bad because the story isn’t changing and hasn’t changed for 2 seasons. Every episode Morgana throws some magical doohicky at them: it fails, woe. Next week we try again. Is this Heptarchy Pinky and the Brain? It has a lot of interesting moments, but once Morgana evolved to “complete evil monster” almost overnight nothing changed much from there and by season 5 it was getting stale.

I think it would have helped if things had developed or been shaken up a bit. Like Merlin being able to openly use magic around Arthur earlier (Merlin even had an opportunity to demand magic be legalised and he chose to take a stab at letting Mordred die instead), or him embracing his powers more or Morgana being developed beyond “I hate you all and you will all suffer, MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” And we had hints – Merlin standing up to entire bands of men confident in his power, staring down the Dochraid. We had Mordred introduced and a whole load of questions raised with it. Camelot has had peace and stability and Arthur openly challenges and rejects his father’s methods of ruling. There was a lot that could have been developed but instead only got some time in the last 2 episodes, some of which felt either woefully rushed or like a terribly wasted opportunity. Seriously, you’re going to give us 1 episode, 1, of post-magic revelation Arthur and Merlin interaction? The big bad secret that has lasted 5 epic seasons and this is all we get? Gah. And more which wasn’t even developed just kind of waved then disappeared – the 3 priestesses of the old religion, the white dragon Aithusa, the Diamair.

It’s frustrating because all through the season there’s lots of foreshadowing of things changing. Of a new enemy, a new storyline, of Merlin revealing his magic etc etc – but this is the last season. Season 6, with all this behind it (and, perhaps, not so many storylines ended in the last 2 episodes) would have been incredible. But it’s not happening

Now let’s hit the big problem – Gwen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: Jack Templar Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus.Book 1 of the Templar Chronicles

 Jack was a normal 13 year old boy looking forward to his upcoming 14th birthday. Until he starts going through some changes – greater strength, greater speed, greater fighting skills, it’s like a super hero’s origin story. Though becoming a hero isn’t nearly as fun as he expected it to be, not when people are frightened of the new, different you.

Far less appealing are the monsters, the Creach. Disguised among humanity, they’re watching him and beginning to show themselves to prepare for his 14th birthday. They time when he comes of age in the monster world – and becomes fair game to hunt.

Suddenly he’s on the run, backed up by hunters he knows nothing about, learning new, shocking things about his family history, finding out the family he does know are completely different from what he imagined and discovering that so many of the people around him were secretly monsters, watching him, waiting for their chance.

This book has a rather unique  writing style – and I think it’s going to be a “love it or hate it” moment. It’s written as if the protagonist were remembering his story. It’s also written as if he is presenting a warning/guide to other hunters: Jack is warning the reader against reading the book, giving hints and tips on how to kill various monsters, little mini-lectures as if an experienced hunter were recounting an experience to a new hunter. It’s something that is maintained even on the author’s website (with a password found in the book to allow real hunters in without the “creach”) It’s an interesting and certainly unique style and has a very strong spoken word feel to it as well. You’re either going to love its unique feel, or you’re going to find it frustrating.

The plot itself is very action orientated – and the action is done well. We have monsters hunting the newly of-age monster hunter just as his physical abilities kick in

I can’t say I like how the story came together – I think the big bad was defeated too easily and rather anti-climactically, I think Jack had a massive about-face of personality and character pretty close to the end. I’ve seen a lot more extreme a 180 character turns and it had some justification, but this felt very abrupt. It almost felt like the author wanted to hurry the story along or was afraid of losung momentum. I also found the villains a little cartoony – not necessarily in a bad way; it had a cheesy style that was fun in its own right.

I think this book is setting up a series. There’s a lot about the world, the hunters, why jack’s so special, that all needs explaining. A lot about origins, a lot of questions unanswered, a lot of hints without back up. It was well paced in terms of keeping the action moving, but I think a lot was leaped over in the process – but all of that can be easily addressed in a second book in the series. There was definitely enough world building to keep this story moving. I think we needed some pauses though, not just for the world building but to absorb the impact of the losses - of the sacrifice. Especially since the rather awesome, powerful and poignant slogan of the hunters is "Do your duty, come what may." With the hunters willing to die - not even hesitating - when needed to save Jack, I think that would have had far more impact if they'd had more chance to reflect on the loss and relate it to that saying. There's a powerful theme there and it's done well - but far more could have been done with it and with these really good scenes.

There are several physically capable female characters in the book – his aunt and the two other hunters. I find his aunt the most intriguing and would have liked to have heard more of her story – her conversion was a powerful one. I do think all 3 could have used further development (and do think that Eva may be developed far more in later books and I’m intrigued that Master Aquinas is a woman who leads the hunters and that they don’t feel the need to differentiate titles based on gender) but at the moment they’re pretty much “women who fight”. But, then, this book is very much focused on action after action after action with little in the way of character development for anyone.

Merlin: Season 4 Review

 With the complete exposure of Morgana as a villain and the early loss of Uther and Morgause, the game changes very quickly. Arthur is now king and Morgana is even more driven and furious, determined to bring him down with the help of new dropped-out-of-nowhere-to-annoy-me character, Agravaine. Arthur’s uncle and most trusted advisor (for some reason) who joins Morgana in trying to bring the kingdom down no matter what. Arthur’s relationship with Gwen develops to its conclusion and we have lots of fun with the Knights of the Round Table. And yes, with Gwaine around, sometimes Camelot is a silly place.

I think this season was Arthur’s season. We’ve seen him grow a lot in the previous 3 seasons and this was seeing what he has become as he gains the throne. He’s not perfect and he can be easily lead astray by Agravaine-who-shouldn’t-even-be-there, but he has come a long way. His willingness to sacrifice himself several times, from the very first episode, is palpable. His refusal to give into fear (which is wonderfully contrasted with Merlin’s obvious terror upon meeting something his magic won’t work on), his loyalty to Merlin and his knights, his nobility in episode 5 when admitting his mistakes, his determination to be fair in episode 11 to ensure peace with a neighbouring kingdom. He’s the same Arthur, but he has grown a lot.

I really liked Morgana’s prophecy about Emrys and her subsequent fear - it showed Merlin’s power and potential far more than any flashy acts on his part. Here is Morgana, with all the power we’ve seen her use, openly fearful of the power she knows Emrys/Merlin has. This is doubly and wonderfully revealed in episode 7 when Gaius gives up Merlin’s identity to his interrogator, working for Morgana who then turns on her because of the life Merlin is prophesied to lead. This may have been Arthur’s season but we’ve also had some hefty hints about Merlin’s power and part in Arthur’s story.

I also really liked episode 4 with the Dragon egg and find myself in the rare position of disagreeing with Gaius. I can’t see what else Merlin could have done, as a Dragonlord and as a friend of the Dragon after the Dragon has done so much for him - Merlin owed it to him to find that egg.

As before, the season finale? Epic. Merlin puts Agravaine down with magic, calls the Dragon against Morgana’s army and generally kicks arse most awesomely. He picks up Arthur through all his doubts, sets up an awesome Sword in the Stone moment and general crowns the season. I think season has mainly been about Arthur, but the finale was Merlin shining through (also, enchanted Arthur was hilarious).

Being Human (US), Season 3, Episode 1: It's a Shame About Ray


The gang is all together cooking dinner – which only Josh eats of course. Yet that doesn’t stop Sally and Aidan doubting the Jewish werewolf with inept knife skills ability to prepare it appropriately. They also have a fun snarky conversation about terrible ways to die, Aidan and Josh listing something that happened to them that was the other’s fault and poking fun at Sally’s balance of the universe killing people thing. And Aidan gets more and more serious insists that they don’t have to die and they’re not going to die.

And Aidan wakes up from his little odd hallucination underground where Mother buried him. He isn’t looking good and has clearly been buried for some time, going by the raging facial hair.

He is dug up (while he babbles apologies to Mother) by someone who claims to be a friend (and carries a stake, so not that friendly. Or maybe just sensibly cautious). His name is Micky and he puts some kind of metal contraption over Aidan’s head.

When he wakes, it seems the contraption is some kind of prop from Saw or Silence of the Lambs that covers his jaw and stops him nibbling on people. He’s in a nasty dank basement with blood bags and blood stained rags and other unpleasant things you really don’t want to wake up to. The man tells Aidan that he’s one of the few left that “they’re all dead” (I assume the other vampires) and those left want his blood because he’s “pure” and they believe it will cure them. And Micky is going to sell that blood.

Of course, dealing with vampires isn’t the most sensible option and when his customer arrives – Atlee (one of the Amish vampires who are part of the Dutch we have seen before) and stakes him with his own stake, unable to pay Micky’s prices. He rescues Aidan, empties the fridge of blood and helps Aidan leaves – but Atlee stops him feeding on Micky, telling him the blood can kill him.

They drive off and Atlee explains the situation. Mother’s dead, they’re all dead or disappeared searching for untainted blood. Apparently the latest flu epidemic left human blood tainted and any vampire who feeds on it gets sick – including Atlee who already has lesions around his face.  Atlee thinks Aidan may be the answer. Which is when Aidan’s hallucinations kick in again, with Hallucination!Sally pointing out he’s about to be eaten by a pack of rabid, virus stricken, Amish vampires (which sounds ridiculous no matter how you phrase it). In fact can we keep them around? Hallucination!Sally and Hallucination!Josh are waaay more fun than their reality counterparts. They’re joined by Hallucination!Bishop and after some hilarious banter (I love these, we gotta keep them) they encourages Aidan to fight – he attacks Atlee but in his weakened state the other vampire wins and bites him, hoping Aidan’s blood will save him (Hallucination!Bishop apologises).

Having drunk from Aidan, Atlee is shocked to realise that his blood isn’t the cure – and crumbles to death in the driver’s seat, causing the van to crash.

Aidan lies by the side of the road, not looking well, while Hallucination!Josh and Hallucination!Sally watch him and get angry over him dying. Aidan insists he’s not going to die, gasping and fighting and willing to live.


Sally is in limbo, which has a nifty fuzzy black and white ghosty effect, running with 2 companions, Nick and Stevie (old shredded ghosts – actually ghosts Sally shredded, he who constantly drowned in the Dr. Who scarf and the kid she went to school with). They’re trying to get back to the living world and it isn’t going well. After her failed attempt to get through the door of the house, Stevie and Nick disappear.

She goes and finds them – Nick in a lake, drowning again, and Stevie (who committed suicide, albeit with pills) hanging from a tree, watching his family go on without him; their personal limbos. They return to the house, the door doesn’t open, again, and her companions disappear, again. Looks like this is Sally’s personal limbo. Nick and Stevie try to talk her out of continually trying again and again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: Zombie Whisperer by Jesse Petersen, Book 4 of the Living With Zombies Series

 Sarah and Dave have managed to find a safe place – inasmuch as anything is safe after a zombie apocalypse. They’re hold up, isolated, capable of defending themselves and well stocked up to face the coming year. They’ve even come to terms with Dave’s half-zombie nature and use it to their full advantage. The only problem is Sarah’s growing restlessness. After months of constant fighting for survival, the quietness of their lives is wearing on her.

That, and the fact she is pregnant. And, with Dave the father, who knows how much of the baby is human and how much of it is zombie?

But visitors arrive with that rarest of commodity, hope. A chance, maybe to cure the zombie plagues, a chance to put the zombies down, a chance to restore the world to what it was. A chance that rests on Sarah and Dave – but it’s a chance that requires them to trust these people. And if there’s one thing the zombie apocalypse has been very clear on, it’s that there are very very few people out there you can trust.

One thing I’ve always loved about this series is that it’s fun. It’s funny, it has a lot of lightness about it, it has a lot of snark about it. Yet it manages to balance that level of snark and fun with a full sense of the dystopia and fear that comes with it. Yes, the parties are getting a little more blasé about the whole zombie killing thing given how long they’ve been doing this, but there’s still always that edge of fear and worry. We have the dystopia, we have the end of the world feeling even while keeping that lightness and that fun about it. In this book it’s less due to the horrors of the zombies and far more down to the horrors of seeing their home, Seattle, in ruins and seeing what the zombie apocalypse has done to it. We have the wonderful combination of the heavy, dark emotion, the painful realisations that come with dystopia, the light and snarky fun and humour and the character growth with their loving, but not always smooth interactions and development as a couple. All three together in a wonderful combination. We even had a nod to the tragedy of what the zombies were – not just walking, empty monsters, but people, reanimated cruelly and driven by hunger and rage and pain.

I was also impressed by Sarah and Dave’s interaction with the army guys. They are suspicious with good reason – one of the staples of this series and dystopians in general is that when law and order breaks down, people can become even more dangerous than the zombies. But that suspicion never completely overpowered common sense. It was well maintained, their trust is not easily for sale, but they could also be reached. It was, again, well balanced and very relatable.

Lost Girl, Season Three, Episode Two: Subterrfaenean

 Vex and Kenzi are at an underground performance with Kenzi's friend Aussie. When a human jumps out at Vex, he tries to use his powers to push him away but when his powers don't work, Vex pushes him into a wall and holds a knife to his throat. Kenzi is forced to tell him that it's all make believe and that he needs to back off.

Bo and Lauren are having sex and Lauren pauses to say that they need to start stocking the fridge with sports drinks.  Obviously, keeping with Bo is exhausting for her. She then comments, "I must be the only woman in history who has to pretend to be a ditz to repel sexual attraction." They are interrupted when Bo gets a message from Trick asking her to come to the bar.

At the performance that Vex and Kenzi are attending, they suddenly see creatures moving quickly. The lights go out and the man dressed as a sewer alligator on stage is dead. The crowd quickly starts to disperse, as Kenzi yells for her friend Aussie.

Bo wakes up from a dream about her stealing essence from someone outside of the Dahl, which we saw at the end of last week.  Lauren asks if she is okay and Bo says that she is fine. Lauren points out that for the last two nights that she has slept over that Bo has woken up screaming and so she asks if committing to her is scary. Bo reassures Lauren and tells her to go back to sleep.

Kenzi and Vex rush in and tell Bo what happened. Vex says that he believes that the attack was fae related. Kenzi says that they have to go now but when they ask Vex to join them, he declines saying that there is a "Real Houswives" marathon on. When Kenzi moves to attack, Bo tells her that it is not worth the effort and threatens Vex if he goes near her girlfriend.

At a gym, Dyson is boxing and a woman walks in and says, "20 bucks if you kill the white boy."  It turns out that the woman is Dyson's new partner Tamsin. Dyson says that he has not heard anything about a new partner and she hands him a folder about a fae which is causing trouble. In even more shocking  news, it turns out that Tamsin reports to the Morrigan and their team is part of a peace project between the Light and Dark fae.

Kenzi and Bo use a storm drain to enter the area of the festival.  When Bo asks how Kenzi knew about this, Kenzi admits that after running away from home, she used to live there.  Bo says that she has never had to live below ground and Kenzi replies that her life was easier because of her abilities as a succubus.  Bo gets a call from Trick, who has contacted a weaver to help her with her night terrors.  Trick says that the weaver is specialising in annoying him and wants to know when Bo will be there.  Bo tells Trick about Kenzi's friend, so Trick suggests that Eunice has other places to be and things to do, but Eunice grabs his hand and replies that she would love to stay. Trick begs Bo to hurry after Eunice makes a pretty blatant pass.

Bo and Kenzi come across someone wearing a blindfold.  He moves away from them when he hears a rat and then promptly eats it. They follow the man and see more people just like him. Bo says that they are fae and that they live like animals. On the ground, Kenzi sees a dead man with his leg sliced off.  When they try to leave, the exit is blocked off and they are accused of trespassing. They are interrupted by a man who is also blind and Bo tells him that ripping a man to death is barbaric.

At the festival, Dyson and Tamsin are examining the body of the man who was pretending to be the sewer alligator.  Tamsin feels that Dyson is holding back information and Dyson replies, "orders or no orders, I've been around long enough to know that I would be a fool to trust someone from your team." Tamsin asks if Dyson means, "dark fae or women."

Bo stands in front of Kenzi to protect her but Atticus says that he used to live up ground and had  wife in child who were quarantined because their poor quality of life had lead to a disease.  Atticus  says that the disease was most likely a means to an end place them out of sight  The rat eater says that his coveted home did have an ocean view.  In frustration, Kenzi strikes him demanding that he return Aussie. The eater leaves locking Bo and Kenzi in the room and gas starts to rise from the ground.

When Bo and Kenzi wake up, they're back at home with Vex watching over them eating.  Vex asks, "how was it to finally consummate your marriage?"  Bo asks how they got there and Vex replies, "I don't know but if I had to guess, years of latent sexual tension." Bo and Kenzi start to beat Vex with pillows when they are interrupted by Dyson and Tamsin.

Bo heads to the precinct and it's clearly awkward between her and Dyson. Dyson says that last night they were investigating the old subway tunnels and he smelled her perfume. Bo admits that they went in to get Kenzi's friend Aussie.  Dyson says that city workers have gone missing and that they have been ordered to exterminate them.  Tamsin shows Bo a picture of the man she fed off of dead in an alley. When Bo says that it looks like her feed, Dyson tells her to stop talking because apparently this crime is punishable by death. Tamsin asks what she should tell the Morrigan and Bo is not at all pleased when she realises that Dyson's new partner is a dark fae. When Tamsin asks where Bo was at the time of the murder, Dyson covers for her and says that she was with him getting out of prison.

Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 11: The Outsider

Fairyland Past
In a tavern, Belle listens to a group of men rallying support to kill a fearsome beast, the yaoguai. And Grumpy – back in his Dreamy days – pulls up a chair and talks to her about his plans to run away with his fairy love. He advises her to go on an adventure and go face the beast as she dreams of doing, but she’s reluctant since she’s aware that only adventures in books have happy endings and her last run in with a “Beast” didn’t end well. He pushes and, excited, she goes accepting his gift of fairy dust for the road.

She sets off on the wagon and her reading is regarded with contempt by her fellows, when asked what use her book is, she reveals that the yaoguai lives by the lake – and they kick her off the wagon and drive on, leaving her behind. Of course, she’s lying and the nocturnal yaoguai is actually in the mountains, where she goes alone. Armed with a dagger and a hard backed book. Uh-huh, c’mon Belle, you’re supposed to be the smart one. Predictably, the yaoguai leaps out of the cave (it’s like a wolf with a mane of fire) and nearly eats her until it is shot with an arrow and driven off.

Who is Belle’s rescuer? Mulan! Who is less than happy about Belle ruining her hunt. Belle points out she found the yaoguai faster than Mulan – but Mulan leaves. Belle goes to the local settlement to get water from the well and the men she lied to grab her and hold her over it, threatening to drop her in for lying to them. Mulan makes another appearance to save Belle and easily defeat the men holding her. Mulan comments on how she hated dealing with men who dismissed her because she was a woman and agrees to have Belle join her for her superior tracking skills

Unfortunately, Mulan took a cut to the leg protecting Belle which is steadily getting worse as they travelled. When they reach the yaoguai’s lair, Mulan is too weak to fight and kill it so Belle has to. Belle protests she can’t (then why were you tracking it in the first place?!) but Mulan insists she can, everyone doubted her originally but she showed them she had a warrior’s spirit – all you need to do is find something worth fighting for.

Belle attracts the yaoguai’s attention and leads it to a water tower, when it gets close she douses it in water, extinguishing its fiery mane. It falls to the floor, weak – and writes with its claw in Chinese characters “save me.” Belle instantly sheaves her sword (good thing no enemy lies, right?) and pours the fairy dust Dreamy gave him over the creature – and he turns into Prince Phillip. He was cursed by Malificent.

Belle takes Phillip back to Mulan so he can help her to a doctor, while Belle wanders off on her own to go back to Rumplestiltskin. And runs into Regina who has her locked in a tower while she rants that she’ll never stop fighting for him.

Storybrooke Present
Rumplestiltskin hasn’t forgotten Smee, the man who tried to take Belle over the boundaries of the town which would have robbed her of her memory. Rumple uses him as a guinea pig to test his potion to see if it will protect him against the memory loss. It works, he remembers who he is – and who Rumplestiltskin is.

Storybrooke turns out in force to Archie/Jiminy Cricket’s funeral, to say goodbye and make touching tributes. Meanwhile, the very much alive Archie is not enjoying Hook’s hospitality. Hook wants to know Rumplestiltskin’s weaknesses.

After Archie’s funeral, at the wake a new debate arises brought by Grumpy for Emma and Snow– when are they going to return to fairyland, the Enchanted Forest? Snow and Emma are surprised, they didn’t’ think anyone wanted to go back, but Grumpy points out that, with Archie’s death, they’re not as safe as they thought. And even aside from that, there’s a whole world full of people who don’t know they exist – what will they do if they pay Storybrooke a visit? And, beside from that, the Enchanted Forest is their home and they want to go back there.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fangs for the Fantasy Episode 100

This week we discuss Once Upon a Time, Lost Girl, Fringe and American Horror Story

Our book of the week is The Awakening by L.J. Smith

Our next few books of the week are:

14/1-21/1: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price
21/1-28/1: Ever After by Kim Harrison
28/1-4/2: Magnificent Devices by Shelly Adina
4/2-11/2: Moonshifted by Cassie Alexander
11/2-18/2: King Makers by Griffiths