Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Vampire Diaries Season Four, Episode 15: Stand by Me

Elena is looking at a picture of her and Jeremy and she flashes back to finding Jeremy dead in the cave. Stefan talks with Damon and informs him that Katherine stole the cure and Bonnie is missing. He then tell Damon that Elena is waiting for the Gilbert ring to bring Jeremy back to life but because Jeremy was one of the five hunters (read: a supernatural), he is sure that the ring won't work anymore.  Damon then volunteers to find Bonnie and sends Elena and Stefan home.

Caroline is shocked when Stefan carries Jeremy in.  Elena decides to sit vigil over Jeremy until he wakes up and asks to be informed if Stefan learns anything about Bonnie.

On the island, Damon begins his search for Bonnie and finds Rebekah instead.  Rebekah asks where the cure is and Damon informs her that Katherine has it and that she probably killed Jeremy. Rebekah makes a sad face and says that she is not heartless and realises that Jeremy was Elena's only family.  Why she would care, considering that Elena is directly responsible for the deaths of two of her brothers is beyond me. Rebekah suggests that they need to find Katherine but Damon assures her that Katherine is long gone and what they need to do is find Bonnie and beware of Silas.

Bonnie wakes up in the woods around a fire and is approached by Shane.  Bonnie asked how it is that Shane is healed and Shane replies that Silas helped him and now he is going to bring back everyone they lost.  Bonnie tells Shane that what he wants to do is unnatural. Shane assures her that she is going to change her mind and then informs Bonnie that because Silas was dessicated, he drained Jeremy of his blood and killed him.

Elena is still sitting vigil over Jeremy while downstairs, Caroline and Stefan talk about whether or not Elena realises that Jeremy is indeed dead. Stefan believes that deep down, Elena "must know but she feels grief more deeply than anyone else." Is this show ever going to get tired of casting Elena as a special snowflake? Even for The Vampire Diaries, that line is laying it on a little thick.  Stefan believes that denial is the one thing protecting Elena but does not want to tell her about Jeremy, until they know that Bonnie is okay and Damon returns to use his sire bond if necessary. Elena interrupts their conversation and admits that Jeremy was supernatural but that she's hopeful that because the tattoos were gone that it might mean that Jeremy fulfilled his supernatural destiny and returned to normal. Elena asserts, "there's absolutely no way that my brother is dead. I'm not in denial."

Caroline is out on the porch and she calls Tyler to tell him that something happened. When Stefan joins her, he assures Caroline that Katherine has been running from Klaus for five hundred years, and while it may not be easy, it's possible to survive.  Stefan then suggests that Katherine stole the cure so that she could bargain for her freedom. Caroline replies that she cannot believe that after everything  they have gone through that the cure is gone. Stefan answers,"yeah, talk about denial. In my head, I thought that there was no way Elena was going to stay a vampire forever."  Caroline tells him that they cannot talk about that now because they need a funeral and a cover story.  Stefan suggests that they get Matt over there.  When Caroline prepares to leave, she picks up on a smell, and Stefan says that it's the smell of Jeremy's body decomposing and tells her to get Dr. Fell to join them.

Back on the island, Damon and Rebekah are making their way through the woods. Damon teases her about being scared of Silas, when she says that she doesn't like being out in the open.  In turn, Rebekah questions the fact that Damon is there looking for Bonnie, instead of comforting Elena.  Their little argument is interrupted when Galen Vaughn shoots an arrow, and Damon pulls Rebekah in front of him for protection.  When Galen takes off running, Damon follows and quickly over powers him.

Bonnie is crying at the campfire and Shane brings her tea to calm her down.  The fire suddenly flares and Shane tells Bonnie that he is not going to let her magic get out of control. Shane assures Bonnie that Silas needs her and that she will see Jeremy again.

Jeremy is still lying in state and Meredith shows up to talk to Elena.  Meredith says that she is there to check on Jeremy and Elena says that she isn't going to find any vitals and that Rick was once dead for an entire day.  Elena adds that Rick died and came back four times before he lost his mind and suggests that when Jeremy wakes up, they are going to have to keep an eye on him because he has died a few time as well.  Stefan and Meredith make eye contact and then Meredith tells Elena that Jeremy died of sever blood loss and has a broken neck.  Meredith adds, "the lack of blood explains why there's no lividity but his muscles have tightened past the point of rigor mortis. If he's left unattended, soon he'll start to bloat and within a few hours, his skin will discolour." Elena tells Meredith to stop and says that Jeremy is not dead.  Meredith asks for Jeremy's body to be released to her, so that they can get him to a funeral home.  This pushes Elena over the edge and she shoves Meredith.  Stefan intervenes and grabs Elena from behind as she says, "now you're all about science.  Where was your science when you used vampire blood to save my life?  There is no science here; it's magic.  We need to find Bonnie. Bonnie can fix this. Someone just get me Bonny."  Matt enters the room and starts to cry when he sees Jeremy and Elena rushes over to comfort him and says that Bonnie will be here soon and will fix this.  
Matt and Elena head downstairs to have a coffee. He asks where Bonnie and Damon are and Elena replies that they lost Bonnie on the island and that Damon stayed behind to find her. Matt is shocked and reminds Elena that Damon hates Bonnie, but Elena says that Damon actually kind of loves her and that people are mean to those they like.  Matt rightfully calls it messed up logic.   Matt asks her to go somewhere with her but Elena does not want to leave Jeremy.  Matt tells her that there is nothing she can do for Jeremy right now and that Stefan can stay with him.
Damon is holding a knife to Galen's throat and then Damon starts to talk about Katherine and that he believes that this is no coincidence.  Rebekah then shows up and so Damon tells her that if she wants a lead on where Katherine is, that Galen is her man. Galen tells them that they can torture him all they want, but they cannot kill him because of the hunter's curse.  Rebekah replies,"he's right, we can't kill him. But that doesn't mean we can't tear him apart piece by piece, nerve by nerve until your brain shuts it off to give you one tiny moment of blessed relief and then we'll heal you and do it again and again." I loved that line because it is one of the few times that they have actually let Rebekah be the scary original vampire that she is supposed to be, instead of the angsting vampire cheerleader that she too often is. Galen says that he was tracking dens of vampires around Colorado, when Katherine showed up and offered to help him find Silas. Apparently, Katherine already knew all about the hunters mark and the cure from Hayleigh.  It seems that Katherine found Hayleigh in New Orleans. Damon tells Galen that he can now starve to death and that he is off to find Bonnie.  Rebekah is not willing to join Damon because she now has a lead on the cure. Rebekah says that she is not surprised that Damon is not willing to search for the cure because he never wanted Elena to be human again.  Damon responds that he wanted Elena to be human again because that is what she wanted but right now, Elena needs for him to bring her best friend home.

Beauty and the Beast Season 1, Episode 14: Tough Love

Catherine is freaking out that zomg Heather saw Vincent! And since Heather has no concept of boundaries, any guy she sees Catherine with is researched in excruciating detail (well, when one’s soul topic of conversation is men, you need to have enough material to talk about, right?) And they’ve just put Alex on a bus to get her out of town away from Muirfield. Vincent is the voice of reason, pointing out Heather has never met him before and doesn’t know his name and, for all she knows, he could have been just some random guy Catherine met at a bar, never to be seen again.

Except heather doesn’t buy that, thinks he’s Vincent “Selanski” who she said she was going to invite to the wedding, that he’s the guy she’s been having issues with etc etc etc and she wants to meet him she wants to wants to wants to. At this point, I’d tell her she needs a hobby.

So to Vincent for Catherine to confess how much she failed to tell her sister to mind her own business and further add that to stop Heather asking questions they should make him less mysterious (i.e. answer her questions, validating said questions and encouraging more) but having him round to dinner. Vincent suggests instead she tell Heather that Vincent “Selanski” has dumped her. But Catherine doesn’t want to lie (um… hate to break it to you, Catherine, but when you haven’t even told the truth about his last name how do you expect to NOT lie in this situation? “What does he do for a living?” “Nothing! He lurks around a warehouse performing medical tests and occasionally being a vicious vigilante murderer!” “Do you have any family round here?” “yes, but I can’t speak to them or a secret government agency will kill them!” These truthful conversations are going to be difficult.)

Catherine is worried about damaging her relationship with Heather since she’s already lost Tess. So he concedes and she says he can be that nice ER doctor and hang around her apartment more then as well (well the “no lies” lasted all of 10 seconds. And how’s that going to follow through with someone as nosy as Heather? “which hospital?” “Oh… uh – LIE” and then hope she doesn’t check?)

Any loveydoveyness is interrupted by JT who is worried about Evan going silent – but Catherine reassures him

Cut to Evan and he gets a visit from Dr. Sorensen, here to play “we’re nice guys at Muirfield, honest!” and try to do a recruitment drive.And doesn’t he want to stop the big bad scary monster? Isn’t that why he does that job as a pathologist anyway (no background check Muirfield? Sloppy. He does that job because he’s having the guilty heeby jeebies about someone dying on the operating table – even JT managed to pull that one up).

There we dabbled our toe in some serious plot, on to the family dinner with Heather, Catherine and Vincent. Where Catherine seems to have done Heather a disservice because her “grilling him” is some very very reasonable questions. Minus points for her deciding to invite her own date to the dinner as well – Darius, Joe’s brother. At which point we get some of the awkward questions like “which hospital do you work at?” (zomg who could have predicted such taxing interrogation? Oh yes, me.)  But we have another drama at the dinner table – Darius gets a text saying “payment overdue” and starts to get quietly stressed, noticed by Vincent’s super senses. More awkwardness – but mainly caused by everyone very classily asking him about his facial scar, tacky folks, real tacky. But Vincent distracts them from it by using super speed to stop Catherine dropping her wine. Vincent flees to the other room ostensibly to call the hospital and Heather follows to tell him how much she doesn’t trust him. Oookay… because that’s a totally reasonable thing to say on first meeting. Of course this could be because Vincent was lurking outside Heather’s door trying to steal her camera – and the photo she has of Catherine and Vincent on the dance floor at their father’s wedding. Vincent makes and excuse and leaves with Catherine seeing him out so they can discuss the awkwardness and that Darius is hiding something.

Cue next day at work and Tess wants to talk to Catherine. Into the interview room – and there’s Heather. They want to talk about Vincent. Because, shockingly, they’ve checked up on him and *gasp* he doesn’t exist. Who could have predicted this problem? Oh yes, me again. They talk about why would he have a secret identity and the fact that Catherine was constantly covering for him is, according to Heather’s notes, a red flag that it’s an emotionally toxic relationship. Catherine urges them to trust her, but Tess won’t have it – she disappears during work hours, she lies, she’s a different person around him and she’s been tampering with evidence. Trust no longer applies. And there’s an ultimatum of “him or us” looming. Maybe time for a big secret reveal?

They’re interrupted by Joe coming in, Catherine and Heather leave Tess and Joe to it. Joe tells Tess that they have to cancel their date because his wife is coming home early – and also that Joe intends to tell her he’s leaving her. Tess urges him to not do it for her, to do what feels right, but Joe says marriage doesn’t feel right.

She goes to tell Vincent but there’s another crisis, while Catherine has the photo, it seems Heather has already posted them online, JT deleted it but it could still reach Muirfied. And now they have to find the digital copy Heather has so she doesn’t repost it.

Catherine goes to Heather at the big party for Joe and asks for the flash drive and when Heather gets angry, Catherine turns it around – on the basis of one awkward double date Heather decided he was a criminal, spoke to her co-worker and did a full background check; Catherine is not happy. She also points out she’s the responsible one who helps out Heather not the other way round, but Heather counters that’s because she talks to Catherine like a normal sister – and that Catherine doesn’t know how to be normal. She gives Catherine the flash drive but says she’s lost a room mate, she’s chosen Vincent over them.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oxford Blood (The Cavaliers #1) by Georgiana Derwent

 The dreaming spires of Oxford conceal a dark secret among these hallowed halls of education and tradition. The Cavaliers. Rich, influential, titled, powerful and elite club of the truly elite with a herd of hungering wannabes eager for a place. Oh, and they’re vampires.

Harriet has realised her dream, following in the footsteps of her tragically deceased cousin Stephanie, she has won a coveted place at Oxford. It’s a dream come true and opens up avenues of experience and opportunity she never imagined.

And vampires. Who are very very interested in her – and interest that becomes ever more complicated when she discovers her family history with them, a history which makes her both in demand and untouchable. As she learns more, it’s a question of how much she wants to know, how deep she wants to get and what evils she can tolerate – as well as how much she live on her own terms with the man she chooses; or will she be forced by the society rules she’s only just discovering?

There is a lot about this book that’s intriguing. The setting in a university and the feel of that is not something I’ve come across before in the genre.

I also really liked the role Harriet’s family played in her relationship with the vampires. I’m trying to avoid spoilers, which is hard but I’ll try and talk round it. While Harriet has a vampire love interest that is pushing her towards the supernatural – she even has the oh-so-classic love triangle, her family may be an even greater force and connection.

In a genre full of dead mothers, it’s interesting to see one taking such an active and powerful role in her daughter’s life. It’s a shame that that role is borderline villainous but  her mother is a complex figure and I think, despite the rather cold nature of what she does, most of it is in Harriet’s best interest in a ruthlessly practical manner. If we’re thinking long term about what is best for Harriet, then she is right, entirely right.

There were two storylines in this book. The first and primary storyline was Harriet’s acclimatisation to Oxford, settling in, and discovering the true nature of the Cavaliers. Of course, the problem is that the reader knows the true nature of the Cavaliers from the prologue, so we’re then following the protagonists discovery of answers we already know. That’s not always a bad thing – the journey itself can be interesting, but it tends to lose me and it did here. Particularly since the secondary plot after that was the love triangle between Harriet, Tom and George; I don’t like love triangles, I think the genre is stuffed full of them and they’re all rather clich├ęd, this didn’t engage me because I could see the way it was going from the beginning and it did. There did remain one further revelation about the greater history of the vampires (which is fascinating and has excellent roots in the Civil War and I hope that is a storyline that is developed further later) and her familial connections which I did enjoy.

The second storyline was a series of murders among the vampires – but this is very much a background event, something that could have been interesting but I repeatedly forgot about with the other dominant storyline and with a rather predictable bad guy.

There were, unfortunately, several other elements of this book that were severe hurdles to me enjoying it.

It was overly descriptive. Yes, Oxford is an extremely beautiful city full of history and beautiful architecture but there’s a limit to how often Harriet needs to say this. A book shouldn’t resemble a tourist information brochure or a university prospectus. There was just a bit too much rhapsodising and revelling in the wonders of Oxford, it got in the way and almost felt like an advert.

Also, Oxford university is a university. It’s one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It’s a place where people go to learn and where many people, especially poorer people, struggle hard to get a place. Reading this book it’s possible you may have missed that because actually learning seems to be very far down Harriet’s (and, for that matter, her cousin Stephanie’s) priority list. Stephanie openly admits to being there to snare herself a rich, titled husband. Harriet herself is all about the bars (this woman drinks booze booze and more booze. I don’t think she can ever be sober – even for a student it’s impressive. And the booze is nearly always champagne), parties and bars and parties and social events and parties and dinners and parties and it’s all about which girls are with which guys and honour of honours, who has been invited to the poshest of posh societies. Occasionally this is interspaced with university politics – who gets to be in charge of the poshest of posh societies. Education? Nah, darling who needs an education, we’re getting ourselves rich and connected husbands! This doesn’t just happen with the younger women in the family, but her mother also went to Oxford and accepted a date to the club despite already dating someone else – she’s also planning on “dating” her way to success and influence.

Supernatural Season 8, Episode 15: Man's Best Friend with Benefits

A woman is walking down a dark alley by herself, wearing revealing clothing (I think she’s being coded as a sex worker – fishnets and high high heels). She gets steadily more nervous until a man stops her – and shows her his badge. She grumbles but submits to being handcuffed and then he strangles her.

And the man wakes up in horror with flashes of the woman dying still playing. He goes back to bed when his dog jumps up and lays next to him. He starts his morning routine – and finds a blood stained shirt in the bin.

Sam and Dean arrive at a motel (aww, no Winchester cave?) with lots of the bickering that works for them, including Dean still pushing Sam to let him get a hellhound for those gates of hell tests. They’re in town because a policeman who save their lives has called in a favour (how pesky).

While Dean is out for supplies, Sam hears a scratching at the door and, when he opens it, a very friendly black dog hurries in and demands belly rubs. When Dean comes back Sam hurries out to explain “she just showed up, she wanted her belly rubbed, I thought she could stay the night and we find her home tomorrow” to which Dean looks inside and sees a beautiful Black woman. He says she can stay the night

Sam draws a knife but she tells him to put away the blade she’s not a shapeshifter – she’s a familiar, a witch’s companion. Her name is Portia and she “belongs” to James Frampton – the guy who called them in. It seems since they worked on a case with him, James started studying the supernatural and became a witch. Portia describes  how James has been having headaches and nightmares that have been getting worse. Dean doesn’t want to help a witch and Portia chews him out for bigotry and that James has done nothing but good as a homicide detective and a cop. There’s silence before Dean describes her anger as incredibly hot and Sam agrees.

Pause a moment. I’m going to need a big drink to get through this episode.

Meanwhile James is in an exclusive club where there are at least 2 magic users openly using telekinesis to play chess (now that’s just lazy). He meets someone called Spencer to discuss his nightmares and other problems. Spencer advises giving it a rest – that it’s impossible to reconcile being a witch and being a detective and it’s the cause, which is when James reveals that Portia has disappeared

Portia explains the dreams to Sam and Dean – that they’re violent and that James fears they’re actually happening; this is what she got through her telepathic bond with her “master” before he started blocking her. And that it wasn’t James who called them in, it was Portia.

James has another dream of killing someone else – a blind Black man – before waking up again. Cut to Sam and Dean visiting and James and Portia arguing over Portia bringing them. After she leaves in dog form and Dean has his obligatory “witchcraft you fool?!” moment, James tells them about his dreams and adds that the people in them are actually dead he checked at the precinct and he shows them his blood stained shirt. They agree to help – but Dean pulls out some chains; first step is house arrest

Sam checks up on the 4 dreams – and the 4 victims are exactly as James described. Also, since using magic his solve rate has been almost 100% putting him on the super-duper fast track for promotion. And Dean and Sam have another talk about the demon trials, only this time Dean’s concern is apparent that he doesn’t think Sam will necessarily be able to perform all the trials, as he can. To Sam’s credit, he takes it less as a personal insult and more as an indication that Dean can’t trust ANYONE any more (and I just gave Sam credit. I feel unclean now). Then they discuss the witch killing spell they’re preparing on the assumption another witch is hexing James – except Dean is also keeping it in case there isn’t another witch (i.e. to kill James with). Sam brings up them giving free passes in the past (well, yeah, true – but someone actively killing people, just someone who is a monster). Dean points out that James is killing people and adds that Benny and Kate were forced to become a vampire and a werewolf respectively. James chose to be a witch.

Time for Sam to impersonate a federal agent and go to the police station to learn that the victims were all pretty isolated in their lives. This gives Sam a chance to get fabric from the blood stained shirt tested and hear from the detective in charge, Ed, that a witness had seen a man in a white shirt and suit at the crime scene. Which didn’t appear in the police report – and he refuses to discuss the witness any further

Portia takes Dean to the witch bar where everyone gives him the stink eye for clearly not belonging. And Portia tells him that a familiar finds their master and forges a very close, unbreakable bond – and objects strenuously to being called a “pet”. Hmmm, maybe if she’d stop referring to James as “master” then “pet” wouldn’t be the word that comes to mind. They’re called over by someone in the bar, Phillipe LeChat (yes, he’s a cat. And yes they’re imaginative with these names and no I’m not even going to try and wait until they confirm he’s actually a cat before naming him one). Oh and Dean’s allergic to cats and sneezes despite the complete absence of cat hair (yes, I’m being grumpy but this joke is so old). Seems that the witch community isn’t happy with James for being a cop and a witch. Which is when Spencer arrives and, in answer to Dean’s question, tells him he’s never heard of a spell for one witch to control another (really? Supernatural that’s just lazy! It’s like the third most common use in all the world’s black magic folklore! 1: kill, 2: raise the dead, 3: control people. At least come up with a “no-one I know could/would cast such a spell” or “no he’s too good a witch to be susceptible!”) Spencer leaves and Phillipe turns into a cat and goes with him. I’m shocked. Are you shocked? Because that was totally shocking and unexpected.

The Portrayal of Addiction in Urban Fantasy

Because urban fantasy is thought of as unimportant fluff, it often gets a pass on many of the isms that it perpetuates. It never ceases to amaze me that in a genre which is filled with fantastical elements that so many find it difficult to create a world in which serious issues and marginalisations can be discussed or included in anything approaching a realistic or inclusive manner. Appropriation is absolutely rampant in the genre and it is quite common to take serious issues and minimise them by equating them to fantastical creatures. The viewer or reader is meant to identify with the issues of the supernatural creature, even as the portrayal leaves so much to be desired that it ends up stigmatising the very issue that the genre is supposedly discussing.

One of the recurring topics which urban fantasy has sought to integrate is addiction. One of the most obvious examples in the genre is clearly Being Human (UK).  Vampirism in Being Human (UK) is clearly a metaphor for addiction because the vampires in this series can exist for extended periods of time without consuming blood; however, the moment they are turned, they develop an overwhelming desire to consume blood. Essentially, the battle for each vampire seeking to assimilate is to forgo the consumption of blood thereby; making the consumption of blood a moral failing. By making vampirism a metaphor for addiction, Being Human (UK) is essentially saying that addiction in and of itself is monstrous and so are the addicted. This is highly problematic because even though those who love and support the addicted individual suffer, no one suffers more than the addicted person themselves.

It is clear that Being Human (UK) is attempting to create an equivalency between an addicted human and a vampire. While to some degree the biological nature is explored because it is not coincidental that children of alcoholics are far more likely to become alcoholics themselves. However, a propensity for addiction does not make addiction an inherent part of any person’s nature, not even if they go on to become an addict. This contrasts sharply with the blood hunger of a vampire which, by definition, is an inherent, unchanging biological element of who and what they are.

Being Human (UK) is not the only Urban Fantasy to use themes of addiction when it comes to the supernatural. We’ve seen the same themes in Buffy, Secret Circle and even the latest season of The Vampire Diaries, have their addictive dark magic episodes and themes, Being Human (US) even had body hopping addiction with Sally. It’s common in books as well, with Chloe Neil’s Chicagoland vampires exploring magic addiction. Addiction, whether it be to blood, magic, forbidden arts or innumerable other supernatural elements continues to be raised in the genre - but in nearly all cases, addiction is linked to the damage it does to others. The addict is shameful and needs to be stopped not for their own sake, but because of the people they hurt. No-one is stopping Willow or Mallory or worried about Cassie’s dark magic because them living with addiction so much as they are afraid of the people their powers will hurt. No-one is concerned about the difficulties vampires must endure with their blood addiction, interventions are motivated by fear for their victims.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Protector (Blood Legends #1) by Ambrielle Kirk

Mona has a normal, successful driven life as a doctor – she’s ambitious, a workaholic and very dedicated; raised by her Pops a little unorthodoxly with a lot of weapons training, but leading a normal life nevertheless.

Until her Pope is killed – by vampires no less. And, more to their shock, she kills them all, leading her with few leads as to who or what killed the man who raised her. But the death is noticed by other parties, Hunter and Xander, ancient Mayan heroes and head of the Daywalking Werewolves and the Nightwalking Vampires who seek to claim the key from Pop’s body and are surprised to see this unknown doctor hanging around. Even more so when she nearly chases  a werewolf into the ground demanding who he is and what he’s doing at her house.

Mona quickly learns that she’s far different from she’d imagined, and that Pops was keeping many secrets. She has the power to save the world from the underworld, aided by the vampires and the werewolves, or claiming that power and ruling them all.

Then there’s Xander and Hunter themselves, attractive men who are both extremely interested in Mona – especially since she needs a mate.

I think this book had a major problem with pacing and early dumping. We’re really thrown in at the deep end, there are werewolves and vampires and daysiders and nightsiders and protectors and demons and rogues and some of them may be the same and some may not be and there’s magic and some may be subgroups and there’s Mayan gods and something involving a Japanese clan and and and – and I had no idea. For far too long reading this book I was guessing at too much, there was too much introduced that was touched upon but had no real explanation and I was floundering. On the plus side, all of this resolved by the end and by then I had a fairly solid idea of who all the allies where, more or less. But a much shakier feeling about who the bad guy was, exactly, what the key was and who this particular representative of the bad guy was – I’m making educated guesses on them but I’m not all that sure. But I get them impression I’m supposed to be sure – the protagonist and her allies all know, while I’m just moderately certain.

The story itself, once advanced was fast and exciting with no lag at all. It had lots of well written fight scenes and the action kept happening. If anything it was too fast and at times I felt like I was running to keep up, but I think this is something that was intended thematically rather than being a problem.

It has an excellent world setting as well. The Mayan gods and underworld are a unique addition – it’s interesting and rare to see an Urban Fantasy book that looks beyond the standard western myths and legends. The two brothers who co-opted the werewolves and the vampires – but not all of them is interesting though I’m still not sold on their antagonism, it feels like a bit of an insert to make the love triangle interesting. I’m not sure exactly how the Protectors and the big bad fits into it all but I have a rough sense of it and it does come together to be an excellently thought out world.

Ultraviolet Season 1, Episode 6: Persona Non Gratis

Captured vampire is getting more shirty, refusing to drink the bag of blood Vaughan brings him and smearing it across the glass. Father Kill-them-all-and-let-god-sort-it-out Harman shows this is proof that vampires would never give up feeding on people. Angela, rightly, question why they would be researching synthetic blood if that were true.

And Mike gets a recorded message from a vampire on his car – someone called Jacob (journalist fellow of Kirsty’s) demanding to meet. Oh and Kirsty sends her regards.

Switch to Kirsty hiding in a large building with Jacob who tells her he’s hiding her for the sake of the story. She’s afraid because he had a gun and he gave her a mucky look she felt Mike was going to kill her – and is working for a group that killed Jack.

At base the gang is trying to identify who their captured vampire is. They know he’s relatively young because he has a thyroid surgical scar on his throat. They can’t take finger prints because vampires show up in now recorded medium – so even their prints can’t be taken. They’re working on an artist rendition. Harman suggests identifying the surgeon who performed the thyroid operation, but recognising a surgeon’s “style” would require a full autopsy. And yes, Harman does consider slicing up a vampire while he’s still alive to be an “autopsy”.

The gang set off and Angela brings in Harman’s pills which he doesn’t take. They banter for a bit but he tells her he needs his full faculties and can’t take pain killers until the case is over. She accepts this but has her own barb – pain affects judgement and, also, people who want quick answers tend to cut corners. Oooh Angie, you’re beginning to grow on me you are.

Mike is busy with his personal life and goes to see an increasingly irritated Frances. She doesn’t understand Mike’s issues, Kirsty is with Jordan, what’s the problem? Mike says  she doesn’t know what he is which is nicely cryptic so Frances decides she really needs to know what Mike does. But he doesn’t answer, saying she’d have to see it for herself and he hopes she never has to. Which is actually a pretty good answer.

To Jacob’s paper, where he’s now quit apparently. He uses Frances’s technical skills to restore his files and it seems Vaughan is after the same man – because he’s been researching thyroid cancer patients. Frances manages to recover all of his files but Mike tells Vaughan that they didn’t get anything and they leave.

Harman decides to banter with the vampire, asking him about his travels in South America – whicht eh vampire responds with “go see the rainforest before it’s gone, see who the real parasites are.” Score 1 vampire. Harman protests that he thought vampires were beyond nature, vampire responds “we’re all part of the same ecosystem.” Score 2 vampire. Harman scoffs at the idea of humanity making itself extinct and vampire counters that some of the fires in Brazil have burned for years and humans talk about cutting emissions in 20, 30 years, humans live in the now, vampire consider the next 50 years to be “tomorrow.” Score 3 vampire. Harman questions synthetic blood and the vampire says it’d be peace, why would they need to exterminate vampires if they were no threat; Harman says “you exist”. Uh-huh, because that’s a good reason. Score 4 vampire. Harman accuses the vampire of abandoning his humanity to save himself from cancer and the vampire asks who they’re talking about – the vampire or Harman? Score 5 vampire. Harman then flails out and clutches at religion  and the vampire hits back very well, asking what drove Harman to the priesthood – was it vampires? The expression on his face says yes. Has he seen any other indication of god? Again, face says no. So the vampire presents this little logic trap: Harman doesn’t understand vampires, so they must be evil, if there is evil there must be a god. If vampires aren’t evil… then what is Harman doing as a priest? Score 97786557658 Vampire. Priest should leave interviews to Dr. Angela.

Mike and Vaughan continue their investigation and Vaughan can tell there’s something up with Mike. They go to Jordan’s place to search it (Jordan is still hiding with Kirsty and she’s making little comments like “why don’t you ever smell, how do you find time to shower” to remind us what he is – that and him zoning in on Kirsty’s neck. He asks Kirsty if she trust him and the answer’s clearly no – she trusted Jack and Mike). There Mike finds Kirsty’s dressing gown and has a sad moment. They also find a file he has on Mike (old stuff – and Mike denies knowing what set Jordan onto Mike) and a video tape.

Back to the HQ where they watch the tape and see it is footage of forest fires, cutting and burning, Indonesia this time but there are others of Brazil. They connect them to a green conference in Rio in 92.

Kirsty is still suspicious  and, with Jordan gone, checks his lap top but can’t get past the password. She goes to the empty security guard’s seat and checks the CCTV but sees the place empty – except for one person sat in a car in the garage, apparently alone. She goes to investigate – and finds Jordan sat next to the man, sucking on his neck. He jerks away when she arrives and the man he was drinking from slumps, there’s blood around his mouth. He gets out the car, she runs screaming. He chases her, catches her and everything goes black.

She wakes when a man touches her shoulder asking if she’s ok. It’s the security guard and the man who she saw Jordan feeding from. She stares at his neck but there’s not a mark on it. The security guard says Jordan is around and he doesn’t mind Jordan hiding out if he has to (the vampireness may have something to do with that) but her wandering around tripping alarms is going to cause problems. The guard leaves and Jordan appears to point out the guard is fine, he doesn’t take much and it doesn’t hurt (so he’s not going with the “you dreamed it” excuse). He also adds if she’s that terrified she can leave, he won’t stop her and she’ll never see him again. Just like Jack – which is why Michael killed him by the way. Oh that got her attention.

Kirsty asked who did it to him, but he points out vampires consent to change. She says he can’t be the same so he says go home then, Mike was right to kill your husband. She asks what jack would have done and he  says Jack would have invited her to join him if she wanted but she never got the choice.

Back at HQ, Harman, sore for being beaten in rhetoric, has the vampire restrained so they can get on with that wide-awake-and-alive autopsy. Angela holding the knife, which gives the vampire a lot of time to point out they accuse the vampires of losing their humanity but look at what Angela is doing. She tries to draw blood, but only gets air.

Dark Angel Season 2, Episode 12: Borrowed Time

 Crash, the gangs all there and Logan manages to beat Alec at pool (trick shots vs Manticore genes) – everyone’s having fun, until Max and Logan get a little too close when they celebrate his victory. Time for angst about the lethal Manticore virus of Nohumpitis. Logan runs to wash his hands quickly and Max falls into another funk.

Elsewhere, in a junk yard, a man who makes his living running the place and trying to scrounge off the junk is disturbed by a loud noise – and something vaguely reptilian and very large moving round – which spits some kind of sticky gunk into his face.

At Joshua’s, Max has another round of studying the painting and the notes to cure the virus and, thanks to some painted squiggles, has a eureka moment. Taking it to her expert he says she’s wrong – but not far of and it could work. All he needs is a blood and $20,000. And, of course, Max can never haggle

Instead she decides to “make a deal with the devil” and invite Alec on a little stealing venture to life the last footage of Star Trek Episode 7. Alec loves to poke her about it and the times she lectures him about being a thief and wants to know what her convenient excuse for why this is ok is (artistic expression! Which is a good one).

Of course the plan doesn’t quite work out and they end up being stuck for an hour waiting for a guard’s shift change with Alec’s constant banter (“I’ve been stuck in here for an hour to facilitate you having sex”) and his shock and horror that they’re going through all this and Max and Logan haven’t even had sex before despite knowing each other for a year.

It works and they get the money and Max gets the cure… except it’s not perfect. Manticore viruses aren’t so easily destroyed – it mutates and begins eating through the neutralising coating. She’s virus free, but only for 12 hours.

She hurries to Logan to tell him the good news. After a brief period of considering the ramifications they decide to make the most of it. But Max doesn’t just want some quickie and they open a bottle of wine and get steadily more nervous. Guys, 2 seasons of sexual tension. Two seasons we’ve had to watch this unrequited love and they’re not getting it on.

Cut to the bar where Alec and Asha are doing shots in Max and Logan’s honour. She is considering all the wonderful romance Logan will do – food, candles, wine; while Alec is pointing out that 2 years of unrequited unbridled passion and you spend your time eating pasta? For once, I’m actually team Alec. They continue to analyse Max and Logan’s relationship she on the romance and he mocking both of them for not making any real moves to get what they want when they had the chance. When he wants someone he lets them know – followed by “Asha, I want you. Come home with me.” Sounds like a corny pick up line – but when you look like Jensen Ackles you probably don’t need better.

Meanwhile Joshua smells something and goes and tracks down the reptilian slim beast that’s been taking people. He manages to get into a tussel with the beast an innocent bystander and the cameraman (who may also have been drunk.) This ends with the bystander being taken and Joshua being a little slimed.

Joshua runs to Max and Logan, interrupting their perfect day, to tell her that the Gossamer (monster has a name) is out and it needs to be stopped. Now. Because it’s hurting people. Max is not amused.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Back in Black (Black Knight Chronicles #2) by John G Hartness

 James and Greg have been called in by Sabrina for another case – gay men across the city are being brutally beaten and left for dead. One of them Sabrina’s own cousin and something supernatural is implicated.

But as they investigate, the story opens up a whole new development – they’re not dealing with men being attacked. They’re dealing with fairies (yeah, I’ve tried re-writing that about a dozen times and there’s absolutely no way to say it without making the implications glaring) and it’s an investigation that takes them to the realm of faerie itself.

Where they learn just how little they know not only about fairyland (and the dragon, fae and other beings within) but also about what it truly means to be a vampire. They have a lot more to learn

And they have trolls to fight – with swords, illegal gambling rings to break up and an angry Lilith to placate.

This is rapidly shaping up to be one of those series I gleefully like even though I can’t 100% say why. It’s not complex or deep- or full of nuance, but it’s fun fun fun. Did I mention fun? Because it’s fun. It has a lot of humour and a lot of irreverence and no-one taqkes themselves too seriously even when handling very serious matters. The characters bounce off each other extremely well, have some very good friendships that feels believable and they live.

I think that’s part of what makes this series so fun for me is that James and Greg, in their geekiness, with their hobbies, with their often fumbling ineptitude and general flailing around as vampires  feel like real people. Flawed, natural people. And, like in the first book, they’re also a wonderful example of vampires that aren’t MUAHAHAHA evil or moping, angsting and hating themselves. They’re not even the borderline-evil-oh-so-dangerous-but-oh-so-sexy vampire on the path to redemption. They can be sad – and Greg even has realistic, difficult struggles with his hunger and a major set back on having to feed from a human is a really good, well done example of that. But that’s it, they’re sad and troubled – they’re not being epicly tortured or screaming poetry at the moon.

That realism also follows in their work as detectives and with Sabrina. We actually have a cop who DOESN’T carry a set of lock picks and considers breaking an entering to be an actual crime that law enforcement should avoid! This makes her almost unique in detective fiction. There’s a lot of nitty gritty and unpleasantness unglossed over – like the fact if you die your pet cat will probably eat your face.

The world building has greatly expanded in this book and here I think there is a problem – and this is a problem that bleeds over into the story. This is the second book in the series and so far we have been treated to demons, immortal succubi, fallen angels, vampires, witches, fae of various kinds, demons and now entire faerie realms. I’m left feeling this is too much – this series is too young and not established enough to not just HAVE all these different creatures, but have stories that integrally include them. I think we could have used a book or even 2 of more mundane topics and more gradual introduction.

The world building itself was well done – and it melded nicely with the pacing of the book and generally wasn’t a problem. But I do think the journey to fairy land was a bit non-sequiter-ish, even with the fae being a topic it felt jarring and rather alien to the story, possibly intentionally. And when we reached the fairy elements, the detective elements just fell apart, it completely changed the tone of the book and not only removed the detective elements, but rendered their detective investigation somewhat moot. Which is a shame, because it’s one of the strengths of this book –not going to the fairy queen, accepting  a quest so she will hand over the answers, but tracking down clues and leads and good old mundane (but vampire enhanced) detective work. It became less a detective book and more an action novel.

Ultraviolet Season 1 Episode 5: Terra Incognita

 A man trying to enter the country from Brazil at an airport passes customs, but is stopped when they notice he is bleeding from his ears. A doctor is called to examine him, and finds a bloody bite on his throat, while the woman he flew in with calls someone waiting in the hospital.

Mike, desperate about Kirsty and her journalist, approaches Frances and asks her to get Kirsty to stop it. Frances refuses – why would Kirsty listen to her, she’s a grown woman and can make her own choices and, besides, Mike’s the one who joined the secret squirrels, it’s his job to handle things like this. She makes a very convincing argument – and that’s aside from the fact Frances doesn’t like Kirsty and is an ex of Mike’s so doesn’t really owe either of them anything.

Back to work and the man is in a hospital bed, with Angela She-who-has-never-heard-of-medical-ethics hovering over his bedside like an especially hygienic vulture. She confirms to Father Kill-them-all-and-let-god-sort-it-out Harman that it’s Code 5 (or V if you going by the Roman numerals we-must-not-say-vampire-ever) and it’s a visible wound because the man has a non-contagious haemorrhagic fever that makes him bleed from any vulnerable spots, even if invisible. More confusingly, his sister asked for Angela by name as an expert for his condition; but she isn’t, not for haemorrhagic fever anyway.

While Vaughan and Mike search through their bags, Harman and Angela interview his sister, Maria. Harman begins in Portuguese before she asks if he speaks English. She says her brother’s condition is sickle cell anaemia and she wants to see Dr. March – Harman gestures to Angela, but she’s looking for a male Dr. March, Angela’s dead husband. This confuses Maria, because she’s sure he’s still alive.

Angela insists the man can’t have sickle cell anaemia, that wouldn’t cause this bleeding. Maria blames the blood transfusions he’s been having but Angela insists that’s impossible and there’s no way a transfusion would have cured sickle cell anaemia, quite agitated and a little patronising, Maria fires back that she has lived with Aguinaldo’s illness all his life, she knows what she’s talking about. She said the transfusions cured him but then he began to bleed.

Harman asks about the bite wound on his neck but she’s silent about it. Angela asks what “they” said about her husband and Harman virtually drags her out of the room. She starts to argue with him but a bored nurse informs her that Aguinaldo is bleeding again and she’s called away

Vaughan and Mike have a conversation about sickle cell anaemia, what it does and how it’s more prevalent in Black people and that it was Angela’s husband’s specialty before the vampires targeted him (probably why they targeted him since they’re interested in blood disorders).  After interviewing the flight crew they learn that the plane was delayed for an emergency cargo of medical supplies.  They arrive in the cargo area just as the truck drives off – with the man Maria was talking to in the passenger seat. Mike tears off after him while Vaughan calls for a helicopter and a road block and checks out the medical supply box they’ve left behind. Inside is something that looks a lot like a metal coffin.

Inside, Angela notices not just the bite but a lump on Aguinaldo’s back which, when pressed, bleeds profusely. Harman continues to interview Maria learning that she was told that Dr. March would not help them because he didn’t do charity but she was sure if she could meet him in person and make him see Aguinaldo there would be no way he’d say no. She had to leave Brazil in a hurry, buying tickets at the airport, so doesn’t even know where Dr. March is. Angela returns to tell maria about Aguinaldo’s health (with the same bedside manner you’d expect from an axe murderer) – and Harman sends her out again; which doesn’t make her a happy bunny.

She returns to Aguinaldo and outs him under and ultraviolet light, revealing dozens of bite wounds.

Vaughan notices the clock on the side of the big metal coffin that seems to be counting down to sunset and after x-raying it and confirming “organs for transplant” he clears out the warehouse and has it moved to a secure facility where men with guns can stare at it. Meanwhile Mike calls off the roadblock so he and his helicopter and his van full of soldiers can see where the other coffins are being delivered.

Vaughan checks on Angela who is frustrated by Aguinaldo’s condition (and I have to give kudos to Angela for, when Vaughan asks what Harman thinks, “stigmata for all I know” and a comment on how she’s not going to ask him for his medical opinion.) And to confuse things Aguinaldo’s medical history does show severe sickle cell anaemia which he’s now cured of and his haemorrhagic fever is undetectable.

As an added complication, Maria is getting impatient, frustrated that she’s not being allowed to see her brother or Angela now, she doubts even whether Harman is a priest and demands to go. Harman has Vaughan take her where she wants to go in the hope she will confide in him.

Being Human US, Season 3, Episode 6: What's Blood Got to Do with It?

Max and Sally are being sickeningly sweet in the kitchen and committing the capital crime of stopping the very awkward Josh getting to the coffee. They’re lucky, people stood between me and coffee in a morning better be wearing heavy plate armour, Kevlar and a hazmat suit. However things are made better by the awesome French toast he made, it even distracts Aidan from the question of going into work when Kenny knows he’s a vampire. Then Teen Wolfgirl joins the party and it’s a very busy – but very fun kitchen (yes they do work well together).

Until Sally’s brother, Robby, knocks at the door. Turns out he’s their new landlord since his dad owns it after the last owners (his sister and her husband) died. I did actually wonder what the legal chain was here or whether the house just magically became theirs. He’s taken a while to get in touch because he’s just got back to Boston and he’s going to take over from the management company his father had managing things. They discourage him from taking a look around by talking some kind of death stink – but he asks them to write the rent cheques to him, or even pay in cash. Uh-huh

Sally tells Max never to mention her to her brother, pretend he never knew her, pretend she’s not in town etc – which rather confuses Max. Then they get to talk it out, the three of them. Turns out Robby had some problems in the past, but they’re hoping he’s over that (yeah, I’m thinking “just give me cash” means no, personally and Sally advises them to lock up their valuables) after a brief discussion of Sally’s family issues. But they’re more concerned by the fact he will be coming back to make repairs – repairs the house very much needs. Everyone talks at the same time and everyone’s issues build on each other. Josh suggests fixing the whole place up so there’s no reason for the landlord to visit, Sally’s worried about having to leave so she doesn’t kill her brother and Aiden is still worried about Kenny and the vampire thing

(Can’t they demand 24 hours notice before their landlord barges in?)

To the hospital, Aidan’s at work (what, he wasn’t going to go to work until Sally had an issue he could run from?) and he tries to act nervously normal around Kenny. Amazingly, this doesn’t work. Aiden tries to play the “hypothetically, why don’t I just kill you” but Kenny has decided Aidan isn’t evil. And offers to feed him.

After much begging, Kenny finally convinces Aidan to reveal some information. Confirming his age (260, not a thousand thank you) and, no, he doesn’t sparkle in sunlight. He claims there is nothing glamorous about being a vampire (except eternal youth which you just revealed, Aidan) and he explains the virus and why Kenny’s blood is special. Kenny, again, offers his blood. He adds a rather good line that he doesn’t meet many cool people, undead or otherwise being isolated – and he didn’t want to lose one of his few friends because he was “too proud to accept a favour.” He accepts, “just a little” and Kenny asks the inevitable – how do you become a vampire.

Time for a flashback, uniforms, accents and al. He’s a soldier during the revolutionary war, with a good friend who discovers a body with wounds on his neck – and Bishop all black eyed and fangy and super fast. He briefly panics before deciding to follow the blurring Bishop. He stabs him with a bayonet, twice, which doesn’t do an awful lot. He keeps trying though, while Bishop praises his courage and dances around him easily. After taking his gun off him, Bishop offers his sword to try again. That doesn’t go well either. After much talking and threatening and self-sacrifice Bishop finally offers to turn Aidan. Aidan initially refuses – but agrees if Bishop will spare his men.

After the flashback this is followed up by a lot more questions until Aidan turns it round and asks lots of annoying “bubble boy” questions in response (argh don’t draw comparisons between a real world annoyance disabled people face and the vampire’s irritation). And the predictable happens – Kenny asks to be turned into a vampire.

Time for another flashback. Aidan waking up as a vampire and being overwhelmed by his amazing vampire senses (this bit was really well done). Bishop greets him with a “have you ever felt more alive” but Aidan is determined to return to his men and his life. Bishop warns against it, but Aidan insists. He goes back and runs into his friend – who is wounded and has blood on his shirt – dinner time!

Kenny persists in asking and Aidan warns him that he will have to leave everyone he loves behind. Kenny counters with the fact when he turns 18, he’s leaving even if it kills him, whether he’s a vampire or not, because living in the isolation box isn’t living.

Flashback again, Aidan is angry at Bishop for not stopping him and Bishop says he had to know why he couldn’t go back. And that it’s a mistake he will make over and over again over eternity – which is when a soldier shows up just ripe for snacking on.

Back at home, Josh is showing Teen Wolf his utter failure of parenting skills by laying down a strongly worded, grossly unflexible and attacking ultimatum about where and when Teen Wolf may change. I think part of it stems from his resentment of her dismissing his expertise since he’s an ex-wolf but it’s still heavy handed. At least he realises it and ends his rant with “and I’ve turned into my mother.”

Later he lectures Erin about reading his werewolf notes in more hectoring style until Aidan intervenes, invites erin to check out his records while trying to talk some sense into Josh and delicately invites him to “care a little bit less.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

City of Promise by Dawn Prough

City of Promise is set in the year 2063.  Humanity is aware that they share the planet with vampires and instead of cowering in fear, humans are actively hunting vampires down and killing them.  There is a tiny vampire population left and they reside in the metropolis of Gideon.  Gideon is "built on pillars rising from the ocean on the Atlantic ridge," and is governed by scientists. The laws governing Gideon squarely favour humans and vampires live as second-class citizens.  Misty Suval lives in government housing unit and obtains blood through Gideon's work for blood program.  Diving deep into the ocean to do maintenance work for Gideon, Misty stumbles across a dead body and from that moment on, her life is destined to change.  When she meets an injured Li and brings home for the day, she does not realise that her decision to shelter this human will mean dragging her into the underworld of Gideon.

Many of the characters in City of Promise are of colour and this is something I greatly appreciated because erasure is far too common in this genre. Though the world Prough created was multi-racial, none of the characters experienced any form of oppression based in their race.  The only oppression discussed in City of Promise is that which is aimed at vampires. The problem with this is that unlike real marginalized people, humanity has every reason to attempt to control vampires - we are after all their food.  Even a futuristic setting is not enough to justify the erasure of the oppression that marginalized people face, to instead make a false oppression so central to the plot.

Despite the unique setting, Prough still fell prey to the dead parents trope.  We don't know anything really about Misty's human family, but we do know that her vampire sires are dead.  In many ways, their death seemed to be the only way in which Misty's character expressed any depth.  Beyond missing her dead sires, and Misty's vampire instincts, she really is an empty character.  I did however like Misty's comfort with her body and her absolute refusal to starve herself in order to loose a couple of dress sizes.  Misty is fit but she is not model skinny and I like that an average size protagonist is comfortable in the skin that she is in.

Lost Girl Season Three, Episode Six: The Kenzi Scale

Bo has Faux Kenzi by the hair in the Dahl and tells Trick that the person she is holding is not Kenzi.  Trick calls Dyson over who announces that the bar is closed and drags Bo off of Kenzi.  Trick asks what happened and Kenzi says that Bo is killing again. Kenzi says that she is just trying to help her. In the meantime, Tamsin is hovering in the background.Trick asks how Bo knows that this is not Kenzi and Bo replies, "Trick, when I told her that I might be killing again, she didn't care. I am telling you that this is not Kenzi." Trick says, "put her in holding" and Tamsin and Dyson grab Bo. Bo is shocked because she thought he was talking about Kenzi.

Tamsin, Dyson and Trick are in the bar together and Trick says that Lauren should be there soon. Tamsin is not impressed and asks, "how many more fae have to die before you wake up?" Dyson says that Bo is not a killer but Tamsin wants to take Bo to the dark fae compound.  Trick says that Bo is going to stay there until they figure out what is going on. "Lauren will be here any minute and then she will run some tests. Until then, we keep Bo safe," Trick adds.  Tamsin leans in threateningly and asks, "who died and made you king?" Trick replies, "no one and as the proprietor of this way station, I have the right to declare sanctuary." Tamsin slams her hand on the table in frustration and walks off.

Dyson approaches Kenzi and asks if she is okay. Dyson assures Kenzi that Bo didn't mean it and that she is just sick or something.  Kenzi says that she is freaking out and that Bo is her best friend. They are interrupted by Trick who is upset and accuses Dyson of not looking out for Bo and protecting her. When Dyson says he has been, Trick asks how long he has suspected that Bo has been killing again.  Dyson admits to finding two bodies in the last two weeks and that they believe they might be succubus feeds but are not sure.  Trick tells him that his job is tell him what happens and that his job has always been to watch over Bo. Trick adds, "I thought I chose wisely, maybe I was wrong."

Tamsin is now sitting at the bar with Kenzi and says, "so sorry your friend turned crazy psycho bitch." Kenzi replies, "you're so not." Tamsin wants to know if if Bo confessed and Kenzi says that it was just another crazy sex game gone wrong and that it happens if you're a succubus. Tamsin points out that earlier Kenzi gave Bo an alibi and Kenzi says, "earlier I wasn't scared for my life." Tamsin says "that it must be horrible to hear your friend say all of those things," and Kenzi replies, "best friends fight." Kenzi admits that she doesn't like Tamsin because she has been trying to put her BFF in jail forever and leaves saying that she is going to get a care package together for Bo.

Bo is locked into a cell when Lauren enters and asks for a sample of her hair. Bo is shocked and says that Lauren needs to help her get out of here. Lauren says that she is sorry and Bo replies that Kenzi is out there somewhere and could be really hurt. Lauren again pleads to take a sample, because this is the only way she knows how to help Bo.  Bo asks how Lauren cannot believe her but Lauren says that she is acting crazy and Bo again says that Kenzi is missing. Finally, Bo asks if Lauren is scared of her and Lauren tells her that she is sick and that she can help her. Lauren reaches in and plucks a hair as Bo says, "I will never forgive you for this." Lauren replies, "I hope that's not true. Everything is going to be okay baby." Bo affirms this and adds just as soon as she gets out of there and figures out what happened to Kenzi. Lauren asks for some time and Bo says sure, but if Kenzi dies that it's on her.

The real Kenzi meets the fake Kenzi and she says, "if you're going to rip off my look, at least respect the Kenzi brand.'  The fake Kenzi holds out and earring and says bon appetite. The real Kenzi says that she cannot eat and earring and that she is starving. Fake Kenzi replies, "call me crazy but eating everyday is a bit much. Which reminds me, what kind of ice cream does Bo like." Real Kenzi orders her to stay away from Bo, but fake Kenzi says that she is just trying to help and that besties aren't supposed to have secrets. Real Kenzi says that they don't have any secrets, so Fake Kenzi asks why she couldn't tell Bo about her rash. It turns out that the fake Kenzi gave the rash to the real Kenzi. Fake Kenzi says that she was like fae.  Real Kenzi says that Dyson can smell fae and that he will save her. Fake Kenzi calls her a sad silly girl and adds that her friends don't even know she is missing.

Fake Kenzi goes to see Bo who asks what is that smell? Fake Kenzi holds out some coconut ice cream and says that she will leave it to the side for later.  Bo stands and says that she has changed her mind and Fake Kenzi trots over with a spoon of ice cream. Bo uses her powers and suggests that they should get the Real Kenzi and that everything will be forgiven.  Bo asks to be let out and Fake Kenzi says that they don't need the real Kenzi anymore. Bo points out that real Kenzi knows she doesn't like coconut ice cream and this is proof that the real Kenzi is alive.Fake Kenzi pulls away and starts smacking her head and says, "none of you will be my friend. Why does this keep happening." Bo suggests it is because Fake Kenzi is completely insane. Fake Kenzi counters by reminding Bo that she is the one locked up. Fake Kenzi tells Bo to take a good look and adds that this is the last time she will see Kenzi's face, before growling and revealing short pointed teeth.

When Dyson walks in, Fake Kenzi rushes over to him and says that Bo has gone "complete Hannibal Lector." Bo tells Dyson to look at Kenzi but he doesn't see anything different, and escorts Kenzi out.

Tamsin hops into The Morrigan's car and The Morrigan says that she heard all about Bo's flip out at The Dahl. The Morrigan says that she wants to see Bo strung up and executed and that the dark fae that she has fed on, who is still unconscious, will prove that Bo's appetite has become unmanageable. The Morrigan reminds Tamsin that she is a Valkyrie and orders her to wake up the dark fae, so that he can identify Bo. Tamsin points out that this will turn him into a vegetable for the rest of his life but The Morrigan replies, "don't grow a conscience on me now. I read your rap sheet and this little errand is right in your wheelhouse." Tamsin replies that The Morrigan gives her too much credit. The Morrigan says, "I hope you haven't fallen in love with your happy sunshine gang in your exchange program with the light."  Tamsin replies in anger that she is not one of them, so The Morrigan reminds Tamsin that her loyalties lie with her.

Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 14: Manhattan

 Fairy Land Past
Way back in the past – with Rumplestiltskin, pre-dark one days coming home to his wife Mila to celebrate being called to the front in the Ogre War. He’s thrilled, she most certainly is not, but he’s looking forward to the chance to get away from his father’s reputation of cowardice.

At the army camp Rumple is left guarding a prisoner who could turn the tide of the war. Despite being warned it’s a tricky beast, when it calls his name he opens the covers on its cage and sees a child with her eyes sewn shut. She says she’s a seer, who sees all and shows him the eyes in the palms of her hands. She tells him some of his past to convince him of her powers and that she can see the future. She tells him that his wife is pregnant but because of his actions in the battle tomorrow, the child will be fatherless. Rumple assumes this means he’s going to die – but denies her vision. She says he’ll know it’s true when the enemy drives cows into battle.

Later he sees casualties coming back from the front and a fellow soldier remarks how lucky they are. Rumple doesn’t see how severely injured men are lucky and the soldier says they’re alive and too injured to fight – so they’ll live, unlike them. And they’re riding into battle the next day – on cows. Which is what they call saddles. Rumple panics, he realises it’s all true, he’s going to have a son and he’s going to die (well, not quite). In panic, he hits his own leg with a very heavy hammer (the source of his limp it seems) to have an injury.

He hobbles home to see Mila and her baby – but she’s already heard the rumours that he inflicted his own injury. She accuses him of being a coward like his father but he protests about the seer and him doing it so he wouldn’t abandon his child like his father did. She says growing up as his son will be worst than growing up without a father

Much later, Rumplestiltskin, the Dark One, seeks out the Seer where he explains “yes my actions on the battlefield led to my son being fatherless but it would have been nice to know all the pesky details.” The seer (after a bit of magical throttling) tells Rumple he will find his son again. She tells him it’ll take a powerful curse  that he won’t cast or break. He says the information’s not good enough and makes with the strangling again. She tells him if he wants to see the path, he must take her burden, her powers from her. He does but as the power enters him he complains that he can’t see anything, it’s too much, it’s overwhelming. The seer tells him it will take time for him to be able to sort the images, what can be from what will be. He realises it is a curse, it is a torment. As a last gesture to him for taking her power she says he will be reunited with his son because a young boy will lead Rumple to him. But the boy is more than what he seems, and the boy will be his undoing.

Rumple shrugs over her body and declares “then I’ll just have to kill him.”

Real World Present
Rumple, Emma and Henry arrive in New York City and finding Rumple’s son’s home – though Rumple is extremely nervous and, as Emma puts it, Bale isn’t expecting them. But Emma has several kinds of tricks for identifying the right apartment and then calling up pretending to be UPS – which sends him running. As he runs down the fire escape, Rumple turns to Emma and tells her this is the favour – he can’t run, she needs to get him to talk to Rumple. There’s a quick foot race, but Emma sneaks through shortcuts and heads him off. The man… is Emma’s old boyfriend, Neal. Henry’s father. (C’mon, you knew that was coming, right?)

Emma realises the man she fell in love with was from fairy land and believes they played him – and starts to rather reasonably panic. He’s furious that she brought Rumple but she has the perfect come back “I am the only one allowed to be angry here!” amen to that Emma, no turning this one around and she starts ripping into him with questions about how much he knew, did he plan the whole thing, was it all fake and where is she going to bury his body (well not the last one but I think it’s an option).

Meanwhile, Rumple and Henry have a nice little (dare I say grandfatherly?) moment

In a bar Bale/Neal explains things to Emma, how he didn’t know who she was (massive coincidence) until August told him. Which doesn’t help Emma who has yet another awesome line “you left me because Pinocchio told you to?!” Well, when you put it like THAT. She has a sudden thought that Rumple was behind their meeting but Bale, who is not his father’s biggest fan, denies that since them meeting nearly stopped Emma breaking the curse, which is everything Rumple wouldn’t have wanted. It goes down to fate. He claims fate and that maybe something good came of it – she says no, not mentioning Henry, and she’s over him. He points out she’s wearing the keychain he got her as a necklace; she takes it off and gives it to him. Oh and she made a deal with Rumple to make Bale talk to him, he asks her to say she never saw him.

Being Human (UK) Season Five, Episode Three: Pie and Prejudice

Nine months in the past, Larry Crysler is busy doing the evening news and is not pleased with the performance of his support staff.  He walks out into the parking lot and drops something as he is standing behind his car, when a shadowy figure attacks him and scratches him. Clearly he has been attacked by a werewolf.

Tom and Hal are back at work and Tom is complaining because Hal has been made acting manager. Hal believes it's temporary until Patsy returns but Tom is not in the least bit calmed by this and says that until Patsy returns, Hal will be giving him orders. Tom threatens to walk out and reminds Hal that it's the full moon but Hal says that he cannot walk out because he has already scheduled him the night out.  Larry Crysler walks in and interrupts their conversation and asks about lighting choice because it seems that he has a speaking engagement there that night. Larry begins doing his speech.

Larry is using the bathroom and Hal approaches and introduces himself.   Tom asks for an autograph and says that it's great that Larry is famous.

Dominic smashes a radio after listening to the secretary of state talking about cuts. Clearly, the man is still very much unhinged. 

Back at home, Tom tells Alex that Hal has a girlfriend and then clarifies to say that Hal is visiting a girl.  Hal says that it's simply an acquaintance, nothing more. Alex says, "an acquaintance with the Lady Mary, surely that's prison slang." Tom reminds Hal that he is not to hang around anyone with fangs but Hal assures Tom that the Lady Mary is a ghost who died some years ago. Alex is surprised that Hal knows another female ghost and suggests that the two would get along.  Hal is not keen on this and calls Lady Mary fragile and suggests that Alex is capable of corrupting Keith Richards.

Hal is visiting with Lady Mary, when Alex appears and introduces herself. Hal quickly drags her away and she says that she has no one to talk to about ghost stuff.  Hal reluctantly introduces Alex. Lady Mary assumes that Hal and Alex are a couple but Alex and Hal make it clear very quickly that there is nothing between them.  Hal apologizes for Alex and she replies that Alex has a boisterous charm and that she wishes her finishing school was still open.  The Lady Mary quickly dismisses Hal and sets about chatting with Alex.  As soon as Hal is gone, the Lady Mary drops her 18th century persona and says that it bores her to death.

Back at the hotel Larry Crysler is busy taking food off of the tables.  Hal approaches and says that he thought Larry would be leaving today but Larry replies that his management company negotiated for him to stay there for a week. Hal asks if Larry is going out tonight and then informs him that he is to vacate his room by tomorrow morning, as Larry continues to pack food.

The Lady Mary and Alex head off to a club and Alex says that she and Hal had a date once and then it didn't go to well. The Lady Mary keeps touching people's heads so that she can read their minds. Alex points out that Lady Mary has clearly changed over the years.  Lady Mary says that she reads, watches tv, and has tried to keep up with the world. Lady Mary instigates a fight between two patrons as Alex watches.

Larry is coming down the stairs when he runs into Tom.

Back at the club, Mary is touching people who are in the bathroom having sex.  She encourages Alex to join saying that she is going to miss it but Alex says no thanks.  When the man starts to orgasm, so does Lady Mary.

The next morning, Larry returns wearing a dress and he claims to have had a crazy night but Tom tells him that he is a werewolf as well.  Tom says that though he is a werewolf that he has never been anywhere posh like Larry.  Tom lets it slip that he lives in a house with people and Larry wants to know if the people know what they are. When Tom says yes, Larry begins to chatter about the secret to his success and then asks how big the house he lives in is.

Hal is working on a puzzle, when Alex tells him that they need to have a conversation about Mary.  When Hal reminds Alex that he told her that Mary would be dull, Alex replies, "dull is not the word I would use, crazy sort of bat shit shocking is more the flavour. Mary is not the person you think she is. The whole posh totty thing is just an act." Hal asks why on earth Mary would do this and Alex replies, "I don't know and I don't care but what I'm worried about is the fact that she has been stuck her for two hundred years and it's turned her into a total frothing lune. Is that what's going to happen to me?"  Hal assures Alex that even if she doesn't pass over for awhile, he is certain that she will cope with it because Alex and Mary are completely different people. Alex points out that Mary had a thing with Hal died and then got stuck there as a ghost.

Larry shows up at the apartment and Tom introduces him to everyone as a werewolf.  Tom says that Larry is going to teach him how to become a successful werewolf and asks Hal how he feels about that. Larry asks if Hal is a werewolf as well and Hal says that he is a vampire and Alex says that she is a ghost. Larry doesn't take this seriously and believes that Hal is joking. Why in the world he would have trouble believing in ghosts when he himself is a werewolf is beyond me. When Alex points out that Larry brought along a suitcase, Larry says that he's tutoring can be extensive and that he thought that rather than go back and forth, he would just stay there for awhile. Hal says, "great the more the merrier," but Tom jumps in and says, "you're not the boss of me here. I can do what I want."

Upstairs Larry hands Tom a book and tells him that this is his new bible.  Hal talks about how he and McNair were never really separated and that McNair protected him from the world. Larry then takes off his suit and hands it to Tom, saying that the clothes make the man.  Larry then asks Tom to lend him one hundred and fifty pounds because he has a cash flow problem and Tom agrees to help, though he makes it clear that it's just a loan.

Tom shows up at work in Larry's jacket and tells Hal that is there to congratulate him on his new position as manager.  Tom pulls a card out of his pocket, which says Tom McNair inc, and Hal points out that there should be a phone number or an email on it. Tom takes it back and says that he will call Hal and adds that there is a new player in town. Tom then walks off and starts to shmoose with people.  Back in the car,  Larry instructs Tom to bash in the car window of a BMW. It seems that the car now belongs to Larry's ex wife and he is bitter about how the relationship ended and the divorce settlement which saw most of Larry's assets get transferred to her. When Tom resists, Larry suggests that he is pushing Tom to fast and then sends Tom to let the air out of all of the tires.

Lady Mary and Alex are talking about her life.  Mary says that she goes off and has adventures and then makes sure that she is back on time for Hal. Alex asks about Mary's unfinished business and Mary says that it's all sorted out and that she has had loads of doors appear, she just turns them all down. When Alex asks why, Mary says that Hal needs her though he has Alex and others, she and Hal have something special. Mary believes that Hal seeing her, keeps Hal clean because she was his last victim. Alex asks if this is what Hal told her and then quickly adds that it's not her business and that all of these lies are not healthy.  Alex suggests that Mary tell Hal who she really is and Mary asks what if Hal doesn't like the new her.  Alex then suggests that Mary come with her to see her world.