Saturday, August 3, 2013

Almighty Johnsons, Season 3, Episode 5: Unleash the Kraken

Wrestling Johnson’s brothers! But only Ty’s shirtless. And there’s no oil anywhere.  But Ty has leather trousers and Olaf is dressed as an octopus

*ahem* No, the octopus broke it for me, alas.

Rather than explaining that we’re going to do that very very very annoying TV trick and skip to 15 hours earlier where Mike has just come face to face with his long disappeared father who is having noisy sex with Michele’s mother

And you thought your family reunions were awkward.

Daddy (Joe) tries to weasel his way out of actually talking to his son (who he hasn’t seen for 15 years. Nice man). Joe uses his nature – as Njord, god of the sea – as an excuse for walking out on his family. Bonus points, Joe didn’t realise that Karen and Michele were goddesses. Karen (Lofn) takes this as an opportunity for some ocean-based innuendo I shall have to hook out of my brain with a needle later. Michele and Mike are heavily traumatised.

At Axl’s flat, Ty is moving out as he’s found a flat of his own – only big enough for him. Ingrid lays on a little bit of a guilt trip over that. Axl assures Ingrid she can keep crashing there while Zeb is rather sharp about the lack of rent – since he’s the one whose name is on the lease, he’s the one who gets grief when the rent is due and he’s found a new flatmate who will pay rent. Well, kind of – though Axl’s not going to like it. Apparently the new flatemate is Amelia Tennant.

Who? Apparently an old friend of Axl’s – a friend who performed oral sex on him while she was dressed as Princess Leia and he was dressed as… I have absolutely no idea. Either way Axl is adamantly against her because she is, in his words a “psycho nutbar.” Which sounds like an ableist breakfast cereal, or possibly a knife-shaped granola bar. Zeb doesn’t agree with this summation.

Back at Michele’s flat, Joe has made everyone an amazing breakfast – but Mike still challenges Joe about the 15 years of no contact but Joe explains it away with being at sea – and Mike even seems to buy it. With the apparent peace, Karen decides they absolutely must have Johnson reunion BBQ party at the flat – and it should be fancy dress. This sounds horrific, Michele agrees – but it’s too late – the power of Lofn, party organiser and matchmaker of the gods, she decides to throw a party, it happens. Anders, Axl and Ty already have invitations, neither are thrilled and both are even less thrilled to hear their dad is in town.

To drive home how little Joe knows about his sons, Mike tells Joe what gods his brothers are (he even forgot Axl was old enough to manifest). Which means he gets the shock of Axl being Odin, just in time for Olaf to call, unable to escape the Lofn call of bad parties, to learn that his son is in town (is it odd that I can see Olaf as Mike’s grandfather but Olaf as Joe’s father breaks my brain?) And Olaf is far more pissed than the brothers – apparently Joe broke Olaf’s one rule and Olaf intends to bring all kinds of hurt down on him; he sounds serious enough to mean it. We even got emotional piano music.

Back at Axl’s, Zeb brings in Amelia – much to Axl’s teeth-gritting annoyance. However she comes with pluses – she works promotion for an alcohol company which means she can pay rent, she comes with free booze, introduction to cute girls and a big screen TV. I think she had Axl at free booze. Poor Ingrid is out, of course.

When alone Axl still takes the chance to tell Amelia he doesn’t trust her and that she’s exploiting Zeb’s desperate crush on her – and we learn that Axl didn’t tell Zeb about the whole Star Wars oral sex moment and he really doesn’t want Zeb to know. And it looks like Amelia is still interested in Axl

Under the Dome, Season 1, Episode 6: the Endless Thirst

At the edge of the Dome people gather to see the utter devastation wrought by the bomb outside – that failed to do anything to the Dome. Norrie meets up with her parents and they leave with Joe as the crowd gets tense, Linda tells Jim about the Rev’s death (not realising Jim killed Coggins) and the bystanders start to voice their worries – shortages happening, people dying and Jim’s authority being questioned. With the Dome now seeming impregnable, Julia worries about them running out of everything. Since Linda can’t find her deputies – or Junior – she gives a badge to Barbie to fill in. Barbie agrees to help – but doesn’t want a badge.

As Alice, Carolyn, Norrie and Joe drive Alice suddenly asks Carolyn to stop the car. She jumps out, hot and confused – and asks when their flight to LA is. Completely unaware of what she’s doing, she walks out into traffic and is nearly hit by a huge truck, it swerves around her and crashes into the water tower. They run over and free the driver from the truck. Linda and Barbie arrive to get the driver to safety and confirm the water tower is broken and they go to check Lake Eastpoint, the main source of water for the town. Alice is sick and confused because she ran out of insulin during the panic over the bomb.

They go to the town clinic, but between Rev Coggin’s destroying the drugs and the town’s usual complement of diabetics, there’s no insulin left. In desperation, Norrie plans to steal insulin from other diabetics to save Alice.

At the radio station, Julia and Phil can’t hear anything except a high pitched whine, the same noise Linda’s police radio made. It’s blocking out all other signals but it’s so strong Phil predicts it must be inside the Dome, not far away – Julia suggests looking for it but Dodee already has it well in hands (really, Julia dropping in on the radio station  and throwing her weight around the competent Phil and Dodee is more than a little silly). Dodee is using a techy thing to find the signal and adds that it started as the missile hit. Julia drives while Dodee directs her – but the signal starts moving

Linda and Barbie head to the lake, talk relationships and Linda assumes Barbie and Julia are an item since there’s strong chemistry behind them – and when they arrive at the lake they find a whole lot of dead fish. They return to Jim with the news – the lake water has been polluted with methane released by the Dome’s appearance. That leads one source of water (unless rain can form under the Dome), the artesian wells that dot the territory including one still flowing on a man called Ollie’s land – a man who was heckling Jim in the crowd earlier.

Angie is still imprisoned by the creepy Junior who talks about looking after her again. She deals with this by hitting him on the head with a snowglobe and making a run for it. She runs through the woods and Junior goes to his dad for help finding her - Junior actually stands up to his dad for once (on this of all things) and blames Jim for letting her go in the first place - but Jim demands Junior find her for fear of her telling the town Junior’s a depraved kidnapper.

Well, if it were ever in doubt, there goes any semblance of Jim’s morality

Jim goes to see Ollie who is not exactly overflowing with charity and holds a 15 year grudge. But Jim has propane – which Ollie desperately needs – to trade, though Ollie does find it a little suspicious that Jim would have so much of what the town would be so short of.

Linda cools down a budding riot at the store as the shop owner is less willing to take cash which is becoming useless and news of the lake being contaminated is spreading more worry and panic. She relies on their goodness to hold them together – but also tries to give Barbie a gun, which he thinks is a really bad idea given how scared everyone is.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rogue Descendant (Nikki Glass #3) by Jenna Black

Nikki wanted to stay out of any further conflict with the Olympians. Konstantin had stepped down, she could now avoid any more fighting. But Anderson wants vengeance – and Nikki to hunt it down for him

She adamantly won’t do that, but when someone starts targeting her life and her family, she feels like she has no choice, especially when innocents begin dying. Of course, the question is who is actually targeting her – and whether they can be stopped without violating the treaty that prevents the more numerous Olympians going to war with Anderson’s Liberi.

I think this book is, in part, meant to give us chance to catch our breath and recover from the big, dramatic game changers that took place in Deadly Descendant and it definitely does that but I’m not sure it’s needed since there already was the novella Pros and Cons in between to help break up the action.

I’m also not entirely sure if the book was supposed to be a slow lead in to more action or if it just came across as a slow lead in and wasn’t really meant to be.

This ambiguity kind of follows me throughout the book. Nikki is being targeted by cruel and terrible unknown forces (well, the Olympians) who are burning down her parents’ home and her own flat! How terribly traumatising and upsetting…. I guess. I mean, I think it would be terribly upsetting and it certainly is for her sister and parents but Nikki? I don’t know, she doesn’t seem all that upset. Is this supposed to be her emotional disconnect to things, or how she’s moved on from these places? I don’t know – it’s kind of left out on a limb and I’m extrapolating her emotional distress more than it actually being portrayed.

Similarly, when she flips from being willing to risk her life and Anderson’s wrath to not be a murderer to accepting the need to hunt down Konstantin. I can see the reasoning, I can follow the reasoning, I agree with the reasoning – but I don’t FEEL the emotional change I would expect

The same applies to Nikki’s growing affection for Jamaal, it just isn’t really sold to me. Surprisingly, his affection for her is really clear and blatantly obvious even when Nikki doesn’t realise it.

I don’t know – is this “show don’t tell” being taken just a little too far? We can infer Nikki’s emotions based on the vague cues and our knowledge of how we’d feel in her shoes but it feels stand-offish for the protagonist.

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 11: Bicycle Thief

Add to the list of things George hates is public transportation which gets George to the Waffle House smelling of oranges. We have another anecdote of someone Daisy had sex with and Mason advises George to steal a car. Rube has a lot of patience; though not so much when Mason starts whining. And rather than stealing a car, Rube pushes the idea of getting a bike.

On to George’s work where she discovers bikes are very expensive and Josh, her co-worker, keeps talking to her; though apparently he saw a job that pays well she may be interested in – which she gets! Rejoice… except Delores who is very very upset about George leaving; George is nice about it but makes an excellent comment about needing a job more “living wageish”.

She may be sorry to see George go but Delores is determined to throw a massive going away party. George tries to stop her, but Delores is determined – and really really angry about George leaving (since she considers Happy Time home), repressed under all those disturbing smiles. George looks around at their colleagues and realises how many of them have personalised their work space and turned it into a little home and co-workers she’s never met before are suddenly really upset that she’s going.

The party begins – and anti-social George instantly hides from her own party and her newest super-duper friend, Stephanie, offers her drugs. And Delores looks awfully jealous. As the party progresses, Josh says how important George must be to get such an amazing party – but George says it’s all Delores so Josh assumes Delores must really care about her – but George says she cares about Happy Time; which Delores over hears and she very pointedly gives George the silent treatment. I think I had a boss like her once.

George tries to get back into Delores’s good books and fails badly – and then realises Stephanie’s casual “look out for each other” statement meant far more in Happy Time, when she finds her under the table tearing up paper looking for… blue and having to save yellow.

After rescuing Stephanie, Delores makes a tearful speech about George leaving.

Daisy’s Reap is a tortured artist, complete with artsy speak he doesn’t sell his art, that’s not why he paints – besides things don’t see until after the artist dies. Yes, Daisy was quick to pay attention to that one. One Reap later and the artist has drunk something he really shouldn’t have. She collects a painting she likes and heads off – followed by the ghost of the dead guy. She takes him to the Waffle House and hands him over to Rube where the ghost objects to her painting theft. Rube tries to point out the man is dead – but the artist insists. (So Rube doesn’t necessarily disapprove of stealing from the dead just conning the bereaved).

Women on Falling Skies

Science fiction is very rarely a woman friendly genre - or all that friendly to any minorities for that matter. And, as we’ve said before, dystopians tend to be even worse than general science fiction - there’s something about the end of the world that forces writers to nostalgically embrace 1950s roles and attitudes for some unknown reasons. It’s one of the great mysteries of fiction.

Unfortunately, Falling Skies is no exception to the rule. We’ve already had a look at how
Falling Skies addresses race, but it’s treatment of female characters, especially in the last season, has been deeply problematic.

The first thing that strikes me about women in Falling Skies is just how many of them actually don’t fight. In some of the group scenes early in season 1 we saw a very few women take part in the mass conflicts, but that was rare and quickly replaced by all or nearly entirely male combat forces. Among the cast of characters, the vast majority of the men fight but the only named female characters who stepped up to the front lines were Karen, Maggie and Crazy Lee (and a very brief cameo visit from one of President McAllister’s soldiers).

Don’t mistake me, we do not believe a woman has to be a fighter to be a strong female character, we’ve actually spoken about this before - but there’s a difference between not being a weapon and being a shrinking delicate figure hiding behind the menfolk. Put it into context - in season 1 and 2 the 2nd Massachusetts is desperate for manpower (emphasis on the “man”) to survive and fight the aliens. In Charleston in season 3 we see a similar position - they need more soldiers to protect themselves against the overwhelming threat of the Espheni. So desperate is their need for men to fight that they not only include completely untrained people like Tom, Hal and Pope in their army, but they even hand guns to 13 year old Jimmy and 11 year old Matt.

Let’s reiterate that, this army is so desperate they are arming children and sending them into combat. Jimmy dies in battle, even. But this desperate fighting force will send children to the front lines but we still see very few female fighters. That’s a problem, that’s a severe problem.

Further, shall we look at those fighters? Karen, after a time as Hal’s love interest, quickly becomes not only an enemy but the big bad of season 3. Crazy Lee is a vague face in the crowd until the end of season 2 and shuffles off her perch and joins the choir invisible in season 3. Leaving Maggie, also Hal’s love interest. And even she gets an annoying scene where Hal decides to leave her behind for her own protection.

Maggie as a love interest is also relevant because there are a lot of women on Falling Skies whose role is primarily defined by their relationship with men. Even while Maggie is a major character on the show, so much of her story revolves around her relationship with Hal. Her entire role on season 3 so far was to cover for Hal and the mind-control eyeworm he had in his head and even encourage him to hide it from his father and any of the other powers that be.

Anne started as an essential character, the medical and civilian backbone of the 2nd Massachusetts. But as the series progressed, her relationship with Tom consumed more and more of her time and focus. In season 3, Dr. Glass, essential medical backbone of the show had pretty much disappeared - we had Anne, wife of Tom, mother of Lexi consumed entirely by fear of her alien baby and Tom not believing her - until she ran away and ended up dying; accompanied by much pain and grief from Tom (bonus cameo hallucinations of Tom’s first wife for extra pain). It was deeply sad to see the character become so secondary

Deni was introduced in season 3 and has done little else but be an add on for Ben. I don’t think she’s ever been on screen without Ben being present.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sleepy Hollow Trailer

A Trailer for the new series of Sleepy Hollow which we will be definitely be following on the 16th September

Bitten (The One Rises #1) by Anna Wolfe

Callie’s life has fallen apart. Her best friend was possessed by a demon and slaughtered her friends and her brother – until Callie herself managed to behead the demon (and her friend) while getting bitten in the process, she was then be shipped off to a mental institution for the murder.

Having escaped the institution, Callie had one goal. Kill the man who called the demon in the first place and destroy the book he used. But when she completed the first task, something dark and terrible awoke inside her along with a terrible, evil hunger. Now she has a third task after destroying the book – killing herself for the terrible things she’s done.

But the book proves to be very difficult to destroy and she is found by an organised group of other Bitten who may offer a different path than suicide.

This is a completely original book. It’s totally unlike any other book I’ve read in the genre – we have minor elements that are parallels, but it really is something unique which is pretty precious out of all the books I’ve read so far.

The world is the foundation for this uniqueness. The idea of demons coming through – strange alien creatures that seem to have parallels only in the malice they hold – and biting people, spreading their influence. The Bitten with their demon-wrought abilities have different factions – including the one Callie has fallen in with. Those who try to police their fellows and live as good a life as they can.

It’s fascinating because, despite being self-appointed police, there’s little they can do against the actual Demonridden, or so it seems and there are factions that they must avoid enraging – again, so it seems. I say so it seems because the author has an excellently restrained view of world building. We’re not overwhelmed with details that aren’t relevant but we have plenty of hints to keep us hungry for more. Some information about witches here, some hints about other Bitten there, some allusions to history over here – lots of hints, lots of things to keep me hungry but nothing being stuffed down my throat.

The way the book is written is also extremely well done. We don’t just see things from Callie’s point of view, though she is definitely the protagonist, but also from Silas, Mark and Edie. Normally I hate shifting points of view, I think it tends to be repetitive as each character goes over the same plot points and often stops the protagonist standing out it can also break conflict since we know what everyone is thinking. But this is one of the few times it works – Callie remains firmly the protagonist, but the other characters are excellently fleshed out from the insight inside their heads. It also makes to clear that Mark and Edie aren’t just going to accept Callie and be her servants nor are they going to hate her for no good reason. The side characters who would normally be relegated to after thoughts in the book are fully fleshed out participants, characters in their own right as important as the protagonist herself. I really like it and am impressed that the author managed to pull of this quirk that normally makes me cringe.

The Walking Dead Volume 10: What We Become

The group continues to move towards Washington DC but on the way Rick and Abraham continue to but heads about who is in charge and basically who is the alpha male around. While travelling they take a detour to Rick’s old home in order to restock on supplies. There they meet Morgan and find he is in a bad state after the death and zombiehood of his son Duance.

Along the road they are attacked by bandits who try to rape Carl which triggers Rick to completely lose it and make them severely regret it. On the road, Rick and Abraham find common ground discussing the actions they’ve been driven to and the people they’ve lost.

They’re spurred to run again by a massive zombie herd

This Volume can probably be summed up with a quote from Rick:

“Our switches flipped, we’re doing whatever it takes  - Whatever it takes - to survive and to help those around us to survive. Those people without the switch - those who weren’t able to go from law-abiding citizens to stone cold killers, those are the ones shambling around out there trying to eat us.”

In the aftermath of so much disaster and so much trauma, this volume is about what the zombie apocalypse does to people and how they react.

Some people, like the Governor and the people who attacked Carl and the people who raped and killed Abraham’s family have taken advantage of lawlessness to become complete monsters. Their “switches” have flipped too far and they’ve become savage fiends.

But others like Rick, Abraham and Carl - and Michonne for that matter - have flipped that switch to become what Rick describes - people willing to do whatever it takes to survive. They have all crossed lines of conventional, civilised morality but by doing so, they have kept not just themselves, but their groups safe. Without the ruthlessness of these people, the group would long since have disbanded or died. It is the very thing that causes the others to doubt them and even fear them that has allow those others to survive at all.

They have adapted to the new world, accepted it and done what they need to do to keep their little communities going. They realise that the world is not going to go back to what it was and they have resolved to do whatever it takes to live. Again to quote Rick:

“It doesn’t whether we can live with yourselves, so long as you live.”

Ultimately, conscience is a luxury they cannot afford.

Those who haven’t flipped their switch, for the most part have broken to one degree or other, unable to cope with what they’ve experienced. As discussed last week, Rick and Michonne are carrying their own damage - but even then then they are aware of their delusions and their delusions give them strength and help them cope with what they’ve dealt with.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Helix Preview!

Next year, Syfy is planning on releasing it's new original show, Helix. Since we've been big fans of most of Syfy's original content, we'll definitely be checking it out. Until then - previews and sneak peaks!

Burning Emerald (Cambion Chronicles #2) by Jaime Reed

Sam is adapting slowly to having Lillith, to being a Cambion, but it isn’t easy. Her new powers of attraction are alienating her friends and a considerable number of her school peers and Caleb’s draw on her is growing to almost ridiculous degrees. Her own draw is attracting a lot of unwanted attention from men – one man in particular.

Malik, he never had time for her before, but now he’s paying far more attention to her. Far too much and he’s not taking no for an answer. With her new Cambion powers, Sam has an answer to that – but that just opens up a whole new secret she never imagined – and a secret that is tied heavily to Nadine’s – and Lillith’s – past.

Sam is now torn between what she wants and what Lillith wants and fighting to protect both the man she loves and the life she has, as the Cambions encroach more and more.

This is the second book in the series and has continued the pattern of taking us right to the edge of a trope and then completely subverting it. I see the trope approaching, I’m poised to skewer it and then – last second – we pull back from it and expose it as ridiculous as it is.

This time I thought we were going to have a love triangle. It had all the hallmarks. Here is the evil hot guy to counteract Caleb’s nicer-guyness. Evil Hot Love Interest is physically much sexier than Caleb, Evil Hot Love Interest embraces his evil predatory nature while Caleb fights it, Evil Hot Love Interest is more powerful – it’s a classic YA love triangle we’ve seen repeated over and over (usually with fangs and lots of moping and, as the author wonderfully skewers, with the CW logo in the corner). So I braced myself, I gritted my teeth aaand…

Subversion! I am debating needing a spoiler warning here, but it’s not really a spoiler – or is only a spoiler because this whole book genre has convinced us that super-powerful hot guys who kill people and stalk you are zomg so sexy! Sam appreciates that Tobias is a very attractive man, and there it ends. She doesn’t consensually work with him, he pushed and manipulates and it’s not a sign of twu luv and devotion, it’s a sign of predatory behaviour and Sam treats him (almost) accordingly.

Teen Wolf, Season 3, Episode 9: The Girl Who Knew too Much

Deputy Tara (yeah I looked up that name, she tends to be around but I don’t remember anyone actually referring to her at all) is carefully exploring the school at night, probably fully aware of the number of people who have died, being mangled and otherwise inconvenienced in the place. Until she runs into the band who are practicing late for a recital

Y’know you may feel silly walking around ready to pull a gun on band practice, Tara, but stay cautious - that school at night is more dangerous than most war zones.

She shoos them out because someone called 911 to the school - and then her radio stops working. Damn, did I just learn Tara’s name for her to drop dead on me? Her radio static sounds like the Darach’s yelled chanting. Yup, Tara’s on the way out

There’s a noise behind her and she sees a pair of legs being dragged into a room (presumably attached to the rest of the body out of sight). She finds a body in the shower - and then the Darach comes up behind her and strangles her. Is that a mask is the Darach really that ugly?

Then there’s 2 bodies in the shower... both Black people? Oh Teen Wolf - if the Darach’s next “trio” of sacrifices is Black women then you are crossing a line, especially considering your general lack of inclusion anyway.

Elsewhere, Allison, Stiles and Scott gather because Lydia has blacked out and woken up in the middle of nowhere. They told her to call them if she found another body - she hasn’t, but she decided if there is another body where she blacks out, she’d rather they find it. Stiles protests, Lydia’s always the one who finds the dead bodies. She’s like the dead body finding expert - it’s ok Lydia, scott’s found the dead body. Deputy Tara on the school sign.

At school the next day, Sheriff Stilinksi denies Stiles’s theory on the patterns and sacrifices again (wait, didn’t he see Scott stopped by a magic circle a few episodes back? Shouldn’t he be in on the big secret?) but is a little more tolerant of Stiles’s meddling since Stiles knew Tara.

Chris Argent Allison has taken to her bed and decides against her dad’s suggestion that she goes to the school’s recital in honour of the many many many many many murders. But the minute he’s gone she loads up on weapons - and catches Isaac outside her window keeping watch - Allison wasn’t at school so Scott sent Isaac to check on her. Flirting continues between Isaac and his brutal torturer.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scythe Does Matter (Reluctant Reaper Series #2) by Gina X Grant

Kristy is torn – she can stay in hell with Dante, or she can fight to return to her mortal life, see her friend and loved ones but possibly never have a relationship with Dante again. It’s a hard choice

But one becomes much clearer when her boss, who already schemed to claim her soul, is now plotting another extension and back up plan; he’s going after her aunt. Her aunt will do anything for Kirsty – even if it means sacrificing her soul thinking it will bring her out of her coma.

Her mission is now clear – especially after how little Kirsty appreciated her aunt when she was alive. She has to return to the mortal coil, she has to get her life back and save her aunt. And to do that, she needs to become a Reaper, with the power to travel on the coil and affect the people there

And it’s past time her boss was scythed. But first she has to go to university and pass the course.

On the plus side, this book manages to be more amusing than the last one because it doesn’t try so hard. It’s amusing because the characters are kind of fun, the world is a little quirky the whole thing is silly in a good way. The puns are still there but they are much much more restrained and it’s generally lost the whole sense of trying to FORCE the humour that the first book had.

We also had a more coherent story. Kirsty wasn’t just wandering around while random stuff randomly happened randomly around her with much randomness. Nor was she just following people around. She had a plan – admittedly not a good or decent one – was motivated and decided to act. It wasn’t a complicated plan, completely failed to take various things into account, was far from sensible and there were definitely more sensible routes she could have taken. But it was her plan, it was a goal and it was something she set out to do and eventually succeeded in (kind of).

There was also a suggestion of character growth in this book and a definite forward push in her character. She learned, she adapted she accepted her capabilities or lack thereof. It wasn’t huge, but she did work to become more of a character than a passive actor. She even assumes some elements of leadership and a driving force not just in her own life but in the characters around her. She takes charge of her life, she forms new relationships and even shows courage and dedication that is surprising after the first book

Continuum, Season 2, Episode 12: Second Last

Starting in the future with Kiera and her fellow corporate enforcer looking at the body of a murder victim, a Sadtech engineer. Kiera thinks it’s silly because it was obvious the murder would be covered – but when they get a playback of the CCTV drone, the image of the murderer is fuzzed out. Showing cloaking technology more advanced. Talking to her boss, Kiera has the victim’s email one of which shoes an image of what could be the time travel device. The engineer’s speciality was anti-matter – and she kept visiting the prison for reasons unknown. Kiera tries to follow up on the case but her boss takes her off it.

In the present, Sonya is very unhappy that Kellog decides to pay her in monopoly money - because Kellog wants her to target Escher who is meddling in his financial goals. Sonya threatens him with Travis but Kellog isn’t impressed - Travis hates Sonya! Which shows that Travis is working with out of date information. As he finds out when Travis appears behind him and the pain and strangling starts. Travis isn’t amuse that one of the Liber8 people they brought back to help them change the system is becoming such a complete part of said system.

At the police station Kiera is trying to track Gardiner’s last movements but the law firm he said he was visiting doesn’t actually exist; the law firm has been completely cleaned out. Carlos floats the idea that Gardiner may be involved in another case but Kiera doubts it. Carlos also marks off Lucas is dead - Kiera protests but Carlos points out he’s in a medical facility telling the staff he’s from 2077 and talks to dead people, so we can assume he’s out of the picture for the foreseeable future. Kiera’s worried though - between Lucas and Jason, there’s a definite hint that time travel can do something to your mind.

Kiera calls Alec (who is playing with the time machine) to ask him to hack the CSIS database to find anything on Gardiner - something he’s told her before he won’t do (which I still don’t think makes sense since he’s willing and able to hack military spy satellites but maybe he has a super duper fear of the intelligence services). That argument is shelved by Alec telling her that the time machine allows her to travel through time (really? I am shocked by this revelation!) and that she can use it to go home as soon as he figures it out.

But there’s a problem - it needs a power source. Kiera’s concerned that Laroche, the company that discovers anti-matter energy source won’t do so until 2040 though Alec points out that Escher has bought the company now so it’s likely that that may be accelerated somewhat. But Alec also asks her what she’s returning to - they have changed things, it may not be her future. Also, without Kiera, Liber8 is going to be much more free to change history however they like (I... am completely ok with this. Team Liber8 all the way. Escher is a more concerning possibility). Kiera is determined to take her chances and return to the future

And Carlos has been called to get a heads up on an abandoned car. An abandoned car with no owner - but with Gardiner’s wallet and ID in it. And Gardiner’s manky body in the boot. The man who gave him the heads up points out Gardiner was checking out Kiera pretty hard, but Carlos says she and Gardiner were working together (true, briefly). And the man finds a flash drive - he starts to call it on but Carlos demands to see it first “we take care of our own.” Uh-huh, and you were the last cop on that force with a shred of ethics, Carlos.

Falling Skies, Season 3, Episode 9: Journey to Xilbalba

Weaver tells Marina that Project Orange – deploying the Volm weapon – happens the next day at dawn. And he’s not telling Marina their target. She again questions whether the Volm can be trusted but Weaver very sensibly points out they don’t really have another option with the Espheni defence grid already up and the Volm weapon is the only chance they have to win the war

And Tom Mason returns to much welcome from the people, including Pope, Anthony and Weaver as well as his sons. He tells them about Anne and Lexi. He tells them to bury their pain and channel it into anger directed at the Skitters and at Karen. Ben tries to question that, that Tom used to tell him they needed more than hatred to win the war – but hate is all Tom has left.

To Weaver and Tom wants them to change their planned target for Project Orange – if they take out the Boston tower they will get Karen as well. Weaver disagrees there are far more guards at Karen’s tower – getting Karen isn’t the objective. But General Porter, having tried and failed to take down the Boston tower once, wants another shot at it and Karen would remove the tactical head of the Espheni on the Eastern Seaboard. But it’s more defended, though Tom says most of the Mechs aren’t working after they destroyed the power plant. Porter needs to think it through.

They also discuss whether Tom has a bug in him (so can they trust his intelligence about the inactive mechs?). Tom assures them he’s fine – yeah, that’s totally reassuring. Tom demands they follow him around and put a bullet in his head if they have any suspicions –but he needs to be in the attack and he needs to go to Boston for Anne and Lexi. He gets more agitated until Porter tells him to leave and get some rest. As Tom leaves Weaver and Porter have a problem – if they trust Tom’s intelligence they massively increase their victory by taking out Karen – but if Tom’s compromised the whole battle will fail.

Tom sees Cochise and they discuss grief and loss and war. Tom goes to see Pope who assures Tom that if Tom does have a bug and it acts up, Pope will be happy to put him down – which Tom is happy about because Weaver would hesitate (didn’t we just establish they have a cure for bugs?) Then there’s an explosion – damn these interruptions. Alas, it doesn’t kill Pope.

Looking out they see that the entire Volm complex has been destroyed. They find Cochise, injured, and take him to the clinic, yelling for Lourdes to help. She tries to distract them and leave but Tom demands she help – it can’t wait. Lourdes looks at him but knows nothing about Volm physiology. Cochise and Tom have a big talk about guilt and loss and keeping hope alive and the human spirit (it all amounts to “no Tom, don’t become driven by hate) before cochise reveals that if he’s left alone he’ll regenerate anyway. Lourdes gives Cochise an evil, narrow-eyed spy look but has an appointment to keep – to plant a great big bomb. Weaver sees her in the area but just asks her go to the clinic to help any new casualties

Monday, July 29, 2013

Broken Homes (Rivers of London #4) by Ben Aaronovitch

Peter and Lesley are still trying to track down the Faceless Man and his erstwhile pupils; it’s a long, tedious task only achievable by dogged police work.

Of course, the understaffed magical police force has plenty of other things to drag their attention – an ancient magical book that a thief tried to sell, a man committing a very suspicious suicide, people being microwaved, a Russian military trained witch and the gods and goddesses of the Thames demanding their attention. And some of it is definitely linked to a bemusing tower block that doesn’t quite make sense

There’s a lot to handle – and the Faceless Man’s influence is definitely behind some of it – but which and why?

Nightingale insists the Faceless man is no Moriarty – but he may be wrong on this one

When a copy of this book was pushed through my door on Friday evening, I opened it then cleared my desk, dropped my e-reader and turned off my phone. There would be no interruptions. When the sun rose Saturday morning, I had finished reading it – and could finally allow myself to sleep

It’s an excellent sign of a good book – does it rob me of sleep? Can I read all 357 pages of it without any breaks? And, particularly, can I read it in one setting and not even take a break to get coffee? The answer to all is yes, I love this book more than coffee.

There’s so much about this book I love. I love its realness – which sounds strange about a book that is about the supernatural, but it’s true. I love the sense of London you get from every page, the very real place that it conjures, the actual real place that it relates to. You can feel London – and intimate knowledge of London - on every page. I can’t undersell how powerful the setting is.

But the realness doesn’t just stop at the city, there’s also a lot of research that has gone into Peter’s job as a policeman. The procedures, the bodies he deals with, the hoops he has to jump through. His wry views of both the public through a policeman’s eyes and the same wry criticism of the police’s own failings both historic and present (especially as a Black man who grew up in a poor neighbourhood). When so many crime stories have magical forensics, impossibly fast deductions, so little actual investigation and police work and such a very fast and loose approach to what the law actually means, it’s so excellent that this Urban Fantasy book has a more realistic presentation of police work than any number of crime dramas. My personal favourite was replacing the jurisdictional battles (“it’s my case! How dare you steal my case!”) with police forces trying to push cases on each other because they can see how much budget it’s going to eat up.

True Blood, Season 6, Episode 7: In the Evening

Eric tells the rapidly deteriorating Nora and Willa about the tainted True Blood – he sends Willa to warn Pam. Willa’s just really competent and assured, I hope she hangs around, I like her. But that’s when their escape is noticed and the alarms go off. Eric and Nora escape under one of the tainted True Blood trucks leaving (killing a guard while they do – poor disposable red shirts, so out of their league)

Willa warns Pam who holds on to her sunny personality (which Willa calls her out on – is that respect from Pam? Why I think it is). Pam says to warn Tara and Jessica but not the general vampire population about the tainted True Blood – or everyone will stop drinking and the guards will notice. Willa returns to the cell.

Eric carries Nora to Billith’s, begging Bill to save her, to give Nora his blood. But Nora refuses – she would rather die than drink the blood of Lilith. Bill won’t violate Nora’s dying wish.

Sara Newlin drives up to Truman’s mansion (listening to elocution lessons for the gospel, ye gods I’m actually afraid to google that in case it’s actually a thing) and finds the Billith massacre. With dramatic grief, Sara plans to use Truman’s death as a rallying cry. First step to speak a senator about making sure Truman’s vision lives on and that the Lieutenant governor (who she calls a RINO)  does not take over. She wants the senator to use his fixers (professional scandal cover-uppers) to hide Truman’s body and pretend he’s still alive. Then the senator fills in at the legislature while Sara handles all the vampire angles. Just until the True Blood with Hep V is sold.

Personally, I think it’d be a better tactic to go public with a vampire having killed a Governor in his own mansion. But she impressed the senator.

To soft-focus fairyland and a naked Sookie and Warlow. He’s pushy and Sookie makes it clear that sex does not mean she’s walking down the aisle with him. She pokes his ridiculously old fashioned sexist ideas. Then Sookie’s telepathy kicks in and she can hear Arlene, in the cemetery, grieving piteously for Terry. She asks him how to get out of fairy land (she was the one who showed him! And why does she even ask? The answer is always “use your light”) and zaps to Arlene’s side to be supportive and strong and reassuring and…

…is this the same Sookie? This is the best friendship we’ve seen from her since, well, ever

The Returned, Season 1, Episode 8: La Horde

We start 35 years ago – the day the old damn burst. There’s a large tent with a whole line of covered bodies and Victor walks among them (see, he was always creepy) and Serge and Toni – as children – try to play a trick on him. A woman arrives to collect them (and tell them off for playing with corpses) and she calls Vincent to her as well – calling him Louis. Mrs. Costas is also there and calls the dam officials murderers – and says the dead will have their revenge one day. We see a woman cry over one of the bodies.

Fast forward to a mere week ago and we see that body up and walking about. Walking down the road he sees Camille walking home and calls to her (wait this whole series only covers a week?) She ignores him. But around him we can see a lot more presumably dead people

At the dam Julie and Laure wake up, sleeping in Laure’s car (Victor, as one of the dead, doesn’t sleep) and see handprints on the car – a horde of the dead visited during the night, wanting Victor to come with them. Apparently they left without him – and Laure and Julie see Toni on the lip of the dam ready to jump Julie brings him down – but then Laure points a gun at him, he shot at the police after all.

Most of the town is deserted and strewn with litter. At her house, Adèle finds Chloé’s drawings of both her and Simon committing suicide. Nice, your child has family suicide pics. Chloé wants to see Simon and reveals Victor is also dead. Adèle isn’t exactly calm in a crisis and decides to lock Chloé in her room so she can’t see any of the dangerous dead people.

At Helping Hands, Camille manages to sleep briefly, the black mark on her cheek has grown worse – and someone (I think Pierre the cult leader) has decided to write Bible quotes from Revelations on the wall. As you do. And Sandrine, who had a miscarriage, decides to blame that, the Koretzky’s suicides et al on the rising dead. As you do. Cult Leader Pierre arrives to speak out against scapegoating the dead.

Jérôme follows Pierre and discovers his fast arsenal which confirms a few suspicious about him – though Pierre urges him to think of Camille. Jérôme tells Claire who is very unbothered and very unimpressed that he thinks they should run – accusing him of always running. Camille and Léna continue to bond, Léna is sure that Camille is safe though Camille worries she may become like the dead Léna saw in the woods (who she just knows about).

Back at the dam, Julie hugs Toni and thanks him for saving her 7 year ago, at the underpass, where Serge attacked her. And then a crowd of people arrive – presumably the dead. They jump in the car and flee. On the road Laure confirms with Victor that the horde were dead people who came to the car in the night and Laure decides she has to go to the station and warn people – and Victor can’t stay with them. Julie angrily demands they pull over and she and Laure argue. Inside Toni recognises Victor and they talk – Victor using his creepy kid powers to say Toni killed Serge and his mother. Victor goes into the front seat and takes a gun out of the glove compartment – and hands it to Serge sat next to him. Toni sees Serge shoot him but we see Toni shoot himself in the stomach – Serge wasn’t there; Victor used his creepy vision powers.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Tomorrow People Sneak Peak

The Tomorrow People is a new series starting this Autumn on the CW - we'll definitely be giving it a look. It premiers on the 9th October

The Originals Sneak Peak

To continue our look at previews for the upcoming Autumn season we have The Originals, the Vampire Diaries spin off coming on the 15th October

Comic-Con Highlights and Trailer: Haven

Haven will be back with us this Autumn for Season 4