Saturday, October 12, 2013

Grimm Sneak Peak!

Grimm is coming back soon - time for some sneak peaks to whet our appetite!

Revolution, Season 3, Episode Three: Love Story

The scene opens with Miles being drained of his blood.  It seems that Titus's wife is an O negative diabetic and she has only survived by getting transfusions.  Rachel slips in and knocks the man out who is draining Miles.  Miles tells Rachel that she shouldn't have come and he replies that he has done stupider things for her.  With Gene's help, Rachel manages to get Miles to a standing position and he immediately asks them to grab Jessica, who is also strapped down. Miles and Rachel head out while Gene checks in on Jessica.  Rachel and Miles use the keys to release the other prisoners and when a man walks in he is shot.  This alerts Titus, and fight breaks out.  Rachel and Miles manage to escape through a tunnel and ride off on horses and Titus arrives to find everyone gone.

Neville enters Jason's tents and drops to patches that look like American flags on the table and announces that they are in and are now working for the patriots. Jason asks what now and Neville says that they have to separate themselves from the past and lights a picture of Julia on fire.  Neville plans to climb to the top to kill them all for Julia. Jason asks where they start.  Neville and Jason find themselves working on the chow line handing out food.  Jason is not pleased by this turn of events but Neville advises that the patriots are smart and cautious. When Neville and Jason return to their tent they are attacked and knocked unconscious.

Aaron is sitting on a beach when Cynthia approaches and brings up the billions of tiny robots floating in the air. Aaron agrees that it's a lot to take in and adds that what happened to him was not a miracle, and most certainly not God giving him a poke. Cynthia questions if Aaron knows why it happened and adds that if the word God makes him nervous that he can call it whatever he likes. Cynthia believes that something told these machines to save him.  Aaron is not impressed and says that he is not Harry Potter and is in fact an agnostic Jew from Minnesota. Cynthia is still not convinced and tells Aaron that he has been chosen.  A call goes out to open the gates and it's Miles, Rachel and Gene returning with Jessica.  Miles pauses in shock when he sees Aaron.  Riley rushes over upset that they went out there.  Miles rushes off, though Gene warns him that if his hand isn't treated that he is going to lose it.

Forces are marching toward the town and Riley blames Miles for bringing them there.  Miles points out that sooner or later they were going to come for them. Miles says that they have a chance to stay alive and orders Riley to follow his lead.  Titus is at the front of the pack with a look of rage on his face.  When he gets to the get he announces that they have Jessica and Miles says that if Titus sends anyone in, he will kill Jessica with his one good hand.  Titus responds that if Mile hurts Jessica that he will hurt her.  Miles again shouts that if Titus comes in that he will hurt Jessica and calls it a stalemate.  Miles suggest that he and Titus have a chat. Titus demands to see that Jessica is okay and Miles informs him that she is no shape to move. Titus again says that he needs to know that Jessica is okay and Miles agrees to show Jessica to Titus.

One of Titus's men demands to talk to him and they walk over to an empty bus.  Titus is informed that he is being paid to scare the town and not to gut them. That's an interesting turn of events. Titus says that the deal is off and that all he cares about is Jessica.  The man acknowledges that Titus is emotional but warns him against breaking the deal. Titus asks him who the hell he is and argues that the man is not from the U.S. government is in fact a member of a group of plague rats off a boat from Cuba. Titus says that he doesn't care about the man's plans for the town is and threatens that he will bleed the townsfolk alive if he doesn't get  Jessica.

Somewhere in the Plains Nation Charlie is walking with Adam who says that he cannot allow Charlie to Monroe.  Charlie reminds Adam that Monroe murdered his partner.  Adam says that Charlie is working with some real anger issues and asks her if the thing between her and Monroe is personal.  Charlie says that Monroe murdered half of her family and Adam gives his regrets but adds that he cannot allow Charlie to kill him.  Charlie assumes that this is about a bounty but Adam tells her that this is about saving his father. Charlie stops walking and Adam adds that the people who want Monroe have his father and are willing to trade Monroe for him.  Adam adds that if Charlie kills Monroe is the same as killing his father and he will take that seriously.

Gene is working on Miles' hand and he warns that everyone is to get ready.  Riley suggests that Miles is the town drunk and questions why everyone should listen to him.  Miles asks who else they are supposed to be listening to. Miles asks if anyone else is "feeling the bold leadership of Barney Fife." Riley is not impressed and remind everyone that he has worked for the town for a lot of years and says that Miles has brought hell down on them. 

Rachel checks in on Jessica and informs her that Titus wants to see her.  Jessica says that she doesn't want to go back to him and adds that when she got sick, she thought that she was finally free.  Jessica adds that Titus chained her to the bed and killed people for her and he will never let her go.  Rachel takes her hand in sympathy and Jessica pulls it back, apologizing saying that she is not used to people being nice.

Rachel leave the room and tells Miles that Jessica is terrified of Titus and does not believe that they should send her back.  Miles tells Rachel that he does not have a choice. He looks down at his hand and adds that he cannot fight like this and cannot use a sword. Miles asks how he is going to protect Rachel.

Aaron and Rachel help Jessica stand up and they open the gate.  Titus calls out to Jessica and asks if she is okay.  Miles steps forward and Titus that he has his proof of life and now they are going to have a chat.

Jason comes to on he floor as the men are searching their things.  He notices a gun in the pants of one man and quickly grabs it.  Jason points the gun and Neville sits up and demands that Jason hand over the gun. When Jason questions this directive, Neville informs him that they are not being robbed, they are being vetted.  Nevile explains that they are going to be taken to a different location and informs then men that their nails are too clean.  Jason drops the gun and Neville asks to speak to the CO.  The man announces that they didn't find anything and says that they want to know everything they can about him.  They ask about who Jason and Neville are and Neville lies and says that he is Edgar Crane and introduces Jason as Nate.  The man informs Neville that he knows exactly who they are.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Season 1, Episode 1: Down the Rabbit Hole

Once upon a time, we have an idyllic forest, a child’s teaparty laid out and neglect, now dusty and dirty and overgrown with vines

And an explosion. Ok. That jarred the image.

Out of the crate crawls the little girl, Alice.  She runs home shouting for her father and bangs on her front door when it’s locked. It’s opened  by her confused and shocked father, hardly able to believe it’s really her. She’s been gone for so long her father thought she was dead.

Later she eaves drop on a conversation between her father and another man, her father tells him what Alice said she’d experienced – white rabbits and caterpillars et al – and the man naturally thinks she’s a liar or delusional.

Alice is determined to prove her honesty.

Credits and tom the present day on a stormy, windy night and a man wandering through the streets, quite unconcerned by the weather or cars in the road even. He walks past Leeroy and Ashley (that’s Leeroy and Ashley from Once Upon a Time – Grumpy and Cinderella) and pick pockets Ashley’s keys. He lets himself into Granny’s diner and pours himself a cup of coffee.

Then the whole place starts shaking, as if in an Earthquake until there’s an explosion in the middle of the floor. Out of the crater climbs the White Rabbit. Who is an actual rabbit, not a human under the curse or anything we’re used to from Once Upon a Time. Apparently they’re late – for Alice. She needs their help, particularly the help of our pickpocket – the Knave of Hearts.

We switch to Alice who is now in a shadowy, dark and sinister asylum. Alice, now older, is questioned about her story by a board of 3 doctors. She had been entered into the asylum not just for her original journey to Wonderland, but her repeated disappearances since to try and prove herself right to her father. She now looks defeated, agreeing with the doctors that her story is ludicrous.

We have a flashback to a very pro-active Alice stealing the caterpillar’s size-changing mushroom and dodging the Queen’s guards through the maze, shrinking tiny and hiding in a bottle – the bottle of Cyrus, the genie. They sit and drink and make friends, talking about their respective homes. She’s returned to Wonderland to kidnap the White Rabbit – who she has in her sack – as definitive proof that Wonderland exists. Lots of chemistry, lots and lots; Alice tells him the proof is for her father and Cyrus questions why she should risk her life for someone who doesn’t believe in her – if you love someone, you don’t need proof.

Objection! If Beloved came tomorrow with a story of dodgy cats, hyperactive playing cards and pot smoking insects, I’d want either a) proof or b) him to share the good booze.

Alice wishes things were different in her land – and Cyrus asks what she wishes – she has found the bottle of the genie after all.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 2: True Lies

Bonnie recaps the fate of her father, Disposable Black Person #788 to Jeremy. Jeremy tries to comfort her – but they cannot touch because she is dead, just like her father. She also warns Jeremy that Silas is after Catherine so they need to make sure he doesn’t get his hands on her (I suggest this should be achieved by dropping Catherine in a woodchipper).

On to Katherine who is not having a good day – having crawled out of the car wreck she is now injured and reduced to hitchhiking. Except Silas’s mind control means the woman who stops for her maces her (wow, this is your definition of “keeping an eye out for someone”? Remind me never to let this woman look after my pets!). Katherine punches her unconscious – and that hurts as well. Being human is no fun! Especially not when Matt comes out of the woods and holds her at gun point

Katherine, you’ve just been captured by Matt. The show’s woobie and general whining victim. The shame should kill you know.

Meanwhile, Stefan continues to have happy dappy hallucinations interrupted by inconvenient drowning. And, despite that, it’s still a fate less horrible than Katherine having to live with the fact Matt just captured her.

At college, the whole campus is mourning Megan (crowd scene! Time for some racial diversity!) and Caroline is being all kinds of arseholish about it. But they do remind us of all the mysteries around Megan – and confirm that her death has been covered up by the powers that be, just as the Mystic Falls Founders council would have (praise be to the Founders!).

The person who signed off on the fake death certificate is a Dr. Wensly Maxfield  - who, coincidentally, is also a microbiology professor at the college – and Elena has switched her and Caroline to his class. Caroline is stroppy at this because this involves going to a class where she may actually have to work. Ha! Like anyone student on Vampire Diaries has ever attended a class! Caroline protests “what happened to getting drunk and making bad decisions about boys?”

Uh – that would be Vampire Diaries season 1-4. Actually, it’d be a bit of a twist if you spent a season not drinking and making truly awful decisions about boys, I’m just saying.

Back in Mystic Falls, Damon begs Founderella to search the quarry where Stefan is having his fun drowning hallucinations, finally convincing her by warning her that he may feel ultra-mega guilty about living a happy life while Stefan suffered a terrible, awful fate. I choose to believe that Liz has no patience for more angst so agrees. And Jeremy tells Damon that Matt has Katherine – and Damon is as shocked as I am that Matt has actually been useful. Catherine herself is snarky and even lampshades that she’s leverage just like the Moonstone waaaaay back in season 2 when Katherine was a viable enemy.

Elena and Caroline actually attend class (probably having a shocked moment discovering that classrooms actually exist) and Elena arranges more flirting between Caroline and her oh-so-obvious-and-oh-so-dead love interest Jesse. Dr. Maxfield arrives and is very snarky and quickly kicks Caroline and Elena out because his class isn’t for freshmen.

Elena calls Damon to whine about it – she didn’t try to glamour him because she assumes he’s on vervain – Damon asks whether she used torture, Elena laughs and then Damon laughs and they both laugh about the fact that Damon’s a serial killer, ho ho ho how hilarious. I kid you not. They actually laugh about Damon’s serial killing ways

Silas interrupts the call before they can move on to how much fun killing people and hearing them scream. Elena hangs up as Silas compels her too – and then he tells her a variation of all the bad news in Mystic Falls – Jeremy has been expelled had a fight with Damon and has now run off. Elena asks where Jeremy is and Silas wonders if she has any ideas

Because, of course, Jeremy has Katherine (brief cameo – Katherine is a whiny whiny human and Silas’s little mind control trick is causing them headaches – and making them knock people out so they don’t contact Stefan. Also “keep an eye out for her” also includes drawing shotguns now).

Damon rushes to college to fill Caroline in on the whole Silas situation (would it have been better if he told Caroline and Elena earlier? Of course it would!) And Silas keeps using Elena and her phone to try and get hold of Jeremy – and get a tip off he then runs past Elena to get a pretty good idea where they’ve gone.

Damon catches up with Silas and grabs him by the neck… really? Damon, you’ve done this to Originals, you’ve done this to Katherine, you’ve done this to all kinds of vampires who are thousands of years older than you – threatening violence against things that can reduce you to chunky salsa is a bad idea.

To the college bonfire party thing with Damon randomly threatening people looking for Elena and Caroline trying to restrain him from losing his ever loving mind. Elena is at the party, angsty because Damon has been keeping secrets from her and she meets up with Jesse-the-so-not-going-to-survive-the-season. He talks about Dr. Maxfield and gives her clues about the secret society he’s supposed to be part of while waving a piece of firewood-that-totally-isn’t-a-stake-honest. Whether he was going to use it or set Elena up with a trap because moot because Damon arrives and knocks him unconscious. Because… reasons.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Originals, Season One, Episode Two: House of the Rising Son

This episode begins with Marcel talking about the streets of New Orleans.  He invites humans into the Abattor - his bar and at the stroke of midnight, he encourages his vampires to feed freely on humans.  He tells Klaus that this is how he keeps his vampires happy.  When Klaus asks about the victims, Marcel explains that the humans are healed with a little vampire blood. The conversation is interrupted and Marcel is informed that six of his vampires were killed in the quarter.  We then see Rebekah fixing her makeup as she drives.

Rebekah pulls up to the house and is leaving a message on Elijah's phone.  Rebekah lets herself in and immediately confuses Haleigh with the maid.  Rebekah asks for Elijah and Haleigh informs her that though Elijah promised to take care of her, he has disappeared.  Rebekah says that Elijah is not just any vampire, so this means something bad has happened to him.  Rebekah calls for Klaus, who asks if she was the one responsible for killing the six vampires. Klaus informs Rebekah that she broke Marcel's rules about killing vampires.  Rebekah doesn't care about Marcel and once again asks about Elijah.

We get a flashback to 1820 New Orleans, where the Original family is holding a party. The Originals had convinced the governor to hide what they are.  Rebekah of course has developed a relationship with the governor's son.  Rebekah asks for permission to turn the son and Elijah thinks that this would be a problem.  Klaus says no and slut shames Rebekah, causing the governor's son to try and defend her honor.  Klaus being Klaus, throws him down a flight of stairs to his death.

The reminiscing comes to an end when Klaus gets a call from Marcel. Rebekah says that Elijah told her all about his plan to take down Marcel.  Klaus tell her that when friends get together they drink and tell secrets.  His plan is to find out how Marcel is controlling the witches.   Rebekah calls up to Haleigh and instructs her to help with searching the house for Elijah.  They head downstairs to the cellar, where they find caskets and Rebekah explains Klaus's penchant for daggering his family.  Rebekah informs Haleigh that she should have run when she realised Elijah was gone and says that she is leaving as soon as she finds Elijah.

Rebekah then decides to pay a visit to Sophie.  They head to the cemetery and Rebekah informs her that Elijah is probably daggered.  Rebekah asks Sophie to perform a spell to trace Elijah but Sophie refuses, stating that Marcel will kill her if she uses magic.  Rebekah pushes and suggests that she is a worse threat but Sophie makes it clear that whatever happens to her, happens to Haleigh. Rebekah points out that as a coven, witches who cannot do magic are irrelevant, but Sophie explains that they practice ancestral magic.  Rebekah says that family is over rated and that she is looking for a brother, who is looking for a baby she doesn't care about. Rebekah says that Marcel is not some guy Klaus turned into a vampire and that Klaus loved him like a son.

In yet another flashback, The Originals are walking by and The White governor is whipping a young Marcel, who is also his son.  Klaus intervenes and asks for Marcel's name but he say that he doesn't have one.  Klaus suggests Marcellus because it means little warrior.  Looking on, Elijah says  that perhaps there is hope for Klaus.  Klaus bonded with Marcel because he was also a bastard and beaten by the man who reared him.

Klaus meets Marcel who is pinning over Camille.  Klaus walks over to Camille and brings her over to their table.  Marcel suggests that they have date that night. Camille answers that she will consider it before leaving.  Klaus teases Marcel about losing his touch.

Haleigh is in the quarter seeking wolfsbane.  It seems that Haleigh is now considering an abortion.  The witch hands it over and says that this is an ugly town for wolves and that she is doing the right thing. As  soon as Haleigh leaves, the witch picks up the phone to turn Haleigh into Marcel.

In the meantime, Marcel and Klaus are in a parking garage.  There is a van with two humans in it.  Marcel inform the humans that they have a hunger for human blood and if they drink it, they will live. Marcel asks Klaus if he thinks the "cute dorky girl" or the "gay best friend will win."  Marcel puts down a coin and says the first to get the coin lives forever.  The girl grabs the coin and starts to emasculate Josh and Marcel kills her saying he has a thing about people who betray their friends.This was obviously a lesson to Klaus about loyalty.

In a flashback, a young Marcel and Rebekah are fencing and he tells her that she is going to marry him one day.  Flash forward  a few years and they are dueling again.  Marcel gets close for a kiss but then Klaus enters, so he backs off.  In present day, Marcel appears in front of Rebekah saying the last time he saw her, she was fleeing. Rebekah says that she thought he was dead and Marcel replies that she never looked back. Rebekah asks about Elijah and Marcel tells her that he does not involve himself in Michaelson family business.

We get another flashback and this time Klaus is confronting Marcel about his feelings for Rebekah. Marcel admits that he likes Rebekah and Klaus tells Marcel that Rebekah lacks fortune when it comes to men.  Marcel brings up being turned and Klaus promises when he is ready.  In present day, Rebekah accuses Marcel of being afraid of Klaus and then threatens him. Marcel says that he cannot help her and leaves.

Klaus is in a bar when Marcel enters upset that Klaus didn't tell her about Rebekah.  Marcel suggests that it was Rebekah who killed his men.  Marcel then gets a call saying that a lone werewolf has been seen.  Klaus suggests that this solves the mystery of the dead vamps.  Marcel instructs Klaus to keep his sister in line before leaving.

Haleigh is sitting by herself with the wolfsbane but cannot bring herself to drink it.  She is quickly surrounded by vampires and tries to fight back. Luckily for her, she is rescued by Rebekah. They meet with Klaus, who tells Haleigh that he had a plan and that she put it in jeopardy.  Rebekah tells Klaus not to talk about a plan anymore and reminds him that Elijah made a deal to protect the baby. Rebekah accuses Klaus of not giving a damn about the child or Elijah and asks what Klaus has done to prove differently.  Klaus tells her that he has done everything and then details the fact that Marcel has had his vampires taking vervain, so he met with the vampires that Marcel had just made and turned them into his.  He then used his power to get Camille to agree to date Marcel.  Klaus then asks Haleigh what she was doing in the quarter and Haleigh says that she was buying poison for an abortion.  Klaus responds by choking Haleigh, forcing Rebekah to intervene and remind Klaus that Haleigh is pregnant.  Rebekah questions why he acted like he didn't want the child but then freaked out when the child was in jeopardy.  Rebekah assures Klaus that it's okay to want something and suggests that this is all she and Elijah have ever wanted for him. Klaus gets tears in his eyes and admits that he gave Elijah to Marcel.  It seems Marcel was nervous about having two Originals in town and so Klaus gave him a peace offering. Klaus assures Rebekah that he is going to dismantle Marcel's empire, and honour Elijah's wish that the baby be born.  He claims to be executing the plan the only way he knows how and suggests that Rebekah find the door if she doesn't like it.

Later, Haleigh joins Rebekah outside and thanks her for intervening with Klaus.  Haleigh asks why it is she loves and hates Klaus at the same time.  Rebekah says that the hate is so powerful sometimes and that Klaus has killed every man she cared about, until she stopped falling in love.  Rebekah says that Klaus believed he was protecting her from her mistakes but really, he never believed anyone was good enough for her.

Last Blood (House of Comarré #5) by Kristen Painter

Last Blood is the last book in the House of House of Comarré series. It was billed as the final showdown between forces of good and evil but never really delivered the epic that was promised. When we last left the star crossed Mal and Chrysabelle (a name I will be happy never to read again), Mal had lost is love for the comarré and had revered back into a monster.  For her part, Chrysabelle discovered that she was pregnant with Mal's child.

This series has always suffered from too many characters and it was the most obvious in this book.  The POV continually shifted between Tatiania/ Chrysabelle and Mal, Doc/Fi and Remo, the mayor who wanted Lilith back and of course the whole KM debacle.  There were times when I felt myself saying just get on with it already.

Mal was finally a monster again had a chance to commit some real havoc, instead he was drugged to the point that he was unable to do much of everything and Chrysabelle quickly saved him.  The mission was supposedly dangerous, but it took her no time at all. Mal was back to quickly moon over Chrsyabelle and vow his undying love for over and over again. It was sickeningly sweet and quickly became annoying. Why is it that readers constantly feel the need to introduce love to a vampire for the purposes of taming said vampire and make them emotionally wrought pain in the asses? It's boring.

The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

Opening with a voice over – brave, that normally means pretty clumsy exposition to me. Yes, my cynical hat is on.

Exposition guy is Stephen Jameson and he’s taking a pill for breakfast. Fad diets, I never trust them. At school apparently all his friends are now ex-friends, at home his mother is asleep or passed out on the sofa. And the worst part of his day is getting into the bondage gear attached to his bed before he goes to bed. Hey, it’s looking up!

Moving on to a hospital where a guy, John steals an ID card. A new voice over (this time a woman on a laptop talking to him from a distance) guides him through his mission to steal a file. He still trips an alarm though, as the woman, Cara, helpfully notes. She tries to get him out to avoid the guard and he ignores her, of course. He finds the file and steals it, seconds ahead of the guard. He runs out onto the roof, closely follows… and then teleports to the ground. Leaving the guard rather stunned and me questioning why he needed to steal a keycard anyway.

Except 3 more people teleport in behind him, following him. 2 of them corner him on the subway and we have a quick, nifty fight scene where they take it in turns being beaten up by him. He gets on the train and guy number three teleports in to beat him up. This guy’s a lot better but then John starts teleporting all around him, constantly attacking from the back and dodging away. He teleports out again to join Cara.

Who promptly lectures him about using his powers in the open, though he says his attackers were “Ultra Agents” (ultra agents? Really? I guess we’re embracing the cheese with this one. Though how I’m going to get through an entire season with the big bad guys being called “ultra agents” I do not know).

The file they stole was on Stephen Jameson and it apparently shocks John.

Stephen wakes up with someone else in his head this time, telling him to wake up and how it’s nice to finally know his name. More pressingly he’s not in his own bed any more. Even more pressingly, the couple who own this bed ARE still in it and are quite shocked to see a strange man squeezed in between them. He’s marched back to his home where his mother has to explain that he sleep walks (sounding like it wasn’t the first time). His brother, Luca, does not help things. His mother’s not happy but what can Stephen do? His assurance that it won’t happen again is empty – but it’s not like he can do more, there’s an extra problem that his doctor’s appointments are expensive and most the specialists won’t take their insurance and they’re not the richest of people. In response, Stephen fiddles with his pills.

He goes to school and confides in his friend Astrid who apparently doesn’t hate him and she smacks him with a few reality checks when he gets too whiney.  On to biology class to hear a lecture on genetics (foreshadowing, hooooo!) and Stephen hears voices again, he tries to shut it out and ends up shouting aloud in class, trying to drown out the voice in his head telling him he’s not crazy and he’s in danger. He runs from the class to head to the nurse.

And in the corridor he runs into someone apparently in the habit of stealing his pills (his messing with them that morning apparently replaced his pills with laxative so he’s in for some fun). Having established that his school life sucks, we fast forward to him at home, putting a meal on the table to reinforce that his mother works long shifts. He also has a memory of his dad showing him magic tricks (or it could be another hallucination. Really writers, if you’ve established a character may be having hallucinations you need to be clearer about your flashbacks). And that night the voice in his head asks him to meet her at a subway station so she can prove she’s actually real.

He goes and she guides him onto a train. It sets off – and John teleports in beside him, grabs his shoulder and teleports them both out to join Cara, the woman talking in his head. They lead him to a nifty looking underground lair with a few people hanging round the edges.

Exposition time! They’re Tomorrow People (at least the acknowledge that the name is kind of silly) and they have three powers – Telekinesis, Teleportation and Telepathy (John and Cara have a moment of surprise that he doesn’t believe them – the teleporting is normally quite convincing but Stephen thinks he’s dreaming). They inform him of the obvious – he’s sleep teleporting and John uses Telekinesis to lift Stephen to be a little extra convincing. Stephen is still voting for a psychotic break but Cara tells him she knows exactly how he feels – all year, all the time he spent talking to his therapist? She was there, in his mind and she has felt all of his emotions.

I’m sorry, is that supposed to be reassuring? Really? Wow, that is so beyond invasive I don’t even have words for it. Why would anyone be reassured by the knowledge they’ve been intimately stalked for a year?

There are 15 Tomorrow People in the base and possibly hundreds out there – insert generic genetic mutation that is latent and sometimes expresses in adolescence back story here – complete with guy dropping in to call them Homo Superior rather than Homo Sapiens (wasn’t this cribbed directly from X-Men?). Superior guy is Russel and he’s also a thief. Onwards to see some combat training and some more exposition on Ultra (no, I’m sorry there’s no way I will ever take that name seriously) who are hunting them.

Apparently the government has always known about them so they set up a containment programme to neutralise them, using captured Tomorrow People as Agents (oh, I remember this from Mutant X. And Alphas).

To Ultra headquarters where boss man Dr. Price has a debrief with the agent who failed to capture John. He’s quite accepting of that – but the homeless man who witnessed the entire conflict? That he isn’t happy about. We get a brief infodump that Tomorrow People powers don’t work in Ultra headquarters and evil doctor bloke puts a gun down on the desk, strong implication is he’s going to kill the failed agent.  The agent grabs the gun and Price tells him to kill him, survival of the fittest, prove you’re the superior species (the doc seems to have an issue with the Tomorrow People being superior to him)

But the agent can’t pull the trigger. As he points the gun at Price he hears a terrible, piercing scream in his head and eventually drops the gun in pain. Apparently the Tomorrow People cannot kill. Dr. Price then kills the agent.

Back to the underground lair and we learn their leader is missing, the strongest of them all, who was looking for a safe space for them. And they need Stephen to help find him – if he has inherited those powers. Yes Freudian slip, big uber powerful leader is Stephen’s absent father who ran out on them when Stephen was 8 and Stephen now has a whole load of daddy issues and resentment. Cara and John  tell him that daddy had to leave to keep him safe but Stephen doesn’t believe it.

To prove it they take him to their computer room to talk to their handy AI computer, TIM (hi Cerebro-replacement. Why would they even have an advanced AI? None of their powers include genius or advanced technical wizardry!). They play a message from his father with a generic “I had hoped that keeping you ignorant of everything would keep you safe” message. Alas, the Daddy Issues are strong with this one, he refuses to listen, declares he’s nothing like his dad and demands to leave.

Back home and everything’s normal – except he’s now moving his toothbrush with telekinesis. To school and Astrid  who promptly thinks she’s off his meds (which he is). he tries to prove it to her and fails dismally to which she very politely and nicely suggests he may want to talk to his psychiatrist. That suggestion is not well received. Astrid refuses to take his lashing out at her and tells him everyone didn’t leave, he pushed everyone away – and he’s doing the same to her. She leaves.

American Horror Story: Coven. Season 3, Episode 1: Bitchcraft

American Horror Story: Coven. Same cast, same horror – a whole new story.

New Orleans, 1834 with lots of high society people including a not very pleasant matriarch, Madame LaLaurie and her 3 daughters, the youngest of which has some snark.

After the party, Madame LaLaurie prepares her beauty treatment of brushing her face with blood to tighten the skin – but, alas, there’s no time for macabre primping because there’s been an “incident.” She thunders through the halls to find her youngest daughter, Pauline, and starts smacking her around. It seems Pauline has slept with the house man – a Black slave. Her mother considers this on par with sleeping with an animal and, further, when her daughter defies her she tells the younger woman that they will claim it was rape.

The man is dragged upstairs in chains – to a dungeon where several Black people are kept chained or in cages. Some of them mutilated and horrendously tortured. The man, Bastien, is added to the prisoners and Madame LaLaurie has a bull’s severed head put over his own to turn him into her minotaur.

Credits and to the modern day where a girl sneaks a boy into the house while her mum is out so they can have sex. He worries about hurting her, it being her first time but she reassures him and they get down to business – and he has a nosebleed. And eyebleed. And earbleed. In fact, there’s a whole lot of bleeding everywhere, backed up with some pretty violent, completely mood-killing, seizing.

Cut again to the girl on a train – the boy’s death was put down to a very unusual brain aneurysm. Her mother, rather belatedly, reassured her that it wasn’t her fault – it runs in the family, her great-grandmother had the same problem (causing cute boys to die of agonising ebola-death? That’s one hell of a genetic disease there. The last time I saw something that nasty coming from losing your virginity it came from a religious sex education pamphlet). It seems she’s a witch, it runs in the women in the family but skips the odd generation (like her cousin Amanda who is bulimic and why that’s relevant I have no idea). We have a brief flashback to the Salem witch trials because all witches everywhere have to have links to Salem, it is known; she acknowledges that the women who died there were not witches, real witches being rather more cunning. And, being cunning, when all the hanging started they fled Salem as far south as they possibly could. To New Orleans.

Which is where the girl (Zoe – yes I looked it up, I’m not calling her “the girl” for the entire episode) is now heading to Boarding School. And by “heading,” I mean being physically dragged their by menacing people in scary sunglasses. An older, quite quite eccentric woman assures Zoe’s mother that everything will be fine.

Zoe arrives at Miss Robichaux’s Academy. She enters the building alone and the huge white mansion appears to be deserted – except for a shadowy, odd figure moving out of the corner of her eye, down distant corridors – until she comes face to face with a masked figure. She screams and runs only to be cornered by 3 of them. They pin her to a table and one chants a blessing to a dark father while raising a knife over her – all the candles flare to life as Zoe panics.

The masked figures back off and take off their masks – Nan, Queenie and Madison (who claims to be a movie star, which Queenie doubts) who were playing a prank on Zoe. The four of them make up the student body of Miss. Robichaux’s Academy – led by the newly arrived Cordelia Fox, the headmistress.

Do you really need a headmistress in a school of 4 students? Surely it’s more “one and only mistress”?

leading Zoe to her room, Cordelia fills in Zoe on the history of the Academy, it entered their hands in 1868 Mary Ann Morton, Supreme witch and famous person, bought the Academy to train new witches –unfortunately since then generations of families carrying the witchy genes decided not to breed (possibly due to the whole giving-hot-guys-ebola-when-losing-virginity is likely to give people some really bad issues when it comes to sex) so there’s very few witches left. And the “supreme” isn’t just a pretentious title – one witch per generation has super-duper-awesome powers, rather than a few “gifts,” she has a gazillion or so.

And no Cordelia isn’t Supreme, she’s just a witch, like Zoe (Hah! I lay odds now that Zoe is the next Supreme!). She’s there to teach them to control their gifts – which Queenie pipes up to say “suppress them”, and Madison seems to agree  that Cordelia is too cautious. Cordelia has an example of why – there are several witches out there who don’t realise they’re witches, including a Cajun girl called Misty who could bring the dead back to life. Unfortunately for her, being part of a rather extreme religious group, that ended very badly for her, complete with old-timey bonfire.

Next scene – Fiona, powerful, rich woman is lead into a sterile, expensive building where a scientist, David, shows her his breakthrough: a formula that has restored an elderly monkey to youth. Fiona is impressed, she wants it. Now. Within the hour, she has a dinner appointment. David points out it will take 2 years before they’re ready for human trials, she points out that it’s her vast sums of money that is paying for this research (she will also smoke in this room that she paid for, thank you very much). Despite this awesomeness, David is adamant, he can’t give her it, science takes longer than that, it isn’t magic.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Addicted (The One Rises #2) by Anna Wolfe

Callie has found the Bitten and is now learning how to harness her abilities and learn all the things she needs about the world she has found herself in. Some of it is fascinating, a lot of it boring.

But Callie has reached the attention of Phaedron, his group and assorted allies pretty much united in their dislike of Silas – and Callie looks like an ideal tool with which to strike against him. Indeed, even Silas’s seeming growing affection towards Callie may consider it to be a weakness.

Other groups have laid their snares as well, and Edie finds another net laid for her and Silas through one of her close contacts.

Behind it all is the eternal threat of the One – a threat that seems to be encouraging the witches to set their own plans in motion

This is one of those reviews where I want to point to my review of the first book and say “ditto”. This is always a problem of reviewing a sequel when the author is consistent.  Like the first book, I found the characterisation, the world building and the writing excellent. The pacing moves well, the story is exciting and intriguing.

Like in the first book, this book has a lot of POV switches, we move from character to character and get their impression of what is happening around them, what they’re involved in and the other characters. Again, I have to say that POV switching is normally something I despise since it forces an almost all-knowing narrator and is often clumsy and repetitive. This isn’t – when the POV shifts it doesn’t rehash what has already been made clear. The POV isn’t used to make grand revelations but nor do we have convoluted situations where characters manage to keep secrets they shouldn’t be able to while we are in their heads. It’s really well written, really finely balanced and really works well. It serves to do an extremely good job of fleshing out all of the characters and making them all strong and with their own agendas.

It also means characters that, in most books, would be relegated to side roles, particularly Edie, don’t. We’re in her head, her viewpoint is as important and powerful as Callie’s – which in turn leads to her having her own story, her own plot line and her own agenda. Even without that, she has her own, clear opinions about Callie, the other characters and the plot that are purely about her, not just as a way to characterise other people. It makes her a major character rather than a support character – which is especially beneficial since she’s a Black woman.

I do think Mark is rather uncharacterised – to a degree that I was surprised by how young he is and had to mentally reset my impression of the character, which means something was missed in the first book, really.

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 1: I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here

Carry on my Wayward sons! Yes, it’s back! Supernatural which, despite all of its many many, many, many, many oh dear gods many, problems remains my favourite show on TV. And not just because of Castiel
or not entirely
 There are people in the world who are afraid of what I will do if this show is ever cancelled. Take that as a warning producers!

Clearly some time has passed because we open in the car with Sam complaining about how no-one realised the entire population of Heaven just fell – it’s been listed as a meteor shower; but Dean is obviously distracted (and hiding that there’s a problem, very unsuccessfully) and doesn’t think rampaging angels (who are dicks) or Metatron or Castiel or Demons or anything else is their problem. Dean is focused on Sam – because he’s dying

Swoop out and Dean is by Sam’s hospital bed, watching the news of a “global meteor shower” – Sam is unconscious. I guess the driving was Sam’s coma dream. The doctor tells Dean that Sam has been badly burned internally, is in a coma and, basically, nothing short of a miracle is going to wake him up. The doctor also tells Dean that Sam’s life is in “god’s hands” which sparks Dean’s temper (it’s not like he’s had a particularly smooth relationship with agents of the divine).

Despite that, he goes to the chapel and prays – to Castiel, begging for him to come. Castiel doesn’t respond. So Dean shifts gears and sends out a call to all Angels, giving his name and location, offering to make a deal with any Angel who turns up to help. Angels around the country in their various guises perk up and move towards him – and they don’t look happy.

Back to coma dream in the car with coma!Dean convinced that they can solve the whole dying thing, with added “you do realise this is all a coma dream, right?” Sam follows the logic and questions that if coma!Dean represents his will to fight – but has no idea how – then maybe he shouldn’t fight? At that, up pops coma!Bobby in the back seat (yay, Bobby!) and he agrees – maybe Sam shouldn’t fight.

Leaving Sam’s internal wrangling aside, it’s time to see Castiel. Castiel!!!!!

Yes, I'm going to be doing this a lot
He’s in rural Colorado, hearing voices in his head and almost getting run over. He staggers up from the gravel to find his hands cut and bleeding – not instantly healing and it actually hurts. The driver who nearly hit him wants to help and ends up thoroughly confused by Castiel – but does offer him a lift since Castiel has no wings anymore.

Back to the coma dream where Sam’s subconsciouses are arguing, with Coma!Bobby pointing out sometimes it’s time to die and it happens. Coma!Dean thinks there’s always a way – but Coma!Bobby counters that all the many ways they HAVE found to keep going (like selling their souls) didn’t exactly work out too excellently. More arguing follows before Coma!Bobby and Sam teleport to the middle of the coma!woods, leaving Dean behind.

Back to Castiel and the guy who gave him a lift drops him off – and gives him money to help (Castiel is sure he’s fine, he doesn’t eat!) awww, a nice guy. We should have him stuffed.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blood Wyne (Otherworld #9) by Yasmine Galenorn

Menolly and Nerissa confirm their relationship in this book, growing closer than ever before despite the changes stalking Nerissa’s live – and despite the pressures pushing in on Menolly, including her vampire “daughter” requiring more of her attention.

There’s a vampire serial killer stalking women which in turn flares up human hatred against vampires. There’s also a vampire election coming up and the eldest child of the Blood Wyne, the oldest vampire, the vampire queen, is in the city and is determined to set what the results of that election will be.

He also has designs on Menolly herself.

I am torn a little here on the story. On the one hand I have the same problem I’ve had with these books since the very first – there’s a huge world here, a huge number of characters and all of them seem to have their own storylines that WILL get space in the main book (rather than spin off series of their own). Similarly, the main characters aren’t just focused on the main storyline – other things happen to divide their attention, like Delilah and the Autumn Lord and Chase or Camille and her father and the Moon Mother.

This book focuses on a main character, Menolly, but the story is a departure from the focus on Shadow Wing and the impending invasion. Instead we focus on vampire politics, a serial killer and developing the world building of the vampires with a side order of relationship issues and the Wayfarer bar. Morio, Camille, Vanzir, Smoky, Chase and the Demon underground all have their own storylines developed as well. And pretty much none of it relates to Shadow Wing or the war.

And this is where the being torn comes in. Part of me wants to complain about the distraction, and certainly I do question whether it’s necessary for us to have Chase and his new abilities taking up space or Smoky having his issue with his father. I’m not sure they add anything to the story except be more clutter underfoot.

But part of me also acknowledges that the reason why all the characters of this series are as strong, as fully fleshed and as identifiable as they are is the effort the author puts in to making sure that every character has a life of their own – which, by necessity, means they have stories of their own (but do we have to see them all?) And part of the reason why the world is so rich and compelling and complete is because it has all of these elements that do intrude into their lives rather than there just being one thing happening. It does make the world real – after all, how often can we focus on one issue in our lives and the rest of the world go away? Why should Menolly, a vampire, be able to focus on the war with Shadow-wing and completely ignore the vampire world? Why should Smoky be able to act without dragon politics ever imposing on his life? This really lets the world building tell itself – we could have Menolly drily tell us the risks vampires face of losing themselves – or we can see the a vampire face that very same, tragic fate. There’s  a lot of excellent world building about politics, about vampires and about basic characterisation that is expanded through experience rather than info-dump

Sleepy Hollow, Season One, Episode Four: The Lesser Key of Solomon

The episode begins with  flashback to Boston Harbour December 16, 1773. That's right, crates of tea are being dumped into the harbour.  Ichabod is told to step aside because not only did Washington demand the return of  a crate but Ichabod as well. The redcoats enter and one begins a prayer before a huge explosion goes off. In the present, Ichabod is telling his story to Onstar, which he contacted because he was locked in the car.  A van hustles out of the parking lot and Ichabod hops out of the car.  Abbie approaches and informs Ichabod that Jenny has escaped.

Abbie then asks Frank to call off the dogs, so that she can quietly look for her sister.  Frank is not immediately agreeable to this but Abbie points out that Jenny was due to be released in six months and suggests that there had to be good reason for her sister to try and escape now.  Abbie adds that Jenny does not do random.  Frank asks what Ichabod and Abbie said to Jenny when they visited her.  Ichabod replies that Jenny is a brilliant woman, who is haunted by a past she cannot understand.  Frank wants to know how the recent murder spree relates to Jenny's escape and while Abbie cannot explain, she is firm in the belief that Jenny will have the answers, if she can just get to her.  Frank concedes and gives Abbie 12 hours but promises that after that time he will issue a nation wide warrant for Jenny. Wait a nation wide warrant? Wasn't Abbie just in for some petty theft? Why are they making her out to be this massive threat if that is the worst that she has done?

In the meant time, Jenny is at a bar and tells Randall the bartender that she needs her things.  Jenny tells Randall that the town is going straight to hell.

A music teacher is giving a piano lesson when his phone rings.  He learns that Jenny has escaped and the ominous voice warns they have reason to believe that Jenny knows where item 37 is.  He is told that  a cleanup crew will arrive to help him. The teacher then heads to the bar where Jenny picked up her things. Randall claims not to know Jenny and suggests that they leave.  The teacher replies that lies require commitment.  Randall grabs a shot gun but it is quickly taken from his hand and he is pulled over the bar, landing on the floor.  Randall then admits that Jenny was there and they begin to torture him.

Abbie is on the phone as Ichabod looks over Jenny's record.  He learns that Jenny was busy traveling when she wasn't incarcerated. When Ichabod mentions Somalia, Abbie says that Jenny would fit right in because Somalia is not known for law and order.  Ichabod questions why Jenny would travel to exotic locals and then return to Sleepy Hollow, if all that awaited her was more incarceration.  Ichabod then asks where Jenny's family was while this was going on.  Abbie tells him that their father left while they were kids and a few years later, their mother had a nervous breakdown.  Her mother was hospitalized, so the state placed them in foster care.  Ichabod questions why Abbie had one foster home and Jenny 7 after the age of 12.  Ichabod thinks that they should visit Jenny's last foster family because she stayed with them for a year.

Jenny is in a bathroom and she looks at  newspaper clipping about Abbie, before loading her gun.

The cops are now at the bar where Jenny visited to pick up her things and find a headless Randall hanging from the bar.  Frank points out that Randall's wounds are not cauterized, meaning that they are not dealing with another attack from the headless horseman. Frank advises that they are to stay off the radio on this one.

Abbie is talking to Jenny's last foster mother and she claims that Jenny had a quick temper and always got into trouble.  When Jenny brings up that the government pays a stipend for every child she takes in, the foster mother replies that it is not nearly enough. Abbie points out that a little girl is sleeping on the floor, and looks malnourished - yet the woman has enough money to put a new car into the driveway. The foster mother points out that she put a roof over Jenny's head when no one else would and adds no one wanted Jenny. Abbie informs the woman that if she doesn't supply her with information that leads to Jenny, she will rain legal brimstone upon her.  The woman pauses and says that Jenny used to go to a cabin at trout lake.  Abbie tells the woman to expect a call from family services and she and Ichabod leave.  Is it me or did that poor starving child just get reduced to a tool so Abbie could get the information she wanted?

Ichabod and Jenny head out to the cabin and Abbie picks the lock.  Ichabod pauses at the mantle and discovers pictures of Jenny and Sheriff Corbin.  Jenny enters the room and points a gun at them.  The two sisters start to argue and Ichabod slams the table in frustration, then tells both women off.  Abbie and Jenny lower their guns and Ichabod reintroduces himself to Jenny.  Abbie questions how long Corbin was in Jenny's life. It seems not only did they know each other, Corbin sent her traveling to acquire different objects. Jenny says that Corbin visited her terribly upset the night before he died. Corbin instructed her to come to the cabin if he died and pick a device for mapping sea travel.  Ichabod picks up a cloth with markings and says that he has seen them before in Boston. Apparently, they had received word that the red coats had acquired a device - a weapon to turn the tide of the war in favor of the British.  Jenny is shocked so Abbie gives her the 5 second recap on Ichabod the time traveler. Ichabod then brings up the tea party and it seems that it was merely a distraction so that they could steal something from the British.

We get a flashback and Ichabod says that his plan to acquire the weapon ran into trouble.  The soldier guarding the weapon was a Hessian and Jenny points out that this is just like the horseman.  Ichabod says that the Hessian took his own life to protect the weapon. Ichabod is the only one who made it out alive and he discovered a chest made of stone covering in markings.  He had the chest sent to Washington and that was the last he had ever seen it.  Abbie questions why the Hessian was guarding the chest and Ichabod replies that it must be more than it appears, as he searches the cabin.  It turns out that the device is also a projector and Ichabod makes a map appear on the wall. It's an old survey map of Sleepy Hollow which pinpoints the whereabouts of the chest.

Beauty and the Beast, Season 2, Episode 1: Who Am I?

So after the grand cliffhanger of the last season, where will we pick up from here? And, more pointedly, will this season actually make sense without convoluted plot twists forcing the story along? Have they cut off the writer’s copious alcohol supplies? Has Vincent mastered a facial expression beyond earnest and tortured? Will Tess discover it’s possible to have a conversation that isn’t about men? Will J.T. leave when he finally finds out he may be the best actor on the show but is doomed to be Vincent’s side-kick because Vincent looks better without a shirt?

So many questions!

And we open with Catherine surrounded by the debris of a prolonged search. She dreams about losing Vincent and the death of Gabe – and her then successfully resuscitating him. What? I would call retcon shenanigans but since it means Gabe is likely to appear shirtless again this season I shall withhold my disapproval in the name of the greater good. She wakes up and calls JT for more leads – at 5:00am, and she only called him 8 hours ago. This more than a little scary, obsessive behaviour has apparently been going in for 3 months. The conversation is used for an epic recap of many facts including the recent death of Catherine’s father. As far as info-dumps go, it was pretty natural considering the huge nature of it.

At work Tess tries very gently to talk to Catherine about her being AWOL looking for Vincent – especially since they had so many of their cases overturned they have a lot of work to do and, while Tess is totally on Catherine’s side, she’d kinda like to know when Catherine is going to do her job again. Tess talks about how her obsession can be dangerous – relating it to Joe whose obsession with finding his brother’s killer led to him being fired and him no longer being Tess’s boyfriend (more exposition! And an explanation for his character’s absence. Written off in the downtime, ouch).

Gabe’s turn – he’s apparently in charge now with Joe gone and Catherine laces into him in a pre-emptive defence of her slacking (and she’s totally playing the “I saved your life” card), when she lets him get a word in edgewise he tells her JT has found Vincent –and shows her a grainy CCTV picture.

They hurry to JT who points out he said it “MIGHT” be Vincent – and his facial recognition software doesn’t think it is. JT and Gabe snark gloriously, taking into account the fact that, until recently, Gabe was trying to kill Vincent (and Gabe is, apparently, no longer a Beast) and therefore not JT’s favourite person (or as JT puts it “do we even like you?”). Catherine decides to rush to the rescue of the man being carried by goons anyway, on the off chance it is Vincent. And if it isn’t, saving someone from goons is generally a good guy thing to do.

On the way she accidentally calls Heather and she joins the chorus of people who are worried about Catherine – and reminds Catherine she promised to turn up at a tribute their father’s law firm was throwing for the man (apparently naming him partner. I assume this is posthumous, or maybe they have zombie partners at the firm) and Heather doesn’t want to face it alone. She also kind of wants to break the big revelation that her dad isn’t actually Catherine’s biological father.

At a sinister abandoned warehouse (honestly, CCTV at these places would expose every criminal gang meeting, every evil plot and all kinds of monstrous doings), Vincent (now absent his scar, what did the makeup artist get bored?) is tied to a chair so a new big boss Muirfield Agent can be smug at him. Apparently he’s the boss of Muirfield and took the contract from the government to build a super soldier; unfortunately he considers Vincent (and, presumably, his fellows) an experiment gone wrong – but he could still make lots of cash on the open market.

Catherine sneaks her way in, taking out a couple of the endlessly disposable Muirfield guards (employee turnover at Muirfield must suck).

Unfortunately for big boss man, while he “made” Vincent and is sure he knows his limits, Vincent has been evolving – or maybe Muirfield’s figures just aren’t that accurate and the big titanium, steel-alloy cuffs they have him in aren’t sufficient to hold his superman Beast strength (which makes him waaay stronger than before). His guards are quickly dispatched but boss man manages to escape when Vincent is distracted by Catherine.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Lost Prince (Iron Fey #5, Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa

Ethan, brother of Megan Chase, the Iron Queen, has spent his life hiding from the fae and hiding that he can see them. When they notice him, chaos ensues. School buildings are destroyed, people are hurt and he inevitably lands him up to his neck in trouble

This has left him friendless and isolated, determined to drive people away. It’s also left him a little bitter. Not least of which towards the sister who abandoned him

But when a half-breed at school disappears, he finds himself drawn in despite himself, he and Kenzie, a girl who refuses to be driven off. They may be the best able to take down this new threat – but on the way Ethan learns just how much his sister has been hiding from him

When I reviewed the Iron Prince I said that I wasn’t a big fan because I just didn’t like Ash. But it’s not just Ash. I just don’t like his character Archetype. I don’t like the broody, angsty, male hero whose every other thought is about how tortured and sad he is, how much his life sucks, what a terrible person he is, what a terrible person everyone else is, etc etc etc.

I also don’t like the broody, angsty, male hero who decides that, because of some curse or powerful enemy or sheer poutiness, that he can’t possibly have any friends or loved ones because they will get hurt. The whole “I want them but I can’t have them waaaah!” has been done often and every time I’ve read it I have loathed it. It leads to endless navel gazing, endless self-pity and when coupled with point one up there, it makes me want to tear my hair out.

I also don’t like the broody, angsty, male hero who thinks he’s cursed so not only is alone, but preserves his “protective” solitude by being a complete and utter arsehole to everyone around him. It is actually possible to be a loner without lashing out at everyone like a rabid warthog; no, really, it is. And then we have the inevitable female love interest who, despite the rabid warthog behaviour, finds him interesting and intriguing and keeps coming back no matter how he tries to drive her off.

To finish all this, we have Ethan also hating his sister for leaving the family to save the Nevernever from a multi-sided war leading to inevitable genocide. Which I could have dealt with if he then didn’t feel guilty because of that.

That last one I wouldn’t have made an issue of because it’s a very human reaction; we’re not all saints and it’s perfectly reasonable for a teenaged boy to resent the sister who abandoned him when he was a child in favour of a load of fae who have since spent his life making him very very miserable. It’s a very human, very real reaction

Witches of East End, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

We have a very rich, very exclusive, very swanky party. And a woman, outside of said party, drawing pictures in the sand – she’s Joanna Beauchamp, at least according to her confused neighbours walking their dog. She turns away from them and walks away, completely silently.

Ok, clearly her neighbours have not read Ms. Manner’s column, when one finds a high society lady playing in the sandbox, one does not approach her, clearly.

From here to a big house where we have sisters Freya and Ingrid Beauchamp, with Freya freaking out about her engagement party since she had nervous making dreams, and Ingrid trying to keep a level head on her shoulders. Joanna is their mother and they all go to the party (without more playing in the sand).

The party seems to go on for a while before Freya and Dash, her fiancé (and I deserve a medal for not snarking that name) get a moment to establish their chemistry alone before his mother shows up to win gold in the “using compliments to be insulting” event over her soon-to-be-daughter-in-law. She’s good. But don’t worry, Freya, you can’t help your upbringing, she’s happy to teach you proper etiquette and style and everything else you need to know, you backwards hussy, you. Did I mention she’s good? She’ll even take Freya shopping for a bra that actually fits! This woman can gut an elephant at 300 paces with her tongue.

Wounded by her mother-in-law’s expertly vicious verbal mauling on her party night, Freya mutters “I hope you choke on it” when the older woman bites into a canapé – and she promptly starts choking, attended by her son.

Freya rushes to Ingrid to tell her this stunning news (Ingrid wastes time worrying about Dash’s mother – don’t worry Ingrid, she kind of had it coming), Ingrid dismisses the silliness of her over-dramatic sister having powers when Freya spots a new man entering the party – the man from her sexy dream that had her all anxious. A man she’d never met before. Unnoticed by everyone, the white flower in Freya’s hair turns red. Ingrid has another explanation to why there is nothing magic going on. She’s actually really really really good at that.

Meanwhile, 2 guests stagger from the party to Joanna’s sand pit and find Joanna’s 2 nice neighbours bloody and dead in the sand.

Joanna talks with her soon-to-be-son-in-law, Dash while he expositions about a portrait of the man who built the house, Archibald Browning. Joanna calls old Archibald a “son-of-a-bitch” before quickly editing that to being something she’d read, since he was alive in the early 1900s. We also learn that the architecture was weird and that Dash has recently refurbished the whole house.

And the house is what Ingrid elaborates on to her friend, Detective Adam Noble – talking about tunnels and animal sacrifices and S&M sex orgies. Now, there’s some selling points for the estate agent to mention! Apparently she wrote her dissertation about witch-craft, the occult and cults. Adam’s just have a break up and Ingrid and Adam are very much into each other and they haven’t dated because Ingrid, with her self-esteem, assumed Adam was joking when he invited her out. Unfortunately for her, she can’t follow this up because he gets a call about a couple being attacked and has to go check it out.

Next awkward scene – Freya, her fiancé Dash and Killian – the hot guy from her dream, Dash’s little brother. Freya runs into the house, hyperventilating – and then sees Killian go upstairs; she follows him. She follows him upstairs into his room and gasps about her dream – he apparently had the same one. They kiss – and as they kiss the vase of flowers behind them bursts into flame.

Downstairs, Ingrid picks up a picture of what looks like her…  from decades ago. But it crumbles to dust in her hands. Freya comes to her senses before she and Killian more than kiss and she hurriedly leaves the room. As she runs through the corridors, bouquets of flowers bloom and then explode in a shower of petals as she passes.

Cut to the next day, a cat runs across the road in front of a car. The driver breaks, hurries to see if she hit the cat – and finds a naked woman unconscious in the road.

Once Upon a Time, Season 3, Episode 2: Lost Girl

Gold, after his encounter this week, takes some precautions. He cuts his shadow off using the Dark One blade then instructs his shadow to take it and hide it where no-one can find it, even him. The Dark One knife is one of the few (perhaps only) way to actually kill the Dark One.

The rescue gang hike through the forest, guided by Hook who has, of course, been there before (though Regina points out she could easily have teleported them all. I think this is going to be a theme – constant rather convoluted reasons why Regina can’t use her magic to just solve any problem they come across). And Mary Margaret suggests Emma call her “mom” which is Awkward.

They reach a patch of thorns that Hook quickly stops David from hacking through- because it oozes a really nasty poison that Hook had used to almost kill Gold – proving its potency. He suggests they go round – David ignores him because… because… I have no damn clue. Seriously, is this just a “you’re not the boss of me” putting Hook in his place? Because less than a minute ago you refused Regina’s teleportation because of Hook’s superior knowledge, now you’re throwing that away because David wants to prove who is Alpha Male in these parts?

Emma and Hook continue to try and establish their chemistry with Emma telling him about all the stories he’s in (in which he is wrongly cast as the villain) and learns of twirling moustaches and perms. And they reach the top of the ridge and find that the jungle has rather overgrown since the last time Hook was there. Further, Hook adds they need to go round the Dark Jungle, which will take a while and they need to rest to prepare for it.

Both Regina and Emma are worried about waiting and sleeping while Henry is out there, but Mary Margaret reassures Emma with her own history – how they were never too late. Flashback, to Snow White in her glass coffin and Prince Charming kissing her (really Regina, you had to go with a curse. There’s perfectly good arsenic out there and no amount of molesting the corpse is going to bring her back then, but noooo, you had to go for a curse). The magic mirror shows Regina Snow White waking and their betrothal – and her plan to take the kingdom back.

Cut to Snow White rallying the crowd against the Evil Queen (“the land belongs to us!” you setting up a constitutional monarchy there, Snow? No? Ah, that would be “you” then)  who are happy to chant but not fight – and they scatter when Regina shows up. She restrains Charming and expresses her contempt (totally agree with Regina here) and offers Snow a deal – Snow, the dwarfs and the Prince can all go free if they acknowledge Regina’s rule. Alternatively, Regina will kill a peasant. Snow charges her with a sword – yeah that doesn’t work – and Regina gives her until sundown the next day to give up the throne; after which she will kill one of Snow’s Followers every day

I still say some arsenic or a quick stab with a dagger would work wonders.

Back to the present and Neverland and Emma is awoken by the sound of children. She wanders into the woods on her own to check it out (Whispering “hey guys” and then leaving the others asleep isn’t calling for help. And did you really leave no look out?) and runs into Peter Pan. After holding him at sword point and some banter back and forth, Peter says he’s going to help her find Henry – and give her a map. Uh-huh because that’s trustworthy. Apparently it’s because it’s about “how” she finds Henry. And, of course, Emma is the only one who can find him. The map’s also blank – oh that’s useful – she can only read it when she “stops denying who she really is.”

Yeah she should have stabbed him

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: Autumn 2013, Episode 1

After many technical issues, we've finally started up our podcast again to start following the shows we love (or at least critique) books and all the other things we debate in the genre.

As ever all our previous podcasts can be found in the archive

Due to repeated technical issues with Talkshoe, we're now moving to Google hangouts which, we hope, will work out. Bear with us through any technical difficulties.

You can join us here and you can listen live on our youtube channel, here, or in our sidebar. All will also carry a recording after the show is finished.

We will be back every Monday at 7:00pm EST, Midnight GMT. Book of the week will return soon.

This week we discussed:

Haven, Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow, Vampire Diaries and The Originals

A Clockwork Heart (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #2) by Liesel Schwarz

Elle and Marsh are finally married but unlike most newlyweds they don't settle into a grace period.  Elle being a young woman, still has a taste for adventure and does not want to put her piloting days behind her wheras; Marsh who has lived a long life as a warlock is read to settle into domesticity.  They being to butt heads a Elle chafes as being limited and Marsh demands more time. While Elle is away on a case, Marsh decides to take a case.  What he cannot imagine is that will cost him his heart and make him a clockwork monstrosity.  It is up to Elle to with the help of the vampire Loisa Beladodia to track Marsh down in the process deal with the threat that the White Lady places on the nation. 

A Clockwork Heart started off very slowly and found myself struggle to remember what I liked about Marsh.  His behavior was absolutely patriarchal and controlling and the fact that he used love to justify it, didn't sit well with me.  It affected my feelings so much that when he was kidnapped, it was difficult to invest in the idea that he needed or deserved a rescue despite the desperate situation that he was in. 

That said, I did enjoy the fact that it was Elle investing in saving Marsh, rather than the other way around.  Elle and Loisa Beladodia worked fearlessly together as a team and I very much got a Thelma and Louise vibe from their interactions. That said, the touch of spunky agent in Elle quickly moved charming to irritating.  She constantly put herself in dangerous situations without really stopping to think them through and Schwarz always seemed to allow her a way out without any great consequence. Furthermore, we are told repeatedly that Elle is an all powerful oracle and yet she does little to nothing to learn about her powers, let alone learn how to harness them.  This is an old trope in urban fantasy and each time it appears it makes little sense. 

Atlantis, Season 1, Episode 2: A Girl By Any Other Name

In the thick forest, in the middle of the night a woman runs from a creature that growls and, presumably, chases her. Until she trips over a log and cowers. C’mon woman, get up, grab the log and poke the beast at least! It’s only when she slowly, shakily, pulls herself to her feet that the hairy goblin thing appears and growls at her

In the city, Jason and his friends have been hired to guard a merchant’s shipment of frankincense, something Jason hates because he’s bored but the, drunken, Hercules points out if you’re bored at work, you’re being paid to do nothing (a special bonus if you’re guarding something)

Jason strops his way to the Oracle to have a little temper tantrum at the vague and cryptic Oracle being, well, vague and cryptic. There follows… more vague and cryptic stuff. When he complains about being lost and out of place in Atlantis she rambles about Destiny and apparently the people who want to kill him.

Well, that was enlightening. She could have at least thrown in next week’s lottery numbers.

To more mundane problems – the drunken, useless clown, Hercules fell asleep while on guard and the frankincense was stolen. The merchant will not be pleased – Pythagoras certainly isn’t. But dealing with that waits while an old man recruits them to find his daughter, Demetrea, who came to the city looking for work (and found it in the palace) and is now missing. He wants those who slew the Minotaur to help her – Hercules is at first eager then backs out when he realises the old man doesn’t have much money to pay them but Jason offers to help.

A servant, Korrina, sneaks Jason into the palace (which is forbidden) and he runs into Ariadne – who, of course, turns a blind eye. Jason talks to one of the cooks who tells him Demetrea disappeared while fetching herbs – no-one looked for her because servants have little value and the servants themselves are so busy. Still, with poking from Korrina, she agrees to show Jason where Demetrea would have gathered herbs.

Jason is surprised at how far away the herbs are (me too, what with there being a busy, thriving market and everything – sending kitchen maids hiking miles out of the city seems far less cost efficient than buying locally grown herbs from a merchant) but the cook merely answers that the king wants herbs and doesn’t care how far they are. When the cook finally leads him to a clearing in the woods, she draws a knife and tries to stab him

Yeah, that doesn’t work. When he knocks the knife aside, she runs. She takes poison before telling Jason that Demetrea will not be harmed, she’s in a better place and her god will provide for her – before dying.