Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 5: The Monster's Ball

Dr. Maxfield has Jessie chained to a table, having killed him with vampire blood in his system. He now has to drink human blood to complete the transition. Why? Apparently for some kind of experimentation on the baby vamp – perhaps more disturbing is that he calls Jessie “Subject 62547” which is both dehumanising him down to a number, but also suggests that he’s burned through 62,546 other subjects. I’m sure someone would have noticed 62,000 people going missing. He runs through various observations before saying that Jessie is a “perfect candidate.”

At college, Elena is using her diary to treat us to a big info-dumpy recap. Bonnie’s ghost is hanging around Elena because even when dead she has to orbit around her –talk about a hellish afterlife. And Damon shows up to point out Elena is avoiding him and to accept her invitation to the Costume Ball. The Whitmore Historical Ball

Are you serious? ANOTHER big social event? Yes this one at least cleaves to an actual tradition – but we’re 5 episodes in and they’ve already had 3 of them! How does anyone in Mystical Falls actually get anything DONE?

Caroline and Tyler don’t seem to be as sunny as Caroline and Elena think – since he doesn’t want to talk about anything to do with College and doesn’t even seem all that thrilled about the Costume Ball (and he’s a native of Mystic Falls, he should be used to parties every second Sunday).

Elena spots a guy clearly upset over Megan’s little memorial and hurries over to intrude on his grief. He grew up with her, doesn’t think Megan committed suicide and doesn’t really want to talk to Elena.

Meanwhile in actual stuff happening, Silas wants Katherine, Nadia doesn’t want to give up Katherine, Silas isn’t happy at losing his super-mind-powers but still intends to follow them and Katherine gets the not-very-shocking-news that the immortality cure in her blood will take every last drop of blood she has.

On the road and getting Katherine something to eat, Nadia decides to play Q&A with Katherine – giving Katherine chance to run down the many awful things she’s done over the years. Nadia reveals she’s been following Katherine for 500 years, she is a vampire and she even became a vampire so she could follow and match Katherine. Sound super-stalkery? Well Katherine killed her mother – when Klaus’s minions caught up with her in the 17th century in Paris, Katherine threw Nadia’s mother to the wolves to escape. Katherine responds to this revelation by stabbing Nadia in the chest with a walking stick and running away.

Nadia staggers around a little, unable to remove the stick and Katherine returns – she deliberately missed the heart because she wants to know what’s going on – she knows Nadia’s story is bullshit. Nadia calls it a test and is cryptic for a little while before revealing Katherine DID kill her mother – but in England in the 15th century. She killed her mother by hanging her… hanging herself. Yes, it’s Nadia Petrova and Katherine is her mother. SHOCK!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Study in Darkness (The Baskerville Affair #2) by Emma Jane Holloway

Evelina Cooper has lost everything that is important for her.  Forced to remove herself from society to endure her grandmother's attempts to find her a husband, Evelina still aches over the separation from her best friend, and the loss of the two men that she loves.  Little does she know that soon she will be drawn back into the world of intrigue when a bomb goes off at her uncle Sherlock's flat. Evelina will soon find herself forced to work for the nefarious gold king as all around her, ladies of the night are being murdered most brutally.  For the first time, Evelina is also tempted by black magic when she works closely with Magnus.  So much is at stake and Evelina quickly realises that will have to risk all, if she is to have any hope of saving the people she loves.

I must admit that I am a bit of a fanpoodle when it comes to this series and my only real regret is that it the Baskerville Affair only has three books.  It is so easy to lose one's self in the story and the strong steam punk aspect that Holloway has infused into this series.  The writing is very vivid and the pacing could not be more perfect.

As protagonists go, Evelina is absolutely selfless.  She is intelligent and extremely empathetic.  With everything going on, it would have been very easy for Holloway to turn Evelina into a spunky agent but she very directly has Evelina avoid this by thinking through each aspect of the challenges presented to her.  Sherlock could have overwhelmed Evelina but instead, he forces her to challenge her assumptions and think through each lesson that she has learned. 

A Study in Darkness has a strong class element in that Holloway explores what it is like for those who were not born into privilege.  This is a rare element in steampunk as much of it is focused on the upper classes and drawing room intrigue.  People do what they need to do survive at the hands of those determined to horde all of the wealth for themselves. 

A Study in Darkness includes a new twist on Jack the Ripper.  Normally when it comes to sex trade workers, there is a lot of slut shaming but Holloway makes it clear that these women are forced by circumstance into their trade and actively asserts their humanity and right to live a life free of violence.

The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 4: Kill or be Killed

We open with what looks like another delinquent Paranormal, using his powers to steal. He races away from the cops with a bag stuffed with loot and, when cornered, teleports out of the car.

Home to a group of small children who grab at his bag – full of food. His fosterfather is drinking in the other room; the teen steals food and his foster father spends their foster money on booze. The father throws his dinner to the floor and tells the boy, John (flashback? – Yes this is young John) to clean it up as a lesson. While doing so, he picks up a knife and is tempted to stab the man – but that pesky no-kill element of being Paranormal kicks in. He drops the knife and the man hits him. But is interrupted by a knock at the door – it’s Jedikiah

To the present day and John is trying to teach Stephen more about his powers – this particular means unlearning what Jedikiah teaches because his way is both too intellectually abstract and designed to restrict Paranormals to the most simplistic, brutal application (this would go a long way to explain why the Tomorrow People can usually bring down Ultra agents when outnumbered 2:1).  Cara thinks John is a bit harsh when it comes to training but it pales next to what John went through.

Back home. Stephen’s mother has questions, worried questions, since Stephen has bruises, she hasn’t seen Astrid around in a while and he hasn’t been going to the film club he’s apparently part of. So what is he doing after school if his usual activities are not happening and she’s found an employee badge from Jedikiah’s company. Given the givens, I think “working for my uncle” is probably the best answer here. Mother does not trust Jedikiah. Because she’s no fool – but Stephen wants to learn about his father and lies about it being perfectly safe.  So she wants Stephen to invite Jedikiah to dinner.


Meanwhile at the Hideout, John is tracking news of big explosions in cities heading east, the next one is them. Cara and John recognise this as being caused by someone called “McCrane” who is coming back. Exposition fail, guys!

At Ultra, Jedikia is also tracking Killian McCrane, when Stephen arrives calling Jedikiah “Uncle Jed” which Jed doesn’t like much (it is unprofessional – and may give people the impression Jedikiah won’t kill him for funsies). Jedikiah has no desire to handhold Stephen’s mother – and wants Stephen to learn about mass murdering bomber, McCrane, who is somehow able to kill despite being a Paranormal (and former Ultra Agent).

Jedikiah gets into his van and turns the key – Stephen notices the bottom of the car catching on fire and quickly teleports in, grabs Jedikiah and teleports out just before the car exploded. Saving Jedikiah’s life.


I’d teleport – I’d teleport to get me some marshmallows!

Revolution, Season Two, Episode Six: Dead Man Walking

The show opens up with Miles and Monroe setting up where Fry was killed to make it look like the Patriots killed him.  In a bar, one of the Texas rangers reports that Fry is missing in action, just as Miles and Monroe are dumping Fry's body into the river.  The Texas rangers walk past Aaron, Charlie and Rachel on the street.  When Rachel and Charlie enter the house, they are met by Gene, who is overjoyed to see Charlie. The rangers have tracked Fry's tracks to the crime scene set up by Monroe and Miles.  When they find the planted bullet, the rangers blame the Patriots.  When the rangers head out to the river they find Fry's body.  They argue about what to do briefly and then decide to head out, as Monroe and Miles watch.  Monroe tells Miles that he now has the war he wanted.

Five days later, Charlie, Rachel and Gene are in the kitchen.  Relations between Charlie and Rachel are very strained and Gene picks up on it.  Gene says that they need to stop fake grinning their way through whatever is going on and suggests that they should be happy together.  Gene then asks for an update as to what is going on and Charlie simply leaves the room.

Monroe drags a body out of the shed and drops him off at Miles's feet. Miles is not pleased and reminds Monroe that the plan was for them to lay low and wait for Texas to start killing Patriots.  Monroe suggests that Miles relax because he believes that Texas is on its way.  Monroe pulls out a piece of paper containing strategic information that he got from the guy he slaughtered.  Monroe then asks Miles to help bury the body.  On the way to the grave, Monroe says that though he hates Neville, he must admit that Tom would be handy in this situation.

Allenford and Neville are walking and she informs him that she is going no further because the camp is just two  hours away. Neville is not pacified and tells Allenford that it is not over until he lays eyes on Jason. Allenford says that the reprogramming center should scare him because it scares her. They come across a tent filled with rotting bodies and Allenford says that the cadets from the center did this.  Neville replies that the bodies look like they were ripped apart by wolves and Allenford says that this is all the cadets are at this point. Neville says that the cadets are like Hitler youth on meth and asks what kind of game the patriots are running. Allenford points out that the patriots are not her people anymore.  A shot is fired and Jason and another cadet appear, forcing Neville and Allenford to run and hide.  Jason and Neville square off and Jason fires his weapon, forcing Neville to duck and hide.

Miles enters the house and Rachel snarks about Monroe.  Rachel tells Miles that Monroe is a monster and says that he is not doing a damn thing about it. Miles shows Rachel the intel that Monroe got from the patriot soldier and Rachel is not impressed because that means Monroe tortured someone.  Miles points out that the Patriots are smart and vicious.  Miles believes that this is what they need and adds that if Bass doesn't do it, then he will have to. Rachel tells Miles that he is full of crap before walking away.

Monroe is in his cabin when a bomb gets thrown inside.  When he steps outside with a knife, he is surrounded by men with guns. Two men grab him and he fights back but is quickly overwhelmed. Truman steps forward and informs Monroe that he is under arrest, under the authority of the United States government and the sovereign state of Texas.

A bell is ringing in town and Monroe is being brought in on a wagon as Gene, Rachel, Miles and Aaron look on.  Rachel asks what is going on when she notices Texas and the patriots together - not killing each other. 

The president of Texas (played by Anthony Ruivivar - and probably another dead man of colour walking) makes a speech about how Texas ranger Malcolm Dove tracked down Monroe working with their friends the Patriots.  Photographers snap pictures as Turman and the president shake hands.  The president says that Monroe will be tried and if found guilty will be executed.

Aaron is in a bar drawing the triangle symbol on a comic book. He is approached by Bonnie Webster a journalist who works General Carver's press tour.  Aaron is shocked to know by the fact that Webster is press and she informs him that in Austin, politicians enjoy reading about themselves. Aaron question whether she should be out there and  Webster said she wrote the story of Carver catching his Bin Ladin.  Webster adds that this will keep Carver happy and inflated for years. Webster confirms that she is a writer not a truth teller.

Miles and Rachel are walking past the jail where Monroe is being kept. When Miles notes the high number of guards, Rachel questions if they can even break Monroe out.  Miles says that they have no choice now that Texas and the Patriots are allies.

American Horror Story, Season 3, Episode 4: Fearful Pranks Ensue

New Orleans, 1961, and a group of White men chase a Black boy until they corner him in an alley.

In Marie Leveau’s hair salon, the boy’s mother, Cora, is distracted – she’s sent her son Henry to the newly integrated high school. Marie thinks she’s taking a big risk and isn’t impressed that Kennedy’s in the White House – things haven’t changed that much and the White Citizens Council of New Orleans is still fighting integration with graphic racist messages.

Cora, later, finds her son’s body, lynched. And Marie Laveau looks on. That night she performs a ritual. In the cemetery, zombies rise from their graves – finding the men who lynched the boy. The zombies tear them apart.

To the present day and Spalding (the Academy’s tongueless servant) happily having a mini tea party surrounded by multitudes of dolls. It may be the creepiest thing American Horror Story has ever done. He’s interrupted by noisy shenanigans and goes downstairs while we hear Fiona confront Madison from last week.

Spalding clears up the body while Fiona justifies herself – Madison would have been a lousy Supreme and the coven couldn’t handle that at this moment. It’s her duty to stay vital. She also adds how much she loves talking to Spalding – especially since he lost his tongue.

They’re interrupted by the crash of breaking glass and Fiona goes to investigate in the greenhouse. She finds the place wrecked and Queenie on the floor – blood staining her dress crying that she couldn’t stop it and it hurt her really badly. The Minotaur rises behind her.

Fiona wakes Cordelia and brings her to help Queenie – both implying Cordelia was sleeping on the job and blaming Marie Laveau for the attack; Cordelia blames Fiona for provoking Marie. Fiona accuses Cordelia of undermining them, outright admitting to Marie that her magic was stronger than Fiona’s by going there and asking for help. While they bicker, Queenie stops breathing – and Fiona leans over her and breathes on her until she breaths and her heart beats again.

Cordelia wants to take her to a hospital but Fiona refuses – everything has to be handled internally, she adds a barb of the Council getting involved and questioning Cordelia’s competence.

Fiona goes to her room where LaLaurie is hiding. LaLaurie admits that Queenie saved her from Bastien, sent by the “Voodoo Queen” Marie. Fiona tells LaLaurie to keep quiet as well.

At Marie Laveau’s salon, a much older Cora is having her hair done before going to the Hallowe’en Ball at the mayor’s mansion she’s been invited to. Marie refuses to take Cora’s money (and pushes money into Cora’s hands though she tries to refuse, which Marie isn’t having). A large package arrives – inside is a bull’s head, Bastien’s head. Marie screams in rage and pain –especially since the Bull’s head blinks. Fiona was not amused by the bull man it seems.

The Problem With Queenie on American Horror Story

To be honest much of the time, I hate watch American Horror Story. From season one, it has been filled with racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism. When I learned that Gabourey Sidibe had been cast, a shiver of dread went down my spine. Though Sidibe is an Oscar nominated actress and is extremely talented, the fact that she is fat, dark skinned Black woman meant little chance of  a well rounded character. While I am not surprised with the hot mess that Queenie has become, I am disgusted. Why bother getting an actress who is so talented and then reduce her character to a cheap stereotype?

American Horror Story: Coven has taken Queenie and run down a positive bingo card of racist and fatphobic stereotypes and portrayals.

She is loud, angry and, yes, sassy - the trifecta of a cookie cutter Sapphire character. Snarky, loud and angry, she just needs some finger snaps and to talk about wig snatching.

Her signature power is being a human voodoo doll - which is problematic on many levels. First of all, the “voodoo doll” is not a major factor of Voudoun, or wasn’t before Hollywood got its hands on the religion and decided to transpose one of the most well known aspects of European witchcraft. The use of a poppet to transfer effects onto a person is an ancient tradition in many branches of European magical beliefs - in Voodoo? Not so much. But it remains the most stereotypical “Black people” magic that television and our general culture know of - Voodoo is Black people magic. Voodoo = Voodoo dolls so of course the Black witch will have a Voodoo Doll power.

It has the added bonus of reducing Queenie to an object and forces her to graphically mutilate herself (even if the wounds disappear) to fight her enemies.

This bodily destruction is especially poignant because Queenie is fat and fat people are coded to hate their bodies - which includes Queenie. While Queenie describes her virginity as her “waiting”, she is clearly lonely, unhappy and looking for companionship and a relationship. Relationships that are considered beyond her, even comically, because of her weight. She even overtly talks about her weight and her eating as being because she is unhappy, lonely and abandoned - that food is a comfort to her. Queenie can’t just be a fat character, she can’t be a happy fat character - she has to be miserable in her fatness, her eating is portrayed almost as a form of self-harm and rarely does an episode go by without one character commenting on her weight in a mocking and derogatory fashion.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Haven Sneak Peaks!

Sneak peak of tomorrow's episode:

And a behind the scenes look at last episode

And how many Stephen King references did you catch? <iframe width="300" height="170" 

The Devil Dances (Nick Engelbrecht #2) by K. H. Koehler

Nick’s tumultuous relationship with Vivian continues, much to Morgana’s disapproval – and seems to be getting serious. Especially after a mysterious, magical death in Nick’s arms leads him to investigate and gives Vivian the chance to have an almost-honeymoon for them.

But Nick doesn’t have much time for relaxing or partying when he follows the investigation – finding a vulnerable Amish community suffering a truly horrific predation at the hands of a terrible and powerful force. So desperate are they that they’re willing to accept help from him, Nick Englebert, Lucifer’s son and the next Lucifer.

As he investigates and battles the darkness, his own power flows; his father making frequent appearances to urge him towards ascension and one day stepping into his shoes.

I said before that this series is original and that is really well continued into this book. The nature of demons, the retiring Lucifer, exactly who and what Nick is coupled with the old gods, angel eaters, angry angels and an empty Throne all combine to create a really fascinating world with multiple angles and agendas. The idea of humans that ascend to become demons, Lucifer poking his son to do just that, is an excellently maintained one – especially with the very nature of Nick being developed so much more: what it means when people stick holy symbols in their faces and start chanting exorcisms, or their magic improving if people worshipping them – or Nick performing exorcisms simply by demanding demons leave because he’s the boss.

I love the idea of Angels being more than a little lost and aggressive with an empty throne – and I love that there’s been some real research into the nature of angels and not just presented as people with wings (which, if you read the original sources, is pretty divorced from the weird, wonderful and outright alien descriptions of many angels).

The angel eaters – those who eat angelic flesh and seek ascension to the empty throne are also a really good concept. I am torn as to whether they were necessary in this book, we had them in the last book and it was almost a distraction – but I think they maintain the ongoing meta as well as underscoring that just because there’s one thing going on in the world doesn’t mean there aren’t other things going on as well. I like the idea that the world doesn’t neatly line up one problem at a time or that everything else stops while you juggle something else.

The Originals, Season One, Episode Five: Sinners and Saints

Devina and Elijah are talking and she tells him that he is the one they call honorable. When she says that he doesn't look well, Elijah points out that he did have a mystical dagger shoved in his chest.  Elijah quickly moves to the heart of the matter - ending a war between the witches and the vampires before it truly begins. Devina wants to know why she should trust him and Elijah says that even though he is starving, he would not feed on a child.  Devina then cuts her hand and waves the blood under Elijah's nose.  He simply takes a drop from the knife and his colour comes back.

Klaus grabs Sophie and accuses her of allowing Haleigh to be attacked and almost killed by a gaggle of "lunatic witches." Sophie reminds Klaus and Rebekah that she is linked to Haleigh and therefore would never do anything like that.  Sophie tells them that Sabine told the witches about a vision she had about Haleigh.  Apparently, the vision was interpreted to mean that the baby would bring death to all of the witches. Rebekah asks how extreme the faction is and says that she promised Elijah that she would protect the baby while he worked on Devina. 

We get a flashback to 8 months ago and Sophie partying at a bar. Sophie says that her upbringing was very traditional and that the minute she turned 21, she left the Quarter to travel. Sophie returned to Rosseau's because she wanted to be a chef. Upon her return, Sophie learned that the ancestors had made the decision to go ahead with the harvest - a ceremony which links the witches to their ancestors and in the process, keeps their magic flowing. At the ceremony, a group of witches is lined up and Sophie interrupts it  and calls it ridiculous. 

Klaus gets a call from Marcel, who says that he just heard about a bunch of dead witches in the bayou and the wounds look werewolf inflicted, though there wasn't a full moon. Marcel asks Klaus to come with him to investigate but Klaus says it doesn't sound like a problem and should be something they celebrate.  Marcel replies that something is out there and because Klaus's blood is the only cure for a werewolf bite that he would love for him to accompany him.  Klaus agrees to go but what he does not know is that Marcel has been looking at a picture of the house where Klaus, Rebekah and Haleigh live throughout the conversation.

Sophie tells Klaus that she has to gather the witches remains and consecrate them before sundown or they will lose the link to their magic. Klaus reminds Sophie that the witches tired to kill Haleigh and he doesn't want Marcel's informant to find anything that would lead him back to them.  It's quite telling that Klaus refers to the fetus as, "that". Klaus leaves and tells Sophie not to finish her story until he returns.

Marcel enters St. Anne's and Father Kieran questions if he is there to move his prisoner.  Marcel tells him that Devina is not a prisoner and adds that he is moving her tonight because too many people know where she is. Kieran is not impressed that Marcel has been using Devina to stop the witches from doing magic and Marcel quickly cuts him off because he is not interested in witches rights.

In the attic, Elijah holds up a fiddle and asks Devina if she plays.  When Marcel enters, Elijah disappears.  Marcel informs Devina that he is moving her tonight and she is quite excited about the prospect. Marcel asks how Elijah is doing and she tells him not to disturb the body because she has a spell in progress.  Marcel tells Devina to pack up what she needs and promises to buy whatever else she wants before leaving. 

Elijah appears again and is surprised that Devina didn't reveal the fact that he is awake.  Devina simply says that they are not done talking yet.  Elijah comments that she seems very close to Marcel and Devina calls Marcel her family.  Elijah points out that Marcel delights in tormenting the witches but it seems that Devina thinks that they deserve it.  When Elijah asks why, Devina says that the witches made her and her friends do this harvest ritual.  The elders said their participation would bring their families strength and health. Devina left when she realised that they wanted was more power and since she left, they cannot complete the reaping.  Devina adds that soon all of the witches in the Quarter will start to lose their powers. Elijah asks what it takes to complete the ritual and Devina reveals that she has to die.

Sophie is at the graveyard gathering supplies to head out to the bayou when she is met by Haleigh.  Haleigh makes it clear that she is coming with her because what killed those dead witches, could still be out there. Sophie says that she is not buying Haleigh's sudden concern for her family.  Haleigh makes it clear that she came to New Orleans to find out more about her family and she is pretty sure that some guardian angel wolf saved her life last night.  Rebekah appears and calls them both idiotic and reminds them that both Klaus and Marcel are going to be there.  Haleigh will not be deterred. 

Rebekah calls Klaus and says that Sophie is on mission and his "baby momma" is joining them.  Rebekah suggests that Klaus keeps Marcel occupied for awhile.  Klaus heads into a bar where Marcel is waiting and asks where the informant Thomas is.  Klaus brings up Elijah and questions whether Devina has grown partial to his company.  Marcel asks why Klaus is so curious about Devina and adds that he is never going to get her.  Klaus switches tactics and asks how Marcel met Devina.  Marcel says that it was eight months ago and though the relationship wasn't perfect, some of them were not divided.

We get a flashback to Sophie and Marcel as lovers.  Sophie is upset that they have every 16 year old girl dying in their coven.  Klaus calls Marcel a hypocrite but Marcel says that it was a mutually satisfying hook up.  We learn that Sophie went to Father Kieran to intervene with the elders. The elders makes it clear that they have to do this because the vampire presence in the Quarter is growing too strong. Sophie tells Jo-Anne that this is a myth.  Father Kieran points out that what the witches are planning to do is immoral and murder.  He adds that the humans have an arrangement with the vampires just like they have the witches. Father Kiernan says that if the witches go through with the harvest that they will be facing the vampire without him.  The conversation is interrupted by Sean, and Kieran tells him that they were just finishing.  It seems that the witches put a hex on Sean to make it appear as though he was slowly losing his mind, while they continued to prepare for the harvest. This is how Sean ended up killing all of his fellow seminary students and himself.  Klaus says that he must of read about it in the news and Marcel adds that Sean had a twin sister.

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 4: Slumber Party

Opening flashback – 1935, the Men of Letters and a guy who really stores his key in an awkward fashion – sure it looks cool and secretive but can you imagine trying to get that in the dark, after a few drinks and when it’s hooling it down?

The door with the ridiculous lock leads to the Lair of the Men of Letters (which will one day become the Winchester Cave).  The two men go downstairs, take out some computer-lightbulb thingummies and plug them in declaring that the protocol is complete. I don’t know with these guys – it takes them 5 minutes to open a door then they go through all this to change the lightbulbs – no wonder they died out, they didn’t have time to breed!

Peter and James introduce themselves to each other and all the light in the place come to life. James isn’t impressed, Peter is inclined to be really overdramatic.

And 6 months after that they’re playing chess and Peter agrees with James at last – the place is a dump and he wants excitement and adventure. James thinks adventure is a bad bad idea. And they get a visitor – a hunter, “Frank’s kid”, Dorothy  - and she’s at least semi-famous enough to impress the, admittedly easily impressed Peter. She also has a big sack that is twitching. Dorothy wants help killing the Wicked Witch.

Zooming to the future and the ongoing questioning of Crowley which wisely involves not engaging him. Ever. Also randomly they’ve given Kevin a holiday because they didn’t want to include him in this episode. And Dean and Sam plan for a Game of Thrones marathon while Sam is still curious as to why Castiel left (because Dean kicked him out at Ezekiel’s insistence). He does have an idea to help Castiel – the table in the Winchester Cave lit up with all kinds of shiny lights when the angels fell – so maybe they can use it to track angels so Castiel can avoid them (Dean suspects this may be Ezekiel’s idea and further risks blowing the secret to Sam)

That involves adjusting the Winchester Cave’s 1951 computers which are huge. They fiddle with it – Dean’s brute force spilling a bottle which oozes grey sludge which moves on its own complete with ominous sound effects. The brother’s don’t notice because Dean is calling tech support

Flashback time again, James, Peter and Dorothy figuring out how to kill the Wicked witch who was in Dorothy’s bag – she’s had her tongue cut out and has been bound, though the last won’t last. James is very impressed that Dorothy did all this alone and she snarks his patronising sexism – nor does she have time for exposition or her daddy issues. Make with the research already.

To the present and Tech support is – Charlie! This explains why Kevin has been dumped – they wouldn’t need Charlie if they had Kevin to poke the computers. Brief catch up – Charlie has been fired again this time for exposing her company’s child labour and she’s also been doing a little hunting in her spare time (Dean is not impressed).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Micah (Anita Blake Series #13) by Laurell k Hamilton

Firstly, a pertinent point about this book is it’s short – it’s about 100 pages long by my e-reader and a substantial part of that is a preview of Danse Macabre. This is normally where I insert my complaints about how I don’t like novellas, but I’ll pass on it this once.

But I will say if you are going to write a novella, you have little space to actually waste words – your words have to count. You can’t write an 80 page story and then waffle. Unfortunately, this book does waffle – partly with the standard over-descriptive style interspaced with an annoying amount of recapping (though, to be fair, both are far more restrained than is common in the series) and partly with it taking its time to get on with the plot.

We then have scenes that take too long, add very little and take up space: a sex scene to be exact. And there was the obligatory Agent who calls in Anita but can’t be professional enough to hide his obvious dislike (all these people who hate Anita, none of them capable of a veneer of civility) which means we have to have a longwinded rendition of Anita vs The Haterz that will only get worse from this point in the series.

We also have a lot of revisiting of Anita’s issues. Now I’m not actually against exploring Anita’s need to constantly sabotage her own relationships, being awkward for awkwardness sake and often fleeing into anger whenever she feels any kind of emotion because she’s terrified of anything that may make her slightly vulnerable. These would be interesting things to explore – but less so things to repeat ad nauseum. Exploration is not the same as repetition especially in a novella where we have limited space to actually develop things.

One thing I was eager to see was some development of Micah. By this phase in the books Micah is pretty much a short guy who is a wereleopard and has a really big penis. As one of Anita’s main men – growing ever more important – it would be nice for him to be more than the Giant Kitty Cock (there’s a mental image for you).

Of course, this being the Anita Blake Series, “development” means “big load of angst.” So we get Micah angst… about being a wereleopard (therefore a monster) and having a huge cock (and how this made dating hard).

Y’know it could be an interesting thing to examine that the much vaunted mega-penis of doom actually has a downside, that most women don’t actually want anything to do with a penis the size of their arm and that it’s very easy to be fetishized because of it. Except we had it used as another example of how Anita is better than all women because not only can she take the super ginormocock of doom but she can do it with minimal foreplay while so very very very very tight (as we were told at extreme length) because she is ANITA!

And it rather laughably failed to characterise Micah. Before we only knew he was a wereleopard with a huge cock. And now we know he has issues with… being a wereleopard with a huge cock. It rather lampshaded that this is the entirety of this character – this IS what Micah is to such an extent that even “developing him” has to revolving around these 2 aspects of his… I won’t even say personality because they’re not – his anatomy.

The actual story, when we get to it, is actually pretty good. It was nice to see Anita raising zombies, it was nice to see a police case even if she were so tangentially involved, it was nice to see some action that wasn’t woo-woo or humping. I liked it.

But why-oh-why did Anita’s powers act up (something that is neither relevant before or after this book) necessitating her to grope Micah in the middle of a court proceeding? Did we need that? Really?

I don’t appreciate that Anita and Micah are worried about leaving Nathaniel behind since Asher has seen him and likes him. Asher has never given any indication that he would sexually assault Nathaniel or anyone else. Anita is regularly poleaxed by Nathaniel’s amazing beauty. Nathaniel is attractive; Asher, a bisexual man, has noticed. That doesn’t mean he’s going to assault Nathaniel – that’s offensive and homophobic.

We have a return of Agent Franklin, a Black FBI agent, (who hates Anita) and a new FBI Agent who is Native American and pretty decently used to address the idea of confining Native American officers to Native American issues (many minorities can attest to similar treatment – either tokenistically or through assumed authority) and the universalising of the very different Native American tribes.

Micah has elements to it that are nice to see – Anita working, Anita raising zombies, Anita solving a case, albeit a small one. Parts of it are a shout back to the wonderful things that the series used to be. Unfortunately there’s too much laid on top of that that just doesn’t work. It’s more a taunt of what could have been. For that might have been I give it 2 fangs - a generous 2 fangs. Its shortness prevents it being even more overwhelmed than it is

Beauty and the Beast, Season 2, Episode 4: Hothead

Vincent and Catherine have broken up last episode!

Place your bets now on how quickly they get back together! I am betting on no more than 3 episodes!

For now Cat is relationship free – which means she and Tess are going out for the night and Cat is determined that she is now “over it.” Tess tots up the lying amnesiac boyfriend who is killing people, the dead father who isn’t really her father and the sister who is moving away and expresses doubt that Cat is, indeed, “over it.”

Meanwhile Vincent is impatient. On the phone to his boss, Reynolds (who is still disguising his voice) he wants to know the full list of Beasts he has to kill (is there any questioning whether any of these Beasts deserve to die or not? Or who is controlling them – since Vincent is no better off himself) so he can get through them as soon as possible. Reynolds suspects Cat is the reason why Vincent is suddenly gung ho and Vincent tells him about his suddenly returning memories. Reynolds tells him to avoid her, she’s a distraction from his mission and Vincent wants his mission done since it’s a distraction from Cat.

Elsewhere, a building is burning in a raging inferno – and a man is just walking through the flames. The news reports that this is just one of several arson attacks that burn incredibly hot and are set by hand – but miraculously the arsonist escapes each time. Gabe, watching the news, mutters that the arsonist isn’t human. And that he isn’t wearing a special fire-proof suit – he is a special fireproof suit. With this revelation (I’m going with revelation even though I’m more inclined to label it a strange, solo game of madlibs) he wants to speak to Cat

Cat is aggressively playing pool with Tess and pretending absolutely nothing’s wrong which is not convincing anyone. A guy starts hitting on her – and won’t take no for an answer; he tries to hug her and she pushes him back – other people object to the disruption and she takes out a few more people on general principles. Including a judge.

When she and Tess arrive at the police station, Gabe is not happy with them and after ranting takes Cat aside to discuss the Arson Beast – why exclude Tess from this? Anyway, Gabe has a theory that Muirfield created specially tailored fire-resistant Beasts to shut down oil rig fires, possibly part funded by Big Oil. He wants Cat to get Vincent involved. Cat is suspicious – Gabe wanting to send Vincent on missions doesn’t seem very good to her; but Gabe claims he wants to capture the Arson Beast and cure him just like Gabe was – despite it being a rather extreme and difficult process. Cat thinks she has far too much going on in her life to think about rescuing other people: and this is the Arson department’s case not hers. She walks out.

So Gabe decides to go to Vincent’s boat to see him on his own; Vincent doesn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat. He doesn’t remember Gave which could have been a good thing but Gabe is honest from the start and introduces himself as the man who tried to kill Vincent. He tells Vincent about being a Beast and losing control before Catherine found a way to save him – all said with Vincent’s hand wrapped round his throat. Gabe tells Vincent he wants to capture a Beast to test his cure – so Vince needs to capture one and refrain from the killing. Vincent tries briefly for a “kill beast? Me? Why I never would!” but Gabe isn’t such a fool. He also sweetens the ide with the fact that if Vince weren’t a Beast he and Cat could totally be playing happy families now.

Last I check, Vince being beasty wasn’t the thing keeping Cat and Vince apart.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ragnarok Book 1: The Hammer (Ragnarok #1) by Brian James

Odin learned he was going to die in Ragnarok when the Norns announced it at his birthday party (with an impromptu performance of It’s a Dead Man’s Party. They never got on well); after dumping the Norns in a nursing home in Des Moines (the Norse gods being quite happy with “shoot the messenger”) he descended ever deeper into paranoia – finally locking all the gods out of Asgard to make their living on Midgard.

Odin himself set up a very powerful defence firm with the long term goal of surviving Ragnarok. Thor, not particularly a fan of his father, became an NFL player and left bodies of quarterbacks in his wake and Freya tried to get along as well as she could as a sex worker

Until Baldr escaped Hel, Jormungandr woke up and Loki escaped. Ragnarok is coming – and we now have multiple powerful gods, fire giants, Valkyries and who knows what else all scheming and plotting for the last battle – a large amount of which revolves around Thor and Freya who would much rather be left alone.

This book is funny. In fact, there are places where this book is hilarious. There are pop culture references galore, snipe one liners, gloriously irreverent depictions and summations of Norse mythology and so much really really really good snark. I spent a lot of time grinning like a fool at this book. I don’t think a smile ever left my face and there were several moments when I laughed out loud. There were even a couple of moments where I laughed so hard I fell out my chair and someone had to help me up because I was laughing too hard to get up on my own.

And I love that – how could I not love a book that can reduce me to helpless, breathless laughter?

Sadly, I don’t love that book because the humour is what stops me hating it and what kept me reading it. I loved the jokes, I loved the humour, I loved the hilarity – but that was kind of all I loved.

The writing is slow. It’s clunky. We have very long, rambling recaps of Norse mythology. Very long, rambling explanations of various things as well as very long, and yes, rambling internal monologues. The story drags along for a long time, we have a lot of really unnecessary information about characters that don’t mean a lot.

And it’s forced. When the humour hits its mark, this is one of the funniest books you’ll ever read. But at least a third of the humour didn’t – and there are vast tracts of the book that are there expressly to set up another joke. Or a scene is extended for more jokes or has more jokes inserted – or even a legitimately funny moment has 3 or 4 extra jokes clinging to it that don’t work. When it’s funny, it’s hilariously funny – but this book tries so very hard to be funny all the time and it doesn’t always hit the mark – which leads to further long, slow, clunkiness.

Witches of East End, Season 1, Episode 4: A Few Good Talismen

Flashback time – 1693 this time – running through the woods, Joanna finds Ingrid and Freya – burned at the stake. A man holds her and tells her it was the only way, they were too reckless and risking their secret. Joanna doesn’t take much comfort in that and she grabs his own knife and gets to the stabbing – he begs her to spare him and she says “as you wish”- and the knife comes down.

To the present and modern Freya and Ingrid are listening to this story and very impressed at their mother slicing off someone’s ear (the missing ear and description and the person we saw last week suggests this man is the shapeshifter attacking them). Joanna tries to bring out the moral of the story – that even with that provocation she still refrained from killing the man. Wendy arrives to hear the tail end of the “do not kill” speech and tells Freya and Ingrid that Joanna is just being responsible – however, Wendy is the fun one and totally doesn’t have to worry about that. Joanna says only use their magic for an emergency – Wendy says use it for fun and magically fills the kitchen with snow.

Poor Joanna, I think I’d be in her shoes. She goes with her lawyer/fellow immortal Harrison and her friend Richard to the courthouse as part of her ongoing battle against being framed for murder.

Freya spends the morning with Dash, covering his ex-fiancee, the fact his mother hates Freya (“oh she doesn’t” sorry Dash, she really really does. On the plus side, that woman is damn good at the razor sharp comments) and how they must never ever ever keep secrets from each other ever again (GUILT! ANGST!)

Freya goes to see Dash’s mother (Penelope), she throws in her own barbs about secrets and adds some little digs. But there’s a motive beyond spite this time – Penelope wants her sons, Dash and Killian, to make up; she wants Freya to get them both to come to dinner.

Ingrid goes to work and her friend and co-worker Barbie has brought in her sonogram for her miraculous magical pregnancy. Barbie praises Ingrid’s magic though she denies it and puts it down to positive thinking; she still wants Ingrid to be the baby’s godmother.

The family goes to dinner with Harrison but Maura comes to their table accusing Joanna of killing her husband. As she rants on Wendy tells her to shut up – and Maura begins coughing up blood to Freya and Ingrid’s shock (fun auntie is a lot less fun when you see her cause internal bleeding).

Harrison and Joanna go to the site of Bill’s murder to feel the energy; with that energy she casts a spell to try and discern the shifter’s next actions – and sees images of Richard, her character witness being stabbed by her doppleganger. She knows where and when this will happen – and plans to be there, using Richard as bait, to catch the shifter.

Once Upon a Time, Season 3, Episode 5: Good Form

Neal, captured again by the Lost Boys because he couldn’t deal with his daddy issues, is thrown into a cage. And one of the Lost boys pokes Henry with a stick, ominously talking about “what Pan has in store for you.” Henry picks up a stick to fight back and Pan has him channel his over-active imagination into creating real swords – which he then uses to cut the Lost Boy. Henry gasps an apology, it was an accident! And Pan tells him the utter best thing about being a Lost Boy is not having to apologise!

Y’know, I realise Henry is descended from Mary Margaret and David, so he’s probably not the brightest of stars (actually and Neal as well… damn kid doesn’t have a lot going for him) but you’d think “hey we’re all sociopaths!” would be a bad selling point.

Time to check in with our heroes (insert an immense amount of sarcasm on that line) and Emma notices the tally marks, counting off the days, in Neal’s cave. She notices where they stop and points to that being the point when Neal lost hope and counting days seemed pointless – she did the same thing in her foster homes. She’s worried about Henry losing hope. She wants to send Henry a sign (Regina snarks this as impossible without using her magic. Why isn’t she using her magic?).

Hook tries to find common cause with Emma and she shuts him down. David follows it up with a “give it up, you’re only a pirate.”

That sounds like time for a flashback! To when Hook was Lieutenant Jones on a ship in His Majesty’s Navy (which particular Majesty, I’m not entirely sure). His brother is the captain (nothing like a bit of Nepotism in the ranks) who gives his younger brother a sextant with strange markings because they’re off to a very strange land on a mission that will bring peace to the kingdom.

Back to the present and it seems the grand plan of Mary Margaret is to trap some Lost Boys and not, say, have Regina fry a few of them for funsies. Because REASONS. David decides to play the “keep away from my daughter” game with Hook – which is wrong on so many levels that I desperately hope Emma finds out and rips his balls off with a rusty metal hook.  Hook offers a possible way for David to save his life from poison, but David doesn’t want it – that would be a selfish distraction and there’s no damn way the plot is going to let him die so why bother? He also insults the idea that Hook can possibly understand the value of family (which, even with a  casual look at his back story to date, is ridiculous) and, again, to keep off his daughter! Hook points out that this whole vagina guard act is pretty pointless from a man who will be dead in a few days – and David tries to attack him and collapses instead. Hook catches him rather than let him face plant to the forest floor.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: Autumn 2013, Episode 4

It's time for another episode of our podcast, back again for the Autumn where we discuss our book of the week and some of the shows we've been following all through our social justice analysis.

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

The podcast begins at 7:00pm EST

This week we discussed The Walking Dead and the interesting development of Carol and Beth.Dracula - and lots of loving the look of it, Grimm and disappointment, Misfits and the lack of any plot - and awful rape depiction and American Horror Story and the awfulness of Queenie's character and Vampire Diaries and how everyone reacts to Bonnie's death.

Our next books of the week are:

21st October - 28th October: Mortal Danger by Eileen Wilks
28th October - 4th November: Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
4th November - 11th November: The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C Hines
11th November - 18th November: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
18th November - 25th November: Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke
25th November - 2nd December: Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Mortal Danger (World of the Lupi #2) by Eileen Wilks

Lily Yu has had a lot of changes in her life – the mate bond with Rule, a change of job, heading for the FBI. She’s beginning to get a handle on things – but Harlowe, former associate of Helen and servant of the Big Bad is still out there, hatching plans with his mistress for Lily and her very rare and very precious Sensitive Gift.

Bodies start turning up with Harlowe’s signature on them pulling Lily on the trail as her FBI branch is consumed with other disasters: but Harlowe’s attacks hit closer to home and pull her into a world of literally demonic schemes.

There’s a lot about this series I love – and they’re continued in this book.

I like Lily, the protagonist. I like that she’s a sorely-under-represented Asian protagonist. I like that she’s sensible and clever and not just the possessor of woo-woo or super deadly skills. I like that, even with their relationship based on woo-woo, Lily still keeps her head about her and applies common sense to the lovey-dovey feelings.

I like the world – the demons explored in this book are fascinatingly different . As are the different kinds of magic, the Lupi clans, gods, goddesses and even dragons – all woven together to create an excellently coherent whole. I also like how this wonderful world has room for uncertainty – too much world building in Urban Fantasy has the Truth that is Known. But reality doesn’t work that way. We have theories we know are right, theories we’re pretty sure are right, theories that are, well, an educated guess at best. I like that uncertainty in world building, that sense that people ARE trying to understand but just don’t know the answer yet.

I like Lily’s position in the FBI and the meta that is developing out of that promising for a fascinating series

So I was kind of disappointed when this book became rather… flabby. There’s a lot of recap, a lot of over-explanation, a lot of over-description and there are times in the book, especially with the dimension hopping, where the book becomes outright difficult to read and follow. The book is pretty slow, fairly bogged down and just doesn’t flow with particularly exciting pacing.

The Walking Dead, Season Four: Episode Three: Isolation

Glenn is digging a grave in the yard with Maggie looking on.  Inside the prison, the doctor is listening to the chest of one of the residents and shakes his head no.  Rick, Tyreee, Darryl and Carol are standing over the burnt bodies; Tyreese says that someone dragged them there and set them on fire. Tyreese demands that Rick find out who is guilty and bring them to him. When Darryl tries to pull Tyreese away, he gets aggressive and so Rick tries to tell Tyreese that they know what he is going through.  Tyreese  punches Rick twice in a rage, forcing Darryl to pull him off. Rick starts swinging and this time, Darryl has to pull Rick off Tyreese.

Later, Hershel is cleaning up the wounds on Rick's hands and asks if he is okay. Hershel says that they just went through something terrible and everything they have worked hard to keep out has found its way in. Rick replies that it was always there.  Hershel says that they could be facing an outbreak and have lost 12 people already.

In the yard, Tyreese is almost frantically digging a grave when he is joined by Bob, who tries to convince him to get checked out with Hershel or the doctor. Tyreese is determined to keep going until they are in the ground - Bob helps him.

Hershel and Glenn are chatting and Glenn wonders if they are going to be okay because they haven't gotten sick yet. Glenn adds if it's walkers, or people, they can do something but this, they're just digging graves. Sasha comes over coughing badly and says that she is going to see Dr. S.  Sasha makes her way into the prison and she is clearly struggling to put one foot in front of the other.  All around her people are coughing up blood.  In one cell, a person has been turned into a walker. Dr. S tells Sasha that it's starting.

A council meeting is held and Hershel says that the infection has spread and they talk about separating people.  Hershel says that they need antibiotics and brings up an animal clinic, since people may not have thought to raid it for medication. Darryl volunteers to go and so does Michonne, Hershel wants to come but Darryl reminds him that, out there, with the Walkers you have to run - and Hershel is missing a foot.  Hershel points out that it's a risk because Darryl has been exposed but Michonne jokes about it. Hershel recommends separating the most vulnerable as well.

The water pump is clogging up and Carol worries about the fact that five more people have gotten sick. They discuss Carl who is upset about being put in quarantine.  Rick says that it's better to be safe.   Tyreese has finished burying the bodies and stands over top of the grave when Rick approaches.  Rick says sorry for what he did and what happened but Tyreese believes it's on both of them. Tyreese again asks Rick to find out who did this. Rick suggests that the person who did this might have been trying to stop the infection from spreading and he promises to find the person who did this but Tyreese says that he is not feeling the urgency. Tyreese believes that murder is okay in this place now.

Carl is going into quarantine and Rick tells him not to fire his gun unless he absolutely has too, though Carl makes him acknowledge that he may have to. Rick tells Carl that he needs him there to protect Judith. Maggie heads into her cell and finds Glenn doubled over and very sick.

Darryl is getting the car ready when Michonne walks up. Darryl tells Michonne that he is glad she is there and she wonders where else she would be. They begin to talk about having a fourth person and Darryl says that they can't ask Rick who wants to be with Judith and Carl.  Darryl finds Tyreese in the prison watching the quarantine section and tells him that standing guard isn't going to do any good without the medicine and walks away.

Hershel  is still in the meeting room and clearly thinking hard. When he leaves, he runs into Carl and tells him to keep his distance. It seems that Hershel had planned to go out the woods and Carl says that he shouldn't go by himself. Carl then says he is going to tell Rick and Hershel tells him to go because he will be done by the time Carl finds Rick. Carl then tells Hershel that he is going with him.

Fangs for the Fantasy Book of the Week

Every week on the Fangs for the Fantasy podcast (archives here) we read a book and discuss it on the show. The review for the book of the week always goes up on a Monday.

To give people a chance to read along with us, every Monday we’re also going to include a list of our planned books of the week for the next few shows, so people can get the books, read them and join in the conversation.

21st October - 28th October: Mortal Danger by Eileen Wilks
28th October - 4th November: Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
4th November - 11th November: The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C Hines
11th November - 18th November: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
18th November - 25th November: Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke
25th November - 2nd December: Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

The next podcast airs tonight at 7:00pm EST

Atlantis, Season 1, Episode 5: White Lies

A man sneaks into the palace to grab princess Ariadne… and give her a letter. What the post office not exciting enough? While she’s reading it the guards find him – Ariadne tells him to run and he manages an epic leap out of a window – only to be caught by an archer’s arrow.

He’s wounded and imprisoned and they question Ariadne about him – she denies all knowledge and claims he was a thief. Pasiphae doesn’t believe her and she and her evil minion Heptarian note Ariadne is more concerned about the man than her own safety.

Pasiphae has the man tortured to try and find the truth. A troubled Ariadne asks her loyal servant, Korinna, to help her before going to the temple to pray. Pasiphae finds her there just to exchange some quietly menacing posturing, as you do.

She returns to the prison to torture the man, Stolos, with magic – this time breaking him. He reveals he delivered a message to Ariadne from her brother. This rather upsets Pasiphae since she thought the man dead – she kills Stolos and goes to see the Oracle.

She’s not happy with the Oracle because she said Ariadne’s brother, Therus, was dead. The Oracle disagrees – “lost at sea” doesn’t necessarily mean dead – serves you right for trusting and Oracle of notorious vagueness! The Oracle adds how Pasiphae’s hunger for power will cause bloodshed and badness and gets threatened in return.

Pasiphae passes on the news about Therus to Heptarian who isn’t thrilled either, apparently he could tell some bad secrets to Ariadne. She tells Heptarian to take some soldiers and kill Therus before he tells the truth to Ariadne and she refuses to marry him (I was under the impression she was never a big fan of the plan and was being forced into it anyway).

Heptarian sets off with Ramos and a group of soldiers while Pasiphae taunts Ariadne about her “treacherous” brother.

Meanwhile our heroes are betting on gung beetle races; gambling all their money on Hercules’s sure bet. Shockingly, they actually win and actually win money. No, really.  While in the market spending their gains, Korinna manages to catch Jason. She tells him that she has a loved one outside the city (falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit so he can’t enter Atlantis) she must go meet – but the road is difficult and dangerous, she needs a guard – Jason. Of course he agrees.

Hercules and Pythagoras join him, Hercules dragging his victorious dung beetle with him just in case he’s not sufficiently ridiculous already. Along the way they find bodies of people attacked by bandits, apparently pretty common in those parts.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Revolution, Season Two, Episode Five: One Riot, One Ranger

In Willougby Texas, Rachel and Monroe are on a roof staring at the patriot troops who are standing guard over the town. Charlie attempts to leave and enter the town and Monroe has to tell her that the patriots have the town and therefore they should think before they act.  We're not five minutes into this episode and already we have a male character encouraging a female one to act rationally. 

Inside the town, Ed Truman sees the burned bodies of the men from the train yard for the first time.  He learns that not only were the men horribly burned, they can find no trace of accelerant. Ed orders the bodies to be sent away.

Rachel and Miles are talking and he is concerned about a blow back from Ken's death. Rachel tells him that he Ken is buried deeply and that she scrubbed the scene of blood. Miles informs her that she is a complicated woman. They are interrupted by a knock on the door and it turns out to be Aaron. Aaron wants to know if Miles was at a railroad and jumped a chain link fence last night.  When Aaron brings up the two men who burst into flames, Miles closes the door and asks Aaron how he knows that.  Aaron explains that he saw it and probably did it.  Miles asks what he is saying and Rachel explains that it could be the nanotech.  Miles ask them to dial back the crazy.  Suddenly the bells outside start to ring.

Outside, more armed troops are entering on horseback as the town gathers. It turns out that the men are Texas Rangers and they are looking for Truman. John Franklin Fry, the secretary of the interior of the sovereign state of Texas informs Truman that the patriots are an armed force on their sovereign soil.  Fry asks for a reason why he shouldn't cut him down where he stands. Both sides draw their weapons as Miles looks on.  Truman orders the patriot to put down their weapons and informs Fry that he is the one who wrote the letter informing the Texas government of their presence. Truman says that they saved the town from the Andover clan on only wants a chance to explain.

As Fry dismounts, Rachel asks if Miles knows him and Miles reveals that he once tried to kill Fry. Miles says that Fry is their best shot of starting a war with the patriots and hopes Fry is over the past.

Neville watches as people struggle trying to get on a wagon.  Neville heads over to Allenford to find out what is going on and is informed that the Patriots have built a new settlement up in Perrysburg. Allenford informs Neville that he is going to accompany her to D.C. as part of her security detail.  When Neville tells Allenford that he is glad to have her trust, she makes it clear that he has her orders but not her trust.

In a meeting, Truman asks Fry to spend a few days with them and see that their intentions are pure but Fry says that he would rather crawl naked through cut glass. Fry says that he is leaving for Austin and will talk to the general before leaving. Truman orders the gates opened and the patrols stopped while the rangers are there. He also orders that the person who broke into the train yard last night be found before they can talk to Texas.

On the street, Fry is handed a badge and is told that it is from a friend.  Fry goes to see Miles, who immediately raises his arms. Miles tells Fry that it would help if he was called Stu Redman and Fry informs him that he could have Miles executed on the spot. Miles offers Stu a drink and Fry says that Patriots claim that they will be moving back north once everything is settled. Miles tells Fry that this is complete and utter crap. Miles says that Patriots are not Americans and dropped the bombs on Atlanta and Philadelphia. Miles suggests that Fry tell the general to send everything that he has got because the Patriots are an invading force but Fry wants proof. Miles asks what proof because the Patriots are there.  Fry argues back that they have 70% of their troops deployed on the southern border and that it is sketchy to open a second front on the say so of a war criminal. Fry says that the Patriots are land grabbing but the general wants a treaty not a war and says again that he needs hard proof.  Miles tells him to meet him at the railway at midnight and warns that the Patriots have eyes and ears everywhere. 

Miles is walking the streets when a can is kicked in front of him. When he turns the corner, he finds Charlie waiting for him. Charlie shows him the wanted poster for Rachel and says that she found it on a bounty hunter in the Plains Nations. Miles questions if the patriots want Rachel why they haven't grabbed her yet. Mile says that they are in real trouble and Charlie says that this is why she came back. Miles says that they should go and see Rachel but Charlie tells him that she wants to show him something.

We get a flashback to six months ago when Aaron first arrived in town.  He is applying for a job for a teacher and says that he used to run a schoolhouse in a settlement in Wisconsin.  Aaron says that he has four degrees but he is turned down because he smells like liquor and did not smile during the interview.  He is told that he might scare the kids but Aaron says that he has not had a lot to smile about and if he doesn't do something, he is going to lose it.  Aaron begs saying that he needs this job. In the present, Aaron starts packing up his things.

Charlie is leading Miles through a swamp and promises to try and play nice when she sees Rachel. Charlie then asks Miles to make a promise not to go crazy. Miles charges Monroe and asks why Monroe did to Charlie.  Charlie interjects and tells Miles that Monroe didn't touch her. Monroe tells Miles that he saved Charlie's life and Miles ordered Charlie to leave. Monroe calls out that he is there to help because of the Patriots but Miles doesn't want Monroe's help. When Mile threatens to kill Monroe, Monroe reminds him that he has never been able to pull the trigger. Miles tells Monroe to go away and Monroe calls out that they nuked their city and are trying to pin it on him.  Monroe argues that he wants pay back and that the best way to get it is for them to work together.  Monroe asks if they can have a truce.

Charlie suggests that if they after Rachel that they should just grab her and go but Miles points out that the Patriots are everywhere. Charlie says that Miles is talking about starting a war and Monroe pipes up to say that this is a good idea. Monroe suggests that they should let Texas fight the battle for them. Miles tells them that they need proof for Fry by tonight and Miles promises to come through with some.

Cynthia finds Rachel on the street and tells her that Aaron packed his bag and is now gone. Cynthia tells Rachel that she has to find Aaron and that he told her all about their insane little mission. Cynthia says that Aaron is seeing things and are scared.  They agree to split up and look for Aaron.

We get a flashback to Aaron's first day as a school teacher and Cynthia giving him a pair of chattering teeth to improve his smile.  Cynthia's boyfriend Carl enters and is extremely hostile to Aaron.

Dracula, Season One, Episode One: The Blood Is the Life

In Romania in 1881, two men break into an underground crypt.  One quickly breaks open the sarcophagus and finds bars of gold.  While he is getting excited about being rich, the other slits his throat allowing the blood to drip over the sarcophagus.  The blood drips down beneath the sarcophagus and onto a skeleton, which slowly comes alive.  The skeleton completely transforms into Dracula.

When next we see Dracula, he is fresh from the bath and getting dressed, in London 1896. Renfield informs him that all of the guests have arrived. Dracula asks if the prototype is ready and Renfield informs him that they are ready to go. Renfield reminds him that from this day forward he is an American industrialist. Dracula practices his American accent and his new name - Alexander Grayson.

Grayson is throwing a ball and Johnathon Harker arrives with Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra  on his arm. Harker comments that the glass he is holding is worth more than he makes in a week and Lucy corrects him and says more than he makes in a month. Harker promises Lucy that he is her guest tonight and not a journalist.  The gossip begins about who Grayson is and what he is all about, as the couples dance. Renfield makes an appearance and introduces Grayson as the master of Carfax manor - Mr. Grayson.  

Grayson makes his entrance and when he sees Mina he gets a flashback in time of him in bed with his wife.  It seems that Mina looks exactly like his long lost dead love. Mina is very effected by Grayson's stare and tells Harker that it was like someone walking over her grave.  After his toast, Grayson tells Renfield that he wants to know everything about Mina and the man she is with. Grayson begins to circulate and meets Lady Jayne and her companion for the night. Grayson then meets Clive Dawson and his wife Lady Hope, Lord Laurent, and Lord Davenport.  Grayson then brings up the subject of British Imperial and says that they hold patents in cooling, which would be most useful in advancing one his technological projects.  Grayson says that he would very much like to acquire those patents and is informed by Clive Dawson that they are not in the business of selling to interloping colonials.

Harker approaches and tells Grayson that Dawson is a terrible gambler.  When Mina joins them, Harker introduces himself and Mina to Grayson. Mina says that it's like she and Grayson have met before.  Renfield interrupts Grayson and tells him that it is time. Grayon excuses himself and asks who Harker is. Renfield informs him that Harker is a reporter for the Inquisitor and that Harker is resourceful and very ambitious. Renfield then says that Mina is a medical student.

Renfield calls for the attention of the crowd and then reminds Harker that the invitation expressly forbade the press and offers Harker the opportunity to come by tomorrow afternoon for an interview. Grayson then has servants hand out light bulbs to the assembled guests.  Greyson says that he is going to give them an example of power drawn from the magnetosphere. Renfield speaks in the phone and gives an order of now.  In some sort of factory workers begin to struggle as guests wonder what this will do the petroleum market. When nothing happens, Greyson calls for more power and the worker amplify their efforts.  Suddenly the light bulbs begin to lighten until each person is holding a lighted bulb. The lab starts to experience technical difficulties but Greyson tells Renfield to hang on a few more seconds.  When the coolant evaporates they shut down and the light bulbs in the ballroom blink out.  Greyson thanks the audience for their patience.

Greyson makes his way back to Mina and Lucy commenting that Mina looks a little bit shaken.  Mina admits that she is not sure what she has just witnessed. Greyson says that it's the beginning of a new era and excuses himself.  Harker comments that Greyson seemed quite taken with Mina but she replie that Greyson was just being polite.

Greyson moves outside where Lady Jane approaches.  Lady Jane comments that his performance was operatic.  Greyson takes it as a compliment saying that he is a fan.  Lady Jane invites him to watch a performance in her box.

At the end of the night the guests are leaving and Dawson tells Grayon that he has not fooled anyone with his absurd stunt.  Dawson calls Greyson a fraud and promises that he will never do business there.