Saturday, November 9, 2013

Revolution, Season 2, Episode 7: The Patriot Act

Rachel digs up Monroe – who isn’t dead. Are we shocked? Yes, this is my shocked face. Actually I’m kinda shocked because Rachel is actually doing something which MAY not cause a complete apocalypse – which is kind of unusual. Rachel being active usually leads to the end of the world in some fashion.

Monroe wakes up with Rachel, Miles and Charlie stood over him – and he’s so completely out of it on drugs he babbles on about how Miles missed him and is his bestest friend. He also wants to know where is son is. Charlie wants to know why Rachel had the whole 180 on Monroe – Rachel says because they need him. And because Charlie asked her to.

Living under the Patriots isn’t all wonderful – Cynthia complains to Aaron that the Patriots are dictating what books they can teach to children, Aaron’s worried about being overheard and a building explodes. A rather big explosion at that.

Aaron quickly checks on Cynthia as they were both thrown to the floor, she’s fine – but many others aren’t. Dramatic scenes of the injured follow and Rachel runs to help her dad, the doctor, help people. He has his surly face on.

Gene angrily confronts Patriot head Truman and accuses him of setting off the bomb and killing 3 people. Truman’s not having it – calling Willoughby the USA’s town and adding that it’s Gene’s job to keep the town healthy, happy and compliant (“compliant” huh? That’s an expansion) – if Gene is a loyal American that is. So much for Gene opening his eyes and confronting his bosses.

Truman makes a dramatic speech about the attack blaming more killing clans and, of course, justifying a larger military presence, imposing a curfew and sealing the gates. Keep ‘em scared and people will accept anything to keep them safe. And Rachel is taken aside by Calvin – a doctor who worked in the same department as her when she worked on creating the Nanites that turned off the power. He wants to talk.

Apparently Calvin is now the presidents senior science advisor. He was the one who made the wanted posters for her – because he wanted to learn about nano-tech from her, which he calls a genius accomplishment (though she doesn’t accept that because of how much damage it did – he says it’s still genius, even if it is disastrous). He also realises the nanites can do so much more than turn off the lights – and shows her pictures of the people Aaron burned with the nanites. He thinks the nanites have been modified – which Rachel claims is impossible. He’s not buying it – why here, of all the towns the patriots control – are the nanites acting up – if she’s not behind it, who is?

On to Rachel & co meeting with Aaron and warning him that Calvin’s going to want to get vivisecting. They have to get him out of the town with Monroe – which Aaron is so thrilled about since he trusts Monroe as far as he can throw him. Either way, he is not leaving without Cynthia, because if someone wants to get Aaron, they will use Cynthia.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Season 1, Episode 4: The Serpent

It’s been a long time on hiatus so soon after starting, but Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is back – and opening with a flashback to many many years ago in Agrabah

To a blacksmith apprentice in the market and his cruel, abusive master. The market is busy and bustling – but everyone hides when a woman in fine clothes arrives to do her shopping, conjuring payment at abandoned stalls with magic. The blacksmith tells the boy to look away, that she will burn them both where they stand, but he watches her and she spots him and stares back... before turning and going about her business.

That night the boy knocks on the woman’s door – he wants to learn magic, dark magic – and he’s risking knocking at her door because death would be better than the life he’s living. He wants people to fear him like she is feared – but she’s not interested in teaching a boy to fight of bullies. But when he says he wants revenge on the Sultan – his father (he’s an illegitimate son and was abandoned) – and how very much he loathes him. She respects that and teaches him. The boy is Jaffar.

To the present where the Red Queen is being pampered and Jafar drops in for one of his surprise visits. He wants to know why the Red Queen never mentioned the Knave of Hearts before – she dismisses it as inconsequential, she only involved the Knave because Alice trusted him and he would pull her back to Wonderland. Since he’s so inconsequential, Jafar wants the Knave dead. But they have history.

Meanwhile said Knave tries to convince Alice not to launch a frontal attack on the Queen and the entire Red army and instead use some guile – by getting information from the White Rabbit since he doesn’t know they know he betrayed them (Alice goes with threats and pain as a good interrogation technique).

Future Rabbit tortures are put on hold when the Caterpillar’s collectors start chasing them (said Caterpillar is not happy with them since they didn’t return the Knot to him last episode). After a nifty chase, Knave has Alice hide while he runs off and leads the Collectors away, since he’s their main target. He runs and hides, managing to avoid the pursuers – when he hears the sound of combat. He peeks out to see all of the Collectors dead or unconscious; he calls for Alice, but it’s not her. It’s the Red Queen

Meanwhile in the prison, Cyrus the genie begs the guard for some food, grovelling until the guard throws him a chicken carcass. His fellow prisoner is shocked, Cyrus has never grovelled before, not for food: he didn’t – he grovelled for the wishbone, which he promptly snaps.

Flashback time! Jafar thanks a man, Akil, for finding their goat and gives him wine as a reward before returning to his mentor. She wants to teach him a masking spell he has coveted – a spell that requires a human liver; he protests, they don’t have one – right as Akil starts choking from the poisoned wine he gave the man, even as Jafar protests he was a kind, good man who did nothing against them. His mentor agrees – and offers Jafar the antidote: of course if he gives Akil the antidotes they won’t have the liver they need. She points to her décor, covered in snakes, and talks about how they shed their skin to be reborn – which Jafar has to do, to prove to her he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Jafar lets Akil die. In the wonderful glow of murder, the two kiss.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 6: Handle With Care

Kathrine is celebrating the fact she’s alive and not eaten (alas) with a big breakfast (there’s far too much healthy fruit in that breakfast for it to be a celebratory breakfast. It needs at least 80% more bacon) though her buzz is brought down by the realisation she has a grey streak in her hair.

Damon and Elena are trying to enjoy some peace while Damon predicts there’s no way it will last – and Silas comes through the door, greeting his Frenemies. Peace ends. He also opens the curtains with a gesture – he’s regaining his witchy powers (having taken the cure) and really happy because he’s going to die! Yaaaay! But elena’s wary that Silas, being evil and all, may not be that trustworthy – this is an excuse for some exposition. All powerful with Silas will bring Bonnie back, destroy the Otherside (the purgatory that Qetsiyah/Tessa created it trap him in limbo) and then kill himself so he can be reunited with his dead love, Amarra (the original form of Elena the doppleganger). But to achieve that he needs the “anchor” which Tess made to create the Otherside.

And the anchor is in New Jersey which everyone snarks (given the givens, I’m still waiting for an explanation for the anchor being in North America, let alone New Jersey). Jeremy shows up for more posturing with weapons and Silas plays with fire – kind of reminding everyone that he’s probably more dangerous as a non-immortal but extremely powerful witch than he was as an immortal, semi-vampire. And from that point of power he has an ultimatum – he doesn’t want Elena around (I can understand that) because she’s a direct clone of his one true love and finds that to be really really really freaky. They refuse, he shoots her in the leg.

Meanwhile Stefan wakes up all confused next to Tessa who is over the moon – Silas took the cure! That means he’s a witch and killable! After some nasty slut digs at Amara (Tessa needs therapy in the worst way) she explains that the Travellers (who we still know very little about) want to keep the Otherside around. They have the anchor, keep moving it and won’t let Silas have it – and even if he does get it, he can’t break it anyway... She’s confident she has everything in hand, she’s planned for everything – but can’t leave the cabin. Silas has spelled her. Oops.

Elena calls Stefan to see what’s happening and gets through to Tessa who comments on Elena’s whineyness and taunts her a little. Tessa’s definitely getting me on side. Elena calls Damon to let him know Stefan is with Tessa and Silas spills the beans on the whole neck snapping thing. Oops. Elena decides to go on over to make peace with Stefan (ignoring the rather quixotic witch with the super powers who quite literally hates her face – because she’s Elena). Silas makes jokes about killing the mayor because he is, as Jeremy puts it, a dick.

Elena goes on her little trip and gasps at Stefan that sleeping with Tessa cannot possibly make things better! Stefan is confused because he didn’t. Everyone have a shocked moment that Tessa may have actually exaggerated just a tad. Are we shocked? Is anyone shocked? Elena turns to leave and can’t because of Silas’s spell.

Over to Damon who may be the only sensible person left – he both snarks Silas’s hair (deserved) and mocks the whole idea of “fate” bringing Silas and Amara (and their dopplegangers) together: Silas is quite literally moving heaven and earth to be with Amara, that’s not fate. That heaven and earth seems even larger when it turns out the anchor is in a full warehouse – and Silas has no idea where it is or what it looks like.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Long Live the Queen (Immortal Empire #3) by Kate Locke

Xandra, Goblin Queen, is coming more and more accustomed to being a goblin and even staring down Victoria (or sniping at her across the table) but even as her life grows more stable the city and the country succumbs to more and more unrest. There’s a movement led by Xandra’s own mother to depose the aristocracy, some vampire aristocrats are gunning for the Queen, the human masses are rising up violently – and under it all the brutal, horrific experimentations continue in secret laboratories on half-bloods; inflaming all factions.

Into this powder keg a creature is released – she looks a lot like Xandra but is even more dangerous. But who was she created to target? Xandra? Victoria? Or just causing mayhem? As anger on the street grows and the hunt for the monster grows more pressing, Xandra has to play politician and diplomat to try and bring the country back from the edge of civil war.

This plot grabbed me and held me – even though it took me to the edge of cringing several times, it also backed off every time. I kept thinking “no, she’s going to play mummy and ignore the danger!” or “no she’s going to risk everyone for this creature!” And it didn’t happen. She was sympathetic – but she wasn’t a fool. The plot itself had twist within twist – ok, I knew who the big bad was pretty early (he wasn’t exactly subtle – or, rather, he was subtle but it was such a classic trope) but who was working with him, why and, ultimately, what his end game was remained a mystery right until the end. With Xandra’s father, the Queen, her mother, her sister and so many other figures constantly stepping into the shade as possible accomplices – then out then back in again it was a mystery to see who Xandra could trust and who it would finally be who turned on her in the end.

The action was exciting, the intrigue was deep without being confusing and the twists were twisting indeed all working extremely well with this setting which I love so much

I love Xandra’s growth as a character – her growing acceptance of being a goblin and not just that she is a goblin but her place in goblin society, her growing affection and ties to the other goblins and their practices. It’s amazing how a book can present its protagonist starting to eat human flesh and it still be read as an excellent moment of character growth and self-acceptance. Yes, I cheered the cannibalism!  Beyond the goblins, Xandra is accepting her role as aristocrat and a leader and even slowly expands her viewpoint beyond her people to the country as a whole. I love her transition between wanting to keep her people and loved ones safe (and viewing Victoria as a threat) to slowly seeing the wider societal problems that are tearing the country up (and viewing Victoria as an important ally, even if they still don’t get on). There’s a definite shift in Xandra, a lot of growth – but still that fierce loyalty that characterised her more than anything.

The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 5: All Tomorrow's Parties

Stephen is giving his keeper, Darcy a headache, by charging in without backup, again (of course, it’s her who will be killed if he screws up). He manages to grab the paranormal he’s chasing but holds back on hitting them when he sees it’s a woman (why do they grab these people? Can’t they just teleport out of your hands?). She has no such compunction and merrily starts throttling him.

Turns out it’s just a training exercise. Seriously, you break the rules and ignore your superior in a TRAINING exercise?! What nonsense is this? Why would you break the rules in a performance review? There follows a lecture on how daft it is not to wait for backup and another lecture on being squeamish about hitting a target if the target is female: Jedikiah lays on thick how dangerous and evil rogue paranormals are even if female. Stephen mopes off and Jedikiah gets a call from an older man who is not impressed by his recent operations (and choosing to send in an untrained trainee rather than an actual agent) and wants Stephen brought in at the behest of some mysterious big boss

Stephen goes to see his friend Astrid after a week of tense silence between them after he lied about not having super powers for reasons this show has still failed to make clear. Things are still tense between them but she agrees to think about going to homecoming with him (and he doesn’t deny that he lied).

At HQ, Stephen tells Cara a “chick” caused his black eye which Cara then decides is pretty much deserved. She has info on a new Paranormal who was captured by Ultra called Mark – she wants Stephen to witness him having his powers stripped (though not rescue the man since Mark was in the habit of freeing maximum security prisoners). And new character – Irene! A 17 year old super genius and their genetics expert. After much scientific babble, it’s clear she thinks she can create an antidote to Jedikiah’s “cure”

Outside there’s a bit of a drama. New recruit Kurt is being read the riot act by John for going to see his mother – potentially exposing them. Stephen speaks up because he’s the protagonist and has to stick his oar in and the group asks why Stephen’s the super special case who gets to live with his family? (Protagonist power!) John thanks Stephen for his oh-so-useful intervention and points out Stephen is undercover (seriously, there are janitors at Ultra who know Stephen is a double agent by now) and that his father will lead them to the Promised Land – the Refuge. Uh-huh, people are duly sceptical about the idea that the Refuge even exists but John adds they can leave if they want – just don’t come back.

Cara catches up with John and asking him if he really had to let loose both barrels on a teenager who was missing his mother. She reminds him of the times when they used to go out and have fun – and how everyone’s getting frustrated being cooped up – and yes it’s a risk but why go to all this effort to survive if you’re not letting yourself live? John blames the discontent on Stephen because everyone was fine before that (uh, Cara just pointed out that, until recently, you didn’t all hide… so correlation =/= causation John).

American Horror Story, Season 3, Episode 5: Burn Witch Burn

1833, New Orleans, Hallowe’en – and it’s a Madame LaLaurie flashback holding a fancy party that includes the governor and his son Jacques as guests. She decides to give Jacques a tour of her little chamber of horrors (now, didn’t we last episode establish that Madame LaLaurie had a very different interpretation of what Hallowe’en meant?) though her daughter Borquita thinks this is a bad bad idea. Her horrors including having Jacques put his hand in a bowl of eyeballs (plucked from her tortured slaves), and another of intestines – this drives Jacques to run in terror.

Borquita is rather put out by her mother scaring off the handsome, well connected man who was interested in her and she and her sister gather to complain how they will never find a husband with their mother around who is horrible to them and the slaves. They consider the possibility of murdering their mother. But they’re overheard by her – and that night she has her daughters dragged up and locked in to her torture chamber, breaking Borquita’s leg.

And to the present Madame LaLaurie opens the door to her three zombie daughters. Zombies converge on the house and Lalaurie laments they didn’t put up the protections she advised. Queenie is injured still and has to sit (Nan worried at her being out of bed, Queenie “tell that to the army of darkness”) and Zoe, showing her standard level of sense, decides to close the curtains and turn out the lights (yeah, that’ll work) and worry about calling the cops (Queenie, always more sensible, points out that that may annoy Fiona who is way worse than the police). Unfortunately, cute-but-uninformed neighbour Luke thinks it’s just a prank and goes outside to the confront the undead legions.

Some other trick or treaters show up, impressed by the awesome zombie costumes and Luke realises something is up, especially when Marie Laveau (floating nearly the ceiling of her ritual room) sends her zombies in and the trick-or-treaters get ripped into messy messy pieces.

Elsewhere, at the bar Cordelia staggers out of the bathroom screaming with her burned face and Fiona yells for someone to call an ambulance – and screams when she sees what’s happened to Cordelia’s face. In the waiting room she worries and pops pills – and a doctor arrives and tries to tell her that Cordelia is blind with lots of jargon to try and soften it – causing Fiona to attack him (physically not magically) until an orderly settles her down.

Fiona sits by her daughter’s bedside into the night and runs out of pills. She goes looking for more in the oddly deserted, lights-flickering hospital. She uses her magic to break into the pills store and stock up – woozy she goes back into the hospital that now has people moving around. Dazed she sees a robed figure – like the one that threw acid on Cordelia and one patient appears to tell her she might as well have thrown the acid herself. She staggers into one of the rooms – a woman who has just given birth to a stillborn daughter. Despite the mother’s protests – she passes her the dead baby telling her she has to keep them close, so they feel safe (yes, this is some major Cordelia guilt coupled with pills and alcohol). She tells the poor woman to praise the dead baby, reassure her and tell her “I’ll be your mother until the day you die,” she does and Fiona touches the baby’s head – and brings the baby to life.

The Portrayal of Carol on The Walking Dead

When we first met Carol she was just the abused wife of Ed. Carol never made eye contact with people and she was constantly silent. The first time we saw Carol smile and laugh in the first season, Ed was quick to punish her and remind her that she existed solely to be his servant. After Ed died Carol was still pretty passive, depending on other members of the group to come to her defense and fight the walkers. We very rarely saw Carol with a gun and she spoke very little, with the exception of occasionally engaging in conversation with Darryl. It was not until after Sophia died that we saw a shift in Carol. Suddenly she became the woman willing to do what had to be done. For the first time, she actively fought off zombies and was not afraid. Carol even began to teach the kids to be able to fight even though their parents disagreed, sure in the knowledge that the ability to kill a Walker is an essential life skill. To look at the character of Carol, is to see the greatest growth and shift of any character on The Walking Dead.

When we think of women who have faced gender based violence, the word “victim” comes to mind. Carol spun this definition completely when she stated that to survive everything that she had, she must have always been strong. Carol kept her household running, covered the bruises, she even learned how to set her own dislocated arms - and raised her daughter. Every damn day must have been struggle but she did it and she didn’t give up. That takes a strength of character that few realise and is certainly rarely portrayed in the media. Domestic violence victims are usually presented as weak or fragile, vulnerable or in need of rescue. To be clear, living with domestic violence is a terrible thing but it is foolish to think that women who do so are weak, as Carol so eloquently pointed out. Carol was never a victim; she has always been a survivor.

This week, Rick told Carol that she had to leave the group because he didn’t trust her. Many avid fans were disturbed by this and even suggested that the loss of Carol would eventually lead to problems within the group. The issue between Rick and Carol really isn’t about trust but fear. Carol saw Rick for exactly who is he is and that is why Carol told him that he couldn’t just be a farmer. Even more than Rick, Carol is now unafraid to see the world for what it is and do what needs to be done to survive. By her very nature, Carol stood to eclipse not only Rick, but every other male character on the show. Darryl doesn’t have Carol’s people skills, Rick is in denial about the dystopian world he’s in, Herschel is neither active enough nor ruthless enough and has his own sense of denial, Tyrese was very passive and is now very angry and Glenn is focused primarily on Maggie - who else could step forward and leader? Who else is connected to the whole group, respected by them, is a capable fighter and both actively training the children for this new world AND trying to get the adults to step up to her level? Who else is actively preparing the entire group to face the world they are in?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crazy Ex-Ghoulfriend by Angela Roquet

Janie is an outsider, a geek and ostracised at school. But that all changes when Matilda, chief Mean Girl, dies in a car crash.

And then comes back. She has one purpose in life – go to the prom with her boyfriend, Wayne – and if Janie doesn’t help her she will make her life hell

Of course, there’s only one way that Janie can have the influence to make this happen – she has to become the new Queen Bee of the school, the new chief Mean Girl, popular and loved (or feared) by all.

The book requires considerable suspension of disbelief – I know all Urban Fantasy does require a level of suspension of disbelief – but there’s a vast difference between accepting, for example, the existence of zombies and accepting that a 17 year old girl would come home to find a rotting corpse in her bed and treat it as a minor irritation.

There’s a lot of that through this book – reactions are just off, people accept the existence of zombies just a little bit too easily and too quickly (to the point of making out with a rotting zombie for lots of “ew ew ew ew I didn’t need to read that). Her best friend in all the world starts shunning Janie with astonishing speed.

Her old enemies become friends with Janie ridiculously quickly. I know the whole point of the book is slowly winning these people over – but I would expect it to be slowly, not for them to latch onto their old bullying target on the first day she wears a different pair of shoes. The speed and ease of this transformation kind of undermines the entire plot of the book (which is on pretty shaky ground to begin with). The whole premise of the story is that Janie, bullied and ostracised school nerd, needs to become Queen Bee with training from the ex-Queen Bee’s zombie for a convoluted reason. This is the core of the book – and it was too easy. She launched from complete outsider to part of the It crowd with a new pair of shoes and some make up and a very small attitude adjustment.

The Originals, Season One, Episode Six: Fruit of the Poisoned Tree

Klaus and Elijah sit opposite each other both reading, with a dead girl splayed all over the coffee table.  Rebekah is irritated when she comes into the room and Elijah explains that the body was meant as a peace offering but adds that forgiveness cannot be bought. Rebekah leaves to grab the rubbish bin because the body's blood is ruining the carpet.

In the quarter Marcel heads to The Palace Royale hotel where Klaus is supposed to be staying.  Camille goes to her brother's tomb to find the word murderer sprayed in red across it. Father Kiernan is welcoming humans into St. Anne's.  

Finally Elijah gets tried of the stare down between him and Klaus and heads into the kitchen where Haleigh is.  Haleigh complains about the lack of milk and Elijah asks if his siblings were hospitable to her during his absence. Haleigh reels off a list as of complaints as Elijah pours her a bowl of cereal.  Elijah tells her that he has some concerns about the witches and Haleigh says that she is not happy that her life is linked to Sophie.

Sophie is in her kitchen talking with Sabine about how messed up things are.  Sophie says that she is the only one trying to help witch kind and adds that Agnes had her minions had a freakshow with Sabine's prophecy. Suddenly masked people enter,  knock out Sabine and take Sophie captive.

Rebekah is scrubbing the bloody carpet and comments that Klaus is reading poetry about poisoned apples because he is worried about his impending fatherhood. Klaus quips now that Elijah is back, all problems turn into pixie dust and float away. Elijah enters the room with their mother's grimoire and explains that he promised Devina a few pages in exchange for his freedom.  The page he ripped out is for an unlinking spell. Elijah says that Sophie brought The Originals to New Orleans under false pretenses and declares the deal he made with Sophie null and void.  Elijah then orders Klaus to come with him because he needs Klaus to keep an eye out while he visits Devina and orders Rebekah to stay home and watch over Haleigh.  Rebekah asks how she got elected super nanny and instead of dealing with Rebekah's concerns, Klaus asks who put Elijah in charge. 

Marcel is at the club drinking when Josh approaches and asks if he needs anything.  Marcel tells him that there are guys 80 years ahead of him waiting for a daylight ring.  Marcel brings up Klaus and he fact that Josh drove him to the Palace hotel and says that Klaus lied about living there.  Marcel adds that the only thing that matters is who you can trust.  Josh suggests that here is someone Marcel can trust.

Devina is in the attic drawing when Elijah appears with the page.  

Cami has gone to confession and accuses Kiernan of avoiding her. 

In the attic Elijah hands Devina a knotted rope and says that if she can undo the knot that she will have learned a measure of control and promises to return with a spell of his choosing if she can perform this.

Cami tells Kiernan to say that she slept like a baby every night this week though her twin brother hacked together a bunch men.  Cami adds that Marcel has been blowing her off and she is more upset about that than seeing murderer scrawled across her brother's grave.  For months after the massacre she couldn't think of anything else and without the pain, Cami now feels empty without the pain. Kiernan suggests that if Cami has found a way to turn of the pain is a good thing and adds that the only person responsible for Sean's behaviour is Sean.  Cami asks Kiernan if her really believes that and he says that he does. Cami leaves crying.  What neither of them know is that Klaus was listening to the entire exchange.

Sophie is being tied up and she says that killing her to get to Klaus will not work.  Agnes says that she is the last remaining elder of their coven and that she has no intention of killing Sophie. Agnes adds that it is her duty to protect their power and their power won't mean anything if the baby grows another day. Agnes then injects Sophie with a potion saying that Sabine's omen was clear - the baby will bring death to them all.

At the house Haleigh gasps in pain saying she felt like she was being stabbed.  Blood pours a little from a wound on Sophie's neck.

Elijah and Klaus find Sabine passed out and she tells them that Agnes and her minions kidnapped Sophie.  Never one to miss an opportunity, Klaus points out that this is Elijah's first day in charge and already the witch linked to Haleigh has been abducted by zealots. Elijah asks where Agnes is but Sabine will not say for fear that Klaus and Elijah will kill her.  Sabine adds that Agnes is their last living elder and the elders are the only ones who can do important spells.  Elijah brings up the harvest ritual which shocks Sabine. Elijah says that the harvest ritual, the last elder or the coven's connection to magic has any relevance to them whatsoever. Elijah then demands that Sabine talk.

Marcel has gone into the tombs to see Thierry. Marcel says that Theirry is the only person he has ever trusted.  Marcel grabs a pick axe and says that they are going to have a little chat about Klaus. 

At the house, Rebekah hands Haleigh an apple saying that the plantation is lousy with them.  Haleigh says that she feels fine but her neck is a little sore.  Haleigh tells Rebekah that she has grown to like the fact that Rebekah is a bitch.  Rebekah reveals that she is leaving because she only came to find Elijah but now that he is back and has not punished Klaus for daggering him, Rebekah is leaving because Klaus and Elijah will be thick as thieves and she will be stuck cleaning up the mess.  Haleigh suddenly starts not to feel well.

Klaus and Elijah have found Sophie and she says that Agnes used the needle of sorrows on her to kill a child in utero by raising the blood temperature. Elijah realises that Agnes has orchestrated a miscarriage for Haleigh and asks how much time they have.  Sophie tells them that the spell will do what it's meant to by tonight high tide and adds that she saw Agnes use a similar spell on a kid who went mad and killed a bunch of priests.  Klaus says that he wants to have a chat with Agnes and asks where she can be found.  Sophie replies that there are a thousand places where Agnes can be. Elijah points out that this is exactly why Sophie and Haleigh need to be unlinked.  Sophie points out that if the link is gone, she will lose her leverage but Elijah says that they are not on the same side anymore.

In the tombs Thierry asks Marcel if he is being pardoned and Marcel replies that he broke his number one rule he cannot because he will look weak.  Thierry points out that he warned Marcel about Klaus. Marcel reveals that Klaus has been lying about where he sleeps at night and though he didn't listen to Thierry before, he is going to listen to him now.  Marcel asks about the night that got Thierry put in there and suggests that he might release Thierry by Mardi Gras.  Thierry says that the night that he was sent to roust the witches Max went right for Katie's throat and didn't listen when Thierry told him to stop.  Thierry suggests that Max was compelled and points out that Max went missing for a few days before the rousting and could have been drained.  Marcel reminds Thierry that they found a spell, which Katie and Thierry stole from him in her shop. Thierry says that no one could find their hand in front of their face in the shop and it's shocking that someone supposedly found a stolen spell in there. Thierry suggests that Marcel check the shop for himself and suggests that someone else on the crew was compelled. 

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 5: Dog Dean Afternoon

So, opening person (inevitable victim) is a taxidermist (with another Game of Thrones reference, think the writer is a fan?) His dog acts up which spooks him (and is there anything more spooky than a taxidermy shop at night?) and he manages to scare himself with a grizzly. Don’t worry it was just a false alarm! Hah! As if, a man dressed as a cowboy with a forked tongue appears and folds him up neatly (and painfully).

To the Winchester cave and apparently Kevin is laid up from his little holiday with an eternal hang over (I am putting this down as another “why we don’t have to back up that whole ‘we’re family’ thing Dean pulled and Kevin isn’t going to be in this episode” excuse again). Sam has a case he wants them to investigate but Dean’s still wary since Sam still needs to heal from the trials; of course, Sam feels fine (running on angel power – and he can’t get rid of Ezekiel until Sam is fully healed which won’t happen if Sam is getting active and hurt).

Because of the whole super sekrit thing, Dean can’t tell Sam any of this and is dragged off to investigate the creepy taxidermists. On the door of the shop they see “Die Scum” has been painted on in red – with a little triangle and paw-print symbol in the corner. They pretend to be FBI agents, as usual, to fool the local law enforcement (who, conveniently, stopped checking that since Bobby died; which is good of them). Talking to Stevens, the man who found the body, they learn that all the entrails from the prepped animal corpses are missing (Dean is more than a little squeamish about the whole thing – especially for someone who beheads things). Sam thinks witch but they can’t find a hex bag – and Dean is definitely weirded out by taxidermy.

Back the motel, research turns up that the paw-print symbol belongs to SNART. A local animal rights group. But they need to know if they’re actually witches or just hippies - which means a trip to the vegan bakery (which Dean, avid meat eater, is so very unhappy about). And lots of people wearing sunglasses inside (to Dean for snark: only blind people and douchebags wear sunglasses inside).

They talk to the bakery owners and co-founders of SNART. They admit to spray painting the death threat because of how much hunters are evil evil people to them – but not to killing the man. And it backfired because while spray painting the place someone who hissed caught them and maced them (hence the sunglasses inside).

Looking at their injuries Sam and Dean return to the motel for more research: they weren’t maced, they were sprayed in the eyes by venom. Yes, snakey theme – venom, constriction, hissing. They brainstorm but don’t come up with anything specific.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blackbirds (Miriam Black #1) by Chuck Wendig

Miriam has a talent – when she touches a person she can see when and how they will die. And they will die that way – there’s no way to change it; she has tried and has herself been part of the cause of their death.

This has left her with a rather bleak view of the world as she travels around, following visions of the dead, living on the money she scavenges from the recently deceased.

But her talent has been noticed by a more ambitious con-man who is decides to blackmail Miriam to his own ends, dragging her along with him. Worse, the ambitious con-man has already reached above himself – provoking far worse enemies.

And Miriam has seen a death of a truly decent man; a man she wants to grow attached to, but what can she do with his inevitable, horrific death looming in front of her?

This is the second book by Chuck Wendig I’ve read, after Blue Blazes, and I now feel a vague need to track down the author, give him cake and a fluffy kitten and assure him that there are nice things in the world. This book is grim and dark and gritty. In fact it’s Grim and Dark and Gritty since capitals are definitely needed for this. The scenes are bleak and filthy and stark. The dialogue is harsh, takes-no-prisoners and a brutally clear look at the world. Nothing is white-washed over, nothing is gently covered and there’s nothing we don’t look at in all its detailed awfulness – be it the grimness of the world, of Miriam’s situation, the brutality of murder or the stench of death.

Part of what makes this book so stark in its grimness is that the writing is a true work of art. The descriptions, the exposition, the flow of the story all comes together to really give an excellent sense of time and place, with no detail untouched no matter how unpleasant. It’s the kind of writing that treads a fine line between being wonderfully evocative and being overwritten and repetitive. It’s a fine line – but it hits the balance perfectly which is extremely hard to pull off.

This ultra-grim starkness is also a perfect way of presenting Miriam’s gift (grim), Miriam’s past (grim) and Miriam’s current attitudes and beliefs (really really grim and hopeless). Even the interludes we have of Miriam explaining her gift add to the grimness by the way they end. There’s no positive in Miriam’s life, no reprieve and even this seeming intermission is just another step on Miriam’s grim past as a scavenger of the dead.

Her gift was really well presented – the horror and hopelessness of constantly seeing how everyone around her will die – and even when someone dies “well”, of, say, old age after a long and happy life, there’s a reminder that death itself is never pretty or pleasant. But not just seeing it – but seeing it and being unable to change it. Even seeing your own attempts to change

Sleepy Hollow, Season 1, Episode Six: The Sin Eater

Abbie has taken Ichabod to a baseball and when she starts to scream at the umpire, Ichabod does not understand.  Abbie explains that baseball makes a person feel safe because the rules don't change, it requires teamwork and anyone can play regardless of who they are.  Ichabod extrapolates that baseball is like democracy and cusses out the umpire.  Unfortunately, the umpire didn't actually make a call.  When they leave, Abbie promises to take Ichabod to a Mets game.  They leave separately because Ichabod now feels comfortable around town.  If Ichabod is so comfortable in present day Sleepy Hollow, why oh why can't he visit the Gap and get some damn jeans and a t shirt? Oh I know, the writers are worried we will forget that he is a man outside of time, though they remind us every damn chance they get.

Ichabod goes to visit Katrina's grave. He isn't there two minutes before some men roll up, shoot him with a tranquilizer, then kidnap him.

Abbie is driving when Katrina pops her into the dream world.  I guess since this is fantasy, there's no need to worry about Abbie ending up in a ditch.  Abbie finds herself in a dated home surrounded by lit candles.  When she hears a baby crying, she gets up but all she can see is a shoddy stroller. The horseman appears and Abby goes running. Abbey ends up in a room where four women shrouded in black are obviously doing some kind of spell. Katrina finally makes her appearance and says that the horseman will return to Sleepy Hollow by nightfall and you guessed it, he can only be stopped by the two witnesses. Yes, Sleepy Hollow is getting predictable.  Katrina informs Abby that Ichabod has been abducted by people who have marked his surroundings by a protective seal. Katrina believes that Ichabod was taken because of his blood tie with the horseman but not all is lost, because Katrina has found a sin eater. Katrina says that they are running out of time but tells Abbey that Ichabod must be sanctified.  Katrina adds that the sin eater will know how to find Ichabod. Abbey finds herself back in the car and having drifted out of her lane, she has to swerve to avoid an 18 wheeler. 

The next day, Abbey informs Captain Frank that the headless horseman is coming back. Abbey explains that she knows this because Crane's wife who is a witch told her.  Abbey adds that Ichabod and the horseman are connected, which means they cannot hurt the horseman without hurting Ichabod.  Franks says that he is going to hold onto his skepticism but Abbey argues that Crane wouldn't just disappear like that. Abbey says that she needs to find the sineater and will therefore need access to Jenny.

Abby shows up at the hospital and informs Jenny that she needs help finding a sin eater to save Ichabod.  Abby reminds Jenny that she went around the world looking for connections and then asks about sin eaters. Jenny says that they need to move fast.

Ichabod wakes to find himself in a room lit by candlelight and two men in suits. Rutledge places a book in front of Ichabod and tells him that it is the true story of his life. Proving that Sleepy Hollow cannot stop itself from absurd and ridiculous leaps, Ichabod surmises who Rutledge is from his cuff links and resemblance to Edward Rutledge, the youngest person to sign The Declaration of Independence. And because one leap just isn't fun, Ichabod goes on to surmise that because Rutledge's hands are rough, that he works with his hands, and apparently some discoloration on his knuckles, means that he wears a Freemason ring.  Sherlock Holmes could not have done it better; it's elementary my dear Watson. Ichabod questions what he is doing there since they are both Freemasons. Rutledge again questions whether or not Ichabod is who he says is because of course demons and stuff.  Rutledge questions when Ichabod first heard the phrase, "order from chaos."

Beauty and the Beast, Season 2, Episode 5: Reunion

Firstly we have a Beast on the rampage breaking stuff on Vincent’s boat

Then to Cat preparing for a get-together with her old school friends (she’s having some “me” time) while Gabe calls her to tell her that a) he’s having trouble finding her biological father and b) to put his foot in it repeatedly about Vincent and his own crush. Bless.  And Vincent is lurking in her bedroom having sneaked in through the window. He wants to continue poking his memory but she kicks him out because she’s having some “me time” with girls only.

Yes she kicks him out. Yes I am impressed, shocked and astonished by this.

So we can have a room full of women who are all good friends and they sit around and talk about… men. Uh-huh, someone post the writers the definition of the Bechdel Test, please. It seems Cat has an ongoing habit of “bad boy” boyfriends – and boyfriends who are “projects” to fix.

At the police station the mayor is pissed at Gabe; he wants an explanation for all the unsolved murders that have happened during the whole series, which includes several dead police. Gabe tries to blame Joe but Tess isn’t letting that stand and he admits it’s all Muirfield and Beast related. They’re all in trouble if they can’t clear up the cases but the cases themselves are untouchable – and Tess teases Gabe some more about his crush on Catherine. Poor Gabe.

As Cat’s party breaks up she goes to her bedroom to collect one of her friends handbags – and the Beast-of-the-Week is there and grabs her throat demanding to know about Vincent. When her friend calls out he is distracted and she manages to hit him repeatedly and drop him to the floor. They fight, he starts to strangle her, for reasons unknown choosing a really slow way to kill her rather than use his super strength to pull off her head and play a series of different sporting games with it; he’s interrupted by Cat’s friend running in an gasping and rather than kill them both with simple Beasty violence, he decides to run away. Muirfield may need to return to the drawing board with this one.

The police arrive and Cat’s friend, Beth is really honest – describing a man with glowing yellow eyes who jumped to the street from the 5th floor and is a little irritated that Cat won’t second it all. Gabe and Tess arrive and get the wonderful news that Beth is a journalist. Cat wants to warn Vincent but Gabe warns her that Vincent will just charge in without research and Beasts are now coming in weird and wonderful varieties because the writers are running out of ideas. Cat does have DNA from when she hit the Beast so Gabe takes it to JT to analyse

And doesn’t realise Vincent is there visiting JT when he breaks the news – his voice climbs a good 2 octaves. Vincent rushes off to check on Cat so fast all they hear is wind and a door slamming. On the plus side, Cat manages to convince her friend to hold off on the story since she will ruin her hard won credibility if she reports something so fantastic with so little evidence.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Black Redneck vs Space Zombies by Steven Roy

Jefferson has to return home from his new successful life he has built for himself as a successful author. And he’s not very happy about it.

His childhood home is the small, rural town of Piacyune, Mississippi and he’s spent a long time denying he had any part of it – or the skills and persona he once adopted there. The locals aren’t too pleased with his return either and he has a lot of demons to fight.

He also has aliens to fight – the Devourer, a giant, jelly-fish monstrosity scarfing down catfish and turning people into zombies. And he thought locals opposing his property development and trespassing teenagers were the worst he’d have to deal with.

Ok, when I was sent this book I have to admit I looked at the title and said “you have got to be kidding me?!”

But I’ve been surprised by terribly titled books before and I read the text around it and thought I might be surprised. So I accepted, I read it and fully prepared to unleash the snark I was halfway certain I would need to review this book.

I am glad I gave it the chance. There will be no snark. This book was astonishingly deep and nuanced with many shades of characterisation and oppression.

Jefferson, the protagonist is a Black man raised in a predominantly White area of the rural south of the US; he was adopted by a White family and, when his adoptive parents died he was left in the care of his not particularly bright (but very caring) brother.

He faced racism – a considerable amount in fact – as you’d expect. It was well presented, from several sources and always made clear to be unacceptable. It wasn’t covered up or dismissed and it wasn’t sanitised –but nor was it presented in cartoonish, exaggerated sense with lots of melodrama and monologue milked out for every last iota of tortured-protagonist angst. It was an excellent, balanced presentation.

There was also a wonderfully nuanced depiction of well meaning, but short sighted liberal people in this place encouraging Jefferson, as a child to be whatever he wanted to be – and like many children who idolise their big brothers he says “I want to be a redneck like my brother”. Cue the liberal teacher both wanting to encourage him to achieve something more academic since he’s so intelligent – and not wanting to tell the only Black boy in her class that there’s a career he CANNOT do.

There’s a whole lot of nuance in the depiction. And this becomes more complex when we go on to an adult Jefferson who has left this tiny little rural town in the south and moved north to the big city and he’s a super successful author. He returns home for important non-spoiler-so-I-won’t-reveal reasons and his attitudes are very different. He has natural hostility for the racism he faced but there’s also a huge stripe of contemptuous classism. He’s ashamed of where he’s from, he lies in his author biographies, he looks down on his old friends and neighbours and the way they live.

We have a wonderful intersection of oppressions here and a really nuanced presentation of both having a grudge for a very damn good reason but at the same time showing your own prejudices that are unjustified. It’s nuanced and it’s deep and it’s a fascinating, moving and highly emotional characterisation – backed up with some awesome female characters who are willing to call out bullshit, go in guns blazing, make plans, implement plans – and be balanced by victims of both genders. All in all it’s a whole lot deeper than I imagined complete with some excellent poking at some rarely questioned elements (like the second amendment) and a serious look at both poverty and child abuse.

Witches of East End, Season 1, Episode 5: Electric Avenue

Ingrid is all sad –because it’s Adam’s funeral. He did die after all, probably because of Ingrid’s spell. She’s not going to the funeral because, even though she loved him, they’d hardly been dating him any time and doesn’t want to play grieving widow at a funeral which should be for family. Wendy offers all kinds of help and support but Ingrid wants to handle things her own way and returns to her room – to meet Adam who looks awfully healthy for a dead guy.

Nor does it seem he knows he’s dead. He thinks he’s taken 3 days off and is bemused by how not hungry he is as well. And when they kiss there’s a weird glowy spark. He thinks he still has a job to go to, a life, everything. She has to tell him the truth and while he doesn’t believe it at first, she talks him through his memories. In the mirror he sees blood flowing down from his nose that isn’t really there – Ingrid calls him a conscious apparition. She casts a spell to make the blood disappear, calling it a natural part of his “new reality”. He is, rather understandably, freaked out and leaves.

She finds Adam watching his own funeral and stunned that his life is over. Ingrid points out it doesn’t have to be – he’s been very happy the last few days. Oh and she’s a witch who conjured his spirit (he’s doubtful until she points out he’s a ghost so scepticism is rather moot). He’s a being of pure energy now and most people can’t see him – also why they get the occasional shock when  they touch. He kisses her.

On to second sister, Freya who is making wonderful progress with Penelope (Dash’s mother), though she slips in Dash’s previous engagement every time she can (you can’t expect her to blunt the sharp edges of her tongue so quickly).

Freya goes on to the bar to pick up her pay with Killian trying to flirt with her and her shutting him down. At the bar is Elise, Dash’s ex-fiancee.

Later, Freya tries on the antique wedding dress that the workmen at Dash’s home found in the wing they’re restoring – and Wendy sees it and promptly burns it. The dress belonged to Ingrid (well, a previous incarnation of Ingrid). She also reassures Freya about Dash’s ex-fiancée being in town.

Freya decides to return to the bar and demand to know why Elise is there (oh Freya, there’s no way you can look good doing this). Elise walks away and Freya tries to follow her when Killian asks her why she’s shouting at no-one. And the big dramatic reveal – Elise is dead.

At home, Joanna is facing the fact she’s due in court charged with a murder she didn’t commit – but she did commit a murder no-one knows about. Harrison praises her for being strong and capable and powerful and protecting her family though Joanna recognises the man is a skilled purveyor of bullshit.

Once Upon a Time, Season 3, Episode 6: Ariel

We open with a flashback this time, Snow White, in her pre-soggy-salad days running away from the Queen’s guards and, rather than be taken prisoner, jumping off a cliff into the sea. Presumably the fall knocks her unconscious (or she’s really bad at swimming) because she sinks like a stone until she is rescued by a mermaid, Ariel.

So it’s all YOUR fault, Ariel!

Return to the present day in Neverland and Regina is teaching Emma how to use magic! At laaaaast! Including why concentration is important; unfortunately Regina’s advice is to use her anger to focus and Emma shrinks away from the darkness of that. They argue and Emma produces fire, Regina smugly presents her “I told you so” smile. Of course, David hates the whole idea but Mary Margaret of the Wet Lettuce surprisingly thinks Emma needs how to learn how to use her magic rather than fumbling around and hoping.

Hook tells Mary Margaret and David what Pan told him – that Neal is still alive (Pan’s little test to see if hook would tell Emma and sink his little crush).  Mary Margaret looks up and sees a bent branch and a trail – she takes this as definite proof Neal is alive and almost runs off all on her own. David stops her. Mary Margaret, you just turned David into the smart one. David. What does this say about you? They all agree not to tell Emma to protect her delicate emotional fee-fees (David) and to not give Pan what he wants (Hook). Mary Margaret is initially resistant but agrees to keep the secret to protect Emma and they’ll all go off and rescue Neal without her. Oh dear.

Flashback to the enchanted forest Ariel tells Snow White her story – she’s on the run to someone – her loved one, Eric, she has never ever spoken to but had insta-fishy-lust on seeing his face. Snow White calls it love at first sight and doesn’t think it’s foolish (I do). Anyway, she’s off to her prince’s ball in the name of Ursula the sea goddess and she does that by changing her tail into legs (and a filmy skirt, because the kiddies may be watching). Apparently Ursula also gives her 12 hours of legs for this particular date (I think because she likes the idea of mermaids who can’t keep track of time floundering around helplessly in dry land). Snow White asks why she just doesn’t get an extension which shows a bizarre lack of knowledge of deities in general, but apparently Ursula hasn’t been seen for a few thousand years. Oh and Eric doesn’t know she’s a mermaid but Snow White will help her find her true love (and by “true love” we mean the guy Ariel is creepily stalking who she’s never spoken to before).

Back in Neverland, Emma and Regina notice that the others are packing to leave; they try to lie which lasts oh 3 seconds which is 1 second less than Mary Margaret can keep a secret and she blurts that Neal is alive.

Elsewhere on the island, Gold can’t see the future because time stands still in Neverland and Pan drops in for breakfast and mockery, extra mocking because Neal has the brains of the squid he killed. And apparently Gold can’t kill Pan without killing himself. Lots of poking gold for how, even if he rescues his son and grandson, they’ll never forgive him – after all, Gold hasn’t forgiven his own father. He tells Gold to return to Belle and have a new child (one more intelligent than Neal, perhaps). I’m getting a little tired of Gold angst.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reschedule: Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: Autumn 2013, Episode 5 - FOR REAL!

After our little technical hitch today we found out what was wrong seconds afterwards. How typical is that?

Because of that we will be rescheduling the podcast for this coming Wednesday 6th at 7:00pm EST (midnight GMT) where will take up our discussion where we left off. Hope to see you then.

If you can't make Wednesday or have missed any of our podcasts - you can find them all in our archive here.

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: Autumn 2013, Episode 5

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

Our next books of the week are:

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

Bloodfever (Mackayla Lane #2) by Karen Marie Moning

Mac is still in Dublin, working with Barrons to find the Sinsar Dub and defeat the Lord Master, the man responsible for her sister’s death and the man who is bringing ever more Unseelie into the city. In her quest to find the book, she and Barrons look for other objects of power and she tries to decide who to trust and how to learn more about the strange world she has been thrust into.

I am assured that this series does get better, I’m assured the plot becomes more exciting, the world develops and, in particular, Mac, the protagonist becomes more sensible and mature and I will actually root for her rather than one of the Unseelie chomping on her bones, nom nom nom.

I’m assuming all of this happens in a later book – because it didn’t in this one. Where are those hungry Unseelie?

The first element I couldn’t pass over was the complete and utter lack of plot – nothing really happened in this book, there was no coherent storyline. Oh, there were events, random events poking their heads up from time to time, but they were just that, random encounters, with no real rhyme or reason, no real connection to each other and more than a few of them happened either because of sheer random chance or through Mac’s own monumentally foolish spunkiness often through simply poor writing or characterisation. And then none of these events actually go anywhere – they happen, they then fade back into some kind of background idea.

How does she run into the Sidhe-Seers? She randomly runs into one of them in the street who, despite the eternal watch word “don’t let them know you can see them”, lets slip that she can see them. She goes to meet them aaaaand… nothing happens. How does Mac end up with V’Lane? Because Barrons’s shop assistant tries to murder her over random, unexplained and unfounded extreme jealousy. And does that faerie jaunt actually have any real long term effects on, well, anything? Nope. There’s the Hallow she and Barrons spend a decent amount of the book looking for – does it make any relevant difference to the actual story? Nope. The odd guy in the history department she thinks are cute turn out to know about the fae – how does he? Because Mac randomly decides to show him her diary. Why? Who know?! Even the big ending felt awfully tacked on – a character who could easily have been dead in the last book pops up to reveal very little, do very little, achieve very little, but take up page space and result in the book ending with everyone in exactly the same place they were when this book started.

Look, I can see how this is all foreshadowing for future events and it’s setting various forces and players in motion – which is fine but there needs to be something else! Have the flesh of foreshadowng, but you need a backbone of a plot to keep the book going – otherwise it’s just a big mushy pile of events and foreshadowing with no structure.

The Walking Dead, Season Four, Episode Four: Indifference

In the prison, Rick is wrapping a bandage around his hand.  Carol is standing outside the quarantine area when Lizzie appears.   Carol tells Lizzie that she is going on a run with Rick because they lost all of the food in cellblock D.  Lizzie reports that no one is dead yet and suggests that they get to come back.  Carol reminds her that the zombies are not who they were. Lizzie assures Carol that she is not weak.  While Carol is talking, Rick is picturing Carol killing Karen and David.  Carol reminds Lizzie that if it is her life, or her sister's life, that she shouldn't be afraid to kill.  Outside, Rick looks over the knives.  When Lizzie calls Carol mom, Carol tells her not to.  Lizzie says that she is not afraid to kill, just scared and Carol encourages her not to give up and to fight it.  Rick waits outside by the fence for Carol.

Tyreese is washing the blood out of his shirt when Darryl tells him that it is time to go.  Tyreese still doesn't move and Bill calls to him to say that there should a town a few miles down.  Tyreese is concerned by how long they have gone and adds that he believes Sasha might be dead.

In the car, Carol tells Rick that Maggie wanted to come but he says someone had to watch over things. Carol asks if he means someone he trusts and adds that Karen and David were a threat and she was trying to save lives.  Rick replies, "maybe" and keeps driving.  

Darryl and Michonne are in he lead and Darryl stops and picks jasper.  He quips to Michonne that if you stay in a place for awhile that it is surprising what you can pick up. Well, now Darryl is showing his snark.

Carol and Rick are out of the car looking for anything which can help Hershel.  Rick says that they get in and then they get out.

Bob, Tyreese, Michonne and Darryl stop when Darryl sees a car covered by bushes.  Darryl tries to hotwire the car but cannot get it to start.  They start to hack away at bushes and Darryl advises Tyreese to go easy because they don't know what they are dealing with.  Tryeese accidentally cuts the lock to a door, which is holding back zombies and ends up being saved by Darryl and Bob.  

Rick and Carol make their way into a house.  Rick quickly empties the medicine cabinet and makes his way into the kitchen.  A walker falls down the stairs and Rick has to pull Carol out of the way. Two people appear at the top of the stairs and Rick points his gun at them, though they try to offer him fruit.

Carol starts to clean the wounds on the couple.  Sam has a dislocated shoulder and Carol pops it back into place as Rick watches.  Apparently, they were hiding in the bathroom for a few days and Carol and Rick are shocked that they were not able to defend themselves because they had guns and knives.  Sam says that they just keep moving, not waiting for a place get bad.  Rick asks the couple how many walkers they have killed. 

Now inside the gas station, Darryl finds the battery that he needs to start the car. Outside, Michonne and Tyreese continue to hack away at the bush.  Michonne asks Tyreese if he is trying to die and adds that he has every reason to be angry. Michonne argues that anger makes you stupid and stupid gets you killed.  Tyreese brings up the governor and Michonne says that she is not angry but she was.  Tyreeses does not buy that and questions why Michonne is still looking for Philip. Michonne has no answer for this.  Clearly despite all of the smiles we have seen Michonne from the start of the season, are to cover the anger she still feels.

Inside, Bob says that everybody makes it until they don't, when Darryl points out that the walkers they just fought, committed suicide as a group. Darryl looks at pictures on the wall and recognize one as a zombie caught under a desk.  Bob makes quick work of the zombie.

Carol and Rick say it's time to move on. Rick tells Ana and Sam that they are from a prison and are dealing with a flu that's bad. Rick suggests Ana and Sam sit tight and promises to circle back before dark but Carol tells them to help search the houses.  The couple argues that they can help, when Rick says no.  Carol suggests that they will cover more ground with help and Rick agrees. Rick hands the couple a gun and says that if they fire a shot, he will come running. He also gives Sam a watch and adds that they are to meet up in two hours.

Darryl is working on the car and he asks Bob about the group they were with before. Bob reveals that when he was found on the road, he almost kept walking because he was the last one left standing of two different groups. Bob admits that he drank a bottle of something just to shut his eyes at night.  Bob reveals that he went on the last run to get a bottle and put the bottle down so hard it took down the shelf.  Bob blames himself for Zack's death and Darryl tells him that it is bullshit, before sending Bob to start the car. Bob gets the car started and Darryl whistles for Rick and Michonne. 

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.

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: Under Wraps by Hannah Jane

The next podcast airs tonight at 7:00pm EST

Atlantis, Season 1, Episode 6: The Song of the Sirens

Hercules is being oiled up for a wrestling match – fat jokes, of course, go here. He’s going to wrestle someone called the “Destroyer” and Jason, Pythagoras and Medusa are not confident this will end well.

He wrestles – and he actually does surprisingly well; the show skipped making him look completely inept for once. Of course, he still loses. To rub salt in the wound, the winner picks up Medusa and shows her off to the crowd while she laughs.

Jason and Pythagoras take him home and try to convince him to stop risking himself trying to impress Medusa – of course Hercules denies it. They leave him and discuss the whole romance – they can see why Hercules is attracted to Medusa, but can see nothing in Hercules to attract her to him and he has no prospects or stability to offer her. They both pity him for his doomed, unrequited love. All of which Hercules overhears.

The Oracle summons Jason to deliver a vitally important, urgent warning! He has an enemy… oh and she’s female and not Pasiphae.

Why, Oracle, where would we be without your clear and insightful information?

Hercules lets Pythagoras know he overheard him before going to the Temple to pray to Aphrodite. On the way out through the market one of his friends, Elias, stops him and warns him that Aphrodite is unlikely to bless him in his love – but there is another way, enchantment. He tells Hercules of one of the Witches of Colchis living nearby. And the price is his most precious possession.

Hercules sets out – and back home Jason and Pythagoras notice Hercules has taken his sword and bag, which they’re worried means he won’t be returning after hearing what they said about him.

Hercules travels a considerable distance to the cave to meet Circe of Colchis and gives her his most precious possession, the last link to his father telling us exactly how much it meant to him, the history behind it and what his father meant to him (I’m taking this as meaning his father isn’t Zeus?). She also thinks his friends support Hercules, just a random aside, before handing over a jar containing the Song of the Sirens which should enchant Medusa so long as Hercules is the first thing she sees after hearing the song.

He returns to Atlantis, makes up with Pythagoras and Jason before sneaking into the palace and using the song on the unsuspecting Medusa. After the song he walks out for her to see him and then he promptly babbles away. She agrees to meet him later, apparently affected by the song.

That night, Medusa arrives, much to Jason and Pythagoras’s shock. Hercules takes her out, calling her “my love” while she fawns over him. They have a fun night out that ends with them at a quiet overlook where Hercules father used to take him where he learned to appreciate things while he had them. Later Medusa talks about how lonely she was in Atlantis and how she even considered leaving – and kisses him goodnight.