Saturday, March 22, 2014

The 100: Season One, Episode One: Pilot

The 100 opens with a young woman drawing and talking about how she wants to feel the sun all around her and the scent of wild flowers on a breeze. We learn that it has been 97 years since a nuclear apocalypse killed everyone on earth, leaving the planet simmering in radiation.  The only survivors are the people who happened to be on space stations.  They have now been combined to create something called the arc - one station made of all of the stations.  It is believed that the earth needs 100 more years to heal but people still dream of the it.  Soldiers enter the cell and identify the woman as prisoner 319 and she is ordered to face the wall. She argues that it is not her time because she doesn't turn 18 for another month.  We learn that on the arc, every crime, no matter how small, is punishable by death unless you are under 18.  She struggles with the guards and manages to escape from her cell but is quickly surrounded. When Clark looks around, she finds that other prisoners are getting the same treatment. Clark's mother, Councillor Abigail Griffin rushes forward to comfort her and informs Clark that she is not being executed and instead is being sent to the ground - all 100 of them.  Clark argues that it's not safe and that the prisoners get reviewed at 18 but  Abigail replies that the rules have changed and this gives her a chance to live.  Abigail advises that Clark cannot follow her instincts and take care of everyone first. A guard than tranquilizes Clark and she collapses in her mother's arms.

The teens are now on a ship and are being transported to earth. When Clark awakes, she finds herself sitting next to Wells, who got himself arrested when he learned prisoners were being sent to earth for Clark. That has to be a new record. At only 3:18, we already have a POC sacrificing himself for the White protagonist. I suppose we cannot expect better from the CW.  A message from Chancellor Jaha plays on the screens, telling the prisoners that they have been given a second chance. They are told that if the odds of survival were better, others would have been sent and the prisoners are being sent because their crimes have made them expendable.

Panicked parents have lined up in front of one of the leaders questioning the launch and wanting to know if their children were on the ship. The authority figure simply says that she cannot confirm or deny anything before walking away..

On the ship, Chancellor Jaha tells the prisoners that their drop site has been chosen carefully and that it is a military base in a mountain stocked with enough non perishable food to sustain 300 people for 2 years. He advises that they must locate the supplies immediately but the teens are too busy talking to pay attention.

It the main center on the arc, leaders are informed that the craft is not only off course, but they have lost contact with them.  Everything which was programmed into the ship to help the castaways is now gone.

The ship continues to struggle and Wells tells Clark that he is sorry that he had her father arrested. Wells adds that he cannot die knowing that she hates him.  Clark demands he stop talking about her father and says that she does hate him.  The ship lands safely on earth and the prisoners begin to undo their harnesses. When Bellamy starts to open the door, Clark rushes forward and asks him to stop because the air could be toxic.  Bellamy points out that if the air is toxic, they are all dead anyway.  Bellamy pauses when Octavia calls his name.  The two hug and he comments about how big she has gotten and she asks what he is wearing. Bellamy says that he borrowed the guards uniform to get on the drop ship to keep and eye on her. Clark questions where Bellamy's wrist band is but Octavia cuts her off saying that she hasn't seen her brother in a year.  In the background, someone calls out, "no one has a brother."  Someone yells out that Octavia is the girl they found hidden in the floor. Octavia starts to struggle, so Bellamy grabs her and suggests that she should be remembered as the first person to set foot on the ground in 100 years instead.

The doors to the ship open up and Octavia steps out taking a deep breathe.  The others watch cautiously, staring at the trees and Octavia raises her hands in triumph.  The prisoners stream off the ship and Clark starts to explore. In her arms, Clark holds a map, as she stares up at a mountain. Finn approaches and refers condescendingly to Clark as princess, questioning why she is so sad. Clark says that they have been dropped between a radioactive forest and their next meal because they are in the wrong spot.

On the arc. Director Cain leads a meeting about the fact that the ship has landed and that they still have no contact. They talk about the information from the wrist bands and it seems that two kids have already died. Abigail asks Dr. Jackson to share his theories and he says that the fatalities are due to the landing and not radiation.  Cain asks if the the problem is radiation if they would start to see more fatalities and Abigail explain that the vital signs are spiking because of injuries sustained during landing and that the kids are excited to be there.

Wells heads to see Clark and reports that the communication system is dead and that a dozen panels are missing.Clark replies that all that matters is getting to the mountain. Jasper tries to interrupt and Wells is quick to try to forcefully move him along.  They are interrupted by John,  who is played by Richard Harmon. Continuum fans will recognize Harmon as Julian Randol. John has already formed a group and is clearly trying to take on a leadership role. Wells tells the survivors that they have to find  Mt.Weather as his father's message informed them. Octavia replies, "screw your father," and asks if he and Clarke think they are in charge.  Clark asserts that it doesn't matter who is in charge and that they need to get to Mt. Weather because the longer they wait, the hungrier they'll be. Clark questions how long people will last without supplies and she informs them that they are looking at a 20 mile trek.  Bellamy says that Clarke and Wells should go and find it for them, thus allowing the privileged to do the hard work for a change. The crowd starts to cheer and Wells asserts that they all need to go. John pushes Wells to the ground, calling him the Chancellor of earth.  Wells gets to his feet and raises his fists but before a fight can start, Finn jumps between them and points out that Wells only has one leg. Finn suggests John wait for a fair fight and the group separates. Octavia tells Finn that next time, he should rescue her next.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Season 1, Episode 11: Heart of the Matter

Cyrus enters the Caterpillar’s den looking for the Lost and Found – his mother’s enchanted compass that can help him find anything that he traded to the Caterpillar for the invisible tent. The Caterpillar is willing to give him the compass – if Cyrus brings him Alice and the Knave since they owe the Caterpillar as well. While they’re talking, Alice, shrunk all tiny goes sneaking around looking for the Compass. As a distraction, he starts a bar fight by stealing someone’s drink so he and Alice can leave easier

Swashbuckling Cyrus with the cheeky smile is much much more fun than last week’s Soggy Cyrus with the endless moping.

In the palace, Jafar begins the ritual with the 3 genie bottles, shaking the whole building and alerting Anastasia and Jafar’s father – Anastasia makes a comment about magic in the wrong hands

Yes that’s a lead for a flashback – Anastasia first meeting the Tweedles before her marriage (Tweedles is a job description, in Wonderland the servants don’t have names, just purposes) and she greets another queen – Cora.

Yes, Once Upon a Time Cora, Regina’s mother Cora.

Cora is surprised to be invited because the Red King doesn’t like her – she puts it down to him being threatened by her (and she shows off her impressive magic). The King doesn’t like magic because it separates them from the people (uh-huh, your kingdom has a tradition of not bothering with servants’ names – I don’t think it’s magic that separates you) while Cora thinks magic is just a tool to help rule. She identifies with Anastasia because of her own humble beginning. She calls her own daughter a disappointment (which one? Or both?) and would like to teach Anastasia. But Anastasia would rather not begin her marriage lying to her husband

Back to the present and Cyrus and Alice struggle to get the compass to work to find his mother when Anastasia’s Tweedle arrives with Anastasia’s warning. Of course, they don’t run as warned and instead want to sneak into the palace.

At the palace, Jafar’s spell doesn’t seem to be working (as the Jabberwock helpfully points out) so he summons the Knave. Oh Jafar, you can’t even bandy words with your dad, the Knave’s sarcasm is more than a match for you. Anyway, the Knave is resisting the spell, somehow. Time to unleash the Jabberwock – and the Knave continues to banter, because he’s so good at it. He’s immune to her as well – he’s protected. They assume by Anastasia.

Flashback again – to the Knave sneaking into Anastasia’s room before the wedding, begging her to tell him it’s all a scam to steal the wealth and run, that she still cares for him. She says she does – and this is totally for both of them. Honest. He asks her to come away with him – and tells her where to meet him as he runs ahead of the guards. All overheard by Cora.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 16: While You Were Sleeping

Party time – booze and Elena dancing on the table and taking off her top (revealing a second top underneath) – which apparently isn’t her and she’s outraged that they don’t realise it isn’t her – I mean, dancing on the table and giving her little brother hard booze! The very idea.

Do I point out now that EVERYONE on this show has been drinking hard liquor since they were like 12? It’s not like they even drink beer – it’s whiskey or nothing. Jeremy has been drinking hard booze in bars since season 1.

Anyway it’ a dream and Elena wakes up (I had the strangest dream – I dreamt that I actually objected to tequila shots… what a nightmare). The whole place is empty except for Stefan and she has been magically trapped in the building. Stefan gives her a recap about being possessed and now being a Ripper vampire that eats vampires. They’re working on a ration system to supply blood.

Damon is still chained in the dungeon (or rechained) with Jeremy and Matt there to remind him that they don’t like him very much because of the whole killing people thing (Jeremy is actually holding more of a grudge over the death of Aaron than he is over Damon trying to kill him. Or Vicky.) When his phone rings and Jeremy answers it he even reminds Jeremy that he’s murdered him before – oh such hijinks! Anyway, Damon and Elena talk full of goopiness and her apologising to him for Katherine breaking her heart (I think it’s more “I am sorry that happened to you” sorry than “it’s all my fault” sorry). Then she brings up Aaron, which Damon quickly avoids.

Caroline is in Dr. Wes’s lab looking for a cure and gets his notes on the werewolf venom being added to Elena’s dose – and she meets Enzo who is very flirty, very very very sexy and claims to have the antidote.

Stefan arrives with Elena’s ration – and she’s a starving killing machine in the presence of vampire blood. She starts angsting and Caroline rings to drop the news about the werewolf venom as well – and if they want the cure, Enzo insists they meet. Apparently the cure is Traveller related and they want to keep themselves secret from Liv. Just in case there aren’t enough emotional issues floating around, Elena always wants to know if she and Stefan did anything while Katherine was possessing her and trying to get Stefan back

Because this information is a priority right now.

When Stefan leaves she tries to call Aaron (since she doesn’t use a spirit board she gets now answer) and she opens her diary and comically over-acts at the fact KATHERINE HAS WRITTEN IN IT! This leads to a really freaky dream sequence about making out with Stefan and Stefan and Damon fighting – have we just stopped trying to make sense now, Vampire Diaries? She wakes up with a nose bleed.

She calls Damon with her theory that the werewolf venom virus is actually hurting her and causing her to hallucinate her worst fears. Or it could be a side-effect of long term Traveller possession but being Vampire Diaries I’m going to guess that her first guess will magically prove to be right. Anyway more angst, some coughing up blood, some recaps, more avoiding talking about Aaron.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blood Chills (Blood Hunters #5) by Marie Treanor

After fighting alongside of the ancient vampire Saloman and being present at the birth of his child, it's time for Cyn to return to her life in New York with her merry band of unsanctioned hunters. It's not long before Cyn's group is tasked to investigate the deaths of humans in her childhood neighbourhood. Though all of the evidence points to Bela, Cyn's instincts are telling her to trust the vampire and become his ally. The problem is that Bela wants more than her trust and though her mind rejects the possibility of being with a vampire, her body has other ideas.

Essentially, Blood Chills is a paranormal romance. The relationship follows the typical pattern of boy meets girl and they don't like each other, followed by the couple getting together before a misunderstanding drives them apart. Of course, the couple then has a reconciliation and the readers are treated to the exceedingly predictable HEA. I will, however, give Treanor credit for stretching out the romance between Cyn and Bella so that they were not declaring undying love after knowing each other for a ridiculously short period of time.

Though much of the series was fixated on the budding romance between Cyn and Bela, Treanor did manage to include an interesting story line. For a good section of the book, she managed to keep me guessing as to who the antagonist was and what his motivations were. As much as this is paranormal romance, the plot could have stood on it's own without it, particularly because Treanor continues to enlarge her world and relate more about vampire lore with each book.

That said, Blood Chills was still highly trope laden. Cyn is verbally clear on several occasions that she does not want to be touched but Bela, of course, ignores this because he can smell her lust.

The implication was clear and heated her tormented body unbearably.His lips, a curiously attractive half smile. On a murderous monster who'd almost killed her friend. Rudy could still die."You disgust me," she whispered.
He considered her as if he had no intention of removing himself in the foreseeable future."Not entirely true.Vampires can smell arousal,you know.  Yours is sweet and powerful. Like your blood."
"And humans are much, much more than chemical reactions.Get off me you self-satisfied prick"
He blinked, his lips parting in something close to shock.
Shit, now he's mad. So not clever, Cyn...
The vampire threw back his head and laughed.  The deep rumbling was oddly infectious and yet made her shiver for no reason she wanted to understand. But although he eased some of his weight off of her, he didn't release her hands.  Looked at in the right way- and she was pretty desperate her- this was a good thing. It meant he acknowledged that she could still damage him. (pg. 32-33)
Cyn rejects Bela for large sections of the book and he keeps pushing himself upon her until she finally gives in. This is supposed to be sexy? This is a supposed foundation for a HEA?  A man who thinks "no" simply means try harder until you get a yes? This is rape culture at it's finest and should never be mistaken for romance, or seduction. Cyn even goes as far as to try to kill Bela several times but he sees it as foreplay and certainly not rejection. More importantly, why does Bella consider that she should let go of her "free will" (pg 67) to engage in sex with Bela?  In the end, sex becomes something Bela does to Cyn and not something they do to pleasure each other; it's an act of dominance.

Revolution, Season 2, Episode 17: Why We Fight

Miles, Monroe are spying on Patriot people doubtlessly up to something evil, and the kid Miles let go last week is back happily among them. Monroe perfects his “I told you so” look. Don’t let your enemy’s killbots go home! Of course, said killbot is now guiding the Patriot troops to their Camp (shall I call them The Resistance? Because the Resistance in ‘Allo ‘Allo was more efficient).

Gene decides to go to the town full of brainwashed Patriot people with their Killbot children so they can recruit more help. Rachel and Charlie volunteer to join him on their silly side trip but Miles insists on going instead. As is usual Sebastian moans but they do it anyway (hey, at least they’re finally DOING something).

They sneak into the town which looks vaguely like a Fallout New Vegas setting (in an awesome way. If you don’t get the reference you have lived a sad, deprived life, clearly) with lots of dramatic propaganda posters; his former friends are walking around like good little drones.

Neville, meanwhile, is manipulating the not-very-bright Truman to turn him against Doyle. When he leaves some of Doyle’s men have a message for him involving lots of punches to the face.

Gene and Miles find Marion in the bar she runs and Gene decides they can totally trust her – but they still end up kidnapping her because she believes they’re terrible terrorists. Truman has done a really good job of framing him as a terrorist. He takes a while trying to talk her round despite her being an old ex of his. Of course, her current boyfriend is actually Truman which may be why she’s so hard to convince (Miles “you really get around” comment is rather unnecessary – last I checked, 2 lovers may be more than we’ve seen Miles have. His tormenting of Gene is much more fun). And he’s come to dinner so they have to let her go talk to him and pretend everything is normal.

In response to his taunting, Gene asks why Miles is doing anything – why does he always think everything’s so bad. Miles has a simple answer – it’s the apocalypse – and a more complex one; he tried to make things better with Monroe. It didn’t turn out well – because people will always be stupid and selfish.

I can’t say I disagree. Gene rightly points out Miles isn’t fighting for anything, he’s just fighting his own demons.

Marion asks Truman about Kim and Grant and his answers make her suspicious and lean towards believing Gene.

At the Resistance camp, Charlie and Connor snark a bit before the whole gang finds something else to go spy on. It’s a camp full of Duncan Page’s men – the Patriots found poor Duncan and now she’s dead and her men want some vengeance. Thank gods for random events giving them an army, because standing around bickering was surprisingly ineffective for defeating the Patriots. The Patriots are rampaging across the Plains Nation, destroying the War Clans (and he makes lots and lots of Native American analogies, in case you missed them with the Plains Nation).

Gender and Relationships in the Mercy Thompson Series

The Mercy Thompson series is a very popular Urban Fantasy series written by Patricia Briggs. When we first met Mercy, she was a fiercely independent female mechanic who had the ability to shift into a coyote. Over the course of eight books, readers have gotten to know Mercy, her friends and the world which Briggs has created quite well. For the most part, the Mercy Thompson series has been interesting to read but like any other book in this genre, it has not been without its share of problems. It would be far too easy to dismiss gender as an issue in the this series because the protagonist is a woman and the author is also female. One would think that at least in this area, a reader could consume an unproblematic story but that is not the case - and we should be wary of assuming strong depictions of women (or any marginalised person) just because of the author.  Despite all of the good qualities in this series, gender representation is an ongoing issue.

Like many Urban Fantasy protagonists, one of the most glaring problems with Mercy is her treatment of and relationship to other women. So often in the genre we find strong, capable female protagonists fully in charge of their own lives - but they are exceptional, they are special women. Other women in the series rarely match them for strength and depth of character.

Most blatantly, other women simply are not present - or not present to any great degree. Mercy lives in a very male world. Obviously, as a straight woman, her love interest is Adam and Adam dominates much of her life, but even outside of Adam most of the people around her are men. She worked with Zee and then Tad - both male. Her main contact with the vampires has been with Stefan - male. Back when she lived with the Marrock, the main contacts she had where with him and his son, Samuel and, to a lesser extent, Charles. Her closest friends - Warren and Kyle - are both men. Most of the pack members are men - and, in common with many other series - for some reason women just don’t turn into werewolves very often. She has a somewhat fraught - and definitely low contact - relationship with her mother.

There are very few women in Mercy’s life - and the only one with anything resembling a close relationship with her is Jessee, Adam’s daughter and, of course, a teenager not a peer.

This lack of female equals is already very much an element of this trope - but what women she does meet are usually antagonists. The few female members of the pack are very hostile to Mercy - Honey being the only one starting to thaw towards her in the latest book. Marsilia, the vampire head of the local Seethe, has certainly clashed with Mercy pretty viciously. Mercy even clashed with the Marrock’s wife when she lived in the Aspen Creek Pack (apparently more so than with the Marrock himself). Even her relationship with her mother is fraught and difficult and contains, at best, a kind of understanding contempt of her mother and she appreciates the distance between them.

Any women Mercy seems to build any kind of a respectful, peer relationship with - or has the potential to - are brief appearances, usually confined to one book; while her female enemies are much more prominent.

This comes to a head in the latest book, Night Broken with Adam’s ex-wife who is almost comically awful to Mercy. Because a woman fleeing from a murderous stalker who has beaten her and destroyed her life really has time to play petty “catty” games? Apparently so! This frankly ridiculous caricature of spiteful womanhood, in turn, is presented as an extremely weak justification for Mercy herself sharpening her claws for a truly cringeworthy take down of a battered woman seeking refuge. By the end of the book, the conflict was almost comic in its awfulness, with Mercy wanting to send Christie back to her abuser and Christie wanting Mercy to die on her hospital bed.

But the paucity and problems with other women in the series are not the only problematic elements of this book when it comes to female representation; we have to consider her relationship to Adam.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Strange Way of Dying by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This book is a collection of short stories and it’s rather unlike any I’ve read before.

In some ways I don’t think “stories” is the correct way to refer to these entries. None of them really conclude or have any real ending, most of them only have a little backstory but not one that goes back very far. Even plot is somewhat absent in most of them. What they are more are vignettes. Or photographs in literary form. Each story concentrates on creating a theme and atmosphere and they all do it incredibly well. They’re not meant to tell someone’s story, they’re not meant to advance a plot or even tell a story. They’re there to give us a snap shot into an event or part of an event, a glance into a person or creature’s life, a brief look at a legend or myth or superstition or fear and give us the full impact of that. I don’t think it’s about telling a story, it’s about artistically presenting an image, capturing a moment and portraying a theme, an emotion and a deep, unsettling darkness that permeates each and every one of these stories

And they are all very very good at that. Every story has the best atmosphere. It is creepy with a capital CREEP. What is alien is alien and the settings around Mexico and especially in Mexico City are really powerful. You get an excellent sense of time and place even though they’re only thumbnails in short stories, they’re very elegantly described – not overwritten but not sparse and very much aware that the atmosphere is vital for these stories.

All but one of these stories are set in Mexico and there’s a really good sense of the location in them. Culture, food, location beliefs are all really well mixed and presented into the stories as a natural part of them. There’s no sense of someone forcing inserts or clumsiness or “tour guide” elements where someone really wants you to look at the setting. It’s there, it’s always there, but it’s always there naturally. But more than just place and culture, many of these stories also bring in history, which is fascinating all of itself since so much of this history is so little known or studied outside Mexico. It certainly prompted me to do some reading to find the larger context that created these beautiful, eerie scenes.

And, of course, many of the stories are about Mexican folklore, mythology, beliefs and superstitions which are other elements that are rarely seen in the genre (or, if they are seen, it’s because a book or show has wanted to mine some foreign cultures for some “exotic” woo-woo without any backing). Because of the way these stories are written, the folklore fits in excellently and kept me fascinated and interested for a long time.

But, it has to be said, not for the whole book. I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting and I don’t think that’s ideal with this anthology. Because each story is more a setting capture/snapshot without a strong reliance on plot, by the end of the book I was losing interest. Kind of like going through a photo album of beautiful scenery – you can gasp at the beauty of it all, but eventually you’re going say “oh. Yay. Another mountain. Yes. Mountainous.”

From Dusk till Dawn, Season 1, Episode 2: Blood Runs Thick

Seth and Richie can’t even have a quiet dinner in the park without arguing. You thought Richie’s itchy trigger finger made him annoying? It’s nothing compared to his nagging. He’s not impressed by Seth not improving himself while in prison (Richie just freed him from 5 years in prison), Seth hits back at Richie’s people skills being so bad he had to live in a shack – and it just devolves from there into a full blown bickering. Having eaten, they go to rob the bank

Ah, this would be a flashback? This show needs to work on their butchered time lines, they really do – there are time travel programmes which keep things more coherent.

Earlier, later – who knows when – we join Jacob (a reverend), his daughter Kate and son Scott riding in an RV to Mexico, with the news of the bank robbery on the radio to give us some desperate flailing attempt at a time line. Jacob also sings so if someone is going to shoot him I’d appreciate them doing it soon. It looks like Jacob has dragged his family off on holiday at the last second with no idea when they’re returning, caring little for Kate’s education let alone her social life; he’s really endearing himself to me. Kate and Scott bicker which is basically a method of info-dumping that Scott is adopted (which comes across more the writers feeling the need to explain Scott being Asian) and that their mother died recently which may explain their father’s… eccentricity (and pawning his wedding ring to buy the RV). But not the singing. Because nothing can explain the singing. He also really really really will not talk about his wife’s death.

They’re being followed by Kate’s Bible-quoting boyfriend, Kyle. No, really, he seems to ram in random quotations into his conversation. Kate is hoping for him to get her and rescue her from the road trip.

They pass the burning shop that was devastated in the pilot, inside which Freddie is dragging Earl to safety. Freddie calls it all in, grabs a passing civilian for transport and charges off to hunt the Geckos, giving out instructions for road blocks and support.

He interviews the two women who were held hostage learning about Seth’s contact, Carlos, and the odd symbols Richie drew on their hands (the symbol isn’t too different from the eye symbols in the serial killer pictures he was examining). His boss arrives and Freddie is eager to get involved – but the rules mean he has to take Freddie off the case after being so personally effected.

He finds, in Earl’s pocket, Richie’s knife that Earl picked up in the bathroom. The knife has the same eye symbol.

Richie’s quite happy with how things went, Seth really really not. He tries to figure out exactly why his brother explodes into random, uncontrollable violence. It doesn’t get more reassuring when Richie starts hearing things and announces something bad is coming. And they still have a bank teller in the boot. This starts another argument over Richie’s habit of taking unnecessary hostages. He wants to know what set Richie on his killing spree – and the voices in Richie’s head whisper again – this time telling him not to trust Seth. He talks back to them (which doesn’t reassure Seth) then forces Seth to pull over – in the scrub desert there’s a body.

The Originals, Season One, Episode Seventeen: Moon Over Bourbon Street

Klaus is painting and he talks about the passage of time healing all wounds.  We get flashes of Hayley looking at a wolf and Cami trying to help her cursed uncle. Marcel sits alone, as Klaus talks about wanting never to be wounded again. We see dusts up with the witches and Hayley distributing the cure. The werewolves stare at the moon and finally stay human.

Klaus gets dressed after sex with Genevieve.  Elijah is not the least bit pleased and suggests that Genevieve find her clothing and the door whilst holding her shoes.  Once alone, Elijah reminds Klaus that Genevieve tortured Rebekah but Klaus points out that Genevieve revealed the truth about Rebekah's treachery. Elijah points out that this means that Rebekah is gone forever and says that Klaus must channel the loss into some sort of positive action.  Elijah reminds Klaus that New Orleans is used to having a king and since he wanted this city, it's time for him to accept the responsibility.  Klaus says that he is ensconced with other pursuits. Elijah takes away Klaus's paintbrush and brings up the baby, suggesting that they work together to make the city whole again.  Klaus suggests that the city is to broken too mend and goes back to painting. Elijah tells Klaus that he will do something then.

Father Kiernan has gathered influential member of the community at Saint Anne's saying that it is neutral ground in New Orleans. He announces that they are gathered at the behest of Elijah to bring harmony.  Elijah shows the rules of the city according to Marcel and rips them up saying that he is in charge.  Diego is not impressed and points out that Elijah never said anything about making himself king.  Elijah replies that they are each there to represent their own communities and that issues which arise between factions will come to him.  Elijah suggests that they are all responsible for the current chaos and that they can all play nicely together or leave.

The returned witches are working to bring back dead flowers but Davina is not able to give it life. Davina says that she is trying but Monique points out that she is trying and failing.  Monique tells Davina that she needs to stop being weak.  Monique says that despite the fact that Davina is a harvest girl, maybe she doesn't belong there and maybe she never did.

The wolves are fighting in the bayou, as Hayley and Jackson look on.  The fight is apparently to establish pecking order and Jackson is not participating because he is the alpha.  Jackson and Hayley walk away, as Oliver looks on clearly not pleased. Later, Hayley and Jackson get some food and Oliver comments that Hayley spent half of her life with humans and the other with vampires.  Hayley replies by calling Oliver the runt of the litter and suggests that he should speak his peace. Oliver brings up Elijah's meeting and points out that the werewolves weren't invited. Oliver declares that this shows Elijah has no respect for the werewolves.

The meeting has descended into chaos and Hayley bursts in saying that there will be no peace if the werewolves are not included.  Hayley threatens that if the werewolves don't get a seat at the table everyone will regret it.  Later, a pissed Elijah asks Hayley if she knows what it took to get everyone together for the meeting.  Hayley replies that she didn't because she had to be informed by someone else about the meeting.  Hayley asks if the werewolves were left out because of her and Elijah replies that he left them out because they no longer reside in the French Quarter. Elijah adds that his immediate concern is the mounting conflict and promises that once everything is calm, it will expand to include the wolves.  Hayley asks what she should tell the wolves in the meantime and Elijah asks her to remove herself from the process altogether. Elijah asks about returning to the compound and Haley questions if the baby will be safe there. Hayley again asserts that the wolves deserve a voice and that it is the right thing to do before leaving.

Klaus is still moping and painting when Genevieve walks in and comments that he should have seen Elijah's face when Hayley walked in. Genevieve then asks if this new alliance will work and if they will all have some peace.  Cami walks in and says that she took a chance when she saw the lights.  Cami suggests that Genevieve leave and Genevieve remarks that the O'Connell's like to piss off witches, as she walks out.  Cami is not impressed that Genevieve was keeping Klaus company, given that Genevieve tried to blackmail her into stabbing Klaus with a painful mystical knife. Klaus quips that New Orleans breeds strange bedfellows.  Cami brings up Kiernan and says that a witch can undo the spell and that Klaus should use his influence with Genevieve to end it.  Klaus says that hexes take root with magic and then alter the chemistry of the brain. Klaus says that he is sorry and adds that the damage is done. Cami answers that she refuses to accept this and adds that Klaus would as well, if he had any concept of family before walking out in anger.

Davina walks into a vampire bar and takes a seat next to her favorite gbff Josh.  Josh is shocked to see Davina and says that he would have met her anywhere that she wanted, as long as it was someplace where Klaus or Marcel wouldn't be.  Josh senses something is wrong with Davina and she reveals that Monique has no idea what she went through when she was dead, or that the ancestors hated her for what she did with her magic. Davina adds that she cannot just start practicing again and that she shouldn't have trusted Marcel when he told her to go back.  From a distance, Marcel is doing his creepy guy routine, watching Josh and Davina talk.  Davina says that she doesn't know how much more she can take.

Thierry approaches Marcel and comments that he is on the outs with Davina again and asks why he was dragged all of the way out there.  Marcel says that he wants Thierry and all of the guys who walked out on Klaus to join him.  Thierry remarks that Marcel is rounding up an army and Marcel replies that he cannot take back the city without one. Are we really going there again? We already know that Marcel is not a match for Klaus.  This screams of The Originals once again having problems finding a suitable antagonist to face off against their super powerful protagonist. Thierry points out  that Marcel doesn't have any weapons or allies and adds that if Marcel goes to the quarter, Klaus will kill him, if Elijah doesn't get to him first.  Marcel asks if he should hide out like Thierry and adds that Thierry is there because he doesn't want to lose his home.  Marcel points out that a battle is brewing and that while everyone is choosing sides, he intends to find a way to get his power back.  Thierry says that Marcel was always great with words and that it is going to take more than a pretty speech before leaving.

Kiernan has chained himself up and says that the sickness is overtaking his inclination to forgive and replacing it with a desire to kill everyone. Cami says that they will figure it out but Kiernan responds that he tried to figure it out with Sean but he was focused too much on that instead of stopping him. Kiernan tells Cami that she is going to be asked to take his place at the table and that she should leave and start over. Cami says that she is not going anywhere as long as there is a chance he can get better.  Kiernan again asserts that he is not going to get better but Cami is determined not to give up. Kiernan talks about Cami's stubbornness and how he prayed for her and got no answer. Kiernan says that there is only blackness, and death before attacking Cami.  The two struggle and finally, Cami grabs a lamp and hits Kiernan over the head, leaving him unconscious.

Elijah is drinking and is joined by by Francesca, who is one of the cities leading philanthropists and a matriarch to a drug trafficking empire. It seems that Francesca is vying to replace Kiernan as leader of the human faction and she says that Elijah will deal with her from now on. Francesca adds that she wants peace just as much as he does and that her lifestyle depends on it.  It seems that Francesca has already rounded up the support of the new mayor, as well as the chief of police and suggests to Elijah it might be beneficial to have her on his side, even if it is to prevent her less civil brethren from lashing out in painful ways. This woman is damn bold, you don't threaten an Original vampire lady. Francesca leaves, telling Elijah to have a good night.

Supernatural: Season 9, Episode 16: Blade Runners

After a quick reminder that Dean now has the Mark of Cain so he can use the First Blade to kill Abaddon as part of an extremely fun but likely very inadvisable alliance with Crowley, we have Dean fretting that said King of Hell isn’t answering his phone.

It’s especially worrying because, playing Dean’s voicemail, it’s apparent that Crowley drunk dialled Dean. I’m not sure what it means to be drunk dialled by the King of Hell but no good can come from it. Crowley’s not currently answering the phone (Dean’s name on his phone is “Not Moose”. I may give the whole episode 5 Fangs for that alone) because he’s enjoying the intimate (and fully clothed – c’mon CW) attention of Lola. He’s also injecting himself with human blood (and keeps a man tied up in the cupboard for just that purpose). The human blood has some strange effects on Crowley – including making him all weepy over old movies. Lola isn’t put off by this – in fact she seems quite cunningly pleased.

Lola is working for Abaddon (though through a minion that she doesn’t appreciate) and is not only keeping Crowley rather incapacitated, but she’s learned of the First Blade.

The Winchesters are done calling so summon a crossroads demon. Who is possessing Snooki – yes the reality TV celebrity. And yes, demonic possession would explain a lot about reality TV. She doesn’t really know where Crowley is – but she does know Abaddon is winning over Hell with his inattention.

But Crowley isn’t entirely gone – sure he’s hooked on human blood but he knows when he’s being played. He confronts Lola and after a quickly aborted attempt at begging she sneers at him and how far he’s fallen. Crowley stabs her with a demon-killing blade. Afterwards he crumples a little…

He calls the Winchesters to help and they come see him – and the place he’s crashing and catch him with a bag of blood (Crowley’s face is a perfect expression of guilt, shame and anger). They chain him to a chair – they’re staging an intervention. Which involves taking him back to the Winchester Cave and chaining him up again.

Crowley tells them the long convoluted trail of the blade he found and poor Crowley is all sentimental from the human blood and tries to dig up a possible friendship with Sam. Nope, not happening.

The go to meet someone about the blade (and Dean and Sam are both embarrassed by Crowley stealing candy from a vending machine, c’mon Crowley you’re better – or worse – than that). When the man arrives they start to question him but Crowley facilitates things with a rapid possession.

But Abaddon’s demons get there first and leave 3 dead bodies in their wake – but the blade was already gone. They speak to a professor who sees Dean and is veeerrrryyy interested and she reveals that she’d already sold the blade on the hush hush because it was nearly impossible to authenticate. And all she got from the buyer is a code name – Magnus. Yes she’s don’t a lot of ethical checking on this guy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blood Prophecy (Blood Hunters, #4) by Marie Treanor

Janine is a  a descendant of the ancients, recovery addict and prostitute.  A faithful meeting with the vampire Dmitriu in which she almost dies, causes her to rethink her life.  Janine gets clean and joins the hunter organization determined to ensure that no vampire will ever make her feel cheap and used again. Janine finally feels that when and if she meets Dmitriu again that she will be able to settle a score.  What she does not know is that she is part of a prophecy given by the last ancient prophet Luk, "The junkie whore shall save the trinity in the first hour."  For his part, Dmitriu is determined to help Saloman as he prepares to welcome a child into the world and this means finding Janine and assuring that is at Elizabeth's Silk's birth. Can he convince Janine to put aside her distrust of him to help him on his mission.

Treanor takes care to introduce characters we are familiar with along with storylines from other books in order to make this story based on essentially unknown character fit into her larger narrative.  Unfortunately some of this felt repetitive as the birth of Saloman and Elizabeth child, along with the threat that Konrad represents  was aptly covered in Blood Descent.  It made the prophecy, which reads large in this novel feel redundant.  

The characterization of Janine is this book is hopelessly problematic.  I lost count of the times that she is referred to as a "junkie whore".  Janine is essentially the good girl who has gone bad and ultimately saved, or rather made clean by the love of a vampire and his magical penis.  He of course isn't like any other John that she serviced because he made her come.  It reads as though Janine has no value during her stage of addiction and prostitution and that is a dangerous line of thinking to promote given the enormous amount of violence faced by sex workers.  The plot also follows the typical line of making a sex worker a tortured person.  Not all prostitutes are drug addicted and suffering.  It seems inconceivably to the media that there are women who not only actively choose this line of work but enjoy it. 

Part of Janine's reformation is a change in her style of dress.  Moving away from clothing which reveals her body is a signal to the world that her body is no longer for sale.  Can we say slutshaming?  A woman's clothing is not a signal of anything other than she likes what she is wearing.  Several times, Janine talks about wearing a burka.  So now we have slutshaming and outright appropriation.  Burka is a complex garment and should never be used in this way.  For some women it represents a rejection of Western imperialism and a sign of liberation. For others, it's a cage and a symbol of patriarchal Islamic control.  Either way, it is a garment that does not belong in this story and most certainly not as a supposed symbol of Janine's metamorphosis from"junkie whore" to brave, chaste warrior.

Being Human, Season Four, Episode Ten: Oh Don't You Die for Me

Josh meets up with the werewolf pack to apologize but he is told that they are only there to see what he has to show them, not to make friends.  Josh strips off his clothing and starts to change into a wolf.

Aidan and Suzanna are hiding near the vampire club and Aidan suggests that they shouldn't be there and instead should be keeping a low profile. Suzanna says that this is why she needs him and reminds him of his recent kill.  Suzanna suggests that remorse isn't enough and that she needs to hit the Boston nest where it hurts. Suzanna points to Kenny and tells Aidan that he is going to take Kenny out because Kenny is the leader.

The next morning, Josh is making the bed and Sally tries to stall him so that he will still be there when Nora arrives to pick up her things.  Josh says that no one wants to be with a cheater with anger issues. This is especially salient given Nora's history as a survivor of intimate partner violence. Josh says that he is going to go meet up with Andrew and Caroline.  Sally asks Josh not to start a new pack and make up with Nora instead.  Josh reveals that his reality is that Nora is terrified of him.  Sally follows Josh into he hallway and sees Aidan wrapped in a towel and flashes back to their time together.  Sally tells Aidan to put some clothes on. Half naked Aidan - I approve.

At Caroline and Andrew's, they talk about their new place and that moving is about keeping April safe and sound.  Mark enters and greets Josh with a hug saying that it's good to see him there. Andrew announces that they are having a party and have invited the entire pack for a house warming. Mark says that it's a long weekend with wolves and that part of keeping April safe is keeping the pack safe.  They announce that the wolves won't do anything without Josh because he is now the pack leader.

Back at the house, Sally questions why Josh wants to change with Mark because Mark did punch him in the face.  Josh reminds Sally that he mated with Mark's wife. Sally snarks that Josh shouldn't change with Mark instead of Nora. Josh begs Sally to let it go but she replies that she cannot because he is a weird wolf thing because of her.  The two continue to bicker and Josh tells Sally that she cannot do anymore magic because they may never see her again.  Josh adds that he can deal with whatever he is now and won't lose her forever. Sally argues that this wolf is not who Josh is because that wolf chased Nora away. Josh replies that it feels good to be the alpha for once but Sally calls Josh a beta. Sally walks out of the room, just as Nora walks in.  Josh says that he is on his way out and Nora replies that it will only take her a few hours to get the rest of her stuff.  Josh tells Nora to be safe when she changes tonight and they go their separate ways. Things are really awkward between them and they can barely make eye contact with each other.

At the hospital, Suzanna says that she has finally become the nagging wife and reminds Aidan of their agreement.  Suzanna argues that every day that Kenny is alive people die and the body count is ticking up. Aidan claims that he is not interested in a suicide mission because Kenny is too well protected. Suzanna argues back that maybe killing a girl the other night must be just who he is right now.  Suanna hands Aidan the crucifix which he filed into a stake to use against Kenny.  They talk about suicide and how they have never been able to do it.  Suzanna says that if she had self discipline she would have been dead centuries ago. Suzanna walks away after telling Aidan to put an end to the new vampires.

At the pack house, Mark expresses his sorrow that thing are not good between Josh and Nora.  He tells Josh he is not the guy Nora knew but this new guy is awesome.  Really?  This new guy who terrifies this wife and almost forced himself on her.  Gee, can we all have a role model like that? Josh replies that he is looking forward to this turn.  Mark tells Josh that everyone here gets him and that Nora will turn around.  Mark says that Wendy is also taking time away from everything and Josh apologizes.  Mark promises Josh that he will never blow up again, now that he knows Josh is a special kind of wolf.  Mark adds that the wolf knows things before their human counterparts do. The conversation is interrupted and Mark introduces Josh to prospective member of the werewolf pack.  When she leaves, Josh confronts Mark because the girl is fully human and not a wolf.

Aidan heads to see Kenny and Kenny talks about how the vampires are blowing up. Kenny explains that they have a full veggie option at their new blood dens and Aidan suggests that they slow down a little.  Kenny explains that people are coming to him, asking for him to replicate his success because most of the old timers are grim.They may have been a little grim but how can anyone not embrace vampires of the corn? Aidan points out that Kenny is now sitting where Bishop sat and saying how different he is. I suppose this is Aidan's version of absolute power corrupts absolutely. Aidan reminds Kenny that he knew all of Bishop's plans and that Kenny is starting to sound like Bishop.  Kenny excuses himself for a moment and Aidan reaches in his pocket for the stake.  Before Aidan can strike, Astrid walks in. It seems that Kenny has forged a  relationship with the werewolves. Astrid and Kenny kiss after he tells her what he packed for her change. Aidan tells Kenny that he can do whatever he wants but questions  if Kenny is doing all of this for Astrid, or for himself before leaving.

The Tomorrow People: Season 1, Episode 16: Superhero

A paranormal woman in leather, a mask and a hood (discreet she isn’t) follows a man down the road to his house where they fight. The man’s an ordinary human and lasts a few seconds before staying down and giving the woman chance to find another woman, bound and gagged, in the man’s cupboard

A paranormal super-hero?

To john and Cara who are getting it on. No really, I think they’re supposed to be having sex – not just making out and not cut away. Why supposed to be? Because this is the CW and they’re both clearly wearing underwear (there’s not even an attempt to hide it)… but there’s definite underwear grinding going on. In the aftermath (at some point clothes were removed) Cara is unsure about what this means for their working relationship but John assures her he respects her authority.

Y’know, even if he’s being honest there, that’s pretty terrible, because he didn’t respect it before (and, to be fair, her decision making didn’t deserve much respect) but now he respects it because of orgasms?

To the HQ where the convenient shiny device belonging to Stephen’s dad is confirmed to be a key and it’s biologically linked to Roger (Stephen’s dad) which is proof that Roger’s body is out there because REASONS. He wants to read Jedikiah’s mind, Cara thinks they’ve played this game before and whatever Stephen wants, he’s doing it alone.

So he goes out drinking with Russell (aren’t they supposed to be 16 or 17? Are we not even pretending they’re kids any more?) Though Russell is right, there is no way Stephen can say “I’m not interested in talking about girls, I’m interested in my dad’s body” and it not sound wrong. So very very wrong. Stephen’s night is interrupted by a call from Ultra about the new breakout, the superhero who apparently leaves a rose behind.

This sends Russell into flashback mode – 4 years ago when Russell was partying and gambling in a casino, cheating with his powers and a woman who uses her own powers to stop Russell winning – so he doesn’t get dragged downstairs by a gang of unsympathetic guys who don’t appreciate such “luck” (that means Russell didn’t learn his lesson either now or when his father suffered because of his gambling. Character growth? Who needs that?).

Anyway, Ultra wants to kill the superhero because they’re evil and Stephen goes in to interview a conspiracy theorist with Hillary. Who turns out knowing nothing – I think this scene is here to show how dangerous Hillary is because she threatens people but considering they’re both mind readers it just seems so ridiculous. Why do you interrogate people, telepaths, whyyyy?

At the HQ John is getting in some nice gratuitous shirtlessness and Morgan wants to help Stephen get in Jedikiah’s head because she knows him and is sure it’ll work. And it’s totally not because she wants to see her boyfriend or get out of the base and be able to come back without Cara shutting the door on her behind. Honest.

Stephen’s research brings up that Russell and the super hero, Talia, knew each other and Russell confesses all – and by all, basically that they hit casinos and have unfinished business. So less all and more “nothing”. But the rose she leaves behind is rare and special and Tim knows where it can be found

Teen Wolf, Season 3, Episode 23: Insatiable

Dr. Deacon removes the nasty black nogitsune flies from the werewolves which is unpleasant to say the least before recapping Evil Stiles splitting in two and kidnapping Lydia while no-one was watching. Also confirming that this Stiles is the Good Stiles and not another Evil Stiles.

Which means an awkward check up from Melissa (probably remembering the secrets Stiles knows) and a meeting with Noshiko and her Oni, at Stiles’s invitation. The Oni check him – and let him go, leaving him with the “self” kanji. Stiles is actually Stiles. Now they have to find Evil Stiles and see what he wants with a bean sidhe’s power.

Lydia has been taken to Eichmen House, the mental hospital, in the tunnels where the nogitsune was stabbed by Noshiko before; the tunnels echo with screams and cries from all the bad things that have happened down there. Evil Stiles is still gloriously terrifying, asking Lydia what the voices tell her – and saying Stiles is dying

Noshiko can’t unleash her oni until nighttime and in the meantime she wants to teach Kira how to play Go. The nogitsune and Stiles were playing Go in Stiles’s mind – and everything is a game to him anyway, so they need to learn to fight him. There’s an abstract connection there, so I’ll run with it.

Derek and Chris have a nice “we’re totally friends now” moment and realise that Evil Stiles is really really powerful and is likely to be after them, not running and hiding.

At the police station, Sherriff Stilinski is worrying (and still needs a first name) and we get some info on the new deputy – Parish left his old station for reasons unknown and was “drawn” to Beacon Hills. Which means he has woo-woo of some kind. And Stiles arrives, Good Stiles – awwwwww touching reunion scene. As they talk, Stiles remembers an inmate at Eichmen house, Meredith, who seemed to have an idea what was going on (actually this is my very very very generous interpretation of an amazing leap of logic) – off they go to visit (she’s been moved to the secure unit because of endless screaming. Which is probably not a good sign).

At Eichmen House, the sadistic guard Barnes brags about how he likes to drug inmates – but Meredith got the better of the orderly and drugged him instead.

The twins are out in the woods randomly looking – when someone starts shooting at them, apparently with wolf bane. Aidan falls, badly injured while Ethan is pinned by gunfire. The injured twins try to stagger to safety – and Derek swoops in to get them to a cave and shelter. He goes to find help before the poison kills them both (and we’re reminded the twins have a huge list of enemies).

Scott and Alison find Lydia’s car and in between looking for clues they awkwardly talk about that time they had sex while Isaac was possessed by the demon bug – and does that mean Isaac wanted that or didn’t or even remembers it…. The answer to all this is of course that he remembers and wants oh yes – and they find a message from Lydia “don’t find me.”

After which Allison returns home to have a moment with her dad and officially graduate and make some silver ammo – arrow heads in Allison’s case. And they have a beautiful loving scene that screams “goodbye”…. That’s not good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Helmut Saves the World by Matt Sheehan

Helmut Haase and his druid partner Shamus O'Sheehan, own the Fog City Detective Agency.  Helmut plays the role of heavy and accounting manager, while Shamus uses his druidic powers to help solve cases. Though both men are completely opposite, they are a formidable team. Motivated by a large payday, Helmut ropes Shamus into a case which quickly reveals the darker side of their world.

Though there are elements of the fantastical in this book, Helmut Saves the World is a dime novel masquerading as a detective story.  Events tend to happen to Helmut and Shamus, rather than them actually being engaged in a mystery and discovering a solution. Coming in at 105 pages, Helmut Saves the World is a novella and as such, has specific limitations due to length.   Sheehan did take great care with his world building to create an alternative earth, with a new history but took no such care with character development or motivation.  Helmut Haase is easily one of the most unlikable protagonists that I have had the misfortune to stumble upon in the longest time.   He is an avid womanizer, with zero respect for women.  His only goal is to amass fortune and display it like a ridiculous peacock.  He drips of uninformed hypermasculinity, with absolutely zero nuance.   To Sheehan's credit however, I am not at all convinced that readers are meant to truly embrace Helmut.  

Female characters exist as little more than conquests to Helmut.  He seduces them quickly and discards them like yesterdays refuse. The only two female characters who have any weight in the story are Katina, a woman Helmut lusts after and of course must save, when a man comes on too strong at a bar and Phoebe, whose largest claim to fame was rejecting Helmut's charms in favour of Shamus.  To make matters worse, Helmut naturally assumes that Phoebe is a lesbian at first because she doesn't rush to open her legs. Women are simply conquests to be bedded and have far less characterization than the male characters.  Which is saying something because the male characters are cardboard cutouts, with Helmut excelling in the role of Gary Stu.

Continuum, Season 3, Episode 1: Minute by Minute

We left off with all kinds of chaos – including Alec using the time travel device not to send Kira home – but to go and save Emily.

Kira is in a Freelancer prison along with Garza, Kellog and Jason – and we have a reminder that the dead Liber8 member Curtis is neither dead nor Liber8. He takes Kira to an interview room where he tells her they’ve all been had by Alec. Curtis and the Freelancers want to know when Alec is. (Yes, when). She describes the death of Emily at the hands of the Freelancers (Freelancers need to take better notes) and still wants to know why Curtis isn’t dead since she did the killing and all. Apparently soon she will know everything and see the “battlefield” for the first time – totally not ominous.

As if this show weren’t confusing enough with the time line, we also have to play the “one week earlier” game. Alec has successfully travelled through time and buries the time machine (if by “bury” we mean “put in a hole less than 2 inches deep”) and repeatedly shows us the nifty features on his phone which I’m sure isn’t blatant product placement, honest.

Future Alec finds Emily who is with Past Alec – Alec, despite being a genius, doesn’t think things through much. He’s spotted by Jason who sees 2 Alecs and realises there’s time travel afoot; he agrees to help. Whether that’s useful or not is somewhat in doubt. Future Alec hits his lab and has to deal with a highly clueless Kellog, including using future knowledge to reveal poor Kellog’s plotting and Escher’s evil schemes.

Future Alec runs into Emily and does an awful job of covering his shock and emotion – and tries to get her to go to Thailand.

Kira is taken to see Catherine, the head of the Freelancer cell who has some exposition for us: 100 years after Kira was born (even further in the future) a war began as time travel technology became more commonly available. Laws were created to stop people messing with the time line for personal gain and the Freelancers came together to try and stop people screwing with history. It started with their founder going back 1,000 years to create his little cult to always be ready to fight time travelling naughtiness. This also means most of them don’t travel through time – because they have agents in every age and excessive time travel is kind of the opposite of what they do.

Anyway, Alec has messed with the time line and created a new branch – a branch which he is now on. Apparently that means he ISN’T on the current branch which is awkward since his global corporate empire kind of entirely defines Kira’s world and future. So Kira and the Freelancers have a common goal – restoring continuity. And they want Kira to fix it because they’re limited and in trouble for letting it happen at all.

Apparently collecting all the time travellers is no longer sufficient to fix what Alec is breaking since he is such a pivotal historical figure. And Kira is just not that willing to jump on the Freelancer bandwagon given the givens. She’s lead back to her cell and on the way crosses path with Garza and her own guard – deep eye contact and a fight scene follows – Kira and Garza fighting off both guards and another who joins, with the addition of a gun Garza manages to grab. This is why you don’t chain people’s hands in front of them – it just puts lumps of metal and useful chain on their fists.

Freed, Garza and Kira make a quick truce. Elsewhere in the base, Curtis tells Catherine what a bad idea it is to recruit Kira since she’s a brainwashed cop and Catherine hits back that she’s a mother so that overrides right before the alarm sounds (cop or mother irrelevant, can kick arse almost as good as Garza is far more pertinent).

Resurrection, Season One, Episode Two: Unearth

Resurrection opens with Jacob walking through a graveyard. He pauses when he gets to the Langston tomb. He sees a vision of Caleb, who turns into dust before his eyes and when Jacob looks down at his hand, it begins to turn into dust.  This wakes Jacob and he is comforted by his mother Lucille.  Lucille comforts him and says that he is dreaming.

Elaine is still in shock that her father is alive and front of her. Maggie steps forward and introduces Martin, who asks what he can remember.  Caleb explains that he thought he had amnesia and doesn't remember. Caleb says that the last thing he remembers is driving his truck and passing out, then waking up in an alleyway in Portland three days ago.  Maggie questions if Caleb remembers having a heart attack and Caleb says no. Martin then informs Caleb that he died. A confused Caleb wonders what they are talking about and Maggie says that he was found by Dale at his hunting lodge.  Caleb calls this crazy and adds that Dale must have found someone else. Caleb grabs his head and asks if they have to do this now and Elaine is quick to say that this can wait.  Maggie asks that Elaine bring Caleb by her office the next day, before she and Martin head outside.  Martin asks Maggie if they are wrong about Caleb being cremated and if  it is possible that Caleb's story is true.  Maggie says that she saw his body before he was cremated and even more confusing, Caleb hasn't aged a day. Martin replies that now there are two who have returned. Martin questions why Jacob remembers dying and Caleb doesn't.  Ray joins them on the porch and declares that Caleb is not his father.

The next day, Jacob gets out of the shower and Lucille dries him off and brushes his hair, as Henry watches briefly before leaving.  Jacob notices his father then tells Lucille that he can brush his own hair. Lucille says that it's time to get him something different to wear and Jacob asks where his things are.  Lucille tells him to wait right there and that she will be right back.  Lucille opens a box which contains memorabilia from when Jacob was first alive. Jacob appears behind her in the doorway and Lucille announces that they are going shopping.

Martin is on the phone with Tony and he begs to keep what is going on under wraps. Martin is worried that the government will demand that Jacob be scooped up and subjected to medical testing. Tony suggests that this might need to be done. Martin is adamant that separating the family would not be right and that it would block the truth from coming out.

Maggie heads to see Fred with a coffee in hand.  Fred says that it's nice of Maggie to visit the old man and explains the mess in his house by claiming to have had friends over.  Maggie says that she is jut checking on him to make sure he is fine.  Maggie brings up what Jacob said about a man being at the river.  Fred immediately questions Jacob's identity and tells her not to allow other people to fill her head with stories about her mother.  Maggie says that Jacob is real and so is Caleb Richards.

Maggie then arrives at her office and finds Martin waiting for her.  Martin says that he is trying to figure out what is happening here an needs an ally. Martin says that there is no way to test Caleb's ashes from the urn but points out that Jacob's remains from the tomb can be tested.  Maggie asks what happens if there is nothing inside and Martin jokes that he needs to get the hell out of town before the dead all rise.  Maggie then explains that her mother is in the tomb as well and Martin says that he doesn't need her permission but is asking out of respect.  Maggie asserts that her family should be asked and that she wants to be there.

Lucille has taken Jacob to a soccer field to play with the other kids. He runs around until a whisper campaign starts to happen among the other mothers. One by one, parents calls their kids off the field, as a helpless Lucille watches.  In the end, Jacob is the only child remaining.  Clearly, the town is spooked by his return from the dead.

Caleb is eating breakfast as Elaine watches.  Caleb looks at the urn and questions whether Elaine believes he is in there.  Elaine says no and Caleb points out that he is pretty hungry for a dead man. Elaine sits and says that they have so much to catch up on.  Caleb admits to not always being the greatest father and that when life gives you a second chance, you have to take it.  Caleb grabs Elaine's hand saying that he is going to make this count. Elaine replies that she never thought she would hear those words.

Once Upon a Time, Season 3, Episode 13: Witch Hunt

Starting in the past: The Wicked Witch goes through all Regina’s beautiful shinies, slightly appalled that Regina left it all behind and didn’t appreciate it. She sends her flying monkey after Regina

Who is sad (noticed by Ruby) but also plotting how to sneak into the palace through the hidden tunnels then lower the shield – when the monkey appears (I love how Neal yells “incoming” after everyone has reacted to the screeching. That’s… real helpful there Neal. Really). Regina steps up, pulls a child from the monkey’s path then turns it into a fluffy stuffed toy.

See, that is what SHOULD happen when a flying monkey attacks the Queen. She gives the toy to the boy – Robin Hood’s son.

In the present Mary Margaret and David (damn David, are those trousers shrink to fit? No wonder the man isn’t sat down! You might want to loosen them up a bit if you ever want another child) repeat their memory loss but Hook can fill in some gaps since he did go to the Enchanted Forest with them before he rode off on his own. Naturally suspicion falls on Regina because… doesn’t it always? And Hook tells them he got a note and the memory potion and assumed it came from Mary Margaret (since when can Mary Margaret brew potions? That would mean giving her a useful skill) but apparently not.

Also dwarfs arrive to warn them that people are going missing. Apparently this is also a thing that no-one bothered to mention until now – they’re being picked off one by one. Emma naturally worries about Neal – who is missing (Leroy isn’t comforting and Hook doesn’t seem thrilled). People are camping on the edge of town… rather than living in the town. Fairy tale characters don’t need to make sense.

Emma announces they need to get their memories back. No, really? See, it’s cutting edge thinking like that that makes you the Saviour, Emma!

Back to the past and Belle the Bookworm and Regina the Sorceress Queen tell everyone that flying monkeys are from Oz and the Wicked witch has taken up residence. (Grumpy is sensible – do they need a house or a bucket of water?) After checking to make sure the Wicked Witch isn’t seeking revenge on Regina (for once Regina hasn’t met her), it’s back to the plan of Regina going in alone

Back to the present and everyone trying to deal with Henry the memory-less. Which results in Mary Margaret describing herself as Emma’s cell mate after she was arrested and imprisoned for banditry. (See above comment about Mary Margaret and useful skills). Until Regina comes in and drops everything on seeing Henry – poor Regina, that’s some excellent emotion right there. Emma takes Regina aside and we have the very expected accusations but Emma believes Regina’s innocence (I don’t know whether it’s trust, common sense or her anti-lie super power. I suspect the latter).

Robin and the Merry Men (Mulan? Is Mulan there? Apparently not…) are playing with a crossbow when Little John gets abducted by a flying monkey – at least it stops him crossing the city limits and losing his memory. Emma, David and crew arrive and they suspect the monkeys are kidnapping anyone who comes too close to the line.