Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 8: Unicorn

Paris, 1884

Olivia is a prisoner, she’s dressed in Hessian, chained an her head is  sealed in a metal mask. She is being held by the Chancellor of the Order which has fought the Upir for 5 centuries. Most Upir are savages but he thinks Olivia will listen to a truce – targeting people the Chancellor considers expendable (the “degenerate” “imbeciles”, the “shiftless”); she will be monitored. She’s also to organise the upir so they’re self-policing. Before she agrees she proves that she could kill the Chancellor to make it clear she’s agreeing to his treaty, not obeying him

To the present!

Roman and Peter are digging graves for the Masked men they killed  - and Roman tells Peter about the human treatments he’s taking. They eventually decide not to bury them because it’s nearly impossible in the frozen soil. They drag the bodies to the car – and realise Roman can’t be left alone with them because his blood hunger is giving him issues.

At the police station, Nadine reports Roman’s attack on her husband/pimp to Michael; Michael is very very very interested in information about Roman’s violence.

Back to the murder cover up, one of the bodies starts moving – she’s alive. Peter thinks they need to speak to the authorities (when did he get so much faith in the system?) while Roman votes no, the publicity and prominence of the trial would be very very bad for them. Peter is a little surprised and reluctant when the idea of killing is raised. They resolve to take her home and question her (personally I think that’s a terrible idea given trace evidence – someone needs to go to the Orphan Black Allison school of body disposal -   but also it may just be delaying the inevitable until internal injuries finish her off).

Apparently they have some sense and the question the woman, Sarah. Who hasn’t said her own name for 10 years and even seems to have trouble remembering it. She was kidnapped by the other man, a “John Bone” and taken to a cult camp in the Utah desert – he had this strange idea that killing families would bring about the apocalypse. And the equally strange idea that bringing about the apocalypse would be a good thing. The kidnapped cultists were kept in line with death threats – and actual killing

She asks them to tell her mother she was sorry if she died – and Roman finds the missing person case of Sarah when she was a child. Peter is still wary of being conned (he’s hyper aware of scams) but Roman doubts very much a wounded and possibly dying woman is trying to scam them and had all the internet details at hand ready to pull it off just in case. Peter also doesn’t have much sympathy – Sarah chose to murder; Roman calls bullshit – raised in a cult under those conditions she had no choice.

They get her into the car with Roman rather comically trying to cheer her up about how wonderful a reunion with her family will be. But Peter holds her at knife point for an extremely over-reaction reason – looks like changing on the wrong moon is having repercussions. Maybe… but he sees her reaching for something and stabs her – Roman is horrified until they see she reached for a grenade pin. Yup, still a cult member. 10 points to Peter.

Defiance, Season 2, Episode 5: Put the Damage On

Amanda is having a nice quite night in, indulging her Adreno habit – when a man breaks in, wearing a mask. He tells Amanda she is his and she smashes him through a window. I approve.

Nolan arrives and takes details of the attack – and Amanda shares that though she didn’t see the man who attacked her clearly, for a moment he reminded her of the man who raped her in New York.

Datak is having his wounds treated by Yewl while also ranting about Stahma. Yewl isn’t impressed and, in her perfect way, makes it clear he is at least partly responsible for his own downfall. Yewl gives good advice and is just the epitome of perfection. She tells him to fix his family from the inside which leaves Datak wondering how to get Staham to allow him inside

As Yewl leaves, she meets another Indogene called Lev – and Yewl doesn’t welcome (and she still has awesome lines. “To forgive is divine.” “no, it’s deeply human – which neither of us are.”) Lev was also involved with Yewl in cutting up and experimenting on humans during the Pale Wars. I think this is the first time we’ve come across the Indogene language as well. Yewl walks away from her and Lev tells Yewl she’s dying

Amanda, walking in the market, runs into Nolan in an ally – who says all kinds of really-not-real stuff about not caring and her not caring and how Amanda is his; she pushes him away and runs to a main thoroughfare – and sees the real Nolan. Amanda is hallucinating. This is your brain on Adreno – apparently

She realises this and goes to Niles who also partakes; Niles is sure there’s nothing wrong with the Adreno, that Amanda is sick and insists she go to Rafe’s house

Which has, after his eviction, been taken over by the E-Rep. Irisa thinks this is wrong, Tommy is all Team!E-rep. He doesn’t like Nolan either

Nolan has also pretty much confirmed that Amanda’s attacker didn’t exist – and he’s confirmed that she takes Adreno – but hallucination isn’t a side effect of Adreno, apparently.

Where has Rafe gone after being evicted? To the Tarr’s of course – which means he gets to adapt to Castithan bathing (showers are only for very low caste Casti). And communal bathing with Stahma who drops some more information about Casti culture before giving Rafe a glorious mixed threat and reassurance – she knows Rafe had Alak beating for being part of the business – but rest assured, he isn’t. She runs it. Also, Rafe must be very very friendly with Alak and preferably stay  here forever and ever. All with the underlying “I can have you torn limb form limb” undercurrent. Because she is Stahma. And she is awesome.

Datak visits and gets smacked by the doorman. But he was still let in in order for everyone to glare at him.  He makes a ritual supplication which basically begs to be allowed back into the house as a visitor. Rafe is somewhat amused by Datak humbling himself before his wife, but Christie is outraged that Datak, who burned Alak, will be allowed back in the house. Unfortunately but Castithan law he’s also claiming a right to “safeguard” his lineage – the grandchild. Alak would also like her to let the hand burning thing go.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Secret Dead by S.W. Fairbrother

Vivia is a Hag, born with the ability to die and pass into the underworld (not very magical) and come back (most certainly magical). It has also gifted her with an ancient and, thankfully, absent mother and a sadly harmed sister who she now has to look after

She works for a charity her step father dubs “citizens advice for the supernatural” which is accurate – everyone needs help navigating the legal and bureaucratic  mazes of Britain, the hated supernaturals are definitely no exception.

Then one of her colleagues becomes a zombie – and goes on the run. A zombie apocalypse is terrifying enough to lock down the city and Vivia steps up to find her co-worker and his son, going places where the police (and past antipathy with the supernatural) cannot; and uncovering secrets that have been buried a long time.

The first thing I have to praise about this book is the world – an alternate magical London with all kinds of monsters and magic lurking around the corners. But it’s not just a magical London, it’s not just a magical London with overt supernatural; but a London with a MUNDANE supernatural.

This is a London where our protagonist, a Hag, has to take the tube. This is a London where shapeshifters sue for housing discrimination and trolls have to fill out unemployment forms. This is a supernatural London with a department in charge of cleaning up magical leakages. This is a London that deals with zombie outbreaks with police and special forces and lockdowns (which people ignore, of course) and where the zombie virus can be caught as an STD.

It’s a world where the supernatural is part of the mundane, in part if is gritty simply because of the mundanity of it. Not because it’s super grim dark – but because it’s every bit as grim as our reality is – and that’s “grim” not “grimdark”. It isn’t hyper awful with film noir-esque monologues about how terrible everyone is – it’s grim in the sense that the every day can be grim. The grind of daily life, of working a thankless job for an underfunded charity protecting the rights of a much despised group. It’s not easy, there are difficult decisions to be made – and it’s all so very mundane.

And when you can make werehamsters, people with wings and a weresnake orphanage mundane, that takes some extremely good writing.

The magical world is also, as can be guessed, unusual. Shapeshifters come in all kinds of shapes and sizes for all kinds of creatures. We have weresnakes where their snake form is based on the cultural consciousness of the area (so in England largely cobras and giant pythons because that is what we picture when we think “snake”). We have a variety of ghosts in their various afterlives – it’s a really fascinating underworld with some truly excellent concepts – like the ghost who eats constantly in their afterlife because they were starved to death and they’re desperately trying to deal with the trauma of that death. It’s just one element of interesting complexity this world often hints towards – like the ethical conflict over what to do with the zombies; without human flesh they degenerate and rot, a terrible fate. But their bite spreads zombiedom – hence zombie apocalypse and the utter terror . At one time zombies were burned to death which sounds horrific but is also seen as preferable to the rotting alternative – leading to the fascinating conflict of crematoria staff being arrested for burning zombies – when the zombies themselves have sought them out. There’s a lot of conflict around zombies because they are an apocalyptic force – but they’re also victims with lots of difficult moments like family members being subject to arrest for hiding the fact a relative is a zombie.

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 7: Lost Generation

Miranda, Peter and Roman are in bed together- and all three of them seem to have a creepy Mask murder dream

When they actually wake up and get up, Peter and Roman are both having a serious case of the awkwards while Miranda is bright, happy and quite unconcerned. She brightly talks about her dream and the guys realise she’s had a creepy Mask dream. Peter and Roman have a sidebar when they discuss whether to bring Miranda in on the whole “hey the dreams are predictions” thing (and Roman seems to be joining Peter in the saving people business). Peter is worried about her getting hurt – and the whole werewolf/upir thing getting out as well.

Peter passes on his dream and his research on it to Michael. But Michael has other crime he can’t go chasing dreams. Peter reveals Roman has them too which gains his interest – but he still won’t let Peter come with him

Roman is heading to the secret lab and joined by Olivia, cue the standard snarling. And Norman wheels out Shelly – Roman falls into an embrace and even Olivia looks happy. More happiness when they realise Shelly can talk. Awwwww….. it’d be sweet if the collective death count weren’t so high. After she, presumably, tells them everything, she makes sure that Peter will look after Jason – the boy she befriended. But Roman can’t restrain his anger at Olivia. She assures them she’s trying and will be better but Roman denies it and keeps calling it all lies and manipulation until Johann kicks them out

Damn it Johann, that was almost reasonable.

When Peter tries to go back in, Johann makes it clear that Olivia isn’t the only problem and Shelly who has been through a lot, doesn’t need more drama (or, as he puts it “your endless fucking familial dysfunction”. Agreed to the hilt doc). While Roman doesn’t trust Johann he accepts it when Johann pledges his devotion – and that, obviously, Shelly’s presence needs to be kept secret.

Peter sneaks back in anyway and can’t go two seconds without saying how awful Olivia is. Then it’s up to his office to play ignorant when Michael arrives asking about the murder prediction dreams then that he’s ignorant about the people Shelly killed/injured last episode. Michael invites Roman to come along on the dream expedition, but unlike Peter, Roman isn’t eager to go on a road trip to Ohio.

The family who are due to be Mask murdered are facing ominous weather when it’s already cold and snowy.

Norman meets his private investigator who has managed to connect Olivia to a double murder in the 1965. Before Olivia was alive (apparently) – leaving his private investigator to speculate maybe Olivia is older than she looks. Norman decides they need to speak to a witness who was a child at the time.

That means going to Buffalo with the detective (Letitia) to see the witness (Donna) who has had several strokes and doesn’t respond well. But she does get extremely agitated when she sees pictures of women including Olivia. She smears a number 3 on the wall – the 3rd picture is Olivia’s.

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 6: Such Dire Stuff

Roman is all strapped down ready to be experimented on by Johann. And his Russian sidekick whose name I still didn’t hear is there to help – though Johann has told her repeatedly he doesn’t need or want her help. Johann has yet another “you will respect mah authoritay!” moment.

The treatment will turn Roman human, and causes “discomfort” which I take to mean “screaming agony”. I was right. Completely with nasty eyeball injections

Really Hemlock Grove, really? Your desperate urge to play gross out needs checking.

Onwards to Peter and Andreus (who does not own trousers, though I don’t complain) with Destiny gone to work. (Peter still has the tow truck so I ASSUME he works occasionally). When Michael comes to visit to talk about Lynda’s escape. Yes, he knows Peter has done it, no he can’t prove it, nor does he particularly feel the need to investigate it – if Peter will help him with his other priorities. That priority being finding out what happened to Celementine.

Russian doctor (I got her name! Dr. Zheleznova-Burdukovskaya. Damn that’s long) drops in on Olivia. She’s pissed off with Johann treating her like dirt so is going to tell Olivia everything – and yes, the Doctor, knows all about Upir. She’s not blackmailing, she’s just here to help Olivia, spite Johann and ensure Olivia is in her debt.

Olivia storms to Johann to demand an explanation but he thinks it’s all great – this will make Roman docile and manageable. She is furious and will not be placated by condescension. Johann thinks they should just write off Roman (Olivia: “I don’t kill my children. Any more.”) and focus on the nameless granddaughter. It seems to have some attraction to her.

Olivia visits Roman’s house and tries to get the butler to hand over her granddaughter, he refuses and Roman arrives. He’s not happy to see her as expected – he won’t listen to her, refuses to speak to her and has her thrown out while she gets tearful. But as she leaves the maid has to tell Olivia about Miranda (who she calls “street trash”. Looks like Miranda’s attempts to make friends have not got very far. She’s especially outraged about “the whore” usurping her care role).

Johann isn’t a fool and realises where Olivia must have got her information from  and he talks to the doctor, telling her how she’s been watching her. He holds up her old identity, still wanted by Interpol and threatens to turn her over (she’s apparently quite notorious as working for the old Iraqi government). She points out he is actually harbouring a war criminal so he resorts to more conventional violent threats

The masky people are still out there menacing new  victims, but after appearing to choose a boy we catch up with one and see him slice his own legs and sit in his car bleeding. The boy who was his victim appears to be unharmed. Ok, these people in Masks are odd odd men.

Norman’s private detective decides to sneak into Olivia’s convalescent home, stealing things she can take genetic samples from

The Last Ship, Season 1, Episode 4: We'll Get There

Flashback of Captain Tom and his family, angsting over the bracelet his daughter gave him and the present where he listens to all the many many distress calls he just can’t do anything about. Mike drops by to say his marriage is on the rocks anyway and his dead son before wandering off

They lose a basketball. This is sad

They’re heading to Costa Rica for monkeys to test on. And engineer Chung (in charge of engineering while chief engineer heals) is unhappy about the state of the boat. Danny gives Tex a tour of the boat and he and Kara are still on the outs. Tex focusing on Kara (Danny uses fraternisation rules to play jealous – the same rules he broke and his now all manpainy about) so then Tex looks to Rebecca since she’s a civilian

Rebecca does her science stuff (she has her partner as a screen saver, just to remind us she’s lost too) and goes to Tom because she needs Quincy. She insists that she needs help for the next step. Quincy isn’t a fan of hers though especially since he blames her for loving the whole top secret, not sharing information since it let her be the world’s saviour. He throws in that because she has no family or friends (she calls his partner a “guy who drops in for a twice monthly screw”) she could turn this whole thing into an ego trip without risking anything. She throws back, accurately, that his pain is no more special than anyone else’s. She storms out and tells Tom he needs to do the diplomacy thing while she sulks in her lab

Which is when the power goes off. Bad ship! Bad! And there is fire! VERY BAD SHIP! They ring a bell (really? A bell? How quaint). They put the fire off but all but one generator is dead and the engine isn’t being cooled; priority for power has to be Rebecca’s lab. The ship goes into conservation mode – no excessive water or power use. On a very very hot day. Chief Engineer makes an appearance to give Chung a HOORAH speech.

Mike decides to go intimidate Quincy some more. He gets to be the bad one so Tom can be the good honourable one. Quincy relents for sunlight and chess

Chung delivers his report to the captain – they have a week before they can make more fresh water or fix the engine (leaving them virtually unable to move) and they don’t have a lot of water supplies either.

That means Costa Rica is off the table – instead they head to an island with fresh water. It will take them 6 days to get there – and they only have water for 4. Water conservation time – setting up stills, draining fruit juice from cans and removing the alcohol from beer (tragic – but it’s American beer so it’s not far off anyway). They sail as long as they can before the engines get too hot then have to cool them down.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction (Kraken King #4, Iron Seas #4.4) by Meljean Brook

At long last, Zenobia’s identity has been revealed to Ariq. He finally begins to grasp who she is and what risks she faces, especially as the sister of Archimedes

Their love can now develop within the walls of the Red City – but just as her loving brother makes Zenobia a target, how much more so will being the lover of the Kraken King?

By now in this little episodic adventure the romance between the two is definitely going to heat up – which means we’re getting some romance tropes edging in round the sides – so there are moments when Zenobia seems to spend far too much time basking in Ariq’s super sexiness.

But even then we have a Zenobia twist. Because they keep coming together and pushing each other away in all the classic romance foils and she’s not having it. She kissed him so she informs him he will be kissing her next, it’s his turn. None of that pulling away and leaving him guessing, no hoping the other can divine how they’re feeling or what they want. Clear. Concise. Smart.

There’s still doubts, misunderstandings and trust issues, Zenobia’s numerous abductions and her brother’s past ensure that – but they are resolved relatively quickly rather than dragging on for a truly excessive amount of angst that is all too popular.

And while the romance is a much more dominant element in this episode, it’s still not the only focus. We have a continuation of the excellent world building of this wide and very original world with them finally arriving in the Red City and the Nipponese territory. I’ve said it before and will say it again, I love this reimagined world. I love that the entire world is included not just Europe and the Americas, it’s wonderful to see an imagined world that missed the great empires because of a whole new empire, of different powers in different places and native and aboriginal peoples being powerful and notable forces. This world is excellent and I could read a 100 stories in its imaginative, steampunk setting

There’s also a lot of complexity in the book. It would be easier to write a story in which the Horde is evil and anyone who opposes the Horde empire is good – but it’s not that simple by any stretch. The Rebellion is fighting against a tyrannical empire, but what will it put in its place? A series of warlords? A new empire? A regime as brutal as the last? Destabilised chaos across Asia? To say nothing of the extreme destruction and death that will come when the great armies of the Empire and their machines clash in combat

And we’ve already seen that though the Nipponese empress opposes the Horde, that doesn’t mean she’s an ally or friendly to outsiders – quite the opposite. And we have the complexities of Ariq both opposing the current Horde empire, but looking back respectfully at the Khans who founded the Horde.

Utopia, Season 2, Episode 2

As is common with Utopia radio in the background reminds us of a growing resource shortage in the world as a man goes to visit Jessica Hyde in her cell. Her guards show cuts, bruises and bite marks and they hand him a long taser to go see her. Jessica isn’t taking being imprisoned lying down

The man is Ross, there to interrogate Jessica after she killed the last one (who was also a torturer). The guards are very very very wary of her. She asks for a book – the Bible. Milner is watching the interrogation through CCTV and the reason for the questioning is revealed – Phillip put Janus in Jessica, but he changed it before he did. They’re making Janus, getting ready to distribute it in a fake vaccine – but it seems to perfectly work. They can’t see what Phillip changed. They can’t use it until then. He claims they can cut open her brain to find the truth – but he is stopping them because he’s a good guy. He continues to appeal to Jessica, to play the good guy after months of abuse.

Cut to a nice normal street and Arby – Pietre – walking down it with an ominous yellow bag. He enters a home and asks a little girl if her mummy’s home. He reaches into the bag and pulls out… a toy. The girl hugs him and calls him “Peter” (he corrects her to “Pietre”. His real name). Ok Utopia, that was an excellent fake out. Said mummy comes in and they’re a happy family with massive amounts of cuteness.

Which may come to an end when Lee finds Pietre. He’s still alive, but not entirely unscathed. Pietre takes him home for dinner – and Pietre’s super unhealthy diet of fried everything is now replaced with quinoa and leafy greens. He’s living a happy life as a plumber, while Lee is having trouble coming to terms with what they did. But lee isn’t out of the organisation, nor does he think Pietre can be – they want him back. And when Pietre’s family returns the menace is very very clear.

Ian is back to his boring IT consultant job. So boring he actually sticks his tongue in a stapler; because having one’s tongue stapled would actually be more interesting than his job. His co-worker, Joe, very supportive of Ian (who disappeared without explanation and he now sees as self-harming). Awww he tried. He is searching for Becky using CCTV. He tries to tell Joe the truth and is just laughed off – but it’s clear Ian thinks they’ve won.

Grant is living with him – and the kid has done some growing up (child actors shoot up so fast) and Grant is doing a bad job of staying under the radar for someone who is supposed to be dead. But then, he’s also struggling with the fact his mum, his friends, everyone thinks he’s dead and he’s supposed to become this whole new person. Ian still has faith in Milner (oops) despite her being completely out of touch. When grant tries to leave Ian tries to stop him – and Grant kicks him and Ian punches him back. Things are… fraught. Definitely fraught – and they both miss Becky

Geoff, head of the health department, holds a press conference. Corvadt (part of Milner’s organisation) has gone bankrupt, but since it’s the only company that makes the vaccine for the fictitious Russian flu, he’s decided to bail them out. And Michael – Michael Dugdale, the beleaguered civil servant from season 1, is the new interim CEO.

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 5: Hemlock Diego's Policy Player's Dream Book

Roman is still scarfing down raw meat. Miranda chooses not to join him because she’s vegan (also,  ewww). Miranda asks about the baby – and Roman bites her – his jaws stretching impossibly wide to do so. Blood everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. This show is far too enamoured of its gore.

Actually it was all a daydream on Roman’s part, he just spaced out while Miranda was asking it about shut-in baby. He takes a moment to leave a “we have to talk” message for Johann, he returns to Miranda’s questions – she now thinks she’s the kid’s “major source of nourishment these days.”

These days? Hasn’t she fed the child once and only been in the house 3 days or so? Have we scooted to the future?

Roman tells her the baby’s mother is dead but dodges the rest of her questions. She has a freak out about lactating despite never having had kids (or liking kids for that matter), in the midst of freaking out she brings up aunt Margot and a death gene and Roman finally ends it by promising to get her to a doctor. Which seemed to be the sensible suggestion anyway. He tries to be reassuring but comes off as dismissive, curt and impatient.

In the cells, Peter tries to explain his psychic dreams to Michael. Michael has to let him go anyway because there are no charges against him but he warns Peter that he’s basically looking for an excuse to lock him up.

Peter leaves Roman a message about his dream and needing his help before he and Destiny go to see Lynda’s lawyer. Where they find yet more charges have been filed against Lynda. Peter has a tantrum in her office because she can’t magically wave a wand and make all of the charges go away. He calls it a hustle (adding that as a “gypsy” he can see one) and then he literally starts pulling apart her office.

Destiny and Peter go to the prison to visit Lynda and Destiny blames Peter’s off-moon shapeshifting as the reason why he lost it in the lawyer’s office. They see Lynda and she has a black eye, she’s been in a fight in prison. They try to be positive for her and she does the same – saying it’s a good thing that she’s being transferred.

Johann and Olivia have a brief meeting, Johann’s super happy that Roman has broken and called him. Olivia’s less happy that Roman went to Johann and not her.

Roman is invited to Johann’s secret lab, gets to see Priscilla, the woman Johann is growing in his glass box, and his secret yucky box full of Upir food. He can manufacture (with icky looking body parts) something Upir can drink to sate their hunger. Unfortunately, said drink also gives a high and Roman is desperate for more. Johann tries to warn him and restrain him but roman throws him aside and gorges on the disgusting goop. After nearly throwing it up again he runs from the room while Johann gives him a very disappointed look.

Under the Dome, Season 2, Episode 3: Force Majeure

Domey Girl is still amnesiac and odd, Barbie is suspicious, Julia is all pro-Dome, Jim is creepy - now wanting to register all citizens. Jim is apparently friends with the barber, Lyle (and old love rival for his wife as well) and it sounds like Jim’s looking at Rebecca as more than a colleague. Run Rebecca, ruuuun! He seems to think the right cologne will do it… uh-huh.

The mandatory registration in the diner includes a written survey. There Julia meets Joe and Norrie and they discuss that maybe the whole “dome will protect us” is wrong, especially since one of the people who activated the mini-dome is now dead. Why they assumed positive motives on behalf of the Dome I do not know.

Rebecca drafts Joe, Norrie and Domey Girl into helping create windmills for power (potential friendship between Joe and Domey Girl makes Norrie jealous and sulky). Rebecca and Julia snark at each other. Oh can I be team Nobody? Team Jim and Team Dome are both terrible.

Meanwhile, Sam is trying to convinced James that there’s no way he could have killed Angie because he loved her. This shows us that Sam doesn’t know his nephew at all. Also, not reassuring is that James’s mother also had blackouts.

The town is all organised to gather rain in buckets, pots et al to help their water supply – but it’s raining blood. Well, extra nutrients, I guess? Except it burns like acid. Lyle decides that raining blood and swarms of butterflies is relatively close to the Biblical plagues. Lyle quotes scripture, Rebecca quotes science. Sam arrives and provides medical assistance. Gee Sam, that would have been quite useful in season 1 when people were dying and there were no doctors

Jim and Rebecca drive out to do stuff – with Rebecca bot explaining everything with science (quite well) while still having a peculiar faith in Jim. And he thinks he’s being tested – he’s developing  full blown messiah complex. While discussing whether Jim is the chosen one (yes, all of this is to test him), they swerve to avoid a hooded man in the road – and hit a tree. The hooded man grabs Jim and throws him out in the rain and drives off with Rebecca.

Anyway the kids in the school looking for windmill plans don’t know about the burning rain and run into James who is where Angie was killed trying to trigger his memory to see if he’s a murderer or just a kidnapper. More importantly, when Joe checks on of the school’s tablets he realises he’s getting email from the outside world, including a poignant email from Joe’s parents (which is sad and sexist since it expects Joe to take care of his older sister) while in a totally-casual-but-definitely-relevent-reference Norrie finds they’re trending on twitter and some group called HoundsofDiana is involved.

One of said hounds has sent James a message – a video that he can only watch by entering his mother’s birthday. It’s a message from his mother, Pauline, who isn’t dead – with an instruction to talk to Lyle, before cutting off. All the outside communication goes out – but the signal continues. While James runs off, Joe decides to go look for a source of the signal to see if they can reach outside the Dome again. Domey Girl comes with, Norrie gives Domey Girl the death-glare

This Week in Book Covers 7th June - 11th July

Another week! Another round of covers to analyse!

Cover done right!

We show romance and affection between the participants - without unnecessary sexualisation. And the emphasis is relationship and caring rather than hotness. The wolf makes it clear what the book is about, werewolves are obvious, and the colours really makes the central characters stand out.

If I have an issue it’s that the wolf emphasises the protagonist is Anna, but it also hides the fact that Charles is a Native American

Skin Trade (Anita Blake #17) by Laurell K Hamilton

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wicked Misery (Miss Misery #1) by Tracey Martin

Jessica hungers for misery. She feeds on it. She thrives on it. In some ways it’s fortunate that she is so very miserable herself. Refused by the Gryphons after her magical talent was so badly cursed, she now makes a living trading souls – helping desperate people out of the deals they make with the Preds – supernatural beings that feed on vices – by trading their souls for the most evil humans she can find. And making a prophet along the way

It’s legal, just. It’s debatably moral – but it gets her by.

Unfortunately it also brought her to the attention of the wrong people – and she is now being framed for a crime she didn’t commit. She is forced to seek sanctuary in the last place she wants to be – among the Preds. Worse, these crimes are pitting the most powerful factions in the city against one another – and the whole city may soon burn

The first thing that struck me reading this book was the world building. This world is rich, it has a lot of non-human, mystical elements in a human setting and there is a lot of effort to ensure that they meld seamlessly. And they do – it’s a really believable, well thought out setting where everything works together and nothing feels jarring and out of place

Which deserves more praise because this world is really unique. The mages are entirely different than I’d expect, the different kinds of Preds feeding on human emotion and vices. The whole new take on demonic pacts and supernaturals preying on humanity and even a magic system that seems to be quite unique. There’s a lot there – and, in some ways, I think not enough of it is explained entirely… but  at the same time I think if there were more explanations the whole book would evolve into one incredibly long info dump that would have to be convoluted just because of the sheer amount of information that would need to be conveyed. As it stands, I love this world and would really like to read more, though have a slight feeling of not quite knowing enough to truly absorb the plot. There was a hole there and I think some things fell through. But what was there was epic and generally easy to follow

I also loved the plot. A nice murder mystery with twist after twist after twist. And the twists made sense, the alternate theories made sense, the distractions made sense. Even the people who were causing problems and scapegoating or blaming  Jessica made sense. I loved that you had all these groups that were either hurting and looking for someone to blame or implicated and looking for someone to scapegoiat and by the end it wouldn’t even matter who was responsible to many of these groups so long as they could blame someone. And on that we have the authorities floating around, causing problems and generally not being involved anywhere because the world really does convey the very essence of the subcultures here – there is a great sense of both the Preds and the mages being part of society but still very much separate, especially when law enforcement is around; it’s a hard balance to strike (other books make law enforcement so distant.

The Witches of East End, Season Two, Episode Two: The Son Also Rises

Joanna is worried about Ingrid and asks Freya what time Ingrid came home from the bar the night before. As Joanna is leaving a message for Ingrid, Freya looks out the window and sees a comatose Ingrid on the ground outside. The women rush to Ingrid and discover  that no only is she unconscious but has marks on her body.  I suppose tentacle sex will do that to you.

In the meantime, Dash is occupied trying to marshal his powers. Phantom Killian appears long enough to taunt Dash about shooting blanks.Yeah, that was a less than subtle and unsurprisingly unfunny double entendre.  Dash then gets a call from his blackmailer asking if he wants to the tape of him killing Killian sent to the police. The blackmailer demands fifty thousand dollars and Dash balks because it's a public holiday and the banks are closed but he is told to figure it out.Killian again taunts his brother warning that he needs to get a hold of this before he kills someone else.

Ingrid comes back to consciousness and Joanna suggests that Ingrid was sleep walking again.  Freya suggests that Ingrid could have simply passed out because she was pretty drunk the night before. Joanna says that they are going to need to find a spell to deal with the sleepwalking and Ingrid says that last night was the best nights sleep she has had in years. I suppose this means that tentacle sex works for her. When the women head into the house, Joanna tells the girls about Frederick and how leaving him behind was one of the hardest decisions she has ever had to make. Wendy is quick to point out that Frederick chose to stay. Joanna goes on to explain that Frederick has been through a lot and barely escaped with his life. Anyone else wonder how Joanna knows this given that he hasn't been particularly forth coming about what happened in Asgard?  Joanna then tells the girls that it was Frederick who cured her. They then discuss Frederick coming through the portal and a trusting Joanna suggests that someone else came through the portal with Frederick. Frederic comes downstairs and has a conversation with the girls about the things they used to do together as siblings and we learn that Frederick and Freya are twins.

Joanna is outside working on the garden and a concerned Wendy points out that Frederick is alone with the girls.  Joanna however is not just engaging in a hobby, she is pulling truth root to get to the bottom of what is going on with Dash. The big plan is to put the roots in a pie and then deliver it to Fair Haven. Wendy points out that because Dash is so angry and volatile that they have to approach the situation carefully. Wendy suggests giving Frederick a piece of the pie but Joanna claims that when he healed her, she felt his pain and regret. Wendy is still not convinced and suggests that Frederick only pretended to escape to play with Joanna's guilt and sympathy.

Wendy and Joanna return to the house to find the siblings still engaged in a chat.  It seems that they were all royalty in Asgard but Joanna says that this fact has zero relevance in this world. Wendy sneaks the truth root under Frederick's nose and asks how it's been for him in Asgard.  Frederick answers that not long after everyone left, he realised his mistake and tried to get his grandfather to change and that in the end, things got so bad, he almost wished for death.

Killian is still on his island paradise with his new love Eva and now his wound had completely healed. Killian tries to convince Eva to spend the day with him and she confesses that though they have only been together a short time, it feels like they have known each other forever. For his part, Killian says that landing on the island is the best thing that ever happened to him.

Wendy is getting dressed and ready to go out when she notices that one of her ear rings is missing.  It turns out that Frederick has the ear ring and he uses it for some sort of spell and then swallows it.

Wendy is in cat form and she heads to see the EMT from the last episode. When she looks in the window, she sees the EMT sitting down with what looks like a wife and child. When the EMT returns to the door with a treat for what he assumes to be a stray cat, Wendy is gone.

Ingrid has arrived at work and finds Dr. Foster already sorting through the materials. Ingrid says that he is doing her job but Dr. Foster tells Ingrid that he didn't really hire her.  Apparently, his supervisor ordered Ingrid hired over his objections. Foster claims that he is there to oversee because if something happens, it will fall squarely on him.  Ingrid assures Foster that she can do this and suggests that she just get started so that he can see how she works

Dash is packing up his blackmail money and he leaves the house followed by ghost Killian, who warns Dash that this isn't going to end here. Dash screams for Killian to leave him alone and when Dash turns around, he is confronted by Wendy and Joanna, who have a pie and wine.  Dash isn't interested in a peace offering though and asks if they are sorry because he was gilted at the alter, or that his mother committed suicide. Joanna tries again suggesting that since they all live in the small town, they are going to have to talk to each other eventually but Dash makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with either woman before walking away.

Killian sits at the poker table and he is reading the mind of his opponent.  When Killisan calls a hand with an obvious low pair, his opponent suspects that something is up because no one can be that lucky.  His opponent draws a weapon and demands his money back and Killian's power activates forcing his opponent to drop the weapon, as people in the room call Killian a Brujería and back away closely.

Wendy and Joanna are setting a table at a fourth of July picnic, when Wendy pauses because she feels a supposedly ominous cool breeze. Wendy then looks wistfully over at the EMT who is setting up with his family. Yep, with Killian away on the island the EMT longing just had to happen because otherwise, there wouldn't be love angst on the show and we cannot possibly have that.  When Joanna notices that she is missing the bottle opener, Frederick uses his magic.  Joanna tries to explain that they don't do magic in public and then thanks him for saving her life.  Freya and Frederick talk about the adjustment that Frederick has had to deal with. Freya then smoothly asks if Frederick can use astro projection to find someone.

Back at the library, Ingrid is hard at work with Foster, when she comes across a book which has drawings and notes of the family.  Under Ingrid is the word key.

Back at his room, Killian is trying to drink away his worries.  When Eva asks what happened, he tells her about being able to read his opponents hand and then asks what a Brujería is. Eva explains that Brujería means witch and that Killian's opponent thought that Killian was an obeah - someone who has magic.  Eva points out that Killian has won a lot at poker and that he said that he knew what the cards were, even though he didn't see them. Eva offers to do a ceremony to find out if Killian is closely attuned to the spirit world.

Frederick and Freya have begun the spell to find Killian. Together, they arrive on the island and decide to look around to see if they can figure out where they are.  Frederick tells Freya that no matter what she does, she is not to let go of his hand. They find an ashtray with the name of the hotel and take note of it. When they open another door, an owl flies towards them and a startled Freya lets go of Frederick's hand, which forces them to transport home.  Frederick says that owl can either be a symbol of fortune or doom. Now that Freya knows where Killian is, she decides that it is time to go and find him.

Later, at the bar, Freya tries to book a direct flight to Santo Domingo but is disappointed to learn that there are no flights for the next two days.  Frederick sits at the bar trying to charm a young Asian woman. Freya comments on how amazing the spell was that they did and Frederick says that it's all about twins (come on, you know you wanted to say, "wonder twin powers activate") before excusing himself and promising to meet Freya for fireworks. Freya warns Frederick about doing spells and he promises to follow the rules.

Ingrid is doing research about herself in the archive she found and learns that she has four arcane abilities. Suddenly, Ingrid sits up when she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Ingrid looks around but doesn't see anyone and is startled when Dr. Foster appears, wondering what she is up to. Foster notices that Freya is looking through the oldest book in the collection and is upset that she is not handling it properly. A disagreement quickly ensues and Foster declares that he is taking the book. When Foster tries to pick up the book, he cannot lift it, so Freya snarks that he wasn't handling it properly. Foster warns that if anything happens to the book between now and Monday, he is holding her responsible.

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 4: Bodily Fluids

Teenagers making out in the woods? Oh these are so dead.

Actually I was wrong, they just find a rotting corpse. Ripped into pieces – it looks like Charlottes remains after Shelley tore her wolfy head into pieces. Just in case we missed this, the police helpfully remind us (in between telling us how he’d like to be “balls deep in his wife” thanks for that TMI) about her grave being disturbed when Charlotte rose from the dead.

At the Godfrey institute, Johann continues to play his “don’t ask questions” game with Russian (or possibly Eastern European) doctor while revealing that she had been involved in some similar, unethical experiments of her own. Norman interrupts them to throw Johann against a wall – he thinks he’s responsible for Marie’s disappearance since she was suing him. Johann is not even slightly intimidated and throws his own rather awesome threats back.

Miranda is still a house guests of Roman’s (which is very very odd) and he makes it creepier y asking where she’d been all night. She thanks him for his hospitality while he desperately fights his evil hunger. He hurries away and ends up running into Norman who stops him to tell him about Christina’s body being missing  - and Shelley’s footprints by the grave.

At Destiny’s house, Peter gets a visit from the drug dealers he conned. As he should have predicted but for some unknown reason didn’t. They hit him a few times and he almost shifts and punches one of them in the nose. This is enough to cow them both and they run away. Peter fights the shift (another bad moon shift, it’s leaving wounds on him)

Roman goes to work and is still bothered by his hunger, treating his assistant like shit and frustrated that he can’t find plans to Johann’s secret basement lab. However having a massive childish tantrum, screaming insults and obscenities and breaking shit are not usual working practices and Human Resources, Gwen, drops by because she’s received a fair few complaints over his little outburst. By company policy, he has to get out the building – she also advises anger management. He gets creepily in her space, focusing on her pulse. He leaves but his hunger is now almost out of control to a point where he can barely talk to people

Olvia is sad and visited by Michael to ask about Marie (who Olivia killed). While there he also asks questions about Clementine. Olivia offers sympathy and ignorance.

Norman and Michael also talk about Marie going missing – and Norman again accuses Johann. Michael goes through the standard of checking the ex-husband and telling Norman that Marie actually visited Olivia, which is news to him.

Peter, in between fighting drug dealers, has spent his day looking for the next serial killer victims from his dreams and finally tracks down the mother and child who were being followed by the Masked killers last episode – and the kid on his bike he dreamed would be hit by a car. Peter manages to get the tow truck between the Masked man’s car and the kid just in time. Peter also tries to warn the boy’s mother. It doesn’t go well

Utopia, Season 2, Episode 1

An old fashioned Italian news report and then to Rome in 1979.

Ok, that’s an odd way to begin a new season, but then Utopia specialises in odd.

A very young Jessica is with her father. Said father speaks with a source who claims to have the identity of Mr. Rabbit (who was revealed last season to be Ms. Rabbit). She is quite terrifyingly menacing and not happy (I think she actually is Ms. Rabbit) – because the file has come into their hands, almost by chance, and Jessica’s dad, Phillip, is the one who sent it. He tells her he’s complete Janus. He’s desperate and very stressed as he tells her he’s changed it – and he can never use what he’s made.

Someone walks up and shoots the driver. Possibly-Ms-Rabbit doesn’t even blink. Almost-certainly-Ms.Rabbit demand Janus by the end of the week – or she will torture Jessica.

5 years earlier, in London, with shortages and strikes and powercuts and Phillip all dressed up when an Eastern European woman carrying a baby enters the house and demands to know what Phillip did to Pietre (probably Arby) who she has taken to the doctor. We have definite confirmation that Phillip is his father. She thinks Phillip is doing something to Arby and violently attacks Phillip – at the same time Phillip suggests she’s delusional and has stopped taking her medication. The baby watches on from the playpen.

Probably not the healthiest childhood.

Phillip is taken to a rather ritzy do in a rather impressive castle with lots of rich looking people and raaaather a lot of booze which he is quick to make full use of. In his tipsy state he shows his great knowledge by cutting into someone’s conversation to explain why their cure for malaria will fail. Ms. Rabbit (almost sure) joins him when she notices that this exclusive party – held every 4 years to ensure big important people can talk to each other on the quiet – and all Phillip is doing is drinking. She pokes him on malaria and he explains why he doesn’t want to cure it – the human population is growing exponentially and rapidly overwhelming the planet’s capacity to support it; he’s intrigued that she actually agrees with him.

Of course, she’s way more awesome than that – when he declares that humanity is the only disease on the planet in need of curing she invites him to join her throwing herself off the balcony. She teeters very unstably over the edge and asks for his answer to the problem of humanity (also referring to having experience with genocide, so not a great fan there). He does have an answer – and they spend all night talking about it.

Back to his domestic life and he and Brosca  try to interest Pietre in a rabbit. He just stares into space

Milner (Ms. Rabbit’s non-bunny identity) arranges for Phillip to meet some very important scientists all of whom are extremely impressed by him, much to his shock. They’re implementing his grand plan, Janus, and he is all very excited – with also hints of his separateness, the god complex they’re getting from playing with human lives.

Which we see even more clearly when he explains Janus – it turning off human fertility except for the select few they spare – with “advantageous genetic traits”. Eugenics – by infertility rather than direct slaughter – Phillip seems to think this means it isn’t genocide. Even Milner asks if they can just make the fertility random rather than specifically choosing who deserves to breed and sees the inherent wrongness of what he’s proposing

Phillip also starts experimenting on his son, feeding him chemicals and making him watch him kill Pietre’s pet rabbit. He still stares into space.

Other personal issues include both Phillip and Milner keeping their significant others in the dark about what they do. Brosca is still concerned by Phillip affecting Pietre, especially when she becomes pregnant again.

Teen Wolf, Season 4, Episode 4: The Benefactor

It’s a full moon and the police are doing the crime scene thing on the hospital roof around the body of the Wendigo, Sean. Sheriff calls in Derek to be his expert – he knows nothing more about Wendigo but he smells Liam; Scott had only told the Sheriff about the Wendigo and the mouthless axe-murderer (the Muted he’s referred to on the credits) which is something else Derek knows nothing about.

Liam is currently tied up in duct tape and in Scott’s bathtub. Stiles is not impressed. I have to say this isn’t Scott’s best idea ever. Stiles asks if they’re going to end up burying pieces of his body in the desert – he is very very very good at pointing out how bad a plan is. But it could be worse Scott, Lydia could be the one telling you how wrong you are. She is very very good at that. Stile points out this is why he makes the plans, Scott’s plans are bad plans. So they drag Liam out and try to ineptly explain becoming a werewolf which goes terribly wrong with Liam escaping.

Awful awful plans. And the werewolf can’t hold onto a guy with a bad leg.

Over to Peter in the wolf loft – and the Muted throwing a tomahawk into his chest. And declaring that Derek is next.

It’s Full Moon night so Stiles chains up Malia – and the Sheriff walks in on his son chaining up his girlfriend. Poor Sheriff.

To Kira and Lydia looking through Lydia’s notes and seeing the pages of code she’s written without realising. Lydia decides they should probably figure it out before it kills them, after all her drawing of a tree led them to the Nemeton. Lydia is awesome, as ever. Facing supernatural weirdness with snark and class! Also, Lydia’s mother gives her the key to the lakehouse which is apparently where they’ve been chaining Malia

To Derek and Peter – who isn’t dead. He was stabbed with a wolfsbane axe which can now, apparently be cured with fire. Well that’s new. The blowtorch is not fun. Derek goes to tell the Sheriff (and Derek’s getting snarky! I approve) and takes the little wrist communicator the Muted used. Parrish recognises the device – and the tomahawk – from the military from when he was in Afghanistan. Derek and the Sheriff seem to agree to bring him into the big dark secret. Or at least into the investigation

He does some computer stuff and comes up with message in the device – from someone called Benefactor who is sending the Muted money (I assume). He’s a paid assassin.

New characters! Garret, Violet and Mason. They’re freshmen. Liam arrives because he ran to the school to escape Scott. Mason has questions and Liam has few answers. Liam begins to sweat and half wolfy issues – but sees Scott across the grass and hurries off. Scott and Stiles corner Liam to try and talk to him again

Oh gods it’s awful. Scott tries to talk about being brothers now, which is really convoluted and really awful. Really really awful. Scot you are fired as alpha. Certainly Alpha of any pack animals.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Salem, Season 1, Episode 13: All Fall Down

John has just got the stunning revelation that Mary is a witch. When he asks her why, she simply answers “survival.” They talk about love and being together and sadness – and Mary agrees to run off with him. Just as soon as she’s fixed something in Salem (stopping the Grand Rite, I assume) she will meet him and they can run

On her way back to town she runs into Mercy. Mary has a bad case of the guilts for what she did to Mercy and Mercy herself is furious because her friends, her followers, are dead because she trusted Mary. Mercy seems to be even more unstable than before – and more powerful. She leaves Mary with a threat

Mary confronts the hags who seem to head the witches and tells them she’s done – whatever they want to do when she leaves, fine, but she is going and wants not part of it any more – even if she is the Chosen one. The hags have a Plan B, which involves Tituba.

And it’s Tituba Mary finds in her home – and she dares to call Tituba a traitor. Tituba is rightly not putting up with that! She suffered torture to protect Mary and now Mary is abandoning everything she suffered for. Tituba shows her plan B – a box with a lock of hair in it. Mary’s child lives. For now. Mary completes the Grand Rite or the child is sacrificed. Mary swears vengeance on Tituba but agrees to complete the rite.

At the Hale household, Hale has gathered lots of supplies and kills a bird to open a secret passage in his house. His wife accepts this and goes alone, Anne is all kinds of confused. The room is a safe room to protect them from the effects of the Grand Rite – a plague that will kill everyone but the witch blooded. Anne still denies she is but Hale shows her around the room, the room he brought her too when she was a child so she could grow up knowing art and music even in the Puritan town. Including a statue Anne once made dance with her power (her memories were obscured by Hale and now come back).

In town Cotton is moping away. He has decided to rejoin his father – and the condition of that is all his books, his knowledge and reason be thrown out leaving him only with the Bible. It seems Cotton can never escape from under his father’s thumb. Isaac shows up to be the wise and compassionate soul he is (which is kind of his role) and tell Cotton that the least he can do is say goodbye to John before he is hanged – before it’s too late.

To find him gone. Increase arrives to explain everything – he doesn’t think John is a witch, he’s always known John wasn’t a witch. But he knows Mary is a witch, finally confirming his suspicions of several episodes. John is just bait for the trap – he has a scent trail in his pocket and Increase orders men to run John down and kill him and anyone with him on sight. Cotton calls for a trial, he is ignored.

Isaac rushes to Mary that night to tell him that John is gone and isn’t it wonderful that Mary saved him! Mary has the Mallum (a bad thing that needs to go to a bad place) and Isaac volunteers to carry it for her. She gives him a vast sum of money so that once he has dropped off the Malum he can then live a good life – a life he deserves.

She also has him deliver a message to Cotton before she visits Increase to point out his little plan of killing her with John is going to fail, because she’s not with him. She also lists the thirteen sacrifices they needed – innocent sacrifices the Puritans gave her. He keeps trying to kill her – but she keeps using he magic to vanish around the room out of reach.

While they fight, John is cornered by the men of Salem and their dogs

Isaac goes to deliver the Malum – surrounded by skulls and to a tree that is bleeding. Even Isaac sees that this is all wrong.

True Blood, Season Seven, Episode Four: Death Is Not the End

This episode begins with Sookie calling Jackson Herveaux to inform him of Alcide's death.  Jackson of course takes the time to reveal that though he and Alcide weren't close, the one thing he knew for sure is that Alcide loved him some Sookie.  We're less than two minutes in and I am already ready to scream we get it already. In the meantime, Jason is on the phone informing Hoyt that his mother is gone.  Hoyt is so filled with pain and guilt and so Jason tries to comfort him like a best friend should but this causes confusion because of course, Hoyt has had his memory erased. Jason is rightfully upset about the call but can his sister take two minutes to comfort him? Why of course not. If Sookie is not crying, then no one is allowed to cry. This isn't about Sookie after all, so it cannot possibly be important. Instead, Sookie reminds him that Andy is at home with Holly and that the people of the town are looking to Jason because he now represents the law.  I don't know about you, but if I were a citizen of Bon Temps, Jason Stackhouse being in charge would not comfort me one bit. I'd be sure my goose was cooked.

Eric and Pam are on a plane and the stewardess, who also functions as the in-flight meal for Eric, informs him that they are headed for Baton Rouge Louisiana. It seems that Pam believes that if Sarah, (oh great embracer of religion) might reach out to senator Finch. Eric however orders the plane to land in Shreveport to connect with Willa.  Pam points out that Eric abandoned her and he and that she probably hates Eric like Tara hated her. Eric however will not be deterred from reaching out to his progeny. Eric then callously informs the flight attendant Victoria that she is now a carrier of the Hep V virus.  Victoria understandably gets upset because Eric knowingly infected her and now she can no longer perform her job.  Eric being Eric doesn't give a shit though.

Then it's time for a flashback; the device the writers seem to be overly found of this season.  Here we learn that Pam and Eric end up in Shrevport as part of a  punishment issued by the magistrate of the Authority. This is before humans are aware that vampires actually exist, so they end up running video rental store. Obviously, Pam and Eric are not pleased by this turn of events but because of their actions and identity, the Authority has decided that they need watching.  This is how Eric becomes a sheriff.

Sookie, Jason and Sam all arrive at Andy's house and Sookie takes the time to talk to Colby and Lisa, who are Arlene's kids.  Both kids are obviously worried about their mother and tired of being treated like they don't understand what is going on.  Sookie rides in on her white horse and decides to promise these two that she will bring Arlene back safe and sound. This is where Sookie decides that she is going to help Holly get her memory back.

Jason and Sam argue with Andy about questioning Holly, when Sookie barges in claiming that she can make Holly remember. Andy argues to protect Holly but Sookie is on the it's all about me train and tells Andy that he is not going to stop her from delivering on her promise. With Andy out of the way, Sookie starts to question Holly, even though Holly does not want to recover her memories.  What's a little more added trauma right?  Sookie leads Holly backward and she begins to get images of the things that she has seen and lived through. Holly pulls back in horror saying that she cannot do this but Sookie is insistent and forces her to remember. From Holly's descriptions they learn that Kevin didn't make it and that everyone is being held at Fangtasia.  Holly is distraught, so Sookie briefly apologises and tells Andy to hold Holly. Sookie decides that it is time for her to head to Bill's to formulate a plan. Gee I hope it's as brilliant as her least big plan to save the people of Bon Temps.

Sam and Jason are driving and Jason tells a worried Sam that he is sure that Nicole and the baby are okay. Sam points out that because they have not actually seen Nicole, there is no way to be sure that she is actually safe. Sam turns the car viciously towards Fangtasia but Jason is adamant that they need to head to Rosie's on official business and reminds Sam of his responsibilities as mayor of Bon Temps. Sam refuses to turn around, so Jason pulls out his gun and points it at Sam saying that he is protecting both Sam and his family. Sam slams on the breaks and tells Jason to drive because he doesn't want to be the one driving away from his family.

Jessica is lying in bed whimpering from the pain of her wounds which aren't healing. James tells Jessica that she is being ridiculous and has to eat.  When Jessica refuses, James hops out of bed to get Bill. That's right, go get daddy. James tells Bill that Jessica hasn't eaten in ten weeks.  Bill is concerned that this is about Jessica eating Adalind's sisters but Jessica assures Bill that she has a good relationship with Adalind now and has even been invited into the home. Bill learns that even though Jessica is providing protection, she is not being fed.

Sookie of course barges right in because when it comes to her ringing the door bell or knocking, are only suggestions. Jessica calls out to Sookie that she is getting an intervention and talks about killing Adalind's sister. Sookie offers herself for food but Jessica points out that Sookie is a fairy.  Finally, Sookie asks James and Bill to leave the room because apparently, she has the answer to soothe Jessica and convince her to eat. At this moment, you might think that Sookie is actually going to listen to someone and make the situation about someone else's feelings but you would be wrong.  This is after all Sookie Stackhouse we are talking about. Sookie tells Jessica that she doesn't give a shit why she isn't eating and that Andy's dead daughters are just the tip of the iceburg. Sookie lists a few of the dead and she includes  Jessica on the list and follows that up by saying, "I just don't give a fuck about you or your problems." Wow, don't you wish that you had a friend as loving as that? Sookie demands that Jessica help because she has been good to her. A cowed Jessica agrees and says that she won't drink Sookie's blood.  Sookie barges out of the room and orders James to call Lafayette and after hearing James's thoughts, suggests that he to needs to have a conversation with Jessica.

It's flashback time and this time we see Ginger entering the video store to rent vampire videos for a paper she is writing for university.  It seems that in her class, the vampire is being set up as the "other". Is that True Blood's way subtly explaining to the viewer what has been obvious since the early episodes of the first season? Eric makes his entrance and Ginger gasps and practically drools.  Ginger notices the help wanted sign and immediately asks for an application.

Jason and Sam arrive at Rosie's house and Rosie immediately questions whether or not she is under arrest due to the little uprising the townsfolk staged.  Sam assures Rosie that this is not going to happen and even adds that they plan on letting it go.  Instead of being magnanimous, Rosie calls Sam a freak and asks why he is being so nice. Jason then informs Rosie that Kevin is dead. Sam and Jason tell Rosie that Bill is going to martial all of the vampires and that together, Kevin will be avenged.

Bill and Sookie chat and he informs her that he will call on as many vampires as he can but they will still be badly outnumbered.  Bill reminds Sookie that the vampires participating tonight have nothing to gain from it and that he is only going along for the ride because he owes Sookie everything. Does your head hurt? I am for one am tired of being hit over the head with whole Bill and Sookie belong together for evah and evah already. Sookie then offers her neck for Bill to feed and when he questions her choice, she informs him that it's just lunch.

Falling Skies, Season 4, Episode 4: Evolve or Die

Tom, Hal and Weaver are free, ducking patrols and Weaver’s still hearing a growly thing he’s decided to tell no-one about. And a targeting light appears on Tom’s forehead

Falling Skies don’t tease me!

Alas, it’s only the Volm and they don’t kill them. Cochise shares supplies and help with the survivors from the ghetto and tells Tom about Matt. Tom and Weaver decide to go with Cochise (Weaver, in all his instability, is there to keep Tom reasonable. Hah), with Hal left behind.

The strange creature is still following Weaver and no-one else notices. Weaver goes hunting it and Cochise and Tom clearly think he’s becoming unstable and seeing things.

Meanwhile Hal and Tector discuss supplies and they have a lead on a new place to scrounge but it’s a bit far out so Hal decides it’s best to wait for Tom to come back (or, maybe, have someone other than Hal in command?) Pope, naturally, taunts Hal for needing Tom’s permission then decides to take the truck and go alone. Of course he does.

Why hasn’t something killed him yet?

Like the woman he finds with the big stash of fuel! She’s kind of awesome (and would be a lot more if she shot Pope) and objects to his attempted theft with a shotgun and cunning wit. She demands to talk to him over beer – reinforced with shotgun! See, this is how you kickstart your social life – shotguns!). They both bond over the fact they quite like the apocalypse since they hated their mundane jobs so much. She also drugs Pope so she can steal his truck which is how she lives in this world – doing whatever she wants. I suppose it’s too much to hope that she’s killed him?

Alas, he wakes up (much to her annoyance and mine) just as she’s planning to leave – but Mechs have found the truck. Pope convinces her, Sarah, to let him go to help fight the Mechs. They get in the truck (she insists on driving of course) and drive off. I don’t see why she needed Pope for this.

She doesn’t shoot him. Worse, he manages to disarm her along the way and (after establishing that she doesn’t know karate) kicks her out of his truck. So instead we get sexual tension and he invites her back.

Botha finds a radio signal offering peace and welcome – from Lexie’s creepy cult camp and plays it for Hal. Just in case that wasn’t enough, the Volm tell Tector that the Espheni are going to come in force so they have to move, which means even Hal, trying to follow his dad’s orders, knows they have to move. He has a big angst moment to Botha about how he doubts himself and doesn’t know if he can make a command decision since the last one he made got someone killed. Botha is there for reassurance and support.

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 1: Night Zero


Pause this I’m going to get some popcorn. Nothing with such a dramatic voice over beginning should be watched without popcorn. I don’t even like popcorn, but respect conventions.

Dramatic voice over guy makes a really awful connection between hunger and love that just ended with me thinking of marriage ceremonies ending “You may now eat the bride”. This could be because I’m thinking of something more appetising to eat than this damn popcorn.

Ok, I’ll take it seriously now. Maybe.

February 8th: Night Zero 20:00:00 (see, serious bold writing)

A plane is landing and one of the cabin crew calls one of the others because something Bad is happening. She isn’t impressed by the urgency and pauses to tell a rock musician (who will be important later) to stop being an arsehole. When she finally gets to the back Rose isn’t happy because Peter has been totally slacking – worried about something alive on the plane (Snakes?)

Sensibly, they decide to open the hatch. Oh someone has not watched enough horror movies. It waits until she closes it again before something begins hammering on the trap door. She tries to pin it closed while sending Peter for help. The hatch bursts open – and something big emerges. It’s not a snake.

At air traffic control, people are concerned about this plane that landed and went silent, after failing to get a response they go for a closer look and we learn there are 210 people on board. Boss man Bishop goes to check it out and finds it odd that the plane is cold (his lackey remarks that planes are big). They see only one open blind. Bishop summons a whole alphabet of random letters representing random American agencies to help deal with the “dead airplane” (aww, it’s going to have dialogue like that and I have to take it seriously?)


Ephraim abuses his CDC privileges to get to his marriage counselling session only 10 minutes late, meets his son Zack, his wife Kelly and vaguely worries me that someone can be a doctor in the CDC but not know how to tie a tie. Is this supposed to be endearing? Because it’s a tie, 7 year olds can tie a tie, doc. We learn that the doc doesn’t want a divorce, Kelly probably does, he’s chronically late, controlling and generally I’m team Kelly.  Kelly has a new boyfriend called Matt who is around while Ephraim is a workaholic (and his phone keeps ringing, probably about the dead plane. Next time I’m at an airport I want to take a plane’s pulse). He also has a thing against prius.

He finally answers his phone to his second in command, Nora who promises to keep all the agencies squabbling until Ephraim arrives to make it clear he’s in charge.