Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 3: Welcome to Paradise

The death of Ivy has reminded Stefan he’s a vampire, so he menaces his arsehole both, compels a raise and a holiday and leaves him compelled to bury Ivy in the woods somewhere before heading off

Bye Ivy, you will now be forgotten

To college where Caroline is being passive aggress about Stefan (and a little about Elena) and Elena who wants everyone to play normal life with her. And since this is Vampire Diaries that means an Inevitable Party. Also Caroline and Enzo are now hanging around together.

Brief stop in on Jeremy and Sarah who moved into the Salvatore house; they’re also going to the party and we learn that a) Sarah’s mother is dead and b) her dad is in town but she doesn’t know who it is. I will also lay odds that by the end of the season she will die and/or be an evil weretapir (or similar).

So, time to rustle up the Inevitable Party cast – Matt is coming with a fellow military neighbourhood watch guy (and we’re reminded of Tripp being ominous and vampire killy), Liv is coming and also has the hots for Tyler (nicely lampshaded by Luke in case we didn’t see the obvious result of this – and despite Tyler willing to murder him in the pilot, Luke is now defending him. Because Vampire Diaries). Elena invites a guy called Liam who volunteers with her at the hospital (she wants to be a doctor remember) who is clearly being set up to be her love interest so when Damon returns we can have EVEN MOAR ANGST. Like Sarah, I suspect his neck will be broken by the end of the season and/or he will be revealed to be a vampire killing weretapir. Anyway, Elena wants to set him up with Caroline – I still go with my interpretation because with Stefan and Enzo, Caroline already has her obligatory love triangle set up. Stefan also drops in

Waaait, if Elena forgets why she loves Damon, does that mean she and Stefan are still a thing? I mean, part of the reason why she isn’t with Stefan is because she’s with his even-sexier and much less mopey brother?

Anyway, Stefan doesn’t tell Elena about the whole Ivy murdering but does agree to go to the Inevitable Party so he can murder Enzo over the punch (yes, he’s going. Because.) Caroline is hanging around with Enzo and briefly expresses how she’s not happy with Elena’s memory messing because it now means that she’s even more stuck as the only one trying to get Bonnie and Damon back (which highlights really how little Bonnie seems to matter to everyone) and how she can’t even talk about their loss any more without risking Elena’s precious memories. It is only brief because this implies that one of Elena’s deeply self-absorbed decisions may not be the right one. And Caroline is pissed at Stefan still and vexed at Enzo because he’s still murdering people for lunch

Shunning Stefan for not returning her calls, while Enzo gets a good talking to for, y’know, murder. Oh Vampire Diaries your moral code is so broken.

So, party at the… lake, pond, swimming hole? I have no idea – let’s just say “leech hatchery” and hope. This is an excuse to show all the men in knee length swim shorts to display chests and all the women in itsy bitsy bikinis to display their everything-the-censors-will-allow-them-to. Elena isn’t happy with Sarah being there because Elena tried to eat her. The guy, Jay, who came with Matt is both nasty and sexist AND very suspicious of Sarah’s compelled excuse of a dog bite. He has a run in with Tyler where we see Tyler’s temper and Jay’s arseholery do not combine well

Elena and Caroline finally argue because Elena wants to pretend everything is ok for her peace of mind and Caroline would much rather actually fix the problems than pretend they’re not happening. Caroline is lonely with all her friends gone – Elena says she’s still there. Except the memory thing means Caroline can’t really talk to her.

And Liam kisses Elena. This is my shocked face.

Enzo and Stefan meet, there’s a brief fight and Enzo kills Jay, who was sneaking up behind them with a big gun and no awareness of vampire senses. This doesn’t stop Stefan, who just has a new weapon to kill Enzo. And Caroline shows up – Stefan decides to mope off like a mopey thing rather than tell Caroline that Enzo killed Ivy.

Enzo does it anyway so while he takes the body of Jay to Matt for revelations and body burial, Caroline catches up with Stefan to tell him that killing Enzo won’t bring Ivy back. Oh Caroline, you think Ivy matters? No, it’s just that a dead Enzo will stop reminding him of Damon. Mope mope mope, love triangle, love triangle, Caroline begs Stefan to stay for all their friends (her). And Stefan leaves

Friday, October 17, 2014

Broken Soul (Jane Yellowrock #8) by Faith Hunter

Jane is working to a deadline to improve Leo’s security before a delegation of likely hostile European Vampires arrive on an official visit – and possible invasion

She never expected it to be tested early – when the Satan’s Trio arrive in town, vampires that frighten even other vampires, every contingency she’s put in place is going to be sorely tested

And that’s without the near-invisible dragon rampaging through town. No-one saw that coming.

We do have a lot of world building in this book. We’re introduced to the European vampires visiting and why that’s a problem (this was partially introduced in the last book – the expansion includes some interesting concepts of vampire history but also raises the unlikely concept of European vampires coming to the US to avoid religious tensions… which seems somewhat out of touch with the state of religion and politics in western Europe and the US in general, especially a vampire territory in the deep south) and a whole lot of vampire history and why magical artefacts are so important and vital to them. It’s quite deep and meaty

At the same time we have introduced the Arenciel, what they are, where they come from and picked up the whole thread of liminal lines (which had been introduced very briefly in a past book), other realms and an expansion both on Soul (a minor character who has returned on repeated occasions) and Gee DiMercy, the Mercy Blade; both of these were extremely mysterious characters and the little extra building on them was very welcome.

On top of this we had an extension of Jane’s powers and how they changed with she and Beast integrating more closely and the effect of being messed with by an angel (this happened several books ago but hasn’t really been developed since then). This is very involved and some of the descriptions lost me in places since it involves time effects that weren’t always ideally described.

All of this could combine into a very confusing, overly full book and lose the reader – but it’s balanced by a relatively simple plot line. Bad guys are here, bad guys are coming, bad guys have to be defeated. Of course, defeating them is not exactly simple or easy because of the powers at their disposal and there’s a lot of conflict over exactly what the bad guys want and how best to stop them – there’s also a lot of extremely well written, fun and exciting fight scenes. And yes, I do love me a good fight scene – and it’s always a good sign in a book when an author can make you see the action and the excitement of the battle. I’m  not saying the plot was simplistic, because it wasn’t, but it wasn’t excessively elaborate to allow the rest of the information through more time to be absorbed without us having to juggle too many things at once. It was nicely done.

American Horror Story, Season 4, Episode 2: Massacres and Matinees

At the show it’s everyone’s morning routine – when Jimmy turns over the radio to hear more news of the 4 murders and a missing child in town and the increasing panic because of it – with added panic of the disappearance of the policeman the show people murdered last episode. The panic of it is shutting down most of the town.

The police arrive at the show. They interview Elsa who refuses to let them search without a warrant (they want to see everything they need to buy a ticket) and she’s told about the town’s curfew – which will shut down any shows. Bette and Doris also join Elsa in suggesting the cop was drunk – Elsa notes what “easy targets” they are.

The local toymaker and his assistant are the next ones to be killed by the Evil Clown (Credited as “Twisty” apparently).

At the camp, Jimmy’s feeling all guilty about killing the policeman and decides it’s best to dig up the body and burn the parts. While doing so, Jimmy pockets the policeman’s badge (more refrain on how they’re just ordinary people if only those outside would take the time to get to know them).

Two new people arrive at the camp – Dell Toledo, a strongman and escape artist, and his wife, Desiree Dupree. And we get some terrible back story – apparently back in Chicago gay men had sex with Desiree to turn them straight – and Dell killing him. Really? Desiree is sure they’re fine though because no-one’s going to care about a dead gay man – people who are “lower” than the “freaks” at the show. Desiree reveals she’s an intersex woman with three breasts (as she puts it “a full blown hermaphrodite”). Elsa doesn’t want to take them with business so low and Dell begs – there’s very few opportunities left. After examining his hands and, for some reason, asking if he barks, Elsa accepts them onto the show.

Ethel has history with Dell – they were in a show together and Dell nearly murdered Jimmy when he was a baby (a “mistake” he called him) but Ethel stopped him with a gun. She warns him to stay away from Jimmy (I think there’s an implication Dell may be Jimmy’s father). Don claims Elsa put him in charge – for security purposes.

Elsa tries to find some talent in Bette and Dot, and finding that Bette really really cannot sing, she’s willing just to put them on stage and have people stare at them – which Bette and Dot are not a fan of – Jimmy gets her to sing and Dot has talent.

Don seems actually to have been given authority because he’s already planned early performances while the curfew is on – but Elsa is against it; Freak shows belong in the night and she brings up a lot of basically horror clichés as to why. Dell refuses to listen, even as Desiree tells him to listen to his boss – he refuses to accept a woman as his boss and after menacing Elsa he storms into town to post bills –again insisting on a 3:00 show.

Jimmy decides to go with his plan to make the locals think they’re just like them – and he and several performers go to the local diner. The other patrons are not happy, one complains; several performers cause a scene and then Dell comes in and makes things far worse – escalating objections and insisting they eat at the camp. He calls them freaks giving up a free show. Dell drags Jimmy outside and beats him up.

Consent in Romance: Being Able to Leave

Alphario, rippling romance hero, tenderly checks the chains properly restraining his beloved, the sweet Captiva. Carefully he ensures that she has taken the proper dose of the addictive drug she can only possibly get from him and they lovingly share a kiss before he leaves, romantically checking the bars and locks the cell door behind him. They will live together Happily Ever After - there will be no escape.

This is, I hope, not generally considered the most romantic of scenarios. At very least some pretty extensive bondage consent will have to be discussed before hand - yet time and again I see romances end in such a way that the participants are bound together; lovingly, happily, certainly - but still bound, unable to leave should either party actually want to do so.

This is something that is very rarely addressed in Paranormal Romance - and for good reason. After all, a Happily Ever After is usually the goal here. No-one really wants to think of their sexy vampire romance ending because Vlad has filed divorce papers and they’re now fighting for custody of the werewolf puppies. That’s fairly understandable (however, it has to be said I do want to read that story). So, no, I’m not saying the genre needs more books about relationship break down and love affairs turning sour.

But it does need the ability to leave to still be part of the romance. It doesn’t mean either party has to take it - but it has to be there because part of consent is the ability to withdraw it. Consent is not a one shot deal, consent is not a “sign on the dotted line, that’s it FOREVER”. Consent should not leave the parties feeling like the signed in blood. Consent is the ability to change your mind, to say it’s over, to say you’re done and be able to head for the door even if you never open it.

A lot of the books I’ve read in Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy don’t have that for various reasons. One of the most common of which are mystical bonds - some kind of magical woo-woo that chains the characters together eternally with no presented possibility of either character being able to break that bond. The two love interests fall in love (or, in extreme cases, see each other) and the magic hits - they are now glued together by the woo-woo of True Love FOREVER.

There are so many examples of this, there’s no way I could count them all. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series has the male vampires create mystical bonds to their wives (this involves lots of smelling and occasionally lethal violence to any other man who dares to come near her) which is made very clear is permanent. In fact, it’s so permanent that if one partner should die the other will usually passively suicide. It’s also used as an excuse for violent jealousy and several times us being told (romantically, of course) that there’s no way a male vampire would ever let his mate go. Even if she wanted to.

How… romantic. Restraining order anyone?

Keri Arthur plays with shapeshifters bonding for life in the Damask Circle world and Spook Squad series. Actually, this trope tends to be trotted out especially often when wereanimals are involved: Werewolf bonds can also be found in Wolf Haven, the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series, the World of the Lupi series and the Psy-Changeling Series - which has just about everyone forming woo-woo bonds

Twilight has werewolves “imprinting” on their mates - something that is clearly meant to last for life (including when said imprinting happens with children, babies and foetus. Yes pass around the brain bleach, I’m sure we could all use a dose).

I cannot see these as romantic. What is romantic is two people staying together for the rest of their lives because they love and adore each other and every moment together brings joy. What is not romantic is being magically shackled together so they cannot possibly leave. Chaining them together doesn’t prove love and isn’t romantic - the characters stay together forever because they have no choice in the matter. That’s not romantic and it’s not consent.

It’s not just mystical bonding though - a lot of the time I see couples that are solidly welded together with angst. Overwhelming, needy, my-life-is-over-without-you angst. This is often mistaken as utterly romantic that this person is so invested in their love interest that they physically cannot stand to live without them - but it’s dangerous, it’s creepy it’s coercive and it’s even abusive.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sleepy Hollow, Season Two, Episode Four: Go Where I Send Thee...

Sleepy Hollow begins with a child walking inside a massive house, down a spiral staircase and then finally outside to the woods, to the sound of a wooden pipe playing.

We switch to Abby who is preparing to teach Ichabod how to drive.  Of course he delivers the usual bluff and bluster about driving, while complaining about not understanding why everyone has to learn to do this.  Abby makes it clear that if they are to win this war, Ichabod will have to learn certain skills. Ichabod immediately floors the gas and wheels around the parking lot at such a speed that he puts Abby into a panic.  It quickly becomes clear that Ichabod is more than comfortable behind the wheel of the car.  Ichabod admits that he realises that Abby wants him to learn these skills in case something to her but he makes it clear that they are either going to survive together or die together.  The conversation shifts when Ichabod gets an amber alert on his phone and so he and Abby head off to investigate, after Abby rightfully confiscates the car keys.

Abby sits down to speak the parents of the now missing Sarah.  The parents want to be out looking and the father says that the mother needs to forgive herself for not setting the alarm the night before because she fell asleep in the office.  Later, Abby talks with Beth, the mother, outside. who says that her family is cursed.  Abby says that the storm will pass.  It turns out that Beth was Abby's caseworker when she and Jenny become wards of the state.  Abby vows that she will find Sarah.

Crane peers through the windows at the weapons which belonged to Daniel Lancaster and declares that they are celebrating a scoundrel.  Abby arrives on the scene just in time to stop Crane from breaking in through the windows and orders him to meet her in the woods. Crane tells Abby that Lancaster was no patriot and only sided with the rebels when it became clear that the British were going to lose.  Abby directs Crane's attention back to the present and Crane sees the site of a struggle and blood splatter.  The trail quickly grows cold but Abby finds a hollow bone on the ground with holes in it.  After examination, Crane says that the object is actually a bone flute; the oldest known instrument which originated in China. After pressing the flute to his mouth, Crane begins to play and Abby begins to hallucinate and become dizzy, even as she moves away from Crane towards the swamp.  Crane barely manages to pull her from her daze in time.  Crane tells Abby that Sarah was lured into the woods by a pied piper.

After sneaking back into the headquarters because Reyes is still rightfully suspicious of Ichabod, Abby and Crane sit to discuss the evidence they have found.  Ichabod says that during the height of the war, a mysterious man lured a garrison outside with music, only to kill each soldier.  Apparently, Ichabod didn't think that this was paranormal until he saw how the pipe effected Abby.  Abby questions the connection between that incident and the now missing Sarah.  Abby suggests having Crane play the pipe in the hopes that it will lead her to the pipers lair. Before leaving, Crane records the pipe in a thirty second loop.

Once they arrive at the location in the woods, Crane hands Abby the phone with the recording and promises to be with her every second.  From almost the first notes, Abby becomes entranced and begins to move forward, with Crane following closely behind her. After a few feet, Crane pulls Abby's airbuds out, saying that they may have found their target.  They sneak up on a man hiding behind a group of rocks, only to find Hawley, who says that there is still time to save Sarah. 

Hawley reports having seen The Piper while he was out on a job.  Apparently, The Piper attacked Hawley while he was searching for a flute made of bone. Ichabod questions how Hawley knew The Piper would strike that night and Hawley explains that he knew about the curse on the Lancaster family, as well as the fact that Sarah was turning ten. We learn that it was Daniel who hired the original Pied Piper - a man who had given his soul to a demon.  Daniel then killed the Pied Piper, which caused the Piper to regenerate in present day and lure Sarah into the woods when she turned ten. Ten apparently, is the age at which the bones become the right size to make a pipe, with each pipe having a different effect on its victims. Hawley says that he got blindsided by a sicko with a costume and most certainly does not believe in the legend.  Hawley adds that the victims dies of exposure and starvation and Abby realises that because it has been less than 36 hours, they still have time to save Sarah.  Abby and Crane agree to hand over the pipe, as long as Hawley helps them with the case, even as Ichabod expresses doubts on the trustworthiness of Hawley.

In the meantime, Irving is in the mental institution reading from the book of Revelations. Suddenly. we a flash to Irving in an all out end of days battle about to face a rider on horse back.  When Irving's bible bursts into flames and he drops it on the ground and is pulled back from his vision.

Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 2: Reichenbach

Time for a flashback to what made this random guy want to hunt Dean down – as a kid he heard a fight downstairs and came down to find his dad dead and Dean with a knife (Dean also managed to stop the aging process). So there are a bazillion explanations with this starting with shapeshifters and ending with possession. Revenge guy wants to get Sam to help him kill Dean but like me Sam thinks Dean probably had a reason. Sam tries to convince the man monsters exist but “vampires exist, honest – look I even carry holy water” isn’t that convincing.

So time for some Sam torture but he takes a time out to take a call from his family – therefore leaving a restrained Winchester unattended for 10 seconds so of course Sam escapes. Honestly Houdini is easier to tie up than these guys.

On to Castiel who is scraping the barrel of his Grace – he can’t even heal himself, having to rely on Hannah. The newly freed Sam calls Castiel to let him know where Dean and Crowley are – and that Dean is a demon now. Dean and Hannah set off though Hannah disapproves of the Winchesters. She should probably also drive since Castiel passed out at the wheel and nearly ploughed them into a truck.

The nice repair-truck lady offers to host them while she fixes things, bemuses Hannah with humour and three bean surprise (I think I’d be bemused by three bean surprise as well). And poor Cas isn’t doing well – you can tell, he takes of the coat. Even half dead he manages to be immensely adorable with a small child.

Hannah goes to heaven to make a deal with the imprisoned Metatron to release him (on the understanding he will leave the planet) in exchange for the remainder of Castiel’s grace – restore him back to full power and, he guesses, to put him in charge. He snarks about Hannah needing someone in charge –someone to “dominate” her – and she smacks him against the cage bars.

Words cannot describe what a bad idea this is. Castiel agrees, having taken his own trip up to the heavenly cells to declare no no no, hell no. Castiel would rather die than make a deal with Metatron. Castiel and Metatron posture at each other a bit before Cas leaves.

Over to Dean at a strip club (a nearly empty strip club at that) – he keeps pushing for more than the stripper is willing to do and she walks away from him – he tries to stop her which leads to him fighting security. Dean’s rage issues are even starting to concern Crowley. Time for a heart to heart with extra spooky because Dean can now do the black-eyes at will. Crowley thinks Dean is losing his temper because he needs to kill due to the Mark of Cain. Crowley wants to help with that – pointing him to victims: in this case, a woman called Mindy who cheated on her husband and he went on to sell his soul to have her killed.

This Week in Book Covers 6th October - 10th October

Blood Canticle (Vampire Chronicles #10) by Anne Rice

I have no idea about this cover. I don’t know who the person is supposed to be. I have no idea why they’re wearing some kind of period dress or the crown or the scroll of music - it’s all just completely and utterly random without even the tiniest link to what’s in the book

Graveyard Shift (Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc #1) by Angela Roquet

I like this cover: the cartoonish style is one that’s very typical of the subgenre - whenever we see this kind of cover it’s always a light, rather fun book that will probably be hilarious. And it is - I like truth in covers. Throw in a scythe and we know where we stand, I like it

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Originals, Season Two, Episode Two: Alive and Kicking

This episode begins with a flashback to Cadiz, Spain in 1702, with Elijah and Klaus riding away on horseback, as the city burns. Elijah and Klaus walk into a room filled with dead bodies looking for Kol.  Elijah's first complaint is of course not about the waste of human life but about his efforts to keep his family concealed. Kol enters the room feeding on a servant, announcing that there is always time for games.  Elijah is quick to announce that they must leave because Michael is nearly here.  Kol snarks about Klaus still being alive and Klaus explains that he barely escaped and that Michael left the head of his horse on a pike.  How very gangsta of Michael. Kol suggests that since Michael hates Klaus, it's Klaus who should leave.  Elijah says that Rebekah and Finn have already boarded the ship and that it is time for them to leave.  Kol points out that Rebekah does what she is told because she is afraid of Klaus and Finn cannot protest because he has a dagger in his heart. Kol says that he will take his chances here but Klaus daggers him for his independence.  Kol swears that the day will come when he is not so easily subdued and will have his vengeance then.

In the present, Kol walks the streets of New Orleans, randomly using his powers like a kid with a new toy. He watches as Davina gets into a taxi.

In the courtyard, Elijah finds the body of a dead woman.  When he heads to see Haley, he finds her in a tub with a dead woman on the ground.  Hayley explains that Klaus took her to the cauldron where they ran into some witches.  When Elijah asks if Hayley would like him to remove her leftovers, a naked Hayley stands and Elijah quickly hands her a towel.  Hayley tells Elijah not to judge because she hasn't done anything worse than what Klaus has done in the past. Elijah suggests that Hayley hold herself to a higher standard than that of Klaus but Hayley points out that now that she is a hybrid, she has a werewolf's temper to go along with her new appetite. Hayley adds that the witches who tried to kill her baby aren't worth more than food.

Elijah takes his disapproval to Klaus, who explains that he simply wanted the witches to hand over the white oak stake and when they refused to so, he let Hayley have her fun.  Elijah adds that Hayley is growing more savage and falling apart.  Klaus points out Elijah's high standards and says that being a vampire only exaggerates who you truly are. Klaus adds that wolves are wild things and that Elijah's judgment is only hurting Hayley. Elijah replies that he asked Klaus to help Hayley but Klaus argues that he is and that Haley was smiling when she was covered in witches blood. Elijah is determined that Hayley get a connection to her humanity and suggests that her people in the bayou might be able to reach her.

Marcel is lecturing his new potential vampires about the changes they will experience when they turn, when Elijah arrives. We get a flashback to 1821, with Elijah watching as Marcel tries to learn how to play the piano. When Marcel declares that he cannot do this, Elijah points out that Marcel once thought that about learning to read and now he is more than proficient.  Elijah suggests that with more dedication, Marcel will play like Bach and Marcel replies that he wants to play like Elijah. A drunken Klaus enters and is quick to snark about how well Marcel and Elijah are getting along.  Elijah sends Marcel off to study Hamlet (a fitting choice all things considered), as Klaus whines about the monotony he is living in. Klaus complains that Rebekah is still moping over the governor's son and that now, all of Marcel's time is taken up with education. Elijah reveals that he has pulled the dagger out of Kol to have a little playmate. When Elijah and Klaus catch up with Kol, he has already killed a few of the servants. Kol makes it clear that he is still upset that he was daggered. Klaus points out that now that Elijah and Marcel have grown to be so close, he doesn't see any reason why he should be alone.

In the present, Marcel makes his way over to see Elijah, who quips that he didn't expect to see Marcel creating a new vampire community.  Marcel points out that his community was fine until Klaus had the brilliant idea to make moonlight rings.  It seems one of the harvest girls is continuing to make them, offering them to the wolves in exchange for allegiance.  Marcel calls Elijah the last true vampire left and given that the Quarter had become so dangerous, offers Elijah the chance to join his community. Elijah it seems has other plans and promises to allow Marcel to continue to build his community, if he finds the white oak stake.  Marcel says that even if he wanted to help, he has no idea where the stake is. Elijah points out that Marcel has an ally in Davina and that he would approach her himself but believes the conversation would be unpleasant.  Marcel is quick to warn Elijah away from Davina, so Elijah calls the matter settled and instructs Marcel to deal with Davina personally.

Micheal is getting frustrated watching Davina work with Esther's grimoire's to delink the stake from all of the vampires Klaus has sired. Michael offers to help Davina with her work but Davina says no, in fear that he will trick her into a spell which will free him.  Michael points out that Davina is just as paranoid as Klaus. Davina leaves without answering, after getting a text from Kol about meeting for coffee.  What Davina does not know is that Kol is inside the church.

Later, Kol reports to Esther that Davina is hiding something in the attic because the door was locked with a complex spell.  Esther speculates that it could be a weapon or a source of power. Esther, not wanting to leave anything to chance suggests that Kol take Davina out for dinner and find out where Davina stands.  As Vincent, Esther and Kol enter the graveyard, they find wolves waiting for them. Kol calls the wolves a pack of freeloaders but Esther says that the wolves are their friends.  It seems that Esther has the witches working on moonlight rings around the clock and promises that when all of the wolves have rings, they will pay Elijah and Klaus a visit to teach them the unfortunate error of their vampire ways.

Klaus and Hayley are in the bayou and the camp appears deserted.  Klaus says that they are hiding and Hayley points out that the only thing the pack hates more than vampires are hybrids. Klaus suggests that what they hate is their lack of power and points out that many wolves are making deals with the witches in exchange for moonlight rings. Klaus adds that the witches have not gotten to Hayley's pack yet and that they need them for an alliance. When Hayley snarks, Klaus informs her that this is her task to deal with. When Hayley calls the task stupid, Klaus points out that her people need a leader and that Hayley is their queen.  Hayley calls herself a mess and points out that she cries all day and feeds all night. Hayley says that all she can think about is how much she misses her daughter and accuses Klaus of not caring.  Klaus says that all he can do is think about her and when the pain is the worst, he seeks comfort in hurting those who would harm their child.

Marcel approaches Elijah on the street and reports that Davina is on her way there and suggests that Elijah make himself scarce.  Elijah of course does not agree and says that he is not leaving until he learns the location of the stake.  Marcel points out that wherever the Originals go, threats and bloodshed are soon to follow, making it unlikely that Davina will comply with Elijah being present. Marcel instructs Elijah to at least stay out of sight and to try not to kill anyone.

Yep, flashback time.  This time, Klaus and Kol are playing chess and Elijah enters the room to complain that Kol and Klaus killed drained an entire tenement building killing 46 people. Kol snarks that it was at least 60 and that they forgot to check the attic. An enraged Elijah says that it's hard enough to hide their presence without the two of them going out of their way to draw attention to the family. Klaus snarks about Elijah finding the time to concern himself with their activities given the amount of time he has devoted to doting on Marcel. Elijah questions if Klaus is jealous of his closeness with Marcel and points out that though Klaus brought Marcel into their home, it's no longer safe for Marcel to remain.  Klaus stands in a rage protesting the removal of Marcel because of Kol's antics and declares her rather see Kol in a box. An enraged Kol questions if Elijah would choose Marcel over his own family but Klaus points out that Marcel is their family.

Marcel and Davina meet and she gives him a huge hug. They make small talk and Davina reports that a guy asked her out but then stood her up. Marcel then asks Davina for a locater spell to find a white oak stake and the smile drops from Davina's face. Davina questions if one of the Originals put her up to this but Marcel points out that if the stake is used on Klaus that he will die as well.  Davina says that she knows but because Elijah and Klaus are both brutal sadistic monsters, she is not just going to hand over the stake. Elijah interrupts the conversation to tell Davina that she is quite right but points out that Davina wants to protect her friends and he wants to protect his family.  Elijah proposes a truce but Davina is not interested declaring that for the first time, The Originals can see what it is like to be afraid before storming out.  Marcel reminds Elijah that he asked him to stay away but Elijah points out that despite all of Davina's concern for Marcel, she was very cavalier about all of the danger Marcel faces from the stake. Elijah surmises that Davina is not worried because she has had the stake all along.

Penumbra (Spook Squad #3) by Keri Arthur

Sam has finally snapped over working with Gabriel. His insistence of keeping her out of all police work is too much – she needs to work and be effective. She gets a transfer – to a new case as a bodyguard of a politician. A politician who is really a clone and probably working with either the suspicious military scientists at Hopeworth or the sinister secret organisation of Sethanon… or maybe both

Of course, both Hopeworth and Sethanon are extremely interested in Sam and her unique biology – and Stephen may be using her as bait, much to Gabriel’s annoyance

But this is a chance for Sam to finally find some answers – as to what she is, what she wants and why she can’t remember her past. To her that is worth the risk.

This book finally brings together a whole lot of what has been brewing in the last two – Sethanon, Sam’s past, what Sam is, Hopeworth and their experimentation, Joshua who haunts her dreams and the mysterious Joe who has been dropping clues in a very frustrating fashion for so long. At last answers are in the offing.

It’s at the end of a long book of twists and turns, of endless questions and possibilities and with a plot line involving clones to throw up it’s own questions. If I have one criticism about the plotting of the book it’s that, while the overarching questions of the whole series are addressed, the actual plot line of this particular novel is left hanging and confusing. But I think that is a tie in for the next stage in the mystery – Sam’s personal mysteries have finally been addressed, now it’s time to tackle a big overarching plot.

I’m impressed by the writing of this book. We had a huge number of events all kind of smooshed together into something resembling a storyline if you connected the dots – and it worked. Most of the book was questions and new threads and a new plot and it felt like a dozen things in different directions – and it worked. It didn’t get (too) confusing, it maintained a good pacing, there was never a point where I wanted to put the book down: I wanted to know, all the questions it kept bombarding me with and I still wanted to know.

And at the end there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to exactly what the master plan is, what the big antagonist actually hopes to achieve, to say nothing of all the clones, Hopeworth and so much else that has been lurking around. But while there’s a lot of mystery that still badly needs to be uncovered, but we’re now in a position where the mystery has been narrowed down. There’s a lot of conflict potential still, but we’re not overwhelmed with questions any more – we have answers, a direction to move in and a whole lot more to explore; but it is an exploration not a random flail.

Forever, Season 1, Episode 5: The Pugilist Break

We have a troubled boxer who is troubled

And 3 days later his horribly mangled body (with a needle in his arm) is found by people wanting to buy an apartment. That estate agent has a tough job ahead of her.

To the antique shop where Henry is duly outraged at Abe planning to sell an antique to someone who he considers unworthy (given her plans, I have to agree and think tarring and feathering may be required).

Jo shows up to grab Henry for a case (I’m sure there are other medical examiners in the city, Jo. Can she not solve murders without him?) and complain about his lack of mobile phone (Henry’s age is showing).

To the neighbourhood where Jo reflects on its improving crime statistic (the estate agent mentioned a lot of gentrification going on) and Henry indulges in a century old flashback and how some things don’t change or get better.

Examining the body, Henry takes exception to Hanson’s dismissal of the body as a “dead junkie”. After investigation and getting back to the lab, Henry confirms that the man was murdered and was injected after death (it’s also heavily implied that without Henry being assiduous, everything would have been ignored and the man would have been written off as a dead drug user).

Faced with frustrations over a delayed toxicology report (too much backlog) and general police disinterest, henry ignores Jo’s advice (that he can’t get personally invested and put too much into the job without burning out) and returns to the crime scene to investigate. Setting poor Lucas to catch rats, Henry has another flashback (to a time when immigrants dying were similarly dismissed and ignored) before finding a drug dealer who knew the dead man, Raul. The dealer insists Raul no longer takes drugs so Henry moves to the next plan – buying heroin for comparison

And is caught by a very inconvenient patrolling cop. Henry gets to explain what he was doing to LT Reece. She’s not impressed. And less so by Lucas bringing a cage of rats to the station. Still it seems to at least delay consequences so Henry and Jo can interview Raul’s fiancée and confirm that he wasn’t taking drugs and was mentoring kids to try and stop them taking drugs; and that he argued with someone on the phone

More investigation (and Lucas being attached to a rat) leads to finding Raul’s ring and that he recently punched someone before he died. To the Rec Centre where Raul volunteered to speak to Fabian who runs the place – he reveals that Raul was loved by everyone except a man called Tommy Deverell, the man with money who is trying to gentrify the area and tear down the Rec Centre. Henry notes that Fabian has a cut from a punch above his eye.

Henry has some more flashbacks about immigrant abuse after talking to one of the kids Raul mentored before heading out with Jo round the neighbourhood; learning she grew up somewhere very similar. Stopping at the local store, they find the bodega owner is pretty eager to sell up and considered Raul somewhat idealistic.

They go to the building site looking for Deverell and Henry does his observation thing to guess they’d found the location where Raul was when he died. They also find Raul’s phone – through rather unorthodox methods (tough phone). Calling a number on that phone makes Mr Deverell’s phone ring

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Resurrection Season Two, Episode Three: Multiple

This episode starts with Tom holding an old time baptismal in the water.  I don't know about you but the water didn't look appealing to stand in, let alone dunk half of one's body in. Of course, the first person baptized is Barbara (that must be about her elation to be away from Fred) but her elation is shot lived when she finds a skull in the water.  Told ya that water didn't look right.

Switch to Bellamy making eggs in his swanky new place until he suddenly grabs his heart and collapses to the ground, only to find himself staring at his bloody and injured body.  This of course is a dream and Bellamy awakes with a fright.

Fred stands on the shores of the lake in deep complication, as CSI examines the now several skulls which have been pulled out of the water. I suppose this is where Margaret dumped the remains we saw her dig up last week.  Fred heads to see Tom to question what Tom was doing at the river and Tom admits that he resigned from the church and has started his own church.  Fred questions Tom's priorities given that he has a baby on the way but Tom makes it clear that the people he baptized wouldn't normally have fit in because not everyone in Arcadia believes they should be living side by side. Tom excuses himself and Fred has a flashback to running shoes floating in the water.

Maggie and Bellamy sit to have breakfast where she complains that there was no food in the morning when Bellamy comments on how rapidly she is eating.  Bellamy cannot let go of Arthur's disappearance and wonders what really happened. Maggie theorizes that if you disappear that's the end but if you die and leave a body behind like Rachel, you come back.  They are interrupted when Maggie gets a call from the coroner reporting on multiple human remains at the river. Maggie leaves Bellamy to investigate.

It's morning at the Langston's and Lucille announces that the family is going apple picking. Margaret is making herself busy organizing the cupboards and Jacob makes it clear he doesn't want to go along. Margaret questions why Jacob isn't in school because all of the other kids his age are learning and making friends but Lucille believes that now isn't the time.  Jacob says that he is ready to go to school.

Bellamy has gone to see Tom who is putting in some work at what I can only assume is his new church. Tom admits that while there is a lot to be done, the rent is low.  When Bellamy brings up the skulls, Tom says that he told Fred everything and that this does not bode well because this is his first Returned baptism.  Tom then notices that Bellamy seems troubled and after swearing Tom's secrecy, Bellamy admits that he died.

Maggie is at the crime scene assembling the bodies and reports to Fred that all of the bodies are male and that there are at least six of them.  She adds that these bones were recently dug up and then thrown in the water but that they have no idea where they previously were.  Maggie is very matter of fact with her father throughout this entire conversation. Fred then brings up Barbara getting baptized but Maggie walks away clearly not interested in interacting with Fred and frankly, who can blame her.

Back at the church, Bellamy says that what happened does not make sense and he wonders if he was born in Arcadia because he always knew he was adopted.  He talks about how as a child, he would make up stories about his origin to hide the fact that his parents didn't want him.  Bellamy then moves on to the dream he had the night before of looking down at his dead body and questions what it means.  Bellamy realises that he must have a body somewhere.  Tom talks about Rachel's desire to see her own body so that she could grieve and  Bellamy wonders how one can grieve for themselves. Tom suggests that people do this all of the time by doing things like grieving for the child they once were for example. Bellamy is struck by this as Tom adds that in order to grow, one must put one's past self to rest.  When Bellamy says that he doesn't know who his old self is, Tom suggests that he find out.

Bellamy reports that another Returned has arrived without any family and no one to claim him.  Maggie then calls and says that she believes that the bones from the river are Returned. Maggie adds that what they have are two sets of identical skeletons. When Bellamy questions Maggie assertions, Maggie says that this is the only explanation and adds that the bones are so old that they could potentially be from the 1930's judging from the dental work. Maggie now believes that Jacob wasn't the first and that this has happened before.  They agree to meet at the clinic and for Maggie to bring the bones there.

Carl is making his way home and trips over his brother empty beer cans. For his troubles he is mocked by his brother.  Mikey is vulgar and course and tries to emasculate Carl.  Mikey then suggests they get beer and stakes for an impromptu party  but when Carl offers Mikey the keys to the truck so that he can shop for the requested items, Mikey questions if Carl wants him to get attacked and shot. Mikey comments that no matter how much he eats, he never gains weight.  Carl points out that it is getting expensive to feed Mikey. Mikey continues to belittle Carl and demands that Carl pick up frozen stake before belching and leaving the room.  At this point, one cannot help but feel sorry for Carl.

Maggie brings in the remains along with two other deputies only to find Margaret waiting for her. Margaret it seems is there for her follow up appointment. Maggie takes Margaret into her office and declares her to  be in great shape.  Margaret shifts the conversation to Fred and how much he is hurting.  We see a flashback of Fred, as Margaret talks about Fred pretending that nothing can hurt him and that he feels more deeply then any of them. Margaret declares that Fred is right not to trust any of the Returned because they shouldn't be here.  Margaret points out that they have not done anything to deserve this and that Fred is the only one who has the courage to stand up and say it.

The Langston's have escorted Jacob to school where he meets Principal Hayes.  It turns out that Jacob and Hayes were students together in the past.  The adults send Jacob off to play and Lucille admits her fears for Jacob and Hayes says that it won't be easy for Jacob.  Lucille questions if the school can guarantee Jacob's safety but Hayes says that he shares the Langston's concerns for Jacob's safety.  The Langston's get to meet Jacob's teacher, Miss. Cannon.  Finally, another character of colour has been added to this series. Lucille and Miss. Cannon don't exactly hit it off because Miss. Cannon initially mistakes the Langstons for Jacob's grandparents.

The Vines by Christopher Rice

Caitlin, a rich heiress and owner of a truly extravagant renovated mansion seems to have it all. Sadly, she also has a cheating husband.

Caitlin’s rage at his betrayal invokes an old power lying beneath the house – a lethal power that seizes on her revenge for its own deadly purpose

It’s down to Nova, the daughter of Caitlin’s groundskeeper and Blake, her estranged best friends, to get to the bottom of the mystery and find out what it is she has invoked.

The atmosphere of the book is excellent. This is a horror novel and it brings the creepy – and a whole lot of mystery. There is a lot of tension in the book from almost the beginning and there is no scrimping on the horror. A lot of this comes from the unknown – because the Vines quickly become more and more complicated than simple angry, vengeance seeking plants which continues to add to the tension and the unknown. Every time I thought I knew how this worked, every time I thought that I would know who was at risk or not the rules changed, we had some more revealed and the threat became more universal again. The ground kept shifting, the mystery kept growing, the creepiness was always maintained

The language also hit the right balance. It was elaborate and gothic and descriptive – juuuuust edging towards being overly descriptive and overly flowery – but then pulling back from the edge. It held on the cusp of being just a bit too much for most of the book, instead adding really nicely to the atmosphere of it.

However, elaborate language, hefty description coupled with a shifting deep mystery meant there were times when I was lost and trying to figure out where we were going, what was happening and why because everything just kind of stumbled into confusion for a bit in the middle and towards the end.

It also has a revenge plot and raises the issue of both what will you sacrifice for revenge and what revenge makes you, as a person. It’s interesting and knotty

I was really pleasantly surprised by how this book presented the setting – and I don’t mean the magic. This book is set in a very wealthy, restored plantation house outside of Louisiana, with some delving into the past. A lot of books set in this time and place have a… overly romanticised view of the setting. I’ve seen far too many happy-Black-slaves and devoted Black servants just falling over themselves to serve the rich White family they adore so.

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 3: Rocky Road

Robin, Marion and their kid are out for a walk with Robin trying to sell how wonderful the town is (really, show her central heating and stop camping in the woods – that’d convince me!) and their son plays the “Regina let me…” card. Oh kid that’s below the belt. So to the ice cream parlour with the probably-evil ice magic lady who spells Marion’s ice cream.

Emma and Elsa confront Gold about why Elsa was inside his magic urn (she was? I don’t remember that?) but Gold claims complete ignorance – he runs a pawn shop, things enter his hands. It’s what they do. Hook suspects nefarious intent but Gold claims to be a whole new person. When Emma continues to doubt him Gold insists Belle use the dagger to compel him to tell the truth (is this the real one or not?) and Emma still has a lie detector power (or so she says); he claims ignorance of Elsa and Anna

Which seems to be a lie because flashback last week had Anna go seek out Rumplestiltskin.

Flashback back to Arendel and Kristoff is very annoying but she does convince Elsa not to go running after Anna because leaving her kingdom without a monarch (AGAIN) is a bad idea. And she gets news that there’s an army led by Prince Hans amassing south of Arendel. It seems Hans likes being frostbitten. Kristoff wants to scout but Elsa thinks it’s too dangerous (and her chief minion thinks that someone who cuts ice for a living probably shouldn’t have a say on matters of war. Personally I think Elsa should just send annoying animate snowmen at them until they surrender).

Kristoff decides to ignore Anna and go scout anyway, spying on Hans and his 12 older brothers who don’t have a great deal of respect for their younger brother. To try and claim the crown of Arendel, he apparently has an urn.

Kristoff hurries to warn Elsa that Hans is going to get a cave of magical people trapping (Elsa and her war council having rightly realised that Elsa is quite capable of destroying entire armies). Elsa doesn’t want to risk her troops so wants to go, with Kristoff (and no guards) to destroy the urn.

As they walk, Elsa realises that an urn to trap magical people means that she isn’t the only magical person in the world. She tries to get Kristoff to understand how much that means to someone who is so different from those around them, appealing to Kristoff’s experience being raised by rock trolls but he doesn’t get it – because his family was loving and accepting (and Elsa’s parents were terrible) and has never felt alone among them.

They find the urn but Elsa wants to study it in the hope of finding others like herself. Her delay means Hans and his brothers arrive and, despite magic, Kristoff gets taken hostage. I’d consider him  reasonable sacrifice. Alas Elsa disagrees and gives up the urn – and tells Kristoff to find Anna and save Arendel.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Walking Dead, Season Five, Episode One: No Sanctuary

The season opens with appears to be the people from Terminus all locked up.  They lament bringing Rick a group to Terminus and say that they never should have put up the signs.

It then shifts to the group talking about its various members, as Rick works to make a weapon out of his belt and the other members make weapons out of what they have available.  Rick tells everyone to go for the eyes first and then their throats.  Rick et al are suddenly ordered to put their backs to the walls and so the group prepares to fight but are surprised when the roof of the train car is opened up and gas is dropped in instead.

In a blur, we see Rick being hogtied and a similarly tied up Darryl brought in to sit next to him.  They are quickly joined by several other men, as in the background another man sharpness his knives.  Clearly they are being prepared for the slaughter. Rick et al watch as the man who is not part of their group is bashed over the head by a baseball bat and then had his throat is slit.  The people from Terminus move down the line killing two more men.  Rick manages to pull out some kind of shiv as yet another man is killed.  Glenn is next in line but they pause when Alex enters the room demanding an accounting of the shells that were used.  Bob takes this opportunity to say that the group has someone who knows how to stop the zombie apocalypse and that they just have to get him to Washington.  Alex is not convinced and tells Bob that they cannot go back.  Alex removes Rick's gag to ask about the bag he buried in the woods.  Rick doesn't answer, so Alex asks again, this time holding Bob and a spike. Rick offers to take Alex out there and reveals that there are guns hidden in the bag. Rick does however promise to kill Alex with a machete with a red handle. Alex steps back and informs the butchers that they have two hours to finish the slaughter.

Tyreese and Carol continue to follow the railroad track to Terminus.  She vows to see Tyreese and Judith safe before leaving.  When a walker appears, Tyreese simply says that he cannot and takes Judith, as Carol kills the walker.  When Carol looks up, she sees a horde of walkers headed right for them and so she and Tyreese head into the bushes to hide. When Carol and Tyreese start to stand to leave the area, gunshots go off. Attracted by the noise, the walker horde follows the sound of the gunshots, as Carol and Tyreese look on from the bushes.

Once the herd is gone, Carol and Tyreese climb out of the woods and speculate about Terminus being attacked.  Tyreese begins to question if they should keep heading to Terminus but Carol is determined that they get answers.

Martin is outside of a rickety cabin and communicating with CB radio to someone from Terminus.  Carol sneaks up behind him and places a gun to his head. Martin is quick to tell them that they have a place where everyone is welcome but Carol and Tyreese don't buy his story.  Martin then says that Rick et al attacked and they were only protecting themselves but of course, Carol and Tyreese don't believe that story either. Martin warns that they need to set up their charges to confuse the walkers and argues that this is a good thing for Carol and Tyreese as well. Carol however believes that the walkers will work to their benefit, even as Martin warns that Terminus is a compound.

Dreamfever (MacKayla Lane Series #4) by Karen Marie Moning

Mac has been rescued from the Unseelie – and brought back to sanity by Barrons. But in the time she was being “cured”, the Unseelie has been free and the world has been devastated. The war is now global, Dublin is a shell of what it once was.

Mac has to do what she can to gather the survivors together to fight back, to stop the Sidhe-seers from sheltering and be ready to fight, to dig up whatever information she can find in their hidden archive

And, above all, to find the Sinsar dubh and stop the Lord Master.

Ok, let’s start with the big, yawning, horrible problem with this book.

At the end of the last book, Mac was captured by 4 “death-by-sex” fae. Fae who are super attractive (they literally make your eyes bleed to look at them) and produce lots of woo-woo lust. Mac was captured by them, she was raped by them, she became a Pri-ya. Which means a human who is addicted to sex. Mac stayed in this state for months, constantly craving sex and Barrons stepped in and “saved” her by having sex with her lust-addicted self. He raped her, repeatedly, constantly, for months. For her own good.


And don’t even start with any excuses of narrative necessity. All of this was under author control, it’s a story. Mac could have been cured by banana-flavoured blancmange and a Desperate Housewives marathon (especially if you wanted it to be a traumatic experience for her to recover from). The evil fae who kidnapped her could have tortured her, or just held her prisoner while the city fell apart, or just have shown her their true appearance which apparently breaks human minds – any of these could have been used to present Mac as being terrible wounded and needing Barrons to nurse her back to mental health (preferably without his healing rape), none of which would involve rape and all of which would have maintained exactly the same narrative.

The one semi-bright spot is Mac recognising that she has been raped and not downplaying it. But even this is dimmed by the fact she now finds Barrons even more sexually appealing than she did before he raped her. And then there’s Barrons himself – even if I accepted all the previous as narratively necessary (which I really really don’t), Barrons expecting Mac to be grateful is galling. Barrons repeatedly making nasty sarcastic comments about the time he raped her and the time she was gang raped – I have no words. How is that close to acceptable? How is that close to what any fractionally decent person would do? Why would he do this? Why should we not loathe him forever for TAUNTING Mac about raping her, over and over again?

Intruders, Season 1, Episode 8: It Never Ends

Flashback opener – New York, 1931 with Bix and Rose in a club, enjoying the music, playing music – and Bix drinking heavily. Cut to later with him dying and Rose grabbing the mouth piece to his trumpet and having the dying Bix focus on it – creating a trigger to bring him back in a future life.

To the present and Jack, having watched Gary jump of the roof and now called the emergency services, now enters the Reverti building, gun drawn. Inside he finds Todd, bleeding to death after Madison/Marcus slashed open his leg. He ties up Todd’s leg and Todd tells him where the secret passage is into the basement.

That’s two people who need emergency help Jack has just left behind.

He walks through the dark, underground corridors and rooms, stalked by Marcus/Madison. It’s the kind of horror scene we’ve seen a lot before – but rarely with a 10 year old girl as the menacing stalker. Jack overhears two men (Shepherds?) planning to kill Richard at Rose’s orders.

Detective Ron is still trying to help Madison’s parents find Madison – but instead has found Todd’s daughter, Meadow. She’s terrified of Madison, but the parents are far too distraught to notice. The emergency services call Jack made, though, is connected by Ron to the address where Meadow said her dad was stabbed.

In the tunnels, Madison/Marcus has flashbacks to Marcus’s last life – when Rose (wait, Rose who looks like Amy? Would Rose have been in Amy’s body then?) had Marcus walled up, alive; apparently part of the process of ensuring he’ll never come back. After being walled up, Richard Shepherd pulls out of a brick and shows him the cracker (way back at the beginning of the series, this is the Trigger he used to bring Marcus back) before re-bricking him up and agreeing to see him in 18 years.

Jack finds a library full of the journal books the Reverti seem to use to return to life or get their bearings or just to record their lives (it hasn’t been clearly explained). Several of them have the names of famous people attached. He also finds a huge archive of Triggers and starts destroying them. He only stops when he hears Madison/Marcus hammering on the brick wall where he was entombed.

Jack sneaks up behind her and takes the hammer and almost gets slashed in the leg for it. Marcus/Madison decides to try and recruit Jack since they both hate Rose. Lots of exposition of who Madison is (Marcus says Madison is gone) and how Marcus was buried alive by Rose. Madison/Marcus points to where Marcus’s old body is and challenges Jack to check – to confirm that it’s all true. And when it’s confirmed, she expects Jack to help her kill Rose.

Jack breaks down the wall – behind which is Marcus’s body. Marcus/Madison wants to set off to murder but Jack insists she’s a 9 year old girl and needs to stay put. Oh Jack, you kind of deserved getting your arm slashed there. Having cut Jack, Madison/Marcus runs off

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Haven, Season 5, Episode 5: The Old Switcheroo Part 1

The old switcheroo? Oh please not the clichéd body swap episode! Please no – that, the clip show episode and the “oh look evil person who looks just like me” episode are a klaxon announcing you’re out of ideas.

Duke and Nathan are continuing to try and treat Mara like Audrey, despite Mara’s insistence that she’s kill Audrey and generally not making it easy for them. Plan B is to take Mara on a case to help a Troubled person – because that’s what Audrey does and hopefully then they can treat Mara like Audrey without Mara realising it and fighting them.

Vince has taken Dave’s adoption details to North Carolina where he’s chasing down the mysterious scrawled “Croatoan” word from last week’s stalled therapy. He’s found the Croatoan café – which is also a historical society. He recounts the Croatoan legend – that an English settlement during colonial times was abandoned, no trace of the colonists except the word “Croatoan” carved in a tree; confirmed by Alison, the owner of the diner.

In Haven, Dave staggers and nearly falls, mirroring Vince in North Carolina. Yes, it’s the body switch.

Both stagger around lost and confused and blaming the other. Gloria arrives to snark at Vince (in Dave’s body), apparently Dave was due to get her info. Gloria is, as always, awesome. Of course they both discover each other’s secrets – that Vince is researching Dave’s origin and Dave is hiding a wound on his leg.

Dave, in Vince’s skin follows his clues of Dave’s origin’s to Alison’s house. He hits his head on a branch and meets Alison again and her husband Skip (the music plays ominously when he says he hasn’t heard of Haven so I assume it’s a lie. Alison doesn’t understand why her address would be in the adoption file since her family has owned the property for generations and had no adoptions.

Vince joins Dave in North Carolina and they snark at each other as they do. Vince is much more suspicious than Dave and does more investigating into Alison – he finds a random phone number on a random post it pad so, naturally, writes it down, as you do. Actually there is some reason to it – the area code is Haven’s. The brothers also have a bonding moment over the secrets they kept from each other and the reasons for it. They call the number – and get the psychiatric facility.

Random weekly trouble – in what looks like a residential home for the mentally ill, one of the orderlies strangles a patient – and then suffocates to death himself.

Gloria is called in and she’s hit by the same body switching Trouble as Dave and Vince – swapping with Dwight.

Nathan arrives for the Trouble fixing, Dwight and Gloria let him know what’s happening and we see the actors trying to play each other’s characters. Dwight isn’t thrilled with Mara joining (and Gloria’s body means he can’t hit Nathan properly) but Nathan has attached a stun belt to Mara in case she gets out of hand.

Z Nation, Season 1, Episode 5: Home Sweet Zombie

The gang has found a nice quiet house in Southern Illinois and everyone is being disturbingly or domestic (with edgy elements – betting on prescription pills). All is peaceful but Citizen Z comes on the radio to warm about incoming storms.

Of course the peaceful domesticity is just a shallow skim – the house is protected by an electric fence which Warren flips zombies off and when Mac and Addy look for a bed they have to skip over a room full of corpses (and that, for people on the run, being fully naked to have sex is actually a novelty).

Points to the side snark as well – Garnett (referring to Mac and Addy) “I can’t remember the last time I snuck off with someone.” Warren “I can’t remember the last time I wanted to.” Which I translate as “hell no, don’t even think about it. Not going to happen.” They think of the past, their lost families and Garnett suggests they drop by Warren’s home town on the way – but she doesn’t see the point, everything there (including Antoine her ex) is gone.  She never got to say goodbye before she left with the National Guard.

Addy also has some flashback angst as the storm gets closer (we have the jewellery triggering a memory cliché). And the storm knocks out the electric fence. Time to run and fight and make dramatic one liners

Citizen Z is drunk and even more random than usual – reporting that a huge Tornado is on the way. His warning is heard by multiple survivor groups (he seems to have a following).

The group argues about what to do (Warren – ignoring “some punk with a satellite”? Seriously? What nonsense is this?). Eventually with the storm rolling in they have no choice but to shelter in Warren’s home town (that’s some horrible abuse of Chekov’s gun right there).

Warren sees the memory wall that has been put up, pictures and messages about missing people, or people looking for lost family; she sees a lot of people she knew including Antoine, still waiting for her. Murphy is, predictably, unpleasant about it.

They make it to Warren’s house (it has a storm cellar) and Murphy continues to be a horrible person while Warren deals with sudden powerful memories. They find someone else has also taken shelter there – a woman and a badly injured man, sent by a fireman who may be Antoine. Murphy continues to be a terrible person. Most of the gang goes for supplies before the storm hits – leaving a few behind (and instructions to Mac to watch the wounded guy in case he turns).