Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Vampire Diaries, Season Six, Episode Four: Black Hole Sun

Back in Groundhog land, Bonnie has returned with several items that Kai has requested.  Kai makes it clear that Bonnie's magic, as well as his supposed element and whatever Damon was doing on May 10th, 1994 are the key to getting out of there. Damon threatens torture but Kai warns that if he is tortured, he will get angry and will not be in the mood to help, causing Bonnie to tell Damon to play nice.  It turns out that Damon doesn't want to play nice because it would mean relating the worst thing he has ever done. Hmm, a serial killer and a rapist has something beyond that to be ashamed of?

Flashback time:  Damon shows up at the Salvatore home and the door is answered  by Stephan.  When Damon tries to enter, he finds that he is barred from entrance. It seems that it's been fifty years since the brothers have seen each other and Stephan is not impressed by Damon's claim about wanting to change his ways.  Putting flowers on Lexy's grave 17 years after killing her, doesn't hold much weight in Stephan's book but he is curious as to why Damon wants to make amends.  Zack makes his appearance and Stephan introduces him to Damon.  Zack invites Damon in and Stephan again queries Damon about starting over.

Elena and Stephan talk by phone about their search for Sarah.  It seems that Sarah is not on any of the roads and so Stephan surmises that Sarah must be in Mystic Falls.  Elena believes this is horrible because Sarah knows that she and Caroline are vampires.  Stephan cuts the calls short and starts his bike up, only to be interrupted by Elena, who demands to know where the hell he is going.  When Stephan replies home, Elena tells him that Savannah is not his home and that it is merely an escape.  Stephan says that now that he can longer enter Mystic Falls, he has a new home. Stephan seems to be making perfect sense to me because there is a large world outside of Mystic Falls. It seems that Stephan plans to go to Savannah, pack up his things and start over because Enzo killed Ivy.  Elena demands proof that Stephan is happy and if he fails to seem happy enough for her, she will harass him.  Umm yeah Elena not believing to put this one horse town behind her seems far more problematic. It must be all of the brainwashing in those Founder's Day celebrations. Elena hops on Stephan's bike, saying that since she cannot enter Mystic Falls, it's up to Matt and Jeremy to get a handle on Sarah.

Jeremy is busy puking his brains out, while Matt and Alaric chat about Jeremy's drunkenness and the missing Sarah. Matt is on his way to Tripp's office to see if he can get Tripp to trust him enough to tell him what he knows. After ending his call, Alaric takes the time to flirt with Jo, saying that Jeremy needs a quick hangover cure, as well as an STD test.

 Matt arrives at Tripp's office to find Tripp notifying Jay's parents that he found their son dead in the woods last night.  Matt says that Jay was drunk and that he should have driven him home.  Tripp decides to go and see the sheriff and Matt volunteers to go because he might be the last person to see Jay alive.

Flashback time to 1994, where the brother's wash Damon's car, as they watch Zack and  the very pregnant Gail.  Stephan is quick to advise Damon to stop thinking of Zack and Gail as prey because they are both on vervain. Hmm let's see, new Black character, yeah Gail is vampire food. In midst of the telling of Damon telling this story, Kai falls asleep, causing a grouchy Damon to snark. Kai's swears that he wasn't sleeping and sarcastically questions if Damon killed Gail.  Damon tells Kai that the only reason he is still alive, is because Damon thought Kai could help them.  Kai replies that they will harness the power of the eclipse, using a mystical relic called an ascendant. Kai slices his finger, adding that they need a locater spell.

Back in Savannah, Stephan shows Elena his paycheck for the week, which is a grand total of 206 dollars.  Stephan questions if Elena wants to go and get drunk, to which Elena replies that she gets that the point is to live as human as possible.  Elena then points out Stephan's expensive classic car and a sheepish Stephan admits that Damon isn't around to torture him about the car anymore.  Elena snarks about Stephan working a dead end job but Stephan says that they get to decide who they want to be for the next thirty years.

Back at the hospital, Alaric talks with Jo about Jeremy's drinking.  Jo says that Jeremy will be fine, especially if Jeremy is anything like his sister and that this is something she treats every single night on campus. How is Elena, someone who clearly rarely attends class, suddenly a paragon of goodness?  Over her shoulder, Alaric notices a kid with a massively bloody nose and so Jo snarks that when a moderately successful, beautiful doctor is flirting with him,  Alaric should give her his full attention, before walking away.

Elena and Stephan have now hit the bar, where Stephan suggests that if Sarah "outs" her that she should start her life somewhere else. Why oh why equate vampirism with an GLBT identity? Stephan asks that Elena hand over her ring and then gets on one knee, before loudly starting to propose.  Elena queries whether Stephan is proposing because she is pregnant. Stephan loudly proclaims that Elena has stood by his side during addiction, multiple accidents, including a bull fighting injury.  Elena can barely stop herself from laughing, as she says yes, as the bar breaks out in applause.

Friday, October 24, 2014

#HaleNo Review Black Out Link Round Up

In light of the major issue of Kathleen Hale’s stalking as mentioned in today’s Friday Discussion, many reviewers are having a #HaleNo Review Black Out until October 27th which I initially saw proposed by Jane of Dear Author (I do not know if the idea originated with her, though)

This is something we support, not least of which because this is the result of actions like Ms. Hale’s being accepted will result in: the silence of review blogs and the death of critical, informative reviewing. After all, very few of us are actually making any kind of living at this - and few are willing to engage in an unpaid activity (especially one that can be a lot of work) that will bring obsessive and angry people to their homes and their family.

Of course, Fangs for the Fantasy runs on a schedule - and at present that schedule doesn’t include book reviews on Thursdays or during the weekend - the blackout rather falls in our dark period. So, instead of a book review today we are putting out a link round up of various blogs talking about the Hale stalking because we shouldn’t just chalk this up to another case of author drama and return to business as normal

Dear Author’s On the Importance of Pseudonymous Activity nicely sums up the whole facts of the issue

Love in the Margins also has an excellent Link Roundup

Bookthingo’s excellent Storify: What happens when The Guardian lets an author gloat about stalking a blogger which also captures the reaction to Ms. Hale’s stalking which is, in many ways, as scary as the stalking itself.

Jim. C. Hines: Victim or Perpetrator?

Again from Dear Author - Poisoning the Well. How Ms. Hale’s actions hurt all in the book community, authors as well

We do not know the various writer’s histories nor can we guarantee that other posts on these sites won’t be problematic

The 100: Season Two, Episode One: The 48

Clarke is still in her little cell and she is being watched by camera.  When Clarke looks through the window, she is shocked to someone in hazmat gear staring back at her. Maya walks away, so Clarke begins to bang on the door asking where Monty is.  Maya merely turns and continues to clean down what should be Monty's bed.  In desperation, Clarke grabs her IV pole and smashes the window in her door; however, when Clarke reaches her hand through the window to unlock her door, she manages to slash her arm open.  This does not stop Clark and after she gets the door open, Clarke picks up a shard of glass and attacks Maya, demanding to know what she is doing.  Clarke drags Maya through the compound, forcing Maya to use her keycard to open the door to the elevator, as Clarke continues to hold the glass shard to her throat.  All Maya can do is whimper in fear.  Clarke and Maya make their way to a dining area and when the people finally see Clarke, they scream containment breach and run, as soliders approach Clarke from behind.

Bellamy makes his way through the woods with a spear in his hand.  He runs into a few of The 100 who managed to escape.  Bellamy orders them to follow him and stay low and quiet.  They come across Finn and another member of The 100 being dragged by one of the Grounders.  When one of them falls to the ground unable to keep up, The grounder dismounts and kills him quickly, telling Finn that this is one and he lost 300. Finn quickly tries to struggle to his feet but The Grounder only offers Finn water, saying that he needs to keep one of them alive to talk to the commander.  Bellamy watches, as The Grounder mounts the house and continues to lead Quinn through the woods.

Lincoln is washing up in the woods, as Octavia practices a Grounder language, so that she can travel. Octavia questions why she has to learn this and Lincoln explains that only the warriors speak English, so to blend in, Octavia must learn the language by the time they get to the sea. (Nuclear bomb goes off, but still not enough to kill sexism.  That's good to know The 100)Lincoln pulls the arrow out of Octavia's leg and quickly cauterizes the wound.  Lincoln realises that Octavia has been poisoned and Octavia makes it clear that they cannot return to Lincoln's village because every single member of his village will take a turn at stabbing him. Lincoln gives Octavia a weapon, saying that the antidote comes from beetles and rushes off to get Olivia some beetles.

A grounder approaches the old 100 camp and falls to his knees when he sees the burned remains of one of his tribe.  He comes across Raven, who is playing possum and she wastes no time shooting him.  Raven holds her gun up when she hears a sound and it turns out that it's Murphy returning.  Murphy begs Raven not to shoot but she points out that Murphy shot her and pulls the trigger, only to discover that the gun is empty. An injured but relieved Murphy sits down, telling Raven that he would have shot himself as well.

Clarke is tied to a bed when President Dante Wallace, Maya and a doctor walk in.  Clarke does not immediately answer their questions and Maya explains that Clarke was the next one to have cleared through quarantine. When Maya mentions that it would have been another ten minutes, Wallace cuts her off by clearing his throat. Maya says that she is not pressing charges and is told that she may get her treatment now.  Wallace says that restraints are not necessary and when Clarke shakes Wallaces hands and notices the black marks, he explains them as paint.  It seems that Clarke's fellow 100 who have been captured, have spent their time freely handing out information. Clarke asks about her watch but Wallace says that they cannot allow contaminated items inside. In the background, Maya is hooked up to an IV, which delivers some dark looking medicine, or perhaps blood. Clarke asks how many of them were captured and Wallace reveals that they have 48 of them.  Wallace says that they are not prisoners and that all the people they could find have been gathered up.  Clarke brings up the ark's return to earth and Wallace explains that they are searching for survivors and will bring in anyone they find. Clarke asks to see her people  and a box is wheeled in.  The box contains clothing, as well as jewelery options and Clarke is asked to change and meet them in the hall.  Clarke rips the high heel off of a shoe. It looks like Clarke is losing some of her naiveté. 

Clarke meets Wallace in the hall, which leads to the area where they get power from a hydro electric dam.  Wallace explains that they get fresh water from their own underground freshwater reservoir and adds that they get fresh food from their hydroponic farm.  Clarke questions why these people are staying in the compound, when they know the ground is survivable.  Wallace explains that the ground is not survivable for them.  Clarke points out that the Grounders have survived but Wallace answers that The Grounders who couldn't survive radiation didn't and those who could, passed on their DNA.  The people in the compound have not gone through that process.  Clarke points out that The 100 didn't go through that process either and then realises that they have been exposed to solar radiation - the same gauntlet as The Grounders.  Apparently, The 100 have a greater ability to survive the radiation on earth than The Grounders.  Wallace leads Clarke into an elevator and asks that Clarke hand over the heel.   When Clarke hands it over, Wallace explains that she is not at war anymore and is safe there.

American Horror Story, Season 4, Episode 3: Edward Mordrake Part 1

We’re at The American Morbidity on Hallowe’en where a patronising tour guide shows off the body parts and pictures of people with non-typical bodies and expressing what a relief Hallowe’en was since they could go out without being noted upon. In to this comes a fake doctor and his assistant trying to sell a faked specimen – the museum representatives are not impressed. The curator is more cunning though – if these clearly morally dubious people (she calls them “inventive”) could bring her a real specimen, she wouldn’t ask too many details.

Which sounds like an invitation to criminal enterprise. Naughty naughty. She also mentions where she used to get specimens – including Freak Shows when a performer died. Especially drawing attention to the expensive conjoined liver they have on display.

Halowe’en has also come to the town near the Freak Show, with kids going out before the curfew and Twisty the creepiest of creepy clowns hanging around being creepy.

Ethel goes to see the doctor –her old days of hard drinking have caught up with her. Or her liver anyway. He tells her she’s only got 6 months to a year to live (and we get to see the real strength of this show – acting that is second to none). She cries and tells him that he’s the first doctor who ever respected her and wonders how different her life would have been if she had met him sooner.

At the show everyone’s partying for Hallowe’en except Jimmy who is moping and Dot who loses her temper and shouts at everyone for celebrating while Meep is dead and Jimmy just buried him. She wants to dedicate the show to Meep’s memory – but is told there’ll be no show. Freaks don’t perform on Hallowe’en because of Edward Mordrake (Ethel explains while getting a drink, despite her doctor’s instructions), a nobleman in the 1800s with a face on the back of his head whose whispers drove him insane. After a stint in Bethlem, he joined a Freak Show and one Hallowe’en snapped and killed every other performer before committing suicide. Now his spirit makes an appearance should any “freak” perform on Halowe’en.

Jimmy talks to his mother about her drinking but she snaps and says means things probably to drive Jimmy away so he doesn’t see her die.

They have a funeral for Meep and a new applicant arrives: Mystic Esmeralda, a fortune teller (one of the con-men from the beginning).

To the twins – both having the same dream of Dot having Bette’s head removed (effectively killing her). Dot thinks this is a wonderfully happy dream, Bette less so. Especially since Dot has tried to kill her before; Dot doesn’t reassure her since she says she will find a doctor to do that surgery once she’s earned enough money so one of them has a chance at happiness.

Jimmy goes to Elsa about Esmeralda and Elsa notes that most fortune tellers have a “darker complexion” and Jimmy concedes she’s “no gypsy”. Elsa tests her and Esmeralda perceptively scans the room for clues about Elsa, quickly seeing Elsa’s desperation to be famous and spins a tale of Marlene Dietrich stealing Elsa’s fame. Esmeralda is hired. She also lays the groundwork for someone to “guide” Elsa.

Kathleen Hale: Stalking and a Community Problem

Anyone who has been on the internet for the last few days must have been aware of the Kathleen Hale stalking drama. If you are not fully aware, here are some excellent posts on the matter

Love in the Margins also has an excellent Link Roundup

So I don’t want to repeat what has already been said excellently in so many other places - but I do want to say we have a problem.

It’s very tempting to consider this all happened because Ms. Hale is a deeply unpleasant and, frankly, scary woman - which is not inaccurate. It’s also tempting to think that she got the profile she did because she is very well connected - which isn’t unlikely. It’s also tempting to think that it doesn’t take much to set off some stalkers - sometimes the slightest thing can lead a stalker to building up a rather terrifying elaborate fantasy.

It’s tempting, and reassuring, to decide that this is a “one off.” Except, it’s already clear that it isn’t. And, in some ways more worrying than these frightening stalkers themselves, we’re also seeing consent and approval for their actions. It’s not a “one off” (or a “two off” or how ever many off it turns out to be) when these actions are praised and celebrated by so many in our community.

That isn’t worrying - that is frightening. It is frightening that fans and authors respond to this report of outright stalking and made excuses for it - or openly praised it.

What have we become? And how much further will we take this?

This culture of attacking reviewers for criticism has been developing for a while - of which STGRB is perhaps the most visible manifestation of it. And yes, we must draw a direct link between Ms. Hale’s stalking and the wide acceptance of her actions if not directly to that group then certainly to the attitude that spawned them, not least of which because Ms. Hale herself referred to them. When STGRB first caused so much outrage with their campaigns against reviewers - including doxing, revealing reviewer’s names, addresses and work-places many of us spoke out against them - but equally there were many more willing to speak in favour of them and to their defence. There were many who were willing to join them in labelling negative reviews as “bullying” (a grossly offensive comparison that takes advantage of the high profile of vulnerable suicides that drew attention to bullying, especially of marginalised people) and in labelling criticism as “attack”. Authors like Anne Rice and Nathan Bransford spoke up in support of this characterisation, ignoring or tacitly accepting STGRB’s tactics (including doxxing and slandering reviewers with allegations of them being bad mothers, or having a drinking problem). News outlets like Huffpost Books further added credence to the idea that criticism was “bullying” and that the tactics of STGRB were either acceptable or negligible.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sleepy Hollow, Season Two Episode Five: The Weeping Lady

This episode begins with Ichabod paying a visit to Caroline, who hands him clothing she made herself out of a special wave, as well as hand churned butter and preserves.  Now, if this was in Ichabod's time, this would be over the top but slightly understandable, but Caroline is helping Crane because she is inspired by his supposed dedication to colonial reenactment and the way he never breaks character. How Ichabod could have missed the signs Caroline was tossing about regarding her interest is beyond me.  When Caroline goes to make her move, Ichabod is forced to step backwards and finally stutter and tell Caroline that he is a married man. Caroline steps back in shock and explains that because there are no pictures of Crane's wife, and he never talks about her, she assumed that Crane was either single or a widower. Crane assures Caroline that is wife is alive and well, as Abby enters the room.  Caroline quickly apologises, mistaking Abby for Crane's wife and Abby snarks that she and Crane need a symbol to indicate when Crane is getting his giddy on.  Crane is not impressed and points out that he was unaware of Caroline's feelings towards him.  Abby snarks that it was obvious that Caroline had a clear case of "Crane on the brain."

Crane talks about how distracted he is by Katrina's current circumstances but Abby points out that Katrina chose to stay with the horsemen and can clearly handle herself.  Switch to Katrina working on some kind of potion to make ink.  She writes a message and opens the window to see a bird.  Katrina orders the bird to obey her and informs the bird that it will be her messenger.  Katrina gives the bird her message, commanding it to find Ichabod, just as Abraham (read: the headless horseman) enters the room. Katrina thanks Abraham for the comforts he has procured for her and Abraham in turn promises Katrina the world when she is his queen. Katrina is quick to point out that she has never been one for material wants but Abraham clarifies to add that with apocalypse a certainty, the only way Katrina will survive is by his side.  Abraham says that this is a choice he wants Katrina to make willingly but adds that he will not wait forever, before leaving the room. How exactly can she say no when he has her captive?  It seems to be that Abraham has a lot to learn about consent.

Parish is interrupted by Abraham, who reports that Katrina may be trying to work around the enchantment Parish cast around Abraham's home to block Katrina's magic.  Abraham asks Parish to check on it and Parish promises to look into it because Katrina is powerful and devious.  Parish adds that if Katrina is still causing trouble, they can use the binding ritual; however, Abraham is confident that he can convince Katrina to play the role that Moloch wants of her own free will. Parish believes that this will be difficult without severing Katrina's bond with Crane, adding that he loves to cause his parents pain. Talk about your long standing Mommy and Daddy issues already. I am starting to believe that Parish is worse than The Originals.  Abraham asserts that all he wants is for Katrina to have no access to her magic before leaving.  Parish looks through a box for a sin of Katrina's that he can make use of and we get a flash to a young woman and man together.

Two people are making out in a car and the woman makes it clear that she is not  going any further. The man is resistant at first but stops when he hears something.  I love that the young woman reiterates clearly that she is only willing to go do far. Suddenly, something flashes across the window of the jeep and the couple drives away frantically.

Ichabod and Abby are sitting in a car out front of Caroline's house.  Abby suggest that Crane just send Caroline a text but of course, Crane finds this inadequate and while getting of the car says that he is going to apologize in person, the way a gentleman should. Crane makes his way to the front door and when Caroline answers, Crane apologises and asks if they can put the misunderstanding behind them.  Crane admits that he has few friends in Sleepy Hollow and none that have his belief in the Colonial way of life.  Caroline is quick to accept Crane's offer of friendship and he leaves. When Caroline enters her house, she hears a weeping sound.  Caroline makes her way into the living room, where she finds a spectral figure all in black with glowing eyes.  The figure gets out of the chair and makes her way over to Caroline.

Later that day, Abby is at a crime scene at the beach.  The coroner is removing the body of Caroline and Crane is extremely upset. Crane wants to know who would do this but the only information Abby has is that Caroline died at 9 pm, which is when they left Caroline's home. Crane points out that because it is so far from town, it's not likely that anyone saw what happened.  They decide to head down the river to where they believe Caroline's body entered the river.  Crane finds the mug Caroline was holding last night  and Abby finds tire tracks and no foot prints.  Abby reveals that this area is what local kids use as a lovers lane.

Abby and Crane head to high school and Abby gives Crane a brief explanation of high school politics.  They find the kids who were witnesses to Caroline's death based in quickly gathered high school gossip.  The kids tell Abby and Crane that they saw The Weeping Lady.  Later, at the library, Abby explains that The Weeping Lady is the ghost of a woman, who drowned in the river and is dripping wet with glowing green eyes. Crane questions if The Weeping Lady cries because an injustice has been done to her and Abby explains that she was jilted by her husband or lover.  Abby prints up a list of books on the legend and they separate to look for resources. A bewildered Crane makes his way around the library  and pauses when he sees Katrina's messenger on a window ledge.  Katrina has sent him basically a love letter.  Wasn't she supposed to be gathering information on the horsemen?

Abby runs into Hawley, who claims to be gathering information on something which goes bump in the night. Hawley comments on the fact that Abby isn't exactly warming up to him and points out that he does the work he is contracted to do.  Hawley reminds Abby that everything came out okay in the end and predictably Abby replies, "no thanks to you."  Hawley argues that if he had accompanied Crane and Abby, he may have fouled the mission altogether and asks for slack. Hawley offers to help Abby and Crane the next time have a problem with a monster and adds that if they need him, he is down at the pier.

Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 3: Soul Survivor

Last season the Winchesters found out how to cure demons (blessed human blood, lot of shouting, lot of drama, a few other niceties) which is now Sam’s plan for Dean who is locked in the Winchester Cave, in the same cell they used to keep Crowley. Only Dean looks far more evil (and, I have to say, evil looks gooood on him).

Sam has apparently also called Castiel to come help and he and Hannah go on a road trip. In a role reversal, he also has to tell Hannah about the intricacies of human interaction – like if someone tells you they’re fine you accept it and don’t keep asking. Castiel clear isn’t fine – and he hasn’t told Sam that either.

It’s exorcism time with Dean, complete with spooky demon voice, hissing and black eyes and lots of taunting – including that Sam is no better than Demonic!Dean. That faintly ambiguous statement is explained with a flashback showing Sam getting an angry, desperate, drunk man to make a deal with a Crossroads Demon – having a man sell his soul in order to capture a demon to question and torture. Ouch, Sam tries to justify with his intentions but Dean is even less impressed by that excuse than I am.

To Hell and Crowley is now chief bureaucrat (looks like a whole lot of work) but he has an evil advisor! He has a vizier! Vizier guy has heard about Castiel fading and Crowley sends a demon to have him watched – the Vizier thinks to have Cas killed (who knows with Crowley?). Crowley fades out reminiscing about the little holiday he took with Dean which inspires his fawning Lackey to be Crowley’s new “wing man.” Lackey gets vaporised for his impudence.

Things aren’t going all Crowley’s way. One of the demons speaks up with quite a list of grievances against Crowley; he ran off and was completely absent indulging his human blood addiction for a substantial part of the last season. He then took a little holiday with Dean to try and bring him to the dark side – and failed to actually achieve that (but did get more demons killed) and now he rules Hell with pretty frank indifference. One of his demons dramatically suicides in protest.

Over to Castiel and Hannah - who can’t read a map, but the delay gives her another chance to appeal to the dying Cas (with lots of bond-y arm holding entreaty) to get more Grace; Castiel still refuses to kill an angel for a charge up. Argument over, Sam calls worried that his blessed blood treatment is actually killing Dean – which Cas thinks is highly likely but since the options are a) possibly killing Dean for a cure or b) killing Deamon!Dean so he doesn’t run amok or c) let Demon!Dean run amok… well not much choice

Call ended, Castiel tries to give Hannah a gentle let down, telling her he’s focused on saving Dean, they can’t be distracted – and basically telling her to drop her crush because it’s not happening. Which is great but they get another distraction – Edina, not happy about Daniel’s death, holding Hannah hostage with an Angel Blade. With Hannah injured and out the fight (AGAIN. The minute people draw blades Hannah kind of just crumples in a corner), Edina is bound by a classic villain trope to “kill Castiel slowly”. She beats him savagely – until a bleary eyed Cas looks up to see Crowley.

This Week in Book Covers 13th October - 17th October

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

Ah, it’s one of those covers. Spooky, mysterious, suggestive, evocative - designed to pull you in and make you want to read the book.

The Vines by Christopher Rice

Ok I kind of like the midline, I like that most of the cover shows mainly underground which really emphasises the creepiness of the vines. The whole concept of something under our feet, hiding, ready to burst forth is really powerfully suggested here and it’s super creepy because of it

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Originals, Season Two, Episode Three: Every Mother's Son

Esther/Cassie is hard at work on a potion of sorts which she uses to make ink.

Hayley stands before a pretty good spread of food when Klaus enters.  Hayley questions if this is Klaus's doing and when he says no, Hayley assumes that it was Elijah's doing, until he enters and denies responsibility. Hayley questions where the food all came from just before they hear a noise under the hood of the platter. Klaus finds an invitation from Cassie/Esther.

Of course, this calls for a flashback, where we see Esther serving food to the children, only to discover that Klaus is missing.  Elijah reports that Klaus is hiding from his father because they have a hunting trip planned for later and he is not a good hunter. Esther tells Klaus a story to comfort him, saying that whenever he hears a starling, Klaus is to remember that she is with him always.

Later that day, Klaus is expresses his anger that not only do they have to deal with their enemies in New Orleans but their family. Hayley volunteers to add to the body count because Esther and her disciples tried to put a knife through their child's heart.  Elijah interjects that Hayley will do no such thing because Esther is a master in the art of possession. Elijah believes they must find out what Esther is up to before she moves into a new body. Klaus points out that Esther's last invitation was an assassination attempt on her children, thus making any of her intentions foul. Elijah excuses himself, adding that they have this afternoon to prepare for the worse.  Klaus follows, snarking that the bloom is off the rose, in reference to Hayley's interactions with Elijah.

Elijah heads to see Marcel where he declares that Gia is not his burden to bear because Marcel turned her. Marcel questions why Elijah showed up and Elijah explains that he is looking for a cooperative witch. Marcel denies knowing where Davina is and adds, given that Davina has Michael on a leash, she most certainly does not fall into the cooperative category. Elijah says that he is looking for another witch and when Marcel questions why Elijah believes he has another witch, Elijah points out that Gia is already wearing a daylight ring.  Marcel concedes and adds that  he knows someone who can help.  Marcel calls Gia over and asks her to take Elijah to meet Lenore. Elijah is not happy about the supernatural date Marcel is setting him up on and Marcel points out that with everything going on, Marcel can use all of the friends he can get.

Oliver is drinking at Rosseau's, when he is approached by Finn/Vincent.  It seems that Oliver is not impressed because he believed he had a meeting set up with Cassie/Esther. Finn/Vincent introduces himself as Vincent and declares that if Oliver speaks to him, he is in fact speaking to Cassie.  Vincent/Finn hands over a daylight ring as proof of his relationship with Cassie.  Oliver questions what happens if he decides that he does not want to answer to number two in the chain of command and Vincent/Finn replies by rubbing his fingers together, causing Oliver to have difficulty breathing.  Vincent/Finn promises to make an example of Oliver to his pack if he does not listen. Vincent/Finn suggests that they start again and a relieved Oliver nods.  Vincent/Finn informs Oliver that the ring comes at a price and adds that Oliver will begin paying for it today.  Oliver gets on the phone, as Vincent/Finn leaves the bar.

Hayley reports on her phone call with Oliver and questions why it is that Esther hates Klaus so much. Hayley adds that Esther had six kids, which means she must have a maternal gene. That's a big assumption in a world without birth control. Klaus corrects Hayley by saying 7 kids and adds that at one point, Esther loved them very much. Klaus brings up his sibling who died before he was born and his brother Henrique, who was killed by the werewolves in another village, causing Esther to turn them into immortals. This lead to the revelation that Klaus's biological father belonged to pack who murdered his brother, causing Michael to murder Klaus's biological father. Hey, haven't we been through this a few times already? Klaus adds that Esther lost her lover as well as her child and Hayley sees this as an explanation for why Esther is, "crazy." Hayley of course empathises because she was forced to give away her child and cannot imagine how she would feel if her baby had really died.

Klaus reveals that his siblings believed that she didn't hate her children but hated herself for what her children had become. Klaus however simply wants her mother dead and Hayley snarks that every good story needs a wicked witch.

Gia tries to make small talk with Elijah but he is having none of it.  Elijah then stares Gia down, informing her that she should do her best not to waste his time.  They make their way to Lenore's shop. Lenore tells Elijah to ask another witch and snarks that Elijah has crossed the river to bother her.  Elijah then suggests that he can remove some red tape to get her tax incentives on her small business in exchange for the ability to find out the identity of a witch who jumps bodies. Lenore asks for an item spelled by Cassie and a python.  Elijah leaves promising to get the spelled item, adding that Gia will use mind compulsion to get the python.  A stunned Gia asks how to do mind compulsion but Elijah is already out the door. After Gia leaves, Finn/Vincent enters the shop.

Klaus has gone to see Marcel, to ask about a necklace he gave Marcel, on a leather strap with a bird on the end. Marcel shows it to Klaus and questions the request, given everything that is going on.

Time for another flashback and this time it's to Esther giving Klaus the very same necklace, promising to come to his side, if he holds the pendant and thinks of her. Klaus asks if the other children have also received one and Esther explains that though she loves all of her children, Klaus is the most special to her. Esther makes Klaus promise to always wear it.  Later that evening, Esther and Klaus are dancing and she promises to teach him to win the heart of the prettiest girl in the village.  Suddenly, Esther notices that Klaus's necklace is missing and goes into a panic, when (young) Finn makes an appearance and pulls it out of his pocket. Esther tells Klaus that he owes a great debt to his brother.

In present day, Marcel questions why Klaus would want a necklace that Esther gave him but Klaus warns Marcel off, saying that Marcel wants no part in the latest Original family squabble. Klaus takes the necklace and leaves.

Finn/Vincent meets with Cassie/Esther to say that Kol is still looking for Davina.  Esther/Cassie snarks about Kol missing dinner but adds that it is better that his identity remains a mystery. Cassie/Esther then brings up Lenore and Vincent/Finn offers to open up Lenore to new possibilities. Cassie/Esther declines the offer and instead gives the task to Oliver, stating that Vincent/Finns powers of persuasion will be needed for dinner. Cassie/Esther questions if they have gotten an R.S.V.P and Finn/Vincent tells Cassie/Esther that both Elijah and Klaus have been on the move all day.

Vincent/Finn makes his way over to where Lenore has been tied up, to find Oliver staring at her.  Vincent/Finn orders Oliver to persuade Lenore to tell them what Elijah wanted. Vincent/Finn shows Oliver his torture instruments and then turns over an hourglass, ordering Oliver not to waste time.

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

One of the long going series I’ve always been a fan of was the Otherworld Series by Kelley Armstrong and was pretty sad when the series seemed to come to a close and not just in the same way I am when any series I like ends – because I felt there was a lot of stories left in this world and a lot of characters I’d like to see develop more – so this anthology of short stories seemed to be ideal

In particular I loved Demonology and Twilight because they expanded the stories of two very intriguing characters that have always intrigued me. Demonology takes the story of Talia, the human mother of Adam the half-demon who actively sought out help for her fire-starting son and eventually found Dr. Vasic, another half demon. Throughout the series she hasn’t really been a character but we’ve often heard of her strength and determination in not accepting the simple answers for Adam’s condition. It was great to finally see that story, to meet this woman and see the steel we’ve often heard referred to.

Twilight took on Cassandra, the ancient vampire representative of the Council who we see as harsh, acerbic and generally unpleasant through much of the series. This story is the lead up to her final death, for even vampires are not immortal, and seeing through her eyes we understand a lot more about her. She’s not pleasant, not at all – she’s harsh, judgemental, completely undiplomatic and unable to be even slightly kind or soft or mushy at all – but she applies that internally as well. She has harsh, exacting standards and a brutal outlook on life, on what she wants and on weakness and general sillness. Seeing her being equally unimpressed with her own behaviour (even with that underlying fear and complete inability to admit her affection for Aaron) did a really good job of casting a new lens on her.

I also liked Chivalrous because it helped fill out some of the information about the Pack. In the last few books in the series the Pack expanded by three new members and it felt a little like they just popped out of nowhere – three new werewolves! Behold! This stopped one of them, Reese, just being a random name at the back of the crowd and gave him some excellent backstory and development about his experiences in Australia, how other Packs outside the North American Pack work – and how they can also be terrible. This was especially important because he does feature with some prominence in later stories in the book and they wouldn’t have worked without him getting some growth and background behind him.

I think my favourites were Hidden and From Russia With Love because they tackled the story I missed the most when the series ended – the expanding pack and Elena and Clay’s kids. We saw many new members of the pack in Frostbitten and Logan and Kate promised to raise all kinds of questions – and then the story veered towards Savannah and we didn’t get to see any more. Hidden was great at showing Elena continuing to step into the role of Alpha and the excellent family dynamics with her and Clay and the kids – I loved them parenting; a combination of reasonable parental panic throwing in some werewolf issues but, at the same time, maintaining their general confidence and capacity of parents. They worried, but they didn’t panic. I also really like the evolution of the Alpha role – both from Jeremy to Elena (with Elena expecting a less dictatorial role – or wanting one even while everyone expects her to be a dictator) and also looking back at how the Pack has operated for generations – and how broken that was, how it made working with the Mutts so much harder and, finally, overtly blaming the past Alphas for the conflict in Bitten. It’s a great feel of what Elena will be like as Alpha

Forever, Season 1, Episode 6: The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths

Today’s murder, a woman having a “good night” and tipping the footman generously heads for a taxi and doesn’t make it, ending with a scream.

Over to Henry at the morgue doing his routine work and Lucas lamenting the lack of city destroying monsters to keep life interesting which is Jo’s cue to call – the police have received a package. And it’s bleeding. I’m sure there are several organisations you would call before and ME in that circumstance but Henry’s called in for everything including interviewing witnesses so I suppose this is at least somewhat close to his job description.

Inside the bleeding, gift wrapped box is a human heart. Time to examine it while Henry does a voice over about murderers including the worst kind being those who feel nothing. This also leads to henry happily expositioning to Detective Hanson about serial killers sending trophies to the police because they craved attention – just in case the audience was unaware of the fact. Henry tells Jo, Hanson and Reece that the dead person is a woman and had her heart removed while still alive.

They go through various missing women and Henry discounts them with ridiculously vague Sherlockian nonsense (I have dark circles under my eyes – it isn’t iron deficiency, it’s lack of appropriate levels of caffeine). They find Laurie Pettefor who has a record as a prostitute (and sparks Henry’s old memories about someone called Mary Kelly).

The go see the footman at the hotel where she often worked (the one she tipped well). Using Henry powers they track where the killed dragged Laurie. Henry looks around and sees Dorset street meat factory and realises the connection – the killer is a copycat

Yes, historians “Mary Kelly”, we’re having a Jack the Ripper flashback. Henry investigated the crimes in Whitechapel where he was super pathologist then as well

And back to the present where they find Laurie’s body sliced open in a similar brutal way to Mary Kelly. Examining the scene, Henry is impressed by how closely the crime resembles Jack the Ripper’s crime, pointing to very long study. And Henry gets a creepy phone call from the other self-proclaimed immortal, Adam, almost taunting him about the body. Hearing the siren on the phone and outside Henry realises he’s close and runs to try and catch him – only finding his phone left open.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Resurrection, Season Two, Episode Four: Old Scars

A man with a leg brace rushes through the woods and he is being followed by a posse armed with a hanging rope, dogs and guns.  As he runs, he trips and falls repeatedly, clearly due to his disability.  When the posse catches up with the disabled man, they waste no time lynching him, as a young girl watches. Flash to present day where Margaret now stands beneath the same tree.  Was the young spectator a young Margaret?

Lucille gets out of bed, while Henry lies in bed looking at old family photos. Lucille sits at her dressing table to brush her hair as Henry watches.  Lucille makes her way silently towards Henry now dressed completely in black for him to do up her zipper.  Now outside, a clearly sad Lucille holds a G.I. doll in tears.  Lucille is joined by Margaret, who tells her to sit down and relax, reminding Lucille that she would not want Jacob to see her like that.  Lucille admits that she and Margaret didn't always see eye to eye and adds that this is the day Jacob died 32 years ago. Lucille says that each year on this date,  she takes flowers to Jacob's grave and walks by the river where Jacob died. While Lucille is happy to have Jacob back, it doesn't erase what it felt like to lose Jacob.  Margaret assures Lucille that nothing would make a mother forget this and suggests that they turn this day of sadness into a day of celebration by hosting a large dinner.

Bellamy is up and dressed and he and Maggie make small talk.  Maggie is curious how the government knew that the bones belonged to the returned and she questions whether or not Bellamy had any interactions with the still unnamed government agency.  Bellamy of course denies knowing anything about what went on.  Maggie then questions if her office is under surveillance. Bellamy suggests that they can still identify the remains because one was Black and the other had a knee problem which would have made him walk funny.  Aww isn't it nice that Bellamy is so helpful after he sabotaged Maggie?

Rachel and Janine run into each other at the market. Rachel tells Janine that Tom is planning to help her get her own place and that she won't have to worry about her anymore.  Janine then helps Rachel pick her prenatal vitamins and quips that she has never gotten as far in any of her pregnancies as Rachel.  Rachel then thanks Janine for allowing her to stay at her home, before collapsing on the ground in pain clutching her stomach. 

Fred is at Twian's Bar and Grill, when Margaret joins him complaining that the grill is as dirty as she remembers it.  Fred brings up the bones he found at the river and Margaret is quick to say that she has no idea where they would have come from.  Fred says that he believes the bones were originally buried beneath the old factory and questions Margaret again about her knowledge on the bones. Margaret suggests that there was an old cemetery under the factory but Fred is quick to nix that idea because the factory was already built when the bones were buried. Margaret then invites Fred to the family meal adding that Maggie has already been invited.  Fred tries to back away but Margaret makes it clear that she could be gone tomorrow and that this is what she wants.  Margaret refuses to take no for an answer.  Fred changes the topic to ask how living with Lucille is working out and Margaret replies that they are getting along famously.

Lucille and Jacob are washing the "good china" when Margaret enters to demand they use the Royal Dalton dinner plates and not the Wedgewood. Margaret then asks Henry to get the rest of the groceries out of the car while she has a shower and Henry asks Margaret not to drive alone because she doesn't even have a license.  I guess when your son is the sheriff that is something one need not be concerned about. Margaret then confirms that Fred and Maggie have both agreed to attend and a worried look crosses Lucille's face.

Bellamy is busy searching microfilm files (who the hell still uses microfilm?), while Janine and Tom stand over Rachel at Maggie's office.  Maggie explains that what happened to Rachel was perfectly normal. Maggie checks the baby's heartbeat and declares it strong.  When Maggie looks at the ultrasound however, a concerned look appears on her face.  Maggie declares the baby healthy but the measurements don't make sense because the baby is growing twice as fast as a normal fetus. 

Lucille and Jacob are setting the table and Jacob questions who came to his funeral.  Lucille confirms that the entire family showed up for Jacob's funeral.  Jacob then question if his aunt Barbara had a funeral as well, as Henry listens in the other room.  Jacob questions why Barbara isn't coming to dinner because he wants to apologise for not saving her.  Lucille tells Jacob that he has nothing to apologise for and when Jacob insists that he wants his aunt Barbara there, Lucille calls him petulant. Jacob then breaks a dish and Lucille orders him outside, when he offers to clean up the mess.

Henry rings Barbara's doorbell but quickly turns to leave; however, before Henry can get off the porch, Barbara opens the door. Barbara and Henry sit on the porch and Henry makes it clear that he is not judging her for her decision to cheat on Fred. Henry goes on to add that the Returned have a remarkable power to heal old wounds.

Janine, Rachel and Tom are back at the house and Rachel goes to lie down.  Janine tells Tom that it is not necessary for Rachel to find a new place to live, given everything that Rachel is going through before walking away.

Business Makes Strange Bedfellows by E. E. Ottoman

Dr. Gertrude Bowers is a scientist – studying the quasi arcane art of resurrection. She’s definitely making progress and she is even facing a conflict not of whether she can raise the dead – or whether she should

And in the middle of all that she pulls a terrifying tentacled monstrosity out of one of the bodies she’s experimenting on. That rather interrupts her work

When she hears of a series of brutal murders, she realises the monster is killing and she feels responsible. Her only choice is to make a deal with Vi, mysterious, capable, dangerous – and a vampire. And she doesn’t want money to pay for her services.

I find myself slightly frustrated by this book

I’m frustrated because there’s a lot about this book that is utterly fascinating. Dr. Gert Bower is a fascinating character. She is the heiress of a dead, wealthy family trying to pursue her career as a doctor in a deeply sexist period. She’s also exploring a quasi-forbidden and certainly highly controversial scientific/occult field of study. She is discovering the occult, discovering far more is real than she had previously expected and having whole new vistas opening up to her. But she’s strong willed, indomitable and determined to face any challenge. In fact, she’s outright intrigued by any challenge – including a vampire who wants to share her bed and blood

This character is awesome. This character is amazing. This character could do so much. This character’s story will be fascinating. Her daily life, battling her peers, her powerful curiosity discovering more about the world, her passion for her work – all of this adds up to a character that is amazing and I want to read a whole series about her. Just what has been hinted here suggests so much more to her series. She also have some interesting complexities of ethics – figuring out not just what she can do – but what she should do.

All of this hints to a much deeper world – different kinds of vampires, Lovecraftian monsters, a Frankenstein’s monster plot developing…

But these hints are what we get and, as far as I can see, this isn’t the first book in an ongoing series – it’s a stand alone. Aaaaargh – so much potential, so much that could have been done! So much I wanted to see, so much that could have been developed – it’s like watching an awesome film through pin-hole lens! There is so much potential here, such excellent characters and such an excellent world…

Once Upon a Time: Season 4, Episode 4: Apprentice

A flashback – Once Upon a Time has way too many flashbacks to way too many times and way too many places. This is to “a long time ago”, so it’s good that the time line is being carefully guarded with such precision.

An older man is clearing up rubble in impressive castle/tunnel/RPG surroundings when the Dark One arrives – the old man is a sorcerer’s apprentice and the Dark One is apparently just one of the Dark One’s he has fought – which he does with a great big sword. The Dark One chooses to use magic and the ability to throw people around the room is generally more dangerous than hand held sharp things. The Dark One – NOT Rumplestiltskin, so his predecessor –tries to claim the box the apprentice is guarding (the same nifty box Gold finds in the conveniently abandoned mansion) and is thrown back by an enchantment cast by this mysterious sorcerer. It can’t be broken by anyone “who has succumbed to darkness”. The apprentice also tells us that every Dark One tries. These guys should keep diaries.

Cut to the present and Storybrooke where Gold appears to have opened the box – or turned the box into a nifty wizard’s hat complete with swirling galaxy.

With such grand revelations, clearly we need to focus on Emma’s love life – and Henry pushing Emma towards the sexy Hook and the leather trousers he never ever changes. Lots of intense flirting, Emma asks Hook out and Hook insists on planning the evening. Without pillaging and plundering. Or possibly with.

Everything seems shiny – but there’s a suspicious puddle of water under Emma’s car while the rest of the town is bone dry.

Hook goes to see Gold (which is never wise) building on his previous blackmail (which is really unwise) to have his old hand reattached so he can have a romantic date with Emma and hug her with both hands. Gold warns Hook that his old hand is an evil pirate hand that will turn him back into an evil pirate who is evil and Hook laughs at the idea (strike three. Hook, you have done something irredeemably foolish, you now deserve whatever terrible thing Gold will do to you).

Time for a different flashback – the Enchanted Forest and Anna meeting Rumplestiltskin. Rumple, in addition to being his creepy best, reveals that Anna and Elsa’s parents visited him. Rumple makes a deal with Anna to tell her about the visit if she puts some unknown substance in an unknown man’s tea – and he has a contract. The old man turns out to be the apprentice from the previous flashback.

She returns to Rumple to claim she dosed his tea – when she didn’t. Which is unfortunate because Rumple poisoned him the day before and the dose was the antidote (Rumple is hilarious in this scene). The apprentice is turned into a mouse. Anna tries to outsmart Rumple and it’s painful to watch- he just pulls out awesome contingency plan after contingency plan until he has Anna facing the darkness inside and turning away; just what he needs to open the box. Damn he’s good.

He reveals that Anna’s parents were looking for some way to remove Elsa’s magic (worst parents ever, remember) and that no-one could do that – without the box and the hat within. The hat steals magic and Gold intends to use it to supercharge himself. All perfect – except the mouse jumps on his hand, bites it and makes him drop the dagger – which he just happens to be carrying – and Anna picks it up.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: 2014, Episode 20

It's finally time for our podcast! After much delay we've finally got back on track (curse those weremoose)

You can join us here and you can listen live on our youtube channel, here, or in our sidebar. All will also carry a recording after the show is finished. As ever all our previous podcasts can be found in the archive

The podcast begins at 7:00pm EST (technology willing)

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

13th October - 20th October: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
20th October - 27th October: Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance
27th October - 3rd November: The Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
3rd November - 10th November: Tempest Revealed by Tracy Deebs
10th November - 17th November: Under Suspicion by Hannah Jane
17th November - 24th November: Loki’s Wolves by K.L. ArmstrongM.A. Marr