Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Burned (House of Night #7) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Zoey’s soul has been shattered but, sadly, because my suffering has not ended that means everyone is running around trying to save her.

Meanwhile Stevie Rae is determined to make even worse relationship decisions than Zoey. That sounds like a near impossible task, but she is up to the challenge.

This book is… so very typical of the House of Night series.

We have a plot line that completely rests on Zoey even though it really should be about someone else – Heath. Heath is the one who died – but no, it’s all about Zoey and her shattered soul. Y’know, I’d be a teeny tiny bit of sympathetic towards her if every last death in this series wasn’t all about her. Heath just follows Stark and Stevie Rae as yet another death that was all about precious precious Zoey.

So with Zoey properly centred as all important, nearly everyone else (except Stevie Rae, which we’ll come to) runs around trying to help her. This involves, inevitably, cryptic clues, poetry and everyone spending far far far far far too long trying to interpret everything because Nyx is incapable of being clear and the rest of the cast don’t have two brain cells between them.

Of course all of this happens with Neferet and Kalona planning terrbad naughty things and with Neferet manipulating the Council to try and make them believe she’s still on team good guy. And Nyx, while happy to send cryptic poetry, happy to send prophecies, happy to have little conversations with Aphrodite and Zoey and is even willing to slap Kalona upside the head in the Otherworld. But she STILL cannot bring herself to send her precious High Council a memo, or informative bowel problems or anything. Seriously, you’d think they’d be due a text or something. A tweet. Smoke signals, carrier pigeons (or raven monsters) something, anything. Nyx is trolling, pure and simple.

But while we’re discussing Kalona let’s touch on the intolerable retcon and redemption we can see hoving into view with inevitable awfulness: Kalona is going to be redeemed. I know this is coming because we spent time in this book AGAIN saying how sad and tortured poor Kalona is with an added side dish of how terribad evil Neferet is. Yes, she is definitely promoted to biggest of big bads and directly connected to the Darkness more than Kalona (more than that later) and is even imprisoning and forcing the poor tortured evil Kalona. I’ve said before, this series is much much more invested in having a female villain. The last two books have tried very hard to downplay Kalona’s villainy while bigging up Neferet’s awfulness.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Da Vinci's Demons, Season 3, Episode 10: Ira Deorum

After a brief interlude with Rahim and Leo, the new battle is on. Leo, Laura, Nico and Dracula intend to lead their teeny tiny forces against the Turks (who lost all their tanks episode) and rely on the Book of Leaves-inspired lightening device to fry all the Turks who are conveniently wearing lightening attracting armour.

Of course all this may fall apart because Zoroaster and Sophia were captured last episode. Thankfully Lucrezia has also being captured. Lucrezia doesn’t stay captive for long – and when Bayezid goes to question her he finds that chaining her up only gives her new weapons to throttle him with. He’s duly strangled to death before Lucrezia happily goes on a little rampage (finding a convenient crossbow from somewhere) to free Sophia and Zoroaster.

They then head to set up the machine – with Zoroaster failing and badly injuring himself (and seeming to be dead – this episode does a series of “zomg this character is dead!” moment most of which don’t come to pass. I actually think it would have been much more dramatic, especially as it’s the last season, if a huge number of the cast were duly slaughtered. This probably says how little I’m actually invested in these people).

While the battle begins (Laura is kind of awesome) and we have several near-death moments (including Vlad being stabbed by his brother Gedik – who is probably Radu – who is not all that happy that Bayezid is dead) Leo finally declares surrender and orders his men to take off their (highly conductive) armour

Just in time for Lucrezia to finish putting together the lightening machine (albeit taking an arrow in the process) and then we have lots of zappy zappy zappy – the entire Ottoman army is slaughtered. The remains surrender and the city is free.

Except for Lucrezia who, of course, dies in the name of Maximum Manpain for Leo. We always knew that she was heading for the nearest walk-in fridge and she’s finally settled herself in among the ice trays.

That’s a very quick summation but there weren’t a whole lot of twists there – and we kind of expected everything to go the way it did. It’s not a bad ending, it’s a quite satisfactory conclusion to the whole Ottoman storyline, but it’s a bit… predictable? Safe? Lacking in twists or intrigue or interests? Leo geniused the enemy and everyone is now dead?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays

It has been a very busy year for Fangs, and definitely not always a smooth one - but this is our 5th Christmas and we're definitely going to be celebrating

Hope everyone has an excellent Holiday and if we can't visited by the Doctor this year, I suppose Father Christmas would be a decent consolation prize...

...or Carol. Carol would be good.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Librarians, Season Two, Episode Eight: And the Point of Salvation

A top secret military lab is working on creating an advanced computer using technology from Atlantis. It not long before the scientist find themselves way in over their head and are forced to call for the evacuation of the facility.

Back at the library, Jenkins summons a fey to ask three questions. When the fey realies that ze is dealing with a knight, ze offers to tell Jenkins how he can die. Jenkins is momentarily distracted but decides instead to find out more information regarding Prospero and his plans.

In the main Library, the clipping book opens up and leads the librarians to the military base.  Eve issues a strict warning about what will be acceptable behaviour and takes care to inform Jones that he is not to take souvenirs.

Once at the base, it's not long before the Librarians find themselves in a time loop a la Ground Hog Day. Jones tries to explain to the rest of the team but they don't take him seriously.  Clearly, it's now Jones's chance to have his own episode to show what he is all about. They go through loop after loop and each time, Jones has to watch the members of the team die.  Each time they return to the beginning, Jones once again explains about the loop and each time the team is incredulous. Watching the Librarians die is beginning to tear Jones apart. In frustration, he takes a bat and starts destroying items in the reset room.  It's then that a help box suddenly appears.  Jones then realises that they aren't actually in a time loop but are in fact caught inside a video game.  Every time one of the librarians dies, they return to the reset area and have to start all over again.

Ezekiel goes through the game several more times and continues to return to the reset area with the Librarians.  Each time he has watched his friends die and it tears him apart. Finally, Jones locks the Librarians in a room and decides that he is going to play the game by himself so that he doesn't have to watch his friends die anymore.  In each stage, Jones yanks out a member of his team to teach him the different aspects he needs to move forward.  The team become impressed with the sacrifices that Jones has makes for them.  Eve even tells Jones a story in which she implies that he is the bravest man she has ever known.  This is a truly touching moment.

The situation turns critical and Jones realises that this time a death is going to matter because the game is going to go into reset.  Jones helps the team move through the game and ends up sacrificing his life for them to live.  Jones has never been my favourite character but I must admit that in this moment I was sad.  I guess Jones has grown on me far more than I realised.  In the end, the team come together to save Jones but because of the game reset, he has no memory of everything he went through to save everyone.

Back at the Library, Jones is still very much in disbelief that he did the things that he was told that he did. Jones is certain that this is out of character, leaving the group to finally tell him that it doesn't matter that he doesn't remember but what matters is that they now know who he is.

The Librarians, Season Two, Episode Seven: And the Image of Image

I must admit that I was very amused by this episode.  And the Image of Image really turned out to be a commentary on the phenomenon of selfies. We take more picture than ever before but we take them of ourselves and not others.  The Librarians suggest in this episode that it is a reflection of how narcissistic we have become. It is absolutely natural that Dorian Grey should make an appearance as the antagonist. It turns out that Dorian Grey is not in fact a fictional character but a contemporary and lover of Oscar Wilde, who wrote his story as a cautionary tale.

When the Librarians notice two deaths associated with a club, they are certain that magic is involved but the book does not give them a heads up.  They get dressed up to go clubbing and the team looks awesome to be honest. I've never seen Christian Kane look hotter.  It's not long before the Librarians figure out that what is keeping Dorian alive today is not a painting, but a collection of selfies that he has imbued with magic.  The people in the selfies pay the consequences for Dorian's actions keeping him eternally young. Though Dorian can potentially live forever, he doesn't feel anything causing him to be more and more reckless, making his victims suffer his consequences.

The librarians outwit Dorian Grey by creating a photo of Eve using images of him.  When Eve dives off a building, it's Dorian who ends up dying.  As cases go, this one is pretty simple to be honest. What makes this story good isn't the investigation,  or even the antics of Dorian Grey and the very drunk Cassandra but learning more about Eve and her role.

Early in the episode we learn that Eve never wants to have her picture taken.  Eve has had to work very hard to succeed and each time she has had to fight patriarchy and sexism.  She talks about being the youngest person to achieve a role and still finding that men were refer to her as blondie and pinch her ass.  Eve knows that she is beautiful but what she wants people to see is the person she is on the inside.  She wants respect for her accomplishments and not her beautiful face. This is a common problem that women face but I must admit to being a little surprised that The Librarians decided to cover this.

In episode six, the Librarians had to deal with the devil. Eve worked hard to save the Librarians from making a deal to sell their souls in exchange for their lives.  At the beginning, Eve believed that it is the job of the Guardian to save the lives of the Librarians and it wasn't until the end of the episode that she learned that it is the job of the Guardian to save the Librarians from temptation.  Librarians don't stop being Librarians because they die but because they become corrupted.  I found this to be particularly telling. It seems that Eve still hasn't really come to terms with what her role on the team really is.  Dorian tells Eve that as a Guardian that she is the nameless, faceless one that no one remembers.  He's very heavily implying that the role that Eve plays is unimportant and therefore she will not be remembered. From the look on Eve's face, it's very clear that he struck a nerve and yet she still follows through with her part of the mission and takes out Dorian Grey.

Tempted (House of Night #6) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

It’s time for another House of Night book, yes my epic suffering continues

Here we have an evil plot to take over all vampire society and doubtlessly do bad evil things – but far more importantly we have to spend an age battling with Zoey’s endless love dodecahedron. This eclipses doing any actual plot line. Oh and Stevie Rae decides to lose her ever loving mind and find yet another irredeemable evil to redeem. Of course she does.

The desperate, awful, contrived theme of this book is “choice” and making the right choice. This was kind of touched on in the last book and now has been taken to new, utterly awful, appalling levels. So the whole point of the Red Fledglings is because they made the right choice which made them good little vampires. Or there’s the whole conflict with the Raven Mocker and, again, choice.

So, here’s the theme – making the right choice to be a good little Nyxy follower

Now the problems, firstly this “making the right choice” comes with a clumsy and pretty offensive retcon. Previously we knew Kalona came to the House of Night and managed to get everyone to worship and obey him because he used woo-woo. Mind control allowed him to take over the House despite how clearly dubious the whole thing was – and only a few managed to resist because they had sufficient woo-woo to do so. Even Zoey’s band of sycophants had to fight against his pull and they managed that because of their woo-woo

Now, instead of woo-woo they make a big thing of choice and outright blaming people for making the wrong choice. There’s a whole lot of judgement of people who continued to follow Kalona and Neferet because they made the “wrong choice” – but that support goes up to and includes actually murdering a teacher. So what is it now? Are these students and professors mind controlled (and we’re blaming them for “choosing” to be controlled?!) or did they, of their own free will, decide that a raven monster killing one of their teachers was totally ok? Whichever way you look at it, it makes no sense. It’s there only so Zoey & co can be morally superior to their mind controlled fellows

But this goes to much much much worse levels when we consider Becca. Becca was the girl who Stark (the new redeemed Red Vampire) raped – something Cyna covered in her excellent take down of fucking Stark here. Becca was assaulted by Stark and he would have raped her if Darius and Zoey hadn’t stopped him. She was then mind controlled into forgetting and promptly turned into a mean girl so Zoey could get on with redeeming Stark. Now, Becca is back, and she is the terribad awful mean girl who hates Zoey because Becca just can’t make the Right Choices. Because that’s how it’s framed now – Becca is a terrible, weak, awful person because she’s not making the Right Choice.

We have zero sympathy for the rape victim, have demonised her and are outright blaming her for her victimisation (for making a bad choice!) while Stark is now firmly on team good guy. This is when I’d normally call for killing everything with fire but I fear the air pollution it would cause.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Z Nation, Season Two, Episode Fifteen: All Good Things Must Come to an End

When we last saw the intrepid scoobies, they had arrived at the co-ordinates in California. Unfortunately, it appears that all they found is a restaurant and no sign that this is a medical facility, let alone the last vestiges of the CDC.  What they don't know is that Citizen Z is burning up the last of his battery to warn them that the location is compromised.  After Vazquez and Warren check out the little diner, they wave the rest of the crew in.  This is the last calm moment in this season finale.

It's not long before bounty hunters show up complete with a fake Murphy.  When the impostors notice Murphy a gun fight breaks out.  It's Auntie who brings an end to it all but unfortunately in the battle, 10K is wounded.  Doc tries desperately to help 10K, as Auntie confirms Murphy's identity.  Don't worry about 10K though, because Auntie is on the case.  Auntie heads outside and uses a flare gun to signal a nuclear submarine which apparently has what remains of the CDC.

The cavalry arrives along with Doctor Merch and Murphy is filled with rage at the sight of the woman who medically experimented on him. 10K is to be taken to the submarine along with Murphy for medical treatment because his wound is more than Doc can handle.  Cue the awkward goodbyes between Murphy and the scoobies.  Warren does take the time to ask for a promise that Murphy will be treated humanely.

With Murphy gone, the team head back into the diner.  They don't get long to reflect on their accomplishments because who should show up by La Reina and the rest of the Zeros.  It seems that La Reina used Dr. Kurian's head to lead her to Murphy.  The team is cornered in the diner and La Reina will not be pacified unless Warren, and the scoobies, hand over Murphy.  Luckily for the scoobies, Auntie has a nice little cache of weapons to help them defend themselves.  It's not long before we lose the awesome Auntie in the gun battle.

La Reina infiltrates the diner and heads into battle with Warren, who manages to hold her own for awhile.  Warren is knocked on her back and La Reina is about to deal the death blow when Escorpion sneaks up on La Reina and shoves a stick through her brain.  Bye Bye La Reina.  It seems that because Vasquez didn't kill Escorpion, he  has had a change of heart and gone through a redemption of sorts.  Even for Z Nation, this is weird and unbelievable. Vasquez moves in for the kill and Warren intervenes, saying that Escorpion saved her life.  Vasquez however is not moved, so the team head outside leaving Vasquez alone with Escorpion.

On the submarine, Murphy is quick to notice that something is wrong with the crew.  Many of their eyes are a brilliant blue. It's then that Murphy learns about Zona, an island created but the rich and a few politicians that is zombie free.  It seems that Scully's mission (yep, think back to the Roswell episode) was to return technology and precious art to Zona.  The leaders of Zona are trying to save that which makes humans human.  Murphy learns that the reason for the blue eyes is that the residents were given a zombie vaccine; however, it only holds off the virus and people eventually turn.  The residents of Zona plan on making a new world order. Clearly this is the set up for season three.

Into the Badlands Season One, Episode Six: Hand of Five Poisons

As of the 20th of December, AMC has not revealed whether it intends to order a second season of Into the Badlands.  After watching the season finale, I certainly hope that they at least give us a two hour episode to wrap things up, given that not only did the finale not answer any questions but it certainly raised new ones.  It's clear that should there be a second season, the location will certainly shift, as both Sonny and M.K. have been moved out of the Badlands against their desire.

The season finale begins with Sonny going to see the River King, with the head of someone who looks somewhat like M.K. The River King is suspicious at first because the head is missing its ear but accepts Sonny at his word.  Sonny arranges passage with the River King for midnight to leave the Badlands for good.  With a plan in motion, Sonny heads off to see Veil to warn her to be prepared to leave.  Veil however has been thinking over what Quinn said about Sonny's blade being the one to kill her parents. It's about time Veil wizened up and realise that love does not mean that Sonny is not a violent man.  Sonny tries to plead that things will be better once they leave the Badlands but Veil is not at all certain. Veil makes it clear that he will discover when he comes to pick her up what her decision is.

M.K. has to be the most desired person in the Badlands.  Some monks learn of M.K. and refer to him as the dark one. They decide to pack up and get M.K. after finding his location on the wanted posters that they Widow had printed up.

Last week, Jade was poisoned and when she awakes, she finds Lydia by her side claiming that the sun must have gotten to her. Uh huh. Is anyone buying that one for even a moment?  We certainly cannot have the wives agreeing and getting along and so Quinn bursts into the room to accuse Lydia of poisoning Jade. Quinn bases this assumption on the rumors which flew around the fort after the death of his other wife. Lydia naturally professes innocence but Quinn is having none of it and orders Lydia to leave fort saying that he never wants to lay eyes on her again. From her sick bed, Jade gives Lydia a small smile.  I guess this means that Jade wasn't playing when she told Lydia that she knew how to play the game.  One point Jade I suppose but I would rather see the two women working together to take out the bastard Quinn.

Back in his office, Quinn gets a visit from Ryder.  Now that mommy dearest is out of the way, it seems that Ryder has decided that his next move to grab his father's power is eliminate his greatest ally Sonny.  Ryder claims that he caught Sonny and the Widow in conversation and that Sonny is one of the few people with a key to the tunnels which the Widow recently accessed.  Quinn, who has always been a paranoid SOB, orders Sonny to be placed in chains and for Veil to be brought to him. Ryder believes that his father is listening into to him but this is obviously about getting control of M.K., now that he has seen first hand M.K.'s powers.

Quinn misses getting his dirty paws on Veil because she has already been captured by Tilda, who takes Veil to the Widow's new base of operations. It seems that in her epic fight with Sonny last week, The Widow was injured and she is badly in need of medical attention.  The Widow tries to sell Veil on girl power and the fact that women in this world are vulnerable and must find a way to fight back against men's violence. Veil listens but she is cautious and cagey.  The Widow suggests that Veil shouldn't be in such a rush to return to the Fort because she had Quinn poisoned and that things will be in anarchy after his death. After treating the Widow, Veil lays out three vials and explains that two are poison and one is the medicine that the Widow is going to need. Veil makes it clear that she will only reveal which vial contains the real medicine after she is returned to her practice.  The Widow wishes Veil well and orders Tilda to escort her back.

Having been banished, Lydia has no choice but to return to her father, who isn't exactly thrilled to see his now deposed daughter.  Lydia has to beg and claim that she can be redeemed.  This leads to Lydia promising to renounce worldly goods, and give herself up entirely the cult/religion her father seems to be running.  This comes complete with a water baptismal with Lydia dressed in white. I'm not sure how much we should care about this beyond the fact that Lydia and clearly her father both know something about Asra.

Back at the Fort, Quinn sits down with a very naive M.K.  Quinn promises to have Tilda brought to the Fort, warning that once the Widow is dead, Tilda will need someone to protect her.  As a bonus, Quinn promises to allow M.K. to see Tilda whenever he wants.  Showing his loyalty, M.K. asks about Sonny and Quinn promises to save Sonny's life if this is what M.K. wishes.  All M.K. has to do in return is to agree to be Quinn's Clipper.  M.K. nods to all of this and even accepts Quinn's proposal that they visit a bawdy house in order for M.K. to lose his virginity, so that he doesn't embarrass himself when he is with Tilda. Clearly, after everything that M.K. has seen he has learned nothing.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Da Vinci's Demons, Season 3, Episode 9: Angel Iratissimus

After our obligatory opening drama scene from Lucrezia and her daddy who holds her prisoner we get into the main plot – the beginning of the war between the Crusaders and the invading Ottomans.

Leo and Sophia are preparing by using genius, making their new shiny weapon and being able to direct the weapon with some help from Vlad’s magic armour that fortuitously helps direct the weapon which they hope will turn the tide of the war

It kind of has to, since the Crusade isn’t going so well. Vlad brings his eleven immortal troops who are super scary vampires. Laura is an awesome leader of the crusade (who looks even more awesome in amour) and super inspiring (unlike the terribad pope who is terribad)

But they’re still ambushed and slaughtered and are generally decimated messily. They leave only a few soldiers, Laura and Nico (and the immortal Vlad) to be found by Leo, Sophia and Zoroaster to make Plan B.

Plan B involves Leo destroying the tanks after stealing one (turns out these tanks, like any tanks, are super vulnerable to infantry in close quarters. Especially when one of those infantry is a fire proof immortal monster – but pretty much everything is vulnerable to fire proof immortal monsters).

While Zoroaster and Sophia plan to sneak into the city so they can use their new lightening Tesla weapon from a high spot and zap the many many soldiers.

The first half goes well with Leo and Nico blowing up many many tanks and slaughtering many Turks (hey, remember when Leo was all conflicted about killing people? Yes? No? Maybe?)

The other part goes awry with Sophia and Zoroaster being kidnapped

I am so frustrated by Sophia. As a character she would have been awesome if she’d been introduced back in season 1 or even season 2 – she and Leo could have developed a relationship. She could have bounced of Zoroaster and Nico. She could have been fun – very very fun. Now? There’s just no time for a character this nifty.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Recap and Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Okay, I trust that I've made it absolutely clear that this review will be filled with spoilers and I won't hear any whining about that in the comments section. 

This year, I didn't want an advent calendar, I wanted a Star Wars count down calendar. Return of the Jedi was the first movie that I saw in the theater (no snark about my age)  and that hooked me. It's a series that I have enjoyed sharing with my children (well with the notable exception of Jar Jar Binks). Sitting in the theater, the geek in me was shaking when the opening theme started. "In a galaxy far far away", scrolled across the screen and  I was flush with excitement, only to leave 135 minutes later bitterly disappointed. At almost halfway through the movie, I actually turned to my partner and told him that I was bored.  I mean BORED.  It simply didn't live up to all of the hype and I want a refund for the extra money I paid to see this in 3D as well. You guessed it, I'm blaming J.J. Abrams at least in part for this. I wanted big huge moments and light sabers coming through the screen to get me and not something I could have watched in my home comfortably pausing as need be for bathroom breaks or to get more butter for my popcorn.  I wanted to be absolutely blown away and stand cheering when the credits rolled across the screen. 

Okay, here's the deal, if you saw the original 1977 Star Wars, there really was no need to see this movie.  It essentially was one big reboot.  Han Solo quickly came to take on the role of Obi-Wan and Rey and Finn a combination of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.  It all starts with Poe Dameron, a skilled fighter pilot searching for a map to find a missing Luke, who it seems decided to isolate himself after the training of a Jedi blew up in his face.  Finding himself about to captured, Poe puts the information inside a droid and instructs it to get as far away from the battle as possible.  Does this sound at all familiar to you?  

It seems the First Order has filled the vacuum of the Empire and they even get their own Death Star - just a bigger version and therefore more scary.  Then we have Kylo Ren, who channels his grand pappy Darth Vader, hoping to be just as strong.  I just wanted to scream, dude, grand daddy recognized the error of his ways and was defeated. If you're going to pick a hero, wouldn't it actually make sense to pick someone on the side who won?  I will give the Force Awakens points for the epic Vader mask but I couldn't help wondering why Leia and Solo didn't get their precious boy the counselling he so desperately needed.  Have these two ever heard about tough love?  Geesh!  

The Stormtroopers hit the ground looking for the droid and Finn, who works in sanitation is just not up for the blood and gore.  Quick question, why would the First Order send a sanitation storm trooper into battle? Also, do sanitation and storm trooper even go together in a way that makes even the least bit of sense?  So, I'm down with the whole idea of not slaughtering innocent people and totally cool with Finn helping Poe escape the clutches of Kylo Ren.  When the two crash land, Finn just happens to run into Rey, who is in possession of the missing droid.  I know I shouldn't complain because R2D2 and C3PO ending up in the custody of Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars is just as sketchy of a plot turn; however, having to see it happen a second time was just too much because as you may have already guessed, the force is strong with Rey.  Le Sigh. In fact, epic sigh.  

Finn is all about getting the girl while avoiding the First Order, so he pretends to be a member of the resistance.  To that end, when the Finn and Rey find the Millennium Falcon, the two take off.  It's not long before they run into Han Solo, who has been searching for his ship while naturally running a series of scams on the side. I guess some things never change.  Han is in for the mission and why wouldn't he be? Luke and Han go way back and then there's a little matter of Han Solo's son having gone totally off the reservation.  We get a quick pause for the seemingly necessary cantina scene and for Rey to get her hands on Luke's lightsaber.  This comes with visions of all the saber has seen and done.  As you might imagine, this is quite dark.  The next movie better explain why exactly Luke decided to leave his light saber behind when he went into hermit mode, particularly given that he knew that Kylo Ren had gone all dark side and angry.  Oh wait, I know.  Luke was doing his Yoda thing just waiting around for a Jedi to find him.  Yes, I'm rolling my eyes.  

So, a whole bunch of yada yada and it's time to blow up the Death Star  2.0.  The same bullshit applies about how invulnerable it is and therefore some member of the resistance has to board it. What I want to know is why no one in the resistance decided to question Finn in depth? Dude was making claims about knowing so much about the station and yet he was only a stormtrooper.  They didn't even consider for a moment that he could have a been a plant.  I wanted to scream can we please find someone with 2 cents worth of common sense.  Finn's big motivation to volunteer is to save the girl - a young woman he has known for a New York minute no less.  

Seeing his son, Han Solo is all forgiveness and Kylo Ren is all help me daddy. Help me daddy.  Yep, that's the beginning of the end for Solo, who finds himself speared by a lightsaber.  I get that they had to move the old generation out for the new to take over the battle but Han Solo deserved so much better than this.  Also, it really made me wonder if Star Wars is capable of having a parent child relationship that isn't dysfunctional as shit?  Parents are either absent, incapable or just plain evil.  To have Solo's life ended by patricide is just another layer in horrible parent child relationships in this series.  I made a quick note to self not to watch this with my kidlets, lest they look at their father and get ideas when he tells them to take the garbage out.

Haven, Season 5, Episode 26: Forever

Hey, you know last episode I said that it had some excellent emotional drama, major tragedy and it all was so very well done and seemed to be gearing up for an actual epic ending to the season?

Yeah I take it back – this season finale is so damn saccharine that even the Hallmark Channel would be forced to vomit in the face of all the goopiness

I mean – ghostly Duke appearing (for… reasons) to tell Dwight how to keep his fake daughter. A double whammy of Duke hanging around so the epic tragedy of the last episode can be diffused and

Or Croatoan banished Nathan with Fake!Audrey which lasted, what, 10 minutes? 10 minutes – why even bother with this plot line? Why banish him from Haven all all?

Or Croatoan spending so long being the evil murdering fiend trying to get Audrey to obey by hook or by crook and is then changed by one dramatic love speech? I mean, maybe if they’d spent more time building up to this – but having the big bad be so big and scary and bad suddenly declaring “No, totally team good guy now because of LOOOOOVE!” Never mind the corpses or his hope for revenge or the many many many many times Audrey has said she’s not his daughter – speech about love has worked!

But even all of this pales next to the kicker, the true diabetes-causing chaser of the Barn. The Barn which is powered by Aether and Croatoan is really powered by… love


Ye gods, really? Did the Care Bears build this damn thing? Love super charges Aether? Which stoned-hippy-wannabe pulled that one out of their arse?

(Also you have no damn clue how many “Power of Love” songs there are out there and how many I had to scroll through before finding the right one?)

Haven, Season 5, Episode 25: Now

We open with some quick recapping of Croatoan and his obsession with Audrey, his daughter, Duke running amok collecting Troubles by killing people and Dwight dealing with his suddenly resurrected daughter

And Laverne still possessing and a house and making the vending machines healthy. That’s just evil. Also, for some reason I don’t think Duke is doing menacing very well – he’s just trying too hard with that slow steady attempt at a sinister voice. It’s too forced. Genuinely sinister people don’t have to try so hard to be sinister. You’ve got eyes that are black from edge to edge, you don’t need to work on the sinister voice

He does foil their plan to repair the broken Aether core (which they need to power the new barn and get rid of the Troubles). They try to use Vicki’s Trouble to fix it (she can draw things and make them real) and Duke destroys the drawing, destroying the core. Everyone then despairs but can’t she just re-draw the core?

Maybe expecting that, Duke plans to kill Vicki and everyone stands in his way – Nathan, Gloria (who is awesome) and, most effectively, Audrey

She pulls out one of her patented “I’m going to defeat the Trouble with emotional speech” to bring Duke back to himself. It should have been clichéd and trite and all Disney-esque – but it isn’t, it really works

I think partly because of the acting and the tragedy but mainly because it draws on one of the most compelling themes of the show (even if it has been dropped occasionally) – identity. Duke is a man who has been struggling against the Crocker family curse since the beginning. There’s even an excellent acknowledgement that Audrey and Nathan have repeatedly sabotaged him in that struggle by asking him to kill people to end some terrible Troubles. He was, from the very beginning, a man who was designed to and pushed to kill people to end the Troubles even while he struggled against that. Whether his own inclinations or resisting Audrey and Nathan’s pushing or refusing Croatoan’s pushing him to be EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DESIGNED TO BE

Friday, December 18, 2015

American Horror Story, Season 5, Episode 10: She Gets Revenge

And since we’re approaching a kind of hiatus it’s time for American Horror Story to take all of their many many storylines and smoosh them together until they kind of fit together – like an inpatient toddler trying to ram lego bricks together.

But let’s start by looking at the main characters, the best characters, the only ones I actually care about in this vast cast – Iris and Liz

They start with a suicide pact (after seeing a desperate, sad and highly emotional suicide pact in the hotel which deeply moves Liz) deciding that everything is shit and there’s nothing good left in this world. Iris has finally realised her relationship with Donovan is not even close to healthy while Liz has decided that she cannot go on without Tristan. Before Liz does anything dramatic, Iris steps in to remind her that people who die in the hotel with unresolved issues then get to haunt it forever more. This is something more people should remember.  Liz’s unresolved issue is the son she’s left behind

So they invite him up (by throwing cleaning products at Hazel who has gone from eccentrically amusing to kind of unpleasantly tropey with her obsession with cleaning all the things) to visit. And this could go wrong, this could go so very very wrong. Especially since American Horror Story has such a terrible terrible terrible history of with LGBT people

But it’s surprisingly sweet and gentle and kind and good and accepting and really emotional and… not awful. Yes, American Horror Story and “not awful” placed together in an extremely unexpected way. It shocked me too

With Liz now having a wonderful accepting family and an actual future she has a reason to live. And she convinces Iris to step back from her own suicide montage plans – and for them to forget a future together.

Now, alas, to the other pointless characters who are polluting this series

Here we have Detective John the serial killer randomly killing people for funsies because why not. Sally is still there “supporting him” in his serial killing adventures. Which makes her all bitter and angry and plotting terribad revenge when John reunites with Alex

Friday Discussion: Trigger Warnings

We have spoken before about how Atrocities are all too often casually invoked in fiction for lazy characterisation. We have also spoken about how marginalised issues are too often appropriated for lazy storytelling or even as a cheap marketing tool - but these points don’t just apply to the genocides and catastrophes that are in our history books, but also to the very personal atrocities that happen to people every day. Rape, abuse, hate crimes and so many horrendous acts leave people every bit as devastated as the horrors that are considered large enough to deserve historical record.

Let us not downplay what a trigger means. A person who is triggered is hurt - they are wounded, they are often forced to relive some of the worst moments of their lives. Being triggered is more than being uncomfortable - it can mean your deepest fear ambushing you, it can mean nights of overwhelming terror, it can make leaving the house a desperate struggle. No, it certainly doesn’t always manifest this way and certainly many people have learned ways to cope with their triggers - but on no account can we dismiss triggers as something minor, or “oversensitivity” (as it is so often dismissed as by people who object to them even being discussed)

Obviously, it does become difficult, if not impossible, to remove every trigger for every person in the media. Nor does it mean that any or all triggers must never ever appear in the media in any form. However, that doesn’t mean some of the most commonly experienced and egregious triggers cannot be warned for - that the victims of things like rape, torture, hate crimes etc cannot be given the chance to protect themselves.

With every depiction of these on TV or in books you are invoking atrocity. You are using atrocity, you are portraying atrocity and there is an even higher chance that you are presenting that atrocity to its victims. Which means we must always ask WHY we are doing this? Why is this here? Why is it being included?

To invoke these atrocities casually, gratuitously, clumsily and/or pointlessly not only seeds unnecessary minefields of triggering pain for victims to stumble upon but it completely disrespects their experience and rubs salt into these tender wounds. It’s bad enough that a show has decided to gratuitously depict what these victims have endured - but to do it as entertainment? To do it for shock value? To do it and show none of the consequences, the impact or the scars of it? To do it even for titillation?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hunted (House of Night #5) by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast

After a series of dubious events force Zoey and her people back to the House of Night after they managed to escape in the last book they are left only with a random series of poems to guide them to finally drive off Kaloma.

Yes, it’s time for another House of Night book, inflicted on me by Cyna and Mavrynthia, who will either be co-defendants in my trial for trying to annihilate humanity for no longer deserving to exist, or will be the people I blame in my defence. I intend to use this link spam in my defence argument.

Let’s start small – this book is utterly overwhelmed with stand-alone-stuffing. I’ve said before that this series treats their readers as having the intelligence of algae – every book feels the need to recap every single book that has passed before. By the time we get to book 8 it will be 10,000 pages long and only 100 pages of it will be actual plot, the rest will be endless, painful, dull recap

Which pretty much sums up well over 100 pages of this book. We have a brief introduction of the Red Fledglings, most of them who are nothing more than a name (and the one who isn’t, frankly, would probably be preferable as a name). Zoey and Erik begin their relationship do-si-do and they all do… nothing. They hide in the tunnels, safe from their enemies that hates going underground. They have no idea what to do but they’re safe unless they go outside and are attacked by their enemies.

Which Zoey promptly does. Of course she does. In a desperate, forced attempt to move this limping plot forward, Zoey abandons even her limited supply of common sense. She gets injured, they belatedly decide they simply have to return to the House of Night for REASONS so we can try and drag out a storyline

I say try. Because when they get there they do…. They do… uh… well Zoey and Stark connect and then they escape. That’s pretty much it until the very last chapter. It’s one bizarre distraction which was really all about Stark and the clumsy relationship and terrible love dodecahedron (more on that later).

The one attempt at a plot line is the prophecy of how to get rid of Kaloma the big bad, brought by Kramisha, the convenient source for more Nyx “wisdom”. Like the last book, this prophecy involves everyone scratching their head about how impossible it is – only Nyx has even less faith in her minions than I do! Rather than suffer Zoey & co struggling to figure it out, she again plays Irritable Bowel Goddess and gives Zoey her special “feelings” whenever she’s right. Honestly when deciding what special people they need to banish Kaloma they didn’t even need the prophecy – they just needed to read the phone book aloud and wait until Nyx started churning

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Librarians, Season Two, Episode Six: And the Infernal Contract

This episode was all about Baird and the role of the Guardian.  From the moment Baird took on the role of the Guardian, because of her training and skill, the audience believed strongly that her main job was to ensure that the Librarians survived their missions.  Though all of the librarians are incredibly smart, it's fair to say that they lack combat skills.  In this episode we learn that Baird's job is actually more important than saving a physical body.

This episode begins with the usual nonsense - an excited Jake is serving up barbecue courtesy of the chupacabra and the team is reasonably turned off. Cue the book with a new assignment for the Librarians which just so happens to be in the same town were Baird is visiting a friend.  Eve's mini vacation comes to an abrupt halt when it turns out that the Librarians are there to investigate the disappearance of her friend's intern.  Sam (Eve's friend) wants to make a difference particularly because the town of Hawthorne is corrupt.  Unfortunately for Eve, after a cursory review, the evidence seems to indicate that Sam did have something to do with the missing staffer.

Eve, Sam, and the Librarians, arrive at the hotel where Sam and the missing intern were set to meet. They look around the room and find no hint of the intern.  As they begin to discuss a marking on the ceiling, the body of the missing intern drops through a magical hole and lands on the bed.  Eve now has no choice but to explain to Sam that magic is real.  Even after what Sam has witnessed, Sam's not ready to be convinced. Eve compares magic to a nuclear bomb to help to contextualize what is going on.

Back at the Library, Jenkins tells the crew that they are actually dealing with the devil.  The devil can appear as anyone but is most likely to appear as whatever its target finds the most appealing. The devil also feeds on souls.  After some research, they realise that the Keating family has been under contract for 44 years.  A disaster occurs and one of the Keatings comes to the rescue.  Interestingly enough, a new contract is due to be signed.

The Librarians figure out which building the contract is stored in and they sneak in under cover. Jenkins plays Cassandra's sugar daddy, Stone a chauffeur and Jones a waiter.  The Librarians manage to find the contract but security is on to them. They go for plan B and push the contract done a chute which is caught by Eve.  In the meantime, the devil is conversation with Jenkins and he warns Jenkins that the closer they get to the contract, the worse their luck will turn.

Outside, Eve gives the contract to Sam to give to Jenkins and Sam punches her in the face.  The Devil appears, excited by the chance to entrap someone new.  Sam wants his reputation restored. Most of all though, Sam wants to be a hero.  Eve tries desperately to talk him out of it but Sam signs the contract.  A car appears and Sam gets in.  The devil and Sam then disappear together. Eve is joined by the Libarians and Jenkins.  Together they figure out that for Sam to be a hero, a disaster of some sort has to happen.  The mayoral debate is going to be in the center of town, so that is where the team heads to.

Once at the town square, the Librarians figure out that gas lines are being prepared. Since the contract always creates a disaster out of what is available, the Librarians head under ground to turn off the gas. They manage to turn off the gas but it vents into the room they are in and the door slams shut trapping them.  The devil appears and starts to taunt the three librarians so that one of them will sign the contract and in the process save their lives. The Devil promises Cassandra health, Jake the ability to defeat Prospero and Jones the chance to travel the world.

Caroline Mayville Secretly Psychic Detective by Sylvia Pink

Caroline is looking for a new way to help her savings last longer into her old age – and property development sees like a nice way to expand her bank balance.

Except Caroline has a secret – she can see ghosts. And her new house, while perfect in every other way, has a spectral tenant –and she has a mystery she wants Caroline to solve.

I’m having difficulty reviewing this book because it should never have really have landed in my inbox in the first place. It’s not Urban Fantasy – it’s a Cozy Mystery meets Romance. I was concerned when the publisher first approached us that this didn’t sound like our genre and expressed this to them. But the publisher assured me it was our genre

Sadly, I think they’ve done the author a terrible disservice to spam her book to blogs and review sites where it is clearly not appropriate. Sadly, it’s going to end up in the hands of people like me who just won’t enjoy it simply because it’s not their preference.

So I’m going to do my utmost to be fair to this author (who deserves better than her publisher’s shenanigans) even while I have to acknowledge that this is really not my thing

I found this book… pleasant. It was a nice meander of a story, the pacing wasn’t super fast or exciting but I think it suited it not to be. It wasn’t fast paced or action packed, it contained no adrenaline, no odd twists, no sudden surprises. There was no adventure or blood-fizzing or particularly intriguing or interesting elements or depth or much else to make the book zing

And that’s fine. It’s not meant to zing. It’s a not a book that makes you sit on the edge of your seat unable to stop turning the pages, or a book that makes you laugh uproariously. It’s a book to laze away the day casually strolling through it, meandering through Caroline’s story while still being able to put it down and pick it up again later or follow the development of her life

It is a sweet little story, we have an older protagonist – Caroline is in her 60s – and sexual and romantic at that as well as being competent and capable and having a powerful, loving relationship with her granddaughter.  I like her take on the world – she isn’t up to date with everything, but she has an experienced, mature outlook without being shocked or scandalised. She doesn’t live in a happy bubble and we’re not expected to consider her naive because she’s older. Nor is she weak or incapable or non-sexual even if several people assume she is because of her age.

She has some nice little plot lines – her buying the new house and decorating it even as she falls in love with it. Her sweet growing romance with Bob which is nice to see two older people and is filled with respect and affection. Her worries about her independence, her loss of identity are powerful and poignant without being over-dramatic and seeming out of place.

Diversitywise there are no minorities at all. There are several strong and capable women but that’s pretty much it.

This is a cosy book. It’s a comfortable book… and it’s just not my kind of book. Despite this, I definitely didn’t hate it – I pleasantly enjoyed it even if it wasn’t a book I’d pick up again. It isn’t a book I would choose but if it is your genre of book then I think you will love this, it’s excellently written and a good read.

Into the Badlands, Season One, Episode Five: Snake Creeps Down

The penultimate  of this first season was all about setting things up for the big season finale.  The problem however is that it felt like they were simply moving pieces around on a chess board and once again we got very little character development.  That's not to say that I feel like I don't know the characters, it's just that they all feel two dimensional with obvious motivations.  

Sonny is training M.K. on the big wall which surrounds Quinn's fort. M.K. tries to beg off saying that he is tired but Sonny is having none of it.  M.K. goes all black eyes and Sonny soon finds himself hanging off the wall.  M.K. reveals that he doesn't know the way to Asra. Sonny wakes up in a panic.  He then grabs the book that M.K. stole from the Widow and puts his compass into the opening in the middle. The compass starts to turn.  Clearly, these two items are meant to work together.  Are Sonny and M.K. more connected than we have been told?

In the big house, Quinn is feeling the pressure of the missing cogs.  Without the cogs, the poppy harvest will rot in the fields which will serve to further weaken Quinn's position among the other  Barons. Jade steps up to suggest that Quinn educate the cogs, adding that kindness will earn him more loyalty than the brutality he has been practicing.  Quinn of course does not agree and points out that he pulled himself up by the bootstraps.  Jade then changes tactics and brings up the fact that she used to pick in Quinn's fields and suggests that if he gives her some of his clipper force that she can get the picking done.

Quinn heads out to the veranda with the women flanking him to give his speech from the throne and is overcome by a headache.  Quinn is unable to finish his thoughts and is forced to return inside with Lydia by his side.  Veil comes by to treat him and Quinn decides that this is the perfect opportunity to talk to Veil about her parents.  Does Quinn admit to the murder and beg for mercy? Why of course not. Quinn chooses to tell Veil that Sonny's sword killed her parents.  This is technically true but he is withholding the fact that he was the one holding the sword. 

The Widow is cutting all of the new male cogs, testing to see if any of them is M.K.. Tilda takes the opportunity to question the Widow about M.K. and learns that every time M.K. uses his power it causes some of his life force to slip away.  It seems the Widow had planned to train M.K. to use his power properly. The Widow warns Tilda to be wary of men.  

After working in the fields with the men, Lydia goes to see Jade to say that she has a new found respect for her.  Lydia suggests that Quinn needs Jade more than her.  Oh dear, Jade better sleep with one eye open.  Ryder warned her last episode that Lydia has already killed one of Quinn's intended.  Jade who is completely guileless once gain offers to work together saying that they are both needed. 

That night M.K. and Tilda meet and she tells him about his power.  Unfortunately for the two of them, Sonny comes across them and immediately arrests Tilda despite M.K.'s protests.  Tilda is taken back to Quinn's fort.

After a little visit to Waldo to get his support for leadership, Ryder decides to see his grandfather to learn more about M.K.'s pendant.  Ryder is told that it's an orphan story about a place beyond the Badlands that is a sort of paradise.  Ryder's grandfather gives the impression that this is little more than a myth  The moment Ryder is gone, his grandfather orders his men to head to Quinn's fort because the "dark one" is there. What does this man know about M.K.'s powers and why does he feel threatened by them?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Da Vinci's Demons, Season 3, Episode 8: La Confessione Della Machina

Leo has gone home to Vinci to find his newly discovered sister Sofia and the Leafy Page. And hallucinations. This show always has hallucinations

He also finds Cosmo and several other Labyrinth guys who want to convert him by flogging and torture. This is not a convincing argument. Sophia arrives to the rescue and to tell him that mummy is dead – because this show simply doesn’t have enough angst.

Leo then fights Cosmo and despite his many injuries which left him barely able to stand he does quite well and after much rolling around in the mud, he kills the other man.

There can now be sibling rivalry – and telling Leo that his precious Lucrezia is now imprisoned by her dad, Gedik and the Sons of Mithras. Also he totally doesn’t want to encourage her to be all vengeful but they totally need to murder these people

Together they start to read the page and go on a nature walk while discussing Leo’s many fortune telling hallucinations. And Sofia has Leo’s genius mannerisms – they could bounce off each other well. They use the page and have mutual shiny hallucinations which leads to a shiny shiny invention.

I think they just discovered electricity – or a dangerous Tesla coil.

Riario is still on a guilt trip and has decided to tell the slightly unhinged Lorenzo that he killed Clarice. There are probably easier ways to commit suicide. It’s the battle of the Manpains! Laura pleads for him, throwing around the word “tyrant” a lot, which is amusing when we consider she serves the pope. She goes to try and convince Riario not to throw his life away because Twu Lub while Vanessa tries to tip-toe around Lorenzo’s temper. Which she’s much much better at.

Nico and Zoroaster have managed to teleport all the way (got to love how people can zoom up and down Italy in days in this show) to Wallachia to see Vlad. They’re plan is comically awful “Hi Vlad, please don’t kill us!” It sort of works so we get to enjoy more of Vlad’s awesome decorating style while commenting on how not dead the very very scary man is – given that they killed him before. Of course that means they now have to rely on Vlad forgiving and forgetting that

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Haven, Season 5, Episode 24: The Wandering Gyre

Croatoan has been revealed to be William Shatner, instantly making him 8 bajillion times less scary but still rather creepy in that paternal kind of way with additional shiny super powers. He insists on trying to play the adoring father. He wants her to go back with him to their home wherever that is – which turns out to be very much like ours with both good and bad (terrible décor but it has coffee).

No matter what she says, he insists that she’s his daughter. They then talk their epic epic family issues with him wanting to play happy families and she pointing out that he’s actually killed many members of that family (though we have a final reason for why the Colorado Kid, James, was killed – because of Lucy had killed him, the person she loved the most, to set off the Barn it would have ended the Troubles). His “I’ve killed everyone because I loved you the mostist” is, of course, neither endearing nor reassuring.

“I will kill for you and have killed people you love for you”, is totally not sweet. Even if several books we’ve read will argue that point. Croatoan is also stab proof and brutally abusive – but hey he can heal with woo-woo. Yes, Croatoan can control the Troubles – to him the Troubles are super powers without the downside or side effects.

He also expositions why he was banished – the recklessness he was banished for was to save her life (putting aether into his daughter to boost her immune system). Uh-uh, and the random killings are totally justified by this because….? Oh yes, they’re not.

However it does tell us why Croashatner needs Audrey – because the aether in her makes her super-duper aether user and with that he can make awesome Troubles to flood the place with Aether and then create evil-super-duper powers they can go home with

Duke is rampaging around killing Troubled people while Nathan and Dwight plan to try and stop him. This involves, like so many shows, setting a tap for him and then having absolutely no plans for him when he arrives. Thankfully random conscience shows up allowing them to drug him and chain him up (with special Trouble Chains they had helpfully hanging around).

Z Nation, Season Two, Episode Fourteen: Day One

At this point, the group is closer than they have ever been to their final end goal.  This episode opens with the group being forced to abandon the El Camino's.  Damn it, I liked those cars. Warren quickly determines that they are going to have to walk the rest of the way when the group finds themselves standing in the ruins of Disneyland. This penultimate episode is essentially nothing more than one big flashback which for me was rather irritating.

It begins with Citizen Z, who was in jail and about to face time for some kind of cyber crime. Well that explains a lot because Citizen Z does not look like he is in enough shape to survive basic training, let alone be a part of the military. Citizen Z is approached by the NSA and warned that what he is about to learn is something that he cannot even share with his lawyer.  It seems that the NSA wants to ship Citizen Z to the arctic to work on zombies.

We next move on to Warren, who is commanding a group of the National Guard.  Warren heads outside when she hears the sirens of an ambulance.  Warren heads into the back of the ambulance to help who she thinks is an injured person but is in fact a zombie.  Warren heads back into the outpost to seek help from the soldiers for the injured person and she is attacked.  Warren ends up killing all of the soldiers under her command using amazing head shots. Did anyone else wonder where Garret was? I guess they couldn't get the actor to agree to come back.

With Doc we learn that the nickname actually means something. Pre Z, Doc worked as a therapist specializing in drug addiction. It's hardly a surprise.  Doc at this point has been sober for five years and actually doesn't look half bad all cleaned up. When Doc is attacked by his patient, he figures out pretty quickly that his patient has actually turned into a zombie.  This is the end of Doc's sobriety and he downs a few oxy and escapes out of the building.

Addy was at a hockey game when the zombie apocalypse broke out.  Mack (now dead) was actually on the ice playing the game.  Addy takes off through the stands and Mack fights his way off the ice. The two meet up in a locker area where together they take out a few zombies. Mack asks Addy about pairing up and she quickly agrees, provided he come with her to check on her brother and her mother. We all know how that turned out.

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Six: Wesen Nacht

"Awake, arise, or be forever fall'n"

Truble wakes from her bad dream to find Nick holding a crying Kelly, looking down on her.  It's been 25 hours since she was last awake and now, Nick is more than ready to find out what is going on. After months of concern about what happened to Truble, Nick learns that Truble has been working with the people who took her - a group called Hadrian's Wall. Yes, the name is significant. HW has been fighting the global Wesen uprising and Truble has been running around the globe following their orders.  Truble did want to tell Nick but she was barred from doing so, though the group supposedly wants Grimm on their side.  In a quick newsflash, Truble announces that HW knows that Nick is a Grimm, that Adalind used to be a hexenbiest and all about baby Kelly.  It's not big deal though because the group doesn't want Kelly. 

HW may not want Adalind or Kelly at this point but they do want Nick.  It is their hope to enlist all of the Grimm to fight the rebelling Wesen. Truble reveals that the agency is large and has Grimm working overseas.  Nick and Truble head to check out her bike and Truble has an emotional moment and hugs Nick.  When is Grimm just going to reveal that these two are brother and sister already? The reunion gets put on hold when Nick gets called into the station.

Renard shoots his commercial for Andrew.  Renard gets all sexy flirty with the camera crew and director.  

Truble remains outside working on her bike and is joined by the now passive Adalind, who brings coffee.  They are really making Adalind all sweet and domestic now.  Truble questions Adalind about her feelings giving that she slept with Nick and they are now sharing a bed.  What the ever loving fuck Grimm? Adalind did not sleep with Nick, she raped him.  It is called rape by deception. Geesh. Adalind is quick to deny that they are fucking and says that they are only sharing a bed; however, when it comes to her feelings towards Nick, Adalind is incapable of giving a straight answer. Damn it, I just knew they were going to make Nick and Adalind of all freaking people a couple.  Time for Adalind to turn the tables and so she asks about Juliet.  Truble admits that she came back intentionally to kill Juliet. That's really no surprise because Truble did what Nick would have been unable to do.  Adalind promises not to tell Nick but advises Truble that she needs to spill the beans herself. 

At the station, Nick learns from Hank and Wu about a gang raid on three different neighbourhoods. It seems the gangs smashed the windows of business, kidnapped one owner and killed another.  They were all wearing Black shirts.  Did anyone else think that Grimm was invoking kristallnacht?  The cops decide to head to the crime scene and there they discover that Xavier's (the kidnapped man) bakery  has the telltale four claw marks on the wall.  Yep, it's all starting to come together.

The Originals, Season Three, Episode Nine: Savior

Talk about an action packed mid season finale.  I didn't expect it to be all eggnog and mistletoe but this episode left me reeling. Even though Savior was filled with all kinds of Mikaelson family drama, I think that this was the best episode of the season to date, even if Klaus was slightly bombarded with blondes.

It begins with Rebekah's coffin being pulled out of the ocean. We learn that unlike the dagger Klaus uses to punish her, this dagger allows her to be aware of the passage of time, feel cold and her own gnawing hunger.  The men that Elijah hired to retrieve Rebekah decide to open the container in the false belief that if Elijah would pay them so much to get it from the deep, he would be willing to renegotiate for more money.  And thus we being our Christmas episode with Elijah slaughtering those who sought to double cross him, just as any Mikaelson worth their salt would do.

Back at the family compound things are cozy with Klaus and Cami.  It seems that Cami is so appreciative of being saved from Aurora,  that she has no problem watching as Klaus compels a young woman to slit her hand to feed him blood. I guess Cami has put her Jiminy Cricket mode on pause. Who is this Cami?  Their little moment of bonding comes to and end when Cami gets a text from Vincent and rushes off to meet him.

Now that Marcel is officially a member of the Stryx, it's time for Tristan to start throwing his weight around and to that end, Tristan declares that whatever belongs to Marcel also belongs to him. Just like so many other rich, straight, cisgender white men, Tristan wants his tax and privilege.  After his entitled announcement, Tristan decides to share that the Stryx have arranged for Van Nguyen to become the new Regent. Van Nguyen will be  a Regent that the Stryx will control and will certainly help them achieve their goals.  Marcel plays along but clearly he isn't pleased by this news.

Cami meets up with Vincent, and she learns that things aren't going well for Kinney.  It seems that Lucian's compulsion has served to ruin Kinney's life.  Kinney lost his job for being absolutely incompetent and has locked himself away from everyone.  Vincent tasks Cami to check in on the detective.

Christmas is the time for family. Hayley has finally swallowed her pride and headed out to the Bayou to track down Jackson.  Jackson is still not at all pleased that Hayley is at the beck and call of the Mikaelsons and is bitter that Hayley is still in love with Elijah. Well, it's not like he went into the marriage with this as a secret.  Why Jackson thought that their year long marriage would somehow eradicate Hayley's love of Elijah is beyond me.  The two come to terms and Hayley confesses that she just wants to have a happy little Christmas with Jackson and her daughter. Y'all know that there's a fat chance of this happening right? Apparently, being chosen regardless of the fact that it was under extenuating circumstances is enough for Jackson. That's one well trained wolf.

An angry Marcel meets with Vincent.  Marcel thinks that Vincent isn't doing his duty to the Quarter by allowing Van Nguyen to ascend to the Regency. Umm, they wouldn't have been in this problem if they had just left Davina in that role.  Marcel decides to poke the bear and get aggressive with Vincent.  Vincent gives a show of force and warns Marcel that he has been holding back his power for a long time and that now perhaps he will take the Regency and use his power in a way Marcel will not like. It looks like they are finally going to give Vincent something to do other than follow Cami around like a puppy dog.  It's about damn time! Since the prophesy says that one of the Originals will fall by foe, I wonder if Vincent will be responsible?

Having reconciled with Hayley, Jackson makes his way back into town and pauses when he sees that Freya is being followed by a group of vampires.  In a parking lot, Freya is attacked and doesn't manage to hold her own for long.  It's Jackson to the rescue and he just happens to be carrying an axe. Quick question, why is it that despite supposedly being such a powerful witch, Freya always seems to get her ass handed to her?  The vampires weren't able to kill Freya but they manage to steal the medallion back that the Stryx plan on using as a weapon against the Originals.

Back at the compound, Rebekah learns that the family Christmas she was hoping for is going to be a little tougher to get than simply waking up from a long nap.  It seems that the dagger placed some kind of magical curse on Rebekah which will slowly turn her into a Ripper.  Freya tries to help and learns that despite having some of Hayley's blood, she has a wound that won't close and it has left her weak. Oh those Stryx are crafty crafty vampires.

Cami has arrived at Kinney's only to discover that she has been followed stalked by Klaus.  Lucian's compulsion is in over drive and so Kinney has decided to kill himself.  It's that time again - time for Klaus to play dashing hero.  After being invited in, Klaus compels Kinney to believe that his life is worth something and that he will get his job back after he visits his sister for Christmas. This act of compassion, earns Klaus some serious doe eyes from Cami. Anyone else feel like we are being set up?  Once again a phone call stops the romance.  Elijah calls Klaus to give him the heads up about the danger their sisters are in. Klaus decides to head to Lucian's for the cure but asks Cami to come with him so that he doesn't have to worry about her being in danger while he is trying to save Freya and Rebekah.