Saturday, January 31, 2015

The 100, Season Two, Episode Ten: Survivial of the Fittest

Lincoln and Bellamy are on their way to mount weather, and Lincoln pauses to cover himself in blood and white paint.  The plan is for Lincoln to head to the intake door and then slaughter everyone. As they walk to Mt. Weather, Bellamy declares that Lincoln is good for Olivia and makes her strong.  Bellamy then points out that Lincoln protected his sister before he even knew her and asks why. In response, Lincoln says that when he was a boy, he saw a ship fall from the sky and that the man inside was hurt.  Lincoln brought him food and water, though he could not understand his language and when he told his father about the man, his father made him kill the man.  Lincoln adds that the world has been trying to turn him into a monster for as long as he can remember.

Indra, and a group of warriors, arrive at Camp Jaha and are greeted by Cain, who says that they can start with a reception before moving on to training.  Cain then instructs the Grounders to drop their weapons.  I suppose, turn around is fair play.  After disarming, Indra makes it clear that she is here on Lexa's orders and did not agree to anything.

Jaha and Marcus meet in the hallway, where Cain instructs Jaha to be good because he convinced Abbey to have Jaha released.  Jaha however isn't quite contrite and believes that his people are in a losing situation. Jaha is convinced that they will either be slaughtered by Mt. Weather or win and then have the Grounders kill them off because at the end of the day, this land belongs to the Grounders. When Cain calls for faith, Jaha counters that Cain is proposing stupidity.  Cain finishes the conversation by saying that they just have to make the Grounders believe that it is in their interest to share. 

Cain brings the Grounders and the Arc people together and gives a speech about their common enemy and common goal.  A Grounder approaches Murphy, upset because Murphy watched while Finn slaughtered his village. In response, Murphy pushes the Grounder away. Cain brings the situation to a halt quickly by telling Murphy to apologise and giving him two days work detail as punishment, after Murphy claims the Grounder came at him. Murphy starts to leave without apologising and the Grounder tells Murphy that he should have burned just like Finn.  Murphy responds by throwing a punch and the fight is on.  Cain and Octavia dive into the mix trying to break up the fight and Jaha watches with a knowing look on his face. 

Clarke meets with Lexa and a group of warriors to formulate a plan to take on Mt. Weather.  The Grounders want to open the doors of Mt. Weather, forcing them to breathe the air because it will kill them.  Clarke however does not think that this will work because the Mt. Weather people have multiple containment systems.   Clarke adds that she believes that Bellamy can take down the system from the inside.  Lexa instead suggests taking down the damn from the outside, which will have the effect of cutting off the power to Mt. Weather. Clarke argues that the damn withstood a nuclear war and is going to be impossible to take out.  Quint slams his fist on the table in frustration saying that all Clarke offers is no.   Lexxa shoots Quint a look and he backs down but says that the biggest army they have ever  had is amassed and waiting for a mission and the longer it takes, the more of their people die in the mountain.  Clarke responds by saying that it is the same for all of them.  Quint points that they have lost thousands and asks how many Clarke has lost.  Quint again asserts his opinion that waiting for one man to get inside is not a very good one.  Another Grounder speaks up to agree with Quint.  Clarke says that it doesn't matter how many men they have because the cannot get through the acid fog.  Clarke adds that if you cannot get to your enemy, then you cannot win.  The Grounder tells Clarke that she is the enemy and Clarke asks if she has done something to offend him.  Quint tells Clarke that she burned his brother alive in a ring of fire.  Clarke gets right in Quint's face and says that he shouldn't have attacked her ship.  Quint calls Clarke brave but points out that she is after all under Lexa's protection.  In the Grounder language, Quint says that he doesn't need an alliance with the Sky People.  Lexa speaks up to agree that waiting for Bellamy is not a plan and is only a prayer. Clakre then excuses herself to get some air, as Lexa looks at the map.

Bellamy and Lincoln have paused and Lincoln warns that from here on in, everything must be authentic.  Bellamy is worried what will happen if they run into real reapers but Lincoln says that  the reapers will only see is the red.  Lincoln tells Bellamy that he remembers everything from when he was a reaper.

Clakre makes her way through the forest and Quint taunts her about her bravery.  Quint fires an arrow at Clarke and she takes off running.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 6, episode 12: Prayer for the Dying

Caroline is by the cancer patient she cured/killed. Yes, the man, despite collapsing last episode and leaving a trail of blood behind, has managed to find and stagger to Caroline’s house in the middle of the night. He conveniently collapses AFTER she opens the door to him. This guy must have staggered miles and now he falls unconscious?

Anyway, Caroline drags him inside and calls Stefan because we need more tension between them apparently, and Stefan rightfully guesses that their guest, Colin, is a vampire. He died after Caroline gave him her blood.

Over to Elena (who has a new daylight ring, seriously witches mass produce these things) and Damon who happily recap that they still need the rather magically inept Jo to get good at the witchcraft and that they have a comatose serial killer Kai in the bedroom who they haven’t killed for reasons. The plot line is looming dangerously so it’s time to sidetrack into Damon and Elena flirting and relationship angst (Elena considers it cheating for Damon to copy past dates which he knows Elena loved). But they are rekindling their relationship

Over to Elena at the hospital where Jo fails to heal a plant (with magic – her doctor’s surgery hasn’t expanded to triffids) and Stefan drags in the not-very well vampire Colin. For completely random reasons, vampire blood speeds up cancer, hence Colin’s sudden-if-not-unexpected death. This makes Colin a medical confusion since he is a stage 10 cancer patient (an impossibility), terminally ill beyond all concepts of terminal illness and also an immortal vampire. Pretty much the definition of a fate worse than death

Which is when Caroline and Liz show up to tell everyone that this is actually going to happen to Liz as well, someone they all care about, rather than randomly disposable POC #86845.

Elena decides to blame all this on Stefan because she thinks it was super unreasonable to believe that the super-healy vampire blood had super-healed someone who was apparently super-healed like everyone else who has ever drunk it ever.

Jo comes up with a possible solution of giving Liz a complete transfusion of human blood to get the vampire blood out of her. Damon snarks and she has no patience for that. Aww, but Damon snark is about the only thing that keeps me going on this show.

Damon tells us that he and Liz are great friends (he needs to tell us because the show has done a pretty bad job of showing us) which I think is supposed to be used to soften his next actions: he kills Colin (is anyone shocked? Though he was begging to die due to that whole fate worse than death thing) and then rubs Caroline’s nose in the fact she just killed her mother. Classy.

Elena delivers the news to Liz and Liz brings out the a-list acting, with lots of restrained emotion with added sadness that she knows Caroline will never forgive herself.

Stefan finds Caroline actually planning her mother’s funeral… because organising events and parties is what Caroline does. Stefan brings out a pep talk and past experience to encourage Caroline to go back to her mother.

Side plot line time! Tyler and Liv are in bed together, when someone knocks at the door. It’s her dad. Awkward. He’s there to take Luke and Liv to dinner – because it’s their birthday. Tyler, of course, is all pouty because Liv didn’t tell him about the impending birthday which also heralds the whole twin melding and death thing. The plan is for Luke and Liv to convince daddy that Jo is super awesome and can totally take down Kai (hey, has anyone even considered what would happen to Jo if she did merge with a magic sucking oddity like Kai? No? Just me?) They do manage to convince Tyler that he shouldn’t be their spokesperson to daddy because… my gods why would anyone even think that was a potential answer?

So time to convince daddy – who reveals that the entire coven will actually DIE if a merged heir doesn’t appear. Whoa, you’ve been keeping that secret haven’t you? (Am I the only one who wanted Damon to appear, yell “why didn’t you say so?” and kill daddy Gemini?) Daddy Gemini also says the whole “drop dead” thing is inaccurate – you actually absorb traits from the other (which means my concern about serial killing abomination Kai really needs revisiting). Liv and Luke have both decided that Luke will win which is why they can’t go ahead (yes, same as last episode).

Guest Review: Madame Einzige: Amor Fati by Ismael Sarepta

Being a fan of sci-fi political satire, I find it difficult to find new authors who are both good story tellers and thought provoking political analysts. So, I was very pleased to find this novel by a young new author who not only is skilled at creating a fascinating and beguiling story arch but also includes a well thought out political dimension to their work. Ismael Sarepta’s novel, Madame Einzige: Amor Fati might best be classified as a near-future cyberpunk novel. The  political intrigue, sprinkling of historical references, and complex cast of racially diverse female and male characters make Madame Einzige: Amor Fati a provocative work that keeps the reader engaged with a number of plot twists within a fast-paced story. The book is packed full of historical references, philosophical and ideological debates, and techy nerdom. So while you soak up this book, don’t blink, or you might miss something.

The story takes place in 2033 within the desolate landscape of war-torn Central Asia. The world is that of a post-modern state which has developed after some of the most globally significant moments in European and Eurasian history. The main character, Madame Einzige, a self-proclaimed Aryan, finds herself a minority within the large and troubled Eurasian landscape.  As a female, a minority, and an ideological outsider, Einzige struggles with the completion of her own agenda, ending the fascist rule of the state and instead becomes embroiled in the efforts of the liberation movement that has unified a number of factions within the region. Ensuing during and prior to the beginning of the novel, cyber and combat based warfare are ongoing between a multitude of factions and the state. A number of well-described fight scenes fill the book with action and suspense that are sandwich between politically charged dialogue and development. Einzige, being a wartime hero to a clandestine group of freedom fighters that she sides with, soon becomes entangled in a web of lies and deceit that reveal the multiple layers of covert actions that are common place within many liberation groups.

Madame Einzige herself is a classic character with believable flaws and a strict adherence to a freedom fighting ideologue that is quite familiar to anyone in the western world. One of the most refreshing things about the book, is the development and depictions of groups that symbolically represent the underrepresented and quite often misrepresented populations of today such as the similarities of the factions to Middle Eastern liberations fronts, the village of Tajikistan to indigenous populations, and the numerous spies within the book to a variety of immigrant groups. With obvious connections to religious and anti-religious factions around the world, the unification of the different divisions in the book provides a refreshing counterpoint to the common western notion that all radical factions are the same. By humanizing these types of groups while still pointing out their inevitable corruption and failure, the author builds up the reader’s ability to not only empathize with the characters but to better understand them without the need to agree with them or their ideology.

The cast of supporting characters in the book vary in their posturing and roles while avoiding any overt classification thus making them easy to connect with and relate to. Within the media, literature, movies and television as a whole, I’ve noticed an overt masculinization of physically and mentally “strong” female characters. So it was very refreshing to see the juxtaposition of the main physically and mentally capable loner rebel as a female and a minority to the region which she is working in. In addition to this, most of the combat ready characters are refreshingly feminine females. Another thing that I found enjoyable is that there is only one very brief romantic interlude within the entire book, leaving the story line open to focus on in group and out group interplay. Yanush, Madame Einzige’s counterpart takes a backseat to Einzige’s character and while he does save her a number of times via his hacking abilities, it is more often than not Einzige’s own brawn and quick wittedness that saves the day. Even Amir, the male leader of the Red Hat’s, one of the main parties within the coalition, requires the help of Madame Einzige, and seems rather helpless without her. In all, the characters are welcomingly not forced into the normal gender roles associated with certain positions of power which I found to be a major plus.  

Regarding in group politics, the book depicts the divisions within liberation groups in a time when most only see such organizations as unilateral tools of destruction. By avoiding the idealizing of nongovernmental national organizations and their governmental counterparts, the story exposes the chaos and disunions that are often found within informal organizations. As the social climate and landscape in the book develop, so to do the fascinating characters. Amongst the femme fatales, cyber-punk elite, and uber masculine in the book are the average contributors and unwitting soldiers of the many different factions. Whilst developing captivating characters, the author successfully develops a believable depiction of the ultimate outcomes of civil war.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, easy reading may not be the best way to describe Madame Einzige: Amor Fati. Some of the best books take a little time to progress and streamline a story, and this book is no different. One thing which someone might notice about the novel is the disjointed first chapter written in a nonexistent computer code. At first glance, it seems like nonsensical gibberish, but after closer inspection it is full of clues about the progression of the novel and history of the main characters. Don’t let the jarring nature of the first chapter fool you, the rest of the book reads quite smoothly. It even seems as if the disjointed code found within the book gives the reader a feel for the cyberpunk essence of the time period, and the fast paced fluid action scenes and poignant philosophical moments found within the book bring together the narrative. So if you feel a little discouraged when reading the first chapter, keep going, you won’t regret it.

Overall, Madame Einzige: Amor Fati is a provocative story with a fascinating combination of historical, political and philosophical intrigue which is thought provoking and intriguing. The world of Madame Einzige includes a rich world full of real world historical references woven into a post-apocalyptic Eurasian expanse. With a strong unstoppable female protagonist and a myriad of fascinating supporting characters, this is a book that will not cease to keep you guessing. An enthralling and uninhibited journey, Madame Einzige: Amor Fati is a wonderful Nietzschean depiction of the timeless struggle between ideology and actualization within a world of political and bureaucratic corruption and intrigue.

Editor’s note: The author is a friend of the reviewer.

Friday, January 30, 2015

What's Wrong with Bill Maher's Condemnation of Speculative Fiction

On January 16th, Bill Maher had Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win an academy award for directing on his show, Real Time with Bill Maher. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not at all a fan of Bill Maher, finding that he is more often wrong than he is right, despite his pseudo liberal credentials. In this case, Maher’s arrogance has caused him to attack the fantastical genre in his typical fashion, simply because he cannot appreciate the stories it tells and the lessons it chooses to teach. To that end, he makes a leading statement to guide Ms. Bigelow into affirming his erroneous assertion.

Bill Maher: I have one more question for you

Kathryn Bigelow: Alright

Bill Maher: The 25 biggest movies, adjusted for inflation; this means we go back: Gone With the Wind, Titanic, Jaws, Doctor Zhivago, Sting, Graduate, Godfather. You know, no superheroes in any of them.  The 25 not adjusted, which means the recent ones, there’s only one without an alien, a wizard, a superhero, or a talking animal and that’s Titanic, you’re old husband.  

Kathryn Bigelow: laughs

Bill Maher:  I understand, great director, bad husband.  Do you think this means we’re getting stupider?

Kathryn Bigelow: I think it’s kind of sad

Bill Maher: yeah, it is kind of sad that we can’t make movies about people anymore.

Kathryn Bigelow: People, about content

Bill Maher: right

Kathryn Bigelow: About material that is substantive. I guess those kind of movies could be looked at as substantive in some way but

Josh Gad: I just want to say that Frozen’s in the top five, so other than that I agree.

Let’s begin with the idea that the popularity of these movies is new and an indication that as a society, our collective intelligence is reducing. For as long as humans have been able to dream, we have been intrigued by the fantastical - something we can see in our most ancient of myths and sagas. It is far from a sign that socially we are travelling backward, rather than forwards, simply based in the fact that to consume or create something in the fantastical genre one must step outside of reality somewhat and think about what is possible.  It is our very desire to consider what is possible which keeps humanity evolving. For instance, would we even be thinking of the possibility of building a transporter, were it not for the genius of Gene Roddenberry?

There is an inherent snobbery in dismissing any genre of fiction simply because it is popular - we see this equally in books where classics and literary fiction are constantly upheld as “true literature” while popular genres like speculative fiction and romance are regarded with contempt and quickly dismissed. It takes a special kind of arrogance to dismiss the contributions of speculative fiction when it offers 40% of the top 200 grossing movies of all time. We cannot help but think that there is an extreme subtext of “I am better than all the plebes out there,” (again, something we’ve seen in literature circles). It’s like a rich man’s hipsterism! If it’s popular, it can’t possibly be good - I couldn’t possibly lower myself to enjoy this.

This elitism that is only exacerbated by Bill Maher’s extreme wealth and class privilege. Appealing to a hugely broad audience, as these films do, should be something we hail, not condemn. In such a divisive and divided world, this genre is clearly bringing together people from all levels. For example, the long lived BBC series Dr. Who, recently went on a  world tour.  Peter Capaldi (the current Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (the current Companion) visited Seoul, Sydney, New York, London, Mexico City, Rio De Janerio, and Cardiff, while Steven Moffat visited select cities. Despite the various languages and culture in these locations, the people in attendance were united in their love for the brilliant man with the blue box. Fandom, as wild as it may be, brings people together in the way that Latin did so many centuries ago, because fans, regardless of their various spoken languages, all share the language of the show/movie/book they have chosen to embrace. Maher’s comments are enough to make me want to introduce him to a Dalek.

There is also a toxic nostalgia to his criticism - this constant idea that things were always “better” in some nebulous past time (when we could all die of rickets). Nostalgia is always an uncomfortable lens to look through, since it washes over so much of the bad that came before us and is doubly problematic for marginalised people because it upholds an even more bigoted era as some kind of golden age of art and, in this case, intelligence. But not only does nostalgia skillfully brush over the sins of the past, it’s also grossly inaccurate (rose tinted goggles don’t give the best view). Bill Maher laments how in ye olden days popular films were not speculative fiction - but as the link of the top 200 grossing movies of all times shows, not only are 10 of the top 25 films speculative fiction, but 7 of those movies were released before 1985. Sorry Bill, speculative fiction has been a force to be reckoned with for decades now, and probably always will be - at least for as long as Lucas can make money off the merchandising.

Hideous by Devon McCormack

Luke is Cursed. Marked by a demon – a demon that possessed his father, killed his family and tortured him. Under the law of the land, the Cursed must be kept separate from society and carefully monitored because they are vulnerable to possession. Luke is a victim – but he’s also a threat and his entire life is defined by being that threat.

Desperately trying to exist in this terrible system, pulled in many directions and with many temptations, Luke’s worse fear is realised – his father’s demon has found him. And he is Cursed. He is vulnerable

The main fascinating original premise of this book are the Cursed and how they are treated by society and the way it is justified. The Cursed are vulnerable to possession (or infection). This means that even though they are victims, they’re also viewed as a terrible threat that needs monitoring – and they face

While this is a fascinating dynamic in and of itself and it would have been interesting to explore still further, it does introduce a shakiness to the obvious parallels that are being drawn throughout the book – to segregation and closeted LGBT people in particular. The Cursed, admittedly through no fault of their own, are dangerous, they are a risk and closely monitoring them does reduce that risk – this is a presented fact. This is a problem and why these metaphors for marginalised people so often fail – because they seem to always take a group that IS actually a threat in some way to compare with marginalised people.

Once we move past that original premise, however, the whole concept is far stronger and contains so many nuances. Luke faces frequent demands to think about the greater good and society while at the same time pointing out the system, society and the “greater good” never seems to include people like him. It’s easy to claim grandiose motives for the good of all when you’re not the ones who slip through the cracks. Related to that we have a criminal organisation of Cursed who are even involved in drug dealing.  The book does an excellent job of both saying how wrong this is and how these drugs are ruining lives – but at the same time, these Curseds outside the system (Deviants, as they’re called) don’t have any other option. They have to be involved in illicit activity to live – their choice is to struggle on the edge of the law, constantly being hunted or lived as constantly abused slaves within the system. When someone has all the good choices removed, you can’t judge them for making bad ones.

There’s also a Cursed character who navigates the system by, basically, being a sycophant and throwing his fellows to the wolves whenever he can. Let’s be brutally honest, it happens –in every marginalised community there are those who try to play the “we’re the good ones” role, who try to attack their fellows in exchange for a crumb of tolerance. We also have a very conflicted character who can hide the fact they’re Cursed. They live under constant stress of lying and being found out; he both embraces Luke as a confident, someone he can talk to but also shuns him in public and even aids and abets abuse of Luke as part of his own cover. It’s a very difficult role – on top of that Luke is, naturally, very unsympathetic to this character’s drinking because his life seems so much better than Luke’s that Luke cannot see or acknowledge the stress the other character has to deal with. It’s a really fascinating interaction.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Velicious by Shelique Lize

Justice is going to college and trying to move on past a terrifying experience in her past – but when she visits a psychic on her 21st birthday, it’s a herald of old events returning and a whole new world of vampyres and hunters opening up to her.

She can’t go back to a normal life, however she tries to, but at least there are plenty of sexy guys along the way

I think what this book needed more than anything else was a proof reader and an editor – the lack of both shows sadly and it really hurts the story.

The most obvious indication of this comes from quite a few errors in the text – there’s a fair amount of malapropisms or bad spellcheck (“were” instead of “we’re” and engine is “revived” rather than “revved” and there’s some rather bizarre conjuration of the verb “bound”). Some of the sentences were really oddly structured and clearly missing words that just cried out for a good read through and edit. The tense shifted a lot as well, even mid conversation we’d have one person urgently in the present tense but the person he’s speaking to is happily delivering his lines in a more laid back past tense. It doesn’t help make the book readable.

Next to that we also have some more common and less glaring issues – like severe word abuse and over-elaborate and convoluted dialogue and too much thesaurus thumbing (most people “think”, it’s rarely necessary for them to “ponder” and people can talk, all this mumbling is unnecessary).

But the lack of line editing underscores that this whole book could have used a polish – someone to read through it and say things like “this isn’t necessary” or “who is this person? Why are they here?” or “Chekhov’s gun needs to apply” because it really needs it.

Take the characters – this is a 216 page book. In that relatively short book I have Justice (also – unless she has a cape and super-powers “Justice” is a bad choice of name) the protagonist. Her big sister Mya, her little sister Kailah, her two best friends Audrina and Nicolle. Audrina’s on-and-off boyfriend Anthony. Justice’s ex, Calvin and a possible love interest Chace. And Jordan. I have no real idea where Jordan fits into things but the does. And there’s Justice’s ex-friend Erin.

Then there’s Calvin and his team: Jessica, Bianca, Kyle, Vincent and Jonathon. Then there’s the actual vampyres (yes with a “y”), Dante, Marquis, Angel, Chalice, Tayce and Nolanna. And odd psychic Selena

That’s about 16 significant and 5 potentially significant characters in a 216 page book. And I say significant for a reason because there’s a whole lot more names we pass by. Normally that’d be understandable, don’t make extras nameless nobodies – but there is such a soup of names here that when Justice describes someone going past one of her sorority sister’s rooms using their names I’m suddenly wondering if these are more characters I’ve missed and who exactly they are.

Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 11: There's No Place Like Home

So Charlie’s back – and she’s torturing some guy. For information – but mainly for funsies.

Over to the Winchester’s and Dean has decided to defeat the influence of the Mark of Cain by ditching booze, unhealthy food and eating egg-white omelettes and vegetable smoothies.

I wish to make it clear, right now, that is any substance can make me go on a killing spree it is probably egg white omelettes. I think the same may be true of Dean

This torture by health food is interrupted by Sam finding news – and a video clip – of Charlie torturing someone with violence (may be more merciful than the egg-white omelette). Dean is duly sceptical of Charlie torturing a District Attorney – and a court Stenographer. At very least Dean assumes Charlie had a good reason (it’s not like they haven’t resorted to torture before themselves).

They go to question the DA and learn Charlie was asking lots of questions about a case he handled – a drunk driver who killed her dad and put her mother in a coma. The case never went to trial because it was mysteriously covered up, all the files sealed before trial. Dean decides to add more violence and the DA admits he was bribed by councilwoman Barbara Caudry. Sam looks on, I think he’s supposed to look worried/shocked/disturbed/vaguely confused/what-the-hell-is-that-facial-expression-supposed-to-be-anyway by Dean’s violence (probably less so because it’s shocking – because Dean – but because it must feed the Mark).

Dean doesn’t commit brutal murder and they drive off, Sam conveniently expositioning Charlie’s motives because so many TV shows are completely contemptuous of our abilities to understand the bleeding obvious. (And Charlie’s real name, Celeste).

They go to see Barbara who is not all that thrilled to see them and closes the door on their faces (not even asking why the FBI – and of course they’re posing as FBI – is investigating a death by drunk driving case). Stake out time, with Dean unnaturally eating kale. Sam reads into Charlie’s background which points to her being a disturbed child though Dean points out neither of them are exactly poster children for well adjusted youngsters.

They are on scene when Charlie makes her move and follow the sound of Barbara’s scream to find Charlie holding her at knife point. Charlie gives some evil exposition – including how Sam is too goody-goody. She then makes a run for it after punching and kicking Dean in the face. She also slashes his tries before making her getaway

And then an entirely different Charlie drives up – yup, evil twin time! She explains that she basically unleashed her dark side with a deal with the Wizard of Oz so she could win a war (yes, Oz, remember). So evil her is running around and this Charlie is super-duper-fluffy-good Charlie. And Evil Charlie and Good Charlie are linked – so hurt one you hurt both. Also Evil Charlie is going after the people behind her parents’ death because she’s trying to impress Good Charlie because Good Charlie shunned her after Evil Charlie won the war by doing terribad things. Good Charlie is also having the guilt Weasels since Evil Charlie is still, basically, Charlie. She also has no way to get back to Oz and is unsure if she wants to merge with Evil Charlie.

Cover Review: 19th January to the 23rd January

Our weekly look at the fabulous art work, evocative images and twisted spines that have adorned the books we reviewed last week.

I’m interested - it works for me. It’s a little vague and doesn’t really show the fairy tale elements - but it is both cartoony and faintly ominous which is a surprisingly good representation of the book itself. I don’t think I love it, but I think if I were scrolling past covers I would stop on this one and read a little more out of sheer curiosity. The only thing is, I suspect it would be filed under the children’s section

Sundark (Elle Black Penny Dread #1) by Elizabeth Watasin

Ooooooooooooh yes, I like this. I like the darkness, I like the gothic spookiness. i like the nice scroll work and moulding and night sky behind her. I like the action pose of the protagonist - which is kind of awesome - and I like the Victorian theme. What I particularly have to praise is the strong Victorian theme - carried by the clothing - without being so very over the top about it. I love victoriana covers - but to have all that Victoriana without the steam engines is an interesting achievement.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

Trigger warnings for discussions of rape, and child abuse. 

Dragonfly in Amber covers Claire and Jamie's attempt to stop Bonnie Prince Charlie from starting the Jacobite uprising because history tells us that it will end in slaughter for the Highlanders and the destruction of the clan system.  The book begins in the 20th century, told fromthe point of view of Roger Wakefield, a historian who Claire visits to try and discover what happened to the fighting Highlanders that she interacted with in the past.  Claire, now a doctor and widow of Frank Randall, is determined not only to find out what happened but to tell her daughter Brianna, who her true father is and the circumstances of her birth. 

The moment Claire begins recounting her time in France, the POV changes to hers, which is a good thing because much of Roger's commentary obsesses alternately about the beauty and sexual attraction he has towards Brianna and of course, how strong and beautiful he finds Claire to be.

We know almost from the beginning that Claire and Jamie failed to stop the uprising and so essentially, Dragonfly in Amber is the story of their failed political intrigue.  It makes it tedious at times to read because there is a strong sense of how the book is going to end.  To enjoy this novel, as with the first, one must believe in the relationship between Jamie and Claire.

I wish I could call Claire a strong protagonist.  I can clearly see the effort to make her strong with things like having her fight with Jamie over the right to work as a nurse at the hospital during her pregnancy, not content to sit around the house all day while he runs his cousin's shipping business.  There is also her defiant attempt to stop Jamie from killing Johnathon Randall, though the man tortured him and raped him, in order to ensure the possibility of Frank Randall's birth.  Having made her decision to stay with Jamie, Claire is unwilling to give up the possibility of her marriage to Frank.

Unfortunately, this is where Claire's strength ends.  For the most part, she is pretty submissive with Jamie.  At no point does she ever say no to sex, even when Jamie says things like wanting to use her. Am I supposed to find that romantic?   And when Claire has sex with the king of France, in order to free Jamie from jail, his first thought isn't of the sacrifice she made for him, but a desire to kill her for allowing another man to touch his property. 
 “Christ!” he said, and sat up suddenly, turning to face me. “Do ye not know what I…Claire.” He closed his eyes briefly, and took a deep breath. “I rode all the way to Orvieto, seeing it; seeing his hands on the white of your skin, his lips on your neck, his—his cock—I saw it at the lever—I saw the damn filthy, stubby thing sliding up…God, Claire! I sat in prison thinking ye dead, and then I rode to Spain, wishing to Christ ye were!” (pg 467)
Does Claire become enraged by Jamie's over possessiveness?  Does Claire tell Jamie to go to hell in no short order? Of course not.  Claire begs Jamie to punish her for her so-called betrayal.
“I beat you once in justice, Sassenach, and ye threatened to disembowel me with my own dirk. Now you’ll ask me to whip ye wi’ nettles?” He shook his head slowly, wondering, and his hand reached as though by its own volition to cup my cheek. “Is my pride worth so much to you, then?”
“Yes! Yes, it bloody is!” I sat up myself, and grasped him by the shoulders, taking both of us by surprise as I kissed him hard and awkwardly.

I felt his first involuntary start, and then he pulled me to him, arm tight around my back, mouth answering mine. Then he had me pressed flat to the earth, his weight holding me immobile beneath him. His shoulders darkened the bright sky above, and his hands held my arms against my sides, keeping me prisoner.

“All right,” he whispered. His eyes bored into mine, daring me to close them, forcing me to hold his gaze. “All right. And ye wish it, I shall punish you.” He moved his hips against me in imperious command, and I felt my legs open for him, my gates thrown wide to welcome ravishment. (pg 478)
 Both Jamie and Claire use the term "mine" to discuss the other but Jamie's possessive commentary is disturbing, given his beating of Claire in the last book and his threats of violence in this one. Are we really supposed to believe this is a love match. when Claire has to constantly remind Jamie of his promise not to beat her again and seems at times to outright fear him? 
Jamie stood up and unbuckled his swordbelt, narrowing his eyes at me. “Dinna think I don’t know what you’re up to, Sassenach. Changing the subject and flattering me like a courtesan. Did I not tell ye about those alcoves?”

“You said you didn’t mean to beat me,” I reminded him, sitting a bit farther back in my chair, just to be on the safe side.

He snorted again, tossing the swordbelt onto the chest of drawers and dropping his kilt next to the sodden shirt.

“Do I look the sort of man would beat a woman who’s with child?” he demanded.I eyed him doubtfully. Stark naked, with his hair in damp red snarls and the white scars still visible on his body, he looked as though he had just leaped off a Viking ship, rape and pillage on his mind.“Actually, you look capable of just about anything,” I told him.  (pg 167)
The only other strong woman in Dragonfly in Amber is Jenny Fraser but her time in the story is extremely short lived.  Jenny runs Lallybroch, the Fraser homeland inherited from their mother and is not at all shy to tell the men exactly what she will and will not put up with.  Jenny's major role is as a mother to her children and unfortunately, it takes a really gender essentialist tone.  While there are discussions of abortion, it's made clear that not only is this dangerous but there is continuing implication that this is something good women don't do.  The goal is to become pregnant and carry the child.

Sleepy Hollow, Season Two, Episode: Kali Yuga

Abbie is up on stage singing karaoke and is doing an awesome job, (who knew Nicole Beharie  had such an awesome set of pipes) as Ichabod, Hawley, and Jenny watch.  Jenny and Ichabod talk about his relationship with Abbie.  Ichabod says that he and Abbie have made their peace but Jenny is concerned that Ichabod and Abbie are spending a lot less time together. Ichabod questions if Abbie has said something and when Jenny says no, Ichabod reiterates that they have moved forward. Abbie joins them at the table and Hawley takes his leave after his lead on some throwing stars comes through.  Jenny offers to tag along for company but Hawley turns her down.

Hawley arrives at the designated meeting spot expecting to meet with McKenna and instead,  Carmilla Pines makes an appearance.  Even though Carmilla Pines raised Hawley, he has been avoiding her for about a decade. Hawley turns to leave but Carmilla stops him saying that it is more complicated than that, adding that she wouldn't be here if she didn't need to be. Carmilla plans to rob Theodore Knoxs estate here in Sleepy Hollow and wants to do it with Hawley.  Carmilla makes it clear that her life is on the line now but Hawley says that it's too weird and out of the blue.  Carmilla then transforms into some kind of monster and tells Hawley, "that's the way life is." Carmilla makes it clear that Hawley owes her and it is now time to repay his debt.

Ichabod has taken the stage to sing the most depressing thing ever.  Jenny and Abby talk about Ichabod's skill at the mic. Jenny points that Abbie and Ichabod were on opposing sides when it came to Abraham and much to my horror, Abbie says that Katrina was right to free Abraham when she did. Abbie justifies this statement because Orion was going to go biblical on Sleepy Hollow.  What? What? No, absolutely freaking not. NO!!!  Abbie then asserts that she is fine with Crane.  Abbie shifts the conversation to Jenny's relationship with Hawley.  Jenny says that maybe something is going on and expresses worry that Hawley has not returned her phone calls and texts, considering he promised to only be gone for a little while.  Abbie suggests that Hawley lost track of time but Jenny is certain that Hawley wouldn't blow her off like that.  Ichabod is off the stage and snarks when Jenny expresses concern over the missing Hawley.  When Abbie makes it clear that Hawley had promised to return this evening, Crane agrees to investigate. Before the team can get moving, Abbie gets a notification on her phone that there has been a breach at the archives. This shocks Ichabod because he had no idea that the archives were set up with a silent alarm.

Abbie, Jenny and Crane make their way to the archives. Jenny sees an intruder and takes off running, with Abbie and Crane fast on her heels.  Jenny catches Hawley and he tells her to back off, adding that he will explain later.  Hawley tells Jenny to back off because Carmilla is desperate and dangerous. Jenny does not heed that advice and is attacked by Carmilla.  Luckily for Jenny, Crane has arrived with his cross bow and he shoots Carmilla, causing her to release Jenny.  When Crane and Abbie go to investigate further, Carmilla and Hawley are gone.

Irving is in front of a judge and Cynthia is acting as his defense attorney. It seems that the state has dropped all charges, so based in the new evidence, the judge exonerates Irving of all charges.  Frank and Cynthia are astonished by the news.  Frank tells Cynthia that he is finally coming home to her and Macy but Cynthia does not seem pleased about this.

At the archives, Crane suggests having Katrina examine the creatures residue. Damn, and here I thought this meant we might have a Katrina free episode.  Abbie reveals that she had it analysed already and that it is acidic venom, which can burn through everything.  Crane declares that Carmilla is a vetala who not only is a servant of Kalie, she moves incredibly fast, has great strength, and is immortal. Jenny questions how Hawley got involved with a vetala and Abbie snarks that Hawley gets around. Abbie suggests seeing McKenna, the guy who originally brokered the deal Hawley was working on and Jenny says that McKenna owns a pawn shop in town.  Ichabod brings up that Hawley stole something from the archives and suggests that if they discover the missing item, they will find Hawley.  Ichabod suggests that he and Katrina work on finding Hawley, while Abbie and Jenny hunt down McKenna

Abbie and Jenny arrive at  McKenna's pawn shop and Jenny again questions Abbie's relationship with Crane, pointing out that though they are all on the same case, Crane is working with Katrina and Abbie is working with her.  Abbie however points out that since Ichabod and Katrina are trying to work on their relationship, while mourning the death of their horseman of war son, she is not going to sweat the small stuff. Jenny points out that it's not going to stay small forever.

The Originals, Season Two, Episode Eleven: Brotherhood of the Damned

Klaus rushes frantically through the French Quarter talking to Marcel about how he cannot find Finn/Vincent and therefore cannot have the spell lifted.  Klaus says that Davina will help him to break Finn's spell whether she knows it or not and asks Marcel to keep Kol alive, at least until they find out where Rebekah is.  Marcel however is distracted because when he broke up a fight between a vampire and a werewolf, he was bitten by a werewolf.  This is a problem because Klaus is the only one who can heal him and Klaus is on the other side of the barrier. Marcel tells Klaus about the bite and Klaus promises to give Marcel his blood and get him out of the house, no matter what it takes. 

Can you guess what time it is? Why it's flashback time because the writers of The Originals are overly endeared with this device. Marcel is dressed in military gear, preparing to fight in the WWI.  Klaus wonders if Marcel is choosing this because he has been forbidden to be with Rebekah and becomes adamant that New Orleans is Marcel's home and that he is Marcel's family. Klaus adds that family are people who fight for you; however, what you don't do is abandon it. Marcel grabs his bag and leaves, as Klaus rages about the prodigal son.

In the present, Marcel looks down on the vampires, saying that home is the last place he wants to be. Kol makes his way to Marcel and learns that today is yet another celebration day in New Orleans. Since the ceremony is about waking the dead and guiding them to their eternal rest, Marcel snarks that no matter what happens today, Kol will be able to attend.  Kol snipes back that Marcel must remember that he is the only one who knows how to find Rebekah but Marcel suggests that Kol has underestimated how hungry he is. Kol questions what Davina would say about Marcel's threat but Marcel tells Kol to watch his mouth before leaving to join his vampires.

Marcel has yet another hallucination and this time, he sees a fellow soldier named Joe from the war.   In France in 1918, Joe tells Marcel that he is a bit of a mystery.  Joe reveals that he has been watching Marcel and has seen him take bullets to the gut, then pull men back to the trench like nothing happened. Marcel's Major informs the soldiers that they will not be receiving gas masks which is death sentence essentially.  The Major reminds the soldier that they are called "the brotherhood of the damned," but Marcel counters that they received that name for refusing to allow the enemy to break their line.  When the Major goes to confront Marcel, he is shot in the head.  Joe tells Marcel that it now his job to be the leader of the troops. Marcel gets yanked back into the present by Gia and blames blanking out on being hunry. 

Davina is working on a spell to locate Finn but Klaus won't stop pestering her to hurry up.  They argue about the fact that Kol is low on Klaus's list of priorities and Klaus cites that he has a sister whom he cares about more.  Klaus is adamant that until Kol says where Rebekah is, he can rot and adds that Finn is behind this current mess, so Davina should get her villains straight. Davina goes back to her spell and this time she gets a vision of Finn combining sacred objects in Lafayette number 1. Davina then informs Klaus that Finn is channeling his parents. Klaus moves to leave the church but doesn't make it far before he collapses.

Elijah sits down with Cami, who explains that her thesis is about how the suppression of past trauma can result in violent behviour. Elijah decides to name drop Freud, to imply he is more aware of the subject that Cami and so Cami puts him in check.  Elijah starts to talk about a memory/image from his past which keeps appearing to him.  Elijah admits that while he is no stranger to violence but adds that he is usually in control. Elijah says that his out of control deeds are behind the door because behind the door, is where he laid Tatia's body there.  Elijah is disturbed that Klaus believes that Esther is responsible for Tatia's death and that if Klaus knew who was really responsible that he would never forgive him.  Elijah suddenly collapses to the ground.

Josh and Gia talk about what is wrong with Marcel.  Kol makes his way downstairs and warns Josh and Gia that if they come anywhere near him, he will give them a monster headache. Gia takes a step towards Kol and he uses his magic to drive her to her knees. When Marcel arrives and asks what is happening, Kol explains that Josh and Gia, who were supposed to protect him, were contemplating eating him, so he decided to teach them a lesson.  Kol raises his arm to attack Josh but falls suddenly to his knees.

Klaus, Kol and Elijah arrive in the same room, surprised to see each other.  Kol explains that this is a place is where witches bring their prey for mental target practice.  Kol calls out for Finn to show himself and Finn arrives.  Klaus tries to strangle Finn but Finn explains that in here, he is untouchable. Finn tells his brothers to get comfortable because they are going to be here for awhile. 

Aidan, Jackson and Hayley gather together and place the moonlight rings into a drum.  Jackson points out that  he is now back to turning every full moon whether he wants to or not.  Aidan asks about the wedding and Jackson says it will happen in ten days and any wolf who wants in, has to be here to be witness to the wedding.  Jackson adds that he and Hayley are going to see an elder to perform the wedding.  Aidan wishes them luck and leaves. 

Davina slaps Klaus across the face trying to wake him up. Klaus' phone rings and it's Cami, calling to say that Elijah has passed out as well.  Davina realises that the spell Finn used was to trap his brother, meaning that Kol is in trouble as well.

Klaus questions why they are here and says that he didn't force Esther to drink the blood.  Finn declares that this isn't Esther and that he wants Klaus to know how it feels to be powerless and to that end, he plans to take the thing which matter most to Klaus - New Orleans. Elijah demands to be released and Finn agrees to do so after sundown because his barrier spell will drop and Marcel and his vampires will be unleashed to eat their way through the Quarter.  Kol states that Finn's fight is with Klaus and Elijah and that his fragile body is vulnerable.  Finn argues back that all Kol cares about is his mortality and questions what would happen if Kol were made vulnerable.  Finn waves his hand, and Kol starts to bleed from his nose, both in the dream world and the real world. Finn's body is in a room with Josh and Gia, who react to the blood but Marcel stops them, saying that they have to fight the hunger together.

Marcel gets another vision of Joe and thus, another flashback.  Joe offers his hand for Marcel to feed but Marcel declines, saying never one of them, only a German.  Marcel is informed that he is needed back at headquarters.  Once there, he sees Klaus, who is surrounded by food and even two women.  The women move forward and bare their necks for Marcel, who struggles to resist temptation. Klaus encourages him to have his fill and then return to New Orleans.  Marcel says that he has to get back to his men.  Klaus again tells Marcel that his place is with his family but Marcel argues back that he is with family.

In the present, Gia and Josh see Marcel's werewolf bite for the first time.  Marcel instructs them to keep their mouth shut about this.The people have begun to make their way through the French Quarter ringing bells.  Gia tells Marcel that it is the sound of food that they cannot even get near.  Gia tells Marcel that they are all looking to him for help and he didn't even tell them that he is dying, adding that Marcel sucks as a leader.  Marcel checks on the vampires and it's clear that they are becoming more and more unhinged.  Ghost Joe tells Marcel that they don't all get to get out of this alive.

In the dream world, Elijah hands Kol his handkerchief saying that he likes seeing him twist in the wind after what he did to Rebekah.  Finn asks what Kol did to Rebekah and Kol brings up the fact that Rebekah crossed him, so he crossed her back.  Kol promises to tell everyone what they need to know, if he is returned to his body.  Finn silences Kol's pleas, telling Elijah and Klaus that the only thing standing between them and Rebekah is this mortal fool.  Finn then sends Kol back, telling him to enjoy what is left of his mortal life. 

Kol awakes and finds himself surrounded by vampires.  Gia moves in to attack and Kol is saved by Marcel.  Kol asks Marcel to hold it together for a little while longer because Finn plans to release them at sundown. Marcel realises that the vampires will feed their way through the crowd, ending vampires living off the fat of New Orleans.  Marcel swears that they are all getting out of this alive.

Jackson and Hayley are hiking through the woods to see his grandmother. Mary approaches and Jackson introduces Hayley.  Hayley learns that she must reveal her secrets to link her heart and mind with Jackson.  Mary says that the ceremony won't take if Hayley doesn't come clean.  Hayley tells Jackson that she is not doing that and walks away. 

Finn brings up their parents and Klaus snarks about Michael being used as a focus, congratulating Finn.  However, Finn wants to talk about Klaus's father and why Klaus murdered him.  Klaus says severing parental ties allows one to recognize one's potential.  Finn is now sure that something else now occupies Klaus's top affection and it's not Rebekah or Elijah.  Finn questions if Klaus is hiding something from him.  Klaus reminds Finn that when blood relations let him down, he doesn't reason, he removes them.  Finn is not convinced and says that he has all the time in the world to figure out what Klaus is hiding.

Jackson catches up with Hayley, saying that she is not the only one with secrets but Hayley replies that some of her secrets, are not hers to tell.  Jackson argues that honesty is a good thing but Hayley points out that she lives with the Original family and that in that family, honesty can get you killed. Jackson argues that everyone has things they don't want to see the light of day and suggests that Hayley won't like what he has to say, anymore than he will like what she has to say.  Hayley is still not convinced but Jackson says that they can take it one step at a time, adding that when it comes time to open up, he will go first.  Jackson asserts that Hayley's secrets and demons are his secrets and demons, promising that she will never have to fight alone.

Marcel checks on his vampires and Gia tells Marcel that he lied to them and betrayed everything he taught them. Gia even questions Marcel's leadership.

Yes, flashback time and this time, Joe is injured in trenches.  Joe suggests making the company vampires like Marcel.  The men are all suffering from mustard gas poisoning.  Marcel bites into his arm and feeds Joe.

Marcel apologises for letting the vampires down and says that he has been through this despair and hunger before.  Marcel then tells the vampires about the barrier dropping at sundown, leaving them surrounded by innocent people.  At this point however, Gia doesn't care if the people are innocent and insists that the vampires have to feed. Marcel points out that vampires have only survived three hundred years in the city but sticking with the rule that locals are not to be fed upon and that is why they get to call New Orleans home.  Gia then reveals to the rest of the vampires that Marcel is dying of a werewolf bite.  Marcel yells that he has a vial of Klaus's blood at his place, along with enough blood to feed all of the vamps. Marcel tells the vamps that he is fighting for their home but if they feed out there, they will lose their home. The bells ring, indicating that the barrier is down and Marcel reaches his hand outside.  The vampires walk out of Klaus's place behind Marcel, as Kol watches.

In the dream world, Finn brings up the things that Klaus has lost, including Hope.  Elijah tells Finn that representational magic is touchy and if the victims of it are misrepresented, then the illusion falls apart.  Elijah tells Kol that the noble Elijah is nothing more than a fa├žade because he has withheld a vile secret from Klaus.  Elijah then reveals that not only did he kill Tatia, he hunted her down.  Finn's illusion begins to waver with the admission.  Elijah adds that he feasted upon Tatia's flesh and that Esther took the blame. Elijah explains that he felt that if Klaus knew, he would never be forgiven.  Kol argues that the fact that Elijah has admitted to this reprehensible act, proves Elijah to be the man he thought he was.  Elijah lowers his head, tears running down his face, as Klaus pronounces Elijah to be more depraved than he is.  Klaus stands and declares that Elijah is the noble stag no longer.  Klaus tells Kol that he failed in his representation of him because he is capable of forgiveness, laying a hand on Elijah.  Klaus tells Finn that while he has remained a boar for centuries, Finn has not learned that the bonds of family far out weigh anything else.  The animal symbols on the walls burst into flames and Klaus announces that Finn's magic is just as flawed as his perception of his own siblings.  Klaus then questions just how untouchable Finn really is. Elijah and Klaus both move to attack Finn and he thrusts them back into their bodies.

When Klaus returns, he asks Davina to come with him, adding that his friends in the Quarter are in danger.  The vampires follow Marcel, as he marches through the Quarter.  Marcel remembers  lecturing the new vampires he created in the war about family and not giving up.  Marcel tells the troops that they will feed on the blood of their enemies tonight because they are the brotherhood of the damned.  The men charge out of the trench and feast on the Germans, as in the present, the vampires struggle through the Quarter with Gia and Josh taking turns supporting Marcel, until Marcel collapses to the ground.

When Davina and Klaus hit the Quarter everything is calm.  They separate to look for the vampires and Davina comes across Kol instead. Davina and Kol kiss.

Marcel awakes in his own home, after Gia fed him some of Klaus's blood.  Gia explains that the vampires are all drinking Marcel's blood bags downstairs and apologises for being a pain in the ass. Marcel brushes it off, saying that only the weak don't challenge authority.  Finn arrives, applauding them for their strength of character, as he did to the vampires downstairs.  Finn asks what Klaus and Elijah are hiding from him, adding that he is sure he can make Marcel talk. 

Elijah is back with Cami and Hope and on the phone with Klaus says that he will return if Klaus needs him.  Klaus tells Elijah that Marcel and all of his vampires have disappeared, Finn and Kol are  in the wind and Rebekah is still missing.  Klaus says that Finn is suspicious of the secret that they are keeping but reminds Elijah that he meant what he said when he forgave him.  Klaus ends the conversation when Aidan arrives.

Klaus snarks about Aidan's eagerness to save Josh.  Aidan asks what Klaus needs and Klaus tells him to question the wolves and find out what Finn has done with Marcel and all of the vampires. Aidan replies that he would but most of the wolves are in the Bayou, waiting for Haley and Jackson to finish the wedding trials.  Klaus asks about the trials and Aidan reveals that they will have to drink something made of a particular plant. Klaus realises that Hayley is going to have to drink a truth serum.  Klaus questions where Hayley has been taken and Aidan says the back country in the deep Bayou.  Klaus leaves to talk to Hayley because some secrets need to stay buried.

Okay, this was yet another family drama emotion filled angst ridden episode of The Originals. There are times when I seriously have to wonder if they expect us to believe that these being are over 1,000 years old.  The bickering, and backstabbing makes me want to yet let it go, followed by go stand in the corner until you can prove that you the sense God gave cabbage.  I do however understand that being locked in a coffin by Klaus does give Finn some legitimate areas for grief but still, it's enough already. 

With Klaus' forgiveness of Elijah, I am worried that we are done exploring Elijah's character.  I loved learning why Elijah is so insistent on being the honorable one, the one always in a suit and clean.  The fact that he is now talking with Cami however does give hope that we will learn more about what drives this character, though I find the very idea of counseling for someone of Elijah's advantage age and let's face it vampire nature a tad ridiculous.  Elijah no matter what, will always be a mass murderer and a violent being.  Even if he eventually becomes comfortable with the killings he regrets, it doesn't change what he is. I also don't want to see Cami and Elijah develop into anything at all. 

For the first time, we are finally given the opportunity to see Marcel as a strong capable leader. It is worth noting however, that this is only ever possible when Klaus is not around, otherwise, Marcel becomes the uppity Negro. It was nice to see Marcel standing straight and being able to care for the vampires he has created.

Things are going down in the Bayou.  I cannot believe that Hayley is letting Jackson talk her into revealing the existence of Hope considering that she just got her daughter back.  WTH? No, seriously, WTH?  On one hand, it's good to see Hayley doing something on her own without waiting for Klaus's approval but why does it have to be so tremendously ridiculous?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Resurrection, Season Two, Episode Thirteen: Loved in Return

Lucille spaces out over the kitchen sink, lost in the problems the town is facing.  In the living room, Jenny and Jacob watch television and Jacob grabs his head in pain. Lucille heads to the porch to check on Fred and Henry and report that Rachel is coming along.  Fred has yet to hear anything new from Bellamy.  Margaret uses this opportunity to sneak into the house.  Maggie leaves Rachel for a few moments, as downstairs, Lucille prepares to usher the kids off to bed.  Jacob is clearly not looking good and says that his head hurts.  When Lucille leaves the room, Jenny questions why Jacob didn't tell his mother what is really going on.  Upstairs, Margaret sneaks into Rachel's room and locks the door. Rachel is shocked to see Margaret, who says that she has come with a message from Preacher James.  Margaret asks Rachel how she would like to be with Tom again.

At the church, several men lock Bellamy into a closet.  Bellamy demands to be let out but Preacher James informs Bellamy that despite his belief that they would accomplish their mission together, Bellamy has proven himself untrustworthy. Bellamy questions if the purpose is to kill a baby but Preacher argues that if Rachel's baby brings millions of Returned back, the world will not survive it.

At Twain's, Elaine listens in as Joey angrily talks to more Returned haters about the threat that Preacher James poses.  Joey is concerned that Preacher James can bring back people who have died and threatens that if he sees Preacher James doing that, he is going to give him a one way ticket home. Of course, this makes no sense because the Returned cannot be killed.  Preacher James enters Twain's and tells Joey and his friends that though they believe he is the enemy, tonight they have a common goal.

Bellamy grabs one of the pipes from the ceiling in the supply closet.

At the Langstons', Maggie tries to open Rachel's door, only to find it locked.  Though Maggie knocks, Rachel does not answer.

Bellamy manages to loosen a pipe and then uses the pipe to break the window in the door. Bellamy then reaches through the window and unlocks the door, before taking off running.

Maggie heads out to the porch to tell her father that something is wrong and Rachel's door is locked. Fred races into the house and bangs on the door but Rachel again does not answer.  Fred kicks the door down to find his mother in the room. Fred makes it clear that Margaret has no business being here, before grabbing her by the arm and pulling her out of Rachel's room.  Maggie checks on Rachel, who is experiencing contractions.  Fred brings Margaret downstairs and Margaret begs Jacob to tell Fred and Henry about the baby.  Henry is livid and tells Margaret that he doesn't get to speak to his son.  Margaret is adamant that Rachel and her baby are hurting Jacob.  Lucille heads downstairs and Jacob is so terrified by the yelling, he simply stands there.  Lucille orders Margaret removed from the house.

Bellamy bursts in and tells everyone that they have to move Rachel because the preacher is coming.  When Fred escorts Margaret outside, he finds a group of Returned headed to the house lead by none other than Preacher.  Margaret tells her sons that this is what she was trying to prevent.  Henry suggests that they all return to the house and Frank tells his mother that she chose her side.  Henry, Bellamy and Fred head into the house, closing the door on Margaret.  Margaret rushes to Preacher James, demanding to know what he is doing and reminding him that she promised to take care of this.   Preacher James points out that Margaret failed in her mission.  Upstairs, Jenny wonders why the house is surrounded by Returned and Jacob says that it's all his fault.  Outside, Margaret admits to Preacher James that she ran out of time and adds that he is going to have to do it. 

Preacher James calls out to Bellamy, claiming to be a man of peace but suggesting that his hand not be forced.  Preacher James calls out that Rachel is to be sent out so that they can all go home.  Bellamy gets on the phone trying to reach his government contact (read: Angela)  but what he doesn't know, is that the facility has been completely abandoned.  Fred calls the station and the phone is answered by none other than Joey Nolan.  Joey has taken over the station and some of his men hold the cops at gunpoint. Joey again asserts that the Returned are not natural.    Joey tells Fred about his meeting with Preacher at Twain's, and warns Fred that he shouldn't expect any help from any cops tonight before hanging up. 

Fred tells Bellamy and Henry that they are on their own now.  Upstairs, Rachel paces around the room, asking if the preacher is here.  Maggie tells Rachel to focus on having the baby, adding that everything is going to be fine.  Rachel responds that everything is not fine and asks how she is expected to feel safe, when everyone is lying to her. Maggie concedes Rachel's point and tells her about the Returned waiting outside.  Maggie then assures Rachel that her baby will be born and that all she has to do is stay strong.

Downstairs, Bellamy informs Fred and Henry that Preacher James thinks that Rachel's baby is some kind of demon.  Since Rachel cannot be killed, the plan is to make Rachel disappear before the baby can be born.  Fred decides to head outside but Henry stops him, saying that it should be him because he has a connection with Preacher James.  Henry heads outside and Bellamy and Fred take up position behind him to cover his back.  Henry makes his way over to Preacher James and says he doesn't understand what is going on.  James calls Rachel's baby a demon and states scripture.  Preacher James asks what happens if the next time the baby takes control, it turns Henry against his fellow man or his wife.  Henry makes it clear that Preacher James doesn't have the right to decide what is good or bad, or who should live or die.  Margaret intervenes, to once again argue that the baby is hurting Jacob.  Henry cuts Margaret off, telling her that she no longer makes decisions for the family.  Preacher James asks Henry if he is prepared to lose Jacob again but Henry says that he is not going to sacrifice someone else's child for his own, adding that Preacher James preys on people's weaknesses.

Henry heads back into the house and Lucille comes downstairs.  Henry says that Margaret truly believes that the baby is hurting Jacob and though Fred says that Preacher James is pulling everyone's strings, Lucille heads upstairs to check on Jacob.  Henry then says that the baby has not known anything but death and is not like them.  Bellamy reminds Henry that no one was willing to give them a chance but Henry points out that they don't really know what is going on and that no one does.  Henry asks what if the baby being born is the beginning of the end.  Fred advises Henry not to give into fear like he did.  Henry reveals that Preacher James has demanded that Rachel be handed over the in the next ten minutes, or they will enter the house.