Saturday, April 18, 2015

Grimm Season Four, Episode Eighteen: Mishipeshu

Grimm opens two days from now with Hank and Nick doing battle.  Nick pleads with Hank but he woges into a leopard.

In the present, Nick and Hank arrive at Monroe and Rosalie's for dinner.  Nick is clearly in rough shape, as he talks about not wanting anyone to feel awkward about what happened with Juliet.  Nick is however worried about what Juliet might do, given that he has no idea where she is and is not showing up for work.  Nick stands to excuse himself, saying that he cannot pretend Juliet is not out there somewhere.  Rosalie is not ready to give up based on what Henrietta said and wants to talk to Renard about the book because there might be something in there which could help Juliet. It's Hank who points out that the main ingredient is Juliet.

Juliet makes her way into a bar and orders a drink.  She is hit on by Rick and takes on the name Jackie.  When Juliet starts to walk away, Rick that since he just bought Juliet two drinks he expects a little conversation in return. After Rick says that he likes everything about her, Juliet woges and a little explosion happens in the bar before the light shut off.  Juliet walks out of the bar after the bartender says that he is calling the cops.

Lawrence, who is a school custodian is polishing floors, when he is attacked by a Mishipeshu.

The next morning, Hank and Nick arrive at the school and Wu gives them the break down of what happened. When they enter the school, they find that deputy Farris has secured the school.  Farris calls the scene weird because it looks like Lawrence was attacked by an animal while indoors.

At the spice shop, Renard brings over items to Rosalie, including the book.  Rosalie admits that Nick doesn't know that they are doing this because they don't want want to give him false hope.  Rosalie questions if Renard has talked to Juliet and we get a flashback to their recent sexual encounter.  Renard simply says that Juliet is not the same. Renard warns Monroe and Rosalie to be careful because they could do more harm than good.

The cops sit down with  principal Wiley and learn that the custodian was not popular with people. Wiley reports that Simon George,  a child at the school, was being bullied by having racist graffiti placed on his locker. Some appeared so early in the morning that it could only have been custodial staff. Simon George however dropped out just weeks before he was due to graduate.  The cops decide to look into Simon together after, Farris reports that she has ex husband who belonged to the same tribe as Simon.

Simon awakes in the woods, his mouth covered in blood.  He stumbles up and drinks from a puddle but when he catches his reflection, it's that of a leopard, Simon jumps backward in alarm.

Back at the station, Hank reports that Simon has a small criminal history. Nick adds that Simon entered the system at five when his father was murdered. Farris says that she remembers how Gus, Simon father died in an incident of road rage.  The man who killed Gus was never caught.  Farris then suggests that the tribe might know where Simon is and leaves to make a call.

Wu interrupts to tell Nick that he just got a call from central booking and they have Juliet in custody.  Wu tells Nick that Juliet is being held on assault and Nick gets up after Hank promises to handle the case with Farris.

Hector is working on a car when he hears a noise.  Hector calls out, asking if someone is there and promises to be with them in a moment but he is dragged out from under car by his feet screaming.

Nick finds Juliet lying down in her cell.  When Nick asks what happened, Juliet asks him he wants to hear, that she didn't do it and that it was all a mistake. When Nick asks why Juliet is doing this, Juliet snarks about being the best Hexenbiest that she can be. Nick suggests that Juliet is doing this to prove that this is all his fault, adding that he accepts responsibility.  Nick then asks for a chance to figure this all out and Juliet questions if Nick is trying to figure out how a Grimm and a Hexenbiest can live together.  Nick however promises that he is not letting go of Juliet because he could never hurt her. Juliet responds that she cannot say the same because though a part of her blames Nick for what happened a part of her loves him for it. Juliet comments that Nick has been the special one for so long and now she is connected and doesn't want to give it up.  Juliet says that she likes the power she has now and adds that Nick does as well.  Juliet woges and asks Nick if he can crawl into bed with her again, adding that she didn't need to allow the cops to arrest her but did so to see if Nick would come and rescue her.  When Nick reveals that he is not releasing Juliet because it is safer for her in jail, Juliet quips that it is safer for Nick as well.

Farris and Hank arrive at the reservation and meet with Hector, who asks why they are looking for Simon George. Hector reveals that Simon is on a power quest - a way to become more involved with his heritage.  Hector reports that Simon was left on spirit mountain and  has been fasting and without sleep, in an effort to connect with his guardian spirit. Hector adds that Simon could be anywhere on the mountain.  Hank asks about the death of Gus and Hector responds that he knows a lot about it because Gus was a friend of his.  Hector calls Gus's death an act of hatred and adds that the killer was never found. Hector says that they never really looked for Gus's murderer because he was an activist who pushed a lot of tribal issues. 

They are interrupted when Hank gets a call from Nick, who says that he saw Juliet, who is pushing things to the limit.  Nick says that he is going to keep Juliet locked up as long as he can, so that he can keep talking to her.  Nick then reveals that they have found Hector, who is the latest victim and is heading to check it out.  Hank agrees to join him. 

At the garage, Wu tells Nick the Hank the details on Hector's death.  Hank wonders if there is a connection on the two victims. Farris questions if whoever the murderer is, is using dogs.  Wu sits down and finds Larry Killburn in Hector's contacts.

That night, Simon has a fire going and is in the middle of a ceremony.  A creature rises out of the earth and enters Simon's body. Simon's eyes turn a brilliant yellow.

Back at the station, the cops compare the contacts of the two victims and find a match with Maxwell McClay.  They surmise that McClay could have killed the other two or is the next victim.

Grimm, Season Four Episode Seventeen: Hibernaculum

"Ah! It was colder than ice;
it penetrated to his very heart."

Nick eats dinner by himself and when he sees a picture of Juliet, he turns it over.

Renard returns home and is immediately confronted by Juliet, who wants to know where Adalind is because she wants to kill her.  Renard demands his key back and gives Juliet Adalind's location.  Juliet takes off her top and then initiates sex with Renard. 

Knute Gunderson is driving his car and is forced to walk when it starts to overheat.  Knute is clearly cold as he approaches a house.  Inside the house, Esther Blake  talks with her daughter Jenna about her grandchild.  Knute calls out that his car broke down on the road and that he is freezing.  Knute asks to use Esther's phone and on the advice of Jenna, Esther offers to call a tow truck instead of allowing Knute inside. Knute breaks into the house, woges and attacks Esther, as  Jenna listens to the terrible attack over the phone.

Hank and Nick arrive at Esther's house and Wu explains the details of Esther's death.  When they enter the house, they find that Esther is frozen solid despite the fact that the thermostat reads 72 in the house. Wu reports that all Knute did was steal Esther's car. Hank notices that Esther has frost bite on Esther's shoulder where she has a bite mark.  Frank and Nick head into the kitchen to talk to Jenna about the circumstances of Esther's death.  Outside the house, the cops talk about the stolen car and Nick sends Wu out to check with state police to see if they know of any broken down cars within five miles.

Hours later, Wu calls to say that Esther's car has been spotted, so Nick orders a roadblock be set up.

Monroe is working on a clock and his hands start to shake as he gets a flashback to when he was kidnapped.  Rosalie enters and Monroe woges in panic scaring her.  Monroe explains his woge by saying that no one ever knows how much time they are going to have.  Rosalie hugs Monroe and tells him that this is why they never take anything for granted.

Knute is driving Esther's car when he finds the road blocked by two cop cars.  He turns and starts to drive the other direction but finds himself approaching two cop cars, one of which is driven by Hank and the other by Wu.  Knute is forced to stop the car and take off running, only to be followed by Hank, Wu and Nick.  They all run into the woods and Nick uses his Grimm senses to track Knute. A shivering Knute hides and woges.  When Knute leaps out of hiding to attack Nick, he quickly realiess that Nick is a Grimm and begs Nick to kill him because he is cold.

Monroe is rambling on about the clock he was fixing when Rosalie arrived home.  Rosalie hugs Monroe again and asks what was really going on when she came home.  Monroe at first talks about the clock and then finally admits that he was thinking about the Wesenrein and how they almost ran out of time, with tears in his eyes.  Rosalie says that they are still alive and have a whole lot more time together.

At the station,  the cops check out Knute's record and find that he is from North Dakota.  Hank wonders how Knute freezes his victims and  Nick points out that there is no way to charge him with that but they can charge him with the theft of Esther's car. Nick suggests they hit the books but before they can, Wu reports that something happened to Knute.  When the cops rush to Knute's cell, they find that he has frozen solid.

Renard wakes and is still in significant pain.  He stands and looks at himself in the mirror and thinks about being shot.  In a rage, he punches the mirror as he flashes back to flat lining on the table.  Renard gets a vision of the walls opening up, followed by a bright light, and then hands covered in blood with claws reach out for him.  Renard grabs his chest in pain and collapses on the ground.

Nick and Hank find Knute's broken down car and it's filled with the fast food garbage.  In the trunk, Nick and Hank find some bags. They realise that there must be two more wesen out there just like Knute.

Kenneth speaks with Rispoli about mommy Grimm. Kenneth is convinced that Nick must be communicating with Kelly somehow.  Kenneth suggests that if Kelly thinks something is wrong with Nick, she might come to him.  Kenneth demands that Nicks' phone get tapped and his email hacked.  The conversation is interrupted by Adalind, who reports that none of her clothing fits and that she wants to go shopping.  Kenneth orders that Adalind have an escort, despite her protests that she can go by herself.

Olympus, Season 1, Episode 3: Ring of the Magi

The Oracle has some very disturbing visions about Athens, snakes, eagles and archers – and she unwisely does so while stood on the edge of a precipice (well, a giant statue of a hand). From this vision the Oracle has decided it’s their job to save the world

Daedalus says what we’re all thinking. Especially since Cyrus and the warrior priests have caught up with them. Capturing follows and Daedalus critiques Cyrus’s interrogation technique. He also has the best snark.

Cyrus threatens to kill Oracle and the Hero crumbles. He leads them to where he says the ring is which involves spelunking. Not being an entire fool, Cyrus decides to send the Hero in (personally I’d have sent one of the silent warrior priests) but keeps him on a very long noose. But fails to hold on to his end. Oh Cyrus. In light of this ineptitude one of the Warrior priests throws Cyrus in after the Hero.

Who pops out of nowhere and takes out the warrior priests with his rope because he, as Daedalus puts it, knows these woods better than he knows the roof of his mouth.

The Oracle continues to tell Hero that he needs them – the Oracle and the Scientist. So he decides to share what he knows of the wrong:

We get a flashback of the Hero’s mother. She was attacked by two people who wanted the ring; his mother protested that bandits stole it. In the ensuing fight, Hero’s mother gets stabbed and dies and a cloaked woman flees. Behold Hero’s fridgy motivation!

Since the cloaked woman referred to the ring as “their ring”, Daedalus makes the deduction that they’re Magi. No, really, it took a genius to figure this out. The Magi are Babylonian mystics who want to kill the gods to replace it with monotheism – so the ring at least must be able to harm the gods which seems somewhat against what the Lexicon is supposed to be all about.

But since the Hero knows that they were never raided by bandits that suggests that the ring is still around somewhere. They follow her cryptic clues and find the ring – and have a weird time stop moment that causes the hero to fall but be unharmed. Ok… I would ponder this but I’m largely in awe that a show in 2015 would produce such shoddy CGI – honestly the 90s would have done better than this.

Daedelus decides to run off with the ring. Which doesn’t work because Hero has his weird randomly-appearing-in-front-of-running-people ability. His motives amount to the ring being super-duper powerful so he can experiment on it. He also theorises that the god that made it can’t have worn it since gods must be huge to need big temples. Hero daren’t touch the ring so gives it to the Oracle –he also plans to use it to prove his identity to his dad, the King of Athens.

Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 18: I Could Never Love Like That

Caroline and Stefan are playing with a poor hapless bartender for funsies. They are kind of fun when they’re evil. Also they’re showing the power of compulsion which is both a) really awesome and b) would have been incredibly useful in the last 6 seasons.

Enzo decides to dump Sarah Salvatore (throw in Matt and we have the three most pointless characters on this show) on the Salvatores out of some weird need to no longer be responsible for her (or you could just LET HER GET ON WITH HER LIFE) and the door is answered by Damon’s mother. This causes a pretty terrified reaction from Enzo.

He flees and explains to an ever more confused Sarah that he met Lily Salvatore in 1903 – she’s his maker. Time for more exposition for Sarah including her messed up family and evil uncles and a flashback to when he met Lily:

He was human, sick, looking for a doctor and to get on a boat which a uniformed man was hassling him over when Lily killed the man and helped him bypassed quarantine. The doctor there, however, is a fake and Enzo is dying of consumption. Enzo and Lily bond over being abandoned, her in a sanatorium, him in a work house. She turns him into a vampire and massacres everyone on the ship – though she abandoned Enzo.

Enzo then tries to take it all back but Matt has decided to give Sarah vervain so she’s now uncompellable – and can inject Enzo with it. He ends up as her prisoner. Briefly – he escapes, ties her up and seems to plan to change her. Or seems to  - at the last minute he changes his mind and sends her off, uncompelled.

Inside naked Damon and Elena argue about Lily, Elena wanting Damon to give her a chance and Damon making jokes about his mother killing babies. He’s also hiding the humanity cure in his drawer and still hiding it from Elena because he totally is the one to decide whether Elena gets to use it

Lily talking about whether Elena misses her humanity over breakfast doesn’t help (sure! I miss not having super powers, not living for ever and not being eternally young!) she also continues to push to free her undead buddies in the prison world which, we know, isn’t happening

Friday, April 17, 2015

Supernatural, Season 10,. Episode 18: Book of the Damned

Charlie has something in her bag – something ominous (yet sexy) men with nifty tattoos and sexy accents want back – and that have been following her for a long time to get it. She escapes – with a bullet wound.

On to a wounded Metatron being the worst possible passenger. The car is driven by Castiel who is looking more and more grim the longer Metatron babbles. There’s something about Castiel wishing a slow death on someone that is immensely appealing. He tells Sam all about his urge to murder in between discussing the Mark of Cain – and Sam trying to hide the fact from Dean. But Dean is, for once, willing to talk about the Mark and tells Sam what Rowena told Crowley.

This also means recapping Sam on what Dean did on his holidays

Charlie calls for help since she’s wandering around with the book of the Damned (a book that can undo damnation which is awfully useful with the Mark) and a bullet wound.

They ride to the rescue and Dean is all adorably excited and back to himself (and Sam’s all gleefully happy for him. Awwww). They meet up with Charlie who has the ickiest of all books and Dean reacts with maximum creepiness towards it. Keeping him away from the book is a good plan. They also keep the book in a warded box to stop the big bads finding it

The big bads would be the Stein family who did lots of magical naughtiness back in the day. The same research also makes it clear that using the book also causes big bad consequences

So? Since when have the Winchesters ever worried about the big bad consequences of their actions? In the early seasons we virtually ended every season with a “oh look, the Winchesters unleashed hell” moment.

This time Dean wants them to destroy the book especially since it is calling to the Mark and when evil calls to evil bad stuff happens. Charlie and Sam are less fans of this idea since they have no other answer to remove the Mark. They’re not losing Dean – especially not Sam (which Dean throws back in his face because Sam hasn’t always sang that tune) and Dean refuses to let the book fall in the wrong hands. His.

Dean leaves and Charlie questions why Dean pointed out that Sam was willing to leave Dean before. Charlie reflects that such terrible choices and painful experience seem to be a staple of Hunter lives – and how her own life has changed so much from what she hoped it would be. Sam reflects both on how he was always telling himself that one day he’d stop hunting and return to his “real” life- but this is his real life now and he can’t do it without Dean.

The Hugo Awards and Various Repellent Puppies

By now I think everyone’s heard of the Hugos Drama and the issue with the various puppies. In truth there’s not much for us to add - especially since we’ve already spoken about the Hugos last year and the problems insecure, over-privileged cis, straight, white able-bodied men having a hissy fit causes to the genre and marginalised people trying to find some kind of home in speculative fiction. We’ve also talked about how hostile this makes the genre and fandom and how, ultimately, this is why the genre isn’t more inclusive

Thankfully, many many people have spoken up (George R R Martin has almost written a book on the subject) about how utterly wrong the Puppies’ orchestrated campaign to ensure that only cis, straight white men are deemed acceptable awards winners.

There’s something else that struck me - something beyond even the inclusion, bigotry and exclusion that they champion. After all, if you’re reading this and have read this blog we have already written reams on the damage of erasure, tokenism et al; it hardly needs me to rehash for the Hugos (again).

But it’s also such a terrible way to treat this amazing genre.The agenda of The Puppies - both Sad and Rabid - is so depressingly awful quite aside from inherent bigotry and unexamined privilege that so saturates them - but for their determination to make this genre, this genre which should be so utterly vast, so narrow.

Speculative fiction has, as we’ve said before, the potential to be the most imaginative, unlimited genre out there. Speculative fiction, genre fiction, can reach the furthest extent of our imagination in a way that no other genre can touch. The stories within this genre are gloriously, perfectly limitless in a way no other media can be.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sparrow Hill Road (Ghost Stories #1) by Seanan McGuire

Rose has been a ghost since 1952 when, as a 16 year old prom date, she was driven off the road by Bobby Cross one of the darkest and most sinister figures on the Shadowroads

She’s now a hitch hiker ghost, walking the highways – both real and shadowed – of America stealing chunks of life while she can, saving the few people she’s able to and ushering those she can’t into the next life.

But Bobby Cross hasn’t stopped hunting her – or others – over those last 60 years. One day she will find a way to be free as she learns more and more of the underworld, until then she keeps running

This world is amazing. This world is not just extremely imaginative, but there’s a truly vast amount of research behind it which is utterly amazing. All the ghosts stories, all the urban legends are pulled together and present depending on how people died. From ghostly-hitch-hikers, phantom drivers and crossroad demons – all the legends of death and the road.

The road theme is also excellent – it’s such an unexplored niche but at the same time so common in urban legends. Ghostly riders, ghostly hitch-hikers, ghosts who just want to go home, ghosts that convince you to pick them up and take them home… there’s a lot of ghost stories and urban legends about the open road

This all comes together with a lot of extra fascinating world building (route-witches, whole magic systems about roadways, living personifications of highways!) shadow roads and a whole load of magic and woo-woo all with an excellent road theme. It’s all very dark and very creepy and wonderful to take this all from the actual ghosts’ point of view

Which brings us to our protagonist: the Phantom Prom Date, Rose who died on the road at the age of 16. She walks the shadow roads, slipping between the levels of the ghost world and the real world. She haunts the highways looking for people to give her a ride and, through the rules of her kind of spirit (each ghost has its own set of rules which I kind of love). Her story has grown beyond all imagining in the 60 years she has been dead, some presenting her as a serial killer or horror of the road, some a companion and some even the truth – she tries to save those she can (sometimes very few) and ease the passing of those she can’t. Especially if they’re due to become a particularly terrifying ghost

Rose’s travels allow us to see so much of the world and the setting and she brings us a great lens through which to view her unlife: including why she and her fellow ghosts hunger for the chances of life they can get. Her experiences and insight are excellent. She’s an awesome character, in an awesome world with some really amazing maintaining of the theme. The spookiness, the sense of surreal – it’s really well done

Rose herself is a wonderful balance of despair, jadedness, ennui and practicality. She isn’t angsty – but she’s not in a good situation and she knows it; she finds what joy she has but knows it’s not going to last. That doesn’t mean she monologues her sadness all the time but the way she values and savours the moments she has in a way that makes it clear just how precious, rare and important they are. It’s really well done and carries a lot of the sense of the book without the need to be overt. I really like how it’s all conveyed

We do have some POC – the head of the Road Witches is an Asian woman and both powerful and wise. There are some other POC in the background, I won’t say they take up major roles but I think, beyond Rose herself, there aren’t that many major roles in the book. Maybe her best friend. Many of the characters, along with Rose, are female including Rose’s best friend and kind of mentor – it’s fairly female heavy and there’s a nice poke at the way she is treated as she wanders the roads – apparently a 16 year old hitchhiker, including the sexual hypocrisy she often fsaces. There are no LGBT people.

iZombie, Season 1, Episode 5: Flight From the Living Dead

Some people are sky diving and one of them ends up impaled on a tree

See this is why I decide against throwing myself out of a plane with a sheet strapped to my back.

Ravi and Liv are just awesome together, between whining and snarking they’re just perfect. The humour is interrupted by Peyton calling Liv, all tearful, because her friend Holly died in a skydiving accident. Yes the corpse they’re making really tasteless jokes about is Peyton’s friend. She’s also an old college acquaintance of Liv’s.

The investigator puts it up to human error – and them being damn fool enough for jumping with the equipment they have in the location they were. Instead one of Holly’s friends decides to randomly accuse another guy from the jump.

While reflecting on the differences between herself and Holly, Liv still insists on eating her brains even while Ravi tries to give her an out. Liv won’t opt out of trying to help her friend even if it will be weird.

At home Peyton is torn – she cared a lot for Holly and thinks she was an amazing friend, but is also angry that Holly had so many dangerous hobbies that she was, in Peyton’s eyes, “throwing it all away.” While Liv can look back and see the joy Holly managed to pull out of life and that maybe she had it more figured out than they did with their safe sensible lives (and regret that she and Peyton voted to kick Holly out of the sorority for her rule breaking ways). During the facebook reminiscences, Liv gets a flashback of the accused sky diver, Lowell Tracy, yelling at Holly and trying to fend her off.

Meanwhile Major goes to see Clive because he’s worried about both Eddie and Jerome, the missing guys from previous episodes who Blaine is eating. He’s frustrated because Missing Persons doesn’t care about kids from a homeless shelter – hence why he’s going to Clive at homicide. Major rather obnoxiously tapes a picture of Jerome on Clive’s computer.

Liv also goes to Clive with Holly’s case and Clive points to all the actual cases he has without Liv inventing one for an accident. Still he caves and pulls in Lowell for an interview which liv gets to sit in because this is TV land and absolutely every random person in the world can sit in on police interviews. They need to install stadium seating.

In between seeming to recognise Liv, Lowell talks about not really wanting to skydive but since the company who put out his last album he was kind of pushed into it. Lowell has plausible explanations for jumping last and landing away from the group while snarkily telling them to watch the helmet cam footage since it shows it all. Except that the company, Max Rager, decided all the footage needed to be destroyed. Which is just a little suspicious

Cover Review: 6th April - 10th April

The Immortal Hunter (Argeneau #11) by Lynsay Sands

Hot man on the cover staring all sexy. This probably is the epitome of a meh cover for me. I can’t say anything wrong with it and it’s definitely sexy without being the almost hilarious mantitteh we see so much - but that is the whole of it. It could be about anything or anyone, it could be paranormal, contemporary, historical - even the romance part is only implied. I can see it blending on the shelf, camouflaged among so many other books

Omega (War of Alphas #1) by SM Reine

Well, the protagonist is clearly a Black woman while, at the same time, being a lot paler than I predicted her. I also think that the gun toting, leather-trousered woman depicted here (crouching, of course always crouching) is just trying far too much to be the Urban Fantasy Protagonist (™) and not enough like Deidre.

I think something similar applies to the bats. Bats = spooky, gothic and vaguely vampirey. That isn’t this book.

Still it’s very very very pretty and contains a few more genre cues than the other

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Originals, Season Two, Episode Eighteen: Night Has a Thousand Eyes

Jackson and Hayley are walking through the quarter with Hope.  Hayley is the first to notice something wrong, when a street musician starts to play an odd tune on the violin.  A chalkboard sign in front of a restaurant reads, "A promise made is a debt to be paid." A stranger offers them a black dahlia as a gift for Hope.  Klaus appears and attacks but Dahlia has moved from the stranger to Jackson's body, saying that she intends to take what is hers.

Later, an angry Klaus yells at Hayley for taking Hope outside.  Freya explains the spell Dahlia used to threaten Hayley and Hope and provides a tonic which should stop Dahlia from taking over their bodies.  The siblings and Hayley drink the tonic but Klaus refuses to do so, saying that his mind is far too strong.  Klaus feels that Dahlia was testing them in preparation for battle. It's Elijah who suggests that they need a new stronghold that Dahlia knows nothing about and Freya suggests using Jackson to trace the magic back to its source.  Klaus sends them off to take care of their various task and vows that he is going to find a way to murder Dahlia.

Davina is tracing the letters on Kol's tombstone when she is joined by Klaus.  Klaus quickly brings up the subject of Michael and the fact that Freya sent Michael off to gather some items.  Davina is quick to refuse to help, saying that she is mourning Kol.  Klaus points out that she is not the only one who misses Kol and adds that resurrection spells require a remnant from the dearly departed. It seems that Klaus has the ashes of Kol's true remains and offers to give them to Davina, if she helps him find Michael.

Josh and Aidan wake up together and discuss staying in bed all day long together.  They don't get to dream long because Aidan's phone rings.  Aidan lies and says that it's Jackson, so Josh excuses himself and heads for the bathroom.  It's actually Klaus on the phone to talk about Jackson's inadequacy because Dahlia was able to invade his body. Klaus orders Aidan to head to the compound and watch Jackson and Hope and report back to him anything he needs to know.

Back at the compound, Hayley approaches an upset Jackson.  Hayley gives Jackson the tea to block out Dahlia and Jackson tells Hayley that Dahlia is nothing but darkness. Jackson suggests that they take Hope and the pack and leave tonight.  Jackson adds that running isn't a sign of weakness but something wolves do.  Jackson believes they can be the predator out there and give them time to figure out how to defeat Dahlia.  Hayley asks about Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah but Jackson is quick to point out that Dahlia is also a member of that family.  Jackson adds that this fight started over 1,000 years ago and is not their war.

Klaus approaches Davina on the street and she questions if Aidan is at Klaus' beck and call now. Davina adds that Josh isn't going to be impressed by this.  Really? Why the hell would an Original hybrid have to be afraid of a baby vampire?  Klaus simply points out that since Josh and Aidan are in love, they are easy to manipulate. Davina counters by pointing out that Klaus now has someone he loves more than anything now and this makes him vulnerable.  The conversation is cut short by the arrival of Michael.  Klaus asks Michael if their interests would be well served by joining forces because of the threat they all face. 

Elijah, Marcel and Josephine are meeting at St. James infirmary - a place which served as neutral ground for the entire supernatural community for years. Elijah asks Josephine to cast a spell to prevent the usage of magic within the walls.  Josephine is incredulous and says that she has a responsibility to the witches because this is not their fight. Elijah counters that anyone who would stand aside and allow his family to be threatened, he would consider an enemy.Josephine suggests a blessing to dispel unwanted spirits and a barrier to those who mean to do them harm.

Klaus meets with Michael at a cafe and questions if Michael has attained the elements to defeat Dahlia.  Michael confirms that he does but suggests that Klaus try to take it from him.  The men start to argue about Klaus's childhood again and Klaus shows Michael the dagger which can kill him, suggesting that they focus on the common enemy.  Klaus wants to join forces with Michael, pointing out that if they win, both of their daughters will be free. 

Freya begins the tracer spell with Rebekah's help on Jackson.  Rebekah breaks the spell however when she gets a vision of Dahlia.  Rebekah tells Freya that she is the reason Dahlia is able to cast such powerful spells and that Dahlia is channeling her.  Hayley accuses Freya of channeling Dahlia. Freya responds that she had no idea and that Dahlia must have found her.  Freya approaches Jackson and says that Dahlia wants to turn everyone against her but Hayley pushes her away.  Rebekah asks Freya to leave because she is bonded to Dahlia. 

In the cafe, Michael questions why Klaus believes he needs some help and Klaus declares that he is vicious and hateful just like Michael, which is why they will make a great team.  Klaus adds that he can be trusted because his daughter's life counts on it.  Michael agrees to the partnership and asks what Klaus proposes.  Klaus says that they have what they need to make a weapon and adds that all remains is to go for the kill.  Dahlia embodies another human and breaks the glass where Michael and Klaus are sitting. Father and son leave the cafe determined to stop Dahlia.

Tarnished Knight (London Steampunk #1.5) by Bec McMaster

It's been six months since the events of Kiss of Steel.  Rip is struggling to gain control now that he has the virus coursing through his veins causing him to want blood.  He has spent most of his time close to the Warren afraid to venture to far.  Finally, wresting some control Rip seeks to become useful again and begins investigating a series of murders of women, causing him to flashbacks to the death of his mother. It is only when the one he loves most is threatened that Rip is finally able to give justice to the victims and finally feel whole again.

Tarnished Knight is very much a romance novel with a bit of kidnapping and murder wrapped around it for the sake of a thin plot.  Unfortunately, the budding relationship between Esme and Rip is a typical bodice ripper with few surprises.  It's the typical boy/girl love each other but are afraid to tell each other story -- followed by the requisite misunderstanding that drives them apart -- culminating in consummation and declarations of HEA.  I had really hoped for more from this story, given  the fascinating world building of Kiss of Steel . I suppose since this is a short story that McMaster didn't want to add anything that would cause confusion in later books for people who routinely skip short stories. Still, it was a tad disappointing.

I very much like Esme; she's a survivor.  Esme has had to make her way through the world and always managed to pull herself above the odds and retain her dignity.  When she is kidnapped (as all heroines somehow need to be) Esme leaves a trail for Rip and fights for her life every step of the way.  Even though Rip is more than capable of taking care of himself, when the big fight begins, Esme is not content to sit on the sidelines and let Rip handle it all.  Esme dives in with an axe and cuts off her kidnappers arm.

I also like that there is no shame when it comes to sex for Esme.  She is not afraid to initiate sex and take what she wants. In a reversal of gender roles, it's Rip who is reticent to take the big step and it's nice that Esme respects his boundaries, never pushing him harder than he can handle.  Consent is always a sticky thing in these kinds of stories and in this case, it was handled far better than in Kiss of Steel.

The Returned, Season 2, Episode 6: Lucy

Opening flashback to a year ago to Lucy’s past – her hitchhiking into town becoming a bartender and then deciding to seduce Jack because he was flashing a lot of money around and, for reasons that are still beyond me, playing the whole sex-medium thing with him.

In the present day, Lucy dies in hospital from her wounds. Briefly – she then wakes up all well and shocked and in pretty much perfect health. Her stab wounds have completely disappeared.

Tommy the sheriff arrives though she remembers little about being attacked – Tommy does his best to push her into accusing Simon.

At the Winship house, everyone is panicking because Lena has disappeared. Well except Camille who practices her complete indifference, explaining she can feel Lena through her twin bond. Claire questions if Camille drove Lena off – and even wonders to Jack if Camille MIGHT not be the daughter they lost. Jack objects to that – Camille is their daughter, but Claire counters that so is Lena.

Lea has been taken by Adam – and put in a bed in his cabin, no more wounded than she was in the first place (though still with the awful back wound that fascinates serial killer Adam). He treats her wounds with gleaned herbs and they talk about siblings and unforgiveable crimes and how both of them should be dead. But Adam also holds out the idea there’s chance to change

Claire tries to talk to Lena’s friend to find out where she could be but only really learns that Lena “knew” a lot of guys.

Lena does call Claire but only to say she’s fine and to stop looking. When Claire acknowledges that she hasn’t been there for Lena Lena simply says “it’s a little late for that.” Claire asks Jack if he knew Lena had a reputation for being with lots of guys – and when it’s clear he did, she also wants to know if Jack just ignored what Lena was doing while he was with Lucy. Jack counters that Lena is an adult and she’s living her life as she wants (which would be supportive if it weren’t a passive aggressive dig at Claire for not living her life). He accuses Claire of being lost without someone to mourn, without being the “perfect grieving martyr”.

Adam continues to be creepy but doesn’t murder Lena. Tony pays a visit and to get rid of him without having him poke around, Adam tells him their mother has returned. And she’s hella pissed at Tony and doesn’t want to see him because he killed Adam. Tony is going to need a whoooole lot of therapy.

Of course seeing Adam with his brother clues Lena in that Adam is also returned. She asks about it and he tells her he was a “bad person”; she disagrees and kisses him. They have sex, presumably forgetting about the gaping back wound.

 Peter has Victor in his car which is probably creepy and likely to end with Victor eating Peter’s skin.

Salem, Season 2, Episode 2: Blood Kiss

In response to the elders’ death last episode, Mary leads the men of Salem into the crags around the town to finish off the witches. They go among all the dead bodies they have littering the outskirts of town (rather unsanitary) and burn them all. And Mercy’s witches lying among them. Mary goes a step further and has the men shoot the witches while they burn.

Mary continues to exhort against Mercy to the town while in private Tituba keeps heckling her to get on with the magical master plan. Apparently, the people have Salem haven’t learned their lesson and will soon dump the plagued bodies in the crags (filly them with “hell blood”) a comet is due and the combination of both will let their “dark lord” incarnate.

But there’s a loose end – Isaac being alive. Tituba wants Mary to kill him.

Of to see the doctor who tells Mary everything is awful – but Isaac is awake and repeating her name. She goes to see him – and fins him all apologetic about not obeying her, blaming himself for the plague. A tearful Mary can’t bring herself to poison him.

But she does begin the rest of her plan, convincing the doctor to remove the bodies of the plague victims to the crags on the pretext of fighting infection (much to the disapproval of the reverend and Hawthorne). Hawthorne is outraged that good puritan bodies are being treated like slaves or criminals.

At home her little demon child John Junior tortures her husband George who she’s hexed to be unable to pretty much do anything.

That night Mary sees movement in John’s old house so naturally goes to check it out – turns out Doctor Love Interest has moved in. The doctor takes the chance to describe how he not only believes in the equality of women but their superiority due to being able to withstand the pain of childbirth. My aren’t they getting scandalous? I think his whole description of pain is supposed to be sexy but it comes off creepy – and Mary puts him in his place and leaves

John Aldren gets some final woo-woo presents from his oh-so-helpful mystical Native Americans and heads back to town. On the way he runs into Petrus who is wonderfully cryptic about whose side he is on or even what he is. He’s also very hard to pin down to an actual answer – until he finally tells John that Hale is dead and whoever replaces him will be Mary’s pawn – and another witch. John then kills Petrus. Petrus may have been crafty, but really working with the man who is all “magic, kill it!” is not sensible for a man who is all about magic.

John makes his way to town, murdering an extra for his clothes before heading into the plague hit, Knockers Hole (which, yes, I giggled rather childishly about).

At the crags, a hand thrusts up through the blackened earth. What? Surely you didn’t think Mercy was actually dead?

Meanwhile Anne gets a completely unwanted visit from the very pushy Hawthorne. He makes lots of
really creepy comments about how alone and orphaned and vulnerable she is – and how she needs to make the right choice in choosing how to trust. He gets a spontaneous nose bleed and Anne nearly breaks the crockery.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Originals, Season Two, Episode Seventeen: Exquisite Corpse

Rebekah wakes from a dream in which she was a child again and being chased by an enraged Eva Sinclair. Eva has taken over her body as elsewhere, Elijah and Gia make love.  Vincent sits in a bar drinking and looking at a picture of Eva. Eva heads into Hope's room and stands above her crib.  Hayley sees Eva and immediately senses something wrong and attacks. Hearing the scuffle, Klaus rushes in and acts to protect his daughter. Together, Klaus and Hayley manage to scare Eva out of Hope's room.

Later, Klaus charges Marcel with a mission to find Rebekah/Eva, and shackle her so that she cannot do magic.  Klaus is however insistent that Rebekah not be hurt.  Marcel points that Elijah's truce with the witches has expired and this means that the witches will be looking for Rebekah. Klaus orders Hayley to go with Elijah to secure another truce with Josephine.  Hayley however is worried about leaving Hope alone, so Klaus reminds her that Jackson has been working steadily to ensure that the compound is secure. Klaus points out that he is in the house and that while Marcel and Hayley are busy, he will be doing the even dirtier work.

Hayley, Gia and Marcel are at Josephine's and when Josephine does not make an appearance, Gia excuses herself to locate her. Hayley uses the opportunity to snark about Gia, exposing her jealousy. They are interrupted by Josephine before Hayley can explain exactly what she wants from Marcel. 

Klaus has gone to see Freya about putting Rebekah back in her original body, making it clear that even though he is asking a favour, he still doesn't trust Freya.  The siblings snark back and forth and Freya finally tells Klaus that Rebekah's condition has worsened and now Freya doesn't have a spell strong enough to help Rebekah.  Klaus being Klaus, puts the handcuffs on Freya, stopping her from doing magic, saying that he knows someone who knows how to do such spells.

Vincent is still getting his drink on at the bar when he is approached by Marcel.  Vincent declares that he is done with the vampires and the witches of New Orleans.  Marcel tells Vincent that he needs to find Eva before the witches do, in order to save Rebekah.  Vincent is resistant to helping.

Back at Josephine's,  Marcel, Eva and Hayley are informed that if Eva is back in control, they need to put an end to her because she will use up Rebekah, just like she did the others.

In the bar, Vincent tells Marcel about his relationship with Eva and the missing children.  It was Vincent who put together a posse to find the kids and found Eva by fluke.  Vincent then caught Eva, who pleaded that she only needed three more to complete the right of nines - thus creating a new witch order in New Orleans.  Eva wanted to be more powerful than an elder or any harvest girl. To this day, the kids are still missing, unconsecrated, and used as a source for Eva's magic.

Josephine tells Elijah that Eva must be caught and therefore she is unwilling to extend the truce they negotiated, even though it means sacrificing Rebekah. 

Klaus takes Freya to see Esther and Freya is incensed that Klaus will trust Esther but not her.  Since Esther is now a vampire, Klaus compels her to speak only the truth. 

Eva treats the wound she received when she was trying to steal Hope. Marcel appears and puts the handcuffs on Eva, who is stunned that she was found by a vampire. Marcel admits that he had a little help and Vincent makes an appearance.  Marcel demands that Eva release Rebekah but Eva threatens that if she gets hurt, Marcel will not only never see Rebekah again, he won't see Davina.  Marcel is shocked because he didn't even realise that Davina was missing. Marcel starts to torture Eva but Vincent intervenes, saying that torture is not going to work, offering to talk to her instead.

Josephine is adamant that she will not change her mind and Elijah makes it clear that this means Josephine is ending their alliance before starting to leave.  Josephine demands that Elijah stop threatening her and points out that it is Elijah who needs her and not the other way around. Josephine then grabs Hayley's hands, telling her that there is a storm coming, filled with blackness which should terrify Hayley.

Vincent and Eva argue about their relationship and witch politics.  In frustration, Eva reveals that she didn't kill any kids and that they are asleep and cloaked. Eva says that she just needs their power and the kids don't need to die.

Six Moon Summer (Seasons of the Moon #1) by SM Reine

Rylie didn’t want to go to camp. She’s a city lover at heart and she doesn’t want anything to do with her and the great outdoors. Especially not when her parents are just getting rid of her so they can arrange their divorce

But even she didn’t imagine of the threats of nature would be being bitten by a werewolf.

Now she is slowly transforming, her appetites, her anger – and that’s without the moon rising. She has 3 months to find a way to stop it, or she’ll be a monster for life.

I am torn. On the one hand I have to applaud how very human Rylie is – and not just Rylie, everyone. She’s a teenaged girl going through some terrible times with her family and has been dumped in summer camp, basically to get rid of her while her parents try to sort through their lives. In addition to resenting being kicked off to the middle of nowhere, Rylie is an urbanite. She doesn’t like the countryside, not even a little.

Rylie is not a happy young woman.  On top of that she’s also turning into a werewolf which comes with its own set of complications and problems

And it shows – she’s a surly teenager who is kind of surly. This generally leaves me jumping between two stances: irritated with Rylie because she’s not perfect, she’s angry and she doesn’t always act perfectly because of it. Or angry with the people around Rylie for the somtimes unfair way they treat her, because they’re also not perfect and they’re generally trying (especially the camp counsellor).

I have to say that neither stances nor the story makes me especially particularly like her but that’s not a criticism on the character. She is a very real character, a very human character and, like many people who are going through a difficult time, she’s not especially likeable. And that’s fine – she’s is a very good character with interesting points and character growth. And it’s her very normal humanity that makes her slow transition into becoming a werewolf and all that means all the more powerful and meaningful.

I can’t say the same for the development of any other character, sadly. This is a book that is very focused on Rylie but there’s no connection or real humanisation of anyone else. The figures at camp are pretty much small parts. She has a guide to the ways of the werewolf in the guise of Seth – but all he is his the uber-hot purveyor of arcane knowledge. There’s a sinister guy who is sinister and an ending that should be really twisting and surprising but fails to be because none of these characters were developed in a meaningful manner. Ending with “Oh look X is a werewolf!” isn’t all that shocking or surprising or meaningful because I know next to nothing about X and have been given no real reason to care about them.

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 18: Heart of Gold

So the gang lost the author and Mary Margaret and David reveal the past they have with the guy who manipulated them into banishing Lillith, Maleficent’s daughter. Emma doesn’t give a damn about them being manipulated – they did what they did and then they LIED


Can we get away from this bizarre moral code that puts “lying” above child experimentation and kidnapping? Please?

Emma seems to get that… kind of. Because she then is heartbroken that she became the Saviour at the expense of someone else’s soul (still kind of an “all about me” pity fest more than pity for the victim, but better than the ZOMG LIES, I guess). David makes more excuses (“we’re human.” Yes because child kidnap is something lots of humans do) and Emma won’t hear it because if he keeps talking we’ll have to form an orderly queue to slap David.

They follow the Author who is trying to make a new magic quill, which he can’t do because, as Gold points out, none of the trees in Storybrooke are enchanted. Gold has one… of course.

Gold also has Regina captive but has a far more powerful way of controlling her – something has happened to Robin. This calls for a flashback

9 weeks ago

When Robin and family left Storybrooke and Robin showed his undying love for Regina in front of his wife and their child. They move to New York planning to move into Baelfire/Neal’s old place. They don’t adapt that well. They are, after all, Storybrooke characters with no alias, so no experience of the modern world.

Marianne angsts because it’s all her fault and Robin does actually love Regina more. Angst session is interrupted because Gold (back before the return) also decided to use Baelfire’s old flat – since it’s his son’s home and all. They bicker – and Gold seems to have a heart attack

When he wakes in hospital, Gold decides it’s not a conventional heart attack – it’s a moral heart attack because he’s such a bad person that he’s poisoned his heart and he has no magic to protect himself

And another flashback:

Games of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 1: The Wars to Come

And lo, a million people around the world joined together humming this ridiculously awesome opening music!

Yes, Game of Thrones is back!

And let’s start with a flashback to an insufferable child Cersei consulting a witch about her future e- who gives accurate and disconcerting predictions of her future and her kids. Honestly why would anyone in Westeros want to know their future “blood blood death more blood, death, gratuitous breast shot, blood blood death”.

Kings Landing

She doesn’t look much happier in the present and exchanges ongoing hostile looks with Margaery. It’s Tywin’s funeral (after Tyrion killed him last season. Jaime, sympathetic and more reality based, is worried that without Tywin there’s a positive queue of people ready to tear the Lannisters into itty bitty pieces and take all their gold. Cersei, in fairly bitter fashion is fixated on Tyrion as the enemy and angry at Jaime for letting him go particularly rubbing in that Jaime was Tywin’s favourite (as both a son and not a little person).

Cersei has to put up with lots of condolences she doesn’t especially welcome - and an appearance from Lancel who has radically altered – joining a fanatical religious order known as the Sparrows and dressing very simply. He wants to apologise to Cersei for being so wanton and tempting her… and for murdering the King. Yeah that sounds riskily like a confession – Cersei may have to murder this one

We actually see Loras in bed with his spy-lover Olyver and they even kiss – where you can actually see it! (Though it has to be noted they managed to keep space between those bodies, that back arch had to hurt) Alas, Margaery interrupts them, pushes Olyver out and demands Loras be discreet (he’s in his own room behind a closed door – exactly how much more discreet can he be?). Loras thinks his forced wedding to Cersei is off – but Margaery is still plotting

The kingdom should fear Margeary plotting


Tyrion has escaped, in a crate and with the help of Varys, to Pentos. He complains about how uncomfortable it was and Varys is epic in how little he cares. Varys also reveals some of his own past (yes, revelations from Varys!) he, Ilyrio and others were hoping to restore the Targaryens to the throne because Robert was such an utterly terrible king – something he now acknowledges as a mistake. He talks nobly about saving Westeros from itself. While Tyrion drinks and reflects on fratricide and whether he even counts as a lord any more (while also acknowledging how killing a prostitute is meaningless to someone of his station). He’s really not ready to join Varys on his crusade.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Last Man on Earth Season One, Episode Nine: Pranks for Nothing

Phil tries to explain to the group that he all of his lies were simply a practical joke but no one is buying it. Erica and Gail are quick to point out that he said that Carol was dead, so Phil lies again and claims that he was married to another woman named Carol before the virus.  Melissa calls Phil disgusting but he still tries to sell the prank that he was supposedly planning to pull, claiming that they all ruined his practical joke.  Phil tries to lay it on thick, claiming that Todd, Melissa, and Carol, mean the most to him in the world.  At this point, even Todd cannot defend him.  Melissa tells Erica and Gail that they can follow them to the cul de sac.  Everyone gets into their respective cars, leaving Phil alone in the middle of the road.

It's now morning and Phil is slowly walking back to the community. Phil walks with a dejected look on his face.  Back at the cul de sac, Gail and Erica are getting to know Todd and Melissa, when Phil arrives.  The conversation stops when he enters and everyone refuses to make eye contact with him or acknowledge his existence.  Phil then asks how long he is going to be in the dog house, again claiming that he was pulling a prank.  Phil decides that he is going to return the silent treatment.  When that gets no response, Phil again declares that it was all prank before backing out of the room.

Phil returns to the home he shares with Carol and she pretends to be a ghost because he told Erica and Gail that she was dead.  Phil asks for a chance to explain but Carol believes that everything is cut and dry. Carol then slut shames Gail and Erica for some reason and calls Phil a donkey and a sewer rat. Carol then orders Phil to leave. 

Phil finds himself alone at the bar with the balls.  He tells his imaginary friends that he could use a break from people and that this is a nice change of pace. Phil lies on the pool table calling beds over rated.

Gail and Erica go to see Carol with a pecan pie, hoping that there is no hard feelings. Carol then says that there are no hard feelings because all Gail and Erica did "was make a quick slut based decision," about sharing their bodies, with a man they hardly knew.  Gail tells Carol that they never would have done that stuff if they had known that Phil was married and Carol responds that she doesn't hold it against Gail, but in the U.S., "people tend to do a bit of research before inviting a man into the world down under." Erica asks that they move past all of this and puts on the pie on the table.  Carol however does not want the "hussy pie." Who says hussy today? Really?

The Last Man on Earth, Season One, Episode Eight: The Do-Over

Phil is lying in bed and wakes Carol up because of the noise from her sleep apnea machine.  Carol is quick to fall back asleep and a frustrated Phil turns on his side.

The next morning, when Phil heads downstairs, he notes that Carol has painted a dog onto Monet's The Water-Lily Pond. Carol justifies the desecration by saying that the priceless painting needed some life. Phil asks her not to paint on his painting and Carol makes the sad face.  I don't agree with Phil on much but defacing a Monet is truly a crime.  Phil then notices that his magazines are missing and learns that Carol has placed them in a box in the garage labelled, "molested girls."  Phil asks Carol not to move or touch his things and she points out that they live together now. Carol argues that marriage is about compromise and hands him a breast examine pamphlet for his masturbatory pleasure. Carol then notes that Phil has used her decorative hand soap which she put out for company. and Phil defends this horrible violation by pointing out that there are only two other people on earth. The bickering gets into full swing and Phil tries to storm out in frustration but before he makes it to the door,  Carol hands him a list of things he needs to pick up.  Finally outside, Phil stops by the grievance board and discovers that the majority of the complaints are about him.  To add insult to injury, when he looks over his shoulder, Todd is cutting Melissa's hair.

What does a frustrated man do? He collects all of the things on Carol's list and then sets them all on fire.  This of course is followed by ranting to God about the fact that he met Carol first and believed that she was the last woman on earth and then was introduced to Melissa. Todd does not even pause for a moment to consider if Melissa, who has always made it clear that she cannot stand Todd would have been happy in that situation but does make a wish for a do-over.  Cue sappy music, as a SUV pulls into the parking lot containing two women who are amazed to see another human being.  The women introduce themselves as Gail and Erica.  When Gail and Erica ask Phil if he is all alone, he pauses before lying and then says that it's just him before asking the women for a hug.

Phil walks with Gail and Erica telling them that he has been alone for the last two years.  The two women pick out a house and inside they open a bottle of champagne and toast to finding an alive man.  Phil of course takes a seat on the bed, then asks the women to tell him about themselves.  Gail is from Sydney and Erica is from North Carolina.  Gail compliments Phil for having the intelligence to post the billboards.  We learn that Gail and Erica met after the virus (well at least know we know where all the people went but it doesn't answer the question of what happened to all of the bodies), Erica started doing things on her bucket list and she ran into Gail at the White house.

It seems that in the absence of men, Gail and Erica were intimate but now that they have found Phil, they declare and end to their sexual adventures.  Hearing this, Phil has to hide his erection.  Gail wonders aloud if Phil is even into girls. Phil laughs at this suggestion and says that he is very much into girls.  Phil stands to pour champagne for Erica and Gail notices his wedding ring.  Phil pauses and then excuses himself saying he has things to check on.  Erica and Gail invite him to dinner and Phil agree to return later.

Phil heads back home and explains his long absence by saying that he went to get everything on Carol's list - most certainly not out of obligation or guilt.  God, this man is a megadouche. Carol believes that Phil was out so long finding his smile. Phil is relieved that Carol isn't on to him and jumps on the idea that having time for himself was good for him.  Phil then suggests that he head out and camp tonight, so that he can find an even bigger smile.  Carol is all for this.

Phil heads to his favourite bar to talk to his ball friends about why he lied to Gail and Erica and withheld facts from Carol.  Phil believes that leading a double life and hiding facts from Carol will make him a better husband to her. Phil puts on his suit and tie, as he asks his balls if they have any objections to what he is doing.

Phil shows up at Gail and Erica's with two bottles of booze.  In the dining room, Gail and Erica have laid out an amazing spread of food.  Back at home, Carol serves Todd and Melissa a dish of raisin balls, saying that she has worked hard to blend her things with Phil's in the house.  Melissa asks where Phil is and Carol explains that Phil is camping because he wanted some alone time.  Todd defends Phil, when Melissa says that she doesn't trust him.

Gail and Erica are pouring booze down Phil's throat, saying that they are glad the last man on earth is fun and cute.  Gail asks what Phil thought when he first saw them and he responds that "it was a like a dream - hot older lady and black girl. Yes please." Neither woman is happy  with Phil's response, so Phil starts to stumble trying to take back what he said.  The mood has completely changed, as Phil apologises, saying that he screwed up and the women deserve to know the truth.  Phil then brings up Carol.

At the dinner table, Carol defends Phil, calling him a good person and Melissa neutrally comments that she is glad that Phil makes Carol happy.

Phil tells the women that Carol was his wife and passed away many moons ago.  Phil even goes on to lie that he nursed Carol through her death and was there for her every step of the way.  Gail and Erica are naturally sympathetic to Phil's lie.  Phil even has the nerve to suggest that Carol wanted him to get out there and meet other women and fakes a cry.  Phil then apologises for bringing down the party with his true story about his dead wife. Erica decides that to change the mood, they should all go skinny dipping down at the hot spring.  Phil starts to hyperventilate, looks down at his weeding ring and then announces they should all race to the car.

Melissa notices the decorative soao that Phil brought back from the hotel for Carol.  Todd suggests that they should all do something nice for Phil in appreciation of all he has done for them.  Melissa counters saying that they have had too much wine.  Todd suggests that they go to the party store and fill the entire house with balloons.  Carol is all in on this.

Naturally, both parties run into each other.  Gail and Erica are super excited to meet other people.  Gail and Carol hug Carol, Melissa and Todd, as Phil struggles to put his pants on.  Erica and Gail try to introduce Phil to the group but he has locked the door.  Carol is surprised to see Phil and announces that he is her husband.

It seems that Melissa is steadily moving from the role of sex object to ball buster.  This is meant to make the audience dislike her but honestly with Phil's antics, who can really blame her?  She is absolutely right not to trust him and we have seen evidence of that with Phil's hiding of the cow and now his lies to Gail and Erica.

In the beginning it was possible to sympathise with Phil because he was the last man left standing and that had to be a lonely situation.  We are now on episode nine and it has become evident that probably even before the virus wiped everyone out, Phil was a horrible human being.  It's more than the fact that he is a permanent man-child; it's his absolute douchebaggery.  All Phil saw when he looked at Gail and Erica are women to fuck.  He most certainly didn't see them as people.

With the introduction of Gail, we now have two people of colour.  Of course, Phil has to point out that she is black and then conflate that with her sexuality.  Thanks for that Last Man on Earth.  Phil reduces Gail to a fetish and it is made worse by the fact that Gail barely calls him out on it and then is quick to forgive him after being sold a bunch of lies.

Gail and Erica also constitute the GLBT representation on The Last Man on Earth.  I am not sure how to take this because it became clear very quickly that they were both happy to stop sleeping with each other in favor of getting a little dick from Phil.  This means that they had sex together because of a lack of options, rather than natural inclination.  It doesn't sit well with me at all and feeds into the myth that bisexuals and lesbians just need some dick to set them on a different path.  I don't expect more from this show at this point but suspect that this will not lead anywhere good.

On a final note, Sparky will continue to owe me forever for dumping this hot mess in my lap.  I cannot wait for it to come to and end.