Saturday, April 25, 2015

Olympus, Season 1, Episode 4: Minos

It’s time for another episode of Olympus

And it says a lot about how this show is going that I say that in the same tone one would normally say “the freezer is iced up again.” Or “I’m having a herpes outbreak” and we’re only on episode 4.

A woman only referred to as Lady of the Forest murders two brothers, hunters, to get the attention of their mother. The old woman is one of those who was captured by the Cyclops. I think tapping her on a shoulder or yelling “coo-eee” may have been something she could have tried before murdering her offspring for inviting her to dinner. The old lady can’t tell Forest Lady where Hero and Oracle went so Forest lady murders her too

Y’know people on this show need some damn names.

To the Oracle who is in Minos’s military camp (he is laying siege to Athens) and he seems very cynical and unimpressed by her divine Oracleness (unlike his daughter). Minos decides to test her loyalty by having sex with her – by her giving him the “gift” of her virginity (a job requirement for oracles). He also wants the Hero beheaded.

At least until his daughter easily manipulates him into questioning Hero first. It’s already pretty clear who the brains behind the throne is.

Daedelus, who was enslaved by and used to work for Minos before he escaped, is naturally seen as a great big traitor and he has a box on his head. A box into which Minos’s men put a bee hive. That’s just nasty.

As is what his daughter has planned for the Hero (and describes in an extremely sexual manner which I think is supposed to be creepy and intimidating but just makes me think she gets off on snakes). Her need to drink his blood (and identify city of origin by taste) means she totally misses him cutting his bonds. He takes her hostage and she gropes him. Lady, you have issues. Her begging him to cut her while doing so causes him to let her go, possibly out of bemusement or sheer terror. Though recaptured she doesn’t want him dead yet. That is not reassuring.

In Athens, Lykos tries to convince the council to send emissaries to their reluctant allies to ask for help when King Aegeus comes in and roars – again – about dying gloriously. Honestly every last one of this king’s ideas are basically glorious self-slaughter. He also questions why Lykos is there and, when he hears Lykos is actually a decent tactician, he roars about not needing tactics – just needing guts (presumably to spill everywhere when you are slit open by the enemy that uses tactics).

He wants to open the gates and charge outside of the fortifications in broad daylight against a foe that outnumbers them several times over. While their men are exhausted and morale is low. He strangles the general that tries to convince him what an utterly terrible idea this is.

Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 19: Because

Stefan’s master plan to catch Caroline and make her human again!

First convince her he’s still humanity less (this would mean Musty Stefan pretending to be Fun Stefan and not whining, Already this plan has flaws). They explain this plan to Elena who is completely oblivious to Caroline and Stefan’s feelings for each other (hey didn’t Caroline angst about these feelings to Elena a few episodes ago? Minus 10 friend points Elena!). Damon is also snarking especially since Stefan and Caroline’s first time having sex together was after the humanity switch flipping

Stage 2 involves torture and blood draining. Stage 3 involves nostalgia and sad panda memories.

Step 1 works. As does the kidnapping part of Step 2 (because of Damon and towels). He also darts Stefan for reasons unknown and we next see them waking up in a blood stained bed 3 days later. Messy

And Damon decides to bring coffee to Bonnie and talk about how he totally hasn’t told Elena about her vampire cure (can Bonnie actually have a conversation not about Elena?) Oh and Damon gave the Ascendant to Mummy Dearest for “safe keeping” and Bonnie is not impressed by this given the whole Heretic vampire/witch hybrids (or witchpire as Damon dubs them). As an added bonus since Lily needs Bonnie to cast the spell to let the witchpires out, that means Lily is going to go looking for Bonnie. Bonnie is furious and tells Damon to fix it AND “don’t show up here pretending to care about me.”

About time you said it Bonnie!

Alaric and Jo still exist. Someone in the world may care. And they are alien people who have nothing in common with me. Move along to Caroline and Stefan being locked in a vampire-proof B&B and my contemplating the fact I just typed “vampire-proof B&B”. They’ve both been drained of blood so have no energy.

As if Caroline isn’t suffering enough, Elena enters the scene. Caroline instantly snarks about all the terrible things Elena did when she turned her humanity off (Stefan, pretending to have lost his humanity, plays along). Elena gives Caroline a letter from her mother that Liz wrote before she died but Caroline knows full well what that’s for – and tells Stefan to burn it. He tries to weasel out of it but eventually does so.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Opal Fire (A Stacy Justice Mystery #1) by Barbra Annino

Stacy Justice gives up her promising career as a journalist to return home and help her witch family.  In a small town, things are supposed to be slow but Stacy quickly discovers that small towns also harbor secrets, when her cousins bar burns down and the remains of a woman are found hidden in the walls.  With her cousin accused of arson, Stacy decides to investigate, forcing her to finally acknowledge her latent witch powers and to stop dismissing her witch aunts as simply weird.

It became apparent to me early on in Opal Fire that Annino was trying to capture the essence of the movie Practical Magic and infuse her novel with it.  Unfortunately, Annino was far from successful at this attempt.  Opal Fire was meant to be a quirky paranormal chick lit mystery/romance and therefore; essentially a light read. Opal Fire was so over written that at  some points it became difficult to keep my eyes on the page.  Did we really need every single detail of what Stacy ate and why?  Was I really supposed to be amused that her grandparents, who have difficulty getting alone, went on a marriage retreat and then sent her text messages about it?  Why was that even in the story?  Even more importantly, why should I care?

Stacy spent most of the time in Opal Fire chasing her own tail.  It became apparent very early on who the murderer was and how Stacy failed to connect the dots amazed me?  The big Perry Mason like confession was supposed to be startling but I couldn't get through it fast enough.  It was all just so bloody obvious.  Furthermore, when are writers going to realise that having the antagonist confess and then connect the dots for the protagonist is a cheap device?

Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 19: The Werther Project

Opening monster – St Louis and a family that seems like a throwback from some previous decade. The daughter of the family randomly decides to break down a basement wall to find a hidden arcane men of letters safe which she opens – and releases green swirling smoke which I’m going to guess is a bad thing

When she wakes up she finds her whole family have committed suicide (except her mother who slits her own throat right there).

Over to Sam who, last episode, started making a deal with Rowena which may be the worst idea ever. Her price is to kill Crowley – which Sam is happy to do and doesn’t even care about her motives (and she’s all set to sell a sob story). First step in reading the book is finding the codex of dead coven witch, Nadia and bringing it to Rowena. Probably making her even more powerful. This could not possibly be a worst idea. The Codex was taken by the Men of Letters.

Dean, meanwhile, has gone on a bit of a killing spree and really enjoyed himself much to Sam’s horror. His victims, however, are 6 vampires (on his own which is pretty impressive). Sam is upset that Dean went killing without him – but Dean, after much light hearted snarking, admits it’s the only way he can “take the edge off.” He’s also tried of Sam’s “diseased killer puppy” look. I actually love that description – it’s a perfect way to describe the mix of pity, disgust and horror on Sam’s face.

So back to the bunker and Sam looking for the codex, which means listening to old minutes about Cuthbert’s expulsion after he locked the codex inside the Werther Box which, by the sound of it, is the arcane safe we saw. Cuthbert was expelled for this because he created a lethal magical artefact that killed 2 men of letters without telling anyone. Naughty. Cuthbert doesn’t understand why everyone is so upset about a little murder box and stomps and snarls at them all – and refuses to tell them how to shut it down. So it remained in St Louis where no-one can touch it

Magical death box? Of course Sam is interested. Also when hearing about a super dangerous magical death box (containing and even more dangerous magical book), of course Sam calls Rowena (who isn’t a morning person). At least he gets a spell from her rather than inviting her to come along.

So off Sam goes and has two problems – a woman with a gun who objects to him picking the lock on her door and Dean following him. Dean understands Sam is pissed at him going off on his own and apologises – and Sam totally doesn’t have to go off alone to prove the point. Errr… ooops. Come clean now Sam, it’s the only way you’re getting out of this.

LGBT Characters in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals

We are currently in season 6 of The Vampire Diaries and season 2 of The Originals.  The latest season gave the viewers the most gay characters these shows have ever had at one time. The Vampire Diaries had Luke, while The Originals had Josh and Aidan. Maybe three gay characters isn’t exactly an immense number considering the sheer size of the casts on these shows, but it was still a peak in this universe’s representation of gay existence.

Except, now, they’re down to one gay character: Josh on The Originals. Luke died recently, sacrificing himself on The Vampire Diaries for his straight sisters and Aidan was just brutally murdered by Dahlia to make a random point and add to Klaus’s endless, overflowing Manpain

These two deaths not only killed off 2 thirds of the gay representation on both shows (and the entirety of the gay representation on The Vampire Diaries) but killed off half of the named gay characters these shows have ever had. In one fell swoop, this season slaughtered half of the series’ entire gay representation.

Prior to the introduction of Luke, Aidan and Josh, the only other named gay character - Bill Thorbes choose death over becoming a vampire. Of the four gay characters these shows have had, three of them are dead. By any form of accounting, killing 3/4 of any population is targeted and in the case of marginalised characters beyond problematic.

Every last one of these gay characters died by violence leaving Josh alone and looking awfully vulnerable (Which suggests that a gay character had better head to the plot box and hide if they want to live). Yes, these are shows with a pretty huge death rates, but the straight people dying didn’t annihilate three quarters of their presence from the screen. Wiping out three quarters of a minority representation by violence is still a gross trend and sends a terrible message about disposability of these characters. They were not put on the bus like Jeremy, not dead by natural causes like Liz but all dead by violence.

Because if there’s one thing worse than the gross death rate of gay characters in The Vampire Diaries / Originals universe, it’s the treatment of them when they were actually alive.

The Vampire Diaries and The Originals between them have covered 8 seasons (and counting since both have been renewed) - a pretty massive 171 episodes, and an enormous and uncountable array of characters. In all that time and with all those characters, we would expect some LGBT characters to eventually appear.

“Eventually” they did - and eventually is an apt description. Like many shows and book series, The Vampire Diaries (and the greater Vampire Diaries world) waited considerable time to introduce a substantial LGBT representation (assuming we stretch the definition of “substantial” to cover any of the gay characters on this show). This is a far too common meme we see in fiction - LGBT representation is something that is only belatedly introduced, usually after a series has been established for some time and there is a growing level of criticism. Vampire Diaries even tried to allay some of that by teasing that there would be an LGBT character in season 2 (widely tipped to be Rose) before they hurriedly backed away from it.

For the number of characters on these shows, the LGBT representation has been late, sparse and also very much limited to gay men. Again, with this many episodes and this many characters, the lack of a broader representation of the LGBT community is glaring. The only other LGBT representation we have is the highly dubious single scene of Rebekah and Nadia having a threesome with Matt. Could Rebekah and Nadia be bisexual women? Certainly. But neither of these characters express any kind of interest in women after this (or before in Rebekah’s case) and it’s not like we haven’t seen Rebekah’s many (male) love interests in The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and even the book of the series. Rebekah seems to be only interested in women when it’s for the enjoyment of a straight man - a destructive and fetishistic trope that constantly reduces female bisexuality to a performance for the straight male gaze and consumption. This is emphasised by the whole focus of that scene - on Matt’s happiness and enjoyment of Rebekah and Nadia being together and in bed with him.

And, of course, Nadia had an entirely ulterior motive to be there on top of the straight male gaze consumption. At best, it’s a grossly fetishistic depiction of bisexual female sexuality, at worst, it’s two straight women performing bisexuality for a straight man’s pleasure.

Of course, the actual representation we did see on these shows was so utterly awful that I actually regret that Vampire Diaries and Originals wasn’t MORE erased. Yes, this show has earned a Pass at Writing Gay Characters because the depictions are just that awful.

The first gay inclusion we see is an unnamed cowboy in season 1. You probably don’t remember him, most people don’t remember him - he was one of Isobel’s (Elena’s vampire mother) pets. She compelled him to have sex with her. This should really have served as a warning of what’s to come: a nameless token who is reduced to a raped sex toy.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Pining of Kevin Harding by Devon McCormack

Kevin doesn’t want to be a vampire. He doesn’t want to kill people to live and so far he has resisted – but his master is getting impatient and his power and control is impossible to resist

Do vampire hunters offer another risk – or a final opportunity to escape?

This one didn’t work for me – for several reasons, but largely down to the whole thing feeling rushed and slap dash.

We have a world with vampires – vampires that are masters and create hives of drones that are compelled to be loyal through various supernatural beings – but we never really go into that, into what it means to be a vampire, into their society (which they clearly have), their physiology or much of anything else. There are vampires, some are masters. That’s it

Similarly there are hunters who manage to drive the vampires to hide and run all the time – yet at the same time seem to be a highly disorganised group of individuals with, at best, loose contact and organisation (as opposed to the vampires). Yet at the same time seem to be able to invent nifty vampire killing tools including a special vampire dissolving acid… none of this is essentially contradictory but it is highly unlikely without some more actual exposition

The world building feels like it wasn’t so much built as bits were thrown in when it was narratively convenient without any attempt to make any foundation or extrapolate on these elements that were created, leaving gaping holes, lots of fuzzy areas and leaving me somewhat bored and disinterested.

Which applies to the characters as well. Morgan is a one-note damaged hot guy with a tragic backstory who will be cured with the magical sexing. Dax is the rather simple buff hot guy who… know I can’t even expand on that. That’s all he is. Kevin is a somewhat blah character from a somewhat blah background who is… somewhat blah. I can’t really point to one memorable thing about him. He apparently always wanted to be an actor, but is painfully shy and introverted. He’s pretty childish which only manages to pass because Morgan is so much more EPICLY childish (complete with massively whiny tantrums) that Kevin’s own immaturity is masked. That’s kind of all I know about Kevin – he’s a vampire, he doesn’t want to be, he’s whiny, he’s shy and introverted and he falls in love waaaay too fast.

Ironically, the bad guys – Kevin’s master, Kevin’s master’s enemy and   are more developed. But only because the master’s enemy had to engage in a massive convoluted info-dump to try and justify his utterly bizarre actions.  Not that they are developed particularly – for all of his massive info-dumped past (whyyyyy?), Kevin’s master is just old, powerful and bizarrely infatuated with Kevin after facebook stalking him. And? She’s just evil. Sadistic and monstrous without even the slightest shred of human development – and since she’s the only real female character in this book that is doubly shady. I also don’t remember a single POC in the book – the only diver element was the men being gay.

And to the under-developed plot. The romance happens because of… because. Because sex, basically because there is absolutely nothing else about these characters to develop. Conflicted loyalties are clumsily ignored, Dax, Morgan, Ride, Kevin – with all their issues just… end. No resolve, no development, no path – just resolve. Just because. Just end. Along the way we have lots of sides changing and willing to fight for each other without (unsurprisingly) any development or reason behind it.

Forever, Season 1, Episode 21: The Night In Question

Henry is all introspective over a picture of Abigail and reflective of the fact that she left him and now Abe found where she went. He was amazed that she was “so close all these years” but the much more reality – and aging – Abe did point out that since Abigail was in her 70s when she left, she’s almost certainly dead and has been for a very long time.

They decide to go to her old address (and am I the only one who finds it ridiculously cute every time Abe call Henry “dad”?)

At the police station Jo tells Hanson that her trip to Paris – and her whole relationship with          has fallen through. So she’s not taking time off which is a shame because Hanson booked a family holiday to coincide with her days off. And when she goes to the morgue she hears from Lucas that Henry has also taken time off. Lucas babbles about and Jo, in another hint of the relationship tension between her and Henry, wonders if Henry took time off because of her. Lucas, never able to keep a secret, tells her about the research he did for Abe to find Abigail

Henry and Abe do find Abigail’s isolated home but the landlady there says that Abigail disappeared there as well. Memories raised lead to a flashback of Henry, Abigail and baby Abe first arriving in New York.

Less romantically and prettily, in the present Henry recognises a gravesite among the flower beds. He digs and finds a skull. They call the police and the sheriff isn’t entirely helpful but when Jo arrives he’s happy to let them have the old bones. In the grave they find Abigail’s keychain.

Henry is, of course, devastated but equally tries to hide it – he can’t let Jo or Lucas realise who Abigail was to him. Even as Lucas brutally describes how Abigail was probably murdered based on her remains – but he also finds that the victim was no older than 20. This isn’t Abigail’s body. He hurries home to tell Abe much to their mutual relief.

Still, the murder and burial in Abigail’s garden could easily be related to Abigail’s second disappearance.

So one victim ID later (Belinda) and proof she had a medical professional help with injuries (possibly Abigail’s involvement), Jo and Henry are on the case with some nice, sweet not-quite flirting. They confirm at the hospital where Belinda was treated that Abigail was the nurse who helped her.

They interview an old nurse there who remembers Abigail – who just disappeared. She also remembers Abigail treating Belinda the night before she left. Abigail noted Belinda was a victim of domestic violence and took her home with her. She also recognises the name of the man, Teddy Graves, who checked her in

He’s a judge. To his court room to question him just after court. I think he may object to the location. He explains he helped Belinda after she fell at a party (he was a college student at the time). Henry being Henry he accuses the judge of drunk driving and Belinda being injured in a car crash when he hit a motorcycle (a motorcyclist hurt in a hit and run was admitted the same night). Oh and the judge murdered Belinda to keep it quiet

The judge isn’t impressed by wild accusations without evidence.

Of course Reece is also not happy with her ridiculous antics – let alone a 30 year old cold case in a different jurisdiction. So no official investigation. Thankfully Hanson is going to that area and will ask some questions about the motorcyclist the judge ran over.

He learns that the medical file for the motorcyclist has disappeared (and we see Hanson’s kids!)

Lucas has also done some digging (I love Abe “we do not deal in stolen antiques!” followed by “what have you got?” in a whisper). Lucas has brought all the soil from Belinda’s grave to examine. So Henry introduces him to his lab in the basement.

Lucas “whoa you have your own lair.” Oh so perfect.

iZombie, Season 1, Episode 6: Virtual Reality Bites

Major is not dead! And Ravi is helping patching him. It does seem odd that he would go to the morgue and not the hospital but he explains that as a social worker he has terrible medical insurance so it’s far better to get patched up by your pathologist house-mate.

Liv arrives to critique and take over (with snark of course). Liv lectures Major on the many dangers of being a vigilante. More snark as well because they’re all such fun together.

To the crime scene this week! Simon Cutler died on some stairs and it took a while to find him – and he is now very very very smelly. In between trying not to vomit, Clive explains that Simon was a shut in who never left his home or met people. He also assumes because Clive was fat, led a sedentary lifestyle and ate unhealthily that it’s probably a heart attack. Oddly for as friendless shut in, they also find a birthday card. And confetti.

The neighbours are ghastly, including taking selfies with a body bag. Classy.

And at the morgue, Ravi reveals that the guy didn’t die of a heart attack – which means it’s rotten brains on the menu for Liv. Ravi suggests deep frying. She is even more put out when Clive reveals Simon is a troll and hacker and hated on the net and received many death threats so it’s almost certainly murder – brain goo is definitely on the menu.

Looking at a website dedicated to his death they learn he’s generally a terrible person. And has a severe megalomania issue.

So Liv sucks down the guy’s brain and ends up craving doughnuts which leads to a vision of Simon taking epinephrine for a food allergy. Possible cause of death is presented. Except for the lack of food in Simon’s system. But between them Clive and Liv realise that the card – sent waaay before Simon’s birthday – was used to fling peanut powder into Simon’s face.

Liv has another side effect from eating Simon’s brains – agoraphobia. Which also ruins her chance for a date with Lowell. At least Lowell being a zombie means she can be honest about her reason.

Major returns to his work as a social worker for kids and is duly mocked for his saviour complex which is not entirely inaccurate, if not entirely fair, criticism. Still the kid does have lots of videos of the skate park for Major to analyse.

Meanwhile, Blaine’s customer Jackie loses control and murders a delivery driver for the sweet sweet brains. Unwisely she calls Blaine and complains about her brain delivery not arriving then rethinks and backtracks when she remembers she killed and ate the delivery boy. This seems… cross purpose.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Originals, Season Two, Episode Fifteen: When the Levee Breaks

Klaus has organized a breakfast to share with Elijah and Rebekah but Elijah is not interested in niceties and wants to know what Klaus is doing with Michael's ashes.  Rebekah enters, suffering from a massive hang, over saying that it's not everyday your brother kills your father for the second time.  Klaus points out that Michael hunted them for centuries.  Elijah brings up that killing Michael alienated Freya; however, Klaus is not concerned about Freya's feelings. 

The breakfast is interrupted by the arrival of Dahlia, wearing Josephine's body.  Dahlia makes it clear that she wants what Esther promised her 1,000 years ago.  Dahlia points out that the agreement struck with Esther resulted in the Mikaelsons becoming vampires in the first place. Klaus is enraged that Dahlia would dare enter his home.  Dahlia then announces that it is time to add Hope's power to her own, adding that they have until nightfall tomorrow before she comes to collect Hope.  Klaus reacts by beheading Josephine's body.

At the bar, Hayley tells Jackson about Dahlia's threat to come for Hope.  Jackson again suggests leaving New Orleans.  Hayley points out that Dahlia is drawn to Hope's magic, which means no matter how far they go, Dahlia will still be able to trace Hope.  Jackson again suggests running while they can but Hayley believes that this is a risk either way.  Hayley then suggests that since Dahlia can only sense Hope when she is using magic, there might be a way of stopping Hope from using magic. Aidan is quick to volunteer his services, saying that it is his fault they didn't get away to begin with.

Rebekah goes to see Freya, who is in the cemetery putting up a marker for Michael. Freya does not accept Rebekah's condolences, saying that she is the only one who is mourning because she is the only one who loved Michael.  Freya blames Klaus for losing Michael and Rebekah explains that she never knew the man who Freya is mourning because all she can remember is Michael's temper and cruelty.  Rebekah argues that there is no one better to have by your side when fighting someone like Dahlia than Klaus. Freya is not convinced, arguing that she has given her siblings every reason to trust her and still Klaus does not trust her.  Freya issues an ultimatum, telling Rebekah that she and Elijah must choose between Klaus or herself.

Klaus is busy painting at the compound, as Elijah presses to know the whereabouts of Michael's ashes. Klaus is not forthcoming, saying that the moment he reveals his plans, Elijah would run straight to Freya with the details.  Klaus rattles on about all of the people he cannot trust but Elijah suggests that Klaus can trust him. Klaus however does not feel that this is the case because Elijah has changed since their mother entered his head. The two argue about the trustworthiness of Freya. When Elijah suggests that a lack of trust means they cannot work together, Klaus agrees.

Aidan sneaks into Klaus's office and steals the handcuffs used to stop a witch from performing magic. Of course, Aidan is surprised by Klaus.  Aidan claims that he is there to report that Hope is fine and to pick up a toy which Hope is fond of that got left behind in the urgency to change locations. 

Aidan goes to see Josh and Davina about with the handcuffs.  Josh is not pleased with the risk that Aidan took lying to Klaus.  Aidan's plan is to take the magic from the handcuffs and transfer it to something small enough for a baby to wear.  Aidan reveals that Jackson and Hayley are getting to run and Davina replies that if Kol had asked her to run she would have gone with him.  Davina agrees to Aidan's plan but adds that if Klaus finds out what he did he will be in peril.  Aidan however tells Davina to let him worry about that.

Inside the club, vines are growing on the walls and then bursting into dahlias.  Hayley realises that Dahlia knows exactly where they are.  Hayley tries to send a wolf for help but he is killed by Dahlia.  Dahlia makes it to the doorway of the club.

Rebekah rants to Marcel about being forced to choose between Klaus and Freya.  Marcel assures Rebekah that Klaus absolutely has a plan and is at his best when things are at their worst. Rebekah wishes that she could send Klaus off until this blows over and Marcel asks for an alternative because they cannot go against Klaus and have no way to  put Klaus down.

Elijah goes to see Freya and gives her Michael's knife to contribute for a marker.  Elijah explains that Klaus stole it from Michael long ago, adding that unlike Freya, Klaus did not have a happy childhood. Freya however is unmoved and brings up the ultimatum.  Elijah says he does not accept ultimatums.  Freya makes it clear that she will not trust her freedom to an alliance with Klaus and this means that Elijah will fight Dahlia alone and lose.  Elijah makes it clear that with or without Freya, they will defeat Dahlia. Freya asks Elijah to swear that he will not allow Klaus to be their undoing.

Wildifre Gospel (Habitat #3) by Kenya Wright

Lanore is done. Zulu is done. They have lost enough. They have suffered enough. Too many people have died. Now people are going to burn.

Despite the rampaging warpath and Zulu’s insistence on doing things “his way” (which involves a lot of bodies and Lanore is done trying to stop him), politics still intrudes even as the corpses pile high. Dante and his vampires, while very much deserving of being burned, have some very tempting offers to make. If Lanore can resist burning him

Of course, she could find other allies – but there are so many factions, none of which trust each other and Lanore doesn’t know if she can rely on any of them.

Meanwhile MeShack is going through a stunning transformation – and learning more about demons than ever he expected to.

I think the balance of this book with its world building and multiple factions is really excellent. I have always loved the underlying setting of this series because it is so original. The concept of the Habitats with the captured supernaturals inside after losing their war against humanity is unlike anything I’ve seen before. It creates a setting that is not just unique but is always relevant to the story – we can’t forget the basic setting because it defines the entire story

From little things like their home being inherently enclosed and limited – therefore making running and hiding a difficult proposition – to thematic elements like constantly living behind bars and how destructive that is to the inhabitants

It also creates a setting with no humans at all which is definitely an interesting twist as the different species exist with their own powers and cultures and rivalries which are often complex and intersect a lot with some brilliant class analysis and the depiction of the mix-breed supernaturals (often, but not always, less magically powerful and always disenfranchised). Again, the setting is always present in these depictions – like the various supernaturals who hate the vampires because they refused to fight in the war against humans (while the vampires insist it was pointless to fight a war they couldn’t win).

This also underpins a lot of the motivations of the characters which really drives the story. The twisty politics of this story as Lanore and Zulu have become major and renowned players is huge – we have multiple factions all vying for their attention (or servitude) and pretty much all of them are conniving and have their own agenda – all gazillion of them. Lanore doesn’t trust any of them, not one tiny iota. So why does she work with them – well politics is a main element but the underlying pressure is freedom

She hates Botelli vampire family and doesn’t particularly like vampires in general – but they’re working to free them from the Habitat. That’s worth it. Similarly others give her the chance to visit other Habitats – which, in itself, is presented as such a miraculous thing. The impact of this, the whole driving point of the storyline all works because of the foundation of their imprisonment. Even while so much of this story is characterised by Lanore finally snapping over how many of her friends have been lost and endangered and is quite willing to see Zulu pile bodies high – and add her own piles of ash – they still work with these forces because of that desperate wish for freedom. It’s this amazing metaforce behind everything else, behind all the personal stories and the revenge and the love, there’s always that pressure to be free that truly affects every decision

I also love how the different insular Habitats have been handled – like they live in Santeria (since every Habitat is based on a religion) which means the Santeria religion has a lot of influence and inclusion – but at the same time the inhabitants know little about not just the other Habitats, but also the religions they’re named after – like Meshack not having a clue that Christianity is monotheistic. Equally how each Habitat operates is based not just on the supernatural and religion, but also the politics and the laws of the country it’s in – it’s these details that make the world so rich, because each there is so much history and difference there

The Returned, Season 1, Episode 7: Rowan

Opening flashback! This time to a year ago.

It’s a flashback to Rowan’s life (which seems to involve a lot of cleaning) with Chloe and Tommy –but still hallucinating Simon (this is before Simon returned so it’s an actual hallucination this time).

Hallucination Simon is quite vicious in his put downs. Ominously, Rowan tearfully writes letters (looking like she’s ready to emulate Simon’s suicide) but Tommy gets worried and checks up on herm, getting her medical help for the pills she took

In the present day things are still these but more because of the murders Tommy is investigating. (Or not murders since Lucy came back).

Simon hasn’t given up and tells Chloe to tell Rowan he’s coming to pick them both up – because he hasn’t taken the hint of them not showing up the first time

Chloe and Victor meet in the playground while Julie and Nikki are all cute and couply in the distance – Chloe asks Victor if Julie and Nikki are his mothers and reveals her dad is dead and returned; Victor tells her he’s also in the dead club. But definitely not an angel.

Rowan goes the therapy and she’s had something of a breakthrough – she’s furious. She’s furious that she’s spent so much time and money wallowing in Simon when he left her (through suicide). She refuses to do it any more and hands over all of her pills. Which isn’t medically sound.

Which is why she’s scared and angry when she hears that Simon spoke to Chloe – and told her he was coming for them.

In the Winship house, Camille tells Claire that telling her wannabe-boyfriend Ben that she’s a zombie is apparently not a great romantic strategy.

Camille’s friends decide to dig up Camille’s body. There is no body in the coffin – but it is full of water. They’re also caught grave robbing which adds to the stuff Tommy has to worry about. He questions them and doesn’t entirely buy that the body wasn’t in the coffin. When he threatens to charge them, Ben tells Tommy that Camille is back.

So Tommy goes to the Winships and demands they take Camille (or “Alice”) to the station with her ID (uh… based on what?)

Claire and Peter warn Jack before deciding on their next plan – a revelation to the whole group of grieving parents who lost kids in the bus disaster. They trot out Camille and reveal who she really is. Unsurprisingly, Chris, one of the parents wants to know why Camille and not her daughter – even lashing out at how mean she was. Camille flees the room.

Salem, Season 2, Episode 3: From Within

As if disease and filth weren’t enough, now we have something down a well luring people with children’s laughter then dragging them in. This is not helping

Mary’s trying to teach her feral child table manners – and not to kill passing doves and carry their corpses around (at least not to the dinner table!)

She has other problems with Hawthorne speaking up for power again – demanding a magistrate be put in place (especially since accused criminals are being locked up with plagued inmates). Hawthorne naturally puts himself forward and again snipes at Mary’s gender.

Time for an election over supper at Mary’s house – and she realises, as she tells Tituba, that she needs George to make Hawthorne back off. This quickly turns into an argument about Tituba hiding her son from her. They both threaten each other

We’re also introduced to Corwin who has apparently been Mary’s servant for years even though I’m sure we’ve never heard of him before now. Mary’s all touchy because Corwin didn’t speak up against Hawthorne. So now Corwin will be Mary’s candidate for Magistrate – especially since he’s a witch as well, though like Hale before him, he’s leery of how much attention Mary is attracting to them. John spies on their meeting (remember he plans to kill the Magistrate).

Meanwhile the very burned Mercy has her father bring her friend Dollie to her. She’s the only one of her followers who escaped and unharmed and Mercy intends to use her for epic revenge, of course. She goes to minister to Isaac – but whether because of her own inclinations of Mercy’s orders I don’t know.

Mercy is controlling her abusive father by controlling his “shrivelled manhood” so I take it he is one of the men whose penis she stole.

Isaac is convinced he’s going to hell for being a fornicator still, though Mary reassures him, basically scorning the idea that physical pleasure is sinful and pointing out how damn weird it is for a god to give humans body that feel such pleasures and then forbid them. Dr. Wainwright overhears and approves for much fun snark. She warns him that people are starting to mutter things about the doctor (because Salem likes its accusations) in a weird kind of flirty exchange surrounded by the sick and dying.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Last Man on Earth, Season One, Episode Eleven: Moved to Tampa

Phil and Carol announce to the group that they have decided to get divorced.  It's beyond awkward and filled with recriminations.  They do end wishing each well.  When Carol thanks Phil for three weeks of marriage, it sets Gail and Erica whispering. 

The next day, Phil is throwing paint into a wood chipper because there is no one to call him on his childish behaviour.  Gail knocks on the door and asks Phil to have a little fun, given that his marriage with Carol was only three weeks old when it came to an end. In typical Phil, fashion he is ridiculously awkward and Gail has to spell out the details to him. Carol arrives with a container to pick up her things and Gail promises to come back later so they can finish this.

Todd serves Melissa breakfast and it's a pancake in the shape of a heart.  Todd chooses this moment to confess his happiness and love, saying that it's all because of Melissa. When Todd tells Melissa that he loves her, Melissa's response is "thank you".  No one wants to hear that as a response to a declaration of love.

Phil has gone to get some milk and runs into Erica.  Phil is quick to say that single life is in everyone's best interest.  Erica asks Phil to go on a hike with her and Phil is quick to say yes.  They agree to meet at 5, two hours later than his meeting with Gail. 

Later, Phil is driving his truck when he comes across a sad Todd, walking by himself.  Todd tells Phil all about what happened with Melissa, and the declaration of love, Phil points out that Melissa hates him and they are the only two guys around.  Todd however is worried that someone else will show up and kill their monopoly on women but Phil assures Todd that he has even more to loose given his prospects are two women.  Phil declares that no one else will show up before driving off.

Despite all of the confidence he shared with Todd, Phil is just as insecure.  He pulls up at a billboard sign which he painted alive at Tuscon on and decides to paint over it, saying to himself that he has a good thing going and doesn't want to see it ruined.  On the sign, Phil paints moved to Tampa.  Being the fool that he is, Phil doesn't pay attention and the ladder he used to access the billboard falls to the ground leaving him trapped. Phil screams for help but he is too far away for anyone to hear him.

In the meantime, Gail has shown up for her sex date with Phil, only to find his house empty.  Finally, Gail settles in on Phil's bed with a glass of wine.

In the meantime, Phil has taken off his pants in an attempt to use it as shade only for the wind to blow it away. On his head, he is wearing his t-shirt.  How taking off all of his clothing to protect himself from the sun made sense, is absolutely beyond me.

Erica has now shown up at Phil's for her date.  Both women realise that they have both been stood up.  Carol arrives and Erica explains that she had plans to go hiking with Phil.  Carol being Carol, has to slut shame both women.  Gail refuses to be shamed and says that she planned on having sex with Phil.  Carol tells both women that they were going to get her sloppy seconds.

The next morning, Todd serves Melissa a pancake and this time, it is not in the shape of a heart.  Melissa apologises for her response to Todd's declaration of love, explaining that she doesn't take saying that word lightly.  Melissa then cuts the pancake into the shape of a heart and offers Todd a piece of the pancake, which he refuses.

Phil awakes and he still trapped on the billboard and is starting to go red from the sun.

Carol grabs herself come coffee and runs into Gail and Erica.  When Carol learns that Phil didn't show up and missed out on the chance to have sex with two women, Carol jumps to the conclusion that Phil is dead.

The Renegade Hunter (Argeneau #12) by Lynsay Sands

Josephine, who is attending her sister Sam's party decides to step outside to get some air after deciding that the environment feels weird.  It's a walk that will change her life.  Once outside, she is attacked by a rogue vampire only to be saved by Nicholas an ex hunter and rogue himself.  Before Josephine knows it, she on the run for her life and involved in a fifty year old murder mystery.  She cannot believe her hero is actually guilty of what he is accused and no matter what, decides that she is going to get to the bottom of things.  When Jo falls in love with Nicholas it makes everything that much more urgent.  Can she prove Nicholas' innocence before the vampire council sentences to stake and bake?

Josephine was a bit of fresh air after her sister Sam in The Immortal Hunter.  Unlike her sister, Josephine doesn't suffer from self esteem issues and certainly doesn't spend the book wondering how or why it is Nicholas finds her attractive and loves her.  It made her infinitely more likable in my book.  Sands worked hard to give Jo some sassy and intelligence however the later was achieved by making everyone dumb as a stump.  Nicholas spent fifty years believing that he has murdered a pregnant woman and never once stopped to think about the gaps in his memory and what that could mean?  I'm supposed to think that this man is capable when he missed something this important?  Then there is the issue that three of his father's immortal wives died inexplicably and no one that this was something to be concerned about until Jo brought it up?  I know that Sands is a romance writer and focuses on love and the HEA but this just pulled me out of the story.

The Renegade Hunter was also extremely repetitive.  How many times did we have to have Jo explain why it is she felt that Nicholas is innocent.  By the time she got around to explaining it to Lucian I was beyond bored.  Then there is the issue that the book is overly descriptive.  Just a trip to walk the dog, visit the ATM and buy a couple of pops went on forever.  It didn't require all of the explanation and seemed to exist only to drag out the story.

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 19: Sympathy for the De Ville

A young Cruella runs, chased by furious Dalmatians controlled by her mother who won’t let her run away and is willing to use savage dogs to control her. Cruella’s father has died so her mother is now free to run the house her own evil way. Including locking Cruella in an attic room. Apparently hardly ever letting her out or even letting her have a radio even as she grows to adulthood.

In the present Maleficent confronts Cruella – because Cruella told her that her daughter, Lillith (or Lilly) didn’t survive going through the portal which she’s now learned isn’t true. Cruella’s excuse is that she’s a really terrible person and she left her in the woods to die

That is almost gloriously honest in its evil. She and Ursula used the egg shell to stay young with its magic, they abandoned the child. Maleficent is not amused and turns into a dragon to spread some serious wrath – except Cruella has the power to control all animals. She uses her green breath on Maleficent and makes her sleep so she can pursue the author for her own ends.

Over to the Charmings and Emma is still ragingly pissed at her parents (which I would say is appropriate given how unforgiveable their actions were) and they don’t make it any better by constantly justifying why they kidnapped and banished a baby. Mary Margaret even says “if was worth it.”

Burn her. Burn her now. Burn them both. Crackle crackle crackle get the potatoes.

Regina steps in at this point to tell them all about Zelena and Robin and how she wants to ride to the rescue. She’s also confident she can handle Gold which seems like a bold claim. But she’s Regina and therefore awesome. And ruthless – she goes to Belle.

Gold has Isaac, the Author and he has the magic quill – though it also needs magic ink to work. This apparently requires blackening the Saviour’s heart (which will be hard to do since KIDNAPPING CHILDREN AND THROWING THEM IN A PORTAL DOESN’T DO IT!). His drama is interrupted because he hears Belle call him – naturally he wooshes to her side.

She asks for honesty and why he’s there and he takes out his heart – entirely blackened and hard except for one tiny red vein which is almost gone after centuries of black deeds (like kidnapping children and throwing them in portals). When it goes he will lose any ability to love and only the Author can fix it. She cries about how she may have thrown out the chipped teacup – and him – too soon. They kiss…

…and she tells him Will is a better kisser than him (a) yes I’d choose Will and b) poor Will). Belle may seem to be uncharacteristically vicious here, but that’s because Regina has her heart and is delivering the lines. She also threatens to crush Belle’s heart if Gold interferes while she goes to sort out Zelena in New York. Gold believes her and folds.

While they’re distracted, Cruella goes to the Author to ask for what he took from her – she tries threats but he says she can’t hurt him (apparently true) and asking nicely which also fails. Since Gold doesn’t know Cruella and Isaac know each other that gives him something to threaten her with.

Flashback time – Isaac went to Cruella’s mother’s home as a reporter to do a story on the greatest dog trainer in London. He gets kicked out when being too casual about Cruella’s mother’s 3 husbands – touchy subjects. But it does give Cruella chance to speak to him out of her window. He rescues her and they drive off in the awesome car she currently drives (or one very like it). Out in the nifty 20s club Cruella accuses her mother of poisoning her dad – and her other 2 husbands. She also manages to coax Isaac into partying rather than just writing

In the present Cruella lures Henry in with Pongo.

Regina plans to head to New York and Emma steps in – she doesn’t want Regina going off alone to a place where she has no magic. She at least insists Regina takes her gun. And they both get simultaneous ransom messages from Henry: kill the Author.

Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 2: The House of Black and White


Arya arrives in the city, having fled the Westeros, the Hound and Brienne last season. She is heading to the House of Black and White to find Jaqen H’ghar, the face changing killer.

She knocks and the door is opened by a silent man – she tries to recite “Valar Morghulis” to him since that seems to be a catch all phrase to get anything done in Braavos (well it beats “swordfish”). She tries showing off Jaqen’s coin but this just gets the door closed in her face

Hey maybe she should have tried “swordfish.” She sits on the steps until night falls and she does her nightly recital of her death list. She chants it all night (really, I’m sure the list is longer than this). In the morning she leaves, throwing Jaqen’s coin in to the water

Arya takes to killing pigeons when some street kids try to steal her sword. She’s suitably menacing in the face of them – and it’s witnessed by the silent man from the Hours of Black and White. He returns the coin to her which she had thrown in the water – and changes his face to become Jaqen H’ghar (what, you thought we nearly had another POC character?). He reminds her he is “no-one” which is what she must become.

The Kingsroad

Podrik is still being massively optimistic and cheerful while Brienne is trying to glower the world into submission. They’re eating in the same inn as Sansa and Petyr and Sansa keeps asking questions about Petyr’s plotting (and adding “cunningly observant” to her growing list of skills), learning that Petyr has proposed marriage to someone – and been accepted. Podrik is also pretty observant – and tells Brienne that he has seen Sansa. Podrik tries to get Brienne to be subtle and restrained or at least ptient.

She goes and makes her dramatic pledge to Sansa that she swore to protect her. Petyr is there to fling mud, pointing out that other people Brienne has sworn to protect didn’t exactly live long lives (Brienne telling them Renly was killed by a shadow with Stannis’s face doesn’t help her much). Sansa isn’t impressed (suspicion, because she saw Brienne bow to Joffrey or Littlefinger’s disapproval) and tells Brienne to leave. To be fair, Brienne does have a terrible track record. Brienne does so – but not before punching out a knight and freeing several horses, slicing a Vale Knight then riding off with Poderik. She slaughters a couple of more knights saving poor Poderik.

Brienne still decides to follow Sansa despite, as Poderik points out, both Stark girls refusing her pretty much means an end to her vow.

Kings Landing

Cersei shows Jaime a package she’s received – Mycella, her daughter’s necklace wrapped around the fangs of a statue of a snake (is this the time to point out Oberyn’s daughters are called the sand snakes?). She, probably rightly, views this as a threat since Mycella is in Dorne (Tyrion having betrothed her to Trystane Martell, the Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell’s son), the Dornish hated the Lannisters before and it’s unlikely Oberyn’s death has made them more popular. This turns into more of an argument because Jaime is worried about her referring to Mycella as “our” daughter, admitting their incest. But Cersei is; in a full rant both against Jaime for not being a father to their children and his insistence on secrecy and how even with all his caution their kids have not exactly done well (referring to Tommen’s betrothed, Margaery, as a “smirking whore.”).

Jaime, stung by her rant, decides to go to Dorne and rescue their daughter. She scorns him and what he can possibly do as a one handed man. Jaime will need help

Which brings us to Bronn and his rather child-like new betrothed Lollys. Or former betrothed – because Jaime arrives to remind Bronn what a bad idea it is to trust the Lannisters – he’s had the marriage Cersei promised cancelled but, in exchange for coming with Jaime to Dorne, he will get a “better girl and a better castle”

Cersei’s reward for her brother’s head has led to men pretty much killing any Little Person they can find – something that doesn’t overly bother Cersei or her creepy Maester friend, Qyburn.

At the council Cersei is serving as the king’s “advisor” because, as a woman, she could never be the King’s Hand. She hands out titles and positions to forestall objections and appoints Qyburn the new Whisperer since he’s suitably creepy enough. Not all the Lannister uncles are willing to accept Cersei as the voice of the king

Monday, April 20, 2015

Orphan Black Season Three, Episode One: The Weight of This Combination

Helena dreams that she is having the most bizarre baby shower you can imagine.  In attendance is Cosima, Sarah, Alison and Kira.  Cosima is pretty much healed and Alison is in the throes of a Martha Stewart fixation, presenting a ridiculous amount of cupcakes.  It's Felix who mans the grill.  The dream shifts to a scorpion crawling out of Helena's dress and slowly climbing her body.  It's the switch that causes Helena to wake up and find herself in some sort of shipping crate with air holes. When Helena manages to get a glimpse outside of the air holes, she sees some sort of cell.  Helena begins twisting and turning banging on the crate and when she moves to her side, she sees the scorpion.  The scorpion tells Helena to relax because she is being tested again and this time, she is carrying a child.  Helena tells the scorpion that she was taken from her sisters. 

At the Dyad building, surgery is being performed to remove the pencil from Rachel's eye.

Sarah, Kira and Felix are sitting outside together near some sort of river.  Felix sends Kira off to see if she can find some fish. Sarah tells Felix to enjoy this moment, pointing out that Marion is covering from them.  Felix however believes that this is far from over. A car pulls up carrying Delphine.

Later, Delphine shows them a video of one of the Project Castor clones.  Sarah is quick to say that the male clones are not her problem. Delphine however disagrees, pointing out that Rachel has powerful friends and Sarah put a pencil in her eye.   Delphine goes on to say that there are threats to Leda (female clones) from outside and within, adding that Marion sent her to keep her sister safe.   On the tape, a Castor clone is seen making out with yet another Leda clone - Crystal.  The two head to an apartment, as another Castor clone makes his way towards them.  Fortunately, the Leda clone lived and they managed to capture one of the Castor clones. At this point, the Castor clone has not revealed his name and says that he will only talk to Sarah.

Sarah goes to the Castor cell snarking and asking if he has a serial number.  The Castor clone calls Sarah one of the good ones, adding that Crystal had no idea what she was made of.  The Castor clones asks Sarah to move closer so that he can whisper it to her.  The Castor Clone snarks that Sarah is with Dyad now and goes on to bring up Felix, Mrs. S., and Kira.  This causes Sarah to get out of her chair and threaten the Castor's life.  Delphine orders Sarah pulled out and the Castor clone tells Sarah to count on her sisters.

Unsurprisingly, Alison is at a kids soccer game when she gets the call about the Castor clones.  Alison declares that any boy clone who crosses the Hendriks will get their butt kicked. I believe her to, given what she did to Donny.  Sarah asks about Felix and Felix says that he is doing fine hanging out with Cosima. Felix reports that Cosima's temperature is nearly down to normal and that Helena has not shown up and her bag is missing. Sarah asks Felix to meet her at S's.  Sarah starts to leave but Delphine argues that they have other priorities.  Sarah orders Delphine to go and see Cosima but Delphine reminds Sarah that she warned her about a threat from within.  Topside is sending someone to assess the security risk posed by Sarah and her sisters and that the man who is coming is a cleaner.  Delphine adds that the man cannot find out what they did to Rachel.  It seems that Delphine wants Sarah to play Rachel.   Sarah however tells Delphine to handle it and leaves.

Alison is shepherding the kids onto a school bus when she is approached by Marci Coates, who is seeking her support in her run for school trustee. Marci claims that she is inspired by Alison's recovery, calling Alison a community leader.  Marci then suggests that if Alison does some campaigning, she could help provide Alison's monthly potluck.  Alison however makes it clear that since the changes Marci has in mind would mean that her kid's would have to change schools, her plan is to run against Marci.

Donny makes an appearance carrying his personal belongings.  It seems that he told his boss off. Donny reports that he called his boss a bitch but Alison orders him to be quiet because people are watching.  Donny is forced to join Alison on the bus because it seems that he no longer has his company car.

Mrs.S enters her home, walks straight into the kitchen and grabs a knife.  A man who was hiding in the closet jumps out at her and the fight is on.  Of course, it's one of the male clones. Mrs.S does manage to stab the clone in the leg but she loses the fight and finds herself tied to a chair. Mrs.S says that Major Deardon agreed that she would be left out of this but the clone responds that he is not under the major's orders and demands to know where Duncan is now.  Mrs.S then responds that Duncan is dead, and the clone asks about the research before attacking her again.

Delphine checks on Rachel and is informed that it's too early to detect what damage was done to her frontal lobe.  Delphine and Dr. Nealon end talking about the last time Topside took action on Leda  determine that Sarah must not uncover Helsinki.  It seems even Rachel doesn't know what happened.  Delphine asks Dr. Nealon to put Leda about it's individuals and Nealon makes it clear that neither of them can afford to play favourites.

Mrs. S regains consciousness and Sarah and Felix minister to her.  Felix demands to know why there are two boy clones in one day and what they want.  Mrs.S responds that this one wanted Duncan and all of his research.  Mrs. S reveals that she made a war time decision; the only way to get Sarah out of Dyad.  Sarah realises that Mrs. S is the reason Helena was taken. Sarah becomes enraged, screaming that this was not Mrs.S' decision to make. Mrs.S reveals that it was Paul's demand and that she had to choose.  Sarah starts to leave and Mrs.S' calls out for Sarah not to turn her back on her people but Sarah tells Mrs.S that she is not her people and leaves.  Mrs.S asks Felix to go after Sarah to stop her from making it worse but Felix is more concerned with getting Mrs.S to a hospital, adding that there is no doubt that Sarah is going to make it worse. 

All Hallows' Moon (Seasons of the Moon #2) by SM Reine

Rylie, a new werewolf, has to get out of the city. She’s too dangerous to be around people, there are too many things around her that distract her wolf senses. While she may not like the countryside, life on her aunt’s ranch may be the one way she can avoid hurting people

But, with werewolves now very rare, the werewolf hunters are quick to identify what the animal attacks on livestock around Rylie mean. Obsessed werewolf hunter Eleanor heads to town with her two sons, Abel and Seth

Like the first book, I think there’s a lot of realism in the main characters – Rylie and Seth are teenagers in extreme situations. But still teenagers. In many ways they feel very real – which means I don’t always agree with what they do. I don’t always like what they do. I often don’t really like them. But I understand them – I get why they do what they do.

It really sells Rylie as a teenager who is turning into a werewolf, not understanding and desperately hoping that she won’t hurt anyone but not knowing how not to. She flees the city because the idea of changing into a wolf surrounded by so many people terrifies her – as well as her senses being completely overwhelmed. So even though she chose to move to her aunt’s ranch in the middle of nowhere, it was still a choice that was forced on her and she is a city girl at heart. She’s also mourning her recently deceased father and all the traumatic events that happened at camp

Does this make Rylie a happy, sunshine, reasonable person? Nope. But I don’t think anyone could be or would be in those circumstances.

Similarly, Seth is clearly disillusioned with his life as a hunter. He is severely questioning the morality of their path and, even aside from that, simply doesn’t wasn’t to live this way; a life with no affection or love, a life where family means fellow warriors, a life where his mother cares more about the kill than her children and a life which, ultimately, has no future. Rylie is an excellent catalyst to accelerating his own discomfort and challenges with the lifestyle his mother demands. And I like that it is an extra element that spurs him but not the only reason, he’s not turning his back on his family and tradition and duty he believes in because of Rylie – he’d already seen the deep flaws in all of them long before.