Saturday, July 4, 2015

Under the Dome, Season 3, Episode 3: Redux

So last week everyone escaped the Dome Matrix and two apparently imaginary people came out as well.

So all the soggy people emerge – to find that they’re still trapped behind the Dome. This doesn’t do a lot for morale. The rest of the world breathes a sigh of relief that these silly silly people are still locked up.

Barbie explains the wonderful beautiful world they had, a world where Julia and Big Jim were both dead. Oh it was magical. She tells him that Melanie killed Barbie’s dad (and Melanie’s dad).

Big Jim and James have a reunion where James reminds his dad of all his abuse (and mixes in the time he was locked in a bomb shelter to stop him kidnapping) and Big Jim hits him and says how weak and feeble he is. Alas, they’re not both randomly killed by a new Dome shenanigan, because the Dome loves to make me suffer.

Christine and Eva did, apparently, have a history before the Dome. In fact, they found the egg 3 weeks ago (when the Dome went up) and were transported to the Dometrix. They were anthropologists – and working for Acteon to find the egg. They also have some ominous purple rock. Eva’s also dealing with the trauma of thinking she was pregnant and now dealing with Barbie being here and with Julia.

To Hunter, Norrie and Joe with the weird revelation that Hunter now doesn’t need glasses and the budding love triangle. Oh we need a love triangle, really. Joe angsts about his relationship with Norrie since she feels different and moved on in the Dometrix.

Melanie, meanwhile, is in her tunnels and all sad about her dead butterflies. Christine visits to tell her how terribad she has been at her one job – leave everyone cocooned so the egg could “enthuse them with life force” which sounds a lot better than it probably is. It also intended to turn the whole town into a collective by means of drugged goo. They were chosen because they found the egg first – Melanie was first but she clumsily died while the egg tried to copy its whole agenda into her brain so, instead, Christine got it all. Nice, could they download that agenda for the rest of us? It would help convince us the writers aren’t winging it every week.

So plan B, Christine is going to the town meeting to judge the town while Melanie gets ready to murder Julia if necessary (it’s necessary!)

Wayward Pines, Season One, Episode Seven: Betrayal

Pilcher drives Ethan back home and reminds him not to tell anyone what he has seen or heard because the survival of humanity depends on it.  The next morning, a very upset Theresa questions what Ethan learned and Ethan explains that there is no Seattle and how they came to end up in Wayward Pines.  Theresa is convinced that something has happened to Ethan and he is adamant that he wasn't at the hospital. Ethan then tells Theresa that the year is 4028.

Later, Ethan, Ben and Theresa get into the car but Ethan tells his family that they should walk instead of starting the car when he notices something wrong.  Ethan pops the hood as soon as Ben and Theresa leave and examines the wires.  It seems that Ethan was right and the car was indeed messed with.  Someone placed a bomb in the car. 

Inside the police station, Ethan disassembles the bomb then takes out the secret files he has on the Wayward Pines residents. He pulls out the file on Franklin Dobbs, who was apparently an explosives engineer.  Ethan is interrupted by Pam, who questions if Franklin is involved with the subversives.  Ethan promises that when he finds out, she will be the first to know.  Pam says that she is just there to help and will even work with Ethan because she will do anything for Pilcher.  Pam adds that she can be a very good friend, so Ethan asks for access to the surveillance system to see what Franklin has been up to. 

Theresa walks Ben to school and he is not impressed to be escorted by his mother.  Theresa claims to just want to spend some time with her son.  Theresa asks Ben if he misses Seattle and he says that he never really thinks about it and reminds his mother that they are not supposed to think about the past.  On their way, they pass Pilcher.  Ben says he likes it in Wayward Pines and suggests that Theresa would like it as well if she gave it half a chance.  When they arrive at school, they are greeted by Megan and Amy.  Theresa moves to enter the school and is blocked by Megan, who informs her that school is for children and that Theresa's job is to feed her child and keep him safe. When the bell rings, Megan excuses herself.

On her way to work, Theresa stops at the empty plot.  As she walks across the ground, she hears a sound like metal striking.  Theresa then heads to the little shed on the property and grabs a metal pole before heading back to the spot where she heard the metal.  Theresa repeatedly strikes the spot and the metal sound in the ground clangs again.

Ethan is sitting in a restaurant with Frank, claiming that he wants to get to know the shopkeepers on Main st.  When Frank points out that he never had such a meeting with Pope, Ethan is quick to remind Frank that they don't talk about the past in Wayward Pines.  Ethan brings up gophers and claims that they are destroying his lawn, adding that when he looked in Frank's file, he learned that Frank worked in explosive demolition.  Frank is quick to claim that he cannot help Ethan and excuses himself.  Ethan follows Frank outside.

In biology class, Megan explains that that their textbooks will remain in class.  Megan instructs the kids that procreation is beautiful and that this is the kids most important job.  Megan calls Ben and Amy to the front and then explains that the male and female bodies are designed to fit together like hand in glove.  This causes the class to giggle.  Megan tells the kids that Wayward Pines needs a new generation and instructs the kids that they will one day have the chance to parent the first generation of 100% originals.  Megan asks the kids to look around the room and suggests to the kids that chances are, their mate is sitting right there in the room.  Megan informs the class that it's part of her job to make sure the kids find mates, before excusing Ben and Amy.  

Pam is back at the hospital and she follows the sound of a whistle until she gets to Pilcher.  Pam informs Pilcher that in the course of her fertility consults this morning, she learned of two new pregnancies.  Pam is excited about having two new members of the first generation but David is distracted. David however is more concerned that Wayward Pines is on a path to destruction.  Pam tries to calm her brother by saying that Ethan will find the troublemakers and get them through this difficulty, claiming to trust Ethan because David does.

Ethan follows Frank and finds him sitting with Kate's husband Harold.  Frank quickly excuses himself and warns Harold to be careful.  Ethan takes a seat and asks Harold to come with him so they can discuss the bomb in his truck.  Harold is quick to deny knowing what Ethan is talking about but Ethan is determined to take Harold in.  The two men head outside and Harold makes a run for it, only to be quickly caught.  

Back at the station, Ethan tells Harold that Franklin made the bomb and that Harold or someone who works for Harold planted it in his truck. Harold is quick to say that he doesn't know anything about the bomb in Ethan's truck.  Ethan however points out that this doesn't mean that Harold doesn't know about the other bombs.  Ethan says that Harold wants to take down the fence and Harold questions if Ethan wants to go anywhere.  Ethan asks for names and Harold says that he acted alone, thus admitting that he planted the bomb in the truck and was lying about it when he denied it.  Ethan writes a note on a piece of paper and asks Harold to give it to Kate, excusing Harold for now. Harold is shocked and repeats that he confessed but Ethan sends him on his way.

Olympus, Season 1, Episode 13: Truth

The only thing worse than recapping Olympus is realising that it wasn’t on hiatus last week so I now have to endure two episodes. The best thing is this is the season finale so soon I will never have to tolerate this nonsense again.

For some reason Hero is strangling Daedalus, it seems he stole the ring naughty man. The ring can bring the world down, or so he claims. They fight over the apocalypse ring before Hero strangles Daedalus, apparently to death

Why? It’s Olympus – there is no why. Also this hasn’t happened yet because now we have a flashback to the end of last episode and the gates opening and Chronos appearing. Chronos is a liar – he calls them wise. Such lies he tells. Anyway he’s the door man, showing them the bridge to Tartarus they can cross for their heart’s desire

It’s now Oracle’s turn to lead them – and the kiss opened the door because it is “true” because they still love each other. Of course he still loves Ariadne and wants her to lead him to her. Ouch. Lots of bitterness.

And then they’re back to hating each other. I’m emotionally consistent, I hate them all all the time.

Looking into a strange mirror all of them suddenly realise they don’t know how old they are – the test may be to find their own truth. Instead they look at the ring which is very very dramatic when unveiled in the timestop world – making a menacing noise and glowing as the world shakes. Medea is against using the huge death weapon

Hero solves the riddle and they go into a different world – where Medea warns them if they look down the Forbidden world may burn out their eyes. So they walk through a chasm maze blind with their eyes closed, relying on Oracle to guide them with woo-woo. That woo-woo also splits them up

Daedalus ends up in a desert world with his own clone wearing a business suit. No really, a modern business suit who points him towards the truth he’s looking for – which horrifies him – because it’s a plane. An actual airplane. His clone shows him what mankind will go on to create.

Oracle sees giant Gaia who apologises for how much Oracle sacrificed and decides to show her truth “in all its iridescent glory” – except the truth is that all there is is “dust and death” she can only find meaning and truth in the land of the living – don’t expect to find Heaven in the next world, make your own heaven.

Medea her two little kids who declare themselves to be imaginary – the truth which leads them to disappear

Olympus, Season 1, Episode 12: Door to Olympus

Medea finally remembers she’s a witch of some power – and calls to Circe which is naughty bad wrong (judging by the fiery special effects which are still awfully cheap). After much dramatic speeches she offers everything in the service of Circe’s “deliverance” in exchange for being shown the door to Olympus – even if it kills her. She is willing to die so others may live – Circe reminds him that she can’t bring back the dead but Medea is confident Hero will do the rest and willingly gives up her life and soul.

And lo, the last character I cared about may die. The only character

But she lives with Circe inside her – though that gives them a time limit to act before Circe fully takes over. Daedalus disapproves of not using science since then Medea has sacrificed herself but his science led them to Pandora’s tomb so he shouldn’t throw stones. Circe drops in with a terrible croaky throat to say how useless and silly they all are and totally doomed to fail.

Hero tries to convince Oracle he’s not completely evil. He’s not convincing and Oracle is monumentally pissed and decides she wants to know Hero’s real name so calls on Gaia’s woo-woo. He warns her about the whole turning to stone thing but she wants to see the proof of this. She then decides to hit him in the head with a rock

I approve. Daedalus does not and his intervention ends up with Hero pinning Oracle and calling him totally her friend and ally and how his killing people is just a “mistake”. Oracle is not buying it and would love to just try and kill Hero to make it go away, but hero doesn’t think the Lexicon will disappear so easily and he pokes holes in her whole theory of benevolent gods giving the Lexicon generously while also cursing them with it – because it makes no sense.

Daedalus and Hero both think Zeus needs them to solve the Lexicon as it’s the only explanation for why it exists (albeit not why Tempus guards it)

In the end the choice is join them willingly or Hero will just drag Oracle behind him. The move on into a wooden hut that Circe/Medea has warded because the Fates are now pissed at them for reasons. Which comes from fates snipping their threads, sirens singing and Hero being molested by roots. Lots of screaming until Circe pulls out more woo-woo and they end up in a completely white place (easiest possibly CGI!) with a flickering Hermes making a random guest appearance to say that Oracle knows nothing and no-one cares about her sacrifice or service.

Wayward Pines, Season One, Episode Six: Choices

The town of Wayward Pines lies in ruins with small fires scattered about.  A very disturbed Pilcher walks down the street taking in the destruction. 

The helicopter Ethan got into in the last episode lands at the mountain observatory.  Ethan is very much in a state of shock as Pilcher leads him inside, explaining about how they store things.  Pilcher is convinced that soon Wayward Pines will be self sufficient and that is what they are working on now.  Ethan walks by a room where two women sit to take out going calls from  Wayward Pines residents who are trying to connect with the outside world, in the false belief that they are still in 2014.  Pilcher explains that he has over 200 volunteers, adding that these people gave up everything and that nothing would be possible without them.  Pilcher is called away by Christina.

Back in the town, Ben tells with his mother that he has been thinking about the population of the earth and how it has always made him feel small.  Theresa comforts him by saying that this is normal, so Bed adds that today, he wondered if what they do actually means something. When questioned as to what put these thoughts in his head, Ben lies and says science class.

Kate is at her store when Ted enters to deliver a package.  They make eye contact for awhile and then Ted  reminds Kate about a package she wanted picked up that's in the back.  This is code for them to move to the backroom, where there are no microphones or cameras.  They head into the back where Harold already is.  Kate is concerned that they're all in the back because it looks suspicious.  Ted however is concerned because they are missing Peter's package.  Ted has already searched his home but cannot search the realty office because Theresa has already taken Peter's job and Bill is always there.

At the realty office, an angry Henrietta informs Bill that she is quitting now that she has been passed over for Peter's job in favor of Theresa.  Bill asks Henrietta where she is going to go and if she has another job out of state. Instead of answering, Henrietta grabs her things and leaves with a stunned Theresa fast on her heels.  Theresa catches up with Henrietta and makes it clear that she didn't want the job and is still trying to get back home to Seattle.When Theresa brings up that her latest client said he saw things, Henrietta interrupts to warn Theresa about Peter's death.  It seems that Peter was looking where he shouldn't have and believed that plot 33 was a way out.  Theresa asks about what plot 33 is and Henrietta tells Theresa not to be stupid.

Pam is sewing up the wound on Ethan's arm and she is actually being conciliatory.  Pam assures Ethan that there is a reason behind everything that he has seen. Pam acknowledges that while it's commendable that Ethan has been trying to save his family, Wayward Pines is bigger than him or any one person. Through the intercom, Pam is paged and we learn that she's actually David's sister.  Pam leaves to answer her page.  Ethan hears a loud screech and leaves the examination room.  He follows the sound until he finds an Abbie in a cage.  Ethan pulls his gun before he can shoot, Pilcher enters with armed guards, snarking that the Abbie doesn't like Ethan.  Some sort of drug is used in the cell to knock out the Abbie out.  David explains that the Abbie's are a mutation of humans - a result of humanity changing the environment.  David says that he tried to warn the planet but no one would listen.

In a flashback, David and Pam are leaving an empty theater after a lecture.  It seems that the audience didn't take David's presentation seriously, so Pam comforts him saying that they have all the time in the world. David however is not convinced that time is not the answer and that even with the support of the world, it would probably be too late to reverse the changes. Pam tells David that he is not alone and he snarks about how he is going to save the world with a former drug addict.  After this day, David wrote a book and started researching cryonics. 

Theresa is back in the realty office and she picks up Peter's box but is distracted when she finds a book. Theresa starts flipping through it, so Bill intervenes reminding Theresa that he wanted her to look at houses for the new lawyer.  Theresa asks for a few more minutes, so Bill gets up and slams his hand into the book, informing Theresa that she is to do this right now. Theresa then asks about plot 33 - which is a big undeveloped empty lot.  Bill is adamant that he doesn't want Theresa looking at surveyor maps, and to forget plot 33.  Bill closes the book and takes it back to his desk.  Kate enters and asks to have a word with Theresa.

David explains that cryonic testing was highly illegal and Ethan points out that they ( the Secret Service) took notice.  David adds that others took notice as well but not because of the money.  David then leads Ethan deeper into the mountain where he sees a woman being revived by Pam. The woman's name is Sarah Barlow and she is from Missouri. 

Kate is sitting with Theresa at a coffee shop.  Kate suggests that since Wayward Pines is so small that they cannot spend the rest of their lives hiding from each other.  For her part however, Theresa is adamant that she is leaving.

Ted heads to the Realtor's office to deliver a package.  He places an empty box over top of Peter's box and then claims that the package wasn't addressed to Theresa Burke but another Theresa.  Bill seems slightly suspicious but doesn't say anything as Ted leaves.

Still in the coffee shop, Kate watches through the window as Ted returns to her store with the package.  Kate reveals to Theresa that the reason they are having coffee together is because she wants to change things.  Kate admits that she is in Wayward Pines as a result of some bad choices she made but now that she is in Wayward Pines, all she can do is make new choices.  Kate makes it clear that she is done pretending that everything is okay and wants to make things better, adding that now they all need to be friends.

Ethan makes his way through the observation area where a tech is looking at images of Wayward Pines, to the area where the people are in stasis.  Ethan pauses before the container of a young woman and argues that none of the people in stasis chose to be here.  Pilcher admits to abducting people, calling it a burden to save humanity.  Ethan points out that the girl didn't need saving but Pilcher argues that down the line, someone in her family would need saving. 

Flashback time and this time Pilcher is signing books at a symposium.  This is where Pilcher meets Megan for the first time.  Megan introduces herself as a hypnotherapsit and argues that the people who don't believe in David need to be left behind because they have made their choice. It's clear right off the bat that Megan is a true believer. Megan takes Pilcher's hand and asserts that he has to find a way.

On his way out that night, Pilcher finds Pope and suggests that they go for a ride.  Pope agrees only after he learns that Pilcher is his boss. Pope gives a very general accounting of his life but its Pilcher who fills in the blanks.  It turns out that Pope did well as a child in school until his mother passed away.  Pope went to jail for B&E and Heroin possession.  Pilcher says that he tried to clean up his life and even applied for the police academy two years in a row.  Pope then asks for two weeks more but Pilcher informs him that he is not going to be fired because he needs people like Pope - people who feel they haven't been given a fair chance. Pilcher dangles the opportunity for a second chance and brings up a scientist he knows who needs convincing regarding his project.  Later, we watch as Pope knocks the scientist unconscious and is clearly disturbed by what he did. The scientist is the first one to be put in stasis.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Sleeping with the Fishes (Fred the Mermaid #1) by MaryJanice Davidson

Dr. Fredrika Bimms knows that she's a mermaid and that her dad isn't her biological father.  When her parents decide to drop the news, that the man she calls dad isn't biologically related to her, Fred is more bothered by catching her parents in the middle of sex, than she is by their revelation.  Feeling scared for life, Fred wonders how she will get past seeing what no child ever wants to see.  Little does Fred know that she'll quickly get over the trauma when the handsome Prince Artur of the Black Sea appears, demanding her help as his royal subject to discover the source that is polluting the ocean.  Fast on Artur's heels, is the hot marine biologist Thomas, who has also noticed a problem with the water and the fact that Fred's hair is green and not blue. For the first time, Fred finds that she has the attention of two gorgeous men and doesn't know remotely how to handle it.

Sleeping with the Fishes is mindless fluff and never pretends to be anything else.  It can easily be read in one afternoon on the patio with a piƱa colada for company.  That said, even with few expectations, Sleeping with the Fishes is outright puerile and at times irritating.  There's really no plot to speak of.  For the majority of the book, Fred just stomps around angry and confused by the attentions of Thomas and Artur.  We learn about her penchant for striking out physically when irritated or feeling threatened.  At 5'11, Fred is incredibly strong thanks to being a human/mermaid hybrid.  She's stunningly beautiful, though naturally doesn't even acknowledge it.  Other than her grumpy disposition, she has no real characterisation to speak of.  It's impossible to like or dislike Fred because I know hardly anything about her.  

In between Fred's grumping, we get the search for the person who's polluting the water.  This really could have gone somewhere and given Sleeping with the Fishes a real plot; however, Davidson really didn't invest in it at all.  The connection made between Fred and the polluter is tenuous at best and his reasons for polluting are absolutely ridiculous.  If that were not enough, Fred quickly puts two and two together to ascertain the antagonist's identity and the case is wrapped up with everyone headed their own directions.  I didn't expect the great American novel but what the hell?  The ending is so abrupt that it left me asking, "is this all?"

I assume that because the story is so light in terms of plot, Davidson tried to interject humour. Unfortunately, none of the humour is particularly amusing.  Fred is a mermaid, who has an allergy to seafood and gets seasick in a boat.  Yes, it's awkward but it is not enough to make me giggle Where Davidson really failed however is having Fred's Bff Jonas be confused as a gay for the sake of shits and giggles.  People naturally think that Jonas is gay because he likes shopping, can pick a good pair of shoes, takes care of his skin, cares about how he looks etc., and ets., I assume you get the picture.  It's all based on a stereotype of what a gay man is supposedly like. Jonas's sexuality is the brief stumbling block between him and the woman he has had a crush on for six years.

General Gary Stu: Righteously Commanding His Lessers

The aliens are attacking, the zombies are hording, the vampires are flocking and all seems lost - the shattered remnants of humanity fall to despair, who could possibly save them? Fear not humanity - General Gary Stu is here to save the day and lead them to victory!

We have spoken before about Mary Sues (those protagonists who are exceptional among women, living in nearly all male worlds, mistaking characterisation for stabbing things repeatedly and generally giving us friction burns from the amount of eye rolling) who often embody impossibly perfect protagonist - but most of the General Gary Stus we’ve found tend to be male (not that there aren’t notable male examples) especially since they’re very common in dystopians - and the dystopian future is nearly always lead by cis, straight, white men but also because, as we’ve said before, there’s some bullshit that only the most privilege of people get away with.

The General Gary Stu is a leader, usually in a violent, militaristic and desperate setting (these are usually dystopians but not always). In some cases he will reluctantly step into the roles, in others he will boldly step into leadership but either way, leadership will simply and easily settle on him, simply because there will be no other reasonable choice or competition.

This could be because, all too often, the General Gary Stu will be ridiculously perfect. He will be so good, so skilled, so knowledgeable and so damn badass (nearly always so damn badass) as to completely eclipse any normal human or even a decent handful of super heroes. The most extreme example I’ve seen is Deacon Chalk (that name!) who is so over the top badass that even Batman would gasp at his awesomeness. But Owen from Monster Hunter Nation, Lee from The Remaining series and Gordon from The End are all certainly challenging for that post.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good badass. I’ll admit (albeit with some embarrassment) that I kind of love that moment when the hero or heroine’s eyes narrow and you know a thoroughly righteous slaughter is about to follow. Shallow, I know, but I love it and a book where I can rely on the protagonist to lay down some epic beatings will please some dark part of my soul (I always look forward to that moment in The Dresden Files or Elemental Assassin Series and, yes, even in some of the Anita Blake Series).

But General Gary Stu is more than just badass, in classic Stu/Sue style he is ridiculously perfect and lacking in real flaws. Gordon from The End is so utterly perfect that he was faintly nauseating and Owen was virtually supernatural (to the point of being an outright Chosen One) in his skill. More than lack of flaws is a general lack of character beyond being such an excellently awesome person - oh we have some angst thrown in for extra manpain (often involving dead family, especially wives) but other than that they’re lacking in any real humanising elements - they’re just utterly perfect, always-right leaders

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hungry for You (Argeneau #14) by Lynsay Sands

Alexandra Willan is an up and coming chef who simply doesn't have time for romance.  Alex is busy trying to open up a second location for restaurant, worried about being afford the mistakes that keep cropping up while building and dreaming about earning a Michelin Star.  When Sam calls to tell Alex about a man she simply needs to meet, Sam most certainly doesn't have time for her sisters match making now that her head chef has just quit.  When Sam mentions that Cale is a chef, Alex decides that he might just be who she needs to meet.  Cale is a 2,000 year old immortal who has lost interest in most things and therefore has agreed to meet Alex to humour his aunt Marguerite.  When he quickly realises that he cannot read Alex, suddenly he realises that agreeing to pretend to be a chef might not have been such a good idea, particularly given that its been centuries since he's eaten.  

If you're reading this review I am going to assume that you've read this series.  At this point, the Argeneau series has gotten repetitive at best.  What first attracted me to this series was Sands injection of humour into the stories.  Unfortunately, that strain of humour that keeps these books interesting simply wasn't in this novel.  Hungry for You is formulaic and absolutely forgettable.  Cale is absolutely indistinguishable from any other love interest in this genre.  Let the man titteh begin. Another problem with Cale is that I didn't really feel his age.  Sure, he didn't watch television, occasionally messed up modern slang and couldn't use a microwave but none of that gave me a sense that I was reading about a 2,000 year old immortal.  

In terms of Alex, I really like that she's a modern, independent successful woman.  She comments briefly about the sexism in the culinary industry and I really wish that Sands had gotten into this more deeply.  Instead, Sands made Alex's strength come largely from the people that she has lost: grandfather and parents.  Far too often just killing off and isolating the female protagonist is how authors had depth and I think this tactic did Alex a disservice.  Yes, her sister Sam was in the background but Sam's main role really became about pairing off Alex more than working to support her.  

Falling Skies, Season 5, Episode 1: Find Your Warrior

Time for the last season of Falling Skies, get your dice – it’s time for a random story generator (it’s not like this show tries to be coherent with its storytelling. At least the characters having absolutely no characterisation means they can do just about anything

And last season Tom found a new alien! Because all the aliens in the galaxy want to gather on Earth. The aliens greet Tom with talk of peace and his dead wife. A whole hallucination world of Earth being all good and none destroyed. How many times has Tom been in these dream worlds. His hallucination wife is talking about breast cancer as a not very subtle analogy for the Espheni. It’s all about him getting angry and “finding his warrior”. Then flooding him with water because he probably hasn’t bathed in a while.

On Earth Anne has taken over with Tom missing presumed ridiculously stupid (he’s gone on another alien spaceship! He has a habit of that).  She has a speech for the crowd telling them all that Tom and Lexi are dead (yay – oh wait, that’s the bad news). But the Espheni did lose their power core and a whole load of their ships left Earth for reasons unknown. She’s sure this means they’re winning (Pope speaks up in support since he flipped his character coin and he’s a good guy today). There’s a brief nod that Lexi was terribad evil but she’s dead now so we don’t have to care any more.

Weaver has his people shore up their defences though Hal wants to go on the offensive.

Alas, Tom isn’t dead and drags himself to the shore. Lexi is still dead because the half-alien magic child is just too ridiculous to continue when you’ve got a whole new load of ridiculousness to bring on. He kills a skitter with an improvised weapon as proof he has “found his warrior”. He has a moment of being all kind of shocked that he did this despite the fact that killing Skitters has been what they’ve been doing since the first season. He returns to camp where he runs into Pope – and Pope rambles on but tom won’t even speak to him

Instead he goes to shock Anne who is sleeping. After a reunion Anne does a health check on him and asks how he got home. He doesn’t tell her instead randomly objecting to her necklace and telling them about his weird memory hallucination and how it was a good thing and how the memory invaders totally knew him really well. Anne decides he’s just hallucinating and it’s totally not due to alien mind control (it’s not like that hasn’t happened before, right?)

Tom tells the whole crowd how it’s all good even if it is just a little freaky (hey let’s acknowledge that it’s freaky because then we don’t actually have to do anything about it) – oh and Lexi’s dead – and this is why they all need to be super angry because they’re just all not mad enough and he brandishes a skitter head at everyone because showing dead corpse parts is inspirational. Weaver looks Troubled.

Teen Wolf, Season 5, Episode 2: Parasomnia

Natalie Martin, Lydia’s awesome mother who doesn’t get nearly enough attention is counselling one of the strudents, Tracey who is sleep deprived because she suffers from Night Terrors. She recounts one involving a storm, ravens knocking on her windows and creepy figures peaking in

Lady needs to invest in some curtains, especially if she’s got spooky trees all round the house (and she apparently lives somewhere with huge spot lights outside her window). Of course windows that open themselves and not having the good sense to have the tools to close them is another issue. She isn’t sure what is a dream and what isn’t and but I’m going to settle on “skylight doesn’t open” as not a dream, but creepy guy dragging her stool probably wasn’t. This says all you need to know about Teen Wolf

Natalie thinks this is perfectly normal. So Tracy vomits black sludge all over her desk. Serves her right for deciding anything in Beacon Hills is normal. She also vomits up a raven feather

Over to Scott who is being taught vital vet skills by Dr Deaton (who, against all the odds, is not dead) and we’re all supposed to go “aww” because a little girl calls Scott “doctor” and Deaton does the paternal smile thing. Back to the woo-woo and the werewolf who Scott beat last week; they have his claws or, rather, talons which are actually eagle talons. Power absorbing talons (and we get another loop hole in the whole “True-alphas can’t be drained” – they can be drained by betas they’ve made or… maybe… by wolves they’ve accepted into their pack though that should be impossible).

Stiles, meanwhile, takes his suspicion/jealousy over Theo to his dad because ZOMG he’s a werewolf. Sheriff Stilinski’s awesome response “your best friend is a werewolf, you’re dating a werecoyote, I still have no idea what Kira’s supposed to be. When he flying monkeys come flying through this station you will have my undivided attention.” Sheriff Stilinski is over being shocked by the supernatural. And is beyond exasperated by the eternally exasperating son. He still ends up doing a background check (or making poor Parrish do it) which finds nothing

Which Stiles still tries to make a big deal of, of course. Even Malia sees how silly he’s being while also, of course, being very uncomforting. She offers to torture him, she’s perfectly willing. At least Stiles’s suspicion is partly based on how Theo has apparently changed since 4th grade.

First day at school, Scott and Kira are happy and Lydia and Kira are a little surprised that Scott is in their AP biology class (he has clearly been doing lots of work I also kind of love the whole conversation Lydia and Kira have with their eyes alone). Theo is also in the class – and they have a big test coming.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexico City, 1988, 15 year old Merche is an awkward outcast at school along with her best friends. Her passion, what keeps her going, is music; her all consuming obsession

And it is through these vinyl records that she discovers something greater – magic. And what can three outcast teens do with such powers? Fix their broken lives… or make others pay?

And in 2009 Merche comes home to confront so many of the shadows of her past and what happened when she was a teenager.

This review was exceedingly hard to write, I’ve restarted 3 or 4 times and I’m just going to have to plunge in and hope my thoughts land in something resembling order.

This is a book I have a lot of respect and admiration for. It portrays what it does with excellent depth, nuance and development. The characters are really excellent – fully fleshed out people with so much detail into their motives, their dreams, their lives. Everything they do is understandable and natural and real – they’re not just characters, they’re people.

Merche is our protagonist and she isn’t an easy character to like because she is so human. She’s not always likeable, she’s certainly not always fair. She’s aggressive and short tempered and she lashes out really excessively to any perceived attack. She manipulates people and quite often she treats her friends appallingly. She is very bad at seeing anything from any point of view but her own. But none of this is unnatural or not understandable – she’s an angry teenager who is not exactly leading her dream life and very sure of her own rightness. Yet we have an angry teenager, with all the jealousies, insecurities and desperate wishes of said angry teenager backed by the power of magic – and how terribly that can be abused

The same applies to all the characters, to a lesser degree because Merche’s confidence and leadership is what drives her so others are more likely to follow in her wake. But we can see all of the point of view characters (Merche, Sebastian, her father) doing things that we know are self-destructive, we know will not end well but at the same time I can see why they’d do them. We can see them do selfish, unwise and even outright terrible things but we know why they’re doing it – not because they’re bad or foolish or badly written, but because they are so very human. Everyone is humanised, even side characters we’re not supposed to like much (or people that Merche takes an intense dislike to) because they are people with motives and flaws.

Then there’s the romance – we have two excellently contrasting romances: the classic, overwhelming emotional infatuation of Sebastian and Merche for the respective, terrible love interests and the much more mature and deeper love that both of them learn later. I like this a lot because the classic teen romances they have are so common and tropey in the genre while, at the same time, such an obvious trainwreck

This is all topped off by the way the book is split – between adult Merche learning a little more about her father and reconnecting with Sebastian – and how much more she matures. This makes it ultimately a story about maturity, about growing and learning and accepting your mistakes from the past even while you are still affected by them

So I have a lot to praise about this book… but… I can’t say I enjoyed it, but a lot of that is for very personal taste reasons (yes, of course any review relies on that). For example, music is a major part of Merche’s life, it defines her experience, it’s the one constant in her every experience. It’s meaningful in a way that goes beyond a mere hobby or interest. While it’s an amazing element of her character, it’s also a barrier for me simply because most of her references I don’t get and most of the rest I care little about. It’s like being stuck on the bus next to someone who really wants to tell you about X when you really really don’t care – it tells you so much about the character, it’s amazing development – but that doesn’t mean I’m actually interested in hearing it

And I feel really shallow for saying it – but I prefer more woo-woo in my speculative fiction. There is magic here but it’s entirely incidental to the real story which is the intense character development, the very real lives these characters. This isn’t a story about magic – it’s about characters growing up, it’s about real love vs crushes and infatuations. It’s about intense emotion, anger and hatred, it’s about terrible decisions we make because we’re foolish and angry and have big dreams. It’s about growing up and learning and destroyed relationships…. It’s not about magic, it’s about so much more than that. It is so character driven that the world, setting and even genre is somewhat irrelevant. Which kind of leaves me a little outside as a genre fan.

Every character in this book is Latino or Latina, they’re all Mexican and the book is set in Mexico with a lot of excellent cultural references everywhere. This is set in Mexico City and it’s more than just a name – it’s not just “this generic city is Mexico City”, but we have culture, media and food references that permeate the whole book without it feeling clumsy or forced, it’s woven into the book as a natural part of it. It also touches on some issues relating to race and ethnicity – especially with beauty standards with those considered most attractive being fairer skinned and having pale eyes compared to the dark and swarthy Merche and Sebastian

There is a lot of hatred of other women from Merche – she uses and exploits Daniela and hates her mother and the popular pretty girl at school. But then, the whole point of the book is that Merche is not an infallible actor. She’s not fair, she’s not kind and she’s often not very nice – the insights we see of someone of the people we hate are clear that Merche isn’t actually all that fair or justified in her hate. She also has an excellent relationship with her grandmother who is indulgent, sensible and protective. There is also a depiction of sexual assault in the book – but the way it is covered is a reasoned part of the story and is treated with the gravity and caution it deserves

Daniela, one of Merche’s best friends, is disabled with Lupus. It doesn’t define her character, it isn’t close to the main point of this character but at the same time it does affect her, it affects what she can do and how people treat her (and how she wishes they weren’t). Even if she’s not looked at as often as Sebastian and Merche it’s still woven into her character

There is a lot of homophobia in this book – Sebastian is constantly attacked with homophobic slurs over and over – it’s gratuitous and unnecessary (there are more insults out there) and stands out in a book that has no LGBT characters (Sebastian is only ever presented as interested in women). The slurs and attacks are not challenged to say homophobia is wrong – it more has a sense that this is wrong because Sebastian is not gay. Homophobia isn’t wrong, homophobia is wrong when inflicted on a straight person

Did I enjoy this book? No. I didn’t because it’s not my thing, because it’s presence in our genre is incidental and I generally prefer action/plot driven books to character driven ones. But I am impressed by this book, immensely so. I am in awe of what it achieved, I can’t help by praise the writing, the depictions and the sheer realness of the characters. It was a deep, powerful book that deserves a high fang rating even if it wasn’t fun or what I was looking for.

Salem, Season 2, Episode 13: The Witching Hour

Evil possessed child is now fully evilly possessed because Mary didn’t read the fine print and both she and John decided wailing and despairing as a better plan than actually doing something. EvilJohn is sleeping peacefully, Marburg is all happy, everyone else looks a bit grim. Mary herself is very bitter and angry about her son dying – and this monster is not her son. Marburg talks about how worthless and empty Mary’s son was – and that doesn’t exactly make Sebastian happy though he does promise Mary will feel better

Mary leaves, but first she throws a barb at Anne who is all wounded that she’s now as bad as the rest of them. They’re all sure that motherhood will bring Mary on side.

Anne goes home and hears Cotton making noises in her evil witch blood room. Awkward. Cotton wants to know what she’s done with the boy – she tries to play “hey ignorance is bliss.” That does work so she has to tell him that she actually decided to give up a child’s life and damn them all because of a vague threat against him. Cotton, who is already inclined towards being dramatic and moping, sets his angst to 11. Anne explains her heritage and how witchiness runs in the family but she totally loves him while damning the world.

She tries to argue that she wants to use her power for good – I would point out that she’s just sacrificed a small boy to the devil so this argument is kind of laughable. Cotton goes for pointing out the power is actually from the devil so doing good with it is not really on the cards.

She just wants a chance to show what she can do (in between the love spells and, oh yes, the sacrificing a small child. In fact, has she ever actually used her power to do good?). Anne, actually reasonably, raises using magic in self-defence which he rejects. Cotton decides he has to go to the Magistrate – so she magically restrains him and imprisons him.

Sebastian tries to get Mary to come play nice with EvilJohn trying to invoke her unconditional maternal love for the meat puppet that as once her mother. EvilJohn is all happy and child-like – but Mary is not fooled, calling EvilJohn not her son but her son’s tomb. When Mary leaves EvilJohn says he wants true love as befits being a god – Marburg offers saying how she has never loved anyone else (yes Sebastian is in the room) but Eviljohn is not interested, like everyone else he wants Mary

It’s Mercy’s turn to play supplicant in front of EvilJohn – and for people who wanted freedom this involves a lot of kneeling and averting their eyes. He decides to chew off Mercy’s finger because she took him from Mary his sainted mother.

Marburg takes Mercy aside with Mercy complaining that she didn’t get all she dreamed of (to be Marburg’s daughter, to marry Sebastian) though Marburg points out that Mercy’s wishful thinking promised her all that, not Marburg – and, hey, Anne is her daughter and also more special than Mercy. Mercy is furious when Marburg calls her a servant and tries to hit her, declaring she’s not a slave. That does not go well – she burns Mercy and kicks her out with many threats to follow.

Teen Wolf, Season 5, Episode 1: Creatures of the Night

Eichen House asylum – who’s even in here any more? A lady apparently with a bruise on her hip who is showering watched by a very unsympathetic nurse. The woman turns out to be Lydia, and catatonic.

She’s led through the grimmest of grim tunnels  and drugged to the eyeballs, encouraged by evil nurse who is joined by super super creepy nurse who likes needles. Thankfully she unleashes a banshee scream and comes to herself, kicking the arses of the orderlies with a whole new lot of fighting skills and some awesome new banshee powers. But before she can leave she is overwhelmed when she pauses because surprise Aiden arrives to say her treatment isn’t finished. Not bad when you consider he’s actually dead

Before she falls unconscious she says all her friends are going to die.

Scott and Stiles are talking college, in particular Stiles’s desperate hope that they can all go to college in the same place and stick together. Scott is fretting that everything has gone fairly well for 6 months which means pretty soon someone’s going to try to kill them. They also have Liam tied up in case he loses control (again) on full moon but he seems to have it fairly together and isn’t trying to run through the streets naked. Except he’s clenching his fists so hard that he’s actually bloodying his hands.

At the police station, Parrish (our apparently immortal police officer who has no idea what he is) and Sheriff Stilinski (who, after 5 seasons, still does not have a first name but is still awesome and long suffering) are dealing with power outages due to a storm. Parrish is also kind of annoyed because, for some reason, Sheriff Stilinski has benched him. So he gets a case… a noise complaint.

During a thunder storm. Really? Who can even make enough noise to be registered during a thunderstorm

Parrish checks it out but it involves the creepiest of creepy houses (and this is in a town with Eichmen House, a building where the architect sat down and tried to make the damn place as creepy as possible) which is all creepy and dark and abandoned. Having never watched a horror movie in his life, he goes into the basement and DOESN’T run when he hears creepy noises of someone bricked up behind the walls. No he decides to rescue them.

Parrish! This is Beacon Hills! If someone is walled up you leave them there. If they are making noises you BUILD A THICKER WALL.

He hits the wall a couple of time and the wall bleeds. Whyyyy is he not running?! Whyyyyy? The wall explodes outwards and he is grabbed by a bloody, fanged monster that promptly stabs him with big claws. Well that’ll teach you Parrish, next time you’ll just burn down the creepy house (it’s a good thing he has immortality). Parrish’s eyes gleam gold while said toughness kicks in – and so do the eyes of the creature holding him. The bloodied guy is surprised – he says that Parrish isn’t a werewolf, not an ordinary creature – but then nor is he given his blue glowing claws. He wants to find Scott – and Parrish naturally denies all knowledge and gets mauled.

This may be why eerily close lightning strikes and spooky electrical shenanigans affect the jeep with Scott, Stiles and Liam in it. It doesn’t stop them so they pick up Malia (who, with her dad, is moving whole trees out of the road with her super duper strength). Stiles kissing Malie means her dad has to threaten him with firearms. Can we not? They also discuss Malia going to summer school to try and drag her grades up.

Melissa has to work extra shifts at the hospital because, she remains, the only medical professional in that place. I love Melissa as she yells out several failed instructions to an absent Scott (there’s a big senior party thing at the highschool) – but electro-wolf is there and hears Melissa talk about the senior party thing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Inner Demons by Gloria Oliver

Tamara is living her normal, happy, successful life – when she suddenly wakes up, in strange clothes in a strange place and with 3 months of her life missing

Her home is no longer her own, she learns she has done terrible, alien things in the time she didn’t remember – and she has no idea what happened or why her life has been destroyed until Jensen offers her a possible answer:

Demonic possession – and there are more demons out there and something big is coming.

Demonic possession is not uncommon in the genre – but we rarely see it from the lens of Inner Demons. When we see the demonically possessed they are usually victims to be rescued. Or background furniture in some horror as their body is used to do terrible/disgusting things. Or, maybe, they’re just a vehicle for the demon with little actual character of their own.

Inner Demon is told from the point of view of Tamara, someone who was possessed. We see the horror and sheer violation of her losing her life. We see the terrible things the demon made her done - terrible because they go against the very essence of who she is and her image of self. The demon destroyed her life and we see this really starkly. Just how she recoiled from little things like her house being redecorated and furniture changed – that simple violation destroyed her home for her. It was almost more powerful than the more gross and obvious violations that so destroyed her self image, her relationships and generally left her life a ruin – because it was more subtle and it was so close to home and worked in the context of that violation.

Tamara really conveys that horror and that loss – from the terror she has from simply not understanding what happened to her, to the grief and then, finally, through to the rage that consumes her. It’s true that the angry Black woman is a trope, but in this book it works excellently since it is woven into part of her experiences. It would be unnatural for her not to be angry, not to be utterly furious in the wake of what has happened to her and what she has lost.  Her rage is not just a reaction to what happened but a part of her very real depiction of PTSD because she is traumatised, she is wounded.

So she’s angry and she often fights for control – but it works with her because it is made as a part of her character rather than a clumsy trope addition

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: Season 1, Episode 7: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Sir Walter enters parliament which is in complete uproar – he reports magical chaos across the country. All the mirrors of England are broken – the doors to the other realms are open and magic is flooding in; it’s all Jonathan’s doing and they think he is mad. They think he is coming to England and intends harm. Sir Walter regrets ever bringing magic back, it is disreputable and Jonathan has brought not treason, but revolution. And Mr. Norrell has left for Yorkshire. Sir Walter resigns in disgrace

Jonathan and his magical prison disappear from Venice. Prompting Flora to unveil the mirror he gave her – an unbroken mirror.

Drawlight returns to England to report to Lascelles to pass on the messages Jonathan told him to. Lascelles intercepts the messages, declaring it to be superstitious nonsense and destroying them. How he can call them superstition after what he’s seen is bizarre. When Drawlight tries to deliver them anyway, Lascelles kills him refusing to allow anything damage Norrell’s career.

He meets Norrell and vastly edits the message – instead claiming Jonathan is coming to England to fight Norrell for vengeance’s sake. Lascelles is sure this would be a great idea with Norrell finally putting Jonathan down but Norrell is quite horrified by the concept. And Childermas wants to speak to Drawlight and Lascelles scrabbles for excuses why that cannot be. They run to his library with Lacelles still all gung ho for a lethal duel.

Childermass also looks at his tarot and learns that Lascelles stole the message and token (Lady Pole’s fingers) intended for him – and Lascelles attacks him with a knife while Childermass picks his pockey and tells Norrell the truth his cards have said. Childermass intends to take the finger to Lady Pole with Norrell’s permission. Norrell refuses and Childermass leaves anyway, saying “you have made the wrong decision, as usual”. Lascelles continues to insult Childermass and he gets a stern warning back –he’s in the north, the land of the Raven King – the buildings are made by him, he is in their minds and hearts and speech and is coming back.

Norrell is quite worried buy all this. Lascelles storms after him and gets lost on Norrell’s library labyrinth. Just as the building is consumed by the black whirlwind, leaving Norrell to scream helplessly for Childermass in the dark. Norrell runs back to his library – where Jonathan has arrived (cutting through all of Norrell’s wards and labyrinth).  He looks rather horrifying in his alien magic and being consumed by the fairy curse. Norrell rants at him for his disreputable magic causing all this. Jonathan responds by thoroughly terrifying Norrell with his impressive disreputable magic. Norrell tries to respond with his own power… it is kind of pathetic. Jonathan laughs at him and Norrell chides him for being cruel. Jonathan apologises.

I quite love how polite they can be even when at odds. Trying to kill him fine, but laughing? C’mon man that’s not on.

Penny Dreadful, Season 2, Episode 9: And Hell Itself My Only Foe

The mauled American hunting Ethan seems to have found him and Vanessa in their getaway on the moors. In between threatening them at gun point he also takes off his mask to show his terribly scarred face. She orders Vanessa to chain Ethan then threatens to rape Vanessa. Because, y’know in TV land it’s absolutely impossible for us to know a sinister bad guy is a sinister bad guy if he isn’t a rapist.

Ethan and Vanessa attack him, though Ethan is chained up. They get beaten up a bit and Ethan stabbed before Vanessa kills the man with repeated stabbing. Lots of repeated stabbing. Stabby stabby stabby

They bury him while morbidly accepting that they’re both murderers together – and Vanessa confronts Ethan about what he actually is. A carriage arrives before he can answer – Victor has come to collect them since Sir Malcolm got himself all kidnapped.

Malcolm is in the witches castle being tormented by the zombie ghosts of his family who all taunt him quite revoltingly.

Evelyn isn’t super happy about all this (having truly seemed to care for Malcolm) and Hecate continues to challenge her and mock her, claiming again that Evelyn is far too old (which, she does point out, it entirely because of the youth obsession that Evelyn has taught her). We also learn that Hecate knows absolutely nothing about palaeontology.

Victor, Ethan and Vanessa return to the house to find Inspector Rusk waiting for them. Ethan walks with him, carefully not letting him speak to Victor and Vanessa while continuing to refuse to answer Rusk’s questions. He rather poetically talks about something overworldly happening. Ya think? And he’s going to be stalked by the police constantly because Rusk has infinite resources. He also causes Ethan “Mr. Talbot” which strikes a nerve – his real name; Rusk is getting Ethan’s war dossier.

Ethan returns to the house looking stressed and Sembene offers to help him with that night’s full moon before the whole gang gathers for Lyle’s confession about working with Evelyn. He is now turning against Evelyn. Victor is quite judgy, but Vanessa is more forgiving, recognising their need for allies and how no-one there is a saint – she also wants to ride to Malcolm’s rescue. On the night of the full moon. She adamantly refuses to listen to Ethan’s objections or Lyle’s warnings – calling it a battle of faith: hers vs the witches

Sembene is the one who seems to settle it – they go in, during the day (per Lyle’s warning) and all of them, to save Malcolm (a subtle reminder, I think, that Vanessa isn’t the only one who cares for Malcolm) and kill Evelyn. Something he dubs an “unholy slaughter”.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs

Mercy and the werewolf pack are doing their full moon roaming as animals when they come across a body. Of a child – and it’s just one of several

Bodies have been hidden for decades – and the killing has now started again. The mysterious fae have stopped working with humanity and are no longer leashing their worst monsters.

This is a graphic novel that functions, in many ways, like an excellent short story connected to the main series – which is exactly what I hoped it would be.

In many ways, I feel graphic novels and short stories are not exactly non-canon, but should be optional extras to a main plot line. I can’t, in all honesty, justify why I feel that essential canon-story development should not appear in short stories or graphic novels, but I do tend to see them as extras, little bits of non-compulsory fluffy

From that standpoint, this works ideally.

In the recent books in the Mercy Thompson series one of the major turning points of the meta-plot was the retreat of the fae back into their reservations after the injustice of the human justice system convinced them there was no point trying to assimilate or work with humanity any further. Of course, this doesn’t really closely affect Mercy and Adam that much, though they were deeply involved in the events that led to the fae withdrawing

We have had previous books which made it clear the fae had a lot of monsters among them as well – and this is another excellent example of that. When we look at the greater lore of fairy tales, we have a lot of terrifying monsters that hunted down “naughty” children (problem because they were originally created as various ways to keep children from disobeying authority figures). They are terrifying and creepy and horrifying – and, in some ways, the fae’s nukes

Now the fae have stopped playing nice with the humans, that also means no longer keeping their more unpalatable members hidden and restrained. No longer playing by human laws monsters like Hopcross Jilly are free to roam again. It both shows how monstrous the fae can be but also how much the fae were trying to play nice by humanity – I like the development of that, how it’s not just a matter of the fae spitefully unleashing their monsters, but also of them simply not working so hard to appeal to humanity.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Killjoys, Season 1, Episode 2: The Sugar Point Run

Another case, this time retrieving some stolen goods with John doing some piloting and Dutch moving in and laying hands (and laying out unconscious). At least the thief also had nice toys to mollify John with after nearly getting the ship severely damaged. During this time D’avin has been asleep and having PTSD nightmares

Dutch would also like him gone since he’s been there a week longer than he said and John is being all nicey nicely about kicking his brother out. Dutch doesn’t play nicey nicey and is nicely to the point.

D’avin appeals to John – he has no money, ship or papers, how can he leave. John offers to help and D’avin gets exasperated… what? D’avin refuses John’s help to find a job, he hates the idea of being stuck in a mining job (yeah, probably so do most of the miners, suck it up precious, you’ve got bills).

D’avin storms off in a tantrum (Dutch seems to think John could have handled this better but I think he was really quite nice about it) and Dutch runs to stop him because he has no papers to be legally be on the planet. He has a petulant pout until the authorities arrive and order him back on the ship.

And Dutch has a new warrant – a compulsory one. Apparently a woman called R’yo has kidnapped the mayor’s daughter Vena in order to have her brother, Simon released who was in prison for stealing company gear (or trying to). Dutch’s job is a hostage exchange. Agreeing to this makes the Company a big friend – but of course the Company can’t be seen to be releasing a prisoner so they’re using a Killjoy.

Dutch does point out the Company doesn’t get to force Warrants on her – but he threatens to charge her for letting D’avin off the ship.

So they load up Simon and Dutch is clear he gets chained up all the way to Sugarpoint (She doesn’t know him, doesn’t trust him – just like D’avin). D’avin presumes to give John grief for Dutch being in charge (D’avin can’t seem to grasp the concept of a senior partner). After being such an arse, D’avin finally agrees to his suggestion.

Back in her cabin Dutch sees the red box again and has a memory – she gets a box, inside is a weapon and a name and a week time limit.

Sugarpoint – a walled city with no-one in or out that was badly bombed and is generally a hellhole because people their tried to rebel against the company who reacted Excessively. R’yo is one of the gang lords of this so-nice place. While talking about this someone shoots at them – D’avin and Dutch argue about what to do – while John, the actual pilot, handles it (notably, though, Dutch was happy to put her faith in John’s skills while D’avin was handing out orders).

Defiance, Season 3, Episode 4: Dead Air

Despite losing all the weapons last episode, Amanda still have a big speech to give to the town from the radio station in the arch now the Gulanite is flowing again. But Stahma and Datak seem to have planted the bomb to blow up the arch per Rahm’s instructions

She meets Nolan who may have a clue for new weapons – just as the arch explodes, killing the DJ. In the aftermath, Rahm walks into the crowd, speechifying – but when Nolan tries to punch him it turns out to be just a hologram. While Nolan looks for the projector, he tells them how helpless and unarmed they are. He tells the Votans in town to surrender or die.

Back to Nolan’s cache of weapons from the Pale Wars – he and Amanda are going looking while Berlin and Irisa stay behind to find out who planted the bomb (since when does Nolan give orders to Berlin, Lawkeeper and all?) in part because Irisa is clearly having issues but also to make them work together.

At Rahm’s camp one of his minions report how Datak and Stahma have been successful – but also tells him that there are Omec in town. Rahm isn’t thrilled by this news especially since T’evgin is somewhat renowned. Killing him becomes a priority since a powered up Omec warship can, apparently, threaten the entire Votanis Collective. He sends orders to Datak and Stahma to kill T’evgin

Which Stahma disagrees with because it’s too much too soon, they’ll be caught. And while Datak is sure they can trust Rahm’s oath, Stahma doesn’t believe Rahm will let Alak live, especially not after he married Christie. Datak thinks they still have to obey to buy time if nothing else and, after their betrayals, Stahma admits they have to agree to stop from being exposed by Rahm. She prepares her poison to use on T’evgin while they have sex. Datak is not a fan of this, Stahma is nicely snarky about it

Stahma goes to see T’evgin to begin her seduction. Or continue it. They talk about loss, she shows off her knowledge before they have sex and Stahma stabs him with her poisoned needle. It doesn’t seem to kill him. In fact he even manages to make breakfast for them afterwards where he politely points out that Castithans actually have no idea of Omec biology – or what will kill them especially after a few centuries as Omec get tougher the older they are. Stahma tells her about Alak being held hostage and he asks her what she will do. She looks pensive and doesn’t answer – but she does have sex with him again, remarking no man has ever made a meal for her

Amanda and Nolan go to the stash and find it guarded by biomen who take them inside after disarming them. The cache is amazingly huge – and one of the biomen thinks Amanda resembles an actress.