Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dominion, Season 2, Episode 7: Lay Thee Before Kings

Michael and Gabriel are now both imprisoned by Julian (which pretty much means their whole trip to New Delphi has been wasted) and are subjected to Julian’s lecture about how humanity has mastered the art of hatred. And the torture of a longwinded villainous recap.

At least Gabriel and Michael do snark the villainous monologue.

Anyway he plans to torture Michael and Gabriel with electricity – apparently electricity is a weakness for angels. To not be killed they have to take it in turns being electrocuted. I’m sure I’ve seen a game show that followed roughly the same premise.

They take turns holding the sparky pole while they consider Lire/Julian’s plans to steal their bodies. They also talk about their immense daddy issues and Gabriel’s belief that this is all Alex’s fault who is, depending on the Archangel, either terribad awful or the chosen one. In case we didn’t get it, Michael outright compares Alex to another special child that Gabriel apparently once looked over

Which means we now get holy land flashbacks when Gabriel was apparently a man looking after a child – the child isn’t (to my surprise) Jesus, but David. He’s dragged to war and fights Goliath. I don’t need to tell you how this story ends (though this one has Michael providing David with a specially selected presumably angelically approved rock – one that goes right through the man’s head like a sniper’s bullet

This causes the other army to flee... Ok the whole going right through and man’s head is creepy, but slings were often by classical armies – them killing someone shouldn’t be shocking.

David was then killed by King Saul and replaced by an imposter that the king could control. In doing so we see the beginnings of Gabriel’s hatred of humanity. Later Gabriel decides to kill his son’s imposter once he’s grown up – him and all his kids and grandkids. Because justice, I guess?

In the present Gabriel now decides he wants Alex to be able to protect his own chosen child as he couldn’t protect his own (hey it would have been nice if you’d remembered this BEFORE destroying the entire world) and sacrifices himself to have Michael (again, would have been nice before causing the apocalypse)

Despite sacrificing himself, Gabriel doesn’t die, he’s just left all weak and helpless for Julian to torment some more.

Julian tries to get David Riesen to give up the location of the Amphora which is still missing. David also tells Julian all about Clementine, his wife/8-Ball who possessed his wife. So, of course, Julian brings the angel who possessed Clementine. Or an angel claiming to be anyway.

Under the Dome, Season 3, Episode 10: Legacy

Barbie is back on the side of the… “good” guys I guess. All by the power of Julia’s very predictable love and he’s so happy she never gave up on him and didn’t let all the death threats put her off. YAY ROMANCE.

Meanwhile, at the funeral home, due to a lot of very bad decisions (are there any other kind on this show?) the Kinship is laying siege to the Resistance.

They are rescued by Hector Martin – head of Acteon, and a large squad of heavily armed men.

This clearly requires relationship discussions. Sure guys, work on your issues, mind controlling aliens are totally not the priority now. Barbie is concerned that Eva is still pregnant with his daughter and he can’t abandon her; Julia kindly lets him know that his daughter is an evil queen-to-be. While talking about this they find the burned out funeral home, empty except for bodies.

Barbie decides to go undercover as a drone to find out if Jim & co have been captured – Julia is concerned about him seeing Eva but Barbie is not ready to fall into a romantic trap when he was used and manipulated by Christine into fathering a child. Happy reconciliation thoughts are not high on his mind.

Jim & co end up in one of Jim’s safehouses with Acteon. Jim is, of course, an arsehole and tries to Assert his Authority with the large number of well armed guys. Hector is not amused- and also wants to know where his doctor is who Jim said was alive (that would be the guy Jim killed). Hector is quick to assert his much more believable authority. Nothing gives you authority like an army

Meanwhile one of the Acteon soldiers is teaching Norrie how to use a gun. Thankfully, he manages to short cut my rant about firing a gun in a safe house by showing Norrie how to use it but stopping short of pulling the trigger. We get the obligatory “killing someone is terribad” which every show needs to include at some point. Meanwhile Hunter catches up with Lily and he questions why she sent him the super hidden info, though she claims she didn’t know it was there. She keeps dodging but the intelligence drain of the Dome hasn’t worked on Hunter yet and he wants to know who was chasing her; she apparently wants to tell him but can’t in an ominous whisper.

Jim tries to pass of the doctor as dead in the old safe site and it seems work: Hector believes that the doctor and the samples he had are gone. Which is apparently a bad thing – as we get a flashback of Hector and one of his minions putting a broken egg back together again. The newly pieced together egg reactivates, produces lots of energy – then unleashes mind control mojo which got his minion, Patrick, to touch the egg and Bad Things Happened to him. Hector sent the dead doctor here to try and find a cure. Thankfully he finished his exposition before realising that Jim is probably lying because he’s Jim and he’s behind the doctor’s death. Jim quickly deals for his life and Hector, again, makes it clear who is in charge

Friday, August 21, 2015

Homophobia in Lynsay Sands's Argeneau Series

One does not pick up the Argeneau series in search of literary art but to serve as a slight distraction to pass the time.  For the most part, Sands is able to accomplish this with witty humour despite the formulaic nature of the Argeneau series. At the end of the day, the couple will get together after facing some small hurdle or convoluted misunderstanding and then sail off for their happily ever after. To expect more than that from The Argeneau series would be ridiculous. That being said I should be able to expect a series which is free of homophobia, particularly given that in twenty books, Sands has yet to include a gay character. In fact, it took until Immortal Ever After (book 18 of the series) for Sands to make it canon that gay immortals do exist and have found lifemates. Unfortunately, we have yet to meet a gay immortal and this series continues to be erased.

In the Argeneau series, being gay isn’t part of one’s identity; it’s simply a device employed to bring a straight couple together (yes, I know this makes no sense) or as a pejorative or as comic relief. Even the closet, which is a painful result of our heterosexist culture, is invoked for the purposes of shits and giggles.

But invoking gay people for comedy is but one aspect of the homophobia in this series - there’s also a terrible amount of appropriation. In Under A Vampire Moon, Sands reaches a pretty epic level of offensiveness when she has Christian pretend to be gay in order to woo Caroline; who is middle aged and is not comfortable entering into a relationship with Christian because she fears that she is too old for him. Being a descendant of Atlantians, Christian doesn’t age and is immortal. After members of the Argeneau family read Caroline’s mind and discovering that she spent years playing the role of beard to her friend, Christian pretends to be gay to put her at ease. Christian explains his need for a beard by claiming that his family will disown him and reject him if they discover he is gay. Yep, there’s not much that Sands won’t appropriate. Without including any gay characters at all, Sands is willing to play on major, painful and even traumatic issues like the closet and devastating family rejection just to maintain a convoluted joke. LGBT issues are invoked as a plot device, as a joke, without even the slightest shred of respect or regard for the community she uses so blatantly as a tool. This is only exacerbated by pushing the idea of deception and the closet (doubly so in this case, with this lying straight man pretending to be gay).

The very first reference in this series to homosexuality comes in Single White Vampire.  Lucern the vampire in question sends down to the front desk of the hotel for some condoms.  When the condoms arrives he is naked and is forced to send Chris to answer the door.  When the bellman sees the naked Lucern he assumes that Lucern and Chris are about to have sex. This so upsets Chris that Lucern has to wipe the memory of being thought of as gay - yes being thought of as gay is so extremely traumatic it requires a mind wipe. From the very beginning as far as LGBT inclusion, Sands was off to a terrible start. This isn’t even the only incident in Single White Vampire where characters express disgust at the thought of being read as gay.

In Under A Vampire Moon it’s Zanipolo who is read as gay. In response Zanipolo cuts his long hair and then goes to great lengths to assert his masculinity and heterosexuality.  He even questions whether or not his walk is effeminate. It’s bad enough that an apparently adult man freaks out so epically because a complete stranger thinks he may be gay or bisexual - but an ancient, centuries-old supernatural being has this level of freak out over being read as gay? That’s a whole extra level of ludicrous and a story which is really invested in forcing that homophobic “comedy.”

It’s not just straight men who are traumatised at the very idea of being thought of as gay. In A Bite to Remember, Jackie is actually hit on by another woman in a bathroom. Most reasonable people are pleased to learn that someone finds them attractive regardless of the sex - or at most they politely demure -  but that is not the case when it comes to Jackie.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sense8, Season One, Episode One: Limbic Resonance

Angel is covered in sweat and clearly in pain, as she lies on a filthy mattress in an alley in Chicago.  She searches desperately for drugs but has clearly run out. Jonas appears as a specter and embraces Angel, telling her that it's all over and it has to be now. Jonas encourages Angel to end it to give the others a fighting chance.  Angel then gets flashes of 8 different people across the globe. One at a time, each of the eight individuals becomes aware of Angel before she returns to her reality and collapses on the filthy mattress.

Angel is then joined by Mr. Whispers, who is also a specter.  Mr. Whispers hold up the empty drug wrappers, saying that this is how Angel has been hiding from him.  Mr. Whispers then questions whether Angel is giving birth.  Angel and Jonas profess their love for each other, as Mr. Whispers continues to taunt Angel. Angel picks up a gun with shaking hands but Mr. Whispers is not impressed, saying that Angel has made this false threat before.  Mr. Whispers in corporeal form enters the alleyway, just in time to see Angel to kill herself.

A boy chases after a girl who frequently turns and says, "help me."

Will Gorski lies in bed and dreams of Angel sitting on the filthy mattress and blowing her brains out.  This naturally wakes Will up and he grabs his gun from his bedside table quickly. Later, Will is trying to freshen up but the loud music keeps aggravating his headache.We get a flash to Wolfgang dancing topless in a club.  Finally, Will knocks on his neighbour's door and when the music continues, and he gets no answer, Will announces that he is a cop. When Will still gets no response, he forces the door open only to find an empty apartment.

Riley is at a club and she is the one playing the music that Will is hearing.  With her set is finished, Riley heads outside to hang with some of her friends and receive accolades. Riley is invited to go out and she turns them down initially because of a headache. Riley gets a flashback to Angel killing herself.

Lito is acting in a scene in a telenovela and he flubs his line, causing the frustrated director to call cut. The director suggests that Lito get his head straight because yesterday, he was seeing visions.

In Seoul, Sun gets a message that her brother has not arrived at the office and that a client of theirs has just arrived. Sun decides to take the meeting on her brother's behalf; however, the client is not interested in meeting with Sun, saying that "women don't close things, they open them." Sun discretely makes a fist but before she can react, her brother arrives. Sun gets a vision of herself in the alley with Angel.  When Sun refocuses on Seoul, she is ordered by her brother to bring coffees.

Back in London, Riley is listening to a story about an incident where two young girls knew that their mother needed help though they weren't with her.  They talk about a chemical that causes people to see their birth, their death, world's beyond this one and tell the truth because it creates a connection - it's limbic resonance.

In India, Kala gets ready to leave for work and asks her father Sanyam, for an umbrella because she hears rain.  Sanyam asks why Kala needs an umbrella because it's not raining out and the sun is in fact shining.  Sanyam suggests that Kala skip work, pointing out that it's getting close to the wedding.  Kala however will not hear of it and reminds her father that she was sent to university to get an education and a career, not a man. Sanyam suggests that the rain Kala heard were the sounds of her father's tears, thinking of giving his baby daughter away.

People are gathered for an Orthodox funeral and it is lightly raining.  Afterwards, Wolfgang walks in the streets following the casket with Felix by his side and Steiner taunting him about how smart he is and his next big heist.  It's an odd conversation to have in a procession to a graveyard.

In Nigeria, Capheus helps his sick mother take a drink before leaving for work.  He walks through the poor village he lives in until he gets to his bus, which has Jean Claude Van Dam painted on the side.

In San Fransisco, Nomi and Amanita are making love.  As soon as Nomi orgasms, Amanita toss aside the rainbow decorated strap on still slick from their activities.  They kiss and wish each other happy Pride.

Back in Mexico City, Lito talks to himself in the mirror trying to get into character for the role he must play.  Lito alternates between saying lines and humping the walls.  His practice is interrupted by his fellow actor dressed as a nun.  They do a bit of small talk until she notices Lito's erection and offers to help him with it.  Lito is quick to move away, claiming that his heart belongs to another.  The actress excuses herself and leaves.

In Berlin, the funeral has now reached the grave site.  Wolfgang offers his condolences to his aunt and uncle. Wolfgang is then encouraged to pay his respects to his father and does so by pissing on his father's grave. Netflix has a thing it seems for having characters piss on the their father's grave. Frank did it in  House of Cards and now Wolfgang

Back in Nigeria, Capheus sits frustrated on his bus because he has only managed to get enough customers to barely pay for the trip into town.  Capheus wonders if Van Damm's time is over but his friend Jela however encourages him not to give up because Jean Claude is watching over them. A man enters the bus and offers to pay for the trip with a chicken, claiming that the chicken is worth more than the fare.

In Seoul, a chicken squawks and lands on Sun's desk causing her to scream. Sun's receptionist then notifies her that the bank is interested in speaking with her and so she instructs her receptionist to say that she is in a meeting.

Riley finally leaves the club and is stopped by her friends because Nyx has invited the lot of them up to his place. Riley tries to beg off but is told that this is important.  Riley again says that her head is killing her and that she might be available tomorrow.

Riley disappears again and this time it's to a Pride gathering and she sees Nomi talking to Amanita.  Nomi and Amanita reminisce about their first Pride, getting high on brownies and making out. Two men in full costume, approach and hand Nomi and Amanita hash brownies. Nomi reveals that what she remembers most about that day is being introduced to Amanita's friends, who immediately attacked San because she believes that the LGBT should community should  drop the trans community. It's capped off by Nomi being called a "tranny".  Nomi explains that she felt the distinctions were separating the community, only to be told that she's "just another colonizing male trying to take up any space left to women." Amanita however steps up quickly, calling Nomi her girlfriend and threatening Sam with violence.  Nomi pulls Amanita away in tears and explains to Amanita that no one has ever defended her before.  Nomi declares that this is the moment she knew she would always love Amanita.

Darkest Misery (Miss Misery #4) by Tracey Martin

Jessica has successfully forced the various factions of the city to come together to talk about the Fury threat.

Unfortunately talking doesn’t mean they’re going to do anything productive.

Inevitably she finds herself with few people she can trust as she’s pushed to find out exactly what the Fury’s plan and how she and her follows are involved – she needs these answers even if it means going to the Gryphon home base in France to get them

I want to love this book. I tried really really really hard to love this book. I loved the previous books in this series, I love the world, I love the characters, I give it a definite nod for its diversity even if it’s not among the main cast, I love the concept, the plot and, so far, I’ve really loved the writing

But this book? I can’t love and that depresses me when I find myself having to write a negative review about a book I was really hoping would be awesome. Alas, I have to. I do hope that this is just a transition book on the way to a whole new direction to the series – which does happen in several series. So I’m clinging to this because I love this series and don’t want this to be more than a temporary hiccough in my love

So why didn’t I love this book? Mainly because a whole lot doesn’t really happen

At the end of the last book Jess has managed to bury a lot of her grudges and prejudices to forge an alliance between the disparate forces of the city: The Mages, The Gryphons and The Preds. They were going to come together with Jess as the go-between, to ensure the Furies’ plan to unleash carnage on the world doesn’t come pass. So they come together and… bicker.

And bicker. They meet and bicker. Then they…. Uh… bicker. And a mage dies but Jess isn’t part of the investigation and all they do about it is bicker a bit more. The bickering is occasionally broken by Jess having temper tantrums which is somewhat understandable given her frustration but part of her whole choice in the last book was to be the diplomat. She fails spectacularly at it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Clockwise Man (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures #1) by Justin Richards

I am going to be upfront and just admit that I am a massive fan of Doctor Who.  Anything even remotely related to Doctor Who immediately catches my attention.  It's still a little while to go until the next series and finding myself going through a serious case of withdrawal, I have decided to give the books based on the series a shot.

The Clockwise Man is the first book in the New Who series.  New Who began when the series was brought back to life after a sixteen year hiatus. Christopher Eccleston played the role of the 9th doctor and had the immense responsibility of introducing the Doctor to an entire new generation of fans.  Naturally, the rebirth of the series spawned a new series of books, allowing the fans to have even more adventures with the Doctor and his companions.

The Clockwise Man takes the Doctor and Rose backwards in time to 1924 London and takes place between the episodes "The Long Game" and "Father's Day" of series one. The Doctor and Rose decide to see The British Empire Exhibition and naturally even a sight seeing trip with The Doctor leads to a mystery which must be solved.  It's not long before not only the Tardis (the doctor's time machine disguised as a police box), his leather jacket and precious sonic screwdriver go missing. It seems that the painted lady has determined that The Doctor is the vicious butcher that she has been looking for.

The Clockwise Man felt quite a bit like steampunk because of the mechanicals in the story.  It did however contain little references to the series for the sake of continuity. For instance, Rose changes completely into to period clothing while the Doctor runs around in his leather jacket with no one batting an eye. There's even a mention of "Bad Wolf," which fans of the series will immediately recognize as a warning to the Doctor that trouble is coming.

Even with all of the little references, The Doctor really felt off to me.  First off, no true Doctor would ever struggle to find a word.  Not only is he fluent in English, he often thinks so quickly that few can keep up with him.  I found myself wondering repeatedly where the Doctor's arrogance, sarcasm and confidence went? Then, there is the issue that in many ways, The Clockwise Man turns the Doctor into an action hero.  Yes, I said action hero.  Instead of outsmarting the bad guy, the Doctor actually gets into a physical altercation and allows someone else to try and save the world using their mind and abilities to shut down some tech. An action doctor is not unheard of (see the 6th doctor and the 3rd doctor); however, that certainly wasn't a part of the 9th doctor's personality.  He didn't even say, "Fantastic" which fans of the series will recognize as the 9th Doctor's catchphrase.  Who is this man?  The answer is, not the Doctor or at the very least, not a proper representation of The Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston.

Teen Wolf, Season 5, Episode 9: Sins of Omission

Opening Scott angst an extra recapping – with worry about his asthma returning, the chimera and everyone feeling bleak and worried. All with his own worry about the fact he can’t fix it. Everyone is worried and pre-occupied (looking at Malia and Stiles and Parrish – all keeping secrets). Scott feels especially concerned about the fact they haven’t told the Sherriff about Parrish’s body snatching – and they haven’t told Parrish either.

Lydia and Stiles are out looking for the Nemeton and the bodies around it – but they don’t know where it is. The Sheriff is desperately looking for other possible chimera out there using medical screening – but Hayden and Corey seem to be ok. Both Kira and Deaton are still absent.

Scott is recapping all this to Theo – and how utterly inadequate he feels.

Theo goes to see his Dread Doctor allies/masters/whatever and they are injecting themselves in their withered, heavily scarred flesh which plumps them up to new life. Theo wants them to let Hayden alive – apparently they promised him a pack. The Dread Doctors are pretty indifferent to his wishes and demands and are suitably menacing about their refusal.

Liam and Hayden are a rather nauseatingly sweet couple now. But she’s bleeding mercury. Bad sign.

Scott continues to worry at school and even Liam is hiding stuff from him ahead of the full moon – Liam is edgy and not all that willing to take Scott’s help. More angst for Scott.

Stiles and Lydia are looking for the Nemeton and failing – Lydia keeps wanting Stiles to talk to Parrish but he refuses because, unknown to her, he killed Donovan and is still having issues with that. Lydia overrules – they’re telling Parrish.

Theo reminds Stiles what they will find if Lydia does find the Nemeton but also thinks that maybe Scott will be more ok with the idea of killing for self-defence. Stiles is really not dealing well with this.

Sherriff Stilinski has a new plan to find the Dread Doctors – by looking for their failures with UV light which will show up the mercury they bleed. How he’s going to tell his officers they’re looking for people with UV light I don’t know.

He goes looking through the library with a UV light and finds that there was mercury spilled there – and he remembers Clarke telling him about Donovan and Stiles in the library. Which is when Theo decides to tell something big about Stiles to Scott before sirens interrupt them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Undead and Unappreciated (Undead #3) by MaryJanice Davidson

Betsy has not taken well to learning that not only is she a vampire but the queen of the vampires. Sure, her mother and her best friend adjusted to the change amazingly but even with that support, Betsy cannot seem to stay out of trouble.  When Betsy learns that she has a half sister, she is drawn to investigate. Just like everything else in Betsy's life, nothing runs smoothly.  In between dealing with a strike at her vampire club Scratch, and dealing with a hurt Eric, Betsy now has to keep a close eye on her sister because she is the child of the devil and destined to the rule the world.

I know from the introduction, it seemed that a lot happened in this book but that is certainly not the case.  Only in the most generous description can Undead and Unappreciated be called a filler and I say that because the entire series is absolute mindless fluff.  It begins with Betsy going to AA and pretending to be an alcoholic in order to deal with her need to drink blood. Look, I know that for a lot of people vampirism is a metaphor for addiction but to be clear, it's a horrible analogy. So, Davidson has Betsy do this horrible thing and it goes absolutely nowhere.  It's nothing but a launching pad for Mark to tell Betsy that he is a recovering addict and for her to temporarily beat herself up for not knowing such an essential detail about a man she calls a friend before going back to obsessing about shoes and Eric's control issues.

Betsy goes all evil vampire Queen when she finally gets around to reading the Vampire bible.  It only took her two books to get around it and naturally she decides to barricade herself in a room with it, ignoring the advice to read it sparingly because it causes mental illness. Also, can I get a side eye on the whole woo woo causing mental illness? In Betsy's supposedly mentally ill state, she attacks Jessica, calls Marc a leech, has sex with Eric and tries to kill Tina. When Betsy gets back to herself she has a mess to clean up.  Though Jessica isolates herself for a few days, she is quick to forgive Betsy and Tina and Marc follow suit.  Betsy is briefly able to go outside during the day but beyond that, nothing much happens.

Then there's Betsy's kid sister Laura.  Betsy's father lets slip that Ant has been pregnant before and gave the child up for adoption.  When Besty learns that Laura's mother is actually the devil and that Laura is destined to rule the world, Betsy is in with both feet temporarily and I say temporarily because Betsy gets over the whole hell spawn thing pretty quickly and starts to angst over her fear that Eric is into her kid sister.  Betsy has amazing priorities doesn't she?  Even when she meets the devil, she considers selling her soul for a pair of shoes.  The Devil/Laura storyline goes absolutely nowhere.  When I said that nothing happens in this book, I absolutely mean it.

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 6: Identity

We have an ominous vampire walking the street… in daylight.

Ephraim catches up with his contact in DC who is apparently an old friend who seems quite blasé about the whole hidden identity thing. We quickly learn that outside of New York news is being very carefully controlled and they don’t realise how terribad it is.

Ephraim tells him the plan to unleash his anti-vampire bioweapon and what he needs his friend Rob to help spread it around. Rob points out it’s not that easy to get the DoD to unleash a bio-weapon over New York City. Funny how that works. Instead they’re going to go with Rob’s contacts

News reports that the president is being impeached for responding so poorly to the disaster and congress and senate have pretty much devolved into childish brawling. So it’s business as usual. Rob’s contact, Leigh arrives and Ephraim shows her his method of taking down the vampires which looks hella awesome. It also reveals just how bad the vampire menace has become with over 3,000,000 infected.

We get some long winded war stories before Leigh finally sets up a meeting. And we get some flirting, kissing and going home to have sex between Leigh and Ephraim. Because we really need this right now. Really. Anyway the next morning Ephraim is outraged to realise the people Leigh is meeting will only actually deploy the cure if they get a whole lot of exclusive proprietary rights because Business.  

Ephraim gets his meeting with a big boss man, General Dean Rushing, who wants Stoneheart to help. That would be Palmer’s company and a very bad idea. They manage to get him on side. Leigh also gets her side of the deal all set up and it’s all looking good.

They return to Rob’s house to find Rob dead – and an assassin waiting. He kills Leigh but not Ephraim (damn it) who shoots him. The assassin has Stoneheart’s corporate logo on his phone

Let me repeat that – the assassin has his employer’s logo on his phone. The assassin is carrying a brand name. The assassin is carrying proof of employment. The. Assassin. Is. Carrying. Identification. Of. His. Employer.


Back in the city, Fitzwilliam joins the merry band (and Zach, who needs to be eaten). Nora also has the unenviable task of reassuring Zach while his dad is away. Fitzwilliam tells them about the properties Palmer has been buying while Vasiliy is all suspicious and untrusting. Fitzwilliam also spills on Palmer’s motivation – wanting immortality since he has always been plagued by ill health (I kind of thought everyone already knew this).

Falling Skies, Season 5, Episode 8: Stalag 14th Virginia

Execution time – actually no it’s another stupid “let’s start the episode half way through then flash back” nonsense, so let’s ignore that and flip back 7 hours.

Weaver tries to appeal to Marshall which obviously goes nowhere – she’s convinced they will be happy dappy allies forever more. I don’t think that’s going to happen. She also wants him to point fingers at any other collaborators.

That night she goes driving by herself off into the woods and Weaver follows her. In the woods she speaks to someone she calls “sir.” Who is willing to bet it’s an Overlord? Whatever she’s talking to we don’t get to see for convoluted attempts to develop tension and drama.

The rest of the Second Mass who have come to fort Virginia aren’t especially happy with the sainted Masons being locked up. Marshall ends up locking them all up. Even her own Lieutenant Wolf finds her blatantly ridiculous position to be, well, blatantly ridiculous. Of course she won’t listen to him – but Weaver is there to scoop him up.

And take him to where Marshall was meeting with an Overlord. I am shocked. Truly I am shocked by this revelation. This is my shocked face. Behold the shock.
The soldiers continue torturing Ben and Tom decides to debate the prison guard who snaps because it’s so terribad hard for him to torture and kill people – and his own best friend was killed in one of Marshall’s purges. Since he’s a torturer I’m not even slightly sympathetic with him following orders, or comparing people to rabid animals. Hal and Ben talk Maggie and Isabella which apparently gives Tom hope listening in to his teenagers talking about women. Personally I think the conversation is vaguely skeevy and Tom listening in rather more so. Tom then using it as a way to talk family with evil torturer guy just finishes it off.

He manages to make a lot of progress with Evil Torturer guy revealing more people in the 14th are less than comfortable with Marshall’s paranoid obsession with spies and traitors. Of course none of them could speak up without the inspiration of the Blessed Mason.

Anne is still doctoring people while under guard but her patients are rapidly losing patience (yes I did that. I have to find something to amuse myself watching this) with the over the top stormtrooper routine (honestly, like a doctor has to pull a sharp object to kill you). Anne also learns her husband is due to be executed and doesn’t take it well. But her patient is willing to listen to her as she tells him how amazing St Tom is – though it all goes wrong when she describes her half-Espheni daughter.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Infinite (Ignite #3) by Eric Crouch

Pen and Azael can no longer avoid their final confrontation – which they cannot both walk away from. Driven to reclaim Michael’s soul, Pen cannot avoid Azael and Azael is driven to bring his sister back to his side – or destroy her and everything else in the process

But while they are focused on their epic show down, Lilith changes the whole nature of the game: there’s a new ruler of Hell and sibling rivalry is not part of master plan.

I loved one excellent element of this book – Lilith. Oh yes, I loved Lilith. I loved how her mythology was so centrally part of her story. I loved that she was the character who would not submit, who plotted so very excellently and whose defiance should, as she pointed out, have definitely being predicted. She is Lilith, the woman who would not submit, who would not be secondary to any man. The death of her children was just the last straw – just the idea that she was a gentle, submissive servant means anyone who falls for it thoroughly deserves the stabbing they get.

Her backstory, her depiction, her craftiness and, even to a degree, how she seems to slowly degrade down the same path when she gains power herself. It’s really well done, contains a lot of challenges against misogyny and is fascinating to read.

The introduction of Lilith as an independent force added a new layer to this series that, while sorely underdeveloped (more on that later), really widened the story. This is in addition to the ongoing examination of why Heaven failed and how it lost its way – expanding on what was already established in Engage.

On top of that we have some really nicely written action scenes and lots of hacking and slashing. We had Kala and Ana – a previously excellently established same-sex couple, one of which is a Black, disabled angel – with a lot of excellent depiction of her furiously objecting and fighting back against any idea that she is weaker or less capable because of her disability. We also had some nice debate about Ana’s pacifism – and how it can really only work for her and her campaign because she is surrounded by people who are willing to fight on her behalf.

Killjoys, Season 1, Episode 9: Enemy Khlyen

D’avin is in a fight for reasons against a hulk who seems to feel little pain. Alvin is also involved trying to hide some weapons he’s smuggling. Alvin tries to talk to him about it but D’avin counters that he’s not from Westerly and his years of fighting other people’s wars are over.

So much to unpack there and it’s just a few lines… that’s the kind of thing Killjoys does well.

He heads to Pree’s bar who is having a big day but also having to kick out his own rowdies – which is what he puts up with the Killjoy crew for, specifically D’avin since, being off Lucy, he has to live somewhere. Of course without a ship he can’t actually chase any decent warrants as a Killjoy either.

But Dutch has come to visit. It is very very very awkward. So very awkward. Lots of awkwardness. Really really awkward.

Dutch and John are much much much less awkward and kind of awesome. He’s also contacted Carline from  few episodes ago who has finished fixing Dutch’s broken neural link so they can track down Khlyen and kill him dead. Which means strapping Dutch into a machine to do some brain riding

This ends up with her in Khlyen’s vision seeing various locations which she describes before they have to pull her out before permanent damage sets in. But she knows where he is – a hidden part of the RAC where he is clearly a very respected member. Dutch is horrified by the idea that she thought she escape Khlyen and ended up working with him after all.

Alvin decides to give D’avin a book about his faith to pass on to John because “he seems into sacrifice.” D’avin rightly calls this very very creepy. He mainly wants to know that D’avin isn’t going to tell the Company about the weapons he saw – to which D’avin is clear: if there’s not a warrant, it’s not his business.

Dutch and John go to Pree’s bar to plan their raid on the RAC, with D’avin sort of trying to involve himself and being pushed away firmly by John – but Dutch wants his help. Awkward. They tell him about Khlyen on the officers only floor of the RAC – where they bring the RAC to places which “need order” (which sounds waaaay more ominous to me than it does to any of them). The revelation has shaken Dutch’s priorities a little – now as much as she wants Khlyen dead, she also wants answers.

D’avin decides to strike a deal with Alvin.

We join Dutch for some memories, of Khlyen being kind recruiting her as a child and some hints about her family history – her name being dishonoured and her father relying on her to redeem it. It’s all a nice, sweet memory. They’re visions/memories from the neural link. Prompted by this she shares with John some of the better memories she had with Khlyen. John nicely skewers it, pointing out how she’s grown and developed since they first met (her in a blood stained wedding dress apparently) and Khlyen isn’t the one who made her who she is – she made herself. Regardless of what she wants to do – John is definitely on her side and supporting her.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Defiance, Season 3, Episode 11: A Demon in my View

The prison transport carrying Nolan and Irisa has crashed/exploded/had badness happen. Berlin comes across the wreckage, strewn with bodies. She finds one survivor: Irisa.

Nolan is missing but alive (as Irisa knows because of the alien tech in her head) though he has been taken by someone. Why is Berlin around? Well she was heading back to Defiance when the VC attack was over and now wanted to help Amanda in the aftermath of Nolan shooting people. She’s also not impressed with the “not in his right mind” excuse since Irisa used the same reasoning for killing Tommy. Irisa tells her about the attack but it’s a pretty sparse description

Looking at the bodies, Irisa realises some of them have been killed by an Omec (or the same “animal” attacks that they had in Defiance.

T’evgin himself has been captured by Kindzi who is now draining his blood to stop him escaping because he’s so super powerful. She also maintains that whole sexual/family sexual thing that makes them so very very creepy.

Kindzi is also the one behind Nolan’s kidnapping – she’s brought him to her lair and is having Yewl check him over. Despite being controlled Yewl is still snarky. Kindzi has taken Nolan as abet because he’s oh so special. I’m with Yewl “why him”. When Kindzi talks about his beauty, Yewl points out she’s a lesbian. She also makes a very unsnarky but still quite brutal summation of how sickening Kindzi is (though unfortunately linking it to mental illness, because otherwise that would be an epic take down). Kindzi gets rid of her and decides to remove the arc tech from Nolan’s head herself.

Which Irisa also feels on the road. She feels pain and then Nolan disappear.

When Nolan wakes up Kindzi is there to lie about why he rescued Nolan – claiming that Irisa is in on the plan and is currently giving them a cover story in Defiance. And now it’s sexy time.

Afterwards she praises him for brutal random murders but he says he was actually being possessed at the time and hallucinating. The Omec know all about it – they have a “warrior echo” that keeps telling them to kill people even when common sense says no. Nolan plays nice and tries to act like everything is normal but Kindzi clearly sees through his plan to escape and tases him.

When he’s all chained up she explains how he no longer gets to be her special valued pet and now gets to be snack food. This is interrupted by Irisa and Berlin arriving looking for Nolan. Kindzi tells them that Nolan and T’evgin are on the run because T’evgin loves the “lesser races” and hates the Votanis Collective so liked Nolan killing the Castithan vice-chancellor. As cover stories go, it has a few holes in it, it has to be said. She invites them to search. And find nothing

Dominion, Season 2, Episode 6: Reap of the Whirlwind

In the aftermath of David’s bombing there’s a lot of burning and screaming and despairing all done with lots of drama. Claire despairs

Zoe is pissed that David picked his own target but David points out he split the city in two and gave her the half with the food production. She’s outraged about the amount of destruction and death he caused. When she pulls a gun on him he again tempts her with his advice and expertise. He promises to make her a true leader and Jasper is already on side.

David’s plan is to make a broadcast to the city before Claire can (because his bomb took out Claire’s radio tower). He’s even written her a speech – and he is damn good at speeches.

While they hand out food to the desperate V1s, David reassures the constantly invisible and ignored Zoe. She begins her speech – but quickly goes off message, ignoring David’s words and speaking from the heart as a V1 to V1s.

Jasper is still bleeding to death though, very very very slowly. Eventually he loses consciousness and dies – and David tries to empathise by talking about how Claire killed his son (somewhat revisionist history) and how it continues to hurt – but also leaves both of them with nothing to lose.

Claire et al are doing what they can to fix things – the whole trench was actually part of Vega’s design, Gates put it there so they could detonate it if Vega was falling to angels. Arika wants Claire to strike now, especially with the food supplies on the other side – but Claire doesn’t want to turn this into an outright civil war – nor to be fighting her own people when Gabriel attacks.

Claire remarks that city is being torn apart. Gates archly points out the city was always torn apart thanks to the V system her dad created. She also considers whether she should be more ruthless as her father would have been though Gates is totally against her becoming a ruthless killer and how he’s totally inspired by her

Arika brings some reality to the “go Claire” party and opens the windows so they can hear Zoe’s speech. Gates sees only one solution – him sneaking to the other side to cut off Zoe’s broadcast and play Claire’s own. Claire decides this is far too risky and forbids him. Of course he does it anyway, forcing her to get on side.

A member of the rebellion approaches David with a radio – on the other side is Arika. Oh you’ve got to love how good she is at the crafty plotting. He’s affronted that she has her tentacles in “his” rebellion but she chuckles because she was in waaaaay before David, having read the writing on the wall long ago. She tells him about Gates and how he needs to stop him – but not kill him.  Because the war helps them both, apparently

So Zoe sends out soldiers and Gates has to play cat and mouse guided by Claire. Alas, Zoe’s soldiers aren’t all that smart and outright shout about looking for Gates – which proves there’s a leak in Claire’s camp.