Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Vampire Diaries, Season 7, Episode 1: Day One of Twenty-two Thousand, Give or Take

We’re going to start this new, Elena-less Vampire Diaries, 3 years from now with Stefan reviving a desiccated Damon.

Now back to the present with Caroline writing a diary about Damon taking Alaric to “Europe” on a boozy party to help him grieve (Caroline thinks this is a bad idea… I actually don’t). Bonnie has been sent to chaperone because without Elena around she has to find some white people to play nursemaid to. Of course no-one is looking after Bonnie

Bonnie is keeping diary of their alcoholic adventures, judging them and getting friendly suggestions of dying form Stefan (this actually works as cute banter because Damon and Bonnie are actually pretty good at the frenemies thing. Oh dear good spellcheck does not object to “frenemies” the world is officially past saving, though it’s also uncomfortably true that if Bonnie dies, Elena is back).

Matt’s becoming a Deputy which no-one cares about

Caroline and Stefan are doing the awkward not!romance weird things since Stefan is totally waiting for her to decide she wants him while she’s still in mourning limbo.

To one of the witchpires, Valarie Stefan’s evil mother Lily realeased who pretty much hates everything (including being hit by cars). Even her family of witchpires: Lily, “stoic” Bo, “brat” Nora, “devious-mentor” Mary-Louise and Malcolm “Lily’s pet – the brown noser” don’t seem to be on her “like” list. They are all being bitter and nasty to each other over the short rations of blood they have. We do see Nora and Mary-Louise are a couple. Lily lectures them on how slaughter is a bad thing and got the imprisoned and they need to play nice. Lorenzo is, apparently, still in the picture as is some guy called Oscar. Lily is also de-factor leader despite not being a witchpire

And lo, already the cast is too damn big

Valarie is also not a fan of the whole not slaughtering people thing and while they all may hate each other they at least put on a face of caring for Valarie when she’s super upset. Valarie, Nora and Mary-Louise go out to unleash some slaughter vengeance, using blood and magic. Nora even takes a selfie with her victim and they don’t even try to cover up the deaths.

So Stefan and Matt are on the case. Yes, Matt is on the case. Is that not a message for despair? They pass the info on to Rick and Damon in the hope that drunken Rick can tell them how to make a bomb. This also means telling Damon and Bonnie that, yes, Lily has her evil family back. Damon is also still all sad about Elena and Bonnie has to comfort him before they find out that Rick isn’t actually drunk – he’s drinking tea not bourbon – he’s going to see alleged psychics to speak to his wife and beating up charlatans along the way

Sleepy Hollow, Season 3, Episode 2: Whispers in the Dark

Ichabod is doing housework and seems to have mastered a few of the modern tools for that – until he runs into Abbie’s underwear while doing the washing and is completely derailed. Much to Abbie’s amusement. He’s being domestic because he’s staying with Abbie at the moment – I think there is immense amusement potential with these two as room mates.

Abbie continues to think on her future – balancing the supernatural with her job and how, unlike Ichabod, she doesn’t want that to be a permanent thing.

Pandora is still growing evil trees with fear in her evil box. She also takes it for an evil walk and unleashes it on a passing human, Paul Everett (with a terrible secret) trying to contact the FBI about something

With him dead, of course Abbie is called in (bringing a civilian to the crime scene because why not). The man is assumed to be a heart attack which seems to be the Abbie’s new boss’s theory, Agent Reynolds. He’s also an old colleague of Abbie’s and Ichabod is predictably jealous. Abbie tells him to mind his business

Ichabod does decide on woo-woo after brief glances of darkness so hits the books (in between deciding to try and preserve the archive while also his usual angst over his purpose and place in the modern world). A recording of the call Paul Everett made to the FBI also picks up spook ominous whispering. This leads to more research and more demonic history from the Revolutionary War (honestly is there any British soldier from that time who wasn’t all demonic and monstrous?) which leads to more flashbacks and more of Ichabod and Betsy Ross as Ichabod tries to extract spies which are being exposed due to evil shadowy-demon-ness. And lots of flirty chemistry between Ichabod and Betsy.

Anyway this shadow-monster creature that was rooting out and killing spies by exposing their secrets is probably the evil monster Pandora has unleashed. Time to leap to Everett’s co-workers to see if there’s more murderous secrets out there.

They get to a Mr. William’s address at the same time as the scary shadowy wraith which uses its woo-woo on Abbie and Ichabod until Williams conveniently distracts it by running away and getting himself killed.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

Jospehine DeLune is 12 years old and comes from a long family of powerful magical women, each of which baked their might conjure into their creations

Except for Josephine who has no magic and cannot cook… but she has to learn as she has drawn the attention of both a sinister figure, Shaula and, even worse, the dangerous gaze of the Ravenous One.

She now has to learn if she wants to avoid being devoured

I like this book it was fun and had a very fun concept – I love the idea of magic, and conjure, being so mixed with cooking. The whole way they use magic is excellently well written – putting together recipes with magical components and mundane baking. I do love the world building of it, it’s fun, and while it’s not entirely original it is certainly one of the best examples I’ve seen depicted. Just the mix of flour and sugar and Full Moon butter and any of the other mundane and strange ingredients added to make everything from curses to love potions all through food – from pickles to pies to cakes, the food is full of magic

And that even leads to zombies that crave cake – and it works with the story

With such a setting it would be very easy to make a story that was, perhaps, a little silly or too childish especially with a 12 year old protagonist. But it not only worked as a story but there were some nice deeper elements addressed as well – there’s some definite reflections on race (especially since this book is set in 1955) though some of them are confused with prejudice against her magical family, including Authelia a friend who drops Josephine when she wants to be popular and realises she can’t be while being friends with a Black girl. Or Quentin’s parents who are leery of him getting too close

It has to be noted that these prejudices are often conflated or linked to the hostility towards her as a witch. And, if anything, her difficulties seem under-presented considering this book is set in 1950s Missouri

American Horror Story (Hotel): Season 5, Episode 1: Checking In

Well American Horror Story always brought great visuals – and the opening scenes of this incredible hotel certainly upholds that while being very creepy as receptionist Iris “welcomes” two new guests to the hotel.

As I’d expect from American Horror Story it also does some excellent job at being extremely creepy, along with a really chilling Shining homage. It definitely sets the tone! Right up to the screaming man sewn into the mattress.

I say it again, this show is good at atmospherics.

Iris claims ignorance but is not exactly upset as she moves her horrified tourists to a different room, (room 64) until the police arrive (or so she claims). When one of them is killed and eaten by some evil children.

And now the police are called in but for an entirely separate crime (and, it looks like, a different hotel) for a couple who have been murdered while having sex – and still in position. Except the man isn’t dead though he has had his eyes and tongue removed. Uh… the police are leaving him there while they collect evidence and not getting the guy to a hospital? Seriously, all the crime scene detectives are calmly going around checking evidence while the victim whimpers on the bed with a corpse on his groin.

It probably says a lot about me that I’m willing to accept a lot of randomness but this implausibility bothers me.

We have John Lowe and Detective Hahn checking the scene while completely ignoring the victim. John seems to have some Sherlockian skill going on.

John goes back to the police station both look at brutal crime scenes and talk to his adorable daughter over the phone (though his wife doesn’t want to talk which suggests that he has at least some hallmarks of the detective with a troubled family life.

John gets an apparent call from the killer claiming he’s going to repeat the crime – in Room 64 of Hotel Cortez, where the tourists are staying

Or were since a new guy books into the hotel and since he gives Iris attitude she puts him in Room 64 – and is claimed by… dear gods is that Sarah Poulson playing 80s reject? The credits name her as “hypodermic Sally” which bodes no good, but the guy checks into his room to take drugs and hallucinate a maid proud of her body cleanup skills and a figure wrapped in plastic who turns him over and pulls his trousers down – the figure has a drill on their groin. American Horror Story and rape… again.

Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 1: Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire

Can we just pause and grasp this a second? Season 11. That’s a whole long time for a show to keep going – and, as always, leaves me leery about running out of ideas. So before this season even starts I am muttering an urgent wish that we not get a season of brother drama “I will give everything to save you/no I won’t/yes I will.”

Yeah not much chance of that. Also I want Charlie back from the dead (don’t say impossible, straight white men regularly come back from the dead. The Winchesters have Frequent Resurrection Miles).

Anyway to the plot – big scary darkness has been unleashed and Dean is in the middle of it... with a woman

While Sam is alone in the wrecked Impala (waait, WRECKED IMPALA!?) remembering running from the darkness, it catching them and Dean disappearing. Sam finds Dean and apparently nothing’s wrong (yeaaaah right.) Dean claims the woman saved him – and calls her The Darkness and she’s super grateful to be free but Dean has still decided she’s evil and they need to put her back.

They drive off (no the Impala wasn’t that wrecked) and find a whole load of bodies in the road. They find a living man with black lines on his neck – he keeps advancing on them not listening to them until a police woman shoots him and demands to see Sam and Dean’s skin (me too) to prove they haven’t got the evil dark lines (yeah for that reason as well. I guess). Her demands to see skin would make more sense if Sam’s open necked shirt wasn’t already clear. She’s also been injured and describes how the black-veined people went on a rampage.

They take her to the hospital while Sam is, pretty reasonably, blaming all this on the Darkness while Dean is much more cynical (or, perhaps, less willing to make assumptions). The hospital is full of bodies so of course the team splits up with Sam exploring while Dean patches up Jenna and gives her a pep talk about killing people she’s known her whole life because thinks suck.

The gang comes together after Sam finds a survivor, Mike, and his new born baby who describes the raging possessed road crew running amok – but as they watch him they see black lines creeping up his neck. It looks contagious, Mike is turning after being attacked 3-4 hours ago.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

From Dusk Till Dawn, Season 2, Episode 7: Bring me the Head of Santanico Pandemonium

Seth has found another of Malvado’s properties (he does enjoy less than salubrious locales) and decides to pass on a threat through a Calebros waitress, which gets him an introduction with the big man himself after being patted down by a man who apparently has 4 arms. After much back and forth, Seth offers a deal.

All is not going well with Richie and Santanico because of her ruining their little dinner with Seth – he accuses her of making everything harder because she’s so revenge focused she doesn’t stop and think. She has a more direct way to get uncle Eddie’s info though it offends Richie’s honour – she has not very flattering opinions of that honour

While Seth, while not Santanico’s biggest fan, isn’t discounting her vampy instincts and demands to know what secret Sonja is keeping – Sonja tells him about an abusive ex partner (lover and in crime) who she had take the fall for one of her crimes – I rather suspect there’s more to it but since Seth isn’t exactly forth coming about the Calebras or why he is now insisting both they and Eddie drop the idea of stealing from Malvado, he isn’t exactly in a place to throw stones.

Seth absolutely fails to convince Eddie to drop the job (and Eddie is both misogynist and dismissive of Santanico and Sonja hating each other being a problem) and all he manages to do is completely offend the older man because Seth has completely forgotten all his people skills.

Discarding the code, Santanico and Richie go to steal Eddie’s info only to be found out by Eddie and to have Sonja turn up to reveal Seth has already stole them – and she’ll show them if she still gets to be in on the deal (and Santanico has another “I want to kill Malvado more than anything so trust me” speech).

Richie catches up with Seth trying to hire new minions and after a very easy kill and a quick slap down, Richie leaves with the info and Seth hissing slurs against Santanico

Which brings us back to the beginning and Seth making a deal with Malvado. Again, aimed at his hatred for Santanico.

So new gang, Richie, Eddie, Sonja and Santanico – and Seth drops in to try and kill Santanico until Eddie calls time. This is his job and even though he has no idea what’s really going on he doesn’t want the Geckos to ruin his last score. After his rant, Santanico insists that Richie tell Eddie the truth

iZombie, Season 2, Episode 1: Grumpy Old Liv

Season 1 ended horrifically with Liv’s brother badly injured and needing a blood transfusion. Which poor Liv can’t give because of the whole zombie thing.

iZombie you already ripped out our hearts and ate them with the death of Lowell (NOT OVER IT!) tread carefully!

We do open 3 months after the surgery and little brother Evan isn’t dead no thanks to Liv – and both he and mother Eva are pretty pissed about that. Especially since Liv can’t tell them why she said no.

Poor Liv, she advises herself to ”harden herself” and act like a monster. As she tells Ravi, Major and Peyton are also avoiding Liv as well now they know about her zombieness (Major is also struggling to get a job. Ravi also almost uses the terrible and misogynist “bros before hos” line but walks it back after a look from Liv).

Crime scene time – and at least Clive’s ignorance means he doesn’t hate Liv. An old man, Wendell was killed with a car being dropped on him deliberately. His sister-in-law fills in his history – Wendell was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 30 years ago and has been bitter and unpleasant ever since.

Brain snack. (Ravi also has a new Rat he deems “New Hope” she deems “Final Hope” and there’s a nice Star Wars quip there too). Liv swears off all relationships until she is human again (she has a new room mate… which is… fine.) and Ravi sums up why they’re having trouble developing a new cure in glorious passive aggressive terms. I do like them together especially since snark makes exposition fun. Anyway to find that lost cure ingredient, they need to find Blaine

Who is now a funeral director.

Lt Suzuki also died last season (though the reason was somewhat covered up) and his widow is being honoured in his stead. That cover up has Clive all kind of suspicious – and about Liv and Major for that matter (since they made up a false alibi). Clive is not buying their reasoning. Liv’s snacking on brains has also left her very very grumpy which makes her less than sympathetic interviewer as they chase leads (but she does do grumpy well).

That grumpiness also comes with a side order of racism which Ravi could have slapped down a little harder (Asian drivers? Really? It’s also really clumsy since it’s applying an east-Asian insulting stereotype and lumping in Ravi) – and Liv realises what Blaine’s new business is and goes to visit.

Z Nation, Season Two, Episode Four: Batch 47

Predictably, this week opens up at a green house with two people pushing their way through the vines to get the pot seed pods. It's not too long before the presence of the stoners becomes noticed by the green zombies.

Outside the greenhouse, Odegard gives a lecture to people about how the greenhouse contains the herbal vaccine against the zombie virus.  Members of the crowd ask for proof and Odegard replies that for years batch 47 had been hidden away until he found it. Holds up sheers and asks who has what it takes.  What he doesn't know is that Murphy and Cassandra are in the crowd. From the back of the crowd Murphy tells Cassandra maybe they won't have to go to California.

Murphy barges into Odegard's tent and is told that they are closed for retail sales of Z Weed. Murphy turns down the weed for himself but points out that Cassandra might wants some and then suggests that he has something Odegard is going to want to hear.  There's a zombie hand sticking out of some weeds and Odegard calls it a phylo-zombie which means it's part zombie and part plant.  Murphy moves his finger in front of the zombie hand and it mirrors his movements.  Odegard tries the same trick and nothing happens.  Murphy then exposes one of Odegard's zombie heads and the moment he touches the zombies face, it calms down and stop trying to bite.  Odegard realises that he is dealing with the real Murphy but asks to see the bites to make sure.  Murphy asks how real batch 47 is and Odegard pulls out a paper saying that test subjects remained free of the zombie virus but the test results which include reports on side effects has been lost.

The conversation is interrupted by a phylo-zombie killing another one of the harvesters that Odegard sent into the greenhouse.  The next person to volunteer asks that her baby told that her mama loves her before entering the greenhouse.  Unknown to everyone is the fact that Doctor Kurian has been spying, and naturally he has recognized Murphy.

In the arctic, Citizen listens to a radio report which says that Murphy has been seen in Minnesota.  Citizen Z is impressed that he was able to understand the message because the person spoke in Spanish.  Citizen Z then gets on the radio looking for Delta X Ray Delta but of course gets no answer.

Warren and crew show up at the greenhouse and are told to wait until they are called.  Doc is of course happy to smell the Z weed.  The woman volunteer crawls out of the greenhouse yelling for help. Vasquez shoots the zombie but it keeps moving so he is forced to bash its head in to save the woman. Warren and crew help the woman into the waiting tents. One of Odegard's men comes out side because of the commotion and tells Warren and crew to go and wait in the garage for their turn to try and harvest.

Cassandra gets her toke on and is clearly loving it.  Odegard tells Muprhy that he stumbled on this place and all he had to do was harvest it and get the world out.  Odegard says that the government was growing a lot of dangerous plants and the workers got trapped inside becoming phylo-zombies. Murphy snarks about the population being worried about GMO tomatoes. Odegard adds that they have not been able to get close enough to batch 47 to get a good sample.

Warren helps the injured woman to her child and Doc uses maxi pad as a bandage to cover her wounds.  The woman tells the child that they haven't found the cure yet but are getting close.

Murphy walks boldly into the greenhouse with Odegard on his heels.  The vines immediately wrap themselves around Odegard so he uses a sharp knife to free himself.  This causes Murphy to stop and complain about getting a stabbing pain. They continue to move through the greenhouse and when Odegard is stopped by a phylo-zombie, Murphy uses his mojo to free him.

Cassandra waits outside of the greenhouse for Murphy and she has Odegard's guards pointing weapons at her.  Odegard and Murphy make their way to batch 46 and Murphy is forced to stop because he can feel the phylo-zombies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wish Bound, (Grimm Agency #3) by J. C. Nelson

Marissa, through various adventures, has found herself in the awkward position of being the handmaiden of the Black Queen, one of the most powerful and dangerous beings in history. Even as someone who started (and stopped) the apocalypse, that’s a tall order to stop.

She has enough to deal with what with cursed birthday parties, lethal cursed cheeses and a whole postgnome cult. She doesn’t need evil Black Queens – or evil dead enemies being pulled out the very vault of hell.

Marissa faces the hardest test of all – does she let her friends save her even if it may be at great cost to themselves? Can she live with being saved.

This is a major turning point book – one so full of answers and revelations that it has changed the course of the entire series. In fact, it’s so dramatically ended, so dramatically changed course that I don’t even know if the book series is going to continue after this – because this feels like an ending and a dramatic conclusion of everything that the book has been leading towards.

We have all the answers of Marissa’s heritage. We have all the answers of Marissa’s origin but also her relationship towards Grimm which has always been complicated and far more than an employee or even a mentor. It, coupled with his relationship with the Black Queen, brings it all together with wonderful complexity and makes it all emotionally involved and twisty and fun.

The story itself is epic – literally world controlling with lots of amazing twists. So very very twisty – as Marissa fights the delicate balance of being a Handmaiden of the Dark queen and also trying to oppose her. There’s a lot of battling the different kinds of magic and finding all the nifty little loop holes to get around things. It’s a very delicate balance and I really liked it. I know I’ve used the word a lot – but there’s a lot of complexity and a lot of different angles.

The tone of the book strikes a very careful balance – and a very well done one. On the one hand it’s a dark world. After all this is a world with the end of the world at risk, there’s a terrifying appalling war coming and the grimness of that is clear. We have the abominations of flesh, the desperate fight to survive and, of course, a desperate loss for Marissa as well as the traumatic feel of the lost she suffers in the battle and the life changing revelation of what she is. Her friends make extreme sacrifices on her behalf

The Leftovers, Season 2, Episode 1: Axis Mundi

We open with naked people. Ah, yes, it’s on HBO.

A naked pregnant lady, caveman chic and an Earthquake to be exact. She gives birth during the quake which leaves her all alone in a prehistoric landscape…

…am I even watching the right show? Seriously I know it was going to reboot but what’s with the prehistory prequel?

Cave lady is bitten by a snake saving her new baby and eventually dies, leaving her baby to be found by another cave lady.

We move from this ancient scene to the same pond in the (presumably) modern world and several teens playing in the water. We meet Dr. Brian Goodheart (who is doing science in the water) and Evie. There are, oddly, lots of signs declaring the water forbidden to none residents and forbidding the taking of water.

Evie goes home to the rest of her family, brother Michael, mother Erika and father John (who is a deep sleeper with a cruel cruel family). The water Evie brought back is still treated as super special. Even after a short time I think these guys are kind of fun.

Ok, time for some more randomness – including a crack in the road that is covered in a protective glass box and a woman watering her garden in a wedding dress (hey, why pay all that money for a dress you’re going to wear once? Good on her for getting her money’s worth!) and a hermit on a pole with “miracle” carved into it (well, sort of helmet) all of which combines with the cave man opening to make me think we’re playing a game of Madlibs. Michael delivers breakfast to the hermit and gets a letter in exchange.

Definitely madlibs

Michael sets up among several market stalls catering to tourists – and the tourists are there because Miracle, Texas, is the only town in America which had no Departures. No-one vanished. Michael is there to sell water from the Jaden spring the (pond at the beginning). The tourists arrive and it’s clearly a religious experience for many and others – especially the sick and disabled, are definitely there for miracles like some kind of Texan Lourdes. The tourists even come from outside the US (so I take it this town may be the only place in the world without a Disappearance). Michael is offering his water – but won’t set a price and refuses to say it is more than a “souvenir” when people clearly want magic super water. He also tries to encourage them to attend a church service.

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 13: Night Train

Eichorst is overseeing some ominous construction – one that looks like a giant slaughterhouse with added incinerators. It’s for processing “sheep” honest. Ooooh catch that wit.

Vasiliy has his own construction project – making his truck ultra-secure while everyone prepares to say goodbye to Zach (I care even less than Abraham). Anyway Ephraim and Nora plan to try and make their disease bomb while they’re travelling as well.

They’re on the last train out of New York – while huge desperate crowds gather at the station. As they prepare to leave (in a very nicely set scene) Ephraim and Nora have a couple moment (oh yeah. Because this is needed). And Kelley is lurking around (in case Ephraim actually manages to move the plot forward)

They finally get on the train and to the huge relief of everyone the train drives off. Yay freedom

Well until the Master stops the train by simply putting 8 gazillion vampires on the tracks. 7 gazillion get squished then the train derails. Nora and Zach flee one way (they were separated from Ephraim) who tries to follow them. Kelley and the spider vamps are on the train. While Ephraim fights Nora and Zach run down the tunnel – and into Kelley.

Time for a Nora vs Kelley duel over Zach (oooh look symbolism – and further making Nora be epitomised as Kelley’s replacement) and Zach begging for mercy for Kelley distracts Nora – and she gets bitten

That leaves Zach and Kelley – and he hugs her. Kiiiiilll him! Doooooo it! Dooooo it!

Instead she takes Zach away. Presumably to the Master.

Ephraim comes and finds Nora on the floor – and there are worms crawling under her skin. She pushes her sword against the third rail of the train track, electrocuting herself while Ephraim is all sad.

Eldritch is still evil while Coco is playing the crafty sexy advisor/manipulator pushing Eldritch to assert himself more to Eichorst and the Mastery

Gus introduces his little army to Quinlan who introduces himself by killing someone and thoroughly terrifying the others (he also has a verbose speech trying to encourage everyone to embrace their inner knight) in a huge human vs vampire fight. They find it inspiring because the script says it’s so. Personally I think a whole lot of released prisoners listening to a posh monster calling on the unity of mankind would laugh uproariously.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Red-Rose Chain (October Daye #9) by Seanan McGuire

The Kingdom of Silences has declared war on the Kingdom of Mists. The new Queen Arden is far out of her depths and has little idea how to respond…

So she throws October at the problem. She’s no trained diplomat but she has good friends and she is very good at thinking on her feet

And with both the old Queen and a kingdom that considers Changelings beneath notice, it’s going to be a hard fight to be heard or listened to – or to stop a war that the King of Silences so cruelly wants. Even if she could stop the war, the ongoing injustice and cruelty of the Kingdom of Silences cannot be allowed to continue.

The story is immensely fun, as I definitely expect from this series. October Daye continues to be a scrappy character who runs around well out of her depth as is her wont. But she fights, she struggles and she rests on her friends and her unique abilities to get things done even if she so often has to make things up on the spot

The writing and pacing is, as always, excellent – always keeping me on the hook, reading until I reach the end of the books and all the… well not exactly twists and turns so much as constant questions and confusion. October doesn’t know what she’s doing and that’s really well portrayed in the text. She’s been thrown into a situation beyond her control and she has no plans, she’s incapable of planning in these circumstances. All she can do is run and hope to keep up and hope an answer, some answer presents itself so she can stop a war and save the people she loves

I really like how this is, in turn, reflected in Arden, the Queen. She’s also supremely out of her depth, after all she has only assumed the throne recently and before that she was a book store clerk. Without weakening her in the slightest she is depicted as exactly what she is – a woman who is completely overwhelmed and terrified and needs nudging back into the correct direction. It doesn’t make her a bad person or even a bad queen – any more than October’s flailing makes her and it’s a nice parallel between October and the Queen as we see them both try to adapt to a situation that is so far beyond her. As an extra bonus October’s epic speech to get her back on track is awesome.

The Last Man on Earth, Season Two, Episode Two: The Boo

Carol and Phil are still separated, with Carol waiting for Phil at the gas station and Phil waiting for Carol in Tuscon.  Carol tries her best to amuse herself by talking to an inflatable doll and doing scratch tickets.  She has also finished ridiculously designing the shirt that lead to her separation from Phil in the first place. Each time we see Carol, she is doing something ridiculous and desperate to try and find Phil.

In Tuscon, Phil has discovered that many of his personal items have been burned, including Babe Ruth's bat.  Phil has taken to his balls again, wondering why Carol hasn't arrived and how he can send her a message.  Phil's first attempt to find Carol involves blowing up some balloons and tossing them into the air, only belated realising that for this to work, he should have used helium.  When Phil sees a train track, he gets another burst of inspiration.

A desperate Carol lies down on the ground but sits up suddenly when she hears a train whistle.  Carol follows the sound to the tracks and arrives in time to see a long train go by with a message from Phil, saying that he is not a jerk and is in Tuscon.

Still awaiting Carol's arrival, Phil starts a new plan.  He sends a steamroller down the street. On the roller is a message to tell Carol where he is.  Naturally, any plan involving Phil isn't going to work out quite right.  After the steamroller rolls over Bryce, (one of his balls) it crashes a few hundred feet away.  A defeated Phil falls to ground, smacking himself in the head, screaming that he deserves to be alone.

Phil's moment of self pity is short lived because Carol arrives.  The two of them kiss and then bicker about where Phil left Carol.  Phil promises to never let Carol out of his sight again and the two have sex on the road.  Carol is excited to return to the cul de sac and see the others.  When they get back to Phil's burnt out house, Carol is surprised, claiming that this isn't like the group and questioning why they didn't leave a note.  They decide to take their reunion back to Carol's old place, where Carol confesses that she originally thought that Phil left her at the gas station on purpose because they had a fight.  It wasn't until Carol saw the train that she believed that Phil truly changed.  Phil says that he just wants to be a better man for Carol.  Shouldn't he try becoming a man first instead of the weird manchild that he is now?

Once Upon a Time, Season 5, Episode 2: The Price

The dwarfs, our favourite canaries, are now at the borders of Storybrooke wondering what diabolical fate will befall them if they cross the line. Dopey is volunteered before the Charmings arrive to give them another reason to flee (but there’s also Regina. Regina just spent some time confined to the same vehicle as Mary Margaret and David?! Has she not suffered enough?!)

Leeroy/Grumpy’s logic is that they can’t stay in town while Emma’s the Dark One because she is the scariest villain ever. Dopey crosses the line… and turns into a tree. I like Regina is more amused by the novelty of it than anything else

Anyway no period of amnesia could be without it’s flashbacks so let’s zoom back 6 weeks to teeny-tiny-Camelot (‘tis a silly place. Yes I am going to do that every time).

The gang have all gathered at the pocket castle and are introduced to Guinevere (and Mary Margaret bows full on without any acknowledgement of her own crown – fail etiquette!). Zelena is also being dragged along with Regina holding her leash. Killian is, wisely, pushing to find Merlin before they have a ball and Emma splatters all the guests (which is just rude). They also tell Arthur that the Dark One is totally threatening them (which conveniently not mentioning that the Dark One is Emma).

Turns out finding Merlin isn’t the hard part. They know where he is. But he’s a tree. And not a Pocahontas-style talking tree. He needs saving, predictably, by the Saviour. Oops that could be a problem… Regina quickly steps in as a Saviour understudy while holding Emma’s dagger.

When they go searching Emma is hella pissed about Regina totally abusing her dagger principles. Regina lays down the obvious of why she has done it – to try and save Emma from her own dark inclinations. Despite the snark, Emma does thank her.

Regina also gets the magical Saviour shiny necklace from Sir Percival though Regina manages to look conflicted. She decides to try and skip the ball because the whole idea of going as a fake Saviour galls her. But her excuse is she can’t dance (Mary Margaret objects because of all the balls they had but Regina points out her husband would much rather dance with the oh-so-precious daughter Mary Margaret. Ouch). So we now have to have a dancing class completely with Regina’s awesome sense of style (which she has to change because her clothing is all so super gloriously evil).

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fear The Walking Dead, Season One, Episode Six: The Good Man

At the stadium, the zombies continue to push against the door but now Daniel is nowhere to be seen.

Madison is packing up a box of supplies when Chris and Alisha enter.  Madison and Travis explain that the military is retreating and that they are going back to the original plan and head east. Chris asks about Liza, and Travis promises to get both Liza and Nick.

Andrew is tied up in the basement and Daniel tells Madison and Travis that he found the arena and that it's close to the soldiers base.  Daniel says that Andrew has given them all the information he has and Travis and Madison strenuously object to murdering Andrew.  Andrew asserts that they won't get into the compound without him, so Travis decides to bring him along for the ride. When Madison says that Andrew will ride with Travis, Travis asks her if she is ashamed.  Madison fires back that Travis would do anything if Chris were in danger. There goes Mr. High and mighty again. Damn Travis gets on my last nerves.

Daniel approaches Ofelia and tells her that they are going to find her mother.  Ofelia asks about Andrew, and Daniel promises to bring Andrew with them.  Ofelia tells Daniel that he lied to her and Daniel counters saying that he protected her. Ofelia asks if her mother knows that her father was not the victim.  Daniel wonders if his daughter would have preferred it if he were the victim but Ofelia does not answer.

Madison takes a moment to touch her children's growth charts before continuing to quickly pack up. It's almost a brief goodbye to everything she has lost. Outside, Madison orders Alicia into the car and Ofelia steps outside.  A german sheppard starts to bark and Madison stares.  Madison tells Alicia that her neighbours don't know what is going on but Ofelia points out that their neighbours did nothing when the soldiers came for them.

Exner is using the radio to communicate about the plan.  Exner announces to the group that they are moving now.  Liza asks about Chris and is informed that she has made a call.  Liza asks about the rest of her family and explains that her son will want his father. Exner points out that Travis will want Madison and that Madison will want her children.  Exner asks when family comes to an end. Exner tells Liza that they have to be brutal, so Liza asks for Travis and Chris.

Travis is loading up and Andrew tells Travis that he might as well kill him now because Daniel is going to do it later.  Andrew points out that Madison did nothing to stop it. Travis jumps to Madison's defense and points out that the military took Nick.  Andrew however counters that he didn't do anything and was in fact kind to Ofelia.  Travis asks Andrew to get them where they need to go. Andrew promises to tell Travis if he cuts him loose and says that the only reason to keep him is to kill him. Andrew adds that there's no story here that doesn't end with him dead. Clearly, Andrew knew just who in the group to approach.  Travis without a doubt is the weakest link.

The cars pull out in search of where Nick, Griselda and Liza are being kept. Madison drives with the children and she looks in her neighbours windows as she drives by. When they reach the gate, they find that the military is already gone.  Daniel fiddles with the switch until he gets the gate open.  The cars drive through and this is when we see that Travis's passenger side is empty. Of course he left Andrew behind. That decision better come back to bite him.

Daniel approaches the hospital on foot holding a flashlight.  He is ordered to stay where he is because he is entering a restricted area.  Daniel calls out that the soldiers should save their ammunition.  It's then that a horde of zombies approach the base.  The soldiers start firing.

Daniel is now in the installation and he tells the group that he lead the zombies to the North gate so the soldiers are distracted.  Daniel now learns that Travis let Andrew go. Madison argues that it was the right thing to do and Daniel points out what doing the right thing will get you. Travis pulls Chris aside and tells him that if they are more than 40 minutes, he is to drive Alicia to the campground. Madison hugs Alisha and whispers that she is to take care of Chris.  The adults leave the teens on their own.

In the compound, Victor sits calmly and he tells Nick not to draw unnecessary attention to himself. Nick complains that he is losing his mind, so Victor tells him to picture being somewhere else with a needle in his arm.  The lights start to go out and the sound of guns firing can be heard, causing people to panic.  Victor tells Nick that it's time to go.  Victor checks his pockets for his key and cannot find it.  Nick however pulls it out of his.

The helicopters arrive and Liza and Exner are on the roof.  Exner says that the compound is compromised and now their evac team knows it.  Exner asks what the delay is and lies and says that the compound is secure.  Liza is told that they are assessing the situation. Exner orders everyone to go and says that the transports are downstairs.  Liza asks about Chris and is told that if they haven't gone for him now, they never will.  Exner again tells Liza that she needs to run.

Chris and Alisha sit in the car together.  He gets out and Alisha tells him that everyone will come back.  Chris says that he doesn't want anyone to die. Alisha points out that not everyone can be saved, so Chris tells her to shut up.  When Chris sees something, he hops in the car and tells Alisha to follow. The two teens duck their heads.

Victor and Nick are now free and they walk by others in cages who beg for help.  Victor snarks about his key not being one size.  Nick asks about helping the people and Victor says that they add no value.  Victor advises that they should save themselves if they can and let others take the ride. Victor plans to get a car and then get Abigail. Who is this Abigail?

The teens are still hiding in the car and the sounds of soldiers footsteps can be heard. The soldiers break the windows in the car and drag Alisha and Chris out. The soldiers demand the keys promising to take the kids with them and Chris says no.  Things start to get rough and so Alisha yells that she has the keys.  The soldiers start to assault Alisha and Chris tries to defend her only to be knocked unconscious.

The crew is at the checkpoint and outside, the soldiers continue to empty their guns into the zombies but it's not lessening the threat.  Liza heads outside into the chaos looking for a way out.  The zombies manage to tear a hole in the fence.  A soldier in a helicopter offers Liza a ride and she turns them down.  An infected soldier runs into the propeller of a helicopter.  The fence is now completely down and Liza has no choice but to run back into the hospital.

Victor and Nick continue to make their way through the hospital.  They find the check in room and it's filled with dead bodies and a zombies who are feasting.  Nick tries to stop Victor from entering further but Victor says that the zombies are slow. Victor picks up a flashlight and retrieves the cuff links he traded to Milton for Nick and tells Nick to keep the watch. Victor doesn't have time for more snark because more zombies enter the room. Nick asks if they can get out of here now and Victor starts running saying that Milton was his ride.

Madison et al walk by the cages asking about Nick.  The group refuse to give information until they are released.  Travis manages to open the door and they are told that Nick left with a rich guy in a suit.

Betrayed (House of Night #2) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Zoey is facing the task of completely redeeming and rebuilding the Dark Daughters into a new, reformed organisation. A difficult task for her at the best of times – but with boys from her old school going missing, police suspecting vampires and three guys vying for her attention, Zoey has a lot of distractions.

Before we begin the review, I must remind everyone that my suffering through this series is the fault of Cyna and Mavrynthia and Merriska. I cannot even remember how they convinced me to go along with this torturous read – but in the name of some partial justice I think everyone should remind Cyna that she’s only read the first book of the Fallen Series and really really needs to read the rest. 

Ok, let us start positively. Yes, I actually can start positively on this book (well, in relative terms). I do appreciate that an effort has been made in this book to make Aphrodite less of a complete avatar of awfulness (by giving her parents who are complete avatars of awfulness). There’s also a toning down of the all consuming slut shaming of the last book – certainly not a removal of it by any stretch, but a definite reduction. There was also a half-decent attempt at an emotional death scene

I’m not saying any of these are good, because they’re really not and in any other book I would bite off my fingers before saying anything positive about these things, but Marked set the bar so damn low that exceeding my expectations is pretty damn easy to do. Kind of how falling in a compost heap feels more like a warm, soft landing after having swum through a toxic cess pool.

The first complaint I have about this book is the glaring void where the plot needs to be. I have sat for 10 minutes trying to figure out what happened and come up empty time and again. Some guys disappear but she watches that on the news, that’s hardly a plot point. She just kind of wanders around not doing a whole lot until we have some action hastily tacked on the end.

I suppose, in theory, the reformation of the Dark Daughters, the super club of the House of Night is the plot. But it’s not only completely lacking in any kind of substance, but it’s also comically awful.

First of all she does a whole lot of research to come up with the genius idea of a student council. No, really, that’s her master plan that actually requires research on her part which would be sad to begin with. But it gets worse – because she also decides she hates how cliquish the Dark Daughters was under Aphrodite so she’s totally going to make it different no – by making 6 of the 7 council members her, her friends and her boyfriend. Marvel at this for a moment, to remove the cliquishness of the Dark Daughters she decides to replace Aphrodite’s friends with all of her own friends. Yes, Zoey lacks even the slightest sense of self-awareness.

Fear The Walking Dead, Season One, Episode Five: Cobalt

This episode begins in a the holding cell where Nick and Doug Thompson await their fate.  It begins with a fellow captive named Victor Strand, taunting Doug.  It seems that Victor has figured out that the world has changed and has determined that he is just the type of man to survive.  When Victor suggests that Mrs. Thompson has just the kind of body she needs to find a man to help her survive, Doug breaks down in tears and is taken away.  Victor then turns his attentions to Nick.

At the gates, a very upset Ofelia demands that the soldiers hand over her mother.  Andrew has to intervene because the soldiers were ordered to put a stop to Ofelia, for fear of her upsetting the population. Andrew offers to take Ofelia home. In the background, the soldiers are getting restless and want to go home.

Travis tells Madison that he is going to talk to Moyers but before he can leave, Chris enters the room. Chris is not pleased that he is not part of the discussion about their people. When Madison intervenes, Chrishtells her not to interrupt while they are talk about family matters. This sets Travis off and so Travis drags Chris into the other room.  Chris is upset that his mother willingly left in the truck and Travis explains that this is who Liza is. Travis asks Chris to be strong and the two hug but the moment is lost when Travis tells Chris that he needs to apologise to Madison.  Chris storms off telling his father to go be with his family.  Travis prepares to leave to get Nick and Liza.

Liza is checking on the stitches of a patient ,when Doctor Exner praises her work.  Dr. Exner then goes on to express her thanks for Liza's presence due to the fact that they are so short staffed.  Liza asks to speak to Chris and check on Griselda.  Exner promises to let Liza talk to Chris and reveals that Griselda had her foot amputated.  Liza again asks about Chris and this time, Exner is short, responding that Chris is fine and that they have work to do.

Madison has found her neighbour Susan's suicide note and heads to Susan's to look for Alisha. Madison grabs a knife when she hears a sound coming from Susan's basement.  Madison heads down the stairs to see Ofelia's boyfriend Andrew tied to chair. No good dead goes unpunished I suppose. Daniel explains that this is how they bring home their loved ones.  Andrew tries assure him that their family members will be returned and that what happened wasn't handled correctly.  Madison questions where their loved ones are now and Andrew says that he doesn't know. Madison storms out and Ofelia makes it clear that Travis talking to Moyers is not a plan and now they have something to trade. Ofelia says that she doesn't like this but this is the only thing the military will understand before walking off.  Daniel admits that this is his plan and that he is aware that the military is not going to trade for Andrew.  Daniel is more interested in the information that Andrew has in terms of security, or how much time they have left.  Daniel adds that he has seen this before; people who leave on tucks don't come back.  When Madison asserts that this won't happen here, Daniel tells her to go home and keep Ofelia there.  Madison says that she doesn't want the soldier to be hurt. Daniel asks if Madison wants Nick back and if the issue is that she doesn't want the soldier hurt, or she doesn't want to know.

Travis goes to see Moyers to complain that three of his people are missing but Moyers claims that it's up to Dr. Exner how long Nick, Griselda and Doug are held.  Moyers points to his soldiers calling them children who want to return to their mother and that the best thing he can do is to keep his soldiers active.  Moyers then points out the markings on a truck which represent 83 dead zombies. Travis again asks about his people but Moyers claims that he cannot concern himself with civilian problems.  Travis finds a back bone and threatens Moyers, claiming that with 11 people missing from the community it could lead to a problem. Moyers then assigns a group of soldiers to take Travis to see Exner before walking away.  A soldier follows Moyers and points out that the men have been up for 50 hours and asks for another group to be sent but Moyers is not in a giving mood.

Daniel explains to Andrew that Ofelia only brought him here because she is scared for her mother. Daniel calls Ofelia the only good thing he has and adds that Ofelia made him promise not to hurt Andrew. Unfortunately for Andrew, Daniel has other plans. Daniel starts to assemble what he will need for this torture session and Andrew quickly reveals the hospital where Nick and Griselda are. Andrew promises not to hold anything back but Daniel sits and opens his razor.

Travis is being driven through the streets in a Humvee.  The soldiers pull over when they see a zombie moving around inside a store.  Travis is offered the opportunity to kill the walker and backs off claiming not to be a good shot. Moyers explains that with the way the gun is set, "Helen Keller couldn't miss."  The soldiers start to question if Travis is a conscientious objector: someone who wants to sleep in a comfortable bed, and eat military MRAS while the soldiers do the dirty work. Moyers then asks if Travis thinks the zombie is human because if that is the case, then the soldiers are nothing more than a bunch of murderers.  Travis claims that the soldiers are not right and walks over to the gun and looks through the scope. A soldier explains to Travis how to position himself as Travis looks through the scope. Travis is told that the zombie is not a person but when he sees her eyes and the name Kimberly on her name tag, Travis refuses to shoot. Moyers is not the least bit surprised and he wastes no time shooting the zombie. Travis and the soldiers hop back into the Humvee.

At the hospital, Exner and Liza examine a soldier who has just come in with a collapsed lung.  Liza moves onto another solider and when she opens his shirt, Liza sees a what that looks like bite marks. Exner immediately orders the soldier to be taken away. Exner explains that they are to assume that anything that looks like a bite is.

The soldiers hear a call for help and Moyers decides to head there for back up.  Travis is surprised because he was told that the area was free of civilians, so Moyers snarks that some people don't trust the government.  Travis is then ordered to stay in the truck no matter what happens.  Travis sits in the Humvee while the soldiers enter a building.  Travis listens as guns go off and soldiers scream in pain, a worried look on his face.

Daniel talks about the choice he was offered so long ago: torture or be tortured, as he cleans his blade. Andrew begs for the pain to stop but Daniel asks about the meaning of Cobalt because he has heard it repeatedly in the military transmissions. When Andrew doesn't answer, Daniel warns that the pain is about to increase because of how deeply he plans to cut into Daniels arm now.  Daniel asks what Cobalt is and a crying Daniel answers that he doesn't know.

Alicia is riding an old fashioned bike in a circle around Chris.  Alicia asks Chris if wants to talk about what is going on and offers him a ride on her bike.  Chris is not impressed but when we see them again, they are in the former home of rich neighbours.  Chris and Alicia are shocked at the wealth they find and Alicia takes the opportunity to play dress up.  They have an awkward moment when Chris is caught briefly spying on her.

At the hospital, Victor is ordered to step to the fence to have his eyes checked. Really? A device to detect zombies? You would think the whole drooling, rotting and trying to eat people would be indication enough.  Nick is the next to be checked and when Melvin learns that Nick has a fever, he orders the soldiers to take Nick downstairs.  Victor gets Melvin's attention and notes that Melvin is now wearing his watch.  Victor suggests that they do another transaction, pulling out a diamond cuff link. Melvin orders his soldiers to stop and Victor asks to take possession of Nick, promising to keep an eye on him.  Victor hands over one cuff link but Melvin demands that he be given both, or they don't have a deal.  Victor pulls out the other cuff link and Nick is escorted back to the holding cell. Melvin makes it clear that there will be no refunds if Nick happens to turn.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Continuum, Season 4, Episode 5: The Desperate Hours

So Travis is in prison and warning that if he is arrested and goes to prison then all kinds of secrets and messiness will be revealed if any reported tries to investigate him. On top of that they have a lawyer who very reasonably is not impressed with Travis being shackled and held for days without charge.

Travis kindly helps with the lawyer by trying to strangle him. Don’t strangle your lawyer, Travis, it’s counter productive. After also tasing the lawyer in the head the police then try to tase Travis. It does absolutely nothing.

To make things worse for Carlos, Piron doesn’t want to have Travis tried – and while Carlos objects to the idea that a company makes that decision – Piron demands that Travis with all his super tech in his body be handed over to them. Boss lady isn’t happy, she wants Travis in prison and wants to know why Piron is involved.

Alec and Kiera nicely sum up just how their plan to send Kiera back in time may involve trusting Brad and Kellogg, neither of which is a fun choice. They go to make a deal with Kellogg which is so much fun. He agrees to leave them alone in the Piron log while Kiera and Dylon have a moment with Kiera trying to be nice while also firmly disapproving of Dylan’s choices.

Kellogg does take the chance of poking Alec about the sheer dubiousness of Kiera’s plan – to go back to a future she doesn’t even know exists any more. Still they go on with their plan (still believing the super soldiers plan an invasion). Kiera asks Kellogg what he will do after she’s returned to the future but Kellog says pointedly that it’s not her business “you chose you.”

Ouch. Double ouch is when Alec carefully doesn’t answer her when she asks if she’s being selfish. He’s also not a fan of her contacting Brad, but she does it anyway and goes to him with the happy story of waning to go home. She pleads for access to the machine – and she gives him the key to the machine. Yet another person raises the possibility with Kiera that her son, her future, may not even exist.

Kiera takes this up with Carlos back in the police station when both sides argue about her decision to go back – Carlos annoyed that she is going back, that she has told him so little and that grudgingly and her insisting that it’s all her own choice and he doesn’t need to be informed. He points out the consequences of her decisions actually do affect other people.

Carlos returns to Travis to warn him that Piron may make a play for him (which Travis doesn’t care about) and that Kiera wants to go home – and this does anger him. Kiera has only seen the truth and now is willing to go back. He adds again that if his truth is revealed it’ll go badly for Kiera as well.