Saturday, December 12, 2015

Vampire Diaries, Season 7, Episode 9: Cold as Ice

Oh yay, Christmas themed episode. Father Christmases everywhere. Did I ever mention how much I hate Christmas music? Because I really really hate Christmas music. I mean, really. I don’t think I like one single Christmas song. Not one.

Anyway we have Stefan and Damon trying to take down the much more powerful Julian by following him around and hoping lightning randomly strikes him or something. Honestly it’s the same tactic they’ve been using since they decided to kill various Originals – the brothers Salvatore have absolutely no concept of the idea that people can be more powerful than them. Ancient vampires, heretics, witches – if they ever came across god Damon would be first in line to try and strangle him.

It, predictably, goes wrong but the plot armour is strong with them. But the real point of this storyline is for Julian to remind us about his scary sword of anti-vamp-ness and for Stefan, Julian at al to repeatedly push Damon to be all sad-panda about Lilly. Look, can we not do this? Or if we are going to do this, can we at least have some acknowledgement that it’s cruel and wrong to try and force someone to reconcile with an abusive/neglectful parent or make nice with someone they consider an abuser. Yes we can argue about whether Damon is accurate in his depiction of Lilly, but we cannot argue that he sees Lily as complicit in the abuse he suffered as a child. It is cruelty to expect him to love her, comfort her or express affection for her – it compounds the abuse he suffered. Flesh and blood does not overrule abuse and this is just another way we hurt abuse victims.

As an extra lump of awful is the depiction of Julian. See Julian was an evil arsehole who kicked a pregnant woman until she miscarried and was trying to collect a full set of evil cards. That was concerning – but now we have to be REALLY worried. Why? Because he’s gone insane.

Yes, that trope AGAIN. Originals recently pulled the same thing. Never mind how evil all the apparently neuro-typical characters are, never mind the bodies they drop, never mind the torture and murder they indulge it – it’s the insane ones you REALLY need to worry about. There’s an added element that “insane” is usually the diagnosis here. Not any particular mental illness – just a generic violent psychosis with no real attempt to link it to real mental illness. I mean look at Julian – he has been “driven insane” by suffering a terrible ordeal. Ok… so he has PTSD? Hallucinations? Night terrors? Perhaps agoraphobia and anxiety, flashbacks even catatonia? How about actually examining a character with PTSD rather than just using “suffered trauma” as an excuse for “psychotic murderer.”

Friday, December 11, 2015

American Horror Story, Season 5 (Hotel), Episode 9: She Wants Revenge

Now about 80% of all the bazillion plots that are littering this show have all decided to be messily inserted into one episode. Really, all it does is highlight just how messily stuffed this show is. Part of this really shows by the exposition that is pasted on top of things

So we have the Countess who is duly pissed in general about her one-true-love-and-creator Rudy and Natasha (who she doesn’t really give a shit about and plans to kill) being locked up by James. She expositions in elaborate, poetic and quite beautiful style about how very very pissed she is. I would say this is unnecessary info-dumping but praise it for at least being pretty info-dumping but it IS necessary – it’s necessary because we have so many plot lines it’s easy to forget that the Countess is pissed or really cares that much about Rudy – especially after we have the serial killer episode last week

Which, by the way, is completely absent this week. There’s not even a reference. Both of these plot lines really do not belong in the same show. It’s like two shows had a violent collisions, the actors got concussion and confused and accidently stumbled into the different sets but kept reciting their lines regardless of relevance and both the poor directors are trying to make it work.

We also have Ramona and Donovan back on their revenge kick. And we got some more Ramona’s backstory – which was kind of nice to have her developed. It was extremely touching and meaningful and tragic – and finally we see a show that really sells the tragedy of immortality. I enjoyed that a lot – though even though the painful nature of caring for someone with Alzheimers was beautifully depicted it was still that very classic depiction of disability: a burden, a tragedy for others, a pain other people have to endure.

And then this storyline ends up being cut off with Donovan double crossing and double crossing and making one of the most ridiculous decisions I’ve seen in a long time.

Yes, that storyline appears to be over – Ramona made a couple of cameo appearances and is now locked away. What a completely pointlessly dismissive way of using this character. And cameo pretty much sums up this storyline as well – it isn’t a storyline, it’s a brief interlude

Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 9: Oh Brother, Where Are Thou?

Ok first note – if you’re going to call your episode “oh brother, where are thou?” you might as well spring for “art” and go for a full olde English route.

This episode finally upped the stakes on the whole Amarra storyline, far more so than we’ve seen so far. Ok, Amarra has always been powerful and kind of scary – through the King of Hell around and all that, but she was somewhat confined in her antics. Sure she killed people and ate their souls but it was hardly on scale of some of the big bads we’ve seen

Here, the stakes have been raised. The sister of god is bringing her divine wrath to her brother in an epic sibling on sibling fight. In a show that has repeatedly shown epic forces being well and truly epic, Amarra managed to still establish herself as at least on par with what we’ve seen before. She runs amok among churches and street preachers, challenging their faith and becoming increasingly enraged by what she sees as the callous manipulations of god, her brother and his egotistical need to be worshipped (which I really found interesting because “egotistical” is not an unreasonable reading of the Bible. A jealous, angry god who loses his shit at people not giving him proper respect is pretty much canon).

What is also interesting about this is that it does raise the question of how to deal with Amarra because her violence isn’t random and indiscriminate. Her slaughter was expressly to call out her brother. She only targets overt depictions of faith – not to say that’s even remotely good, but it does suggest that the theory that Amarra is going to destroy all of god’s creations isn’t accurate (or isn’t accurate unless god continues to hide behind his creations rather than face her outright).

It's All Mommy and Daddy's Fault

Our first influences in life are our parents. Along the way, perhaps, our teachers, pop culture or friends also weigh in to change our perspective in life but our parents usually have the longest and most dramatic hold over us. It’s hardly a surprise then that when it comes to speculative fiction that parents have become a recurring trope in many ways. We have discussed dead mothers and absent fathers ad nauseum but what we haven’t looked at is the placing of blame for horrendous actions on one’s parents. Yes, really, it’s a thing I swear.

For me, perhaps the most pervasive example is Klaus from The Originals. Klaus would have us believe that were it not for the fact that he is the child of an affair and that his parents were so cruel, that his artistic soul would have soared through the stratosphere and he would have given the world great works of art to cherish forever. Clearly, he hasn’t looked at his own art. There’s no doubt that Mikael was an abusive parent but none of Mikael’s actions explain and or justify Klaus’s bloodlust. Sure, Esther lied to Klaus repeatedly but does that give him the right to control every single woman he interacts with?

Klaus has even started to get counseling for his mommy and daddy issues with Cami. I’m not knocking counselling but let’s stop and think for a moment about the fact that Klaus is 1,000 years old. The events that he is most upset about happened a millennium ago. There’s holding a grudge and there’s blaming mommy and daddy because you don’t want to take responsibility for your own shit.  I think that we can agree that Klaus easily falls into the later. He repeatedly uses his pain and his damage to make himself more appealing to women. It has just become another weapon in his arsenal, no matter how many times he gets all teary eyed and tortured artist.  

Jafar  from Once Upon A Time in Wonderland is quite similar to Klaus. Jafar entered his father’s castle under false pretexts and worked as a servant for the Sultan for quite some time. After Jafar revealed his true identity, Jafar’s father not only abandoned and rejected him, he ordered Jafar to be taken out with the garbage.  In this moment, Jafar swore revenge and turned to the dark side. To that end, Jafar would kill, deceive, steal and torture until finally he had his father in his grasp. No matter what evil he did, Jafar could not come to any kind of closure about his parentage.  In fact, his greatest wish was for the Sultan to call him son, a wish that would be denied repeatedly. Jafar is actually willing to rewrite the entire rules of reality to compel his daddy to love him, no matter who he destroys or what suffering he brings.

Then you have people like Rumpelstiltskin, who hit the Daddy issues from two sides of the equation. Rumplestiltskin’s father is Peter Pan and Pan is certainly not the friendly, childlike creature that we first met in Barry’s books. The Pan in Once Upon A Time, is angry, calculating, evil and willing to sacrifice anyone to get what he wants. Sounds like Rumpelstiltskin is a chip off the old block doesn’t it? To his credit, Rumplestiltskin does blame some of his decision on his cowardice and love of power but he does suggest that at least an element of his ongoing problems are based in his daddy issues.  

Then you have Rumplestiltskin as a father to Neil. Rumplestiltskin knows that he is a failure as a father and that is obvious by his ongoing obsession with the fact that he deserted Neil.

“I wanted to look for you, but I was too afraid that you wouldn't forgive me because I never forgave myself. There hasn't been a day that's gone by that I don't regret having left you.”

Rumplestiltskin constantly invokes Baelfire and connects it to his shame but Baelfire never really serves as motivation for real and lasting change. Ultimately, what Rumpelstiltskin wants to do is to do all the heinous things he desires, exercise his power, and manipulate everyone in sight, all while whining about his failure as a father to garner sympathy or claim justification. Baelfire is like a trump card that Rumplestiltskin pulls out of back pocket when he needs to humanise himself. Oh he has Daddy issues but they are convenient Daddy issues.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

About a Vampire (Argeneau #22) by Lynsay Sands

This is the book fans of the Argeneau series have long been waiting for.  The handsome Justin Bricker is sent on a mission to do away with the remains of some rogues and as luck would have it, Holly Bosley arrives at the funeral home because she forgot to file some papers.  Justin tries to control her but Holly takes off running in fear.  When Holly trips and dies by accidentally stabbing herself, Bricker uses his one turn to change Holly into an immortal.  It's not a wasted turn however because as luck would have it, Holly is Bricker's soulmate.

Bricker is confident that it will be easy for him to win Holly over.  He's never had any trouble with the lades before. Bricker is absolutely handsome and unlike many of the older immortals, he is in touch with what is going on.  What Bricker didn't plan on is the fact that Holly is not a single woman. Even if Holly doesn't immediately run back to her husband when she learns about her new status, immortal law forbids Bricker from interceding in a marriage.  Apparently the punish involves having one's genitals torn apart repeatedly. Sounds pleasant doesn't it?

Holly quickly accepted the fact that she was an immortal but she did not suddenly fall into Justin's arms as he had hoped. I actually liked the idea that someone would chose to be faithful and not just leap because the grass looked greener on the other side.  When Holly did go back to her husband, she found out why we aren't meant to read the thoughts of others. Though her husband continued to be caring and concerned, the thoughts that he had were not always generous.

As a love interest, beyond her faithfulness to her husband, I cannot say that I was enamored with Holly.  Holly is yet another human female love interest who is insecure about her looks. Can we just have one love interest who hasn't got body issues please?  It was made worse by the fact that of course when the nanos entered her body, they got rid of her muffin top and her few other "problem areas". I suppose the idea that people are perfect as they are is completely and utterly lost on Sands. Humans became instantly attracted to Holly and even her seemingly heterosexual female friend was flirting with her.  Not cool Lynsay Sands, considering the erasure of GLBT characters in this series. Holly also took a break in school to put her husband through university and was considering bowing to pressure to put her education on hold again to earn money.  So, not only did Holly have low self esteem, she was also the self sacrificing do it all for my man type of woman.

iZombie, Season 2, Episode 9: Cape Town

So, melodramatic super hero. Whose antics get him murdered. Lesson learned, if you’re going to be a super hero you better have the super powers to back it up.

At home Liv and Major are arguing, Liv used his phone (and finger) to try and find out if he was cheating on her which is a major violation of privacy while Gilda (at the other end of the phone) convinced Liv that he actually was. Snooping vs cheating – with Major getting annoyed that Liv is alternating between “how dare you” and “sorry Major, I can’t help the messed up brain” which causes Liv to have an excellent come back – try living with it. Because living with the brain constantly changing your personality/mind is waaay worse than just witnessing it.

Ravi groggily interrupts their fight for the crime – where Clive tells them that Chris, the dead man, was well known for his vigilante shenanigans and his body being disposed of wasn’t unexpected.

Ravi also excellently just tell Liv “no, don’t” every time she lets the stalker brain run with her.

They get the body back to the morgue and it’s clear Chris regularly sustained injuries in his super-hero guise which Liv considers foolish and ineffectual while Ravi is impressed by the self-sacrifice and courage of it. He’s in geeky heaven. Of course Liv is snacking down on brains.

Which means she’s melodramatic super-hero when going investigating, interviewing Stacey Boss (the crime lord who Peyton is trying to bring down) dressed as Father Christmas who manages to be sinister.

Blaine, alas, has annoying minions – Donny brings a wounded man to him. Blaine recognises him and I not amused. He’s not in the saving people business so brings the injured guy to Liv and Ravi to heal.
While Ravi and Liv are not really capable of saving a man in a morgue, Blaine suggests zombifying him: she objects but the dying man is the only one who knows how to make/where to get the tainted Utopian that Ravi needs to find a zombie cure.

Liv turns him – and Blaine gives him some zombie induction. And the offer to find brains.

The man, Drake, seems quite grateful to be zombified – so far. But he doesn’t have the Tainted Utopian, he does know two guys who had loads. Which they swallowed – and were then murdered by Stacey boss and buried. So there’s a lot of Utopian out there but it’s going to take some grave robbing. Well, grave finding first. And, bonus, Stacey Boss is also looking for them.

Meanwhile the murder investigation uncovers a whole pack of wannabe super heroes. And if Clive doesn’t finally realise something is up with Liv after this episode I will despair of his character. The gang of misfits were being recruited by Chris to take down Stacey Boss and his shipment of guns which even they considered… unwise

Real World Settings I Would Like to See in Urban Fantasy

One of the beauties of urban fantasy is that adept writers are able to incorporate real world locations into almost any storyline. Suspension of disbelief is one the first concepts taught to film school students and in many creative writing classes. Setting stories in real places with historically accurate facts woven into the storyline makes suspension of disbelief easier. I have come up with a list of places that I think would provide worthy settings.


Image Source:

Of course the TV series already exists, but the island’s inhabitants are the story. Alcatraz was home to some of the country’s most notorious citizens for three decades. The island is cold, damp, and frequently enveloped by a fog so thick that the lights of nearby San Francisco are completely hidden.
If one looks at the various legends surrounding Alcatraz, the case can be made that the island itself is home to some sort of malevolent force. Some Native American folklore suggests that tribes often exiled members to the island as punishment. The US government’s actions on Alcatraz consist of few, if any positive highlights. Even before The Rock was established as the Federal Penitentiary of choice for those deemed the most dangerous (and escape prone), the island was home to other prisons. Injustices and atrocities can be credited to both sides, including harsh treatment of the original Native Americans on the island to the often brutal treatment of inmates that led to a number of them going insane.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Untamed (House of Night #4) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

This is the part where I have to pretend there’s a plot to summarise… due to the machinations of Cyna and Mavrynthia and Merriska and I am doomed to reading 4 of these books, in 4 weeks. 

There is not enough booze in the world

Ok, Zoey is feeling isolated with her friends turning on her – which is a problem because have several prophecies. One that predicts the rising of a dark and terrible force – and one which predicts Zoey’s death if she is alone

She needs to rebuild some bridges quickly

There’s another element of these books that is increasingly annoying me – the authors seem to think their readers are fools, blithering fool without a scrap of reasoning who need everything explaining veeeerrrryyy slooowly and veeerrryyy carefully and over and over to make sure it sinks in. This is why the book is so full of recapping, every element of the last book repeatedly hashed over not as Stand Alone Stuffing, but because the authors seem to have that little opinion of the intelligence of their readers. We see the same thing when the characters discuss a “cryptic” prophecy. The meaning of it is obvious, I mean really really really obvious. It’s impossible that any characters, especially purportedly intelligent characters, couldn’t have easily interpreted it in second. But instead the characters describe it and work it out in ludicrously excessive detail to explain it to the readers – there’s no assumption of even basic reader intelligence to work things out on their own or even realise the obvious. It had to be spelled out step by step in ridiculous detail.

It makes the book – already slow and lacking in any real development or action – even slower and more painful to read

And can we address that element as well? Nothing happens! Not until the very end of the book when Zoey and gang finally bravely run away. All through the book they just kind of hang around and mope. I would say they were developing their relationships or resolving conflicts or making plans – but none of that is true. Because they don’t.

It’s not like there AREN’T conflicts but they don’t take effort to resolve. All her friends hate her? That takes two paragraphs to resolve. Aphrodite doesn’t know where she stands? A paragraph. A prophecy to interpret? Takes pages but zero effort. We have a trip to a feral cat shelter which achieves… well… nothing, it’s just there. We have lots and lots and lots of circle casting with little achievement. Hand wringing about Stevie-Rae without any real advancement or thought. There’s no effort or drive or difficulty it all works out

The Librarians Season Two, Episode Five: And the Hollow Men

This episode begins in mid caper. The Librarians are looking for the the Eye of Zarathustra. This artifact is important because it is the first artifact to appear in public since the library started going wonky. Things are going smoothly until a suit or armor starts to move.  Eve goes all guardian like to take the suit out and it turns out that Flynn is the wearer.  Flynn had put on the suit to hunt down the eye to stop if from falling into the hands of Prospero.  You would think that having not seen each other in awhile that the meeting would be nicer but Eve is still massively pissed that Flynn just took off and did his solo thing, refusing to accept that he is now part of a group.  Flynn tries sweet talking Eve but she's clearly not having it.   It's not long before Flynn and Eve figure out that the fact that everyone is all in the same room must be a trick.  Someone uses the Pipes of Pan to put everyone asleep.

When the group wakes up, Flynn is gone, along with the the Eye of Zarathustra. The Librarians use a communication device to talk to Flynn.  Flynn finds himself in a room without windows with the walls covered with pictures of the Librarians - in short, a stalkers wet dream.  Flynn has been taken by a very powerful creature and so he uses a Chinese system of telegraphy. Heaven forbid Flynn be ordinary and just use Morse Code.

The library is increasingly unstable causing the other Librarians to worry but they are determined to get Flynn back.  They manage to track the signal but by the time they arrive, Flynn has already gone on a road trip with his kidnapper.  Jenkins tells the crew to get as many artifacts as they can.  Before the Librarians can leave however, Moriarty shows up at his charming best.  Moriarty wastes no time flirting with Eve who he calls Duchess. I actually think that Moriarty and Eve have far more chemistry than Eve and Flynn.  The Librarians go running for the portal and all of them make it except for Eve.

Flynn and Ray pause on their roadtrip for milkshakes.  Ray reveals that he missing memories and is certain that Flynn will be able to help him.  When Ray collapses from a debilitating headache, Flynn somehow figures out that the reason Flynn is missing memories and has headaches is because he is actually the living embodiment of the library.  One really has to make a leap of faith on this one because Flynn essentially pulled this deduction out of his arse.

Eve looks around determined to find a way to go after Flynn, when Moriarty catches up with her.  It seems that Moriarty is looking for the staff of knowledge and suggests a temporary truce because they both need to find Flynn.  Eve is not ready to trust Moriarty though he is pouring on the charm. Moriarty suggests that if Eve cannot trust him, she can at least trust his self interest because he wants to find the staff to free himself from Prospero.

Flynn is in full geektastic mode now that he realises that he is the first Librarian to have a chance to actually speak to the Library. Flynn is full of questions but because Ray (read: the library) has lost his memory, he cannot answer any of Flynn's questions.

Leftovers Season 2, Episode 10: I live Here Now

After the revelation of last episode we return again to the night when Evie first disappeared – this time following the girls. As soon as they’re out of ear shot of their families they become silent, turning off the radio, not taking. When one cries, Evie tells her not to – through writing.

They go to the lake, set up their car to be found and watch Kevin jump in the lake – before the earthquake drains it and saved Kevin.

Now we’re back to Kevin digging himself out of the ground after being poisoned and being found by a surprised Michael. Patti is gone.

At the Murphy household tension are high and they finally open the present Evie got John for his birthday on the day he disappeared – inside is a bug. The cricket that was driving John up the wall: John is happy but Erika bursts that bubble with a hard truth – she caught another bug simply because John wouldn’t let it go – which pretty much sums up his character. This revelation doesn’t go down well.

John finally learns that it’s Kevin’s hand print on his daughter’s car – grabs a gun and goes with the Rangers to pay his neighbours a visit. Big tense confrontation time. Kevin goes with John to somewhere “neutral” to talk.

John takes Kevin to the kennels for questioning while there John tries to play nice but, well, isn’t exactly wise. He brings up John’s father and that Virgil abused John oh and that Kevin came back from the dead (just to push John’s buttons who loathes the idea that Miracle is special). To top it off, he tells John that maybe Evie did this to her family because she didn’t love them all that much

John shoots Kevin. Well that’s a counter-argument

That leaves Laurie and Jill to talk and Laurie – she who joined the Guilty Remnant, she who didn’t talk to Jill for weeks, perhaps months, says “you’re going to have to talk to me.” Jill deserves a medal for not slapping her upside the head for that one. Laurie is too aware of her own epic guilt to make any kind of convincing arguments against her.

Nora has a crying baby and Mary and ever more frazzling nerves. It being the anniversary of the Departure doesn’t help nor someone calling on people to turn to Jesus: she breaks the radio and an Earthquake hits. Like everything on this show it could be related, it could be random. After the shaking stops Mary wakes up and talks, asking for Matt.

The Librarians, Season Two, Episode Four: And the Cost of Education

It's time for the Librarians to head back to school and as with anything involving the team, things get weird quickly.  It all begins when a mascot goes missing at Wexler University.  Because of the university's past link with magic, including the exploding head of the man the university is named after, the Librarians decide to get involved.

Being geeks, you would think that the Librarians would be more comfortable on a college campus than they actually turn out to be. The investigation begins when the team talks to the head cheerleader, who is quick to wish that the missing mascot ends up dead in a ditch.  That's some extreme school spirit. At any rate, the cheerleader seems to think that warts making people sick and that people suddenly going missing in the middle of the night is quite normal. Clearly, the students on campus have found a way to explain away strange things in order to deal with the weird occurrences.

Ezekiel and Jake head to the missing Mascot's room to investigate where he was when he went missing. We learn that he was hired to work at fraternity house.  There's something weird going on with the gargoyles as well.  They seem to move closer when you look away from them.

Ezekiel and Cassandra head to the fraternity house to do some investigation and that's where they meet Lucy, a young woman who having discovered magic, is determined to find out as much as she can.  Ezekiel and Cassandra try to blow Lucy off but are quick to discover that without her help, they cannot get into the fraternity. Once inside, Ezekiel is of course occupied with stealing as much as he possibly can from the rich frat boys. Lucy and Cassandra head downstairs and stumble into what they think is some weird magical ceremony but instead is some ridiculous preamble to beer pong.  The trip isn't a complete loss because they notice that the room is lined with a strange black rock.

After hearing some weird things about the buildings on campus, Jake and Eve go to speak to Professor Roger Bancroft. As it turns out, Jake is a supper fan of Bancroft. The meeting starts off well, though Eve is absolutely bored with the mutual admiration society. It's not long before an argument breaks out over magic and Bancroft begins attacking Jake and asserting his superiority. Cue the arrival of a massive tentacle which suddenly appears and drags Bancroft away.

With Bancroft gone, it's up to Jake to teach the class. He uses the students to locate some of the magic on campus and learns that it all has created a magical circle.

The group meet up at the Library to compare notes.  Jenkins is not impressed that the gargoyle seems to have taken a liking to Ezekiel. They figure out that the entire campus is a summoning circle. The giant tentacle which took Bancroft away to another dimension, is actually a massive creature which if seen in its entirety causes madness. When Jenkins questions what the mascot and Bancroft were doing before they got taken, he realises that the creature feeds on pride.

Back on campus Eve and Cassandra meet up with Lucy.  Eve believes that they should go it alone but Cassandra argues that they need access to Lucy's instruments and points out that Lucy took the initial readings on campus. When they check out Lucy's particle accelerator, Cassandra realises that magic is what was making it work and what more, the machine had actually created a tear in the fabric of dimensions. Lucy starts to get arrogant when Cassandra explains what happened and this is enough to draw the tentacle creature out and snatch her away.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Into the Badlands, Season One, Episode Four: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons

The Widow is still very much up to her games and it seems that she is not going to be an easy antagonist for Quinn to defeat.  It's clear that the Widow is seen as a mere woman and that at least in part is why Quinn continues to underestimate her.  This episode we begin to see the lesson which Waldo tried to teach M.K. about underestimating ones opponent.

This epsidoe begins with Tilda running through the woods bleeding from many cuts on her hands, face, and body.  Tilda is all dressed in white as though to invoke a sense innocence I am not at all sure she possess.  Tilda runs in front of a moving vehicle calling out for help and when it stops, two men get out and for their trouble, the Widow kills them.  It seems that Tilda wasn't looking for help or safety and that is in fact an ambush in order to obtain gold.

Back at the Fort, Sonny is trying to train M.K.. Trying is the operative word because M.K. still seems to think that he should just magically be proficient over night. When M.K. tries to attack Sonny, Sonny immediately takes M.K. to the ground and advises his young Colt that he has to do the unexpected.  Later that night a worried and impatient M.K. practices on his own.  Finally, M.K. pulls out a knife unaware that he is being watched by Sonny.  Rather than cutting himself, M.K. puts the knife away.

Jade and Lydia are planning for Jade's upcoming wedding.  They sit in a room surrounded by gifts from the other Barons and when Lydia asks what role the gifts will play in the ceremony, Jade replies none since no other Barons will be attending the wedding.  Jade tries once again to encourage Lydia to form a friendship or at the very least an alliance since they will both be connected to Quinn.  Lydia refuses the overture but does offer Jade some motherly advice (yes full snark) that Jade shouldn't be sleeping with both Ryder and Quinn.

Quinn unsurprisingly has decided that he will not go gently into the good night and to that end goes to visit Veil. This man has a whole lot of nerve. Veil claims that her father didn't have time to teach her all that he knows and the lying Quinn promises to pursue the people who killed Veil's parents and give her justice.  Veil does not offer Quinn a cure outright but says that she can try a treatment to shrink his tumor. We know damn well that Veil is going to do the smart thing and hasten Quinn's death right?

The next day, the curiosity about M.K.'s power gets to Sonny and he decides to test M.K. by cutting him.  M.K.'s eyes turn a brilliant silver and then full black and he knocks Sonny unconscious before he falls to the ground unconscious himself.  When they awake, M.K. is super pissed that Sonny cut him without warning says that he could have killed his mentor.  Sonny however wants to use this as a learning opportunity and suggests that M.K. can potentially control his dark power if during the throes of it he thinks of one pure thing.  M.K. is quick to ask what pure is and that is a fair question given what we have seen of the Badlands to date.

With the theft of the gold, Quinn has decided to follow through on his plans to make an alliance to deal with the threat that the Widow poses.  To that end, he decides to send Ryder to meet with Zephyr. Ryder assumes that his father is setting up as a sacrificial lamb and bristles at the very idea. The tension between the two men is absolutely palatable.  Quinn is all to aware that his son has been up to something and that Jade is involved somehow.  When Ryder does finally meet with Zephyr, he delivers his father's message but adds that he has his own deal that he would like to propose.  Quinn may very well get his in the end but I highly suspect that Ryder will be shoved back into his place long before then.

Sonny walks into the barracks and tells the Colts that he needs a few of them to act as scouts for the upcoming parlay.  M.K. is upset that he wasn't among one of the chosen few.  We all know that M.K. isn't going to stay behind because he never ever follows orders though he is in way over his head.  Naturally, on the way to the parlay, Sonny discovers M.K. and so orders the young colt to stand as look out as he continues on with the Baron and a group of clippers.

The Running Game (Reachers #1) by L. E. Fitzpatrick

Rachel is always ready to run – she’s a Reacher, born with special powers and always hunted by the mysterious Institute. Always hunted, always funning – always ready to hide even in this broken England, brought down by economic disaster and war.

Now she has to run again – but she may have finally found help, two brothers with an involved past, their own secrets ad a painful history they are determined to resolve. If she helps them, she may have finally found the allies she needs to survive and a life worth living

I really like this vision of dystopian England – one brought apart from financial collapse and repeated wars that have brought the country down. It hasn’t produced a complete wasteland – but it has produced a very British seeming wasteland

The government and wealth has concentrated in the south east – as the government collapsed they’ve focused on the south east and left much of the rest of the country to fall into ruins torn by war (as a Yorkshireman I am manfully resisting snarking whether this is a dystopia or contemporary. Yes yes I am). London is still relatively wealthy and stable – but has carefully isolated itself from the shanty town around it, fencing it in and creating a lawless, corrupt land run by gangland. A gangland that could have come straight from the pages of an old British gangster novel – or gangster documentary.

I like how very very British the book is – some books have an excellent sign of time and place while others feel like just a name put on a generic setting. This is England, beyond doubt.

And I love how this whole underworld plotline works. The almost cartoonish characters, each with their own agendas and motives which makes for a wonderful story of doublecross and not quite knowing who to trust as everyone has secrets, everyone has their own agendas. On top of that we have a wonderful sense of the old guard under threat. These gangsters have seen their empire fall apart and are desperate to rebuild it – but to do so requires desperate measures and a whole lot of paranoia. Everyone – from the Smith brothers trying to recover from their loss, to Pinky trying to rebuild his empire to Rachel trying to rebuild her life – everyone has lost something and everyone is trying to rebuild. Thematically that sense of decline and stress is really excellently conveyed.

Doctor Who,Season Nine, Episode Twelve: Hell Bent

The finale begins in the middle of a desert area in Nevada.  The Doctor gets out a truck carrying his guitar and enters a greasy spoon diner.  The diner is empty except for the waitress - Clara.  Neither the Doctor or Clara seem to know each other.  The Doctor says that he doesn't have any money but offers her a song as a form of payment.  The Doctor plays a song named Clara that sounds like a lament.  Clara asks to be told about herself.

Back on Gallifrey, the Doctor walks across the barren land and makes his way back to the farmhouse from his childhood. It seems that when there is a significant moment in the Doctor's life on Gallifrey the barn will feature largely. The President is informed that all the bells are ringing in the whole cloister.  The President announces that they are facing great danger and asks where the Doctor has gone.  It is the sisterhood of Cairn who suggests that the Doctor has returned to the beginning. The president is about as pleased to see the sisterhood as he is to see the Doctor. It's not long before the Doctor is confronted by a woman whom when she recognizes him, informs the Doctor, "they'll kill you." The Doctor nods in acknowledgement and sits to eat a bowl of soup.

The High Council is taking the arrival of the Doctor seriously. The Doctor has barely taken a seat to eat his lunch when a spacecraft appears. The crowd is ordered to step away from the Doctor but they do not budge.  The Doctor angrily drops his spoon, gets up from the table and walks up to the ship.  Using his foot, the Doctor draws a line in the sand and then returns to the table to finish his meal.  Apparently, the Doctor is still not inclined to take orders from anyone.

The Doctor is next confronted by the Commander of the High forces of Gallifrey but he has no time for them as well, and returns to the barn without saying a word. In the barn, the Doctor dresses in his black coat. Clearly at this moment, he is no longer the Doctor.  This time when the Doctor leaves the barn, the Gallifreyian soldiers bow to him.  An irate President asks the High Priestess of Cairn if the Doctor wants revenge and is told that the Doctor only blames the president for the horrors of the time war. Apparently, no one on Gallifrey is considering what the death of Clara must have done to the Doctor. The president finally makes an appearance and so this time the Doctor leaves the barn.  The president offers his hand and in response, The Doctor drops his confession dial on the ground and demands that the President get off his planet. The president tries to explain that they needed to know if the Doctor had information about the Hybrid, who is a danger to all Gallifreyians.  The Doctor simply repeats that the President is to get off his planet. The President orders the soldiers to take aim at the Doctor and fire. The Commander of the High Forces tries to intervene, pointing out that the Doctor is a war hero and that some of the men who are being ordered to kill the Doctor served with him.  Does that strike anyone else as odd?  The thought of the Doctor as a war hero even though in the end he did bring the end of the war and saved Gallifrey does not sound right. Furthermore, I always thought of the Doctor as doing his own thing during the war simply because he has never been the type to follow orders, which a military setting would necessitate.  The soldiers take aim and the Doctor doesn't even blink as the order to fire is issued.  All of the soldiers miss.

Back in the diner, the Doctor talks to Clara about going back to his hometown - "space Glasgow".

The president asks a soldier to explain and he says, "the first thing you notice about the Doctor of War is that he is unarmed and for many, it's also the last."  One by one, the soldiers cross the line and join the Doctor.

At the diner, the Doctor tells Clara that every story ever told really happened. He adds that "stories are where memories go when they are forgotten."  Is that all Clara and the Doctor are to each other now - a true story?

The President ominously points a weapon asking the Doctor how many regenerations they granted him. If you recall, when the 11th Doctor became the 12th, he was actually out of regenerations. The Gallifreyans gave the Doctor more regenerations so that he could defeat the Daleks at Trensalor. More ships show up and it seems that this time, it was the Doctor who summoned them.  The President is then disarmed and told by the Commander of the High Forces to get off the Doctor's  planet.

Onto the capital where The Doctor is informed that Gallifrey is located at the extreme end of the time continuum for it's own protection.  The Doctor declares himself the President and says that he has barely started.

The Doctor talks to the Sisters about being trapped in the confession dial and he is still full of rage. He is asked why he banished the president but he doesn't explain.  In a meeting with the High Council, the Doctor  is told that the Hybrid will unravel a billion hearts just to heal itself.  The Doctor still holds his cards close to his chest.  If the Gallifreyans had just asked River, she would have told them that the Doctor always lies.   The Doctor's next trick is to pull Clara out of her timeline one heartbeat before the raven crashes into her.

A stunned Clara joins the Doctor in an extraction chamber on Gallifrey.  The High Commander tries to interrupt the conversation to ask about the Hybrid.  The High Commander tells Clara that once they get the information they need, they will pop her back into her timeline to die because her death is an established event.  Clara is frantic and all I think is that The High Commander clearly doesn't know the Doctor very well if he thinks for one moment that the Doctor is going to send Clara off to die after everything he went through to get to this moment.  The Doctor grabs a gun and is told that if he tries to change Clara's death he could fracture time itself.  Though Clara pleads that she doesn't want this, the Doctor simply questions how many regenerations the Commander has had before shooting him, grabbing Clara's hand and taking off running. How do you know the Doctor is not himself? He uses a gun.

The two head to the cloisters and the Doctor assures Clara that on Gallifrey death is code for man-flu when she expresses concern for the Commander. In the chamber, the High Commander regenerates into a Black woman. If you're keeping track, that's at least two Timelords who have regenerated as the opposite sex. Is this Moffat's way of setting us up for a female Doctor by proving that it can indeed happen. The Doctor leads Clara through the cloisters.

In the diner, the Doctor reveals that the only way to keep Clara safe was to wipe some of her memories of him.

In the cloisters, it seems that the guardians only attack if you try to leave.  The guardians are a weeping angel, a Dalek and a cyberman.  Apparently, since the cloisters are essentially a big database, the Dalek has been filed. The database is where Timelord minds are uploaded when they die - a living computer of sorts.  Clara asks the Doctor to look her in the eye and then questions how long it's been since he last saw her.  The Doctor avoids answering and says that he was stuck in a place because the Gallifreyans wanted information from him.  Clara then asks about the Doctor's velvet coat and he says that he changed it because you cannot be the Doctor all of the time. Clara is beginning to clue in and asks what happened to the Doctor.

The High Commander enters and Clara  orders her to stay back.  Clara asks about the Hybrid and the Doctor responds that it doesn't matter what it is but that what matters is that he convinced them (read: the Gallifreyans) that he knew because otherwise, he would have nothing left to bargain with.  The Doctor is adamant that he had to find a way to save Clara and had to hang on for a bit.  It's the High Priestess of Carn, who reveals that the Doctor was trapped in the dial 4.5 billion years. Wait, did the Doctor suddenly get bad at reading the stars?  This is twice as long as the Doctor said that he was trapped last week. Apparently, the dial would have released the Doctor the moment he said what he knew.  Clara is astounded and asks why the Doctor would do that to himself and he explains that he had a duty of care.  Clara has something to say to the Doctor but it happens off screen.  I must admit that I feel cheated not knowing what they had to say to each other in this moment.

Clara then decides to confront the Sister of Carn and the Gallifreyian High Council. They are so focused on Clara that they don't notice that the Doctor has disappeared.  When the Doctor appears again, it's in a Tardis with the design of the first Doctor's tardis.  The High Priestess of Carn calls out that the Doctor has broken every code he has ever lived by.  Clara is astounded that the High Priestess refers to the Doctor as boy. The Doctor counters that after everything, the universe owes him this and perhaps, it does.

Now that they have broken free of Gallifrey, The Doctor expects that Clara's heartbeat will return but it does not.  When he checks her neck, the countdown tattoo is still in place.  The Doctor is adamant that time will heal and that Clara will get a heart beat again. It's clear that the Doctor has come unhinged. He decides that they need to head to the last hours of the universe, way past where the Timelords can find them.  Once there, Clara still has no heartbeat.  Clara asks what happens if the universe needs her to die and an angry Doctor yells that the universe is over and that they are standing on the last ember. The Doctor yells that as of this moment, he is answerable to no one. Yeppers, another Timelord Victorious moment.

Cue the ominous four knocks.  The Doctor asks Clara to wait in the Tardis as he deals with what is out there. Unsurprisingly, the Doctor finds Ashildir waiting for him. It seems that Ashildir is the last immortal and has been watching the stars die.  Ashildir confronts the Doctor for trying to change Clara's fate, saying that he has no right to change who Clara was.  What neither Ashildir or the Doctor know, is that in the Tardis, Clara is eavesdropping on her conversation. Ashildir asks who the hybrid is and the Doctor claims it is Ashildir.  Ashildir argues that the hybrid is half human and half Timelord and questions why the Doctor spends so much time on earth. The Doctor does not confirm that he isn't half human which is suppose is a confession of sorts.  Ashildir asserts that this is why the Doctor ran away from Gallifrey. The Doctor for his part refuses to answer.  Ashildir then says that the hybrid isn't one person but two: A Timelord and a human.

The Doctor admits that he went too far and is going to take Clara back to earth and wipe away Clara's memories of him.  Clara grabs the sonic sunglasses and turns off the screen a moment before the Doctor re-boards the Tardis. The Doctor tells Clara his plans and that the image of him in her brain could be used to find her.  Clara then says that she reversed the polarity of the device that he plans on using her.  Clara explains,  “Nobody’s ever safe. I’ve never asked you for that, ever. These have been the best years of my life, and they are mine. Tomorrow is promised to no one, Doctor, but I insist upon my past. I am entitled to that.”

The Doctor says that they should push the button together and see whose memory gets erased.  It takes a moment but the Doctor falls to the ground.  His final bit of advice to Clara is to "Run like hell because you always need to. Laugh at everything because all is funny. Never be cruel and never be cowardly and if you ever are, always make amends.  Never eat pears; they're too squishy." Clara apologizes and the Doctor assures her hat it's okay because he went too far and became the hybrid. The Doctor asks Clara to smile for him one last time but with tears running down her face, Clara cannot grant him this last request. The Doctor promises to remember Clara and then passes out.

The Doctor awakes in the desert and is told by a man that Clara asked him to look after the Doctor.

Back in the diner, the Doctor remembers a few details about his time with Clara and that she told him something important but that he cannot remember what.  The Doctor does not remember what Clara looked like, how she talked or how she laughed.  The Doctor is adamant that if he met Clara again he would know.  Clara turns her back as the Doctor wonders if he was in the diner with Clara. It comes to him then that it was Amy and Rory.  The Doctor is putting together some pieces and says that the diner wasn't always located where it is now.  Clara heads towards the door and pauses to tell the Doctor that memories become songs when we forget them.  Clara walks through the door onto the Tardis where Ashildir is waiting for her.

The Tardis de-materializes around the Doctor, leaving him in the desert.  When the Doctor looks around, he finds his old Tardis waiting for him still covered in the Clara shrine.

On Clara's Tardis, Ashildir says that she cannot get the chameleon circuit working so the Tardis is stuck as a diner.  Clara's pulse has still not restarted which means her death is a fixed event.  Clara tells Ashildir that she is not scared and will simply take the long way around back to Gallifrey to be put back in her timeline.

The Doctor enters his Tardis and it powers up quickly at his arrival.  On the chalkboard is a note from Clara, "run you clever boy and a be Doctor."  Next to the chalkboard is the Doctor's purple coat and so he puts it on.  The Tardis creates a new sonic screwdriver and hurtles through the air into the Doctor's hand. With a snap of the finger, the Tardis door closes.  The Doctor starts the Tardis up and when it de-materializes the shrine to Clara disappears.  In space, the Doctor's Tardis and Clara's nearly cross paths.

That was quite a season finale.  Though Clara actually died in episode ten, her departure from the Whoverse didn't actually end until this episode.  In fact, it was written in such a way to leave an opening for both Clara and Ashildir to return at some point if it fits the story and the actresses are interested.

Part of the reason that Clara died is that she tried to be the Doctor.  Clara wanted to create multiple avenues of escape and missed Ashildir saying that the death is locked in.  In this final scene we see that she has become the Doctor of sorts. In the normal course of events it is the companion who would lose their memory while the Doctor struggled to find a way to move on without them. In this case, it's the Doctor who loses his memories of Clara. Clara even has her own Tardis and companion to keep her company and just like the Doctor she is on the run from something she doesn't want to face - no matter how much bravado she asserts.  It's a fitting end for Clara, even if it makes me want a Clara/Ashildir spin off that will never happen.

This is the second time in NuWho that the memory wipe device has been employed, the first being with our beloved Donna Nobel.  When Clara talks about keeping her memories like Donna, it's about so much more than that.  The memories inform how Clara has changed since she first met the Doctor.

One of the questions that this series sought to explore is who the Hybrid is and why the Doctor started running in the first place.  Ashildir and the Doctor bandied about explanations but it makes sense to me that the Doctor was told that he had something to do with the Hybrid. That would be enough to scare anyone into running, even if the act of running created exactly what he was running from.  The Doctor is still running though he no longer remembers Clara but it does make me wonder if he remembers himself now why he ran in the first place?

I do have one burning question.  How the hell did Clara know about the diner because the Doctor is right, he was there with River, Rory and Amy?  Is that why she put it down in the wrong location because it had only ever been one of his stories?  Can I just say how much I love the idea of a Tardis diner floating around in space.

I wasn't completely sold on Capaldi in season eight.  It wasn't so much that I missed Smith but that something about the actor didn't feel like a fit.  Right from the very first episode of this season however that changed drastically. I think that after this season, Capaldi will absolutely go down as one of the best Doctors.  He may be a right bastard at times but he is compelling to watch, even when he is telling people not to take a selfie.  I cannot wait to see where this is going.  The Doctor essentially has a fresh start now that he has forgotten Clara which should open him up to a new companion and a new set of adventures unencumbered by the past. There is a part of him though that is sad and so it's bittersweet. Capaldi's Doctor may not be charming in the way that 11 was but he is every inch the Doctor.

Once Upon a Time, Season 5, Episode 11: Swan Song

We start with a ship at sea in a storm with a kid and his dad on board – I’m going to guess at young Killian because this show needs moooooar flashbacks. His dad then broke poor Killian’s heart by selling his son and running from the law

Do we really need more angst here? Really?

Flashbacks! This is all about Killian’s daddy issues this week.

Waaaay back when Killian and Regina were both evil and made a deal: Regina tried to recruit Killian to kill her mother in exchange for a trip to a land without magic where he can kill Rumpletiltskin without his magic. After she makes him confront his dad because DADDY ISSUES – and this daddy is also lucky enough to find a way to be immortal – by being put under a sleeping curse. True love broke the curse and made him a better man. Oh and as a better man he has a new son. This apparently inspires Killian to spare his dad and get him to safety rather than stabbing him in the face.

Except Killian sees his dad selling the same lies to his new son as he did to him – and to rub that salt in, he’s even called his new son Liam. Killian’s older brother’s name. His dead older brother. Recycling the names of dead older children is kin of tacky. He stabs his dad to death and his dad, like all convenient sacrificial characters, dies begging his son to redeem himself.

In the present Gold and Killian have a confrontation – the pair still don’t like each other much. This scene is entirely about taunting.

The rest of the good guys march down the road in dramatic formation, recapping Killian’s plan to bring back all the Dark Ones. Emma is preparing to kill Killian if necessary. Mary Margaret soggily whimpers at the idea. I think this is why Emma tells them to split up

Everyone gets a collection of Dark Ones confronting them – all of them marking their wrists. The Mark of Charon – Gold explains that the Dark Ones can’t actually stay in the real world, they have to choose replacements. Those with marks will be dragged into the Underworld which Gold assures us is a terribad place. He’s already given up

Regina goes to try and confront Killian about how far he’s gone but he points out that Regina doesn’t really have a whole lot of moral highground to lecture people about going too far in the name of revenge. She throws back his own path of redemption and how he changed even as he scorns hers. He menaces her with magic rather than let her talk.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Da Vinci's Demons, Season 3, Episode 7: Alis Volat Propis

Various city states are messing with history pledging various forces to the Pope’s crusade when a guy in full Turkish armour manages to barge into the chamber where it is all being debated – once he gets there he takes off his helmet and reveals he’s Lorenzo.


Ok, so he escaped the Turks dressed as one. Great, good plan. Then upon leaving Otranto he decided to continue to travel nearly the FULL length of Italy in (presumably very smelly) the same suit of armour?! Even when arriving in Florence, his own city, not only did he KEEP wearing the armour but he didn’t even take the helmet off so people could see him and NOT try to murder him

It would quite literally have been safer for him to walk into the city stark bollock naked. Or dressed in angry honey badgers.

Leo has cured Riario, apparently. And now frees him – which shows that even a genius can be a bloody fool. They’re joined by Laura of Venice (who seems to be a fool as well, returning to the man who held her at sword point). She decides to be quite casual about the whole thing an calmly lets them know Lorenzo is back

Leo runs to him (he’s still wearing the world’s smelliest armour). He finally takes it off (after explaining he wore it for a while since he didn’t know how far the Ottomans have reached – an excuse that makes sense unless you know anything about Italian geography and realise how damn far Otranto and Florence are from each other). He describes the horrible conditions he endured and Leo tries to reassure him about the army they gathered by Lorenzo is more concerned about Clarice and how she was killed.

Riario and Laura still apparently have a thing for each other. He, Leo and Laura join the Pope and others in a war Council to discuss the Ottoman invasion. They plan a united invasion which goes a little awry because Lorenzo declares, literally, that the Pope and his crusade can go fuck themselves. Telling Pope’s to go fuck themselves should probably happen much more often but generally raises many many eyebrows. But the new Lord, Madam Singh, is quick to back him.

Other councillors do not and the man starts well, pointing out that Florence is a Republic so Lorenzo can’t actually overrule them, but then mocks him with Clarice sleeping with Carlo. Lorenzo decides a reasonable rebuttal is to beat the man to death on the Council floor. As an argument it lacks elegance but is certainly impactful. He then rages that Florence will be independent from everyone – Rome, Ottomans, the rest of Italy – anything and everything. Even Nico and Vanessa look shocked.

Doctor Who, Season Nine, Episode Eleven: Heaven Sent

The Doctor's voice over at the beginning of this episode:
As you come into this world, something else is also born. You begin your life, and it begins a journey towards you. It moves slowly, but it never stops. Wherever you go, whatever path you take, it will follow — never faster, never slower, always coming. You will run, it will walk. You will rest, it will not. One day, you will linger in the same place too long — you will sit too still, or sleep too deep. And when, too late, you rise to go, you will notice a second shadow next to yours. Your life will then be over.
In episode ten, we saw the death of the longest serving companion, Clara Oswald.  The Doctor is then transported away. The penultimate episode of this season begins with blood trails in a stone castle. We follow the camera in a journey around the castle and see a bloodied hand pulling a lever. It disappears to ash and then the Doctor appears in the transporter. The Doctor picks up the ashes at his feet and says,“If you think because she’s dead, I am weak, then you understand very little. If you were any part of killing her, and you’re not afraid, then you understand nothing at all. So for your own sake understand this: I am the Doctor and I am coming to find you and I will never ever stop." Ominous indeed.

The Doctor cautiously begins to explore the castle.  He speaks his thoughts aloud and says that he isn't far from where he was and is in the same time zone.  The Doctor adds that when the sun sets, he will know exactly where he is. Full of bravado, the Doctor makes it clear that he may not keep his promise to Clara not to take revenge.  The Doctor calls out repeatedly to face his antagonist but gets no answer.  When Doctor looks out the window, he sees the Veil staring back at him from another part of the castle. The bravado is now gone and clearly the Doctor is alarmed.  He continues to move cautiously through the castle looking at his surroundings and at monitors placed strategically on walls. The Doctor approaches a door and when he finally gets it open, there's a brick wall instead of an exit. The Veil approaches and the Doctor admits that not only is he scared but that he is scared of dying. This confession stops time and the castle shifts, opening up an exit for the Doctor.

The Doctor finds himself in a bedroom with an old and crumbling painting of Clara. The Doctor realises that his nightmares have been stolen.  The Veil is approaching him again and he is asking whether he is in a trap, prison or torture chamber but he gets no answer.  The Doctor tosses a bench through a window and dives outside.

When we see the Doctor again he is in his Tardis talking to Clara.  In reality he is falling to his death and the Tardis is only in his mind. The Doctor admits that he is dying but adds that he is going to explain to Clara how he survives.  The Doctor notes that he smelled salt when he broke the window which means that the castle is standing in the sea. The Doctor starts to calculate how far he is going to fall and how fast. The Doctor hits the water and floats unconscious.  On the Tardis, Clara asks on the chalkboard what the Doctor said that made the Veil stop.  It's clear that the Doctor is exhausted. When Clara rights win, the Doctor regains consciousness and sees that the floor of the sea is covered with skulls.

The Doctor swims ashore and makes his way inside the castle. A dripping wet Doctor approaches a roaring fireplace and finds a replica of his clothing.  He quickly exchanges his wet clothing for the dry ones. The Doctor leaves the room behind and again makes his way through the castle.  The Doctor realises that there are screens everywhere showing him where the Veil is.  The Doctor believes that the Veil is trying to scare him and that he is experiencing a bit of theater.  The Doctor believes that he is literally trapped inside a box trying to scare him to death.  What he doesn't realise is that the box doesn't want to scare him, it wants his confessions.

Cautiously, the Doctor is on the move again and this time he heads outside where he finds a fresh mound of dirt. The Doctor starts to dig after he sees a spade. He finds a sign which reads, "I am in 12".  When the Doctor hears the sound of insects, he opens a door to investigate, only to find the Veil once more.  The Doctor manages to get the door closed and uses the spade to keep it secure.  When the Doctor checks the monitor, he sees no sign of the Veil.  The Veil bursts up from under the sign and attacks.

The Doctor is in his mind Tardis again and this time Clara writes, "tell no lies" The Doctor realises that he is being interrogated and that the Veil wants his confession.   The problem however is that there are some truths that he can never tell.

The Doctor tells the Veil that he didn't leave Gallifrey because he was bored but because he was scared.  The Veil accepts this confession and backs off, so the Doctor gets out of the hole and sees the walls of the castle shifting yet again.  The Doctor heads inside the castle and sees that it is completely surrounded by water.  Skulls float to the surface in macabre fashion briefly before sinking to the bottom.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Five: Rat King

Nick grabs Trubel and rushes her to the hospital, after informing Adalind where he is going. I suppose we can't have the little woman  rapist worrying.  At the hospital, the staff is in shock as they peel body armor and various weapons off of Truble.  Nick covers by claiming that Trubel is a cop who was working under cover.  When Nick looks through Trubel's things, he finds various forms of identification and various kinds of currency.

While pacing around, Adalind decides to answer the phone Nick took from Chavez when she died. Adalind is surprised to recognize Meisner's voice.  In a flashback, we are reminded that it was Meisner who helped Adalind escape from the Royals.  Adalind calls Nick at the hospital to give him a heads up about the phone call but their conversation is brief because Nick is called away by the Doctor.  Nick asks to see Trubel and is told that she has been given a sedative and will need to stay in the hospital for observation.  Nick rushes in to see Trubel before she passes out and all she manages to tell him is that she has so much to share. The nurse asks Trubel her name and she says "Lauren Cole", which is the name on the fake identification that was in her pocket.  On the way out of the hospital, Nick stops long enough to hand over Trubel's fake license and his contact information and is told that he will be alerted when Trubel wakes.

When Nick gets home, Adalind gives him a little bit of information about Meisner but Nick is preoccupied by finding out what is going on with Trubel. To that end, he calls the precinct and gets a hold of Hank to get a trace on the plate from Trubel's motorcycle. Hank quickly hands the task over to Wu. When Hank and Wu get back to Nick, he learns that the bike is worth at least 30K (Trubel was living large) and that the I.D. of Lauren Cole has Trubel's picture on it.  Nick decides to stay and check out the bike and asks Hank and Wu to check out Lauren Cole's apartment out of uniform. Nick heads outside to tinker with bike and when he finds a few mystery buttons which accidentally sets off the bike's defenses, Nick thinks the better of it and shuts the bike down.

At the hospital, Trubel's nurse is done playing nice.  Nurse Ratchett slaps Trubel across the face several times trying to get Trubel out of her deep sleep. Finally, Nurse Ratchett pulls Turbel's eyes open before woging so that she can watch Trubel's eyes dilate. I guess this is her way of confirming that Trubel is a Grimm.  Nurse Ratchett reports her findings to the Doctor (no, not that Doctor) and he decides to schedule a CAT scan. Looks like Trubel is in danger.

While all of the Nick/Trubel has been going on, the Wesen have of course been busy.  A group of Klaustreich have decided to head to a junkyard to mess with a Reinigen.  Like typical bullies, the Klaustreich gets angry when their victim tries to defend himself.  The beat down however is brought to an end when a large creature appears.  One of the Klaustreich manages to get away while the other two die screaming.

The two dead Klaustreich are found in the bed of their truck the next day.  When the phone of one of the men rings, Nick answers it and ends up speaking to Joanna.  The cops decide to head to Joanna's to deliver the news about the death of the two Klaustreich.  Upon hearing the news, Joanna Woges forcing Nick to tell her that he is a Grimm and that he is not there to hurt her.  Joanna then tells the cops about where her friends and Johnny went the night before.

Nick and Hank go to check out the junkyard.  Nick reveals that he is a Grimm but oddly enough, this inspires absolutely no fear. After not really learning much the cops leave.  The mechanic that they were speaking to is full of bravado and makes it clear to a friend that he is not afraid of the Grimm and is interested in finding Johnny, so that they can give Johnny the justice they feel he deserves.

Where do Nick and Hank go when they cannot figure out something Wesen? Why to the spice shop of course.  Once at the shop, Rosealee and Monroe inform the cops about the long standing feud between the Klaustreich and the Reinigen, when they learn that the night men died they had gone torment the Reinigen.  It's Rosalee who suggests that the rat king might be responsible but Monroe is quick to dismiss the story as too fantastical.  Apparently, the legend states that when the Reinigen are in trouble, they join together and the Rat King appears.  The cops decide to head back to the junkyard and Rosealee chooses to follow hoping to get a glimpse of the Rat King. Monroe follows along only because Rosealee is going.

Haven, Season 5, Episode 23: Blind Spot

Everyone is rallying around – Audrey is going to be targeted by Croatoan so they’re locking down the police station with every bit of security they can while Audrey tries to figure out how to make Barn #2 without all the killing.

This calls for Duke and Nathan to be all reminiscent with happy memory lane including how they’ve always kind of looked out for each other.

Vince has a bit of a melt-down assuming everyone is blaming him for not realising Dave was Croatoan – though it looks less like he truly believes everyone things it’s his fault and more that he is epicly blaming himself while still reeling with grieving for Dave. While he flails around with a knife, Gloria responds with common sense and sedatives. Because she’s Gloria. She gives him an excellent talking to about grieving and reminds us how underused this awesome character has been.

And then someone is randomly attacked and murdered. This causes panic. Even worse, an artistic director decides we need to watch the action via fuzzy black and white CCTV. And something invisible locks Audrey in a room. The CCTV cameras shouldn’t be online so it’s Trouble shenanigans.

It’s not Croatoan, it’s an old Trouble which creates a haunted house (merging a person with a building). It’s apparently Laverne – the woman who runs the police radio system who has been around since season 1. And she isn’t the one who killed the dead guy, Carl – so Croatoan is probably around a swell.

Hey isn’t this a good thing? Having Laverne run defence? That seems to be her reasoning anyway. Laverne is now becoming major security. Which us useful because Croatoan is running amok. Audrey coaxes Laverne into using all her shiny Trouble powers while we get some more CCTV/Shaky camera-angle footage to try and create a fake Horror movie feel (oh please like these three people are going to die?). They do find a lot of blood which has everyone (but me) worried about Duke (they have no faith in his plot shield).

Back to Barn building and the controller stone they have summons Agent Howard – the old Barn guy (who knows what he was). He is the Controller. Unfortunately he is part guy who was shot by Nathan (and he’s bitter about that) and part programme that needs proper authorisation (Audrey isn’t a “real” person – she’s an “overlay personality”). So they need to prove that Audrey is a new shiny personality and not an overlay. Al he can do, via his programming, is dispense “another overlay” and make a new personality for her.

Z Nation, Season Two, Episode Thirteen: Adiós, Muchachos

Kurian is about to inject Vasquez and Warren tells La Reina that she doesn't trust Kurian.  Warren points out that the way to find out if one's food is poisoned, is to have the cook taste it first.  La Reina orders Kurian to take the first shot and he tries to weasel out of it but being surrounded by Zeros, he has no choice. Once injected, the Zeros decide to test Kurian by having him place his hand in a box with a zombie head.  Kurian screams when he is bitten but doesn't change. La Reina is suitably impressed and orders Warren injected next - an honour for saving her life.  Murphy finally puts down the popcorn and requests the honour of injecting Warren himself because Warren has saved his life countless times.  Murphy takes the needle and fakes giving Warren the shot. Escorpion is adamant that Warren and her people cannot be trusted and points out that Warren brought the assassin. Escorpion asks for more time with Vasquez and La Reina agrees.  With that done, Kurian proceeds to inject the rest of the Zeros including La Reina. La Reina then orders Kurian and Murphy to make more of the vaccine.

Vasquez is taken away and tied up again and Escorpion beats him.  Vasquez finally tells Escorpion that he wasn't trying to kill La Reina and was in fact trying to kill Escorpion.  Vasquez adds that Escorpion killed his wife and his little girl. Unsurprisingly,  because Escorpion has killed so many people, he doesn't instantly remember Vasquez's family. Escorpion however says that he should have killed Vasquez as well. Escorpion wonders why Warren is there because what Vasquez said only explains his presence.  Vasquez decides that he is done talking and adds that Escorpion will never take anything from him again.  Vasquez finds himself placed in a cage with a zombie and Escorpion argues that they are exactly the same.

Back in the lab, Kurian is running around furiously.  Kurian informs Murphy that the Zeros are now Murphy's new army, though the plan was not for him to get injected. It seems that Kurian has been busy trying to create an antidote to the shot he gave himself.  Murphy then tests his power on Kurian and forces him to drop the antidote on the ground and step on the needle.

It's girl time for La Reina and Warren, and they share a shot of expensive tequila.  They toast to the end of the apocalypse and the return of humankind.  La Reina reveals that unlike her former husband, what she wants is a new world.

Warren makes her way to the lab and finds Murphy in control of Kurian and enjoying the power.  Murphy reveals that Kurian is building him an army.  Warren questions if Murphy is going to California and Murphy says that if he does, he will be going with an army that he controls. Warren invokes Cassandra, so Murphy points out that he didn't let Warren get injected because he likes Warren just the way she is.  A disgusted Warren leaves to find the others, ordering Murphy to stay where he is.