Saturday, February 27, 2016

The 100, Season Three, Episode Six: Bitter Harvest

A ton happened on The 100 this week. I find myself having to repeatedly remind myself how much I really like Michael Beach because I hate the hell out of Pike. Here's the deal, on the Arc, Pike was a teacher which should have made him well aware of earth's history and still yet, he is determined to move forward with this scorched earth policy in a war. Pike hasn't even questioned what happens when they run out of bullets.  When Marcus confronts Pike on the Grounders who are being kept in internment, Pike spins it to claim that they are being imprisoned for the purposes of protection. Say what?  How does this teacher not know that this has always been wrong and lead to disastrous results? Pike however is certain that he is not there to be liked and to get a job done. It's ironic that their first election lead to the rule of a dictator.

For her part, unlike her brother, Octavia continues to work to avoid a war.  She rides out to spy on the Farmers who are taking soil samples.  When Hannah spies a Grounder kid, she says hello in a cheery voice just before ordering the rest of the farmers to kill the kid. Were it not for the intervention of Octavia, who by the way has to tolerate poison sap, the kid would have died.  I don't understand how Hannah, who believed her child to be dead not that long ago, justifies this decision to herself.  In fact, at this point, I'm pretty sure that I don't like Hannah either. She didn't go into the mist to save her own son when Sakiru found themselves in a Grounder trap and then she has the nerve to blame Octavia for it all when she and Pike were the one's being blood thirsty.  Yep, Hannah can join Pike and Jaha on my list of people who need to go.

If Pike had not slaughtered the Grounder army in the first place and treated them like the allies they were at the time, he could have simply asked for Skaikru to have access to the land for farming, instead of having to goad Bellamy into doing whatever was necessary to feed their people.  The logic in his position just doesn't make sense to me and it is even more troublesome that even with hindsight, neither Pike or his supporters can see the error of his way.

Marcus continues to marshal his forces and though he is horrified at the fact that he is sending kids to die in order to avoid a war he continues on. Chief among Marcus's regrets is insisting upon the election which gave power to Pike.  This earns him a kiss from Abby. Are we supposed to say aww at this? They better not make these two a couple. I know that they've been dancing around it for awhile but I don't want to see Abby with the man who had her publicly punished, I don't care how much they rehabilitate Marcus's character.

Marcus manages with the help of Miller to get a bug placed in the Chancellor's area and this is how he learns about the plans for the Grounder village.  Marcus tries once again to talk sense into Bellamy but Bellamy is too far under Pike's sway to stop.  Miller is then forced to say a tearful goodbye to Brian. When I saw this moment, I knew that Brian was wearing the red shirt.  Clearly, Miller and Brian are a thing but am I the only one who doesn't remember this being explicit before now?

So, Octavia warns the Grounders, who at first believe that she is threatening them.  Octavia is told that she doesn't know as much about them as she thinks. I believe that this is a valid point worth making because Octavia has been spending a lot of time self identifying as Grounder when she isn't. It's a problem and amounts to appropriation. The Grounders take a page from Pike's playbook and use the poisoned sap which burned Octavia to lay waste to the land making it useless for farming in the future, killing Monroe in the process. I gotta say that I am team Grounder in this instance.

 It's fair to say that Octavia wasn't completely successful in her mission and now she has been captured by the very Grounders she was trying to warn.  Pike is certain that Octavia was colluding with Marcus and demands that Bellamy find evidence of this.  How much kool aid has Bellamy been drinking anyway to agree to this betrayal? Does this mean that The 100 is going to turn Bellamy into a double agent?  I much preferred Bellamy when he at least had the appearance of being autonomous than the robot he has become.

Unfortunately for Skaikru, Pike isn't their only problem. Jaha is walking around selling the City of Light; however, Abby is on the case.  Abby let's Raven go back to work but she is concerned that all of Raven's pain mysteriously disappeared though her leg is still damaged.  The people of Skaikru are swallowing the tech hand over fist because they want an end to their pain. ALIE is up to something searching for some kind of code her creator made.  It's Jaha (who really needs to die) who figures out that it's on the 13th Arc.  He is also smart enough not to tell Raven about the tech being the cause of the destruction of the world.  As smart as Jaha is however, he doesn't realise how the tech has effected him.  When Abby questions if Jaha would allow Wells to take the tech without testing, Jaha freezes because he has forgotten who Wells is.  Jaha tries to cover but it only heightens Abby's distrust and she takes away the rest of the so-called keys. Yeah, I'm team Abby on this one.

Sense8, Season One, Episode Twelve: I Can't Leave Her

Riley has been captured by BPO and Will is determined that he must save her.  We learn that from childhood, he has felt driven to save people and so the risks he takes for Riley, are an intrinsic part of his person.  With the help of Nomi and Amanita,  Will races towards  BPO  because  not only has Riley been captured, but Whispers has chartered a helicopter and his headed to the facility at the same time. Yrsa appears to Riley and warns her that she has one last chance to save her cell.  We get a flash to Angelica killing herself when discovered by Whipsers because that was the only way to save the other sensates.  Riley manages to grab a gun but the members of her cell shows up and Will manages to talk her into not giving up.

What follows is essentially one big prison break with all of the senseates showing up as their specialties are needed. I loved watching Sun kick ass, Kala awakening Riley, Capheus starting the ambulance and even Lito charming a worker to find out where Riley was being held.  This episode marks the second time Will and Lito have met, the first being in the epic Sense8 orgy scene.  In the moment, Will seemed to have no problem having sex with his cell but it's clear now that he has realised what actually happened, he's not at all cool realising that he had sex Lito.  Considering that the sensates have little control about how and when they are visited Will's astonishment and discomfort raises the issue of consent. This is something that Sense8 needs to delve into in the second season.

Having the senseates work together shows that despite being so far apart, coming from so many different cultures and in some cases not even speaking the same language, they function completely as a team; together they are a force to be reckoned with. Even watching Aminita and Nomi working together was amazing. I love that Sense8 took the time to once again remind us just how much these women mean to each other.

As much as this episode is about breaking Riley out of BPO, it's also about Riley's loss and Riley's fear, along with Wolfie dealing with his family issues. We already knew that Riley's husband and infant child had died but we didn't know how.  Riley continues to relive that faithful night.  Her husband rushes her to the hospital after things didn't work out with the midwife and then ends up getting into an accident and dying. Riley gives birth in the crashed car next to her dead husband and tent walks into the mountains hoping to find help for herself and her infant. When Riley notices that the baby has died, the pain overwhelms her and she lies down on the ground, promising her dead child that she won't leave her.  We know that Riley is only alive because Yrsa sent a helicopter for her.

As for Wolfgang, it's time to face his uncle Sergei and deal with the consequences of killing Steiner. An over confident Wolfie shoots Sergei, only to find thanks to Will that his uncle is wearing a bullet proof vest. Wolfie is forced to flee and if it were not for Kala showing up to pull a Macgyver and making a homemade bomb, Wolfie would have died.  Wolfie finally confronts Sergei and this time he has the upper hand because his uncle's gun is out of bullets and all of his minions are dead. Wolfie explains that as a child, he strangled his father and set his body on fire because he couldn't take the abuse anymore. Wolfie blames Sergei in part because he knew about the abuse did nothing. Wolfie then calls his father a monster, Sergei a monster and then himself a monster, before emptying his gun into his uncle.  Kala sees the whole thing and has tears streaming down her face.  Wolfie explains that this is why Kala needs to marry Rajan. Never has the gulf between these two been wider.  I don't want to see Kala go on a mission to save Wolfie from his demons and I don't want to see her marry Rajan either.  I want Wolfie and Kala together though so I hope that Sense8 can fix this.

Lost Girl, Season 5, Episode 16: Rise

So last week Bo pretended to go all evil – and of course it was pretend. In addition to locking up all her friends in a burning buding, she also left them the protect-against-Bo horseshoe and called Bruce – the huge fae, to come knock down the wall and get them all out. Of course it’s only luck that they weren’t all squished anyway during the fire – but as far as Lost Girl goes this is a genius plan

Step 2 on this genius plan is for Bo to pretend to drain Tamsin to death by draining her chi – while actually sneaking her the key to her cage allowing her to escape

The plan doesn’t last because Hades, calling on the big dark awful inside her, and appealing to her rocky rocky oh-so-rocky relationships and presumably doing some dark woo-woo (I’d hate to think Bo is one weepy movie away from going all dark side) drives her over the edge to unleash her inner evil and his master plan – to drain the entire city with her chi sucking. The entirety of Toronto is being nommed on by Bo – including the elders that have finally gathered to actually do something

Not only does Bo put everyone on the ground (including all the police who had conveniently gathered in one place), but Hades then raises these people as his own little slaves – I think this is raising the dead but not mainly because the show doesn’t want Bo to have actually killed the city of Toronto (because that would require one hell of a redemption train).

Of course the good guys are all kind of doubting and worried about what this means and Bo going dark – but Kenzi is adamantly pro-Bo throughout. Because she’s Kenzi and that’s who she is.

They’re also protected by this surprisingly multi-purpose horseshoe which stops them being among the drained and enslaved masses and also stops bullets fired by said drained and enslaved masses. It’s a pretty nifty horseshoe but since it was forged by the gods we can’t exactly argue against that.

Bo herself arrives to turn the tide and, despite an emotional and nonsense laden appeal by Kenzi (honestly, Kenzi’s sarcastic commentary and nervous babble completely makes this episode – as it always has. Oh Kenzi you were missed), she drains her friends. In doing so she is hit by a whammy of all the love and emotion she has shared with them – specifically Tamsin, Dyson, Kenzi and Lauren – and the power of love shatters his control. Normally I say that sarcastically but in this case it completely works, especially following awesome pep talks from Lauren and Tamsin

Friday, February 26, 2016

What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles #1) by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

Of the characters in The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices series, it's fair to say that Magnus Bane is the most interesting.  When I discovered these short stories, I chose to read them to learn more about his life before his entanglements with the shadowhunters. Being immortal, it suggests that Magnus must have had adventures we can only dream about

As the title of the story suggests, it's all about finding out exactly what Magunus did to be banned from Peru.  After each mini memory, we are told that this is not the cause of Magnus's banishment. It leads one to believe that Clare and Brennan are leading up to some sort of spectacular  debaucherous tale of excitement and adventure, only to have the short story end with no answer as to why Magnus got banned.  Did these two authors just run out of ideas?  Did they just decide at the 65 page mark that they had written enough to legitimize a sale and therefore no longer felt duty bound to at least answer the basic question of What Really Happened in Peru? Someone needs to tell Clare and Brennan that when you ask a question, writing an ending like the following is a cop out.
"The High Council of Peruvian warlocks met in secret, and a letter was sent to Magnus several months later announcing that he had been banned from Peru, on pain of death, for “crimes unspeakable.” Despite his inquiries, he never received an answer to the question of what he had been banned for. To this day, whatever it is that actually got him banned from Peru is—and perhaps must always remain—a mystery."
The upside to What Really Happened in Peru, is that we got to find out a little bit more about the childhood of typical warlocks. It seems that warlocks largely come into being when a demon rapes a human female.  A lot of the time, Demons use rape by deception to accomplish their reproduction. The Warlocks who make it to adulthood do so because there mothers love them unconditionally despite the circumstances of their conception or the markers of what they really are, like Ragnor Fell's green skin for example.  "Our fathers were demons," said Catarina. Our mothers were heroes".

Magnus it seems is the exception to the rule.
Magnus's warlock's mark was his eyes, the pupils slit, the color lucent and green-gold at the wrong angles, but these features had not developed immediately.  He had not been born with Catarina's blue or Ragnor's green skin, had been born a seemingly human baby with unusual amber eyes. Magnus’s mother had not realized his father was a demon for some time, not until she had gone to the cradle one morning and seen her child staring back at her with the eyes of a cat.
She knew, then, what had happened, that whatever had come to her in the night in the shape of her husband had not been her husband. When she had realized that, she had not wanted to go on living.
And she hadn’t.
Magnus did not know if she had been a hero or not. He had not been old enough to know about her life, or fully comprehend her pain. He could not be sure in the way Ragnor and Catarina looked sure. He did not know if, when his mother knew the truth, she had still loved him or if all love had been blotted out by darkness. A darkness greater than the one known by his friends’ mothers, for Magnus’s father was no ordinary demon. (pg 34-35)
I like that there's absolutely no shame for the victim or denial of what they went through to raise their children to adulthood. By talking about the reaction of Magnus's mother, it makes it clear that rape is a violation and some people never ever get over it. It also explains why Magnus is as powerful as he is and why he is so ready to accept the love of those who are mortal.

Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 15: Beyond the Mat

The word “meh” comes to mind. I think this review is going to be a pretty short one because I simply don’t have anything meaningful to say.

We have a monster of the week episode – but it’s something we’ve kind of seen before: someone makes a deal with a demon and it ends up coming due and they regret it. It’s not  bad episode, but we’ve seen a lot of these episodes and storylines, a lot of these deals and it really doesn’t add to any real meta, or be all that intriguing in its own right

I think there’s some comment there about these deals, desperation and especially how such a physical profession as wrestling, a job which hurts and damages bodies can push people into a corner. It’s a note on how disposable even famous people can end up – because there’s such a narrow time when an athlete’s career is viable. It would be a nice point but it’s kind of lost among lots of wrestling fanpoodling

I guess if I was even remotely a fan of wrestling that may have meant more to me… but I’m not. I also just didn’t see this as fitting with the Winchesters. I have many many many crticisms of Supernatural (especially the disposability of minorities – showcased yet again with potentially great character Simmons being summarily dispatched while SACRIFICING HERSELF, damn it! She’s supposed to be a demon! Can’t even a demonic Black woman find some sense of self-worth and not jump in front of the white guy’s death?) but one thing it has done very well is characterise the brothers. Their history. Their issues. Their pain (oh so much their pain)

And this wrestling didn’t fit it to me. I mean, I can’t even picture John Winchester, obsessive hunter, who so neglected his boys it was Bobbie who played catch with Sam, taking his sons to a wrestling match (now, Bobbie? I could see him doing it).

On Creating an Inclusive Fandom

Welcome from Flickr via Wylio
© 2006 alborzshawn, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Fandom is an amazing, huge and incredible place which can bring people together in common nerdy joy. It’s a wonderful place for bonding, commonality and mutual love

It can also be a very narrow place. Sadly fandom can very often look very homogenous - because marginalised people: POC, women, LGBT people, disabled people and more are constantly driven out of THEIR fandoms

And I say “their” for a reason. Despite the tests cishet white fanboys often try to impose on marginalised people like they are interlopers on someone else’s space. But fandom is everyone’s possession - fandom belongs to marginalised people as well: but they are so often driven away from what should be equally their space

As such, making fandom inclusive is not just about basic common decency, but it’s also about acknowledging that common ownership. Making fandom inclusive isn’t bringing new people into fandom - it’s about allowing fans access to their own culture, their own spaces which they are unfairly robbed of

I can understand, in theory, the idea of wanting to have an open forum. A forum where everyone is welcome, everyone is free to express their opinions, everyone can exchange ideas and there is no-one there to suppress ideas or quiet anyone.

It’s a nice idea. And if you believe it, you’re either hopelessly naive (in a slightly touching, “bless your heart” kind of way) or you’re being deliberately obtuse.

You cannot have a space where everyone feels welcome. You cannot have a space that everyone feels comfortable in: not when some people seem to thrive on hurting others (at worst) and are so utterly unwilling to confront their privilege or the realities of the world that they don’t care what damage their flailing inflicts on those around them.

Your space cannot welcome both the bigot and the minority. You cannot have a space welcoming for women which simultaneously is welcoming for men who think “go get me a sandwich” and “get back in the kitchen” and a range misogynist slurs are the height of witty repartee. You cannot welcome both the racist and the POC. You cannot welcome the homophobe or the transphone and the LGBT person. Yes, it has to be a choice.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Teen Wolf, Season 5. Episode 18: The Maid of Gévaudan

This episode is the return of Crystal Reed – and while I like her and I really like the role she plays… I kind of think the whole point of this episode is “Crystal Reed guest stars” rather than anything particularly useful

Don’t get me wrong, the adventures of Marie Jeanne, the hunter who killed the first Beast and founded the Argent family is a pretty epic one but it doesn’t add any knowledge to what we already know. Like the idea that the Beast will become a complete beast when it remembers it’s original (hidden) name – Sebastian Valet? We knew that. The methods they used to kill him? Well, basic anti-werewolf things.

The fact he was a sister to Marie Jean is a nice touch and the whole story itself is pretty epic. But I’m kind of sat here thinking that it’s a really great story, but why is Gerard taking a time out to tell it to Lydia?

Who isn’t convinced she’s the beast killer anyway – and after story-time goes looking for Parrish. Honestly I think she was two seconds away from “that’s nice old man, but I have shit to do.”

But Crystal reed was awesome.

Meanwhile in the present the actual beast is rampaging around the school presumably killing lots of extras off screen and giving all our heros liberal coatings blood

Scott is super duper heroic, saving people, getting people to safety and constantly putting himself in the Beast’s path, knowing he cannot win but buying lives with his own – because he’s Scott and beneath the goofiness, the hot abs and not being quite as funny or snarky as his fellows, his defining feature is being a really good person.

Malia makes and appearance and so does Braeden and her shotgun (which, coincidentally, is also her defining feature. A gun. Because she has had ZERO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT) which eventually stops Scott being eaten

Blade Song (Colbana Files #1) by J.C. Daniels

Kit Colbana is a member of the Aneria - a race descended from the Amazons. Because she is half human, her people don't fully recognize her, leaving Kit essentially alone in the world. As a trained assassin and killer, Kit is more than able to make a living.  When Kit is contacted by the werecats to help find a missing kid, Kit cannot resist taking the case.  As someone with a history of being abused, Kit cannot help but get emotionally invested in the case, even if it means she has to deal with the Cats main enforcer Damon.

Blade Song is a PNR/UF which means that while this story could very will exist without the romance angle, it is weaved into the plot.  Unfortunately, at times the romance feels quite forced.  From the very first meeting between Damon and Kit, it's clear that they are going to move from hating to each other to loving each other.  It makes Blade Song extremely predictable as far as that storyline is concerned. It's one thing to portray the dislike between two characters and another to make the love interest actively abusive.
No fear, damn it. I could still breathe…barely…and he wasn’t trying to kill me. He just wanted me afraid while he yelled at me.My blood is noble. My heart is strong. My aim is true. I am aneira…my heart is strong—No fear, damn it. I could be drowning in it, and he damn well could smell it on me, but I sure as hell wouldn’t show it.
This above passage is very heavily framed as saving Kit from her own stupidity but it sets the tone of things to come. There are several times in the story where Kit asks Damon to back away and give her space. At one point she becomes so desperate, she hides in the bathroom and sleeps in the bathtub. Then there's the fact that Damon simply refuses to respect her wishes when she asks him not to touch her.
His hand spread open over my neck and despite my intention to ignore it, I almost groaned at how good that felt. I was tempted to lean into—And then I realized I was—“Damn it,” I snapped. “Would you stop? I thought I made it clear, I’m a little freaked out by the fact that you keep touching me even though just an hour or so ago, your Alpha was telling you that you might be killing me soon.” (pg 46-47)
Damon spends much of the time in the book trying to convince Kit that he is not going to hurt her and with good reason. Because Damon bruised Kit's neck so badly, she could barely swallow.  He claims he didn't know how fragile she was and that is why he didn't hold back his strength but the fact still remains that he hurt her so badly that he bruised her.

One of the things that irks me about the relationship between Kit and Damon is that she spends so much time saying that she doesn't want a relationship and that he wouldn't be good for her. Since Daniels was determined to force these two together, we never get to see Kit follow through on this. Given the fact that Damon physically hurt her, violated her trust and didn't respect her enough to stop touching her, this all should have been reason enough for Kit to refuse a relationship, particularly given her history of abuse.

Much of Blade Song is filled with Kit being triggered by different events. The descriptions of her abuse are quite graphic but it makes sense given that she is remembering what happened to her and trying to find a way to put it behind her. The years of abuse not only place Kit into a position to be triggered, they effect her daily life. Kudos for Daniels for actually portraying PTSD rather than having her character live through horrific events and remain untouched by them.  After being told repeatedly how dirty she was as a child, Kit showers almost compulsively.  Not only does she want to wash the past away but any suggestion that she might be less than.  Often in this genre we see that a protagonist has a troubled past but rarely do we see the follow through with how said protagonist deals lives with the pain. As much as this was difficult to read, it made the story feel real to me and made Kit relatable.

iZombie, Season 2, Episode 14: Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind

Last week they found the tainted Utopian needed to make the cure!


And it turns cured rats into rotting rage filled hungry zombies. This is not good and certainly not the cure they have been looking for.

The case this week involves a dead coffee shop owner who was positively buzzing with super happy dappy hippy dippyness. She is the nicest person in the world to a point that is almost painfully naïve but, yes she is awesomely nice in a way I kind of appreciate and have to at least partially admire even if I’m sure I’d love to strangle her if I actually met her in person.

I’m not a positive and happy-dappy person, I admit

This means Liv is buzzing around this week being the ultimate flower child. Again, like the past few weeks I think Liv’s brain personality has been a tiny side point in the overall plot that I don’t think they want to distract from. Rather than be a major plot element that it used to be, it’s now just a quirk lurking in the background of every episode.

The murder mysteries continue to be interesting – and I’m not usually a fan of random-event-of-the-week but it tends to work on crime dramas and I do like how Izombie does it with both the brain and how some of the crimes are odd: like not always catching the bad guy. It’s a surprising slice of realism

This goes give more space for the meta – and some surprises

Firstly we have Drake - turns out he’s actually an undercover cop, hasn’t killed anyone but has managed to get informers to safe houses and is feeding information to the police. The one blip in his cover is his repeated going to the police station to see Liv – that’s bad for his cover, but he will not give her up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Misery Happens (Miss Misery #5) by Tracey Martin

Jessica is now facing the final chapter of her story – an ominous red sky signals the opening of the Demon prison – the first demons, the progenitors of the Furies and a terrifying force that could literally destroy the world.

Prophecy points to one small group of people who can close the prison and save the world – and chief among them is Jess. She has a lot to learn in very little time as well as a powerful magical artefact to find.

And just when she was getting her life together and finally deciding what she wanted from life: just as her life comes under unprecedented scrutiny – and hostility.

I generally really liked this book and the conclusion of Jess’s story – which came to an excellent conclusion. There are only two issues that pulled it back

Firstly, around the middle of the book it all kind of wobbles; the book kind of pauses. I can see why it wobbles and it makes sense for it to wobble but that doesn’t necessarily make the wobble. Basically there’s a tense moment in the middle of the book where everything is on hold. Everyone is researching, everyone is waiting for the bad guys to make the next move, everyone is tense, everyone is fearful, everyone is worrying about what will happen next, everyone is worrying about whether they’re ready or how their lives will change. Everyone is in holding as preparations happen. But everyone – specifically Jess – isn’t actually doing a whole lot. Even though I completely understand why they’re not doing an awful lot, it still feels frustrating – it feels like we’re gearing up to a major ending without actually heading for it, more like we’re waiting for a major ending to land on us. In some ways it’s the same issue I had with the last book – we have lots of preparation for stuff to happen without it actually doing so.

The Magicians, Season 1, Episode 6: Impractical Applications

So last week we discovered to (no-one’s shock) that Fillory is real! And has big monsters and kidnapped women and… maybe isn’t just that great. Quinn has realised, after much belated growing up, that actually wanting to live in your fantasy world (with monsters being real) is actually not all that fun. Which is actually pretty devastating to someone who has spent his life basically escaping reality by running to Fillory. Which is now not a shiny, happy safe space. It’s like retreating to your safe space and finding a bear in it. An angry bear. I actually like it, it’s a nice way of examining this character that I find interesting despite still wanting that aforementioned bear to eat him. Nomnomnom

Anyway, the main plot is the trials – which is a combination of exam, character life lesson and hazing. And is actually really well done – seriously, Elliot and Margo should take high tea and handle all exams. Elements I liked – the ruthless, outside-the-box practical lesson where you beat trial 1 by actually cheating. Trial 2 then teaching co-operation in a kind of fun way – and Trial 3 causing the characters to reveal some deep dark secret about themselves and, in the process, basically have them admit something to themselves. We also have an unnecessary method of threatening Penny with gay porn (because hey, they have a gay not-character doing his stereotypical best, why not throw in gay jokes?)

Back to Quinn (who is super duper awkward in his naked reveal ritual with Alice – and they don’t even get naked) who is finally dealing with his constant, avoidant habit of running and hiding all the time. Even when he’s moved to a magical school, literally his dream life, he is still running and hiding.

May this lead to character growth and my not wanting to feed Quinn to a bear. Much

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne


I really like these two short stories together, they’re both snippets into the lives of Atticus and Granuaile, certainly not necessary for the overall metaplot, they do add some nice insight

Yes, that’s exactly what I look for in short stories.

Their contrasting voices are absolutely excellent – and both unexpected but really work. Despite Atticus being two thousand years old, in many ways his voice is much less formal than Granuaile’s. But it doesn’t feel wrong – rather Atticus’s confidence and even his cockiness are part his apparent youth but also the confidence that comes with being that old, that knowledgeable, powerful within his parameters and very sure in what he does. He isn’t as overawed and bowled over as Granuaile is because he’s had millennia of doing this – and I think that shows in his voice. A young man with a lot of experience of being young

While Granuaile is a poet. And a poet who is still reeling from the amazing experience and sensation of being a new druid. He language is elaborate, awe inspired, completely overwhelmed by what is happening to her. I think her voice has been really well chosen to respect that.

Both stories also work really well in showing what a druid does and what a druid is. Atticus is doing his thing enjoying life when he, the experience druid, is summoned in to help an elemental in trouble. This is what a druid does and what their purposes. While Granuaile is facing on of the tests on her path to druidy – a test that points to what a druid should be, what values a druid should hold and what is important to a druid. Between them we get a lot of the essence of what a druid is.

I also liked that the second story was about Granuaile with the female goddesses – because the first story is about, again, evil witches. I’m glad that Atticus recognises that his animus towards witches is not entirely reasonable. Except, every single time we’ve seen a witch she has been evil. Even witches who are on Atticus’s side have definitely not been good people. And they’ve all been women. Evil female witches who need vanquishing have been a recurring theme of this series and some positive female power is definitely needed.

The story continues to be the same fun I’ve come to expect and love with this series – and lots of Oberon who is always an utter gem.

Diversitywise, as a short story it doesn’t have much focus beyond the two main characters – but I’m disinclined to let that be an excuse, as much as I love this series, because it really hasn’t had a good record when it comes to inclusion of minorities

While I feel I always have to reiterate my dislike of short stories in general, this is one of thosat actually gets it right and is a really nice addition to the Iron Druid Series in general – definitely worth adding to the whole saga.

Lucifer, Season One, Episode Five: Sweet Kicks

Lucifer and Mazikeen are at a fashion show for one of the many people Lucifer has done favors for. When Benny, the designer, takes his turn on the catwalk, shots go off.  Mazikeen quickly rounds up  Lucifer, who is back stage flirting with one of the models, explaining that if the humans are running then Lucifer needs to run as well because it seems that he is becoming mortal. On their way out, they discover a young woman who appears to have been trampled.

Chloe is given the case and Lucifer manages to worm his way onto the investigation by making a deal with Chloe's boss the lieutenant. Lucifer arranges to become an official civilian police consultant and in exchange, the Lieutenant is promised that she will gain favour with minorities whose support she needs for her political agenda.  Chloe is not impressed to have Lucifer foisted upon her and even remarks that he is going to get her killed.

We have to pause for a moment of real talk.  The real problem with minority populations and the cops are things like racial profiling, harassment,  driving while black incidents, and excessive violence to the point of murder. The idea that the so-called minority community would be mollified but the cops solving the murder of one girl is ludicrous to say the least.  I also reject the idea that there is one cohesive minority community. In this episode alone, Latino's and Asians were part of the larger picture. Even if we simply reduce people of colour to the two groups mentioned in this episode there's such diversity of thinking and behaviour that the idea of a cohesive community is ridiculous. If the Lieutenant wants forward movement what she really needs to be doing is focusing on the dirty cops who work for her.  This is the LAPD who have long history of abusing the very people they are supposedly in existence to protect.

When Lucifer and Chloe return to the Lux, Benny, the designer whose show was ruined by gun shots is waiting for them and surprise surprise, he owes his career to Lucifer.  Chloe begins to question Benny but he is not forthcoming until Lucifer informs him that he is calling in his favour for information. Benny claims that there were gang members upset about not getting into his show, and suggests that this is what inspired the shooting.  With a lead on the case, Lucifer then talks Chloe into going to a cop bar to celebrate, playing heavily upon the fact that Chloe shot him.  At the bar, Lucifer learns that Chloe informed on a cops and snarks that "snitches end up in ditches".  Apparently however, while Lucifer can snark at Chloe, no one else can and so he punches a cop in the face for daring to insult her.

Later, back at the Lux, Dan (who is probably dead man walking) makes an appearance and Lucifer is at his most annoying and gets right into Dan's face. Dan explains that spent a good deal of time convincing the cop that Lucifer punched not to press charges. Dan explains that he did this because now Lucifer and Chloe are going to work together and he is making it Lucifer's responsibility to take care of Chloe.  

At a coffee shop, Mazikeen meets with  Amenadiel  regarding the ongoing situation with Lucifer. It seems that Mazikeen has rethought working with the angel given that Lucifer is now in peril because of his mortality.  Mazikeen suggests that Amenadiel get close to Lucifer's doctor since Linda is the only one who Lucifer confides in anymore.  Later, Amenadiel meets with Linda claiming to be a doctor opening up a practice in her building.  Linda is clearly attracted to the angel (not that I blame her because D.B. Woodside is damn fine).  In his interactions with Linda, Amenadiel manages to arrange for them to consult with each other on their patients.  It's really all rather smooth but leaves me to wonder who exactly it is that Amenadiel is justifying this because this is really a tactic that Lucifer would pull.

Chloe and Lucifer head to the home of the suspects which Benny identified and miffed with Lucifer's disrespect for the danger a possible gang war poses, Chloe locks him in the car.  When Chloe arrives at the door, she hears a scream, causing her to kick the door in.  Once inside, Chloe finds Lucifer comfortably sitting in a chair next to the two gang members.  Although the gang members call Lucifer a pervert for sneaking up them while they were starting to have sex, they suggest that who the cops really want is Benny's former best friend Viper, after revealing that the young woman killed in the stampede was actually a family member of theirs.

Chloe and Lucifer meet up with Viper, who is actually teaching kids art as he talks to them about tagging.  Viper is not impressed to see the cops and says that if he isn't being arrested, he will not be speaking to them.  This is when the gang members show up and they are determined to kill Viper to get justice for their former family members.  Lucifer decides to distract the gang members to give Viper the opportunity to sneak out with the kids.  When the gangs turn their attention to Lucifer, Mazikeen shows up to kick ass and take names, as Lucifer gleefully gives Chloe a play by play of the action.

Beowulf Return to the Shieldlands, Season One, Episode Eight

I very much believe that some of these characters are actually too stupid to be in positions of power; however, I think that this is the best episode of Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands to date. That being said, someone needs to put Grendel on a milk carton because he is still missing.  It seems that Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands has decided to fixate on political intrigue rather than even loosely following the poem.

It's time for Slean and Kela to marry and since this is the marriage which will assure the alliance that Rheda needs to cemenet her role as Jarl, Abrican sends Saray and Hane to represent him.  Not long after their arrival, Hane hands Saray a bottle of poison and informs her that Abrican is counting on her. Saray dutifully gives the bottle of poison to Kela, telling her that it's perfume and since Kela isn't supposed to accept wedding gifts, Saray suggests that it should be their little secret.  Given that Kela poisoned her own sister to get to Herot, she is not one to simple dabble with liquid she doesn't trust. Kela pours the poison on a rodent and watches as it quickly dies. Later, when the women are gathered, Kela picks up the bottle of poison and asks Saray to apply it for her.  Saray then picks up a cloth to apply it but Kela says that the cloth will dilute the scent and suggests that Saray uses her own hands. Knowing that she will die if she touches the poison Saray drops the bottle claiming that she made a mistake and Kela is quick to agree with her. It's a chilling scene because both women are murderers and now both women have a measure of understanding about each other.

 As part of the nuptials, Beowulf and Elvina agree to act as seconds for Slean and Kela, bringing the two together. It's Beowulf and Elvina's job to discuss whether or not they are aware of any reasons why Slean and Kela cannot marry.  It would make sense for these two to have this discussion privately but proving that these characters are not as smart as they are supposed to be and the writers are extremely lazy, Elvina and Beowulf talk about Slean being in love with Elvina, while Kela is in the next room.  They've already made Kela ruthless and intelligent, so why create such a lazy situation to confirm her suspicions regarding Slean and Elvina?

The final step in the nuptials involves Slean and Kela standing in front of stones and telling each other truths in private.  Saray decides to use this moment to kill Kela, and is stopped by none other than Slean, who has switched sides once again.  Slean it seems has a moment of conscience because he doesn't believe that Kela deserves to die because she is caught up in events beyond her understanding.  Kela uses this time to tell Slean who he is really taking as a wife, admitting that she killed to be  there.  Slean is shocked because he thought that Kela's sister had died of fever but Kela explains that when her sister started to get better, she poisoned her. Kela explains that she was tired of always living in her sister's shadow.  Slean doesn't even blink an eye at this. She reveals that she knows about his feelings about Elvina but counters by claiming that Elvina is in love with Beowulf and that the two slept together the night before.  Kela claims that together they can ensure that he becomes Thane adding, "we don't get to choose who we love or who loves us but we can choose who we make our way in the world with." That's all it takes for Slean to become convinced to follow through with his marriage to Kela.

When Saray returns to Bregan, unsurprisingly Abrican is upset by her failure.  When his leadership as Thane is challenged, Abrican is quick to blame his people's lack of failure in him on Saray, adding that he brought an assassin among his people.   Saray is quick to ask when it became their business to kill young girls and suggests that a true leader would come out and declare their intent towards Rheda.  Abrican tries to do that when a council is called but finds himself accused of treason and is removed from his position as Thane.  Luckily for Abrican this is when fish decide to spawn down river and he leads the charge, restoring his people's faith in him.    It was a quick wrap up and now that Abrican has publicly declared his intention to overthrow his sister, perhaps this plot can move along.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Walking Dead, Season Six, Episode Ten: The Next World

After watching The Walking Dead, my mind is absolutely blown. HOLY SHIT!!!.  Okay, we will have to start at the very beginning, but I warn you, I'm full of major squee. Because of the events this episode I am going to put a major spoiler alert on this recap and review for the simple fact that if you are even remotely a fan, you should watch this yourself first.

It's been two months since the events of the last episode and the residents of Alexandria have settled into a new normalcy. Michonne, Carl and Rick have created their own little family talking about things like running out of toothpaste and playing classic rock.  Michonne has always lived in the house with Rick and Carl but it seems that a new level of intimacy has been created.  After getting dressed for the day, they head their separate ways.

Michonne heads to watch on the wall but leaves when she notices someone walking through the woods.  Michonne meets up with Spencer, who says that he likes to walk after his shift is over but doesn't really want to go into details.  Michonne tries to encourage Spencer to return home, but Alexandria no longer feels like that to him now that he is the last survivor of his family. In this moment, Spencer is a representative of the Alexandrians. Before Rick et al arrived, they had been sheltered behind the walls and now they finally know real loss and devastation.Spencer is now forced to finally really confront the fact that he is living in a zombie apocalypse and that means no one you love is ever safe.  Spencer is insistent that there's something that he has to do and Michonne decides to tag along with the hopes of figuring out what is going on after she notices that Spencer is walking around through woods with a shovel strapped to his back. At this point, I really didn't want to Michonne babysitting yet another white person, or slip into the role of wise Negro. We could all do without that especially given that The Walking Dead loves to put her in the mammy role far too often.

Rick decides to go on a run for supplies with Darryl.  Rick is clearly in the best of spirits whereas; Darryl seems grouchy, even for Darryl. They head out to find sorghum, a grain which Eugene feels just might be helpful with their food situation. Rick starts to puts on some music though Darryl begs him not to.  In many ways it seems that Rick and Darryl have switched roles since dealing with the big swarm of zombies.  Rick is optimistic and Darryl has become the pessimist, seeing bad in everything. They come across a factory and manage to find a truck full of supplies. It seems fortuitous, until Jesus crashes into Rick and the process steals the keys, unbeknownst to Rick and Darryl.  Rick is immediately interested in finding out more about Jesus to consider whether he belongs in Alexandria but Darryl simply wants Jesus to go. Jesus backs away from the two men claiming that he was running from walkers.  Rick starts to ask Jesus questions but Jesus quickly makes his exit.  Darryl and Rick prepare to leave when they hear what they think are gun shots but it turns out to be firecrackers being set off in a barrel. By the time they get back to the truck, Jesus is driving. And thus begins the buddy section of this episode.

I cannot say that I remember actively laughing so hard at an episode of The Walking Dead ever. Rick played good cop to Darryl's bad cop as the two chased down Jesus.  I loved that they both shot and killed a walker when Jesus accused them of not having bullets in their guns. In this moment, you can see how well these Rick and Darryl know each other. The Keystone Cops moment happens when Rick and Darryl realise that though they had tied Jesus up and left him on the side of the road, he has somehow managed to get on the roof of their truck.  Darryl decides that he is not going to take it anymore and hops out of the truck, even as Rick tries to stop him.  Darryl ends up chasing Jesus around the field, as Rick awkwardly maneuvers the truck. Rick is finally forced to get out when walkers get loose, leaving Darryl to try and capture Jesus.  Jesus manages to grab Darryl's gun and orders him to duck and then promptly kills the walker sneaking up on Darryl. Darryl is still angry and demands his gun back. The two men struggle and fall out of the truck.  Jesus hits his head and the truck sinks into the lake.  Darryl wants to leave Jesus behind because of the trouble he caused but Rick decides the right thing to do is to bring him back and have Denise check him out.

Carl spends a part of his day in the woods with Enid. Enid is not at all comfortable being in the woods but Carl tries to blow it off as kids stuff.  This is another case of role reversal. It used to be Enid who would take walks in the woods and Carl who would suggest that she shouldn't be outside of the walls.  Clearly, Enid didn't emerge unscathed from the events of two months ago. When a walker comes out of the woods to attack, Enid is adamant that they should kill it but Carl simply pushes it out of the way.  Enid is convinced that something is wrong with Carl and storms off.

Fields of Air (Magnificent Devices #10) by Shelley Adina

Gloria Meredith-Astor has inherited an extremely wealth and successful munitions company, one that is set to make a vast profit off a potential future war

And she doesn’t want it – not the munitions and certainly not the war. She is determined to turn her guns into ploughshares and she adamantly will not allow a war to be fought because of the weapons her company created, no matter what erstwhile family members wish.

If she has to hare off across the continent and ambush a train to stop it – then so be it.

This is one of those series that always makes me smile when there’s another book out – and this book is no exception

The series has a semi-shifting protagonist and this time it’s Gloria Merriweather-Astor. Now, I can’t say she’s one of my favourite protagonists, but I’ve always liked the idea of her, as I’ve said before. I like the idea of her because it would have been so easy, so very very very easy, in any other series to make her the villain. I probably wouldn’t have even criticised it if she were because there are so many other excellent and awesome female characters in this series, that having a single vapid/immoral/damn fool cardboard cutout villain would not have ruffled the waters

But that is not this series, that is not what this series does. So, I loved Gloria for that – for turning out to be brave and dedicated and awesome and full of morality and integrity even in the face of extreme pressure when she could just as easily have been a villain. But I am also interested in her because she is very different from the others. To a degree all the other protagonists have been misfits. They’ve not fit in the world they’ve been in – whether it’s Claire’s ambition and sudden poverty or the Mopsies rising from poverty to high society or Alice living among the raiders – they’ve all followed a different path because they haven’t had much choice in the matter. But Gloria has everything going for her – she’s the heiress to a rich, doting father who fully intends her to take over his company (despite him being evil and despite her being female). She has wealth, power, prestige, influence and she is also quite capable of realising any ambition she may have without every doing anything other than what is expected of her. She’s not like any of the other protagonist who must fight for what they want, their career, the life they choose, the family they value – Gloria doesn’t have any hard choices she HAS to make

The Returned, Season 2, Episode 8: Les Revenants

It’s time for the concluding episode of The Returned which begins with just about everything falling apart.

The soldiers pretty much give up trying to do anything about the Returned after the big escape last week – especially when the priest tells their leader everything and he, rather shellshocked, decides to side step the whole issue and let any further return they’ve gathered go (apart from anything else they’re creepy). Simply because he has no clue what’s happening or what to do. It’s actually pretty well done and not as simplistic as it sounds – he steps back from a situation that has pretty much shattered all he knows: he falls back on the words of a priest who simply tell him to help. And with the dead rising, a priest isn’t exactly an unreasonable person to talk to.

Helping Hand, Pierre’s cult, collapses – with Sandrine dead, Frederick dead in a firefight with Claire (he shoots Camille) and Audrey actually eating her mother (yes – zombie-like. Looks like the Returned do eat flesh – though this may be because Audrey was separated from the others. Camille explains she starts to rot and get marks when she is apart from the other zombies) absolutely no-one believes it’s still a safe place. I’m not sure whether a group under attack wouldn’t just hunker down, so I’m not entirely buying it but it’s not so far outside the realm of possibility – especially since Pierre kept bringing the threat to them which was pretty inclined to leave them alone otherwise

Pierre, all alone, is confronted by Berg, Etienne and Victor – and we learn that Pierre was the last man from the suicide Circle. He was the man who killed Milan but couldn’t bring himself to kill himself. He goes to Milan, who in turn has lost his faith (since Victor has said he basically didn’t want any of this to happen and he was Milan’s divine figure). Pierre shoots himself, following in the culty footsteps

We have lots more foreshadowing of Victor’s specialness: both Lucy looking for him 35 years ago when she first came to town (further adding her as one of the leaders of the mystery) and Victor returning to his dad after being murdered. Something of a shock for papa, but he hid the boy for all those years drawing the spooky spooky pictures that predicted just about everything that happened in the show to date. Victor didn’t age in those 35 years, but his dad did and, eventually died.

Victor begged him to come back… which seems to be what caused the Return to happen. Victor begging his dad to come back. Somehow I find Victor accidentally bringing everyone back rather more spooky than him having a diabolical purpose

Hemlock Grove, Season 3, Episode 8: Dire Night on the Worm Moon

Last week Roman killed Destiny and he now buries her. He’s trying to pass off super sad and tortured but honestly I’m sick of this guy’s Manpain every time he does something evil. He, naturally tries to justify himself and repeatedly yells at a terrible Annie that he’s not a murderer. All evidence to the contrary.

He’s not convincing

Of course, Peter would quite like to know what’s happened to Destiny, especially since he has a major case of the Guilt Weasels over her as well. He’s also not ready to get BACK ON WITH THE MAIN PLOT and look for Spivak while his cousin is out there probably trying to stab gang members which is generally bad for her health. Roman has enough sense to realise saying “I killed her, case closed” isn’t going to help so instead pushes the idea that said gang members have killed her

This involves lots of lies, lots of supernatural intimidation, some planted evidence and more than a little torture while Roman lurks in the background with THE MOST TORTURED look on his face because zomg he has to do bad things because of the bad things he’s done and it’s all bad guys!

Peter is eventually convinced that the gang member did kill Destiny (after beating the man to death) and Roman finishes it off by telling Peter where Destiny is buried. This may stop him looking but I wonder what will happen when werewolf nose reaches that corpse…

No doubt more Manpain. All the Manpain. And anger and guilt and then doing terrible things and then feeling all guiltily angry about it and both guys practicing their tortured look in the mirror until the wind changes and their faces freeze like that and they have to pursue a new career as emo musicians.

At least Annie seems to have given up on bringing her brother to the light and has bought a very big gun (and put the sexist salesman firmly in his place).

Bitten, Season 3, Episode 2: Our Own Blood

Elena was introduced to Sasha last week, a man claiming to be her father, and his two children, her half-siblings. The whole idea of Sasha opens up a big can of worms for Elena – which she vocalises.

On the one hand this is usually kind of clumsy – a character happily narrates their internal conflict with all the precision and accuracy of a trained therapist. On the other it’s actually pretty well done as she explains all her concerns to Clay – the fact she had given up on finding her family, the fact she has a new family with Clay. The fact she has few memories of her (presumably) adoptive family and she feels this may jeopardise them. She has a lot of reasons to not want to open this door.

Of course, the life she’s currently living isn’t shiny either. Sasha even has to help her kill another of the Spanish wolves gunning for her. Jeremy is still playing great draconian alpha, dictatorial, unquestionable and not making great decisions. So far most of the new wolves he’s called in have been cannon fodder, except for Bucky, the traitor. He makes his move with Eduardo’s remaining wolves with another nifty fight scene with Elena and Clay fighting off another attack, with lots of bodies on the ground

One thing Bitten is making a point of doing is emphasising Elena’s skill. She isn’t second to Clay and she doesn’t need his protection. They aren’t letting her “only female werewolf” status turn her into a victim. Here she is clearly as dangerous as Clay – and even saves his life. Still, it does emphasise that they are constantly under siege and this isn’t the life she wants to live

We also have an interesting aside with Elena cooking for the influx of wolves Clay challenges her on this – that she doesn’t have to cook for them but she responds that just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she shouldn’t cook.  There are two ways this can be pulled out: one, Elena isn’t just going to refuse to cook just because it’s a sexist stereotype (ultimately, there’s a lot of wolves here and they need to eat) and/or she’s not going to refuse to cook for other men because she’s engaged to Clay.

While Elena’s life is all rough and read – it’s clear Sasha isn’t exactly having a rosy time. Firstly, his son Alexei is approaching his first change and being on the move is not really the best way to deal with a new, out of control werewolve. And then there’s Roman, head of the Russian pack, who is willing to torment witches and listen to random prophecy in an attempt to hunt him down. He even comes to America and drops in on Jeremy just as Jeremy is finishing of Eduardo to look for Sasha

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Ten: Map of the Seven Knights

"History is the nightmare
from which I am trying to awake."

Map of the Seven Knights begins with Andrea Stroh, an estate worker finding several antique books. All that she knows is that they are old and might possibly be worth some money. To find out the value of the books, she calls in Felix an antique book dealer, who just happens to be Monroe's uncle. Felix immediately recognizes that these books must have belonged to a Grimm and takes them back to his shop.  Shortly after Andrea is killed by two Anubi, Felix wisely leaves town and heads to see Monroe with the hope of selling the books to Nick.  Unfortunately, Felix wants 100,000 dollars for the books and that's way more money than Nick can put together. We do however get the pleasure of seeing that Monroe's ability to get lost in geeky esoteric things is really quite a family trait. Felix goes on about his love of the written word while everyone else in the room makes faces at each other.

One of the things I did actually enjoy was Felix's reaction to Truble entering the room.  Felix was prepared for Nick, but not for another Grimm.  Monroe had to step between them and hold his uncle back and similarly, Nick had to hold back Truble. Felix was a quiet man, interested only in his books and to see him turn violent at the sight of a Grimm, is a real reminder that Grimms historically have played judge, jury and executioner.  They have slaughtered families without cause, often leaving Wesen with no recourse. There's a reason that upon encountering a Grimm, many Wesen end up woging and revealing themselves. I think that we can agree that the Abubi were obviously not good men because they slaughtered two people in cold blood but is it any less than what Grimm have historically done? Grimm still needs to work harder to convince me as why I shouldn't be team Black Claw and incidents like this aren't swaying me to the side of Hadrian's Wall in the least.

Nick attempts to make a deal with the ever so shadowy Hadrian's Wall to get Felix's money but before he can accomplish this, Felix is murdered.  When Monroe's sees his dead uncle's body, his emotional devastation is clear. I don't think that I've ever seen Silas Weir Mitchell, sell a scene as deftly as he did this one.  Shortly after choking up at the sight of his uncle's damaged and dead body, Monroe has to pretend to be Felix when a call comes in on Felix's phone.

The Scooby team quickly realises that given the weight of the book collection, Felix could not have been travelling around with them and therefore must have shipped them to Portland. With the help of Hadrian's Wall, the scoobies learn where the books are being stored and head off to intercept the two Anubi.  Mornoe ends up woging and taking out an Anubi with his teeth.  When Monroe stands, his mouth is full of blood after seeking justice for Felix's death. It's clear that Nick is disturbed to see his best friend covered in blood but he doesn't say anything.  Monroe simply says that Felix was a good man.  For much of the time, Monroe, with his vegetarian diet, and fascination with clocks,  has been the nerds nerd.  This scene reminds Nick that behind the facade, there's someone who can kill and someone who isn't human.

The crate containing the books is taken back to Nick's new place and the scoobies are thrilled to have a new Grimopedia, especially after finding a cache of weapons in the false bottom of the shipping crate. Am I the only one thinking that they had better digitize it this time?  It's something that Wu could do and it might bring him further into the Scooby gang.  One of the books turns out to be a genealogy which explains why this collection  was of  particular interest to Black Claw.  With the genealogy book, they would be able to know who the Grimms are.  Truble is really interested in finding out her background but before she can search for herself in the book, Monroe discovers that the lock on the crate is actually masking keys.

Vampire Diaries, Season 7, Episode 13: This Woman's Work

Time for some insight into Rayna’s past. She’s the daughter of one of the Brotherhood Hunters (one of those hunters that Jeremy has become who gets the fancy body art and super vampire killy powers). And her dad went out to kill a vampire – Julian – and it didn’t go well.

Since killing a Brotherhood hunter eventually drives a vampire insane and then to suicide, Julian has an elegant solution – compel Rayna into killing her own dad

And, lo, now we know why Rayna really really wants Julian and the Heretics dead. Though (and it does kill me to provide any kind of defence for Julian), killing the hunter that was trying to kill him is hardly the worst thing he ever did.

From there Rayna went to some shamans who promptly sacrificed themselves (Native Americans – death, sacrifice and woo-woo. I think these and Rayna are these the first Native American stereotypes characters that the show has had.)

She hunts down the heretics and is the reason why Bo (hey, remember him?) can’t speak – but eventually they do manage to escape, until the present day anyway. Enzo’s people have her locked up which lasts all of 5 minutes because she’s determined and their glass cages aren’t very secure. She also wants her sword back

Enzo manages that one by blackmailing Damon with the possibility of telling Bonnie that he murdered Elena.  That gets Damon to convince Bonnie to give up the sword in an exchange in which Bonnie gets hurt, Enzo gets tied up, Rayna gets her sword and Bonnie and Damon have some… connection moments. Between Damon not hesitating before healing Bonnie as he did before –since her dying would wake Elena (yes Bonnie has low expectations, but who can blame her after the way they’ve treated her), to lots of talk of Bonnie being Damon’s only and best friend and even a very on-the-nose conversation about how Elena would totally not expect him to be celibate waiting for her.

Yes, I think we’re definitely inching down the road to Bonnie/Damon romance.

The Originals, Season Three, Episode Thirteen: Heart Shaped Box

I've recently been complaining about the fact that Freya spends too much time in the plotbox.  I was happy to see her appearance at the beginning of the episode, particularly when she called out Klaus on the way that he speaks to her. Unfortunately, that was not to last. With white oak bullets in tow, Aurora de Martel is determined to kill Elijah so that her brother can die and not drown repeatedly in the ocean.  To that end, Aurora decides to kidnap Freya, convinced that Elijah and Klaus will come for their sister.  I have long complained about The Originals treatment of women and what happened with Freya just adds to my frustrations.  Can we please find a female character who is strong and doesn't continually become reduced to a trope?

Davina is still obsessed with bringing Kol back because true love. Davina convinces Aya to bring Kol back as a ghost in order for Davina to figure out to break the sire line.  When Kol arrives, though he is truly happy to see Davina, he's absolutely worried with the coven she has aligned herself with. Naive Davina believes that true love will solve all, saying that they can deal with the Stryx after Kol is brought back.  By process of elimination, Davina figures out that the key to breaking the sire line is the heart of a vampire who has not been sired and there's only been one vampire like that in 1,000 years. Can you guess who that is? Well it's Hayley.  Davina does call Hayley to warn her but by the time she does, witches have already arrived at St. Anne's, where Hayley is sparing with Camille.

Since becoming a vampire, The Originals has positioned Camille as some petulant child meddling in things way above her pay grade.  It makes sense to me that she would want her dark objects, considering that as a fledgling vampire, she's essential powerless in the supernatural world. Camille represents yet another female character who is weak.  Hayley and Camille have a little girl bonding time when Hayley takes Camille to St. Anne's to learn how to fight.  Yep, sisters are doing it for themselves.  I do however believe the ease with which Hayley kicked Camille's ass,  proves exactly how much Camille needs her dark objects. When the witches attacked, Camille was ineffective at best.

Marcel is still busy playing both sides against the middle.  He has promised to keep the Mikaelsons appraised of what is going on with the Stryx but he is clearly working his own agenda.  Here's the issue, every time Marcel tries to get clever it always backfires in a major way.  It's Marcel who figures out that since Jackson's heart is the mirror image of Hayley's, all they need to do is dig it up, thus stopping a potential war with the Mikaelsons. Marcel makes a point of threatening Aya, claiming that he will figure out a plan to kill her but Aya suggests that they work better as allies.

Aya is a clear believer in hedging her bets.  Aya's next move is to track down Aurora and suggest the two become allies.  It seems that Aya wants her revenge against Elijah for leaving when Michael showed up and challenging her leadership of the Stryx.  We all know what this means for Aya right? Aya, like everyone who goes up against the Mikaelsons is destined to die.  Thus far, The Originals have avoided casting her as the uppity Negro in the fashion that they have done with Marcel, but it really feels like it's just a matter of time.  It's also worth noting that if Aya does die, she will be another in a long line of Elijah's lovers to die.  At least three of the women which we have been Marcel involved with have been WOC and they are all dead.  I wonder if The Originals are ever going to start thinking about the messages they are sending with this.  What I see is the disposability of WOC and the suggestion that we are fine for sex and nothing else.

Sleepy Hollow, Season 3, Episode 11: Kindred Spirits

We have a return of an old monster/ally this week – the Kindred. On the good side he starts out by brutally murdering a rapist. But then he murders the rapist’s victim as well so definitely killing spree here.

Abbie is still recovering a little from her experiences (on the plus side she hasn’t changed her hair so we may actually be getting choice to follow last week’s episode) struggling with sleeping and reminding us all that she and Ichabod work so very well for each other. Even when he has killed her house plants – they’re just so very excellent together.

There are other issues from Abbie’s long vanishing. Reynolds is pushing for her to return to the FBI asap, having not actually passed on her resignation when she gave it at the end of last season. But she’s not ready to return and it’s all kind of tense and unresolved.

While Ichabod runs into Zoe Corinth, the woman who he almost, kind of, sort of dated and then didn’t speak to for the several weeks while searching for Abbie. She is, unsurprisingly, more than a little annoyed that he just vanished without bothering to contact her. Very much not amused.

Back to the case, Ichabod and Abbie quickly realise that the new serial killer is the Kindred which they are responsible for raising. More, they realise he’s not just a random killer, but is driven by feelings of bitterness and anger because he is becoming human, feeling human and being pretty bitter about how isolated he is and how humans have all these fluffy things he can’t have.

This causes no small amount of angst because Abbie and Ichabod recognise their own responsibility – and that just killing the Kindred for existing and lashing out in pain they caused is not exactly just. But Sophie is much more practical – just or not, it’s killing people

Time for a Plan B – luring him into a trap using a convenient invention of Franklin (yes Betsy Ross was involved, she was involved in absolutely everything, it’s a rule) which Jenny and Joe go grab. Unfortunately while the lure kind of works, Ichabod and Zoe arguing attracts him further – and he runs off with Zoe?

Why? Because he wants a wife. Thankfully for the gang, Franklin prepared for this eventuality and between fighting and black magic they raise Bride-of-Kindred and we all get to see two zombie courtiers without lips kiss. Because we all needed to see that.