Saturday, March 12, 2016

The 100, Season Three, Episode Eight: Terms and Conditions

Arkadia finds itself surrounded and when Grounders arrive to demand Pike be handed over, Bellamy responds by shooting them both. It's clear he's not willing to have another version of what happened to Finn.  Though both Finn and Pike are guilty of a massacre, at least Finn was a frightened boy whereas; Pike is a grown, educated man.  Arkadia is in an untenable situation because  they only have enough food and water to last for two weeks, as well as limited ammunition.  They are now in the midst of the war which Pike instigated and still, he cannot see that this is his own doing and he absolutely refuses to listen to Cain, who suggests that he has no understanding of the world they are living in. It's Cain who correctly labels Pike a fascist.

From the moment his girlfriend died, Bellamy lost all touch with reality.  To his credit, Cain kept trying to reach out to Bellamy in the hope that Bellamy would see reason.  I know that Bellamy is young but having experienced dictatorship on the Ark, I fail to comprehend how it is that he didn't see right through Pike from the start. Part of the problem with this story is that the writers haven't really bothered to give us an understandable reason for Bellamy turning into an automaton.   Several times in this episode, Bellamy claims that he chooses his people everyday and yet his actions seem more about revenge than the survival of Arkadia. Even when Pike orders surveillance on his own people Bellamy barely bats an eye.

For all of Pike's plans to work he needs the aid of Bellamy and Monty. Monty does follow orders but is expression relays doubt.  His personal questions however don't stop him from turning in Sinclair when he determines that Sinclair is working with Cain.

Cain is determined that Pike will not escalate the war and when he learns about surveillance, he immediately changes his tactics.  Monty explains to Hannah that Sinclair is his mentor and taught him everything he knows about engineering but Hannah is squarely team Pike and encourages Monty to continue to take orders. Hannah can see that Monty is upset by the role he played in Sinclair's arrest but she doesn't take the time to acknowledge it and instead congratulates her son.  Yes, Hannah is Monty's mother but he seems to lack the ability to question when he is around her.  Speaking of Hannah, they are portraying her like a complete dragon lady with absolutely no nuance to her character.  It is without doubt one of the most problematic characterisations on The 100.

Cain decides that the only way to end the blockade is to turn Pike over to the Grounders.  To that end, he goes to see Pike and in the jail area, Lincoln and Sinclair initiate a riot as a distraction. Cain uses the punishment stick to knock out Pike and loads him into a vehicle.  Monty sees what's going on and desperately gets a hold of Bellamy, who rushes to the front gate.  Cain is forced to either run over Bellamy or stop the vehicle and turn himself in.  Bellamy has been so brainless this season, I actually wanted Cain to put his foot on the gas.  Bellamy is as responsible as Pike for the situation Arkadia finds itself in, (if not more) because he knows more about the Grounder ways.

Cain is arrested and pleads once again with Pike to see reason.  Pike claims that if he thought that he could guarantee the safety of Arkadia by turning himself in, he would do so.  Pike cannot see himself as the bad person in this situation and is in complete denial about what his actions have wrought. It's interesting to see Cain on the other side of this.  On the Ark, it would have been Cain meting out justice, leaning on the law to defend his position.  Pike reminds Cain that he is the counsellor now and sentences Cain to death.  Bellamy is completely surprised by Pike's position and questions if they are going to start killing their own people now. Pike however explains that he is cutting off the head of a snake.

Wayward Pines, Season One, Episode Nine: A Reckoning

This episode starts off with Ethan dragging Kate for a reckoning before the bloodthirsty citizens of Wayward Pines. Except for Ethan, the only ones who know the truth are the scary first generation and the people living in the mountain.  These reckonings have been used to control the people of Wayward Pines, reminding them that if they step out of line, this is the penalty. More than their anger at Kate for breaking the rules, what we are seeing is actually their fear at their own predicament. Ethan is not a murderer, so I knew that no matter what it looked like, he wasn't going to kill Kate and in fact, their former relationship made Kate's reckoning even more unlikely.

From Kate's reckoning, Wayward Pines looks back at those who managed to get outside of the fence in episode eight.  They had a few moments to celebrate being on the other side of the wall before becoming a snack for the aberrations.  What I find interesting is that it seems that aberrations still remain human enough to have curiosity. The aberrations noticed the lights on the truck and starts crawling under it making it's way into Wayward Pines. Ethan pulls up and runs over the curious aberration and then shoots the tires of the truck, causing it to crash down on ta second aberration. Though the situation is dire and these aberrations are capable of moving swiftly, Ethan remains calm and in control, showing us exactly who is, a former secret service agent.

Back at the jail, Franklin is losing his ever loving mind, demanding to know where Ethan is and why he hasn't been fed. Franklin is certain that they are all dead and this makes sense given that Pope, the former sheriff, simply killed anyone who stepped out of line.  It's Kate who gets Franklin to hush up claiming that Ethan isn't going to kill anyone.

Back at the mountain, Ethan talks to Pilcher, who demands that Kate be reckoned. Pilcher feels that the only way forward is to cut off the head of the snake.  At no point does David take even a little bit of responsibility for what is going on.  He is so caught up in the idea that he is the saviour of humanity that he doesn't believe that he has to answer to anyone.  Ethan however thinks that there's another way to deal with this without having more violence.  Given that he woke Ethan purposely to deal with what he felt were escalating problems, you'd think that he'd be a little more willing to try something different.

Ethan heads to the jail to have a little chat with Howard, who of course believes that since Ethan is working for Pilcher, that he cannot be trust and is working an agenda.  Ethan makes it clear that he has no intention of killing Howard and shows him pictures of what is left of  the two men who managed to get over the wall  Howard actually says that this is Ethan's fault, until Ethan points out that these men were eaten and that if he was going to kill someone, he would simply shoot them. Howard then gives up the names of the fourteen people who were in on the mission to escape Wayward Pines.

Back at the hospital, Pam is looking at some photos and you can actually see her countenance change but I still don't like her.  At any rate, Pam goes chasing after Theresa, who is leaving after her visit with her son and slips Theresa her access pass, suggesting that she take a different way home.  I suppose this means that Pam is suddenly no longer team Pilcher.

With Theresa gone, Hope uses the opportunity to enter Ben's room.  It makes me think that Pilcher got it wrong and that the real snake in Wayward Pines is actually Hope. At any rate, Hope has brought the kids from the school who stand outside slamming their fists into their palms.  Hope tells Ben that the kids want to hear from him and that what he thinks matters because Wayward Pines is all about the first generation. Hope makes it clear that Ethan cannot handle the situation.  Ben goes out to talk to the kids. Ben updates the kids on the situation, thanks them for coming and says that his father isn't going to reckon anyone. Three of the kids march off in anger.  Fortunately, Ethan has been watching the whole thing on the CCTV.

Zoo, Season 1, Episode 1: First Blood

This pilot splits us into two storylines

Firstly we have Jackson Oz who leads safaris in Botswana. His dad was a famous professor, Robert Oz, who theorised that animals would rise up (involving a “defiant pupil”) and kill off humanity because humanity was doing such a shit job of looking after the planet that they weren’t going to die out because we couldn’t maintain a stable ecosystem. He committed suicide and was widely discredited and, presumably, his ghost is out there somewhere being enormously smug. I rather think smug ghosts would be more annoying than poltergeists

Anyway, Jackson and his friend Abraham are leading safaris when the Ominous happens. I give props for giving us lots of very spooky and ominous lead ins without dragging it out too far. After all, anyone watching this show knows the premise: animals rising up to kill people. When people go missing on a safari, it’s not exactly rocket science to figure out what happened. So points for raising tension and not dragging it out to the point where I’m yelling “A lion better eat someone soon!”

Which is what happens, the lions have eaten everyone except tourist Chloe and are now stalking them – they seem to get Abraham

I admit, this annoyed me muchly – I did a double take to see if they were really going to kill off the pilot’s most prominent POC so soon – but it turns out he’s only injured (and he’s credited for 15 episodes so I guess he lives and has just been temporarily plot boxed). This leaves Chloe (who conveniently drops into the conversation that she’s single, just in case we were worried we wouldn’t have straight romantic tension at the end of the world) and Jackson running away from lions in lots of tense, but good action scenes. Jackson also gets to tell us about his dad.

He ends up being arrested because earlier he meddled with a hunt. I suspect human authorities arresting him won’t be top of anyone’s priority list soon.

The second storyline happens in Los Angeles where some guys have been eaten by lions that have escaped form the zoo. In comes plucky journalist Jamie Campbell. She is sure that the lions running amok is caused by their food being changed and coming from biotech company Rayden

Lucifer, Season One, Episode Seven: Wingman

Last week, Amenadiel used Linda to try and get into Lucifer's head.  When Lucifer discovered that his wings were stolen to say that he was angry and distraught is an understatement. The wings are a connection to who he is - Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of hell.  After torturing questioning a bunch of suspects with help from Mazikeen, Lucifer decides that what they might need is a different approach.  Yes, this is where Chloe comes into the picture.

Chloe is informed by Dan (yes, he's still alive) that the dirty cop she has been investigating will probably die today because they are removing his life support.  This means that Chloe either has to solve the  Palmetto case, or let it go forever.  Chloe decides to get to work and has little patience for Lucifer when he arrives to request her help.  Chloe suggests that Lucifer have someone look at the case with new eyes and he promptly takes off before she can offer to work with him in exchange for him helping her.

Lucifer calls on none other than Amenadiel to find his missing wings.  Their interactions this episode were absolutely awesome and really cemented the idea that they are in fact brothers.  Amenadiel is concerned about the missing wings because it gives divinity to humanity.  Amendaiel determined that Lucifer return to hell, so that he doesn't have to spend his time guarding the gates to keep all the nasty demons and sinful souls inside.  Despite his anger and frustration, Amendaiel decides that since Lucifer wants free will, he can deal with the consequences and storms off in what I like to call an angel hissy fit.

Lucifer is forced to go back to Chloe and she is even less pleased to see him this time around After a bit of banter they decide on quid pro quo which means that Lucifer will help Chloe with her case and Chloe puts out an APB for angel's wings though she finds the whole thing ridiculous. Since Lucifer took off, he is now forced to team up with Dan (who remarkably is still alive) as well. They start off with Chloe, and it's Lucifer who points out that if the cop was actually on the take, he wouldn't have been murdered. They move onto Lucifer when Chloe is notified by the FBI that Lucifer's wings are for sale at an illegal auction. Even though the FBI are set to raid the auction, Lucifer sets his sights on attending and getting his wings back.

Thus begins the best part of the episode. Lucifer and Amendaiel team up to get the wings back and the chemistry between them is great. They even laugh about an artifact which supposedly once chained Paul being an obvious fake based on the size of St. Paul's hands.  Amendaiel, being an angel, simply wants to storm in and demand the wings but Lucifer, hyper aware of his mortality wants to take a more delicate approach.  When Amendaiel learns of Lucifer's predicament, he realises that if Lucifer dies, he heads straight back to hell. Lucifer and Amendaiel wait for the auction to start and Chloe shows up, forcing Lucifer to introduce Amendaiel as his brother. What struck  me as interesting, is just how quickly Chloe seemed to warm up to Amendaiel. Lucifer's charms may not work on her but apparently, Amendaiel's just might. I say why quibble Chloe, just take them both and make a sandwich. Chloe also makes no comment about the fact that Lucifer is White and Amendaiel is Black.  The FBI bursts in, ends the auction and Lucifer realises that the wings which were for sale at the auction were just really good fakes.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have Henchmen (Please Don't Tell My Parents #3) by Richard Roberts

Penny’s career as a supervillain is in jeopardy with parental interference – but there’s a more complex battle happening at school. More and more of Penny’s contemporaries are deciding to be open with their super powers. A club is formed – and of course Penny is picked to lead it

But this points to a whole cultural shift for the city as people are now wearing their powers openly, the more alien super-powered beings are now able to be join the community and it comes with a whole lot of more complex questions: like who these kids want to be and what it actually means to be a super powered being

This book seems to be covering a lot more serious issues than the previous two – it has grown up a bit from the previous incarnations of the story.

When Penny started to gather a huge fanclub following of fellow superhero kids at school, I wondered if the Infernal Machine was going to become an army.

But, it was deeper than that. It instead used all of these kids to ask a lot of difficult questions and broaden the world beyond being just a zany setting of hilarious, almost comical superhero/villain fights

Like what goes into the choice of whether to become a superhero or a supervillain? Which do these kids want to be? Why? It may seem simple but then we see Marcia, poor, tortured, ill Marcia who speaks out of the perfection and repression that comes with heroism. We see kids who have powers that aren’t pretty and just don’t fit neatly into hero themes – including heroes rejecting their superpowered kids because their powers are “thematically” wrong

And what about those kids who do have super powers that just don’t lend themselves to combat? Not ever super power is actually an ideal battle ability. Nor is every altered form ideal for fighting – the kid who looks like they’re made of living glass may be intimidating and kind of awesome, but they’re also waaay too brittle to be involved in combat. In between the super powered fighting, the kids learning to use their powers, the kids all learning the rules of the world they’re in there’s a lot of looking at what it really means to be a super powered kid.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

17 year old Breezy is on the cusp of adulthood.  She's about to graduate high school and has made plans to follow her dream to become an astronaut.  The future looks bright until she takes a fateful walk home and wakes up a year later in her own shallow grave.  Birds fall out of the sky announcing Breezy's return and she kills the man who helps her crawl out of the grave.  Breezy knows that she cannot go home but has no plan about what to do now and so she hitchhikes across country, performing experiments to see just how indestructible she is now. Breezy's life might have gone on that way if she had not run into a group of religious zealots determined to rid the world of its monsters.

Wallace jumps right into this story with little set up about what is going on. This is a little bit disconcerting at first but presents a challenge to figure out exactly what is going on with Breezy. Shallow Graves is told completely from Breezy's perspective which gives us an inside track into what she is thinking.  Normally, I'm not overly fond of young protagonists but in this case, Breezy certainly didn't read like the seventeen year old that Wallace set her up to be.  Breezy was thoughtful, curious, analytical and very smart. Even though Dark Graves is an incredibly dark story, I found myself genuinely liking Breezy and her penchant for killing murderers.

Wallace has set up Shallow Graves as a one off and that's really a shame.  I feel as though she left a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book, leaving it feeling somewhat unfinished. Part of the problem is that Wallace seemed to keep switching directions in the story.  First, we have Breezy kidnapped by a religious cult who are convinced that the so-called monsters are all evil and must be eradicated to protect humanity.  Breezy manages to make her escape with a Nightmare and learns that monsters are simply part of nature and have been labelled as monsters because humanity is afraid of that which it doesn't understand.  Breezy happens to then shack up with a pair of gouls who are brothers but she is plagued by the idea that the darkness which is inside her can be removed.  Breezy then heads off to see what the cult calls mother and learns that one must really be careful what one wishes for.  Breezy then decides that has to deal with the person who killed her.

Unfortunately, Shallow Graves also meanders around. I am fine with a story not having a linear narrative but having a non linear narrative and then repeating knowledge just a few pages later is irksome to say the least.  It felt as though Wallace was trying to draw out Shallow Graves so that he would be longer than a short story.  This problem could easily have been solved if Shallow Graves didn't skitter about the place and if it had invested more in world building.  We learn that Breezy is a revenant, that humans can do magic but it requires a death and that there are multiple creatures coexisting with humanity.  We learn nothing about how magical creatures are organized, or any of their history.  Even Breezy's interactions with ghouls doesn't make much sense.  Why exactly do they feel compelled to help and shelter her?  Why do they care where she ends up? Why do they advise her?  They know nothing about her and barely understand what she is but there the brothers are playing tour guide of the monster world and functioning as a convenient taxi when needed.  So much more could have been done with these characters and instead what we got was repetition about Breezy being dead, not knowing how it happened and her death count.

Shallow Graves is the first book that I've read in a long time to have a marginalized protagonist. Breezy is both a woman of colour and bisexual.  Breezy is half Chinese but Wallace includes no real cultural markers to her character.  I did find it a bit stereotypical that Breezy had no problems with math and science but struggled with humanities; however, that being said, it informed her personality in a way that I haven't seen in some time.  While Breezy's experiments in suicide reminded too much of Heroes (save the cheerleader save the world) how she used scientific anecdotes to explain her feelings and how the world viewed her is great. Even before Breezy became a revenant, as much as Breezy was interested in science, mathematics and space, she was always interested in death.

Teen Wolf, Season 5, Episode 20: Apotheosis

 It is time for the Teen Wolf season finale, with the Beast running amok as Sebastian and everyone plotting to find a way to defeat him. Actually, it’s a little confused since it seems to bring together every plot line from every direction and I’m not super sure they all make sense, but hold on and we’ll try to grab them all.

The Argents have found the pike that Marie-Jeanne used to kill the Beast the first time (owned by one of the Dread Doctors who turns out to have been Marcus, Sebastian’s long lost friend which, I suppose, finally gives them a motivation for what they’ve done), now in nifty and portable sword-cane form. They have all their bags of tricks to stalk the Beast and give it a good stabbing

Scott & co are less willing to just murder Mason and want to bring him back – which they think they can do because they’ve dragged up some werewolf lore where you can make a werewolf turn human by saying it’s given name (wouldn’t that have been useful at some point in the last five seasons? Or this season). The only snag is a banshee has to do it. This out is brought to you from the department of ideas-pulled-out-of-writer’s-arses-at-the-11th-hour.

The downside to that is one of Beastie Sebastien’s attacks hit Lydia and badly hurt her throat. No banshee powers for you! He also mauled Hayden’s abdomen because why not?

So they’re down one Lydia, but luckily Melissa steps up with cortisone which, in Beacon Hills, magically cures gaping neck wounds! Yay, Banshee is dragged out of her near death bed to be a weapon! Go Lydia! You already spent most of the season locked in Eichen House, we can’t bench you for the season finale as well.

So good plan? No, because Theo. Theo has decided to try and be relevant by killing Vicky, one of his extra-chimeras with chimera powers, to steal her abilities while Deucalion snarks on. Now powered up by all his chimera’s, Theo decides to interfere – his getting involved gets Scott Kanima’d (only the venom only lasts a few minutes which I’ll out down to Scott getting more powerful), Lydia gets dropped in a pit and Parrish the Hellhound, distracted by Lydia, gets knocked aside by the Beast

Which promptly slaps Theo aside – turns out Deucalion has been working for Scott all along and isn’t really blind (because of course the one actual disabled character in this show is going to be magically cured) and totally lied to Theo about stealing beast powers. He snaps Theo’s neck. No-one was sad.

Can we have a screeching halt here to examine this? Deucalion has been working with Scott all along? Since when? I mean, did he really recruit Deucalion (who has no reason at all to like Scott) to infiltrate Theo’s gang (remembering he didn’t even know Theo was an enemy for a long time) to lie to him about Belasco’s talons not working before Scott even knew they were a thing?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Vendetta (Deadly Curiosities #2) by Gail Z. Martin

Cassidy runs Trifles and Folly, an antique shop, with Teag while secretly using her psychometric powers to ensure dangerous magical items are quietly squirrelled away where they can cause no trouble. It also means she’s in a good place to see when the ghosts of Charleston are getting riled up

And when it does it heralds a major new threat come to town – but this monsters and its terrifying, apocalyptic minions are not just a threat to the city, but a very personal threat to Sorren, her vampire protector and mentor as well

I find myself faced with the same issue I have with this author’s other books – because there’s a lot I like about this series. I really like the world setting. I love the whole concept of trying to control magical artefacts that may cause damage either inadvertently or purposefully by unscrupulous people.

I really like how ghosts are such a large part of the book as well – it’s rare to see ghosts to be such a major emphasis in an Urban Fantasy novel and I do like the novelty of it. I also like how the ghosts are worked into the setting – Charleston – and history. And here we have another unique element – it isn’t sanitised. For whatever reason, a not-insignificant amount of Urban Fantasy is set in the south of the US, with lots of immortal beings all straining real hard to pretend slavery wasn’t a thing. This book doesn’t do that – the haunted streets of Charleston is populated by many of the horrors and scars of the city’s history. I like that, I like that a lot.

I like the potential richness of this series with so many different magic systems, vampires, ghosts, demons and even hints of many more. I also really like how restrained the series is. Sometimes you have a book series that has taken the kitchen sink approach to the supernatural and they decide to include ALL THE THINGS. This book doesn’t – only what is relevant is present and most of that focuses on a few magic users, the ghosts that populate the city and the core characters. I appreciate the restraint.

And I like the characters. I like Cassidy who, as I said in the last book, is skilled and capable, powerful without being super powered, with good relationships and good friends. I like Teague – an openly gay characters who manages to dodge a lot of stereotypes and have a very original (albeit rather convoluted) magic. We do have a number of very powerful, respected and capable Black characters who make regular appearances – but they are called on for their woo-woo. Yes, everyone has woo-woo in this book, but there’s more to Teague and Cassidy and Sorren than their magical nature – while the Mambos and Root workers are, well, Mambos and Root Workers. I don’t know much more about Mrs. Tiller than the fact she’s a root worker. I don’t know much more about Lucinda than the fact she practices voodoo. Yes, she’s a professor – in voodoo. It kind of defines her character. I think in book three I really need to see more of Lucinda: her past, her history, her hobbies, her work, her relationships. I want to see her do something that doesn’t involve a Loa

The Magicians, season 1, Episode 8: The Strangled Heart

Alice and Quinn are back from their foxy sexing in the Antarctic. And it is awkward. Alice kind of wants to know where they’re going with this and how much of their sexy-times was due to what they wanted and magic/pheromones/foxy nonsense and wants some space to get her head around this. Quinn deals with this with all of his expected maturity – mooning after her desperately then jerking back and yelping that he totally wasn’t and YOUR FACE stomp

Penny, thankfully, makes all of this more tolerable by skewering Quinn’s ridiculousness at every time and repeatedly wishing. Y’know, more awful protagonists become tolerable when you have someone constantly threatening stabbings. More shows, take note! Stabbings for everyone!

Of course, Penny still has his issues with Kady (with his “I totally don’t care!” while obviously doing so. But would you open up to Quinn of all people?), his constant struggle against the voices in his head and mastering the dangerous and disruptive art of Travelling coupled with a complete disregard for the actual curriculum.

A far more fascinating character who I want to focus on is Dean Henry – blinded and his hands mangled by the Beast he has now healed enough to be able to use magic again… in theory. His hands still hurt and he’s really struggling using magic to his very clear and visible frustration and rage, especially since we learn he was a magical child prodigy and super talented. Actually struggling with magic is doubly galling.

I also like his moment of calling out Eliza for her poor Blind etiquette in not announcing and identifying her presence to him.

The actual plot has Mike (so much more on this awfulness later), Elliot’s new boyfriend who is controlled by the Beast. He grabs himself a cursed blade (from a rabbit, because where else do you hide knives than in bunnies, obviously?) and tries to stab Quinn (yay!) instead stabbing Penny (booo)

Penny lives – but only because Quinn realises the curse is Fillory based (aided by Alice who has now read the books for “research” and not to get closer to Quinn, honest) and they manage to cure him. Along the way they’re aided by the mysterious Eliza who knows an awful lot about Fillory, including that it’s real, and encourages Quinn to look a little deeper than his childish reading of the books, especially since you have to remember the books are a limited representation of Fillory, missing lots of the nasty bits.

They do save Penny – and we learn who Eliza is. Jane – the character from the Fillory books and the girl who appears semi-regularly in Quinn’s dreams. Also mysteriously we learn that Henry seems to blame her for all the troubles they’re having, calling it “her mess”

Damien, Season 1, Episode 1: The Beast Rises

This… is not selling it to me. And that takes some effort, because Bradley James can read Dickens to me (Dickens! Who nearly killed my love of literature) and I’d back it.

Not that that’s a criticism of his performance – he’s pretty epicly bringing the acting, the pain, the angst and the drama… but the show really isn’t supporting it and has a lot of problems besides.

So this picks up after the Omen films, kind of, with the evil devil child Damian now all grown up to the age of 30 with no real memory of his childhood, his parents or all the dark evilness. He’s now a photojournalist going to warzones and reporting on atrocities (supported by considerable wealth and connections) – like Damascus in Syria. He has a friend, Omani, and a not-quite-ex-love-interest-with-whom-he-has-issues Kelly. While taking photos he runs into an old woman who magically restores some of his memory of the BAD THINGS.

He quickly becomes obsessed with finding this woman. Which brings me to my first issue with this episode: what is happening in Syria is horrendous, brutal and deeply tragic… not only does this show use the atrocities happening in Syria as a backdrop, but they’re barely worth any attention at all. It could have been a natural disaster zone in China for all the actual Syrian conflict was relevant. It was just dropped in as background imagery and then absolutely none of the characters cared. Damian’s attempt to get back into Syria, Kelly tracking down where refugees were being forcibly removed? All of it was about Damian finding this old woman – the actual conflict didn’t even register with them.

They don’t find her, but Kelly is quick to help Damian track down more clues to his past because that woman said something ominous and Biblical in Latin. She starts making some hug comparisons between Damian and Jesus and generally pushes the whole ominous devil-child theme with little foundation. Which is my second – and third – issue. Firstly Kelly and Damian apparently have History yet one quick “I have ominous dark feelings so push you away” and ta-da dealt with! She’s on board again. I also don’t remotely buy how quickly she was to buy the whole devil-child idea with comparisons with Christ and deciding to visit an expert on revelations – because his mentor once knew Damian’s now dead dad. I mean, why would she run with this? Damian describes his nanny’s tragic suicide when he was a child which would point to deep seated mental trauma to address (especially as he’s just remembered it) not “oooh time to check the Book of Revelations!”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Dragon's Oath (House of Night #8.5) by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast

There is something absolutely wonderful about a short story from the House of Night series – it doesn’t have enough room or enough people to be nearly as awful as the main series. Yes, this book hereby gets the prize for being the first House of Night book that I DON’T think will inspire an invading alien species to wipe us out because the universe needs to be spared our bullshit.

This makes the book good in comparison to the series – but not good.

As I say with every short story as part of a series, I look for a point. What does this story add to the larger story of the books? Why should readers read this book as part of a greater whole? Because the best short stories both add to the larger series, without being essential (so a reader can skip them without being lost in the main plot but still add interesting new elements to the main story).

And I can’t say I see a big point on this book. We get an insight into Dragon and Anastasia… but firstly both of these characters are dead. It’s not like they’re characters who are going to have continued affect on the book series. Secondly, they’re not exactly influential characters. I honesty would find it bemusing if any fan of the series (of course I find “fans” of this series bemusing in general) could genuinely say they were intrigued by these characters. I mean, beyond “she loved Dragon and she died” what pertinent information did we have about Anastasia? What was so intriguing or important about her that anyone really needed to read her story?

The same applies to Dragon – was there any reason to care about this character? Like Anastasia, he was a cardboard cut-out of a character – the guy who can use a sword. That was his pretty much only definition of him.

Once Upon a Time, Season 5, Episode 12: Souls of the Departed

The gang is heading to the Underworld – though Neal makes a brief appearance from a happier place to tell Emma that a) he’s not there and b) she really really shouldn’t go there. Of course she must to save Killian (who is way sexier than Neal)

But when they get to the Underworld they find it looks a lot like Storybrooke due to the mystical power of it being cheaper to recycle sets than create a new one – and it’s filled with people who had unfinished business. Most of which have unfinished business because, well, of the gang who just went down to the Underworld (that would be Emma, Henry, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Robin Hood and Gold). That could be tricksy.

We meet a few old faces – Mary Margaret runs into James, David’s evil (and sexier) twin brother (why is evil so sexy? Whyyyy?)

Rumple runs into his dad – Peter Pan (at this point it occurs to me that I should like to some of these past episodes which make all these relationships make sense – but some of these are going to take dozens of reminders so just run with it if you don’t remember). Peter Pan is, of course, still evil and would quite like Rumple to betray one of his friends because if one of them stays behind he gets to go home. I think it’s unlikely unless Peter sweetens the pot – not because Rumple is in one of his good arcs (he isn’t – he’s definitely edgy-not-all-that-nice Gold at the moment since he recently got all his dark magic back and Emma is flat blackmailing him to make him co-operate) but because Rumple really really really hates his daddy.

Even with Rumple’s magic finding Killian looks like it’s going to be a difficult path especially since he’s apparently suffering some terrible torment for extra angsty

But before we hit more of the meat we’ve got to touch on the flashback of this episode – back when Regina was technically evil and wanting to squish Snow White’s heart (I say technically because I kind of want to squish Mary Margaret’s heart on a regular basis and I’m sure I’m only a little evil around the edges. She is very very annoying. Just a little heart squishing?). Meanwhile her dad, Henry (this is pre-curse sacrifice days) continues to be the man who loves her so very dearly and wishes she would give up this whole terrible vengeance quest and stop being like evil mother Cora. He tries pleading, begging constantly showing her eternal love and devotion (and, while she doesn’t listen to him, she does clearly love him) an even tries to sabotage her plot for revenge in the hope of keeping her redeemable (apparently squishing Snow White’s heart would make her irredeemable. Squishing a random guard’s? Not so much). All the while Cora is there waving the flag for murderous revenge as the only path to true happiness

Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands , Season One, Episode Ten

Beowulf goes to see Rheda to tell her what Brecca learned about her brother.  Rheda immediately goes into a state of denial and decides that she is going to Bregan to question Abrecan herself. Yes, Rheda is now officially too stupid to live. It's one thing to believe her brother innocent and another to decide to ride into Bregan without a single person to protect her.  Slean offers to go instead of his mother but she turns him down.  Watching this scene, I couldn't help but think back to last week when Beowulf went to such lengths to warn Elvina that it was too dangerous to walk in the woods to get supplies.  What Rheda forgot in her zeal for the truth is that even if Abrecan was on her side, the surrounding area was still to dangerous for her to be riding off without anyone to have her back. Yes like I said earlier, far too stupid to live.

A conflicted Slean heads to see Kela and explains the situation.  He's afraid that if he tells the truth that his mother will never trust him again.  Perhaps he should have thought about it while he was flipping his position back and forth.  Kela tries to tell him that if Rheda dies it will automatically make him Thane but Slean has already walked out.  Slean takes comfort in his belief that Abrecan won't hurt his sister.  That makes so much sense.  Abrecan is willing to overthrow Rheda, but he is going to draw the line at murder?

Elvina wakes next to the mudborn and it shies away from her.  Elvina approaches slowly, touches its cheek and promises that no only will she not hurt it, she won't allow anyone else to hurt it either. Elvina makes her way through Herot and when Slean approaches, she explains that she escaped through the woods and that Beowulf now knows her secret.  It seems that Slean has known all along exactly what Elvina is.  When Beowulf sees the two together, he is not impressed and demands a moment in private.  Slean is determined to protect Elvina but Beowulf argues that even if Slean is the Thane's son, the people will still kill Elvina and then kill Slean for sleeping with her.  Slean is prepared to take that risk and questions how exactly the people will know, taking care to point out that the only reason Beowulf knows is that Elvina revealed herself in order to save Beowulf's life. When Slean threatens to bring Beowulf down with them if he talks, Beowulf consents to keeping silent.

Elvina then makes her way to Herot and finds Kela in her home.  Elvina promises Kela that she has nothing to fear form her because things are over between her and Sleen.  Kela suggests that they should be friends. If I were Elvina, I wouldn't drink or eat anything around that woman, particularly given that Slean told her not to kill anyone when he finds her in Elvina's home making potions.

Apparently, this flipping sides thing seems to be something natural to the people of this land.  When Saray welcomes Rheda to Bregan, Saray whispers into Rheda's ear that she should flee, thus confirming what Brecca warned her about.  Before Rheda can act, Abrecan takes her captive and demands that she sign over her position as Jarl.  Rheda is defiant, determined that she will do no such thing because it would be a betrayal of her son.  This is when Abrecan drops the hammer about Slean's duplicitous ways, saying that Rheda is too emotional to lead.  Yes, the sexism is strong with this one.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Walking Dead, Season Six, Episode Twelve: Not Tomorrow Yet

We haven't seen much of Carol recently, so I am pleased to say that this episode began with Carol foraging and then making cookies for the people of Alexandria.  I couldn't help but wonder if Carol was going back to playing the role of neighbourhood mom to intentionally deceive people or if this was genuine this time because she has come to peace with her situation. Carol has placed a cookie on Sam's grave. I wonder if this is her request for forgiveness or a sign of her feelings about Sam in general.  The truth of the matter is that Carol may make a mean cookie, she not one to stop and see the flowers with.  When she gets to Tobin, he balks at the cookie sweetened with beets (not that I blame him).  It's clear that there's some chemistry going on here and all I can say is, "go and get it Carol", even if it will makes fan who have been shipping Carol and Darryl for awhile now upset.  Later in the episode, we actually see Carol and Tobin share a kiss and it's heavily implied that they spend the night together.  I guess Carol isn't missing her vibrator anymore.  Tobin tells Carol that she is fierce because she is a mother to the community, though he sees her differently.

Rick returns to drop off the food the group collected from The Hilltop and announces that the people of Alexandria have a decision to make.  I have to say that I'm surprised that Rick actually called for a vote on what to do about the Saviours. I guess this means that the Ricktocracy is dead, or at the very least defunct for now.  It's Morgan who stands up and suggests trying to negotiate with the Saviours. Morgan wants to avoid violence because he sees his sanity and in fact the humanity of the group at risk. Rick points out that this would be giving up their advantage but agrees to do this if this is what the group wants.  The writers then dug Aaron out of the plot box long enough to say absolutely not. Obviously, Aaron is still feeling guilty about the Wolf attack.

Maggie is determined to come along on the mission because she negotiated this deal with Gregory. I suppose Maggie feels responsible for the lives that are at risk.  Though everyone clearly has their doubts about Maggie coming along, it's Carol who actively says something.  Carol doesn't believe that Maggie should be out there with them, even if she is staying away from the front lines. Maggie pregnancy represents hope to the community and for Carol that's too much to risk.  There's also the issue of Carol and her interactions with children. It makes me wonder if she sees Maggie's child as another chance to be a positive role model to a child?

Abraham has finally come to a decision about what to do about his feelings regarding Sasha.  He simply starts packing all of things which surprises Rosita because to her, it looks like he's packing a lot of clothing for a mission.  Abraham finally lets slip that he is leaving Rosita and she demands to know why before letting him out the door.  In what is the coldest thing that Abraham has ever said to date, he explains that when he met Rosita, he thought she was the last woman on earth and now he realises that she isn't.  Abraham could have been kinder given all that they have gone through together and it felt like Abraham was throwing Rosita away like cheap garbage. Abraham gets my vote for cast member to die this season.

Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires #12) by Chloe Neill

Adrian Reed is a very powerful man, a very rich man and a man who has dark ambition for the city of Chicago – and Chicago’s vampires

His last defeat was only a setback and his sights are definitely set on Cadogan House. As ever, it is down to Merit and Ethan to respond, to defend their house and the city even as their alliances become ever more strained and outright war between supernatural factions seems possible.

There was a time in this book, about half way through, and I honestly stopped. I put down my tablet and had to walk away a little bit and convince myself to come back. I nearly walked away from the book, the series, deleted it and decided I was done.

Because Ethan. I am so very sick of Ethan. Ethan makes no sense. Not even the slightest lick of sense. We’ve complained throughout this series that the characterisation of so many of these vampires is ridiculous and doesn’t come close to reflecting their actual age – but this book took it to extreme

Ethan is 400 years old. Apparently. He has led his House for decades, perhaps even centuries and has been the second in command of the House before then. He is ancient. He is a leader of his people. He has shepherded them for a vast amount of time with, presumably, skill and knowledge

And I don’t buy this. I don’t buy that this petulant manchild could possibly have done any of that. If this man were, say, 23, then I would have considered him very immature and needing to grow a lot before being considered a full adult. I would consider him volatile and still very much a teenager. He has absolutely no control over himself, no control of his emotions and is incapable of making reasoned or long term decisions. He acts on impulse, he has no plans for those impulse, no idea what he’s going to achieve, except to constantly dick-measure against every other man. He can be manipulated so easily that there must be 10 year olds rolling their eyes at his behaviour. He spends a ridiculous amount of this book having mighty temper tantrums at others –Gabriel, Reed.

Yes, he has reason to be angry with both of these, but his inability to handle is anger is anything like a sensible manner is ridiculous. He doesn’t direct his anger at all – he just storms off towards the man, launching himself at them in a stomping, childish tantrum of epic precautions. Even when everyone is telling him it’s a bad idea, he keeps going it. He even attends a party expressly to snarl at Reed – he has no plan, he actually has everyone drop the actual important work they’re doing so he can go to a party and snarl at them. HE HAS NO PLAN, he just HAS to indulge his temper tantrum and ego.

Hemlock Grove, Season 3, Episode 10: Brian's Song

It’s the last episode of Hemlock Grove so time to sum everything up

First of all Johann is officially dead. Let’s take a moment to commemorate the death of the series only LGBT character – revealed as gay in the last season after ignoring his sexuality for two seasons, then linking his sexuality to his abusive childhood. It’s finished off when he is murdered, just after finally deciding to find love (the most dangerous time of any LGBT person’s life in the media). And he’s murdered by himself in a moment of supreme narcissism just to complete the homophobic tropes

This episode begins with his funeral which Shelly says is “syncretic”. Which would be nice if, in the last 3 seasons we had spent any effort at all to explore Johann’s religious beliefs while he was alive (or indeed any religious position at all). Instead this just feels like “hey, he’s Asian. Moosh some Asian religions together. Done”)

With him dead and, apparently, mourned it’s time to turn to the other characters:

Olivia is still determined to live, continued to be followed around by hallucination Chango - and now we have to look at this season’s other recurring character of colour. After following Olivia around for apparent payment or sexual favours or something she murders him and he gets to spend the rest of the season playing comic relief, cringe worthy advice giver, servant and character development tool for Olivia. All while using the name “Chango.” Did I mention this was a hot mess?

Anyway Olivia wants one of her kids, in between various hallucinations and attempted life lessons form Chango and her past on the London stage. She makes a play for Roman but since Johann already gave him a heads up that goes badly for Olivia. Reduced to a petty low point she’s left sobbing and begging and desperately calling Annie to come see her

Which Annie does – and is promptly kidnapped and taken to Godfrey Enterprises for Johann’s assistant to do the body switch. Only this guy has a shred of a conscience and helps Annie escape. Rather than be reborn as Olivia, allowing her terrible evil to continue, Annie commits suicide. A horrible suicide via fire… and another one down.

Olivia, with no recourse, no more children to sacrifice, Olivia is now dying from the disease. Ravaged by it, completely delusional, she collapses while eating her own arm

And another one down. I will actually miss Olivia. Yes, she may have been the worst person on the show, but at least she owned it. She didn’t do terrible things then turn on the angst so we’re supposed to feel sorry for them before doing terrible things again. Olivia was a terrible person and she was GLORIOUS with it.

Bitten, Season 3, Episode 4: A Quiet Dog

Time for the tense sand off – with Elena very much wary of Jeremy’s intentions and plans. While Clay still wants her to trust Jeremy, Elena rightly points out that Jeremy’s priorities are larger than her family. Especially since Katja and Alexei are being used as bargaining chips

Elena is left guarding Constantine, Roman’s son and the Pack’s own bargaining chip as he pokes her history and just why Elena is the only female werewolf (answer – because it’s an annoying trope that happens repeatedly in so many werewolf stories in order to justify a nearly all male cast with a heavy emphasis on Exceptional Woman tropes and a whole lot of delicate-precious-in-your-gilded-cage companion tropes). With a relatively logical series of deduction, Constantine realises that Elena is Sasha’s daughter. Which also makes her the daughter of Natalya – Roman’s daughter.  Ooooh twist.

They fight and Constantine escapes (with a broken wrist) and we have to go to where Jeremy, Sasha and Roman are having tense negotiations to hear the rest of the story

Like any good werewolf, Roman abandoned his daughter Natalya because she’s human (aforementioned only-female-werewolf-specialness) and by universal law she couldn’t know about the werewolves. A law Jeremy agrees with, humans can’t know about them (which is going to get awkward). Because he still cared about his daughter he had Sasha watch her and protect her. Instead cupid hit, he fell in love and decided to show Natalya that werewolves are real.

Roman, following the law, killed his own daughter to keep their secret. Lots of pain, angst, guilt and rage – but all very justified and well acted. That’s a whole terrible, painful mess to unpick. Which, of course, puts Elena in the middle of it.

Jeremy’s attempted plan to bring peace is to offer Roman lots of counterfeit money so he can continue to bribe his large, sprawling pack into obedience (which is how Roman manages to hold his pack together and is getting shaky since the Russian pack is having money troubles).

But roman wants vengeance more, draws a knife and summons his wolves to fight it out. And things get even more messy

Karen, the ex-sheriff continues to investigate the suspicion Russian gangsters who have suddenly come to her town. Following them around she gets in the middle of the fight. She ends up stabbed in the leg by a running Roman (who fled with his big wadge of cash) and she sees Alexei have his first change… and go running off

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Eleven: Key Move

"It is not down on any map;
true places never are."

After staring at the map the five keys produced, they all decide on a location to go and check out.  It's Rosealee who secured fake passports for Nick and Monroe to travel under certain that Black Claw will be looking for them.  Monroe is very excited because the Grimm's who buried this treasure did so in the fourth century and it could be absolutely anything - he even speculates that it's the holy grail.  This is a big leap of faith for Nick and Monroe because they know that the trip itself will be dangerous and have no idea what is buried there. It literally could be anything.

With plans set, it's time to say their goodbyes.  Nick tells Adalind about heading to Germany with Monroe and she is adamant that she doesn't want Nick to go because she feels that it's too dangerous.  I was really hoping that Adalind's fears were about her absolute economic dependency on Nick and the possibility of being a single mother.  When Grimm did delve into this earlier this season, I found it interesting, especially given that this is something all women must consider if they decide to give up work.  Unfortunately, Adalind's issue is because she has fallen in love with Nick.  Let me say that again, Adalind has fallen in love with Nick. Adalind decides to throw caution to the wind after declaring her love, claiming to no longer care about how complicated this will make things and kisses Nick.  Complicated? At this point, Grimm could have scored points by having Nick reject Adalind because she did after all rape him but instead, Grimm actually had these two have sex.  Nick willingly consented to sex with his rapist.

In the afterglow, Nick lay with Adalind in his arms thinking about her various bad acts but never once did he think about the rape.  Since the rape occurred in season four, Grimm has run screaming from the label of rape.  It's ridiculous given that Nick is a cop and would damn well know that what happened to him is rape by deception.  Perhaps this is about society's determination that all rape must be violent, with a stranger jumping out of the bushes.  Perhaps it's because society too often refuses to accept that a woman can indeed a rape a man.  The absolute denial about what happened between Nick and Adalind, is a very good example of how our rape culture works.  Grimm then doubles down by once again having Monroe refer to the rape as Nick sleeping with Adalind.  Nick says that when he slept with Adalind, he thought he was having sex with Juliette, and therefore even by their own definition, this was rape by deception.

A lot of work has been done to rehabilitate Adalind's character in order to make a relationship between her and Nick supposedly believable.  The very idea that a rapist can be redeemed in this way is beyond problematic.  As part of this redemption train, Adalind has been depowered and made absolutely dependent upon Nick.  This is no coming together of equals.

The Originals, Season Three, Episode Fifteen: An Old Friend Calls

With Aurora imprisoned, her brother at the bottom of the ocean and the Stryx essentially dismantled with the death of Aya, you would think that The Originals would be due a break but it seems that since Klaus has amassed so many enemies of the years that there's no rest for the wicked. Klaus's paranoia is at an all time high which is saying something because this is Klaus we're talking about. Over the years, Klaus's penchant for violence means that he has amassed a lot of enemies and now that killing him means that his entire sire line will not die, it's all systems go for taking out Klaus. Elijah and Freya humor him at first, suggesting that what Klaus needs is therapy but even they are forced to take things seriously when they cannot be certain that all of the White Oak has been destroyed.

Kol is back from the dead and after a kiss from Davina, asks her to put a ring on it and by that he means a daylight ring.  It seems that Kol is determined to be worthy of Davina's love and that means blood bags and an end to his violence. Kol's first order of business is to go and see his family.  Klaus greets him with a hug which kind of surprised me given that they haven't universally been on good terms. Elijah is his usual aloof self and Freya and Kol simply acknowledge each other.  Klaus is adamant that Davina needs to disappear because they have family business to deal with.  Kol is quick to jump to Davina's defense but Davina agrees to leave. Considering that Davina is lucky that Klaus hasn't killed her, given everything she has done, it's absolutely makes the right decision at this point. Freya and Kol get to work on a spell to find out exactly where Klaus's enemies are.

As luck would have it Cortez is in town seeking vengeance against Klaus for the death of his father and five brothers.  The Originals, has Cortez get out of a limo filled with dead women and then instruct the driver to get rid of the evidence. The driver complies by setting himself and the dead women on fire.  I know the point of this is to have us rooting for The Original Family but I really don't see the difference between what Cortez did and what the Original Family has done.  There are no so-called good guys in this situation no matter which way the writers try and swing it.

Cami is busy training with Vincent, having become determined that she must find a way to defend herself.  Cami is certain that Aurora will find a way out of the punishment that Klaus inflicted on her and expresses disbelief that Klaus didn't just kill Aurora out right. Cami is certain that this means that when the time comes, she is going to have to find a way to kill Aurora by herself.  Klaus interrupts to seek the therapy that Elijah and Freya suggested he needs.  They head to a little bistro where Cami informs him that she can no longer be his therapist and is no longer invested in his redemption because that part of her was human.  Klaus tries to say that he didn't kill Aurora because she deserves to suffer for what she stole from Cami but she's not buying it. Cami feels that Klaus is more concerned with what Aurora stole from him.

Marcel returns to his NOLA vampires to find them passed out drunk and celebrating being delinked from Klaus.  Josh, (yes they pulled him out of the plotbox) wants to know when the Stryx will be leaving town and they can get back to business as usual.  The Stryx burst in and four of the members are missing and they demand that Marcel do something about it.

In between tracking Klaus's enemies, Freya finds time to do a locating spell and Marcel and Elijah find the bodies in a garbage bin close to where Jackson died.  It seems that Hayley wants revenge for what has been done to Jackson and has been torturing the Stryx members before killing them.  I'm actually cool with this given that often when Hayley engages in battle, she is over powered. My quibble stems from the fact that this is all done off screen and to add insult to injury, it's Elijah who ends up murdering the rest of the vampires on her list.

Cortez heads to see Vincent and demands that Vincent get the elders to tell him where the White Oak is.  Cortez compels a group of humans to hold knives on bar patrons to coerce Vincent into agreeing to his demands.  Cami walks in, sees what is going on, and manages to text Klaus before being knocked unconscious.  Klaus saunters in, surveys the situation and quickly takes out Cortez though this results in three humans being killed.  Cami tries to offer the human blood to heal but Klaus says no because it's already to late.  Klaus gets his kicks torturing Cortez and in the process learns that his enemies have always stayed in contact over the years. Cortez sends off a group text to let them all know that the sire link is broken and that there is indeed White Oak in New Orleans.  With this task done, Cortez informs Klaus that he is happy to die because he knows for certain now that someone will get him.

Vampire Diaries, Season 7, Episode 15: I Would For You

Rayna remains the big bad and we decide to have a moment of nudity for no apparent reason. Anyway she’s rampaging around looking for Stefan, capturing and questioning other vampires to find him and generally being obsessed

Which makes no sense. Rayna’s motivation, as has been made clear on more than one occasion and even repeated in this episode, is to rid the world of all vampires. All vampires. Stefan just happens to be the one vampire who got away… so why the obsession with him? Why go to a town that is literally crawling with vampires (like New Orleans and Mystic Falls, two places she has been and knows is full of vampires) and focus obsessively on ONE vampire? This makes no sense. It’s not even like Julian who she had a personal vendetta against. There’s no reason at all why Rayna would be so obsessed with Stefan. I call shenanigans on this motivation!

Anyway, Matt double crosses her and Damon arrives to kill her and capture her so he can take her away to a little pit and experiment on ways to actually kill her and make it stick

Cut to Bonnie who, along with Enzo (who she doesn’t trust but is happy to make many jokes about the hand she cut off) and Alex at the Armoury who is now trying to make nice and insist that all the naughty behaviour from Enzo was totally unsanctioned and the Armoury would never ever stoop so low.

Yeah, Bonnie isn’t buying it. To try and convince her, Alex gives her a guided tour of their Rayna exhibit including the desiccated shamans who died as a plot device so she could have her awesome resurrection powers. Turns out one of the preserved bodies desiccates every time she dies – she only has 8 rebirths.

And for the second time I’m calling shenanigans and “makes no sense”. Damon just killed Rayna. Last episode on The Originals Rayna just fought a whole room full of Stricks and apparently didn’t die once? She was casually killed with an arm flick by Klaus – AND has apparently had contact with the Originals before since Klaus knows about her. Don’t tell me that she has managed to only die 6 times in her long history, given we’ve seen her die about 4 times already! Shenanigans! Shenanigans have been called.

Anyway, Bonnie tells this to Damon who happily kills Raina again with a shotgun bringing her down to her last life – alas, we have another hitch. Turns out that when she dies for the last time, everyone she’s marked (Stefan) also dies. Personally I’d go ahead and kill her but obviously the show’s not going to have Damon do that. Alas.

Sleepy Hollow, Season 3, Episode 13: Dark Mirror

We open with the kind of scene I really want to see a lot more of – the happy domestic breakfast with Jenny, Joe, Abbie and Ichabod having breakfast, Ichabod being all historical and outraged. It’s cute. Though this time Ichabod is outraged because he’s distracting himself from his immigration issues

Another shadow over this whole domestic scene is Abbie – she’s still very distracted by her obsession with her special symbol, which will come up later.

The monster of the week turns out to be the Jersey Devil which, in addition to being a cryptid Urban Legend, turns out to be an old rival of Franklin’s who turned to Alchemy and turned himself into a green skinned monster with claws and poison and a tail with more poison and horns and a whole lot of other things that the guy considers an advantage despite living in a time of firearms which rends most claws/poisons etc rather obsolete while clothes shopping becomes a pain in the scorpion-tailed arse. It does come with a side order of being immortal and bullet proof though, so ups and downs.

The beast also has his own little video of the Hidden One’s history – which is the main point of this episode.

Way back in time we had super duper gods hanging around humans, being worshipped and occasionally squishing people while getting lots of presents to keep the squishing to a minimum. Boss god happily lives in the sunlight with his super-powerful Hourglass of specialness. While the Hidden One is banished to the basement, hidden away for reasons unknown. Unfortunately, being gods doesn’t make you intelligent, because he’s also locked up with a Box full of evil (Pandora’s Box) which has the power of destroying shiny god’s Hourglass

Do I need to point out the racial problems that comes with good Boss god being made up, literally, or shining light while the dangerous, imprisoned, naughty bad god is a dark skinned Black man?

Pandora was given the job of providing please-don’t-squish-us offerings to the gods and she totally fell for the Hidden One, giving him presents and, at his not-so-subtle manipulations, using the box to kill shiny God by destroying the special Hourglass.

Game of Thrones TV series compared with A Song of Ice and Fire books.

The Novels
A Song of Ice and Fire’ is a series of epic fantasy novels, by American novelist and screenwriter George R. R. Martin. It is the first volume of the series Game of Thrones. The series has grown to seven volumes. A Song of Ice and Fire has the viewpoint from a range of characters, in each chapter. Martin’s inspirations included War of the Roses, and French historical novels The Accursed Kings.

A Song of Ice and Fire is a critique of its diverse portrayal of women, religion, magic, violence, sexuality, and moral ambiguity. It takes place in a fictional world, in which the weather seasons last for years. Centuries before the events of the first novel, the Seven Kingdoms on the continent of Westeros’ had been under Targaryen dynasty. The principle story describes the power struggle of the Iron Throne of Westeros, after King Robert’s death.


The novels then were adapted to a TV series, comic book adaptations, cards, board and video games. A Game of Thrones is a collectable card game, and also a strategy board game, which allows the players to take on the roles of several of the Great Houses vying, for control of the Seven Kingdoms. A game of Thrones role-playing game consists of a large, full-colour rulebook, featuring information on role-playing in the Seven Kingdoms, and also background information which is not found in the novels, including a detailed map of the Seven Kingdoms. Video games include the online Blood of Dragons; A Game of Thrones: Genesis, which is a real-time strategy game, and Game of Thrones Seven Kingdoms, which is a massively multiplayer role-playing game.

There are also Game of Thrones online slot games which you can play at Europalace. The game's graphics reflect the style of the stories, giving you a sense of being part of the action. It has two modes: 15 lines or 243 ways, and a free Spins feature, allowing players to pledge their allegiance to one of the great houses of Westeros or indeed to Europalace.

TV Series

 There are countless differences between A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones season one, to make the story adaptable and more dramatic for the small screen. Characters have to be quickly established, and key moments, decision making, and motivations are sometimes changed. Even though Game of Thrones is known for being gruesome and unpredictable, the sexual violent scenes are toned down, or flat-out omitted, compared to what was depicted in the novels, as it was regarded as too hard core.