- About Us/Policies
- Book Reviews
- TV Series Reviews
- Other Reviews
- Discussions & Musings
- Interviews & Podcasts
- Fangs Lexicon
Saturday, March 19, 2016
The season finale of Wayward Pines is absolutely action packed. When we last left the remains of humanity, David had turned off the power leaving the townspeople vulnerable to an invasion of aberrations. A frantic Ethan manages to get a hold of Pam and she tells him to get the people off the street because six aberrations have already breached the wall and more are amassing outside. David gets the attention of the panicked citizens and instructs them to head to the underground bunker which Theresa found. Theresa decides to head to the hospital to get Ben. Ethan heads to the police station with Kate and her people to gather guns.
At the station, the First Generation which were locked up after killing Howard and the other insurgents are smug about the situation, saying rather childishly that David warned them this would happen. With the threat of aberrations hanging over the town, the adults don't have time to talk and they grab what they need, including a bomb and take off. Ethan heads to the hospital and Kate and her people cover the escape of the townspeople with their weapons.
On the mountain, a desperate Pam tries to talk David into turning the power on in the hope of saving the lives of at least some of the townsfolk. David however is done with the townsfolk saying that next time they won't make the same mistakes and will not awaken a person like Ethan. David wants to make plans for awakening group C, saying that they will be able to reopen the town when the aberrations migrate south for the winter. Pam keeps pushing David to see reason but he calls security on her. Not only does security grab Pam, they round up the entire surveillance team. David decides that as punishment for their defiance, they are to be placed back in stasis. Pam tries to talk sense to the people but she is knocked unconscious for her trouble.
Some of the next generation arrive at the jail and release those who have been locked up. It seems that the plan is to head to the arc which David created for them as a fail safe because he felt that something like this would happen. Once they arrive, they find it stocked with food and water and others of the their cohort waiting for them.
Ethan makes it to the hospital in time to save Theresa, Ben, and Amy, from an aberration. They all make it to the underground bunker and Kate arrives shortly afterwards. They know that they cannot stay there because the door keeping the aberrations on the outside is flimsy at best. Kate starts talking to Hope, trying to find out where the tunnel leads but even now, Hope is convinced that David will come and save them because to her, he is pretty much a God. It's Ben who pokes holes in her theory suggesting that it was David who turned off the power otherwise they would have been notified that something had gone wrong. As horrified as Hope is, she steps out of her comatose state long enough to give everyone the information they need. The townsfolk start to walk through the tunnel and Hope decides to stay behind in case some of the first generation show up. She's afraid that they will die if they arrive at the bunker and no one is there to open the door for them.
Everyone makes it to the elevator doors and Ethan and Kate decide to go up first in case David has placed soldiers there to block their escape. When they get to the top, Ethan and Kate quickly kill a few soldiers and disarm the rest. A guard uses the distraction to free Pam from stasis. Ethan takes the elevator back down and leaves Kate behind to confront Pilcher.
Kate finds Pilcher in his offices and tries to convince him to turn on the power. David absolutely refuses, saying that he is going to remembered for what he did and that his way of doing things is the only way. Clearly, this man is determined never to change. Pam enters the room and shoots David point blank and I have to admit that I cheered. David needed to go and Pam has joined team good guy.
Ethan conducts the rest of the people into the elevator and they start the trip to the top of the mountain. Suddenly the elevator stops and the people realise that the aberrations are in the elevator shaft. Ben opens the hatch and climbs on top of the elevator. He notices that alongside the elevator are a set of stairs. Everyone gets on top of the elevator and starts climbing the stairs. Ethan asks Theresa to always stay close to Ben and they kiss before he gives her a hand climbing to the top of the elevator. Ben reaches in to help his dad out because Ethan is the only one left. Ethan suggests that they work as a team and promises that he will be right behind Ben. Ben climbs and reaches to the top with everyone else. When the aberration start to break through the bottom of the elevator, Ethan sets off the bomb. The elevator crashes to the bottom of the shaft and bursts into flames killing Ethan and the rest of the aberrations. A piece of debris hits Ben, knocking him unconscious.
In Botswana Jackson runs around telling everyone the world is ending because lions are eating people and is generally not agreed with since man-eating lions are a terrible tourist attraction.
On the good news, they do get a message from Abraham who is, indeed, alive (yay, I take back some of my first episode cynicism. Some of it). They ride to the rescue and, despite some tense moments with the lions, they do manage to get him to safety. More, they realise the lions must have gone out of the way not to kill Abraham – Jackson decides they wanted him to spread the word
Everyone still doesn’t believe Jackson so we do get a lot of scenes of the white guy telling all the Botswanan’s how they just don’t understand their environment and not one of them gives him a slap upside the head.
His mother, Elizabeth, a doctor nearly does when she hears him talking about his dad’s (Richard) research and how he believed the animals would rise up. Since Richard was derided and ridiculed for his silly theories she’s not a fan of her son going the same route
She changes her mind though when the bodies start coming in – 22 bodies mauled by lions. Not only is that a lot of people, but the way they were killed doesn’t match normal lion killing behaviour: they’d all been killed the same way, slowly. This convinces Elizabeth Something Is Up and she sends Jackson to find the rest of Richard’s research – in Japan. Abraham joins him with a completely and utterly unnecessary comment fetishizing Asian women.
Over in Los Angeles, Jamie is continuing to research Reid chemicals, convinced they’re the great satan because they destroyed her home town. She’s also facing eviction and a deeply creepy landlord’s son who is trying to coerce her into sex, so let’s hope something eats him.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Despite everything that she has been through, Cassie hasn't really grown as a person. Cassie feels driven to size up the women she interacts with as some competition. Cassie has to break down what her so-called competition is wearing and how it all rates against what she has or can afford, making her internal monologue irritating at times. It's almost a relief when she's told to give it a rest, considering that both Laclos and Cain the two supernaturals who are arguably the most attractive in the city have been battling over her. With everything that's happening in Angel Falls, Cassie's continual competition with the women around her is absolutely tedious to read and made we want to scream just grow up already. On a positive note, she's still willing to do what she had to do to survive and to take care of the little supernatural family she has managed to assemble.
Cassie's little supernatural family has grown even tighter in Angel Falls. We were introduced to another mortal who owes a favor to Cain and the Valkyrie, Cain's wife returned for the big battle. Everyone has competing motivations but they all manage to work together to save Laclos. I love that Medea will now be a full partner in Dark Dates because this further elevates her status. I want to see these characters continue to grow and become the ultimate Scooby team. I found myself particularly drawn to the changing relationship between Cain and Laclos. Laclos has experienced many changes after drinking Cain's blood and at times we are told that it has created a profound bond (yes, a Supernatural reference) but Sinclair works hard to show that the bond is more than supernatural and that these men have developed a history which results in a certain amount of regard.
By about the third book, I normally feel as though I have sense about the world but Sinclair showed me exactly how much I had assumed about the Cassandra Bick Chronicles by the ways she expanded the world and added so much nuance to her characters. Until Angel Falls, though we knew that angels existed and are powerful beings, we knew very little about them. We learned that Angels don't conform to modernist models of gender identity and that once they love someone, they love forever. I must admit to finding this fascinating. The angels touch upon LGBT themes and are a notable parallel between genderqueer/non-binary/genderfluid people. That being said, it's not entirely inaccurate to include Cain as one of them; however, as a member of a species that can ALL change body/shape/gender/sex at will and generally as an alien being, the analogy isn't perfect and there are marked differences between this angel's experience/representation and a genderqueer/fluid/trans human's experience etc.
If you’ve been connected to the internet at all over the past week, you will have seen a lot of fan reaction to the death of Lexa on The 100. Emotions have been… high. Twitter hashtags #LexaDeservesBetter and #LGBTFansDeserveBetter have both been full of outpourings of pain and anger over this death. A lot of people are very angry, especially LGBTQ fans of the show who, for a brief moment, allowed themselves to hope.
It seems, yet again, that we should have known better - the media teaches us harsh lessons against hope for LGBTQ happiness time and time again
In many ways, Lexa’s death on The 100 is especially painful because the show has a bisexual protagonist (and CW shows with LGBTQ protagonists are RARE. Well, shows with LGBTQ protagonists at all are rare - of the 108 shows we’ve watched we’ve seen 4 LGBTQ protagonists and 4 LGBTQ dual protagonists - and many are lacking) and genuinely seemed to be a show whose writers had a clue or at least were trying. I mean, they weren’t perfect - they told us no-one in the world of The 100 cared about sexuality but then had no LGBTQ characters until the very end of the second season (it took that long to reveal Clarke was bisexual in this homophobia free world). And Miller and Bryan bro-hugging goodbye. But, still, it was rare, it was unique, it was hopeful - and it’s that level of hope that fans, especially LGBTQ fans, invested in the show that made Lexa’s death so devastating and enraging. They expected better, they were given every reason to expect better
Since Alycia Debnam-Carey is contracted with Fear The Walking Dead, we knew that she wasn’t going to stay on the show for much longer - so removing her from the show in some way was definitely something the writers were faced with. But there were so many ways they could have done this differently.
They could have had Lexa die in a way that was actually remotely respectful for her, showing her power, her importance - rather than a stray bullet meant for Clarke (a death which eerily echoes the death of Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer which, really, is a comparison the writers should have taken pains to avoid). Or they could have stepped away from Clarke/Lexa relationship since they knew that it couldn’t possibly have a long life - especially since they had story reasons for the two not to want to get close again. Both could have worked together, found other relationships and we could have had grief without the endless tragedy
They could have simply had other/more prominent LGBTQ relationships. It wouldn’t match the power of the protagonist’s relationship, but it would have had something.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Things now rest on the knife edge, the Humans First and Last Movement is growing in power and popularity, attacking humans who don’t support them and continually provoking the Terra Indegene
And they may have gone too far – and they have no idea what mighty powers they have raised against them
This book is all about surviving, hoping for the best and preparing for the aftermath. It’s not even about trying to make it less bad – it’s past that – it’s all about getting ready to pick up the pieces.Wverything heading to a bad place and everyone is just trying to soften the blow. There’s no doubt here, the worry that has been brewing for several books has reached its peak: it’s too late to stop the disaster, the elder Others have been roused and people are going to die.
The Terra Indegene we know are not unscathed by this. Simon, Henry, Vlad et all are all closely associated with the humans and one of the repeated conflicts they face is the question of how much humanity is allowed to remain. That doesn’t just mean how many humans are allowed to live – but how many human things are allowed to remain, which is a conflict for them as well as there’s a number of human things they themselves want to keep
Which also is a personal question for Simon in particular as well – Terra Indgene are beings that imitate a predator and become more like them (so wolfguard’s ancestors saw wolves and became increasingly wolfish) – as he is more and more involved with humans how much of a human is he becoming?
Which also fits in part of the personal conflict with Meg who has excellent storylines of being the Trailblazer, trying to find a new way of living and surviving for the Cassandra Sangre like herself: trying to use their power to predict the future without it killing them. There’s also the personal story of her connection with Simon. Personally, I don’t think this book needs a romance, and I appreciate, at least, that it has been a very slow burn – but if it is going to be there it’s interesting some of the elements that they’ve added. Meg has been abused – physically emotionally and sexually – by human men; she actually views Simon’s increasing humanity as a threat and a barrier
The conflict facing the human characters is how to convince the ignorant and entitled Humans First and Last Movement demanding more and more from the Others despite the repeated warnings they’ve received. There’s lots of conflict of these humans desperately trying to placate the Others and being victimised themselves for being “Wolf Lovers”. There’s a lot of uncomfortable and difficult moments with the Others, especially the wolves, being furious with humanity for just reasons and these humans being caught in the middle, sympathising while also trying to point out some of them are trying to stop this. It’s messy and has no good ending – which is kind of the underlying theme of this book
All of these is bleak and grim but comes with a nice heavy dose of humour as well which so defines this series. The joyous confusion of the Others trying to understand humanity, especially The Meg. This light, hilariously confusion is an excellent addition to ensure that everything isn’t so grim.
The world building of this series is fascinating and pretty unique. We have a lot of book series out there where the supernatural hides out of fear of the vastness of humanity – but this is one of the few where it is the opposite. The supernatural are vastly powerful who tolerate humanity’s presence. This book also lets us see how this works in different lands with the people of Cel-Romano giving gifts to their “friends in the woods” which is a nice take on old superstitions of leaving gifts out to, for example, the fae and other local supernaturals in different parts of Europe.
"What if, once upon a time, there were no stars in the sky at all? What if the stars are not what we think? What if the light from afar doesn't come from the rays of distant suns, but from our wings as we turn into angels? Destiny calls to each of us. And there is a world behind the world where we are all connected, all part of a great and moving plan. Magic is everywhere around us. You just have to look. Look. Look closely. For even time and distance are not what they appear to be."A Winter's Tale was released in 2014, and directed by Akiva Goldsman. It stars: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay and Russell Crowe.
When his parents are denied entry to the U.S. at Ellis Island, young Peter Lake (Collin Farrell) is set adrift in a small boat. When next we see him, Peter is a grown man and has fallen out of favour with the local crime boss/demon Pearly Soames (Russeell Crowe). Peter is on the run for his life. Fortunately for Peter, when he is cornered, Athansor, a magical winged white horse appears and whisks him away. Peter decides that perhaps he should head south for the winter and let some of the heat cool off but Ahtansor has other ideas. When Athansor stops in front of a house, Peter watches as a family pulls away for what must be their winter vacation. Being a smart thief, Peter decides not to look a gift horse in the mouth and decides to rob the place. His plans come to a screeching halt however when he sees Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay) playing the piano. The two quickly develop a connection and fall in love over tea but little do they know, the dark side still has plans for Peter.
A Winter's Tale definitely falls into the category of romantic fantasy and though it absolutely bombed at the box office, I found myself somewhat captivated, even if it didn't always make a lot of sense. A Winter's Tale was adapted from a book by the same name by Mark Helprin. Though I have not read the book, which was published in 1983, I am quite certain that many elements had to be stripped away to make this movie because at times things didn't really seem to connect and rather than showing us the world, we were overloaded with exposition.
We are supposed to be caught up in the love story between Peter and Beverly but they fall in love over a cup of tea and then spend a few days together at her family's winter home. I suppose if I were one who believed in love at first sight, I might have been able to suspend belief but I read these quick love scenarios as lust and not love. It doesn't at all help that when Peter breaks into Beverly's posh home with the intention to steal, she is barely alarmed. It's so ridiculous that Peter has to comment on it. Who exactly invites a thief for a cup of tea and tells them their life story? Yes, I get that Beverly is dying and that this is tragic, it still doesn't explain why she wasn't afraid of Peter. Let's be honest, she's in her dressing gown and she doesn't actually know him from Adam. He could have been a rapist but none of that runs through Beverly's mind.
Russell Crowe's Pearly Soames is perhaps the least satisfying character in the movie. He growls and grunts and grimaces throughout the film to portray his evil and supposed menace. He is at times unintelligible and this is magnified in the scenes he shares with Will Smith (Lucifer). These two have absolutely zero chemistry with each other. Soames and Lucifer talk about accords but these are never really explained beyond the fact that Soames, for some reason cannot travel beyond the five boroughs. I assume that this is a shortfall of the medium rather than the author's original story.
I know that these two are meant to represent evil but it is never clearly explained what threat exactly Peter represents, or why Pearly makes the desperate move of becoming human in order to kill him. Simply saying that Peter is a protegee who developed ideas simply doesn't get it.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Angel is having problems. She took the zombie drug V12 originally to help her in a mission for the Tribe. Then she kept taking it because it helped with her studies and her dyslexia – and then she kept taking it despite the side effects
It’s a major hurdle to overcome, but she can’t focus on it alone – there’s a threat to expose zombies and the Tribe has its hands full with Sabaton’s plotting.
And there’s murder on her doorstep – which may be related to zombie hunting. It’s a lot to handle and there’s only Angel free to step up.
Have I mentioned how much I love this series? Because I really love this series. More surprisingly, I love this series for different reasons to why I love Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian series (though both series are in my top 10 list). I love Kara Gillian because I love the world, I love the setting, I love the awesome, epic plots – I’m not saying I don’t love Kara as well, but the world and plot is amazing. While the White Trash Zombie Series I love primarily because of Angel – again, not that the world or plots are lacking, far from it. But Angel is such an excellent character and this book just continues Angel’s story
I think the first thing to emphasise about Angel is that she isn’t super. She’s a zombie, but no more powerful than the average zombie. She’s not stupid, but hardly super intelligent either. She’s physically capable but doesn’t have super strength or move in a blur of speed. She can handle herself, but don’t expect her to pull our ninja moves or shoot with deadly accuracy over vast distances.
Yet, despite that (or because of that), she is one of the strongest characters I’ve come across who has accomplished more and overcome more than most I’ve read. The very lack of epicness about her underscores just how awesome our White Trash Zombie is.
At the end of the last book I predicted Angel was going to have some problems with the zombie pharmaceuticals the Tribe is now producing – more, that she should have problems with them. She managed to overcome drug addiction when she became a zombie simply because she became a zombie – and with that became immune to the drugs she used to take, forcing her to quit. Now there are zombie pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals she uses, which are helpful and useful to her – and are addictive
Meliorn is unhappy owing a life debt to Clary, so he guides Jace and Clary into seelie land to open up a portal, so that they can find Valentine. Watching Meliorn open the portal is like watching some really bad tai chi and cheap pajamas. Meliorn warns Clary that when she crosses over to the alternate dimension, she will be in a world where there are no shadowhunters or demons. If Clary stays in the alternate dimension for too long, she will forget her real identity. Hearing that, I kind of wanted Clary to just stay forever because I find her annoying as all get out.
Clary walks into the portal and enters the body of that Clary. The first thing that Clary notices is that her mother and father are happily married. She freaks out a bit but after watching a commercial which advertises the services of Magnus Bane as a psychic, Clary knows where she must head for help. Wow, can you believe how subtle the writers were at putting Clary and Magnus together in this dimension?
In the real dimension, at the institute, Shadowhunters are being questioned about what happened at the Silent Brothers. Alec pulls Izzy aside, afraid that it won't be long until the investigation focuses in on her. Naturally he's right, and it's a New York minute before Lydia decides that she needs to arrest Izzy because everyone knows she was sleeping with Meliorn. How's that for evidence; your sex like makes you guilty? Alec comes up with a compromise and decides to offer Lydia the Mortal Cup in exchange for Izzy's freedom. Unfortunately for Alec, he finds that the Mortal Cup is missing. So much for plan one.
Meliorn continues to meditate in front of the portal and an irritated Jace looks on. In the alternate dimension, Simon is dating Izzy and naturally Jace and Clary are still a couple. Clary tracks down Magnus and he does a tarot card reading, informing Clary that she is in love (yeah tell us something we don't know). Magnus continues the reading and says that Clary's relationship will be threatened by a revelation (readers of the books totally know what that means). Clary is not content with the reading and informs Magnus that she knows that he is a warlock and needs his help. Unfortunately, Magnus's magic has gone dormant. Magnus makes a potion but still cannot get his magic to work, even when Clary tells him that his spell casting isn't nearly as flamboyant as she has seen him do. In desperation, Clary shows Magnus the shard and when he touches it, it reinvigorates his magic allowing him to see that the portal is in the institute. Fortunately for Clary, Valentine is holding an Alice in Wonderland party at the institute tonight so they will be able to get in. Quick question, if there are no Shadowhunters, why does the institute still exist? I guess we won't quibble with common sense and just go ahead with it.
Back in the real dimension, Simon goes to Jade to say that Raphael has made him the vampire ambassador to the werewolves. Now that he is undead, the werewolves don't exactly warm to Simon but thankfully, Luke is the Alpha so Simon is safe. The two sit and share a few secrets and though Luke is a werewolf, he is able to empathise with Simon's plot because a fledgling vampire goes through the same problems as a newbie wolf. Aww look, they're building bridges. Simon and Luke head outside and Luke warns Simon not to think about going home until he has his urges under control. The two are confronted by an internal affairs officer and having a gun pointed at him, is enough to get Simon to attack. Thankfully, Luke's werewolf reflexes stop Simon from killing the cop. The two then set Simon up to play the role of the serial killer that the cops have been looking for and Luke shows up to play hero, shooting Simon dead. In the morgue, Luke is hailed as a hero for rescuing a fellow cop and closing the case. Wow, I guess internal affairs is about as competent as Barney Fife. Alone again, Simon opens the body bag and when he is informed that he saved the alpha from a police problem, Simon requests free food for life. See, that's how alliances are made.
Back at the institute, a pissed off Alec is determined that his sister won't suffer for Jace's girlfriend. With the aid of Hodge, Alec decides to trace Jace through their parabatai bond. This is huge because it could either weaken or break the bond altogether. Izzy is particularly concerned but Alec claims he no longer gives a damn about Jace. Oh Alec, thou thus protestest too much. Alec begins the process despite all of the warnings. Jace and Meliorn are busy fighting off demons but when Alec reaches out to Jace through the bond, the pain becomes unbearable and Jace falls to the ground in pain. The absence of a foe is enough for a demon to launch itself through the portal.
In the alternate dimension, Jace approaches Clary for a dance and is disturbed that she seems not to be doting on him. That's some relationship Clary. If dude cannot handle that you didn't immediately respond to his text and cannot stand the idea that you might not have the time to dance with him, it's time to institute a catch and release policy. At any rate, Magnus is outside but he cannot get into the party because Clary hasn't gotten around to putting his name on the list (way to go with priorities Clary. ) It's Alec to the rescue and he takes responsibility for Magnus. This is a total role reversal because this time, it's Alec who is doing the pursuing. He even repeats Magnus words from a previous episode claiming that Magnus is playing hard to get and that he likes a challenge. I kind of like this self assured Alec, even if he comes across as slightly sleazy.
Damien is all sad and tortured doing lots of research and freaking about Revelations because of his 666 tattoo on his scalp, his dead friend Kelly and lots of memory flashbacks. I think they need to lean on the flashbacks to the film to convince us why Damien has so rapidly gone back into the deep end.
Amani is there to help drag him out of his pit and to Kelly’s funeral (this is actually lampooned with Simone, Kelly’s sister, commenting about Amani is there to clear up Damien’s mess. Does the show get points for realising what it’s doing to its POC? Nope nope it does not) which he was going to skip because Manpain. Amani points out that would be epic arseholery so it’s off to the church with lots of ominous music, flashbacks, Damien struggling and in pain and windows breaking before he’s driven out – because churches and the antichrist don’t mix
He is dragged to the wake where all the reporters talk about their various war wounds and we find Damien got through all the terrible things he’s seen (despite always being in the middle of the worst situations) completely unscathed because OBVIOUS REASON CAN WE NOT WITH THE FORESHADOWING ALREADY?!
Anne Rutlidge is also at the church and, well, everywhere. She just follows him around and says vaguely cryptic ominous things. Over and over and over. OMINOUS GUYS! Listen to the music! Ominous
He also has a loud, tasteless argument with a priest at the wake that has him run into the night because yelling about there being no god while everyone’s grieving is kind of tacky. Though, to be fair, the priest approached him and continues talking god talk to him when it was clear Damien wasn’t buying his bullshit. Take a hint padre and back off.
Instead Damien goes into the night-time streets, finds some poor areas and homeless people to take photos of without their consent because treating people like zoo animals is totally ok, right? Yeah, I know he’s a journalist, but he’s not writing a story here and it’s equally clear part of his career is taking photos of Big Dramatic Tragic Moments and selling them without commentary like some kind of vulture feeding off people’s pain. Rich people then buy his art and comment on the Big Special Feelings that poor-people pain makes them feel probably saying how powerful or moving it is without actually adding any kind of commentary, awareness or productive help being given to the actual victims depicted.
Sorry, side rant.
With the death of Eliza/Jane last week we’re reminded that Fillory is real, the books Quinn’s obsessed over are real and way back at the beginning of the series he was given the missing 6th book of the series which would really help right now. Unfortunately he’s lost it or, more accurately, Penny grabbed it and threw it away because Penny’s an arsehole and doesn’t like Quinn. Now they have to rely on Penny’s dubious memory of a hook he read but wasn’t interested in
Can we just throw in a shenanigans here? Ok I’ll accept that Penny is a bully and arsehole enough to steal Quinn’s stuff and destroy it. But reading the book first? When it’s book 6 in a series he’s never read and had no interest in? Would he really read it?
Anyway, Penny remembers that there was a magical button that would get them into Fillory whenever they wanted which should be back in the author’s, Pulover, house in England
Time for a history reminder. This author was inspired to write Fillory books and put children in hem who were his neighbours and/or his housekeeper’s kids. At one point he took in the neighbour’s kids when their parent’s dies. But these kids all disappeared under mysterious circumstances and he died of a heart attack shortly afterwards
So, they go to Elliot since he has a convenient portal to London (Elliot is following them because why not?) to investigate the house which is preserved as some kind of historical site. They take the tour then return late at night to find it spooky and haunted and apparently inclined to kill tour guides and sew up their lips.
This is where I would leave. But that’s me. They also learn that Pulover was definitely a student of magic – perhaps even Travelling like Penny.
The haunting plays lots of flashbacks of life in the Pulover household and it’s very much not a nice, happy place. We have Prudence, Pulover’s sister, who positively loathed the kids and hit them, drugged them, tied them up, tortured them and even sewed their lips shut in the name of keeping the house quiet.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
It seems that the burning of his wings is cause for celebration as far as Lucifer is concerned. He declares his birthday, claiming that it's time for a new beginning. Mazikeen is not impressed with this announcement, clearly still determined to get Lucifer back to hell. Chloe and Dan (who is still not dead) show up to share a drink with Lucifer but cannot stay because they need to head to a cop party. It seems that the cops are celebrating the survival of Malcolm, the cop Chloe accused of corruption. At the bar, Malcolm is as slimy as can be and tells Chloe that they need to talk.
A chastened Lucifer heads to see Linda, full of apologies for punching a hole in her wall. Linda calls it a break through. Lucifer questions why he feels like a fat man sitting on his chest when he is around Chloe. The answer is obvious - Lucifer is jealous. Naturally, this is something Lucifer refuses to accept and so he decides that Linda needs to talk to Chloe about her douche addiction. This is something that Linda says she is unwilling to do, causing Lucifer to ask for help bringing an end to his emotions.
It's time for the case of the week, which involves the death of a therapist who advises his patients to have open marriages though it's framed as cheating on your spouse for happiness. Chloe is full of judgement about this idea saying that sleeping with someone else is not how you save a marriage and as expected, Lucifer loves the idea. Since a therapist is needed to go through the files of the "cheaters therapist" , they need a judge to assign someone. Lucifer wants Linda selected but Chloe wants someone impartial and further is not impressed that Linda sleeps with Lucifer. Lucifer never being one to take no for an answer, sleeps with a judge and gets her to sign off on Linda's involvement.
In the process of working on the case, Lucifer looks for a human to explain jealousy to him because it's an emotion that he is not familiar with. When he does find a human, who as luck should have it is in the same situation as him, Lucifer again goes into denial. When Chloe said that Lucifer is far from introspective, she was absolutely right on the money.
After being called to Lux, Linda has a meeting with Mazikeen and the gloves come off. I actually love that Linda held her own with Mazikeen after being told that when Lucifer was done with her, that she would be cast aside like refuse. I love that Linda suggested to Mazikeen that her real issue is a loss of power and control. I would say that in this case, Linda served Mazikeen a big plate of check and mate. Linda however doesn't fare as well when she faces off with Chloe who questions whether Linda's sexual relationship with Lucifer is ethical.
With the case solved, Chloe discovers that Tony, Malcolm's partner dead. Tony has left behind a note explaining that he was on the take and now that Malcolm is feeling better, the guilt got to him. Chloe accepts this as the resolution to the Palmetto case. Naturally, this ending is far too neat but Chloe doesn't question.
And it's war! Unfortunately this episode is absolutely anticlimactic but at this point, I don't expect better from Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands. Abrecan is surrounded by the people of Bregan and of course his Wolfling allies and plots the best way to attack Herot. Already there are frays in the alliance about what is the best way to approach Herot. Rheda, having escaped her brother is back in Herot and her first action is to question Slean about his role in the uprisings. A guilty Slean cannot look into his mother's eyes and she demands Hrothgar's sword be taken from him and then demands his arrest.
Thanks to Slean's betrayal, Herot's closest allies are too far away to be of any real aid. Compounding the issue, they don't have enough Huscarla to defeat Abrecan's army. Under Slean's direction, the people of Herot have been training but they are absolutely the last line of defense and certainly no match for a Wolfling army. It's Beowulf who suggests reaching out to the Varni but Rheda is convinced that any messenger from her will immediately be murdered because she threw the Varni out of the alliance of clans. Varr to the rescue. As Varni, Varr believes that he can get Rate to listen to Rheda's pleas.
Elvina heads to visit Slean in jail and assures him that because he didn't judge her, she won't judge him. Elvina then takes off to the woods and finds the mudborn who she has been feeding and warns it away because war is coming. Razzak has been waiting for her and declares that while he doesn't want to be enemies, he wants to know why it is that Elvina seems to have taken sides with the humans against her own kind. Elvina being Elvina, does her peacenik routine.
Varr and Beowulf arrive at the Varni land only to find that Hane is already there. Seeing as how both sides want the Varni, Rate says that his people are happy to let Herot and Bregan fight it out and then swear loyalty which ever side wins. Rate's supposed neutrality is actually a death sentence to Herot and he's astute enough to know that. Varr then demands his right to be heard as a member of a Varni which means he has to right Rate's champion. Unfortunately, the fight is way too short but Varr emerges victorious. Instead of asking Rate to send Varni warriors to defend Herot, he simply asks Rate to read Rheda's letter. Rate reads Rheda's entreaty but it doesn't sway him. Beowulf decides to head back to Herot to see what he can do to help, thankful that at least they still have Varr, It's time for Beowulf to look confused because it seems that now that Varr has killed the Varni champion, he is responsible for supporting the man's family and cannot leave. With a sad smile, Varr hopes that he will find living with the Varni better the second time around.
Arla heads to see Slean, interrupting his bought of self pity. With everything that he has done, Slean was actually wallowing in his daddy issues. Arla wants to help and is quick to follow Slean's suggestion that she find a way to get Argat to come and see him. Arla manages to track down Argat, but with everything going down, he doesn't have time to talk to a pubescent girl, until she invokes her position. Arla argues that despite what he has done, Slean really cares about the Huscarla and has proven it with his washing of a Huscarla's body. Argat goes to see Slean and actually frees him so that Slean can fight with his men. A gloating Arla sees Rheda and informs her that Slean has been set free. Rheda is not the least bit impressed but Arla argues that Slean deserves the right to die in battle and cleanse his honour.
I find myself writing the same short story disclaimer with every short story I read – that I don’t generally like them and prefer if they add something to the overall series without being essential. I don’t think a series of books should require you to actually read every little e-short in the series. At the same time, a short story that’s just a random fluff tale without adding anything of substance to the larger series always leaves me thinking “well, why did I read this? What’s the point?”
Because I’m awkward like that
But this short story again shows how it can be excellently done – but using the book to tell some of the history and develop some insight into one of the regular side characters of the main plot:
Nicola was a very intriguing regular background character throughout the Libriomancer series and definitely one I wanted to know more about. Her magic, the magic of a bard, of music is definitely one I wanted to see expanded and explained in the same way that book magic was examined throughout the series.
I also loved Nicola herself. She’s autistic and that deeply informs her character, is a part of her character and personhood and very much part of her story, her interactions and her experiences. Yet at the same time she’s a person not just defined by her magic of being autistic. She’s also very powerful, very capable and you can see, even as a child, the core of the leader she becomes in the books.
She’s also a woman with her own agenda and opinions, not following on a party line or being guided or controlled by others. Even when manipulated and deceived, she finds the truth and deals with it decisively
The gang are still questing for Killian in the Underworld – where he and a woman are being held prisoner and guarded by Cerberus (Hades’s big three headed doggy). Killian nobly sacrifices himself to said pooch so the lady can run off and fetch help – so it’s confirmed that Killian is back on team good guy
So, how do you bring down Cerberus? Well, anyone up on their Greek Mythology knows that capturing Cerberus (albeit temporarily) was Hercules’s 12th labour – and we have Hercules
Yes, he’s in the underworld and he’s a childhood friend of Mary Margaret (I know it’s contrived, but I really like the all-legends mash up of Once Upon a Time) this comes with a montage of how he trained Mary Margaret to fight when she was young Snow White and gave her the confidence to keep trying and keep fighting
Far more awesomely, this is repeated in the present by Regina when Mary Margaret has a despair moment. Because Regina does absolutely everything awesomely, even acknowledging how Mary Margaret eventually won in the war against her. I liked that Regina showed respect for Mary Margaret without the eternal self-flagellation she has had to endure in past season.
This is all part of Mary Margaret’s character arc in which she decides she doesn’t WANT to be Mary Margaret any more. She wants to be Snow White, the hero she once was
And can I say this gives me so much hope? I mean, anyone reading my recaps knows that there are intestinal parasites I find more appealing than the Charmings – but if you look back on some of my earliest recaps it wasn’t always like this. Early days Snow White was considerably less soggy. May ths be a return back to those days! Especially when she openly says all she’s offering are sioggy messages about hope (ok, I added the “soggy” but still, that’s my complaint for a while now – all the Charmings do is offer insipid feel-good sound bites). I am clinging to this
Monday, March 14, 2016
The triumph of taking out the Saviour compound is short lived. Rick gets a message that the Saviours have captured both Carol and Maggie. Rick tries to encourage them into a trade since they are holding onto one of the saviours but the Saviours decide to stall for time, after calling in some reinforcements.
In many ways, The Same Boat is Carol's episode. From the very beginning I knew that the protective Carol would do whatever she had to do to protect Maggie. I watched as she pretended to hyperventilate, in order to keep a rosary and convince her captives that she was weak. Carol's behaviour was the ultimate act of playing possum. From hyperventilation, to talking about being a battered woman, to the crocodile tears that tolled down her face, everything Carol did was to ensure that she and Maggie went free.
Polly pretty much made the decisions for the Saviours and many ways she was just like Carol. Polly and Carol had very similar backgrounds and because of this, not only did she buy Carol's act of possum, she reacted with very little sympathy for her. Carol's supposed weakness served to make Polly angry causing her to repeatedly ask Carol what she was so afraid of. It's not until the end when we learn that Carol was afraid of killing Polly.
Maggie was subjected to questioning about why she would choose to get pregnant now. I believe that it was heavily implied that Maggie is privileged. Her captors are quick to notice that she is relatively clean, she looks well fed and that her clothing is all in pretty good shape. Maggie is a far cry from her days on the road and because she is an integral part of Alexandria, where there's no abuse and no one has to steal food, her life is quite different from the Saviour women.
There's a lot of moral grey on The Walking Dead. We've been following Rick's group through the apocalypse for six years and they are very different people from who we first met. Rick has certainly made some questionable decisions but we - the viewing audience - have adjusted to their reality time and time again, accepting their justifications for the various actions they have taken. When Maggie is told that she isn't part of the good guys, it's clear that she doesn't believe it but it's true. Yes, the Saviours attacked Darryl, Abraham, and Sasha on the way back to Alexandria, but they were blown to bits for their trouble. The saviours didn't attack Alexandria and Maggie agreed to go and kill a bunch of people she has never met based on the fact that she wanted food for her community. Yes, food is an essential need but does it justify outright murder? Is Maggie part of the good guys?
By now, the Baba Yaga series has become pretty predictable. When Bella meets Sam and Jazz, there's never any doubt that all three of them will end up together living as a family. It's always only a matter of how it happens. That beings said, when Bella's fellow Baba Yagas show up to look for her, I was expecting Deborah Blake to bring on the awesome. I feel very much at this point that we were due, particularly given that this book was written largely by the numbers. Unfortunately, to say the big showdown was anticlimactic is to be kind. Blake didn't bring the epic and seemed rush to wrap everything up in a neat little bow, so that she could move onto writing about the Riders.
I liked watching Jazz and Bella bond; however, I wished that the bond had not occurred over the fact that they are both orphans and come from a history of abuse. I suppose at least for Jazz, there was no other way to have her living in a forest withput adult supervision. The issue for me is that suffering is used too often as a shortcut to characterization. The same issue occurred with Sam, with his PTSD, survivor's guilt and scared face. I never felt like I got to know Sam as a person and he really became was his loss and fears. The only good thing I can say is that while woo woo was used to cure Sam of his lung damage and scars, at least Blake had Sam acknowledge that dealing with his PTSD was going to take some time.
The antagonist is Brenna, a former Baba Yaga the queen had forced to retire. We met Brenna in Wickedly Wonderful; however Blake did a good job of explaining to readers where Brenna's anger stemmed from and her history with the Baba Yagas. If you have not read any of the other books in this series, you will not have any trouble following along with Wickedly Powerful. Brenna, is not pleased to have been forced to retire and she is further enraged that this means the loss of the Water of Life and Death, which slows down the aging process of the Baba Yagas and strengthens their powers. As her hair begins to go grey and bones begin to creak, Brenna is driven to kidnap the Riders and torture them until they lose their immortality so she that she can become what she once was - powerful.
This episode revolves around one major, terrible thing in the life of all werewolves – the secret. The secret that no human can know werewolves exist and how it’s tearing them all up.
The big one is, of course, Elena and Sasha sitting down to explore her history – particularly how her mother died because Sasha told her the big secret and Roman then killed her to keep everything secret. Sasha still blames himself for that because, well, that is the rule and he, Jeremy et al kind of agree with those rules. Elena is not so sure – not just because it killed her mother (which she squarely blames on Roman – not that Sasha’s off the hook. Abandoning her as a baby and then hiding the truth about her mother hasn’t exactly earned him any brownie points). Elena has her own history with the rule – when she first met Jeremy he planned to kill her because he thought Clay had exposed their secret to her – she was almost the same innocent victim as her mother.
In the woods, Alexei and Clay try to track down the man Alexie attacked during his first change: he’s bitten but running through the woods. Alexei clings to the idea that maybe he could survive and Alexei hasn’t killed him, how the man could even become a werewolf. But there’s the rule which Clay brutally lays down: this man has a family (his partner calls repeatedly on the mobile phone they’ve found), he has a life, he’s an exposure risk. Whether he survived Alexei’s bite/claw or not, he’s doomed to die which is a horrible weight on Alexei.
They do find his body – and in addition to us seeing more of the pain the secret causes, Clay explains how they control the wolf so it doesn’t kill people. They pretty much wallow in the pain these deaths cause, brutally confronting all the grieving loved ones their victim leaves behind and use that, that human part of themselves, to suppress the wolf even when they’re in wolf form. It’s a nice mix of both sympathy for Alexei and brutal reality being forcibly dropped on him. It’s a hard truth her has to learn but there’s a strong acknowledgement it is hard. Clay doesn’t seem to blame Alexei while also realising that Alexei basically has to feel uber guilty over this to control his wolf in the future.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
I think I would have titled this episode #teamdownworlder. At any rate, Simon is now a vampire and is not at all happy with his transformation. He runs away and though Raphael promised to take care of him, he quickly runs out of patience. Before Jace and Clary can go and track Simon down, Jace gets a call to inform him that the institute has been invaded and that Alec has been hurt. Of course, Clary wants Jace to come with her but he's unwilling to tag along because Alec is important to him. Somehow I get the feeling that if it were Clary in danger that Jace would simply say that Alec can look after himself. The only reason he is prioritizing
At the institute, Alec is still very angry, having learned that his parents used to be circle members. He feels betrayed, particularly given all the pressure which was placed on him to uphold the family name. His fiancee has an axe to grind and decides to bring in Meliorn for questioning, suggesting that Izzy may have inadvertently shared secret information with him. In interrogation, Meliron is quick to reveal that Clary has the Immortal Cup but when he doesn't give up any more information, Lydia decides to have him questioned by the Silent Brothers, though this will amount to torture.
Clary has managed to save Simon from himself. Simon had returned home and was about to take a big bite out of his mother when Clary arrived. Having convinced Simon to come with her, the next step is for Clary and Simon to find a place to hide. Having few options, the two ask for sanctuary from Raphael. Once inside the Hotel du Mort, Clary and Simon are locked up together. Simon is very angry and still falsely believes that it was Raphael who turned him into a vampire, so after some lip biting, Clary confesses that it was her decision. It's okay though cause they are bff's and who cares if the Jewish Simon has been turned into something he finds evil right? Simon being a fledgling and having not fed a lot finds Clary a bit too tempting and is forced to ask for blood from Raphael.
Back at the institute, with Meliorn on his way for questioning, it's time to get serious about the supposed right way to go after Valentine and apparently, these teens have the right answer. Jace gets Magnus to steal Alec's stele so that he steal the Mortal Cup. Cup in hand, Jace then encourages Izzy to get moving, as Magnus uses magic to place the stele back with Alec's other positions. While Izzy and Jace make their escape, Alec and Magnus share a moment. Alec reveals that he is engaged and Magnus initially takes it as Alec wanting to lead a closeted life because of how strict his society is. It seems however that Alec has decided that while this is a political marriage, he will be faithful to Lydia. Magnus is doe eyed and disappointed but he says his goodbye with grace.
Izzy and Jace meet up with Raphael, Clary, Simon and Luke at the Hotel Du Mort. After hearing that Meliorn is being taken for questioning, Clary suggests that they all work together to free him because if the clave can do this to Meliorn, they can do this to any downworlder. They all meet up at the Downworlder entrance to the Silent Brother area. As expected, things don't go smooth and Clary has to give another team downworlder speech and Simon has to pledge allegiance to Raphael to assure the vampires role.
What's past is prologue
Into the Schwarzwald is a huge milestone for Grimm because it's the 100th episode. I have to admit that back in the first season, I would never have believed that Grimm would make it that far. Many times over the years, I have been frustrated by the repeated return to the Wesen of the week coupled with slow and plodding meta each season. To be honest, season twelve really has been no different what with Rosealee getting threatening calls, and Renard caught up in a local election. None of it fee;s connected whatsoever to the main meta which is about bringing an end to the uprising by Black Claw. This week, Grimm neatly tied these events together while reminding of us of the relationships between all of the characters.
This week in Nick and Monroe's excellent adventures, we saw these two team up to find the seven Grimm treasure. It took up the majority of the episode and seemed to just plod along. The two seem to be stymied at every turn and Monroe is injured in the escape. I do have to say that I loved Monroe telling Nick that not all Blutbad look alike when he is asked to fool the men who are hunting them. On the way home, the two men call the spice shop to speak to their respective partners. That sentence hurt to write because Nick clearly sees his rapist as someone who is important to him.
In the wake of the murder of Andrew Dixon, Wu and Hank take off after Marwan but he climbs down the side of a building like spiderman and escapes the cops. Marwan, despite all of his skill, cannot escape Eve and she causes him to be hit by a bike and then uses her evil hexenbiest breath to knock him out, before stealing his phone. This is a huge break for Hadrian's Wall because they believe that Marwan could potentially lead them to his handlers, thus allowing them to break the back of Black Claw. After copying the information on Marwan's phone, Eve heads to the hospital and tucks Marwan's phone in with his things. The moment Marwan awakes, he calls his contact and asks for a ride.
Back at the station, Hank, Wu and Renard are stymied what to do about the missing Marwan. All the cops feel that they cannot put out an APB for him because they have no way to explain exactly how it is that Marwan came on their radar. I gotta say, given that all crime seems to be committed by Wesen, I'd really like to know how it is that their identity has been hidden for so long? Renard instead instructs Hank and Wu to tell the feds that they saw someone on the top floor who got away. Renard then gets a call tipping him off as to where Marwan is. The cops track Marwan down at the hospital and after a brief battle, Renard takes him out. I gotta say, if I were Marwan, I would have fought off the two humans instead of going toe to toe with a Half-Zauberbiest. Later, a pissed off Meisner confront Renard because now that Marwan has been compromised he is no good to them and cannot lead them anywhere.
Renard goes back to his office and reviews the tapes and notices that Rachel Wood is on stage looking up at exactly where the shots came from. Renard goes to see Rachel and after a kiss woges and suggests that they have an honest conversation. Rachel, who is a Löwen, woges in response. It seems that Rachel's entire interactions with Renard have been about grooming him to run for mayor. He is presented with a rip off Hope and Change poster (really Grimm is that the best that you could do?) and introduced to Lucien. Finally, Renard might have some relevance this season and it also moves him back into the position of being in the grey area where he is best suited to exist. Will Renard play both sides against the middle?
The episode begins with Abbie and Jenny rock climbing. It's clear that the year Abbie spent in the alternate dimension has left her in some great shape. Abbie is also in no mood to suffer fools when some strange man tries to get her to play the role of helpless woman. Gotta say, Abbie had me screaming booya.
When they get back, Abbie learns that Ichabod has made plans for them to travel to Rochester N.Y. to meet a professor to discover more about the symbol which Abbie seems to be addicted to. Abbie has to take a rain check because Daniel has organized a survival training weekend for the FBI. I was initially not pleased to see Abbie and Ichabod go their separate ways for this episode because Sleepy Hollow is always better when these two are playing off of each other. We've also had enough of Abbie and Crane being separated from each other recently.
At the training site, Abbie learns that they are going to be given the bare minimum to survive and this means no cell phones. As a die hard city girl, I would consider this particular assignment cruel and unusual punishment. Unsurprisingly, Abbie gets paired up with Sophie and because their third partner is in the hospital, Daniel decides to join them. Sophie is certain that this is going to be awkward and she's right. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't pleased to see Abbie and Crane separated but this little weekend retreat gives Abbie and Sophie a chance to bond which is important given that they are going to be working together. We learn that Sophie sees the supernatural as something which could possibly give her answers regarding her missing parents while Abbie can only see all that she has lost because of the supernatural. While the women chat, Daniel and the tour guide find an old well. The tour guide leans in long enough to take a picture and it quickly becomes clear that there's something supernatural in the well.
They don't get far from the well when the guide is attacked by some mummy looking reject. The guide gets bitten and Abbie and Sophie cover claiming that the guide was bitten by a coyote. After giving the guide some basic first aid, they build a wooden stretcher planning to walk him out of the woods. Sophie believes that Daniel should be told what is going on but Abbie is adamant that anyone she has ever brought into the supernatural has suffered extreme consequences. Ummm so how is letting the man walk through the woods unaware of the real threat actually taking care of him? Abbie feigns tiredness and stays behind as Daniel and Sophie start walking back to the cars. The creature attacks and Abbie manages to cut off its hand, only to watch in horror as it regenerates. This time, it's Sophie to the rescue and she manages to save Abbie. When they meet up with Daniel, Abbie suggests resting at a cabin for now. Is anyone else wondering why they feel the need to rest? How far could they have gotten from the starting point given that at one point they were walking in circles?
They aren't at the cabin for long before Daniel decides that he can move faster by himself and should go and get help. Abbie tries to talk him out of it but Daniel is in no mood to listen, claiming that everything is always about Abbie. A stunned Abbie questions why he asked her to come back and Daniel cryptically answers that maybe he didn't have a choice. Daniel takes off and for the life of me the fact that Abbie still doesn't tell the man she so clearly cares about what is going on is astounding. Is Daniel suddenly going to go invisible in the woods so that creature cannot see him? Abbie checks on the wounded guide and discovers that he has maggots crawling around in the wound. Yeah, it's as gross as it sounds. Sophie just happens to find a journal in the cabin and learns that when the reject mummy creature bites someone, they also turn into a reject mummy creature. I guess there's no need to explain to us how or why Sophie reads Dutch right? Right on cue, the guide stands up snarling and Abbie knocks him unconscious with a huge piece of wood. The women figure out that the only way to save the guide is to kill the creature which infected him.