Saturday, April 16, 2016

Wynonna Earp, Season 1, Episode 3: Leavin' on Your Mind

Time for more snark and the odd demon kill!

But first let’s look at John Henry, Doc Holiday, who continues to look for a mysterious woman using Waverley’s research and not getting too far. She probably has the answer he’s looking for but he then decides to be all scary to drive her off since she’s in the habit of following him to the revenant Trailer Park having discovered who Doc Holiday is.

Which leaves Doc with one option – BoBo (head of the Revenants) for the answer about who this Stone Witch is. And in exchange he wants him to get close to Wynonna

Whoever she is, she’s using her spells for three Revenants looking to get out of town (as Waverley happily explains to Dolls now she’s doing research for the team – Revenants are trapped in town) which involves three of the nasty demons ripping off hands, stealing local history and trying to get something out of an old bank which involves taking hostages. Including Champ (Waverley’s boyfriend, much to Office Haut’s disgust) and Shorty (old wise father figure to Wynonna, don’t learn too much about him, he’s here to die so Wynonna can be sad).

Wynonna gets in the middle of it, unarmed, in a desperate attempt to save people. And kill the Revenants especially since the super-fast Marty is one of the ones who killed her dad. Revenants aren’t the most trust worthy of people though and they end up killing each other leaving only one. He looks like the most reasonable of the Revenants but reminds us he plans to kill and maim lots of people for funsies, as they do.

The 100, Season Three, Episode Eleven: Nevermore

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Nevermore, is quite the accurate title for this episode.  It's a play upon Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem The Raven.  The Raven in this case is reified by the character Raven as she lays horrors upon those who seek to save her by taunting them with their own horrendous actions.  

When we last left The 100, Jasper had managed to knock Raven unconscious and sneak her out of Arcadia, only to run into the arriving Clark.  Clark jumps into the vehicle and joins him as the people of Arcadia storm towards them.  Clark is horrified to see that her mother is one of those who has been over taken by ALIE's chip.

Back at the cave, Octavia has packed up her shit and wants to leave, feeling that she doesn't quite fit in.  Bellamy tires to explain his actions by claiming that the Grounder force outside of Arkadia was trying to starve them out. Bellamy does his best to stop his sister, citing what is going on in Arkadia and adding that they are going to need her help to deal with this.   Octavia is not immediately convinced, saying that the message Japser sent makes absolutely no sense.  Bellamy very much wants the forgiveness of his sister and points out his role in handing over Pike but an unsatisfied Octavia wants Lincoln back. Octavia then twists the knife and tells Bellamy that turning in Pike does not make him "one of the good guys."  Octavia not only lays Lincoln's death at Bellamy's feet but Monroe as well, adding that he lashed out because he was hurt. 

The fun begins the moment Jasper carries Raven into the cave and they start to try and figure out how to remove the chip from her.  Nevermore, not only hearkens to Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven but also to The Exorcist.  Possessed by ALIE, Raven is determined to break free and is willing to use whatever tools are at her disposal to do so. When Clarke pulls out the commander chip, questioning if the City of Light chip looks like it, ALIE reaslies that this is what she has been looking for.  After Raven escaping once, trying to figure out where she is so that ALIE can send in the cavalry, Jasper gives Raven the last dose of the drug which knocks her unconscious again. 

They decide that they need to get moving and head to Niylah's outpost.  Yes, Niylah, the same woman Clarke had a one night stand with.  Unsurprisingly, Niylah is not at all pleased to see Clarke, given that she holds Skaikru responsible for the death of her father.  Clarke lies and claims that the group had nothing to do with it.  The conversation is cut short when Raven wakes and Bellamy decides to just solve the issue of resistance by putting a gun in Niylah's face.  Is Bellamy ever going to be anything other than a blunt instrument?

Now that it's clear that Raven cannot be left alone, Clarke declares that they should all take a shift watching over Raven.  This does not please Jasper at all because he doesn't want Clarke in charge after what happened in Mount Weather. It's Raven who suggests that Jasper has still not forgiven Clarke for Maya dying.  It's episode eleven and I am more than tired of Jasper's manpain at this point.  On ALIE's suggestion, Raven dislocates her shoulder and begins to bite through the bandaging on her arm.  In desperation, Clarke warns ALIE that if she lets Raven die that she will never hand over the chip. That's enough for ALIE to instruct Raven to allow herself to be helped. 

They figure out what Raven was trying to do with the wristbands but realise that they don't have a big enough charge to make it work.  Monty and Octavia head to the drop ship to get the equipment they need.  This is when Raven begins to work on Clarke.  Raven asks if Clarke sees the faces of the people that she has killed.  Yes, what happened at Mount Weather is still very much a sore spot for Clarke. Clarke, having spent so much time self flagellating knows exactly what ALIE is up to and does not take the bait. Raven then suggests that Clarke is guilty for the death of Wells and Finn. When this doesn't get the reaction she wants, Raven turns to Clarke's father, saying that she knows all about this because Abbie is in there with them.  Raven then suggests that though Clarke wants to save everyone, the people around her always seem to die.  Clarke finally breaks when Raven suggests that she probably killed Lexa to.  Bellamy is forced to rush into the room to get Clarke away from Raven but not before Clarke threatens to fry ALIE, which is the information that ALIE has been waiting for. Raven informs ALIE that they have sent people to the drop ship. 

On the way to the drop ship, Monty decides to question Octavia about leaving the group, but Octavia who is still full of grief answers that she only felt at home with Lincoln.  Monty tries again and reminds Octavia that she is one of The 100.  This really struck a nerve with me because they have been through so much and wouldn't have survived without solidarity; however, it's not enough to reach Octavia. 

When they arrive at the drop ship, Hannah thanks to ALIE is there waiting for them.  When Monty confront her about turning him in, Hannah tries to protest her innocence.  Monty however will not be fooled and so questions his mother about his father's favourite colour.  When Hannah cannot answer because her memories have been erased, Monty realises that the person he is talking to is not his mother.  The struggle begins and Hannah and Monty fight because ALIE is desperate for Monty to take the City of Light chip. Octavia is forced to intervene but Hannah quickly gets the upper hand and holds a knife to Octavia's throat.  Monty picks up a gun and calls out to Hannah, begging her to stop. Finally, feeling as though he has no choice, Monty shoots his mother twice, killing her in the process.

Zoo, Season 1, Episode 6: This Is What It Sounds Like

Picking up where we left off, the Brazilian government decides that poisoning Rio is a great idea. No, really. Not only do they do that but it doesn’t even work

That leaves Chloe and Mitch desperately cobbling together some reason why the gang members shouldn’t kill them on general principles – eventually bullshitting enough to create a bat repelling device that actually works. Yes, Mitch achieves what the Brazillian government couldn’t figure out using $20 of used computer equipment. No matter how smart he is, that’s pretty demeaning. So poisoned Rio is technically saved…

Of course gang member wouldn’t let them go because of the device – but he does because Abraham rides to the rescue and unleashes 8 kinds of holy hell in on the gang and the boss until Chloe and Mitch are released. In addition to kicking every arse every, Abraham also brings the line:

“The man you are is not worth the man I would have to be to kill you.”

Again, I’m not entirely thrilled with the role Abraham is occupying in the group, but at least he is epically skilled within that role.

While locked up Chloe and Mitch get to talk all about his feelings for his terminally ill daughter and partly why that makes him so negative and cynical (there also seems to be an academic kafuffle caused by his ego running ahead of him: teaching him not to get too confident in his abilities). I’m not sure about this storyline, yes it’s humanising but the world may actually be ending

Friday, April 15, 2016

Orphan Black, Season Four, Episode One: The Collapse of Nature

When I first began this episode, I must admit that I was utterly confused.  What the hell was Beth doing there?  Why was Paul still alive? I thought for a moment that I made some sort of mistake and was actually watching an episode from season one, rather than the premier of season four. This episode also brought the return of Dr. Leekie and Olivier. Seeing that little tail again was just as unpleasant as the first time.

Before there was Sarah, there was Beth.  Beth is the one who gathered Allison, (my favourite clone of all time) and Cosima, together to try and figure out the mystery of their existence and exactly what they were up against.  It was Beth who used her credentials as a detective to work the case. Finally, it was Beth who paid the price of leadership with her life.  Everything that Beth was, became lost to the Neolutians and the mystery of her clone identity. It cost her in the most profound ways.

Beth desperately tries to hold things together, taking drugs to make it more difficult for the Neolgians to be able to mess with her head though it causes great problems with her job.  A cop and an addict do not mix, forcing her to acquire the urine of Allison's daughter in order to pass a urine test. Quick aside, did anyone else wonder how it is that Beth was allowed to keep the stall door closed while she took the test?

At home, flying high from the drugs, Beth has a fight with Paul.  It bothered me to watch as Paul repeatedly gas lighted her when he knew exactly what he was involved in and how it was affecting her life.  His very presence in her apartment meant that Beth had no place to simply unwind, no place that was safe.  When Beth pulls her gun and points it at Paul's head while he wasn't facing her, I wanted so desperately for Paul to die in this moment because what he did to Beth amounts to mental abuse, to say nothing of the repeated violation of trust he engaged in. We all know that this is not how Paul met his end but I think it would have been far more satisfying than Paul being somewhat redeemed in his sacrifice for Sarah.

Beth is desperate in her confrontation with Paul, stripping off her dress and pleading with him to touch her, to be intimate with her but Paul withdraws. Beth realises that at best, Paul is an enigma and she has filled in his identity with educated guesses.  Who is this man and why won't he end it, forcing her to continue to endure this living hell of a relationship, loaded with subtext and suspicion.

By the time Beth makes it to Art's home begging to watch television with him and his daughter, Beth is so broken she cannot even begin to think about explaining what is going on, let alone set herself up for healing.  Art is Beth's safe space and though she cannot tell him the truth, she can count on him to embrace her, see her for who she is, and give her the tenderness she is so desperate for.  When she caresses Art's face, and kisses him, he pulls away and shakes his head no.  When Beth reaches for him a second time, Art cannot deny her and they end up in bed.

I'm not sure if my memory is wrong on this but I do believe that this is the first time we see that Art's feelings for Beth ran much deeper than what would occur between partners.  He doesn't know what is going on but Art cannot stand to see Beth in pain.  It's a bittersweet moment because we know that despite all of his concern, Art cannot stop what will happen to Beth, he cannot protect her from what the future holds.

Back in season one, it was implied that Beth committed suicide because Paul was her handler. Given what we know about Paul, it's pretty easy to run with that.  It turns out however that what finally pushed Beth over the edge was her accidentally shooting of a woman.  Art planted evidence to cover her mistake and told Beth to get her story straight but the guilt at what she had done was simply too much for her.  In the end, no matter how desperately Beth wanted to be cared for and protected, no one could have saved her. The drugs, the lying, sneaking around and finally the accidental shooting all became too much for her.  Beth fled a life that has spiraled out of control.

Wynonna Earp (Wynonna Earp, #1) by Beau Smith

Wynonna Earp is a descendant of the famous old west lawman Wyatt Earp.  Colour me unimpressed. She is drafted by the US Marshals Black Badge division to go after all things which go bump in the night.  Wynonna is a no nonsense cop who experiences absolutely no fear up against creatures which would make the most of at the very least scream and run the opposite direction.

My decision to read Wynnona Earp is based on our commitment to read the source material of all media that we watch.  Wynnona Earp, the television series which is currently airing on Syfy.  The television show really is aimed around the idea that Wynnona is a descendant of Wyatt, which is not a central point to the comics.  She is chosen for her skill and her fearlessness.

I find Wynnona as a crime fighter absolutely ridiculous.  She runs into situations with little planning and little back up.  Invariably, despite the fact that Wynnona is strong, she needs to be saved by a man twice.  Can you picture any male protagonist with the same background having to be saved, let alone by a woman?

The artwork in this comic leaves so much desired.  Why is it that any male law enforcement official is dressed from head to toe, while Wynnona sports thigh highs, a bare midriff or short skirts?  Who gets into battle looking like this?

This is absolutely Hawkeye Initiative material. What sense does it make for her to go up against a nest of vampire who are hopped up on drugs dressed like this?  If that's not enough, we even have drawings done is such a way to show off T&A.  

A kickass protagonist is an awesome thing but a kickass protagonist who is overly sexualized is sexist and ridiculous. The horrible portrayal wouldn't have been so bad if we had seen even a modicum of intelligence coming from Wynnona.  At best, we got badly written one liners that simply rise to the level of bad snark.  

Leaders of international criminal organizations are being killed. This leads Wynonna to little Cairo in New York City.  Amir Tasmir has big plan is to bring the goddess"Timat" back to life and use Wynonna's body as her vessel.  As far as I am aware, there is no Goddess Timat but there is a goddess Tiamat of the Mesopotamian Religion (Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian) At any rate, apparently it has been prophesied that Timat will make her return in a blonde body.  Go ahead and roll your eyes because I did.  Why the hell would a supposedly ancient Egyptian goddess choose to come back in the body of a blonde white woman? It makes absolutely no sense. It seems to me that this prophesy is all about making Wynonna the extra special special one. If Wynonna's character had been developed beyond T&A, such a cheap trick wouldn't have been necessary.  If that were not enough, Wynonna refers to the men who work for Amir as, "sand stooges and stinking sand lovers"  Thanks for that. This language isn't even coded; it's blatantly racist.

Sleepy Hollow: The Intolerable Treatment of Abbie Milles

It has been nearly impossible this week to miss the outpouring of outrage on social media over the season finale of Sleepy Hollow. Yes, in a month where even the usual death rate among marginalised people has grown to even more vomit-inducing levels than we’ve become used to (and it’s always been nauseating), Sleepy Hollow decided to kill off their Black, female protagonist. The heart of the show and one of the main reasons so many people were following it - especially after the second season.

Which is, of course, the background to this appalling death - Sleepy Hollow, despite being, on the face of it, a racially diverse show has shown a shocking level of contempt to those Black characters and the fandom they gathered in season one that was so invested in the surprising diversity (it is, of course, an important but different issue that a show with a Black female protagonist is so rare as to be surprising and to gain such an investment from minority fandom). It seemed that someone in charge of this show simply had no clue at all as to why this show was so popular or why so many people were invested in it - and were so enraged by the hot mess that was Cranewreck, and the sidelining of Captain Irving before killing him off after pretty much ignoring his character for most of the season (plot box now comes in mental institution).

The writers of Sleepy Hollow has earned absolutely no benefit of the doubt from its furious fandom. It entered season 3 with a lot of their fans having turned their back on the Cranewreck and much of the rest watching with narrowed eyes and waiting for this show to dig itself out of that hole. Or bury itself.

And they killed Abbie.

That’s not so much burying yourself as making a spirited attempt to reach the centre of the Earth and digging until you drown in molten lava. Killing her not just showed that they didn’t understand their fandom (or didn’t care about their fandom), and that they had learned nothing after the backlash of the Cranewreck - but also that they didn’t seem to realise what Abbie was to their show or what the death of Abbie revealed about how they thought of Sleepy Hollow.

This was her show. This wasn’t even a story that was about a world setting or particular plot line. This was a show about the WITNESSES. This whole show wasn’t about fighting the Headless Horseman or Henry or the Hidden One (the mere fact the antagonists changes every season established that). This was a show about Abbie and Ichabod, the Witnesses, working together and pooling their expertise and wider circle of friends to defeat the evil and fulfill their destiny

This was Sleepy Hollow the story of the Witnesses. The story of these two excellent characters and how they bounced off each other. Every funny exchange, every touching moment, every time they truly knew each other, every joke they shared and, yes, even the constant possibility they would take the next step and turn their epic friendship into a romance.

In the eyes of us and a huge amount of the fandom, this was the Witnesses show, the show of Ichabod and Abbie, co-protagonists.

While, in the eyes of the writers, it was clearly Ichabod’s show - and his sidekick. All the Cranewreck outrage of season 2 clearly hasn’t changed that - in their eyes this was a show about Ichabod Cane, man out of time and his little band of followers. It showed in season two where we had to endure agonisingly dull episodes with Katrina while Abbie was banished to the plot box and, despite initial indications to the contrary, Abbie sacrificing herself for the sake of Ichabod et al has sealed the deal.

The writers just made this Ichabod’s story. The writers degraded Abbie into becoming a sidekick, a fridged woman to give Ichabod eternal emotional angst and Manpain, another figure in HIS story, rather than the awesome, excellent character who was an equal partner and co-protagonist in the Witnesses story.

Just in case you didn’t catch that insult, look at one of Abbie’s last lines to Ichabod:

“My job was to carry you forwards.”

Are we clear? Abbie existed to further Ichabod’s storyline. This was the sole point of her character, her existence. This Black, female, apparent co-protagonist existed entirely to further the story of the white male ACTUAL protagonist.

“My job was to carry you forwards.”

Seriously, how Nicole Beharie didn’t just stab the writer who gave her that line to speak I do not know. Ye gods, I am in AWE of her restraint.

“My job was to carry you forwards.”

How she managed to choke that out. I just can’t even imagine. And smile? Damn, that’s some incredible acting. Let’s repeat it again:

“My job was to carry you forwards.”

No, I don’t think this will ever sink in. How anyone thought that line was ok boggles the mind.

I am also making a demand now to know where Abbie’s plot armour is. Seriously, I have watched so many damn shows in this genre where a white protagonist will do the most epically self-destructive, ridiculous things borderline suicidal things and somehow survive. Look at Shadowhunters, the whole PLOT of that show is based on Clary making ridiculous decisions, having Jace follow and, for some unknown reason, neither of them ever being killed.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Borderline (Arcadia Project Trilogy #1) by Mishell Baker

Millie doesn't have much of her inheritance money left and with few prospects, life is a little bleak.  A year ago, Mille was a student at UCLA having made her directorial debut and things were great but now, after trying to commit suicide by jumping off a seven story building, Millie is a double amputee and is struggling to deal with her borderline personality disorder.

When Millie is offered a job with the Arcadia project, though she is skeptical, she jumps at the chance to get out of the hospital and possibly rebuild her life.  What she doesn't realise is that it's going to introduce her to world that she had no idea existed.  Hollywood has always been a magical please to many but what people don't realise is that the magic isn't an illusion, it just comes from a different world.

All artists are talented because they either have a muse or are warlocks.  The greatest films, books or paintings could not have been created without the help of a fae muse.  This puts a new spin on how the media works.  Having adopted the human customs of ranks, only those who are considered royalty are allowed to travel to earth.  This means that every step of creation whether mystical or human, there is a gatekeeper in place.

I must admit that I was attracted to Boderline because of the fact that the protagonist is disabled. Disability is often erased in urban fantasy and when it does appear, more often than not, the character is either a side character or disabled in name only.  I am happy to report this is very much not the case with Borderline.  Millie's BPD affects every facet of her life and she is often forced to come up with coping mechanisms to deal with everyday situations.
"One of the fun bits about BPD is a phenomenon shrinks like to call “splitting.” When under stress, Borderlines forget the existence of gray. Life is a beautiful miracle, or a cesspool of despair. The film you’re making is a Best Picture candidate, or it’s garbage. People are either saints, or they’re scheming to destroy you."
Due to the conditions of her residency, Millie is forced to do without her medications and deals with it by talking herself down from extreme situations and employing the tools that she learned in therapy. This doesn't mean that she can always control it, as evidenced when she beat Teo with her cane for rejecting her sexual advances but it does mean at times she actively puts her "rational brain" in control, aware that she is not perceiving the situation correctly.

iZombie, Season 2, Episode 19: Salivation Army

Wow… this episode brought all the action!

With Major and Liv on Jenko soldier brains, they plant to enter Max Rager and free all the zombies he has kidnapped

We do have a reason why he has kidnapped them though – he wants to experiment on them to make a cure for Rita (apparently the Rita/Gilda debate is settled – Rita is her real name) who is less than appreciative of his terrible efforts. Oh, her “you’re doing all this for me but couldn’t hold an elevator door for 3 seconds” may be one of the best lines of the season.

On ruthless soldier brains, Liv and Major want to chop off Jenko’s hand and use it to get into the basement via the security lift. Clive, who is getting a great crash course of what it means to be a zombie which is kind of awesome, vetoes this. So instead they’re sneaking into Vaughn’s party and relying on Major having some good friends still there to help them sneak in.

Oh and the party is “prison themed”. Clive’s comment: “White people.”

To the party – and things rapidly go wrong and Clive ends up joining them as he worries over them being late. That leaves the three of them in the party and caught by Vaughn and his guards

Luckily for them but unluckily for everyone else, some of his scientists have been taking Utopian to party. And drinking Max Rager. Max Rager + Utopian = mindless raging zombie. The three now get to move through an awesome zombie action movie (even considering turning Clive – which was so tense and could have been really awesome – so his brains don’t attract them) as Clive gets a crash course in many more zombie elements: zombie skills, different kinds of zombies, what happens to zombies like Liv and Major when they go without brains and it’s generally all kinds of awesome.

And yes, they do chop off a hand. Of course they do

iZombie, Season 2, Episode 18: Dead Beat

It’s all happening now!

Major’s in prison and everyone else gets all kind of suspicious questioning – including Liv and Ravi (who is suspended). Major has a fair bit of incriminating evidence against him but it’s hard to lock someone up as a serial killer with no bodies (not impossible but damn damn hard), as Major’s new lawyer points out

And can I just say that, having watched many many crime shows (by “watched” I mean “cursed at while my dear hubby tells me to shut up and watch it already”) in which defence lawyers just sit there with all the input of a cardboard cut out, I have to say I was CHEERING sleazy lawyer guy

Not so much for the creepy sexist sleazing on Peyton. Honestly can we have a defence lawyer on TV who isn’t evil? Enough with your pro-police, lock-em-all-up propaganda TV landia!

Clive and Dale continue to put their case together – their cases since Clive also have evidence against Major for the butcher shop murders (which he actually did as well) and it does what iZombie is actually pretty good at – showing lots of dogged difficult police work slowly getting the job done rather than just super powers.

More than the court case there’s another problem: Major is a zombie, in prison with no brains. If he goes zombie and started feeding he’s going to infect the entire prison and the zombie apocalypse will become a reality.

Liv, Peyton and Ravi try several desperate ploys to get him released or get brains to him. All fail –including finding where he’s hidden the frozen zombies, defrosting Drake and hoping he can show “hey I’m not dead” which tends to scupper most murder cases. But the bodies have been moved – Max Rager has found them and taken them

Vaughn is escalating his activities because he has a military contractor willing to buy his performance enhancing drink for a whole lot of money –but not if there’s any scandal connected to it (like the whole causes serial killers thing). Time for all loose ends to be tied – which means he’s paying for Major’s lawyer – and for Major and Liv to be killed when Major is released.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Void (Witching Savannah #3) by J.D. Horn

Mercy doesn’t have time to focus on her pregnancy – not with the ongoing hostility of the Anchors, the return of her highly dangerous sister and the plotting of an ancient and terrifying witch, danger abounds

But so do revelations – both from the family’s darker past as well as about the very nature of the line, of magic, of the fae and of her husband – there’s a lot of Mercy to take in and all of it has dire consequences for her family. And for her child.

The book almost confuses me, or, rather my reactions confuse me. In some ways, I think that the story is almost too convenient and too full. Like Peter – what happens to him and how he leaves the story. Or Maddy and, after so much emotional turmoil then handing over such a perfect solution to resolve the issues her presence raised. Or the conflict Jessamine rose, again settled very neatly

And the ending itself, a wonderful convenient way of resolving just about everything and all conflicts.

However, maybe this is just because I’m so used to unresolved plot lines being left hanging for book after book after book that I can’t even see a closed, resolved storyline without thinking it’s somehow convoluted or simplistic. Because each one of these storylines came with either an excellent advancement of the world setting, some great emotional development or some excellent emotional questioning

Like the introduction of Jessamine led to the whole development of Gehenna, the introduction of the idea of magical constructs creating and maintaining the world as well as a whole lot of family history disrupting a lot of Taylor sacred assumptions (I can’t say I could empathise with any of them myself as I’m not sure I would have cared as much about their outrage but then I don’t have the same sense of family history and family name that they do).

Damien, Season 1, Episode 6: Temptress

And here is the episode where all the pressure on Damien is ratcheted up and no-one knows what’s real or not – certainly not Damien

After his suicide attempt he wakes up in hospital with a concerned Simone and a suspicious Ann. But Amani offers him a lifeline – he finds a guy who says he was forced to tattoo the 666 on Damien’s head while he was unconscious! Yes it could all be fake!

He rushes to super influential father figure John to ask him about it and he reveals that Ann is a religious fanatic with lots of money and power and shadowy influence and he totally didn’t mention it earlier because reasons – he also has Damien’s doctor show him that someone has been poisoning him with hallucinogens. Yes, a reason for all those visions and weirdness!

Damien is high and happy, he knows what’s happening – ok , what’s happening is that a powerful rich lady with shady connections is poisoning him until he thinks he’s the antichrist… but at least he isn’t the antichrist… right? He’s so happy about this that he even, very unwisely, kisses Simone
(Simone back away, he is not the best choice at the moment).

But we have some more paranoia - because Amani follows John and finds he meets with Ann! They’re in cohoots!

He breaks into John’s office to get more information (from a very ineffective PA who didn’t think for a second to watch him while he “looks for his phone”) and finds out his mother is still alive! (or he’s being played AGAIN – because that’s the whole essence of this episode – who knows what is real or who to trust?)

He rushes to see his mother and they have a touching, loving reunion as she describes all the terrible lies and manipulations that convinced her that he was a) evil and b) dead. Everything is wonderful… until Ann shows up and after many demands to be listened to, she goes for mother. Damien steps in and in the struggle, mother falls down the stairs and dies. Which is when Ann says “I won’t tell anyone what you did.”

The Magicians, Season 1, Episode 13: Have You Brought Me Tiny Cakes?

It is time for the season finale of Magicians in which the writers all got together and decided “let’s be super fucking edgy” with everyone arriving in Fillory

There are some aspects I like, I liked the narrative tool of Qunetin writing a story since this was all about the series of books he loved, after all. I loved him writing his own story, himself as a hero and pretty much finally puncturing all of his own illusions. I liked how this worked with the description of Fillory both as a magical, amazing place but also with a heavy dollop of cynicism you get from reading fiction that’s just a bit… out there. That sense of “hey this doesn’t make sense”. So Qunetin pokes the fact the air contains opium to make sure everyone is impressed and how it makes no sense that the High rulers of Fillory are always aliens from Earth for Reasons. I even like little touches like, in a land where some animals can talk, snares to catch them can be escaped by intelligence to ensure no-one is eating an intelligent being. That’s some crafty world building

I also liked how, despite even a god telling him that he’s the special one (because he kept holding on to a children’s story which is definitely a dubious definition of the special chosen one), Quentin sits down and takes a long look at himself and decides that, no, not really. He sums up all of his issues and realises he’s pretty much not Chosen One Material. Especially since there’s Alice there who is definitely more skilled, more capable and generally better than him – so sets her up as the Chosen One, as the person who will bring down the Beast.

I’ve always said it made no real sense for Quentin to be protagonist. Julia, Alice and Penny were always better choices

Ok, here endeth the good. Now for the trying-too-hard-to-be-edgy bullshit of various kind.

Minor round of Bullshit, not only did Penny not actually get to be protagonist and get his hands cut off – but after a couple of episodes of actually developing his character and making him more involved he ends up playing the bus in the finale. Yay go transport.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lucifer, Season One, Episode Eleven: St. Lucifer

When we last left Lucifer, a drunk Chloe had shown up at Lux and had sexually propositioned Lucifer. In a move quite out of character, Lucifer actually turned Chloe down.  This episode begins the morning after with a horrified Chloe waking up naked in Lucifer's bed afraid that they had slept together. Lucifer let's her believe this for a short period of time, enjoying Chloe's discomfort with the possibility of sex between them, before informing her that they didn't actually have sex.

It's off to the case of the week. This time it involves a closeted former pro ball player and philanthropist.  Lucifer, being the least introspective person in any room decides that he is exactly like Tim Dunlear (the murder victim) because he was generous enough not to sleep with  rape Chloe the night before.  Naturally, Chloe calls him out but I do feel that more should have been said. By not sleeping with Chloe, all he did was avoid becoming a rapist.  That's a stunningly low bar for decency, let alone rising to the level of a giving person.

Dan, who is not dead, awakes to find himself held captive by Malcolm, who reveals that he is determined to murder Lucifer to avoid going back to hell.  Malcolm explains that there's a room for each person and inside is the absence of whatever the guilty party loved the most.  Since Malcolm loves life, he was starved and isolated.  Though he was only technically dead for seconds, to him it felt like years.  Dan declares Malcolm insane and in need of help. Malcolm however will not be dissuaded from his plan to kill Lucifer and blame it all on Dan.

Mazikeen is really starting to hurt from Lucifer's rejection.  For the first time, she realises just how alone she is without him.  Mazikeen seeks out Amenadiel, who is having dinner.  There's a little bit of back and forth with Mazikeen taunting Amenadiel about how straight laced he is in comparison to her. Rising to the challenge, Amenadiel confesses that he is responsible for the goat association with Lucifer and Mazikeen starts to laugh.  This apparently is an explanation for why though there are no descriptions of Lucifer in biblical texts, he is often depicted with goat legs. As practical jokes go, I have to admit that this is a good one. Mazikeen and Amenadiel end up having sex in the backseat of a car like a bunch of horny teenagers.

Lucifer is all dressed for a gala to honour Tim Dunlear when Malcolm shows up.  Lucifer shows his devil face figuring that this ought to be enough to scare off Malcolm, only to see Malcolm hold his ground because he's already been to hell. Malcolm explains that he was promised that if he killed Lucifer, he would get to live out his entire life and not go to hell.  Malcolm is clearly not the brightest bulb because he failed to realise that being allowed to live out his life didn't for one minute mean that he wouldn't die one day and end up right back in hell. Lucifer pulls out a coin which he was planning to use to enter hell again and offers it to Malcolm explaining that the coin can also be used to enter heaven.  Malcolm sees this as a better deal and leaves with the coin in hand.

Lucifer meets with Vanessa, the wife of the murder victim and when she lets slip about moving to Argentina, Lucifer realises that she is the killer because Argentina is a non extradition company. After having done so much to get Tim's money, Vanessa is not about to let Lucifer live with the knowledge of her guilt.  Vanessa pulls out a gun and shoots Lucifer multiple times in the chest.  Oh Oh!!

Dan arrives and pushes through the crowd at Lux to get to Lucifer, who he finds on his back appearing very much to be dead.  Lucifer sits up much to his own surprise.  It seems that Lucifer's immortality is back.  Lucifer heads downstairs and in the process surprises Vanessa.  Before Lucifer can announce that she murdered her husband, Chloe steps forward to say that she has found wire transfers for the money Vanessa stole from Tim, which will serve as probable cause to arrest her for murder. Lucifer puts the icing on the cake and does his mojo thing which causes Vanessa to confess before the crowd.

Blaize and the Maven (The Energetics Series #1) by Ellen Bard

Blaize has just finished her first chakra trial and is an adept for fire – Manipura – and is now moving on to train her secondar chakra, Ajna, with renowned dream walker and prophet, Cuinn

However, Cuinn has had a terrible history with his previous adherent and is definitely not ready for another one. Especially since his dreams have been hinting at a terrible future he needs to uncover. The last thing he needs is an adherent under his feet

But Blaize may be an important part of the prophecy – and their enemies seem to think so when they target her.

This book is, firstly, a paranormal romance, it was how it was marketed and labelled. And that normally makes me look at the people who sent me this book and asking them if they’ve made any effort to examine Fangs because, in all honestly, we’re not a big fan of many of the paranormal romance we read

But I liked this book

The story works extremely well in addition to the romance. Yes, there’s a romance there, but there’s  plot there that exists above and beyond the romance. I have found a lot of paranormal romances have a plot line in addition to the romance, but it often exists just to further the romance – and you can tell. It’s generally shallow, under-developed and with plot holes you could drive a double decker bus through. Here the plot and the romance weren’t co-dependent on each other (which, when we think about it, makes a lot of sense. Romance may be important to the character, but it’s unlikely their love life is really going to have that much influence on the fate of the world etc. No, not even with the earth shattering orgasms).

There were some clich├ęs to the romance I didn’t care for, or I’ve just seen so many times that I just don’t have patience for them any more. Both characters have past issues that make them reluctant to venture into a relationship (both of which are a little dubious). Both have tragic or semi-tragic pasts. Both get over said tragic pasts in such an unseemly length of time that I’m left wondering why the author felt the need to have them there at all. It’s like someone looked up a trope list and decided “hey, we need to have X, Y, and Z, put them in”. And, really, if you’re going to give your characters a compelling developed reason why they avoid relationships… fine – but actually have them avoid relationships. If it takes them 3 days to resolve these terribad issues before getting to the humping then maybe those issues shouldn’t be there

Once Upon a Time, Season 5, Episode 17: Her Handsome Hero

This episode is all about Belle and Rumple – and where Rumple’s moral path will lead him

She’s not giving up on him, not least of because if she needs someone to protect her new baby then an angry Dark One is a great person to have on side. She clings to what Merlin said – that maybe there will be a Dark One who will use the dagger for light magic

Rumple disagrees – he thinks he can be the Dark One who uses dark magic for good. This all gets sticky as Belle insists that is wrong while Rumple counters that a) light magic is pretty ineffective and b) it’s all a matter of perspective anyway, especially when it comes to “ends justify the means”. Something he points out while performing petty magical thefts at Belle’s insistence.

This all becomes part of a very knotty moral conundrum as we bring in Belle’s past and her dad selling her off to Gaston to get a big enough army to face off the ogres (Belle’s father’s only tactic in the face of crisis seems to be to find a monster to sell his daughter to) – a war that may have been caused by Gaston’s abuse and torture of an ogre adolescent.

In the present Hades exploits this by setting Gaston against Rumple (especially since Rumple apparently killed Gaston along with so many others) with an arrow that will instantly send someone to be forever tormented in the river Styx – something that can worse-than-kill the Dark One. He also has a deal for Belle – she let Gaston and Rumple fight it out and one push the other into the river then he’ll take the mark off her baby

Of course, Rumple hears this and pretty much decides it’s time for Gaston to go swimming – 1 bow vs the dark one is not a fair fight. Belle (who has gone to the Snow White School of planning) vetoes this idea as she wants Gaston to move on. It’s not entirely based on fluffy niceness, she also has figured out that more people moving on hurts Hades

This turns out to be true as Hades complains about the new flowers in his realm pointing out that people are getting messy hope all over things.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Fear the Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode One: Monster

Season two pretty much starts where Season one ended.  Our ragged group of survivors make their way to Stand's boat the Abigail.  It very much looks like the end of the world as the land is engulfed in flames.  They are safe for now but they simply cannot make sense of their world. Has civilization come to an end?

It seems as though Travis and Madison have changed places somewhat.  During season one, it was Madison who wanted to kill her neighbour and Travis who moralized that these people were sick and not in fact dead and therefore in need of sympathy.  When they come across a group of people begging for help on what appears to be a raft of some sort, it's Madison who wants to stop and help them. It's Madison who actively argues with Strand that they have the responsibility to help.  Travis however is fine to simply sail right past deciding that now is the time that they put themselves first.

The Abigail can only take them 3,000 miles and while that seems like a lot, if you're looking for a safe place, that's not really that far.  Strand makes it clear to the survivors that he's saved seven lives and that's the end of his mercy quota.  Strand reminds them all that he saved them and that this is his boat.  Clearly Strand is very authoritarian in nature. Strand is determined to head to San Diego but doesn't tell anyone why this is the destination of choice.  This makes both Salazar and Madison suspicious.  Strand is so determined to reach his destination, he doesn't even sleep.

Travis and Chris are not in a good place.  Chris very much blames his father for the death of Lisa. Chris spends time alone in a room simply staring at his mother's body.  Even though Lisa was bitten, Chris cannot for a moment understand that killing Lisa was an act of mercy because she would have turned into a zombie.  This is to some degree understandable because at this point, the survivors don't really know a lot about the dead.  They haven't even really figured out that it is necessary to take out the brain to stop them.  This culminates with Chris actually hitting Travis.

Someone should have told Alicia not to give out information about where they are and the resources they have at hand.  Like everyone else, Alicia is lost and she deals with this by chatting with someone via ham radio.  Alicia quickly tells Jack everything he needs to be able to track them down, along with why it will be worth his while, like the fact that The Abigail has desalination for water.  When Strand finds out, to say that he's less than impressed is an understatement.

Alone with Nick, Strand is very clear that everyone has to pull their weight or at the very least, not endanger them.  Nick wonders how he fulfills this requirement and Strand suggests that since Nick has faced death so many times, he is unafraid to die and this makes him an asset.  Nick explains that this is called being a junkie.  Speaking of addiction, how is it that Nick is going through detox without shaking, sweating and throwing up?  He seems to be doing remarkably well for someone who is not only under a great amount of stress, but has no access to his drugs.  Is this a story line that Fear The Walking Dead is just going to drop like it didn't happen?  Is drug addiction cured by dealing with zombies?

Everyone sits down to have a meal and Chris uses the opportunity to go for a little swim.  When they hear the splash, everyone rushes onto the deck.  It's Nick who jumps into the water.  Chris explains that he just felt like going for a swim.  At this point, all I think is what an asshole. This is when they discover that zombies can swim.  Chris quickly rushes back to the boat and Nick swims towards wreckage because he thinks someone is calling out for help.

Zoo (Zoo #1) by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Animal attacks are starting to occur at a startling frequency.  The only scientist in the world tracking this development is Jackson Oz.  He is ABD on his PhD but cannot stop working on the attacks, despite becoming the laughing stock of the scientific community.  Oz is certain that if something isn't done soon, they may reach a point of no return.  Finally, the animal attacks reach a level which the world can no longer deny and Oz and a group of scientists are in a race against time to figure out what is setting the animals off.  It's no understatement to say that the fate of civilization rests in the balance and Oz feels the weight of it all solidly on his shoulders.

I picked up this book because of the CBS show Zoo. I love examining how media changes across format.  Those who are worried about spoilers can rest assured because while the basic premise of the book and the television show are the same, quite a few characters are different and the cause of the animal revolt is different.

Zoo gives us several different POV throughout the story.  Unfortunately, they pretty much all sound the same.  I like the idea of learning what is going through the various minds of the animals who are attacking but they shouldn't sound just like Oz, the protagonist.  It's a basic rule in writing a novel, all characters should have their own unique voice to tell an interesting novel and at least on this level, I would say that Patterson and Ledwidge failed.

Jackson Oz is ADD and is therefore a disabled protagonist.  That being said, none of the issues which people who have ADD deal with on a daily basis ever really appear in the story. It's as though he is ADD in name only. In my head, Oz sounded a lot like any character played by Bruce Willis. When the Humvee Oz is riding in gets attacked by a bear, he snarks to himself about the bears not being sent by AAA.  It's the typical action hero banter coupled with some ridiculous hypermasculinity and by about halfway through the story, I was really tired of it.   Oz is essentially set up as the white man saving the world which is an annoying trope all too common in dystopian style books.  He's the lone voice in the dark sounding the alarm and the only person capable of putting the pieces together regarding the cause. Anyone who challenges his assertions is obviously an asshole trying to make Oz feel small.  He's actually insulted by being called his own damn name.  ABD does not make one a doctor, no matter how much his sensitive little fee fees were wounded by being reminded of the truth.

Despite all of Oz's bluster, we are supposed to believe that at the end of the day, Oz is simply a brilliant man who has been discounted by the powers that be.  Any every man that we are all meant to relate to. Here's the deal, if Oz is so smart, why did he ask his ex girlfriend to check in on his pet chimp Attila while he went off to Africa to investigate lion attacks?  Why would anyone put someone they care about at risk that way, particularly given that even without the supposed pheromone which has been sending out attack signals to all animals, chimps are dangerous to be around? It's particularly problematic that Oz even acknowledges that the day is coming when Attila won't be able to live with him anymore. According to Scientific American, "Chimpanzee males have been measured as having five times the arm strength as a human male," and if that doesn't get you they also have huge canine teeth. Chimps have been known to be aggressive if approached or if they feel threatened.  Oz makes a big deal about the fact that Attila was not a fan of his ex girlfriend and still yet, he asked her to feed him once a day.  Obviously, it was no surprise that she ended up dead because of Oz's conceit.  Years later, though he made this mistake with Atilla, he is absolutely incredulous when the public doesn't want to believe that their pet dogs are dangerous.  If  the great and supposedly intelligent Oz didn't figure it out, why should the rest of humanity just jump to get rid of their beloved pets?

We all know that the protagonist at the end of times story cannot be without a love interest.  After Attila mauls Natalie to death, Oz ends up marrying biologist Chloe Tousignant, whom he saves from a group of crocodile. Chloe, unlike Oz is credentialed and yet, she offers very little competency to the search for the origin of HAC.  If that were not enough, each time Oz mentions her or thinks about her, all he talks about is Chloe's physical beauty. Not once does he mention her intelligence.  Like her husband, Chloe also deals with a disability and has a history of anxiety and panic attacks; however, Chloe's disability manifests itself when she and her son are threatened.  It feels like it is play on the part of the authors to further play up on Chloe's vulnerability and waif like countenance.

Bitten, Season 3, Episode 9: Shock the System

Remember the prophecy/vision thing that told Elena she was going to burn down everything while covered in blood

Listening to this Paige decides a reasonable interpretation is that Elena is going to cause a peaceful non violent cultural shift in werewolf society

Paige is, perhaps, not all that good at interpreting prophecy.

They do poke at the main thing Elena wants to change – the need to kill for secrecy as well as the brutal despotic rule of the Alphas. Paige puts this down to all werewolves being men except the super special shiny Elena who can now bring a feminine perspective that isn’t all about power and violence

It’s all very… gender essentialist. Because the werewolves need Elena’s every so delicate, soft and gentle female touch to bring peace and harmony? I mean, couldn’t you have made the same point by pointing out that Elena is actually the only current werewolf in the Pack who wasn’t born a werewolf (or wasn’t turned very young) therefore the only one outside their traditional violent patriarchal culture rather than deciding her gentle peaceful guidance will stem from her femininity? This is one of those tropes which sounds positive but still paints women into a narrow roled box even if that box is on tops of a supposedly positive pedestal

With her new insight, Elena goes to the remaining pack members – Clay, Nick, Karl and Extra #1 and Extra #2 and decides she wants not a pack but a family based on mutual respect and care. No orders, no demands from the Alpha no demands of loyalty – but an offer of loyalty from the Alpha instead

Oh why couldn’t we have this? Why couldn’t we have spent the last 6 episodes or so focusing on this? On societal change within the werewolves, setting up Elena as the new Alpha, a different kind of Alpha? Instead we’ve had episodes of ominous scary Russians (and this certainly isn’t in the books, Elena and her pack are on good terms with the Russian pack) and, especially, their super scary assassin. Episode after episode of fighting without actually progressing the plot any further – which is all the more annoying because there’s this potential that screams for development

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Originals, Season Three, Episode Seventeen: Beyond the Black Horizon

When we last left off, Christian had kidnapped The Originals's eternal victim Freya, with the help of Vincent.  It seems that the ancestors will stop at nothing to rid the world of the Originals, thus giving Vincent no choice but to help Christian with his infernal plans.  As for Klaus and Hayley, having discovered that Christian has been very busy kidnapping wolves, they decide to follow the trail, certain that Christian's kidnapping of Freya must be connected to his experimentation with the wolves.

Vincent really doesn't want to help Christian, so he arranges for Davina to get a vial of blood so that she can use his former connection with Finn to track him.  Kol, who is increasingly out of control is incensed with the idea of Davina helping, given that it wasn't long ago that Finn tried to kill her. I for one am disappointed that Finn failed at this.  If ever a character on The Originals needs mushing, it's Davina Claire.

It's decided that Kol and Davina will stay behind to work on the spell while Elijah and Finn head out to try and stop Christian.  The Originals at this point very much telegraphs who is going to die this episode by suddenly giving Finn real characterisation.  For the most part, every time Finn has appeared, on either The Originals or The Vampire Diaries, it's all been about how much he hates his family. He's been either the mustache twirling villain, or the earnest evil completely caught up in the evil of The Originals existence.   In The Devil Comes Here and Sighs, a good amount of time is spent dealing with the pain Finn felt when he was daggered because slowly he became aware of the passage of time and his absolute loneliness.  Slowly, Elijah begins to warm to his brother, finally seeing things from Finn's perspective for the first time.  Thus, Finn becomes a target and his death assured because he has been made empathetic.

Naturally, it all leads back to Mystic Falls, where Esther made her family the very first vampires in existence.  Christian's big plan is not only to become an Original but an upgrade.  We learn that this is why he has collected wolf venom from the original werewolf families.  Klaus and Hayley each come from an Original line; however, each only has one line flowing through their bodies whereas, Christian now has all seven.

When Hayley needs  a magical item to boost her tracking spell, she turns to Cami.  Kol is angry that Cami's family has gathered all of the magical items he created in the 1800's.  Davina has to tell Kol to back off when he threatens violence against Cami.  Was anyone else wondering why this thousand year old vampire is taking orders from a teenage girl? Cami becomes convinced that Kol has been cursed.

In Mystic Falls, who should Finn and Elijah run into but Matt, who still isn't dead for some reason. Matt decides that he has to get involved.  Finn's connection to Vincent is made and the threesome (one of whom is useless) confront Christian, who is predictably holding Freya at knife point.  Finn grabs Matt's gun and shoots Freya through the shoulder and the bullet hits Christian in the chest. The brothers rush to give Freya vampire blood and she manages to spit out that killing Christian is exactly what he wanted.

Christian rises from the dead and he is now an uber Original.  The fight is on and Christian easily overpowers both Finn and Elijah.  For his trouble, Finn is bitten by Christian and Freya puts up a barrier spell forcing Christian to back off.

Back at the vampire compound, Klaus has arrived to give Finn his blood to save him. Finn has a moment where he appreciates his siblings, saying that he finally understands the family saying, "always and forever" before spitting up blood.  The Originals quickly realise that Klaus's blood is not in fact saving Finn,  A desperate Freya demands her locket hoping to place Finn's soul inside before he can expire because now that there's no other side, this means that if Finn dies, he'll be permanently dead. Given that death is never final in this universe, we all know that Finn will be back at some point right?  Because Davina bound Finn to his body, this means his soul cannot be moved. The siblings gather around Finn as he dies.

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Sixteen: The Believer

"We are each our own devil,
and we make this world our hell."

Shall we start with the predictable Wesen of the week story line?  It begins with Dwight, who is a fire and brimstone evangelical preacher.  Instead of pulling out snakes and charming them to prove that God will keep him safe, Dwight promises to pull the devil out of each of his congregants, thus freeing them of sin. To accomplish this, Dwight, who is a Furis Rubian, woges thus making the audience believe he is a red faced demon.  Here's the deal, even if you expect to see some kind of miracle, how is it that all these people saw Dwight woge and none of them ran for the hills? Yeah, I would have been smoke because I would have been gone so fast. Dwight returns to normal, the choir starts singing and all is good. Anyone else have a problem the choir was made up of all Black people? Let's be honest, Sunday is the most segregated day of the week, so what the hell is an all Black choir doing up a White evangelical?  What Dwight doesn't realise is that his little performance was being recorded.  Dwight's security guard Luke goes racing after Benjamin and unfortunately for Luke, things don't end well.  Luke ends up hitting his head after being pushed by Benjamin and dying.

Now that we have a body, it's time for the cops to be called in.  A very earnest Dwight tells the cops all about his ability to bring the devil into his body and cast out evil.  It seems that this case is going to be pretty easy to solve because one of Dwight's security people managed to get Luke's license plate. They quickly track down Luke, who surprise surprise is in some sort of religious cult.  After arresting him, Hank, Nick and Wu see the video that Luke took.  They are all quick to realise that Dwight is a Wesen.

The cops show the recording to Monroe and Rosealie and learn that Dwight is a Furis Rubian. As wesen go, Furis Rubian are pretty harmless despite their scary shape.  It seems that the Pope used to keep a few in the Vatican basement to trot out from time to time to scare Catholic parishioners.  They all decide to head to the revival the next night. After his little performance, Dwight meets with Hank and Nick.  When Nick brings up Furis Rubian, Dwight tries to play stupid but Nick presses on and reveals that he is a Grimm.  Dwight claims that since he has broken no laws and actually has helped people turn their lives around, that there's nothing for the cops to do.  Nick and Hank quickly agree with him and leave.

Unfortunately for Dwight, his little stint at playing the devil is about to backfire on him.  It seems that he was married to the leader of Luke's cult and that the marriage ended because of his infidelity.  Rachel is determined to drive the devil out of Dwight permanently and so she has two of her sycophants kidnap him. When Dwight awakes, he finds himself on the floor surrounded by Rachel's people.  Dwight woges and puts on a good show trying to get out of his predicament but is killed. Nick and Hank show up and end up arresting everyone for murder and kidnapping, though the cult members try that they were trying to set Dwight free.

Vampire Diaries, Season 7, Episode 17: I went Into the Woods

So, the phoenix stone was broken thanks to the Dead Lesbian Trope which means, as Rayna helpfully explains to Valerie (Rayna is now capturable by Valerie because everyone’s power level on this show changes based on what’s currently convenient), all the souls trapped inside it have now escaped and are winging their way into any convenient dead person: human or vampire.

This is a bad thing because Rayna targets the worst of the worst

Apparently. I mean, she hasn’t targeted anyone specifically in the last season and has pretty much killed any vampire she comes across. But her motivation changes every other week anyway – I think the writers are now using a roulette wheel to characterise her.

This does mean Stefan has escaped and is now occupying the body of a recently deceased alcoholic drunk driver who is subject to a manhunt in the middle of a snow storm. Also, because he’s in a human body that means he has three days before he implodes anyway (as Alec learned when he tried to bring Jo back from the dead). He’s in the body of an alcoholic so they can maturely examine the complexities of addiction. Ha! No, this is The Vampire Diaries, he’s in this body so everyone can say what a terrible, useless person the dead man is and what a burden it is on poor Stefan to be in his body because this show has all the nuance of a sledgehammer wielded by a Donald Trump supporter.

One good thing that does come from this is Stefan admitting, after so many seasons of this show trying to present vampirisim as a curse, that being human sucks and is full of pain and suffering and awful and he wants his super powers back again.

By the way Alec is also involved because… actually I have no real idea why. Mainly so he and Valerie can moodily compare notes about how Caroline and Stefan would much rather be together than be with them. Angst angst woe woe I don’t care.

Also, Matt is not dead. Still.

Damon is still trying to hold onto the crown of self-loathing telling everyone what a terrible person he is and kind of missing the fact that pretty much everyone on this show is terrible and none of them have the standing to throw rocks from their shiny shiny glass houses. He’s found Stefan’s body, now occupied by a not very friendly but definitely more fun (not hard to do), serial killer who heads off to Tennessee for some slaughtering. Damon leaves that little issue to Valerie and Alec to clear up (along with Rayna who escapes and now wants to go around and stake all the vampires who escaped. This would have been much easier if she’d done this in the first place rather than relied on the damn Phoenix Stone torment thing). So I think we can expect a race to find the serial killer while he merrily kills people