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Saturday, April 30, 2016
Kane and Pike are brought into Polis, walking through what looks like a river of blood. On either side of them are people who are in the process of being crucified. Of course, Pike has to snark about this being exactly what he expected. It's not long before they discover that Jaha and ALIE beat them to Polis. When Jaha and Pike finally meet, Pike realises that the can no longer just dismiss Jaha as "crazy". This is yet another sign of just how incompetent Pike is as a leader. He fixated on the Grounders, who at the time were not threat to him and just allowed Jaha to chip the people, paying no attention to the results. Both men are offered the key and both refuse. Jaha says that there are part of the 3% who refuse. Bags are put over Kane and Pike's head and they are taken away. Abby offers to work on Kane personally because of their bond.
Kane is taken to what I think are the commanders rooms and Abby rushes in pretending not to be chipped asking about Clarke. Kane tries to reassure Abby but she keeps pushing for more information. They embrace and then Abby kisses him. With ALIE spurring her on, Abby pushes Kane onto a bed. This is enough for Kane to realise that he is not actually dealing with Abby and so he pushes her away. ALIE is out of patience and decides that its time to get tough with Kane and so has him crucified. Does there have to be a level of acceptance for the chip to work? This bit of brutality couldn't be for the people because the chip means that they will always obey ALIE's orders and the others are imprisoned and cannot see it? Why not just hold Kane down and force the chip down his throat?
Because Pike wasn't an ally of Clarke's, he's practically getting VIP treatment in comparison to Kane but that does however mean that he is imprisoned with Indra, who firmly believes in the blood must have blood philosophy of life. Indra grabs a knife that she has hidden in the walls and tells Pike that she wants justice which means one cut for every person that he killed. Pike rips up in his shirt and tells her to get started. Murphy, also in the same holding area simply turns his back as Indra begins to cut.
It's time for a flashback to the ARK. Pike is called into a room with Abby, Kane and Jaha and told that he has to teach earth skills to the prisoners. Pike is warned on pain of death that he cannot reveal to anyone what he is doing and he is only given two weeks to teach the kids enough skills to survive. Because they don't know how much they are going to need these skills, the kids hardly pay attention and Murphy is full of snark about the whole thing.
Jaha approaches Kane and gives him one last chance to take the key but Kane refuses. ALIE comments that Kane is very strong. Kane suggests that they should just kill him but Jaha conceeds that if he does that, then he won't get the answers he needs. A gun his held to Abby's head and Kane is informed that if he doesn't take the key, that Abby will be killed. Kane finally calls uncle and the key is placed in his mouth. Again, wouldn't it have been easier to just force the key down his throat rather than have all of the his dramatic nonsense?
Pike figures out that the ARK is dying because it's the only explanation as to why he is sending kids rather than scientists to the ground. Pike begs to go with the kids because they are not paying attention in the class or at the very least inform them what they are up against but Jaha is adamant that no one can know. Jaha simply tells Pike to give the kids a reason to listen to him. Pike's way of dealing with frustration is violence. Pike focuses in on Murphy bringing up the fact that his mother drank herself to death after his father was floated for stealing medicine for him to live. When that doesn't get the rise that he wants out of Murphy, Pike strikes him repeatedly telling Murphy that no one is coming to save him, asking him what he is going to do. Because the beating is so savage, the kids start to work together to protect Murphy. They manage to get Cain's attention and comes in with some enforcers. Pike declares that the kids have graduated. I guess the lesson was that the kids need to work together to survive but there had to be some other way to teach this. Is Pike ever going to be anything other than one dimensional?
Back in the present, Indra is taking it to Pike and Murphy steps up to point out that the forces amassed against them are huge and that they need Pike because he is strong. Another Grounder steps in to agree with Murphy, who asks, "Do you want want your revenge, or do you want your people alive?" Indra answers, "both," and steps away from Pike. It's clear that she has to work with Pike for now but when this is over, Indra is going to get her pound of flesh one way or another.
Did I mention that I really love the theme song for this show? I don’t think I’ve mentioned that yet
So we begin with Wynonna’s bad dreams and Waveley’s insight that Wynonna continually killing people and pretending it doesn’t affect her. This lays the groundwork for some emotional Wynonna moments
This, I think is partly being used to justify Wynonna flying off the handle when Dolls and her try to serve a search warrant on Bobo. It doesn’t end usefully with no Revenants dead, no-one arrested and a judge very very pissed off.
About that judge, Dolls keeps trying to play nice with that judge because he has so much power – but given that his agency wiped an entire town off the map in New Mexico I don’t buy they don’t have more local pull. I mean, really? They have two settings, “demand Dolls follows the commands of local authority” and “nuke it from orbit”?
Dolls does play the game a little before finally telling the judge to screw it. Dolls is definitely beginning to melt a little around the edges which I like a lot. Also he can be shirtless more. Yes yes yes yes he can. Oh yes.
We have another lead on the 7 – the Revenants who killed her father and big sister. A Revenant knows where there’s a picture of all 7 of them, allowing her to identify them. But in exchange he wants her help in finding his boyfriend who was mixed up in something with Bobo – yes we have a gay revenant. Don’t get excited yet.
Wynonna follows some leads to find this guy – which involves her having to torture a revenant with the ability to speak with her father’s voice, just in case we haven’t emphasised how much emotional wreckage is being thrown at her. And she does torture him, despite Doc Holliday’s belief she wouldn’t be able to bring herself to it
So the whole gang is now on vampire killing duty to try and kill all of Rayna’s long long list of people she needs to kill. Do I need to repeat my previous point about how they’re slaughtering lots of vampires without even a second’s thought about whether or not this legion of massacred vampires deserves to be killed?
This means everyone – including Matt, Caroline and Alaric all killing vampires.
But it’s not fast enough so Damon makes a deal with the Armoury – which does have the resources to kill loads of vampires everywhere: they do the slaughtering and he will hand them Bonnie to open the vault
Which is a problem since Bonnie just spoke to Virginia again who makes it clear that naughty, bad, awful things await those who open the vault.
But the Armoury fulfils their end of the bargain – there’s a full on massacre. They also kidnap Alaric and Caroline to make sure Bonnie co-operates. And Bonnie does.
Bonnie uses her magic to open the vault – and lo, the imprisoned sister is, indeed, very very dead. But something is in there speaking with her voice and killing the armoury staff. Alex tries to leave – but Bonnie has sealed the entire building. She’s just made the vault a little larger. Because she’s Bonnie and she’s awesome.
Of course everyone is still pissed at Damon, especially Bonnie who is now incensed she was forced to work for the Armoury by Damon. But Damon is finally pushing back at everyone blaming him for everything – and he angrily and excellently explains to Enzo that he’s made this decision, saved Bonnie so Bonnie and Enzo can be together while he remains the villain. Basically, he’s making the hard choices none of them can manage. He’s being the bad guy for them. He’s making awful choices so they don’t have to.
It’s time for another terrifying animal attack of the week – this time back in the US, a holiday island. An island that is being overrun by a gazillion rats after a cargo container full of Reiden grain lost all their crew to enraged bitey rats that multiply many many times over
The island has nice childhood memory associations for Jackson, including Sherriff Becky, a childhood friends. It also has a hotel where all the rats have decided to gather in their many many many many many thousands. I’m not someone afraid of rats but yes, that’s nasty. Them staying in one hotel which is abandoned also means we get lots and lots of sinister fighting rats in the dark
Honestly there are few settings more scary than an abandoned hotel in the dark?
They’re here to kind of stop the animal outbreak but more for research (given that they have the mother cell, there’s not really as much need to go find various creatures and see what’s happening. They know what’s happening). But the limited research they do it (it’s mainly spooky rat corridors) shows that the rats are multiplying by cloning – even the male rats having litters – and some great rat queen is then feeding them all
They make the huge logical leap that the mother cell isn’t just speeding up evolution, it’s directing it; turning each animal into a more tailored tool for human destruction: bears get armour, lions telepathy to work together, rats become even more numerous.
Personally I think I prefer normal animals just being scary. There’s something more sinister about the mundane, the creatures we’ve completely discounted, rising up and killing us without the need for super powers. I think it’s far more terrifying to have a show depict that the animals all around us COULD kills us (without needing super powers) if they wanted to. They just… don’t.
Friday, April 29, 2016
The Walking Dead, Vol. 23: Whispers Into Screams (The Walking Dead #133-138) by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard (Illustrator), Stefano Gaudiano (Illustrator), Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator)
It's a new world and that means that everyone has a role and a responsibility. Alexandria and The Hilltop both end up dealing with new people leading to a result which sets up the next story arch. Now that Carl is at the Hilltop and Rick is gone, it's time to fulfill his ambition of becoming a blacksmith. His famous name still haunts him and people gossip about him. When a run in with Sophia's bullies turns bloody, Carl discovers that he hasn't left his violent ways that far behind.
Carl's transition from Alexandria to The Hilltop is not at all smooth. He takes the time to catch up with Sophia and the two of them reminisce about what their life was like when they lived at the prison.
One of the things I really liked about Whispers Into Screams, is getting to see Maggie in a leadership role that does not involve extolling the virtues of Rick Grimes. As the leader of The Hilltop, she hands out assignments as well as punishments, deals with threats and keeps the community working. Unlike Rick however, despite all that Maggie has been through she has not been deified. Given that Maggie is referred to as a "bitch" and a "cunt" several times in this volume it's clear to say that her gender greatly impacts how she is viewed by the people of The Hilltop.
Akin to Rick however Maggie does seem to have at least some degree of plot armor which I was quite happy to see. When Gregory riles up the citizens about Maggie's failure in their view to harshly punish Carl for beating and nearly killing Sophia's assailants, they decide that it's time to kill her. Gregory's motivation is to regain the position of power that he lost just before the war with Negan. Gregory's big plan is to poison Maggie but for whatever reason, what he used didn't work and Maggie ends up ordering Gregory to be locked up. Maggie who is full of snark, questions how Gregory would be as a leader when he cannot even murder her successfully.
The one thing that has always been certain about The Walking Dead, is that if things start to go to well, for too long, a new challenge will arrive. In A New Beginning, we met the Whisperers for the first time. They are a group of survivors who disguise themselves as zombies and even travel with the herd. At this point, they have taken a few people in the fellowship prisoner and killed others. Jesus goes out riding on patrol and has a run in with the Whisperers. He manages to kill quite a few of them, rescue a fellow patrolman and take a member of the Whisperers captive.
Lydia is a sixteen year old girl and she is like no one we've met so far. Because she travels with the zombies, Lydia has come to see them as her protection and her comfort. Separated from the zombies and her people for the first time, Lydia is alone and scared. Carl, who has been locked up until Maggie can get to the bottom of the altercation he was involved in, tries to comfort Lydia and assure her that they are good people. They get to know each other a little and Carl even gives Lydia the iconic sheriff's hat. Later, Carl argues with Maggie about keeping Lydia locked up, suggesting that Lydia isn't a threat to anyone. It's only when Lydia refuses to speak to anyone other than Carl that Maggie consents.
"To control the evolution of humans. To create a more perfect human being."
Sarah is freaking out about the tech in her mouth which will henceforth be called the mouth maggot. She is desperate to know more and unfortunately, Cosima doesn't know much at this point. Cosima cannot even say what the mouth maggot's purpose is or how it works. Determined to find out about the mouth maggot, Sarah decides to grab Felix and go and see Dizzy.
Sarah's first stop is to visit Felix, who isn't home when she arrives. Sarah's meets Adele, Felix's half sister, who seems to love drugs and booze just like Felix. When Felix does arrive, he does the introductions and an impatient Sarah asks to speak to him alone. Sarah expects Felix to just kick his sister out and go with her but Felix refuses to do that saying he is tired of dropping everything on command. I gotta say, I like this new Felix. Felix explains that spending time with Adele is important to him. My only worry is now that Felix demanding that Sarah at least have the courtesy that has a life of his own and is no her slave to be ordered about that we will see less of his character.
Dizzy isn't pleased to see Sarah and she explains that she's M.K.'s sister and needs help finding her. Unfortunately for Sarah, Dizzy has no idea how to contact M.K. because M.K. is the one who does the reaching out. It's only when Sarah shows Dizzy the mouth maggot that he decides to talk to her. It seems that Dizzy has been hearing about the mouth maggots for awhile and some people think that it's a monitor which delivers diabetes meds or even narcotics but Dizzy believes that because of the proximity of the brain, the mouth maggot must have a nefarious purpose. Dizzy does have more than scary ideas for Sarah, he has a name - Alonzo Martinez.
Sarah then heads to see Art, who informs her that someone by the name of Alonzo Martinez, has recently removed back to Colombia but they did return for a one day to visit a dental clinic which specializes in dental implants. Sarah heads to the clinic and is recognized as Beth by the hygienist. The woman is resistant to helping until Sarah/Beth reveals that she has a mouth maggot. Once the hygienist closes down the clinic, she sits Sarah/Beth in a chair and pokes her cheek with an instrument explaining that if she moves, she could die. It seems that the hygienist feels that Sarah/Beth is lucky to have been chosen for the mouth maggot and has therefore called her superiors. For her trouble, the hygienist has her throat slit but none other than Ferdinand (yep, he's alive). Ferdinand pulls the instrument out of Sarah's mouth explaining that if the hygienist had punctured the mouth maggot, she'd already be dead. Ferdinand reveals that he got a message from Rachel Duncan, my least favourite clone.
In this Rachel update (did anyone really care what happened to her?) she's in captivity with Charlotte and Ira and is being held by none other than Mommy Dearest, or should I say Susan Duncan. We watch as Ira (a castor clone not raised with his brothers) gives Rachel a treatment to try and make her high tech new eye look more normal. Rachel is physically slowly getting better and her mind is sharp as ever. Rachel is quick to deduce that Susan has been outsmarted by Sarah and did not find the Original. We also learn that Charlotte is a direct clone of Rachel. Clearly, the reunion between Rachel and Susan isn't warm and is more like a horrible family gathering that you have to get drunk to survive.
Rachel gets hers though. We see her sit down to paint with Charlotte and because of the size of the easel, they are able to hide what they are doing from the eye in the sky. Rachel uses this opportunity to check and see if Charlotte delivered her message.
Helena is living with Hendrixs. After learning that Sarah has a mouth maggot and that Cosima cannot do anything until she has a sample to work on, Allison decides that they need to dig up Leekie. Donny is not down with this plan but Allison is determined to help Sarah. Helena is not at all pleased that she has been left completely out of the loop, saying that Sarah won't even return her calls. Allison tells Helena that they don't need her kind of help and Donny encourages her to focus on gestating. I'm so not cool with Helena being shoved to the sidelines. Helena is left to watch the kids while Donny and Allison get to work in the garage.
So that was a little unexpected
It’s a fairly standard monster of the week episode (monster cicadas who go dormant every 27 years then arise, possess people and make them have lots of sex before burying them to unleash a new generation in 27 years for more murders and orgies). The episode also has a bit part for Kandyse McClure, which I only mention because she’s my “oh hey it’s her!” actress – y’know you always recognise them but can never place them (she’s also tragically underused).
What was surprising was that one of the random young victims was gay (ok he’s dead now, so no points – but a young tween gay kid? Not common on TV even if his screen time is 10 seconds then death) and, much more notable, a couple of hunters they run into who are also hunting the monster turn out to be a gay couple (they badly need to go back to acting school, but still. Actually, that’s wrong, “back” implies they actually went.) And they manage to dodge the usual full Dean freak out (oh so common) and go for a much more easier-to-swallow surprise and any other terrible tropes. The two even live. Between this and the lesbian couple earlier in the season and the fact that both couples included POC and the presence of Rufus in Safe House almost makes me think a writer has finally looked back on some elements on Supernatural’s record and said “what have we done?!”
Yes, I realise I’m giving rather a heavy positive slant on something I would just give a nod to in most shows: after all, 11 seasons and managing a couple of episodes of non-recurring LGBT/POC characters that weren’t terribly troped isn’t exactly worthy of a parade and fireworks – but it speaks volumes for how low my expectations of this show have sunk. So I’m almost torn, a lot of me is really happy to see this – but a fair part of me is a little annoyed by my own happiness because is it really enough to be worth this much hope and even potential glee?
Thursday, April 28, 2016
The Magicians sets itself up to be a cross between The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Harry Potter. It has young adults going to a magical academy and then traveling to a fantastical world in search of a quest. The problem with Grossman's work is that it has none of the delight of either series and is filled with characters who are self involved, who seem to delight in wallowing and are incredibly selfish. Grossman tries to to give the impression that his characters are sophisticated yet they wade through life with such self generated disillusionment it makes it impossible to relate to them, let alone like them. In 420 pages, not one of Grossman's characters is even remotely likable. It's not necessary for characters to be likely for to tell a good story but the reader should be able to relate to them.
Grossman should have called this book White people's problems, or even Western problems. Quentin is filled with melancholy and despair. From the outside, everything in Quentin's life is perfect. He has class privilege, two parents who love him, and even acceptance to the exclusive Brakebills. No matter what opportunity is offered to Quentin, he seems determined to never be content and at times seems miserable for the sake of being miserable. He is absolutely insufferable and as the narrator of the story, made if feel like wading through mud. I found that I could not feel empathy for Quentin's depression because at the end of the day, Quentin is callous and pretentiousness. Quentin's proverbial position in life is that the glass is half empty and this wars against his hidden feelings of hope. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Grossman doesn't really have a typical antagonist in this book despite the fact that Martin (one of the infamous Chatwin siblings) has become a monster. The antagonist is Quentin's battle between his melancholy and hope that around the corner he will find something shiny to at least divert him from his feelings of sadness.
There's absolutely no character progression in The Magicians. When we first meet Quentin, he is 17 years old and by the time the book ends, he is almost in his mid twenties. During that time period, Quentin has been trained as a magician, left his life with his parents behind, travelled to a magical world, defeated the equivalent of a magical beast, watches as his first lover died while he lay helpless and finally engaged on a quest to find a magical beast. That's a lot to happen to one person and yet Quentin reads exactly the same on the first page as he does the last page. Having lived through even one of the aforementioned incidents should have been enough for some growth, let alone all of them.
Every woman Quentin meets he assigns value based on whether he wants to fuck her or not. Women aren't really people to him but exist only to the degree that they excite his lust. Repeatedly when Quentin is in a close proximity to a woman, he has to caution himself not to look at her breasts.
December slid by on silent runners, in a sleepless dream of constant toil. The work had lost all connection to whatever goal it was supposed to be accomplishing. Even Quentin’s sessions with Professor Sunderland lost their spark. He caught himself staring bleakly at the radiant upper slopes of her achingly full and gropable breasts when he knew he should be devoting himself to far more pressing technical issues like correct thumb position (pg 69-70)Quentin's longest relationship in The Magicians is with Alice, who is a shy but extremely talented magician. He refuses to acknowledge his dependency on her throughout their relationship at Brakebills and when they leave, he treats her like an anchor who constantly spoils his fun. Alice quickly moves from being his girlfriend to a mother figure because she doesn't think that drinking all night, each and every night, is a legitimate way for an adult to pass time. Quentin doesn't even pause to think about the fact that Alice actually forestalled her education in order to be with him during his stage of excessive over indulgence. He is a child while she stands as a woman. When he ultimately cheats on Alice with Janet, it is only then that he begins to even contemplate what Alice means to him. Alice does not forgive and instead has sex with Penny, a fellow magician and Quentin actually has the nerve to get angry. When Quentin cheated he blamed Janet and the booze, refusing to take any kind of personal responsibility and when Janet slept with Penny, rather than acknowledging his role in that interaction, all he can think about his hurt and his pain. It sets Alice up to be a toy that Quentin now only wants because another kid has started playing with it. In the end, Alice sacrifices herself to save Quentin's life thus giving purpose to his melancholy at last.
Alone and Unafraid is an action packed episode. Having discovered that President Michener is alive, the question is what to do with him. Chandler and his men watch Michener carefully at first, wondering if he is being held against his will. It becomes clear rather quickly that Michener not only drank the kool aid but went for a big ole swim. As much as he is ambivalent about being President, Michener seems to believe wholeheartedly in Sean.
Chandler and a few members of his crew stage a fake bomb in order for Chandler to get on Michener's protection detail. That's a lot of risk for a man who doesn't know that he is being played. Sean is not at all welcoming to Chandler and snarks about giving him a cookie and sending him on his way for potentially saving the President from dying in a bomb but Michener is adamant that he wants an American on his protection detail.
Danny and Tex are busy loading up food for the immunes. Sean has collected so many people that their subsistence needs are huge. Danny and Tex both recognize Niels, and are surprised having believed that he had died. Niels has been busy finding a way to spread the sickness without him actually being present. He creates a potion of sorts and then inserts it into teddy bears. Yes, this asshole is planning on targeting kids. Can we just kill him off already? Ned has always been disgusted by Niels but I think that even he finds this to be a new low point.
Back on the Nathan James, Dr. Scott has produced a powdered version of the cure and gives it to mice to check it's effectiveness. Slattery continues to search for the sub. As for the crew of the sub, it doesn't seem that spirits are high and they seem a bit adrift because of an inability to contact Sean and his forces on land. Where the Nathan James has a clear chain of command and everyone has a role to play, things just seem to be barely holding together on the sub. I wonder if this means that we can expect a mutiny?
Chandler and his men manage to get Michener and Niels away from Sean and back on board the Nathan James without losing a man. Chandler explains to Slattery that Sean has managed to fill the vacuum of an absence of leadership and that he hopes that Michener will be able to fill this void. I really do think that Michener is more trouble than he is worth. Tom's decision to take the president back to the Nathan James is really about reminding us that he is the good guy, who believes in the rule of law and the chain of command but that being said, it actually makes me question his leadership capabilities. Michener is a cult member and while the American citizens needs a symbol to rally behind, I don't think that Michener is it. He seems weak, with little to no backbone and is hardly presidential.
As we move to the second day of the quarantine, everything is tense. Those inside the cordon are all worried and trying to follow the rules (Jana and her friend Stacy have an awesome relationship and are great together stuck with friends and colleagues at their job) expecting the cordon to end soon. Alex, something of a hero after his actions with Xander went viral is trying to keep everyone calm and collected while Sabine insists that controlling the message is vital to stop people panicking. There’s lots of tense communication by phone between various people.
And then things get a whole lot worse
They find there’s another person who was in contact with patient zero – Elizabeth – and she is not in quarantine in the hospital. After a moment of panic they conclude that she is still in the cordon zone (so not infecting all of Atlanta) but she has run around through the zone. Most terrifying, she attended a party (yes, some teens had a quarantine party because parents are stuck outside the fence, of course they did). By the time they get to her and get her to the hospital many of the partiers have already left and since it was a party they’re nearly impossible to identify. The virus is definitely out.
Attending that party was Amy, a friend of Teresa, which means Teresa (the pregnant teen) is no terrified se has been infected, harming her baby. She’s also worried about infecting her grandmother – the disabled old woman who is Bertie’s wife (hey the characters are linking up). It also means Xander, outside the cordon, is even more desperate to get in.
The virus being out means Dr. Cannert lifts the lock down on the hospital. Holding everyone inside is now pretty pointless with the virus burning around – though Kate stays as she has nowhere else to go with the kids. We also find Kate is on what appears to be anxiety medication.
But the cordon on the zone is doubled over – the electric fence reinforced by a huge wall of containers. It is now going to last far more than 2 days. The quarantine is now in place until the disease burns itself out.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The opening montage shows us that life has been hard for Cassie in 2044. As a doctor, her entire profession has been healing and helping others, or at the very least doing no harm. In 2044, Cassie's mission is to assemble the parts that are needed to repair the splitter machine and that means going on missions with Deacon where she kills people. This explains why when Cassie showed up on top of the roof in 2015, she had no problem killing those men and wanting to kill Jennifer and Ramse. Cassie isn't the same woman that Cole sent to the future.
12 Monkeys underscores just how Cassie has changed by having her do the opening monologue instead of Cole.
"Where are you right now? Somewhere you don't belong? Wondering who have I become? Living a life you never thought you'd have to? Doing things horrible things you never thought you'd be capable of? No matter how hard you fought, you'd have to live with it, you'd adapt, transform, evolve. Metamorphosis. And sometimes you have to accept not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly."Jennifer has been searching for her purpose which Olivia has led her to believe is to release the virus. Jennifer had been actively searching for someone to kill her to stop her actions but Cole manages to talk her into handing over the virus. From her research, Cassie learns that the rest of the virus is on Jennifer's private plane waiting to be released.
The moment that Cassie and Cole burn all of the virus, it quickly becomes apparent in 2044 that things have changed. Jones watches as things speed up around her and she is amazed. Unfortunately for Jones, her daughter is still dead but she did gain a husband. Jones learns that the release of the virus has been delayed by four years and that more people survived because Cassie was able to warn people about what to prepare for. This is something to celebrate and the first victory they've had since they embarked on the mission to stop the release of the virus.
Cassie is convinced that Ramse is still going to be a problem and so she injects Ramse with Cole's shot and heads back to 2044 with him, stranding Cole in the past with Jennifer. Ramse is placed into prison and Deacon is sent in to torture information out of him. This is yet another reminder of how much Cassie has changed. Ramse takes the upper hand by talking about how he went to Deacon's childhood home and called the cops to stop his father from beating his mother to death. This is clearly something Deacon didn't want anyone to know. Yes, this gives us some characterisation on Deacon beyond the fact that he is a cruel scavenging warlord; however, it still amounts to the idea that if someone has a dysfunctional childhood, they are not destined to lead a moral or good life. I'm not surprised that they went with the easy trope for characterisation, just disappointed. Cassie decides to try a new tactic and brings out Ramse's son. Yeah, Cassie has gone hard like that.
Damon goes through his daily life in an endless struggle: he has a girlfriend he loves, but whose family hates him. He has a job that barely pays the bills and he loathes every second of every day. He has to deal with co-workers he loathes and a boss he despises. His friends have all the depth and subtly of a hammer and are a constant aggravation. He has no family, his home is terrible.
And he has The Rage. The constant, all consuming rage that powers him through his day. The vast well of fury that is slowly changing him even as it gives him the power to keep going. But as The Rage gives him the strength to keep moving it also could destroy everything.
This book begins very interestingly. We have our protagonist utterly consumed by constant, overwhelming, all consuming rage. Every moment of his life is spent reigning it in, living with it, trying to control it, trying not to completely lose himself to it. It affects his every interaction, his every relationship, his every single moment of every single day.
There are many books where we have supernatural creatures battling against the supernatural induced rage – but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a book that so accurately portrays what an overwhelming exhausting struggle it is. How painful it is, how extremely hard it is to live with such incredible rage all the time.
On top of that the rage looks sharply at the society Damon lives in – in our society. He looks at a world where every day he gets up, goes to work, suffers miserably with a wretched job, even doing extremely well at it, with no pleasure, no joy and not even enough to earn a decent living from it. Every day he works, loathing every second of it, hating his boss – and in the end of all that effort, all that suffering even all that success, he’s not even earning enough money to live anywhere but a slum. He’s not even earning enough money to placate his girlfriend’s mother.
This book touches many of the unjust elements of Damon’s life and, through it, our society in general – the patriarchal expectations forced on him trying to be “worthy” of Monica (and worth is strictly linked wealth and earnings. This is so strongly laid down that even her abusive ex is considered a better candidate, even with his abuse, because he’s a good earner and goes to church: the fact he is violent and hurt her never comes close to mattering as much as his bank account and social position.). How effort and even performance is no real guarantee of getting that much worth. Of how women often have to tolerate constant sexual harassment at work without saying anything. Of living a life which is nearly always consumed by doing things we hate just to find a few brief moments of happiness.
The only issue I have wit this depiction is that Damon’s all consuming rage pretty much puts everything on the same level. His hating his job and being judged for it is rage inducing – but so is waiting in line in the supermarket or someone talking to him at the bus stop. Is this social commentary or is it just supposed to be Damon’s irrational rage at “normal” things?
Can I say again how slow this series is? I mean we’re on episode 8 now and I was actually stunned to realise how far into the season we are and I really can’t see how we’ve managed 8 episodes of content out of this… I mean looking back, was there really enough?
Damien’s therapy isn’t going really well, he continues to be super conflicted and tortured and lost. Hi therapist pokes him with some very interesting comments about choice and predestination and basically how Damien is almost accepting the inevitability of him being evil without actually seeing he has a choice. And more, with that lack of understanding he has a choice, he’s denying his own responsibility for whatever happens.
Damien himself also raises some interesting elements on his potential PTSD which would be really fascinating if he actually had PTSD and wasn’t actually the antichrist. Damien feels silly about having PTSD, he has seen so many people who have suffered incredibly that he feels selfish, shallow to actually have PTSD when he’s considers the terrible horrors he has seen people endure. This is a wonderful examination of both survivor’s guilt and how many people with PTSD are shamed because X person has it worse – like their pain is somehow less important because they are not the most suffering person in the entire world
This would be excellent, in fact all of these sessions with the doctor would be pretty good if it weren’t not just for him actually being demonic – but also because she is also on team cultist.
Damien is posted the severed tongue from his murderous friend Charles and after a brief meeting in which Charles declares his eternal devotion and also rambles terrifyingly about the apparently many people he’s killed for Damien (Damien seems to think this includes Kelly but, given the supernatural way she died I don’t think so). Damien absolutely loses it and beats Charles half to death.
But only half. He choses not to give into his desires to murder him. But, as he then asks the doctor – is that his good instincts telling him not to murder or his evil instincts making him preserve a serial killer? This conflict is also excellent –hey all the Damien psychological torture hasn’t been especially great until this episode but now it’s really fascinating to watch as the conflict builds and is legitimately difficult to unpick
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
After all of the build up, the season finale is anticlimactic. Lucifer and Amenadiel team up to find Malcolm and Dan comes clean about his dirty work. I should have been cheering. I should have been at the edge of me seat, yet somehow it sort of fizzled away into a buddy type episode that went nowhere slowly.
When last we saw Lucifer, Chloe was pointing a gun at him and informing that he was under arrest. Lucifer took this particularly hard feeling that Chloe had become just like everyone else, believing that that he is the cause for evil. Lucifer responds by taunting the cops, even as Chloe gives the order not to fire because Lucifer is unarmed. Lucifer then puts his hand in his pocket questioning how they know that he doesn't have a gun. Given Chloe's presence, if the cop had fired that would have meant death and a return to hell. Fortunately for Lucifer, this is when a still bruised and battered Amenadiel shows up to whisk him away. At this point, Lucifer feels completely defeated and tells Amenadiel to just take him back to hell. Maze is angry at him, Chloe thinks that he is a murderer and so for Lucifer, there seems to be nowhere left to turn. It seems that Amenadiel has decided that he wants to make things right and feels responsible for all of the evil Malcolm has committed since returning to life. Amenadiel even says that he agrees with Maze and that they both used her. This is a big step for the self righteous angel.
With Amenadiel on side they head to his office to figure out what to do. Their argument is overheard by Doctor Linda, who initially believes that Amenadiel is poaching her clients. Linda is not made any happier when she discovers that Lucifer and Amenadiel are brothers and that Amenadiel used her so that he could manipulate Lucifer. For the first time, Linda drops her professional veneer long enough to be able to tell both men off but it doesn't get her anywhere because they quickly leave having figured out what to do next.
This was a long time coming for Linda because she has been used by both Lucifer and Amenadiel and yet she is not painted as the sympathetic figure that Maze has been. Both men violated her trust in real and meaningful ways and Lucifer even threatened her this season. As much as I enjoyed Linda finally speaking her mind, it was undermined by how quickly both Amenadiel and Lucifer quickly left her office, as though her anger or good opinion of them meant absolutely nothing. Lucifer as a person in need of counselling is a gimmick but if the writers are going to go with it, Linda needs to given some respect and her character needs to be more forceful on a regular basis.
When Amenadiel is stabbed by a hell blade by Malcolm, instead of chasing down Malcolm, Lucifer actually turns back to help his brother. It serves as yet another clue about how much these two mean to each other despite being on opposite sides. They love each other as only brothers can. Amenadiel's injury is also used to show just how close he and Maze have become. Just like his brother, Amenadiel makes peace with his death, even though he cannot be sure whether he is going to heaven or hell. Maze uses a feather from Lucifer's wings to save him though this means that she cannot assure a path back to her home Hell. This is a sacrifice of epic proportions. My issue here is that Amenadiel really has done nothing to earn this sort of sacrifice from Maze, nor has he apologised for the way that he used her. Our only indication that Amenadiel actually cares for Maze is his pain at her betrayal. Maze has the appearance of a strong character but she is just as much of a pawn as Linda.
Lire has changed a lot over the last two books – she’s come a long way from the Clairvoyant who helped in police cases. Now as Earth’s only Adept – one of only two known – she is in high demand. And many forces, especially factions of the fae, are desperate to control her
But behind that is the looming threat of the demonic invasion – and who else can unite the disparate forces to face off this threat?
When I first started this book I had a horrible moment of confusion – because I had no idea what was going on. We had vampires and witches and psychics and magic and djinn and two factions of fae and a demon invasion. In the middle of all this is Lire, a Clairvoyant with a collection of new psychic powers she can barely control who also has an essential and deeply rare ability that is not only generally in high demand but will be essential when facing the demonic invasion and is valued by the fae as utterly necessary for their civilisation to continue.
That’s a lot to swallow – but within a few pages it all came flooding back and I remembered how huge and wonderful this world was, how much fun the characters are and how layered and interesting the plot line was. And very quickly paced – this book hit the ground running. There was no standalone stuffing, you cannot pick up this book without having read the previous two books first – because the plot begins straight away and we dive in to this world with a full expectation of the reader to know what’s happening. And I love it. No padding, no fluff, no unnecessary explanations – we get into the plot and the meat.
You need to have read the two previous books first and I strongly advise it because I love this series
The plot is complex and involved with Lire doing a lot of growth while also fiercely staying true to herself. Learning as she goes, dealing with a lot of very different characters from different factions all with their own full agendas – and none of them (ok, maybe the demons) can just be condemned as pure evil for the sake of it.
Hades considers his wooing of Zelena, which comes with 1950s romantic music which always makes me think of Fallout. A post-apocalyptic wasteland is a curiously accurate comparison to Hades’s and Zelena’s relationship. His master plan is to restart his heart, leave the underworld with Zelena and leave all the heroes trapped in the underworld
Regina is naturally not a fan of this plan and she and Zelena have an amazing sisterly fight. I actually appreciate that there isn’t much snark here, despite both of these characters being epic snarkers, because it’s much more real and raw and emotional without the humour. Regina’s invoking sisterly concern doesn’t win much support since Zelena is convinced Regina never did and certainly doesn’t now want a sister.
With Zelena refusing to listen to Regina and abandon Hades, Regina has to resort to plan B to sabotage their relationship: Cora. Currently imprisoned as the Miller’s daughter, team good guy stages a jail break because they’re sure if anyone can kill true love, it’s Cora.
Cora agrees and plans to use water from the river Leethe, a memory potion, to make Zelena forget all about Hades. And how to get Zelena to trust her? Cora is going to give her what she wanted – a loving, genuinely repentant mother who truly regrets ever abandoning her. It’s potent, it’s emotional, it seems genuine and it is a truly, viciously cruel exploitation of Zelena’s greatest vulnerability. Zelena sees right through it and is furious, outraged and lashes out leading to Regina and Zelena facing off in an epic magic duel
Oh that would have been so very very epic – but Cora is torn watching her two daughter’s fight and quenches their magic. She has a rather excellent speech about how, contrary to her constant insistence that love is a weakness, Regina’s dedication to her friends and family has really shown her how love is an amazing asset. Aww, how twee.
And… just kind of fast. Tell me more about how much of an asset this love is. Tell me about the people who have Regina’s back. Tell me how Regina is far happier and that means way more than simple power. Tell me how Regina now has some powerful and useful friends to have her back which is way more powerful than solitude can ever be. Give me a reason how Cora went from “love is a weakness” to “love conquers all” tell me more, show me more!
Dum-dum-dubba-dum-dum-dubba-dum-dum… what? You’re here for the recap? I’m here for the theme tune, you’re going to have to wait. I’m also like the only person on the entire planet who doesn’t give a shit of John the Whiney is alive or dead. (Margaery now, and her grandmother, those I care about) dubba-dum-dum-dubba-dum…
I would also pay a ridiculous sum of money for this clockwork map. Like seriously. I need it.
Ok I’m done, time for a new season – and the first episode begins with a whole lot of death – lotsa death.
Let’s start on a high note – Sansa and Theon have escaped the Boltons (much to the annoyance of Roose because they need the legitimacy and leverage that these heirs can give them and Ramsay couldn’t control his vicious sadism for 5 minutes to win them over) and are on the run through the balmy Canadian summer. Alas, not being Canadian, they’re cold and half frozen to death and not really up to fleeing cavalry. Thankfully they’re rescued by Brienne and Pod (who has learned a lot about fighting on horseback) and Brienne can offer her oath to Sansa (seriously, someone accept Brienne’s oath, she’s desperate!) and Sansa accepts – with Pod prompting her.
Yay, a good news story! And I will say this about Game of Thrones, it’s brutality is so often awful, but their fights are very real about it. There’s no-one walking through a fight against several enemies completely unscathed
More depressingly we move to Kings Landing where Margaery is still imprisoned and being tormented for not accepting the homophobia of their religion because of course we have to have religion be homophobic and persecutors, of course they do. And Cersei is half broken with her own experience from the church when her brother Jaime comes home… with her daughter Myrcella’s body
Wait, she’s dead? Let me flip back to last seasons’ recaps. Yup, she’s dead, Ellaria Sand has poisoned her. I think this is where Cersei and Jaime get especially dangerous because They. Are. Done.
Monday, April 25, 2016
We have finally caught up with flight 462. The plane has crashed and a few of them have made it to a raft. It seems that these people have a real understanding of what happens in the apocalypse because they quickly get rid of a man who has been bitten. Alex stands watch over Jake, a boy who is badly burnt and injured. When a man on a raft suggest putting Jake out of his misery, Alex fights back and kills him. The one remaining passenger on the raft tries to tell Alex that she is not doing right by allowing Jake to continue to suffer but Alex is having none of it, claiming that she owes Jake. A badly burnt Jake tries to tell Alex that it's okay but she only intensifies her concern for him.
The Abigail is having some trouble. After some quick reading, Travis realises that there's something wrong with the water intake system. Strand is adamant that something has to be done about this tonight because being stranded on the water is dangerous. Travis is quick to volunteer to go into the water to check out the system much to Madison's dismay. Madison wants to talk about this but Strand says that there's nothing to talk about because Travis has already agreed to do this. Travis heads into the water and finds the arm of the man who tried to talk Alex into putting Jake out of his misery. I guess he didn't learn when Alex killed the first man who tried mercy killing Jake.
Strand checks with Travis to see how long it's going to take to fix The Abigail and learns that it's going to take a day. Travis is not at all pleased and when he gets demanding with Travis, Travis makes it clear that he is not the help. Strand decides to be pragmatic and tells Travis that he is a necessary member of the boat but the words practically burn him to say. Daniel checks in with his daughter and learns that the gunshot wound she suffered last season is infected. Ofelia's plan is to ask Madison for more drugs, and she explains that they are friends now. Daniel is adamant that this is a family matter and that they can only trust each other. Daniel suggests that if it came down to Ofelia or Alicia, Madison would choose Alicia.
An anxious Alicia runs on deck only to be scolded like an infant by Strand. It seems some wreckage from the flight is visible on a sandy beach and she believes that this is a chance for them to score some supplies and a much needed change of clothes. Madison does not like the idea of the kids heading out and they argue that given what they have seen and done, they don't belong at the "kids table anymore". It's only when Daniel agrees to accompany them that Madison finally relents. Before they leave, Daniel lets Madison know about Strands plan to head to Mexico. Madison is curious as to why Daniel didn't confront Strand himself and Daniel responds that a confrontation between him and Strand wouldn't go well. He assumes that Madison will have a softer touch.
When they hit the beach, naturally Chris just wanders off by himself. I cannot believe after everything he's seen, he's still so angst ridden. Chris finds a piece of the plan and after taunting and then killing a zombie, Chris actually finds a survivor. The man begs for help and Chris gets him out of his seat but the man is too injured to survive. The man continues to beg for help and Chris offers water, refusing to accept that the help the man wants is to be put out of his misery. Chris cowers for a few moments before bashing the man's head in.
Madison checks with Travis to see if he needs any help but he makes it clear that she wants no part of what he is doing. With nothing left to do, Madison decides that it's time to confront Strand about his plan to head to Mexico. Strand immediately suspects Daniel of dropping the dime on him but Madison is not interested in confirming his suspicions and stays focused on what is in Mexico. Strand claims that they are headed for a compound that is well stocked and fortified. This really does sound like pie in the sky to me but with no options, Madison decides to believe Strand. They agree from here on in to work together and be honest with each other but Madison makes it clear that if Strand messes with her family in any way, she will toss him overboard.
Daniel is not impressed when Nick tosses him a shirt he has scavenged, saying that it's not good to steal from the dead. Together they realise that Chris has been gone too long and decide to split up to find him. Nick finds a bag of drugs for Ofelia and Daniel sees someone running towards him that he believes to be Chris but in actuality it's Alex, who screams, "run they're coming" Nick falls into a crevice area and is attacked by a zombie who is sunk into the sand. Nick has to struggle a little bit but manages to take out the zombie with a knife he found while scavenging. Nick's not out of danger however because yet another zombie falls into the crevice area.
It's Alicia who finds Chris and she assumes that he is upset because he had to kill a zombie. Chris doesn't disabuse Alicia of this, still in a state of shock from having to kill a fellow human. Perhaps now that Chris has been in his father's shoes, he can finally get on with the business of living without attacking Travis left right and center. They both hear Daniel shooting at the zombies and on The Abigail, Madison, Strand and Travis see the group being chased.
I’m afraid this book review is a DNF – did not finish
Not because it was grossly offensive, not because it was completely awful, not because it enraged me or offended me or left me outraged. No, it’s a DNF because I was bored, because I saw little that engaged me or drew me in and I was just bored by the time I made it half way through the book.
It felt very paint-by-numbers to me. We have our protagonist, Felicity, going to college in a new town. Which turns out to have vampires in it (a fact she absorbs quickly) including Cain (yes, Cain. Cain.) This is the good vampire, on first meeting he saves her life from the bad vampires and the inevitable crushes begins. We’re quickly railroaded in them heading together with him finding this college student he barely knows as super compelling. We even have the extra lines about how he never ever lets himself get close to other people any more but for some reason Felicity is just too compelling for reasons that are never made clear. Oh wait, later there’s a line that he finds her attractive because she’s a human who knows he’s a vampire and isn’t wary about being all alone with him
Awww… lacking survival instincts is totally sexy guys!
This building romance has speed bumps in the form of misunderstandings, occasional worries and introspection none of which lasts more than a few pages and really doesn’t generate a whole lot of worry or introspection
Which was another irritant – I mentioned that Felicity accepted vampires quickly – well it was pretty ridiculous. It was like “vampires are real!” ok… and she moves on. She doesn’t have a whole lot of questions, she doesn’t take much time to adapt to this, she doesn’t change her behaviour a great deal, she doesn’t make many enquiries, she doesn’t talk to people about this, she doesn’t ask why this town is vampire central or whatever else is out there or whether there is anything stopping the vampires attacking. When she learns Cain is 300 years old she decides to… research the Salem Witch Trials…
…I have no idea why. Not even the slightest clue.
I’m also not entirely convinced by her characterisation – she’s a student going to college and there’s a scene where she is asked if she has Myspace
No, she doesn’t have Myspace. Because it’s the 21st century. No-one has Myspace.
She also doesn’t have a mobile phone. Doesn’t have a computer. Doesn’t have any social media presence and didn’t even know that social media can be accessed via mobile phone
Sunday, April 24, 2016
"The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones."
This week's wesen of the week involves Charlie a Barbatus Ossifrage, who feels responsible to bring home food to his elderly parents. Barbatus Ossifrages are essentially the carrion birds of the Wesen family; they are attracted to scent of blood and the dying. The bodies are then crushed and the bones and other matter are sucked out. By the time a Barbatus Ossifrage is done with a body, it resembles a lump of human Playdough.
Charlie's parents are ultra creepy, so even though his mother is thankful for the food he regurgitates for them, they are hardly sympathetic creatures. For his part, Charlie is super resentful to be placed in this situation and even repeatedly apolgises to his victims, claiming that if he had any other choice, he wouldn't be doing this. Charlie even actively wishes that his parents would just die so that he can live his life.
Charlie never does get his wish because when he tries to escape from Nick and Hank, he is run over. Nick shows up at his parents to give the death notification and they all head to the morgue. Charlie's mother in particular is upset about their son's passing but that doesn't stop her or her husband from consuming their own child. I guess, waste not want not is the thinking here.
I didn't particularly find this Wesen story of the week compelling but did find it problematic in terms of its treatment of elder care and the idea that seniors are nothing but a drain, stopping the young from having their turn. Grimm simply didn't do enough to explain why Charlie's family dynamics were they way that they chose to portray. The idea of the elderly as a burden is not new but this belief is what leads to senior abuse in our society. Creepy parents needing help to obtain food which is a necessity of life is not enough to explain away Charlie's resentment, especially given that he would have to do this to eat himself. In this case, I think that Good to the Bone, simply fell short.
We don't really care about the Wesen of the week do we? What we really care about is what is going on with the meta. When Nick returns home, he and Adalind make some small talk about her work but Adalind is more interested in getting it on. Adalind says that because of the way they began, it's hard to have trust in each other and that they need to work on that. To be clear, the way this relationship began was Adalind raping Nick and becoming pregnant with Kelly. They don't get far with the lovemaking because the shadow of Adalind's Hexenbiest nature is floating in the air. Adalind decides to come clean about Renard and reveals that Diana is no longer with the Royals or the Resistance. Nick shares his suspicions that Renard is involved with Black Claw and makes Adalind promise to let him know should Renard contact her again. Adalind is concerned because she realises that Renard is trying to draw her in.
When the call does come from Renard, instead of telling Nick like she promised, Adalind gets Rosealee to babysit Kelly, so that she can meet with Renard. Adalind goes to the meeting spot and sees Renard. Renard has a few men grab Adalind and drug her. Adalind tries to fight back but is quickly overwhelmed. When Adalind regains consciousness, she sees Diana, who races towards her saying how much she missed her mother. It looks like Black Claw will now have Adalind to manipulate. Given that Nick took part in separating Diana and Adalind in the first place, I can understand her reluctance to tell him what is going on.
Today’s episode is all about those missing 3 years
Somewhat literally with Enzo romantically kidnapping and poisoning Bonnie for her own good and then them romantically falling for each while she takes 3 years to read a diary. Seriously, this is what comes of education in Mystic Falls, guys, you spend all your time watching Gone with the Wind and worshipping the founders that you never actually learn how to read.
Enzo and Bonnie falling for each other is quite sweet though. Even though I kind of want Enzo to disappear, it works. Bonnie still deserves better
Then Damon walks in and, of course, Bonnie is ragingly pissed at him because he decided to check out and abandon them all for various reasons and she’s not ok with him just turning up and acting like he can pick up where they left off.
But he does have a plan to save Bonnie – Rayna will give up her last magical life to Bonnie which will cure her. Apparently. They know this because REASONS.
Of course convincing Rayna is a hard sell, but since she’s spent 3 years being bombarded by images from all the vampires who escaped the sword, she’s willing to suicide for them if they’ll kill off all the vamps and let her have just a brief moment of peace.
See, this is why she should have used a stake and not a magical torture sword
Also why did this magical torture sword not do a better job of disabling these vampires? Stefan, Damon and Julian came out of the stone hallucinating and in severe mental difficulty?
Also, when a vampire soul enters a human body it does in, what, a week? That’s what we saw with possessed-Jo and with Stefan in his own possession… so why are there so many? They can’t ALL have leaped into the bodies of vampires!! And did they drive out currently existing vampire’s souls? Because there can’t have been many intact-yet-empty-vampire-bodies lying around!