Saturday, May 7, 2016

The 100, Season Three, Episode Fourteen: Red Sky at Morning

This episode could easily have been called, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  It's basically about sides who hate each other, or distrust each other potentially coming together in the hopes of stopping ALIE.  Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

After talking Indra down, the merry band of resisters must decide what to do next. Both Pike and Murphy believe that the best strategy is to retreat and regroup; however, Indra wants to kill Jaha, believing that this will rescue her people.  Murphy knows more than he says and simply tells Indra that this won't work.  ALLIE enters the holding area to attempt to get more people to take the chip and she notices that Pike is more injured than when he was imprisoned.  ALLIE quickly realises that someone has gotten loose and orders the prisoners checked.  Indra quickly gets the upper hand and kills the guards.  Indra then presses Murphy to find out what he knows and he finally admits that for everyone to go free, Jaha's backpack must be destroyed.  Indra sends her people to lead away the chipped while she, Murphy and Pike make an attempt to get to the backpack. Because of Murphy's decision not to run, Pike tells him, "your father would be proud of you." Really Pike?  I can't believe Murphy didn't give him some hella snark for that.

For the first time we get to see the City of Light and it looks like a pre dystopian city.  One of the escapees has been captured and quickly reports the plan to go after the back pack.  ALIE isn't worried however because she has the perfect person for the job - Emori.  I was quite fascinated by the fact that though Emori follows orders, at least a part of personality still exists.  This becomes evident when Jaha points out that she can fix her deformed fingers in the City of Light, but Emori responds that everything about her is perfect.

When they get inside the sanctuary where the back pack is being kept, Murphy, Indra and Pike find that chipped residents of Polis are already inside.  This presents little problem for Pike and he simply starts killing. Were it not for Murphy staying Pike's hand, Emori would have died right there. Becca's space pod is there along with the backpack but they ignore it in favour of destroying the backpack. Before Murphy can act, Emori calls out that the backpack contains a nuclear fuel cell which would destroy the entire city.  It seems that it's time for brains over brawn.

Back at Arkadia, Raven is biting at the bit to use the code she learned from Becca's book and go after ALLIE.  Monty is adamant that since they only have one chance at this that they need to wait until Clarke returns.   Harper joins them and tells Monty that perhaps he should take a break.  They head to the airlock, where Monty learns that Harper's idea of a break is sex. Monty pauses long enough to ensure that Harper isn't chipped and then it's giddy up time.

On the oil rig, Luna is still adamant that she will not become the next Heda.  Clarke tries to appeal to Luna, saying that Lexa was working on changing things and stopping the philosophy of  blood must have blood. Luna however remains steadfast.

While Clarke is appealing to Luna, Jasper meets Sky, a young woman who has never been off the rig. She wants to know all about Jasper and the two being to bond. Obviously, this does not bode well for Sky.

Monty and Harper are just getting to the post coital cuddling when Raven barges in.  It seems that she was waiting for them to be finished. Monty joins Raven back at the computer where she explains that she's found something called the citadel - a firewall in the code.  Once again Raven wants to go in because she is convinced that ALIE is hiding something but Monty cautions her to wait.

Back on the rig, having failed to get Luna's consent, Clarke, Bellamy and Octavia argue about attaching the chip to her anyway. Octavia points out that if they take that approach, they wouldn't be any better than ALIE but with few options left, they decide to go for it. Luna is training some kids when Clarke approaches her. Clarke argues that the chip is Luna's birthright but Luna is more concerned that too many lives would be lost to save a few people.  A frustrated Clarke says the incantation and accosts Luna only to be quickly rebuffed cause Luna is all kinds of bad ass.

Shaw Brothers fight badass martial arts kung fu

 It seems that Luna left not because she was a coward but because she was the best fighter. Luna had killed her brother in the first round and was set to face Lexa next but because she was sick of killing, she left.

Wynonna Earp, Season 1, Episode 6: Constant Cravings

This episode brings a bit more of Dolls, which is definitely needed. He and Wynonna continue to have their excellent snarky relationship. They’re awesome when they spar and investigate and generally work awesomely together.

But there’s more. Dolls’ bosses aren’t happy with him – he suggests it’s because they haven’t brought a living Revenant back for capture therefore they’ve failed to prove that Purgatory even has a Revenant problem so why are they spending all the money? Personally, I’m inclined to think the powers that be have a much more sinister motive than that – because don’t they always? Isn’t that like a rule?

To reinforce that, they seem to have cut him off from a supply of some drug he’s dependent on. And it’s definitely not a conventional drug. This drug makes his eyes change colour and shape – something supernatural. He has to get it illicitly since he’s apparently done something to offend his bosses

Without the drugs, Dolls is definitely on edge, agitated and not doing well.

We also have an interesting Revenant fight which brings a little more nuance to the whole killing demons thing. We have a family of Revenant cannibals – not just from pure evil but because they lived in a hard time in a difficult place with hard winters and few resources. Of course, one member, Mama, became addicted to human meat. Her son supported his mother out of devotion and her daughter didn’t have any choice in the matter (An interesting element here is that said daughter was raised as a son since Mam was determined she would not face the prevailing sexism of the era –but at the same time upbringing didn’t change who her daughter was or who she wanted to be. Mama wanting to be different couldn’t change that). Wyatt came to town and killed them all – turning them into revenants – but Mama’s children’s culpability is more nuanced than simple “evil demons who need to die.”

Zoo, Season 1, Episode 9: Mumuration

So this week brings a twist that helps explain a lot of the oddness of Zoo. While Mitch is trying to pull his little deal with Reiden for medicine for his daughter he sees Delavenne – the man who put their little team together. He’s working for Reiden.

He runs and, with surprising cunning, manages to get away with both the Mother Cell and the medicine, to tell the others about Delavenne’s treachery (oh and his own, which they’re also not a fan of).

This helps a great deal to explain the bizarre secrecy that this group has put up with since the beginning. It explains their complete lack of any official support, it explains the extra cloak and dagger annoyance that has bothered me from the first season.

But there’s a problem with this. Chloe. To believe this whole thing we have to think that a French intelligence agent did absolutely no background checks. No research. Didn’t even try to figure out who Delavenne is and was never once concerned about where their resources came from or who was leading them

This French intelligence agent is ASTONISHINGLY incompetent. No, it’s worse than that, she’s lazy. She doesn’t just do her job poorly, she doesn’t do her job at all. She has done no research, no checking, no back background research, nothing. While I realise this episode’s “French intelligence is a contradiction in terms” was an anti-French insult (meh, Europeans have been saying the same about Americans for a long time. And the American presidential elections will always give us an edge in this snark fest) but it was utterly accurate when it came to Chloe.

Even worse, after these revelations, Chloe just kind of collapses into nothing. It’s Jackson who takes over, Jackson who has a plan to try and get them out of this (it doesn’t work, but still – since it involves a journalist contact of Jamie’s who is then silenced by Reiden lawyers. Oh and basically confronting Delavenne and demanding he do the right thing. Sure it’s a shitty plan, but it was a plan). And he comforts Chloe who is beginning to grasp how useless she is.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Walking Dead, Vol. 24: Life and Death (The Walking Dead #139-144) by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard (Illustrator), Stefano Gaudiano (Illustrator), Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator)

After all of the preparations, it's time for the various communities to come together to celebrate the achievements they've had since they've defeated Negan. Expectations are high, as booths begin to be filled with merchandise and people begin to arrive at Alexandria from The Hilltop and The Kingdom. For as festive as the air seems, a dark shadow is about to fall over the celebrations and not everyone will survive.

A few major events happened in this graphic novel.  In Whispers Into Screams we really got to see Maggie as a leader for the first time in her own right.  It all culminates with Gregory's failed attempt on her life.  Gregory's treachery leaves Maggie with a huge problem.  Now that Gregory has been imprisoned and it's clear that members of The Hilltop knew of his assassination plans and didn't warn Maggie, or try to stop Gregory, Gregory has become a problem which must be dealt with. Maggie decides that Gregory has to die and he is publicly hanged at The Hilltop.  Once Gregory is dead, she does take the time to talk with her people and reaffirm that Gregory's death doesn't change anything and that killing fellow humans is wrong.

This is in great contrast to Rick, who as we know has been keeping Negan imprisoned since defeating him.  Negan is treated humanely but Rick has no intention of ever allowing Negan to have his freedom again.  Maggie decides that she doesn't have to answer to Rick because she is the leader of The Hilltop and and has made the best decision for her community.  It's clear they both have a very different idea of what constitutes justice.  The continuing imprisonment of Negan has been a sore spot between Andrea and Rick for quite some time but Rick explains that Negan's continued existence is proof that they have changed and have created the kind of society where death is no longer necessary. Negan however feels quite differently about his imprisonment which we find out when Rick returns to Alexandria and discovers that Negan's cell was left inadvertently unlocked. Negan chose to wait for Rick's return rather than escaping. Negan believes that Rick keeps him alive to prove to the world that Rick is a good person and that he is the only one who can solve the world's problems.  Negan is at least partially right in his point. There can be no doubt that keeping Negan locked up allows Rick to show his power.  It also allows Rick to keep a separation between him and Negan because though Rick, as the antagonist has been positioned as good, there can be no doubt that in order to survive as long as he has, Rick has done things which were certainly not good, or that would have been acceptable before a zombie apocalypse. Negan acts as a mirror for Rick, reminding him of the kind of man he aspires to be, rather than the kind of man he is.

Not being Carl's parent, Maggie doesn't feel the same kind of responsibility for his safety as Rick would.  She sends out a scout to look for Carl but when he returns after two days saying that he cannot find him, Maggie takes comfort in the idea that Carl got himself into this mess and can take care of himself.  Maggie declares that Carl is on his own.  Maggie's big concern is that Carl's actions will cause some sort of conflict that everyone will have to deal with and that's fair given that they were warned by the Alpha to stay out of the Whispers territory.  Maggie does tell Rick the moment she arrives in Alexandria, but she didn't sentdword to him of Carl's departure right away and even gets her back up when Rick demands to know why she didn't do more.  This new Maggie is not afraid to stand up to the great and powerful Rick Grimes. This new Maggie is also aware that her priorities might not always match with Rick Grimes and she accepts this without question.

When we last left Carl, he had left The Hilltop in search of Lydia. It's not long before Carl finds himself surrounded by the Whisperers.  Carl who proves he doesn't have the sense of a concussed penguin decides to the threaten the Alpha and doesn't realise that he is actually being held captive and not there of his own free will until they decide to release Lydia.

 When Rick comes to rescue Carl, he is surprised to find himself rebuffed.  It seems that for Carl, it wasn't the sex that drew him in but the fact that with Lydia he didn't have to wear glasses to hide his scars.  In fact, Lydia finds his disfigurement sexy.  There's also the fact that to Lydia, he isn't the son of the great Rick Grimes, or Carl Grimes the kid who survived so many horrors.  To Lydia, Carl can just be himself without any expectations. I am really glad that Kirkman expanded upon Carl's attraction to Lydia because in the previous graphic novel it all felt rather twee and shallow.

Though horror and tragedy has brought people together that doesn't mean that each person doesn't bring a lot of baggage to relationships. Things were going good for Ezekiel and Michonne but Michonne simply ran scared after he brought up them staying together and having a family.  For Michonne, it's all too much because she feels that she doesn't deserve a second chance, especially given the fact that she believes that her daughters are dead.  Michonne running scared from a relationship, as awkward as it seems is a step forward for her.  Michonne is normally portrayed as a woman of few words - a bad ass with a katana and a weapon for Rick to point.  Michonne running is a sign of her vulnerability and thus her humanity.  It's Rick who pulls Michonne aside when he meets her at the boat where she is dropping of the fish she and her crew have caught.  It's Rick who tells Michonne that she deserves to be happy and that she shouldn't feel guilty.  Despite Rick's best efforts he cannot convince Michonne to go back to Ezekiel but he does make her smile by referring to her as his best friend. Given Michonne's absence in recent comics, this is a reminder that she and Rick have developed a close relationship.

Orphan Black, Season Four Episode Four: The Instinct to Rational Control

Since her introduction, M.K. has been something of an enigma.  Because she is a clone, it was easy to assume  that she was always working in the best interests of her sisters but it seems that M.K. had an agenda all her own and for a very good reason.  While Sarah is busy searching her home, M.K. runs her own sting on none other than Ferdinand.  Pretending to be Sarah, M.K. sends Ferdinand a text asking him to meet Ferdinand at Beth's old flat.

Wearing a mask, M.K. invites Ferdinand to have a seat and he does so, unaware that the chair is rigged to explode if he stands up.  M.K., whose real name is Vera, wants revenge for Ferdinand trying to kill her and successfully murdering her best friend, (also another clone) that friend's family, as well as 5 other clones ,and 32 of their loved ones.  It seems that Ferdinand unsurprisingly has racked up one hell of a death count.  Fortunately for Ferdinand, a call between Sarah and Siobhan, gives Sarah a heads up about what is going on. Against Dizzy's better instincts, he lends Sarah his car so that she can intervene. Things are going to get a lot worse for Dizzy now that he is officially a member of club clone. I suspect that he's going to learn that the first rule of clone club: don't talk about clone club, may not be enough for him to survive. Also, is anyone else wondering exactly where Dizzy fits in?

Sarah begs M.K. repeatedly not to do this, saying that Ferdinand has vital information and can be useful.  Sarah's pleas fall on deaf ears and M.K. forces Ferdinand to transfer well over three million dollars out of his account, leaving him destitute, before apologising and walking out.  Sarah's not done saving Ferdinand yet and she calls in the big guns in the form of Siobhan, who knows a little something about bombs.  It's Siobhan who disarms the bomb, as Sarah makes it perfectly clear to Ferdinand that this makes them equal because she has now officially saved his life in return.  Clearly, Ferdinand doesn't feel lucky having lost all of his money to M.K. but he should.

It seems that there must be some sort of tragic back story prerequisite to being a clone. I thought Beth's story was heartbreaking but M.K.'s just took things to another level.  The friend that Ferdinand killed was the only friend M.K. had in the world.  Her face is also permanently scared. It's easy to see why M.K. chose revenge over helping Sarah.  It's clear that things aren't even remotely done between M.K and Ferdinand because he is going to want his money back and I highly doubt she will be satisfied as long as he is still alive.

Amidst all of the chaos that comes with life as a clone, Allison is still doing her suburban housewife thing and that includes singing  Superstar, from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, while discussing if they should attempt to perform it at the community theater.  This is a rather interesting choice for various reasons.  At any rate, Allison runs into Trina from club Neolution and Trina is pissed because she believes that Allison is Beth, and that she is being stalked.  An angry Trina says, "I told you I was a carrier in confidence." Huh?

While Allison is being the busy suburban theater geek, Helena is making collages of babies.  I get that Helena is nesting but can we please have her move away from the cut and paste cause that is Allison's territory and Helena is far too interesting of a character for this.  At any rate, in a heart to heart with Donnie, Helena learns that her pregnancy has been difficult on Allison because of Allison's infertility problems.  Donnie suggests that they all tip toe around Allison for awhile. Did he forget who he is talking to? Helena doesn't tip toe around anyone; she's a blunt instrument at best.

Allison's next step is to head to the fertility clinic with Felix and Donnie. Yes, after taking a stand last week, Felix is back in the mix of things having learned about Sarah's mouth maggot and Siobhan's suggestion that he should take things slowly with Adele.  Independent Felix lasted for all of three episodes and you can bet he will be back to taking full on orders shortly.  Since Beth has already been to the fertility clinic that means that Allison is forced to wait outside while Donnie and Felix head inside pretending to be a couple.  Poor, poor Felix, who has to endure Donnie's idea of what a gay man acts like; thankfully however, Felix does take the time to not only call him out but drop some wisdom on Donnie's disgusting homophobia.

It's time for a sperm sample and Donnie is lead to a room with only gay porn which obviously won't work for him as a straight man.  He sticks his head outside and happens to see Allison's pregnant friend Portia.  Donnie gives Allison the news and she then arranges to accidentally run into Portia. Allison explains that she loves her adopted children but her friends are getting pregnant and she isn't getting younger and she wants a baby of her own.  This isn't Allison playing a role to get information because her infertility is something which has bothered her for years.  You can see it in the jealous way that she interacts with Helena (more on her later).  Portia tells Allison to ask about Dr. Bosch and to specifically mention the Brightborn treatments.

With sperm collection complete, Donnie and Felix sit with Dr. Bosch, who assures them that since they are both healthy young men that conception shouldn't be a problem.  Donnie then asks about the Brightborn treatments and explains that he heard about it from a very satisfied customer.  Dr. Bosch gives them some pamphlets about it.

Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 20: Don't Call Me Shurley

“I wish the writers would bring Chuck back” is not a phrase uttered by any sensible person, ever.

Except… wow.

Not Chuck as god. We kind of knew already that that was coming – but this exposition? This emotion? Metatron and god hashing it out with an awesome performance (from Metatron particularly?). It has been a long time since Supernatural has produced anything this awesome

Chuck the deity has called in Metatron, his old scribe to help him edit his autobiography – one that is surprisingly… boring. God is many things, writer is not one of them, especially since his new autobiography focuses far too much on his mundane life as Chuck the human – which no-one cares about – rather than big godly revelations. Metatron continually pushes him for more information, more revelations, more emotions – and we get a lot.

He has issues with his sister and it’s clearly a very touchy subject that goes deeper than he what he reveals (there’s a level of resentment and even jealousy there) but hinges on them being such utterly different people. He is Being. She is Nothing. He describes the act of creation as both a way to stop being lonely but also a way to desperately show her that there is something in creation, that creation is good. Basically, the act of creation is his way to try and reach his sister across a huge gulf of misunderstanding. And each time she destroyed his creation. Yes this is not the first apocalypse – right until god and the archangels locked her up to stop her breaking his toys.

Of course, part of the implication of this is that Dean may actually be the creation that finally gets through to Amarra since she seems to value him.

Other touchy subjects include his Very Complicated feelings about Lucifer (refusing to see him as the enemy) and above all what he considers perfect: Nature

Rape by Deception

Commonly when we think of rape, it’s usually about some stranger jumping out of the bushes or some evil man stalking us as we walk through a dark parking garage to get to our cars.  The victim is chosen at random and doesn’t know her rapist. It’s the basis for all the self defense classes women are encouraged to take. Overwhelming, we think of rape as something inflicted by the violent stranger. Additionally, rape is almost always constructed as a crime against women and if men are understood to be the victims of rape at all, it is only if the rapist is male. The truth of the matter is that the most common form of rape is not stranger related at all. In fact, rape can take on many forms and it’s these forms which step outside of popular imagination that many refuse to accept or even at times acknowledge constitute rape.

Recently, we have seen a lot of rape happening on the shows that we review. What they all have in common is an element of deception and that woman is the perpetrator. These two elements are enough for the violation to read as sex and quickly be swept aside. The victim is often portrayed to have no personal trauma related to the incident and if there is any antagonism between the rape victim and his rapist, it is usually due to entirely different issues; the rape is certainly never considered a reason for him to loathe her. In fact, a problem only seems to arise in this situations when a child is conceived as we have seen in Grimm and Once Upon A Time  There is little to no discussion about the violation itself and instead the focus quickly to turns to the child

Nick on Grimm is a Portland city police detective and if anyone should be aware of the law and how it relates to consent, it should be this character. Nick consents to sex with who he believes to be his girlfriend Juliet and instead it’s actually Adalind, who has masked her identity using magic.  Not only does Nick fail to acknowledge or even confirm that he is a rape victim, he is repeatedly shamed by his friends and Juliet. The entire sexual assault is framed as Nick having an unwitting affair - if anyone is portrayed as a victim of this rape it is Juliet - in fact, Nick being raped is probably the event that sets Juliet on her evil path. The rape of Nick is a crime against Juliet and part of her character’s development. The descriptors used help sanitise the incident, thus setting the stage for Nick to fall in love with and cohabit with his rapist.  Adalind quickly moves from the woman who violated his person to the mother of his child as though these two identities are somehow mutually exclusive. Adalind’s motherhood quickly becomes the path the redemption train traverses and all bad acts are cast away with the afterbirth.

Once Upon a Time, like Grimm, chose to include a rape by deception. This time, the wicked witch of the east Zelena pretends to be Guinevere, the love interest of Robin Hood. When the deception is revealed it is cast as a wrong against Regina (the evil Queen) because it for a time impeded her chance at true love and a happy ending with Robin Hood.  Zelena is imprisoned for her crimes but at no point is Robin’s violation even remotely considered to be at last partially an explicit reason for her punishment. All of Zelena’s bad acts are reviewed ad nauseum and not once is there a mention of the fact that along with the destruction she caused in Storybrooke that she has also become a rapist. Robin is angry but the reason for his anger is centered around the murder of Guinevere (though, admittedly, even this is depressingly underplayed) rather than the fact that he was deceived and raped repeatedly.

Robin Hood and Regina take custody of the baby because Zelena is evil (though, again, we have to stress her being a rapist is never raised as part of said evil). When they all end up in the underworld, Zelena’s redemption train begins. Regina starts by suggesting that Zelena can start making amends and choosing to do good instead of evil. It’s worth noting, again, that making amends in no way means accepting responsibility for raping Robin. The coup de grace comes when Regina and Zelena meet with Cora and learn that there was a time when they cared very deeply for each other. Zelena doesn’t need to perform any acts of contrition, she is simply forgiven by Regina who then informs Robin that he should hand over his daughter to Zelena because now, Zelena is a part of team good guy. Robin is reluctant but he does comply.

Let us stress this again, at no point was Zelena’s rape of Robin acknowledged and at no point was her addressing this part of her redemption

The very idea that someone can suddenly be labelled good and have their bad actions cast away as though no one was harmed is alarming. Watching as Robin was pressured into handing over his daughter to someone he has every reason to feel is dangerous is a problem.  Robin may not love Zelena but the woman he does love cares for her and that is enough to grant forgiveness. Love is a beautiful thing and for that matter so is forgiveness but only Robin has the right and or ability to actually forgive and accept his rapist. Forcing him into doing so renders him the invisible and inconvenient victim; we see Zelena and Regina come to terms with each other but Regina doesn’t take one moment to consider the feelings of the man she loves towards his rapist. It is not a matter of Robin trusting Regina when she insists Zelena is good now, it is a matter of addressing he has been wronged, he has been hurt and Regina’s trust is not really relevant in that.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Have Stakes Will Travel (Jane Yellowrock Short Stories) by Faith Hunter

This is a collection of four short stories largely from the early days of Jane Yellowrock’s history – and it does a great job of filling in a lot of Jane’s history and relationships that were already established before the series began – particularly with Molly

The series pretty much began with Jane and Molly as great friends – especially with Molly providing a lot of magical expertise and support for Jane since Molly is a witch. Now the series has never treated Molly as a servant and help has gone both ways, but it’s still nice to see the foundation of this relationship and what made these two highly secretive, careful women who are very wary of revealing their supernatural nature to others came to share so much together.

Haints the second story in the book does a good job of showing some of the initial overtures – we hear how Jane and Molly first met (with Jane protecting Molly from witch haters) and we see Jane helping Molly deal with a ghostly problem – and getting Molly a good income stream, preventing people taking advantage of her. It also excellently showed off Molly’s power and skill as a witch which I really liked.

This is increased further with Signature of the Death with Jane riding to the rescue of Molly’s family facing down rogue vampires. This is also an event that is frequently referred to throughout the main series, Jane facing down a while nest of vicious rogue vampires and taking them down while being terribly injured in the process. Again we see the foundation of this excellent relationship between the two and the respective strengths of each of them. It’s also a nice expansion of an event

There is one problem with this – while I love reading this story of how Jane and Molly came together, how they fought together and how this put them in such a solid place together by the beginning of the series, it also boggles me that Evan, Molly’s husband, has been so hostile to Jane for so long. Ok there are events later in the series that explain the rift, but given the events in this book my gods the Everhart family owes Jane some more consideration. She has done a lot for that family and really, she has earned a damn site more respect and patience from them. Really really she has. It kind of has damaged the way I look at the Everhearts now because their expanded history really makes them look terrible. I’m saddened that my opinion of these characters has now been badly shattered.

Containment, Season 1, Episode 3: Be Angry At The Sun

This week brings some knotty political issues as more and more people get agitated over the cordon. Tensions are high and the new container wall around it and the indefinite extension of the cordon.

On a personal level, Jenna opens a rift with her fellow co-workers when she insists on a quarantine when the two guys go to get food – and they then act like petulant man-childs.

In the hospital Kate, the words worse child minder, loses track of one of those children (there are four. Four she needs to watch. Four. Kate you are terrible at your job), possibly gets said child infected and then his angry, gun toting father take the child out of the hospital using said gun. No-one died because Bertie is much calmer and more sensible and excellent at defusing tension.

But this also shows another major problem hitting the cordon. There are only 11 cops for the 4000 people behind the cordon and law and order is beginning to fray. Teresa’s mother’s shop is nearly robbed by men for supplies after she starts profiteering (she appears to have a monopoly).

Alex desperately asks Sabine to let him send in more police to try and bring some level of order (though who is going to volunteer for this remains to be seen) but she is insistent that absolutely no-one can possibly. She also thinks controlling the media and making sure everyone co-operates will solve all the problems (uh… that’s why Alex wants more cops, to ensure… “co-operation”. That’s traditionally what cops are for).

Alex decides to set Jake up to be his point man behind the cordon. Which seems like a bad idea since he has no rank but it also seems that he’s not exactly working with the cream of the crop here. Between this and the fact he’s on body disposal duty and this show seems determined to break Jake. I mean, I was less than sympathetic to him in previous episodes with his little break down but, c’mon show cut the guy some slack! It’s also nice to see someone who is, in so many ways, a classic alpha-male-this-should-be-the-hero-guy basically saying “me?! But I’m not a leader!”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wolf Trouble (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #2) by Paige Tyler

Xander and Dixon are called in for a meeting.  It seems that the city has decided that an all male SWAT team leaves them open to charges of sexual discrimination and they have decided that it's time to change that.  Xander and Dixon are initially resistant to this change but the city gives them no choice in this matter.  When several candidates are offered up for selection Dixon is adamant that no one the city has centered out will do and decides that he needs to be given the chance to find his own female candidate.  Xander is worried about how they are going to hide the fact that the SWAT team is made up of alpha male werewolves but Dixon has a plan.  It seems that he has found a female werewolf who just might fit the ticket.

The notion of a female werewolf is a surprise to everyone having only ever encountered men before. For her part, Khaki ( yes I agree this is one messed up name) Blake, is ready for a change when Dixon shows up to offer her a job on Dallas SWAT.  She's been blackballed on her own department thanks to her ex and this leaves her without backup in critical situations.  Khaki is also excited to finally be with people who are just like her, even if she doesn't know what that makes her exactly.  The move to Dallas ends up being more than a chance at a dream job, it's a chance to find out who she is and meet her potential mate. For Dixon it means an end to the pressure because just one woman on the team qualifies them to meet criteria for inclusivity.

Despite her horrendous name, I really liked Khaki as a female lead.  Knowing that she is entering an area of policing that she has no experience in, Khaki is determined to earn the pack's respect.  Sure, some of it comes naturally to her but she's not afraid to put herself on the line when necessary or ask questions of her teammates except Xander to clarify procedure.  It's nice to see a character who actually acknowledges when she doesn't know something.  Khaki is all too aware that her ignorance could endanger the rest of the team. Finally, on Mac's (Dixon's fiance) advise, she finally seeks out Xander to figure out how to get her werewolf mojo going.  With her super strong nose, and now werewolf mojo, Khaki quickly becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Wolf Trouble reads like the standard paranormal romance that it is.  Tyler uses pheromones to explain away the insta love that Khaki (yes, I hate it even more each time I type it) and Xander feel for each other.  Xander, unlike Khaki, is not a new werewolf and the moment he realised he was captivated by her scent, it should have hit him right away that Khaki was THE ONE.  The fact that he wonders around in a daze unable to figure out what is going on is ridiculous. I don't understand Xander's confusion about his feelings, given how often he went on about how over powering Khaki's scent is.

Speaking of scent, Daniels repeatedly wrote about Khaki's and Xander's scents.  Look, I get the whole pheromone thing but did we really have hear about the smell of Khaki's vagina?
Even that slight movement caused the most blatantly sexual scent to waft up from her aroused pussy. She might have had jeans on, but her sensitive nose picked up the uniquely feminine scent with no problem at all. (pg 117)
Thank you but no.  I didn't really need to read that, especially given that Xander and Khaki are not big on showering after sex unless there's a chance that they will run into another werewolf who might happen to notice that they smell of each other.  It's a massive case of Anita Fug. I was further irked that Khaki believed that she had to have multiple showers daily before sleeping with Xander for fear that the other werewolves would smell her vagina and lose control.  Just no. The idea of a vagina as this smelly pungent place that women should be ashamed of irked the hell out of me. It's sexist and wrong.

12 Monkeys, Season Two, Episode Three: One Hundred Years

The messengers arrive in 1944 and their first act is to kill a couple in order to assume their identities. It's interesting to watch as they become fascinated by the music of the time and just how different life is back then but it's not enough to distract them from their mission. In 2044, the actions of the Messengers has really begun to shift the space time continuum. The scientists are clearly becoming concerned with the possible changes that are taking place.

At a round table, Cole suggests that they need to follow the Messengers back to 1944 but Cassie doesn't believe that Cole will be able to handle himself because he barely functioned in 2016. This is reason enough for Jones to decide that they both need to team up and head back together.  Jones warns that since this is the first time they've sent back two people that they could arrive hours or even days apart and so she suggests that they arrange a meeting point.  Cole picks the hotel where he found a picture of him and Cassie together.

By the time Cassie arrives, Cole has been there for a few days and he is absolutely thriving in the environment which irritates Cassie to no end.  Not only has Cole secured lodgings for them, he has also arranged for a couple of outfits to be ready for Cassie.  Rather than seeing this as a sign that Cole is serious about getting the job done, all that Cassie can fixate on is Cole's happiness to be away from 2044.

Back in 2044, Ramsey is finally allowed to see his son, who wonders if Ramsey has done something bad to earn being locked up.  Ramsey tries to explains saying that he did something to benefit his son but does not get to expand on the idea because they are interrupted by Jones. Allowing a visit is the last of Jones's kindness when it comes to Ramsey.  Jones claims that the facility needs the security which Deacon provides and having Ramsey alive is upsetting Deacon.  Jones has no sympathy for Ramsey, claiming that he worked to organize the death of untold millions in order to save a child he barely knew.  Ramsey tries to argue back that Katrina became involved in the splitter project to save her daughter but Jones doesn't see it as a bad thing because if she is successful, millions of lives will be spared.  Ramsey begs for one last visit and Jones coldly informs him that he has already had it. Deacon enters the cell with his men and knocks Ramsey unconscious.

Back in 1944, Cole and Cassie arrive at a gala and when Cole begins to introduce Cassie as his wife, she's quick to cut him off and claims to be his sister instead. Cole heads to the bar for a drink and is immediately pegged as a veteran by a member of the FBI. I think it's telling that a stranger can see the damage Cole has from everything he has survived.  Cassie believed that Cole would be out of touch in this era but it actually suits him better. In 1944, there would be men walking around haunted by what they have seen and done both in WWII and WWI.  1944 is also not nearly as technologically advanced as 2016, and so to survive, one need only pick up on basic social cues.  Cole isn't struggling, he's thriving.

Cassandra spies one of the Messengers and by the time she and Cole catch up with them, they've already killed who they believe to be their mark.  It turns out however that the Messengers have killed the wrong person.  It's Cole who figures out that the Messengers are looking for Thomas Crawford Jr.. Cole is completely unsurprised to learn that all of his life, Thomas has suffered with mental illness and makes the link between Thomas and Jennifer.  Cole explains that the voices people like Jennifer  and Thomas hear are real and that they keep space and time flowing.

Damien, Season 1, Episode 9: The Devil You Know

So last episode Veronica got shot and Sister Assassin Nun decides the best thing to do is not take her to a hospital and instead to pray for her soul while she slowly bleeds to death. Yeah the nun has gone off the deep end. She also interspaces prayer with questions about Damien and Ann, her mother (poking more of Veronica’s mother issues since Ann was so obsessed with Damien not her).

Simone is not a big fan of this solution but spends a lot of time passively condoning it but it seems more shock as she tries to grasp just what is going on and the general sinister nun and gun shot wounds et al.

Damien and Amani are sorting out their differences which involves more of Amani returning to Damien’s service: firstly by putting him in touch with Simone’s Assassin nun (who poor Damien even thinks may help him. Hah, no) and by agreeing to try and get close to Veronica again to spy on Ann. This gets Amani kidnapped because Ann really wants her daughter back.

With Damien arriving on the Assassin Nun’s doorstep, he happily locks Simone and Veronica up to focus on “helping” Damien. He tells her all his visions and she’s very comforting about it all. Which includes lots of nice things about he’s god’s chosen and he doesn’t have to be evil and he can be good. Which is nice except for the whole “you’ve been chosen to be the antichrist – god’s will!” which Damien takes issue with. He’s not here to praise any god that decides invading the world and unleashing torment and horror is a good idea.

Hah-ha he’s using logic to try and convince the Assassin Nun. That doesn’t work. Nor does the head injury that Simone inflicts on her finally trying to escape with Veronica and get her to a hospital. Assassin Nun decides the best way to help Damian is to stab him, wrap him in thorns, carve up his head and bury him alive.

This is not helping. She even finds minions (from… somewhere? I mean where did these come from? She was alone and new to the country and kind of acting outside of Vatican sanction… so where did these minions come from? Extras?) to help her. Which helps her because Simone, after abandoning poor Veronica in the middle of the forest (we moved to a forest at some point) because she heard Damien screaming, needs restraining. As does Amani and Ann Rutlidge who have also tracked them down

Penny Dreadful, Season 3, Episode 1: The Day Tennyson Died

I forgot, while this show was away, I forgot how beautiful the language was. I forgot the poetry for it, I forgot the elaborate rhythm of it. I forgot how sad and morbid and gorgeous and musical it was and how many excellent, amazing speeches there were. Honestly the conversations on this show could be a soundtrack. I know many people probably don’t share my love for overwrought, probably quite convoluted speeches (and I’m sure if they were written down they would frustrate me no end) but I love it

And I forgot how beautiful it was, the visuals, all the gothic dark and shadow, the imagery of long shuttered rooms and the excellent acting of the ragged people, the almost ruins these characters have become over the last two gruelling seasons. The acting, the imagery – I love it so much.

So, time to catch up with various characters

Starting with Vanessa who has fallen into a dark, bleak depression after the last season, shutting herself in and isolating herself from the world until Professor Lyle arrives and delivers some deeply emotional heart rending lines about his own battle with depression, self hate and how he felt “loathed and loathesome” until he got help and is now, “resplendently, who I am”. I give a thousand points of Lyle’s fierce declaration of self in such a grossly homophobic setting – and take away a substantial amount of them for Lyle’s beautiful declaration of self being for the edification and growth of a straight lady. It’s still beautiful though. And with it he sets up an appointment for Vanessa with a psychiatrist – or, at this time, an Alienist. Dr. Seward

And she is awesome. She perfectly, combatively, excellently (and with beautiful language) pinpoints all of Vanessa’s issues and pain (yes, it’s a magical diagnosis and I really wish that they could magically diagnose so quickly and easily but it’s still awesome). She also firmly declares she’s not broken or wrong – she’s ill. It’s excellent and great fun and seeing Vanessa’s desperate, tiny look of tremulous hope. Oh precious hope on Vanessa’s face! Also even in that, Vanessa is still capable enough to give some of her own even with her at her most vulnerable point. And her doctor is related to the Cut Wife, so maybe magical diagnosis isn’t wrong.

At the instruction of her doctor she does something new – and goes to the Natural History museum to look at the animals and run into Dr. Sweet to have another utterly beautifully elaborate, gothic, morbid, conversation about death and scorpions and the poor lonely exhibits in their dusty cases that are so ignored and what a fun hobby taxidermy is (oh, yes, it’s beautiful and elaborate and manages to not make them look like serial killers because it’s so gloriously gothic). Did I mention how much I loved the imagery and language? Also all those dusty exhibits and scorpions are, of course, perfect metaphors for Vanessa

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Night Blade (Colbana Files #2) by J.C. Daniels

Kit Colbana's past is filled with abuse and violence but this tragic history has made Kit highly skilled at her job.  When she comes to the attention of Banner, the policing organisation for supernaturals, Kit's first instinct is to avoid their attempts to contact her.  She's particularly not interested because the agent in question is her ex boyfriend Justin.  Kit may not want the job but Justin is certain that she is the only one who can solve the case of the murdered council members. When Justin informs her that it's believed that her current boyfriend Damon is suspected of murder and will be sentenced to death, Kit has no choice but to agree to the job, even if this means she has to go it alone.

Kit spends most of the book getting the shit kicked out of her as she investigates the case.  Because Night Blade is so circular, it feels as though Kit spends the entire time chasing her tail without getting anywhere.  Because of a binding spell placed on her, Kit actually feels pain anytime she even thinks about telling anyone what she is up to.  Kit's inability to speak angers Damon and so she is forced to remind him repeatedly that she was doing her job long before he entered her life and is therefore capable of taking care of herself.

When we first met Damon in Blade Song, I really wasn't a fan of him at all and this feeling of dislike continues into Night Blade.  Damon is extremely possessive, jealous and controlling.  When Damon learns that Kit is working with her ex, he immediately demands that she quit.  Due to the nature of her investigation, this is something that Kit cannot do and so Damon responds by biting her neck, permanently scaring her so that the world will know that she belongs to him.
I hissed out a breath as he sank his teeth into my neck.  My mind processed what he was doing but before I could decide if I was going to do a damn thing, his hand tangled in y hair, arching my head to the side as he pressed down harder, harder until his teeth broke through the skin.
He growled against me and I groaned.
It hurt-
There isn't anything remotely sexy or romantic about having a six-foot five, two-hundred fifty pound werecat sink a powerful set of teeth into your neck.
But it was over in seconds and I was still in processing mode as he grabbed something from the bed to press against my neck.  "You're asking me to deal with something that I can't change and I hate it," he said, his voice hard and flat.  "That's how I'm dealing.  The next tie anybody looks at you, they're going to see what I wanted everybody to know months ago." (pg 107)
The mark on her wrist was something that Kit could choose to hide but the neck mark gives her absolutely zero options.  If that were not enough, when Damon smells another man on Kit because she had to be close to a witch for the purposes of cloaking her location, he responds by ripping the clothing from her body, demanding that she never wear them again.  For Damon, this is what passes for love but in actuality it amounts to abuse.

Damon is as far from a romantic love interest as possible.  When he isn't busy trying to control Kit, he infantalises her by calling her "baby girl". Why oh why would a grown ass man think it's okay to refer to the woman he is having sex with as "baby girl"? The only reason for that is that as the supposed adult in this relationship, Damon expects obedience.  When Kit finally gets the evidence she needs to stop a kill order on Damon to be acted upon, Damon demands that she leave with him right now because he needs her like he needs air.  When Kit objects because she has one thing left to do, Damon responds by ending the relationship and walking out. Who the hell does that?

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Nineteen: The Taming of Wu

This is the first time I'm not going to complain about the Wesen of the week thing that Grimm likes to do because for a change, this episode is all meta. WOOT! For me, this is Grimm at it's best.  I'm so excited, I hardly know where to start.

In Lycanthropia, Wu was scratched by a lycanthrope and he dismissed it as nothing. Since then, he has been having what he believes to be vivid dreams; however they clearly aren't dreams.  Wu has begun to suspect that there's something really wrong with him. When he cuts his hand and it turns into a wolf like paw, Wu (who should have dealt with this the minute he saw the original scratch) decides to go and see Rosealee and Monroe.  Wu doesn't make it the spice shop because he has a run in with Theo, a criminal he has arrested on several occasions.  It seems that Theo has been staking out Wu's apartment for the entire day.  After luring Theo into an alley way, Wu confronts him and threatens to impound his truck.  This is enough for Theo to woge and the fight is on.  When we next see Wu, he is covered in blood and has no idea how he got that way.

Hank and Nick get called to investigate the body and of course it's Theo's. When they get a call from Rosealee about Wu's failure to appear, they decide to head to his apartment.  A shocked Wu relates what happened and he admits that he fears that he might have killed Theo after Theo woged.  That's enough for Nick and Hank to decide that there's not need to arrest Wu because he acted in self defense.  Given the shape of Theo's body however, they all decide a visit to see the Spice Shop is absolutely necessary.

At the shop, Rosealee gives Wu a memory potion to take and he woges (that's what I'm calling it for now) and Monroe films it.  It seems that though Wu is changing into a wolf like creature he's not actually a Wesen.  Unfortunately, Rosealee and Monroe don't have any real answers for Wu and so he decides to stay with them for the night to give them time figure out exactly what is going on and if he can be cured.

Adalind finally get to meet Diana, who is even creepier that I thought she would be.  Diana is all smiles as she tells her mother how much she missed her and the two embrace.  Diana is not satisfied with just seeing Adalind, she want Adalind to go with her and Renard.  Her parents try to explain that Adalind has something she needs to do first and Diana brings out the woo woo, scaring the ever loving shit out of her parents.  Renard fails to calm his daughter and Adalind barely manages to do so. Renard escorts Diana out of the room.

Renard meets with Conrad and suggests that he bring Nick around to the idea of joining Black Claw. Renard doesn't warm to the idea and so Conrad suggests that it would be good for Adalind to decide to join Black Claw and leave Nick.  Conrad goes as far as to threaten Adalind's life if she doesn't make the right choice and Renard counters, suggesting that Conrad not say anything like that around his powerful daughter.  This is the most quiet rebuttal and really pissed me off.  Renard and Adalind were never close and their intimacy amounted to a one night stand; however, Adalind is still the mother of his child and Renard should have stepped up more, especially given that he is at least partially responsible for Adalind being separated from Diana in the first place. Perhaps if Diana had been with her mother, she wouldn't be such a powerful but creepy kid.

Once Upon a Time, Season 5, Episode 20: Firebird

We saw Zelena being kidnapped by Rumple and Pan last week – he’s now using her to blackmail Hades: he wants 2 things, the contract being ripped up so Hades no longer has a claim on his first born. And a heart, a living heart because that’s what Pan needs to finally leave the underworld

He gets the first, but not the second because Hades actually appeals to Emma for help. Yes, Hades appeals to Emma for help – and she gives it. She also points out to Rumple that he got the contract ripped up so does he really need the heart? Since Rumple officially owes his daddy absolutely nothing, he decides not. Zelena returns to Hades and they have True Love’s kiss – the kiss breaks his curse, breaks his banishment. He can now leave the underworld. All of them can.

Yes, Hades seems genuinely to be trying to ingratiate himself with Team Goodguy, he even offers a potential way to get Killian, who is dead, out of the underworld. This involves a reference to Orpheus and Euripides and the fact there is a stash of ambrosia in the sub basement which will allow Killian to leave (he can’t at the moment because he’s been dead and smelly for rather a long time).

While they do that (which also involves a cobbled together Ma’at test which involves yet more heart ripping. Emma is really tired of all the heart ripping thing this episode). Everyone else is kicking their heels waiting for the portal to open to the living world (it’s a brief opportunity) and they decide to pass the time by helping other people resolve their issues and move on. Yes they’re abandoning them all but without Hades there to mess around with them all they should largely be able to resolve their problems on their own. But Henry, with his nice Author powers and his ability to tell everyone’s story is excellently placed to help people fast forward the process

Until The cafĂ© witch (from Hansel and Gretal, I can’t remember her name) and Cruella intervene out of random spite – locking everyone in the library with a spell to seal them. A spell, Regina points out, that was far too good for the witch to cast. Yup Hades double cross.

Which is also why Emma and Killian find no Ambrosia and no way for Killian to come home with her. Killian is stuck in the underworld and all Emma can do is have a tragic farewell with him. It’s very very sad.

Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 2: Home

So, some bit parts first – the Stark sisters siblings are starting to look up. Bran is still in his little cave having visions of the past – including his dad’s childhood. One element I like about this is we see Leanna as being more active and interesting since her role has pretty much been relegated to the Most Fridged of Women whose death all those years ago pretty much led to all the events of the whole series. Since she’s a woman who was pretty much defined by her relationship with men it’s nice to see even this snippet of more… yet at the same time Game of Thrones does have a habit of putting action-women (Arya, Brienne, Yara) on more of a pedestal than more traditionally feminine women (Cersei, Sansa – even Margaery now). Bran also see young Hodor – or Willis, apparently intelligent and clear and able to communicate.

Arya’s training montage continues, this time with her being taken in again by Jaqen. Sansa is still with Brienne and they’re heading north hoping that Jon Snow will protect them. On the whole, things are finally looking up for the sisters. Though Theon, consumed by guilty and self-hatred decides he wants to go home – to the Iron islands

This episode continues all the political upheaval that is shaking up this episode, especially after Doran just got murdered by his poorly developed family last season.

In the Iron Isles (remember them?) Yara, the sensible one, repeatedly tries to tell her not-so-wise dad that while the iron islanders are super awesome pirates and sailors and can swash any buckle you care to name, they’re pretty shitty land troops, besiegers and castle defenders. As such invading the North has gone utterly terribly, especially since they only did as well as they did before because all the Northern armies were heading south and are now coming home. She also reminds him that, hey, the Iron islanders did this before and got their arses kicked and her brothers dead or held hostage.

Her dad doesn’t listen to reason. But we have murderous and possibly unstable uncle to come murder his brother (unknown to everyone else) instead. Don’t expect this to be an improvement since said brother keeps referring to himself as a storm which probably bodes no good. Yara considers herself the heir, but the Iron Islanders have to pick the next king – and whether she becomes the first female leader of the Iron Isles remains to be seen

Monday, May 2, 2016

Fear the Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode Four: Blood in the Streets

In many ways, Blood in the Streets is a Strand episode, in that it delves into his back story and even how it is that The Abigail got its name. Blood in the Street very much refers to his philosophy that you can rise ahead in the worst of situations if you can see opportunities when they are presented. Strand is easily one of the most complicated characters on Fear the Walking Dead and in many ways, he's an enigma.

Strand is sitting in a bar and Thomas Abigail sits next to him.  The two bond over their ambitions and the darker side of their natures.  Strand later helps a drunken Thomas back to his room and helps him to bed.  Strand then decides to help himself to Thomas's credit cards because he is bankrupt thanks to Hurricane Katrina. Thomas catches Strand in the act but simply says that he may or may not remember what happened in the morning.

Some time later, Thomas shows up at Strand's hotel room with his own security. It seems Strand has used Thomas's credit card to buy up 30 thousand dollars in credit card debt with the plan to be exactly where he was before Katrina within five years.  Strand who clearly believes in honour among thieves promises Thomas that he planned to return the money with interest. Thomas asks Strand to meet him at the bar and Strand mistakenly believes that he has been pardoned for his theft, when in actuality, what Abigial did was make Strand beholden to him.

When we see them again, the two men are lying back and taking in the sun.  It's clear that a level of intimacy has grown between them.  Strand is still a very driven man and can only think of amassing more wealth whereas; Abigail seems more interested in the feelings that are starting to awaken between them.  This is the first moment of tenderness we see between them as they hold hands. It's enough to make me wonder if Thomas's feelings are returned in kind from Strand, or if Strand sees his relationship with the very wealthy Thomas as just another opportunity he is taking advantage of.

When next we see the two men, Strand is planning for his trip to Los Angeles and Thomas clearly doesn't want him to go.  Strand can only fixate on the money they will make from the real estate deal he is negotiating while Thomas is concerned about the rising level of danger in the city.  Thomas tells Strand that he loves him and Strand simply replies that he will see Thomas soon.  The two men then kiss.

It was quite some time before an GLBT character appeared on The Walking Dead, let alone a same sex kiss.  It makes me wonder if the writers are introducing a GLBT character this early on in the series to deal with some of the problems of erasure on The Walking Dead.  I like that these two men are clearly complex characters, even it isn't clearly a love match.  Strand may be honorable in his own way but it seems that he's only willing to let his guard down so far.

The last time we see Strand for the episode he's being saved by Madison.  Earlier in the episode, The Abigail was boarded by a group of people.  Chris and Ofelia have first contact but because they are not suspicious like Strand, they stand sort of impotently, as three people board the boat claiming to need help.  Among the boarding party is Jack, the young man who Alicia was talking to on the radio. Heavily armed, everyone except Strand and Nick are over powered. Strand actually abandoned ship at the first sign of trouble and Nick was off the boat because Strand had sent him to land to meet up with Luis Florez - Abigail's heavy.

It was always a matter of time before Alicia's dalliance with Jack came back to haunt the crew of The Abigail. More than anyone, Alicia actually keeps her head and begins ingratiating herself with Jack. She reminds him of her humanity and gets personal with him by asking him about his experience and his ex girlfriend. We learn that a man named Conner is the leader of the group and Jack feels beholden to Conner because Conner saved Jack after his brother died. Alicia promises to go with Jack if he keeps her family safe.

Still tied up, Madison tries to distract the pregnant woman holding them hostage and Daniel works to loosen his bindings. Travis is taken to get the boating working because Strand took off with the keys. The threat level his high.  When Conner arrives, he decides to take Jack, Alicia and Travis with him leaving the Salazaars, Madison and Chris on the Abigail with the pregnant woman and Reed.  With Reed in sole power things don't look good them.  Madison suggests that they just be put in the jetty while the Abigail goes on it's way but Reed snarks that the jetty belongs with The Abigail.  Madison then begs for the opportunity to swim but once again Reed rejects the idea. It seems that Reed is determined to kill them.  Before Reed can act however, he hears the sound of a boat approaching.

A Mirror Among Shattered Glass (Supernatural London Underground #1) by Romarin Demetri

Ok, this book took a lot of chewing for me – there were several things I didn’t like and failed to carry me, mainly the story. Or the jumbled mess that tried to be a story, anyway.

Let’s have a look at the actual book blurb:

Unable to contain the deadly nature of her family secret and powers, nine-teen year old Romarin Demetri hails from California, U.S.A, to unearth her heritage as a descendant of serial-killer, Countess Bathory, the woman that lent Dracula his legend, and cursed Romarin with an appetite for blood. 

Unenthusiastic about relocating to her birth city of London, a charming paranormal investigator with claim to the throne could change her mind, as he leads her to the only living and distant relative she has: a raven-haired recluse named Talia, who has taken refuge in an old castle in the heart of the city, and doesn’t seem to have a heart of her own. 

After a rough introduction to the lethal, inappropriate, and enchantingly sarcastic people she calls her housemates, perhaps the other misfits will be her first true friends; However, as much as these people are like her, they still have hidden vendettas, a taste for revenge, and will struggle between what is just, and what will settle their psychological upheaval. There is only one way for Romarin to become part of the Supernatural London Underground: Can she be the one who challenges them to put down their ghosts and demons and make their world together?

That book? That book sounds interesting. That book I’ve be curious to read. That book description pulled me in. That book is, however, not all that relevant to the book I actually read.

Take that hidden vendettas and taste for revenge and Romarin being the one to make them all get over it? Not there. I mean, in theory we here that many of the characters were once experimented on by some kind of laboratory. But that’s pretty much all we see of it. No-one appears to be plotting elaborate revenge, at least not that we were shown. Oh they’re not happy with the past, but they’re hardly clinging to any of the ghosts or plotting endless vengeance. Kit seems to be more concerned with her own possession. Travis seems to be more concerned with… actually I have no idea what Travis is concerned with. Audin seems, again, to be pretty unfocused and not having any real goals except we learn her has a past which is catching up with him, but that’s nothing to do with the lab or his history. And Talia heartless? Literally the only thing I know about Talia is her endless grieving and sadness for a man who was in the lab with her. Oh and developing a deep connection with Romarin, enough to let her move in, because of their shared Barthory bloodline. That’s not a heartless person, that’s someone whose literally every decision has been made for emotional reasons.

And Romarin, our protagonist has no real place in any of their stories, let alone helping them let go of their demons. She serves as audience to each of their issues… but doesn’t really do anything about any of them. Similarly no-one actually does anything about each other’s either. We all learn about Kitt’s possession issues… but nothing happens about it. Audin has this changeling thing going on but we don’t do anything with it. Talia is sad… and she’s sad. Travis is running around doing random odd things – but none of this actually goes anywhere. We have all these little story bits but none of them actually turning into anything resembling a story.

Then there’s Romarin herself – and sometimes I think I’ve missed huge chunks of her story. For a time she bemoans her terrible fate and she hopes Talia can find a cure… but where is this terribleness? I mean she had the Atrocity on the Beach incident which she talks about regularly but that atrocity was her pushing a man trying to sexually assault her and he hit his head on a rock. This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with her actual Barthory-ness. She gets odd images and impressions from the blood she drinks but, again, this doesn’t seem to be a huge disadvantage or even something she complains about an awful lot except the time it gives her amnesia. But that only happened because she drank lots of blood from a suicide that dropped right in front of her… which I can’t imagine is that common an occurrence (and gave her a lot of useful knowledge besides). I’m not saying her bathoryness couldn’t be a curse, but like all the little plotlets, it needs some development beyond Romarin declaring it to be terribad awful. Show, don’t just tell. On top of that we have the bemusing instance where she decides she can throw herself out of a window if she has blood in her because she has superhuman abilities when she does. Apparently. This is the first we hear about it – and apparently half way through her amnesia incident.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Originals, Season Three Episode, Nineteen: No More Heartbreaks

Spoilers Ahead

What an emotional week for The Originals.  When we last saw Cami, she had been bitten by Lucien, and as we know, Lucien's bite has no cure.  Klaus refuses to accept the inevitable and wants some action based role so that he can play the white knight but Freya convinces him to take on the nurturing role.  For Cami's sake, Klaus uses his power to take her on a tour of the quarter as she lies in bed growing more ill by the moment.  The best that Freya, Klaus, and Vincent can do is to reduce her pain.  Cami holds onto her composure until the very end, saying that she is not afraid to die and trying to council Klaus not to lose his bloody mind and do something stupid.

When Cami does finally die, she does so in Klaus's arms, professing her love and encouraging him to let the light side of his person (really? This serial killer has a light side?) shine and grow so that he can be what Hope needs him to be. With tears rolling down his face, Klaus promises to always remember Cami and what she taught him about himself.  I must say that this is the first time in a long time that Joseph Morgan has been given something interesting to portray.  It reminded me that he really can act and pull on your heartstrings with a single look.

Cami has been with The Originals since the beginning and is the first original character to actually die on the show. Yeah, I know that in this universe, death doesn't really mean death but according to Julie Plec, this is the end of the road for Camille O'Connell (Leah Pipes). Apparently, they've run out of story ideas for Cami.  I can accept that but what I cannot accept is Cami's death being all about Klaus's pain.  I cannot accept Cami suggesting that Klaus has changed in some fundamental way when he remains a homicidal, spiteful, navel gazing asshole, who at the end of the continues to put himself above everyone who cares for him.  Cami made light of the fact that Klaus routinely compelled her thus removing her agency because she's now in love with him.  To be clear, by any stretch of the imagination, Klaus was Cami's abuser and if The Originals runs true to form, she will be a source for his manpain for a little while until he develops a new obsession. We all know Klaus has a thing for blondes. Yes, paging, Caroline on TVD since her show is probably ending soon.

Cami is not the only woman to die this week.  For the longest time, I've been calling for an end to Davina.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why it is that she hasn't already become vampire food. She has literally gone to war against the Originals, or more specifically Klaus, time after time and has yet to suffer any real consequences. It makes no sense to me why it is that he hasn't just snapped her neck on numerous occasions, particularly given Klaus's penchant for killing anything or anyone who stands in his way or defies him.

From almost the moment that Davina brought Kol back from the dead, it was clear that something had backfired in her spell.  This week we learn that the reason Kol's hunger has been so uncontrollable is because he was tasked with killing Davina.  The Original family may not have been annoyed enough with this power hungry teenager to bring and end to her but the ancestors it seems play for keeps.  The irony in Davina being killed by her brutal vampire lover is almost too delicious. Let's be honest, there's nothing about Kol and Davina being together that makes even a modicum of sense.  For this relationship to work, Davina has to believe that Kol, the most vicious of the Originals has somehow magically changed because of twu wuv, and Kol, a thousand year old vampire has to see something in an inept, annoying teenage girl.  Having an ancient vampire in love with a teenager is what so many vampire stories are about these days but it makes absolutely no sense.  Have these writers even spent anytime with a teenager?  Teenagers are annoying, angst ridden and at times ridiculous.