Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wynonna Earp, Season 1, Episode 13: I Walk the Line

So last week by poisoning Champaign, Bobo managed to convince the town full of people who aren’t exactly fans of Wynonna to start with, to attack Wynonna. They’re stopped, surprisingly, by Sherriff Nedley who has been pulling out several surprising moments of awesome these last few episodes. I always appreciate a show and character that can surprise me. Though it has to be said the mob just kind of stands there so isn’t much of a threat to Wynonna anyway

The Revenants could also be a problem so Doc and dolls take care of that – which also involves Doc confronting Dolls about his little phials of unknown substance. Dolls, ominously, says that they keep him alive – oh, and part of him dead. Yes that sounds ominous. More so when Doc decides to inject a wounded Dolls with one of the phials at random- turning Dolls into a lethal yellow eyed killing machine. Oh yes there’s definitely more there

At least Dolls and Doc are bonding. They could be good friends

Oh and Doc fills Nicole in on everything – which was awesome and about time! And fun how it was done.

The main threat is Willa and her lover Bobo the Revenant leader heading to the boundary to finally break down Triangle and let the Revenants out. Which didn’t work because Willa doesn’t have Peacemaker, which is kind of a necessary part of the whole heir thing. Without the gun they can’t break the barrier.

Which means Willa has to go gun hunting by pretending to be all friendly with Wynonna. Their brief team up hardly works as it’s quickly clear Willa doesn’t care about innocent people or even their sister Waverley. It all falls apart when she learns that Waverley – who has been suspicious for a while – is the one who took Peacemaker. There’s a tense stand off, there are guns – and Willa leaves with Peacemaker and shoots Nicole.

Oh someone on the writing team deserves a smack for teasing that. Thankfully, in a practice that all television lesbians should adopt, Nicole is wearing a bullet proof vest.

Waverley pursues Bobo and we get some more hints about a far greater storyline: Bobo saved Willa when she was 13 from the other Revenants – but he wasn’t the only one who spoke to her while she was being held by him. Constance also found her, took her which is how Bobo lost track of her and why he was doing her bidding. He also drops the bombshell that Wavelery isn’t an Earp

Well there’s some questions answered

Probably-Angel-Guy who fixed Doc’s car also drops in to try and convince Bobo of all people not to break the barrier around Purgatory because there are far darker and more dangerous things involved. He appeals to Bobo and not Willa because she is “too far gone” which isn’t a good sign

Black Badge also arrives in force: but not to help, just to observe. At least they can make a cure: but the head has a serious personal beef against Dolls. She’s not going to help – she is going to be a nuisance.

Friday, June 24, 2016

iZombie, Vol. 4: Repossession (iZombie #4) by Chris Roberson

With the zombie horde pretty much taken care of, things should be settling down in Eugene but a larger threat is looming. Xitalu is coming though the dimensions to earth and his plan is to devour everything in his path, leaving the earth empty and devoid of life.  Gwen quickly finds herself surrounded by the people she loves and has to make the choice of her life - drain the souls of the people she loves and then sacrifice herself to Xitalu, or do nothing and allow the earth and everyone who resides on it die.  What will our favourite zombie girl do now?

Unlike all of the other volumes in this series, Repossession is fast paced to point that it feels completely rushed. I know that the creators had planned for a longer series and so I understand why they had to wrap up all of the loose ends as quickly as it did.  That being said, it really feels to me like Repossession jumped the shark.  I much preferred the beginning of the series where Gwen worked as a grave digger and hung out with her friends in her off time.

Gwen really doesn't grow much throughout the series at all and this probably because iZombie had such a short run.  I very much enjoyed her friendship with Eleanor in the beginning but as the story progressed they seemed to spend less and less time being with each other and seemed to have separate story lines that were tossed together at the end. Sure, Gwen finds a way to keep in contact with Eleanor after the big confrontation but it's only to tell her story and not because she wants to keep in contact with her friend. This in part is why I much prefer the beginning where Gwen and Eleanor would head to the coffee shop and meet Scott/Spot

Though Scott/Spot spent Dead to the World and part of uVampire mooning over Gwen, he actually ends up with Gwen's brother Gavin.  Gavin and Scott/Spot's romance is extremely rushed because it plays out against a backdrop of Xitalu attempting to suck the world dry.  Scott/Spot of course is nervous and awkward and he repeatedly tells himself not to mess this up.  Spot/Scott's attraction to Gavin is something new and having never been intimate with someone of the same sex before. he's not sure how to feel or what to do. Scott/Spot isn't even sure that he is gay/bi. When Gavin moves in for a kiss, Scott asks for more time which I am happy to say that Gavin respected. Unfortunately, because Gavin is possessed by another soul, he ends up see flipping between trying to draw Scott in and pushing him away.

The Women of Penny Dreadful

There are many positive things to be said about Penny Dreadful.  It’s easily one of the most artistically beautiful shows that I have ever seen and had the ability to deliver a strong punch to the gut that would leave me speechless.  Like many, I was saddened to learn that this years season finale actually was the series finale. Though Penny Dreadful had many characters, it was always Vanessa who led the way.  Without the brilliant acting of Eva Green, Penny Dreadful would not have been the same.  As much as I loved Vanessa for her triumphs and her courage, her character was not without it’s problems.

From a very early age Vanessa was a haunted woman.  It began when she seduced her best friend’s fiance.  Certainly in the present time that would be a great violation of trust but in Victorian England, it also amounted to behaviour that would be deemed decidedly wanton and worthy of isolation. The sexual woman simply wasn’t socially acceptable and so it would have been a real twist had this congress happened out of desire but instead it was motivated by evil forces.  Much of Vanessa’s time from that moment on was spent trying to make amends and fighting off the darkness inside of her.

The battle for Vanessa’s soul would not only consume her but anyone who came into intimate contact with her.  Vanessa became less than a person in many ways and simply became a victim in need of constant saving.  We watched as Ethan, Victor, Sir Malcolm, and Lyle devoted themselves to the protection of their precious Miss. Ives. For Miss. Ives they would risk their lives repeatedly and the revelation of their deepest darkest secrets.  I will admit that it would have all been several degrees worse had Vanessa not been active in her own defense. Vanessa actively attacked the witches and matched them spell for spell and while she depended on her circle of supporters she never lost sight of the fact that this was her battle.

The complexities of Vanessa are never ending and this is why her demise in the series finale so undercut all the work that Penny Dreadful had done for three seasons. To watch as Vanessa gave up and simply accepted that she was predestined for darkness was sad. To accept that there was something about her intrinsically evil was quite simply defeatist. It was further toxic to the messages of agency that that episode in particular told - here was Vanessa being seduced not even by darkness or a beautiful man - but by the seductive promise of being and accepting herself. An acceptance that was not only toxic for her but quite literally the entire world. Considering the themes of resisting conformity, especially for women, that Penny Dreadful showcased, this narrative is exceedingly destructive.

Sure, some might say that Vanessa death was a way of freeing herself from a struggle that would never end and was thus an act in affirmation of agency but at the end of the day, regardless of how you try to spin it, Vanessa died. Vanessa died like so many female victims leaving the men behind to wallow in their manpain. Vanessa was created and lived and died as the perpetual victim.

Think of all of the suffering that Vanessa went through in three seasons.  She was placed in a mental institution, force fed, and had electroshock treatment.  She was slashed with a knife on numerous occasions, attacked psychically and was left bowed over in agonising pain. We watched as Vanessa literally ripped out her nails and bled from grievous wounds. Each time Vanessa was knocked down she got back up determined not to be defeated.  As I watched her struggle with the supernatural it did not escape that at times Vanessa’s life amounted to torture porn. What’s worse is that this torture porn was positioned as entertainment for the masses.

In our recent recap of Penny Dreadful, we looked at the parallels between Vanessa and Lily, because both read as cautionary tales for what happens when a woman is empowered. In some ways, it’s an especially toxic form of Spunky Agency. There we see a woman making decisions - terrible terrible decisions - and trying to tempt the reader into wishing they would never make a decision again. This tv show shows the watcher the consequences of what happens when a woman has power - she ends the world or tries to gather an army of rather ineffective murderers.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Curse of the Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10) by Darynda Jones

Charley has a secret. And it’s a doozey. She knows what Reyes really is, how he was created – and she has no idea if this revelation means she can’t properly trust him, certainly not in protecting their daughter, Beep

It’s only made worse by the distance that seems to be growing between them.

Of course she can never focus on one thing – she has a homeless girl facing a curse, a prosecutor who doesn’t like her very much who wants her to prove a guy innocent and her supernatural exploits appear to have gone viral on the web.

I believe this book to be something of transition book. And that’s not a bad thing. In the last few books the meta of the Charley Davidson series has morphed into something incredibly huge and overwhelming. This seems ironic for me to say after several books of saying “more meta! More meta!” but the last few books we’ve had the birth of Beep and her godly future, the revelation of Charley and what she is, the revelation of Reyes and what he is, the introduction of many characters and concepts. We’ve had gods and dimensions and ALL THE THINGS. So much, so very very very much.

So having a book where the meta is largely confined to the end helps us get back to Charley and her relationships and her standard zany shenanigans to help pull back from the meta. Don’t get me wrong, I love the meta and the epic but I also really really love Charley’s silliness. I love the fun of his series. I love the humour. I love Danger and Will Robinson. I love every single conversation she has with Cookie. I love her superlative irrelevance

Yes, that’s not interspaced with reminders that she is uber powerful and even epic moments where she does things like challenge the Archange Michael to his face because she is DONE with his shit AND his boss. The combination works. It really really works and it’s fun and hilarious and awesome. I love this series, I will always pick up another book in this series with utter glee

Of course there are problems – including the habit of these books including ALL THE THINGS. So many storylines in one book! But this works more in this book because the meta has been largely pushed to the end of the book and the many storylines are more of the point. This is a shenanigans book, so bring on the shenanigan

Wayward Pines, Season Two, Episode Five: Sound the Alarm

When we last left off, the town of Wayward Pines was asleep and Frank found himself face to face with an Abbie.  Fortunately for Frank, the Abbie was captured and she is now safely ensconced in a lab to become a plaything for my least favourite true believer Megan.  One of the lab techs has named the female Abbie Margaret, after his ex girlfriend.  Everyone makes a big deal about Margaret, claiming that they always knew female Abbies existed but hadn't ever seen one.  Margaret in this moment represents one of the problems with Wayward Pines this season.  Having such a great amount of time since filming the first season and the second season means that actors have been inserted in scenes where they don't belong and assertions are made that interrupt the continuity of the show.  Margaret is not the first female Abbie, Penny was in season one.  This wonder and push for discovery at the capture of Margaret doesn't make sense.

Things for the residents are equally as confused.  Through a flashback, we get to see that Rebecca is having trouble holding onto projects at work and so when Pilcher shows up in her office full of flattery, offering the opportunity to design an entire town, Rebecca is thrilled.  She stays up late at night designing Wayward Pines and even brushes Theo off.  It's only when Rebecca is called to a meeting with Pilcher and his top brass that Rebecca learns that the town that she dedicated so many hours to designing won't be built for another two thousand years.  Rebecca smiles and pretends to be honoured but she is clearly upset.  It's worth noting that though Megan is at the table, it feels like she is squeezed in because in season one, Megan wasn't part of the inner circle and didn't spend any time on the mountain.

Rebecca has secrets that she hasn't told Theo beyond the fact that she designed Wayward Pines.  When Rebecca work up, the first person she saw was Xander. Yes, the ice cream man and rebel.  It seems that Rebecca and Xander were actually married for year and were on a six month break when Theo was awoken to deal with Carrie's medical emergency.  Theo is shocked by this news and responds with putting his wedding ring on the counter before punching Xander in the face though Rebecca tries to explain her isolation and fear after waking up alone in Wayward Pines. Given that Rebecca created Wayward Pines it leaves me wondering if she consented to be frozen or was forced into it by Pilcher.

Theo may be having problems at home but at least on the work front he is making gains.  With the news of the female abbie, Theo is certain that he is the man to deal with Margaret, since he is the only trained physician in Wayward Pines.  Of course, this means that he will be stepping into Megan's territory and that woman doesn't like to be threatened.  To accomplish this, he talks to Kerry, who actually agrees to supplanting Megan. When Kerry takes Theo to the lab, Megan defends her position of experimenting on the abbies without sedatives by claiming that they are testing their pain response. Theo finds this hideous and orders that no one is to touch Margaret until he can set up proper protocols. Kerry takes pleasure in snarking about the fact that Megan is the worlds mostly highly trained hypnotherapist basically heavily implying that in terms of scientific research, Megan is out of her depth.  Megan stammers that she has done a lot of research since then as a way to fight off the idea that she is incompetent. It looks like a battle is coming between Theo, Kerry and Megan but Megan isn't going down without a fight because she orders the procedure she had planned to start the moment Theo leaves the room.

The kids don't have it any easier than the adults I'm afraid.  Frank is told by a fellow student that all the girls are hot for him because of his part in capturing Margaret.  Frank is clearly uncomfortable with the idea.  Frank reports to one of Megan's reproduction rooms to do his part in increasing the population of Wayward Pines. I'm quite sure that these reproduction room weren't part of Pilcher's original plan because he froze so many people; however, when you consider the deaths that occurred on Invasion Day, the war and of course the cullings, there aren't that many members of humanity left. Frank goes into the room to do his reproductive duty and he is clearly nervous but none of it is really working for him. In frustration, Frank's partner accuses him of like boys and Frank just stammers that he isn't into her and that blondes are more his thing.

A desperate Frank heads to see Theo, who asks if Frank is gay.  Having grown up in Wayward Pines, Frank has no concept of homosexuality or that it's okay to be attracted to someone of the same sex. Theo explains what it is to be gay and tells Frank repeatedly that there's nothing wrong with being gay but Frank immediately sees his sexuality as a sickness and begs for a cure to make him like everyone else. Theo tries again to explain to Frank that being attracted to someone of the same sex is natural but Frank panics and begs Theo not to tell anyone because he believes that he will be killed if he fails to reproduce.  Theo promises to protect Frank, saying that he won't allow Frank to be killed and Frank storms out of the office.

Containment, Season 1, Episode 9: A Kingdom Divided Against Itself

Another episode of Containment. I am ready.

 So last episode Alex grabbed Sabine’s hand so the leader of the quarantine and efforts to stop the virus would be uselessly quarantined and ineffective. On top of this everyone decides getting her the ability to communicate with her teams is just unnecessary for most of the time.

Alex is pissed at Sabine because she totally knew what was coming. I mean she had all the resources and plans ready for containment, media blackout et al from day one. Why it’s almost like she works for a huge organisation whose entire purpose is to be prepared for a plague outbreak and has contingency plans in place just in case such an outbreak happens.

What was her job again? Oh yes, she works for the CDC.

I’m going to run out of drinking gifs.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Edged Blade (Colbana Files #4) by J.C. Daniels

Kit has come a long way since being kidnapped and tortured by Jude. Sure, she's still triggered sometimes but has found a way to barrel through it and has begun to resemble herself somewhat. When her best friend Justin comes to her looking for help because witches have gone missing, Kit is quick to agree to take the case.  What she doesn't realise is that the case is even larger than she ever could have imagined and that to work on it, she's going to have make some very unlikely allies.

I really do think that Edged Blade is the best Colbana Files book to date.  To be clear, the grammar is still a problem and at times, I had difficulty differentiating who was talking, particularly because Daniels seems to like to give her characters the same voice but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  I understand that this is a self pub but line editing would have gone a long way to clean up some of the sloppy mess.

One of the things that I like about this series is that though Kit has obviously been assaulted and tortured, J.C. Daniels didn't try to gloss it over as though it were nothing.  It's been a full on year since her attack and Kit is still trying to deal.  She's modified her body with tattoos to hide scars and she's trained to regain her strength.  I would really have liked to see Kit actually have some counselling considering what she has been through. Kit faces down her fear and even agrees to work with and for the vampires.  This is a huge leap given that in the last book, she could barely stand to be around one for a few short moments.

Much of Edged Blade focuses on the romance between Kit and Damon.  Damon is still in full possession mode and this is hardly a surprise given that he once walked away from her because she wouldn't answer his summons immediately.  I know that Daniels means us to be fired up about the relationship between Damon and Kit but it's far too dysfunctional for that. Damon is jealous of Kit's partner Jason because they used to be lovers.  Kit has to carefully monitor her interactions with Jason, lest she end up smelling like him thus driving Damon into a rage.  This is ridiculously abusive and puerile behaviour. If that were not enough, when Damon's former lover rejoins the pack, Kit becomes jealous and repeatedly taunts the woman. Kit is also insecure about how Damon feels about her even though he has been stalking her.  There's also the issue that Damon treats his former lover like a piece crap every time he sees her to calm Kit's nerves.  I really have begun to believe that these two deserve each other.

12 Monkeys, Season Two, Episode 10: Fatherland

The paradox is making the red forest grow and now there may be only days left until it over takes the facility.  Jones sends out Deacon and Whitley to get more information.  Whitley uses the time to taunt Deacon about the fact that he hasn't left already like so many others and suggests that it's because of his feelings for Cassie. Yes, big bad Deacon has a crush.  They run into none other than Sam but don't take him back to the facility because Sam runs into the red storm. It looks like Sam has a role to play in upcoming events.  Could Sam actually be the Witness?

Back at the facility, Ramse and Cassie want to head to 1961 to hunt down information on Titan but Jones and Cole want to head to 1957 to stop the paradox which is destroying the forest.  Jones seeks confirmation of her decision from Adler but he's not feeling it, and points out that Jones has done nothing about the virus which killed his son.  Strangely, Cassie and Ramse quickly agree to Cole and Katrina's plan.  When they leave the splitter room, Ramse catches up with Adler and invokes Sam pointing out how difficult it is to go on without bringing an end to the person who took Sam away. Adler of course can sympathise because he is forced to see Ramse everyday and as we know, Ramse was instrumental in advancing the release of the virus which killed Adler's son.

Later, Dea,con approaches Cassie and he talks about seeing her on television every night as a child. Apparently, Cassie appearing nightly talking about the plague how it brought him comfort.  When he brings up the night they shared (yep, looks like those two got it on), Cassie makes it clear that it was just a one time thing and that that part of her has died. Yep, Deacon gets shot down.

So it's off to the splitter machine to travel back in time. Cole, Cassie and Ramse end up at a bar and share a drink together.  It's not long before Cole starts to feel hot and dizzy and then passes out. Yep, Cassie and Ramse got Adler to send them back to 1961 instead of 1957.  They deposit Cole in the hotel room, steal whatever isn't nailed down and take off.  When Cole awakes, he calls Agent Robert Gale, whom he met when he went back to the forties.  Together they travel to Germany, where the wall is in the process of being built to divide East Germany from West Germany.

Cassie and Ramse manage to track down Dr. Lasky but it seems that he is wanted by Mossad for the crimes he committed during the holocaust.  Cassie and Ramse manage to get to Dr. Lasky before Mossad but are captured in their escape.  Luckily for them, Cole and Agent Gale are on the case. They manage to track down Dr. Lasky using the same classified document Cassie and Ramse saw last week.  Cole believes that the document only mentions the Witness and Titan because Ramse and Cole told the Mossad that is what they were tracking down.

After some discussion about Dr. Lasky's relationship to the Witness and his life's work, they all head back to Dr. Lasky's lab to see the results of his experimentation. This unfortunately means crossing the border between east and west Germany.  The construction on the wall is moving rapidly and so by the Cassie, Ramse, Gale and Lasky get to the crossing point, they find it swarmed with guards. They decide to make a run for it but when Lasky trips, he alerts the East German soldiers of their presence. Seeing no way out, Agent Gale decides to sacrifice himself so that Cole can continue on.  Since learning about the plague, Gale has lost everything from an inability to cope and sees sacrificing himself for Cole as a way to end his pain.

When they reach Lasky's lab they learn that his experiment is a little girl. That's right, it's Olivia as a little girl and she was created in Lasky's lab.  On the wall, Lasky has a map of sorts which shows everything he knows about the witness.  Lasky doesn't have time to give them very much information because Olivia's very disappointed mummy shows up and she's pissed that Lasky has been talking out of turn.

Penny Dreadful, Season 3, Episode 9: The Blessed Dark

This is the end…

The end of Penny Dreadful


We’re ending here?!

No no no NO!

This cannot end here. This cannot be the ending. I refuse to let this incredibly beautiful show end. I refuse to let it end so… disappointingly.

I shall begin with the good – because if this is my last chance to say it then I must: this show is beautiful. The settings are gorgeous, the atmosphere unparalleled, the acting unsurpassed, the music perfectly chosen – every scene is a work of art; a work of pure beautiful art. Every line is a poem, every last moment of this show was crafted to perfection. It was a joy to watch.

This show certainly laid the groundwork for that with devastating tragedy – opening with a grief stricken song and the inevitable awful death of Joh Clare’s son. It’s fitting this episode begins with this death and, at the close of the episode, we see him lower his son’s body into the Thames: despite his wife begging him to take the boy to Frankenstein to be reborn like him. John’s self hatred cannot let him be happy, cannot let him follow a clear path to happiness – he sees no hope or happy ending only more tragedy

And isn’t that Penny Dreadful through and through? Beautiful and tragic. No happy endings here.

So no-one getting a happy ending? Yes, I could see that. That’s the essence of this show. Everything being so sad and grim with its ending isn’t what is disappointing – it’s the anti-climax, it’s the fizzle and it’s the wasted potential.

Waste potential the first: Dorian and Lily. While Dorian FINALLY pulls off the jaded immortal with a rather epic speech that truly encompasses the cost of immortality and with a nice reference to his portrait. It’s a good speech but it’s far too damn late after a season of whiny petulance. Lily reacts to Justine’s death and all her minions fled by… walking away. Her whole revolution is just a footnote in Dorian’s story of jaded immortality! It’s not even Lily’s story any more.

Penny Dreadful, Season 3, Episode 8: Perpetual Night

Everything is very bleak and dark – of course, such imagery is the bread and butter of Penny Dreadful. With Vanessa’s ominous voiceover we have the stage set of darkened and fog clouded streets, evil darkness, cloying poisons in the air and the night creatures rising up

Penny Dreadful is the undisputed master of gothic imagery.

Enter into this the one gloomy bright spot, with John Smith and his family, him making all these happy plans for the future while his eager son is ravaged by a cough, all those happy plans hollow before his inevitable demise

How very… Victorian; gloomy, tragic, desperately sad and sweet.

With Kaetenay, Malcolm and Ethan arriving from America they convene at Sir Malcolm’s house and, after a bit of fun with some vampires, they’re joined by Catriana and hunting skills: saving Ethan and teaching Malcolm the finer points of curing a vampire bite. And the foolishness of stubborn male pride

While Ethan decides to run off into the fog looking for Vanessa, the others are joined by Dr. Seward. She’s just had an unpleasant experience with Renfield who, in addition to being horrifying, also told her a lot about Dracula and tried to murder her, sure she wouldn’t fight back because she’s not a killer

That shows what he knows

Duly beaten and imprisoned in a straight jacket, he is now confined for Seward and Catriona (who have collectively become toweringly awesome in this show) to question.

Ethan is lured through the streets by a child vampire into an ambush. He tells Dracula repeatedly that he will rescue Vanessa while Dracula responds, equally repeatedly that Vanessa isn’t actually his prisoner, she’s there willingly. Ethan won’t hear this so Dracula casually flips him aside and leaves him to his minions

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh

The Psy, the main power of the world, have long embraced a policy of Silence. A policy which trains their children to feel no emotion. The icily emotionless Psy have maintained this policy for generations now, to such a degree that a Psy that feels is considered alien and broken

Sascha Duncan is broken. Daughter of one of the Psy council, a Cardinal Psy with no real power… she feels. She feels intensely and she’s finding it harder and harder to hide the fact

When she starts working with Lucas, alpha of the Changeling wereleopard clan looking for a serial killer, his interest pushes her emotional control to the very limit.

This is going to be a little bit of an odd book review. Way back before we even started Fangs for the Fantasy, when Renee and I were just discussing, debating and mocking the odd book when we talked to each other, I read several books in the Psy-Changeling series and produced this somewhat abortive review. Then they never really appeared again. This is unfortunate because, not only is Nalini Singh a prominent author in this genre and also one I like a great deal, but it’s also her fault that we keep picking up paranormal romances.

If you’ve read Fangs for any length of time, we’ve had a rocky relationship with paranormal romance – generally not liking the tropes or structure of it. If you send us a book review request with a book that appears to be a paranormal romance, we will email you back that we’re generally not a huge fan of this genre so we may not be the best place

Yet we still read the genre because of Nalini Singh. Because I really loved this series – and I really liked her Guildhunter series and I wasn’t going to miss out on other potential awesomeness. So, yes it’s her fault.

And I do like this book a lot. I really love the world building. The whole concept of humanity, Changelings (wereanimals) and Psy (psychic people) is a fascinating one. I love that it’s set a little way in our future to have slight sci-fi themes, but not enough to be completely alien. I love how not only do we have our world with these different creatures, but that we also have the world itself to be dramatically changed. Things like the greater environmental protections brought in by the Changelings, the more extensive forests and influence that brings. While the Psy have shaped the cities and building and have a whole new information source based on their powers

The nature of the Psy powers and the imagination of the psynet are original and drew me in with the originality of it and the implication. It made this whole psychic side of the Psy a much more tangible element in their lives. They weren’t humans with shiny powers – they were entirely separate beings with entirely different ways of living because of this whole hidden world that they’re unaware of.

Preacher, Season 1, Episode 4, Monster Swamp

I’m pretty sure this random spooky school bus will become relevant. Anyway it serves as a backdrop for the sport of hunting down underwear clad sex workers with paint guns

This is taking the definition of gun fetish to a whole new level. Yeah your kink and all that – but this screams of serial killer training and waaay too many women and waaay too many sex workers are murdered for me not to think all these men need a sinkhole to jump into.

In the middle of this game one of the women, Laci, falls into a sink hole and dies. A tragedy that just about no-one cares about, it’s sad to say. No-one cares about the dead Laci and everyone is quick to want to return to their fun

Except for Tulip who is enraged. And while she holds the men in contempt she also throws some gross unnecessary shame at the women. This is doubly vexing because when Clive, an out and out arsehole who really needs beating with a stick, points out that the women are making way more money in the brothel than they would be working other menial jobs (we also have to remember this when the mayor makes a point about how the town is poor and dying). Gah I so hate agreeing with arseholes. And it would be nice, if Tulip was calling out all these arseholes, she wouldn’t throw shame at the sex workers.

At least she does decide to beat Clive with a stick. Except she gets the wrong room – and gets Cassidy instead, knocking him through a window and getting a shard into his neck. Naturally she assumes he’s dying and rushes him to hospital praying and begging for him to live… kissing him on the way with music suggests that Tulip and Cassidy may have just fallen in love? This could be terrible, awesome or terribly awesome or awesomely terrible.

When they arrive at the hospital Cassidy seeks his own cure – blood. And Tulip knows his secret. That should be fun.

Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 9: Battle of the Bastards

It’s the penultimate episode! That usually means we get an epic fight with all the extras and lots of little modal cities burning down!

Oh yes, it is epic

Starting with, shockingly, the least and most epic… in Meeren Daenerys returns home to be very Unimpressed with Tyrion and the state of her city.

She is all for wrath and vengeance while Tyrion counsels some restraint because wrath and vengeance is something of an unfortunate Targaryen habit. Instead she parlays with the representatives of the great masters. They present their case, full of condescension and threats to return everyone to slavery

She rebuts with dragons. Three of them. Against a fleet of wooden ships

And whatever argument they have against that she counters with Dorthraki. Lots of Dorthraki. MOOOOORE Dorthraki. ALLLLLL the Dorthraki

It’s a compelling argument. The two more awful great masters get murdered, the remaining is left to spread the tale and go and plot for the future (and yes, plotting is an issue. Look at Westerosi history – the Targaryens and their dragons were forced to treaty before by the Dornish who wouldn’t fighy in the open field. Daenerys and her Unsullied were frustrated by the hidden Sons of the Harpy. Guerrilla war has always been effective against Targaryen dragonfire).

I’m torn with Daenerys’s victory, which is something I’ve been touching on in recent episodes. A large part of me wants to cheer and yell “epic epic epic” because she does have some of the more epic scenes. It’s amazing, it’s shiny, and I love the dragons burning all the things and some nice burny victories.

But this is how Daenerys achieves power – woo-woo and dragons. Now it’s not all she has going for her – she’s extremely charismatic, unbelievably determined and damned inspirational. She’s also genuinely kind and compassionate – albeit patronising and condescending with it

But if there’s one thing her little Meeren adventure has taught is, it’s that she actually isn’t all that skilled in administration, diplomacy or politics. She receives people as a supplicant – even sycophant – or an enemy to crush. I do hope that we’re seeing a shit of this when Yara comes to treat with her (along with Tyrion thoroughly putting Theon in his place. I liked his point about height jokes and how everyone making them feels they’re being original. We see this a lot with insults of any marginalised person – there’s little originality in bigotry). Daenerys and Yara bond over the idea being the first queens of their people, as well as acknowledging they had ineffectual and even evil fathers. Tyrion remains dubious about any independent part of the 7 kingdoms, but I think given it’s a feudal system there are given levels of independence

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Two: Rising Run

After witnessing Valerie's plane get shot down, Chandler, Wolf and Sasha figure out pretty quickly that they need to get moving after being shot at.  Now that it has been confirmed that Peng is absolutely out to get them, they need to get out of the country quickly.  Sasha suggests that they meet up with her helicopter pilot friend Jesse. When Chandler, Wolf and Sasha arrive, they find Jesse passed out on her couch and when Sasha manages to wake her, Jesse punches Sasha for her trouble. Jesse believes that Sasha sold her out to Peng, forcing Tom in to intervene and state that his job is to distribute the cure and since Jesse's identity has already been compromised, Jesse might as well help out.

Back in St. Louis Michener is starting to feel the pressure and decides that his best course of action is to wait for Tom to get back.  Ostensibly, Michener feels that when Tom arrives back, he will be able to give them a better understanding of the situation on the ground, in reality, when time's get tough, Michener lets Tom do the leading and decision making. Unfortunately for Michener, the problems with the Nathan James are not his only concerns.  As to be expected with an undertaking of this size, there's a problem with the rationing.  Some areas of the country have excess and others simply don't have enough.  If that were not enough, what little government exists outside of St. Louis clearly resent the fact that Michener is now president. Members of Michener's own staff start rumbling about the need for an election and point out that while Michener was the last cabinet member alive, he doesn't have the cache of Tom or the now dead Rachel and is seen as the guy who was along for the ride.  Michener's immune status also works against him given that the immunes actively tried to kill off those who weren't.

On the Nathan James, Cameron Burk is in charge and is quick to admit that Ganderson was correct and that they should have notified Slattery sooner.  They have a very interesting dynamic because while Burk clearly outranks Ganderson, he turns to her for her thoughts even if doesn't seem to want to employ her suggestions.  Burk decides that though they were told to head into international waters that doesn't mean that they cannot track the ships they saw earlier.  Ganderson points out that this will put them out of the set up for redezvous position but Burk decides to go ahead anyway.

The captives from the Nathan James are led into a holding cell.  One of their group is injured and so they ask repeatedly for help but their requests fall on deaf ears.  The crew gathers together to try to figure where they are going based on the pitch of the ship, speed and direction.  Finally, they realise that they are sailing in a circle to purposefully confuse them.  The captors enter the cell and quickly remove the injured man.

After shooting their way through a checkpoint, Wolf, Chandler, Jesse and Sasha arrive at a nuclear power station to pick up the helicopter.  Naturally, nothing can run smoothly and they are forced to boost the helicopter even as Peng's troops arrive intent on murder.  Once again, Wolf, Jesse, Chandler and Sasha shoot their way out but have to deal with the fact that they have very limited fuel.

Back in St. Louis, Michener learns that Chandler's plane has failed to check in.  This is a big deal for Michener, who was waiting on Chandler to make a decision on how to proceed.  Michener doesn't get to commemorate Chandler for long because he gets a call from Cheng, who claims that Chandler's plane had mechanical trouble and crashed.  Cheng offers to send a recording of the pilots to prove the veracity of his claim and adds that Asia isn't very secure at this point.  Once Michener has the voices verified, he declares that Cheng is telling the truth though his advisers clearly don't agree with him.  In China, a pissed off Cheng demands that Chandler be found immediately stating that if Chandler manages to get in touch with American forces, his actions will set off a war between China and America.

Burke and Green are making their way to a rendezvous point with the Nathan James when they are shot at.  Burke is shot but they manage to take out 7 attackers.  Green tries to interrogate the one attacker they kept alive but he refuses to answer.  Their captive notices that Burke is bleeding and comments, "he won't like that" before promptly dying.  Burke and Green take a boat and speed toward the location they believe the Nathan James to be. They shoot off flares to alert the ship of their location.

Pride (Shifters #3) by Rachel Vincent

Faythe is on trial for infecting and killing her human boyfriend – trying to convince a council of Alphas that something happened when they don’t only not believe her - but don’t even believe that what she claims is even possible

But the trial cannot happen in solitude – a whole army of strays have moved into the area and have to be dealt with

I expected this book to be a lot worse than it was. Admittedly after the last two books, the book could literally be possessed by a serial killing ghost that tried to attack me with a claw hammer and it would still be a better book than I expected. Still, my low expectations meant I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

In this book, the misogynist Alphas questioned Faythe on whether or not she intended to marry and how many kids she’d have – and if she didn’t have any immediate plans she was simply useless to werecat society: because what’s the point of a werecat female who isn’t pushing out the young ‘uns? Honestly, I expected Faythe to grab Marc’s engagement ring, suddenly become pregnant and problem solved! So, kudos, Pride for not doing this

In fact, in general Pride wasn’t nearly as offensively awful as the previous books, not even close. Partly this is due to the complete lack of spicy South American werecats (and general POC. You wouldn’t even know Marc was Latino if you didn’t know from previous books). Normally I would complain about lack of POC, but like the lack of LGBTQ characters I find myself slightly grateful simply because it means we won’t have to endure he representation (though we do have a ridiculous moment where 3 people share a single bed and leave another empty because a) the 2 men won’t let the other share a bed with Faythe and b) two men sharing a bed is terribad icky.)

The main issues I have with this book is that it completely ignores the context of the books that have come before. Like we have Greg, Faythe’s father who is pretty much cast as the Good One in this book. He is the reasonable Alpha. He is the nice Alpha. And he’s just being terribly trapped by the Alpha council who is totally awful and old fashioned and misogynist.

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode One: The Scott Effect

Michener is now installed in St. Louis as the president and seems to have a functional government on the go.  He makes an address to the American people about the state of their nation.  Ration cards featuring the now deceased Dr. Scott have been released to the public to ensure that everyone gets an equal share until they produce enough to meet demand.  Michener is far removed from the man Chandler rescued from Sean last season and finally looks as though he fits the job that he has been given.  I still say that it's time for an election.

As much as the American people are pulling together, there's trouble in other areas of the world.  After hearing that the virus has begun to mutate in Vietnam and that the big bad President Peng won't distribute the cure to the rest of Asia, Michener sends Tom on a diplomatic mission to make it clear that if Peng won't deliver the cure, the Americans will.

Here we go again with America saving the world and being worshiped as heroes. The Nathan James, now captained by Slattery is leaving Okinawa for Vietnam to distribute the cure. The crew of the Nathan James are viewed as heroes and there's going to be a party in their honour at a nightclub. While Chandler is in China playing the heavy and accusing Peng of not distributing the cure, the nightclub that the service members of the Nathan James are partying at gets attacked. Once the news reaches St. Louis, Chandler is ordered to leave China immediately and the Nathan James is ordered into international waters to await reinforcements, despite the fact that several members of their crew, including Slattery have been kidnapped.

On the plane home, Chandler makes the executive decision not to actually follows Michener's orders (no surprise there) and head into Vietnam on his own.  Chandler orders Valerie to wait until international water to let Michner know what he is doing. Well, at least he didn't just run off even if he did disobey direct orders.  Valerie takes off with the plane but isn't in the air long when she finally manages to decode some chatter that she has spent the episode trying to figure out.  Valerie orders the pilots to turn around and land but the plane explodes.

If you're paying attention, that means you realise that The Last Ship ended with the death of a prominent female character and began with the death of another.  This does not bode well for the role of women this season.  One of my long standing complaints with The Last Ship is its treatment of gender.  Female characters are routinely sidelined in order to trumpet the efforts of Chandler and occasionally Slattery.  Even the fight scene in the bar showed Slattery getting a few shots off before being overtaken and Garnett being quickly handled.  It's not an accident that it was Green and Burk who managed to escape capture.  The navy is a boys club but that doesn't mean that The Last Ship cannot have powerful women.  It's telling that when we were introduced to Shaw this episode that even as Chandler takes note of how tough, smart and independent she is that she is clearly being set up as his love interest.  I doubt anything substantial will come of Shaw's character beyond whatever relationship develops between her and Tom.

Outcast, Season 1, Episode 3: All Alone Now

This week we seem to be beginning a theme of exorcism-of-the-week, with a possessed ex-cop killing and raping his partner’s wife and being locked in the basement of a prison because all normal procedures apparently don’t apply. This being Outcast we have some brutally awful references to this rape

Rev Anderson grabs Kyle and they head off to do some exorcising

Can we point out, yet again, that Rev. Anderson’s exorcism is basically “the power of Christ does not one fecking thing!”. His exorcism play acting, his recitation, his cross, his oil and water do nothing to these demons (in fact, is demons even the right word here? We’re only working on Rev. Anderson’s narrative for this and he’s clearly not right on this). He was even willing to walk away and assume the possessed was a normal, evil man rather than a demon because his holy toys didn’t work. Even Luke, the current victim’s friend/partner played by “that guy whose name I can’t remember but was in x” (one of those actors who seems to be in everything in some capacity) focuses on Kyle who has the power to actually do something.

Even the current possessed taunts Rev Anderson that his touch does nothing – and it’s something that makes the Rev so bad tempered since he’s apparently given up his entire family (we even have a major freak out about losing a picture of his child suggesting he doesn’t have a lot of these pics or regular access to his kid) to fight demons when he doesn’t even have the power to do so. While Kyle, who isn’t even a believer, has his demon-hurting touch. The Rev is convinced that this is still god’s work – but I think a far more interesting twist which would fit the narrative is that Anderson’s religious context simply doesn’t apply. He’s throwing holy water at spirits or aliens or who knows what else. Or it’s a different religious context entirely. It’d be a fascinating twist on a rather tired exorcism trope.

During this the demon calls Kyle “outcast” and rightly guesses that he has no friends or family because everyone is made uncomfortable by his presence. Kyle wants answers from the demon far more than he wants to save a strange man’s soul – he wants answers and it to end so he can actually have a life and get his family back without demons dropping in like the worst uninvited in-law visits ever.

But in this case they decide that this demon is “here to stay” for whatever reason, and the guy unsaveable.

That leaves him in Luke’s care constantly pushing all his buttons until Luke near suffocates him. But only near.