Friday, July 22, 2016

Zoo, Season 2, Episode 5: Moon and Stars

Chloe is dead

No, really, actually dead. Yes, I expected her to miraculously recover as well

So I’m going to begin with a lament to Chloe – a character who deserved so much better. A secret agent with all the skills and knowledge that implied, who was reduced to a love interest. A leader whose leadership was co-opted. A decision maker who never ever made a good choice. A strategist whose decision making was beyond appalling

My gods this character deserved better. She had so much potential and realised none of it. And now she’s dead because she has absolutely no purpose except for angst for poor poor Jackson.

So introducing a new character – Allison, super-rich deputy Secretary of Defence who owns an orchard which is dying and adding agricultural collapse and starvation to the panic the end of the world is happening. Remember, most people are not eating meat now – so losing orchards full of fruit is terribad awful. She’s the one who donated the plane, because she has awesome planes she just has lying around. Oh she’s also Mitch’s step-mother who (you will be shocked to hear!) Mitch has issues with. He spends all his time snarling and sniping at her. He spends all his time snarling and sniping at everyone. Everyone. It’s beyond tiresome now. Someone needs to slap him. Speaking of things that need slapping – everyone’s putting Dariela in the dog house now for not leaving the door open and dying next to Chloe.

She’s also Myka from Warehouse 13 (who would be so awesome) and I’m sad that she’s reduced to this shit. She (and Abe) are better than this.

Anyway, the trees are dying and food under threat – so what is causing this?


Women and Death in Fox's Wayward Pines

The first season of Fox’s Wayward Pines, was very faithful to it’s source material - the trilogy written by Blake Crouch. What separates Wayward Pines from others in the dystopian genre is that instead of zombies or aliens being the threat to humanity, evolution as a response to the ways in which we have destroyed our planet is the threat. It’s a stark warning that humanity, despite its ingenuity, is indeed vulnerable and at it’s best, Wayward Pines warns its viewers not to assume that human superiority is indefinite.

As much as the concept of Wayward Pines stands out in the dystopian genre, akin to many similar texts, it fails when it comes to gender.  For some reason, the dystopian genre cannot move away from the idea that a straight cisgender white male is meant to save humanity from its destructive tendencies. Season one began with Pilcher, the megalomaniac  creator of Wayward Pines doing battle with former secret service agent Ethan Burke for control of humanity’s last town.  Gee, two white man battling for power how original. The first death of a speaking character in season one is Beverly. Beverly is the first person to admit to Ethan that something is wrong with the town and that she is not there of her own free will.  She includes Ethan on an escape plan she made with the now dead Bill and together they try to get out of Wayward Pines.  Even though they remove their tracking chips, it’s not long before their absence is noted.  Ethan does his best to distract the townsfolk so that Beverly can escape but she is quickly captured and executed in the town square by Sheriff Pope.  Beverly is killed as an abject lesson that people are to follow the rules and to show Ethan exactly what kind of world he is living in now. Sure, Ethan is upset about the execution for a New York minute, but he quickly forgets about Beverly and moves on.  Beverly ends up being less valuable than an end note.

Beverly’s death seals the antagonism between Ethan and Pilcher and from this moment on they are at odds.  Even when Ethan appears to capitulate to Pilcher after learning the truth about Wayward Pines, he cannot bring himself to follow orders and murder former lover and fellow secret service agent Kate Hewson, when her uprising fails.  Kate leads two rebellions during her time in Wayward Pines and both failed. Ethan’s rebellion ended in victory and though it cost his life, Ethan died a hero, even if he was not universally viewed that way by the citizens of Wayward Pines.  Though Kate is a former Secret Service agent like Ethan,  Kate’s skills were never primary to her character and instead, Wayward Pines spent much of its time fixating on the love triangle between Kate, Ethan and Ethan’s wife Theresa.  

When Ethan and Pilcher died at the end of season one, I had greatly hoped that Kate and Pam would come together to rule Wayward Pines and usher in a new day but it was not to be. The show skipped right over Kate and Pam coming together, to Ben (Theresa and Ethan’s son) waking in a hospital room with Jason in charge. Kate only appeared in one other episode and it was to die when the second rebellion she managed to lead failed miserably, leading to loss of life, the exile of Ben Burke and Xander and her own suicide. Unlike Ethan, whose death was heroic and resulted in saving the town from an invasion by the Abberations, Kate’s death served no higher purpose.  Kate’s suicide ultimately represented her powerlessness to change anything about Wayward Pines.

In season one, Pam, as Pilcher’s sister was a trusted member of the inner circle. This put her into conflict with Ethan but never positioned her as a co-antagonist with Pilcher because ultimately, he made all of the decisions and she functioned as a blunt weapon to carry out his wishes. Like Kate, Pam didn’t have a happy ending.  In season two, having determined that Pilcher’s grand experiment to extend humanity's time on earth was a failure, Pam began a plan to exterminate the town by infecting its members with small pox. It was the last ditch effort of the desperate.  Of course, she had to be stopped by Dr. Theo Yedlin (Ethan’s replacement), even though he fully acknowledges that there’s so much desperately wrong with Wayward Pines. Pam’s punishment was death at the hands of the neo fascist leader of the town Jason Higgins.  For Jason, Pam’s betrayal was too much because he had grown up seeing her as a mother figure, thus greatly foreshadowing the relationship he had with Kerry.  Like Kate, Pam only appeared in one episode of season two, and it was essentially for her to die.  Like Kate, Pam’s death served no higher purpose in the show and seemed to occur simply to give the insufferable Jason some manpain.  

Theresa is the third major female character to appear in season both season one and two and akin to Pam and Kate, she is also dead.  Theresa is a former Secret Service Agent turned stay at home mom, who spent most of the time on the show worried that Ethan would have another affair with Kate, or worried about the survival of her son. At no point, could Theresa’s character ever be seen as powerful and even when put in the situation to fight for her life during the Abbie invasion, it was Ethan who came to the rescue.  Alone and adrift in the wake of Ethan’s death and Jason’s control of the town, Theresa seemed to wander around Wayward Pines like a ghost, never doing much concrete to find Ben. In fact, Theresa’s inability to formulate a plan to find her son or affect any change is symptomatic of her complete impotence.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wayward Pines, Season Two, Episode Nine: Walcott Prep

Walcott Prep, is the penultimate episode of the season and I think that the episode should have been called, "EWWWWWW".  Damn Wayward Pines.  Clearly the purpose of Walcott Prep is to build yet more anticipation for the coming conflict between the humans of Wayward Pines and the Abberations. Tension has been building as the Abbies have been gathering outside of the fence and now that Margaret has returned to the Abbies, things seem bleaker than ever.

Theo decides that it's time to take action. He has no idea whether he is going to live or die but the one thing he is certain of is that Wayward Pines needs a leadership change.  To that end, he approaches Xander, who believes that Theo is there because he's upset that he wasn't chosen by Rebecca.  Theo explains that he is there to seek Xander's support in overthrowing Jason.  Xander is down with this idea but then questions what Theo's plan going forward from there is.  Theo really has no answers but before he can really begin to discuss options, CJ arrives to announce that they've both been requested at the mountain. Theo vows that with or without Xander's support, Jason's time is over. 

With few options left remaining to the citizens of Wayward Pines, for the first time ever, Jason makes a pragmatic decision - everyone should return to stasis until such time as the Abbies go extinct and the humans can once again inhabit the earth.  There's a couple of things wrong with this thinking that no one really brings up.  They don't know for sure how long to stay asleep for, or even if when they do choose to wake whether the Abbies will in fact be gone, or have expanded their control of the globe.  As of now, they have one month's worth of food but seem to have no plan to preserve said food for when they awaken.  There's very little discussion about environmental changes which will occur and how it will affect life in Wayward Pines. There are so many unknowns but they refuse to address them in their eagerness to get away from the Abbies. Interestingly enough, this is the solution that Blake Crouch, the author of the Wayward Pines trilogy chose for the residents of Wayward Pines. 

With the decision made, Jason decides to announce it to the town.  Those who survived stasis the first time aren't very concerned but that isn't the case for the First Generation.  C.J. takes the time to talk to the kids assuring them that they will be just fine.  He's asked if people dream in stasis and responds sometimes you do, clearly a reflection to his hallucination of his long dead wife. 

It's flashback time.  Pilcher is preparing to go into stasis with the future residents of Wayward Pines but feels that he cannot do so until he finds a baby to pass on his legacy. To that end, visits Walcott Prep and watches the pregnant Abigail, who is from a rich family. The family wishes to cover up Abigail's pregnancy and so Pilcher's desire to adopt is a perfect option for them. Later, Pilcher meets Abigail and the two quote Animal Farm to each other and actually bond. As Pilcher takes his leave, Abigail announces that she wants her child to be called Jason.  Things that make you say hmmmm. Proving that the best-laid plans of mice and man oft go astray, Pilcher later gets a call informing him that something has gone wrong with Abigail's pregnancy. 

Pilcher now must secure another child and he locates said child in Boise, Idaho public hospital.  A nice donation to the hospital cements his plans but he is told that the mother wants to meet him. And just who is this mother? Well, it's Kerry.  Take a deep breathe. Yes, this means that Jason has been fucking his own mother. EWWWWW. Cannot unsee. Cannot Unsee. 

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Kerry talks to Pilcher about wanting to move beyond her past.  She says that she got pregnant by someone she didn't know very well but she's a survivor because she's lived through years of abuse from her father and stepbrother.  This raises Pilcher's concern and so Kerry quickly denies that neither her father or stepbrother are the father of the baby.  Somehow, I don't believe her.  Kerry then talks about her desire to use the money from the adoption sale of her child to travel the world. The more Kerry talks, the more it seems that Pilcher is beginning to feel a connection with her. Ultimately, Pilcher promises Kerry that she can indeed be a different person and have a different life. 

The Beast Within by Julie Evans

This book is a struggle for me – because when I write a DNF review I normally have a minimum read requirement. I try to read at least a decent percentage of the book before I put it down and say “no, I can’t do this. I won’t do this. I don’t deserve this!”

This book is a little over 100 pages long, so reading a decent chunk wouldn’t be so hard… I tried to convince myself.

No… this was horrendous. I could not endure my way to half way, reaching a quarter is out of the question

I am trying not to be excessively cruel about this. I mean I didn’t drop this book because it was offensive, insulting or outrageous. I dropped it because it has, quite simply, some of the worst writing I have ever read. Quite possibly the worst. I actually spent a decent chunk of the last week grabbing random friends and demanding they read 5 pages to check to see if I were hallucinating.

I was not. I even had to resist the urge to email the publisher back and ask if they were serious, was it April Fools, were they trolling me and/or if they realised they had an editor who was being bribed by the competition?

Here is an excerpt of text:

So when Em came around this morning with the groceries I asked her to get me, she said that I was going out with her tonight, and she wasn’t taking no for an answer. When I went to protest she held her arms up in the air, and said“Stop there before you say another word, you are coming out with me and that’s that so don’t argue, I know it was awful what happened but it was nearly four months ago, and you need to start getting out of the flat and back in the land of the living, so you are coming out with me tonight, to the new club that hasn’t been opened all that long, up in town: Crimson Moon. So I’ll pick you up about 9 o’clock, so be ready.”
“Okay but I’m not staying out too late, just for a few hours.”
“Great, that’s fine. I’ll see you later Kat, and make sure you’re ready.”
“Fine, see you later.” With that, she was gone.

Containment, Season 1, Episode 13: Path to Paradise

And so we come to the last episode of Containment where they try really hard to make this plot make sense. Actually, that’s a lie. They don’t try that hard. Not hard at all really – I mean, I can see why they wouldn’t, why start putting effort in on the last episode when you’ve not bothered all season?

So Alex is still being all persecuted by the evil Sabine Lomas who has decided to set Internal Affairs on him now. They don’t do anything, which is probably fortunate for her because why, in the name of all that is sensible, would Lomas WANT more investigative scrutiny?

Anyway, it does nothing except waste my time – and Alex sets his dad (who is an awesome police detective whose story about not being recognised because of racism would have been far far more interesting than… well, this show) to find Leo the journalist. He does this using unspecified awesome detective skills because who needs details?

So what is Alex doing? He is investigating some people who are being snuck out of the cordon – evil Office Meece is sneaking people out with the help of earnest-but-clueless-cop who Meece shoots (because evil). Alex shuts them down, pointing out a 48 hour quarantine isn’t sufficient because the virus mutates and any of them could be carriers – and cops can’t make this decision because they don’t have an MD

Excuse me?

Excuse me? Did Alex – no, did ANYONE on this show – dare to shout someone down for not respecting a doctor’s professional opinion?

This whole show is BASED on unqualified fools deciding doctors are lying to them because who the fuck cares about science?! This is the show!! How dare the writers pull this?!

Ok, let’s keep going, nearly there. Sabine is also blowing up these escape tunnels which puts a time limit on the whole escape. Alex goes down and finds… Jenna leading the escape. It’s a desperate, painful scene – actually it’s a great scene (honestly if I have to say anything positive about this 13 week sentence pretending to be a show, it is that the acting is excellent. Really excellent – these actors deserved better. I kind of hope the actors all band together against the writers. Hopefully to eat them).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

To Love a Wolf (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #4) by Paige Tyler

Every werewolf on the Dallas Swat dreams of finding the one and Landry Cooper is no different. Things haven't been easy for Landry.  During a tour overseas he was badly injured, causing his werewolf gene to kick in.  The memories still haunt him but with the help of his pack, he has been able to put some of it behind him, though not deal with it fully.  When in the process of cashing a check he meets Everly Danu, like all things in Landry's life it quickly gets complicated.  The bank that they are in gets robbed and Everly is taken hostage, thus forcing Cooper into action.  You'd think that taking out five bank robbers single-handedly would make someone a hero but for the internal affairs division, it only makes Cooper look suspicious.  It all implodes pretty quickly when Cooper finds himself dealing with a ghost from his past in the military and the Danu's reject him because he's a werewolf.  What's a good werewolf to do when it seems that the stars are aligned against him?

To Love A Wolf had a very surprising beginning.  Rather than having the book begin when Landry and Everly meet, Tyler begins the story with Cooper in Iraq attempting to ensure an area doesn't have anymore IEDs hidden.  I found myself drawn to Cooper immediately as he tries to disarm the bomb which would change his life forever.  There's a lot of military jargon in To Love a Wolf and Tyler took care to make sure the readers always understood what was going on by having Everly be a civilian who needs an explanation. I will however admit that at times it made my eyes wander off the page though.

It's been clear since the first novel that the point of the Special Wolf Alpha Team series, is to pair one of the SWAT werewolves with "the one".  Woo woo is used to justify the insta love which of course brings about the HEA.  Yes, To Love a Wolf actually very much matches the standard script for all paranormal romance which I normally find extremely annoying.  What makes To Love a Wolf stand out is that when Tyler got to the point in the typical paranormal romance where the couple reach some stumbling block to their relationship, she actually made it believable.  It makes sense to me that seeing a werewolf kill her mother would make Everly mistrust Cooper and every other werewolf.  It made sense to me that Everly would instantly flea after seeing Cooper's claws and fangs, so traumatized by witnessing the violent death of her mother and believing the man that she loves (after only three days) to be a monster.  In those moments, I deeply felt for Everly.  It made her feel real to me and not like some standard love interest.

More than any other book in this series so far, I think that Tyler tried to infuse plot points into the story so that it would be about so much more than her chosen couple falling in love and walking happily into the sunset with each other.  That being said, Tyler wrote alot about the negative relationship between SWAT and the FBI. I understand that sometimes jurisdictional issues occur but to have Tyler constantly frame the FBI as incompetent is ridiculous.  Yes, Cooper is the explosive expert but am I really expected to believe that FBI agents would just waltz into a barn where explosives just might be without getting it checked out first? It pulled me out of the story because of the high level of ridiculousness.  If they were so careless, how the hell did they become FBI agents in the first place? Then of course, the FBI has to be wrong about apprehending Cooper and have an attitude about not getting the spotlight.

12 Monkeys, Season Two, Episode Thirteen: Memory of Tomorrow

Memory of Tomorrow is the last episode of season two and it is filled with revelations regarding the Witness.  That's all well and good but I'm still irked by the fact that 12 Monkeys seems to have completely stopped caring about the virus altogether.  Sure, the world coming to an end should take top priority but the entire point of this show was to stop a virus which had killed off a significant portion of the earth's population.  It seems as though they are committed to this bait and switch though we know that Cassie will eventually die as a result of the plague that no one seems to give a damn about right now.

Having failed to stop the paradox, Cassie and Cole are now living together in the little cedar house and it's Christmas time. This is Cole's first real Christmas and he is nervous about giving Cassie the butterfly hair clip that he purchased but he need not have worried because she loves it.  In return, Cassie gives him a razor but Cole refuses to shave.  Cassie's last gift to Cole is a card announcing that he is going to be a father.  Cole is overwhelmed but happy.

As we know, all good things must come to an end.  The first sign that something has gone wrong is when Cole finds that he is the only one who can move when everyone is frozen.  He sees Lillian, who informs him that it's not over.  Cole finds Lillian in a mental asylum and it quickly becomes obvious that she's a Primary. Cole tries to deny to himself that time is ending and to right off Lillian but when he drives away and finds flora turning red, he realises the truth of what Lillian told him.  Cole returns to the asylum and learns that all he has to do is drink a tea made from the leaves and then he can travel back to anytime he's already been and take control of his body.  Yes, they've given Cole a new super power cause he's extra special like that. This is a conundrum for Cole, because by travelling back and stopping the paradox, it means that his child with Cassie will never have existed.  Lillian however tells him that while "death can be undone, love cannot." Lillian also warns Cole that when he returns to his real time, he must not try to save Ramse because it's a trap.

Cole writes this was home on the walls of the house and drink the tea. Cole shifts through some key moments and finally ends up back in 1957.  This time when Cole confronts Charlie and his wife, he has the upper hand. Charlie pleads, explaining that the paradox is the only way he can be with his wife forever in the red forest.  Cole understands and even hesitates because in this moment he is well aware of what he is giving up but he shoots Charlie nonetheless and is splinttered forward in time along with Cassie.   Even with Lillian's warning, Cole is not prepared to let Ramse die and Jones is not willing to lose Hannah for a second time, so it's off to Titan.

Cole doesn't get to mourn the loss of Cassie's love for long because when she makes the comment "not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly" she does the impossible and remembers. Now we know what Lillian meant about not erasing love. The first challenge which Jones, Cassie and Cole have is to convince the daughters to come with them and for that Jennifer needs to impart some wisdom.  Having cast aside her fortunes, Jennifer goes classic and says quotes from Braveheart, Independence Day and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. It's Jennifer at her absolute funniest and best. They all head to Titan and manage to save Hannah, Deacon, Ramse and Whitley. For this, I'm extremely thankful because 12 Monkeys doesn't need to get any whiter than it already is.  Big moment over, Jennifer suggests that it's time to get moving but Ramse is determined to find the Witness.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Vision of Heat (Psy/Changeling #2) by Nalini Singh

Faith is an F-Psy, one of the rare Psy who can see the future. And she’s one of the best of the best, literally worth billions from her forecasts

Until her visions become more unpredictable, dangerous and horrific – and she sees not just economic trends, but some brutal murders. The killer stalks her dreams and she fears she may be heading for the inevitable insanity that everyone expects the F-Psy to suffer – or she may crack enough for even her limited freedom to be shattered… for her “own good” of course

But is the only alternative the mysterious, ominous werejaguar who seems so obsessed with her and will not stop until he has demolished all her walls?

It’s difficult to write a review when nearly everything positive I want to say about this book I have already said in my review of Slave to Sensation, mainly the world setting. The whole history and complexity of Psy society, their different powers and abilities and how they’ve evolved with the introduction of the Silence is excellent. I like that we can still see crumbs of why the Psy would have turned to Silence even as we also see how it is so terrible for them now. I like as we explore more and more of the Changelings own history as well – particularly since it shows a lot of their brutal pasts (even if there is a sense of giving the male love interests tragic pasts because nothing makes brooding alpha males sexier than deep seated childhood trauma, apparently) and that their society is also not perfect. It would be easy to paint Changelings as good and Psy as bad but there’s clearly more involved in that. I also like how we had a brief introduction of humanity to this series – just a reference because more wouldn’t be relevant.

I like how this has been developed and the introduction of the Netmind and what that actually means for the Psy race. This world setting is not only fascinating and unique but it is also growing and developing.

The writing continues to be excellently paced and well balanced, bring in both the world building and action and development in a well balanced manner.

Preacher, Season 1, Episode 8: El Valero

This episode brings some interestingly deep introspection into Odin Quincannon’s motives. We see his whole family destroyed in a tragic (yet, because this is Preacher, slightly bizarre and zany) disaster and his incredibly disturbing but poignant appeal to Jessie’s dad to DENOUNCE god as a lie. Surrounded by chunks of cows and his dead relatives insisting “it’s all meat”.

Yes it was gross and over the top and, well, Preacher, but it’s also meaningful and deep and poignant. We can see his pain and rage

And in the present day he decides to deal with this by leading his little army against Jessie’s church – wanting to turn it into a food court. Even Miles is also on side – because he’s looked at the pretty much impoverished and doomed town and desperately clings to Odin’s investment as the thing to save his town. He’s definitely making a deal with the devil – but does this make him a terrible mayor or a good one?

(We also see more of his and Emily’s toxic relationship with Emily – with her both being irritated by his creepy obsequiousness – while also kind of relying on it).

Except Jessie, even without the power of Genesis, is still super bad-ass. He beats people. He shoots lots of warning shots (he shoots a sword out of someone’s hand and stabs someone else. No, really. That is like the ultimate Preacher moment) and generally terrifying everyone even without the word of god

It all devolves to beyond ridiculousness when the whole town turns this into a party, a cook out and general amusement. Oh and Jessie shoots a man’s dick of. Of course he does. For some reason Donnie seems to also be dressed in a Confederate uniform… I… don’t even know why?

Meanwhile Jessie is kind of ignoring the whole army invading and is far more focused on his hallucination of Eugene and his deep regrets about sending him to hell and using the Genesis Voice. He calls in the angels, removing the prohibition stopping them coming near him. He’s ready to give it back – well he almost backs out but then the angels have a really painful put down for him:

All this power… and what good has he done with it?

Ouch. So very very true.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Six: Dog Day

Now that the Nathan James has negotiated the minefield, it's time for them to begin the search for Mike and the rest of the captives.  As they consider the map that Peng gave them, they find that none of the islands seem viable for use by Takehaya.  Fortunately for the crew, the captives orchestrate a plan which sends a signal denoting their location. The captives cover for Garnett who slips away to create the signal. Upon Garnett's return, she runs into Kyoko and begs Kyoko to cover for her so that she will not be punished.  Kyoko quietly lies to Takehaya for Garnett. It's worth noting that this is the most attention that Garnett has received since being captured along with the others.  All the males were given some form of resistance to perform. We watched as they plotted together and took care of each other, as Garnett was shuttled to the sidelines, once again confirming that The Last Ship has no idea what to do with their female characters when they are not in the role of love interest.

Things are tense statewide.  Thanks to the leaks from the Council, Michener is forced to sit down with Jacob.  For the first time Michener admits that Chandler is not in China and is in fact on board the Nathan James.  Michener then lies and claims that Tom is engaged in a diplomatic negotiation to release the prisoners.  Naturally, Jacob is suspicious and says as much, only to be told that he is being used by the Council.  When that fails to achieve the submission that Michener wants, he threatens that if Jacob goes public with what he knows that he will forever be denied access to the President. I know that I've harped on this the last few episodes but I believe that it's important to point out just how problematic The Last Ship's treatment of the media is.

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The writers have framed Michener as acting in the public good even as he actively attempts to stop a free press which is necessary to a transparent and honest government.  We are meant to see Jacob as a dangerous trouble maker who simply doesn't know his place.  Episode after episode, Jacob has been demonized from doing his job as though the media doesn't have an active responsibility to hold those in power accountable. The treatment of of Jacob on The Last Ship is some of the worst right wing propaganda I've seen in this genre to date.

Prey (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent

Faythe’s pride is being embroiled more and more into vicious werecat politics as her father’s rival will resort to any means to try and take control of the council. Up to and including dragging them into a war.

There’s something else going on with the Strays as well, not part of any Pride, they’re often ignored. But when Marc, Faythe’s love interest, goes missing she is torn between staying with the Pride and looking for Marc

The plot of this book slightly frustrates me. There are two interesting plot lines I’d really like to focus on – the political shenanigans of the werecat council as an alpha does his very best to overrule Greg and replace him as head of the council by any means necessary. The second is the plot line of Pride cats apparently doing odd things to Stray cats and tracking them. I have no idea why, given that any Stray can pretty much be murdered and no-one actually cares. Those are interesting plot lines

Instead we focus far more on Faythe trying to find Marc who has gone missing. I don’t care. I don’t like Marc. I’ve never liked Marc. I think Marc’s relationship with Faythe has just been so very terrible for so very long. If he dropped out of the series entirely I’d be much much happier. So a storyline all about finding him? Not really something I’m going to focus on.

I’m going to have to repeat a lot of what I said in the last book in this series. It’s not exactly bad or even problematic – if we ignore everything that has come before it.

I can almost feel the author desperately trying to rewrite those previous books. I’m almost certain that if there was a way to go back in time and change them the author would. We can see the narrative they want to tell:
Faythe lives in a misogynist society but is lucky to be born in the very progressive Pride who is trying to walk back a lot of the worst abuses of their society – both against women and against Strays. Greg, her father, understands the science and realities and has every faith in his daughter being a capable ruler and taking over after him. Faythe was very young in the first book, naïve, unaware of how good she had it and full of childish rebellion. But she learned from her mistakes and is continuing to grow and learn and mature (even if, even in the last book, Faythe proved herself to be completely incapable of controlling her tongue for five damn seconds). And now she has grown and is still frustrated but she and her dad are fighting the good fight. Not only are they fighting the good fight, but Faythe has learned and grown and is even a moderating influence on her father when he starts to make rash and emotional decisions

Outcast, Season 1, Episode 6: From the Shadows It Watches

Plot line #1 we have Kyle beginning to put his life back together after he dramatically left Anderson last week, chewing him out for his beliefs and not really doing any good

Kyle now has a job and is sending money to Allison and generally looking to be on the up and up. His sister Megan is certainly happy about this. She’s also dispensing the excellent wisdom she normally does when Allison sends that money back: commenting that she gets that he’s showing he’s responsible and capable but the world doesn’t run on his time line

This is an excellent line and scene. Just because you’re doing something or trying to make amends/rebuild something doesn’t mean everyone else has to co-operate with you and let you play that out the way you want it to.

Unfortunately the demons aren’t letting that happen, old demon Mildred tries to knock Kyle out and suck his magical breath for him. She mentions, cryptically, that he’s meant for everyone – so at some point everyone is going to be sucking on Kyle. Lucky for him, Ominous Man Sidney intervenes and Mildred ends up dead.

Still this drags Kyle back into Anderson’s little campaign

And Anderson is having a major crisis of... conscience? Competence? He looks through his gazillion of home videos of exorcisms he’s performed (and can there be any more proof of how much this is all about his ego than the fact he has kept fanvids?) and seeing no real proof of the fact he’s actually achieving anything. This news definitely annoys Chief Giles who has been covering up for him in the belief he was actually achieving anything…

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Five: Minefield

The Nathan James is up shit's creek having sailed right into a minefield that Takehaya set as a trap.  Stateside, Michener gives a press conference stating that he is withdrawing all American ships from Asian waters and is about to begin negotiating for the release of the hostages.  Jacob questions how the people know that Michener is telling them the truth, given the fact that he hasn't exactly been honest with them in the past.  A stunned Kara looks on.  I'm really getting irked with the idea presented by The Last Ship that the media has no right to hold the government accountable.  The background agenda running through this season is dangerous.  How quickly the writers of this show forget that it's precisely because the media didn't ask the tough questions that Bush was able to lie the Americans into an illegal war. I know that in many ways, The Last Ship is barely veiled American Propaganda but come on already.

judging you tv reactions shocked anderson cooper

Takehaya has Mike and the crew unloading crates as he is given news that The Nathan James is close. Takehaya takes time out to taunt Mike about hunting The Nathan James.  On board the Nathan James, crew members line up to try and disarm the bombs. Wolf takes time out to get a little flirty with Jesse. Wow he sure got over the death of his previous girlfriend awfully quickly.

Stateside, people have gathered in front of President's residence in a candlelight vigil.  Michener worries about what they are going to tell people if the Nathan James doesn't get out of the minefield. Alex argues that this is a national security issue plain and simple. Allison enters the room and informs Michener and Alex that the Regional Leadership Committee is demanding a meeting.  Allison suggests telling them everything because half of them are already in town.  Alex backs her up by saying that their support is crucial and that they speak for millions of people in their individual territories.

The effort continues to disarm the bombs.  The seaman quickly realise that the bombs aren't standard issue and in fact something probably rigged by Takehaya.  Tom warns everyone to slowly move each group out of the way. Wolfe radios in that something is off with the third mine but one seaman doesn't hear the order to delay and continues to work. The mine starts to vibrate and of course explodes. Tom orders everyone out of the water.

Doc Rios continues to check in on the health of the captives giving aid where he can.  Takehaya bursts in and orders Mike and Doc Rios to follow him. They are lead to a hut where a pregnant woman lies on a pallet with a high fever and jaundice. Takehaya declares that the woman has red flu and adds that the cure is not working.  Doc Rios agrees that the woman has the flu but says that she also has malaria and that is what is causing her to be so sick. Takehaya hands over a medical kit but it's got nothing useful. Doc Rios needs antibiotics and so Takehaya sends someone to find something. Mike has been watching closely this whole time and asserts that the woman in danger must be Takehaya's wife. Really? No shit Sherlock. Thank you Mike for stating the obvious.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wayward Pines, Season Two, Episode Eight: Pass Judgment

As we know, not only did Margaret escape captivity, she managed to kill Megan last week.  To be clear, I have never liked Megan's true zealot character and in fact don't even really understand why the hell the writers brought her back for a second season considering that she should have died in the tunnel when the Abbies breached Wayward Pines at the end of season one. That being said, Megan is yet another female character to senselessly die on Wayward Pines. Furthermore, Jason has enough problems already, I didn't need to watch him deal with his mommy issues for eight freaking episodes.

The Abbies continue to surround Wayward Pines.  The residents clearly shiver in fear when they hear the abbies screaming outside of the walls.  Jason, the feckless leader decides to make an announcement that despite the clear threat, the residents are to work hard and enjoy their lives inside Wayward Pines. I suppose there's nothing like ignoring a life threatening problem to make it go away.

Okay, on to the good stuff.  Theo returns to work after having caught a few hours sleep, only to run into Kerry in the elevator.  In the last episode, Megan made a big deal about Kerry not pulling her weight because she hadn't gotten pregnant yet. This week we learn that the reason Kerry hasn't done her part to increase the population of Wayward Pines is because she cannot.  Because of the limited medical supplies, Theo isn't certain if the Abbie attack Kerry survived is the issue but regardless, Kerry will never be a mother.  Kerry takes this news very hard but does not completely break down in front of Theo.

Theo makes his way to the lab and of course finds Megan dead and Margaret gone, and so sounds the alarm.  There's no room for conjecture when it comes to Margaret's intelligence anymore.  We watch as she sneaks out of the facility, occasionally flashing back to Megan's so-called medical experiments. Clearly, Margaret also suffers from PTSD because she keeps thinking back to Jason shooting the three male Abbies. Margaret escapes through the drainage tunnels, and jumps off a steep cliff. At this point, I'm solidly team Margaret.

With the alert raised, Jason makes his way to the lab with armed guards. Theo explains how Margaret escaped and suggests that Margaret wants revenge for what the humans (read: Jason and Pilcher) have done.  Jason orders a search be undertaken to find Margaret as Theo stares at what is left of Megan. Theo wants to warn the town and points out that the Abbies outside of the wall are waiting for Margaret to attack.  Jason resists at first but then decides to tell the town but to have the townsfolk search unarmed for fear that they will be a distraction to the soldiers.  A frustrated Theo, stalks off to find Hassler.

Rebecca arrives at work and is immediately confronted by Xander, who wants to know if she's talked to Theo yet. Then the bomb drops.  Rebecca is pregnant and it's Xander's child, not Theo's. Xander clearly wants them to be a family and argues that inside of the wall they control what happens.  Rebecca walks away without answering. The phones start ringing, informing the residents of the threat.  At the school, the kids are ushered inside except for Lucy and Frank and couple who want to have sex.  Lucy convinces her brother that she will feel safer with Rebecca.

In the woods, Margaret sees Frank and Lucy as they walk to Rebecca's but she doesn't attack. Margaret has a flash back to seeing Frank at the carousel. Next Margaret sees the two Wayward Pine's kids making out in the woods.  Clearly, having watched Abbie famillies get slaughtered, Margaret seems to have a thing against killing kids.  Margaret makes her way to a residential area where she confronts a soldier who has just said goodbye to his family.  Margaret makes quick work of the soldier and then drags his body away. In the woods, Frank and Lucy hear the dying screams of the soldier and take off running.

Killjoys, Season 2, Episode 3: Shaft

I’m going to ignore the whole prologue “12 hours earlier” bullshit this episode opens with because they annoy the hell out of me. You can grab watcher attention without the need to do a fake out and deceptively throw contextless scenes from the middle of the episode at the beginning. Stop it, it’s annoying.

Anyway, the gang just got an unofficial warrant from Turin to rescue some other Killjoys – they were salvaging “a monk” (of obvious interest to Alvis) from a mine when they had to call for a rescue – which Khlyen stopped. Turin would rather like to know why his people were left to die and what Khlyen want to hide so badly

While the team has a chance to poke at some issues – D’avin and Alvis coming to an accord of sorts – which is going to be needed because Alvis and Dutch nearly kiss which means we have a LOVE TRIANGLE ALERT! EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY! EXCELLENT PROGRAMME AT RISK OF BEING DELAYED BY POINTLESS ROMANTIC CLICHÉ!!!

Alvis and Dutch also have some excellent poking at their mutual challenges of belief and faith as both of them have had their world views pretty much shaken to the core and not quite knowing what to believe now.

The actual mission involves going into the mines (with Alvis since he was a miner) to try and find the survivors. There they find a whole lot of resources which makes it odd that the mines were so abandoned and we get lots of snippets of the scarback monks’ history.

They find one of the survivors – claiming that her brother-in-law lost it and is hunting her and her sister. She’s trigger happy, dangerous and actually causes a cave in with her random shooting – so much so that we have a whole subplot of John being cut off from the rest of the group trying to escort Trigger Happy Tanya back to the ship after Dutch gives her a time out

12 Monkeys, Season Two, Episode Twelve: Blood Washed Away

Blood Washed Away marks the penultimate episode of season two.  Cole and Cassandra have splinttered back to 1957, in the hope of stopping the paradox which destroys the Splitter facility and kills Jones. Yes, please find a way to bring back Jones because other than Jennifer, she's the only other interesting and likable character.  Things are desperate, but with eight months until the paradox happens, Cole and Cassandra are hopeful that they will be able to find the Primary.  Cole and Cassandra both take jobs at the factory where the Primary is killed and start questioning their coworkers, looking for the typical signs exhibited by Primaries.

Despite the fact that Cassandra chose to go to 1957 with Cole, there's clearly still a lot of tension between them.  It isn't helped by the fact that Cassandra is sexually harassed on a daily basis and those around her basically view her as harlot, given the number of men she's been forced to date in order to research them.  I gotta say for the record, I love the way that Cassandra handled her boss. I'm quite sure that there isn't a woman who's been inappropriately touched who didn't cheer for Cassie in that moment.

Time quickly runs out for Cassandra and Cole and they find themselves only two days away from the paradox moment and are no closer to finding out who the Primary is.  At this point, I really think that the writers did a terrible job with foreshadowing because the moment Cole ran into Charlie in a bar and Charlie starts talking about wanting more time with his wife who is dying of cancer, it became readily obvious that Charlie was either the Primary or somehow connected with the Primary.  Sure enough, while Cole is busy chasing a false leaded which Charlie planted for him, Charlie's wife walks into the factory carrying a box containing her bones and a gun.

When Charlie's wife appears with the box and the gun, it's Cassie who confronts her, only to be quickly overpowered by Charlie.  That's right, Charlie is a Messenger and though his wife is certain that this is the day that she dies and that she will see Charlie in the red forest, Charlie is less sure now that he has fallen in love with his wife.  Charlie argues that The Witness has been wrong about a lot of things.  Cole shows up now that the alarm has been sounded but it turns out that this is just the push that Charlie needs to kill his wife.  Cole and Cassie run from the explosion but Cassie is injured.

I'm really not pleased that Charlie's wife turned out to be a Black woman given how many people of colour die in this episode.  Her character, basically existed to die for the sake of the story and beyond being a Primary was given absolutely no characterisation.  I know that 12 Monkeys doesn't seem to prioritize their characters of colour but this just really takes the cake. Also, I didn't catch the state that this supposedly took place in but anti-miscegenation laws could well have made this marriage impossible.  Somehow, I doubt that 12 Monkeys thought this through.

Cassie spends a great deal of time in a coma after the explosion and Cole decides to disappear in the hope that now that Cassie is free of him, she will choose to lead a good life and find love.  When Cassie awakes, it's a shock to her doctors.  Unable to find Cole, Cassie works as a nurse while she studies for a medical degree, constantly astounding her superiors with her medical knowledge.  Of course Cassie knows more than them, she has the benefit of having been a practicing doctor in 2016.

Cassie's unwilling to give up on Cole and manages to track him down, only to find him living in the exact house that the witness showed her. Yes, the same house which Olivia had told Cassie that she had been to before. When Cassie drives up, Cole cuts his hand and the blood drips on the ground.  It begins to rain, washing away the blood on the grass.  Cassie is certain that it's no accident that Cole has decided to buy this house but cannot put the pieces together.  Instead of talking about the upcoming destruction of the world, Cole wants to talk about his relationship with Cassie. Now that they don't have the future looming over them anymore, Cole suggests that Cassie no longer has reason to run from the feelings he has for her.  Cassie gives in and the two make love. I know that the will they or won't they thing has been going on for awhile, but I personally wasn't ever heavily invested in it. So yeah, some fans were happy by this.

What is it about Westeros?

Although there’s been no shortage of iconic fantasy settings over the years, it’s perhaps the lands of Westeros that have gripped 21st century audiences most.

The setting of the groundbreaking Game of Thrones series has revealed no shortage of epic environments for its characters to explore as they roam the harsh lands beyond The Wall and navigate the waters around the Iron Islands.

Already there’s been a great deal of speculation as to whether Westeros is based on the British Isles, and it’s a testament to the power of the Game of Thrones series that it’s exploded from being a niche fantasy book to becoming a dominant force in the realm of television, console gaming and even online slots games.

The sheer scale of the Westeros makes it perfectly ripe for hosting the wide range of complex narratives and characters that populate the Game of Thrones universe. Although the Middle Earth realm of Lord of the Rings provided plenty of cinematic splendour for the recent movie series, the six seasons of the Game of Thrones TV show have dramatically illustrated how the scale of the series can approximate the realities of real-life.

It’s the open-world atmosphere of the Song of Ice and Fire books that have also made it perfectly suited for the gaming world too with the recent Telltale games release making full use of an episodic format to allow the player to really feel like they inhabit the lands of Westeros.

Some other gaming titles have been more liberal with their Game of Thrones adaptations however, with the growing popularity of themed slots bringing about an online slots game based on the lands and characters of Westeros being featured at the Lucky Nugget Casino blog which shows just how versatile George R. R. Martin’s creations have become.

It’s a testament to the success of a franchise when it gets picked up by fans who aim to further the story with their own idiosyncratic twists. Already there’s been a massive range of cosplay events that have helped individuals live out their own Game of Thrones fantasies, and the growing range of Game of Thrones conventions has brought a little bit of Westeros to many parts of our own planet.

Such moves show just how keen fans are to embrace the fantasy series, and with still no sign of the Winds of Winter book, and with a long wait until season seven of the TV show, it falls to fan events and Game of Thrones online slots to provide the best fix for anyone seeking a some Westeros entertainment.