Friday, September 9, 2016

Zoo, season 2, Episode 12 & 13: Pangea & Celementine

It’s a double episode season finale – yet I find myself with surpisingly little to say which is a little odd. But I think a lot of this double episode involved a lot of emotional stuff that I didn’t really care about

Like Jackson and Robert Oz who are now totally bonding and being super loving parent and son now with a whole lot of reminiscing and playing happy families. The whole “you infected my mother and turned her into a rampaging hell beast” seems to have been rapidly dealt with and moved on. Someone’s been hitting some major family therapy.

Anyway, while this takes up a lot of the episodes, the plot has finally decided it can keep circling the whole 19th century resurrected extinct animals on the island of Pangea. Hold on to your sense because this gets headachey

So, Robert knows all about the scientists on Pangea where the sabre tooth cats are around – the scientists belong to a group called the Shepherds who live on Pangea doing very very very weird things with genes (and somehow have been doing so for several centuries) in the interest of saving the world – which they think may go awry because of human progress.

So told to us by Dr. Nealson. And Robert is actually a member and the only reason he was working with Davies and the Noah initiative was because he had been planted thereby the Shepherds to control Davies (apparently) and creating the kill-all-the-animals-gas. This is all the Shepherds doing apparently (along with their Victorian genetics lab).

While there someone in the writing staff also realised “oh shit the mother cell! We forgot!” and quickly pasted them into the whole 19th century geneticists. So our fairground guy with his x-ray machine managed to x-ray a gajillion animals (including jellyfish, creatures you can see through anyway), he then realised that he was causing problems like electric ants and blizzard lizards and earthquake sloths so quickly came up with a new formula to make these animals sterile and/or/maybe dormant right up until Reiden (manipulated by the Shepherds – because, yes, they’re behind everything) used the Mother Cell that woke up the X-ray based X-men animal team.

I can literally feel my brain cells dying here.

Oh and the sabre toothed cats cause volcanoes. Y’know, fine, why not?

So, Dariela (who is pregnant and therefore evil animal bait) and Abe pick up a red shirt to go find some sabre-toothed DNA and some really really really ZOMG really bad CGI. Red shirt dies. Abe grabs the DNA and they can return to base

But while they’re doing that we have Mitch and Jamie who, since Robert Oz gave Davies the gas, are taking the desperate steps to stop Davies going ahead with the Noah initiative by destroying his DNA bank. After all if he cannot repopulate the world with animals then he can’t annihilate all the animals in the world – he doesn’t actually want to destroy humanity. Apparently

So Jamie and Mitch try to steal/destroy the DNA store (which is kept in a giant non-refrigerated box?) and succeed thanks to Logan showing up. Yes, Logan who Jamie pushed out of plane which he survived because reasons (I don’t really care). The best part of this is that everyone –including Jamie – are united in saying “hell no we don’t forgive you!” which is nice to see. There’s definite no-insta forgiveness here and I love the many times he turns to Jamie and she totally shuts him down

Of course he’s well on his redemption train and by the end of the episode he’s happily put back in team good guy. Oh and his name is Edward

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Colony, Season 1, Episode 6: Yoknapatawpha

We open with Helena, big boss of the region speaking to her boss about, basically, handing Snyder enough rope to see if he hangs himself with it. Like last episode there seems to be a definite thread of pointing out that boss Snyder is just another cog in the machine.

The predicted backlash of last episode and the killing of Geronimo – the Resistance strikes back. Broussard, using his “red hat” enforcer job manages to kill Snyder’s other guard and lead the Resistance in a calculated strike against Snyder. The whole attack is planned with careful precision to break into his armoured car and get to him before the very short period it takes before the drones will arrive and kill them all

Unfortunately for the Resistance, Will is also there. Fighting, killing one of Broussard’s minions, he manages to get Snyder out and to safety while the Resistance scatters to avoid the drones

Safety involves running to Kate’s bar (where she also ran – as a member of the Resistance that was after Snyder) to hold up until help arrives.

Ok, I know we’re going to delve into his motives a lot more this episode but I still think Will goes way above and beyond in his job to save Snyder. Yes he continues to wave their lost son in front of them and Will’s logic that it’s better to stick with the devil you know (who kind of, sort of supports them) than some unknown. Yet even with that logic, risking his life for Snyder’s sake seems a bit much (Kate certainly doesn’t see this)

This is also pressed by Snyder himself who also reveals a fair bit of world building – not least of which is just how little he actually knows (including whether New Orleans still exists any more). There are 7 colonies on the Pacific Coast of the US – and that’s pretty much all he knows. Outside the colonies all he knows is an ominous “you don’t’ want to go there”. He wasn’t even a politician before the Arrival – but afterwards the aliens used their devastating all encompassing knowledge of humanity (suggested that they had access to humanity’s own extensive databases) to pluck him out as an ideal administrator/minion/lackey

From Dusk Till Dawn, Season 3, Episode 1: Head Games

Last season, among the many many events, we had Carlos destroy the Titty Twister. And something crawled out of the ashes.

We also had a whole lot of death and destruction and Seth and Richie now finding a new place in Culebra society – specifically, Lord Venganza (aided by her assistant Ximena) has pulled strings and declared that Richie and Seth will be their “collector” – an honour she bestows after making it clear, no matter what Santanico said and no matter what corrupt lords they killed, that they’re still soooo far down the ladder. Some of the lords are not exactly being fans of the Gecko brothers.

Richie is honoured by this high office. Seth, much more grounded and much less given to listen to spin, knows they’ve been given a lower level goon-squad position. Tax collector, enforcer, even if it does come with Culebros minions.

The brother’s interacting here is pretty good – I like it. Last season had a whole lot of overdramatic family drama which, to be honest, I found unnecessary boring an over the top. Here we have the general but affectionate bickering that really sells them as brothers, overlaid with the very real issues they still have. Richie is still super invested in being a Culebras, climbing the ladder et al while Seth has no interest in being a vampire, views this as a job and makes it clear they’re not “his people”, much to Richie’s offence. Richie is really invested in the mythology and history and culture of the Culebros. It’s going to be an interesting conflict if the show can reign in its usual love of melodrama.

Anyway, after collecting tribute and money and making a nice living but, Seth’s very right they are acting as collection agents. Oh and Freddie the former Texas ranger is now acting as peacekeeper for Venganza as well.

Things don’t keep going smoothly when we get a new player – someone who terrifies Venganza. Calavera – a demon. Yup, that world building just exploded everyone!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mine to Possess (Psy/Changeling #4) by Nalini Singh

Talin works with disadvantaged children – homeless, troubled and in trouble. And several have gone missing and the only thing she can think to do to help them is confront a horror from her past

Clay, the wereleopard and desperate reminder of a terrible past she’d left behind and a moment of terrifying bloodshed that still stains her memories

Clay can’t believe the woman he long thought dead is still alive, but he can hardly reconcile the fact she left him for so long nor can he bring himself to let her go again.

I continue to love the world building of this series – the Psy and the Changelings, the Psy’s society’s desperate struggles as they face conflict and threats on all sides against the council; whose loosening grip increasingly shows the flaws in Silence while at the same time we still see how dependent the Psy are on it. I love how we’re seeing Psy both shape the netmind and be shaped by it

I love the history of Silence and the existence of the Forgotten which is so excellently filled out and developed to create a very real society with so many possible storylines and characters arising out of it.

I really like that we’re beginning to look at humanity as well – after all here we have people with no powers, no strength, clearly the victims of society. They’re even called the “worker bees” and often forgotten. But Talin embraces this label – and we several mentions of how the humans are supposed to be the glue that holds their society together

And now we have emerging hints of what the races are like when they come together

All of this is excellently explored with the ongoing story of the Psy, Talin desperately hunting for missing children with extra bonus insight into Ashaya, another Psy facing the Council while still being Psy – not an outsider like Sasha or Faith. She’s still Psy, she’s still Silent – but she still fights the Council. A Psy doesn’t have to be none-Psy to oppose the Council or what the Psy have become.

The Frankenstein Chronicles, Season 1, Episode 5: The Frankenstein Murders

Everything went very out of control last episode with the exposure of several murderers, lots of body buying and Sir Pool being most displeased by the scandal of the murders and the Frankenstein child (dubbed Alice) being exposed to the press

Lord and Lady Harvey are pretty happy as it looks like the Anatomy act will be stopped, which both pleases their faith and means Lord Harvey can continue with his hospital-which-is-totally-against-surgery (which is apparently a good thing). Also Lady Harvey may now not have to marry Sir Bently for money now her brother doesn’t have to shut down his charitable hospital.

These people do not seem to understand how money works. Or charities

She also kisses Marlotte because she’s really into the brooding type. I guess it’s the puritanism.

Marlotte is still on the case though because he would quite like to figure out who was murdering children. He gets an insight from Mary Shelley – she’s just heard about “Alice” and provides us with a flashback of insight: back in the day, she, her husband Percy, James Hogg and Sir William used to almost-kill each other and then use electricity to resuscitate themselves afterwards. For science!

Until it didn’t quite work and James Hogg didn’t get resuscitated and his death had to be passed off as a suicide. Oopsie.

See this is what happens in the days before television, the idle rich become bored and indulge in murder play

Anyway, Mary Shelley realises that the existence of Alice means that Sir William may be playing his naughty games again and goes to confront him. He doesn’t do much to allay suspicion by actually near throttling her – so she takes her suspicion to Marlotte.

At the same time the unconscious Flora is being “cared for” by the super creepy Sir Garnet, Sir William’s cousin. We quickly learn he’s the one with the thing for the Little Girl Lost poem (remember that? We spent like 3 episodes wallowing in that irrelevance), and he’s also the one who raped Flora. Thankfully she wakes up from her coma (convenient coma timing!) just as Marlotte is visiting to add her accusations to his – Marlotte takes the now-totally-in-good-health girl back home.

Who needs surgery when you have convenient healing powers!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Masquerading Magician (Accidental Alchemist #2) by Gigi Pandian

Zoe continues to struggle to find a cure for Dorian, the gargoyle animated by Alchemy centuries ago. And though she’s an immortal alchemist herself, she continues to struggle to find answers and her treatments for Dorian are costing her her health.

Her research stalled, she looks desperately for an Alchemist who may know more – but Alchemists don’t keep in touch and do keep themselves well hidden.

Zoe’s continued exploration of Alchemy continues to draw me in, along with her life with Dorian the gargoyle and the attempt to try and save him from a fate worse than death. They interact really well over food and caring and jokes and lots of banter. We expand the world building a bit, exploring the different kinds of alchemy, the different talents of alchemists and what those talents mean. There’s more look at the cost of the new alchemy Zoe has discovered and some great connections with another Alchemist from Zoe’s past.

There are some flashbacks into the past of the book and Dorian’s family/mentors which are interesting. I liked them, I liked the insight into the past and the history of the book that is the key to so much – but I think I would have liked them a lot more if the rest of the book had been better paced. This is a thing I often come across – interesting interludes which are great in a coherent, fast paced story but become a painful drag in a story which meanders and limps along

But this book is slow. The sad thing is that it doesn’t really come together. The elements that most interested me about this story just don’t appear to be here in large amounts. Zoe spends a lot of time fretting about Dorian, but other than fret, not a lot is done to address it. We don’t get a whole lot of Alchemy. This isn’t for lack of trying it’s because they simply don’t really have a huge amount of leads – but I’m left wondering through most of the middle of the book about what exactly is happening and where we are going.

So we then have this historical jewel theft and treasure hunters and a bizarre murder and this whole not-quite mystery about a guy who may be an alchemist or not which just drags on in circles after circles and more circles and ends up not actually being all that relevant to anything. And it just seems so bizarre that they’re even involved – even after looking at the whole alchemist question they start wondering about this historical crime et al and I’m just bemused as to why? Am I supposed to care? Why does Zoe care? Why is she invested in this?

The Strain, Season 3, Episode 2: Bad White

All the recap that should have stated the previous episode has now been pushed into this episode for some reason.

Anyway we catch up with the evil guy, Eldritch Palmer, who is super unhappy, His health is failing, Coco is dead, he has no-one around him he likes very much and Eichorst is taunting him and make him play subservient loyal follower

It doesn’t suit him well.

He’s been denied the White which is why his health his failing

His first option is to pay some unethical scientists to experiment on vampires and sick people to try and discover the White. It doesn’t work – it does kill people and eventually the scientists walk away because they can’t tolerate the terribad things he’s making them done

That leaves making a deal with Abraham to see if he will share… Abe considers it but, ultimately, knows better than to trust Palmer – though in the process Vasiliy learns about the white and Abraham’s use, it’s going to be interesting to see how he manages this.

Abe, meanwhile, is still trying to translate the Lumen and not really achieving a great deal. While his own health is beginning to fail – much to Vasiliy’s obvious concern. Quinlan is frustrated by them not actually doing anything and then Ephraim shows up

Ephraim has spent a long time to tell them about Nora and Zack – and Quinlan is duly suspicious of the delay while Abe is all sympathetic while warning Ephraim that the Master has an evil nefarious plan involving Zach. Well duh.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Once Broken Faith (October Daye #10) by Seanan McGuire

The cure for Elfshot – the poison that puts fae to sleep for 100 years – has been found and it promises to completely overhaul fae society. Now the ultimate weapon beyond death has the potential to be neutralised and who knows what the fallout will be. Especially with all the people who can now rejoin society

To keep ahead of the potential chaos, the High King and Queen of North America have called a conclave of West Coast monarchs to discuss the issue and the way forwards. And, of course, October is invited. And by “invited” he means “required to attend”. That means lots of Pureblood politics, being the only Changeling in the room and a lot of etiquette

Until a king is murdered – and then things get far more awkward and really, politics become the least of Toby’s worries.

There are so many characters in this book I love. I love October and her relationships with the other cast. I love how they can be very complex like her mixed emotions with Sylvester. I love how she manages to be sensible and emotional in a very real way. I love how he can respect someone but still not have time for the bullshit, I love how she interacts with the world around her striking a delicate balance as a changeling, yet a Changeling with influence. I love how her past has shaped her, I love how dedicated she is to the ones she loves – and all the ones she loves, not just her love interest. It is a joy to read through Toby’s excellent, complicated, very real eyes.

I love how she’s constantly out of her depth – but smart and funny and quickly adapting and able to cut through the bullshit around her with an excellent skill – being the outsider while being in the halls of power gives her an excellent insight on the glaring flaws of the court system. It’s excellent and excellent way to present world building as well.

The Luidaeg is an ongoing wonderful, terrifying, caring, powerful, arrogant, yet gentle, furious and awesome and snarky character who bulldozes her way through everything with the sure and certain knowledge that she will kill you and eat your skin if you have to

Then there’s Arden, the new Queen who is desperately trying to find her feet and is really not used to all this yet but she is desperately trying. And she has a decorating theme, so that’s half the battle.

All of these characters work so well because the world setting is amazing. And I don’t just mean the incredible work that has gone into researching and including so many fae varieties and legends and including them in the book. There are histories and politics and wonderful insights into magic (even if that magic is “magic is weird and has few rules). There’s a real sense of a heavy world beyond all the references that has just continued to build and grow over the period of the books. This works to make all the political intrigue – from the different crowns, the different view of Undersea, the treatment of Changelings, the Firstborn and how they relate to their descendants to the whole political structure – feel not just involves and complex but also real. Like it’s been fully designed to work, rather than twisted to fit the convenience.

Killjoys, Season 2, Episode 10: How to Kill Friends and Influence People

Noooooo, it’s season finale time already?! But but but it just started?! Oh why do shows like Vampire Diaries go on like a bunch of Duracell bunnies in a love triangle, but these awesome shows end so quickly!?

We start this last awesome episode of this last awesome series with some excellent exposition to that mysteries that have continued through this season – provided by Khlyen and Fancy now joining Dutch and crew and Khlyen’s new anti-plasma toxin he has (and helpfully removes the Black Root who had found them).

So – this explanation. Way back in the past Khlyen and his daughter Aneela the Dutch doppleganger found the plasma which they intended to end hunger by using it to produce super crops – which it did. Then they found out it possesses people because the plasma is sentient, known as the Hollen. And, yes, Khlyen is one of these Hollen people – so are all the immortal Sixes. Unfortunately, as we learn later in the episode, the Hollen-ness is not good for developing minds and Aneela became insane and universe-conquery with it.

Ok, insert here – can we not? Can we not with the idea that insanity = violent or insanity = dangerous because mental illness very very very rarely means any of those things. One of the most destructive tropes about mental illness out there is that the mentally ill are dangerous.

Have her be power hungry. Have her want to destroy the universe and be its empress. You don’t have to be mentally ill to want to Control All the Things.

Adding to this Khlyen reveals that many centuries ago the Hollen went to the 9’s ancestors and offered them a choice. Choice 1: prepare for assimilation over a few centuries where you get really rich and powerful. Choice 2: you will be squished

Unsurprisingly, the 9 went with choice 1 and they’re preparing for the handover now – which including all of Delle Sayah’s planning this season, it’s all to get ready to hand over to their Hollen overlords; and she wants to be one of them hence her working for Khlyen.

Khlyen now has some super toxin that kills plasma (which he used on Black Root) which they can use to destroy all the plasma. This will mean that Aneela will have no reason to invade the Quad because all she wants is more plasma and plasma infected people. Not by going to Arkhen – but by finding the “parent plasma” which was originally used to grow a tree back in Khlyen’s feed-the-world stage. If they destroy this, they destroy all the Quad plasma and Aneela won’t invade. Kill the Plasma Tree, Save the Quad

Doesn’t quite match “Save the Cheerleader, Kill the world”

So they need to find the Tree – which involves desecrating one of Alvis’s holy books (which is hilarious and snarky) and find that Aneela has stashed the tree in a super bank

Of course among all of this we have some really excellent emotion between the grieving Johnny and Dutch, lots of Dutch confronting her own issues with Khlyen as well – they have some really excellent emotion on this show.

So the super bank – this involves Trick from Lost Girl (because Trick is awesome) – or rather Serafan. He’s the bank manager. We get lots of fighting scenes with Johnny being in an awesome ship fight with a snarky Lucy. We have an awesome firefight with D’avin, Fancy being used as a human shield and a whole lot of snark. And Khlyen and Dutch slaughtering guards hand-to-hand while Serafan drinks tea. He drinks tea! It’s awesome! And snarky!

Seriously every single fighting scene in this episode is just a perfect example of what this show is – awesome awesome awesome and exciting.