Saturday, November 5, 2016

Z Nation, Season Three, Episode Seven: Welcome to Murphytown

After a nasty sojourn in a mental hospital, Z Nation is back on track.  Doc and 10K are reunited with Warren, Addy, Sun and Hector. This is when Warren finally learns that Murphy has taken up residence in Spokane and is busy making his society of Blends.  Quite unsurprisingly, Warren is disgusted with this.  Warren and Sun discuss the injections that 10K is carrying with him, wondering whether it's a version of the virus that Murphy was injected with it.  Sun and Warren both feel that it's imperative to get to Murphy so that Sun can get to work on some kind of cure.  10K is not at all forthcoming about what the injections are and in fact, he steadfastly refuses to admit that he's been bitten despite Doc's advise that he come clean.  Warren continues to question him and it's clear from the look on her face that she knows that something is up with 10K but she gives him space, waiting for him to tell her.

10K is absolutely shit at keeping his cover despite not wanting to tell Warren that he has been bitten. Twice, 10K speaks up in defense of Murphy.  We all know that 10K has always had a contentious relationship with Murphy, so the very idea that he's saying that Murphy isn't such a bad guy and defending his desire to make Blends really stands out.  This tells us that the effect of Murphy's bite really isn't effected by distance.  Murphy may not be there to directly control 10K, but 10K is very much changed and is moving in a sort of zombie mode.

The man arrives in Spokane.  Season three started with a flashback for the express purpose of introducing this new antagonist, so when he shows up, we know that he is there to do some dirty work for Zona.  At this point, I don't think we really know a lot about Zona, except that its run by some powerful pre apocalypse people.  The man lines up with all of the others to take the vaccination, since Murphy is no longer biting people, given that he's having some trouble controlling himself and his skin is peeling again.  After being ordered around and sought after, Murphy believed that Spokane would be his dream. He does after all have a throne now.  It turns out that the dream isn't exactly what Murphy thought it would be. Sure, he has a group of sycophants willing to do whatever he wants but it also means that he cannot have an honest conversation with anyone.  He clearly didn't think that he would miss that despite the contentious relationship he used to have with 10K and Warren.  Now, when he tells a joke, whether or not it's funny everyone laughs as though it's the most hilarious thing they've ever heard.  It's an uncomfortable scene and reminds the audience how important honest communication is. Everyone, no matter how much power they have needs someone to be honest with them.

The man is quick to ingratiate himself with Murphy, who's rather quick to let his guard down. Murphy's big plan is to get the lights back on and get some brains supposedly for the purposes of research. The man pretends that he wants nothing more than to serve Murphy and his happy to kill one of Murphy's sycophants and even eats brains to prove his loyalty.  The Man pretends to eat all the brains but his happy to supply Murphy with more when he asks.  Later, we see in a flashback that The Man hasn't actually eaten the brains and in fact, didn't get vaccinated because he used a fake arm.

Salem, Season 3, Episode 1: After the Fall

So last season loads of people seemed to die – far too many for it to actually stick without a reboot. So now the question is, who has woo-woo saved?

We also open with insects and filth and yuckiness just to remind us how terrible everything is.

First let’s catch up with Sebastian and the witches who have decided absolutely everything is awesome. Young John the Baby Devil is now in charge and makes it clear to all these witches that he is their new dictator and will murder everyone who doesn’t bow and scrape before him

Let us call this a final death knell to the original awesome concept Salem had. The idea that we had all of these extremely oppressed, helpless and suffering women who turned to magic and evil because they had literally no other choice, it was their only chance for power, for freedom and even for survival. The only chance to escape their suffering.

And now? They’re being as brutalised and more by their god than they ever were by being oppressed in Salem. Oh and the power of the witches briefly was held by Countess Marburg, a woman with so much wealth and class privilege it seemed even the misogynists of Salem were willing to kneel to her. And now it rests in the hands of Baby Devil (a very rich, white boy) and Sebastian (a very rich straight white man). We’ve not just abandoned this theme but we’ve jumped up and down on it and then ground it into the dirt to ensure it can never live again.

Sebastian isn’t happy though because Mary is dead and he’s super sad about this and drinking her blood doesn’t make up for that (of course they’re drinking her blood because why not, it’s Salem)? He’s also keeping Marbug’s body in her coffin and not helping resurrect her – so I do hope Lucy Lawless will be back at some point. Because Lucy Lawless.

Tituba is another person who is still alive – but blinded by the birds last season tearing out her eyes. Speaking of eaten eyes, last season Tituba chowed down on the seer Petrus’s eyes (because this is Salem and we have more people eating disgusting things than the average I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here series) which means now, blind, she’s inherited that seery power. Using that seer power she can see that the world is officially fucked. Apparently summoning and releasing the devil is a Bad Thing and everything is now going to shit and absolutely no-one signed up for this.

More, the only way they can stop this is with Mary Sibley. Unfortunately, Mary was killed last season and we’ve already seen John bury her. Luckily magic means death can only be a brief issue. Though it’s apparently super unadvisable to bring back the dead, probably less so than letting the Devil end the world.

Supernatural, Season 12, Episode 4: American Nightmare

Oooh flashbacks waaay back to eaaaarly Supernatural when we had Azazel and the human psychics – including Sam way back in the day.

Since this is a monster-of-the-week-ish episode it has to relate to some emotional issue the brothers are having. Specifically, Dean, master of not dealing with his emotions, is feeling all abandoned by Mary leaving for some space. While Sam has some sense of emotional maturity and recognises Mary may need a break to absorb the massive changes in her life, Dean is pouting that she doesn’t respond to his text within 10 minutes of him sending it.

This brings us to the case of the week – people dying of apparent stigmata. Dean focuses on a woman who works for the CPS after her boss was the first victim – because the woman is a wiccan so Dean reads “evil witch” in a moment of murderous religious prejudice. But mainly because she works for the CPS and is examining a close knit family and Dean is having huge family issues and is hissing at anything he sees as threatening his idealised idea of family

And the hyper religious family who are home schooling and off the grid aren’t presented as inherently evil form the beginning. They raise some decent points about how modern life had been far from fulfilling for them (though the point of long working hours is a good point it is also accompanied by an all too frequent demonisation for medicine that treats mental health). Dean in his waaah-I-want-a-family mode is totally enamoured of this close knit simple family

Sam, however, is less enthralled by a family who apparently let their eldest daughter die because they opted to pray rather than seek easily available medical care. He has no time for that at all.

They split up, Dean pursuing his witch lead (only to find out his suspect absolutely does not want the job she now has thrust on her and absolutely no-one would. Oh and she gives Dean her number because he’s hot. Ok, I get this is supposed to be a joke and, yes, Dean is hot. But can we at least try to address the fact Dean was completely willing to murder this woman because of her religious faith).

Friday, November 4, 2016

American Horror Story, Season 6. Episode 8: Chapter 8

It looks like I was too hasty last week in assuming Lee, Audrey and Monet were all dead. They are being tortured, especially Lee who is being brutally, cruelly tortured by having strips of her flesh removed for the Polk family to eat

She’s left under the charge of one of the ridiculous Deliverance stereotypes (cannibalism, bestiality, obsession with pigs, incest, oxy and developmentally disabled – this isn’t just Bingo. This is ALL the Bingo). Lee comes perilously close to despair – accepting the oxycontin he offers for the pain despite her initial objection that she’s an addict and can’t risk it. She has given up hope, she no longer sees a chance of her escaping. In this moment she leaves a message for her daughter – she confesses to killing

She works to try and get through to him so he’d help her escape. She appeals to his sense of family including a bombshell moment, when she confesses to killing Mason. Yes, everyone was right – Lee did kill her ex-husband because she couldn’t stand the idea of losing her daughter. Young Polk also gives some family history – including the pig masked serial killer.

She hangs on and manipulates and seduces the Polk guard until he releases one of her hands – and she then kills him to make her own escape. Go Lee. I actually think she will be the survivor now – just because the irony is that her confession is now on tape.

Audrey and Monet also manage an escape. More Polk kids decide they need teeth necklaces for whatever reason, along with rambling away and giving the impression they don’t realise television may be fictional. They try to rip out Monet’s teeth and Monet escapes – but she can’t break the chains holding Audrey. She runs, later pursued by two of the Polks

That leaves Audrey at the mercy of Mama Polk and, despite some brief defiance, Audrey quickly crumples before the teeth pulling old woman.

Until Lee arrives and rescues her – and then Audrey stoves in Mama Polk’s head.

There’s something here – the two Black women thought, resisted – consistently – and escaped (and saved Audrey). Audrey did not, her defiance crumples – in fact crumple and crying. The Black women fight. The White woman delicately collapses. The flip side is that this behaviour can equally be an indicator of how Audrey is considerably more sheltered than Lee and Monet (and this can be a racial trope but is also a racial reality).

Women on From Dusk Till Dawn

When talking about misogyny on From Dusk Till Dawn it feels a lot like going after low hanging fruit. Especially since it’s tempting to spend a lot of time talking about the first season of From Dusk Till Dawn.

After all, the first season involved the ultimate goal of travelling to a strip club, had acres and acres of sexualised naked female flesh. It set up Kate and Santanico as the ultimate Madonna/Whore comparison and had one of the co-protagonists, Richie, be a serial killer who targetted women which we all quickly got over. And we had a guy with a gun strapped to his crotch.

You could probably spent a long time talking about how the first season was not a stellar portrayal of female characters. However, the first season was also very much based on the film which was, if anything, even worse and the writers chose to adhere to it very clearly

I used the word “chose” here deliberately because I won’t pretend they couldn’t have made many more changes than they did and I’m not going to act like the film is holy writ they couldn’t possibly have changed.

But, as I mentioned at the end of season one and the beginning of season 2 and 3, the moment when I thought From Dusk Till Dawn really came into its own was when it transcended its source material. This is when we started to see the introduction of meso-American mythology, the introduction of the Lords as an organisation and Santanico presented as so much more than a beautiful woman who bites people. There was history and world building and development and From Dusk Till Dawn could have been a show that impressed me by the huge potential the writers saw in the source material which I could never have imagined (similar to Buffy: because you can’t tell me that the person who watched that awful film and said “we can get a 7 season epic hit from this!” wasn’t selling his soul to someone!)

This was a chance to change things up.

I’m also not even going to focus on season 2 - even though we had a terrible trope of Santanico’s goals and desires being completely subsumed by Richie’s and Seth’s; her revenge being sidelined, she becoming a side-character in what should have been her

I’m even leaving this because Season 3 gives me so much more to focus on

When we reached season 3 I think the best way to describe the depiction of women is “supreme disappointment”.

We began with some very high potential - we have Santanico, of course. La Diosa, the hope and inspiration for so many Culebras. We had Lord Venganza, the last surviving ruler of the Culebras, survivor of their slavery in Xibalba and, by definition, the remaining leader of the Culebra resistance against Amaru. We had Ximana, Venganza’s general, chief follower and leader in her absence.

We needed these characters to counter the fact Kate, the other female character who’d managed to cling to existence to this season, was pretty much absent the whole season. Oh the actress was there, but the character was gone; the character was completely subsumed by Amaru, pretty much utterly helpless throughout.

We also had a return of Freddie’s wife.

I don’t even remember her name and, while I could easily look it up, I’m not going to because “Freddie’s wife” is exactly how this show has depicted her. Her existence is defined entirely by this, her involvement in the story is entirely dependent on this. This is all the show allowed her to be.

And she’s not the only minor female character introduced and utterly wasted this season. For some reason we met Dakota McGraw, vengeance driven daughter of the ex-sheriff Earl McGraw who was murdered by the Geckos. I found her to be a distraction from the main plot and was confused as to why she was actually there - apparently the writers thought the same because after 1 and a bit episode’s involved they dropped her into the plot box. I can’t imagine what anyone in the writer’s room was thinking  - let’s introduce this woman who has dedicated herself to seeking murderous revenge for her dad’s murderer. She finds them, realises the supernatural is going on and then goes home. Never mind revenge. Never mind cannibal magic. Never mind vampires. Never mind anything - she’s just going to go home and… and.. Who the hell knows what she’s going to do because she just decided to walk away from the apocalypse and her revenge to take up white-water rafting or scrapbooking or something.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Aftermath, Season One, Episode Six: Madame Sosostris

I don't know why Aftermath has such a difficult time keeping it's cast on one location.  It's like they feel that splitting the characters up and giving us two different story lines each week makes up for the fact that they still haven't given its audience a reasonable explanation into exactly what is going on. Even the title is misleading because aftermath is what happens after an even of substance.  So far, we have not been informed of some precipitating event which has lead to this situation and we are over 1/3 of the way through the season. 

The episode begins at Sally's funeral.  Karen is almost emotionless as she lights the pyre.  I suppose they decided to go with cremation for effect but it makes less than zero sense given how hot the flames have to be and how long they to burn to cremate a human body.  At any rate, the Copelands feel a tremor but Booner tells them not to worry because apparently, the mountain does this all of the time. 

They all head back to the base, where the Copelands decide now that they are back together, that they should return home. Booner tries to talk them into staying given that he has great man power and supplies but Karen in particular is determined to home and not to take anything from Booner when they leave.  Karen decides to head to Dana's old camp for supplies and Joshua decides to try to track down an academic who wrote about everything which is happening now, so that they can prepare for whatever goes next.

Joshua, Brianna, Devyn, and Jane, leave in one vehicle and Karen, Dana, Matt and Martin in another.  Because Aftermath loves to split their cast up, when they reach the campground, Karen, Dana, Matt and Martin split up.  Karen and Matt immediately start getting together nearby supplies while Dana and Martin head further out.  It's not long before Dana and Martin start talking about having sex, given that it's the end of the world and she will be leaving soon.  Martin questions if this is really what Dana wants, given the age difference between them.  I guess Matt actively seeking consent is supposed to make up for the fact that Dana is essentially a child and at 15, is not old enough to consent to sex with someone that much older than her. They lie down on a pile of hay but its not long before a Jubokko wraps itself around Dana's leg for a little snack.  Fortunately for her, Martin is there to come to the rescue. They don't get time to celebrate because they are quickly surrounded by two female prisoners.  It seems that a group of female convicts have claimed the camp and its supplies for themselves and are not pleased to see Dana and Martin poaching.  This is when the Jubokko appears again and grabs the leg of one of the prison women and drags her under a building.  Dana and Martin seize the break and take off into the woods.  

Joshua decides to leave Brianna, Devyn and Jane behind and heads into the university hoping to find the work of Gloria Douglas.  When he runs into Gloria, the first thing he's forced to do is give an apology.  It seems that before what ever happened starting happening, Gloria had written about this and Joshua and a group of his peers went out of their way to discredit her.  Gloria seems oddly stinted but is listening.  Joshua continues to speak and Gloria attacks.  Joshua manages to escape the swing of Gloria's axe and tries to get distance between the two of them but once cornered, Jane magically shows up in time to kill Gloria.  Gloria dissolves and ends up looking like a puddle of grease on the ground. Joshua explains that this couldn't be Gloria and must have been a shapeshifter.  They head off in search of the real Gloria firm in the belief that the real Gloria must be somewhere close by.

Born Yesterday by Tatter Jack

Schae is a fantasy author heading to Scotland to do some research for her next book

When she’s attacked by a wolf. Which shouldn’t be possible since there are no wolves in Scotland.

She manages to find safety – and the compelling grey eyes of Darak Banakar, who inspires all kinds of feelings in her

Including her long lost memories.

In many ways I should hate this book because front and central of the story is Schae and Darek who meet each other and fall in vast love/lust (well there is some amnesia removed memories that may explain it but still). There’s little attempt to get to know each other before the waves of lust and sopping wet underwear come in. Yet the way it is written is almost a parody of itself – the humour is always there and manages to take the eye roll out of a lot of it. It seems almost self aware of how ridiculous it is to describe this woman who has to carry spare underwear everywhere because of the gushing fluid Darek invokes every time she sees him. They manage to be fun and they manage to be fun together despite this extremely troped romance – a romance that has her desperately trust him even though she thinks he’s a lethal serial killer; in part due to her own tragic past and lack of self worth, which is more than a little fraught with exploited female vulnerability

The flashbacks and past stories are also really epic and well told. So much so that I want to read this story. While I only have limited interest in Darek and Schae, I am definitely here for the story of Darek and Sonas, sell swords and heroes? Those I’m interested in. There story is epic. The story of what happened to Darek, why they are trapped in this cycle – that is also epic

And it’s all so confusing that it’s rather hidden in a very odd writing style. Not least of which because this book is written in the second person from Schae’s point of view with lots of “you” referring to Darek. It’s an odd choice

The problem is that this story is told in such a complicated, convoluted manner, through a whole range of flashbacks. Flashbacks that are so utterly disconnected from the rest of the book it feels like a completely different novel.

The main plot line has the protagonist an author called Schae with amnesia who can’t remember her life before she was an adult who comes to Scotland to research a book. There she meets Darek and they fall in love. He’s clearly supernatural of some kind but it looks like a very conventional Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

From Dusk Till Dawn, Season 3, Episode 10: Dark Side of the Sun

It’s time for the season finale and the epic fight scene as we follow our heroes to take down the newly resurrected and re-embodied Amaru

Well, some of our heroes

Because for various odd and dubious stylistic choices various members of the gang are completely taken out of the action

Freddie and his family go running, end up in a hospital and hide in an office because random hospital staff become murderous presumably due to Amaru-ness. They add nothing to this episode

Carlos decides that because of some stuff that happened in the labyrinth in confusing season 2, he can’t actually do anything this battle so is going to wander around being cryptic

Richie runs to hell, is promptly captured, has many confusing conversations with Carlos and meets up with both Jaguar warrior guy and Aiden Turner (who still isn’t dead) so they can all… do a whole lot of nothing.

So what about Santanico – la diosa? Yeah don’t get excited. After Carlos pushes her to accept the accolade she manages to pose dramatically so a lot of mind controlled culebras can break out of Amaru’s conditioning. Yay she’s actually doing something! And she confirms that Amaru did kill the woman she loved – yes overtly confirmed bisexuality after the love interest is already long long dead

Have three stars!

She and her loyal followers (who less resemble “liberated” so much as “newly enslaved”) find Amaru. They die in seconds so it’s time for an epic confrontation between Amaru and Santanico, a massive, awesome fight scene of great powers and skill reminding us that Santanico is… wait, it’s over already? And Santanico lost? Really? What she just stands there because woo-woo? That’s it?

And lo, Santanico joins most of the rest of the cast in not being even slightly relevant or effective. If the culebras all decide to go atheist next season you know why

So what does that leave us with?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Back from the Undead (The Bloodhound Files #5) by D.D. Barant

When Stoker, an old adversary of Jace's, contacts the NSA seeking help to break up a child trafficking ring, Jace isn't sure she should leap to the bait. If there's any chance that this could be true, Jace knows she has to try.  Stopping child trafficking will see Jace cross the border where her badge doesn't hold as much power she's used to and if that were not enough, she's running out of ammunition for her gun, not that a gun will necessarily help her against the ancient God whose attention she seems to have unwittingly garnered.  Just like everything else since Jace has entered Thropirelem, everything is SNAFU.

The hook for this story is supposedly a child trafficking ring; however, D.D. Barant quickly changes the focus and the child trafficking actually becomes an almost insignificant plot point.  As a reader, it felt a little bit like a bait and switch situation for me, particularly given that the plot we were given is so very convoluted that at times it was hard to follow. Also, if you're going to bring up something as serious as child trafficking, you really need to follow through.

Thropirelem is an alternate universe in which vampires, Golems, and shifters exist in greater numbers than humans and have in fact take over the earth.  This is not a book one should read if you have not already read the preceding four books.  As it is, even with awareness of the backstory, Back from the Undead is hard to follow at times. D.D. Barant spends a lot of time on Shintoism in this book and introduces its concept of heaven and hell, as well as various deities.  I will admit upfront that other than the kitsune, I know virtually nothing about Shintoism and therefore, I am no place to judge how Barant treated the belief system.

Having a large focus of Back from the Undead be Shintoism, naturally led to the inclusion of characters of colour, including the return of Tanaka. Unfortunately, the characters of colour were all evil in some way with the exception of Tanaka. This is a problem given that this series hasn't been particularly inclusive in terms of race.  We did learn about Tanaka's back story and it turns out that he's a samurai who now feels that he owes Jace a debt because he betrayed her.  Unfortunately, paying back this debt means sacrificing himself for Jace. If you're keeping score, this means that all of the Asians are evil and the only one who isn't dies. This isn't great.

The Strain, Season 3, Episode 9: Do or Die

Everything has gone from bad to worse - Ferraldo tries to rally her troops, but they have been decimated and, ultimately all of New York is lost. She tries her last plan – they all fall back to a secure area, but most of her forces abandon her. She’s left with 7 people willing to fight to defend the city

Looking at that even she realises it’s time to leave

Augustin and Angel have the same idea. New York is lost.

Vasiliy seems to be joining in the despair, trying to convince Abe and Dutch to leave the city with him (not Ephraim though). Ephraim is super happy Dutch decides to stay and fight because he decides it’s all about Dutch staying with him because she can’t possibly have any other motive. They’re more than a little nauseating together.

This attempted escape goes poorly when Feraldo’s escape vehicle ends up stuck in traffic. At night. Being stuck in cars at night in a vampire infested city isn’t good.

Feraldo’s group is attacked – seen by Angel who insists he and Gus go and help (much to Gus’s disgust and disagreement). There’s a battle as they all try to escape, people around Ferraldo are taken down one by one… and then her aid is killed who has been there from the first.

And Ferraldo is infected. Angel is bitten. In the end only Augustin escapes. Everyone else dies (epicly in Angel’s case with a shining silver cross harkening back to his wrestler days). While part of me will never be happy at the death of a strong female character and the awesome, disabled Latino Angel on a show that hasn’t been good to either POC or women, part of me also recognises the power and meaning of this. The importance of these characters is established because their deaths is supposed to be a shock and a symbol – their death is the death of New York. Their loss is the end of hope for New York. Their loss is symbolic of the end of the city and hope for victory

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III

One of my Facebook friends posted about this book and at first I thought that there was no way this book could possibly be real.  I trotted off to Goodreads and Amazon and sure enough, The Haunted Vagina is a real book.  Having read so many books in this genre, I'm always looking for anything quirky that brings something new and so I simply couldn't resist the lure of The Haunted Vagina.  

I don't even know where to begin with this review.  I suppose I should start by saying that I read the majority of the book with my legs tightly crossed saying, "no, no, no". I don't know about you, but the very idea of a vagina being spread wide enough to encompass a full grown man just made me never want to spread my legs ever again.  Pause and read that sentence again. A grown ass man crawled inside a vagina.  

It all begins when Steve and his girlfriend Stacy are all cuddled up and he hears a strange sound. At first he believes they left the television on and then he wonders if something is living in the walls. Finally, Stacey admits that her vagina is haunted.  That's enough for Steve to decide that he's really not interested in sex with her anymore.  Stacey, not being down with abstinence, forces Steve into doing the 69.  As Stacey reaches orgasm, a skeleton begins to crawl out of her vagina. Stacey is freaked out for awhile but it's enough to make her decide that if Steve really cares about her, he'll crawl inside her vagina and figure out what the hell is going on in there. 

For the most part, Steve is the reluctant participant in The Haunted Vagina.  He is physically put into a position to have oral sex with Stacy after explicitly saying he's not interested.  
"Same goes with oral sex. We both like to receive it, but neither of us want to give it. Normally we can compromise on oral. If I give it to her, she will give it to me. Unfortunately, I’m not willing to go near her vagina anymore. Not with my penis, not with my tongue. 
“It’s not like you have to stick your tongue inside of me,” she says. “You can just lick my glowworm.”
"Glowworm is her pet name for a clitoris. 
“It’s on the outside,” she says.
 “But still . . .” I say.
“I’ll keep my legs closed,” she says. “You won’t even hear it.” 
I don’t reply. She turns away from me and takes off her work clothes, as if I agreed. Folding her glasses and putting them back in their case. Her movements are cold and mechanical. She must be pissed. Giving me the silent treatment like the time I washed her white fuzzy coat wrong, or the time she found pictures of my old girlfriends and I wouldn’t let her throw them out. On those occasions, she ignored me and locked herself in the bedroom. On this occasion, however, she wants to get intimate. She won’t look me in the eyes as she unbuttons my shirt and pulls off my pants. She picks me up and turns me upside-down, then plops us on the bed."
The above is written as just another bizarre incident particularly given the fact that a skeleton climbs it's way out of Stacey's vagina when she begins to orgasm but make no mistake, this scene is describing a sexual assault. Steve actually says that he's been "consumed" by Stacey since the day they met. The fact that Steve enjoys the fellatio he receives doesn't negate the fact that he said no to a sexual encounter. Steve enters her vagina twice through coercion to prove his love for her.  Once he's transformed inside the vagina to some sort of creature, it only takes a month for Stacey to have sex with someone else in an attempt to drown him in another man's semen.  Yes, it's as gross as it sounds. 

Lucifer Season Two, Episode Six: Monster

Image result for lucifer

Monster marks the halfway point of the second season of Lucifer. This season has all been about Lucifer's family situation.  Some of it has been funny, like Charlotte learning how to deal with the human family she has been saddled with and some sad, like Amenadiel losing his powers.  It's been an interesting dynamic to see explored so far, particularly because at least to some degree it shifts the story line away from self involvement and the damned weekly murder. 

As typical of Lucifer, Monster begins with the case of the week.  A zombie wedding is taking place in a cemetery.  The groom is shot in the arm and then the bride is murdered by a snipers bullet.  As the case progresses, a man running a food truck is similarly killed. We learn that the husband of a woman who died with lung disease is killing the spouses of those he deems responsible for his wife's death. Dan of all people feels momentarily sorry for the man when he thinks about how he would feel if Chloe died. Lucifer offers himself as a target for the sniper but the sniper shoots around Lucifer, not wanting to kill an innocent person.  This offends Lucifer, who doesn't at all feel innocent after the death of Uriel.  As it turns out, the man chose to kill innocent people because he wanted to be punished, firm in the belief that his long absences from home meant that his wife's condition went undiagnosed for far too long. 

Lucifer is in personal drama because he killed Uriel and for the first time in his long existence he feels guilty.  Lucifer's job since his fall has been to punish the evil doer when they die and now, there's no one to punish him.  This of course lines up neatly with the case of the week. Being the devil, he's absolutely certain that he deserves to be punished and simply cannot let go of the pain he is feeling.  His path to seeking justice is to act out, forcing Chloe to lay down the law time and time again.  Chloe is stern with Lucifer but she can also see that he is clearly hurting and asks him repeatedly to open up and share what is going on but Lucifer is dismissive. Finally, Chloe talks Lucifer into seeing Linda.

Lucifer begins to talk about Uriel and Linda listens patiently for a bit before the frustration overwhelms her. Though Lucifer has been upfront with everyone that he is the biblical devil, no one of course believes him.  All of the time during his counselling, Linda believed that Lucifer was talking in metaphors and structured her counselling around this.  This week, Linda believes that Lucifer will never progress if he doesn't stop the metaphors and get real with her. She demands that he be honest and despite an initial hesitation, Lucifer complies.  For the first time, Lucifer reveals his real face and this leaves Linda speechless and unable to respond.  Lucifer simply stands and leaves the room as Linda stares off into space.  It looks like Linda might need her own counselling after this.

While Chloe is trying to reign in Lucifer and solve the case, she also deals with growing pains sharing an apartment with Maze. The first sign that the two of them living together might not be such a good idea is when she discovers Trixie on Maze's sex swing which she installed in the living room of all places.  Chloe makes it clear that in order to continue to live there, Maze is going to have to start considering that they share a space with a child.  Maze of course doesn't take well to this news.

Once Upon a Time, Season 6, Episode 6: Dark Waters

This week’s flashback is back t Killian’s pirate days, back when he was still hunting down Rumple to be brutally murdered by him get his revenge.

Along the way he was kind of kidnapped by Nemo

Yes, only on Once Upon a Time can captain Hook be kidnapped by Nemo. It seems Nemo has a habit of collecting crew members who are obsessed with revenge so he can teach them that vengeance is hollow and they can all be one big happy family and he wants Killian to join him.

As part of that he leads them to get some buried treasure – a key to the Land of Untold Stories which we’re supposed to be surprised by but, really, a mysterious key? Where else was it going to go? Narnia?

In Storybrooke we focus on Henry pulling a full “not my real dad!” on Killian who has moved in with him and Emma. And that works, I like it – it’s easy to make this all very beatific and Henry totally embracing his new dad who is kind of cool and he kind of likes and looks up to. But there’s a difference between liking Killian and having him move in and act as an authority figure over Henry, especially since Henry is a teenager. Doubly on that, the paranoia of Storybrooke has Emma and Killian “watching” over Henry nearly constantly – he has little alone time and very few peers of his own age; another family figure moving in can as easily be seen as stifling as anything else

Add in that Killian is still a little alien – being someone who was never cursed, he has little grasp of pop culture, modern technology or modern life: while endearing in small amounts this has to get frustrating with prolonged exposure.

Which the EQ exploits, of course, exposing to Henry that Killian has kept the shears that can destroy Emma’s saviourness and save her life. Henry is outraged that Killian is making decision for Emma, expressly against her wishes (with more than a little resentment on his part at the control Killian has on his own life) which ends up with a lot more squabbling until they end up at the dock kidnapped by – Nemo’s men

Twist, back to the past: it turns out one of Nemo’s men who is seeking revenge is Liam #2 – Killian’s little brother. Killian killed their father and Liam was looking for vengeance until Nemo recruited him. Killian quickly realises he needs to leave – because it’s easy for Liam to let go of vengeance when the target of that vengeance isn’t actually there. Killian is right – and only Nemo getting in the way stops Killian being stabbed and allows him to escape.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Westworld, Season One, Episode Five: Contrapasso

Contrapasso marks the halfway point of season one of Westworld.  Now that we know the characters fairly well, Westworld has sped up the narrative.  Something is obviously going on with the hosts, Ford is playing his own game, and The Man is Black and Delores are looking for the center of the maze.  Each scene is filled with symbolism and clues as to where this story is going; however, each episode seems to get more and more complex. Contrapasso is the first episode not to begin with Delores but that doesn't mean that her role in the episode is small. In fact, between Delores and Maeve, some very interesting things are happening with the hosts.

Contrapasso begins with Ford having a conversation with Old Bill, about his pet greyhound. It seems that one day, Ford let the dog off the leash and it chased and killed a cat. The greyhound then sat down confused not knowing what to do next because it had accomplished the one thing it always wanted to.  This story really isn't about Ford's dog but in fact about the Hosts, whom he keeps on a tight leash, despite the fact that it costs profits because at the end of the day giving something or someone exactly what they want leads to disaster.  This is why Dolores is always destined to be raped and why Teddy is always destined to die.

In the park, Logan Head Douchebro is excited to finally get William to turn black hat. Douchebro is constantly breaking the fourth wall and talking about Westworld in front of the hosts. It seems that the company isn't doing well and so the company he either works for or owns (they've not told us which yet) intends to acquire Westworld.  In their research, they've learned that Ford had a partner who killed himself at the park named Arnold but beyond that they know nothing about him and haven't been able to find so much as a picture.  The three head to Pariah, where just as promised, it's a lot more dangerous and sexually explicit than the center of the park.  Head Douchebro hasn't been out this far into the game but that doesn't cause him to show any kind of caution.

Later, Dolores spots a vision of herself and follows it to into a parade. She hears Ford's voice saying sleep and when we see Dolores again, she is underground being interviewed.  Maybe this explains how it is that Benard has been able to seemingly pull Dolores out of the game without anyone knowing. Could it be that the hosts aren't physically in the basement and what we are seeing during the interview is a projection?  At any rate, Ford asks a crucial question, “Tell me Dolores, do you remember the man I used to be? … I’m sure you remember him — Arnold, the person that created you?”

Before we can even get excited about this big revelation, Ford starts questioning the last time Delores had contact with Arnold, speaking about Arnold in the third person.  Is Ford Arnold or not?  Is it just some identity he has run from? Dolores says that she hasn't heard from Arnold and reveals that Arnold wanted her to destroy the park.  In her head, Delores hears a voice saying,  “He doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him anything.”  I don't know about you but I'm even more confused and I didn't think that was possible. The only thing I know for certain is that Delores is the key to everything about the park, she just doesn't know it yet.

Crimson Veil (Otherworld #15) by Yasmine Galenorn

The war continues to rage in Otherworld with the D’Artigo sisters hearing more and more stressful news as the world hangs in the balance

But the D’Artigo sisters cannot focus on the tragedy and devastation in Otherworld. A Daemon cult is trafficking slaves and attempting to invoke a demigod of vice and corruption capable of unleashing utter devastation across the city. With vampire businesses targeted as well, the D’Artigo sisters have to act – they have no time to mourn; not for their father, not for the dead of Elqaneve and not for those who died in Menolly’s bar.

This book is pretty much a continuation of Autumn Whispers, the last book. So much so that they almost feel like one book especially since Autumn Whispers ended without any real ending

A lot of what I said in the last book pretty much applies to this as well – it feels like a distraction and a frustrating one at that. We have Shadowwing and his demon army trying to invade Earth. His allies are launching a huge invasion cross Otherworld. An alliance is forming to try and push them back and one of the major nations of the Otherworld has fallen. Many of the spirit seals have been lost and now need to be quickly reclaimed for fear of Shadowwing getting his hands on them, ripping over the portals and invading Earth.

And the sisters are focused on… something else entirely. There’s a possible daemon plot (daemons are different from demons), the raising of a demi-god and a kidnapping/trafficking/slavery ring as well as threats against vampire businesses and… this is all unrelated to Shadowwing and I have to ask why it is here and why are the sisters involved?

I’m not saying these events are important but they’re literally in the middle of world destroying invasion against both the Otherworld and Earth. So why is this on the sister’s to handle who already have way too much on their plate? We have Carter, the half-demon, half-titan why doesn’t he step up? Vampire businesses are being targeted, why can’t Roman take this over, since he’s the major vampire authority? Fae and other supernaturals are being kidnapped so can’t the Earthside far queens step forwards? The shapehifters?

Why aren’t the sisters trying to form their alliances against the invasion – or hunting down the spirit seals or calling on the dragonflights to honour their commitment and fly to battle. The sisters have enough on their plate without being the first responders to every single issue everywhere

The Walking Dead, Season Seven, Episode Two: The Well

The Well is an extreme change of pace from the pain of last week's season opener.  It's centered entirely at the Kingdom, a place comic book fans are already well acquainted with.

After being unconscious for two days, Morgan takes a wounded Carol to see King Ezekiel. Morgan tries to prepare Carol about what to expect but how can one prepare someone to meet King Ezekiel and his pet tiger.  Ezekiel plays his role of King to hilt and happily welcomes both Carol and Morgan on the condition that they contribute to the community.  Carol is absolutely speechless and really, who can blame her? She quickly falls into her innocent role, a role she perfected in the early days of her residency of Alexandria and flirts. For all of the falseness on Carol's part, it's clear that these two have some serious chemistry.

The moment Carol and Morgan are outside, Carol quickly drops the act and lets Morgan know in no uncertain terms that she feels the people of the Kingdom are living in some kind of fantasy.  Morgan tries to convince Carol to wait, suggesting that they can both return to Alexandria but that's not in the cards for Carol. Carol makes it clear that Morgan cannot watch her 24/7 and that as soon as she gets the chance, she's going to grab her shit and get gone.

Ezekiel is quick to pull Morgan into his inner circle.  Morgan is taken along on a trip to gather up hogs and feed them walkers.  Morgan wants to know what going on but Ezekiel is purposefully avoids Morgans questions.  The pigs it turns out are part of the Kingdom's tithe to the Saviours. Ezekiel is clearly not pleased that he has to do this, hence the fact that the pigs were fed walkers. It's a brilliant form of rebellion.  With any luck, the consumption of enough rotten meet will make the Saviours sick. Ezekiel tells Morgan that his people don't know about the tithe and that he doesn't want to burden them with the knowledge. It's clear that Ezekiel is determined to keep the fantasy going at all costs.

While Morgan is busy with the pigs, Carol makes her way through the Kingdom talking to people, playing up on her sweet innocent act, as she steals clothing and a knife.  When Morgan does finally makes his way to Carol's room to deliver supper, he finds her bed made and Carol gone.  Resigned to the fact that he can do nothing to change how Carol's feels, he takes a seat on her bed.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 2: Today Will be Different

Enzo and Damon are still servants to the Siren Sybil though she’s getting more and more annoyed by Enzo’s resistance – even though he seems completely compliant he’s just not eager to be her happy murder bot. Damon also thinks Enzo needs to stop fighting and seems quite content to work with Sybil to turn him into a happy murder bot (he also continues to live in terror of the damnation she showed him). She pokes around in Enzo’s skill until she digs out Sarah Nelson’s name as someone he cares about. So naturally they have to kill her

Sarah Nelson? Let me put on my recap hat.

Some time ago when Damon was having his evil streak #9868757 he decided to kill lots of people including a large chunk of the Salvatore’s last living relatives. This included a prgenant lady. There was much angst over this death. Stefan decided to step in and save the baby, unknown to Damon and she became Sarah Nelson, with a chunk of money from Stefan and some advice on how to keep herself safe from vampires just in case Damon has yet another evil streak and tries to kill her for funssies

Can we even come close to address this? I mean, really? Because we’ve spent so many series trying to centre Damon as sympathetic and a good guy but he still doesn’t know who Sarah is because everyone who knew about her – including his own brother – feels that they can’t trust him not to target her in yet another of his gazillion killing sprees

Bonnie, Caroline and Stefan even refer to it this week:

“the worst thing he ever did.”
“it’s on the list”

Because, yeah, he has killed so many people and done so many terrible things that they’re not even sure where massacre including pregnant ladies actually stands on his moral compass. Yet here they are trying to save him. Not the siren’s victims. Not even stopping the siren – actually no-one has made that remotely a priority. The issue is saving poor Damon

Damon and Enzo go on a killing spree of several Sarah Nelson’s tipping of Caroline and Stefan so it becomes a race to find Sarah Nelson before she is brutally murdered.

Van Helsing, Season 1, Episode 7: For Me

Alas we have a return of Dmitri, the Ancient leader of the vampires who I can’t even vaguely take seriously as a villain. Honestly, it’s nearly Hallowe’en, and there are 10 year olds in costumes who are a much much much more menacing vampire than this guy.

He has learned, beyond doubt, that Vanessa exists and she has the shiny special power of turning the vampires into humans and that Julius is plotting against his evilness. This will not stand – and he launches an invasion of his elite to claim Vanessa; watched by Mohammed who is still alive and acting as witness for various thing; including the death of one of Brandon’s survivor group who probably aren’t doing so well. As this lady is quickly killed.

Inside the hospital for some reason many people are talking about leaving. I have no particular idea why – where would they go? What do they hope to achieve? But for some reason the idea of leaving is now being floated everywhere. This is also despite the fact Vanessa has absolutely cannot move and is suffering from the bite which is making her super ill and couldn’t be moved anyway.

Of course Axel says no and ends the discussion right there so everyone can be all pouty

When Julius’s forces arrive we have a somewhat epic… not exactly battle, but we see why Axel has spent all of that time putting together all of his booby traps. The vampires are slaughtered forcing their way into the building, decimating their numbers until they pull back.

In the meantime everyone argues. They argue about whether the vampires are there for ex-high ranking vampire Flesh (they’re not) or Vanessa (they are). They

More interesting is when Doc considers the society they want to build if they actually do ever end the vampires… do they even want the old society back. It’s interesting because Axel, a white man, doesn’t even begin to understand her; but we can see why a Black woman would be less nostalgic even if living as they are isn’t hopeful

We also see the continued result of Axel assuming intimacy with Doc. He has been alone with her for 3 years – but she was a vampire all that time. He keeps doing things like touch her or talk about their future together in ways that clearly make her uncomfortable. While I think it could be interesting to explore 2 people who have radically different views of their relationship it all feels creepy because of Axel’s epicly ignoring her discomfort.