Saturday, November 26, 2016

Aftermath, Season One, Episode Eight: Here Is No Water But Only Rock

We started this episode with the Copelands once again separated because heaven forbid they all stay together for an entire episode.  At any rate, Karen has been trapped by a rock slide on Mt. Rainer, Matt and Brianna are inside the bunker and Joshua is outside looking for Dana.

When Joshua finds Dana, he has to battle with her to get her to put on the protective breathing gear because Dana is claustrophobic. Dana cries and tries to push her father away but Joshua is adamant that she need to keep the gear on.  When Joshua and Dana hear the sound of pre historic birds, they decide to take cover under the RV.  The bird lands close to the RV but doesn't attack because it is dying.  Joshua tries to figure out why the bird landed where it did and wonders if the birds are trying to show the family which direction to travel in.

In the bunker, Matt is freaking the hell out because he is desperate to get to Joshua and Dana. He begins to randomly pull switches and push buttons in an attempt to get the door open.  Brianna has to resort to punching Matt in the face to get him to calm the hell down and start using his brain.  Matt figures out that if the control registers limited oxygen in the bunker that the door will open and so he starts a fire. Once the door opens, the first thing they see is a dead pre historic bird dying. Matt reaches out and actually strokes its head despite Brianna's clear repulsion.  

Matt and Brianna meet up with Dana and Joshua and though they are happy to be together, there's the little matter that Karen is still out there and the RV isn't functioning.  Dana is the only one who is hopeful about Karen's survival, even though Brianna encourages her to cry for her mother.  The two sisters reflect on everything they've been through since the world went to hell and Dana realises that time is functioning differently based in how close they became to Devyn and Martin. It really is a leap but we're supposed to go with it because Dana is the smart one. At any rate, the conversation quickly goes back to Karen and Dana points out that because of where their mother was, she could have survived the eruption. It takes a bit but Dana manages to convince Brianna and together they convince Joshua and Matt to look for Karen.

As aforementioned Karen was buried under rock when the volcano exploded. Her flashlight attracts Kevin, a volcanologist, who just happened to be on the mountain when it exploded.  Having lost his climbing partner, Kevin is more than happy to help Karen climb up to meet him.  Once eye to eye with Kevin, the first thing Karen does is to pull her gun until she can ascertain that he's not infected. Kevin has been badly wounded and so Karen sets his leg and doses him up with morphine before wandering around trying to find a way out.  It's not long before Kevin becomes hysterical and starts yelling about Karen and the fact that she's military.  Karen finds some carvings on the wall and when she touches them, she sees a sun going super nova and the ghost of the woman she shot  appears. The woman taunts Karen about murdering her and demands Karen take back the bullet used to kill her. Things go wonky for a bit and Karen awakes to find that it was all a hallucination but somehow she still has the bullet in her hand which has turned into rock.

Luckily for Karen, before things can get any worse, her family arrives to save her.  The Copelands rejoice about being together again and hop in the RV to head home.  Brianna talks about how Devyn wanted to farm on their property and her plans to never leave home again.  For the Copelands, returning home offers the possibility of normalcy in their lives once again.  The dream dies quickly when they arrive home to find that a good portion of their home has been burned and the land has been salted to prevent it growing any edible food.

The Copelands hear a loud crashing noise and so Joshua and Matt grab their guns. Karen is quick to order them to put it away when she realises that the people causing the noise are Robert and Corrine. It seems that Robert has been infected and so Corrine has been going along with Robert because she fears that he will kill her.  Karen is not in the least bit emotionally moved by Corrine's plight and hands Corrine a handgun, telling Corrine to use it on Robert, because he's going to kill her anyway. The Copelands discuss leaving their home behind and Karen says that it's part of the past and that all they have now is the future together.  They decide to head east, following the prehistoric birds. They all hop into the RV, leaving both Corrine and Robert behind.  As the Copelands drive away, Corrine shoots her husband.

The one thing Aftermath seems to just love to do is to drop little nuggets explaining the world that never go anywhere.  So now we know that time is not functioning the way it normally does.  It's Dana's observation and it goes absolutely nowhere.  I have no idea what this even means in context with everything that has happened to date.  I don't even know why I should care at this moment either. Throwing shit against a wall and waiting to see what sticks isn't good television, it's just guessing.  I need this meta to start making some sense yesterday.

Then there's the whole dragons or rather pre historic birds are being helpful. Ummm didn't we just see one pick up an entire cow for a snack a few episodes ago? We're supposed to believe that for some unknown reason they're acting as compasses for the Copelands? What exactly makes this family so special that prehistoric birds have decided to help them?

The whole thing about the bullet is clearly meant to give us some insight into Karen. We already knew that she was military, what we didn't know is that she felt emotionally convicted about killing those women when she thought Dana was dead.  The bullet turning into a rock clearly means something but what?  Right now, I'm on the side of I don't give a shit simply because that's all Aftermath does, drop nuggets that go absolutely nowhere.

Z Nation, Season Three, Episode Eleven: Doc's Angels

This week's episode feels very much like a twist on the Clint Eastwood movie The Beguiled.  It begins with Doc chasing down the signal he is picking up on the radio, desperate to get a hold of Citizen Z, so that he can get a message to Warren about Lucy's kidnapping.  Doc manages to track the signal to a radio tower in what appears to be some sort of castle but is quickly attacked by zombies for his trouble. Doc fires his gun but gets nowhere because the zombies have been bedazzled which just happens to act is effective armour.  Yes, bedazzled zombies.  Fortunately for Doc, it seems that zombies are more interested in pestering him than eating him.  

Doc passes out and when he awakes he finds himself in a comfortable bed, surrounded by three women.  Sarah, Linda and Camilla decide that Doc is their guest of honour.  Doc clearly is uncomfortable but decides to go with the flow of things.  The women take Doc to their radio and he tries to send a message to Citizen Z, completely unaware that the radio is disconnected.  When the power goes out, the women encourage Doc to spend the night and try the radio again in the morning.

The guest of honour treatment continues through the evening with Doc being fed what he believes to be vegan food which we later learn in anything but. After dinner, the ladies decide that it's time to feed their pets and that is when Doc learns that the women have taken cat lady to all new level because they have domesticated the zombies.  One of the ladies has even bedazzled the zombies.

From what I've written thus far it must be clear to you that Doc's Angels is yet another filler episode. The one thing that has become true of season three is that it has absolutely become dependent upon Doc for comic relief.  Z Nation has always floated back and forth between a serious treatment of zombies and glorious cheese.  Some episodes have been more successful than others but this season, I think it would be fair to say that Z Nation has lost all clue of what it is or even what it intends to be. At this point, throwing in a Doc episode to hide the fact that there's no discernible plot is not working anymore. Sure, Russell Hodgkinson is fun to watch but it's too much to ask that he carry this show on his back.  

Predictably, Doc ends up in bed with the three women though he acknowledges that this isn't going to end well.   When Doc wakes, he hears Kaya calling out to Operation Bite Mark, causing him to rush to the transmitter hoping to make contact.  It doesn't take long for Doc to realise that the wires aren't connected but before he can do anything about it, Linda enters the doorway. Doc takes off running and this is when he learns that the women have decorated their home with human hair, skin and bones. The weed they smoked the night before was somehow grown out of a dudes head and that the women are keeping male prisoners.  Doc manages to free the arms of one of the prisoners and is warned to run while he can.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 2: Superposition

Stiles has disappeared for all of the feels – but you can’t just erase someone without leaving ripples

And this episode has a whole lot of excellent moments with the characters realising someone is missing

With Lydia this comes in the form of a whole lot of excellent woo-woo as her banshee powers continue to try and remember Stiles. She has lots of visions (including the weird image of a doctor in class so who even knows what that’s about) and memories and not-dreams since she keeps having them while she’s awake.

Malia is missing her boyfriend (and this is going to be just a bit shaky with Stiles and Lydia declaring their love for each other). The relationships – or sex life – she’s having is not nearly as satisfying for her and disturbs her sex partner with chains she has lying around. She’s also having real problem trying to control her werecoyote-ness (which, again, is going to be shaky with Stiles and Lydia love affair. Is Malia’s self control shaky because she has lost memory of all the moment with Stiles where she learned control – or is it based on their relationship?)

She also sees holes in her history. She remembers being chained up on the full moon – which she still does – but she knows Lydia didn’t do it. She knows Scott didn’t do it. So… who did it? She knows someone did.

Which brings us to Scott who has vast vast vast holes in his memory. From training with Liam to finding pictures with big holes in them. Culminating in him remembering the defining moment of the series – the night he was bitten. The night he and Stiles went amateur investigating in the woods.

Except without Stiles, why would Scott be there- with no interest in crime and no inside knowledge about them? And how would he get there? He doesn’t drive, he doesn’t have a car? There’s a great big hole in their lives

Between the three of them they realise someone is missing and turn to Deacon as the wonderful Mystical Black Oracle he is there with some woo-woo to tap into Lydia’s powers to have her write the name Stiles (by writing a collage of “mischief”).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ritual Magic (World of the Lupi #10) by Eileen Wilks

Lily Yu is having a pre-wedding dinner with her family when the next strike in the ongoing battle against the Lupis’ ancient enemy strikes

And the victim is her mother – her memory is wiped out, she thinks she is still a child again. And she is not the only victim.

And while the loss eats at Lily’s heart, reality itself is under threat and she tries to find the truth behind this bizarre and incomprehensible attack

I mentioned in the last book how much I absolutely loved Lily because of her professionalism, her logic, her intelligence; her careful way of addressing the problems. I mention her actual investigative skills and how absolutely awesome she is. Well I want to add another layer to that – I touched on her ethics last book but I really need to praise her integrity. There’s an awesome element of her not wanting to lead this investigation because it touches so close to her family – but she’s actually trusted to lead it, especially the shadow unit which has absolutely no accountability – because she is so concerned about the lack of oversight and bias that she can be trusted to be fair. Her personally acknowledged bias keeps her honest because her ethics, her integrity is so reliable that she is the one who can be most relied upon to second guess herself; that’s her integrity.

This is so special because of the genre; after all we have no shortage of protagonists who simply have to shoot people in the head or have to torture people. Usually with lots of angst about how terrible it is they have to murder people but they totally have to do it. This is not Lily – and not because she isn’t capable of murder. She knows she is – but that’s why she has such an iron hard moral integrity

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Lily is an awesome protagonist with some awesome conflicts (including her difficulties with faith and her history as to why).

And this book lets us look more at her family, especially her mother. Like so many protagonists in this genre (I say this a lot about this series because they’re really good at subverting a surprising amount), Lily doesn’t have a great relationship with her mother. Even her larger family is something of a wider burden for Lily (except for Madame Yu who is, of course, absolutely awesome in every word). So to see more of her family, to see her have a full family, no-one tragically dead, no-one terrible or abusive. Just a genuine family who aren’t perfect, but do care for each other. Characters who can get really angry with each other but continue to move on and love

The Librarians, Season 3, Episode 1: And the Rise of Chaos

Librarians is back! Awesome news for anyone who doesn’t hate joy and have no soul *ahem*

And so begins the cheese. Perhaps too much cheese. I mean this whole series is devoted to the glory of cheese but by the time we get to the harmonious singing even my cheese quota has been exceeded.

We’re reintroduced to the gang in the best way, we get to see each of their talents with none of them really eclipsing any of the others, really showing what a team they are and how they work best as that team

This is why I don’t particularly like Flyn around. I mean, I like him but I think he messes with the balance and why the series did such a great job of ensuring he was separate from them. Without him we have Eve and the four librarians working together – if there’s any leader it’s Eve. With him it’s hard for the show not to become The Librarian + sidekicks. We didn’t quite reach that here, but the threat is always there with him around. Which is an issue because the focus is TEAM. The team working together. The team being so much greater than the sum of its parts

Especially with Eve’s ominous but excellently referential (I hate it when shows ignore previous seasons) to how she has seen how awesome each of the Librarians could be and she’s desperate for them to reach their potential for the ominous trouble incoming.  (This includes a nice poking at Jake and his own acknowledgement of his sexist bias).

And Jenkins continues to be awesome, dishing out sass and awesomeness. Because Jenkins

They do need to be ready because the clipping book bursts into flame, bad stuff is happening

The bad stuff is a released Egyptian force possessing a man. He’s Apep, the ancient Egyptian god of chaos. He wanders around causing just that since he has the power to cause everyone to attack each other in a glut of chaos.

To get his full power he intends to open a vault full of Pure Evil. Which is, as is expected, pretty bad if rather clich├ęd.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Nathaniel Keene (The Lovelace Chronicles Book 1) by Aditi Ramaswamy

Nathaniel Keene is not a normal high school student. His fascination with entomology and similar geekiness would never make him one of the popular kids. But he was ready for a new start in a new school

And then he becomes a vampire – a vampire because he’s bitten by a cat.

After which, talking cockroaches and a murder investigation just adds to the chaos.

This is definitely an original story – which is rare anyway but in the “vampire teenager goes to school” genre, which is so saturated, it’s fascinating to see something that feels so different. I especially like the difference with how vampires are made and what that means for any possibility for vampire society.

But in many ways, on the face of it it isn’t. We have a teenager who becomes a vampire. And he’s awkward and a bit of an outcast. But, no, he really is. Seriously this is kind of the synopsis for all of these books but they always lie – we inevitably get an extremely conventionally attractive person who is widely loved by anyone but the designated Mean Person. But Nathanial is genuinely an outsider. He’s fascinated by entomology and wants a pet cockroach. Yes we have a genuine weird hobby that ISN’T designed to make our teenaged vampire a super-special and classy (like piano concertos or classical literature or renaissance art).

Nathaniel as the kid completely out of his depth in a new place dealing with a new world really works because this is actually what it is – unlike so many books in this genre that purport to be what it is.

And he does make friends and I equally like that they’re not perfect. They’re not flocking round to support him when they find out who he is and think he has done something terrible. They behave like people – as in actual people who exist to be people rather than people who exist to be supporting cast.

I do think in some ways this book is too short – I think this can be a common problem with new books that start a series – they’re so quick to get to the actual plot line that they miss a lot of the introduction and exploration that is needed to properly flesh out the world and characters. The whole concept of vampirism and how it works – and more, on a personal note, how Nathaniel is reacting to the world he is in and having to adapt as a vampire. The whole idea that he walks around with an umbrella just seems so simple an adaptation to vampirism.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Walking Dead, Season Seven, Episode Five: Go Getters

It seems that The Walking Dead has decided to divide the action into what is happening to the various communities.  This week, it's time to see how the Hilltop is faring since Rick's big confrontation with Negan.  It begins by immediately letting us know that not only is Maggie alive, she's still pregnant. This is a pretty big reveal and I for one am really glad that the writers didn't drag out the reveal with Maggie the way they did with Glenn last season.  I don't think the fans could have withstood it.

In Alexandria, Rick is preparing to head out and gather supplies given that the Saviours will be back. This doesn't impress Carl, who refuses to accept the status quo.  It's hard to remember that Carl was there when Abraham and Glenn were killed because objections to his father come off as teenage angst. Carl runs into Enid, who is planning to head off to the Hilltop to find Maggie because there's been no word on how she is doing.  Carl is adamant that this time, he's not going to save Enid.

At the Hilltop, now that Maggie is on her feet, she must deal with Gregory, who is unimpressed that the people of Alexandria didn't take out the Saviours.  I really think that The Walking Dead missed a moment here because part of the reason that their deal failed is because Gregory didn't tell them how large of a force they were up against.  Even as desperate as the Alexandrians were, I'm pretty sure even at his most arrogant, Rick would not have attacked the Saviours.  Instead, what we got was Gregory asserting the failure of the Alexandrians and demanding that both Sasha and Maggie leave, though he couldn't remember their names.  Jesus tries to intervene by pointing out that it's late and too dangerous to travel at night and so Gregory gives them until the morning to leave.  Sasha is not pleased with this and she cannot understand why it is that Jesus allows Gregory to lead the Hilltop. Maggie is content to leave things alone for now and suggests a good night sleep.

Enid runs into trouble on the road and is saved by Carl running over a zombie.  The two teens make their way on foot to The Hilltop, pausing when Carl comes across a backpack containing rollerskates of all things. As they skate down the empty road it's a direct contradiction to all of the ugliness that has happened so far - a moment of normalcy among all of the death and the violence. 

That night at The Hilltop, Maggie and Sasha awake to hear music blaring, fires burning, the gate open and zombies lumbering in.  Maggie and Sasha immediately take action though this is the last thing Maggie should be doing given that she almost lost her child.  Maggie manages to use some farm equipment to crush the car where the music is coming from, as Sasha and Jesus work together to close the gate and deal with the zombies.  They are efficient and brave as expected.  

The next morning, Sasha, Maggie and Jesus meet with Gregory.  Sasha asks for Maggie to be allowed to stay and offers to forage for things to pay Maggie's way.  Gregory agrees to take this under advisement if he gets some time alone with Sasha, clearly implying that he wants sex in trade. Maggie and Sasha are having none of that and cowardly Gregory is quick to deny that he was asking for sex.  The conversation however gets cut short when the Saviours arrive looking for supplies. Gregory instructs Jesus to hide Sasha and Maggie in a closet so that their community can hold onto plausible deniability. 

Westworld, Season One, Episode Eight: Trace Decay

Image result for westworld

I'm not quite sure what to make of Trace Decay.  We ended up with a big reveal about the MIB, Maeve's rebellion and Ford's perspective on the soul and William and Delores essentially went nowhere.  Clearly, this episode is a placeholder for what is to come while Westworld builds up for its big finale, which hopefully will come with some answers.

In opening scenes we see Bernard struggling with the knowledge that he is responsible for killing Theresa.  His anger at Ford is palpable. For his part, Ford feels no guilt for his part in Theresa's murder and is in fact fascinated by Bernard's response. Ford finds Bernard's grief and rage an example of just how far he has come making hosts more real.  The earlier hosts were only able to express and explore base emotions while Bernard is capable of far more nuance.  This has clearly been Ford's shining achievement.  Ford orders Bernard to go back and clean up his mess, promising to erase his memories as a reward for his actions.  Even as Ford dangles this carrot, he seems to fail to recognize that deleting Bernard's memories also works for him because it erases his connection to Theresa's death.  Bernard goes about his task in an emotionless fashion, as he collects the remnants of his relationship with Theresa and deletes any evidence that they were together from the the video feed before returning to Ford.  Bernard questions if Ford has ever made him kill someone before and Ford says no, but I most certainly do not believe that.  Ford grants Bernard the comfort of forgetfulness but not before he remembers choking Elise.  

The erasing of memories really is a theme throughout this episode.  In the MIB's confession he talks about killing Maeve and her daughter just to see if he felt anything.  It's the first confirmation we get that what Maeve remembers in fact happened.  Maeve is brought back to the lab and is freaking out so much that the techs cannot calm her.  Having tried to escape with the body of her dead daughter in her arms she is absolutely traumatized.  Ford makes an appearance and on his orders, Maeve calms down though she is clearly still upset. Maeve begs to be allowed to keep the pain she feels because it's all that she has left of her daughter but Ford removes her memories and says that he will move her to a new storyline while will allow her to put this episode behind her.  This is how Maeve moved from being a small homesteader to a Madame.  

Memory also plays a role in Teddy's interactions with the MIB.  Teddy helps the MIB fight off one of Wyatt's people and in the process, he remembers the MIB dragging Delores across the ground.  This is important because Teddy's entire reason for being is to want to be with Delores, something he is destined never to do.  This memory is enough for him to knock the MIB out and tie him up.  This is interesting because hosts aren't supposed to be able to hurt guests but it's clear from Teddy's actions that there's some flexibility where this is concerned.  There's a direct correlation between Teddy regaining his memories of the actions of the MIB and the MIB's confession about his treatment of Delores and his identity outside of the game. 

It's Delores's memories which lead her to the town that Ford had razed to the ground in previous episodes.  Lost in memories, Delores relieves an earlier version of Westworld and even places a gun to her head.  Delores feels that she was driven to this location by Arnold but since its a wasteland of sorts, there are no answers there for her.  Delores is left wondering if William is even real because she cannot tell the difference between her memories and reality.  Delores is actively scared that she is losing her mind and even asks when she and William are, thus affirming my belief that we have actually been watching several timelines roped together to equal one.  

Dark Dawning (Totem #1) by Christine Rains

Ametta is an interior designer in Alaska – but this werepolarbear has ambitions far beyond her state: she wants to head south, to the great cities and really build her business.

Her family does not approve

But when wereanimals are being hunted and killed and skinned any disagreements she has with them about their future need to be shelved while they focus on desperately surviving.

Werepolarbears! Werepolar-bears. Were-polar-bears? I don’t know exactly how to write but this is awesome and so rare

And female werepolarbears! This is even rarer - there are strict gender roles that tend to land on wereanimals. If you have a woman, she will usually be a wereleopard, weretiger, or some other kind of feline. Felines can be female. You may get a female werewolf – but she will usually be the only female werewolf ever to be something so unfeminine as several canine wereanimal! And a female werebear? Clutch your pearls and pass the smelling salts!

So I’m already praising this book for slaying this trope of acceptable feminine wereanimalness (feline, it’s always feline). We also have an interesting main character: she’s not exactly completely original: she’s wants more than her provincial life in Alaska, she wants to move to bigger cities and expand her business as an interior designer. She has ambition, she’s driven and she is willing to stand up and demand this. It’s an excellent example of a strong female character who is strong in ways beyond fighting.

And I really like the idea of a company that builds and decorates housing to suit wereanimals. I really like the world building that goes into the characteristics of wereanimals and why they need building adaptations – like changing the colours in decorating to take into account of depth perception and colour blindness of some wereanimals. I also like the difference of the wereanimals we see depicted – like a herd of werecattle.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 5: Coming Home Was a Mistake

Oh look. Sad music is sad

This entire episode revolves around big heavy emotions around characters I don’t care about, relationships I don’t care about or don’t buy or otherwise don’t invest in. It’s painful, more than a little dull and relies waaaay too much on us all caring about the extras and hangers on.

A lot of this involves lots and lots of grief around Tyler, everyone pretending he’s been an integral part of this show rather than a completely absent extra for several seasons. Everyone is sad. We have a funeral in a fair ground with everyone playing nice and everyone still managing to drag Elena into it.

It’s actually almost painful to hear everyone act like this is the worst ever when we consider how many many many many many many people have died.

Meanwhile Damon is having the same ongoing conflict because he think he’s totally killed everyone’s love and affection for him and broken all ties, woooo. Of course this is ridiculous because Damon has killed an enormous number of people and absolutely no-one has cared. Yep, Tyler’s not even cold yet and Stefan is already playing “oh poor Damon how do we bring him back”. Damon continues to be an arsehole but there’s absolutely no way that anyone is going to make him responsible for his actions (hah, you expected otherwise, this is Vampire Diaries!) and everyone decides he’s still mind controlled

Like most of the audience and at least 60% of the writers, Damon also has no idea why he’s doing what he’s doing so goes to see Sybil in her completely unguarded prison (because of course) to accuse her of still being in his mind. Sybil is not happy because Damon still isn’t 100% hers because his humanity switch isn’t alllll the way off: hence the reason he’s all mopey about how everyone will hate him (they don’t) over killing Tyler (no-one cares). She insists he go full non-human so he will then be hers forever

Class, Season One, Episode Six: Detained

By all accounts, for me, this episode should have been an utter disaster.  The one thing I cannot stand is teenage angst and Class was absolutely dripping in it. Somehow, the writers not only made it all work it made it compelling.

Quill tosses Charlie into detention with the others.  We don't know it at the time but this is her excuse to see the superintendent and get the parasite removed from her brain.  Charlie is actually whiny as he pleads that he was only three minutes late and therefore does not deserve detention but Quill will not be talked out of it. After tossing Charlie into the room, she locks the kids in, thus triggering Charlie's claustrophobia. 

When Charlie begins to panic, April fishes out a key to open the door at the exact same time as some kind of asteroid is exploding in space.  The classroom they are in is shifted outside of time and space. It doesn't take long for the kids to realise that they are in trouble.  Emotions quickly shift and the kids find themselves getting angrier and angrier.  It's Matteusz who picks up the chunk of asteroid first and it takes him to the day that he came out to his grandmother.  He is then compelled to tell the group that while he loves Charlie, he is scared of Charlie and what he might do.  As you might well imagine, Charlie does not take this news well. Matteusz never meant for his fear of Charlie to become common knowledge but the rock forced the confession out of him.  Matteusz tries to explain what happened by invoking Narnia.  He talks about Susan overhearing a friend say something awful about her and that this knowledge ended the relationship.  We have to pause for a moment because I think that the writers screwed up.  The person who hears a friend talking shit about her is actually Lucy and not Susan.  Anyone else agree with me that Class got this one fact wrong?

Matteusz's confession only adds to Charlie's angst.  Unlike the others, this is the first time in Charlie's life that he's ever really had friends.  He cannot relate to the idea of liking someone while still having a private beef about them sometimes.  It's a sign of just how isolated Charlie has been and how different he is from the others.  

The next to pick up the shard of rock is Tanya. Her big confession is that she believes the others aren't really her friends.  Tanya feels as though they don't see her as an equal because of the age difference between them. Tanya also learns that they are all in a prison with a prisoner who killed the others he was imprisoned with.  Tanya realises that each of them must pick up the rock in turn to learn about their situation if they are to have any hope of getting of here.

So, yes, there's some angst there but at this point, the tension is so high that it's impossible not to wonder what Ram, April or Charlie will confess when it's their turn.  We recognize that the characters are in danger but the devise of the confession rock keeps it grounded while providing a really great opportunity for character growth.  It's April who tries to stay positive and assure Tanya that they are indeed her friend but Tanya sees this as white people's optimism.  The idea that a happy ending is always possible Tanya surmises is because Whiteness offers a buffer from the harsher realities that marginalised people face.  When April tries to argue that her mother was paralyzed, Tanya argues back that April's mother has been healed which is the perfect white people ending. Jackie being healed is a sore spot with me but not because of her whiteness but because curing disabled people on television is a vicious trope that needs to end. It feels very much as though Class is trying to avoid what they did with Jackie's character. 

The next big confession comes from Ram, who admits that he's in love with April and worries that she doesn't love him like he loves her.  What was that about teenage angst again?  Yeah,I know that in this episode Matteusz makes it clear that the very term "teenage angst" is offensive because it denies the reality of people feelings based on age. Call me curmudgeon but I could care less about Ram and April's relationship drama.  As it turns out, when April grabs the stone, she confesses that she doesn't love Ram and doesn't trust the speed at which he declared his love for her.  I actually think that this is quite sensible for April given how quickly this romance developed and the fact that Ram didn't have two words to say to her before cosmic events threw them together. Ram is hurt by April's rejection and points out his good looks and the fact that he's an athlete as justification for why April should instantly be in love with him.  It actually makes Ram really unlikable because it suggests that by virtue of his appearance and athletic abilities that he is entitled to April. Rather than challenge this, April tries to soothe Ram and say that she is trying to be open to possibilities.

Charlie has a full blown panic attack and it's Matteusz who calms him down. I really like that Class went out of it's way to talk about how a panic attack can feels like dying and how serious they are. Far too often, the media turns panic attacks into comedy, as though people who are in the midst of one aren't actually suffering in real and pain ways.  Matteusz affirms that what Charlie is feeling is real as he offers comfort and gives Charlie something to focus on beyond being trapped in a small room with no real escape. As someone who has had panic attacks in the past, I really appreciated it. 

Van Helsing, Season 1, Episode 10: Stay Away

The gang is now wandering through the wilderness haunted by feral vampires and they’re running out of bullets and it’s all looking grim

Except Vanessa is still carving a great big hole through everything.

They’re sort-of-saved (not exactly saved since Vanessa can defeat entire armies) by people with bows and swords. Including super hot guy Theo with a katana.

They’re taken to their saviour’s home called Eden

Ok, Trope aware moment. If anyone EVER calls their camp “utopia” “eden” “paradise” or some other idealistic nonsense then you need to RUN. Because that person is either trying to cover something up, sell you something or actually believes their own hype. This is the realm of dictators and cultists. Run people, the vampires are better.

So there they meet cult leader Micah with a vaguely undefined accent to ensure us that he’s properly sinister. This little island of tranquillity is undisturbed because Micah has a deal with Magda, a vampire, not to slaughter every human there (despite apparently being one of only three vampires who the sexy guy with a katana could easily have killed and definitely could with Vanessa) so long as they give her twice monthly blood donations

I’m assuming that despite the post-apocalyptic low-techness of this world, someone’s managed to hook up some awesome refrigeration technology because there’s no way that blood would last for 2 weeks. The amount of blood they give her is also kind of ridiculously small considering how many people seem to be there: how did anyone think this was supposed to be the whole part of the deal?

Magda let’s Micah know that Vanessa is a scary scary person the vampires are interested in.

Which is kind of unnecessary because the super calm Micah apparently can offer amazing therapy and after one session Flesh becomes super chill and happy and resolved with his evil past and happily shares the whole gang’s secrets without the slightest reservation. Damn, that’s some good therapy. I mean, you’d think he’d need at least 2 sessions to open up a little.

Vanessa and Suzy are less convinced by the utopia especially since there’s a whole lot of heavily pregnant women but no kids. They suspect cultist Micah is impregnating all his followers – but instead he explains his noble purpose: they’re keeping a safe place for the women of the Resistance to have their babies so they can safely have the next generation that will continue the fight against the vampires

Looks like they’re definitely planning for the long time and now just for the sun to come back from behind the ash cloud. Speaking of, if this ash cloud is blocking out the sunlight and has been for years what has this done to the food supply? How obscured is the sun because it looks pretty bright this episode.