Saturday, December 10, 2016

Supernatural, Season 12, Episode 8: Lotus

Lucifer is still out and about causing chaos – and still pursued by Sam and Dean, the Hunters, Castiel, the earnest but rather inept Angel and Crowley the sarcastic. They also bring Rowena on board after Crowley minces her latest attempt at trying to marry a rich man since it turns out he’s conning her. Splattered in blood and gore she declares it’s the sweetest thing he’s ever done for her

See it’s moments like this that make me really like Rowena.

So what is Lucifer up to? He’s leaping from body to body, briefly causing a brouhaha by possessing an Archbishop and then a massacre when said bishop’s staff noticed the holy man unable to hold a crucifix and decided the best thing to do would be staging an exorcism

Lucifer doesn’t exorcise easily. Also, shallow moment, but is there a reason why the staff of this Archbishop are all so hot? Or is television casting so broken you can’t even have a casting call

But he leaves of his own accord to find a new host. The President of the United States

Remember last week when I asked exactly how much damage Lucifer would do in his new body? Well, we now have the president of the US, who is an unhinged, violent, impulsive nihilist with no real grasp of reality

Wait, sorry, I turned to the news by mistake, let me try again

We now have the president of the United States possessed by satan.

When the gang finds out (no surprise, Crowley has a minion on the president’s stash), they’re duly disturbed and worry exactly how they can even get near the president to combat Lucifer. Especially since Lucifer has dispatched the Secret Service against the Winchesters

Something which would be problematic if the British Men of Letter’s didn’t show up, in the form of Arthur Ketch, the fixer of the Men of Letters with a huge stash of shiny lethal toys and an extremely improbably accent. He came because Sam called – and you can’t hardly blame him. I mean Satanic President is the wor... second worst thing that could happen to the presidency.

He still wants to recruit the Winchesters on side and make up for the whole torturing and murdering thing (oopsie) he’s totally willing to lend them his toys. Which is useful because he has a handy-dandy exorcism orb. It’s shiny.

Will Game Of Thrones Bring More Girl Power?

For many seasons, one of the primary criticisms of Game Of Thrones was its handling of women. We wrote previously about the rape of Sansa Stark, which was one of the most controversial things the show has done to date during its six-season run. However, there were other issues as well. Daenerys Targaryen was objectified and sold into marriage by her own brother, and was only taken seriously as a leader when she had dragons at her back. Cersei Lannister derives power from her beauty and name but for several seasons lived in the shadow of her authoritarian father. And on countless occasions, the shrewdest and most successful women in the show have used their physical charms to get ahead (or get by). In short, there wasn't ever a whole lot of female empowerment in Westeros.

This changed drastically in season six. We saw Sansa help to bring down her husband and rapist. We saw Daenerys dismiss her lovers and admirers to lead her army on her own. We saw Yara Greyjoy assume control of an Iron Fleet in her weakened brother's stead. And we saw Cersei orchestrate one of the deadliest schemes in the show's history all on her own with no help from her powerful and wily brothers or her long-deceased father. That's all to say nothing of the likes of Arya Stark and Brienne generally kicking ass. It was the season of girl power on Game Of Thrones, and the shift toward female empowerment got quite a bit of attention.

Now the question is whether this trend will continue when season seven rolls around in 2017. That's an open question at this point, but for now let's look at a few things that could be done to lend even more power to the women of Westeros.

Sansa Could Cast Littlefinger Aside

There's a lot of debate over Sansa's relationship with Littlefinger at this point. Moviefone, which will often post fun articles and interviews looking ahead to upcoming projects, posted some comments from the actors that indicated there may still be some kind of trust between them. It's implied that Sansa might be considering Littlefinger's vision of taking the Iron Throne with her by his side. The idea is that she wants credit for taking the North. But this would feel like a step backwards. Sansa has fallen prey to the whims of men in her life throughout the show, from Joffrey to Littlefinger to Ramsey, and it would be refreshing to see her stand up for her independence. There's also an outside shot that she could choose to marry Jon and take her place as the Lady of Winterfell, given that he's not her brother—but this feels unlikely.

Yara Could Win A Battle

Yara Greyjoy carries herself with a certain swagger that's unique among Westerosi women. It's implied that she knows what she's doing and that the naval troops of the Iron Islands have reason to trust her. But we haven't really seen her do much. It would seem to be a relatively easy move for the showrunners to give her a battle to win en route to Westeros with Daenerys.

Cersei Could Use Her Wealth

We could almost forget, at this point, how much money the Lannister family has. And that's because we attribute it mostly to Cersei's father. Backing this up, Lottoland published an infographic depicting fiction's richest characters. Ordinarily a destination for Euro Millions lottery players, the site seems to have put this up as a means of playfully teasing those players with fantasy wealth. But the point of interest here is that Tywin Lannister made it onto the list. And yet, Cersei is usually portrayed these days as being at the end of her rope, or struggling under the Crown's debt. For her to reclaim the wealth of her house and wield it like the Lady of Casterly Rock would be an interesting power play.

Arya Could Finish Her List

Finally, we could also see Arya Stark finish her list. The youngest Stark daughter has already become a rare symbol of female power in the show, and if she continues her journey to becoming a cold-blooded, man-hunting assassin, she could represent the ultimate girl power triumph.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1) by P.C. Cast

I don’t know how I got roped into this, but it appears I’m reading more P.C. Cast. I blame Cynna, Olivia, Maverynthia and Paige for my pain and suffering. I will be joining them on the Papercuts Podcast to discuss this atrocity we have all endured.

Because this book is just so very… typical. It was utterly awful in several ways.

I think to understand a lot of the PROBLEMATIC awful elements of this book as opposed to the awful WRITING elements of this book and the awful CHARACTER elements of this book it is necessary to look at how this book treats race

A very very very very simplistic reading of this book would suggest there are no POC in this book – but I think that’s largely because an editor (yes, I actually believe this book may have gone near an editor despite all evidence to this contrary) looked at this and said “you’re going to make them POC? Nooooo, stop this Save the Pearls awful!”. This means the book is very very very very careful not to outright label skin colour of anyone. There’s one reference to Earth Walker skin colour:

“The dirty, earthy colour of all Scratchers”

Which pretty much makes their dark skin confirmed in the most utterly racist way possible.

Even if it were ambiguous and it is rarely mentioned, that doesn’t mean the racialisation of the Earth Walkers and the Tree Tribe aren’t clear. The physical descriptions have several markers – the Earth Walkers have black, coarse hair, broad noses; the Tree Tribe has blond hair, small noses. And these are just some examples – Mari spends most of the book hiding her mixed race identity using dark hair dye and darkening her skin and disguising her features with mud – which screams darkening her skin. Sure she could be disguising herself by being the person who is literally and clearly blathered in mud all the time

But… really? I mean can someone even live like this? She thinks the tribe ostracises her – but if she is this filthy all the time is it any surprise everyone backs away from her. Ultimately, another character openly comments that her skin is a different colour. It’s hard to avoid the idea that the Earth Walkers are not a POC analogue even if not POC themselves

And we know that with some extra really problematic tropes that have been dropped on them. The Earth Walkers are cursed – at night if they are not “washed” in moonlight the women become passive, despairing, depressed and suicidal while the man become animalistic, violent, savage rapists. So much so that even washed they cannot live with their wives and daughters because big angry rapey men – with POC coding this isn’t just problematic, this is disgustingly racist. Seeing this the Tree Tribe kills the animalistic men and enslaves the women – assuming they’re helpless, pathetic, incapable of helping themselves and the good noble tree tribe HAS to enslave them for THEIR OWN GOOD

Seriously, this white saviour narrative is so strong Cecil Rhodes would ask you to steady on a little. Not only are these magical slave/slaughter traits disgusting in and of themselves, but they’re also used as redemption for the Tree Tribe’s slavery. One thing this book does manage is to make it clear that enslaving the Earth Walkers is wrong – but this narrative of woo-woo JUSTIFIES them, it absolves them. They’re not evil, they just didn’t understand that this entire race of people they were murdering didn’t want to be murdered and enslaved. They’re killing them FOR THEIR OWN GOOD.

The woo-woo which causes the POC to rape and be enslaved is an appalling, insurmountable part of this book which pollutes my tablet with its presence. But it’s not the only issue – the way the Earth Walkers (coded POC) and the Tree Tribe (coded white) are described is utterly awful. The Earth Walkers are ugly – coarse, rough featured, plain; while the Tree Tribe are “refined”. This is the objective description of the two people – the beautiful blonds and the ugly, coarse POC who are rapists and enslaved.

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 4: Relics

Melissa joins Chris Argent hunting in the middle of the night. And it’s a silly idea. It’s silly because she’s not a hunter, has no experience in this kind of thing and really can only be a liability without some more experience

And the show knows it’s silly. Openly acknowledges it – but neither the objective writing nor Chris belittle for this – while at the same time we’re nicely reminded of her medical skills to affirm that she DOES contribute to the group. But may be more involved this season – which can also be a good thing

Also Melissa and Chris are definitely on the way to a romance.

Less importantly, they find more bodies – and Malia. She didn’t cause the bodies but she is definitely continuing to have control issues. Something Chris decides to work on – and interestingly not linking it to her werecoyoteness; but to bloodlust. A bloodlust he remembers so well from his sister Kate who became such an utter monster: this is a nice twist because one of my many many many many loathings of the Argents for so long, including Alison, was how they bought into the idea of werewolves as monsters so completely. Nice call back Teen Wolf.

He recruits her to help defend the whole gang of teenagers who saw the Wild Hunt last episode and are now slated to vanish as well because of that. With Mason getting the idea that the Wild Hunt travels by lightning, during the next storm they gather nearly all the survivors in the Argent bunker, underground and warded, to be safe.

Sadly it’s almost all because some people won’t listen – including Gwen who is a POC in Teen Wolf and should really know better than to risk vanishing so much. Leaving Malia and Chris to guard the annoying teens (preferably without shooting them or tasing them, Malia), Scott and the B Team go to save the others who aren’t in the bunker

And end up playing Lacrosse. Because Teen Wolf

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Steel's Edge (Edge Series #4) by Ilona Andrews

Charlotte de Ney is a Blueblood – not by birth, but as one of the coveted and precious healers she was granted nobility in exchange for her service. She has led a sheltered life – one that left her unprepared for the heartbreak of her first relationship

And the deadly lure of her power’s dark side

She tries to escape the temptation and find another sheltered, safe life… until brutal tragedy hits again and links her to the Edger Richard Mar and his obsessive quest to end the slave trade. It’s nearly impossible for her to pursue this conflict without succumbing and becoming an abomination – but sometimes more than survival is at stake

Do I start with lots of glowing praise? At what point do I say “Ilona Andrews” and you know that this review is just going to be such a glowing shining ramble of adoring praise? How many times can I say that the world building is awesome, that I really love the concept of the Weird, the Broken and the Edge, how that feeling of being between two worlds is such a powerful theme in this series, how every character so excellently epitomises this sense of not belonging, of being the outsider. Even when not directly as an Edger but so often as a side due to magic or heritage or similar trait.

I love the whole concept of healer magic – how people with such skills of healing are equally positioned to be such terrible scourges. And I love how we can present the idea of magic being out of control so well without desperately grabbing at a dubious addiction narrative.

I also really like Charlotte’s back story, her growth, her naivety and moral compass that forces her to make hard decisions, her integrity that pushes her towards both self-sacrifice and vengeance both.

I like a lot about Charlotte and how she is quite different from a lot of characters we see. She’s incredibly dangerous because of her power and certainly doesn’t need to shelter in the manly shadow of Richard (and tells him frequently she doesn’t need that) – but she isn’t an amazing warrior either, since she has led a very sheltered life – and definitely isn’t a Warrior Princess (but nor does she need a male protector – and even has Sophie be her bodyguard). She’s also a woman who is very much part of the aristocracy – steeped in manners and poise and respectability and tradition and etiquette. And she uses these skills, she treats them as a serious skill set, a skill set that needs to be honed, that needs to be learned and developed

In the genre of the Strong Female Character with Swords, these traits, these skills and these strengths are often regarded with a level of contempt (or any overt traditional femininity). But Charlotte awesomely turns them into a weapon. Without these skills, Richard’s plan to bring down the slave trade would simply not work.

The Librarians, Season 3, Episode 3: The Reunion of Evil

This episode gets a big doubtful hmmmm from me. It gets a hmmmm because it’s primarily addressing two issues and one of those issues it annoyingly fails to address while addressing it.

Yes I’m feeling eloquent today

Cassandra and Jake are off on a zaney adventure trying to get a magical artefact. Side note here, we have a brief snark from Jake about Flynn running off again which gets another hmmmm from me – because this is a point. Jake et al has a right to be annoyed – especially since their team work is so well emphasised – by Flynn unilaterally deciding he’s going to up and run off to parts unknown. I think this is definitely something to develop – the whole emphasis on the librarians being a team would find Flynn’s impetuous lone-rangerness annoying

Anyway, the magical artefact is the Crystal of Angraboda (in norse mythology, the mother of monsters who had several children by Loki – including Fenrir and Jormungandr) and along with the crystal we have a lot of frost giants and a huge, terrible storm

There follows a full episode of Cassandra and Jake pretending to be frost giants who love plagues and chaos and drinking and bar games which is fun and all. But kind of misses what the actual debate of this magic-of-the-week is supposed to be


Whether you can use magic safely – something Cassandra has repeatedly advocated. Magic can be good. Magic can be powerful. Magic can be useful. While Jake argues over and over that magic is too dangerous and too unpredictable. They make many good arguments

Cassandra points out that many things are dangerous – science and technology is very dangerous before you understand it. Jake has the very reasonable counter that Cassandra doesn’t understand it and she’s brilliant and intelligent – far too much so to be this reckless. I think this is a key because his distrust of magic is clearly a distrust of MAGIC – not HER using magic. There’s even a point where he encourages her to use magic since it seems to be the only way out of a tricky situation

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wendigo Rising (Yancy Lazarus #3) by James A Hunter

Yancy continues to want very little from life. Ribs, whiskey, gambling and a drifter’s life. But he’s been dragged into an epic secret conflict no man with a conscience could walk away from

He also cannot walk away from angry Big Feet who need his help. Mainly because they’re super fast and willing to wreck his car and his skull to make him co-operate

Despite a less than auspicious introduction, Yancy finds that the same insidious evil he has been hunting has its tentacles here as well – and the future of more than the Big Feet rest in the balance.

We know the pattern of a series like this. With every book, the current plot will feed into the greater meta plot, we will have epic confrontations each feeding into more epic confrontations to come. Great powers will be raised, will be fought and our heroes will emerge bloodied and not entirely victorious – but they will have pushed back the dark for now and emerged a little stronger, a little more powerful, and, yes a little more epic than they were before

It’s a pattern I’ve seen repeated numerous times – and gods do I love it. I really really do – so long as you can walk that shining line between the epic and the Gary Stu/Mary Sue. So long as the plot is more than just a slug fest (which this series doesn’t do that well with) and so long as the world is one epic playground in which all the awesome can be displayed – which this book certainly does do.

We have an epic world, an ever more epic conflict, lots of blood-fizzing fight scenes all with a decidedly noir bent that it actually pulls off at least 80% of the time (hey, a well maintained Noir is a wonderful and rare thing to find – but usually they try too hard). Yancy manages to be just a bit too unlikeable (there’s the gruff rogue antihero and the outright arsehole and he flirts along that line just a bit too much), but in all, all the ingredients I love are right there and this series has gone from one I was relatively indifferent about to one I will be following to the bitter end.

It also has sufficient quirks to make it special as well – I kind of love Lady Luck, the entire concept of her, her influence that always helps so very much – but not nearly as much as you’d like. Because of course, she’s bound by rules. And equally of course, she breaks them. She is Lady Luck after all. Or maybe not break, but there’s a lady who likes her loopholes

On the third book in the series I find myself with the same old problem. I like the action. The action is good. The action is interesting. That action is well paced and well written and exciting and you can see all these epic fights raging across the book. They’re really really really well done and these action scenes dropped in any other book would be so very awesome in any other book

But not in this one because, again, there are just too many. Over and over and over we have fight scenes. We have struggles. And sometimes just wonder why is everything so hard? I mean the whole opening scene where Yancy meets the Chiye-tanke we have a battle. We have a long, unnecessary fight scene between Yancy and his upcoming allies and… why? Whyyyyy? And even if there was an initial misunderstanding why did we have to go full on war zone? Why is Chief Chankoowashtay the leader of his people and this incapable of communicating coherently and sensibly with people? And why in the name of all that is sensible does Yancy have to smart mouth his way through every encounter trying to provoke a fight ALL the times. We’ve said it before in relations to a lot of oh-so-strong female protagonists and it equally applies here: your character is not tougher or stronger because they can’t stop wise cracking and disrespecting everyone around them. It’s tiresome, it’s annoying, it slows down the plot and it makes me kind of dislike Yancy.

The only redeeming element of all this is Ferraro, who is awesome in so many ways. And one of the things she does so well is constantly call out Yancy for his bullshit. When he is wallowing in angst and moping, Ferraldo is there to say he is pouting and acting like an utter manchild. She is there to slap him down for abandoning her, for centring his emotion, for constantly snarling and snapping at other people, for moping. Ferraldo is repeatedly there not to coddle his precious sadness or anger or issues, she is there to drag him out and make sure he gets through it. That’s not to say she’s unfeeling, she can and often is highly sympathetic

Once Upon a Time, Season 6, Episode 10: Wish you Were Here

Emma and co run into the EQ who is being awful on Robin’s grave – so awful that Emma completely loses it and slashes her with the sword – despite the risk to Regina who suffers any wound the EQ does… except not this time. Yes the sword they stole from Rumple can hurt EQ without Regina – result!

Emma now has a sword that will kill her according to her visions, but can also kill the EQ – she and Killian think this is a great way to learn more while Henry is firmly on the side of “destroy it now!”. Emma won’t because she’s the Saviour – but Henry makes an interesting counter: she’s also a mother.

This is an interesting element – because we’ve repeatedly see Emma identify as the Saviour and how being a Saviour is so important and vital and what a terrible decision dropping his saviourness was for Aladdin. But what about the rest? In some ways it’s rather dehumanising to be the hero, to be the Saviour – because you stop being a person if being a hero is all you are. And there is so much more to Emma than being the Saviour

It’s not the EQ’s day because on top of that, Rumple appears to put a tracking bracelet on her so, after he has retrieved his son, he can hunter her down and bring 8 kinds of hell on her. I said before, if you’re going to piss off the Dark One have a really good reason for it or don’t bother – a whim or pettiness will just get you dead.

Emma and crew go hunting EQ – without Regina because she can’t hurt EQ (uh… nor can Killian or Prince Sappy but they’re invited. And EQ can use magic to do so much more than direct damage).

But EQ has a trick up her sleeve – she has Jasmin hostage and Aladdin’s lamp

Hey, remember when I mentioned last week that Jasmin and Aladdin seemed to be getting their own storyline? Nope, it’s all about providing a plot twist in Emma’s storyline! Oh, Once Upon a Time, you continue to disappoint.

Everyone is running scared of wishes backfiring or having a catch – so this whole episode everyone comes up with wishes which are pretty much designed to go wrong. Seriously wjo says “wishes backfire so let’s make wishes that have the backfire built in”?!

So, Regina wishes for Emma to get her wish – once expressed in despair to Aladdin – that she had never been the Saviour

This transports Emma to an alternate world – where she never left the Enchanted Forest. A world where Snow and David defeated Regina before she completed the curse, no-one went to Storybrooke and Emma happily grew up as a very sheltered princess all happy and celebrating (Henry is there, but his father not mentioned because that would break this little world).

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 6: Detour on Some Random Backwoods Path to Hell

Last week Selene the siren kidnapped the twins for their arcane plot. She meets up with Sybil and Damon and everything starts to get a little less ideal for Seline

Firstly she’s had to accelerate her plans, she didn’t intend to run off with the kids while they were still kids, and certainly not with an Amber Alert to navigate: or to have her sister in tow snarking away and making it clear she’s really really really not over Seline being free for a century and not doing anything to rescue her. It’s not a happy family reunion

Seline’s master plan is basically to trade the twins to Cade in exchange for her and Sybil’s own service. They would get to run off, with a get-out-of-hell-free card and the twins would take their place. Something they have to do of their own free will – which would have been easier with a few more years of brainwashing the kiddies.

Damon starts playing his own game because she’s just given him light – after all, he had embraced this nihilism service to Sybil on the grounds that he was inevitably going to hell and there was absolutely no choice but to go to hell unless he served Sybil. Well, now here’s Seline talking about making a deal and finding a way out. Damon’s all about short cuts and easy options.

Everyone else is also chasing them – firstly we have Sybil further sabotaging them by tormenting Enzo’s brain meats because he dared to leave her, how very dare he. This allows Bonnie to wring her hands and do very little and Stefan to play around in Enzo’s brain to get clues to Selene and Sybil’s location.

Caroline and Alaric are focused ultimately on getting their kids back, to such a degree that Caroline puts her engagement to Stefan on hold because she can’t be distracted (especially if she has to kill Damon to get to the children) by Stefan’s angst and issues. While Alaric completely goes into full rage, openly frightening Seline over the phone with his threats, smashing things and planning to get his daughters away from all things supernatural. He even denies the children are Caroline’s children when she objects to this.

Eventually Seline leads her group to a motel where she plans to make the deal with Cade – but Damon and Sybil have out manouvered her. They lure Stefan in, alone (because he’s a damn noble fool. Beware the Stupid Good alignment) and force him to fight a motel full of angry humans who have been siren’d to kill him

Apparently Stefan lost his super speed and strength somewhere along the way? Did he drop it? Because these humans should have been a brief annoyance. Vampires literally move faster than the human eye can track. We’ve seen these multiple times. This is not a threatening experience for Stefan. And then to have the big show down be a big dude? A big dude. Stefan’s a vampire. I don’t care if he’s fighting the Mountain that Rides, any human relying on pure strength to win a fight will not end well.

Stefan kills the man and is duly angsty. Because this one man troubles him unlike the eleven gajillion people he’s already killed. But it’s ok Damon has an opt out. A get out of hell for free card

Van Helsing, Season 1, Episode 12: He's Coming

Vanessa and Mohammed decided last week that the best way to deal with a lethal serial killer would be to leave them to be turned into a vampire so they can be even better at hunting and killing

It is possible this wasn’t the best decision ever

So now we have an episode with Vanessa and Mohammed running being hunted and chased by Vampire Sam. I’m always vaguely put off by plot lines that only happen because of bemusingly awful decisions on the part of the characters

Oh and Sam can hear now because Vampire and because television just can’t seem to manage with a disabled character without magically undisabling them.

Mohammed and Vanessa have a few duels with Sam who ends up injured and blinded – and in the hands of one of Julius’s lieutenants who promptly heals him and then demands lots of information. She ends up dead – Sam’s serial killing is continuing post vampiredom

Hey, world building note – ferals may be created by vampires only having animal blood when they turn.

In between dodging the various Sam attacks, Mohammed and Vanessa bond a bit more, we learn Mohammed was a boy scout and he pokes at Vanessa’s race-based assumptions. We learn a little of Mohammed’s history with Sam; and they discuss their plan. See Mohammed has remembered his motivation to rescue his sister from the local vampire camp which may or may not have Dylan, Vanessa’s daughter, there as well. This is basically based on “Dylan could be anywhere so why not there.” She openly admits to having no plan

Despite that she still tells Mohammed that she’s still decided her gut doesn’t want to rescue Sheema. Because she’s willing to strike out to Denver because Random rather than actually rescue Mohammed’s sister. Vanessa, you are a terrible person.

Unfortunately she isn’t as terrible as the writers of this show. Because when they raid the camp (after ambushing some collaborators) they find it isn’t a work camp – it’s a camp where dying, sick, elderly and otherwise not labour-useful humans are turned into food. Sheema isn’t there, no-one they want to rescue is there (and the idea that these people are worth rescuing doesn’t seem to occur to anyone) and we’ve just had reality completely validate our protagonist’s awfulness because MARY SUEDOM. This is classic Sue-ishness, when the characters decisions and whims, even when based, by her own admission, on her damn gut turn out to be objectively true. Vanessa knew nothing about this area, how the vampires operate or any other relevant information – she decided Sheema wasn’t in this camp long before they raided it; but now she’s been proven right. Doesn’t make her not an arsehole though

Salem, Season 3, Episode 4: Night's Black Agents

Cotton has made his escape from Anne who is now in a bit of an awkward situation since she has to convince Baby Devil that she has it totally under control and this super influential man isn’t now heading to Boston to raise an army to completely raise Salem

(While I can see this as a concern, the fact the French are rampaging around is probably more of an issue than rantings about witches).

An APB is quickly released across the witchy devil network to find Cotton before he reaches Boston – which reaches some old friends of his family. Who helpfully take him in and tie him to the table.

This couple is absolutely hilarious. They’re such Nice People who just happen to worship the devil and use magic. And eat people. I didn’t think Salem really needed comic relief and It really does kind of break the tone, but it’s awesome so I don’t care I’m running with it.

They also have some interesting philosophy – why not worship the fallen angels that gave them knowledge and the ability to learn when god would have kept them “ignorant and naked” in Eden. It’s a point – and doubled by the practicality that as farmers working the land the magic that witchcraft brings them makes an amazing difference to their lives. Including simple survival. Hey if you have to choose between a distant god with vague promises for a future afterlife and a being that can offer you real survival now, what do you pick?

Between greed and insulting his wife’s cooking the couple fails to hold on to Cotton and he escapes – and is further saved from Baby Devil’s murder birds by Tituba

Why is Tituba helping Cotton? I have no idea, she just seems to be in the role of helper, at least she seems annoyed by this. But she does tell Cotton that Anne is pregnant with her child so that he can choose whether to go to Boston or back to his baby.

We all know which one he’s going to choose so why even cliffhanger this?

Back in Salem, Mary despairs and is near collapse after her powers were stripped from her and no amount of Sebastian’s poetry readings convinces her differently (she’s not into you guy, back off). And she’s certainly not ready to play mumsy to Baby Devil