Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Librarians, Season 3, Episode 9: And the Fatal Seperation

This episode returns us to the lost city of Shangri-la; and people who watched the films that preceded this series will know Flynn severely damaged it in one of his adventures back then.

It has since been repaired by the Monkey King who now runs the place and the vast well of white magic there by merit of the special magic stick he has. Sadly this being with huge roots in Chinese mythology, is pretty much reduced to an old stereotype of the old Asian man who teaches martial arts and quotes fortune cookies and passes the trite sayings off as wisdom. It’s a depiction that was pretty done 20 years ago.

And who is the mentee to this old mentor? (C’mon, you have an elderly Asia martial arts expert who dispenses wisdom you KNOW his only reason for being is to be a mentor). That would be Jake who is now a complete master martial artist to the extent that the Monkey King declares he has nothing else to teach Jake except magic (which Jake, in common with the ongoing debate, vehemently rejects). After 2 months

2 months

2 months is literally all it took before the Monkey King declared he had nothing more to teach? 2 months is all it took to make Jake a master martial artist. 2 months is all it took for this immortal being to convey all of his technique and skill. 2 months is all it took the Monkey King to train Jake to be able to beat him

Wow, bad enough you turn him into a basic mentor character but most of those mentor characters remained better than their students with their lifetime of dedicated focus and everything.

At the Library we have Cassandra dealing with her new gift and Eve’s excellent advice and reassurance around it: Eve has spent a long time helping Ezekiel and Jake become the people she saw in her visions last season – but not Cassandra; she’s just too different from Eve’s experiences and knowledge. Cassandra is concerned that her gift is open to abuse and out of control since it now has a mind control element

While Jenkins has found an old room in the Library – it’s a room of candles, each candle representing a person connected to the library. If it’s lit, they’re still alive – and Charlene’s is still lit. Of course, have some hope! More ominously, Flynn’s is burned down to a stub.

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 8: Blitzkrieg

Time for a Garrett/Hauptman history lesson. Turns out he’s a Lowenmensch – a wolf/lion man (I wonder if this is a mistake and what they meant was just lion man?) and a Nazi – yes as in World War 2 Nazi rather than the modern Alt Right kind – who wanted to enslave the Wild Hunt to turn into an army for Hitler

Honestly, in supernatural worlds, the Nazis never had tanks – just oodles and oodles of occultists trying to summon bad things.

It didn’t go well for him or his unit which were all massacred by the annoyed hunter

Except him who was wounded by the Hunt and got one of those green-infected nasty wounds. He didn’t give up on grabbing the Hunt and went looking for some scientists to help. Unfortunately for him those scientists were the Dread Doctors who promptly put him in one of their vats to do nefarious things with him. He spent several decades gently simmering in dread doctor goo, with a base of Wild Hunt Poison and a dash of general evil turning into something super powerful and deadly. Yes a marinating Nazi recipe, I was going to make a Paula Dean quip but there was no indication of butter being added at all

How does the gang learn all this? Because of the B team showing their usual common sense. After a brief moment where Mason mourns Cody and is shocked that he only has pics of Mason in his phone (Hayden: That means he loves you Me: That means the show didn’t develop him enough to have hobbies, friends, family or be anything other than Mason’s +1 who in turn is little more than Liam’s +1 but still points for showing mourning). Most of the Town has now been taken by the Hunters now and everyone is all despairy – but Theo claims to know all this about Garrett because the script says so. Y’know, for beings that barely spoke the Dread Doctors were damn chatty behind the scenes

He is willing to divulge all of this if the B team will destroy Kira’s sword so he can’t be trapped again. I think this is a shitty thing to do without speaking to Kira or Noshiko first. I also think it’s pointless – yay they won’t trap you under the floor any more – but I’m sure Malia will happily beat you to death. Is that better?

After these revelations the Wild Hunt shows up – Mason is quickly vanished. Followed by, after a long dramatic moment in which this show insists on trying to make me care about Liam and Hayden, Hayden is also taken. Liam runs off alone.

Chris and Melissa are still trying to track down Garrett – since they’ve been on the Pineal gland murders for a while. He finds them, sadly, and all enhanced he is more than a match for an Argent. He demands to be shown where Parrish is – since he wants a Hellhound – and then Melissa and Chris are also green gassed out of there. This show’s filling up that train station. So many have gone we just know they’re all going to be rescued – there’s just too many for them not to. It kind of detracts from the tension of it – because we know these losses aren’t going to have consequences

For reasons unknown, Parrish is now a servant of Garrett. Green gassy glows may be involved. Which sounds terrible when I write it out.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Librarians, Season 3 Episode 8: And the Eternal Question

We see evidence of perhaps the most dangerous, most powerful, most evil dark magic we’ve ever seen on this show.

People excited over golf. Golf people! Human sacrifice must be involved!

Until the main golfer who is doing so well suddenly spontaneously combusts. He is also disqualified because he did something interesting in a golf match. Totally against the rules.

Of course spontaneous combustion is definitely a Librarian thing. Kind of. Jenkins and Flynn are both clear they’ve never come across magical spontaneous combustion before. But, hey, there’s a first time for everything.

More investigating leads to the golfer’s wife who informs them that her husband was dying of cancer before he went to a spa and totally got better.


Then they open some curtains and she burns to ash when exposed to sunlight.

Time to go visit this spa. There they the owner and her son Tomas and daughter Estrella who runs the place. It’s a beautiful, amazing place all organic and shiny and with special shiny rocks in the soil.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Mind Magic (World of the Lupi #12) by Eileen Wilks

Lily’s bond with Rule is as stretched and confused as it’s ever been – thanks to the lessons she is having in Mind Speech. This is the worst time for her to disappear when she cannot be found

But Lily vanishes following up on a favour she cannot deny – while at the same time a conspiracy strikes against the Shadow Unit. The whole apparatus designed to fight The Enemy, Ruben the head of the unit, Rule the head of two Lupi clans are all targeted in a devastating co-ordinated attack.

It’s the worst time for Lily to be out of touch as everything they’ve built begins to crumble.

Back to Lily as a protagonist! I always love this focus, because Lily Yu is an awesome protagonist and one of my favourites

And, of course, I love the world building. I love the massively creative world building. I love that such a lot of originality has gone into not only designing the world with this crash of magic into the technological world, the various magical societies from the Brownies to the Lupi who all have their own cultures and magic and language all really well done together. And then we have the dragons with their completely unique biology coupled with their own culture and traditions and opinions and beliefs. It’s excellent. It’s really original and well developed and nuanced.

And I love Lily. I do love lily. I love that she’s so sensible. I love that even when worried and angry and outraged and upset and emotional she’s still logical and capable and empathetic enough to see from a different point of view. I love how she can be angry with various supernatural beings while also acknowledging that from their point of view they’re a very different beings with vastly different values. She can acknowledge that, understand that, respect that – but not by being a complete door mat to them. The fact they have a dramatically different culture doesn’t mean they’re allowed to treat her in ways that she finds unacceptable because of it.

The Librarians, Season 3, Episode 7: And the Curse of Cindy

Hippies! We got hippies! Time to get the dragons!

A woman is trying to get her daughter out of the adoring cult of Cindy worshippers- only to become a Cindy worshipper herself. Yes, magic is afoot.

The Librarians naturally show up, gaining access to the compound by using Flynn’s patented “We’re the Librarians” charm to open up the doors

And, yes, it’s magic. Of course it’s magic. Jake is quite shocked by this which is a little naive but it further shows again how the debate about whether or not magic is safe to use is a bit less binary than they like to present it – with them constantly using magic every day in every mission.

They quickly realise that Cindy is using some kind of artefact or magic to make herself the target of obsession and run around chasing the traditional red herring. They also run across some Dosa elements, but they’ve also already fallen prey to Cindy’s obsession powers.

As do Jake and Flynn

A quick return to the Library for Jenkins to do some tests concludes they’re dealing with a love potion. Well, an Obsession potion which is what love potions really are without the good press. While he works on a cure for that (and the others take vids of Jake and Flynn for future embarrassment) they discover that the love potion is perfume based and discuss why Ezekiel is magically immune

Because he loves himself too much. Uh-huh.

Back into the fray, while we see lots of a woman making the potion for Cindy and Cindy repeatedly crying over a video of her in a reality television show – being voted off.

The Librarians, Season 3, Episode 6: And the Trial of the Triangle

This episode is several kinds of awesome – because it takes the whole separate storylines between Flynn and the other Librarians and mushes them together in a way that is finally drawing out the relationship between them and calling out the problems there

Namely Flynn. The Flynn the absent leader who doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of respect for his fellow librarians and has worked alone for so long that he far too often fails to take the others into account

The episode begins with Eve and the Librarians kidnapping Flynn so they can have an intervention. And this is so often clich├ęd and cheesey – and, yes, it’s Librarians so it’s going to be a bit of cheesey anyway because yes it is – but this is really well done and awesomely pulls out issues that have always been there and we’ve all been expected to just accept.

Ezekiel calls him out on expecting everyone to think and process just like him – to be his kind of Librarian. But an ongoing theme of Ezekiel’s story has been that he is also a Librarian, very different from the more academic Flynn and his fellows – but that doesn’t make Ezekiel a lesser Librarian.

While Cassandra calls him out on how intimidating he is, how much he insists on doing things his way. How he’s so very good at being a Librarian he has forgotten that other people can be good as well – how she’s left feeling she can’t offer a solution and they all have to wait around awkwardly until Flynn has an idea. He’s a gifted leader but he’s not the only gifted person there

And Jake calls him out for being such a poor friend – how he has raised so many barriers between him and the others that he feels like he’s constantly having to build a new relationship with Flynn.

Of course, Eve, who loves Flynn has a very palpable hit – how much Flynn’s self-destructive impulses is hurting them. His moods, his secrecy, his pride is so destructive. This is something they come back to awesomely (and cheesily) later.

Flynn is, naturally, completely unwilling to confront this and instead focuses on the war they’re facing. And he’s not entirely wrong – friendship and even love have to take a back step to literally saving the world from ultimate evil. And he’s not wrong but he’s also throwing away assets as well as relationships.

His current focus is the Eye of Ra, a super magical item that can completely help them against Apep and that’s what he has been looking for. But, again, this emphasises how he hasn’t been helping himself by not telling anyone – not even Eve – about this.

We have one of those excellent moments of collaboration where every member of the team brings out their speciality to help fund out where the Eye is – it’s a typical zany Librarian’s storyline involving the Bermuda Triangle, Venezuelan aircraft and Lewis Carol because Librarians is fun like that. On the way we have a moment of Eve and Flynn in an airport having a loud argument as a destruction which quickly turns into a powerful, emotional fight about their relationship and what they want from each other as well as basically referring to themselves as mum and dad to the child Librarians. There’s a lot of back and forth about responsibilities, entanglements and what Eve wants from Flynn and what he wants from her but underlying is the declaration that they do both very much love each other.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I Did Not Give that Spider Superhuman Intelligence (Please Don't Tell My Parents #0.5) by Richard Roberts

Goodnight is being pulled back into superheroing, despite being officially retired.

But when pint-sized heroes Mish-Mosh and Psychopomp drop in her lap, along with an instant chance to save the day, how could she not form Team Tiny?! A superhero team wedded to Goodnight’s firm principle

Being a superhero should be fun! To Irene this is an awesome game. Lives are at stake, some terrible people need stopping – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun as well!

I love the quirky super hero world which we’ve seen through the lens of Penny Ack and her friends which has always been so much zany fun. And after three books of that, this book is perfect to delve a little behind all that

And lo we have this prequel which does this so perfectly

Going back several decades before Penny came on the scene we get to see the wonderful origin stories of several of the most compelling characters that loom large over the ongoing series. Not characters who are, perhaps, most involved in the books, but ones whose legends truly shape them by everyone knowing about them – like Mourning Dove. One of the good elements of the original three books is that there isn’t a lot of explanation of things that everyone knows- everyone knows about Mourning Dove so there isn’t really any need to explain her other than have her presence shadow the book. That’s well done. But it’s also awesome to see the origin behind that, the history and how she developed

And also how the city developed and how Goodnight’s visions of what super heroes and super villains should be and the whole wonderful underpinning of this series – that super heroing can be fun. That there should be rules, code of conduct, rules of engagement. That when super powerful beings clash there needs to be some rules or everyone suffers

And it wasn’t just abstract – there was a really excellent metaplot on the consequences of, for example, heroes and villains targeting revealed identities, homes, families: how it not only gives heroes and villains downtime but how someone’s family being targeted makes them more and more desperate and more and more dangerous. And dangerous + super powers = terrible consequences.

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 7: Heartless

So we have Theo having guilt nightmares of woman ripping out his heart over and over – his sister Tara who he kind of/sort of killed.

It goes on for a long time and would be tiresome. But I kind of hate this character and that he’s not Kira, so bring on the heart ripping! More heart ripping! More!

The downside? In TVlandia someone feeling all guilty is normally the first step to putting them on a very fast moving redemption train which will quickly have everyone accepting him as a good guy.

At least that isn’t happening just yet, because Malia is happy to beat him blood and murder him – oh lots and lots of murdering – and Scott is quite a fan of putting him back in the ground

However Liam and Hayden have decided that they totally need him because he claims to know about the Wild Hunt with little reason for them to believe it. But we’re going with it anyway because this show is determined to drag us through this whole passing-the-torch meta with Scott setting up Liam as the new leader for a new cast. I guess I could get it when they initially floated the idea that they envisaged either spin off or the whole series to kind of transform and transition

But this is dead in the water – because Liam and Hayden are just so very very very very very boring and not even remotely compelling. This is the last season of Teen Wolf, there is no indication of a spin off and if there were, a spin off of Liam and Hayden would be about as popular as whatever trainwreck Sleepy Hollow is planning for this season.

This means we have this whole episode with Liam and Hayden putting forward ideas and being present and involved when really they could just be ripped from the plot line and their parts be passed to Scott and Lydia and us not having to deal with the writers trying to make Baby Wolf not only relevant but in charge. I’m finding the whole heir apparent thing annoying especially since his ideas are not exactly special – but they’re presented as such

Also “do you have a better idea” is NOT a reason to do an absolutely stupid thing guys, it really isn’t.

Anyway, rant aside this why we have Theo around while they design their Wild Hunter trap. Which is basically exactly the same as the trap they had before only with bigger equipment. Why is Theo here again?

Surprisingly, the trap works and they manage to capture themselves a wild hunter and then have absolutely no plan on what to do with him when captured. And only belatedly remember these things tend to run in packs so it’s only a matter of time before another guy shows up to rescue it. Oh, also, it doesn’t speak English

This is not a good plan

Beyond, Season One, Episode Four: The Man in the Yellow Jacket

At the end of the last episode, Jeff appeared with a gun, outside of the school where Holden was taking his highschool equivalency test.  We are encouraged to see this as an immediate threat to Holden's safety given that the reason Holden ended up in a coma is because Jeff and his friends ran him off the road.  In the last 12 years it seems that Jeff made good. He's joined the military and really turned life around.  Unfortunately for Jeff, his role in Holden's coma led to an estrangement from his brother.

We learnt that Jeff decided to kidnap Holden because Kevin left a hard to decipher message on his phone before he was murdered by yellow jacket.  Because Jeff believes that Holden is the key to Kevin's disappearance, he shows him some photos of Yellow Jacket which were caught on CCTV. During their conversation, Kevin is having a hard time holding it together, causing Jeff to question if Holden is okay.  Feeling his control slipping, Holden advises Jeff to leave everything up to the sheriff before taking off. 

Holden goes to see Willa because he wants to get a handle on what is happening with him.  Willa informs him that he is actually suffering PTSD and instructs him to close his eyes and focus on his breathing every time he feels out of control. It seems that these flashes that Holden keeps having are a natural side effect of being in the Realm and the only way to control it is to redeem his memories and learn control.  Holden is not down with taking another shot and instructs Willa to find another way before leaving.

When next we see Holden, he is helping Diane unpack some groceries.  When Diane brings up Holden's test, he is quick to deflect and so they briefly discuss Holden dating.  Holden naturally turns the conversation to the Reverend, and once again Diane denies that she is having a relationship with him. 

Holden heads upstairs and decides to give Jamie a call.  After a few awkward moments, he manages to get Jamie to agree to have dinner with him.

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 6: Ghosted

Last episode Stiles managed to communicate to the gang to check out the town of Canaan. Of course this also means confirming that Stiles existed – and prompting everyone’s memory to come back.

Being not terrible, Scott tries to tell the Sherriff (who, in the grand tradition of the Stalinski family has no firstname) that he has a son.

It’s a hard sell, but he can hardly not try can he?

Just in case people weren’t listening to Stiles, Lydia has some Banshee visions about a woman in the town of Canaan in the 80s. Canaan was inflicted with a terrible scourge – 80s fashions. Oh and the Wild Hunt attacking and making everyone disappear into puffs of green smoke. Except this woman who I wish to point out I totally called as a Banshee even before the screaming started.

Malia does some impressive research (but being so disconnected from, well, everything, doesn’t realise it) and it’s time for a road trip to a ghost town with convenient discarded, well preserved newspaper with the date 04/08/1987 which, given USians unique way of writing dates, means 8th April 1987

Lots of spooky effects with some spooky hallucinations for everyone (I vote gas leak) which seem to be kind of sort of prophetic in some very not useful or defined ways.

In case the spooky deserted town isn’t spooky enough, the gang stumbles across Lenore, the woman from Lydia’s vision, the woman who wasn’t claimed by the wild hunt. She is super creepy and invites them all in for toxic lemonade which may date back to the 1980s (Malia drinks it, of course she does). She gets very excitable and the floor starts shaking every time someone tries to talk about the disappearing people which makes interviewing her somewhat awkward. Especially since Malia has her usual tact

She also has a small son, Caleb, who entertains them with home videos and obvious proof that he is waay waaaay waaaaaay too old to be this creepy little child. Why is it children are the creepiest thing ever? It probably says something disturbing about our species that children have the power to freak us out so completely. Is any species this scared of their offspring?

Anyway creepy child and/or his mother has the power to seal doors, stop werewolves from ripping off heads and even drown people – because that was how the kid died.

The kid is a ghost, his mother a banshee and Lydia manages to get through Lenore’s detachment by having a competitive screaming match. At the end of which Lenore realises she has been in a kind of limbo for 30 years

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson #11) by Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson is far more than a private investigator – which is good because she doesn’t always make a lot of money at that what with the breaking things

Of course she has a lot on her mind – including the angels stalking her every move after she kind of threatened Jehova with taking over. Then there’s that other demon god who is definitely trying to hun

And all this is before Charley truly figures herself out – hard enough for most people (especially people as… quirky as Charley) but for the god-eater, the most powerful deity out there prophecised to do so many things, enemy of god and devil both? That’s a lot for anyone to digest.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again, this book series is just fun. Especially Charley. She’s just so quirky, so funny and so utterly incapable of taking anything seriously. I love her little tangents. I love how easily distracted she is. I love her little asides, her silly maunderings and the general joy she manages to have all the time. I like the funny. I like that we have a protagonist who is still joyful even in the face of a lot of grim happening.

And you get lines like:

“We stood as the judge came into the room, much like one would when a kling enteed, or the president, or a male stripper when the women in front of you are really tall.”

Or her random tangents about prada.

Sometimes it is stretched a little much. Like her naming her furnishings and car is funny. Her naming everything she comes across no matter how tangentially is ridiculous. Tone it back a little

I do love the slowly developing metaplot in all its weird shininess. The originality of the gods, the different dimensions Charley’s extra special part within that is so different from anything I’ve read. The epic powers are there, but don’t divert from the general lightness and humour of the series. I like the both fear and joy of seeing Charley Davidson having more power than god while also being both genuinely good and caring while also having the attention span of a concussed squirrel.

Class, Season 1, Episode 8: The Lost

So after the last 2 episodes everyone is really sad and tense with lots of heavily poked sore spots and everyone is kind of angry with each other. It’s poignant and shows all these characters I love interacting and dealing with massive emotional impact

And, I like that we do have a team of teens who did have all of their vulnerabilities exposed and they didn’t run off in a massive epic huff but nor did they just get over it either.

We have a lot of tentative attempts to rebuild bridges (and I say again that the part of this show I love so much is the relationships – definitely over the plot lines) and lots of heavy anger and pain with some beginnings of reconciliations.

Which is when the shadow people show up. Yes these people just aren’t going away. They turn up and start killing people

They kill Ram’s awesome father and Tanya’s briefly seen mother

I know this is to ratchet up the dramatic tension but these characters were essential – parents in a YA series. Involved parents. Caring parents! Don’t remove them like this!

This collapses Ram who is torn apart by this loss which gets wrapped up with him and April rekindling their romance. And it devastates Tanya who is desperate to protect her brothers – and destroy the shadow people. For which he joins Quill

Quill, who has been asleep due to her pregnancy. She’s being looked after by Charlie because he has Complicated Feelings about her: even if she’s not his friend they’re still both the last of their kind which is a powerful bond. And yes she’s pregnant. Also realising that, being a Quill, her kids will probably eat her which isn’t something she’s very happy about but she has other things on her mind – like war, the Shadow Warriors, protecting Tanya and her brothers by being awesome and lethal (pregnant Quill are apparently much more vicious and dangerous) and then training Tanya to fight as well. All while being snarky, awesome and more than a little epic.

She wants her gun back – but she and Tanya also very much want Charlie to use the Cabinet of Souls to wipe out the Shadows: for both vengeance and to keep Tanya’s family safe.

Ram just falls apart because he can’t see any win here. Wiping out the shadows will also kill April just after they’ve both reaffirmed their love. (And removing that shadowiness will also remove April’s mother’s magical cure as well). He also pretty much brings the whole painful impact of the series together – they’ve suffered a lot, dealt with a lot, seen terrible things and there doesn’t seem to be an end to this. He is losing any kind of hope – which is excellent. Because after what they’ve been through in such a short time, what they’ve lost, what they’ve had to adapt to – that’s a lot of trauma and definitely is going to lead to the edge of breakdown.

Emerald City, Season One, Episode Three: Mistress - New - Mistress

I've long thought that waking up to an alarm clock is the worst way to greet the day but this week Dorothy awoke to a gunshot and I have to admit that just might be worse than an alarm.  The first thing she notices is that Lucas is missing. Yeah, given his past and the gunshot, that sounds like cause for concern to me.  Dorothy follows Toto to the beach where she finds Lucas reflecting on the weapon. Lucas is well aware of how scary he is, particularly given the case of overkill as it concerns Mombi.  He may not have his memory but he knows enough to recognise that he's not a man to be played with.  Lucas expresses concern about just how lethal Dorothy's weapon is and points out that if he kills someone with his sword, he has to work for it.  Dorothy demands her gun back and after a slight hesitation Lucas complies.  I thought that this was a great commentary about just how lethal guns are.  No matter Lucas's skills, if armed only with a sword, if Dorothy points her weapon and shoots, there's nothing he can do in his own defense.

They decide to continue on with their journey and hitch a ride with a circus.  They don't get to travel for long because the caravan is stopped by the Wizard's guards.  Unsure of exactly where he stands at this point, Lucas wisely decides that it's time to jet.  Dorothy chooses to stay because she wants to see the Wizard so that she can return home.  Lucas hops out of the caravan and Toto quickly follows. So much for the loyalty of dogs I suppose.  Dorothy steps outside to grab Toto, and is instead grabbed by Lucas and dragged into the bushes.  They listen is as Eammon gives the order for Dorothy to be found and killed. Well that's one for Lucas.

Things aren't looking good for the Wizard because things are quickly spiraling out of control. Three young women are up on a roof doing a ritual.  It turns out that it's ritual suicide. The girls begin to float in the air and then spiral to the ground stopping about 2 meters from the ground with their necks snapped. The witnesses take this as their cue to make themselves scarce.  

After seeing this, an enraged Wizard, who has banned magic in Oz wants answers. Elizabeth immediately starts talking about The Beast Forever and warns of its return in eight days by a hailstorm of fire. That would sure make for one hell of a dramatic entrance.  Anna pulls the Wizard aside and says that the dead women are the responsibility of West because they committed magical suicide.

Lucas and Dorothy arrive at the castle of the witch of the east, which sports a cyclone on the top.  Dorothy reasons that since she arrived in Oz on a tornado that she can leave on one as well. Lucas urges caution but Dorothy little miss spunky agent refuses to even pause for a moment. The first roadblock they come across is Sullivan, who is guarding the door.  It seems that even though the witch of the east is dead, he's determined to stay loyal.  He accuses Dorothy and Lucas of being thieves, there to plunder but when he sees that Dorothy is wearing the golden hand jewelry, he assumes that Dorothy must be his new mistress. Dorothy is happy to go with this and even agrees to fix the weather. Sullivan escorts them into the castle and shows Dorothy a room where she can purify herself (read: wash off the dust and change clothing) before the ceremony.

Having learned that the public suicide is the responsibility of West, the Wizard decides to pay her a little visit. The Wizard is still in a rage about the suicides and is doubly pissed that magic happened in his realm; however, West remains nonplussed by his rage. West turns her attention to Anna, and informs Anna that her mother sent her away from Emerald City to have a better life than she did.  Clearly, Anna's mother was a sex worker because West goes on about how succulent she was.  This also means that West just might be a lesbian.  West also doesn't shy away from informing the Wizard that he slept with Anna's mother as well and suggests that the Wizard might want to taste Anna.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blaze of Memory (Psy/Changling #7) by Nalini Singh

Devraj is the director of the Shine institute, the organisation created to find, protect and help the Forgotten. The descendants of those Psy who decided to resist conversion to Silence and went into hiding to escape the Council

The Council still knows about them and plots against them – so when Katya turns up on his doorstep, broken, amnesiac, tortured and blocked from the Psy Net he instantly suspects a trap

Katya is considered dead by the Psy – which makes her a perfect tool for Ming LeBon, Psy Councillor, deadly telepath and ruthless fighter. He can use her to research the Forgotten… and if not? Well, she’s disposable. But as Katya starts to rebuild herself from the ruin he left, she is determined to find answers in her shattered memories – even if it means defying Dev’s control of her.

Let’s address that perennial problem with these books – the romance. I knew very quickly in the book who the romantic partners were

Was it because of how attractive they were? No

Was it because of how compelling they found the other? No

Was it because of them simply being the protagonists? Well, yes, but not the prime reason

No, I knew they were love interests the minute Katya turned up on her doorstep like a lost broken bird in need of sanctuary and protection and healing while Dev was the big, gruff, super dangerous-oh-so-dangerous man who needed to decide whether or not she was the enemy he may need to kill.

Because for some unknown reason there are apparently a vast number people who think “damaged, traumatised woman and the violent man who may murder her” is really hot. And my gods, WHY? Why does this storyline keep happening? Not just in this series but in general?! Who are these hordes of people who are gasping “ooooh, she’s completely traumatised and facing death, such a perfect candidate for romance!” or “he’s so angry and cold and unemotional – this is so haaaaawt!” or even “he just threatened to kill her for the THIRD time! It’s getting steamy in here!”

It boggles me, it really does, that this is not only seen as romantic, but it is so often seen as romantic it has become such a prevalent trope. This is problematic in its own right – the rigid gender roles that it promotes (women as weaker, as fragile, as vulnerable, man as tough, angry, aggressive, in control, domineering) as well as the very damaging dynamics it not only portrays but encourages (male as violent, threatening, controlling, possessive) and puts on a pedestal. These are not healthy relationships. These are not relationship dynamics we should encourage. These are not a template for a happily ever after.

But it’s also, frankly, getting boring. This is the seventh book in this series. And in all but one of the previous books, this is exactly the same romance storyline. Vulnerable/fragile/broken/breaking woman, facing collapse, implosion, menace, destruction meets aggressive, emotionally distant, uncommunicative, angry, dangerous man who may hurt or kill her and LOVE HAPPENS. Sasha, Faith, Brianna, Ashaya, Talin – all have the same story with Lucas, Vaughn, Judd, Clay and Dorian. Only Mercy and Riley have a different story and it’s still not that far from it. Change the record already. We even have a moment in this book where Dev is violently jealous for no good reason and this is even lampshaded as “normally a Changeling trait.” Yet, it is – but we’ve so strongly established the idea that a man in love is 2 seconds away from axe murdering any other man who comes near that it feels almost like love can’t be depicted without it.

Class, Season 1, Episode 7: The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did

This episode is all about the awesomeness that is Ms. Quill and happens at the same time as the events of detention last episode

I am definitely here for an episode all about Quill because Quill is awesome and anyone who disagrees is just wrong and should be ashamed.

Headmistress Dorothea is delivering on her promise to remove the Arn- the enslaving creature in Quill’s brain that stops her doing violence, touching weapons and making sure she serves and protects Charlie, despite him being the last remnant of her sworn enemy – from Quill’s skull. It’s risky, but if the choice is between freedom and death then Quill will stab death in the face and grab that freedom with both hands

This being Class the pathway to getting there is bizarre. The Governors has a special little transporter device. They also have another prisoner who is integral to the process – Ballon. He’s a shapeshifter, fixed in one place and is also along in the hope of the freedom he will be given if they succeed.

The transporter takes them to… the afterlives of various people. Or not the afterlives so much as the dimension/world/thought construct created by the collective beliefs of everyone who believes in that afterlife. Yes it’s a but weird but Quill is there to snark

Quill is there through this whole episode being either perfectly snarky (warning them of the menace of the kitten’s online cultists) or epic (“I will be war itself!”). Really this whole episode is worth it for Quill’s every last word.

They collect an Arn from the Arn afterlife (with a brief brain squeal moment when Quill points out they’re genetically modified beings yet still have an afterlife) before dropping in on the shapeshifter Hell with Ballon to get some god blood to free his shapeshifting so he can do the surgery followed by a spot to Quill heaven to get a Quill brain

While this is a pretty simple object quest, along the way we get some really nice exploration of the cultures of these beings. Like the shapeshifter’s idea of hell is being reduced to statues, be unable to move or change, being silent: basically hell for the constantly moving/changing shifters is stasis. Which equally informs why Ballon is so eager to be freed since being unable to shift is literally hell

The Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 8: Hearts Still Beating

And this episode brings the first mustering for war – and it does it firstly by laying out the pieces ready to deploy

In Hilltop Gregory is clearly worried about losing his grip. Sasha and Maggie stepped up when the colony was threatened, they acted, they saved people. Gregory didn’t and the people remember this. We can see Gregory’s insecurity and equally see the people’s support for Maggie and Sasha. Sasha also seems willing to plan something – but feels she has to act alone because she can’t ask Maggie, as a pregnant woman, and the rest are unwilling to fight the Saviours – but she will fight.

A similar frustration is happening at Kingdom as Ezekiel’s lieutenant (whose name I can’t remember – Richard?)  who appeals desperately to Morgan and Carol to try and convince Ezekiel they have to fight. He, rightfully, points out it’s only a matter of time before one of the volatile Saviours lashes out or Negan in his random sadism lashes out. And he’s not wrong – every time that the Saviours have gone to collect their tribute someone has picked a fight. It’s only a matter of time before it escalates.

Richard also says “I imagine fighting is not something you’ve been involved in” MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh, the Saviours die when Carol decides to show them all the flowers. Neither Carol – who wants out of everything as much as possible – nor Morgan who is desperately clinging to his path of non-violence, refuse to fight. But we know they’re going to be drawn in. We’re introducing the troops here.

On his supply run, Rick and Aaron manage to gather some supplies (though Aaron came close to death several times) with Rick laying out why he’s serving Negan and Aaron agreeing (because Aaron has never disagreed with Rick in his life. Or had an opinion. Or personality) that existing and living is better than the alternative. They manage to grab the supplies, head back to Alexandria – and Aaron is brutally beaten by the Saviours. Because they’re Saviours

But I’m getting ahead of myself – Negan has been hanging around Alexandria waiting for Rick to return and generally getting on everyone’s nerves in the process. Everyone is terrified, except Spencer, who is the worst. Spencer takes the opportunity to try and creep in with Negan and be the new leader of Alexandria after Negan kills Rick. This is his plan

And, lo, we have the one moment when we all agree with Negan – he kills Spencer. He kills Spencer because he has zero respect for the cowardly sliming of Spencer trying to take over from Rick and relying on someone else to do it because he’s not brave enough or capable enough to do it himself. Besides which, what chance would Spencer have of holding Alexandria together since no-one respected him even a little?

RIP Spencer, you will not be missed.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sleepy Hollow, Season Four, Episode Two: In Plain Sight

It seems that Sleepy Hollow is in a rush to try to fall into a familiar pattern with their new characters and it all feels so disrespectful to Abbie's memory. #abbiemillsdeservesbetter It's bad enough that the writers thought they could simply replace one WOC with another without toying with our emotions the way that this episode did.

It begins with Ichabod in the D.C. Library, his replacement for the archives.  At any rate, it's night and there's a storm.  It quickly becomes clear that Ichabod isn't alone in the library.  He calls out, "lieutenant", and we watch as feet seem to rush by him. Finally the presence makes itself seen and it's Molly, Diana's daughter. It's enough to startle Ichabod right out of his sleep. It seems that Jenny had been using a Tibetan singing bowl to induce an image of the new witness.  Okay, how exactly did Jenny manage to get the bowl given that it's used to reveal who possess the Dalai Lama's spirit? I know that she's good but come on already. This just feels incredibly disrespectful but this is what happens when POC culture's get mined for woo woo. 

In the aftermath of the vision both of them are showing signs of being effected.  They head outside and Crane thanks Jenny for relocating to Washington for him. Damn right he owes her.  Crane reveals what he saw in the dream and then decides to head to the library to do some research.

Jake and Alex are at the library and Jake has gone all fanboy now that he knows that everything in the library has some important meaning.  Ichabod is forced to break in because he doesn't have the proper clearance to enter the building and Jake promises him a pass to use from here on in.  Alex still seems very reserved when it comes to Crane. 

While this is going on, Malcolm is hunting down yet another artifact to add to his collection.  He heads to a house which contains three witches and offers them a blood which kills the moment it draws blood, in exchange for a stone. The witches hesitate because they have been charged with guarding the witch stone. When Malcolm reveals that the stone actually has nothing to do with witchcraft, two of the three witches turn on their leader and kill her. Well I guess Malcolm has his deal. 

At home Diana has failed at making pancakes for daughter and claims that Molly cannot complain since she is still not speaking. Also, who the hell cannot make pancakes of all things?  I do love Diana's relationship with Molly; it's sweet and really humanises her. When her sister shows up, Diana grabs her things and leaves, stopping long enough to tell Molly that she loves her.

Having landed the case of the dead witch, Diana decides to call Crane in for a consult.  How and why she thinks he's relevant to the case except for the fact that this is how Crane and Abbie used to work together is beyond me. At any rate, Crane admits to know the dead woman from a long time ago. Can you guess what time it is? Why, it's historical flashback time to Washington and Benedict Arnold. Apparently, it was the witches who aided in shutting down Arnold's attempt to betray the revolution.

Crane heads to the library to do more research while the witches decide to hit the town.  It's been three hundred years since they've been outside and so I cannot blame them for wanting to get their drink on.  Two men approach the sisters but unfortunately for the men, they are both married. The sisters see the their attempt to break their marriage vows as dishonest and kill them on the spot.  

Grimm, Season Six, Episode Two: Trust Me Knot

"Man is not what he thinks he is,
he is what he hides."

It's not fair that this is the last season of Grimm, when it's the best one they've done so far. From season one the biggest problem with Grimm was it's absolute refusal to move the meta along at a reasonable rate and yet this season the pace is dizzying and wonderful. Why oh why couldn't Grimm have been this good the entire time? 

When we last left Grimm, Renard was outside Bud's place with a swat team preparing to burst in and arrest Nick. Before Renard can give the go ahead, Hank and Wu show up and arrest him for the murder of Rachel Wood.  Of course we all know that Renard's creepy daughter was responsible for Rachel's death.  Renard tries to encourage the swat team to act but Hank and Wu say that he's no longer in charge. With Renard secured in the back of the squad car the two take off. 

Inside of Bud's place, the panic level is high and this is when Monroe decides to announce that Rosealee is pregnant.  Well, I guess that cat's out of the bag.  Nick actually takes the time to congratulate Monroe and Rosealee and apologise for getting them involved in this.  Nick encourages his friends to head for the back of the building and determines that he is going to give up.  Both Truble and Eve/Juliet try to talk him out of it.  The swat bursts in and Nick stands still with his hands in the air.  One of the cops frisk Nick and finds the stick.  Suddenly the stick starts to hum like it has found the spirit. It knocks the cops unconscious.

Outside, the rest of the cops are becoming concerned because they haven't heard from the swat team yet.  A shot sounds inside and a member of the swat rushes out and starts running, claiming that Nick got away.  Of course, it's Nick in that uniform.  When the p.d. takes off on a while goose chase, Nick, along with the rest of the scoobies steal the swat van and take off. 

At the station, it's time for Hank and Wu to question an angry Renard.  Renard threatens their jobs and even Nick's life. It's Wu who makes it clear that whatever happens to Nick is going to happen to Renard. Gotta say I love this tough kick ass Wu. Hank questions where Renard was the night his lover was killed but Renard has no alibi because he was busy killing Bonaparte then. 

Once in his cell, Renard uses his one phone call to tell Adalind to get a sitter and come down to the jail and get him out. A maintenance man is painting away the Blackclaw marks on an empty cell and he takes the time woge and state his displeasure at seeing the captain this way. Renard uses the opportunity to ask the man to slip him a cell phone. When the worker slips Renard the cell phone he requested, Renard uses it to call Judge Stancroft, who of course is a Wesen judge. Finished all that he can for the moment, Renard sits, only to hallucinate a gun and a single bullet.  Clearly he's still messed up from killing Meisner.