Saturday, March 4, 2017

Colony, Season One, Episode Eight: Good Intentions

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Season two of Colony, is the season of explosions. Normally, when a show leans on pyrotechnics, it's to cover for lack of a good story or a stagnant meta but that certainly is not the case with Colony.  I'm all in at this point.

Last week, the resistance scored a big victory when they blew up the alien transport ship; however, someone clearly has to pay for that.  Maya is well beyond their retribution having sacrificed her life but Snyder's smart enough to know that Bram played him.  The one thing Snyder can be counted on is his desire to cover his own ass at all costs.  

The trouble begins when Helena meets with the other proxys to determine what they are going to do.  One Proxy, who has clearly sipped from the well of the Greatest Day, wants to use the opportunity to promote the government's cult. Helena however feels that what's important is that the people remain confidant in the abilities of the government enforcers.  Helena also makes it clear that whatever the response is, it will be out of their hands anyway, so there's no point trying to spin anything. Of course, the big fool doesn't listen to Helena and goes ahead does a PSA claiming that the explosion was actually the Aliens doing some inter-dimensional travel that humans aren't currently capable of.  Helena doesn't think about it for long because she gets a call notifying her that the aliens have made their decision. It's just as she predicted, humanity will have no say.

At the work camp, Snyder is determined to cover up that the problem occurred there. That begins by getting rid of Jenkins' and the woman who was in the tubes bodies.  Snyder then has a chat with Bram and informs Bram that by his actions, he signed his own death warrant and that of everyone in the camp. Snyder however is certain that if Bram hands over the people who were involved that he might be able to scrub away all evidence of the rebellion's activities. 

Bram isn't exactly warming up to the idea.  Snyder has a group of people lined up, and handcuffed.  Snyder walks down the line and executes them individually and stops when he finally gets to Bram. Bram is told that he is never to tell anyone what happened and that if he agrees to this, he will be allowed to live. 

All of Snyder's work as an executioner turns out to be for nothing when Helena shows up and asks him to get in her car.  Snyder is resistant and tries to plead saying that if the aliens show up at the work camp that they will find no evidence that anyone from the camp was involved. To speed things up, Helena is forced to inform Snyder that she's trying to save his life.  I guess it's a good thing that Snyder thought ahead to rat out Nolan and get on Helena's good side earlier. Snyder then negotiates to take Bram with him.  Just like Snyder initially was, Bram is resistant to go along for the ride but the choice is taken out of his hands. As the car speeds away, the factory is destroyed behind them.  It's just as Snyder warned earlier, the act of blowing up the ship was indeed a death sentence for everyone.  The aliens even blew up the red hats who were working at the factory, making no distinction between them and the prisoners. 
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Bram is brought to his family's new apartment ( more on that later). It seems that once again, Snyder has kept his word to a Bowman.  Snyder gives Bram a speech about surviving in this brave new world that they live in and asks him to say hello to Will for him before driving off with the convoy. In a parting shot, Bram advises Bram not to forget why he survived.  Bram is greeted with a hug by his father; however, Bram seems most grateful to finally see his little brother and the two hug it out. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Magicians, Season 2, Episode 6: The Cock Barrens

Three main storylines here – the first is Quentin. He has returned from enforced normality, alas, to try and be relevant still.

He is convinced Alice’s Niffin (magical overload creature thingy) is still out there and alive – or possibly her ghost is out there. He decides to do some magical interpretive dance which doesn’t summon her so instead he decides to go visit Alice’s parents and her memorial

Ok, this is supposed to be all about Quentin and Alice and Quentin discovering her while her parents are just awful but, while that is all true, there’s another element that isn’t touched on: how terrible Quentin is. His guilt and grief means he decides to impose on Alice’s clearly deeply hurting parents – he demands they do things they don’t want to, tries to make them face things they’re not ready to. His grief, his pain, his need for absolution or to wallow in his guilt overrules anything Alice’s parents want

When he visits the memorial he has apparent interactions with Alice’s ghosts, a book (do we ever learn what is in that book? I don’t see it) before Alice’s parents drag their eccentric selves around for a while. After playing with pyramids with daddy and destroying mummy with her own self-absorption, Quentin finally comes face to face with Niffin Alice

And she’s alive. The Cacodemon wasn’t strong enough to destroy her so instead it imprisoned her: in the tattoo on his back. That’s going to be messy.

In Fillory, Penny shows up looking for his moss with Elliot flailing around trying to be comforting but basically being ineffectual. They’re visited by the leader of another nation, Prince Ess (yes, so we can make jokes about his name being “Princess”. No really. This is the level). He’s pissed off that Fillory fails so badly (which they do) and he wants a treaty which grants them equal access to the wellspring they all rely on (understandable) and the marriage of Virgin Queen Margot to Prince Ess

Margot objects most strenuously to the virgin part.

So The Lorian’s respond by apparently teleporting the whole castle to Loria (to the “Cockbarrens” because of penis shaped rock formations. Yes. Really) and holds them hostage until they agree to his demands.

Elliot does ask if Margot has considered marriage – after all, he had to. Not only that, he, a gay man, married a woman and thank you show for finally recognising a shred of how awful this is. A shred. Don’t worry they walk it back later

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dead Reckoning by William Dresden

Jesse is a dangerous man. Armed with the Reckoning he can hunt down almost any supernatural creature

But even he was surprised by what he uncovered when he ran across a Limikkin when hunting a cannibal.

This book is a novella. It’s a very short novella as well – and I’m just confused by the whole thing

It doesn’t read like a novella. It reads like some pulled a few chapters out of a much much longer book, which itself was part of a much much longer series (and this was book 5 in that series). And I’m confused why only this part has been sent to me

We have a western setting and our main character is Jesse. He’s a… gunslinger, vigilante, mercenary? I dunno, guy in western who hunts things down for money. Or possibly for some ulterior motive. Either way the stuff he’s hunting seems to be supernatural. Whether that’s a habit or one off… I’m not sure

And his family has been killed by some big bad at some point? And he wants to hunt that down but it’s kind of referenced in passing and… I don’t know because it’s not developed?

And then we have a really long card game where he decides to shoot someone and I’m not only bemused as to why any book feels the need to go into this much detail about a card game, I’m further bemused as to why any book this short would feel the need to dedicate this much time to a card game and bemused yet further still that it’s so out of place and ends with a killing which probably is relevant to something huge in the author’s mind but I have no clue why it is here. He just killed another gambler and I have a vague idea that the guy is not a nice person but… why? Why is this here?

He has this power called “the Reckoning” which is like burning things with magical wrath. I don’t know why he has it how he has it what it means or… well… anything. He’s also really old and really dangerous which may be woo-woo or may be because of the family-killing-tragic-past-moment,

Aaargh, this is this entire book. There’s lots touched on but nothing is explained or developed. Is this not the book? Is this actually like an excerpt of a book, like the sample you can get off Amazon sent to me by mistake?

We do have a plot that isn’t bad and is relatively closed. We have a fight an enemy, a rescue and then a twist at the end. The twist isn’t entirely novel

The 100, Season Four, Episode Five: The Tinder Box

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Clearly, The 100 spent some money this episode and combined with a really tight script it paid off in a big way. With Azgeda approaching Arkadia, things and the clock quickly running out on finding a solution, things have become critical.

As we know, despite being stabbed in the abdomen and falling off a cliff, Octavia managed to survive.  She was on her way to Arkadia when she fell off of her horse, only to be discovered by Ilian.  Ilian takes Octavia to Arkadia where she manages to sputter out a warning about Azgeda before promptly passing out.  With so much at stake, Clarke doesn't ask any questions and being a council, leaving Illian on his own.  Clearly Ilian alone around so much technology is a recipe for disaster because he blames technology and Skaikru for the slaughter of his family. 

Monty tries to contact Kane who of course cannot answer because he's been taken captive by Roan.  Jaha reports that Bellamy's rover has been found abandoned.  Miller Sr, wants to put gunners around the perimeter of Arkadia and then blow up what is left of their hydrazine when the Agzeda warriors get close. It's the scorched earth routine and Clarke is not on side, particularly because it doesn't make sense to set off an explosion so close to a ship they're trying to save.  Clarke suggests that she ride out and have a little chat with Roan to discover what went wrong. Clarke has always been one to try and talk through the options first before becoming violent.  No one sees this as a viable solution except for Monty who points out that they should take a lesson from Pike, who showed them the value of of surprise.  Agzeda is marching to Arkadia with no idea that Skaikru knows that they are coming because they believe Octavia to be dead. 

Clarke parks herself in a cannon right in Agzeda's path while Skaikru soldiers line the cliffs above, thus giving them a tactical advantage.  Clarke calls out that she just wants to talk and Roan replies that it's too late for that and orders his archers to prepare to shoot Clarke.  Clarke remains cool and she looks up at her soldiers.  Echo follows Clarke's gaze and this is when she realises that Skaikru has lasers targeting Roan.  Roan re-balances the situation by having Bellamy and Kane brought to the front in an attempt to create a stalemate. This is when Bellamy realises that Octavia must be alive because that's the only explanation for Skaikru being able to show up and confront Agzeda this way. 

Clarke calls out that all she wants is ten minutes of Roan's time and asks to speak to him privately. When Roan steps forward a worried Echo questions if this is some sort of trap. Roan who has correctly summed up the situation and points out that it if is a trap, they're already caught in it. 

Miller Sr, gives the order to allow Roan to pass by unarmed and everyone complies accept for Riley, who continues to target Roan.  At this point, I have to wonder what the hell they were thinking bringing Riley along on this mission, especially given that Riley was once a captive of Agzeda.  It's Monty who notices what's going on with Riley and does his best to talk him down. 

Clarke and Roan head into a cave to chat about why they've reached this point. Roan responds that Skaikru broke the deal to which Clarke is quick to point out the various ways in which Agzeda is in violation of their agreement. This is when Roan reveals that he knows about the ship is there to take it for the Azgeda people. Clarke explains that the ship is simply a backup plan that that the real plan is to turn everyone into nightbloods.  Roan isn't comforted by this because he sees it as a play for power and more specifically his crown.  Clarke counters by pointing out that Octavia told them that the flame had been destroyed and therefor more nightbloods shouldn't be a problem. Roan is still not appeased because even if the nightbloods aren't a threat, Clarke is clearly building a shelter for her own people. 

Outside, Monty notices that Riley is missing.  With things as tense as they are if Riley should take a shot at Roan, it will mean war and in their current situation a massacre.  Monty makes his way down from his position and with hands held high asks to speak to Echo.  Monty explains that situation with Riley and says that he's trying to avert a war. Bellamy steps up then and offers to go and talk Riley down and Kane uses the radio to tell his people to stand down and let Echo and Bellamy pass. Monty is held captive in Bellamy's place and Echo warns that if Roan dies, Monty and Kane will be the first to die.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Under a Blood Moon (Death Witch #1) by Rachel Graves

Mallory is a death witch, the only one known. While this has left her with a painful past, it gives her skills that makes her a utter asset to the police

And far more so when zombies seem to be running a protection racket. But it’s far from that simple when you have voodoo, werewolves and an ever growing death count needing Mallory to unpick it

I really like the opening of this book and how it establishes Mallory. We see the tragedy, the horror, the deep sadness and the pain of her – but unlike so many characters that have The Tragic Backgrounds ™ it doesn’t consume her characters. We do not get repeated depictions of her mourning and no great big pits of angst. It definitely shapes her, what she is, her power, how she views it – but it doesn’t consume her. It is not all she is or even a hugely significant part of her – but it does go to making her. She’s a character with layers

I think she bounces well with her partner Danny – they work extremely well together and fit well with the job as well. We see how her magic works among the mortal police – we see the opposition she faces, we see the usefulness and acceptance without it entirely replacing actual police work and it all comes with decent friend interactions which are fun to watch and manage to convey a lot of information without completely unnecessary infodumping.

Similarly it’s don a really good job of incorporating the supernatural into the greater world in a very seamless way. I especially like how there’s no attempt to make the supernatural vanishingly rare with witches actually making a significant portion of the population. I’m curious to see how that develops. I love the different kinds of witches, how the gods are related to that and the suggestion of so many other supernatural beings.

I really liked the plot – the whole investigation was nicely twisty with some excellent complexities, some really good red herrings and a great reveal. I liked how they investigated, I liked how they had down time above and beyond that. Yes, she’s a police detective, but she still has friends, she still has a life, her job isn’t everything she is and everything she does.

There’s a lot I like here – the writing, the characters, how they relate and I really love the world setting and the story

I don’t like Jakob the love interest and not just for the reason I mention below. I don’t find him very engaging – I mean I really like the idea that he’s a cook and revels in the food options of the modern world. I love this idea, it’s an excellent take and one of the things that makes this book fun. But every interaction with him is basically sex. Lots and lots of sex which gets very dull very quickly.

The way this book treats voodoo is interesting. I started a scathing criticism of how voodoo was portrayed here as the religion was repeatedly demonised. But as the book develops there’s a nice twist here as we see not how much voodoo is treated, but how voodoo is being scapegoated. It’s an excellent depiction of how demonisation and bigotry can be exploited and used – as people are too eager to follow their own prejudices than see the truth which is a really excellent point.

Beyond, Season One, Episode Ten: Into the Light

Into the Light, marks the season finale of Beyond, and I have to say that I want the ten hours I spent watching this back. We still don't know what the hell the Realm is, or how it's connected to our world. Into the Light, confirmed that Holden is indeed the super special chosen one but that's something we known all along.

With Willa alone in the Realm, and Luke being held captive, Holden feels he has no choice but to give in to Frost's demands and take him into the Realm.  Frost makes it clear that if anything happens to him, Luke is going to die.  He assures Holden that he wants the best for Willa because she's his daughter, a fact which surprises Holden. The two make their way into the Realm and end up on the outer edges, in the middle of a snowstorm.  Holden is pissed that this is the chosen landing area because it hasn't been mapped.

Luke actually manages to make his own escape from the room that he's locked in, only to run right into Tess.  Luke quickly realises that his last meeting with Tess was not an accident and accuses her for preying upon peoples sadness. Tess makes it clear that she may not believe in heaven or an after life but she has a firm belief in making money.
At this point, Luke is completely feeling himself believing that there's nothing that Tess can do to stop him.  Of course, Tess alerts security and they are quickly surrounded.  Tess then takes Luke to the machine so that he can see Holden.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Siren Song (Yancey Lazarus 2.5) by James A Hunter

This is a flashback for Yancey, back to the days when he first learned he was a wizard: in the rainforests of Vietnam, surrounded by enemies, fighting for their lives and facing the sirens. And an ancient force far more deadly than even the modern battlefield.

For a time in this book I was vaguely frustrated

Not because I wasn’t enjoying this book – because I was. Not because it wasn’t well written – because it certainly was. It has a great sense of grimness, that classic Vietnam war-film feel all grim and gritty and normal people completely out of their element, fighting a nasty, terrible war far beyond their experience and what their training prepared them for.

Yancey’s extremely well portrayed, I can feel him, his anger, his sadness, his loss, his struggle. I can feel the camaraderie of his team and why that makes what the Siren’s music is doing to them extra painful and soul destroying.

The quality of the work, the writing, the style and the whole theme and feeling of the story is excellent

But I’ve read it before. I mean, one of the major elements of one of the books is Yancey confronting the sirens, arguing over what happened, demanding revenge and dramatically announcing exactly why he was so angry with the sirens

So I knew this story, especially since the parts that were added were classic Nam movie fiction that while it was all very thematic and atmospheric it wasn’t really adding anything. It was a fun read but then I asked why I was reading it, what it added to Yancey’s story

Especially since this was Yancey’s opening to magic but contained very little magic or wonder. And that makes sense, they’re in a war zone under constant threat. There’s a level of “just roll with it and keep moving” that simply has to apply here, no arguing that. But it’s another storyline that this book could have explored that would have added so much to Yancey’s past that wasn’t. I understand why it wasn’t, it wasn’t the time – but why this book

Then we got the answer with a big epic story about a Leshy and his plot to cause untold suffering and the noble and brave Gregg and Rat and Yancey willing to sacrifice everything to stop him because ultimately they may not be skilled or magical or powerful and they definitely have not the slightest clue what is really going on – but they know it’s wrong, they know people will die and they know they have to stop that

And it’s big and noble and epic. And, on the face of it, a good story – I want to say that again and again about this – it’s a good story, it’s well written, it’s atmospheric with some great characters being portrayed. And it’s a Vietnam war story without demonising the Vietnamese.

The OA, Season One, Episode Four: Away

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Away marks the halfway point of this freshman series and I still cannot say for certain that I understand what the point of it all is. We still don't know what the hell OA stands for but at least we know that Prairie believes that she and all of the other captives are angels. Judging from the fact that Khatun had wings, she's also an angel as well though we have no idea what her motives are for guiding Prairie. 

When we last saw Prairie, she was hit from behind to thwart an escape attempt. Hap's assault marks the second time that Prairie has died. Prairie knows that she died because she feels the loss of the others.  Prairie's death also leads to another visit with Khatun, and a horrible choice. Prairie once again makes the choice to come back. We learn that in order to come back, Prairie had to give up the possibility of spending eternity with her beloved father. She did this because of a feeling of kinship with her fellow captives. Because of Prairie's sacrifice, Khatun offers her a bird to eat which will allow her and the other captives to travel in a way that humans don't know about. Khatun also lets slip that there will be five captives and so we know that Hap is going to add one more person to his collection of NDE (near death experience) survivors.

Prairie is the first of Hap's subjects to have an NED with no medical information and so he is determined to record her experiences.  When Prairie isn't immediately forthcoming, Hap warns that he will be forced to do things to get the information that he wants. Prairie says that it's too much and she doesn't know where to start and then cleverly suggest that Hap ask what he wants to know and she'll answer. This stops Prairie from volunteering any information which would encourage Hap in his activities and keep the fact that her sight has returned secret. Prairie regaining her sight should be a big advantage for her in terms of escaping Hap, but it never really goes anywhere. 

Prairie has an epiphany and suggests that what they need to do is realise the power they actually have.  To that end, the first order of business is to find a way to stay awake during one of Hap's experiments and this means that while the gas is being sent into one chamber, the others need to suck it into their lungs to allow the person being targeted to stay awake.  Scott is against the plan from the get go. Unlike the others, when Scott was taken hostage, he wasn't healthy and the weight of his mortality weighs heavily upon him. Their first attempt to subvert Hap fails but they learn that the drug does not make them unconscious but makes them pliable. When Homer is taken away, we learn that Hap is drowning his subjects in order to record their NDEs.  In case we didn't already know, it's official, Hap is a sick individual.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Walking Dead, Season Seven, Episode Eleven: Hostiles and Calamities

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With Eugene arriving at the Sanctuary,  this is the first time we get an in depth look at how the Sanctuary functions and how the people balance their desire to survive with their abject hatred of Negan.  The residents of the Sanctuary may have much of their material needs taken care of, thanks to the fact that they steal food from all of the other communities but no one living there is happy. They've all made a compromise with the devil and in the process sold their souls. The heart of this episode is about Dwight and Eugene figuring out who they are in this world.

Eugene is in full out coward mode when he is brought to the Sanctuary. Given all of the violence Negan has committed, Eugene's fear is absolutely justified at this point.  The only thing he knows is that Negan took him from Alexandria because he made Rosita's bullet and therefore he assumes that Negan is looking for some kind of revenge against him. Eugene however is pleasantly surprised to be installed in a relatively comfortable apartment, complete with a fridge stocked with fresh food. The point system by which people acquire food and various other sundries is explained to him.  

While Eugene is settling in to his new life, Dwight is in a panic because he's discovered Joey's dead body and of course the missing motorcycle. Dwight finds the note which was slipped to Darryl to aid in his escape and it's not long before he realises that Sherry had a hand in this. As you might expect, Negan doesn't take Darryl's escape lightly and he is quickly suspicious of Sherry.  Dwight knows the consequences of standing up against Negan but he does his best to try and protect Sherry and to deny her involvement in Sherry's escape.  Dwight is rewarded with a beat down and being shoved into the very same closet that he once held Darryl in. 

Laura is clearly playing good cop to Negan's bad cop.  Laura's approach is meant to put Eugene at ease and to imply that his life in the Sanctuary could be an easy one.  Eugene is then brought to see Negan who wants to know exactly what Eugene is capable of.  Eugene starts off by saying that he taught himself to make bullets and that he is good at taking in knowledge.  Negan doesn't seem overly impressed with Eugene even though he managed to make the bullet which almost ended his life.  Eugene then reverts to the lie he used to get Abraham to protect him and claims that he has multiple Phds and that he worked for the Human Genome project in the area of germ warfare. Negan presents Eugene with a problem in order for Eugene to prove that he isn't just a regular old smarty pants. The walkers which Negan uses to guard the fences of the Sanctuary continually rot and fall apart, forcing them to head out and round up new walkers.  Negan sees this as wasted labour.  Eugene suggests melting metal and pouring it over the walkers because it will keep their bodied intact and protect their heads so they cannot be killed. It's really quite bright and Negan is quick to recognise this. Eugene is awarded with a night with Negan's wives though he is warned that sex is off the table. 

Having been ordered to find Sherry, Dwight has to pay a visit to the doctor to fix up his banged up face. The doctor talks about how special Sherry is because she married Negan to protect Dwight.  Dwight then heads to his quarters where he pulls out a pack of cigarettes which only contains three cigarettes. One of them is butt which has lipstick on it. Clearly Dwight kept it to be close to Sherry in his own way. 

Eugene is having his night with the ladies and they are clearly bored watching him play a video game. Amber takes the opportunity to suck back as much alcohol as she can. It's then that Eugene acknowledges that the women aren't there of their own volition. The woman don't want to watch Eugene play a video game and instead they suggest talking about the Human Genome Project.  This is a risky time for Eugene who as we know is simply a science teacher. Eugene claims that it's all above their heads and then makes a home made bomb to dazzle the women and change the subject.  Eugene has always been rather creepy but the way he seems to soak up the adoration even after acknowledging that the women don't have any agency is this situation is a new low for him.

Sleepy Hollow, Season 4, Episode 8: Sick Burn

Let’s cover the predictions first – Malcolm has dreams of a terribad future in which democracy is suspended and he is the supreme tyrant of the US while Ichabod is his prisoner. Equally Molly using her witness abilities (she sees Jenny who does a ritual of finding your path – and Molly is a prophet which is a convenient role for a child since it’s nicely behind the scenes and out of combat).

I’m really trying not to make Trump comments here. Really trying. Especially with Ichabod extorting how wonderful it would be if a leader used social media to spread empowering messages

The monster of the week involves people catching a disease and then bursting into flame. The first victim is a guy called Logan, a social media celebrity who Molly is a big fan of – and it completely ruins the fun and really cute outing Ichabod, Diana and Molly are having (trying to give Molly some sense of morality after the revelation and actions of the last few episodes)

Alex and Jake also see this with Alex’s tinder date catching the same ominous burning disease – but at least the date was terrible and over anyway (Jake was there for a bad date-rescue which wasn’t needed).

They follow this up and find the cause – a symbol people read and when they do they catch the death burny flu. And it’s being spread by social media which is terrifying

Ichabod has a cringeworthy moment which is ridiculous. Season 1, yes, he could have done something as ridiculous as ranting incoherently in the middle of a city. But now? Nah, he knows better than this

To the surprise of just about no-one, it turns out the bury plague thing is another monster from the revolutionary war – really, did any humans actually fight in this war? The monster is a djinn so we’re doing the typical Sleepy Hollow think of grabbing random monsters from foreign cultures, thrusting them inelegantly into the Revolutionary War and ignoring all culture or context behind them

Speaking of – we also have a new dream team from way back when set up by George Washington who were a special agency set up to fight whatever and apparently no-one felt the need to mention them in the last 4 seasons for reasons. I mean, we spent half a season on Betsy Ross, but these guys didn’t deserve a mention?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Grimm, Season Six, Episode Eight:The Son Also Rises

"No man chooses evil because it is evil;
he only mistakes it for happiness."

It's clear to me that Grimm is going to drag out every last moment of this finale series before giving us a hopefully satisfying conclusion.  I guess that it was too much to ask that after six years of doling out the meta slower than molasses that the writers would change their style now. 

The Son Also Rises, begins with an official meeting of the scoobies at the spice shop. They are still trying to figure out the glyphs Eve drew on the walls of the tunnel. The only thing they know right now is that something is coming but they have no idea what. It's been a long day and Nick wants to return home but Eve, having experienced first hand how awkward it is to share a space with your ex and their new partner declines to accompany Nick.  Rosealee and Monroe offer to allow Eve to crash at their place but she decides to crash at the spice shop because Rosealee and Monroe need their space right now. 

Finally, alone, Eve turns introspective and tries to get a handle on who she is now. Eve picks up the mirror and the face appears again and so she breaks the mirror. Eve then turns to grab a boom to sweep up the mess but the mirror reassembles itself.  When Eve looks into the mirror a second time (why would you even do that), a hand  comes through the mirror and begins choking her.  Eve struggles but manages to woge and then bites the hand.  The hand retaliates by throwing her into a bookcase, knocking her unconscious.  Monroe and Rosalee find Eve the next day, lying on the ground unconscious next to the mirror. 

Nick is with Hank and Wu, investing the murder of Dr. Deidre Hampton, when he gets the call about Eve. Nick tells the guys that Juliette is hurt and that he has to leave. That's right, he said Juliette.  Damn it Grimm, stop with the love triangles. When Nick arrives at the hospital, Monroe and Rosalee give him the details of Eve's injury and Nick finally has the good sense to tell them about the monster he saw in the mirror. I particularly liked Monroe reading Nick the riot act a little bit about his failure to share information.  

Monroe and Rosealee head home and the first thing they do is lock up the damn mirror, though they determine that the issue is probably Eve and not the mirror. Monroe is completely cute about not letting Rosealee touch the mirror.  At the hospital, Nick settles down to begin his bedside vigil. 

Now that Nick has gone off to sit at Eve's bedside, Wu and Hank must investigate the case on their own. They decide to see Sanji, the last person that Deidre spoke to on the phone. Sanji gives Wu and Hank, some song and dance about what he and Deidre spoke about but given that the call only lasted 30 seconds, the cops smell the b.s. in the air.  When Hank and Wu discover that the fingerprints at the crime scene are from someone who's already dead, they become even more suspicious. 

It turns out that Sanji works with degenerative tissue, Deidre with stem cells and together, they work with Victor Shelly and Julian Levy.  That's right, the writers decided to do a Grimm version of Frankenstein.  This is confirmed when Grimm's monster sees a missing poster with his face on it, partially woges and then freaks the hell out calling himself a monster. We all know that in the original, the monster wanted revenge against its creator, so it's no surprise that this monster does as well. 

That night, Monroe has a dream about be awoken by Rosealee, who is now in labour.  Of course, it's far to early but Rosealee points out that there's nothing normal about them.  Monroe gives a sigh of relief after the first baby until Rosealee reminds him that she's having triplets.  When Rosealee has given birth to three babies, Monroe thinks it's all over except Rosealee tells him that there's more.  Rosealee keeps giving birth to babies and Monroe starts to beg her to stop. In the end, Rosealee wakes Monroe from his dream saying that he was screaming in his sleep. It seems that Monroe, despite keeping it all together for Rosealee, is scared out of his mind about becoming a father to multiple babies at once. 

In this version of Frankenstein, Hank and Wu discover that a mortuary has been selling bodies that it was supposed to cremate.  It seems that the mortician figured that since the deceased had no family to speak of and were criminals that no one would care what happened to their bodies.  Yes, I am officially creeped the fuck out by that. Harold explains that a man paid one thousand dollars for each body and that he claimed the income on his taxes. Is that supposed to absolve this creepy ass dude? When the Hank agree to let him go, the creepy mortician assures Hank that he learned a lesson. 

Feeling the pressure after Deidre's death, Sanji gets busy shredding his files. As he works Sanki and Dr. Levy discuss what to do with a video of their nefarious activities. When Dr. Levy leaves to clean up his own pile of evidence, Sanji is attacked from behind by the monster we saw earlier. 

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 14: It's Been a Hell of a Ride

So, last week, Damon trusted Kai and this was a bad idea

I totally did not see this coming guys. Not at all. Nope.

He is now near death, hovering in limbo with Cade appearing to make a deal – hand over the stabby knife of Cade killing and he won’t kill Elena – who Kai has given to Cade in exchange for his own life (why is this a trade, again, why does Cade care so much). Kai has also kept the stabby dagger as insurance.

So this means appealing to Kai’s better nature (lol no) which Stefan insists oncoming along. Oh this is the new Stefan redemption train by the way – he decides he’s just going to join in in places where his human self is a completely useless waste of meat. After Stefan gets duly stabbed in the hand, it’s Damon who breaks Kai’s neck, steals the dagger and dump Kai in a prison

They’re still not killing him despite Alaric’s vote because… because… well, because.

Stefan also went to a very not interested Bonnie to beg forgiveness to which Bonnie told him just how much he can fuck himself mightily. Good on Bonnie. Ha, you know it’s not going to last, right? Yep, because ghostly Enzo wants Bonnie to forgive Stefan. Y’know how I’ve been mentioning over and over again that the morality issues of this series would be great if we were given more time to develop these a little more rather than just mentioning them in the last few episodes. Because this? Has a great point. This is the flip side of “everyone is evil” lesson of Vampire Diaries. If everyone is evil, then anyone being judgemental or unforgiving is a hypocrite. For every mass-murder you tut-over, you either have committed one yourself or are in love with/forgiving a different mass-murder. At this point no-one has the moral high ground. The “moral high ground” of the Vampire Diaries world is just a series of mines, or eccentric scientists trying to burrow to the centre of the Earth. The Moral high grounds involves different height piles of corpses everyone is stood on.

Again, this would be fun to develop

Also everyone is also trying to convince Stefan that redemption means hanging around with your support net (who also you need to actually make amends to) rather than running off to places unknown for reasons unknown which probably just means running away with everything

I have little patience for the Salvatore angst.

Caroline and Alaric are also concerned that their little girls are magic using scary kids with little control and causing a whole lot of destruction and danger. Caroline actually raises a reasonable point – maybe they’re shitty parents? All the chaos in their lives around these kids could have affected them.

Hey sirens and deaths and vampires and magic probably aren’t good for development of children even if they don’t have magic.

Kai has another insight: the girls are Geminis twins. And syphoners, basically just like him. Of course he didn’t turn out very well, but that was largely because the chosen solution to him being a syphoner was to isolate him from everyone, no touch, no compassion. So that’s a bad choice to make. Especially as he describes being a syphoner as desperate, addicted, hungry for magic. It’s certainly not an easy childhood.

Another bad choice to make may be to bring the syphoner kids to the Armoury which is like MAGIC CENTRAL and probably not a great place for them. There’s magic in the very walls – which is also a really bad place to imprison Kai, a siphoner

He escapes, incapacitates Caroline and goes on a rampage looking for the girls (who have been taught to hide from bad guys. See what we said about bad parenting? Your children need an emergency drill for psychopaths which they’re actually going to use, then that doesn’t speak for a stable childhood).

At least it’s a good drill that does protect the children and Kai can’t find them – giving Alaric time to find Kai and ambush him: and then, when acting as a distraction, Caroline can finish him off – because in the shifting powers of Vampire Diaries, a witch cannot fight a vampire they don’t see coming

Unfortunately this has distracted Alaric from his part in a plot he made with Stefan

Stefan and Damon arrange to hunt down Cade and while Damon would rather leave his human brother behind, Stefan insists he needs to be the one to do the stabbing

Which is infuriating. This isn’t absolution. This is narcissism. Stefan has placed his guilt at the centre of the world, his need for a gesture of redemption matters more than actually getting things done. Of course Damon is better suited to do the stabbing – he’s the vampire. But Stefan’s guilt means he not only demands this, but even incapacitates Damon so he can go it alone and be the human bringing down Cade.

This arrogant self-centredness should condemn him, not absolve him

It starts going well because Alaric rings the siren bell, which weakens and hurts Cade and allows Stefan to stab him a few times (hey, if this were Damon he could stab him a hundred times in the time it took Stefan to stab once) but then Alaric is called to help save his daughters from Kai.

Cade easily gets the upper hand when Damon arrives: and he offers Damon a choice; kill Elena or Stefan. Naturally, despite the angsty expressions, Damon accepts neither choice and instead chooses to sacrifice himself, willingly staking himself (see, Stefan, this is a redeeming sacrifice, rather than redeeming theatre).

Emerald City, Season One, Episode Nine: The Villain That's Become

Image result for emerald city television show

The Villain That's Become marks the penultimate episode of season one and perhaps the series given the cancellation bears predictions for Emerald City. We've slowly been working our way through getting the characters into position into what is certain to be an epic confrontation for the future of Oz. Who wins will decide if science or magic rules the realm.  

When we last saw Tip, she had come back to life after consuming East's magic and found West trying to kill herself.  Tip begs West not to do this and says that she saw her family in the afterlife.  It's only when West is convinced that Tip does indeed have East's magic that she decides to give living a chance. Revenge it seems is a mighty fine motivator.  With West back on their feet, they still need to deal with the fact that there are only two of them. West is a cardinal witch; however, Tip is new to magic. If they are going to take on the Wizard and win, they are going to need more people.  

As they trek through the woods, Tip randomly tries to use his magic but is unsuccessful, until West guides him to dig deep.  This results in Tip's body reverting to its male form.  This is what Tip wanted from the moment his body shifted. He excitedly takes a piss standing up. West however is certain that Tip will never be accepted as a male because the people know that the king and queen had a daughter and not a son.  Tip is adamant that this is who he is and the only way that he feels like himself. West does eventually relent and agrees to try it Tip's way. Tip never should have had to argue about living in the body he is comfortable in. 

Unfortunately, after freeing the witches from the prison of the abject, the witches decide that they are pissed with both West and Glinda, for their various betrayals to the Wizard.  So much for West's plan to charm the witches into an alliance. The witches float West in the air and use magic to sew her lips shut so that they can declare her guilt. This is when Tip makes the ultimate sacrifice and turns her body back to female in order for the witches to recognise her right to rule and to free West. Using magic, Tip confirms his identity as the Princess Ozma. Even though Tip comes across as triumphant and powerful in that moment, given his previous statements about his gender identity, this has got to be a huge sacrifice.  It broke my heart to see Tip change his body back to female given that he identifies as male.  For all of the power that Tip has recently gained, he's still being denied the right to live his life as he chooses. I think it's a huge setback for Emerald City to put Tip into a position where he's forced to live in a body that doesn't match his identity. 

Dorothy has her own triumphant moment though it makes absolutely zero sense to me.  Having escaped Glinda, Dorothy heads back to the little cabin where she spent the night with Lucas.  Dorothy barely catches a breath before being attacked by Lucas, who somehow got there before her.  Dorothy tries to plead with her but Lucas is determined to free his heart from her spell.  Fortunately for Dorothy, Toto may like Lucas but not enough to allow Lucas to kill her. When the dog intervenes, Dorothy tries to escape. Unfortunately, Toto isn't able to hold off Lucas for long and Dorothy quickly finds herself on her back being choked to death. Lucas begs Dorothy to make him stop and she whines about not wanting him to die.  Bitch, dude is trying to kill you, wake the fuck up. At any rate, Dorothy finally stabs Lucas in the abdomen before stringing him up as a scarecrow once again.  Dorothy's parting words to Lucas are that he now knows his past. 

Dorothy heads off to Ojo.  Dorothy promises to free Ojo's wife from the prison of the abject if she agrees to raise the stone giants.  Dorothy says that she knows that the Wizard has no power and that it was Ojo's wife all along.  The plan however comes to a halt when they arrive at the prison to find that West has already freed all but the dying and dead, and unfortunately for Ojo, his wife is among the dying. Reesa only wants to hear about how her children have been in her absence and doesn't give a shit about the stone giants or Dorothy's request. Reesa makes it clear that freeing the stone giants is what got her in this mess in the first place.