Saturday, March 18, 2017

Colony, Season Two, Episode Ten: The Garden of Beasts

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Now that Will has been compromised, the Bowmans are free to stop following the dictates of the invaders and their collaborators. It's a new chapter for Colony and it's amazing.  Broussard, Kate and Will are now on the same team and they work quite well together as they try to find a way out of the Colony.  Though the Bowmans are finally together for the first time since the occupation, not everything smells of Roses. Bram is determined to join his parents in the fight but after having been seperated from the children for so long, neither Kate or Will is anxious to see Bram become involved.  This does not sit will with Bram who is much changed since his time in the work camp.  

A confrontation between Kate and Maddie has been a long time in coming. While Kate has been finding ways to defy the invaders, Maddie has done her best to be a good little collaborator. Sure, at first it was about getting medication for her diabetic son but it soon became about all of the little bonuses that come with being with Nolan.  Suddenly, not only did Maddie get to stop worrying about insulin, food and security were no longer an issue.  This was coupled with an increased status and public recognition as a pseudo first lady to Nolan. We've seen time and time again that while Maddie cares about Kate, she doesn't understand her sister's decision to rebel and certainly resents how this complicates her own life.

In The Garden of Beasts, the relationship is put to the final test. Given that Will has been recognized as a resistance fighter and the Bowmans are now living on the other side of the law, Kate seeks out her sister to warn her that the government will come for her.  At first, Maddie is certain that Nolan (oh he of little backbone) will absolutely protect her.  At this point, I really wanted Kate to simply walk away from Maddie because while you can lead a horse to water, you cannot make the horse drink.  Kate points out that Nolan is the same man who turned his back on his wife and suggests that if Maddie needs her that she is to tie a string around the lamppost at the Yonk as a sign. 

Sure enough, Kate is right and the Global Authority come to question Maddie about her interactions with Kate, and it quickly becomes clear to Maddie that she is in jeopardy. Nolan is ordered outside to meet with none other than Proxy Alcala.  It seems that Alcala isn't as dumb as he's playing in front of Helena.  For whatever reason, Nolan features largely in Alcala's plans for his position in the Colony.  Nolan at first wonders if his loyalty is being questioned and is indignant given that he sent his wife to a labour camp.  Alcala wants Nolan to think about the bigger picture and suggests throwing Maddie under the bus because she's just a "piece of tail". Rather than taking Alcala's advise on this issue Nolan confronts Maddie and questions her love for him. Maddie of course claims to love Nolan and adds that she would do anything for him. Nolan has Maddie agree to set up her sister. 

Kate is all too aware when Maddie signals that she could very well be setting her up but she needs to know for sure where her sister stands.  Will and Broussard also point out that this is the perfect opportunity for them to be able to attain a Global Authority vehicle so that they can cross the border and meet up with the other resistance fighters in the desert.  Kate places a call to Maddie on a payphone and arranges to meet with Maddie at the place where Maddie revealed that she was pregnant.  Of course, the call is being traced and it's not long before the black coats arrive to attempt to scoop up Kate, Broussard and Will.  With tears rolling down her face at her sister's betrayal, Kate tells Maddie that she loves her one last time before taking off running.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Magicians, Season 2, Episode 15: Word As Bond

Last week we heard there were terribad dire consequences to Julia’s exorcism/abortion. It turns out this means her Shade has been removed

Catch up time: Shade basically stands in for conscience/humanity/goodness/maybe soul. It’s what the Beast had removed so he stopped feeling the pain and fear and trauma of being a rape victim and instead became a rather merry sadistic sociopath. Like a serial killer with show tunes

And now Julia is the same. So this show has now had both the victims of rape become actual monsters. With bonus points to it being a rape victim’s abortion that caused her to become a soulless monster. Because this is Magicians and they’re made of awful and fail.

So Julia is running around being super chipper and newly motivated to take down Renard including researching lots of god killing spells (with a nice nod to the horrors of ancient mythology with Zeus et al running around raping and abusing humans and Magicians desperately trying to stop them). Before they have a spell they need a power source – which means they need Dana’s son since he’s the demi-god who Dana used to banish Renard in the first place

This means lots of research drawing on everyone to the group – Kady, Penny, Quentin all doing research and chasing down false leads to see where Dana hid him. It’s hard because Dana has done an excellent job of covering all of her steps. She’s not making it easy

Along the way Julia ends up in Fillory because removing her Shade also seems to have removed her self-preservation instinct and she’s happily running out of Brakebills thinking Renard will have lost interest in her. Not so much – he wants to know where Dana’s child is as well: she only escapes because Quentin is stalking her and manages to teleport her to Fillory. She’s all stompy about not wanting him to save her – a message which would have more power if she so blatantly hadn’t needed saving.

In Fillory they meet up with Margot where absolutely everything is going wrong. Elliot is in a coma until they can transfer his spirit back from the deal Golam which is difficult with the magic blinking out. War is brewing thanks to Margot’s tantrum

The Selfish Redemption

We have previously talked about how Redemption narratives are so often flawed in the genre by being too easy and too fast. The Redemption Train gets moving and before you know it your wicked evil villain is now team good guy and you’re left wondering when the moral shift happened.

But it’s far from the only flaw we have with Redemption Narratives - because we also see another thread of redemption stories: one that is awe inspiring in their self-centredness. Rather than redeeming a villain to the side of good, these Hero Redemptions usually follow a main character or protagonist who has done terribad things and needs to be “redeemed” (which, I guess, is better than protagonists who do terribad things and everyone just kind of runs with it or ignores it). In theory anyway - in reality the redemption is usually just a way to have them play in another plot line and have our sexy actors practice their soulful gaze in front of the cameras and make something else All About Them.

The most classic of these Self-Centred Redemptions is Martyrdom. How many protagonists are there out there who don their hair shirts and wail their self-loathing to the skies? There can be no greater example of this than Louis de Pointe du Lac from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicle series. Louis’s entire character is about his suffering, even though he explicitly chose to become a vampire. He wanders through the years viewing himself as a member of the cursed due to his disconnect from humanity. It harms his senses that in order to live he must take life and so he searches for some greater meaning in his existence or at least a different food source. The fall from grace is the fall of a century causing him to reflect nothing but sadness. Those who do not mirror his depression are thereby judged to be not moral or beyond redemption. It is why he can so easily turn his back on Lestat in Tale of the Body Thief when Lestat turns to him for help in retrieving his immortal body. Humanity, to Louis, is the only form of redemption in existence.

Louis was, of course, the first but he formed a template in which innumerable Musty Vampires followed. From The Vampire Diaries to True Blood to Angel and Buffy (who has medals in this) we have a genre that is positively in love with Evil Vampires Who Did Evil and Now Feel Sad About It. It’s a virtually a religion among vampires and its sacrament is Sexy Brooding.

What connects them is that while all these characters are happy to crawl in a corner and moan about how cursed they are, their pain takes centre stage. Even when these characters are actively trying to do good as well, this seems rarely to be the point. The point is their pain - their pain is beautiful, their angst supposed to pluck our heart-strings. The focusing on their guilt makes these characters sympathetic; not deeply flawed people who have a long road back to being acceptable.

Related to this is the redemption quest - the terribad protagonist decides he simply has to make up for the evil things he has done by partaking of an epic quest. In extreme instances this need for redemption becomes so all encompassing that it literally causes even more problems for the team - including people who were victims of their evil acts in the first place.

Take The 100 where we have Bellamy on a quest to get essential equipment to try and protect people against the oncoming nuclear apocalypse (The Renuking! Even More Nuclear!). Without it their plan can’t possibly work - as he very well knows. But faced with a choice of claiming the device or freeing slaves… he choses to free the slaves, jeopardising a fragile alliance and destroying the equipment. And let’s be clear here, this has nothing to do with any kind of moral outrage over slavery - we’ve already seen Bellamy play some heavy “end-justifies-the-means” games: No this is because Bellamy followed Pike and now has All The Guilt. Bellamy needs redemption. Bellamy needs to be good again - and his need for a redeeming act completely supersedes actually saving everyone - including the people he hurt with his support for Pike in the first place.

The Vampire Diaries in its closing season positively revels in this. Stefan in particular is utterly driven to make up for his many many many many many many oh-so-many massacres. So he demands he be the one who takes various active roles in bringing down Cade and/or Katherine. Despite being human and therefore being slower, weaker, more fragile and with duller senses than his still vampiric brother. In fact, despite them literally fighting desperately to save the entire town and possibly the world from hellfire and damnation, Stefan actively incapacitates Damon not once, but twice. On two occasions he removes one of their most powerful assets and insists on stepping in himself, despite being far less capable - just because his redemption is more important. His Redemption Quest takes precedence over the very survival of the other characters - including his victims.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The 100, Season Four, Episode Six: We Will Rise

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Despite the hopeful title of this episode, We Will Rise is decidedly dark and meant to remind us of just how grim the current situation is.  Arkadia has gone up in flames thanks Ilian's desire for revenge against tech and the tech in Raven's brain seems to be taking over, making her violent and desperate.  No one really knows where to turn at this point and with the clock counting down to the end of humanity, there seems to be no relief to the unrelenting grief.  

Clarke and Niylah have spent the night together.  Niylah clearly sees their relationship as friends with benefits.  At this point, Clarke is resigned to the fact that Arkadia has been destroyed and that they need to focus their efforts on turning everyone into Nightbloods.  To that end, Clarke asks Niylah to stay at Arkadia and wait for her rather than returning home to ensure that when the Nightblood is created, Niylah will be among the first to receive the treatment. Niylah suggest that Lexa would be proud of Clarke and adds that they are all Clarke's people now.

Jaha is absolutely feeling the strain of exactly how desperate the situation is as he takes in the wreckage of Arkadia.  Of course, Jasper is not the least bit concerned having accepted that humanity is coming to an end.  Jasper actually quotes Dr. Seus at Jaha and suggest that Jaha adapt his method of dealing with their current crises. Why oh why won't someone slap Jasper?

Ilian survived the destruction of Arkadia and is locked in the brig.  As it turns out, the people of Arkadia decide that revenge can work both ways.  Ilian may not have known how dire the situation is, or how necessary the Ark was for humanity's survival but the people simply don't care. The people of Arkadia make their way to the brig and start to issue a beat down on Ilian, despite his attempts to defend himself.  Were it not for Kane arriving, Ilian most certainly would have died.  Kane is forced to fire his gun into the air to fend off the angry mob. 

Because of the injuries sustained in the beating, Ilian is sent to sickbay. Unfortunately for Ilian, this puts him right into Octavia's path.  Ilian is happy to see Octavia, revealing that even though he barely survived a beating, he hasn't exactly clued into just how much in jeopardy he is in.  When he finally realises the threat that Octavia poses to him, Ilian starts to plead that he didn't know the situation and that he didn't mean to kill anyone. 

Niylah is the first to realise that the guards Kane assigned to Ilian have no intention of protecting to him and so she appeals to Monty, who in turn appeals to Jaha.  It seems that despite the fact that Jaha has been forgiven for his many heinous actions, Jaha has no forgiveness for Ilian and refuses to speak to the people on Ilian's behalf.  Monty throws shade by suggesting that Wells would be ashamed of Jaha.  Ummm yeah, Jaha has actually done worse to make his departed son ashamed of him. 

In sick bay, Octavia is more than happy to open the door to allow the mob to get to Ilian. Octavia tells Kane that it's the end of the world and that darkness is all they have left. Kane once again tries to stop the mob by using his gun but is hit with a shot baton before he can take action. The crowd grabs Ilian and drags him outside and Octavia points her gun at Ilian.  Monty once again tries to calm the situation down but the crowd and Octavia are past the point of listening. Seeing what is going on is enough for Niylah to realise that there isn't that much difference between the Arkadians and the grounders.  Jaha has finally seen enough and he rushes to grab a radio and sound the siren. Kane yells out that the rain is black rain which is enough for the mob to choose self interest over vengeance; however, it does not deter Octavia. Kane is forced to take a much more pointed attack against Octavia and so he points out that if Octavia does this that she will be just like Pike.  Kane suggests that Octavia is about to kill Ilian in the same manner that Pike killed Lincoln.  This is too much for Octavia to bear and she runs away crying. It's Jaha who releases Ilian, who promptly runs after Octavia. 

Now that Arkadia is no longer a viable option for shelter, it's become absolutely imperative that they get the fuel Raven needs to her. This is a risky proposition because the ten barrels of hydrazine represent the last ten on earth and if that were not enough, to get it to the island, they are going to have to go through hostile territory over very bumpy roads. With no troops from Arkadia to spare, Roan offers up himself and a few Agzeda warrior to help guard this vital mission. Kane wants to come along but Clarke reminds him of his position as the leader and points out how much he is needed in Arkadia. Clarke acknowledges that part of Kane's desire to go is to see Abbie again and promises to pass on Kane's concern to her mother. The two hug it out.  I guess it's fair to say that Kane's redemption is complete, if he and Clarke are at the point where they can hug. 

Bellamy finds Octavia curled in a fetal position and tries to reach out to her. Bellamy suggests that Octavia is a hero and that things would have been so much worse had she not risked her life to warn everyone that Agzeda was marching on Arkadia.  O is not at all interested in making nice with her brother and suggests that Octavia is dead. Damn, she's in a really dark place. Octavia then suggests that the only reason Bellamy is still alive is because he's her brother. Wow.

Fire in Her Blood (Death Witch # 2) by Rachel Graves

There’s an arsonist in the city – an arsonist wielding lethal magical fire

But the fire witches in the city seem to be losing their power – except for the Fire Mage she has to work with who seems connected to her boyfriend Jakob – who Mallory has to work with despite the awkwardness.

Throw in some lethal vampire politics, friend issues and Jakob being determined to buy Mallory a car and she’s got a lot on her plate.

This book had many of the elements of the last book Iloved – especially the detective work. We have the twist, we have the distraction, we have the chasing down of various leads, coming up with theories, discounting them, coming back to them, then not finding evidence and having to go back to the drawing board.

And having more than one case! Even if they are related. How many police shows/books/etc have the character get to focus all of their attention on one case like there’s absolutely nothing else on their case load?

I really do like the police work and investigation in this series so far. I don’t think I was quite as much a fan of the police work in this book because I guessed what had happened rather a lot before I was supposed to which meant a lot of the red herrings felt more like distractions. I was almost frustrated with Mallory for not seeing what seemed to be pretty obvious

I do really love the idea that you can build all of these super elaborate theories about a criminal’s motives but how often do people do things for such petty, minor reasons? I like that a lot –I like the humanness of it, even when it’s so banal. I think this works so well because it both makes it very real but it also is a nice contrast from so many other books where the scale and stakes are always so high. Seriously you can have an interesting story without the entire world being in balance, or the city about to be eaten by sea serpents or something. I really like that, the closeness of it –but it still mattering because people were dying, people were hurting. It still matted without the spectre of apocalypse.

I also really like Mallory and her friends interacting. They’re really good together, great fun – and lo a protagonist with friends, a protagonist with a social life, a protagonist with a life outside of work.

This should not be a rare thing. Really, it shouldn’t be a rare thing, Really. But sadly it is – and her having a circle of so many female friends who are all awesome in their own way is really rare. A woman who doesn’t live for her work and who even has friends who *gasp* care about silly female things and fripperies? Yes we have it here

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Time After Time, Season 1, Episode 3: I Will Catch You

Ok, Jack the Ripper is terrible. Serial killers are awful. I feel nothing but hatred and loathing towards him. Nothing at all. Not…

We open with the Jack the Ripper wearing nothing but a towel?!

Damn it, Time After Time your eye candy is destroying my conscience

And he can really wear a suit as well.

In case we thought he went soft last episode, he has just murdered two people so he can steal their house and clothes and electrical appliances. So he’s still murdering and still wants the time machine so he can zip around time finding new and fun places and times to stab people in

So he contacts HG via Jane and demands the time machine – giving him a deadline of 12 hours before he kills again.

That interrupts HG and Jane’s flirting (which is actually kind of painful to watch) and sets HG into a tizzy. He has a plan to repair the time machine and then change the key to make it into a trap for Jack the Ripper so he can’t run around causing havoc

To help with that he has a new assistant Martin Scott who is also cute and a complete HG Wells fanboy – and how many people know about HG Wells and his time machine?

The problem is that the machine is broken and in trying to fix it they break the gem – a rare Alexandrite needed to produce a time travelling laser (cue gasping fanboy) so they need a new gem

Which means meeting Paul, a gemmologist friend and ex of Jane so they can have more flirting (really this guy’s flirting is so over the top heavy that even if he is hot he needs a restraining order and possible a tasing. I mean he does kind of say to Jane that he’ll stop flirting if she wants – but note the subtext only if she’s taken not because she’s there professionally and needs him to tone it down a notch or 10) and more “development” (if we can call something this dull and inevitable) of Jane and HG’s relationship. And maybe a comment on her exposition last episode about how bad she is at relationships

But, side quest, we have the guy who was stalking HG last episode – his name is Chad and…

…wait, Chad? Really, Time After Time, you cannot convince me of any sinister bad guy who is called “Chad”. Chad is the least sinister name there has ever been. Ever.

Anyway Chad goes to his apparently confused mother who he’s not allowed to be in touch with judging by the way they’re dodging around her carer. They know about HG Wells and Jack the Ripper and are desperate to stop him going back for some ominous reason

This involves him trying to hunt down HG with a gun (that’ll stop him, being shot) and only being stopped because Doug (seriously, Time after Time, your names need work! Chad and Doug having a gun fight! Oh we also get a bit of back story about Doug but not quite why he’s into the big secret or didn’t think his boss was out of her mind), Vanessa’s in-the-know guard

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The OA, Season One,Episode Five: Paradise

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Paradise reveals some pretty specific elements to the story, though we still have many unanswered questions. When Prairie first made her deal with Steve, she made it clear that she absolutely needed five people to hear her story.  We now know that five people are necessary in order to teleport off this world to a new dimension. This is why Khatun made sure to tell Prairie in her last NDE that there would be five of them. Five people must work together and this is how Prairie plans on saving the rest of the captives.  What we still don't know is why the hell everyone had to leave their damn front door open?

At the school, the odd pairing of Prairie's little listening group has come to the attention of Principal Gilchrist. Having spent a lot of time around teenagers, Gilchrist cannot fathom why it is that they are suddenly all hanging out together or what they could possibly have to talk about.  It's like the Breakfast Club is happening in the cafeteria.  This little group seems to be one of the few things that this motley crew having going for it.  Alfonso should be on top of the world what with getting a full ride scholarship but having to work two jobs to support his family is a huge responsibility. If that were not enough, when he attends a ceremony to celebrate his achievement, his mother arrives late and drunk and then spends her time in the parking lot flirting with one of the married fathers of a student.  Alfonso is not impressed but his mother refuses to recognise that she has totally ruined his special night and instead makes it all about her, talking about her own unfulfilled dreams. 

Fortunately for Alfonso, Buck was performing with the choir that night and so he's there to accompany Alfonso when carries his mother home and puts her to bed.  Buck has come across as very timid but watching him sing in the choir makes it clear that he's come into his own.  It however isn't lost on me that Buck got to perform as the lead in the choir because Steve punched the former one in the throat in a fit of rage.  Buck's gain comes at someone else's loss. 

When Prairie tells her story that night she talks about the way that she and Homer bonded over their shared experience of swallowing an animal and learning their two movements. Scott continues to be resistant to what they are doing and is still far more concerned about his own mortality.  Prairie questions if he spoke to others about his NDE (near death experience) and Scott makes it clear he didn't for fear of being thought of as "crazy". Scott is openly dismissive of the idea that they will learn movements during and NDE which will lead to their freedom.

While they are looking for a way out, Hap is in Cuba busy trying to fill the empty cell that August left behind.  Hap approaches Renata, a young Cuban guitarist, who learned to play after an NDE.  Renata is composed, confidant and is more interested in life's pleasures than being a part of Hap's experiments. Hap makes his best pitch but is soundly rejected.  Even when he offers her safe passage to America, Renata says that she prefers to remain unknown, even to herself.  Renata then ditches Hap to dance with a group of young sexy men. Okay, I'm team Renata.

A disappointed Hap is left but with no choice but to return home. He spies on his captives and sees for the first time that they are practicing the series of movements they learned in their NDE. His curiosity leads him to question them and all of the captives claim that they made it up and that they are a form of exercise. None of them are forth coming and they whistle in response to Hap's threats.  Suddenly, Rachel starts banging on the walls of her cell and screaming for help. On CCTV a cop is knocking on Hap's door. Hap quickly turns up the music and runs upstairs to answer the door. Rather than inviting Sheriff Markham in, Hap steps outside claiming to need a smoke break.  Hap is clearly nervous but Sheriff Markham doesn't pick up on it because he's more concerned about his sick wife. It seems the sheriff's wife has become "trapped in her own body". Markham asks Hap if he knows any sort of treatment and Hap agrees to look into it, promising to do what he can.

Things have progressed between Prairie and Homer.  Though they cannot touch each other, it's clear that they have begun to have feelings for each other. Hap watches the relationship blossom on CCTV.  You know damn well that he's going to use this against them. While there's a level of scientific curiosity in his observation, there's clearly some jealousy there. Of all his captives, it's impossible to deny that Prairie is his favourite.

Hap continues to obsess about Renata and listens to her music.  When Prairie awakes one morning, she finds that Homer is gone.  Scott reveals that Homer was taken upstairs. It turns out that Hap is taking Homer to Cuba to act as a lure for Renata.  As you might expect, after being held in captivity for so long, everything about the outside world is overwhelming to Homer. Simple things like eating real food instead of pellets is disturbing to him.  He's desperate to get away from Hap and tries to get help. Hap goes as far as to tell the hotel staff that his son has a mental illness to forestall Homer's attempts to get help from them, when Homer makes an escape attempt. A desperate Homer makes his way outside, desperate to find help but is quickly cornered by Hap. Homer threatens to call the FBI and report Hap's actions but he doesn't even know where Hap is keeping them and hasn't even really registered the fact that they aren't in the U.S.. Hap makes it clear that if Homer stops him from returning home that Prairie and all of the others would starve to death. Feeling that he's out of options, Homer returns with Hap.

Priestess Dreaming (Otherworld #16) by Yasmine Galenorn

Otherworld is shaken by war and devastation. Thousands are dead and thousands more will die before the end.

But the war against the demons and their allies is not the only battle. Something ancient is awakening. Something from the depth of the world’s history – and something driven for revenge

To face such a power of old, only another ancient power will match it. But getting to him will be hard- and if they can awaken him from their long sleep, can they even guarantee he will help them?

I was reading this book, enjoying this book and waiting for the plot to get going. I saw the intro, was reintroduced to the characters again. I was reminded of the many adventures the team has been through, I was reminded of the terrible trials they’ve endured and also reminded of some of the allies they’ve made and powers they’ve gained over this huge series

I also remembered that in the last few books things got a lot more serious with outright devastating war tearing across the Otherworld

All laid out, with sufficient ominous foreshadowing and visions of something big and terrifying beginning to arise – time to enter an epic… what the hell we’re nearly half way through?

No, really, after covering all of that which was really more of a giant recap more than anything else, with a random encounter tucked in there as well, and half the book is gone. A huge chunk of the book has just passed and not a great deal of things has actually happened.

It’s not awful, because the world, these characters, this meta plot is all really fascinating and great fun to explore and roll around in. It’s one thing I’ve always loved about this entire series. I love this world. I love this series. I love this raising, shining metaplot. But half a book on recap and reiteration with a random encounter tucked in is a huge, vast amount of space to give without actually advancing anything.

That random encounter is a winter portal that opens up for random reasons, has a random witch involves and then we have yetis and pixies and… whyyyyy whyyy is this here? It’s not even a particularly epic fight. They shoo off some pixies… whyyyy? Why have this in here when we’ve already got so much padding going on?

When we finally get to the plot it’s more interesting – it greatly expands the story of three of the more intriguing characters: the Arthurian legend part of the storyline. They’ve always interested me, I’ve always wanted to see how much of the Arthurian legend actually affects these characters and how that fits the overall meta. I also really like the idea of old powers rising. I think there’s a risk of distracting from the main conflict, but I think it gives us an excellent opportunity to examine these ancient beings, the history of this amazing world and expanded outwards into the hard choices that those ancients made and how things were far less simple than the sisters originally thought. This meta is definitely meta I want to grow – bring it on

Once Upon a Time, Season 6, Episode 12: Murder Most Foul

First plot line this week is David and Killian. David has been running around all sleep deprived, hallucinating about the ghost of his dead father and resisting bringing Snow out of her curse so he can obsess over this

It’s possibly you will remember that the Evil Queen showed David that his father didn’t get killed while drunk and showed him his dad’s lucky coin as proof.

This means lots of focusing on David’s past. Which I’m sure everyone is super eager to be part of.

So way back when David’s poor poor family had twins but couldn’t afford medication when they both became ill. Rumple shows up with medication and offers to save one child in exchange for the other to offer King George who is in need of a spare heir

This still makes more sense than the proposed American healthcare system.

They accept and this is how evil twin David goes off with King George while sappy twin James stays with the farmer and becomes the fluffy tiresome Charming we know and loathe. His dad became an alcoholic, possibly in response to losing his child, until he heard that king George was looking for James: he’d been abducted. Dad decides to make things right by going to grab the child they lost. I appreciate the sentiment but if you’re a self-admitted useless dad to one son, I don’t think adding a second son to the mix is going to do much more than make you twice as poor a father.

In the modern world this is where Killian and David team up to try and find out what happened to his dad for the 3 members of the audience who care. Killian has another motive – he wants David to approve of him because he intends to propose to Emma; he’s worried that David doesn’t accept he’s changed, still sees him as an evil pirate and generally isn’t good enough for Emma

Ok conflicted feelings. I get Killian want to prove to David – well, to everyone, but especially the Charmings since they’re held up on the pedestal of goodness (except that whole sacrificing of babies things – NEVER OVER THAT GUYS!) and acceptance by them is like an official seal on Killian’s redemption. I can also understand him wanting to be accepted by Emma’s family, that’s natural. But this whole “father’s blessing” is such patriarchal bullshit. There’s no sense of needing Snow White’s Blessing and she’s the Purest Baby seller of them all. Never mind that Emma is the same age of David or he wasn’t there for any of his childhood and barely. Never mind that Emma is a person.

I just loathe this trope. And I don’t care how old fashioned Killian is, Killian knows Emma. He knows better

So Killian follows David around trying to prove he’s good and redeemed – which David keeps delivering gut punches by telling him he needs the amoral pirate which is why he turned to Killian. Ouch. He even has Killian lie to Emma so he can steal some spell supplies. Ouch, double ouch.

Using magic (ineptly) and interviewing August for memories from his Pleasure Island days – they get Daddy Charming’s history. He went looking for James, refusing alcohol when offered, until Pinocchio (as August was then) led him to James who had run away because he didn’t want to become a knight. Daddy Charming tries to bring him home – but is intercepted by king George. He pleads for his son – and George arranges for Daddy Charming to be taken into the woods, covered in booze and murdered to look like a drunken mugging. James ends up back with George.

David decides to go for a full revenge on George, wanting to stab him to death (he’s currently imprisoned in Storybrooke) and Killian desperately tries to stop him – for the sake of his family, his legacy and because of Killian’s hard lessons about revenge not being healthy. David briefly restrains him but eventually Killian stops David becoming a murderer and saves George

David is pretty devastated – because his dad was a good man, who resisted temptation, who did everything right and he still failed. It wasn’t enough to win the goal.

And now to the endless heartbreak that is Regina. She has her Robin but she’s beginning to doubt what that meant. Mary Margaret points out to Regina that she has no idea who this Robin is, he could be anyone.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Walking Dead, Season Seven, Episode Thirteen: Bury me Here

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Every once and awhile, The Walking Dead decides to tell a story centering one of the characters.  It is usually done to indicate a massive change in the winds and Bury Me Here, fits the bill. When Morgan lost his son Duane, his entire reason for living disappeared.  He lost himself and became nothing but a killing machine. It didn't matter whether he killed zombies or living people, for Morgan everyone had to die. He really devolved to the point where his grief erased his entire personhood. This all changed for Morgan when he met Eastman, a man who also was haunted by demons. Since being with Eastman, Morgan has dedicated himself to avoiding conflict where possible and to try to save life rather than take life.  Prior to this episode, the only person Morgan killed was a man attempting to kill Carol and so while he took life, it was absolutely in defense of another.

Many of the characters have expressed exasperation with Morgan's determination not to kill and in fact, it was a major point of contention between Morgan and Carol. Carol and Morgan in many ways were the antithesis of each other. It's only when the killing became too much for Carol and she retreated from Alexandria, that they became close.  For the first time, Carol could see things from Morgan's perspective.  Together they created a détente, as Carol craved an escape from the unrelenting violence and Morgan respected her wishes enough to understand where she was coming.  Morgan went as far as to shield Carol from the knowledge that Glenn and Abraham are dead and that Alexandria is in real trouble with the Saviours.  Morgan didn't even reveal to Darryl where Carol was living.  

Despite the threat that the Saviours pose, Morgan has remained steadfast in his belief that the peace between The Kingdom and The Saviours must be maintained. He has never been in denial about how dangerous The Saviours are but is determined that violence not be the first response.  Morgan very quickly became a member of the Kingdom and even had a protégé  in the form of  Benjamin.  It's Morgan who trained both Benjamin and his younger brother Henry to use the staff - a defensive weapon.  Clearly, a relationship had developed, and Morgan became invested in another in a way he has not been since Duane was alive.  

Though Ezekiel has done his best to shield his people and hold onto the peace, things have become increasingly difficult.  Ezekiel has been pressured by Rick, Darryl and Richard.  At each meeting with the Saviours, Richard constantly steps right up to the line but doesn't cross it.  The Saviours, and Jared in particular, seem to have developed a problem with Richard but as long as Ezekiel enforces compliance they are inclined to simply threaten and let well enough be. 

More than anyone in the Kingdom, Richard has been vocal about finding a way to take out the Saviours because he doesn't trust that the peace which Ezekiel has forged will last.  Each time Richard speaks up, it falls on deaf ears.  Richard even went as far as to attempt to create a situation which would force the Saviours to kill Carol, but was stopped by Darryl.  In that moment, his desperation became evident.  

Richard has a new plan and this time, instead of sacrificing anyone else, he plans to sacrifice himself.  Richard creates a roadblock that the people of Alexandria will have to navigate on the way to their meeting with the Saviours.  He even goes as far as to dig his own grave with a cardboard sign which reads, "bury me here".  Richard assumes that since the Saviours indicated that if something else went wrong that he would be the one chosen to die that his grand sacrifice would finally lead to the confrontation that he believes needs to happen.  As with all plans of mice and men, things didn't quite work out the way that Richard planned.

When the Saviours discover that the tribute is short one cantaloupe, Gavin orders  everyone to hand over their guns.  Ezekiel agrees to do so if Gavin agrees to return Morgan's staff but Gavin makes it clear that they are not in a position to bargain.  It's Richard who is the first to suggest that they should comply, which is certainly out of character for him. Ezekiel does finally give the order to hand over their guns and is informed by Gavin that there has to be a penalty paid for being short on their end of the agreement.  Jared aims his gun at Richard, who promptly steps closer and tells Jared to do what he needs to do.  Jared responds not by killing Richard, but by shooting Benjamin several times.  

Up until the moment that Benjamin gets shot, I don't think Morgan even admitted to himself just how much Benjamin had come to mean to him. The people from the Kingdom become frantic to get Benjamin some medical aid but Jared forces them to stop and listen to him. Jared makes it clear that tomorrow, they are to return with the missing cantaloupe. 

Benjamin is rushed to Carol's because her home is the closest place with medical supplies. Despite their best efforts, Benjamin dies on Carol's table.  When Benjamin dies, Morgan is taken right back to the man he was when Duane died and his grief overwhelms  him. Morgan takes off, unable to deal with the grief that he is feeling.  Morgan doubles back to the roadblock and actually climbs in the grave considering killing himself.  We get flashes of Clear (Morgan's kill everything that moves mode).  Morgan then discovers the cantaloupe and together with the grave, he realises that this was set up.

Sleepy Hollow, Season 4, Episode 10: Insatiable

This week’s monster of the week is a demon that Jude, Malcolm’s pet demon, releases that causes famine.

It stares at people and makes them eat everything in sight in desperate hunger (kind of like dog owners who need to get their dinner down before succumbing to those pleading eyes) and then they die of starvation which is unpleasant. The demon is running around the vents of the Eisenhower Building. This is a whole lot of people to snack on for said demon.

The gang gathers around this and follows up the clues. This supernatural creature is Chinese and sort of identified through Jenny’s contacts (but not really since it conveniently attacks). They link it to Ichabod’s past – of course, because every supernatural creature in the history of mythology from every culture in the world has to magically appear in America’s revolutionary history and Ichabod’s personal history at some point. They link it to a historical event, because that’s what Sleepy Hollow does (all your historical figured were werewolves, Americans, it is known)

Pulling together everyone’s talents: Jenny’s contacts, Ichabod’s memories, Jake’s research and Alex’s ingenuity to put together a gold based containment and weapon to bring down the demon

Y’know not only did every supernatural creature ever show up in the distant past to be confronted by America’s historical heroes, but America’s historical heroes were actually pretty bad at dealing with them. How many beasties have been imprisoned for several centuries despite the people facing them having occult knowledge and the resources of an army/nation to deal with it whole Ichabod & co can kill these monsters relatively easily with their own rag-tag resources (they have to scrape scrap gold out of cars! Between them they couldn’t scrape up enough to get a cheap ring from a pawn shop?)

The beastie is killed and duly vanquished. But Malcolm was behind this and this was all part of his plan to charge up the scales of Lady Justice with hunger power. That duly stolen he presents it to his new comatose/mojo’d assistant: Helen. She will now be his horseman of Famine. Logan, the social media plague guy is the Horseman of Pestilence. They also dig up the headless horseman and plan to heal him since he was hurt over the whole Philosopher’s Stone thing. That gives them 3 of the 4 horseman.

At last Ichabod and the gang catch on to what they’re doing.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 16: I Was Feeling Epic

So Katherine is back and has Vicky ringing her doom bell. Every time Damon kills her she just comes back because she’s already dead

So Damon just stays there killing her every 5 minutes, occasionally switching off with Caroline when he gets bored until such time as she returns to hell permanent because, as her mother has just shown. Hey they could do the same for Katherine. Problem solved!

Except they don’t do that. They act like there’s absolutely nothing they can do to stop Vicky ringing the hell bell. They even get Matt and daddy matt (it’s the last episode of the last season, damned if I’m going to remember this pointless character’s name) to appeal to her. Rather than just, y’know, sit on her.  This whole scene is so bizarre. You literally half more than half a dozen people all fretting because they can’t stop a normal human woman climbing a clock tower and ringing a bell. Hell, Matt and Daddy Matt could just disable the bell?! This makes zero sense.

Bonnie is nearly killed by using her magic to survive the fire but the gang manages to revive her – but not before she has a near death dream all about… Elena. In which she declares herself ready to die for the sake of Elena waking up again. Of course she does.

She’s been gone for 2 seasons. Bonnie I still all about precious Elena.

Oh and Katherine shows up (hi Nina Dobrev, you thought you were free) to tell everyone that Cade was all her fault because even the devil doesn’t get to actually have any agency outside the machinations of the vapid denizens of Mystic Falls. She also intends to kill everyone and exchange lots of really petty relationship barbs with Damon and Stefan and really, these people are centuries old. Get. Over. It.  She’s also run off with Elena’s body

Time for everyone to evacuate Mystic Falls, including Alaric and the girls. Alaric insists that Caroline come with him so the girls don’t lose their mother – which she eventually agrees to. She can’t stay with Stefan – who insists on staying to try and convince Damon to leave but Damon won’t leave without Elena. It’s all very emotional and messy

Thankfully Bonnie has a brainstorm with the help of some research decides she can totally destroy hell – with hellfire (just don’t try to analyse this too hard, it’s Vampire Diaries and the last season) if they burn Katherine up with it; they just have to make sure Katherine is caught up in it when Vicky rings the bell the last time and Bonnie uses the magic she-doesn’t-have-but-does to direct the unleashed hell fire

So who gets to hold Katherine? A Salvatore brother! Stefan and Damon virtually mud wrestle to be the one to sacrifice themselves, each demanding to be the martyr more because each needs the redemption more and enoooooough of this damn theme. Damon resorts to compulsion and, after a fake out, Stefan injects Damon with his blood turning Damon human (of course) and knocking him in a side passage out of the path of the fire (because it works that way and the radiated heat totally doesn’t kill him)

Grimm, Season Six, Episode Ten: Blood Magic

"Nothing, they say, is more certain
than death, and nothing more
uncertain than the time of dying"

I am convinced this week the writers decided to distract us from the fact that they are pouring out the meta slower than molasses by getting us all up in our feelings and ugly crying.  This episode needed a Kleenex warning because it was impossible to watch and remain dry eyed unless of course you are some cruel unfeeling monster. 

Since there was so little of it let's deal with the meta first.  It's been decided that Eve is going to stay with Monroe and Rosealee.  In preparation for Eve, the two start covering up all of the mirrors in the house.  It's Monroe who once again points out the risks that they are taking by being so involved in what is going on; they are absolutely risking their family. It seems like a good idea to cover up the mirror but what happens if Eve catches her reflection in the toaster or some other shiny object?  It highlights just how little they know about what is going on despite all of the research they've done as well as the risks which Monroe and Rosalee have undertaken in order to help out Nick.  Even with everything they are risking, they decide to go ahead, with Rosealee promising to kick some major ass if someone comes after her little family. 

Eve is convinced that the best way to deal with their problem is to meet it head on.  Eve thinks it's better to enter the mirror and hunt the creature down, than to allow the creature to come through the mirror and attack her.  Eve heads over to Nick's to ask Adalind if her mother talked about any mirror spells with her. Adalind doesn't know any spell about mirrors but fortunately for Eve, Adalind has kept all of her mother's spell books.  Eve decides to start her research.

Renard, who really hasn't had much of a role this season, is deeply concerned about the markings on the tunnel wall and the potential of Diana's involvement. Renard decides to confront Adalind and her initial response is to deny that anything is going on.  Renard then suggests that he'll just come over and they can talk to Diana together. Rather than trying to talk Diana into lying to her father, Adalind comes clean but refuses to give Renard any information and suggests that he talk to Nick to get answers.  When Renard does confront Nick, Nick remains pretty noncommittal at first.  Renard points out that they are potentially putting his daughter in danger and that this is something that he cannot support. Nick finally relents and agrees to share information with Renard, if Renard tells him what he's learned. 

Even though Nick warns Eve not to go anywhere without him, Eve decides to use one of the spells she found in Adalind's book.  Eve slices her palm open and then wipes the blood in a horizontal stripe across the mirror. At first it seems to have no effect, so a frustrated Eve turns to check the spell to see where she made a mistake. It doesn't take long for a portal to appear in the mirror and armed only with a knife, Eve steps into the other dimension.  With any luck she'll get stuck there and we won't see her again and yes, I know that's wishful thinking.