Friday, April 21, 2017

The Magicians, Season 2, Episode 13: We Have Little Cakes

It’s the last episode and time to bring everything together and without anything from Les Mis’s sound track.

And we open with an actual kind of awesome summary by Ember – but all from his chaos loving perspective. And it’s kind of perfect. We see how this is all from his perspective, how he has manipulated things from behind the scene from the very beginning to increase the chaos and increase his amusement – all with nice little story elements like commenting on themes and twists. I think it’s that, in particular, that sells the whole sense of Ember’s boredom: because these people are literally just story tropes to him.

Margot and Josh have found Fenn in fairy land, but she doesn’t want to abandon her baby. Instead they get an interview with the Queen who has a different agenda. She has the means to lure Ember (a plant to bake into little cakes, because Magicians of course you’re going to summon deity with weed brownies) and wants them to use it because if the wellspring goes down that’s pretty much bad for everyone

She still demands Margo give up an eye to leave her realm. Which is when she and Elliot have their very powerful, and painful reunion. Margo is still owning what she did, while Elliot equally acknowledges she was in a near impossible situation and he’s screwed up just as much (something he also acknowledges to Quentin). They both also recognise the tension between themselves – that the usual banter and snark isn’t really going to cut it this time. Not that they can’t work together but they know it’s going to take time which may be the most mature thing they’ve ever said. There’s also a poignant point in how he is scared – scared of what she is capable of. Which is understandable, no-one on this show, not one person, is as terrifying as Margo and her ruthlessness

Elliot also recruits Julia (and her invisible-to-gods amulet) who is, naturally, completely creased in pain now she has her Shade back. All her suffering and trauma returns and Elliot hopes some scheming will help her. And he needs her because, as he put it, he’s never met anyone less willing to take No for an answer (y’know sounds good and all – but no, Margo. Margo has no subtlety or diplomacy and attacks everything with axes but she is the one least willing to take any kind of no)

Elliot (and aside – Magicians you manage to finally make Elliot a High King worth a damn. And he gets to kiss king Idri – who then vanishes off to Loria. Damn it Magicians you introduce a male love interest for Elliot, and then he spends most of the time as a rat before vanishing after one kiss!) also grabs Quentin from stalking, imprisoning and moping after Alice – making that excellent point that something are just broken and now he needs him to step up and try and recruit Umber to the cause

Stop in on Penny – the Poison Room has now caused hyper-magic cancer and only weeks to live because it’s this kind of jolly this show. He refuses to stay in his hospital bed and is determined to briefly check in with Kady (who lets us all know how thoroughly pissed off she is about the whole Julia/Renard situation before being completely sidelined). He manages to tell Elliot that all his plans are going to fail because of the 20 blank-pages in his biography (he read Elliot’s book) and they need to completely change it. A spell to scare Ember into not apocalypsing is not going to work. Time for Plan B. Having delivered that news, Penny is dragged off back to the Library because he still technically works for them and the plot line has no use for him. It’s actively painful to see Penny be as utterly sidelined as he has been this season – he’s had a completely separate plot line entirely revolving around a random encounter – his cursed hands – which has never really gone anywhere or developed anything. He’s been used as a pin to keep the Librarians in place and sort of relevant and maybe introduce Harriet (who shows up again as Kady – equally sidelined – tries to find a way to save Penny)

And that’s it for them – Kady, Penny are pretty much written off the rest of the episode.

So duly warned Elliot and Margo go for what they usually do:
“Act out with a total lack of empathy and impulse control”. In addition to being ruthless, Margo is brutally honest in assessing herself.

So they throw an orgy to entice Ember (even if, as Elliot puts it, it’s an exceptionally boing one), serving little Cakes and eventually summoning the goat god of chaos. Which is when Margo and Elliot desperately appeal to his sense of fun and promise to be amusing reality TV stars (Ember is actually pleased Elliot defeated the banishment – because it was unexpected. A twist. A surprise).

Magicians and Gender

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Magicians is a show with so many problems. Oh, so many many problems.

But as this season, and Julia’s unrelenting suffering continued, it was clear we were going to have to talk about the women of Magicians

And for some of these women the main problem with them is just not getting the screen time to develop their characters. Take Fenn - a woman who entered this arranged marriage with a clear agenda: to save Fillory and make sure Fillorian views are represented by the High King - or to kill him if necessary. Far from the ingenue she was originally portrayed as - she was clear eyed and determined. And her storyline would have been a thousand times better if we’d actually had chance to see more of this. If, in fact, we’d seen any of it beyond what is described by her imprisoned brother. It’s an excellent concept… but sorely undeveloped and displayed

A large number of other women have been killed off - Renard’s killing spree honed in on women to a vastly disproportionate degree. Jane was a mysterious figure who was more of a plot point than a person before dying. Marina was an antagonist in Julia’s eternal suffering before being sacrificed to more brutal murdering off (along with so many of other women) to establish Renard as evil (joined by Dana, Renard’s previous rape victim). Even Sylvia was a character with an interesting concept with the potential for a great back story - and she died after being little more than an exposition tool for Penny

There’s a lot of death and a lot of loss and a lot of women as disposable tools here.

At least Kady wasn’t a disposable tool, but beyond being attracted to Penny and being sympathetic to Julia (the only one, ever) what was she actually doing in season 2? Anything? At all? There were episodes where I literally wanted to ask “why are you even here?”

If I had to sum up Margo in one phrase it would be: Spunky Agency. At first glance she seems to not fit the bill because she manages to cover a lot of the usual markers with huge amounts of snark, style and enormous confidence (all of which are excellent traits). She is sexual, revels in her sexuality with a powerful, magnificent joy that is excellent to behold. Margo is confident, in charge and even without a crown was always the queen of any room she stepped in. She’s shameless, proud, knows what she wants and goes for it - while being utterly awful and incompetent while doing so. The season finale made a joke of it: “Act out with a total lack of empathy and impulse control”. But it’s depressingly accurate

Which is the very essence of Spunky Agency. A female character with agency who constantly uses that agency to screw up or otherwise be terrible. A female character whose agency ends up being a CAUTIONARY TALE about women in power. In season 1 this was limited to the grossly homophobic and appallingly selfish way Margo treated Elliot, but in season 2 with an actual crown on her head, we see her take this to the next level. Margo's ruthlessness comes to all new levels - she’s happy to provoke wars, sentence people to death, to torture, to brutal oppression, to selling babies. By the end of the season, even the most terrifying of Roman Emperors would ask her to tone it down a bit.

I don’t mind Margo being ruthless. But she could at least be ruthlessly EFFECTIVE.

This becomes far more problematic when we consider that one of Margo’s oh-so-tiny plot line elements is that sexist Fillory society sidelines her as the High Queen and lauds the High King above her. She is perfectly positioned to challenge this, to smash this royal glass ceiling - but instead everything she does, every decision she makes, seems to come with the subtext of “and thank gods the High King can overrule her!”. The sexist society that makes Margo secondary looks less like something for her to overcome but a desperate safeguard everyone should be happy is in place! We couldn’t present a better poster child for the Spunky Agent.

Looking at Alice, what I think more than anything else is that she should have been the protagonist (Or Julia). She was the strongest magician. She was the smartest Magician. She was better than Quentin - she was better than everyone. At every stage of season 1 she made it clear time and again she was the one who could drive this story. Alice even had a defined motive to be at Brakebills and an actual goal (Which kind of just fell by the wayside) while Quentin was just “yay magic”. She was vastly more interesting and for a brief moment it looked like the show was going to recognise this by making her the Chosen One. It was done through a typical Magicians disgusting manner - by making Alice drink semen (Because this show loves to present “empowered” women through sexualised trauma) - but it set her up to be the Chosen One.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Buy Me Love (Buy Me Love Shapeshifter series #1) by Julie Tetel Andersen

Moses Reilly is a star detective. Renowned for his excellent performance and fierce investigative abilities.

He’s more than up for the challenge of a strangely posed body left in one of London’s more affluent areas… aided, at the insistence of his superiors, by Zelda

Zelda works for G4S, an international mercenary organisation – and her leader is very wary when a body appears on her doorstep.

Of course she has far greater mysteries for Moses to discover

There are a few aspects about this book I like. I like that despite this book being a romance, there is a definite focus of getting the job done. I love that Moses is focused most on catching the murderer than he is on Zelda no matter how delectable he finds her. Even though he fixates on her (and she on him) a painful amount of the time he is very much focused on the police work

Except for a moment I’ll come to, I really liked how the investigation proceeded with lots of police work, red herrings, running things down, investigating etc etc. I really like how it’s done

The writing is generally good, though it borders on over-elaborate. Except when you get to the sex scenes which are purpler than a bruised Barney. And we had some plot lines (like Paula the affair) and characters who don’t seem to have any purpose.

But it isn’t our genre

Oh yes yes yes one of the characters is a werewolf

But it’s irrelevant. She doesn’t actually shapeshift until the last chapter long after pretty much everything is resolved. About the only way werewolf-ness is actually a thing is by giving her a sense of smell that actually allows her to vaguely contribute to the police investigation (and even then, it’s dubious. Everyone just accepts she has this amazing sense of smell and is willing to base an entire police investigation on it?) – in fact, it would have been just as useful and maybe even better to make her an extremely skilled forensic scientist. At least then she would be valued and useful to the team due to her skills and knowledge rather than woo-woo. When you can literally replace the word “werewolf” with “forensic scientist” I think it’s dubious to even put it in our genre

iZombie, Season 3, Episode 3: Eat. Pray. Liv

The brain of the week was another filler so let’s run through it quickly

The murdered guy is a “Mindfulness coach” which basically means a guy meditating and spouting random deep-sounding and pretty meaningless sound bites while looking vaguely stoned which seems to be the go-to way of presenting someone at peace.

Liv eats his brain and is equally zen. But since she’s actually a really minor character in this episode it basically ends up with her occasionally spouting the odd phrase that could come from a cracker or fortune cookie.

This show is also not going to have anything like a discussion about how there’s a whole industry around white people taking big junks of Asian religion, philosophy and culture, mooshing them around and deciding they’ve found (very profitable) enlightenment and an inspiration for, if they’re lucky, tattoos spouting meaningful phrases in languages they don’t speak and if they not, a selection of creative profanity or gibberish depending on the tattooist

One interesting element of Liv taking a back seat is we have a murder entirely solved by Clive’s detective work rather than her visions with added insights like him refusing to make the uniforms do things he won’t.

That’s the murder

On to Major. He’s not exactly doing great as a soldier as he has no experience and no amount of pretty chiselled muscles are going to make you military trained. He makes friends with Justin, another zombie there who was a DJ before his zombieness who helps reassure him through his steep learning curve.

He’s also not a big fan of the processed brain mush. So invited Justin home for brain and dance games which is cute and fun J. What’s less cute is the zombie cure is catching up with Major and he’s dying –he can take the second zombie cure, but that comes with amnesia

He’s also still looking for Natalie which he sets Blaine on – who gives a possible address

While Blaine meets his newly defrosted father (with the support of Peyton), he quickly realises that a happy family reunion is not on the cards even as he returns his father’s wealth. The more Blaine hears about the many he used to be, the more he hates that

Which brings us to Ravi. Who is pretty much destroyed in this episode – seriously his characterisation is so awful his every appearance makes me cringe. Finally poked by Liv into speaking to Peyton he goes to apologise – which turns into a ramble about how the thought of Peyton and Blaine together makes him so unhappy and how evil Blaine is… she shuts that down right away. The Blaine she knew was never evil (either lying or amnesia) so she has absolutely no reason to be ashamed, she doesn’t need him to guilt her – she most certainly does not need or welcome his opinion on this. She rightly sums this up as Ravi pretending to apologise but secretly hoping for an apology from her.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ashes Reborn (Souls of Fire #4) by Keri Arthur

Emberley has already suffered losses in the battle against the Red Vampire plague – and has only just managed to resurrect her fellow Phoenix Rory from his ashes.

But even with the leader of the Red Vampires dead, the threat continues – rebel vampire Rinaldo is threatening to use them as a weapon against the city – and one city block has already been destroyed in the last conflict.

Still seeking the research which may be the cure to this threat, Embrley and Jackson have to work with the secret Paranormal Police Force, PIT to try and survive and stop the bodies piling up: and their own being among them

This series has so many original elements I love – starting first and foremost with the whole concepts of the phoenixes as protagonists. The whole concept of them as beings that resurrect and reincarnate but are far from without flaws or weaknesses is interesting how it’s done.

Emberley’s relationship with Rory is fascinating. There are so many stories out there where we have couples forced into a sexual relationship because of woo-woo. It’s an inevitable storyline which has two people who hate each other forced into a romance, with lots of anger and resistance followed by them finally giving and in and twu love follows. I’m not a fan.

So to have this –have Emberley and Rory care for each other – but not romantically. How they accept their bond happily, not as a burden or something which always drags them down; it’s really refreshing. That this is not pushing them towards romance nor is it some desperate dark sadness that dogs both of them with angst and tragedy

Not that there isn’t angst in the life of Emberley – but I also like how this broken relationship with Max is treated. Normally when I see that a protagonist’s love life is cursed I turn and run so far because oh my gods the angst that will follow! But here? Not so much. Oh it hurts Emberley and she’s not happy about it – but that doesn’t mean she can’t work with Max and isn’t quite happy pursuing other relationships rather than moping all alone hoping Max comes back to her. She likes Jackson, she has a good time with him. It is a bit overly sex focused (when, my gods, sometimes I just want them to get on with the plot and stop worrying about Jackson’s dick) and she has fun and a life even if her romantic life has all fallen apart that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a life.

The main characters, their conflicts and the world really make this book worth reading. And I really like the take on the elves and if anything needs expanding then it’s definitely the different kinds of elves and the powers and cultures they have.

Shadowhunters, Season 2, Episode 3: Parabati Lost

So, last episode Alec decided to risk his on lie in desperate attempt to bring Jace (who hardly notices he’s there) back.

Because this is Shadowhunters not only is Alec willing to risk his life for Jake, he’s not even effective. His little woo-woo does nothing to find Jace except risks his own life and render him completely unconscious for the whole episode

He does have lots of flashbacks to him and Jace – but this seems to be more serve to show how much more awesome Jace is and show Alec’s desperate fixation on him. Which is especially galling when a desperate Magnus, unable to save Alec with magic (and of course the Shadowhunters whistle him up when needed) he resorts to kissing Alec. Which does nothing. There follows memories of how much Alec is obsessed with Jace, then Jace arrives and lo he wakes up. It’s hard not to contrast Alec’s obsession with a disinterested Jace and then see Magnus’s legitimately caring and it still not being as important as Jace.

So that’s one annoying wreck but naturally not the most important.

Jace and Clary have escaped the boat. Clary arrives at the shore, makes it back to the Institute while Victor promptly interviews her – hey she’s found the boat full of Valentine’s Shadowhunters of evil, maybe she wants to share some information about that before said shadowhunters do terribad evil things?

Nah, Clary doesn’t care about Valentine, a war, hundreds, maybe thousands dead – because she’s Clary. She decides to lie, say nothing and focus entirely on Jace because he is all that matters in the world.

I have to say how amazingly close to the books this TV series is. I loathed book Clary as well. At least Magnus has sharp words for everyone’s obsession with her – now if his actions would only match

Izzy runs around trying to comfort everyone while not realising she really needs to ditch them all and find better people in her life.

Jace also washes up to shore with the body of the werewolf killed last episode. They both wet, banged up and on the shore and found by a jogger. To which Jace says “it’s not what you think!”

What? Before you said that, what I thought was “oh no, these two soaking people have washed up from a tragic boating accident”. Since they’re both beat up and dripping wet this would be reasonable. Until Jace opens his mouth and speaks like a murderer

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tangle of Need (Psy/Changeling #11) by Nalini Singh

Adria and Riaz are both very dominant wolves who have newly returned to the Snow Dancer lands after some time away. Time in which both have been badly burned by their romantic lives

It is not a smooth reunion between the pair – this is going to be a rocky relationship to say the least

While Sienna is finding her relationship with the wolf Alpha Hawke much smoother than anticipated – but preparing to be Alpha’s mate is much more complicated with some heavy responsibilities.

The Psy war rages unabated, flaring into open civil war – and the desperate Pure Psy are restoring to unthinkable tactics that the Snow Dancers cannot ignore and cannot be neutral in the face of.

I do like how we’re calling back to a lot of the previous characters and partners in this book. One of the main issues I have with these kind of Paranormal Romance series with different characters each book is that the previous characters seem to drift away. We get nice cameo appearances of Sasha, but for several books we seem to have completely forgotten that Faith, the uber-powerful F-Psy is out of there. The Leopards in general have been very sidelined in the last few books which is such a shame because they were the first characters that have been kind of lost

This book ended up feeling far more of an ensemble book – drawing on the Council, with Hawke and Sienna very much being present and powerfully involved. We have predictions from Faith, we have Sasha and Ashaya, we have Judd all taking part. Not in a huge way, in all cases – though I wold say Hawke and Sienna are virtually co-protagonists with Riaz and Adria – but definitely taking up a powerful part of this book. We also have a really fascinating side plot coming with the Arrows and Kaleb

And I really like this side plot, because they’re both deeply immersed in the consequences of the Psy Civil War (which, to the Changelings, is still somewhat peripheral to their lives. But I still respect the conundrum they’re faced, their duty to step up because others are relying on them and whether they could possible be still in the face of such utter atrocities) but also because they represent that missing question over Silence that is not really analysed in the Changeling packs: the idea that Silence is necessary for some Psy. The conditioning that makes them safe, how the Arrows have relief on it or even how, if it starts breaking, the Arrows can begin to feel the brutal lives they’ve lived and consider whether they want to live at all.

In general there’s a widening of the plot in this book beyond the central romance which allows us to explore much wider and deeper. Like there’s Sienna realising she needs to step up as the Alpha’s mate means she is studying more about the pack so she can step up to discuss matters with Hawke. I love that she is considered to be integral to the Pack leadership structure and that having the deathly power is not enough to do that: her explorations allow us to explore as well just as Kaleb and the Arrows let us see more of the Psynet.

The Leftovers, Season 3, Episode 1: The Book of Kevin

I have absolutely no idea where this show is going now having already been rebooted once and still not really answered any questions except piling random events on drama and then sprinkling with hallucinations. I’m actually reaching a point where I’ve given up trying to understand this plot at all – it feels like a Madlib. Or perhaps that it’s trying too hard to be deep by being random as I mentioned in the review of the season finale.

Watching this episode one thing I am very much reminded of is its dedication to feeling, atmosphere and theme to the detriment of pacing. We have several moments where the characters kind of just stand there either emoting at a screen or doing nothing while the music plays. And, yes, I get it the music is very well chosen and does add excellently to the feel and theme of the show

But it’s slow. And after two seasons I’m kind of frustrated by the whole thing. I already get the themes of feeling and atmosphere: of despair, of fear, of anxiety, of deeply damaged people trying to deal with things, of faith and grief and pain and horror. These are established in great detail already and since this show has already expanded a considerable amount of my patience for it to actually get on with anything that I find the whole thing very frustrating

I also find random opening scenes with no context bizarre. In this case we have a 19th century woman who believes in the rapture. She, her family and her congregation climb on the roof every rapture day ready to be pulled to Heaven and each time they’re not and have to climb down again. Each time less and less people join her on the roof, even her own family. And she never gets raptured

Shall I put this down to the same random opener in season 2?

To the present and Meg and Evie are all doing their Guilty Remnant thing when they’re all blown up by a drone. Well that ends that storyline I guess

Fast forward three years and Miracle has changed. People are coming back, there are lots of camps and it’s not being run like some kind of police state. It’s 14 days until the 7th anniversary of the Departure and because the number 7 is significant people are expecting this to be a Big Deal

Despite that everything look relatively peaceful after all the chaos and horror and rage and fear we saw in the last 2 seasons. There’s no wristbands, no strict population control, no repression. Kevin is now chief of police riding his horse and keeping the peace with relative calmness and sensibility, dealing with the large number of completely random pilgrims with their standard nonsenses and doing it quite well

Matt has a very popular church from which he is basically parading Mary and his son Noah around as walking miracles to his congregation.

Once Upon a Time, Season 6, Episode 17: Awake

Let’s look at Storybrooke where Emma is all shaky again about a terribad big bad future coming: the showdown between the Saviour and the Black Fairy. Emma’s hands are all shaky again, while Mary Margaret and David are all kind of angsty (in tag-team due to the curse) because they won’t be there to support Emma

Honestly I think going into the battle without the sappy ones would help immensely.

David is determined to be uncursed and pressures Regina to use her dangerous, untested cure on him and Snow. I approve of using untested dangerous chemicals on the Charmings. Yes yes I do.

Unsurprisingly this goes terribly wrong and when Zelena and Regina finish tinkering with their hearts it ends up with both of them cursed to sleep forever. Yaaaaaay! This cure is awesome!

This leads to some flashbacks to the Curse days when everyone lived mundane lives and it was all terrible and bleak (hey, does it say anything that the cursed existence of misery for everyone is basically our 9:00-5:00) and Mary Margaret tried to soggy her way through life and visiting David who is all sad and comatose. All is sad and everyone was miserable (this is trying to tell us that everyone is happier now with big evil menaces trying to destroy them all every 2 weeks).

Mary Margaret happens to blunder into a magical flower –because while the Charmings never ever ever do anything really to make things right but random chance yet again ensures goodness and happiness shines down on them. This magic flower wakes up David – several years early. With their memories restored they try to find Emma with convenient magical flower.

Except they do this by going via Rumplestiltskin whose memory is quickly restored for him to say that this is way too early, stop this at once before they run off to be with their daughter

Of course, without magic, he can’t stop them. But he relies on the sappiness of Snow White, who realises if they use the magical flower that means that they will be reunited with Emma and give her a happy childhood (well, with the curse and not a lot of experience with the real world) – but it also means Emma will never break the curse and that everyone else in Storybrooke will continue to suffer without interesting invasions by evil dark magic monsters every week.

They both drink a potion to erase their memories and make this bit of retcon go away

So what does this mean for the modern story? Well, those magic flowers are back in Storybrooke. These flowers only appear when big evil is around because Good is Stupid and needs Magic Good Flowers to provide Deus Ex Machinae to give them any damn chance of saving themselves because evil has a habit of having a clue. Luckily these flowers may be the key to reuniting lost loved ones – including cursed Charmings

Why are the goodness-saving evil flowers popping up? Because the Dark Fairy has arrived. She drops in to see her son, Rumplestiltskin who is very unpleased But she’s determined to have him on side – and even has the Rumplestiltskin dagger and Gideon’s apparent willing co-operation to force him.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Into The Badlands, Season Two, Episode Five: Monkey Leaps Through Mist

Monkey Leaps Through Mist marks the halfway point of the series. In many ways it's a reminder of just how scattered and at times how utterly predictable the plot for Into The Bandlands is. More often than not, it feels like a bad mash up of an old spaghetti western and a Mad Max film. Sure, there's at least one great fight scene per episode as a pay off to the audience for sitting through the hour but sometimes, as in the case of this episode, it's just not enough to make one want to invest. 

At the end of season one, Sonny and MK were seperated.  Sonny is certainly the protagonist of this series; however, we were led to believe that MK's role was absolutely critical to the world building and setting of this series.  It's been five episodes thus far and with MK seperated from everyone else in the world, it makes MK's scenes fill like filler.  Sure we know more about what MK is, why he needs to learn to control his power, and even what happened to his mother but none of this is enough of a pay off for the ways in which MK now feels like an interruption.  This might change now that MK has made his escape.

In the Badlands themselves, the Baron's have gone to ground due to the events at the conclave last week.  Now that the secret is out that Quinn is in fact alive, the big mission is to find a way to kill him.  This means that the Widow has to decide what she is going to do.  For the last five episodes, we've seen Waldo acting as the Widow's adviser based in his knowledge of the political alliances, as well as history of the Badlands itself.  It really seemed like a wise move and it gave us a vital and vibrant disabled character.  Unfortunately, Waldo's advice at the conclave didn't exactly work out well.  This has given the Widow reason to doubt Waldo's perception of events and she's decided that with so much at stake, it's time to stop pandering to the other Barons and compromising her beliefs.  To that end, the Widow orders Waldo to figure out where the hell Quinn is holed up because she wants to make an alliance with him. 

The Widow's decision to make an alliance with Quinn really does seem like going against the grain which is something she has done from the beginning.  I recognise that the Widow is going all ancient proverb here but I'm not sold.
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For this to work, we have to forget that Quinn is the one who stole her oil fields in the first damn place and is guilty of the same horrors that she's fighting against. The Widow doesn't even have a real idea of the number of clippers that Quinn now commands.  Then there's the whole issue of Quinn having a brain tumor. I know that Quinn kept that quiet but seriously, no one knows that the man is dying? Making an alliance with Quinn may be out of the box thinking but I don't see it as reflective of the intelligence that the Widow has so far displayed.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Doctor Who, Season Ten, Episode One: The Pilot

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I'm not even going to pretend to start off seriously because the return of Doctor Who absolutely demands a serious amount of squeee. Yes, epic squee even.
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It's been such a long time since we've had an entire series to look forward to.  I'm so happy about this that I can almost forgive Moffat for the horrible xmas episode, please note that I said almost.  As a loyal Whovian, you probably already know that at some point we are going to lose Capaldi as our Doctor.  I know for some that this will be a relief because Capaldi's Doctor has been the darkest of NuWho in many ways.  Sure, the 10th had his moments when he was completely unhinged but Capaldi has truly been scary - a stark reminder that the Doctor is not a man to be played with. 

In The Pilot we got an introduction to the Doctor's new companion Bill. Bill is the series first openly gay companion.  I know that right now you're screaming about Captain Jack, but he wasn't actually a companion and he spent more time flirting with Rose than he did with men.  At any rate, The Pilot makes it clear from the very beginning that Bill's interest is strictly women and even goes as far as to give her a love interest, which doesn't end well. I do like that Bill's sexuality was made explicit rather than leaving it to subtext which more often than not, is how LGBT people are portrayed.  I really want to get excited about Bill because we haven't had a companion of colour since Martha Jones and as aforementioned, Bill's the first openly gay companion.  I really need this character to be awesome.  My big worry with Bill is that she won't be around for long. I understand that we are getting a new show runner and that he's going to want to put his own stamp on Doctor Who but that being said, it's not an excuse to limit Bill's time as a companion.  To be clear, the only other black companion - Martha Jones, only lasted a year and she spent her time flirting with the Doctor, who soundly ignored her because he was mourning the loss of Rose. It makes me want to wrap Bill in a protective bubble to keep her safe. 

It's only been one episode and I'm already attached to Bill. Sure, I could do without her horrible attire but I love that she's an honest to goodness sci fi nerd and that she quickly caught on when the Doctor attempted to wipe away her memories.  I like that she's quirky and warm and I especially love that she rocked that amazing fro throughout the entire episode.  By any measure, Bill is an absolute win and a great change of pace from Clara. Go ahead and boo Clara fans. 

The Pilot is clearly meant to be a reboot of the series, moving us away from the darker elements of Doctor Who which have been blamed for the recent ratings drop to much lighter fare.  The episode begins when Bill is called into the Doctor's office (yep he's a professor now) to explain why it is that she's secretly been attending his lectures, even though she works in the cafeteria and is not in fact a student. The Doctor is drawn to Bill because instead of frowning when Bill hears something that she doesn't understand, she smiles. The Doctor's office is filled with memorabilia from his various incarnations. On the desk is a cup holder which contains all of his previous sonic screwdrivers, including those belonging to fourth and fifth Doctor, which were supposedly destroyed. We know now that the tardis can simply spit out a sonic screwdriver on command, so perhaps the Doctor just had the Tardis remake them to remind him of his past adventures.

The Originals, Season Four, Episode Five: I Hear You Knocking

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The last episode ended with The Hollow infecting both Marcel and Klaus. Given how The Hollow used Eva, we know that it seeks power and that Marcel and Klaus are easily the two most powerful being in existence.  Clearly, in these two, it has finally found the source of power its long craved to manifest itself in the physical world, at least that's what I think the Hollow wants because the writers haven't exactly made it clear exactly what The Hollow's end goal is. 

This means that we are once again going to have a show down between Klaus and Marcel - let the humbling of Marcel begin. What? You didn't actually think that the writers would allow Marcel to have more power than Klaus and rule New Orleans did you? The Hollow begins by using Klaus and Marcel's weaknesses against them.  For Klaus it begins when he has a memory of Mikael shaming him.  I was surprised to find out much I've missed Sebastian Roché. I love Miakel's scenes with Klaus because of the epic drama they produce; however, this time, I found it lacking somehow.  Maybe it's because with Mikael dead, he doesn't represent the threat that he once did and I for one am sick to death of Klaus's daddy issues. 

Of course, Klaus is obsessed with idea of making sure that Hope is safe and to that end, he sends Elijah and Hayley to the bayou to wait for him there.  Elijah wants to stay but Klaus makes it clear that he wants Elijah to keep Hope safe. Okay so off the two lovers go and Elijah even knowing where he's going is still wearing a suit but does however offer to change to shorts and sandals if Hayley wants to make a life there.  Can anyone even picture Elijah wearing that? 

For Marcel, The Hollow manifests as both Elijah and Klaus.  This again felt rather repetitive. The entire season thus far has been about reminding Marcel that no matter what he does, he'll never be a Mikaelson and how the Mikaelson clan will be more than happy to put an end to him, if it means saving one of them. Their family first motto will never include Marcel.  I really feel like I'm being hit on the head with a hammer at this point.  How many times is The Originals going to remind us that Marcel is the dark stain on the Mikaelson's white sheets and that Klaus saved Marcel from slavery?  

Freelin and Freya are still making eyes at each other.  The writers just need to let these two kiss and declare them a couple already, enough with the damn teasing. Freelin and Freya are a bit hung over from celebrating the break through they made the night before - They've created a knife capable of killing Marcel. Now that their mission is done, it's time for Freelin to be on her way. It's clear that both women are reluctant for Freelin to leave but she does anyway. 

Freya's next stop is to have a little chat with Klaus, who admits that The Hollow is haunting him and has taken on the form of Mikael.  Klaus admits his belief that The Hollow's objective is for him to kill Marcel.  Freya tries a cleansing and when that fails to work, she hands over the knife to Klaus, explaining that if someone needs to die that it shouldn't be him. Freya is the only Mikaelson I can forgive for their feelings towards Marcel because she was out of the picture for so long that she has no real connection to Marcel. 

Elijah, Hayley and Hope are talking their little walk through the Bayou with Elijah fantasizing about wearing jean shorts and flip flops. Is anyone else have difficulty picturing this?  They make their way to Mary's house and Mary is not impressed to see Elijah standing on her doorstep because she has a strict no vampire stance, Hayley notwithstanding. Elijah takes off to give the women a few minutes privacy and Hayley tells Mary all about the recent massacre and the sigil. Mary's face goes all squirrely and she pulls her dead husbands diary and reveals the sigil.  

The true risk the Hollow poses presents itself when on his way to confront Marcel, Klaus, tired of being taunted by fake Mikael attempts to kill him and instead kills three civilians.  The Hollow makes it clear that it can trick Klaus into killing anyone and that includes Freya but more importantly Hope.  Marcel does his own battle with the Hollow and when he attempts to choke fake Elijah, he ends up attacking Sofya.