Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Mist, Season One, Episode Four: Pequod

The cast of The Mist continues to be large and very much separated.  Kevin, Adrian, Mia and Brian make a break from the church.  Kevin trips over the body of a young boy on the way.  The foursome pile into a car and Mia attempts to hotwire it but the car doesn't turn over.  This enrages Kevin, and he accuses Mia of not knowing what she is doing but Mia asserts that something is absolutely wrong.  After a little discussion, they decide to make another break for it run on foot through the mist to a garage.

The Garage

A quick search of the garage reveals no other usable vehicles. A light at the end of the tunnel appears when a car actually pulls up. Clay hops out of the car wearing a gas mask and immediately points his gun at the foursome, who quickly raise their hands.  Clay makes his way inside and apologises for pulling out his gun. Clay is a bit frantic and he pulls out a picture of his son who is missing to find out if the foursome has seen him. Of course, the kid turns out be the body that Kevin tripped over in their escape from the church.  Kevin looks at the picture and lies and says that he hasn't seen him. Following his lead, the others lie as well, as they make weird eye contact displaying confusion over their communal untruth. Clay is absolutely determined to find his son and explains he's been out looking for him for quite some time.

When Clay heads into another room, Mia immediately confronts Kevin about encouraging everyone to lie.  Kevin explains that he was just trying to save Clay the pain of learning about his dead son.  Mia quickly moves on to point out to Kevin that they are going to need Clay's car, or for Clay to give them a lift, if they are going to get to the mall.  An irritated Kevin promises to handle it. 

When Kevin does approach Clay, he learns that Clay is driving a bug out vehicle - one made to function in disasters.  Kevin asks for a lift to the mall, saying that this is where his family is. At this point, Clay only has a little bit of gas left and he wants to reserve it for his search for his son. Clay expresses his regret but makes it clear that his top priority is searching for his son.  Kevin asks him to think about it over night.

The next morning, Clay is looking at a map trying to figure out where to search next when Kevin approaches. Once again, Clay turns Kevin down to prioritise his search for his son. Unable to take it anymore, Mia reveals that Clay's son is dead, causing Clay to go into complete denial. Clay reasonably suggests that he is only being told this because they want his car and that if his child were really dead, they would have told him the day before. A nervous Clay grabs his gun again as the foursome cautiously approach.  It's Brian who ends up on the attack and the two men struggle for the gun. Kevin pulls out his own gun and Mia and Adrian call out for him to shoot.  Brian does manage to get the gun away from Clay but not before being shot in the thigh. The foursome move immediately to offer Brian whatever medical care they can, tying off the wound and applying pressure.  Mia says that if they don't get Brian to a hospital that he is going to die and this is enough for Clay to decide to hand over his car. The foursome load up and instead of going with them, Clay chooses to stay behind and take his chances in the mist to keep searching for his son. 

The Church

Father Romanov is not doing well trapped in the church with his parishioners. It's clear he feels that this might be the end of days, despite the fact that this is not how Revelations describes it. His fear that this is the end causes Father Romanov to start praying for Nathalie's soul.  Following through on her statement that the God she saw didn't belong to Father Romanov, Nathalie reads the diary of an old priest looking for a record of an event like this happening before. When Nathalie starts to talk about nature killing 6 people May 12, 1860, it's clear that Father Romanov is upset. Father Romanov offers to talk about church history and insists that if Nathalie really wants answers that she'll turn to the bible.

Father Romanov gathers everyone in the church and starts to talk to them about his concern for their immortal soul. Everyone gathers to listen except Nathalie, who is to busy looking for a sign.  When Nathalie finds a spider, she squeals happily. Before anyone can kill the spider, Nathalie slips it into a jar, referring to it as God and thanking it for making it's presence known. 

Father Romanov turns to Police chief Connor Heisel about the agitation he feels regarding Nathalie's actions.  Instead of doing the expected thing and getting all tough guy, Connor talks about cutting Nathalie some slack because everyone is tense and she's grieving.

Zoo, Season 3, Episode 3: Ten Years Gone

The group is slowly coming together - but it looks like it won’t be all harmonious

After Isaac was taken last episode, Dariela calls the police while Abraham charges after the soldiers

Wait… what? Dariela is a soldier. Abraham is a doctor . He may be the size of the average building, but she’s still the warrior.

Anyway, the police nicely inform Dariela that kidnapping of children for experimenting on is totally legal and the president totally approves (nah I’m not leaping on a Trump joke, it’s too easy). Abraham is pushed back by a whole load of soldiers and is forced to come home

To find Deriela with a guy called Jonah. Am I supposed to recognise Jonah? Was he around the Earthquake sloths and immortal jellyfish? Whatever. Either way, Dariela and Jonah had an affair and when they ended it, Dariela promised not to see him again. And she’s been sending research to Jonah who sent it to Umbrella Reiden which led to Isaac being captured. Because that was a great idea

Abraham is made of RAGE, fairly understandable. Honestly I don’t see the need for this - you have enough angst here without throwing a huge wedge between Dariela and Abraham, especially since Dariella was a late introduced character who hasn’t been as well developed yet (and spent a lot of time being more almost an antagonist - so extra antagonism, yay!). Abe and Dariela have a whole scene where Abe seethes and can’t even look at her. This is not going to be fun

They try to rescue their son with Jonah’s help and end up grabbing a completely different boy - at least they reunite him with his parents, only for the soldiers to rekidnap them - and then pay a visit to Abraham and Dariela to make them an evil offer: they’ll give them Isaac back if they deliver Clem to evil Leanne. Apparently Clem has stolen some shinies from Leanne and she wants them back. Probably the T-virus.

Abraham also wants to cure human sterility as then there would be no reason to kidnap kids - and for that he needs the new wooly rhino hybrid sample so he calls Jackson to send up some new supplies

To Jackson! Jackson and Logan argue over where their priorities should be - Logan wants to take down Abigail, Jackson’s terrorist sister while Jackson wants to get the new sample. He wins and they go wandering only to find a giant burrowing vultures

Ok, were the Shepherds high when they designed these hybrids? I mean who says “let’s make super birds! THAT DIG!” because winged creatures are totally enhanced with tunnelling abilities. Oh Zoo stop drinking and writing.

The Mist, Season One, Episode Three: Show and Tell

At this point, I've pretty much decided that I really need to read Stephen King's short story because there's no way it's close to the hot mess this show is turning out to be. It's all so heavy handed and desperate to mix the mundane with the macabre that even Frances Conroy, whose given the best performance thus far and is by far the most interesting character, cannot save The Mist.  

The very large cast is still divided into the mall and the church.  With all the extras floating around we are certain to see a lot more deaths which will hopefully justify the insta panic that the characters entered into the moment the mist appeared.  It seems as though Natalie has figured out what is going on but it was again another huge leap of logic that as much as I love Conroy, I was hard pressed not to roll my eyes.  

The Church

Kevin and Adrian are sharing a pew and Adrian reveals his fear that his BFF Alex, (the same BFF who dumped him at the party) is dead. Kevin somehow believes that he magically knows that his family is safe and promises Adrian that he would know if his daughter were dead.  Kevin is determined to get to his family and this means hot wiring a car and heading to the mall.  The problem is that neither Kevin or Adrian has the first idea of how to hot wire a car and so they're going to need Mia's help.

After gathering supplies, Kevin approaches Connor, who gives a rambling speech (the way all characters talk on this show) about law and order.  Sure, he abandoned them at the police station out of fear but now he's ready to go on about law and order and maintaining civilisation. To some degree, Connor has a point given that it really hasn't been that long since the mist rolled in and Mia was arrested for murder.  At this point, Kevin really doesn't give a shit and points out that Mia saved his life.  Perhaps in a bid to assert his authority, Connor decides to lock up Mia and Brian in the church basement. 

In the basement, Brian picks the locks on Mia's handcuffs and even hands over the drugs that she needs to keep from going into withdrawal.  For Brian, it's all about establishing a relationship because he feels that he needs at least one person that he can trust. Mia is the person whom he confides in about his amnesia. 

Having messed up their first attempt to flea, Kevin decides that he needs to speak with Mia and Brian.  I did find it interesting Adrian was quick to point out that Kevin wouldn't feel that letting bygones be bygones would be good in the case of Jay. Jay may be at the mall but he's clearly the elephant in the room in any interactions between Connor, Kevin and Adrian. Adrian's commentary could have been an excellent chance to explore Kevin's character but he's absolutely mum in response. 
 Instead, Adrian is placed on guard duty while Kevin talks to Brian and Mia through the door.  Naturally, given that Kevin is the one who got them tossed in the basement, neither Brian or Mia are exactly enthused about more help from Kevin. Mia is fully of snarky goodness when Kevin asks if she can hotwire a car based on her criminality. Mia questions if Kevin is going to ask the black guy (read:Brian) as well. This could have been awesome had Mia in fact not been actually able to hotwire a care, thus proving Kevin's suspicions correct. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

12 Monkeys, Season Three, Episode Seven: Nurture

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The Witness is busy at work drawing. In 2046, Jones talks to her staff about time and how it doesn't concern itself with good or evil. Jones says their sins define them. The Witness's drawings are collected by Sebastian his teacher. In 2046, Jones says that the fact that the Witness so young presents an opportunity; however, it means killing a child - a man with a certain future and the architect of their destruction. Jones is adamant that the Witness is not innocent because the boy is the man. One life in exchange for 7 Billion creates an obligation. "No god shall forgive us this sin, perhaps none should for that all we have is each other and the great absolution of time that they we might never have sinned at all", Cassandra professes to her group.  

The big plan is to disable the guardians unique advantage. Jones proposes to create a window and splintter to 1953, to the Witness's safe house and engage the Monkeys there. This will mean shutting down the Witness's team's ability to splintter away to safety. Jones explains that the suit comes with danger but the risk is necessary.

Cassie however is certain that she cannot go and instead talks about her mother dying of an embolism with Cole. Cassie reveals she turned down an offer to go to a museum with her mother and this was their last moment together. Cassie doesn't know who her son is but she cannot have someone that she's supposed to love, look at her like that again, even if afterwards it will never have happened. Cassie is certain that for her it will still feel real. Cole comforts Cassie but suggests that they should still go in together to make a difference. Cassie points out that if they reset time, they will never have met and their son will never have existed. Changing the past means eradicating the future. When Cole leaves the room, Deacon witnesses him punching a wall in frustration. 

Deacon goes to find Jones, who is deep in her cups, thinking about when she was struggling to perfect the splinnter machine. Deacon drops the news that Cassie has declined to participate in the mission and that Cole has been quiet.  Jones is nonplussed because she sees this as a difficult mission for a doctor and there's the fact that Cassie spent months in captivity. Deacon is suspicious of the fact that when Ramses died, Cole didn't jump into the spinnter machine to change the past, despite the fact that they saw each other as brothers. There's also the issue that Cassie led them to Titan, where they were just waiting to lock her up. Deacon is convinced that Cassie and Cole have a secret. 

It's time to get moving and the first setup is to splinter to 1953 to steal the EMP before the monkeys can. Cassie watches as the team enters the machine.

1953 Raritan Laboratories

A Christmas party is in full swing when the team arrives.  Cole tasks Jennifer with cozying up to a scientist, so that they can sneak into a lab. Seduction is clearly not Jennifer's strong suit. It's awkward as hell but Jennifer manages to talk someone into giving her a tour of the lab. Luckily for Jennifer, the scientist that she approaches is so socially awkward that they pair off okay. 


Cassie asks Jones for a favour and suggests that causality won't matter if the mission succeeds. Cassie argues that she has given so much and has yet to ask for anything. Jones does indeed capitulate to Cassandra's request. The moment Cassandra leaves however, Jones has the team scouting the location of one of Cole's former missions because she wants to find a secret. It looks like Jones was paying more attention to Deacon than she let on.

Outcast, Season 2, Episode 7: Alone When it Comes

Kyle has made his break from hospital, though he’s still injured. But he’s clear, they have to escape, they can’t stay in town any more with all the demon people. Amber continues to be mature and sensible - it’s creepy. Small children being that maature and sensible is creepy. Very very creepy

Alison is still a bit shellshocked by all the revelations but is managing to run with it, though she’d rather run to a hospital on account of the big scary knife wound in Kyle.

Megan and Anderson catch up with them in time to say goodbye (and for Megan to acknowledge that Kyle exorcised her) before Kyle & co hit the road

But it’s pretty clear from the beginning they’re being followed. Alison goes from being paranoid to quickly realising how right Kyle is, as they grab a new car from the Junkyard guy and try to head out of town only to find road blocks and new Sheriff Nunez marshalling her forces.

Alison actually is really good here, she’s clear thinking while Kyle is more reactive, she has ideas, quickly assess the situation, points out ways out and gets them moving while Kyle is clearly floundering. It isn’t enough for them to get away, but definite points for navigating it well

Surrounded, they’re saved by Junkyard guy who drive in with a shotgun and a truck and helps them escape - Allison and Amber. Kyle stays behind to distract the horde - none of whom are eager to get in the way of his burning touch. But they don’t have to, since he heads back to town.

That’s a shame - I hope Allison will come back just as she’s getting good

Sidney is still being creepy and evil but his health is definitely deteriorating rapidly: sio is his reputation given the snark Dr. Park is throwing his way. With the Beacon he had now dead because of Aaron (and an autopsy finding nothing about Helen’s merge-speeding methods) and the Council getting inpatient, things are not looking good for him. He faces the council and gives them lots of promises about the merge - and they give him time, but it’s grudging and the impatience is clear. Dr. Parks is definitely done backing him up

He also suggests that, as immigrants to this world, maybe they don’t need to remake it, they can enjoy it as it is (a message fraught with implications depending on how it’s developed) - which Sidney thinks is impossible because apparently their vessels kill them. Presumably this is what is wrong with Sidney: the merge is his only chance of survival. Though Dr, Parks implies there’s another way - not that he’s sharing it

Does Fear The Walking Dead Have A Race Problem?

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We have spoken about race in the Walking Dead world, many many times. Oh so many times. And yet, it keeps serving us up problems that just demand commentary and with the mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead we simply have to talk about this again.

When Fear the Walking Dead first begun, there seemed to be a lot of potential for it to have a racially diverse cast - it began in Los Angeles and quickly moved to Mexico: in those circumstances it would be more than slightly ridiculous to have a cast dominated by non-latino White people. This doesn’t mean The Walking Dead ever had an excuse for not being racially diverse - being set in Atlanta and Washington DC, both “minority majority” cities makes a white-dominant cast more than a little dubious - but to move the story to Mexico and still have a non-latino white American dominant cast? That’s an even bigger stretch.

Unfortunately, like so many of these shows, the original potential for racial diversity rapidly began to fizzle out. We already spoke about the early deaths of POC on this show, but since then, it has only gotten worse.

While Madison, Alicia and Nick - the white protagonists - have weathered the storm, we’ve seen the deaths of Travis, Chris and Travis’s first wife, Elizabeth (seriously, this show has surgically extracted the POC from this mixed-race family). Outside of that core family, we’ve seen the early loss of Griselda, Ofelia’s mother and we’ve moved from POC settlement to settlement leaving carnage in their wake. From Daniel burning down Celia Flores’s compound, to the destruction of Alejandro’s settlement, even to the loss of the gang that attacked that settlement: we’ve seen these camps be destroyed one after another. Even when one manages to survive - like the hotel - we quickly get somewhat dubious reasons why it has to be abandoned.

Instead, it’s an overwhelmingly white ranch that remains the base of operations.

But death is not the contribution to Minority Decay - focus is clearly another. Madison, Alicia and Nick have managed to be reunited and stay together - even when they are apart, it’s unusual for an episode to happen where they’re not referred to - and we certainly won’t see a long chain of episodes where they do not appear.

When season 3 started, we actually thought Daniel and Ofelia were dead and Strand had been all but written out. All of them had been banished to the plot box - Ofelia for so long I didn’t even recognise her when she reappeared. Even now, Strand and Daniel are separated from the main cast, reduced to cameos if that- and Ofelia only got to step out of the plot box because Luciana stepped into it. Two female latina characters is simply too much, one has to be banished to the plot box.

We move from this minority decay to season 3s big-bad, a Native American tribe attacking the poor rugged white pioneers.

There was never a chance of this being done well, so I think the writers didn’t even try.

From the moment Qaletaqa Walker appeared we were treated to endless “savage” brutality intermingled with a heavy dose of woo-woo and superstition. Qaletaqa is literally scalping people (something white colonists did to Native Americans to collect bounties during the genocide), burning people alive, employing biological warfare and otherwise taking the fight to an extreme level all the while the ranchers call them “savages” and “barbarians”. This is the story told by so many 1950s westerns - savage “injuns” attacking poor innocent white pioneers - that we finally stopped portraying when even Hollywood realised how disgusting it was (we moved to white people saving those poor Native Americans so we didn’t exactly move far).

When not brutally slaughtering people, Qaletaqa is something of a mess of stereotypes more than personality - a mix of “noble savage” (freeing Madison despite her being his main opposition because she’s “more of a man” than Jeremiah; speaking of the “first people” and sacred artefacts) mixed in with a strong dose of woo-woo (he even quoted prophecy to Madison and his horse sensed Ofelia’s “spirit”. Really?). This was… lacking in terms of any kind of humanising portrayal or development and certainly not balancing the brutality and torture.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Shadowhunters, Season 2, Episode 15: A Problem of Memory

Clary kissed Jace last episode. There now commences all the angst ever as Simon mopes, Jace thinks hey he has a chance (though thankfully Izzy is there to tell him how not cool it would be to swoop in right now) and Clary runs around unconvincingly telling everyone she totally loves Simon, honest.

Yay, angst

Simon responds by running from Clary, getting drunk on plasma (no I’m not going to try to follow the logic that plasma causes vampire highs because it’s Shadowhunters) and have a daylighter fanpoodle Quinn take him to a club with lots of vampires feeding on humans and it’s all kinky and sexy and consensual because the humans love it and we’re all going to forget the entire yin fenn storyline because it’s inconvenient

Simon feeds on a woman despite his misgivings of nearly killing someone he last time he fed on a vein

And he wakes up the next morning with fuzzy memories and blood all over him. Luke catches up with him to inform him that a woman has been drained of blood and is now dead. Luke also wants to tell Simon he’s totally there for him over the break up because Simon is totally like a son to him since he never had his own sons because that would involve having his own life and not obsessively serving the Shadowhunters his every waking moment.

SImon denies all knowledge but there are his fingerprints on the dead lady and he’s wearing a blood stained t-shirt and really really looks guilty. Leaving Luke torn between stopping the killer vampire and actually doing everything Clary and co want him to do

So he takes Clary on a drive looking for Simon. What you thought killer vampire would take precedence?

Simon runs to Raphael for help
Raphael: Sure, in exchange tell me how you become a daylighter
Simon: What, you’re not just going to give me help and resources because I ask despite the fact I screwed up your power base, work for your enemies and avoid vampire society?
Raphael: You seem to have mistaken me for Magnus and Luke.

So he returns to the scene of the crime where Ollie, Luke’s partner who is suspicious but apparently doesn’t know the whole downworlder thing, arrests him. He goes along with it because GUILTS but she reveals that the victim was apparently bled out from her feet and since Simon has utter foot revulsion he knows he’s innocent

Pause there, Simon - the most recent bites may have been on her feet but no way she bled out from her feet unless someone gnawed those feet off. Your bites on any other, more blood rich, part of her anatomy could have at least contributed. I think we’re calling innocent a bit soon here

But he returns to the club to find Quinn who is coincidently chowing down on some woman’s feet. They fight and Simon pulls combat skills from nowhere, apparently, and manages to win and kill him. Luke and Clary arrive and everyone believes Simon that he didn’t do it. Luke the grabs Raphael to do some mind mojo on Ollie to make her forget Simon and his handcuff breaking ways.

Ha Raphael, you thought you were free?

Travelers, Season One, Episode Two: Protocol 6

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When we last left the Travelers, FBI Special Agent Grant MacLaren had just been told that he was supposed to die, only to have his body taken over by the leader of a Traveler cell.  This new leader is quick to get down to business, questioning if there is anything he needs to know about his team. This is Marcy's chance to reveal that she was placed inside of neurologically atypical woman, particularly because it could come with some extreme consequences but she merely says that their information on her host wasn't accurate but that she's handling it. Rather than explaining the issue, Macy implants a communicator into MacLaren's neck which Trevor built after school.

Before the team can head out they are confronted by some local cops. It seems that before MacLaren died, he called in for back up. Luckily for the team, the responding cop, Officer Boyd is also a Traveler, which means she doesn't ask too many questions when the Traveler team admits that they have a cop locked up on the roof and that MacLaren took out a shooter. MacLaren is surprised to learn that Boyd is a fellow Traveler and she explains that when plans collide with the past, things tend to get messed up. 

Now that their leader is here and relatively up to date, it's time to get down to their first mission.  Dr. Delaney has created antimatter which is housed in a protective facility. Sensing military applications, Major Gleason is anxious to get it under military control.  When a blackout proves to present a danger to containment, Major Gleason takes the opportunity to take the antimatter from Delaney, though she warns that this isn't a good idea and could result in a deadly explosion. Delaney is particularly against using untested transport units.  Gleason however will not be denied, so the antimatter is loaded up. It turns out that Delaney is right to be concerned and that the antimatter does indeed explode and this is why the Travelers have been tasked with stopping the explosion.

Gleason isn't on the road for long when he is informed that the containment field is indeed failing, just as Delaney warned that it would.  Gleason, being an absolute coward has the driver of the truck containing the antimatter continue driving down the road, while he and the rest of his men drive as far away from the impending explosion as possible. 

As they wait for the truck carrying the antimatter to arrive, MacLaren and Carly have a little chat. They turn off their neck communicators so that the others cannot listen in. We learn that MacLaren and Carly are in a relationship and she doesn't relish the idea that he has to go home to his wife after the mission is over. MacLaren is interested to know what Carly thinks of older men and it seems that Carly is just fine with it.  

When the truck arrives, Carly stands in the middle of the road, forcing it to stop. The driver tries to use the radio to contact Gleason, but of course the Major doesn't answer. While the driver is trying to convince Carly to move, Marcy sneaks up on the driver and injects him with something which causes him to pass out. Trevor heads to the back to grab the antimatter and puts it in a temporary stable containment unit. When the driver awakes, the team is gone and so he continues his journey. The Travelers now have forty hours before handing over the antimatter.  Unfortunately for the driver, in order to stay true to history, the Travelers left behind an explosive device. The Travelers take comfort in fact that only one person died rather than thousands.  A leader of a new cell is set to arrive shortly and Marcy and Philip offer to hand over the antimatter. 

Marcy returns to David's place and at this point, David really wants some answers and honestly, who can blame him? Marcy of course cannot tell David that she is actually from the future and instead claims to be working with the FBI, which leads David to believe that Marcy is actually an agent herself.  Look, I know that the change in Marcy is hard to believe but to suddenly latch onto the idea of Marcy as an agent? Yeah, I'm not sure just how smart David is. To further draw David in, Marcy suggests that she is only telling him this because some time in the future she might really need his help. Marcy is clearly playing on David's emotions because he is absolute besotted with her. 

MacLaren drops off Carly but before she heads inside, the two share a steamy kiss, though I will admit to not being entirely sold on their chemistry. When MacLaren arrives at his digs, rather then getting into bed with his new wife, he passes out on the couch fully clothed.  Trevor sneaks into his home quietly, clearly trying to avoid being grounded.  Finally, Philip heads to the Traveler hide out where he passes out on a mattress.  It's clear that the heroine withdrawal is getting to Philip because he's sweating profusely.  I have a feeling that Philip's addiction is going to be a problem going forward.

Like all of the other Travelers, now that MacLaren has assumed someone else's life, he has to make it work.  In the morning, MacLaren meets his wife Kat for the first time and he immediately messes up by addressing Kat by her full name. MacLaren is also extremely disgusted when Kat hands him a coffee with cow's milk in it. You just know the vegans loved that scene.  Fortunately for MacLaren, Kat assumes that this strange behaviour is because MacLaren is sleep deprived and she orders him to have a nap.  Trevor also has a new body to get used to and is shocked when he wakes to morning wood, only to have to hide it quickly when his mom enters the room. Carly spends her morning working out and eating baby food. Just ewwww.  Philip is still struggling with the DT's and after throwing up, considers taking a hit to take the edge off.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Blood Gamble (Disrupted Magic #2) by Melissa F. Olson

Scarlett does not want to go to Las Vegas. No, not even if there are two vampires putting on a show that may reveal the old world. No not even if Dashiel is paying her a huge sum of money. She’s not going

But Vampires don’t take no for an answer and with Dashiel manipulating her sister-in-law into going she has to try and protect them. But there she encounters something far more deadly than Dashiel expected… she could come home, but who but Scarlett will stop the death toll rising?

I would describe the world building of this book as solid and balanced and… disciplined. That seems like an odd word - but so many books have an anything-goes-magical-world and then decide ALL THE THINGS must be included so you can’t even go to the local shops without tripping over 2 leprechauns, bumping into a kitsune and dodging a Wendigo.

This book is excellently focused on the three major supernaturals - vampires, werewolves and witches, while clearly having a world with more out there but not allowing those swamp the book - instead we have nice additions without losing the focus

And I like how he implications of Scarlett, a null, fits into that - from alleviating the werewolf curse which is such a relief at times, to vampires being disturbed by actually feeling cold/hunger etc. I like the nuance of it.

What did surprise me about this book is the ending. There are elements I didn’t like - but I will say the whole thing completely surprised me - the twists and turns are completely beyond what I expected. Honestly, the ending and what happened with the characters was definitely not anything I expected as I read along. Throughout the book the plot goes in ways I never expected - the culprits were completely not what I expected. The way Scarlett finds the answers, balancing her friends, the threats and getting to the bottom of things is also a really original unexpected direction.

The plot does have moments where I think Scarlett seems to make some pretty huge leaps at times - like the whole Skinners storyline seemed to come from nowhere. Like we went from not even knowing Skinners existed and then suddenly decided they were a major threat without any real indication that they were present.but suddenly everyone focused on them

That aside the twists really make this plot. There’s action which is really well done, but not a lot mainly focusing on the investigation since Scarlett has a very unique power which isn’t necessarily a combat monster but definitely dangerous, following leads and balancing just how much Scarlett actually wants to be involved in this dangerous investigation.

I like Scarlett’s own development - she has that nice balance between her being duly concerned with her safety and the people she cares for alongside her compassion. I actually kind of like how Dashiel pretty much twists her arm to make her go - yes it’s coercive but we’re not talking a love interest here and, let’s be clear, the Cardinal Vampire of Los Angeles is going to be a ruthless user of people because, hey, master vampires, I don’t expect fluffy fluffy niceness. And Scarlett pretty much recognises this and doesn’t expect more. But I do like that she isn’t going to put herself at risk just because Dashiel says so. I like a compassionate protagonist but being a complete martyr is an overdone trope; especially female protagonists who are often not allowed to seek their own advancement.. Compassion moves her, as does threat and money - and it’s ok for a protagonist to be somewhat self interested. Of course that then falls apart because she’s only gathering a huge amount of money to help pay off her brother’s son’s massive medical bills

Preacher, Season 2, Episode 4: Viktor

Tulip has been taken by Viktor’s men. And by taken I mean they hang around menacingly and very very very carefully watch her comply. They clearly know Tulip because at no point do they treat her as less than a very very dangerous person

Of course, so is Viktor. He’s a rich man with an army of goons, a pet torturer with fighting skills and a lot of money. Tulip arrives and starts crying and begging forgiveness… hmmm… ok this better be a ruse, because a tearful scared Tulip is not what I’m signing up for.

Viktor isn’t buying. SHe tries to get the whole household who she knows - but all of them are giving her the silent treatment. Which is an odd form of torture. A girl even spits at her, hoping her father kills her - and Tulip doesn’t murder her. She seems quite upset, hurt even.

Eventually she grabs a gun from one goon and it takes 3 more goons to stop her killing Viktor - though he’s confident she won’t kill him.

Jessie and Cassidy, meanwhile are looking for God. Cassidy keeps trying to hint to Jessie that Tulip’s in trouble without breaking his promise to Tulip, but Jessie is completely self absorbed. Part of this is based on an awareness of Tulip - he thinks she’s mad at him over the broken marriage thing so has run off to be mad somewhere, apparently a Tulip’s habit. There’s also this awesome exchange:

Cassidy: if I had a woman like Tulip, I’d worry all the time
Jessie: then you’d be wasting your time. If you had a woman like Tulip you don’t need to worry. She can look after herself

All very true and very respectful of her power and knowing her - but there’s a difference between knowing someone can help themselves and also showing a level of concern rather than treating them as a distraction.

THeir quest for god leads them to an actor - the actor who played god in Heaven’s little display at the church. Yes he’s a human actor from New Orleans. Tracking down his agent and with some clever fast talking from Cassidy they managed to get a copy of his audition tape - but not the actor himself

Not the actor because the tape shows that when he passed the audition, his employer killed him. Jessie realises they needed to do that to get him to Heaven to playing the role.

Which is the point when Cassidy can’t take it any more and tells Jessie that Tulips in trouble

Time for a rescue - of Tulip? Yeah I can’t help but think if she really wanted out a whole lot of people would be dead by now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) by Ilona Andrews

Nevada knows better than to get involved in Prime politics - and doubly to keep her magic hidden from the powerful families

But when Cornelius pleads for her to find the murderer of his wife, she feels she has to get involved. When a paedophile kidnaps a young girl she feels she can’t not use her magic

And when she uncovers a magical conspiracy that may destabilise the entire city if not the whole country she is again pulled in. More and more Nevada is drawn into Prime society.

I love this world - which goes without saying. It’s Ilona Andrews: it goes without saying that the world is amazing. All their worlds are amazing. In every series. No-one beats Ilona Andrews when it comes to amazing worlds.

But I think more than the magic world building I love how the politics between the Prime families and how they interact, the rights they have, the privileges. The magic is there and underpins everything which shapes both history and politics which in turn shapes the characters and their experiences-  but it’s more the maneuvering than the shiny powers that drives their actions.

Though I love how the powers are depicted, especially the subtle and horrifying impact of Nevada’s own power. As well as the comic and scary effects of her sister. Or how the power to talk to animals can render humans socially awkward. These are all excellently put together

I like the thought that has gone into magical intervention as well - how if a powerful magic user intervenes in one disaster they’re then blamed or attacked if a similar disaster strikes and they don’t step forward.

And the romance. This is generally where I say how much the romance is a distraction and how I hates it and, well, if you’ve read my reviews you know the drill of my annoyance. However, here is the mold being broken -ok i do think we, perhaps, spend a little more time on the romance than is ideal considering there is so much plot and world to get through but I can recognise that as a personal preference thing. What I do like is the conflicts between them - because they’re reasonable and sensible and don’t require one or both parties to lose their ever loving minds in order to have a disagreement.

Rogan is ridiculously rich and powerful and he decides he wants to protect Nevada - but in trying to do that he is using his vast wealthy to control her and the land and people around her. He sees this as defending her while she, rightfully, rejects this as it gives her a ridiculous amount of power over her, completely removes any chance of having an equal relationship - it’s not just that he has so much more wealth and power and influence than her but he’s willing to use it without consulting her of helping her.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 7&8: The Unveiling/Children of Wrath

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Much of this week's midseason finale focused on the looming conflict between the Broke Jaw Ranch and Black Hat Reservation. We did however spend a little bit of time with Strand.  Part of my ongoing issue with Fear the Walking Dead is its absolute refusal to bring its characters together for any length of time. Because Strand is seperated from the Clarke family, the sections of the finale that did focus on him felt like a distraction from the real story.  It's further troubling that in the time that we did spend with him, we didn't learn anything earth shattering. Sure, Strand did find his boat The Abigail again and have a conversation with a cosmonaut, confirming that the apocalypse is worldwide but was any of that even necessary?  Strand is too important of a character to be reduced to filler and that is what he became in the mid season finale. 

The action begins with Jake's big plan to meet with Qaletqa Walker and form some kind of truce.  Walker of course is not necessarily amenable to coming to terms with people he believes stole his land and murdered members of his family to acquire it. At this point, it's hard to be on the side Broke Jaw Ranch, particularly when we know that Jeremiah is as racist as it gets. Driven to defend his family, Jake points out that those charges were investigated and the survivalists were cleared.  Cleared in whose court Jake? Whose justice system adjudicated this? A zombie apocalypse is a disaster to the survivalists whereas for Walkers tribe, it's a chance to cleanse the earth of invaders of who have oppressed the "first humans". 

Though Walker does not feel any resolution can be made, he agrees to having Alicia stay behind while Jake returns to the ranch with Ofelia as his hostage. Yes, at long last the writers have decided to have Ofelia leave the plot box. But how exactly did Ofelia end up with Walkers people?  Ofelia was making her way to San Diego when she had a run in with none other that Jeremiah, and though he could see that she was in a bad way, he refused to take her back to the ranch because he didn't deem the ranch a suitable place for her kind (read: brown people)  Jeremiah left Ofelia for dead but fortunately for Ofelia, she was found by Walker, who brought her to the reservation and in the process, saving her life. Of course, when Jeremiah finally does meet with Ofelia again, he's keen to pretend that leaving her to die wan't such a horrible sin and that he's glad that she's survived.

At the reservation, Alisha is getting a chance to learn about Walkers people for the first time without the filter of the Ottos distorting the truth. Alisha learns that the tribe is filled with hard workers, many of whom are former military, who spend their time rebuilding military equipment.  Alisha pauses when she sees the helicopter that Travis was killed in and Walker offers his condolences because he sees the Clarks as getting caught in the crossfire between the tribe and the survivalists. 

Madison is freaked right out that Alisha is at the reservation and though Jake tries to assure her that he wouldn't have left if he thought that Alisha was in danger, Madison decides to take matters into her own hands.  This involves manipulating Troy into doing her bidding by goading Troy about who is actually in charge and when that fails, reminding Troy that he owes her for not revealing that he's the one responsible for the death of the Trimbols. Sure enough, Madison organises a raid to retrieve a stunned Alisha, in the process killing several people on the reserve and leaving behind several dead survivalists. It looks like Madison's silent leadership is going to prove deadly for both sides. Jake is pissed but all he can do at this point is deliver the agreed upon water to the reservation and return Ofelia.  To say that Walker is pissed when Jake arrives is an understatement.  Were it not for Ofelia speaking up, Walker would have scalped Jake on the spot. 

Later, Ofelia arrives at the ranch battered and bruised. Ofelia claims that she was beaten by the tribe and cast out. Because of the underlying racism of the survivalists and Madison's failure to understand that Ofelia is not the same young woman that she promised Daniel that she would protect, Ofelia is welcomed in. This proves to be a costly mistake because Ofelia slips poison into the coffee, effectively killing quite a few of Troy's men, causing a panic when they begin to turn.  Ofelia tries to make her escape but she is captured by Madison before she can drive off in a truck. Madison then beats Ofelia to find out what happened. 

With Nick's life now in peril, Madison drives Ofelia back to the reservation at gun point. Madison is pissed because she feels betrayed by Ofelia points out that she was helping her people. This further incenses Madison and she actually questions why the Clarks aren't her people given how much the Clarks had helped Ofelia and her family. Clearly Madison doesn't see the inherent racism in her response, especially because when placed next to Otto, she comes off as liberal. Madison isn't for a moment thinking about the ways in which race have affected Ofelia's decisions about who to side with because she's actively chosen to ignore race and the history of colonialism in this conflict. 

Madison is immediately taken to see Walker and she claims not to care about the feud between the Broke Jaw Ranch and Black Hat Reservation, and only about the survival of her son. This admission earns Madison some grudging respect from Walker. It convinces Walker to reveal that the powder used to poison the survivalists is anthrax, for which there is no cure.  Walker however does say that if Nick is strong, he'll survive. Later, when Ofelia balks at being the one to deliver the anthrax, Walker is quick to remind her that she volunteered for this duty. 

Orphan Black, Season Five, Episode Five: Ease for Idle Millionaires

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Ease of Idle Millionaires is absolutely a Cosima centric episode. It seems to me that as we prepare for the finale showdown, Orphan Black is going to center on each clone individually and remind us of their strengths and what makes them who they are. Cosima may have landed in a rough place, but does anyone actually doubt that she'll be able to to make her escape? 


We actually only spend a little bit of time this week with Kira, Sarah and Mrs. S. As we always expected Kira, the unexpected second generation, is the key to this all.  Unfortunately because Kira is only a little girl, there's much she cannot be told and much quite simply that she cannot understand. Like all children, Kira is highly inquisitive and resentful of adult conversations from which she has been excluded, even if it is for her own good.  Having acknowledged that the connection Kira has with all clones is real, Sarah really needs to tap into this and understand how and why this works. The only way for Sarah to get Kira to willingly give up the information is to start her early introduction to Clone Club, a move that Mrs. S most certainly does not agree with.  The introduction turns into mother and daughter bonding time, with Kira giving the clones code names. I'm not sure that elephant for Rachel works all that well though. 

While Sarah is busy bonding and prying information out of Kira, Mrs. S heads to the lab and instructs them to look into men who may have died in the 1950's - the time that neolution underwent a revival. Finally, someone is thinking about the obvious.  There's no damn way that Westmoreland is 170, they didn't have the science back then. 


Rachel doesn't have much of a role to play this week, though she does manage to assert her dominance over Susan, like the power hungry asshole that she is. Actually, at this point, I don't like either Susan or Rachel, so it's hard to root for either one of them to end up ahead. The reunion between mother and daughter isn't at all pleasant, so I suppose it's a good thing that Ira hid the knives first. Susan knows all to well that as much as Rachel would like to be rid of her, her input is vital.  Rachel, who isn't one to be cowed, jabs Susan in her still healing wound and makes it clear that corporate, which she controls, will be in charge of the science. Really Rachel? How is that possible when you know so little about science?

As a reward for her good behaviour, Westmoreland gives Rachel the treatment that Cosima came up with to help deal with the genetic flaws in the Leda clones. 


The real action happens on the island this week. The writers spent a lot of time on the science and at times it's to the detriment of the plot. Not being a science geek myself, despite many years watching science fiction, hearing “Lin28A” repeatedly didn't actually do lot for me, nor did hearing about the manipulation of Aiesha's tumor actually cause me to invest more in the plot. I'm also just a little bit confused by all the work to seemingly humanise Cosima this week, which is something that I don't think that was really needed, given that they've spent five years fleshing out who she is as a character and what she will and will not stand for. My only real frustration is the ongoing relationship with Delphine. Okay fine, do all the booing and hissing that you want. I will acknowledge that Delphine is working behind the scenes to keep her promise to Cosima to find answers but that doesn't make her any less manipulative.  I'm not one who is in denial about the fact that this relationship, no matter how much fans seem to love it, is based on lies. 

Just as she promised, Cosima is following the science. To that end, Cosima decides to get DNA from the tooth of Westmoreland's badly treated science experiment. Cosima however is interrupted by the people of Revival because it's been discovered that a resident has been killed. At this point, none of the residents of Revival are buying for a minute that the predator in the woods is a bear and they are determined to kill it, despite Mud's protests. Mud explains to Cosima that at one point, Wesmoreland's failed experiment had his own room at the house and wasn't always this vicious. Apparently, this is what happens to a person when a few experiments go wrong. While chatting with Mud, Cosima sees Delphine arrive.  Rather than heading to speak with Cosima, Delphine rushes to the big house.

Wynonna Earp, Season 2, Episode 5: Let's Pretend We're Strangers

We get some new players introduced - the Order. And they’re hot firemen who we frequently see exercise. Sadly we don’t see them do this shirtless. Or wet. Honestly why have hot firemen and not get them shirtless or wet? I object! I object!

Oh they also have axes and are killing people possessed by goo demons. They wear a robe while doing so so are still not half naked. Well damn.

They’ve got one more demon creature to hunt down.

That creature would be in Wynonna who is currently taunting Waverley, has tied her little sister up and is making the worst smoothie I’ve seen outside of youtube recipes Renee insists on sharing with me. Wynonna manages to fight off possession sufficiently to not kill Waverley

Doc arrives before she can torture Waverley and together they head into action with Demon Wynonna who has odd taste in pancakes and flirts constantly with Doc and tries to sabotage Waverley’s relationship with Nicole because demons have nothing better to do.. They get the plate from the briefcase to Jeremy who, through licking, realises the plate has a seal underneath so he heads off the Black Badge to show that around and figure out what it means while Wynonna and Doc head to the sadly-clothed-firefighters since their station has the same symbol on the door

There Euan, chief hot-fire-fighter-demon-hunter tells them the station is consecrated ground and people who walk in sin get the heebie jeebies. Wynonna is definitely feeling heebie-ish and threatens the guy with a knife

This pushes Doc over the edge, he knows Wynonna’s possessed because she takes her coffee black and she doesn’t bring a knife when she has peacemaker (and the acting’s kind of awesome since we can see who is in control just by facial expressions - kudos to that).

At least we don’t get a whole episode of everyone trying to figure out what is wrong with Wynonna

Meanwhile Juan-Carlo the guy who is totally an angel sees the still-fully-clothed-Euan and gently points out that Wynonna would make a great ally. Euan think killing demons is more important. He also talks about one of the broken seals - which is what Wynonna has been obsessed about

While Doc is busy bundling Wynonna into the boot of his car, Dolls finds Waverley tied up and they have an awesome scene of Dolls discovering whether this is the real Waverley or whether she’s possessed and Waverley disclosing her disgusting favourite food and apologising constantly. Before he can free her Lucado shows up and Dolls and Lucado wreck half the house fight - and does Lucado have super strength? Because if she can throw Dolls through walls or even match his strength equally I’m going to say yes

The fight is broken up when Waverley shoots a gun in the air and asks them to focus on the task at hand, damn it.

Doc brings Wynonna home to the police station and they lock her up and discuss next option. Well Lucado and Dolls discuss it after they get Doc and Waverley out of the way. They recognise this demon, it’s haunted them before and the goo-demon likes to multiply into “legion” and it takes lots of people down with it including entire Black Badge centres - it also seems to be following Dolls. Basically it’s bad news and Lucado would quite like to vivisect Wynonna to get her back in Black Badge good books since they’re not returning her calls. Since Dolls vetoes that option 2 is to deposess her but for that that needs some samples. Of blood, flesh and bone.

Dolls has to cut off Wynonna’s finger which is every bit as awful as it sounds even as Wynonna gains control enough to tell Dolls to do it despite the goo-demon’s distractions.

The goo demon does regenerate body parts at least.

Lucado tests the goo and it sings to her… so she touches it. And her head explodes. No, really. Dolls is left with one hell of a clean up job and another annoying character is removed.

Juan Carlo the not-angel appears to Doc and Waverley to get back in the action where they find Dolls mid cleanup.

They have a potion to exorcise Wynonna by convincing the demon that she’s actually dead. But after that they don’t actually have any real plan to kill the demon and stop it multiplying. For that they need Peacekeeper. And to use that they need an unpossessed Wynonna