Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Mist, Season One, Episode Seven: Over the River and Through the Woods

There are only three more episodes left in The Mist's freshman season and at this point I think that the whole damn show just needs to be euthanized.   It's clear that The Mist has become incoherent and riddled with so much BS that the writers themselves might actually be lost in the fog.  For my continuing perseverance in writing this up, I think I'm due a stiff drink or at the very least, some high quality chocolate.

The Church

From almost the beginning, a war of ideology broke out at the church. On one side we have Nathalie, who I'm assuming is a pagan and of course the very catholic Father Romanov. Last week, the mist drew religious blood for the first time when Link, the alter boy, for some reason decided to become a religious zealot and attempt to put a stop to Nathalie, who he felt was corrupting the faithful.  Things didn't end well for Link.  Nathalie of course played up her injuries which hit a nerve with Connor, who having tossed aside his badge still has a strong urge to be protective.  As a cop, Connor has seen the worse of the worse and he deems that anyone who would beat an old woman to be vile. For once, I agree with Connor on something.  With Link now dead, Connor decides to take his pound of flesh from Father Romanov, whom he believes talked Link into physically abusing Nathalie.  The residents of the church look on with horror as Connor punches and kicks father Romanov repeatedly.  A knowing Nathalie only hums.

Having taken a beating, it's time for Father Romanov to lick his wounds.  Father Romanov heads up to the room that Link was locked in and speaks to the now dead Link about seeing the light and thanking him for his sacrifice.  On the other side of the door, we are shown Link's remains and they are suitably horrific.

Having made his peace with Link, Father Romanov sets off to save his people by challenging Nathalie to see which one of them can survive the mist. Romanov suggests that the residents will know for sure who to follow based on who survives and since he's confident that God will save him, he's happy to take this test. When the residents of the church are informed of this decision, they rightfully balk but both Nathalie and Father Romanov are determined to see this through to the end.  Father Romanov gets dressed in his best vestments and Nathalie strips down.  Together, Romanov and Nathalie leave the church. Nathalie is calm and stands with her eyes closed, whereas; for all of his faith, Father Romanov is clearly nervous. It's not long before the four horseman of the apocalypse show up and after a momentary pause, set their sights on Father Romanov.  Romanov is shot with an arrow and dragged away through the Mist. 

When Nathalie returns to the church, she talks about hearing Romanov die and how beautiful it was because everything sounds differently in the mist. Nathalie explains that she had her eyes closed and wasn't worried because she knew that Nature wouldn't see her as a threat. 

The Mall

Of all the settings in The Mist, the people at the mall are the ones who have over reacted the most and the fastest.  It seems that the writers are determined to carry on this trend.  They people in the mall have only been trapped there for a short time and they're already panicked about a food shortage.   

Gus isn't as worried about food because he has his own private stash in his office. I know that The Mist is set in a dinky ass town but how could they possibly run out of food so quickly? Gus has no problem snacking on his own sweet treats while hiding away in his office but when Gus is informed that the mall cop is helping himself to extra rations because the mall cop believes that the military is going to rescue them soon, Gus is quick to put a stop to it, rationalizing that they don't know when the military is coming. Shelly of course sees this as an opportunity to rile up people about Eve and Alex.  Shelly is particularly incensed when Eve shows up to request some of their board games to help pass the time for the people she is holed up with. Proving just how smart she is, Eve leaves behind a baby monitor so that she can spy. 

Alex is still cuddling up with her potential rapist which makes Eve very unhappy. Eve would love to give Jay the boot and quite rightfully so; however, Alex actually goes on the defense, claiming Jay should stay with them because he's afraid of the other mall resident because they exiled the kid who accidentally let the mist in.  Eve tries to say that the other residents aren't that bad but Alex ups the ante and questions if her mother would be fine with her joining Jay to be with the other residents.  Why the hell is Alex standing up for the boy who may have raped her? I suppose this round goes to the very misguided Alex.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Outcast, Season 2, Episode 10: To The Sea

Anderson has his flock back and promptly tells them that all this bible stuff is nonsense and starts ripping pages out of one. Considering he’s a preacher in a church full of Christians this causes relatively minimal outrage as he sells them a new vision about gathering as an army of the righteous to fight evil

There’s no way that cold blow up in his face

He also recruits Giles on side who is fully back in action. He grieves for Rose but blames himself for becoming weak and despondent which prompted Rose to go out on her own. Now he has a whole lot of weapons, loyal police officer and

He also has Rose’s list of suspected possessed who he begins to round up. Ummmm can someone please challenge the religious leader and gun toting police chief rounding up undesirables at gunpoint, without law, and imprisoning them?




Ooooookay then.

Kyle has been reunited with his father and his dad is considering his master plan while Kyle, abandoned by this man to live with a possessed, abusive mother is NOT just going to shelve those daddy issues.

He’s also not impressed with the cult he’s built around him since it’s clear Daddy doesn’t believe a damn word of his whole “the world will end and we will be saved” rhetoric. Oh and he killed 8 beacons as well. Yup, Kyle goes all in on this one.

Dakota is also not having it with his backtracking and tries to convince her fellow cultists that he’s lost his way… not getting much traction there she goes to see Anderson. He is duly snarky since she kicked him out - but she appeaks: after all, surely he understands what it is to believe something and find it hollow

Oooooooh, that would be a direct hit.

Kyle and Daddy go to the junkyard and meet junkyard guy - it occurs to me I should start learning these people’s names. Maybe next season. There Kyle learns Amber and Alison have gone missing - their absence prompts Kyle to listen to Daddy and his plan to gather lots of Beacons in one place to use woo-woo against the demons. Ok… they can definitely feel power when together but from Helen to the meeting where Giles was possessed all indications have been that gathering Beacons attracts demons… how does this help? Kyle, desperate for his family, of course agrees

Together they learn that one of the beacons daddy shot in the head survived - it’s Junkyard Guy’s brother-in-law and his sister is really not happy to see Daddy at all. Of course, her husband is heavily disabled having suffered two debilitating head injuries

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Shadowhunters, Season 2, Episode 18: Awake, Arise or be Fallen Forever

Let’s look at the Downworlder’s first - Luke and Magnus go to the Seelie Queen to agree that, yeah, the Clave is the Worst in every way and we totally can’t trust them. Downworlders need to unite to face off against Valentine because the Clave absolutely cannot be trusted to do the right thing and they do evil all the time

Also the Seelie Queen thinks that the Claves rules are terrible and they should ignore them.

Luke says hell no and asks to back off a little because uniting and war against the Clave are two different things. I would consider this if it weren’t for the fact that Luke has never ever ever ever ever ever thought of his Pack first, second, third or, hell, is it even in his top 10 priorities? If he had to murder every last member of his Pack so Clary can be slightly happier? He’d do it.

Magnus is more torn - basically he pretty much agrees entirely with the Seelie queen but he also loves Alec. His entire species vs his love life: the Seelie Queen gives him some time to decide. Also you’re with her or against her. Also she’s a creepy child.

Why wasn’t Raphael invited? Don’t they want the vampires on side as well?

Maia and Simon are having a really sweet romantic date involving paddle boats and duck murder when they run across a guy being attacked by a werewolf. The werewolf leaves and they get his victim, Bartholomew Valasquez who, for some gods unknown reason which may just be summed up as Shadowhunters goes by the name Bat. He is really bad injured and would quite like a hospital and a rabies shot, with option for a priest.

Instead they take him back to the Chinese restaurant and meet up with Luke (who runs into his partner Ollie and her partner - romantically - Sam who are checking out the restaurant. I hail the same sex couple, hope they actually get a storyline and not dead. I’m less convinced on the latter because they bug the place so they can hear Luke talk about werewolves). Maia tells Luke that Russell is back in town - the werewolf who took half the pack with him to Philadelphia after Luke go so many of them killed - and Luke goes to find him leaving them to deal with Bat

Bat is obviously freaking out a little but he does start changing. Maia and Simon lock him in when restraints don’t seem to work and get a whooooooole lot of food ready for when he changes. Maia also tells Simon the very emotional story about how she was turned including how it has left her with a lot of issues about trusting people and relationships. Simon understands but is still continuing the relationship and they have more sweet fun couply stuff

While Luke goes and hunts down Russell and says nope, no rule breaking recruiting humans and they will fight for leadership of the back. Luke wins, and decides to change the rules so he doesn’t have to change Russel and it’s almost hilarious that he says this no 10 minutes after arguing in favour of rules. Everyone hails Luke and the new pack leader and he has a big speech for them.

Ok, but is this it? Ok Luke can fight. But the issue has never been about Luke being tough or dangerous or strong. The issue is whether he gives a shit about the Pack. This is why Russell left. This is why Maia called him out on multiple occasions: Luke has shown zero investment in his own pack and an outright willingness to ignore or sacrifice them in favour of the Shadowhunters. Defeating Russell doesn’t actually change that.

I suppose we need to catch up on the Clave

So Jonathan smacks Max down but doesn’t kill him because he’s interrupted. It would have taken him 5 minutes to snap the kid’s neck.

Travelers, Season One, Episode Five: Room 101

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The episode begins with yet another Traveler typical day.  The crew waits for a new cell of Travelers to arrive. This time they are set to arrive in a family because a father drove his  car containing his wife, son and daughter off of the upper level of a parking lot.  Unfortunately, this time the exchange does not go down smoothly and the daughter who was meant to be the teams historian remains unchanged because there's been a misfire.  This throws a wrench into the new teams mission.  Philip hands over some money and tells them what bets to place so that they can have enough cash to start off. Trevor hands over a device so the mission can be started.  MacLaren decides to take the daughter to her grandparents home so that they can figure out what to do next.

Philip, Marcy,  Cary and Trevor travel together and they discuss the fact that they all could have been misfires. Trevor points out that when the original Travelers first came to the past, a full thirty percent of them were misfires. The fact that the Travelers are terrified by the possibility of a misfire suggests that when this happens, the consciousness of the Traveler is lost forever. As they contemplate this, a truck comes out of nowhere and crashes into the vehicle they are traveling in. The first to awaken are Trevor and Carly, and they find themselves strapped into wheelchairs in separate but adjoining cages. Each Traveler has an intravenous drip and a catheter to take care of the bathroom needs. Half of Carly's face is covered in blood from a head injury but given how much any cut on the head bleeds, it's not an indication of a necessarily of serious injury.  Trevor has a bad cut on his cheek. At this point, both Marcy and Philip are still unconscious. 

Blissfully unaware that something has gone terribly wrong with his team, MacLaren arrives at his office only to be confronted by Forbes. It seems that MacLaren was supposed to be in court to testify but he missed the date. MacLaren lies again and claims that Kat wanted him to pick up a chair for his client.  As excuses go, it's absolutely weak tea and not only is Forbes not buying it, he makes it clear that the prosecutor won't either. It really is time for MacLaren to do some in-depth research on his host's life because he is missing so many things and being forced to lie so consistently is going to blow his cover. 

A man enters the lock up and Trevor plays it cool, saying he needs to get out of there because he has a test to study for and doesn't want to be grounded again. The man wheels Philip out of the room without answering Trevor. Marcy regains consciousness. The next person to be taken is Carly and she is wheeled into a large room and placed in front of a television.  The question, "Who have you told?", appears on the screen. Carly stays in character and pretends to be confused by the question.  When it's clear that Carly isn't going to answer, images of Hall, MacLaren and Jeff appear on the screen. Carly is asked if she knows who these men are and the only one she cops to knowing is Jeff, the father of her child.  Carly tries to use the fact that Jeff is a cop to suggest that there will be trouble for abducting her.  The next question to appear is, "When are you from?".  This means that her abductors know that she is a Traveler. Shit. Carly decides to continue to play dumb but then she is shown a video of her son and asked, "What are your protocols?"  Carly freaks the hell out and threatens to kill them if they harm her child. 

Preacher, Season 2, Episode 7: Pig

The point of this episode is to introduce Herr Starr, head of The Grail who has been ominously hanging around. We see him and the Grail through his initiation which he wins by being a Complete Bastard

And it’s a deep character flaw I know but I’m always a fan of a complete and utter bastard. The nazi imagery less so.

He joined the organisation as head of an anti-terrorism unit in Germany - and why why why is he dressed in a nazi uniform? He’s German. You know the country in the world where it’s least ideal to wear one of them? Germany.

He has been lured by an offer of many many prostitutes and stayed for the offer of sweeping the streets clean of parasites and building a society based on order and discipline. Yup, that’s more than a little worrisome. He also has to be a Christian to join. He says he is, clearly box ticking

There are many tests of skill, combat and endurance, most of them disturbingly sexual. Herr Starr is disrespectful and gives everyone shit from the beginning, wears a chain between his nipples, is not phased about having his testacles electrocuted, passes the “seduction” test by threatening to kill the woman’s family and the combat test by random masturbating.

It is no surprise that when the last test is marksmanship, he shoots his competition.

He wins and joins The Grail, an organisation planning on protecting the descendents of Jesus Christ until the last battle. He pretty much thinks this is a con but runs with it. Especially if he can get near the top of the pile. His boss, who hasn’t been paying attention, makes him his right hand man. Then gets pushed off a building

He now heads the Samson unit which hunts down potential prophets and kills them. In the past this has included Abraham Lincoln

In the present this includes a flying pig. And an entire village to keep it quiet - because Herr Starr is a bastard. Next step is New Orleans.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Strangehold (Crossroads of Worlds #1) by Rene Sears

When Morgan’s fellow student committed a terrible crime against the fae, Morgan retreated to a relatively quiet, isolated life. She certainly didn’t spend as much time with her sister as she’d like - not after she married a fae lord and became an ambassador to Underhill.

But when her sister begs for her help shielding her half-fae nieces, Morgan can’t say no and plans to be a bigger part of their lives… until all the gateways to underhill close ujknown to all, even Falcon, a fae she finds trapped on Earth… and casters start dying.

This world setting is fun and, better, really well presented. I won’t say it has never been done before - fae in a close realm, portals, witches, magic - these are definitely not unknown

But the way this world is put together, the very careful exposition, the lack of info dumping is all really well done. This is a world that manages to avoid the temptation to throw it all at us. It lays out lots of potential to many many many more things in this world in a perfect balance of hinting. And that can be hard, so many authors have this Really Cool Thing and decide they must must must share this with us!

The characters know their world and never feel the need to explain it to each other - they experience it and through them we experience it, showing everything we need to enjoy this book

I think it also lays out a lot of ominous yet epic hints to encourage future novels, promising a big big series.

And it is fun, it wasn’t super twisty due to the length, but it was fun and well paced without any convoluted elements of padding. Morgan is an interesting characters, she has reservations about the fae but they’re reasonable without being over dramatic or based on some fantasy world bigotry. We have a nice amount of history and development to give everyone character - and a magical organisation which isn’t THE WORST. Honestly that is such an over-used trope.

If I had to point to an area of the book that is weak it would be Falcon’s motivation - or maybe Falcon entirely. I never quite understood why Falcon became as invested as he did. Perhaps if we were more in his head we could see him, for example, respect Morgan‘s dedication to her nieces. Maybe see more of his respect for what she’s doing and more concern for what has happened with the fae gates. Maybe even identify with her nieces more because of their similar heritage

Though, I also have to identify my own ingrained biases here. I’m not a fan of Falcon because he fits the mould of a kind of character I dislike. He has a manifold tragic past: mixed-heritage means he didn’t fit in, clearly on the outs with his mother, job which made him do terribad things he clearly feels The Guilts about AND he’s cursed. A male love interest with an angsty past to brood over is always a warning sign to me. A male love interest with SEVERAL angsty pasts to brood over sets the alarm bells off: warning warning, danger danger, soon he’s going to decide they can’t be together because he’ll sully her with his awfulness. Woe.

To be fair to the book, this hasn’t happened yet. And they’ve only really circled round the idea of them as love interests - but it’s going to take a mighty will to wrench this train off these well-worn tracks.

Midnight Texas, Season One, Episode Two: Bad Moon Rising

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As far as I am concerned, the jury is still very much out on Midnight Texas. It's fun trying to figure out what kind of supernatural the residents of Midnight are and how it all fits together to form a community but given that this inspired from the work of Charlaine Harris, my skepticism is going to continue until I see good reason to let it go. 

Okay, Bobo has been arrested for the murder of his ex girlfriend Aubrey.  As an audience we know that Bobo is innocent but the cops don't.  There's a healthy fear among the supernatuals that the cops investigating the goings on in Midnight is not a good thing because for their community to be safe what they need is anonymity. At the end of the pilot, Manfred agreed to help the residents to free BoBo but to do that, he's going to have to confront whatever is glowing under the floorboards of his new home and get rid of the ghosts who have taken up residence. 

Deputy Gomez decides to throw Bobo into a cell with members of the Sons of Lucifer.  It seems that this was planned by the leader of the motorcycle gang. Bobo tries to explain that he didn't kill Aubrey but the bikers don't want to hear it and instead go on the attack.  It seems that Bobo has had some training somewhere because he is able to fight off all of the bikers, leaving all of them in need of some kind of medical care. I cannot help but wonder if some of Bobo's ability to defend himself is the result of the supernatural?

The supernatural residents of Midnight gather and Manfred admits that he needs help to deal with whatever is going on in his new home.  Joe and Fiji agree to help out. Joe volunteers when Manfred mentions that he is concerned that at least some of the infestation could be demonic. Once inside the apartment, Manfred allows Aubrey to take over his body so that he can see what happened on the night she died.  We learn that Aubrey was hit from behind and therefore didn't see much beyond the fact that her attacker was wearing a jacket from the local white supremacist biker gang and that it took her three days to die.  With this new information, it's decided that Joe and Manfred will go and see the sheriff while Fiji gets to work on an exorcism to free Manfred's home of ghosts and whatever evil is underneath the floorboards. 

Deputy Gomez returns after taking the Sons of Lucifer for medical treatment to find that Sheriff Livingstone is not pleased with her.  Gomez is suspended from active duty immediately which pisses her off. Gomez tries to justify her actions by bringing up what happened to their patrol car but Livingstone simply doesn't want to hear it. 

Joe and Manfred arrive at the station and Manfred tells Sheriff Livingstone what he knows about Aubrey's death.  Because Aubrey didn't see much, Manfred doesn't have a lot of details that Livingstone can verify.  When Livingstone expresses doubt, Manfred points out that it was him who told the cops where to find the gun.  Despite his doubts, Livingstone orders the lake where the gun was found dredged for further evidence. 

It's a full moon which means that the Reverend has to be locked up to avoid him hurting anyone. It's Olivia who does the duty, promising to see him the next morning, even as the Reverend reveals that he has a bad feeling that something just isn't right. It turns out that the Reverend's hunch was right because Gomez, determined to get to the bottom of exactly what is so weird about Midnight, ends up freeing the Reverend, who is now a tiger. Gomez ends up paying for her action by being killed by the now weretiger Reverend. 

A weretiger roaming around Midnight is absolutely not a good thing.  When Manfred realises what is going on, he rushes to find Creek to warn her and is scratched by the tiger for his trouble. The two manage to make it to Manfred's trailer but the weretiger isn't about to give up on his meal.  Fortunately for Creek and Manfred, this is when Olivia and Lemuel arrive, causing the weretiger to give up on his meal for now.  Free of the threat, Manfred returns home to find out how Fiji is dealing with the exorcism. 

Fiji has managed to send all of the ghosts packing but the evil spirit under the floorboards is still there.  The demon under the floorboards has taken a liking to Fiji and not only refuses to let her go, it gets all rapey. It even goes as far to call Fiji by name which of course is ultra creepy. The situation has escalated beyond Manfred's ability to deal with. Manfred heads out to his trailer and grabs the skull of one of his ancestors.  Manfred then rushes back to his place and banishes the spirit of whatever demon had taken up residence under his floorboard. This results in the skull being reduced to ashes.

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 11: Said the Spider to the Fly

Teen Wolf is back after a long hiatus and we begin the new half-season of “desperately trying to sell a spin-off”

Yup, this whole episode is covered in lots and lots of passing the baton on to Liam the oh-so-apparently-special? I don’t see it, I’ve never been a fan of the B team. I’m not saying they’re TERRIBLE, but they’re also very very very much the B team. I actually think that Liam in particular would have had a much much much better chance of being a decent, interesting character if he didn’t have more DESTINY thrust on him than a middle-rate high fantasy hero.

Which begins from the beginning at Lacross with Scott now assissatant coach with actual Coach being absolutely hilarious as ever - while Liam is moping and moping because Hayden left and everyone is leaving and going to college and waaaah. Mason and Corey are there to support him - hey did you think Mason and Corey being a couple would give them their own main presence? So far it looks more like Liam gets an extra sidekick

Liam is also having control issues, again.

There’s also an actual wolf on the pitch which Liam and Scott follow - to find an entire pack dead and infested with bugs in a total creepy kind of way

Scott isn’t particularly taking this seriously as he wants to leave town and head to college so is desperately dredging up rational explanations. Malia is even less willing to help - she is going to Paris and has no intention of being dragged into anything else.

We also have lots and lots of rats being creepy and scary and forming a rat king. Mason and Corey again take this to Malia who declares this not her problem. She’s going to France. This is THEIR problem now. They even take it to Melissa who does not want rats in her hospital very much.

Melissa is one person Scott does worry about since it’s a very very dangerous in Mystic falls and he wants her to learn the art of tasering things to defend herself

Which seems weird because the taser isn’t powerful enough to really hurt him and we’ve met at least 2 other monsters which are pretty electricity proof.

Melissa, instead, has lots of potions and herbs.

Lydia also worries about her mother, the headteacher, but she’s less worried about her safety than she is that someone be aware of the supernatural people in the world - and the supernatural kids in the school. I think this is a good insight into both Lydia’s compassion but also the nature of a Banshee - a being that is about seeing the dead and trouble other people face. But Victoria Martin is clear - with Lydia thousads of miles away, this is not her problem.

Time to visit our least favourite mental institution, Eichen house, where another supernatural has been imprisoned but not very efficiently. Bursting through the frozen cell and the volcanic stone he’s encased in, Halwyn, the Hellhound bursts free after being locked up for 100 years.

We’re also introduced to Tamora, the new guidance counsellor who seems to know a little bit about the supernatural the teens face

At the hospital there  There’s a police call and Halwyn, the hellhound has shot the dispatcher so hears where Parish is.

Another Hellhound

There’s visions and hallucinations and definite woo-woo between the two of them. It also seems to revel in the pain and heartbeats of everyone around them - but is most distracted by Liam. He hears Liam’s heart when Liam nearly loses control and tries to attack him - only a closing lift saves Liam

Back to Lydia and we have eerie Banshee visions of spider web, shadows, screams, combat and gunfire and clear words.

“You let it out”

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Full Fathom Five (The Keys Trilogy) by Anna Roberts

Blue, Gabe, Grayson, Joe, Charlie and Ruby have survived. They’re not happy, there’s the shadow of Eli’s corpse to clear up lying over Blue and Charlie and Ruby have a somewhat tumultous relationship. There’s the swamp wolves lurking over Joe and Grayson - and being a werewolf is never easy besides that

But Gloria’s last act seems to have taken Yael, the deep, dark, massive, dangerous spirit, finally out of their lives and out to sea

Until he is drawn home - and this time the depleted Keys pack is missing Gloria, their heart, their soul, their true Alpha, their wolf-witch. To face Yael there’s only Blue, brand new to this and reeling with both revelations from the past and Yael’s desperate yearning to be human

So… this book… this entire series puts me in one of those very very awkward ones to review.

I am impressed. I am deeply impressed by the writing. I am even more deeply impressed by the characterisation, their lives and how they react to the world around them. And I’m really impressed by the world.

The whole concept of werewolves and their struggle has permeated these books. These are beings from very poor backgrounds who rarely, if ever, get the chance to complete their education or get regular work (all those days off every month). Changing is painful, traumatising and hell on their bodies to the point where most of them are pretty damaged by the time they hit 30 and 40 is the far reaches of old age - 50 completely unattainable. The life of a werewolf is grim and painful and short.

And the Wolfwitches, even if not werewolves themselves, live among that. The same poverty, the same desperate, hurting people around them, and even if not directly affected, they’re the ones who clean up. They’re the ones who put the damaged, suffering wolves out of their misery when their bodies finally turn on them.

This permeates the whole story. Even when we see things like Grayson and Joe who are deeply in love and managing to carve a sense of happiness for themselves there’s still that underlying question: still the constant nag that Grayson is old for a werewolf, even his most loving moments undercut

It permeates the past of Yael as well - Yael and Gloria, their whole history laid out here needs to be seen in this context. Gloria, the poverty, the difficulty and in comes this spirit snaring her when she’s young and desperate and then being a constant shadow - adding deeper burdens but always coming with just enough power to be useful - until he’s just the burden, the predatory force

I like this in many ways because it humanises Gloria: she as the heart and soul of this series, the foundation, the one with Yael, the great evil spiritual force that everyone is afraid of - we see how it happened, how she first succumbed: and it’s such an easy, simple, human temptation. No woo-woo nothing like that - but simply a devil’s bargain offered to someone with few options

And I see a lot of great parallels for her in Ruby - a powerful, determined, intelligent woman who, nevertheless, is young a little foolish and seeking short cuts out of her grim situation. I think there’s a reason why these characters are presented next to each other. It also shows another reason why Gloria got rid of Blue - not just to save her from Yael possession but to save her from the temptation of Yael when she’s young. Because when you’re young and poor and angry in a very unfair life Yael looks very attractive. And how, even the best of us, at our worst moments, can wish for terrible terrible things.

I did wonder about West, Gloria’s son and Blue’s mother’s struggle with mental illness. Because it seems we took the damage of Yael and the desperation of the general werewolf’s lot, threw in the painful awareness of how being poor affected them all and a constant acknowledgment of how being Black added to Blue’s struggle and then just dialed it up to 11 with yet more grim darkness. I’m still kind of torn about both - especially since Blue’s mother’s mental illness is entirely a plot device rather than characterisation. But it does serve to make it clear that all the stuff they face? Not all down to Yael. There’s plenty of bad out there without deciding it’s all this spiritual nastiness

The Strain, Season 4, Episode 3: One Shot

We have a split storyline again and I’d say they all need to get together but I actually think it would be better if some of them were just nuked.

So let’s start with the vaguely could be interesting but wasn’t storyline:

Vasiliy, Charlotte, Quinlan, Roman and Minions are going to Roman’s missile silo (after Charlotte proves her badassery by shooting a deer) to collect a nuke, as one does. Quinlan also makes the point, when everyone blames the Master, that humans built nukes and humans fired them all over the world to create the nuclear winter: without humans the Master would still be hiding underground

Heavy handed theme #1 Humans Are Awful Guys

When they get there they find most of Roman’s fellow soldiers dead and a sniper shoots at them - hitting Quinlan and pinning him down for much of the episode. Vasiliy realises they have to take out the sniper but Roman refuses (only one who can use the nuke so don’t risk his life) the minions refuse because they didn’t sign up for this. Charlotte doesn’t refuse but she’s a delicate lady person who Vasiliy refuses

And yes I’m sticking to that. He pouts and stomps when Roman tells him no, when the minions tell him not but Charlotte tells him yes he’s suddenly all “nah, tunnels are my thing, i got this”. He might as well have said “don’t you worry your pretty little head”

So we’re treated to a long long time of sniper shots, Vasiliy trying to appeal to the man and Quinlan threatening him until Vasiliy finally shoots him and injures him. He asks why one of Roman’s soldiers are attacking him and is told, in case we missed it, that there are many human collaborators

Heavy Handed Theme #1.5 Collaborators are Totally the Worst

And Quinlan shoots him - because he promised he would if the soldier didn’t put down his gun. Quinlan does not make idle threats

Unfortunately this nuke won’t work without another part which has been removed

This whole section takes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long.

On to Ephraim

Do I have to?

Ephraim and new bestie Alex have come up with a clever way to kill vampires, rat poison

Rat poison

Really rat poison?

Rat poison.

Do you want to page this back to season 1?

So there follows a long plan on how to get rat poison into one of the blood tankers ( these red tankers don’t look refrigerated, but hey nuclear winter) by means of a convoluted car crash so they can sneak some poison in all sneakily

Wait, can we talk about how Alex the Revolutionary leader comes up with an idea and then Ephraim is all “oh you silly silly person, this is how it should be done”? Because this is a rapidly developing theme. Ephraim has actually been recruited into the revolution not because he wants to fight vampires but he wants to Smugly Correct Alex.

It works and thousands of thousands of vampires are squished by rat poison. Really, this could have been totally useful back in season 1. Who knew the best way to poison vampires was with poison?!

The Master is Not Amused but Eichorst is thrilled since these “terrorist” actions helps him pin down Abe & co.

They also find more evidence of Collaborators doing mysterious mystery things which are bad and mysterious. Collaborators are the worst. But the utter utter utter worst collaborator is the one who helped the Strigoi use the nuke on the statue of liberty - that’s a the worst, Alex is very clear

Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 3: The Queen's Justice


It’s the moment many have been waiting for - Jon Snow meets with Daenerys’ Targaryen at the Dragonstone


There’s also the excellent reunion between Jon and Tyrion as they both acknowledge their respect and knowledge for each other with extra acknowledgement that Sansa is smart and one to watch. Jon also gets to see the shiny dragons.

He is introduced to Daenerys with Tyrion reciting all her titles. While Davos just says “Jon Snow, king in the north” which I have to applaud. That was powerful

Actual negotiations are fraught. Jon wants help to kill the King of the Night and he’s really dramatic about that - but ultimately there’s not much reason for Daenerys to believe this and take her army north when she’s already in the middle of a war. Similarly while Daenerys demands Jon bend the knee he’s very clear that that’s really not going to happen for both the sake of the lords of the north and also simple reason: why? Why should he kneel?

The whole debate back and forther is good though because there is definite resect between them even though they’re in clear disagreement. Daenerys acknowledges that her father did evil, terrible things and she apologises for them. He acknowledges he shouldn’t judge her based on his record - but that doesn’t mean he actually has a reason to follow her.

It comes with lots of epic speeches - including one from Daenerys about all she has managed to endure and still keep going because of her great faith in herself. And another where Davos almost goes too far, both excellent describing why she should respect Jon Snow because of how, with no heritage, he has managed to unite the wildlings and the lords of the north. Of course he also mentions how he was stabbed in the heart and got up again

Though they do know about Mellisandre - who isn’t there because she knows Jon isn’t a fan and also because Varys is dropping not-too-subtle I’ll totally kill you hints.

When Tyrion and Jon have mutual moping session Tyrion does what he does best - point out that what Jon’s asking IS unreasonable. Sure he believes Jon, but he can’t expect other people who don’t know him to do so. So what DOES Jon want which is reasonable and achievable?

He also goes to Daenerys and points out why he believes Jon - because Jon has come to Dragonstone. And this is silly - Tyrion wouldn’t have done it, all of his advisors would have said no, but Jon came anyway. It must be because he truly wants something.

When Jon and Daenerys meet again, with Tyrion greasing the wheels, Daenerys offers Jon he resources and people to mine dragonglass. After all, it’s something he wants, something she really doesn’t care about and is a really easy way to build a relationship

This is reasonable diplomacy. Going from complete strangers to “Allies/serve me/let’s get married and have incest babies!” is a long path.

Which will be needed because everything is going wrong - to such an extent that Daenerys just wants to get on her dragons and go flying to burn everything.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Skeleton in the Closet (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries, #2) by Angie Fox

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The small southern town of Sugarland is filled with excited people.  A documentary is being filmed by the history channel about a civil war battle that occurred in the town. The movie is to be billed as residents of the town coming together to fight off the invading Yankees, in order to protect their town from destruction. This should be enough excitement for a small town but when a local librarian is murdered to cover up an old secret, Verity has no choice but to get involved. 

As you may have guessed from the book cover, The Skeleton in the Closet is paranormal chicklit.  It doesn't hide what it is or attempt to be anymore than that. If you go into expecting something light to while away a few hours with then you might just enjoy, Verity's latest adventure.  It's got a grumpy gangster ghost, a pet skunk, mixed in with a murder mystery.

Fox walks the line between exulting the antebellum south and calling it out for what was.  Fox makes it clear that "Tennessee was one of the most divided states in the nation, and our boys had gone off to fight on both sides".  In fact, Sugarland continues to be divided today based on whose family did what during the civil war.  The big elephant in the room however is slavery. Not once does Fox point out that the entire reason for the civil war was slavery, even if she has Verity (the protagonist) make it clear that she believes that the North was proven right in the end. Chicklit is meant to be light but if you're going to write a book about the antebellum south and how it effects the modern era, to do so without including characters of colour is beyond problematic. Where are the Black people in this story?   

Fox didn't shy away from detailing the horrors of war.  In detail, Fox wrote about the surgeon who long after his death continued to operate on long dead soldiers. The surgeon continues to amputate limbs and his surgical gown is covered in blood.  Even though both the northern soldiers and the confederate soldiers are dead, both sides continue dehumanise each other.  It's a small lesson in how war teaches people to see those belonging to the other side as less than human and or civilised. 

This is the second book in this series in which the victim is female.  I like that Verity is a strong protagonist who speaks her truth and stands up in the face of oppression and I like that she seems to have a lot of female support; however, having a woman as victim twice in a row has me raising my eyebrows.  Let's see if this trend continues.  

Orphan Black, Season Five, Episode Eight: Guillotines Decide

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I know we have an entire episode to cover but if I don't start off with the following, I will just explode. Dear writers of Orphan Black, I do not forgive you for what you did to Siobahn.  More than the sestras, Siobahn knew the dangers Neolution poses but in many ways, she was the glue that kept everything together and now the sestras are all truly orphans. 


Helena is still hiding out in the convent so she's seperated from the other sestras. Helena seems to welcome the arrival of Gracie, unaware that that Gracie is in cahoots with Mark and Virginia. Gracie, who will be a half sibling to Helena's children, provides a familial connection that Helena sorely needs at this moment. I believe that it's this connection that stops Gracie from admitting to Mark that she's found Helena.  Unfortunately, Virginia is not inclined to trust Gracie. 

Gracie is forced to come clean about her betrayal when Helena finds the cell phone that she used to contact Mark. Gracie pleads that Mark is sick and that Virginia promised them that she would find a cure for them. This does not drum up any sympathy from Helena. Gracie then reveals that while she did call Mark, she didn't tell him where Helena is.  Helena is clearly relieved by this but this doesn't mean that they are out of danger. Helena quickly tosses the cellphone into the toilet and makes plans with Gracie to leave because the cellphone can of course be traced. Unfortunately, Helena and Gracie don't manage to escape because they are caught by Art's new partner Maddy and a group of Neolutionists. Gracie tries to apologise for not revealing Helena's location but Maddy simply shoots her in the head. It's cold and clearly meant to inspire fear in Helena. Maddy had better quit while she's ahead because she has no idea who she is missing with when it comes to Helena. 


Okay, Rachel is officially on the redemption train and I'm not sure that I agree given the fact that she was a sell out for so long. When we last left Rachel, she had yanked Westmoreland's fake eye out of her eye socket. Yes, it's as gruesome as it sounds. Fortunately for Rachel, Ferdinand shows up and takes her somewhere for medical attention.  When Rachel awakes, she stunned to find Ferdinand and to learn that he has been working with Siobahn.  Now we know who Siobahn's source is. 

With Rachel on the mend so to speak, Delphine and Siobahn pop by for a visit. Now that Rachel is officially persona non grata with the neolutionists, this is the first time that Rachel's interests have aligned with the sesetras and the rest of clone club.  What Siobahn and Delphine need is proof that the neolutionists are bribing foreign government officials to introduce legislation to get their populations to submit DNA, in order to aid the Neolutionists in their plan to market customized evolution to the super rich to increase lifespan. If that were not enough, anyone without the money to pay will be sterilized under Virginia's supervision. It's absolutely diabolical.  What Siobahn and Delphine want to know is if Rachel was smart enough to steal a file of the Neolutionists dirty dealings before she left. 

Rachel of course is one smart cookie and did indeed take away enough information to blow Neolution out of the water.  The files which include: names, dates and payments, are all on a flashdrive that Rachel is wearing around her neck. This information excites Ferdinand because one of his main goals has always been to become rich, especially since MK, stole the fortune he had amassed. This puts Ferdinand in conflict with Rachel because after being a prisoner for so long, the only thing she really wants is freedom. Rachel wants to release the information to the public. When Rachel hands over the flashdrive to Ferdinand, it's the empty one. 

Ferdinand goes to meet with what's left of the board. It seems that quite a few of the board members committed suicide after learning the truth about Westmoreland. A confidant Ferdinand pops the usb drive into the computer and of course, it's empty.  The board quickly realises that Ferdinand doesn't have anything on him, forcing Ferdinand to kill board members and a few guards in order to make his escape.