Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Mist Season One, Episode Ten: The Tenth Meal

I don't know about you but at this point, I feel entitled to an award for surviving The Mist. Who could have thought that ten short episodes could be filled with so much homophobia and rape culture?  I have to hand it to the writers for outdoing themselves on this one.

So everything this season has been building up to dealing with Alex's rape and discovering the origin of the mist.  It's a sign of just how virulent rape culture is that Alex's rape is juxtaposed to the mist. At any rate, it's sort of fitting that the mall is the site of the confrontation because the mall is the first location where people lost their minds, long before there was a reason to.

When we last left Adrian, he was placed into a room with Alex, Eve and Jay. Adrian watches the interaction between Jay and Alex and once again his jealousy kicks in.  Eve is adamant that she has to protect Alex from Jay and Adrian uses that as his excuses to beat Jay down with a fire extinguisher. Adrian yells that he has proof Jay raped Alex and promptly lies, claiming that at the hospital he saw the results of the rape kit.

Kevin has made his way into the mall and seen some of the ensuing chaos for himself. As Kevin makes his way through the mall, he runs into Mia, who is looking for Bryan. Mia is happy to see Kevin and explains that the only reason they left is that they were told he was shot in the head.  Kevin reveals that it was Adrian who raped his daughter.  Kevin and Mia decide to split up to continue to search the mall and then regroup.

When we last left Bryan he'd been restrained and saluted by Wes.  Wes explains that he was told to be careful and that's why he chose to restrain Bryan.  It turns out that Bryan is Wes's commanding officer and so he pulls rank in order to get Wes to free him. Wes explains that they've got to get back to the base and that Bryan will learn who he really is then and exactly what is going on with the mist. While Bryan really wants to know who he is and why he was tortured, he's conflicted by his budding relationship with Mia.  It's Wes who points out that he's known Bryan for 8 years whereas Bryan has only known Mia for 5 days.  Mia walks in and tells Bryan that Kevin is alive and that they need his help to find Alex.  Okay, it's decision time for Bryan.  Promising that he will find her somehow, Bryan says that he has to leave with Wes to find out who he is.  Bryan backs out of the room slowlym apologising the whole way.

Connor has made it to the mall with Nathalie and they agree that it is Connor who will approach the residents of the mall because they don't know that Nathalie survived the Mist.  Connor's appearance initially raises the hopes of the residents of the mall because they think that he's there to rescue them. Connor disappoints them all when he says that he's just looking for his son. Gus takes Connor to his office and the tension between the two men is palpable. Gus talks about wanting Eve and Alex our of the mall and how when this is over they may all have to confront doing some horrible things while taking note of Connor's bloodied knife.  At this point all Connor wants is to get to Jay and so he makes it clear that whatever has happened is not his concern.

Gus takes Connor to the room where Eve, Adrian, Alex and Jay are locked up. Eve immediately begins to plead with Connor for his help but Connor is only interested in Jay.  Connor leads Jay to a waiting Nathalie. Jay wants to go back and rescue Eve and Alex but Connor keeps telling Jay that they cannot do that and that Jay has to trust him.  Jay is clearly suspicious but he loves his father and so does not flee.  Connor tells a crying Jay how much he loves him and that whatever happened wasn't his fault.  Finally, Connor pushes Jay outside and locks the door behind him.  Jay bangs on the door and pleads but when he gets no answer, he runs into the mist.  Connor and Nathalie wait but of course, the mist doesn't disappear.  Nathalie says that maybe the Mist hasn't take Jay yet and that they just have to wait. Connor begins to cry and Nathalie comforts him by saying that she's so proud of him and that grief is a beautiful thing.

It finally happens, Kevin has his big confrontation with Adrian in a paint shop. Kevin reminds Adrian about what he said he would do when he found the person who raped his daughter.  Kevin continues to beat Adrian, as Adrian begs him to stop.  Finally, Adrian plays the only trump card that he can - Adrian knows where Eve and Alex are being kept.  Mia arrives and draws Kevin's attention away from Adrian momentarily. Mia reports that Bryan has left with the military to figure out his identity. I guess we are not supposed to question how it is that Mia knows that Wes is a soldier.  While Kevin is distracted, Adrian uses the paint to start a fire, creating a barrier between him and Kevin. Kevin still wants to go after Adrian but Mia encourages to stop worrying about Adrian for now.

Zoo, Season 2, Episode 9: Black Forest

Time for our weekly dose of utter nonsense and brain farts pretending to be a plot.

Starting with Jaime stopping the plane from crashing which I’m sure shocked us all. Are we all shocked?

Mitch - or Duncan because of the mind control switch - does manage to escape during the crash to make his way back to Abigail’s side because his head chip is aksing up.

On the plane at least the tank with Clem in it and all their spinal fluid collections are safe. But Dariela is out - a plane nearly crashing with Isaac on it is the last straw - it’s time to leave. She asks him to come with her - but he can’t abandon the mission

She does leave on good terms though, at least, with plans to meet up again after the mission is finished. I don’t want Dariela to leave but at the same time the conflict endlessly swirling around her was aggravating. But I think there’s also something gendered about this. In previous seasons, Abe was the compassionate nurturer and the one I’d see most likely to be a primary caregiver for a child, while Dariela was the action/intervention orientated soldier. Sure Abe’s a scientist now - but this was something that was dropped in during the downtime from last season - it could just as easily have been Dariela.

Jaime falls into a kind of despair though - Dariela leaving, Mitch missing and evil, Jackson missing - it’s all very sad. But Abe is back in his role of giving everyone happy hopeful speeches. He’s very very good at that. Time to get back on track - to which they reach out to Logan

Meanwhile Logan and his merry group have managed to destroy the Hybrid nest in the Black Forest. Yay… kind of. Sure the nest is gone but they have no way to destroy the spores which are super deadly and they lost a load of men in the process. So baaad.

Thankfully when he joins Jaime & co bringing with him a Shepherd prisoner to help them track Mitch’s head-chip (co-opertation requires knives and Abe being resonable but ultimately the Shepherds don’t like Abigail either because this whole hybrid destroys the world thing was not part of the agenda) he also discovers Max and Abe have found an enzyme that destroys all pathogens. Virus, bacteria, fungal spores. All pathogens…



Everyone is remarkably calm considering they’ve discovered the magical panacea, cure of all infectious disease.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Stranger Things, Season 1, Chapter 2: The Weirdo on Maple Street

Mike, Dustin and Lucas take Eleven back to Mike’s house and quickly realise Eleven is not a usual child, being disturbingly silent and having little concept of privacy. They can’t go to their parents because doing so would reveal they were out at night looking for Will when they were told not to so concoct a plan to have Eleven (dubbed El by Mike, seeing her tattoo) knock on the door in the morning and introduce himself to Mike’s mother and get whatever help she needed.

El remains creepily silent (Dustin and Lucas are not exactly on side with helping her) and the next morning she is adamantly against the plan, signally she doesn’t want to tell anyone as bad people are after her who will kill them all. By what we’ve seen she’s not wrong with poor Benny.

Mike skips school (understood by his very understanding mother who thinks he’s traumatised by his missing friend) to show El the wonders that this era has to offer - reclining chairs and so El can slowly become a little more talkative. We do get an insight into her terror of confined spaces with a flashback of people in an institution locking her in a small room while she screams for her father. Clearly not a happy childhood

She also sees a picture of Will and seems to recognise him. When the rest of the Geek squad return, Lucas is done with them harbouring, what he assumes, is an escaped mental patient and tries to tell a parent - only to have El hold the door closed with her telekinetic powers. This is duly impressive to the three kids who love all things magical and super-powered. They’re totally on side with helping her hide out now. They also thinks she knows where Will is - and she reveals via DnD models because communcation is somewhat difficult for her. Will is hiding from a monster

Jonathan and Joyce are dealing with missing Will… badly. Joyce is imploding messily and emotionally and it’s painful to watch. She’s making flying, melting down all over chief Hooper and convinced that the weird phone call she received was from Will, though it did fry her phone making her go to her place of work, get an advance because she spent all her money on missing papers, to buy a new phone. It’s really excellent acting because it is terrible to watch her completely implode

Jonathan is trying to hold it together and support his mother which is- he goes to see his dad Lonnie to see if Will ran away him. Clearly not - though we do get a suggestion from Lonnie that Joyce is partially to blame for their break up. I’m not entirely convinced as he’s pretty much the worst from what I can see.

We do get a flashback into just how much Jonathan supported his little brother in the face of their parents’ arguing and how Lonnie was trying to force Will into having hobbies he wasn’t interested in but Lonnie considered better or more appropriate (sports vs computer games it seems). It seems Jonathan has been a rock for this family for some time.

Requiem: Orphan Black

It’s said all things have to come to an end. This was said by someone who has never seen Supernatural (I also heard that Last Man on Earth has been renewed for a fourth season - proof that there is no loving god). However, in most cases it is true and many of our shows, beloved, hated and, most often, a bit of both.

So we come to our first Requiem - the Requiem for Orphan Black which has ended after five fascinating series.

I have to admit that I had my doubts about Orphan Black in the first season. The first few episodes seemed very confused and the writers had difficulty committing to something as simple as a location for the show.  I can chalk that up to the ambivalence regarding Canadian television but that didn’t make it any less irritating.  Look, a Canadian show can sell abroad, particularly when it has a talent like Tatiana Maslany at the helm.  Not every Canadian show has to be like Corner Gas or the Beachcombers (shut up, I know I’m aging myself).  Five seasons later, the finale of Orphan Black is a loss of Canadian broadcasting and it will most certainly be missed.  

The Good

Tatiana Maslany. She. Is. An. Acting. Mutant. I am still not convinced she ISN’T a series of clones. Honestly this show only worked because of Tatiana Maslany. We have been in awe of this amazing woman’s unprecedented talent. I think I’ve never seen anything as impressive as Sarah pretending to be Alison pretending to be Sarah…. How? How does an actor even do that? How does an actor have a 3 way conversation with herself? How does she have actual, palpable chemistry between characters she plays? The relationship between the Sestras (especially Helena and Sarah) was deeply, powerfully moving. Tatiana Maslany needs a Scrooge McDuck style vault in her house, only instead of gold it should be just full of award statues.

Which of course made the relationships on this show amazing.

The Bad

I feel as though at times, the story become needlessly complex and got lost in its own mystery.  This lead to a less than satisfying ending in terms of cloning.  Were we really supposed to be happy that after spending all of that time watching the sestras fight Neolution that Sarah managed to easily dispatch Westmoreland?  I understand that the point is that the Clones were able to form their own sort of family at the end of the day but I certainly felt short changed in terms of Neolution and genetic experimentation.  For crying out loud, they had Kira go all mystical, introduced the Castor Clones, human augmentation that involved tails and of course monitoring. By the end, there were so many moving parts it’s as though the writers just wanted to wrap them up quickly and forget that there was supposed to be some kind of context for all of this.


Here Orphan Black had a lot of peaks and valleys… and, let’s face it, more valleys than peaks. Over 5 season and with an enormous number of characters we have five recurring POC characters (I’m not including the Hendrix’s children in this because I bet half of you can’t remember these kid’s names without google and certainly can’t remember what they looked like). Simon Frontenac was an obedient Black assassin and… that’s summed up his character. Evie Cho was an evil Asian scientist. Which pretty much sums up her’s. We had Vic, a Latino drug dealer and… ok even writing this list is beginning to feel like “match the trope to the minority.” We had detective Angela… but I feel any storylines involving her kind of swirled into the morass.

Which leaves us with Art… I’m pretty sure he had a family at some point, I’m sure someone threatened them to make him co-operate. Did we ever actually meet his daughter? The sad thing is that Art has been part of this show since Season 1, Episode 1 and by Season 5, Episode 10 I don’t think we know any more about him than we did then. He had no real storylines of his own, was tangentially pulled into the plot because of a relationship with Beth who started the show already dead which is a somewhat convoluted and weak motive. Many times Art felt less like a character and more a useful tool, a classic token, the police contact. For a character this involved this was flat

Which applies equally to Felix. Again, present from the first episode and from day 1 he has been an overwhelmingly stereotypical Gay Best Friend (or brother in this case). He exists not just to support his sister, but ends up being the GBF to the clone club in general, especially Alison who never hesitates to push the call button and summon her gay supporter. He’s comic relief, lacks any real storylines of his own (or any development - even his art was some vague thing almost until the show ended- and even then Sarah couldn’t stay focused for five minutes) and his entire life revolved around Sarah and the Sestras. Again, this is classic tokenism and this is not positive. Similarly I would have liked to have seen more of Tony rather than just the single entry.

Thankfully we have Cosima, who is definitely one of the four most prominent clones and the core cast. She had her own definite storylines, her relationships - yes, there were issues with her and Delphine and tropes of love and deception are fraught in LGBTQ portrayals, though this was a heavy trope across the relationships. And when Delphine seemed to be murdered and the unfortunate social media response from the stars, I was ready to break things. But Delphine and Cosima came through it, rose up and were excellent; even if their plot line was closely intertwined with the really confusing science plots.

What We Would Change

The relationship between the sestras was absolutely wonderful and I loved how they worked together each offering their own strength to the whole.  Whether it’s Helena, who kept busy killing God’s creatures, or the very domestic Allison selling drugs to finance their resistance, or Cosima with her scientific research, everyone had a role to play.  Where Orphan Black fell down was in the inclusion of Krystal. Yes, I said it. That’s one clone that felt extraneous even if she did become a fan favourite.  Krystal more than any other clone simply screamed of running out of ideas.

Then we had clones like Tony which could have provided an interesting perspective but never got any real characterisation. Tony was distinct from all of the other clones and could have had a nuanced individual storyline. There’s the added bonus that expanding Tony’s character would have added to the GLBTQ inclusion. Though, yeah, I know that a cis person playing trans* is not ideal it’s complicated with the nature of the clones.

I honestly think I’d prefer more clone focus and less science leda/caster/neo-lution focus

I don’t recall seeing anything quite like Orphan Black on television before and I think that it’s because it required an actor of extreme caliber. Even though Orphan Black sometimes got in its way and become needlessly drawn out and complicated, it was never boring. It gave us sestras and clone dance parties. The writers always knew when to pause and celebrate and to remind us that no matter where we come from we all of something to offer and along the way, all of us in our time will make compromises. For a show a science fiction show, there was a lot of humanity in Orphan Black.

Favourite Clone:





Thursday, August 24, 2017

Travelers, Season One, Episode Seven: Protocol 5

Image result for travelers

The fact that all of the Traveler's are still in their host body makes them wonder if they have actually completed their mission or not.  Trevor is absolutely certain that they were successful and suggests a toast with some cheap hooch because that's all he can afford. With no potential new mission in sight, the Travelers decide that for now, they will stay away from each other and live out their hosts lives. That's right, it's time for Protocol 5. Unfortunately, this is a time that they could really use each other because they are all beginning to experience the side effects of taking an injection in the last episode to protect them from the toxic gas.

Marcy lies on the couch awake until David leaves and then decides that performing surgery on herself would be the perfect thing to do.  Marcy begins by removing her comm from her neck. The comm is then turned into a Vagus Nerve Stimulator, and inserted into her chest, in order to control her seizures.  By the time David returns, his bathroom looks like a crime scene because of all of the blood and Marcy looks like the survivor of a vicious attack. David is rightfully freaked the hell out but Marcy sees it as no big deal to perform what she deems to be a minor procedure on herself. Things must be really bad in the future  if Marcy sees self surgery in a less that sterile environment as no big deal. To silence David's objections, Marcy kisses him but this time he's not going to be quiet and makes it clear that her doing that isn't fear. David actually wants to help Marcy and he wants to know about her life. I'm not sure how she does it, but Marcy actually talks David into performing a spinal tap on her. 

MacLaren's issues begin with a bought of insomnia. A lack of sleep isn't conducive to rational thinking and it's about to be compounded by the hallucinogenic in his blood. Forbes and Kat surprise MacLaren with a party to celebrate his 15 years with the FBI. Forbes blows MacLaren's cover when he asks Kat about her health because earlier in the season, in order to go on a mission, MacLaren lied and claimed that he had to take Kat to a doctor.  They could not have picked a less ideal time because MacLaren isn't firing on all cylinders and therefore his behaviour is just odd. Kat is further suspicious when she tries to take a picture with MacLaren's phone and discovers that he's changed the password and she cannot access it. When an agent starts talking about evacuating an emergency shelter, MacLaren hallucinates a group of people with shaved heads who look awfully sickly and then laments that he will never see them again during the speech is forced to give. MacLaren even barely remembers to acknowledge Kat's role in his career. Drunk out of his gourd, Kat drives MacLaren home. Kat accuses MacLaren of cheating on her and in response he claims to have always been deeply in love with her.  MacLaren initiates sex but in his mind, he's having sex with a blonde woman with the ID number 3465 tattooed on her neck. Is this what the real Carly looks like, or is MacLaren hallucinating another woman from his past?  Later, when MacLaren is asleep in bed, Kat texts her mother that she believes he's absolutely cheating on her.

Philip is also having his own issues and at least part of them stem from the fact that he's out of heroine.  After licking the empty bags doesn't bring the relief that he was looking for, Philip decides to leave the warehouse and score. As Philip is walking around stoned right out of his gourd, he runs into Ray. For the most part, Ray's relationship with Philip has been extremely predatory but this time, Ray proves that he just might have a little bit of a soul.  Ray begins by buying Philip a hot dog and some fries which Philip hallucinates is this disgusting gruel like meal which must have passed for food in the future. When Philip balks about eating, Ray lectures him about eating real food because it's a well known fact that heroine addicts are far from the healthiest people on the planet. Project help Philip continues when Ray decides that what Philip needs is a pet to focus on because his life shouldn't always be about drugs.  Philip is taken to a pet store and Ray buys him a pet turtle.  Sure, a dog would have been a better choice but Ray chooses a turtle, so that Philip can be free to fly to Vegas if need be to work on his gambling scheme. 

Ray's final step in the help Philip project is to take him to an NA meeting. Philip, who is hallucinating, thinks that he hears Ray invoke the director when Ray starts to give his testimony. This sets Philip off and he hallucinates what he would say to the group if he could speak freely. Philip says that he's been in the 21st century for five weeks and is exhausted and just wants to get high. Then Philip unleashes his pain, saying that he was trained to remember so many things - dates of people's deaths, results of sporting events etc but for some reason he cannot remember the face that he was born with. That has got to be a trip. When Philip snaps back to himself, with a little bit of encouragement from Ray, Philip is able to admit that he has a drug problem. Clearly, of all the team members, Philip is the one that needs his cell the most and who knows where his isolation would have lead to were it not for Ray's intervention.

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 15: Pressure Test

Tension in Beacon Hills are getting higher with the fear demon fleeing from the Wild Hunt and causing all kinds of shenanigans

Firstly we get the return of an old character, Theo. Who should have been murdered by angry hockey-playing weremoose several seasons ago. He has been captured along with two other werewolves from Saotome’s pack, Jiang and Tierenan. They’ve been captured by Schrader, a former worker at Eichenn House and brutal sadist. Honestly this may have nothing to do with the fear monster since he was pretty awful to begin with. He tortures the three of them for funsies for a while - and there’s something especially creepy about a torturer who doesn’t want money or information or a confession - just torture. Of course they’re werewolves and the bonds holding them give out before they do - we can assume this is the end of this guy

This puts Theo the Awful with Jiang and Tierenan and him offering to show them to Scott’s since Soatome is dead and they have no pack. Except on the way Sheriff Stilinski stops them and arrests them all for murder.

Murder? I mean I’m not even shocked with the bodies raining down, but this whole thing is getting very public

Theo quick gets the other two to implicate themselves on camera since they did the actual killing (hunters with lots of claw marks) getting Theo released, though Jiang and Tierenan claim self-defence.

Which is when Scott and co show up to argue for their release on the grounds that, well, basically a werewolf killing hunters is kind of the hunters getting what’s coming to them. And, y’know, not entirely wrong? Of course Sheriff Stilinski makes it clear that they’re still people and murder is still murder

And then things get worse because Tamora gathers an entire mob of people with guns to lay siege to the police station. Which is a police station so is also full of people with gun. Tamora demands the police hand over Tierenan and Jiang for murder

Scott rallies his people ready for war - and the Sheriff gets in between them along with Parrish to encourage everyone to be nice and peaceful and calm - and delay until midnight.

He could call for help being police and all but that pretty much ensures exposure for the supernatural. Sheriff Stilinski is kind of awesome through this, calm, rational, careful.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Midnight Texas, Season One, Episode Five: Unearthed

Image result for midnight texas

I'm just going to admit it, Midnight Texas has really started to grow on me, despite my reservations due to the fact that it's based on a series by Charlaine Harris.  Midnight Texas knows that it's cheese but still tries to infuse each episode with some drama.  It alternates between the serious and the camp quite well. So far, each episode has been about delving into backstories as a form of characterisation. In Unearthed, Bobo and Manfred are forced to deal with their pasts.

It begins for Manfred when a rock is thrown at his door. Manfred steps on his front porch to find a Manfred in box, containing a note to be at a certain location at a specific time. That's right, after all of his running, Hightower has finally found him. Xylda's advice is that Manfred simply skip the meeting. Running is what Manfred has always done but that was before he entered into a relationship with Creek. Manfred suggests to Creek that the two of them run and hide but Creek isn't about to leave her father and her brother.  Unwilling to leave Creek behind, Manfred decides that it's time to face Hightower at last.  Creek encourages Manfred to seek out the help of his neighbours but Manfred is determined to go it alone.  Creek heads to the pawnshop and sells a bunch of antiques to Bobo for 15K to pay off his debt.  Bobo picks up on the fact that Manfred is in trouble and suggests that Manfred take a gun with him. 

Bobo doesn't offer to help Manfred because he has his own problems to deal with. Earlier in the day, the biker gang drove through town and set his pawn shop on fire.  Fortunately, the town acted quickly to save the building, in the process saving Olivia and Lem's life.  It turns out however that the fire was simply a distraction so that the biker gang could kidnap Fiji.  It's Mr. Snuggles who delivers the bad news.  Fiji is taken to a building site, drugged and hidden underground. Bobo quickly gets together the ransom to free Fiji but before he can deliver it, Lem arrives at the pawnshop wanting to know what the hell is going on.  Bobo is a little resistant but when Lem points out that whatever the problem is almost got he and Olivia killed, Bobo decides to reveal his past. 

It turns out that Bobo is the son of well to do white supremacists.  When he was 17, his father took him along for a ride and he sat in the car while his father set a church on fire.  From that night on, Bobo decided that he wanted nothing to do with his family and so he stole their cache of guns, gold, and cash and left.  He's been hiding in Midnight ever since and has become something of an urban legend. Bobo figures out that the leaders of the Sons of Satan must have figured out who he really is.  Given the danger, Lemuel decides to tag along, despite Bobo being told that he has to go alone.

Manfred arrives at the location Hightower picked at the appointed time and runs into Olivia.  While Manfred was busy selling his family treasures to Bobo, Creek enlisted Olivia's help. Manfred's so incompetent that he still has the safety on his gun.  Manfred tries to send Olivia away but Olivia feels that she owes him for saving Lem from vampires. When Manfred and Olivia meet up with Hightower, he uses telekinesis to take Olivia and Manfred's guns away, forcing them to take cover. Once the guns are empty, Manfred tries to confront Hightower but it seems that Hightower is in no mood to make peace because he figures that Manfred owes him a lot more than money. It turns out that Manfred agreed to marry Hightower's daughter Violent in return for 100K but and Xyla stole the money and left Violet alone at the alter. A few days later, Violet committed suicide. Hightower wants vengeance  for the loss of his daughter which he blames on Manfred and he uses his powers to toss broken glass at Olivia and Manfred, forcing them both to flea.

Bobo drives to the meet with the Sons of Satan and Lemuel is hiding under the vehicle. Bobo hands over the cache of weapons and cash and is beaten for his trouble. Now that Lowry finally has his hands on Bobo, he's not about to let Bobo go. What's interesting is that Lowry repeatedly accuses Bobo of killing his wife, even though Bobo denies having anything to do with it.  Bobo is taken to see Fiji and Lowry delights in talking about Bobo's white supremacist past and his part in the church bombing, before leaving Bobo and Fiji locked together.

Preacher, Season 2, Episode 10: Dirty Little Secret

We open with hipster Jesus having sex. Yes way back in the past Jesus skipped out on praying to have sex - very good sex in many positions apparently.

He then leaves, gets himself dead and leaves his disciples to steal the baby and beat the mother to death. Of course because Preacher

We learn this as Herr Starr describes his institution’s vast power to convince Jesse he needs their help to find god. And he does a pretty impressive job of showing this while dragging Jesse hooded to various secret locations. First showing Jesse the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope - and how he can totally summon them both to his side on a whim. Which is pretty impressive, even if they do reveal no-one actually knows a damn thing about god and that you can drag religious leaders together but you can’t make them agree.

Of course on does drop a hint about the messiah. Starr tries to pretend this totally didn’t happen but Jesse uses the voice every time Staff wants to get cagey. So it’s another hooded travel to where the Jesus child exists - the messiah, the 25th great grandchild of Jesus. Jessie falls to his knees in worshipful awe… only to have that shattered

Jesus - or “humperdoo” is the product of 25 generations of inbreeding and is severely developmentally disabled, knows nothing about god or much else.

Can we not use disabled people as props, comic relief or figures of contempt? In fact, given Preacher is Preacher I can’t imagine this show ever being respectful.

And so Jesse realises Herr Starr has been manipulating him the whole time. After all, anyone around Jesse who knows what he can do and would expect the word to be abused a whole lot.  Herr Starr is supremely disillusioned by his job which he originally took to be an excellent chance to serve an organisation which would bring order and control - only to realise that there is no leader capable of ruling here. He feels like he’s wasted his life.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Last Ship, Season Four, Episodes One and Two

Image result for The last ship season 4

In yet another season of American exceptionalism, the world is in grave danger and only the men and women of the Nathan James can save humanity from itself and of course the virus. What virus you may ask? Didn't we spend the last three seasons hunting for a cure and distributing said cure? How could we possibly have a problem with the virus now? Well, it seems that the virus has mutated and now is attacking the world's vegetation.  The problem with this is that it will effect the world's biodiversity.  Animals need corn, the wheat, etc to survive so we cannot simply eat them, if they have no source of food. It's insects which are passing the red rust from crop to crop leaving American devastation and near 90%. It's a reminder of just how interdependent we all are on our little blue planet. The red plague is a mutation of the original virus which and it puts humanity at risk once more.   I do believe that The Last Ship is low key sending an environmental message, along with its main agenda of reminding the viewer of just how spectacular the American military is. 

It turns out that palm seed is the only hope of stopping humanity from starving to death. An away team from the Nathan James tracks down a man claiming to be selling the seeds. Unfortunately, before the crew can find out where the seeds are being kept, the man is shot. 

After evac, the Nathan James heads to Spain where the crew learns that the base is being closed because of the shortages. The Nathan James seems to have picked up a new member named Rea and she gets her flirt on with Wolf and Gunderson. As the Nathan James is being resupplied, Fletcher and Sasha continue to continue to work on locating the seeds. Fletcher and Sasha figure out that Omar Bin Dalek is the one who stole the seeds and that he, is working for someone else. Unfortunately, this doesn't give them a lead as to where exactly to take the ship. 

The team still very much misses Tom and Slattery admits that he has not heard from Tom in the sixteen months that he's been gone. As the food is being stocked, the crew wonders if they are holding the last apples. Burke and Carlton head to the gates to give food and water to the desperate people who have lined up outside. One of the kids kicks his tennis ball into the base and Carlton yells that the people are to be kept back.  A kid slowly approaches the opening to the base, clearly nervous. Unfortunately, the kid has bombs attached to his body. Carlton is injured in the explosion and armed men storm the base determined to get to the injured man who knows where the seeds are. With their only lead dead, the team watch the video of the raid which left 12 Americans dead. It's Sasha and Fletcher who figure out that the location has something to do with Lions from the tattoo on the dead man. And since lion stands for Algeria, the team now has a direction to travel in. 

The team leaves dock and in the mess a sign is placed telling staff to only take as much food as they need and to avoid seconds. They head to Algeria and Slattery informs the crew that they will have no back up again. It wouldn't be The Last Ship if the Nathan James was on its own now would it? As the ship approaches the shore, the Nathan James hits what Slattery believes to be a fishing line, only to have said fishing line knock out the engines and shut off the electricity. The emergency generators kick in but the Nathan James is a sitting duck when a missile from the land is shot at the ship. Wolf, Rea and Sasha are forced to go ashore to see if they can stop the missiles being launched at the Nathan James. Another missile is shot at the Nathan James but the crew is able to shoot it down. 

The Strain, Season 4, Episode 6: Tainted Love

Eichorst has now decided Vasiliy is totally someone he needs to hunt down- so finds their previous minions and murders all but one of them. This leaves just Eichorst and Benjamin who he expects to drive him after Vasiliy.

Because The Strain is not even remotely subtle, Benjamin is a Native American and Eichorst confirms his evil credentials by saying how Hitler was totally interested in the genocide of Native Americans because it was so “effective.”

Y’know, on another show this could be handled with a level of nuance and interesting examination. I mean, just examining the fact that Hitler admired the genocide of the Native Americans and the whole idea of how there is, rightfully, a cultural loathing of Hitler (among… most people? And why gods why do I have to put that question mark there? Whyyyy?) as the most uniquely evil person when so many similar atrocities are completely ignored, or the perpetrators even lionised (or have really ugly statues made for them)

But this is The Strain, instead his rambling rant about Native American genocide is just an easy plot point for Benjamin to sacrifice himself to turn on the radio and warn Vasiliy that they’re coming. So it’s not an examination of genocide and horror or even developing the Native American character, but just invoking Native American genocide as justification for another Native American character to die for the non-native characters.


Vasiliy, Quinlan, Charlotte and Roman are all heading towards an airfield Roman knows so they can get a plane and then fly to New York with their new nuke. Roman is coming with them. Quinlan vaguely questions this complete stranger’s decision to join them and… beyond “hey better to fly with the nuke than being alone”. Uh-huh.

Unlike Roman, Quinlan would like them to leave Charlotte behind because of his Victoria flashbacks. See way back then he was all playing happy families with Louise and her daughter Lydia. But then he runs into vampires and realises that The Master is in town. He drops his happy family, even with tearful little moppet begging him to stay, to go kill the Master. It’s a complete goodbye because if he wins he still dies as one of the Master’s progeny.

Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 6: Beyond the Wall

This episode was interesting in that we had major events happen but it didn’t feel rushed or packed and we didn’t have a gazillion storylines everywhere. We even only used a little plot bending (honestly, my main issue this season is how the plot broke itself to make it work -between Cersei’s prescient army, High Garden, the fleet of ships apparently made by Santa’s Elves and last episode’s ability to teleport the length and breadth of the entire continent in a few days is beginning to really annoy me).

So on that note let’s begin with the most annoying storyline - Winterfell. Where Arya and Sansa begin reminiscing about their childhood, their beloved father and Arya’s wish to step outside of the constraints that society put on her and which her father supported her through. This shows her childhood disdain for Sansa as well as her devotion to her father and Jon

She taunts Sansa about the letter she wrote as a child and considers it a betrayal, adding what the northern lords (and, more importantly, Lyanna Mormont) would think.

What strikes me most about this scene is that while Arya has learned many skills and become tough and hard and unforgiving she’s also been isolated. We talk a lot about how much everyone has grown and changed but here we see that in many ways she IS still a child. Her condemnation of Sansa is childish - it shows a complete unwillingness to deal with greater political realities, a complete naivety over what you can actually do and what is a smart answer.

Sansa tries to point this out - and rejects any idea she’s a coward or weak because of what she has endured and survived. Sadly Sansa, in an act that is utterly bemusing, turns to Littlefinger (who, of course, doesn’t reveal that he’s the one who led to Arya finding the letter anyway) who tries to drive more a rift between them and even suggests he use Brienne as a bodyguard

Sansa doesn’t do that because she has an invite from Cersei… yeah no. Sansa is not having that. Brienne can go and rely on the sexual tension between her and Jaime to keep things safe. Brienne wants to stay to protect Sansa. Not from Arya - but from everyone, because as long as Littlefinger’s around everyone can have their loyalty manipulated. She’s not wrong - but Sansa won’t hear it

Later she does discover Arya’s stash of faces and Arya menacingly explains what they all mean in a not-quite-overtly-threatening-but-the-threat-is-there manner.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Midnight Texas, Season One, Episode Four: Sexy Beast

Image result for midnight texas

This week's monster is a man eating succubus. We've been warned that the end might be nigh by the resident angel Joe and proof of that is the fact that more than ever, supernatural creatures are being drawn to the area. So, there the succubus is sitting by the side of the road when she's picked up by Ted, a dudebro who might as well have asshole tattoos on his forehead.  We're conditioned not to have any sympathy for dudebro because it seems that he's stolen and sold his father's Rolex. Predictably, when the dudbro is coerced into pulling over, he becomes snack food for the succubus. 

Creek and Manfred are getting all domestic though Creek is still very much adamant that their relationship needs to stay on the downlow because her father is certain that Manfred will break her heart. I'm getting kind of tired of the policing of Creek's sexuality at this point and it seems that it won't end anytime soon.  Manfred says that he's not a bad guy and that he might be entitled to catch a break after saving them all from vampires.  Yeah, I'm team Manfred on this one. When Creek leaves, Manfred checks his phone only to find some ominous messages from Hightower. Yes, Manfred is on the run but only because he's being held responsible for his grandmother's debt. At any rate, Hightower reaching out to Manfred is enough for Manfred to decide that he needs to make some cash.

Ted's sister Patsy shows up to hire Manfred, to see if she can find out where Ted is and if Ted has the Rolex.  Manfred starts to turn Patsy down but when she offers 5K, Manfred takes the job. Manfred does his thing and he sees Ted's spirit, who talks about being snacked on "like a taco" by a hot blonde woman.   Manfred decides to investigate and when he finds the succubus, she is cleaning up in a truckstop bathroom after killing yet another man. When the succubus makes her play for Manfred, he's quick to take his leave, declaring that he's just not into her.

Back in Midnight, Fiji is getting ready for a dinner date that she's planned with Bobo.  Fiji asks Olivia to join her but Olivia declines because she has a job to do. Olivia points out that this is the perfect opportunity for Fiji to get with Bobo and recommends that Fiji step away from the peasant gear for the night. Later, as Fiji is setting the stage for her romantic dinner, she gets a call from Bobo saying that he'll be over as soon as he changes out of work gear. Of course, Bobo isn't getting ready for a hot date but trying to meet up with bikers now that he knows that they've killed the sheriff. 

Olivia's job is to kill a man who has robbed people of their 401Ks. The mark tries to plead that it was only money but he doesn't get any sympathy from Olivia on this. Olivia points out that families can be ruined by having their life savings stolen.  Olivia does the deed and leaves the building but pauses when she notices a man who was watching her when she was in the building is now sitting outside in his car.  For Olivia, this is too much of a coincidence and so she drugs him and carts him back to Midnight for a little casual waterboarding. It doesn't take long for the man to admit that he was hired by her father who supposedly just wants to keep track of Olivia and ensure that she's okay. Olivia becomes emotional and asks Lemuel to feed from her.  Lemuel is happy to oblige but he's concerned that Olivia is so upset.  After Lemuel feeds, Olivia is back to her normal self and doesn't want to discuss it.

Mr. Snuggly (oh how I love that talking cat) is facing reality faster than Fiji.  Mr.Snuggly makes his bid to have Fiji feed him some Sheppard's pie because it's become clear that Bobo isn't going to show up. Fiji holds onto hope until Joe calls and finally cancels. 

It's time for a meeting of the Midnight supernatural club.  Manfred describes what the succubus looks like to Joe, who does a sketch.  They're able to identify the succubus and Joe claims that succubi are attracted to men who've harmed women. So you know damn well that this gets Creek's attention because all the men in her family are suspicious of Manfred. At any rate, this is when Creek's little brother Connor shows up. It seems that Connor has been following Manfred all over town to see what he's up to.  Yeah, that's creepy as all get out and I don't care that Connor is only 17.  Creek is quick to send Connor on his way. 

Convergence (Winter Solstice #1) by J.R. Rain and Matthew S. Cox

Solstice knows magic exists but she’s one of the few who does - and it doesn’t overly affect her job as a photographer or her relationship. Unfortunately, since neither are doing extremely well.

And then something happens, the Convergence - and Solstice’s career is definitely picking up. Oh, and apparently she’s not even human. While being an elf explains a lot of things, it also makes her very much in demand. Including by some very unethical people...

Ok, shameful confession time - I had pretty low expectations of this book and had all honed my snark ready to take this on. Mainly because of one thing: “Solstice Winters”. Yes the protagonist is called Solstice Winters and in no way was there any indication that this was going to be a parody.

But it is neither a parody and nor taking itself ridiculously seriously and Solstice is duly mocking of her own parent’s silly naming choice.

Instead we have a really interesting world to explore which is light hearted and fun (and with a protagonist who is very much both - I really like her) and pretty much a joy to read.

The concept is one we’ve see a few times - magical realms are getting close to Earth which leads to the normal magical lite Earth suddenly having scads of woo-woo and magical creatures that were never here before which causes some upheaval. What is a really fun take on this is Solstice waking up in this new wash of magic and having the illusion torn aside and realising she’s an elf. It’s one thing to have a world that suddenly becomes magical - we’ve seen that a lot - but to have the protagonist wake up and realise she is a magical creature (and always has been) is a great twist.

In some ways I think it could be a greater twist if adapted, extended or, perhaps, if the book weren’t quite as funny and light as it is. I mean, we have examples of how elven attitudes have always influenced Solstice (casual nudity, connection to nature, not seeing sex as a big deal) but there isn’t much look at her analysing any of her behaviour/attitudes/thoughts and thinking “am I human”? Or even “Am I elven”? Or “where are my people?”. Of course this book is pretty heavy on the action and probably hasn’t given her that much in the terms of introspection.