Friday, September 1, 2017

Stranger Things, Season 1, Chapter 3: Holly, Jolly

Alas poor Barb, she’s still alive. Maybe. She’s in a weird parallel world which is all overgrown and ruinous with a drained pool and a terrifying monster thing at the bottom. She tries to escape, screaming Nancy’s name, but is dragged in by the monster

So we have parallel world monster?

Nancy doesn’t here - she’s busy having sex with Steve. Though later when she’s ready to go he’s way too sleepy to even say goodbye properly (my circle of friends agrees that this is perfectly acceptable so long as he got the job done before turning sleepy. Because we’re terrible)

She returns home to find her mother not exactly pleased by how late she stayed out with people going missing and all. But can we take a moment to give a nod to Karen Wheeler here? Last week she saw her son missed school, guessed that something was up with him and offered to be a source of comfort and support over his missing friend. No judgement, or condemnation, a clear open willingness to listen. And now her daughter comes home and you know Karen knows exactly what just happened (going home in your boyfriend’s sweatshirt isn’t subtle) and, again, while she’s annoyed she quickly makes it clear she is there to listen, no matter what, about anything.

Karen’s throwing out some A* parenting here. Hat tip to Karen

At school Nancy is feeling pretty self-conscious about having had sex though Steve does seem to be genuinely not being a dick - his friends are though. Completely and utterly. Nancy quickly realises that Barb is missing and after trying to dismiss it becomes steadily more uncomfortable

Her friends also expose that Jonathan has been taking severely creepy and stalkerish pictures of her… and this scene is kind of awful? They rip up his (stalker) pictures and break his camera and leave - and she goes back to him to be sympathetic. The whole scene is spun as “bullies bully the poor outcast” rather than “people are justifiably disgusted and angry at the creeper stalking their friend”. Jonathan is not the persecuted innocent here.

Nancy goes looking for Barb and finds her abandoned car, and definite spookiness around where they had their pool party. When Nancy goes home, she approaches her mother about Barbara.

Next storyline we’re going to drop in on Joyce who is… not doing well with Will’s disappearance. After the supernatural woo-woo of last episode she has decided that Will is talking to her through the light fittings (she’s not wrong… but still). Jonathan is rather obviously worried about his mother deciding the best way to find his brother is to buy more lamps and talk to them and tries to talk her down.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hellforged (Unnaturals #2) by Jessica Meigs


Riley Walker has been labelled rogue by the agency by her former mentor, Brandon - and is left with no choice but to run. Of course Scott will follow - his loyalty to Riley has only grown stronger; as is the unexpected help from the Agency’s Director

She expected many things to come chasing her - but demons were never among them. They are forced to appeal directly to the supernatural specialists in the Agency to survive… but Riley, and her unpredictable new powers, may be the real key to fend off the attackers - especially when one of their own is possessed by something far worse than a mere demon

There is a lot of action in this book. Our characters are all secret assassins for the government, with a specialty in the supernatural. They’re being pursued by a former mentor and general bad guy who has a penchant for using demons. There’s a lot of fighting, a lot of planning about fighting, a lot of running from crisis to crisis and planning for the next crisis.

The action is well done, the fight scenes exciting and flowing with lots of skill on display as well as a steady diet of tension and fear. There are definite stakes and, barring one element I’ll get into, a good sense of them as professional agents.

The plot never lets up and races through a lot of development quickly as these professionals do bounce back and hit the ground running

We also have an excellent prominent gay couple with Zachariah and Ashton, whose love for each other is never in doubt and matched equally by their capacity and skill. They’re not victims or weak or stereotyped or dead weight or ridiculous - they’re excellent together. Ashton, a long term agent and a complete human, also has been severely injured in his work for the agency and is disabled - that doesn’t make him weak, incapable or not a valued member of the team, but nor is woo-woo or plot contrivance used to erase his disability when it could be convenient

Sadly we have not developed any of the minor POC characters from the previous book into dominant roles - or roles at all - and this book is very white. Vanessa has made an appearance as another female character but her prominence is still not really developed even as her skill is acknowledged.

I do have some issues with the shape of the story because I ended up not enjoying it a great deal.

Travelers, Season One, Episode Eight: Donner

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This episode begins with a new mission for the team. MacLaren, Philip and Trevor all in different locations and are all engaged in independent video chats with sex workers, who are clearly confused by the fact that none of the men actually seem interested in talking about sex.  Trevor in particular wants to hear about the woman's happiest moments. Yeah, they are waiting for the arrival of a new Traveler cell.  The change happens but before the women can begin making plans to carry out their mission, the feed gets turned off. It turns out that the male Traveler who took over for a man who bombed the office that the sex workers worked out of, didn't stop the explosion.  Well I see we can add Travelers to yet another television show in which sex workers end up dead. Heaven forbid we get a story with a sex worker which doesn't end up tragic. 

MacLaren and Forbes head to the scene to investigate the case and learn that the bomber has left the scene.  If it was a misfire, the bomber should be lying there dead, so something is absolutely going on. MacLaren leaves to hunt down the bomber/Traveler, with Philip's help via the comm, leaving Forbes at the scene.  A fourth worker who was out when the bomb went off shows up at the scene and explains how she was being stalked by a former customer and that he had begun sending her religious based hate mail. 

Trevor gets called into the guidance counselor's office much to his surprise because he actually did well on the midterm. Trevor didn't realise that such a massive improvement in his grades would be deemed suspicious. Grace, the guidance counselor has arranged for Trevor to take the midterm again to prove that he didn't actually cheat. Trevor talks about being tired of being told what to do and wanting to chart his own course in life. This resonates with Grace and she gives him a book to read. At the end of the tutoring session which Trevor absolutely aces, Trevor sits in the hallway outside of Grace's office and reads the book cover to cover.  Trevor gets a call the comm to meet up with the others but he pauses long enough to return the book to Grace and to give her one in exchange. Clearly, there's some real chemistry between Grace and Trevor; however, the fact that he is still a kid to her will absolutely pose problems. 

Carly is getting ready for her hearing with child protective services when Marcy calls.  To Marcy, the simple solution is to just hand the baby over to Jeff because it would make it easier for Carly to go to on missions. At this point however, Carly sees the baby as hers and she's determined that there's no way she's handing him over to Jeff.  When Marcy arrives at the meeting, she's surprised when Philip shows up pretending to be her lawyer and offering support. Things go off the rails when Jeff accuses Marcy of being a prostitute because she pays for all her bills in cash and he's seen MacLaren coming and going. Jeff further charges that every time he tries to see his child, Marcy becomes physically abusive. Because he's a cop he knows how to play the system perfectly and manages to bait Marcy into losing her temper which doesn't look good. 

It turns out that Carly isn't the only person whose life that Jeff is set on messing up. David arrives at work only to be informed by his boss that he's gotten a detailed report from Jeff, explaining that he is living with Marcy and in a romantic relationship. David naturally denies that there's anything going on between him and Mary and argues that Marcy is no longer the woman that Ken knows. David manages to convince Ken to come to dinner so that he can prove just how much Marcy has changed.

The blowout in court forces yet another visit from CPS and this time the social worker has a warrant, so Carly cannot simply throw her out. A frustrated Carly explains that Jeff is not a good man and that because he's an officer that no one will believe her if she calls for help. Carly explains that the only reason that Jeff is doing this is because he wants them to be a couple and she no longer wants to. The social worker notices the bruise on Carly's arm from the injection but clearly thinks it's something Jeff did to her. 

MacLaren has spent the whole morning chasing around Donner, the supposed Traveler misfire.  MacLaren chases Donner to a Chinese restaurant that Donner has entered to treat his injuries. MacLaren introduces himself and says his Traveler number but Donner is acting sketchy.  When Maclaren lowers his weapon, Donner charges and knocks MacLaren out, in the process knocking out his comm.

When MacLaren finally catches up with Donner, he's already been beaten to the punch by Forbes.  Back at headquarters, MacLaren tries again to reach out to Donner, convinced that the man is just nervous because he screwed the pooch on his first mission but Donner claims not to know what MacLaren is talking about and questions what a Traveler is.  MacLaren leaves and tries to contact Marcy but his comm is still down.

Ken has arrived for dinner and he's astounded with the changes in Marcy. Marcy makes it clear that she is no longer in David's care and that they are not in a romantic relationship.  Things get a bit tense when MacLaren shows up looking to get in touch with Marcy because of his comm.  Marcy steps outside to talk to MacLaren, so she's not able to stop David from telling Ken that Marcy works for the FBI.  The link between the FBI and Macy pisses Ken off so he demands to see MacLaren's Id. When Ken confirms that Marcy is an associate of Maclaren's, he demands to know what Marcy actually does.  After the day he has had, MacLaren is in no mood to explain himself to anyone.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Midnight Texas, Season One, Episode Six: Blinded by the Light

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From the moment Creek's father and brother started to police her sexuality, it really pissed me off. Some of it was even played for laughs. It didn't help that rather than drawing a line in the sand, Creek snuck around town with Manfred. Along with the policing of Creek, Midnight also seems to have a problem with women disappearing.  Yes, the writers have taken care to imbue the female characters with some strength but it's clear that quite a bit of misogyny has managed to seep into the show. 

Blinded by the Light starts with a group of youth running around Midnight and basically causing all the trouble that they can until they are scared away by Lemuel. I think a vampire confronting me would be enough for me to flee.  At any rate, Aaron is ditched by her so-called friends and so begins the long walk out of Midnight. Unfortunately, Aaron she is run off the road by a truck and attacked. 

The next morning, the Rev cleans up the mess created by the kids. At home, Fiji awakes to a demon sexually assaulting her. At first, Fiji believes that it was all a bad dream but when she checks her thighs, she sees scaring.  Creek and Manfred are in bed together when he sees a ghost in his window.  Manfred reaches for some medication claiming to have a headache, as he explains to Creek that seeing ghosts and spirits can make him feel sick. Later, at the diner, Manfred takes even more pills.  The reverend joins Manfred to talk about the fact that his wereself is hungry. Manfred admits to seeing more and more spirits. 

Creek meets with Connor, who claims to be tired because their father has put more work on him now that Creek has been fired for daring to hook up with Manfred.  Connor is not pleased by the new burden.  Creek notices a huge bruise on Connor's arm and is suspicious that this is their father's doing but Connor refuses to get into it. 

Manfred and the Reverend's day gets a whole lot worse when one of the vandals from the night before shows up with a photo of Aaron. When the kid leaves, the Reverend says that it's a problem that there's another missing girl.  Aaron's disappearance is enough for the Midnighters to get together to search for her. Fiji wonders if the missing young women are the result of something supernatural. Manfred admits that he's been seeing ghosts everywhere. The reverend adds that he's been seeing dead animals and bugs everywhere. Joe is desperate to keep the Midnighters from talking about what's really going on and so suggests that they fixate on finding the missing girl.  They decide to split up and search the town.

Fiji is with the Reverend and she tells him about having difficulty sleeping because she hears a voice calling her and something touching her. Fiji is worried that it won't stop until whatever it is takes her. Fiji says that either a demon is after her, or she's going "crazy". The Reverend assures Fiji that she's not going crazy but doesn't tell her the truth about the veil. 

Creek tells Manfred about seeing the bruise on Connor's arm and suggests that her father might just be taking out his anger at her on Connor.  Connor and Creek then come across Tiffany, who you might remember is the young woman who traveled with the vampires to allow them to easy access to blood. Creek and Manfred are joined by Olivia and Bobo. Bobo is certain that Tiffany is another Aubrey because he didn't kill Aubrey and neither did Lowry. They debate calling the cops but come to the conclusion that Tiffany had dropped out of society some time ago and so no one will be looking for her.  Manfred tries to reach out to Tiffany but her spirit has already crossed over to the other side. Bobo is determined to find whoever did this and for the Midnighters deal with the murderers themselves.

The Reverend is washing the graffiti from the tombstones when he is confronted by the cops.  The cops bring up the fact that they still don't know who killed Aubrey, even though they suspect Lowry. The cops then reveal that Aaron's mother is a judge and that there will be a full investigation within 24 hours if she doesn't turn up. This raises the stakes quite a bit. When the cops leave, Joe approaches the Reverend to say that thus far, he has not seen any sign of the girl. The Reverend however has bigger things on his mind and so he tells Joe that Fiji thinks that she's losing her sanity and that Manfred is self medicating. The Reverend is adamant that the citizens of Midnight deserve to know that they are not going crazy. Joe believes that the others are going to know eventually and that nothing he says is going to stop it.  Joe is adamant that he is protecting his family and that this is an impossible choice. Joe is certain that if it gets out that there's a fallen angel in Midnight, the demons will come looking for him. Joe believes that all he can do for now is to help look for the missing girl.

Squawk of the Were-Chicken by Richard J, Kendrick

I wanted to love this book. I tried so hard to love this book.

I mean “werechicken”? I was in right there. That’s such an awesome parody with so much potential for utter hilarity. Bring on the werechicken! Let it be ridiculous! Let is be terrible! Let it be hilarious! Fear it’s BA-GAWK!

And some of it is awesome. I got half way through this book and nearly put it down so many times - but each time I was about to put it down there was a lovely little moment of awesome. This lovely little apparently medieval kingdom with its distinctly agrarian feel is full of highly erudite people. I love that the teachers of this rural school turn goldilocks into an analysis of forensic investigation and encouraging small children to read fairy tales and “question the socio-political hegemony those stories are meant to perpetuate!”. Or the farmer and his love of philosophy reminding us that absence of evidence is not itself evidence of absence.

It’s hilarious, it’s really well done and it brings both a wonderful challenge to preconceptions, some nice thinking points and just this almost sublimely ridiculous feel. Every time I’m about to drop the book another moment happens and I think I can keep going

There’s also some nicely interesting themes - like Deirdre rejecting the idea of becoming an apprentice because adults have to specialise and can’t learn ALL THE THINGS instead just get to learn one thing. And there’s Deidre’s inventing which could also be fun…

Except… this would have been reinforced more if Deidre had actually shown a diverse interest in different topics rather than just inventions. Or even if her inventions meant more by the stage I finished

There’s also Fyfe - for reasons I didn’t reach (and don’t matter) Fyfe for some reason has a lot of modern 21st century cultural references pouring into his head causing everyone to consider him pretty weird. And it could be another element of funny, patently ridiculous silliness. And at times it is, it really is. And it’s definitely trying…


But it doesn’t succeed. And I hate to say it because it has all the ingredients of being really really good and zany. And I need some zany… but it’s just not consistently funny. We have brief moments but so much of it is a slog and not funny

Preacher, Season 2, Episode 11: Back Doors

We begin with a flashback of Jesse’s really really terrible childhood after his dad died - which involved his grandmother sealing him a box and burying it in a swamp and repeatedly leaving child Jesse in this box until he finally breaks, gives up his last name, his father’s last name, and thanks god that his father is dead.

Yes it’s pretty brutal. It may explain a lot about Jesse, though I think it’s also partly being included because this is the episode where Jesse is finally called out for being an arsehole so we have to establish him as sympathetic first.

So after Tulip confronted him last week, this week they dredge up the Saint of Killers and find out that he’s not actually in there. Tulip is furious - and Jesse bringing up her lying about being married doesn’t actually win points, especially since he’s still lying about why he didn’t send the Saint to hell

This leads to a huge confrontation at the house with Cassidy and Tulip both kind of seething at Jesse. So he brings up a Caribbean holiday which everyone is onside for (even despite Cassidy’s initial concerns about topless beaches and sunlight) when Jesse hashes all that squee with a “after we find god.”

Everyone is backed to being pissed. So Jesse brings up meeting Jesus’s descendent and him being “an imbecile”. While this is a complete crisis for Jesse, this doesn’t impress Tulip at all because as far as she’s concerned that can stand in for every religious leader - including god. She doesn’t get why he cares. To which he says:

If she weren’t so selfish she would care.

Jess isn’t struck down on the spot but ye gods no man has ever deserved it more.

Tulip and Cassidy both respond to this very last fucking straw and lace into Jesse’s epic selfishness, over how much they’ve lost, how little he’s done for them, what they risked all for his quest.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Strain, Season 4, Episode 7: Ourobouros

Ok… a lot happened here. And while there’s a definite epic moment, there’s also some Problems.

Vasiliy, Roman and Quinn have arrived in New York and fight their way towards Manhattan island, killing Strigoi and planning to cross the bridges. Eichorst has recruited Desai to help him catch his “terrorists” and Desai has the excellent plan of blowing up every bridge connecting Manhattan island to the mainland.

Okkkk so yes it will be hard for Vasiliy to sneak his nuke there now. But wouldn’t it be easier for the Master to… leave? I mean, he doesn’t actually have to be present anywhere to carry out his nefarious deeds. Why stay still at all?

Anyway, Eichorst praises Desai saying it was even better than what Palmer could have managed - which he then takes back realising the Master in Palmer’s body may take offense at this. The Master doesn’t - instead describing Palmer as a “quisling” to his own kind. Ooookkk… Desai is right there. What does that make him? And, hey, Quisling was a Norwegian ruler who betrayed Norway to the Nazis, so, was that a snipe at Eichorst too?

I am also concerned that Roman seemed… reluctant to engage the strigoi… which is especially an issue with everything else that happened in this episode.

The Master has not been happy with Eichorst this episode since he’s pretty much failed at everything. Eichorst makes a big dramatic display of sacrificing himself to the Master’s wrath - but the Master instead taunts him with Abraham winning and Eichorst giving up to chivvy him into getting back into the fight already

Abe and Dutch get Abe’s stuff back and hold up in a church - but Abe is clearly not feeling well; particularly after being experimented on when he was in the facility, he is feeling his advanced age. Dutch is duly worried, especially when Abe starts babbling and ripping up the Lumen so he can paste the pages to the wall… yeah that’s concerning. And then Abe collapses.

Thankfully this is when Ephraim and Alex arrive after spending a little time angsting about Zach (aaaergggh. No-one cares) which is helpful because Abe needs a doctor. Ephraim is an arsehole to Dutch about leaving Abe alone when he was the one who abandoned them while she and Abe were actually locked up in camps. She gives him hell for it, most appropriately

They need medicine so it’s off to Gus - yes everyone on this show is reuniting at last! Creem objects to them giving away medicine without trade but Gus stares him down again and joins them back when they go to help Abe

The Last Ship, Season Four, Episode Three: Bread and Circuses

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There are times when watching The Last Ship that I believe that the writers are straight up trolling the viewers. It's reached the point where it's so ridiculous that I often find myself laughing out loud when I know the writers are expecting me to be all rah rah rah U.S.A. Even for american propaganda, The Last Ship is ridiculous. 

Despite being shot at, the Nathan James is approaching Oran Algeria. It's not long before Sasha, Kandie and a crew land and start their search for Mahmond's family.  Despite showing pictures of Mahmoud's body, and the danger that his family faces, no one is willing to help Sasha or Kandie.  Fortunately for the team, Omar is spotted inside of the home of Mahmoud's mother.  He's easy to spot because his helicopter is close by.  Why didn't Mahmoud just put a flashing light on the door, to save the crew time looking for him, if he was just going to leave his helicopter sitting around. The home is quickly surrounded and Danny Green gets Omar in his sights.

Tom took one for the team and had sex with Lucia.  Tom awakens first and slips the necklace containing the key from Lucia before slipping downstairs.  Before Tom can enter the secret room, he runs into Giorgio, who cannot stop himself from telling Tom about the big day that he has planned for him. When Giorgio heads back to bed, Tom slips into the locked room and starts rifling through paperwork looking to find the head of this particular snake. Tom comes across some laboratory testing but at this point has no idea what it all means. Once his snooping is done, Tom slips back into bed with Lucia and puts the necklace back around her neck. Lucia must actually sleep like the dead.

Omar is questioning Mahmoud's mother but she plays dumb, pretending that her son didn't actually give her anything of value. In frustration, Mahmoud knocks over the table and the seeds fall out of the leg. Realising that she's in trouble, Mahmoud's mother stabs Omar with a small knife and he retaliates by slashing her throat.  Finally, in possession of the seeds, Omar leaves the home, making his way to his helicopter, flanked by his men and a group of children. Fortunately, Sasha is able to put a tracker on his helicopter. 

It's now officially time for Lucia, and Giorgio to meet with Omar.  Giorgio orders everyone out of the room except Tom.  This is just some plain sloppy shit. The only reason to have Tom in the room is for him to have knowledge about what Giorgio is attempting to buy and where the product will be located.  It makes absolutely no sense for Giorgio to want Tom in the room given that he has no real reason to trust Tom and this meeting should be well above Tom's position in the criminal organisation. Giorgio goes all machismo and starts off the exchange in way that clearly doesn't impress Omar.  Giorgio has the agreed upon ten million brought into the room to exchange that money for seeds. Omar rejects the money stating that Giorgio didn't reveal when they made the deal that there would be other interested parties. Now that the British Secret Service and the American military is interested, Giorgio wants 200 million for the seeds.  Things quickly become tense. Lucia intervenes and Omar is quick to shut her down by calling her a whore. As Lucia negotiates with Omar, Tom advises Giogrio that he authenticate the seeds that Omar is selling.  Lucia and Omar manage to come to an agreement and so Giogrio invites Omar to watch a boxing fight.

Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 7: The Wolf and the Dragon

Ok… I’m actually kind of disappointed by this season finale… in much the same way I have been by this whole season. Because there have been moments of epic and moments of awesome but then you into a moment of sheer blithering stupidity and I’m just “WHY IS THIS HERE?!” This is season 7 in microcosm - awesome and silly mixed together

The good parts are the big epic meet up as everyone gathers at the old arena where the Targaryens used to keep their dragons (something Daenerys disapproved on since she thinks this is what made the dragons weak and, in turn, made the Targaryens themselves weak). There we have another moment where Bronn and Jaime look at the sheer number of Unsullied and Dorthraki (who are terrifyingly well co-ordinated together) and say “oh shit we’re screwed”. Bronn also puts all war down to cocks. Which I’m choosing to interpret as a reference to narrow patriarchal structures of violence, control, competition and ownership constantly leading to conflict

This is also Jon’s first visit to Kings Landing introducing him to a city with 1,000,000 people in it - more than in the entire North. While Jon is playing countryboy, Cersei is giving instructions on who to kill while Jaime looks on all disapproving

Time for reunions! Pod and Tyrion is awesome. Brienne and the Hound kind of fun since last time they tried to kill each other. He wonders who is protecting Arya. Brienne laughs that Arya is pretty much someone you need protecting from now. We have Tyrion and Bronn bantering back and forth and a brief attempt for Tyrion to try and recruit Bron

Until we get to the arena where everyone makes Significant Eyes at each other. Brienne and Jaime. Euron and Theon. Cersei and Tyrion. The Hound even has a stand off with his monstrous mountainous brother.

Daenerys arrives late. On dragonback. This is the first time Cersei and Euron have seen her dragons and are visibly… concerned.

Time for formal proceedings, but first Euron has to stand up and be pretty much an arse to everyone. He ignores Jaime and Cersei when they tell him to sit down - it’s only when he’s threatened with the Mountain that he obeys. Again, this is why the Lannisters cannot ever rule - no-one respects them. They only ever have fear, no allies, no friends, no respect; their reign could never be stable

That taken care of it’s time for Jon to make an epic speech about the living and the dead - and to show off the Wight. Which nearly eats Cersei and shows everyone just how horrifying and awful it is. It’s very convincing. Cersei is shaken. And when Daenerys confirms there’s at least 100,000 of them Jaime is completely terrified.

Euron checks if they can swim and learning they can’t he officially declares “fuck that” and heads off to his island with his fleet. He’ll be back next Summer.

Cersei seems to actually be convinced and says yup, she’s totally in for the truce. So long as Jon promises when he finishes fighting in the north he stays there and doesn’t get involved in the war afterwards. Jon says actually he can’t because he’s totally sworn to Daenerys, sorry and he’s never heard of the concept of lying. Cersei storms off.

What nonsense is this?!


Ye gods Jon’s repeated refrain for the whole season is “killing the dead matters more than anything else” that includes your own stupid honour, Jon! It is not noble, it is deeply selfish to put your own integrity over the survival of the human race

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Fangs of Freelance (Fred, the Vampire Accountant #4) by Drew Hayes

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Being an accountant, even if it is for the paranormal community should pretty much be a danger free calm job. Despite Fred's sweater vests and over all calm demeanor, trouble seems to routinely find him.  Fred isn't the bravest vampire in existence but his strong sense of morality and concern for others has earned him friends and allies who are quite powerful.  Now that Fred is the leader of his own clan, he has to become even more involved in the lives of his friends.

My constant criticism of this series is that each book is more like compilation of short stories rather than one long discernible novel with a beginning, middle, climax and end.  It's almost as though Hayes had several good ideas and could not find a way to pick one and flesh it out until it became a standard length novel. What Hayes does instead is to pick an overriding theme and then write stories which fit whatever narrative he's chosen to fixate on.

The Fangs of Freelance is really all about how Fred adjusts to being the leader of his own clan and the new alliance he makes with the Agency.  Fred may not be a brave vampire and is still relatively new to the supernatural in comparison to his friends but becoming the leader of  the clan of Fred has given him remarkable power. Fred could choose lawfully to twist his friends to his will, or to make life altering decisions for them but instead, Fred chooses to use his powers to empower their autonomy.  This manifests when Fred encourages Albert to spread his wings because Albert possess a weapon of destiny, even though this will take Albert away from Fred.  It's Fred who sees the usury of Amy's contract and rather than enriching himself, not only gives Amy the ability to free herself financially, thus opening up new options, he turns down a bribe to maintain the status quo. Essentially, Fred is just a classic good guy.

Fred's basic decency has earned him the respect of his friends who have formed his clan.  This decency has caused his friends to jump to his aid when he needs it and or risk their lives to protect him.  Arch actually dies to protect Fred from his sire. Sure, Arch may have the ability to resurrect but being decapitated cannot be any fun.

The Fangs of Freelance is the fourth novel in this series and I have to say that the novelty is starting to wear a little thin.  Yes, Fred is unique because of his passion for numbers, fairness, and sweater vests. Yes, Fred gets himself into interesting situations because of his unfamiliarity with the paranormal world and his skill as an account allows him to come up with unique solutions. The problem is that Hayes has hammered home on this to such a degree that it feels been there done that.  The Fangs of Freelance doesn't really offer anything new to this universe or give us any new characterisation to make it a fun read. If you're going to go down a quirky road, it's something that you have to keep playing with in order for it not to grow old and tired.

Killjoys, Season 3, Episode 9: Reckoning Ball

This episode opens with some pretty broken recapping, Alvis explaining how the Scarbacks first faced off on Aneela while Dutch reminds us that the plan to stop the Hullen involves killing Aneela, killing all the Hullen and sacrificing Dutch in the process. In case we’d forgotten.

The Scarback raised their point because apparently before war they have a tradition of cutting themselves (to prove themselves not Hullen) in front of people they still have some unresolved shit with. It’s like a last moment to tell loved ones you love them and enemies that you still want them to fuck themselves even if you’re heading to the afterlife. Good times.

Dutch declares herself way too busy for this nonsense. I actually like Pree’s take on it more - that you don’t show your love by having dramatic goodbyes, but by coming back to your loved one (the loved one in this case being his new bartender, who has also brought his drunken mother along to meet Pree and it’s super super sweet and I kind of love it and want way more). Also Pree sings, super super well.

Everyone is surprised when they have a guest - Delle Sayah Kendry. She’s shown up to show she’s heavily pregnant, claim D’avin is the father and to parlay. Everyone is not eager to sit down with her but since they’re totally not ready for an invasion a delay would be quite nice - so Johnny and Kendy end up sitting at the Parlay table

And no, she’s not actually sitting there and trusting their adherence to some super ancient tradition to keep her safe - she also has lots of big scary missiles aimed at Westerley in case they won’t play nice

Why is she here? Well she makes a brief demand to surrender which obviously no-one’s going to do that. She insists on trying to prove to Johnny that she’s pregnant - but when he refuses she almost begs him to. The Hullen do not get pregnant, she wants some medical scans to see what is actually happening to her.

They do - and confirm the father is actually D’avin (though he insists he hasn’t had sex with her - so this is a green goo thing) and the mother is actually Aneela - which Kendry didn’t even know. There’s also the added worry that if the Hullen can reproduce then they no longer need human hosts and this is pretty much the extinction of humanity

There’s also other issues with the baby’s rapid growth and acting out in the womb which is worrisome.

Johnny tries to insist Kendry stay - she refuses and decides to leave. And Johnny takes her prisoner. Kendry reminds him of her threat but he points out that a) they have the Hullen heir so screw your threat and b) the fact Aneela has clearly allowed Kendry to come shows she values Kendry: she is an achilles heel for Aneela and therefore Aneela won’t risk her

As for the Parlay? They’re at war - some ancient words aren’t going to cut it. Especially not from the one who killed Pawter. Yeah, Kendry doesn’t know Johnny or how vengeful he can be, as she thinks she does. Yes, he may be a fun guy but under all that he has a definite sharp edge, especially when the people he cares about are menaced. There’s also a possibility that Kendry is showing some emotion - odd for a Hullen

Meanwhile Zeph comes up with a plan to defeat Aneela - last episode we found the boxes that can keep Aneela in, imprisoning her. If they can lure Aneela into one of these boxes (uses Dutch as bait - or entering a false memory into the Green Hullen Hive Mind saying Dutch is inside) then that would take her out of the fight without killing Dutch. Yay!

But wasn’t part of killing the leader not just removing the general but removing some original Green and therefore decimating the Hullen ranks? Other competent Hullen exist… or do they now that Aneela had her little coup and replaced everyone’s Green Goo with Slave Green Goo?

Either way this plan gives them hope because Dutch may live! They just need some special memory inserting naughty technology - on to extremely annoying character Pippin who absolutely no-one wanted to return! No, really, whyyyyy? We could have had Pree get this tech with his own dodgy contacts

So they create the false memory to record and insert into the green - which involves Dutch and D’avin and the worst acting ever (again, Pree could be here making cutting sarcastic comments way more than Pippin ever could. Pree is the MOST SCATHING EVER).

3%, Season One, Episode Two: Capítulo 02: Moedas

Image result for 3% netflix

3% continues to be extremely fascinating, even though I really see it as low budget Hunger Games. The contestants all want to get to the offshore but some are far more willing than others to be ruthless about it.  At this point, I feel as though we are getting to know a little bit about the characters and their backstory. The writers are also beginning to fill in the world just a little bit as well.

Capítulo 02: Moedas, made use of a flashback to show us Fernando as a child. Fernando has been raised to believe in the Process and that one day he will take the test and pass.  We see Fernando's father giving a sermon to the people and it's clear that the social stratification between the 3% and the land locked has been elevated to a religion.  Fernando's father counsels his listeners to believe in the Process and even more specifically, in the Original Couple.  This really caught my attention because it seems as though a sort of Adam and Eve are at the heart of this religious belief. Where and how they fit in, we still don't know. We don't even know what drove humanity off of the land onto the so-called offshore oasis. 

The very first test this week is a medical test and as predicted, Fernando does not immediately pass.  Fernando is pulled aside for testing and it's clear that he is frustrated as the doctor pokes his legs repeatedly, testing for some kind of feeling. Fernando has become used to his disability and has learned to adapt. The doctor then injects something into Fernando's spine and suddenly he gets feeling. Fernando is informed that should he pass, there's a good chance that he will be able to walk again because medicine is more advanced offshore. 

I must admit to being disappointed with the very idea of a cure for Fernando's disability. I'm tired of seeing disability erased or magically cured.  Disabled people exist and deserve to be represented.  As you might well imagine, this throws Fernando for a loop. Learning that he might be able to walk one day shakes his very core. The only person Fernando initially tells about this is Michele, and she immediately congratulates him.  Fernando makes it clear that he didn't take part in the testing to cure his disability and feels that he is able and competent just the way he is, furthermore; Fernando feels that if he is magically cured of his disability that all of his struggling will have been for nothing. 

Joanna uses this break time to have sex with Lucas, after noticing him eyeballing her. Joanna and Lucas have sex in the bathroom with Joanna clearly taking the lead. Every damn thing that Joanna does is purposeful, so Lucas had better watch out. 

The next testing that the group engages in tests their ability to problem solve and to use logic.  A group of them are placed in a room which has been staged.   Mannequins are staged at a table and the group is told to figure out why one seems to be in distress. If the group comes up with the wrong answer, the entire group will be eliminated.  Fernando is the first one to look at the scenario and come up with a suggestion.  Fernando believes that the woman has been poisoned. As the group questions Fernando about his conclusions, they hear over the loudspeaker other groups being eliminated. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wynonna Earp, Season 2, Episode 12: I Hope You Dance

It’s the season finale and time for all the drama!

The widows and Bobo are being all nefarious. Waverley tries to stop them to oppose the “shitstrumpets” (which is good) and making snarky comments about Bobo’s coat (though I’m with Bobo, “new gay Waverley is judgy”, c’mon Waves, sexual taunts and gender presentation? You’re better than that). It seems the whole protective “my angel” thing has worn off with Bobo on account of frequent hell visits and Waverley can’t rely on him to be on her side any more. With his telekinesis and the Widows they’re all kind of knocked aside - even Wynonna appearing doesn’t make a difference - and they head off for evil.

That leaves the gang to do some reunioning. Waverley is super guilty for all the unwise betraying thing and Wynonna isn’t exactly thrilled but she’s willing to put a pin in that for later and now focus on them being back together and loving each other et al

Can I say how much I love this? Characters who don’t decide everything should take a back seat to their personal drama? And characters who can be pissed at loved ones without forgetting that they ARE loved ones? I love this, I love their relationships. Waverley also raises not being an Earp but Wynonna has no time for that, parentage or not Waverley is her sister, end of.

Everyone is alive, though Dolls has to crawl out of a body bag and talk Doc down off the edge of a well. His seal is broken, he’s mortal now and he’s just had a near-death experience (well he died then came back) and he’s all feels about that.

Oh and the baby is definitely threatening to make an appearance.

They do have the Stylist Dinnerware of Demon Slaying (I’d love to claim credit for this but this snark comes from Wynonna herself). It glows alongside peacemaker so they’re related. They go to the Iron Witch and give her a dose of menace for screwing everything up, but they won’t kill her because they respected her sister. And totally want to exploit her - Wynonna is always brutally honest

So the good news is that the plate turns to be made of the same metal as peacemaker and the super anti-demon stuff that makes the homestead Revenant thing. The bad news is that the Iron Witch is apparently the worst gunsmith ever and can only make 1 bullet from the whole plate

Time to check on team bad guy. So Bobo leads the widows to their beloved Clooty. He’s still weak because of all that coffin time. Also he calls himself Bulshar now because he’s going to be the big bad of next season and really “Clootie” ain’t all that scary. Anyway he needs powering up and a fresh Earp baby. Beth Widow is super eager to dedicate the rest of her life to serving and crawling before him as a proper evil wifey

While Mercedes Widow declares it’s the 21st century she’s discovered feminism and she’s not here to be Buylshur’s servant for all eternity. Hell no, she’s doing it for herself, stealing all the rings (which are apparently a thing we’ve gone all Lord of the Rings on this) which gives her a huge upgrade to become Sarumen (told you we’re all Tolkein) and buries her hubby, sister wife and Bobo in the mine. Sure she’s evil but honestly all right thinking people are all team Mercedes right now.