Friday, September 15, 2017

Stranger Things, Season 1, Chapter 5: The Flea and the Acrobat

Hopper continues his infiltration of the sinister lab by means of lots of punching until he finds the scary basement with the weird plant/tunnel/monster/thing

At which point he’s captured and dumped at home expected to sleep it off and forget everything. Instead he tears apart his house looking for a bug - and just when it seems like he’s just being paranoid he finds one.

The rest of the police think he may have lost it - but they tell him that Barb’s car has been found - clearly staged to be found (again by the State police who are so conveniently all involved outside their jurisdiction). And 2 more people have vanished

It seems like Joyce is more stable - but only because Lonnie the terrible is there to help them with the funeral. Jonathan is really not a fan because a) he hates his father and b) he’s now team supernatural doesn’t need someone getting Joyce back on team sensible. Or team withdrawn

At the funeral she is definitely low key, everything focuses more on Lonnie and the whole service is terrible (the pastor runs the worst kind of funeral - one where he seems to spend more time excusing god killing the dead kid than actually focusing on the grieving)

Still Lonnie continues to be helpful, fixing the great big holes Joyce put in the wall searching for Will. He also talks ominously about how the quarry was so very much to blame - yep, Lonnie is planning to sue the quarry. He is here playing kind and nice because he wants to cash in on his son’s death.

Joyce. Is. Not. Amused. Lonnie is giving his marching orders. And out comes the lights again.

Hopper also joins her to tear the house apart finding another bug- and telling Joyce she was right about everything.

The Geek Squad becomes more obsessed with the idea of an alternate dimension which Mike is stuck in and run it past their fellow geeky character who accepts the possibility and throws physics at the idea to try and pass it off as something other than magic. It’s going to need lots of power - so they to El to use woo-woo but first they need to find the place. To which Dustin actually does something and points out all their compassess (apparently everyone carried compasses back in these dark ages before coffee came in 169723 delicious flavours I could order over the internet? What a dark and terrible era). Are pointing the wrong way. Clearly if they go that way they will find the portal

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Travelers, Season One, Episode Ten: Kathryn

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Thanks to MacLaren's sacrifice, Kat survived the plane crash but now the team must deal with her. Kat is rightfully freaked out to be loaded into the back of the Traveler van and restrained.  Kat is frantic to find out what happened to MacLaren and tells the team that her husband is an FBI agent. After a bit of struggle, Marcy is able to sedate Kat, much to Carly's relief.  Carly actually wonders how Maclaren can stand Kat. Wow, the jealousy here is strong. With Kat now sedated, Marcy calls MacLaren's cellphone and it's answered by the Traveler EMT,s who suggest that the team deal with Kat and then return to the base of operations. 

Kat is taken home and placed in bed. Trevor and Philip empty a couple of wine bottles to make it look like Kat and MacLaren tied one on to explain why she won't remember anything when she awakens. Marcy says that this is necessary because the memory inhibitor is going to feel like the worst hangover ever. 

Back at headquarters, the team is greeted by D13 with D standing for Doctor, or in this case Derek. The Director has sent an elite medical team which flies across the globe taking care of heads of state to treat MacLaren. This suggests that whatever faults the team has, the Director must value MacLaren a lot. MacLaren is in rough shape and even with nanites fast at work, he might not survive. Trevor volunteers to grow new organs for MacLaren, which apparently is quite painful. 

While the team of Doctors and Marcy work on MacLaren, Grant gains access to his hosts memories.  He remembers falling in love with Kat and what a good relationship the original Grant had with Kat. He remembers the pain they had when Kat had a miscarriage and their ongoing fertility issues. MacLaren is confused by these memories because he now feels for Kat with his host felt for Kat.  

As planned, Kat wakes the next day and is completely out of sorts. Kat wanders into the kitchen and is stunned to see the empty bottles of wine. Confused about what happened the day before, Kat texts MacLaren and it's Philip who answers since Grant is still in surgery. There are still loose ends which need tying up so Philip heads to the airport to pick up MacLaren's SUV.  Philip quickly draws the attention of security and he is stopped when he tries to exit the parking garage. Philip is forced to incapacitate the guards but that doesn't stop them from contacting the FBI about what they believe to be a stolen vehicle. Forbes becomes concerned about MacLaren when he learns about the vehicle and starts to investigate. Forbes tracks the car and using dashcam video, is able to see that it's Philip who's driving. With police fast on his tail, Philip is forced to abandon the SUV and contact Carly to help him escape. 

Forbes and Kat meet up at MacLaren's SUV and they discuss the changes in MacLaren. Forbes has noticed that MacLaren is suddenly a perfect shot on the range though sucks at squash. Kat brings up the changes in MacLaren's diet and the fact that he does certain things (read: sex) better. Kat is concerned that Grant is missing but Forbes calms her by saying that it isn't unheard of for MacLaren to drop off the radar for awhile. 

Preacher, Season 2, Episode 13: The End of the Road

So we open with another scene from Jesse’s childhood, now working for “grandma” Madame L’Angelle - apparently running a southern style theme park with added woo-woo to a steady stream of tourists. The police are also interested but even child Jesse is skilled in spotting them and hiding from them.

The nefarious becomes more apparent when Jesse gets his arm brutally twisted for trying to hold back some money - and kills his pet chicken in a fit of temper. After which he them goes to Madame L’Angelle to fix it… or maybe to give her a chicken dinner.

Now to the future and we have Starr deciding to stage manage Jesse into the new messiah - which Jesse is clearly having issues with - from being called messiah to Starr trying to write his speech and dictate his wardrobe.

The first step of this is to give a speech. To a bunch of school children in a Catholic school… in or near Armenia or a place which is likely to have Armenians willing to attack and shoot people and be plausible because Jesse’s speech is interrupted by a group of men, apparently Armenians, with gun. They menace Jesse, several nuns and the kids and Jesse tries to use the word. But it fizzles. Again. Instead he resorts to violence. Jesse is very very very good at violence and saves everyone

Which gets him hailed and on a talk show. But doesn’t show off divine power - so ends up with lower billing than Kylie Jenner. Jesse is also smart enough to realise the attack was staged which adds to all of his conflict over being the messiah

The rest of the gang are being more interesting. Cassidy is taking this damn show and is determined to carve a storyline out of it. Somehow. He’s trying so hard. And he is hurting because after spying on Dennis he seems more proof of his blood lust and falling into utter vampire murderiness.

Worse, when Tulip comes back and he imagines having sex with her (for a brief moment I thought that scene was real).. And pictures himself ripping out Tulip’s throat. He is planning on bringing Dennis to with them on holiday to Bimini and asks Dennis if he can be a good boy. And Dennis asks him, archly, whether HE can be a good boy…

...Cass can’t. Not with Dennis around. He pushes Dennis out of the window in full sunlight and refuses to let him back. Dennis burns to death and Cass is all torn up. This could have been a real storyline, the struggle of the vampire and the poignancy of not just killing Dennis to save others - but the cruel, self-analysing selfishness of killing him in order to save himself. There’s a whole lot of levels of pain to analyse there and Cassidy would be real fun to analyse it. We could have had this storyline - instead we had Jesse moping around

And Tulip. Tulip continues her path of angst. She’s aiming for her holiday with a single minded and almost grumpy purpose, goes shopping (and then robs the place because the shop assistant is an arsehole and looking likely racist) before returning home to find Cass all mopey and smoking crack. And she finds the spy camera from the Grail. She realises that Starr has been watching them the whole time and probably manipulated everything. Guessing her friendly neighbour is behind this, she goes to confront Featherstone and Hoover with a sharp object

American Horror Story, Season 7 (Cult), Episode 2: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Time of the second episode of this hot mess. On the plus side it can’t get any worse

On the minus side; I just said that so now feel vaguely responsible for the awfulness I must now endure. Hey if I’m going to be punished like this I suppose I should have done something wrong.

So we begin an hour of Sarah Paulson screaming and my gods American Horrror Story first Lang, then Bassett, now Paulson - how many more actors I like are you going to turn into sources of irritation for me? And we have an important political message: fear turns people into monsters

It’s possibly you may miss it - or so the writers think - because they hit us with the same subtlety of being bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer.

We open with Ally having a clown moment deciding there are murderous evil clowns in the house and Ivy being either gullible enough or kind enough to treat this seriously and not act like Ally is hallucinating.

Of course the clowns aren’t there.

Oz is also having nightmares about clowns - and Winter continues to mess with him. She plays the same “honesty tell your fears” tactics that Kai abuses her with and among other things advises Oz that if he can’t tell if he’s in a dream or not he should ask.

His nightmares also ruin Ally and Ivy’s sexy time.

We also have new neighbours who start to freak out the already constantly freaked out Ally even more. They’ve moved in while the blood of the last residents still stains the carpets. Also they keep bees so we can be reminded of Ally’s fear of holes and move in big barrels which makes Ally extra paranoid. Harrison and Meadow conveniently decide to info dump their entire lives in one painful convoluted splurge. With added awfulness: Meadow stereotypes her new lesbian neighbours. Also Harrison is a gay man who married Meadow because gods alone know why, apparently 35 year old gay men and 35 year old cancer surviving women decide to marry because reasons and she throws in gay snark as well. yay.

To sum up the rest: she’s survived skin cancer, he’s a gun nut (and parroting shallow nonsense about Obama and the second amendment), they’re Nicole Kidman fans and they’ve had financial troubles. Also he talks about Hives being the ultimate society because there are no individuals only The Greater Good. Which is more Unsubtle politics.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jot of Blood, (The Coventry Years #1) by Katherine Bayless

Lire is returning to school and she’s not looking forward to it. As a clairvoyant she’s resigned to being an outcast - even her teachers are wary of their secrets being accidentally read through Lire’s skin.

But this school year not only brings some excellent friends - Cal the werewolf and Zach the Hidden, but no shortage of adventure as well: with murders, missing werewolves, and considerable attention from some of the most important people in the magical world.

It’s time for Lire to leave her shell

This is the book I never asked for but turned out to want anyway.

I love this series, I like the characters, the world is awesome and I can’t wait for Lire’s story to continue after the events of the last book.

So hearing there was a new book starring Lire and set in this world and I’m doing my happy dance and all ready to sign up. Then I hear it’s a YA story of Lire in her school days. And I want to pout in a corner because I didn’t ask for this - who asked for this - bring back Adult Lire on whom the fate of the world rests who has gone through lots of epic shenanigans.

I pouted, I sulked, I opened it up grimly ready to snark or be passive aggressive. But I liked it a lot.

Hey, a magic school where people learn stuff! Every other magical school I’ve read produces a population of young sorcerers who are experts in divination and potion making but cannot read or master basic arithmetic. But Lire’s school teaches foreign languages and English and maths, y’know actual subjects. I give so many points for a magical school that actually teaches!

I love the exploration of the different magical systems and curses, how this occasionally results in the school being divided and the accommodations that have to be made for people with different magical gifts. I really like the Hidden - the magic around the Invisible Men - is a nice unique element.

There’s also an interesting insight into how teachers treat pupils, how they bully their students - not through the very obvious. There’s some comparisons to disability discrimination and I don’t generally like - comparing marginalised people to actual super-powered people - but it’s an well done comparison of when people need accommodations. The problem of singling people out, of drawing attention to their needs in front of the whole class, giving accommodations you assume the people want without actually consulting them - and not asking what they actually need.

One of the reasons this works is that even while Lire and Zachary do have considerable magical powers, those powers come with severe drawbacks as well. Lire’s inability to touch anything comes with strict dietary requirements, special clothing and a constant awareness. Similarly, Zach being completely invisible leads to different ways he is regarded by others to say nothing of the difficulty of not having people sit on him. The parallels of disability are not inaccurate.

The story itself is very personal to Lire and I’m generally not a great fan of character driven high school stories. Not a judgement of those stories, just not my thing. But the connection to her powers, the wider world and hints of things to come all add a series of plot lines; including lots of nice action, investigation, foreshadowing and other fun things all while making Lire very much her age and experience. I like how we have the broad world, the meta-plot, the murder investigation, the characters and Lire’s own high school struggles. The balance is really well done, I love it.

I am a little dubious at the sheer number of very important people decide they need to be involved in high school student disputes. However there’s a definite hint that More Things Are Involved than high school politics.

The book is not diverse. There are several women - but I can’t say any character other than Zach and Cal are actually close to Lire and there are two women (Amber and one of the teachers) who are Designated Bad People. Similarly we have few meaningful POC: Deidra is Asian but appears very late on, we have a latino vampire and that pretty much sums his character up in his entirety. There’s an Asian truthsayer who is a nice character - but only briefly appearing. There are no LGBTQ characters

I still want book four in the Clairvoyant’s Complicated Life series. I want that very very badly. But, not having that, The Coventry Years is a wonderful addition to this world and Lire’s history, her old friends, her old contacts and some of the shape of the world. It was fun, it was a great insight into a fascinating world. I liked it a lot

And now we can have book four in the Clairvoyant’s Complicated Life series.

Midnight Texas, Season One, Episode Eight: Last Temptation of Midnight

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Things with the veil are getting serious and we know this because Joe and Chuy have left town because Chuy is having a difficult time resisting the veil. I'm just going to say this up front, first they had Chuy in the plotbox for episodes and now the writers have written Joe away. I don't care what the reasoning is, shoving the only two LGBT characters into the plotbox is erasure and wrong. 

A horrible big bad is headed to Midnight. This monster has no face and he's standing in a graveyard pledging fealty to whom I assume is the demon who has set his sights on Fiji.  When the demon is approached by a reverend eager to help, the demon rips off his face and assumes his identity. The demon steals the reverend's truck and starts to make his way toward Midnight.  The demon's approach causes the residents of Midnight to change their behaviour.

Janet comes to see Fiji because she hasn't been feeling like herself recently and has been subject to really dark thoughts.  Fiji is quick to help Janet and while doing so, clearly starts to feel better about her present situation.  When Fiji leaves Janet alone in the shop to gather some herbs, Janet steals an athame and runs outside.  Hearing her door close Fiji searches for Janet, only to find Janet about to stab herself with the athame because she's been told that she doesn't deserve to live. Using her magic, Fiji rips the athame out of Janet's hands and Bobo quickly wraps his arms around Janet. Apparently, the demon which is terrorizing Fiji has no problem picking on vulnerable members of the community.

It's not just humans who are having trouble, the supernaturals are as well. Lem and Olivia are canoodling in bed and he becomes fixated on the the throbbing vein in her neck.  Lem is even slow to stop leeching when Olivia orders him to.

Olivia heads to the dinner and learns that the Rev, who is a vegetarian is eating meat. Clearly his beast side is taking control.  A worried Olivia then heads to see Bobo to talk about the behaviourial changes she's seen in both the Rev and Lemuel. Let's face it, a vampire and a weretiger could do a lot of damage if they lose control.  Olivia gives Bobo some silver bullets just in case.

Manfred is driving steadily away from Midnight, as Xylda tries to talk him into returning because she believes that Midnight is his destiny.  When Xylda admits that she didn't send Manfred to Midnight to be safe but because she had a vision of him there just before she died, Manfred loses his temper.  As far as Manfred is concerned, getting away from Midnight is a good thing because it means he won't constantly have headaches from seeing ghosts. Manfred promptly swallows the last of his pills.

Xylda believes that Manfred has to be a better man than she raised him to be. In a flashback, we learn that Manfred's mother simply abandoned him on Xylda's doorstep because she didn't know how to raise someone who could see and interact with the dead.  For his part, Manfred doesn't quite fit in with his peers because instead of playing with them, he plays with the ghosts of dead children. When Xylda breaks the news to Manfred that it's just the two of them now, she instructs him to stop interacting with the dead in public because people will think that he's weird. Xylda also tries to soften the blow of Manfred's abandonment by pointing out that because their home is on wheels, when the going gets tough, they can just move onto the next location.

Teen Wolf, Season 6, Episode 17: Werewolves of London

After the hail of bullets last episode there is a definite concern as to which quasi-expendable character actually died. The good news is none of them died. But Melissa, Lydia, Mason and Rafael has all been hit and need medical attention though none seem on death’s doorstep (this may change for more pathos)

Melissa, on her hospital bed, insists that Scott needs to fight back. Malia is onside for this.

Especially since no-one else seems to be doing much. Even the sherriff’s attempt to convince Tamorah that Gerard is a bad guy fails - he shows off all of Gerard’s crimes but she only sees cover ups by the police (partially accurate but simplistic). And decides that Gerard being a ruthless monster is useful because it will mean he will win.

“Gerard is willing to sacrifice everyone” is apparently a great sales’ pitch because all the police now kick out the sheriff and are on team Tamorah

And again I ask what has happened to the greater rule of law. An FBI agent has just been shot and an entire police department just rebelled - again, don’t tell me it’s to “preserve” the secret. There’s no way larger federal bodies are going to spend one millisecond listening to stories about werewolves in between the shooting people on general principles.

Scott and Malia go on a recruitment drive… first step is Deucalian. Yes, Deucalian. Alas, Deucalian has, in Malia’s words, taken a vow of uselessness (he’s a pacificst). And neither Scott’s exhortations to protect others nor Malia’s snarky needling will convince him differently. He’s afraid of what he may become if he starts murdering again

Interesting. He’d become interesting.

He’s there just for advice. Which he doesn’t actually give beyond telling them to “lower their standards”. Scott snarks that they already did coming to him. So what’s lower?

That would be Peter. Peter is living the high life with lots of money and fancy houses and 2 big expensive cars. He doesn’t really want to sign up for a war… and as much as I hate to say it he has a point. He has a hunter imprisoned - gives said hunter a big scary gun and lets him loose. Scott disables him… without hurting him. And after trying to talk him down.

Scott cannot fight a war if he won’t kill. Scott can’t keep on keeping his hands clean like this. I agree with Peter. All these hunters happy to take down supernaturals would be a mite less happy if they started dropping in huge numbers

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Last Ship, Season Four, Episode Five: Allegiance

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Allegiance marks the official halfway point of the season. The Nathan James set sail this year without Chandler at the helm because he resigned his commission. Chandler has claimed that the reason for his resignation is that he lost his way.  You'd think that given the fact that his children have no one to look out for them that would be the reason but as it turns out, Chandler is having temper issues and occasionally acts out of a desire for vengeance. I guess that explains why he stupidly decided to steal Giorgio's boat for having his daily catch stolen. 

While many of the crew were happy to see Tom in Greece, they are still ambivalent about his presence on the Nathan James. While Tom was off fishing and dealing with his demons, they kept pressing forward.  As much as seeing Tom makes them happy, they want Tom to reenlist and vow to stay aboard with them. Continuing on with the pathetic Tom worship, it's Kandie who suggests that Tom running into the team on a mission is a sign from fate that Tom is meant to lead the mission to not only find the seeds but to secure a food source. Yes, the crew actually feels abandoned by Tom.
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Is anyone going to remember that Tom has children that he needs to care for? Yeah, they're just kids without any family or anyone who has vowed to see them through to adulthood, trapped somewhere on a Greek island, where a known villain happens to visit on a regular basis, while the entire world is going through a food shortage. How old is Ashley anyway? 12? The kids might as well not exist because Sasha, Slattery and Jetter make a point that not only did Tom disappear for sixteen whole months, he maintained radio silence. The very nerve of Chandler. Doesn't Tom know that the world needs its straight, white, cisgender, able bodied, male leader? When Tom finally remembers he has kids, he gives them a call. Tom need not have worried because Ashley readily accepts the fact that a sailor has to be at sea and besides, Tom's girlfriend is letting them work in her restaurant now.  Uh huh. I'd use a gif here but I think the crying baby has already taken up a lot of real estate, so use your own imagination as to my response to Ashley's reaction.

The Strain, Season 4, Episode 9: The Traitor

Zach is back! Words about as welcome has your lover informing you of their raging syphilis infection or the fervent knocking of a Mormon/Jehova’s Witness interfaith troop at your front door at 8:30am on a Sunday morning.

Thankfully while Ephraim loves his son and wants to believe this is totally ok, even he isn’t that stupid. He’s torn though. No-one else is, but are polite enough not to say “you’re spawn needs to either be drown in the sink or thrown from a high window” and instead be nicely vague about it

Except Quinlan. Quinlan is very clear that he doesn’t want to see Ephraim screw everything up because his son’s polluting up the place. Ephraim asks if Quinlan really thinks he’s going to be that stupid because of his son. Quinlan is more than happy to beat you across the head with your own record.

Meanwhile Vasily and Dutch are questioning Desai who is convinced he is a hero for the people:

Dutch & Vasiliy: You had a factory where thousands of people were impaled on hooks
Desai: I am saving people
Dutch & Vasiliy: People. On. Hooks.
Desai: The world is a better place now!
Dutch & Vasiliy: PEOPLE ON HOOKS!
Desai: You kill people too!
Desai: Well, babies aren’t that useful…

To which Dutch beats him repeatedly because he is The worst

Vasiliy points out, very reasonably, that Desai NEEDS to believe this. He has to see himself as a hero because he is, basically a borderline awful person but he’s not an Eichorst or even a Palmer. He’s not an outright murder loving nazi. He’s a terrible person in way over his head and he needs to believe his own narrative otherwise he has to confront what he actually is

And for all the very very clumsy attempts to address collaborators throughout this season, this is perhaps the most powerful and telling. People who aren’t necessarily soul-deep evil will collaborate with truly horrendous evil.

Quinlan has no time for this nonsense and has kidnapped Desai’s wife, Selah and threatens to eat her if he doesn’t spill all about the Master (Quinlan doesn’t consider her innocent - she profited and lives well off the suffering of each others. Harsh but very true). He does because, as he declares to Selah, everything he does is for her.

She calls bullshit on this because he’s totally sleeping with his assistants.

People. On. Hooks. Selah. Priorities please.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fear The Walking Dead, Season Three, Episodes Nine and Ten: Minotaur/The Diviner

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In order to make peace with Qaletqa Walker and his people, Madison confronted Jeremiah and Nick killed Jeremiah.  It's now time for the ranch to deal with the repercussions.  Even in desperate times, it seems that old wounds just won't heal. To be fair, the people of the Black Hat Reservation have a legimate beef with the members of Broke Jaw Ranch.  The Black Hat Reservation has had their land stolen and its members murdered.  Even in the face of all of this, tribe members are still willing to make peace because in a dystopian world what matters is survival. 

The peace is not an easy one, though Jake tries to negotiate in good faith, giving Qaletqa one of the keys for the armory. Madison's main priority is to keep the ranch safe for her kids; however, it seems that Alicia only sees her mother's moves as a play to achieve power.  Alicia snarks about her mother doing back deals with Qaletqa rather than going through Jake. Alicia isn't blind to the fact that her mother is pulling strings by keeping her close to Jake and Nick close to Troy. 

Qaletqa and Jake try to lead their respective groups but it's no secret that the people of the Broke Jaw Ranch are not enthused by their new neighbours.  Some clearly feel that the indigenous people reoccupying their land is wrong and express their disapproval with racist taunts.  Terence is the first to take action. Very few know that the person actually responsible for Gretchen's death is Troy and not in fact Qaletqa's people. Rather than coming clean about his role in Gretchen's death, Troy manipulates Terence into taking a gun and shooting at Qaletqa's men. Anyone paying the slightest attention to Terence could have seen that he was acting suspiciously and in fact, Troy clearly noticed it but chose to do nothing.  At any rate, Terence is quickly overpowered; however, in the process has his windpipe crushed. Terence's actions represent a strong blow to the fragile peace which Qaletqa and Jake have forged. Fearing for the safety of his people, Qaletqa demands that Jake hand over the other key to the armory. Not only does Qaletqa want the key to the armory, he wants all of the guns in possession of the ranchers to be gathered up and handed over.  Jake puts up little resistance and after a push from Madison, easily complies to Qaletqa's demands. 

Jake may be ready to roll over but Troy is an entirely different story. Given that Madison prides herself about always having a beat on what Troy is thinking or is capable of, she blew it in a huge way.  Not only is Troy unwilling to hand over any of his weapons, he's determined to go down in a blaze of gun fire and false glory. Nick has to step between Troy, his mother and Walkers men to avoid an immediate disaster, this however makes it seem as though Nick is choosing sides. Madison begs for more time to try and talk to Troy, especially given that Nick is now inside the house with a clearly unhinged Troy. Walker however is not willing to wait and he and his men immediately start firing bullets into the house. 

Nick tries to talk Troy down by claiming repeatedly that Troy dying in this fashion is not what Jeremiah wanted.  Nick even argues that by dying in a shoot out that Troy is not honouring Jeremiah's sacrifice.  When it becomes clear that no matter what he says, Troy will not disarm, Nick finally admits to being the one to kill Jeremiah, saying that Jeremiah was willing to let Troy, along with everyone else on the ranch die for the sake of his pride. 

With Troy disarmed, it's time to decide what to do with him. Madison is adamant that Troy cannot be made a martyr and Walker wants justice for his people.  Madison and Walker agree to having Troy exiled from the ranch. Walker also wants to see Nick punished for supposedly take sides with Troy, though he was clearly just trying to defuse the situation.  Nick is sentenced to spend time in the hot box.

Jake goes to see Troy to discuss Troy's fate. It's a sad moment between the two brothers, as Jake makes it clear to Troy that he can never return. At this point, Troy has decided that he won't fight his sentence but he does want Madison to be the one to drive him away from the ranch because he doesn't trust that Walker or his men won't kill him. Troy is led to a pick up truck and informed that he will be given a gun with one bullet, as well as water and that this is not a death sentence. Madison drives Troy away from the ranch while he is in the back with a hood over his head being watched by one of Walker's men. 

When the truck stops, Troy manages is disarm Walker's man by impaling his hand upon a knife and then stabbing the man with the knife. Madison draws her gun and tells Troy that she's had enough of killing.  Now comes the confrontation that we've been waiting for. For the first time, Troy and Madison see each other for who they really are.  Troy calls Madison a "white witch" and a "Pandora". Though Madison has only been on the ranch a short period of time, she's managed to manipulate everyone and every situation to her benefit. As Madison says that she doesn't want to kill Troy but she will, Troy attacks and manages to disarm her.  Madison fights back and reclaims her gun, pointing it at Troy once again.  They've clearly come to a crossroads of sorts.  Troy talks about how plain exhausted he is, but there's no give in Madison at all.  Troy ends up grabbing his small bag of supplies and walking away.  You know damn well that we haven't seen the last of Troy. No one is ever truly gone until we see their dead body.  

When last we saw Daniel, he was abandoning Strand to his fate with zombies. Daniel has now made his way back to the damn and is helping Lola to give water to the people. Daniel sticks close to Lola's side wanting to be able to hopefully spot Ofelia, should she happen to show up and to protect Lola, whom he clearly sees as a surrogate daughter.  Despite Lola's largess, when it comes to the water, people are not happy and become violent, accusing her of hoarding supplies. When Lola is hit by a rock, Daniel rushes to her side to protect her from the angry mob. Together, they hop on a truck as the mob surrounds them. 

Nick is not doing well with his punishment and has actually begun to hallucinate. It's hardly a surprise that the person he sees is Troy. Imaginary Troy is there to taunt Nick about killing Jeremiah and so Nick argues back that he killed Jeremiah to save the ranch and everyone on it. 

If racial tensions weren't enough of a problem, the ranch has an even more pressing concern. It seems that the ground aquifers are almost out of water. Jeremiah had been documenting the declining water for quite some time.  Madison is certain that he must have had some sort of plan but with Jeremiah dead, there's no way to know for sure.  Walker and Madison decide to travel to a trading post two days away and not to inform the people for the real reason behind their trip to stop the possibility of panic.  Walker leaves a few of his men in charge and Madison decides that she will tell Alicia the truth about just how dire their situation is. Madison hands Alicia a walkie talkie so that they can stay in touch and tasks her with taking care of Nick and fleeing the ranch if it becomes necessary to do so. 

Besieged (Iron Druid Chronicles) by Kevin Hearne

This collection of short stories works well for this series. Atticus is, after all, 2,000+ year old character - and, rightly, a lot of that doesn’t come up in his main storyline. It’s alluded to in many artful asides and in fun moments like his stories to Oberon - but we don’t dive too far back because 2 millennia of backstory can be a lot.

But his character is covered in markers from these 2 thousand years of experience, little moments that really give colour and texture to the character and make those 2,000 years believable despite his very young demeanour.

So we have many of the stories of this book that delve back into his past - and through the already excellent established medium of the stories he tells Oberon and Granuaile (frequently forcing him to spill various points of his history).

So Eye of Horus tells us of his history in Egypt (and the source of his legendary animosity with Bast) in a fun little irreverent heist drama. It has a nice amount of research - which is always a nice element of this series that all this history and mythology comes with some real work on this. I also like looking back on Atticus’s own difficulty in fleeing Ireland and the Romans with his very prominent druidic tattoos; in some ways I don’t even think of Atticus’s tattoos and what that would mean in historical contexts where most people are not tattooing pretty much anything on any part of themselves. What I didn’t like was the Egyptian gods which seemed simplistic and not all that powerful and divine.

Goddess at the Crossroads however seems to be more name dropping Shakespeare (which Atticus has a thing about) but it is trying to address Atticus’s attitude towards witches. This has been a problem of the series for a while since early in the series which always felt excessively demonising of witches who in turn were largely female. It did not feel good: but since then the series has been trying to a) present this as Atticus’s actual prejudice based on past experience but not necessarily fair to universally present as Atticus does, b) present us with good witches. This is part of Atticus’s bad history but contains a lot of notes of how his own experience is skewing this and Notallwitches.

Demon Barber of Wheat Street kind of repeats but expands a little upon a short story from Carniepunk but the expansion is useful to add context to the rest of the book and the series in general: basically why druids are not fans of demons (nothing to do with religion and everything to do with how they tend to drain and despoil the Earth which is the Ultimate No for druids). Which in turn leads nicely to Gold Dust Druid which gives us another excellent snippet of his druid life, what he was doing at various points of history and how he negotiated the issues of the time, some nice reinforcement of why demons are bad and what Druids actually do (including the fact that, as the only druid in the world, he was pretty much on call to any elemental who had an issue).

3% Season One, Episode Four: Capítulo 04: Portão

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I know that I've said this before but there's no way that society offshore is calm and serene. People who survive the testing absolutely have to be living with some form of PTSD, given what they are put through during the various challenges.  I haven't even been able to identify what specific traits they are looking for from the contestants at the end. 

When we last left the contestants they were locked in the dorm room. Some time has passed and they are starting to feel both hungry and thirsty and are unsure of what to do next.  Realising that this must be some new test, the contestants start to try to figure out what to do. There are eight rooms and each room has a series of levers. Marco pulls one down but nothing happens.  There's a board on the wall which Marco stares at for some time before figuring out that they are set to a pattern which  the levers must be pulled in.  After a little cajoling, Marco manages to convince the others to work together.  After successfully pulling the levers in order, the contestants are given enough food and water for one person.  Marco is quick to claim the food saying that it was he who figured out the board. It's a hot minute before he gets challenged with everyone pointing out that they all worked together to get the food. Finally, Michele suggests that they go in alphabetical order, that way everyone will get some food and water.  The contestants move the levers every time the pattern changes until each of them has a ration of food and water.

To some of the observers the fact that everyone worked together to get food and water means that everyone passed but of course, for  Ezequiel, a test without any eliminations simply will not work and so he demands that they keep watching to see what happens. When the contestants decide to get some rest because no matter how many times they pull the levers into the correct pattern it won't release anymore food, Ezequiel orders that all of the rations be dropped at once into the dorm area.  The contestants grab at the food quickly, not caring who gets what, and Michele again steps forward and this time she suggests that they count all of the supplies and distribute them equally. 

Marco watches as the food and water given out and it's clear he's not pleased with this outcome.  When Raphael suggests that maybe Marco should just hand over his share, Marco says that what they need to be doing is looking for a way out because that is the next test and the only explanation for why the supplies were dropped into the dorm. Marco decides to gather up the strongest contestants and pry the door open.  They only manage to get the door partway open and it's Raphael who slips through, only to find yet another door which is locked.  The situation looks hopeless.

We are given a flashback to Marco's time inland. It seems even though Marco was forced to live inland he has class privilege.  The walls in his dining room have pictures of members of his family who supposedly successfully passed the process.  Marco has been left in the care of a maid and when she cooks, she gives Marco the lions share. With Marco's 20th birthday approaching, he's given a letter from his parents to celebrate this momentous time. Before Marco leaves to take part in the process, he writes a letter and gives it to his pregnant girlfriend, to be handed over to his child when they turn 20.