Saturday, October 21, 2017

Van Helsing, Season 2, Episode 3: Love Bites

All of our characters are split up at the moment, so it’s time to breeze through them all before getting to Vanessa - and hoping at some point everyone gets together

Axel and Doc are still looking for Vanessa despite having no idea where she is nor any blood to actually eat. Doc thinks he needs to feed on her so he can hunt animals she can eat which is all very practical; especially since he used to feed her when she was a vampire. He says no and gives her sharp things instead. Well that was riveting.

To Mohammed, Flesh and Lucky - they drag Mohammed to a resistance camp where his wound is infected and they have no medicine but will do their best to help him fight it off. It’s the same Resistance camp that Doc was part of because seriously everyone just trips over each other on this show. The camp has a blood shortage now so donating is mandatory (hey do they have blood testing equipment? Because if they can’t test for blood type this is going to be awkward) if you want to eat. Flesh is duly worried about this because his ex-vampire blood may be a problem? Apparently?

Mohammed, sensibly, points out that confessing all is probably a bad idea and he knows better than to trust anyone (the subtext here is he knows this because he himself is a terribly untrustworthy terrible person of terribleness). He encourages Flesh to give blood and just make sure they don’t give it to Mohammed because he’s still kind of terrible. Flesh, being the most naive person ever, tells Lucky

And she tells Jolene and he gets locked up while giving Lucky lots of betrayed looks. Seriously man? Lucky has known you for a hot minute and you decide to tell her you’re an ex-vampire and to just trust her safety and everyone else around her on that being ok? Really?

But apparently she is the worst so feels ALL THE GUILT and decides to rescue him and punch Jolene out. They also decide to “rescue” Mohammed. Why? I don’t know. I mean no-one had anything against him and they were treating his injuries to the best of their ability. Do you know what someone with a severe infected leg injury doesn’t need? A trek through the woods!

I’m rapidly becoming Team!No-One on this show.

Time to catch up with another group of humans, apparently teenagers or young adults, who have their own very very stupid way of doing things. One of their members, Felix, failed to kill a feral vampire so they decide to punish him with 10 lashes - that is brutally lash his arms 10 times with what looks like barbed wire. Not only is this brutally sadistic, it’s also ridiculously stupid. Especially since apparently this isn’t the first time he’s been lashed nor is he the only one who has been lashed by these barbs that draw blood from the first lash.

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 2: The Rising Son

We have a new enemy - down in hell Drexel and one of his fellow demons are visited by… Colonel Sanders!

Or Asmodeus. The last of the four Princes of hell - with Azazel, Remiel and Dagon already dead. Still he reminds us all that he and his fellows are pretty much made of power when he squishes several demons he decides were Crowley’s lackies in a horrible manner with little more than a look. He assumes rulership of hell until Lucifer and/or his son shows up to take their rightful place. He seems to be hoping more for the son than the dad - and he plans to be said son’s very trusted advisor… Drexel tries to warn Asmodeus that Lucifer gets… tetchy with the disloyal. Asmodeus takes exception that Drexel would think for even a second he knows more about Lucifer than he - and he has had his own run in

He has scars on his face which are not from spitting fat while frying chicken. This was part of Lucifer’s public humiliating punishment of Asmodeus after he decided to release the Shedim, basically monsters even hell wanted nothing to do with (Didn’t we do this storyline with Purgatory and the Leviathans? Or have we all decided never to mention that again?). Lucifer isn’t entirely out of his ever loving mind so had the Shedim put back and told Asmodeus to keep his chicken dusted hands away from That Which Man Was Not Meant To Know. He decides that this is proof of how loyal he is to Lucifer

While everyone probably realises that this is a somewhat dubious explanation, arguing with someone who can kill people with a handwave is generally not advisable.

Sam and Dean are driving home with Jack and we have a quick recap of how things stand at the moment. Sam thinks Jack is a person who can be good and is still holding out hope to free Mary and maybe even bring some of the dead back to life. While Dean thinks Jack will end the world, the dead are dead and so is their mother and holding onto any kind of hope that Jack won’t be dangerous is just asking for more people to be hurt and killed. Basically recapping last week: Sam is optimistic, Dean is wounded and emotionally cowering in a corner.

Dean seems angry, uncomfortable and torn as this whole debate continues and they stay a night in a motel in which Jack is rather adorkably awkward, imitating Dean like some kind of hero worshipped big brother and generally, as a 3 day old, not really knowing anything at all - not about god or Lucifer or anyone else - certainly not how to use his powers despite them experimenting.

They’re joined by Donatello Redfield, the prophet of god who had his soul taken by Amarra. See this is the joy of 13 seasons of a show - you have amazingly convoluted back stories.  He is there because he sensed Jack’s Awesome Cosmic Power (which makes Dean worried) but isn’t dark and evil like Lucifer’s (which reassures Sam). Of course if Donatello can sense the Awesome Cosmic Power then so can everyone else - including Asmodeus lurking around, pretending to be Donatello and pumping Sam for information.
Dean and Sam try to get round this by getting Jack one of their anti-possession tattoos: after a brief moment where the tattooist is knocked across the room by Jack’s reaction to tattoo pain (and Dean giving Jack a quick lesson on sucking it up) they finally get the tattoos in place… only for them to be absorbed back into his skin. Archangels don’t tattoo it seems. Dean is more suspicious

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu

Ella Patel is a con artist, a thief and a young woman who survived and even thrived on the streets of Cratetown, a vast slum that has grown up on the edge of the demilitarised zone in the aftermath of the great Alien War. And one day she found herself witness to a brutal murder, driven to intervene she never imagined she was stepping in the middle of the conflict between the Genjix and the Prophus

Or becoming the new host of the Quasing, Io. A quasing who throughout all of human history has been renowned for… her string of utter failures. This doesn’t make her the best or most useful guide for Ella now pulled into the war between the two big alien factions. A quasing can be a powerful guide - but when that quasing is Io?

In the story of Tao, we saw one of the most powerful and influential Quasing in the history of the Prophus. He has inhabited a series of powerful people who have completely and utterly shaped the world, who have achieved great things, influenced history and been at the forefront of their war against the Genjix. We’ve seen him take some extremely unprepared hosts, like Roan Tan and raise him to greatness, we’ve seen him inhabit Cameron to great effect.

Tao was a superstar, even in the most inept of hosts, Tao was a force to be reckoned with. Tao was terrifying. Tao was powerful. Tao changed the world.

Io is not a superstar. Io is an abject failure. Late to living in a human host, having great difficulty in influencing her hosts and having a long history of leaving them dead in her wake. Io is the excellent depiction of an entirely different kind of Quasing. Not all quasings are skilled world leaders, not all quasings shaped the world, not all quasings made a huge difference to world history - good and bad. And while Tao ended his arc wondering whether Quasings where good or bad for Earth and openly admitting that the Quasings are a dangerous invasive force: Io has pretty much given up on influencing the world at all. Tao is deeply invested in his host, Tao is invested in humans, Tao cares. Io is almost completely done with humanity

Through Io’s eyes we also get some really excellent insights into Quasing society when they were originally on their home planet, how their society worked, how these extremely alien creatures co-existed through the universe and how their hierarchy was structured. And from we see just how different modern Quasing are - they’re so disconnected compared to what they were and their hierarchy has been utterly turned on their head.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

American Horror Story, Season 7 (Cult), Episode 7: Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins

American Horror Story has decided to return to its grand old tradition of barely coherent nonsense.

Still clinging to the storyline we find Ally is in prison but the mass shooting and attempted assassination of  Kai by Meadow has been firmly blamed on her - since there’s footage of them

The violence was more than enough to tip the polls in Kai’s favour and sweep him to the lofty heights of city councilmen. This has apparently greatly impressed lots of alt-right neo-nazi guys since Kai is now surrounded by a lot of sinister looking white men all dressed in exactly the same not-quite-but-almost uniforms - they’re one tiki torch and a white polo shirt away from a racist statue loving nazi rally.

Bev goes to see Kai and is very very very quickly aware of how hostile everyone is to her and exactly what these men are. Suspicions which are confirmed when Kai brushes her off and dismisses her. She is Not Happy. And she is Dangerous

Introducing Bebe Babbitt and saying goodbye to reality, who meets up with Beverley and is taken by her to Ivy and Winter to tell her story

So, Bebe Babbit was the ex-lover of real life person Valerie Solanas, who tried to assassinate Andy Warhol because she thought he stole/lost her work (true) and because he dismissed her as a woman (possible). She also wrote SCUM, (actually in real life) and in American Horror Story world set up a cult - which Bebe was a member of. They formed a cult of violent women and self-hating, masochistic gay men (including using the term “gender traitor” which is a loaded slur) who are constantly degraded and abused. Per Valerie’s manifesto they start murdering men (and women who sleep with men - yes the lesbian not only hates all men, but straight and bisexual women as well) at Valerie’s instruction while she’s in prison for shooting Warhol.

Their brutal murders become the real world Zodiac killings because, well, American Horror Story. They don’t claim credit for the killing which seems like a dubious manner of getting their message across (Valerie has a somewhat… unrealistic ambition of killing a thousand people with a further unrealistic belief that 1,000 deaths will undermine the entire patriarchy). Of course then a man sends murder secrets to the papers meaning their SCUM murders are being stolen. Valerie doesn’t take this well and brutally murders one of the gross gay men following her cult - including brutal genital mutilation.

She tries to confess to the serial killing and claim credit - but the sexist police don’t believe a woman capable of such crimes and dismiss her. Defeated by patriarchy and misogyny at every turn, Valerie becomes more and more unstable and as she descends her cult leaves her. Until she hallucinates a final indignity - Warhol telling her that her legacy, all she will be remembered for, is trying to kill him - and dies.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 3: Mr and Mrs Mazikeen Smith

Maze is back and alive! I was beginning to think she had been written out of the show.

She is enjoying her new life as a Bounty Hunter which gave her a little more purpose and drive. She’s also still merrily drinking everyone - specifically Linda - under the table. Lucifer also explains a part of what makes Mazikeen kick - at least in his view. Demons don’t have souls so are very much live-for-the-day hence all party all the time. Maze is feeling a little bored about hunting humans which is super easy. Linda offers advice to… kkjbfhfcsakelncpsea. Linda is drunk. So that leaves Lucifer to offer advice - hunt the most dangerous human ever! Shine bright our demon!

So she goes to visit Lieutenant Herrera from organised crime division to get information on Rivers, the scariest scariest killer out there. Herrera warns Maze that Rivers is super super dangerous which makes Rivers really interesting

So (after an impossibly adorable scene with Maze and Trixie. Super super adorable!) Maze is off to Canada to hunt Rivers down. This means I get to make all the Canadian jokes! Especially since she sets off with no cold weather gear, no snow-shows, no moose repellent and no emergency stock of decent coffee, no emergency hockey stick… Maze is not ready.

So she beats someone up and steals their clothes. As Chloe puts it - she’s not worried about Maze. She’s worried about Canada. And because of this she keeps tracking Maze as she tears a trail of carnage across Canada searching for Rivers.

Lucifer keeps dismissing Chloe’s concerns. Ok I think this is supposed to be an indication of how shallow Lucifer is… but he has a point? Maze is an aeons old demon. She doesn’t need normal humans fretting after her or checking up on her. When Lucifer says Maze can look after herself that’s not disinterest - it’s accurate.

Maze, naturally, finds Rivers by tormenting the Nicest Canadian Ever, seducing River’s ridiculously naive girlfriend and finding him. He is charming and an escape artist - which briefly delays the inevitable… before Maze catches up with him again. He tries fighting this time and… nah, that doesn’t work, because Maze. Instead he pulls on the charm and the charisma and, in Lucifer’s words, the borderline handsomeness on Maze pleading his innocence. Maze shrugs because meh, her bounty. Still he does pull a whole lot of charm (which has apparently also captured his lawyer back in the US, who is in love with him as becomes apparent when Lucifer and Chloe question her to try and help Maze. Chloe deems Rivers “emotionally dangerous”).

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Seraphs (Rogue Mage #2) by Faith Hunter

Thorn is backed by some very close friends, a fiercely loyal family. But as a newly revealed Neo-Mage in an aggressively hostile small town she’s on thin ice. Even when her powers may be the very thing keeping them safe from the monsters underground

But are those powers also responsible for drawing them?

She had sworn she wouldn’t return to face the darkness under the mountain… but it’s waiting and gathering its forces and it certainly hasn’t forgotten Thorn

This huge, complicated world contains so many wonderful conflicts. A post-apocalypse world, nearly wiped out by angelic and divine wrath, nearly consumed by demonic rage, living in equal terror of both angel from on high and demon from beneath. A deeply religious society, desperately and faithfully following proper sacred rules - but without any clear indication of what those sacred rules actually are, which religion is right and in a world where one certainty they actually have is that religious conflict will get you killed.

And these are just the stories the Seraphs tell… what is the real truth?

And into that complex world we have Thorn continuing her story - only this time revealed to be a Neomage, much to the hatred and prejudice of her neighbours. There’s so many wonderful levels to this whole conflict: there’s Thorn gloriously owning who she is, wearing it like a cape and waving it like a flag. There’s her closest friends and loved ones standing shoulder to shoulder with her ready to cut anyone who looks at her twice. There’s the good people who are pushing for honesty and fairness (and the Jewish and Cherokee communities arming and stepping up in the face of clear religious oppression was a nice, though in need of development, moment). The outright bigots willing to do anything to bring Thorn down. The hypocrites who want Thorn’s magic - but not in public, not where people could see, oh no! And, of course, Thorn makes a convenient scapegoat whenever things go wrong.

Throw in a lot of intrigue about her past and her mentor, lots of questions about whether the whole narrative that is being sold about the Seraphs arrival is actually true and a neat little romance sub plot with some nice twists in that it’s not happily ever after, by any stretch.

Monday, October 16, 2017

3% Season One, Episode Seven: Capítulo 07: Cápsula

Image result for 3% netflix

The contestants are about to partake in a celebration dinner because all that's left for them to go through is the purification ceremony.  In last episode, we saw Michele dig something out of her hip and in Cápsula we learn that it's a capsule containing poison. For much of this season, Michele, while not as cool as Joana, has been able to pretty much keep her emotions hidden while thinking quickly on her feet. But one can only subsume rage for so long.

At the celebration dinner, Michele watches Ezequiel intently, waiting for her opportunity to strike.  Fernando tries to take the time to pull Michele aside to let her know that Raphael told him about her membership in the cause but Michele is so fixated on Ezequiel that she won't take the time out to speak to Fernando.  Michele watches as candidate after candidate approaches Ezequiel to thank him and realising that this is the only way to get close to him, Michele approaches Ezequiel and hugs him, using the hug to cover for her dropping poison in his drink. Michele moves off to the side and waits patiently for  Ezequiel to drink the poison. After some time passes, Ezequiel lifts his glass, making a toast to the new recruits and seconds later Cesar, one of the testers, falls to the ground. A horrified Michele watches as Cesar is rushed away for medical treatment.

Now that she's accidentally killed Cesar, Michele suddenly has time to speak with Fernando.  At this point, Fernando is so in love with Michele he doesn't care that she's murdered someone or is a member of the resistance.  How long have these two known each other exactly?  Michele is freaking out and tells Fernando to stay out of it but he's all in.

Cesar dies as a result of a poison which sets off a murder investigation. Ezequiel promises the council that he will get to the bottom of what happened to Cesar and get back to them shortly.

The candidates are isolated in the dining room.  Michele hands the empty capsule to Raphael and asks him to get rid of it for her. Michele doesn't want to do this herself because she knows that the candidates are being watched by CCTV. When Ezequiel enters the room, to avoid discovery, Raphael drops the capsule behind him. One by one, the candidates are brought in for questioning. When it's Fernando's turn, despite being told that he will be eliminated for collusion if he knows something but remains quiet, he lies and says that he knows nothing.  Raphael, who is also a member of the resistance lies.  When Michele is brought in, Ezequiel shows her Cesar's wife mourning over her dead husband. The guilt is clear on Michele's face but she denies murdering Cesar or knowing anything about his poisoning.

Rather than arresting Michele, whom Ezequiel clearly believes is guilty, Ezequiel arrests Aline and blames Cesar's murder on her.  Ezequiel even gets the resistance member who committed the first murder on the offshore to claim that Aline is a sleeper resistance agent whose job it was to infiltrate the offshore and get the leadership of the offshore to trust her, until she found an opportunity to act. Ezequiel argues to the council that Aline didn't actually mean to kill Cesar but was attempting to kill him because she wanted his position.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Once Upon a Time, Season 7, Episode 2: A Pirate's Life

Once Upon a Time is working at filling some of the past for this season so we can figure out who everyone really is and what has happened to the old characters - and who is missing.

This means we have a lot of flashbacks: beginning in Storybrooke seeing Killian Emma and young Henry being a really good family together even if Henry is more than a little bit of a moody teenager. He’s planning leaving home, Emma’s worried about that and Killian steps in with a magical bottle that lets you basically scream for help wherever you are. Which is a nice idea but it does kind of require everyone to be able to dimension hop to where you are. I mean most of the last 4 seasons have included grand adventures trying to escape from or get to various realms.

And in the other realm he has chance to use it when Diet Regina the evil lady Tremaine (who insists Henry and Cinderella cannot meet for reasons she doesn’t explain) captures Henry and takes her back to one of her guest room for her daughter, the evil Step Sister to torture the location of the glass slipper out of him. Instead he’s able to use the bottle and get a rescue team of Regina and Killian.

Because it’s nice to have your own adventures - and nicer still to have an army of super powered relatives on call if you really really need it.

It’s time for the family to play catch up with Regina happily talking about everyone… but carefully not talking about herself which is marginally ominous. There’s also something going on with Emma she wants to talk about but Killian shuts down - and Regina lets him take the lead on that

Since for Story Reasons magic doesn’t work to track Jacinda, Killian decides to go to the local port and find any random pirates around in case they know anything, as one does. As far as information gathering goes this is… somewhat limited. He heads to the port and finds… himself. Wish Hook. Who is here somehow? This is the older, more rum soaked version of himself who has not led a great life. His history is similar to Killian’s only without the whole falling in love with Malia, grudging with Rumple and finding Emma. So she’s decided to skip all that and just jump to Emma, assuming he can steal Killian’s true love and then...

Well we’ll get to “and then” because it’s actually a little less creepy than it seems. Honest. He manages to beat real!Killian because of underhand means and go to see Lady Tremaine, the Diet Regina to magically turn him into his younger, immensely hotter self. Lady Tremaine’s whole schtick is she doesn’t use magic but she uses magic anyway because I really don’t think Once Upon a Time has thought this through and Killian heads back to the gang (and he knows where this gang was… because… where? I mean Killian never told him - how did he find them?) to hand Henry a letter saying how Cinderella totally isn’t all that into him, sorry - so they might as well all go back and see Emma, right? Regina is more insistent that they pretend to be at least faintly sympathetic while Henry is in major mopey mode. And then Emma arrives!