Saturday, October 28, 2017

Van Helsing, Season 2, Episode 4: A Home

In the juvenile detention facility now turned into a base camp, Sam is setting awards for being the most creepy thing ever. When he was a human serial killer he used to sever things and hide them - now he’s cutting off fingers and threading them into a necklace to wear. No more hidden monster Sam - vampire Sam is embracing his evilness.

Felix is utterly terrified - and this terror is perfectly acted - with added horror as Sam calls him “Mohammed” and tries to teach him sign language. It’s all very very very very very creepy and disturbing. Sam tries to ingratiate himself by whipping the leader who whipped Felix, but Felix stops him after three lashes - and the leader is killed. Sam keeps up gestures of caring, putting a jacket on Felix when he’s cold, hugging Felix and, yes, creepy. So very creepy.

Felix does make an attempt to free the remaining captives, cleverly luring Sam to where he can lock him up so he can break open the door where the others are captured - but Sam gets free quickly and decides to restyle Felix’s hair to match Mohammed. When Felix keeps telling Sam his name is Mohammed, Sam cuts out his tongue.

Yes, all the creepy

Over to Vanessa who is in utter rampage mode slaughtering vampires wherever she finds them in never ending rage after Dylan’s death. Julius is trying to bring her back from the edge and using old boxing stories to convince her to play it more safe and not just charge in all the time. She’s not listening; the way she talks about healing also makes it clear Vanessa has fully embraced her super powers in a way that we rarely see. I actually kind of like a super-powered character cocky enough to recognise their own strength rather than constantly bemoaning their specialness.

I think this recklessness is supposed to be what gets them caught by the skinners but I honestly don’t see anything Vanessa did leading them into their hands. The skinners are vampires who skin humans and then wear it because REASONS. Look this is a show that has had Dmitiri and Sholoshenko as villains, I’m going to give all their antagonists who are legitimately scary a huge pass if we can move away from those two.

The two are captured, tied up and prepared to be skinned with both of them trying to attract attention to each other because they’ve both developed a martyr complex? I mean, I can see Julius doing it with all of his guilt trips, but Vanessa? Anyway the Skinners are disappointed because Julius is inedible and while they cut a strip off skin off Vanessa (she screams in pain then… seems pretty bored?) she just regenerates it back

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 3: Patience

We have a psychic - an actual psychic with actual gifts. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what a brain spiking wraith wants to snack on. Bye psychic we barely knew ye

We also barely new Missouri - if you stretch your mind back aaaaaalllll the way to season 1 you will remember Missouri as a psychic and a friend of John Winchester, the worst father ever (yes, I know John has a weird following in the Supernatural fandom. He was still the worst. Bring it). She was a hunter and it has been several seasons since we’ve seen her - which means she is certainly going to die.

She calls the Winchesters for help.

The Winchesters are still being dramatic with Dean drinking and listening to loud music and ignoring Jack. He’s all for hunting while Sam wants to stay and work on Jack more - he still holds on to hope that they can rescue Mary with Jack’s powers. He even gives Jack a recorded message from his mother about how he can choose to be whoever he wants to be and how Castiel will totally look out for him.

So Sam decides to call Jody and have her take this one - but Dean is looking for any excuse to get out the bunker and decides to go as well, with some more growled insults about Jack.

Jody, Dean and Missouri would make a fun team - and Missouri shows her skills right away by sensing Dean’s losses and grief. She also uses her powers to get an idea what happened and suddenly gasps a warning “James.”

James is her son and she insists he and her granddaughter Patience are the next one targetted. She tries to call him but he refuses to take her call - family issues it seems. Instead she orders Dean and Jody to go. Dean has doubts, Missouri wasn’t asking.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stranger Things, Season 1, Episode 6: The Monster

Hopper and Joyce do a quick recap of everything they know on the evil facility and consider the child’s room/prison Hopper found. And realise Will isn’t being kept there (there are children’s stick figure drawings in the room - while Will is a talented artist). To which Hopper remembers stories he dismissed about a woman called Terri looking for her missing daughter Jane. He realises more that he’s assumed that a witness who saw a bald kid was talking about Will but really Will isn’t the only kid in the world

So it’s time to find Terri… and ok, this is not so much a logical leap as a logical hop, skip and a jump followed by a logical meander through a hedge maze and finishing off with a logical bungee jump

They find Terri (I’m not even asking how) and find she’s near catatonic. But her sister fills them in - Terri was involved in a lot of illicit government experiments in the 50s - but she never knew she was pregnant. But Terri’s sister claimed the child died in a miscarried - but Terri believed her would return. And she has super powers

Hello there Eleven.

I’m not sure why Joyce is this invested in a missing girl from 12 years ago. She also despairs that Terri has been looking for a child for 12 years - so long without her. But Hopper, whose child died, would kill to still have that hope.

Over to Nancy and Jonathan - Nancy is in the parallel spooky fleshy forest hiding from the monster while Jonathan calls for her. He manages to find a portal - or gate - with a disturbing flesh hole in it which he manages to pull Nancy through. The portal seals behind them. Yup definitely creepy

It’s no surprise after that that neither of them wants to sleep alone and Jonathan ends up camping in Nancy’s room - first at the foot of her bed and then getting into it when she asks him to. But just to sleep.

The next day Nancy realises that if Barbara and Will are still alive - which Jonathan is sure they are since his mother is still using the ouija christmas lights - but that means they’re trapped in the other realm. Nancy who doesn’t lack for courage, decides they need to lure the beast out so they can ride to the rescue

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Hunt (Devil's Isle #3) by Chloe Neill

Claire saved Devil’s Island and Containment in the last book. But she did it using magic and in doing so may have cost herself everything

She is now a fugitive, a magic user who, by law, should be locked up in Devil’s Isle before she becomes a dangerous wraith. And the man she loves, Liam, was infected by magic in that battle and now seems unable to even endure her presence having disappeared for weeks.

But when a government agent is killed and Liam is framed, Claire can’t afford to give him any more space. They have to clear his name, find a murderer - and uncover a plot which may change the world - again

I’m putting aside that a lot of what I wanted to see from Claire: exploring and examining her powers, more relations with the Paras, more of her work opposing Reveillon, more examination of the difference between Court and Council, more of her relations with others. I have to say I wasn’t a fan of her romance with Liam - I just don’t really see much about Liam to make me that invested in him. When we saw him in the first book he spent a huge chunk of it being hostile to Claire, then the second book there were more convoluted barriers to this book where, again, we had barriers. The thing is, I feel lots of barriers have been thrown into Claire and Liam’s relationship before they even had a relationship. So much has happened to keep them apart I’m not sure they’ve really been together - which leaves me questioning just why Claire is this invested in it and why I’m way more interested in Claire and Moses than I am Claire and Liam.

Similarly, I’m not sure about the big familial revelations about Claire… I just wonder why it’s here. Don’t we have enough motive for Claire to be involved because of the whole world ending thing? Do we need parental angst? Does every urban fantasy protagonist need to have parental angst?

Again, these are personal taste issues - none of these stories are poor. They’re not badly written. They’re not bad stories. The emotion is deep and powerful, the conflicts very real, the writing excellent and the humanity is really apparent. You can feel Claire’s pain, there’s a lot of tension, some great scenes full of action and a real sense of building epic by the end of the book.

So, yes, I am trying not to be down on this book for not being the story I wanted it to be - instead it being the good book it was.

American Horror Story, Season 7 (Cult), Episode 8: Winter of Our Discontent

The EU produces about 167,000,000 hectolitres of wine per year. It is not enough. Dear goddess Cersei, it is not nearly enough booze for me to endure this episode. There is just so much wrong with this episode that I don’t even think it’s worthwhile of commentary. It defies commentary, it defies analysis - it’s just one ridiculous madlib of nonsense

We begin with an attempt to keep reasonably on topic with Kai being visited by his brother Vincent the psychiatrist who sees his army of minions and express how very very very impressed he is by his little brother and what he’s building. Honest.

That army of misogynists is now eating in Ivy’s restaurant, treating all the women life servants - as all of them have been drafted to cook because having women make men sandwiches is about how much thought this show puts into portraying misogyny. Beverley is duly disgusted, we learn that Kai has used his council-powers to get that private army funded as well - just throwing that in there for reasons. Winter is still a Kai loyalist and insists that she can get through to her beloved brother. Which means we need a flashback.

Yup so, some time ago, Winter and Kai were entertaining themselves by internet trolling and being typical Pepe-profiled awful people. Another awful person finds them and invites them to come to his house of Judgement. Now who doesn’t accpet invitations from random creepy people on the internet

He has a horror house which is basically one of those Christian Hell Houses which decides to take haunted houses and throw lots of small minded judgement at them - so you can be duly terrified by a medically inaccurate depiction of abortion or gay people existing. Only this is real with actual tortured people. Kai takes exception to this and frees the people and murders the guy; saving Winter in the process. Yay? Does not support Saw-style murder houses? Should I applaud. Of course even this is made terrible because the three victims are then declared to be “innocent”: the woman wasn’t getting an abortion, she was at Planned Parenthood for an IUD. The drug user was in rehab getting off the drugs. And the gay man was actually volunteering at an AIDS clinic (which seems to suggest the pastor has, like the other two, assumed he was gay rather than him actually being gay). This is terrible because it’s like the writers felt they NEEDED to absolve these victims at this point - like a woman who had an abortion, a gay man, a man with AIDS and/or a drug addict wouldn’t be worthy of saving.

What was the point of this flashback? To explain Kai? Didn’t we already do that with the dead parents?

So to present, Winter goes to Kai to try and reconcile and Kai declares that they need a messiah for his cult because their work will take generations - and Winter will be the mother

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 4: What Would Lucifer Do?

So Lucifer is going back to his roots - which begins with him having sex with a random woman (whose desire is to have sex at the ball pit at Chucky Cheese and while a ball pit sounds intriguing I am reliably informed that those particular ball pits are chemical weapons labs where the worst diseases in the world are marinated in these cesspits of filth).

Her husband arrives home, furious to catch his wife cheating until Lucifer throws in his mojo and charm and soon the man is saying how he doesn’t actually desire his much younger wife, because the parties and sex et al are exhausting to him and he really wishes he was still with his ex wife. Lucifer woo-woos this into the judge owing him a favour, of course he does.

And then to this episode to which we have Lucifer, yet again, making everything about him, deciding to make random people surrogates for his issues and generally be quite tiresome. Honestly I’m getting kind of bored of this schtick; Lucifer snarling and convolutedly twisting everything is not fun.

Anyway, to the murder - given by Pierce to Chloe in between treating her in his usual arseholish ways (Ella believes he likes her. I believe he’s just an arsehole even if he does like her - because the level of contempt he’s showing her, the best detective in the unit, is unacceptable). We have a councillor at a drug and alcohol rehab centre who has been murdered.

Lucifer instantly self-inserts that evil people cannot be redeemed. Criminals cannot change. Once bad is always bad. Why? Well, I’d like to say that maybe this could be an analysis of the morality of Hell and how torturing people eternally is always dubious and even more dubious when you consider the possibility of redemption. But in reality it’s because Lucifer is still playing with identity issues and the fact he’s growing wings and being all angelic and he wants to stay all devilish. Basically he’s clinging to the idea that bad humans can’t reform so that he, the bad angel, can’t reform

There’s never any logic to all this and at very least before we had Dr. Linda unpicking this nonsense

So he goes around accusing random people as we move from obligatory red herring to obligatory red herring while Lucifer rampages over every right he can, threatens violence and uses lots of woo-woo. He gets praised from Pierce for abusing one teen red herring who had an argument with the dead woman, who already had his life threatened by Lucifer in a rather awesome car scene (while Chloe gets more contempt from him). This teen points to someone the councillor was going to expel from the program so Lucifer decides to go back to the facility and teach all the kids how to deal drugs

Of course he does (one moment: when Lucifer uses his “desire” power on the crowd of kids we have a lot of shallow answers but some rather deeper ones that are brushed over - like the kid who wants his dad’s approval). Only to find one of them is waaaay better at it and has a thriving marijuana plantation already. So he gets all those kids to pack marijuana while he rides a horse and gets thoroughly high

Star Trek Discovery: Season 1, Episode 6: Lethe

Sarek returns this episode - this would be Michael’s Vulcan foster father (and the father of Spock). He’s on a top secret diplomatic mission along with an aid - unfortunately that aid belongs to a Logic Extremist cell which believes in Vulcan purity, Vulcan superiority, how all humans need to get the hell away from Vulcan and Vulcans themselves need to leave the federation. And the best way to achieve these goals is to become a suicide bomber

This is… logical? Of course, Sarek is known to be a major advocate for humans, hence the ward and the half-human son.

On the Discovery Michael is now training Tilly to help her become a captain, focusing on nutrition and physical fitness - though Tilly suggests she has a personality to make up for it. Michael dismisses personality as irrelevant which is just bizarre - the charisma and ability to inspire loyalty that comes with leadership is vital. Michael is waaaay too Vulcan here.

Ash has joined the team as security chief - which is a hefty promotion but Lorca has done a full background check on him and he seems to check out (which means the fandom theory that Ash is really Voq in disguise is probably wrong. Or the Klingons are really good at creating human back stories.) Ash is also really good at shooting stuff so he appears to be qualified in combat at least.

Tilly’s also interested in him - and quickly pushes Michael towards him, noting how the Captain has practically adopted both of them (much to Michael’s surprise). Of course human interaction is still not Michael’s strongest point - and it isn’t helped when she collapses in sudden pain due to the Katra she shares with Sarek

The Katra as she explains from her sickbed when she regains consciousness, is Vulcan mind-mojo (I’d say “soul” but no doubt get many illogical frowny reactions) - Sarek shared his with her when he saved her life after Logic Extremists killed her parents and tried to kill her in their attempt to drive humanity off Vulcan. She now has a psychic connection and wants to use it to rescue Sarek

Of course Lorca says yes and the Magic Mushroom Drive takes them close to his location. To get closer they need to use a shuttle (the Magic Mushroom Drive doesn’t like nebulae because of REASONS) and Michael’s mechanically enhanced psychic connection

That psychic connection enhancement is provided by Stamets who is… disturbingly chipper. In fact he’s so cheerful I would say he is actually high. No-one seems suspicious of one of their chief offers apparently huffing some of his Magic Mushroom Drive.

Lorca tells Ash to be Michael’s pilot - warning him to keep Michael safe, or not return (which is faintly creepy) and Tilly goes along for moral support because she’s Tilly and adorkable and awesome.

But when Michael makes contact with Sarek’s mind they keep returning to the same memory - when she was denied entry into the Vulcan Expeditionary Group despite her superlative test scores. Michael considers it one of her most humiliating memories, and a moment when she utterly failed her step-father (we also see Amanda, Sarek’s human wife, Michael’s step-mother outraged on her behalf and passionate in her defence: she also urges Michael not to lose sight of her humanity). Every time she appears in the memory, Sarek attacks her, determined to drive her from his mind.

Michael can’t fight back effectively because of the emotion of the memory - her failure - and how, in his dying moments Sarek must be remembering that because she’s his biggest regret. Ash has a surprising pep talk - since he can’t convince Michael to leave without Sarek - when you’re dying you think of people you love. If Sarek’s memory is of her then it’s because he loves her.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Trouble with the Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson #12) by Darynda Jones

Charley has a problem. Reyes, her demonic, powerful, godly husband has finally been released from the supernatural prison he’d been locked in. But what emerged was far less human and far more supernatural and demonic than what went in. She has no idea what drives him now - and fears that ending the world and everything in it may be on his to do list

Fearing the same, it looks like God and his angels want to get pro-active in exterminating him

Trying to return Reyes to humanity is beyond tricky - especially when she’s distracted by a series of odd murders: people killed by fire and claws but no indication of to how. It looks like woowoo so of course she’s called in

Charley continues to be the utterly zany, completely unbelievable character we all know and love. She’s hilarious, she’s random, she doesn’t even remotely approach sensible on even her best day and it generally works. I think it especially works in this book - in previous books there have been moments where I think Charley, her randomness, her need to name everything etc have been taken to degrees that are not just ridiculous (everything with Charley involves ridiculousness, it is known) but also to a level which is just not funny any more.

This book managed to keep all the amusing quips, Charley’s complete lack of anything resembling an attention span, her love of Mexican food and coffee to levels which are completely inhuman, and her inability to take even the most severe moment seriously and still manages to keep it coherent

I think part of the way it manages this is Charley’s grown. I’m looking back through my list of quotes and I can’t put my finger on any one moment that I can point to as an example. But there is a definite different feel to Charley. She has always been the silly, irreverent, fun driven protagonist - but in the last few books she and the story has taken a distinctive turn. She’s a god, she’s not just a god but an extremely powerful god. She knows this - and while she doesn’t lord it over anyone or even use her extensive powers a great deal, there’s a new solidity to her. Previously she would charge into dangerous situations because she was just that reckless or because she felt there was no other choice or she didn’t think things through. Now there’s a sense of “I’ve got this” about her - there’s a confidence to her that wasn’t there before. I still can’t say how it’s conveyed, but it’s definitely there

What helps this book a lot is the much more coherent plot lines. While we have Amber involved in her own background activity and a police case, and a crime family with a grudge against Peri, one of her best friends, ultimately nearly everything is connected. In previous books there felt like there were maybe 3 or 4 plot lines, none of which were going anywhere, none of which were actually achieving anything and all would end when the book did. They were fun, but they were too many and they felt like distractions. Here we had the quest to find Reyes and the plan to try and get him back on side, we had the murders (because we always have murder mysteries) which are still connected to the Reyes hunt and we had Peri, her relationship issue and the dangerous crime family. This wasn’t connected to the others but also had enough threads to suggest a longer term plot than we’ve already seen, it certainly didn’t feel over when the book was over, exactly. This coherence of storyline may have helped focus Charlie a lot more, especially as it also allowed more time to examine what Charlie actually is

Star Trek Discovery: Season 1, Episode 5 Choose Your Pain

Michael still has all the guilt over how they’re using the Tardigrade and tries to convince Dr. Colber they’re killing it. He agrees to check it out.

Tilly continues to be the adorkable friendly, supporting counsel for Michael, especially with regards to her emotions.

Meanwhile Lorca is having bigwigs at Star Fleet worried that they only have one Magic Mushroom Drive and they really need to enslave and torment more Tardigrades to make them work. Until then Lorca needs to tone it down and stop putting their biggest asset at risk (he and the Discovery are zooming all over the place fighting Klingons)

Admiral Cornwell is also not thrilled by Lorca recruiting Michael - because it’s just making him look bad and he’s not the most popular guy anyway. Of course he doesn’t listen to criticism.

He returns to his ship - but is kidnapped by klingons on the way. It’s on Saru to find and rescue Lorca before he can spill the beans on the Magic Mushroom Drive. His threat ganglia flares when Michael appears so he still has issues with her, still considers her a threat

While she’s not happy with the idea of bouncing all over the galaxy looking for Lorca and killing the Tardigrade. Saru nixes this, wanting to focus on saving Lorca. Part of this may be down to his own intense self-criticism: he even sets up a computer program to compare himself to successful captains so he can match them.

Of course Michael ignores him because Michael has no time for hierarchies and goes right to Stamets with evidence from Dr. Colber that the Tardigrade is, indeed, being hurt. We also see her trying to manipulate Stamets just as she did Saru - this is not a good look for her. And Stamets isn’t falling for it

But he does look at trying to find a work around with Tilley and Michael. They seem to find a way - which Tilley considers “fucking cool”. Stamets agree. Honestly it was natural, adorkable and perfectly showed their geeky enthusiasm for science. I do not remotely get the handwringing over a *gasp” f-bomb and even some people saying they can’t let their kids watch it with them now. Two episodes ago we had a door repeatedly open and close, jammed open by a severed leg. The Klingon captain here is raping her prisoner and we’ve seen multiple people be beaten brutally, including one man getting his face stomped - but “fuck” is the line?

I do not fucking understand fucking people.

It would be fucking cool but they can’t find the right species DNA to make the shiny work without the Tardigrade and Saru is not remotely amused by Michael ignoring his orders and stopping them using the drive. Michael pleas for more time and she continues to try and manipulate him and he’s not having that: her arrogance ignoring orders, sabotaging commands she doesn’t agree with. He kind of has a point. She does treat the chain of command as something to follow if she agrees with it… and not so much if she doesn’t. If she weren’t right we’d be considering her the Worst by now.

They do jump - and the Tardigrade collapses, drains itself and enters stasis. The doctor explains this to Saru and Saru insists on just waking it up again. The doctor is not amused - this will kill it and the tests on the Tardigrade suggest it may be sentient. Killing a sentient creature to use it to fuel your drive is rather a no-no. Saru dismisses this - he has a captain to save. The doctor refuses - Saru instead orders Stamet to do it.

Lorca is on a Klingon prison ship with a man called Mudd, who apparently has history with Star Trek. He rambles his origin story and how he was imprisoned. The Klingons also have a crafty method of stopping the prisoners working together - they come in and demand they “choose your pain” - you can take a beating or nominate a fellow prisoner to take one. Mudd nominates a near comatose prisoner, of course.

Star Trek Discovery, Season 1, Episode 4: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

We open with all the Michael conflict on high - her new uniform shows her new position, her lack of rank is clear. Tilly brings adorkable friendly welcome but Georgiou’s personal effects being delivered remind us of what she’s lost and how far she’s fallen. She also has an awkward discussion with Saru in a lift, his threat ganglia flaring - he may have called her an asset and sung her praises last episode but that was when he knew she was temporary. Her hanging around reinforces her threat and what he fears from her - it makes him a lot more hostile.

Saru is all about risk analysis - and Michael is now waaay too risky.

Lorca is fully preparing his ship for war the with the klingons, assuming they will get the Magic Mushroom Drive working - the problem is that he’s assuming (at least for a while) that their ship will be the only one with it - which means his crew need to get used to charging into combat completely unsupported. The simulation he runs is… not reassuring.

So Lorca continues on his skirting on the edges of evil by showing Michael the monster he has - the creature that attacked them last episode. Because it can cut through hulls and is nearly invulnerable he’d like Michael to make shiny shiny weapons out of it.

The creature also resembles a tardigrade, albeit much much bigger. These things are also pretty invulnerable and also surprisingly cute, if microscopic.

Landry joins her in investigating the monster, calling it “Ripper” and focusing very much on it being an aggressive monster. Michael is more focused on information and knowledge and refuses to just believe it as a monster rather than as an “unknown alien”.

Landry “Lorca isn’t interested in what you are, but in what you can do for him.”

Time for action: Klingons are raiding a strategically vital mining colony and only the Discovery with its Magic Mushroom Drive can get there in time. Lorca assures his superiors they can… Lorca is… fudging a little here.

Stamets is… less positive about this especially for long jumps. He describes how he cannot duplicate the Glenn’s technology because they’re missing an essential part - and he’s sarcastic and sniping in the process. They try to use the spore drive - it doesn’t go so well and they nearly end up in the middle of a sun, oopsie. Lorca continues to push Stamets, while he snarks and hisses back. Lorca engages in full on shaming of Stamets and his entire crew to push them to run to the rescue

Lorca is an arsehole

Part of the unexpected consequences of this is that Landry, the worst security chief ever, decides she’s going to lop a bit off Ripper so she can experiment on it. She gets predictably mauled to death

And I get annoyed - she had potential to be a decent character but instead she decided to release a SHIP DESTROYING monster with no realistic containment protocols? What kind of security chief is she? In the end she was killed just to show the consequences of Lorca’s emotional manipulation, not to actually develop her in any real way.

Following that theme, Michael calls Saru ostensibly to apologise, but really to see if Saru’s threat ganglia respond to the creature; proving it isn’t naturally aggressive except in self defence. Like Lorca, she utterly manipulates Saru - and he calls her out for it (and acknowledging that Lorca is an arsehole)

Star Trek Discovery: Season 1, Episode 3: Context is for Kings

After the debacle of the opening episodes, Michael has been sentenced for mutiny and is being transported to a mining colony for prison labour. She seems resigned to her fate - more, she’s in full self-flagellation mode.

Until, after an unfortunate incident, they’re rescued by a star ship, the discovery led by Captain Lorca. Led through the ship by Commander Landry (who is far from their biggest fan) to the mess where Michael is snubbed by one of her old shipmates and gets attacked by the other prisoners. No-one intervenes until she’s put them all very much in their place. Michael’s mutiny has not made her the most popular person around

But Captain Lorca isn’t overly concerned by this. As far as he’s concerned, Michael is intelligent and skilled and his science vessel could use her for as long as she’s here. She doesn’t want to help - mainly because she is wrapped in self-loathing and just wants to be imprisoned as the terribad person she is - but Lorca wasn’t actually offering a choice here.

Michael also meets her room-mate Tilly who is made of adorability, awkwardness and babble. She manages to be both painfully nice and NOT annoying because of it - which is impressive

Her old ship-mate, Saru, is also on the vessel as First officer. Their interactions are… pained. There’s a lot of respect there which is very clear in their conversation and Saru is nothing but polite… as he tells her she’s something to fear. And to gently warn her about causing trouble.

Also I like the slight surrealness of an alien eating blueberries. It’s a nice touch

Lorca sends her to engineering under Lt Stamets who is prickly and sarcastic and touchy and prickly and slightly sassy and, yes, prickly.

Stamets is involved in some top top secret research and in friendly competition with another ship doing the same. She still doesn’t reveal what they’re researching to Michael though she shows off her skills. Oh and his secret project is hidden behind breath-locked room. So of course Michael arranges to illicitly sneak in and see the beautiful plant/fungus room beyond

I wonder a bit a this scene - because part of me thinks someone who is so consumed by guilt and self-flagellation is not going to be idly curious. I also wonder at someone so determined not to make waves and to follow the rules, especially after her flagrant mutiny, is going to break into a top secret facility which MUST be a pretty severe rule breach… I think this scene is supposed to tell us despite the guilt, despite the Vulcan-emotion-training, despite her adherence to rules, ultimately Michael is human, she feels, her emotions can overrule logic and sense - but above all she’s intelligent and curious.

Their sister ship has an accident and everyone on it is dead, much to Stamet’s evident grief. Lorca arranges for all their research matter to be brought back to the Discovery sending Stamets and Michael (after Saru vouches for her - again, he may be wary of her, but he respects her) to the ship on an away mission. With Tilly, who continues to be sweet and adorkable and apologises to Michael for snubbing her out of fear of what others think. Again I like Tilly, on the surface she looks mushy and she freely admits her flaws and wears her heart on her sleeve - but there’s strength there too. If she were all mush, she would have accepted Michael’s dismissive “it’s alright” forgiveness, instead she pushed

Monday, October 23, 2017

Z Nation, Season 4, Episode 4: A New Mission: Keep Moving

Last episode it looked like Murphy and Lilley were heading north, but the gang’s all together now. I guess rushing off without Warren appealed to no-one

Time for a long walk and lots of banter - though, no Doc, I prefer immortal zombies to happy peaceloving zombies that love weed because Z Nation has already done waaay too much of that nonsense

They enter what Lilley describes as the “Great Pile” basically 200 square miles of abandoned vehicles. Way back in the early apocalypse a cult leader declared they’d all be raptured by aliens if they gathered at this spot. Unsurprisingly this didn’t happen and everyone died - though most of the zombies left (headed to the Grand Canyon, something 10K and Doc deny all knowledge of considering their experiences there). Doc also has a dramatic external monologue with 10k asking who he’s talking to, they know all this?

See, these are the whacky silly moments that work with Z Nation, humour without completely derailing the whole show or an entire episode of nonsense.

It adds up to a terrible place. The cars are parked so close together you can barely squeeze past, it’s hard to maneuver and there are no long ranged sight lines so it’s easy to be ambushed

Lucy keeps hearing zombies and still has issues with Murphy - as far as she’s concerned her dad could hear zombies, was blue and they could feel each other on the other side of the world. Him adding that he’s cured again doesn’t help matters as she resents the idea she needs to be cured.

10K has his own angst- leaving Addey, 5k and Red behind is eating at him - but he and Red made a promise that if one of them vanished they’ve leave a sign, the other was to look for a day and then move on if they found nothing. He refuses to break that promise but it’s clearly bothering him. He clings to the idea she’s still alive and Doc very obviously humours him - it’s another nice little moment this season has managed to pull out, lots of undertone and connections.

Of course, being Z Nation we have some silliness, with both Rat zombies making them run in every direction and Enders (wild, mindless humans) causing similar chaos.

At one point two Zona soldiers appear to kidnap Lucy, but between Warren’s fury (and visions) beating one to death and Murphy getting lucky with the other and locking him in a camper van full of zombies (and kudos Z Nation for that extra creepy touch of having those little family stickers on the camper van to remind us of the humanity of the zombies) they managed to rescue her. Murphy is super pissed and lashes out at everyone for not helping - while most of them claim they were too far away, 10K makes it clear he doesn’t really give a damn about Murphy. Given their history that’s not exactly surprising and I’m glad that grudge hasn’t just been buried. Liley is the one to speak up and demand unit cohesion.

More travelling and nifty little conversations - Lucy explaining she can’t hear the “Mad Zs” because they just scream. Warren getting some advice on fatherhood from Warren who wisely advises him he doesn’t have to be perfect, sometimes you just have to be there. Though he does point out Lucy likes her more than him - but hey, as Warren says so does everyone