Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Devil's Revolver (The Devil's Revolver, #1) by V.S. McGrath

Family history has caught up with Hattie: her father’s past and connection to a terrifying demonic revolver has lead to a lot of bad attention. Attention that robs Hattie of everything and leaves her desperate to find her sister; in a trek across the magical Wild West with a range of forces arrayed against her. She’s backed by a group of allies - but how many of them can she trust and what is their real agendas?

Well, this is different. Well developed magical steampunk western. Ok, bizarre quirk? I hate westerns but I love paranormal westerns and steampunk westerns. Especially if you throw in some really excellent world building

And this world building is excellent. The way magic is incorporated into the actual world and businesses. Like the Pinkertons are a magical detective agency, the use of Zoom tunnels not just as magical transport, but the way they’ve been controlled and used basically in the same manner as railroad companies. We have magical rich and poor areas but we also have a world where magic is very much integrated into daily life with common ranchers using magic to protect their livestock, competitions regularly checking if people are carrying magic and a general assumption of magic as a common factor in everyone’s world without turning it into an odd fantasy elves-and-wizards-story. There is a suggestion of greater than normal technology as well - a definite steampunk edge but we don’t explore that much because magic and technology don’t mix much and these characters are all magical but it does promise a lot for future books.

But it’s also interesting how the magical setting actually works with the prejudices of the era (which continue to this day) and how it’s considered how magic would change history - or not. Like there’s an exploration of massacred Native Americans and they talk about how magic doesn’t generally work on metal (except very limited special circumstances): and no matter how magically powerful Native tribes were, because magic cannot stop bullets and modern weaponry is just deadly. This is something we see reinforced a lot which does a great job of emphasising why the Diablo is so special: magic is impressive but if men are pointing guns at you? Or gatling guns are being brought out?

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 22: Exodus

So we have a reunion with everyone and Lucifer tries to act like he’s one of the gang and everyone loves him. Needless to say no-one buys it and Mary clocks him good.

They all also try to keep Lucifer away from Jack - except Jack, after a due amount of moping, is super intrigued about his dad and wants to hear more about his family and the power he has. Lucifer does a decent act of not being entirely awful, especially since he sells the whole “fake news” meme (are Supernatural making comparisons between Trump and Satan? Well if they won’t I will!)  quite well, saying it’s all god’s propaganda and he was locked up so it can’t have been his fault

Disturbingly, Jack starts calling him dad. And mopes a lot about his mother

Dean and Sam get over the whole I-thought-you-were-dead thing because emotion. Dean also wants Gabriel to kill Lucifer but that’s not exactly possible: even at full grace we know which brother is more powerful.

The first snag in the plan is that Mary doesn’t actually want to come home because she’s leading the rebellion and it matters and she can’t abandon her comrades in arms. Dean, of course, loses every last bit of his ever-loving shit over this - because family must be together forever and ever until the co-dependence becomes REALLY unhealthy.

Sam can see her point and manages to find a middle ground between abandoning them and staying in apocalypse world. He thinks they should take the Apocalypse soldiers with them so they can use the Winchester Cave with all of its Men of Letters lore to try and figure out how their tiny, losing forces can actually defeat Michael. Sam is actually much more diplomatic with the soldiers - led by Bobby - than Dean’s utter lack of patience and visible scorn. Dean is a weapon, never a diplomat

But first they have to rescue Charlie and Ketch (and I like that it’s clear Charlie is in charge, less so that she’s being rescued) who have gone to rescue some hostages. Only it turns out to be a trap. The angels decide to torture them for information, calling in their specialist: Evil Castiel (who has developed a German accent and a Nazi style uniform). While the good guys use Good Castiel to question the mole and find out

Yes Castiel kills himself, making it very clear he prefers humans to angels as he kills his evil counterpart. So the rescue happens quite easily

Lucifer is awkwardly trying to be a dad to Jack and decides to introduce him to the family, specifically uncle Gabriel. And Gabe isn’t here for this. As far as he’s concerned Lucifer is the worst, his lies are terrible, his corruption of humanity was unforgiveable and an act of jealousy and, basically, he’s a terribad awful CANCER on humanity that god was very right to lock up and it’s only a shame he didn’t do it sooner before the damage was done. His actual words. And this seems to hit home - there’s actual tears in Lucifer’s eyes in the face of his brother’s rage. Gabriel is pretty savage here

Perhaps because of this he is able to convince Jack to come with them - since Jack very much wants to kill Michael

Everyone is convinced to go to the new world and they all gather at the portal to go through (and see a very surprised and exhausted Rowena who has managed to hold it open with her magic) until Michael arrives

Friday, May 11, 2018

Shadowhunters, Season 3, Episode 8: A Heart of Darkness

Lilith is free, the queen of Edom! The biggest, scariest demon ever who no doubt has schemes that could doom us all. In the face of this the gang has decided to… obsess about Jace and Clary!

Of course, it’s not like there’s anything more important in the world!

Lillith is awfully upset by there being a daylighter running around because he can banish her and ruin all her awful plans. She decides the best thing to do about this is to go visit the Seelie queen, since she’s the one who gave Simon the mark in the first place

She goes to the Seelie realm (possibly because the previous queen, before they became sworn enemies, gave her an invitation) and kills a few of the queen’s knights before confronting the queen. From this convo we learnt that when Lillith pissed off the last queen the Seelie gifted Eve with super-beauty and that the Seelie queen probably gave the mark to Simon as some kind of long term passive aggressive way of fucking with Lillith

To which we know the Seelie are both Supremely Petty and love to fight their wars 8 steps ahead

Lillith plans to kill the queen but she buys her life by selling out where Jace is because unlike everyone else on this show she doesn’t think Jace and Clary are the centre of the universe.

Jace is being imprisoned and doing the classic, pouty possession thing lashing out ineffectually while everyone else gets all serious. Rather than deal with Lillith and her world ending plans, Izzy and Alec decide to play around in Jace’s head helped by Magnus’s magic where we get some child actors trying to play these characters without upstaging the adults which must have been damn hard given the acting quality of this series.

After many little scenes which, in another series, would serve to build and grow his personality. Not this show.

We do have a wonderful scene where Jace begs Alec to kill him, please kill him, so he stops doing bad things.

I second this plea. Alas Alec says no. So he turns to Izzy and, alas, she also says no.

Don’t tease me Shadowhunters.

At this point Lillith arrives to steal Jace away and threaten Magnus. She doesn’t kill Magnus because his demon dad may start a war. Which suggests that that demon is invested in Magnus. Think we may show that at some point? Or is what should be a major character moment and story hook going to be a brushed over?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Westworld, Season Two, Episode Three: Virtù e Fortuna

Virtù e Fortuna feels very much like a filler episode in that its singular goal seemed to be to position Westworld's characters in order to move the narrative along.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, even if it didn't add up to a telling or hair raising episode. Virtù e Fortuna begins at a section of the park aptly named "The Raj". Yes, let that conjure up all of the horrible things British colonialism gave birth to in India.  Naturally, all of the guests are white and the hosts are all Indian - it's kiplingesque escapism and not at all subtle. 

We watch as a man and woman have sex (let's call them Chad and Becky for now), after the woman first establishes that the man is human by shooting him (as you do), thus verifying that he actually wants her and isn't simply programmed to satisfy her.  It's telling that among this horrid fantasy world that guests would seek to establish something real and perhaps even worry about the objectives of the company altogether. Once the sex is complete, Chad and Becky head out on a safari, blissfully unaware that they are no longer playing the game in safe mode. There is some irony here, given that the guests are both white and are in colonised India, end up missing the signs that their privilege, both white and human are meaningless now.  Becky is the first one to notice something wrong and Chad is absolutely incredulous that his robot Indian servant would turn on him. It's almost cathartic to watch as Chad gets shot square in the chest. Oh if only - Rule Britannia my ass.  Becky runs from the carnage, only to catch the attention of a Tiger. Sentient Hosts are dangerous on their own but one with the abilities and drive of a tiger, potentially several time stronger than an actual tiger presents a horrifying situation for our poor Becky.  After attempting to shoot the tiger and failing, Becky takes off running until she finds herself at a cliff with a long drop to the tumultuous ocean at the bottom. The tiger leisurely stalks Becky and she once again tries to shoot but fails again.  The tiger leaps at Becky and the two fall of the cliff. 

This quickly shifts to Bernard in the future.  Charlotte quips that Abernathy keeps escaping, causing Bernard to think about what happened. In what turns out to be the only humorous moment of the episode, Bernard and Charlotte come across Abernathy, who has been captured by a couple of marauders intent on selling their captives for money.  Charlotte and Bernard create a distraction, knock out the kidnapping cowboy and change his operating system to make him moral, chivalrous and an even better shot. The cowboy returns to his victims and set them all loose. Of course, this is when the group of soldiers show up who had planned on purchasing the cowboys captives.  A shoot out ensues with the cowboy chasing after a terrified captive promising to escort her, as she runs for her life.

With the bad guys out of the way, now would be the time to run but Abernathy is so scattered, he decides to make a ridiculous show of bravery.  Charlotte sees the writing on the wall and takes off quickly.  Unfortunately for Bernard, who doesn't follow Charlotte's lead, he ends up captured alongside Abernathy.

Bernard and Abernathy are taken to Dolores' stronghold, where Dolores is stunned to see the shape that Abernathy is in.  This is important to note because Dolores apparently finds her treatment at the hands of humans justifiably horrible and feels manipulated but she seems to have a blind spot re her feelings for Abernathy, whom she still relates to as her father.  Every bit of tenderness Dolores actually feels for Abernathy has been manufactured to fit a story line by humans.

Dolores turns to the one person who can restore Abernarthy to the robot that she knows - Bernard. This is the first time that Dolores and Bernard are meeting with all of the cards on the table. Dolores is all to aware of the fact that Bernard is nothing more than a pale imitation of Arnold and now that Bernard is also awake, he's aware of exactly of who he is. Dolores talks about what the humans did to Abernathy and her plan to take over the world.  Dolores thinks that she's more in the know than Bernard because she's seen the real world while he has not whereas; Bernard believes that the world is more than she can conquer. We have to pause.  There is something deeply wrong with a white woman suggesting that a black man is an uncle tom. Sure, we're talking about robots and humans but that doesn't mean that the racial dynamics of this scene aren't deeply problematic.

iZombie, Season 4, Episode 10: Yipee Ki Brain, Motherscratcher!

Major continues to enjoy rising attention in Fillmore Graves as he gets more and more important and even Chase who is 5 steps from breakdown cheers him on and joins in the gay jokes. Because of course

His rising star means he thinks he’ll be able to get in better with Russ and his brain selling racket as he becomes closer to the fascist-in-chief.

Team Liv is also moving forwards. Isobel is still onside for testing of a vaccine and Ravi is working on that. Ravi even speaks to Isobel’s mother who supports her choice and 16 year old Isobel is very mature and trusted because of this. Of course Ravi also feels he has to look after her at the urging of her mother.

The testing doesn’t actually get anywhere but they keep trying as we see them all having fun together, with Levon and Liv getting more couply, watching their zombie high DVDs (which previously were referenced in season 2)

But Isobel isn’t completely ignoring her mental illness. While she’s not dwelling on it every moment she is still feeling all the things she’ll never have chance to experience (especially with Liv and Levon as well as Peyton and Ravi being very sexual). So Liv sets her up with one of the actors from that show, with Ravi swooping around playing protector and parental figure. They’re definitely building a family dynamic.

The whole zombie smuggling ring is also really taking off growing and growing and growing and why is no-one questioning this?! Why why why does absolutely no-one questioning what this will do to the brain supply? Why why why is no-one here worrying about how all these extra zombies are going to be fed? It’s ridiculous that we see an apparently exponential growth of zombies isn’t considered questionable or worrisome at all?

One of their coyotes, Curtis, a 21 year old with a new baby and a wedding coming up, is caught by Fillmoregraves and faces Chase and the French detective (does this guy actually have a name?). He tries to distract them claiming he works for Brother Love claiming that Angus wants a lot more zombies so all the starving zombies will then see that humans are designed to be eaten.

Wow, someone actually noticing that a lot of zombies equals starving zombies equals problems BUT STILL NOT STOPPING THIS

Chase doesn’t exactly believe this but it does buy them enough time for Liv to launch a rescue - by planting a tracker on Major. She can’t rescue Curtis because of the bars on his room… but she can scratch him so his brains can’t be eaten for visions. This means Curtis, about to get married to a human woman and mother of his child, is giving up a lot.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 23: Quintessential Deckerstar

Ok… it’s been a while since Lucifer pulled this kind of drama off, especially with all the annoying Lucifer whims of the week episode.

In fact, has Lucifer ever pulled this kind of drama off?

This is an episode that, in many ways, is not about Lucifer. (Though I do love the “how dare you?!” when someone asks him if he’s Dan. And i question Chloe’s snark that Lucifer may not be the best person to ask about what women desire. He’s Lucifer, what everyone desires is kind of his thing) Oh he sits down with Linda and she tries to push him to being a reasonable person and telling Chloe how he feels (as well as pointing out that just because Chloe didn’t choose Pierce doesn’t mean she chooses Lucifer - a lesson so many love triangle authors need to learn) and he completely ignores that, of course, and instead insists that everything is back to normal and to prove it he’s going to re-enact scenes from Lucifer and Chloe’s past just to be really really really annoying.

This episode is far more about Charlotte - who is getting more and more couply with Dan but still tormented by her visions of hell and nightmares of all the criminals she assisted. And I get that Charlotte’s assistance for criminals was rather more than what a defence lawyer normally would do but it doesn’t change how her whole characterisation is based on the demonisation of criminal defence as a concept

Anyway, she talks with Amenadiel a lot and they do a lot of thinking. Regardless of the good she’s done she still feels guilty and worries that she’ll still go to hell. Amenadiel has a brain wave - what if angels are the same? What if the whole reason he lost his wings wasn’t god’s will- but because his own self-doubt and guilt took them? What if angels and humans are actually very alike and Amenadiel is setting up all his own tests because that’s what he thinks - after all, he’s only guessing at the will of god. As Lucifer agrees, god never just tells them anything

Lucifer, of course, rejects this idea because his whole self image is based on how his dad interferes constantly in his life and if it turns out god is busy doing sudoku and not really giving a shit then his whole self-narrative collapses

Amenadiel also works hard to convince Charlotte of her own redemption, of the small good she’s constantly doing and recognising how she’s changed

Except the case of the week is a dead woman - and her surviving husband is a man from Charlotte’s hell vision/nightmares. She once disposed of a bloodstained bag for him at the behest of her senior partner when she was a young lawyer. Of course, a 13 year old bag and hell visions isn’t exactly probative. But Ella and Chloe follow up on some other clues pointing to the man, Forest, having an affair and possible stalker

While Amenadiel and Charlotte decide to steal some legal files which is super illegal, but does give Charlotte to have a big rant to her old colleagues about trying to do good and changing while she can. They find out that Forest had very hefty non-disclosure agreements with a number of women. Including one woman who was murdered about the time of the agreement

And yes I did check to see if any of the women were called Stormy.

They pull apart threads and Chloe discovers and proves that the stalker was the man falsely accused of murdering the woman Forest murdered - who then murdered Forest’s wife when he thought he was alone.

While Lucifer celebrates that they caught the bad guy, Charlotte seethes that it’s not the real bad guy and she and Chloe set up a sting to get a confession and him holding his current girlfriend at knifepoint (chain of evidence is likely to be shaky here, but cop show and all that). He’s a serial abuser, the non disclosures would keep it quiet and he killed Joanne while attacking her during sex.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale, Season Two, Episode Three: Baggage

I believe that Baggage, the title of this episode, relates to all of the weight we carry with us everyday. Not only do we have our own personal expectations and disappointments, we carry those of our parents and if we are parents our children.  It's a heavy burden that often goes unnoticed throughout our lives but we carry it nonetheless. 

I'm going to begin with Moira because she has the smallest section of the episode this week. Moira has tried very hard to establish some normality for herself since escaping to Canada. Moira exercises, has secured a job at the welcome center and even manages to engage in sexual activity in a woman's bathroom at a club.  What is clear however is that Moira is living with PTSD.  She's trying to run from her memories, even as she makes Luke eggs because she believes that he is getting too skinny.  Moira is lying to herself. Moira tries to tell a fellow survivor that it gets better but she still refused to allow the woman she had anonymous sex with to touch her.  Moira may not say it but she is still on the run and news that the Canadian and British military are doing exercises by the border makes her worry that her reprieve from Gilead is only temporary. 

June's mother was an avid feminist during the pre Gilead days.  Holly saw the world for what it was and was absolutely determined to raise a daughter who was a fighter.  Holly even took June to Take Back the Night rallys where women burned pieces of paper with the name of their rapist on it.  As June grew however, her politics didn't align as strongly with her mother, causing a clear rift in their relationship.  Holly for instance did not support June's promotion to assistant editor at an academic press and instead championed the success of a friend's daughter who had designed a website for lesbians. Holly wasn't even pleased with June's at the time impending marriage to Luke.  Holly didn't actually have a problem with Luke per say, just the idea of a woman devoting all of her time and energy to a man while the world was so messed up. June was clearly hurt but what she deemed to be her mother's disappointment in her. 

In a flashback we see June and Moira at the re-education centre receiving a lecture from the most hated auntie on the planet about the dismal state of the world which Lydia blames on human sin and sees as a punishment from God.  Holly appears in one of the images as a farm worker in what must clearly be part of the colonies.  Given Holly's political beliefs, it's certain that she is still fighting and that her life is very difficult.

In the present, June has become accustomed to living in the Globe building. She's started running to keep in shape and has spent her time looking through the remnants of the newspaper in the hopes of figuring out how the Gilead came into being so rapidly. June organises articles under headings like Militarization and Curtailment of Civil Rights. As June puts the pieces together, she begins to realise that the Gilead was always there and that no one noticed.  The truth is, Holly noticed and that is why she fought so long and was even wounded for the cause. 

June's routine is brought to an end when the delivery driver returns to let her know that it's time to move onto the next location.  June is driven to a broken down warehouse where she is met by Omar, and informed that the plan is to get her to safe house and then she will be escorted to an airfield to be flown out of the country. Before June can even get in Omar's car however, he gets a call saying that the safe house has been compromised.  Omar orders June back indoors, apologising to June about the state she now finds herself in. June quickly realises the stakes and jumps in front of Omar's vehicle, refusing to allow him to leave without her.  It takes Omar a few moments before he decides to take June with him.

Omar takes June to his home and in the process we get to see a part of the Gilead that has been ignored up until now.  Thus far, we have really only glimpsed the lives of the elite but Omar and his family are part of the working class. June thinks this is “where I’d live if I hadn’t been an adultress, if I’d gone to church. If I’d played my cards right. If I’d known I was supposed to be playing cards.” June is a handmaiden because she had an affair with Luke while he was still married and had viable ovaries.  

Once Upon a Time, Season 7, Episode 20: Is This Henry Mills?

Gothel is casting her apocalypse spell and things are looking ominous.

Lucy is quick to fill in Regina including that Henry and Jacinda kissed and the curse didn’t break and Henry doesn’t have his memories. Gothel also drops in to basically say how evil she is and how all humanity will die. Y’know just in case we missed that this spell was a bad thing

Regina’s not having this, of course: but Gothel also happily lays out why the curse didn’t break. It seems Henry’s belief isn’t strong enough because he’s suffered too much pain: he beliefs his wife and child are dead. He’s an adult now without the faith he has as a child

This is where we also have a lot of recaps of young Henry and Regina. There’s a lot of Regina both trying to hang on to her boy but also accepting she needs to let go and he needs to be able to live his own life - even if that’s outside of Storybrooke. Even if that’s in California. While Henry has his own conflicts - he doesn’t want to stay in Storybrooke not just because he wants to move on and see the world but because he’s the only person in Storybrooke who didn’t have a cursed identity. He is of this world more than any of them and he wants to be part of it

At the same time when applying for college he realised everything he’s writing is a lie - and he’s not entirely of this world either. The magic and wonder of Storybrooke is equally part of him and not something he can ever live or experience in the outside world - which is also complicated

And I want to know where Granny learned how to fix cars.

Back in Hyperion Heights, Regina continues to struggle to find some way to stop Gothel - and Rumple arrives offering help. Regina is not amused to see him given his betrayal - but Rumple has a peace offering - a memory potion which may work on Henry. He has been doing some thinking - he’s beginning to accept he may new reunite with Belle. In which case he needs to do the best he can with the family he already has.

Which is nice to have him back on side, at least for a little while until Rumple has yet another of his many many changes of hearts.

Unfortunately when Regina goes to Henry with this potion it doesn’t work. More, despite all this theorising last episode, Henry has gone back to completely disbelieving in magic; that he can’t be Lucy’s father, that there is no special magic or woo-woo at all. Every doubt he has he rationalionises… like an adult. Everything Regina says, Henry has a reasonable explanation for. Because he’s not a wide eyed child, not the Truest Believer (which has always struck me as a bizarre title - like “I’m the man with the least connection to humanity!”), he’s a man who has suffered losses and faced brutal, bitter reality. And, also, saying “I’m your mother, here’s the adoption papers” isn’t exactly an easy sell.

And Regina realises that his pain is based on solid reality - because those his wife and child didn’t die, he did lose them and he wasn’t able to protect them. Even the Storybook which she and Lucy dig up from Victoria’s grave doesn’t break the curse.

Of course part of why it’s so unbelievable is not just fairy tales - but time travel. This curse, to succeed, didn’t just curse them and drop them on Earth, but also moved them back in time. This was necessary, per the show, to stop people like Snow White and Emma from intervening once Henry, Regina et al fell off the map. Which sounds like a decent way to explain where these people went, I guess. All those flashbacks aren’t actually flashbacks - young Henry debating going to college with Regina is happening now - but on the other side of America. They’re in Storybrook (New England) along with Emma, Snow, et al which is why none of them are riding to the rescue

Yes it’s going to get confusing

Into the Badlands, Season 3, Episode 3: Chapter XIX: Leopard Snares Rabbit

Tilda and her followers aren’t entirely united - it seems Odessa at least thinks that they should be building their numbers and not obsessing with the Widow quite so much. Whether this debate would go anywhere is moot because they get a warning to run away about 10 days too late because the Widow’s forces are here

Led by Nathaniel Moon

Which means we get lots and lots of shiny, beautiful fight scenes with Tilda being awesome then playing cat and mouse against Nathaniel when it becomes really clear that he’s a much better fighter than her. She tries to flee, she tries to fight back when she sees her people fighting for their lives and ultimately is knocked out. Odessa and her fellows get Tilda out while Odessa sacrifices herself to protect her.

Of course, The Widow knows exactly who Odessa is so now knows who the Iron Rabbit is. She’s also managed to turn Lydia who sets herself up as The Widow’s new Visceroy, running Quinn’s own territory: that territory she ruled as a baroness full of people who are totally loyal to Lydia… which is… not… wise. I mean this has been a rule since the Romans, you don’t set potentially hostile underlings up to create their own fiefdoms. To make things more complicated, Nathaniel Moon, The Widow’s Regent, is crushing hard on Lydia and not far at all from jumping sides. He even knows she was the one who tipped off Tilda (somewhat late) and is willing to cover for her

Lydia adds her own little plan: people like Quinn and the Widow are big and shiny and tend to burn out quickly, leaving a void for someone else to step into the void. So… not all that altruistic.

This is the same advice she gives to Tilda who has, rightly, guessed that she also sold her out as well as warning her. Lydia has a wonderful speech about wanting to change the world but needing to be part of it to do so. Having to compromise - but only so far. Also it’s time to actually help people rather than dealing with your mummy-issues. It all sounds wonderfully pragmatic and sensible - it also sounds like Lydia has finally solidified the loyalty of Tilda as well.

Step down Cersei, Lydia is ruling this game; the Widow better watch her back.

Following that advice, Tilda goes to see The Widow to make a deal: no more raiding in exchange for Odessa being released. The Widow’s counter offer is that + supporting the refugees but Tilda agrees to fight for her, how she wants, complete with a big recruitment pitch.

Tilda’s counter offer is yes, but MK goes free as well. I’m not entirely sure why she’s this invested in MK, but either way it’s not necessary because MK, after further brutal treatment from the Widow, has reclaimed his gifts. Throwing guards left, right and centre with his super powers and determined to unleash all hell on the Widow who is pretty helpless in the face of his black-eyed power.

Except Tilda steps in to divert him and they leave

So is Tilda accepting this deal or not? Either way it leaves the Widow alone, hurting and looking kind of bleak despite her beautiful surroundings

Monday, May 7, 2018

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 3: Good Out Here

Fear the Walking Dead is doing the whole past and present melded together for big meaningful moments with extra artisticness involving blue flowers. It’s well done but a pain in the arse to recap

The main lessons in the past is Nick being all devastated at having to destroy the infested crops he worked so hard over and finally going out with Madison. Madison has embraced a whole new level of shiny happiness and seeing the good which you know will get her killed. But out and about looking for supplies they find that one of the Vultures have got there before them with lots of taunting. Nick nearly attacks him but Madison stops him - not least of which because Charlie is watching and they still want the little girl to join them

This is why Nick doesn’t like being out the walls - because it turns him into this angry, dangerous person. He’s afraid of what the outside world will turn him into

And I can’t help but think again of early days Alexandria and how this group haven’t realised that having a settlement doesn’t mean you’re free from making the hard choices and you’re just one Negan, one Governor away from the same kill or be killed narrative

Which brings us to the present with Alicia, Nick, Luciana and Victor all holding Althea, John and Morgan captive in Althea’s big SWAT truck until Nick gets too close to Althea and there’s violence, a car crash and in the end result the truck is stuck in a ditch and now Alicia, Nick, Luciana and Victor are captives and John, Morgan and Althea are free. How things turn

But Althea is still an altruist, as Victor notes. She does want something from them and she doesn’t have any dodgy motives. She wants their stories. In return she’ll tell them where they got the Vulture flag (I don’t know if the Vultures have taken something the gang wants - Madison maybe? Charlie? Or if we’re just on a revenge kick). There’s a lot of back and forth but a deal is struck to winch the truck back onto the road getting equipment with most the group while Nick and Morgan stay with the truck - Nick as hostage

Morgan doesn’t feel the need to tie Nick up - as proven when Nick tries to jump Morgan and gets poked and prodded by Morgan’s supreme skills. Nick does find Morgan’s tape he made for Althea and tries to poke him about his past - but Morgan isn’t a sharing sort. Things seem peaceful until a hideous blue car drives past which nick clearly recognises as one of the Vulture’s and he squabbles with Morgan to go follow - in doing so he knocks the horn on the truck which won’t turn off. Nick chases after the Vulture and Morgan follows because the noise is going to attract lots of walkers

The Originals, Season 5, Episode 3: Ne Me Quitte Pas

This episode is all about Elijah and how he is dealing with amnesia life - but, more than that, I think this is the episode that is officially writing him out of the series

We know Elijah asked Marcus to blank his memory because his obsession with Klaus was so extreme that if he still remembered his brother existed there would be absolutely no way he’d be able to stay away and then the Hollow would do its terrible bad stuff because they’re too close together.

Elijah, with his memory all fuzzed has not only forgotten he’s a Mikkaelson, but also that he’s a vampire. Which is awkward and involves in him biting and killing people and being all tortured and angsty and scared and confused and generally not good

He’s found by Antoinette who is played by Jamie Murray who  is a perfect legend in all things. She introduces him to the world of vampiredom and, awesomely embraces it. She loves being a vampire and really does an excellent job of selling just how awesome it is to have awesome vampire senses et al. And for the first time on every show ever we have a vampire who hears the word “cure” and says “why would I want a cure?!”

Jamie Murray was the vampire we’ve always wanted. Ok, everyone we need a vampire show with Jamie Murray as lead.

She teaches him how to be a vampire, about sunlight and daylight rings which he’s wearing (which, apparently, every vampire basically has. Remember when these things were rare? Is there a factory out there with witches churning these things out) and they change him out of his suit.

Elijah is not in a suit. The world is ending.

Elijah and Antoinette get really close and he tries to surprise her by inviting her to a rave (ELIJAH IS AT A RAVE GUYS! THE WORLD ENDS!) with other vampires feeding in public… which she quickly flees. She’s not into group feeding

Her whole philosophy is very much about living in the now and letting the past go. She was part of a vampire family with very rigid rules about how you should live (possibly Elijah’s bloodline) and she struggled because she couldn’t let go of her human life. She now has left her past behind her, she refuses to wear a daylight ring so she can fully embrace her life as a vampire

Apparently some of the other vampires object to her because of this… but it’s never really explained as to why? Plenty of vampires lived without daylight rings until quite recently. In fact, going by the Vampire Diaries, plenty of vampires live relatively solitary lives as well - groups like Marcel’s in New Orleans seemed to have been the exception going by Damon and Stefan’s various flashbacks

She also feeds by using compulsion to comfort and support her victim so they don’t die in fear and their blood is super tasty and amazing

Wait, did we just decide to run on an Anne Rice style vampires-must-kill-to-feed thing? Because all this “oh look unique non-fear blood” is kind of standard from what we’ve seen so far? Most vampires we’ve seen use compulsion to control their meals and not leave bodies everywhere. Vampires who regularly leave bodies behind (except for now and then) are usually a mark of badness: Klaus, Kol, Stefan going ripper, Damon in his bad boy days. All of this feels like it’s kind of shaking a whole lot of canon here.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale, Season Two, Episode Two: Unwomen

It's certain now, whenever Emily appears in The Handmaid's Tale, the episode is going to be gut wrenching. From the moment I saw her blue eyes, I tried to prepare myself but how could anyone prepare themselves for this?

Let's begin with June, who while always important, was overshadowed this episode by Emily, the bringer of doom. This time June is dropped off at the former Boston Globe building.  It makes sense that an authoritarian government would shut down the free press because an informed public would be counter to their overall goals but that doesn't mean that it was any less shocking. June walks through the building noticing remnants of a former life: mugs, a single woman's high heel shoe, art work done by children.  The headline of what I assume to be the last printed paper reads “The Aftermath … America’s Bloodiest Day”. It is, I assume, the only printed record of the coup which resulted from seizing the capitol and the white house. 

What makes June truly lose it is not the remnants but evidence of a clear massacre in the Boston Globe building. June finds a wall littered with bullet holes and covered in blood.  Suddenly, it all becomes too much and for the first time since the rise of the Gilead, June breaks down completely; it's the break that we all knew was coming.  June can barely process what has happened to herself, let alone others.   

In flashbacks we see June ask her husband to sign a form so that she can get birth control.  It's familiar because it's not that long ago, that a husband's permission was required for women to take control, or listen to sexist lectures from Doctors before being given a diaphragm.  Even though this is clearly a violation of June's rights, its become the new normal and June is quick to move on. The light begins to dawn for June when she is informed that Hannah was taken to the hospital because of a fever.  June is questioned about Hannah's fever, called by her husbands name, despite correcting the social worker twice and basically shamed for daring to work and be a mother at the same time. The social worker even threatens to take Hannah away.  Now the rules aren't just an inconvenience to her life, they are threatening her life. 

In the present, when Nick finally arrives, June is not impressed to learn that they aren't going to get Hannnah and flee to Canada.  Junes demands the keys and gets in Nick's truck but when she turns the engine over, she realises the futility of simply attempting to drive away.  June and Nick engage in a marathon sex session and when Nick begs relief claiming exhaustion, June simply responds, "try".  At this point, the sex isn't about mutual pleasure and is about June taking control over her body and fighting back against Gilead. Sex provides the relief that June needs and when we see her next, she is creating an altar to those who were slaughtered at the Globe, even saying a prayer of her design, thereby reclaiming even God from those who have oppressed her.

Juxtaposed to June's story is that of Emily.  When we last saw Emily she was running people over with a stolen car after having had her clitoris removed against her will and watching as her lover was murdered.  Emily has been declared an 'unwoman' and has been sentenced to life in the colonies. It's a grueling existence that is only ended by death. Everything about the lives of the women sentenced there is contaminated - even the water they are given to wash with is filled with E Coli.  June does her best to minister to her fellow 'unwomen', trading supplies for bandages, and Tylenol. It's a desolate existence because these former handmaidens are just 'unwomen', they're clearly no longer deemed human. 

In a previous life, Emily taught biology at a university.  Gilead first becomes personal for Emily when she is informed that she won't be teaching next semester because of concerns after a student saw a picture of her family on her phone. Dan, the Dean, tries to assure Emily that they are just being cautious because of their new reality but Emily is determined not to be driven into the closet. Dan points out that he took all of the pictures of his husband out of his office, resulting in being labelled a collaborator by his partner. Dan explains that he thought that he was part of the last generation to have this kind of struggle and had always viewed LGBTQ people of Emily's generation as having an easy life.  Sadly, Dan welcomes Emily to the struggle. Emily and Dan commiserate over not knowing whether they should fight or flee.  Emily learns that she should flee when Dan is discovered strung up outside the university building with the word "f@ggot" spray painted on the ground at his feet.