Saturday, August 18, 2018

Glitch, Season 2, Episode 6: The Letter

It’s the last episode and I want answers….

Which isn’t going to happen

Instead we have Phil in prison being questioned by James and he’s dancing around all kinds of answers: Phil makes a big slightly epic speech about there being rules to the universe and one of those big ones is that living things are born, live and die in that order. This is how things are, this is how things should be. And it is Phil’s job to enforce those laws

He doesn’t answer when James asks if he’s enforcing them for god but I am doubling down on my belief they’re angels. It’s all very ominous

He does say he is like Phil - he has Phil’s body and memories - but also admits to possession pretty much.

James then gets a call from Beau telling him that Paddy has been shot - James realises there’s another like Phil and Vic out there and he goes to Beau to help him

Beau is actually kind of sad about Paddy which I still think doesn’t have enough reinforcement - there’s still little reason for Beau to value this man. But it does give James and Beau chance to talk - revealing that Beau was there when the dead crawled from their graves (he visits the graveyard to think about his father - who isn’t buried there. But Paddy, a male ancestor, was). I think they cross the boundary though - because Paddy’s body turns to dust which all spookily blows away: Beau remembers Vic’s body doing the same thing after Phil messed with it. James is more distracted by a bullet left behind in the dust - a bullet like the ones the police use

Without a body to dispose of James can leave Beau and go check in with the others telling them Paddy’s dead and someone else is out to kill them - and they need a place of safety (Kate takes a brief time out to check in with Owen and say that she can’t be with him for reasons). The only place they can think of is Norgard - using Nichola Hysen’s security. Especially since the ever shrinking boundary is centred there.

There’s not a lot of trust but Kate is convinced enough for her and the others to join William while James goes off. Inside Nichola explains Elishia’s research: chemicals + sounds + stem cells = magic, basically. With a heavy emphasis on memories being what makes them people rather than copies, clones etc etc. And they think they can fix the Boundary - but it will also kind of involve bringing Elishia back again - or so they hope.

While everyone’s out and about, Sarah frees Phill and they have their own in depth discussion - he is doubting her resolve. He also doesn’t understand why she’s looking after Nia since the baby gives her nothing and it’s an entirely one way relationship. Sarah can’t exactly explain it, just saying it’s love and what you do because love is pretty hard to understand. She’s also torn up about killing Paddy - and killing him in front of Beau, likely traumatising him. I think we see Phill isn’t entirely a stranger to parental responsibility since he actually says that Beau has him now. There’s a definite sense of a connection there.

We get more ominous talk about how they’re basically stuck in these bodies until they die as well - as is right and proper - and some conflict over whether that’s punishment or reward. Phill is growing to like his humanity

Following research they realise the dead have fled to Norgard and Sarah leaves her baby with the awesome midwife. While James has put 2 and 2 together and realised that Sarah is his other killer

It’s less 2 and 2 to make 4 and more 2 and 2 to make 766567 but run with it, it’s a short show. He calls her and is full of rage and grief and horror that this monster has possessed his dead wife and now has their baby...while Sarah tearfully tries to convince him she’s still Sarah (and a killing angel person).

James naturally checks on his baby first before running to the rescue

At Norgard, Hysen’s security is non existent. We’ve seen this before when William first left. So Phil and Sarah have no problem breaking in (especially since Phil is in a relationship with Ellen, Beau’s mother, who works there) and Kate, Kirstie and Charlie all run to the cemetery where Nichola and William are already practicing some science woo-woo - in the process Charlie is shot but not killed.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Far From Center (Imp World #20) by Debra Dunbar

Image result for far from center debra dunbar
The Arch Angel Gabriel cares so much about his vibration level and staying pure that he eschews all physical pleasures but it does make him particularly dedicated to his work.  After searching for a fellow angel for eons, Gabriel finally has a bead upon one of the angels responsible for the rebellion in Aaru. As an Arch Angel, Gabriel has little to fear and so he's certain that he will get his target, until a confrontation with a human that turns hims temporarily human.  Without access to his grace, Gabriel is forced to continue the mission in order to stop a dangerous artifact from ending up in the wrong hands. This may well mean his life and if that were not bad enough, Gabriel, having been an immortal being since creation, has no real idea how to navigate the human world or how to keep his body healthy. 

I normally wouldn't start on the 20th book in a series but I made a mistake and thought that Far From Center was part of the Imp series by the same author.  Fortunately, having read most of the Imp books, I am quite familiar with the characters in question and was able to follow the story quite well. If you find yourself in the same situation, feel free to jump in because it will give you a more intense look at characters that are largely side characters in the man Imp series. 

I'm a little caught as to exactly what genre to put Far From Center in. The originating series is most certainly straight up urban fantasy whereas; Far From Center absolutely brings in elements of paranormal romance, even if the romance doesn't completely drive the plot.  Without the relationship between Nyalla and Gabriel, the book certainly would not have had the same intensity and Dunbar did end the book with an expected HEA. I suppose the best way to describe this book is that it's a bit of both.

One of the things that attracts me to Dubar's work is that she's not afraid of the ridiculous and is quite often laugh out loud funny. I'm happy to report that From From Center is no exception. Gabriel first runs into trouble when he's discovered sorting and folding Nyalla's underwear because his OCD simply won't allow him to search for the item he needs without cleaning up the mess she's left behind. Even his so-called dirty talk is all about how messy Nyalla is because never having had intercourse, he has no idea what dirty talk is supposed to be about. I even found myself laughing when he began reading a bodice ripper and got completely caught up about whether pirate would make it to shore before ravishing the protagonist who chest kept heaving. All of these situations work because as a human, Gabriel is a fish out of water. 

 Gabriel is the quintessential middle child trapped between his older sibling, who he wants to emulate and his younger siblings who are far more carefree than he could even hope to be. Gabriel has spent his long immortal life striving for perfection in an attempt to become closer to the divine, even as he takes on the burdens of everything that's wrong with the world. Gabriel in short, is far harder on himself than everyone else and it has resulted in an extremely lonely existence. Gabriel is actually a virgin, having not mated with an angel because he never felt worthy or a human because he believed such a dalliance would lead to disaster for a human mate. The scene in which Nyalla and Gabriel decide to consummate their relationship is so unbelievably touching and beautiful.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dire Blood (Descent Series #5) by S.M. Reine

Elise died in the last book. But she’s not going to let that stop her - she’s back and she’s a demon. Much to James’s concern

But the most powerful witch in the world doesn’t have time to adapt to this. Nor can he focus on his newly found, magically powerful son (and budding Elise sidekick) or reconnecting with his ex-fiance. Because he’s been kidnapped and taken to hell to stand trial for breaking the Treaty of Dis

Elise is not going to stand for this.

I expect a lot from the Descent Series

I expect lots of awesome action scenes. I expect lots and lots and lots of epic.

I expect an awesome, conflicted, struggling characters dealing with their own dark issues while handling

I expect major stakes, the world in the balance and all kinds of epic, dangerous figures appearing to assail Elise and her band

I expect an amazing, complex, connected world with extreme originality.

And I got all of that - and so much more because this is a vast turning point for Elise and the world.

What, surprisingly, I found rather interesting about this book is what a dramatic difference it makes to Elise. Not that she’s actually that different a person but that she’s… optimistic? Maybe optimistic is a strong word but after 2+ books of Elise moping in a corner, slowly spiralling into self-destruction. And I have to repeat what I’ve said before - said self-destruction isn’t BAD. Elise is deeply traumatised and handling some major, heavy issues in utter despair. It was a GOOD portrayal but it was a hard one to enjoy. Similarly her relationship with Anthony was just… awful. Again, not badly written awful, but awful because they’re in an awful relationship with two characters awfully out of their depth and hurting and lashing out. The whole thing was a great portrayal but not a fun read - which isn’t a bad thing. But it is nice to move away from it at times because the bleakness can build

Elise has transformed a lot this book - not just dying and coming back to life but gathering a whole new set of powers and even species. But the main change I think is looking at who and what she is - no longer feeling the need to defend Reno, not having the ties she had in Reno, the duty weighing on her, no more concerns about the Union and, even, to a degree not being a kopis any more seems to have freed Elise to set her own agenda to a degree. While she’ll never be a light hearted or sunny character she certainly feels much less worn down and spiralling as she focuses more on James. It feels like she’s going for the priorities she actually has rather than those she thinks she should have.

This change of direction doesn’t just move the character but also the world. We’ve had book after book of my chuntering away “I love this world but more world building!” well, this greatly changes the focus: after last book with the mother and father of all demons we definitely opened up a lot of the mythos. This book takes Elise into that mythos - and in more detail and more understandable detail than I could follow before. Ethereal cities and portals confused me a lot in the past but here we have Elise, in hell, much more examination of the Treaty of Dis and why it matters, and what is at stake, the various dimensions, who James is - what James is - and why that matters. Not only does this expand the book but also more of Elise’s purpose as the Godkiller and her parentage - even seeing more of Isaac and Ariane, Elise’s parents. While with James we see more of his history, his coven, his power and what that added to the world. It made all this vast world building (with some really original and fascinating elements with angels and demons and the nature of Hell (and the really fascinating different demons and the original elements of the hell dimension which is really well done like so much of the world building here)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Preacher, Season 3, Episode 8: The Tom/Brady

Jesse has been delivered by the All Father with Starr pretending to change sides while secretly on Jesse’s side. But still overwhelmingly in awe of the Allfather and his fascist power that he can’t bring himself to actively fight him, even while helping Jesse

Jesse does kill the first wave of Grail minions, quite easily, in the lift before shooting the Allfather. Who is, of course, too fat to be hurt by bullets. Because “fat” is pretty much all the Allfather is

Jesse is captured and strapped to a gurney so Genesis can be extracted. Starr puts a gun in his pocket to shoot the Allfather in the head which sounds good… but he’s tied up. Starr kind of needs to do more - but Starr continually bottles it. Jesse makes an epic speech about faith and how he is sure God chose him to have Genesis, that everyone else splatters and he has been tested over and over and proving his worth.

The Allfather wants to extract Genesis and put it into Humperdoo, the Christchild. Who  promptly explodes into a huge splatter of guts and blood and Genesis returns to Jesse

Let me say again how utterly awful the Allfather (fat man of fatness) and Humperdoo (disabled man who doesn’t even get a name, watch him explode!) is.

Jesse is smug. But it doesn’t do to underestimate the vast resources of the Grail: they are not foolish; they’re an ancient powerful organisation of vast wealth and knowledge and it would be a mistake to underestimate them. Though it’s understandable that you would given we have Allfather and Humperdoo crushing this at every turn with their ridiculousness. It can make it hard to understand that they are at least All Powerful Adjacent

One of the Grail’s clever scientists has an army of Christchild clones. Genesis, as the product of an angel and a demon, is a mix of good and bad. So they just need to inject the clone with a mix of genetics from two human to hit the perfect balance which Jessee coincidentally has (can’t they just use Jesse’s DNA? If we’re going to run with DNA = good or evil and can change things via injection).

Starr assumes this won’t work - because he’s a misogynist and the scientist is a woman so he doesn’t believe she could possibly succeed

And because his misogyny is utterly wrong, he is wrong. And she does succeed with a genetic mix of Wayne Brady and Thomas Jefferson: the Tom/Brady. Humperdoo manages to hold and control genersis, is shot in the head and the Real Christchild is to be brought in.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Wynonna Earp, Season 3, Episode 4: No Cure for Crazy

Hunting a Revenant, Doc and Wynonna are helped by rather unexpected moving tree. Which is unusual but helpful. Unhelpful is Peacemaker glitching and not firing

“Don’t embarrass me in front of the bad man.” - Wynonna

This is a bad sign. Another bad sign is that they are running out of money. Dolls gave the legitimacy, funds and some level of authority. Without him they have no funds, no quasi federal status as marshalls and the new City Manager (is this a thing? I mean it kind of sounds like “mayor” got all corporate?) is cutting them off. Which is bad when you’re now searching behind sofa cushions for bullets

The lack of legitimacy is also not helpeful, with Nedry also clearly being utterly worn down by the job and the struggle. Which is super sad because I love him. Wynonna does suggest that he should step down for Nicole. Which will also be good.

We also have Wynonna and Nicole kinda sorta circling about the secrets each kept (about the massacre in Nicole’s youth - and she decides to throw away a ring connected to it this episode? - and Wynonna and her hidden mother in a secure mental institution). Still because this is Wynonna Earp they still respect each other when they still have issues. And Waverley demands a group hug.

We also have a new character, Robin - and he’s gay. And we know this because the show actually, after 2 seasons of playing coy with Jeremy, calls him gay. There are some dubious elements in his introduction - he runs from a tree which has an eye and is literally bleeding, and runs into Waverley and says “hey girl bangs”. Yeah, because even when running from a demonic evil tree, a gay man will notice and comment on a woman’s hair. But after that things get better - sure Waverley (noting that Jeremy is lonely in this very rural, conservative small town and that he kind of thinks Waverley and Nicole got the super rare unicorn relationship there) wants to instantly squish Jeremy and Robin together. But Jeremy is quick to say that that’s not ok or reasonable. Even if she does do it. She also dumps the whole “there’s a bleeding tree with a person inside” on Jeremy which… this could be actually something important rather than an excuse to hook Jeremy up. Waverley should be better than this

This results in Jeremy and Robin trawling through the forest. And getting lost. Robin is a park ranger - unfortunately he’s a park ranger because it’s the only job he could find after coming home to look after his sick father and he actually hates the outdoors, trees et al. These two are not outdoorsmen and woefully unsuitable for the task. They don’t find a bleeding tree but do find a spooky ominous staircase - and then lose that as well. Even the pictures they took just show spooky ominous mist. This does not bode well.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Killjoys, Season 4, Episode 4: What to Expect When You're Expecting... an Alien Parasite

So everything is super bad and D’avin recounts all this to Dutch while trying to give it a positive spin. There is no real spin here

But can I say this episode seems to have an awful lot of recapping in this episode which I don’t think it actually all that useful or necessary? Most of what is being recapped happened last episode and we don’t need this much fill in the blanks.

Delle Sayah is giving birth. And she is awesome. Her snark at D’avin, the father, at Zeph who is being the attending doctor is all priceless. I especially like her reading a magazine, totally phoning in lamaze breathing, examining Zeph’s nails and asking “is it out yet” while being unwilling to push. She’s Qreshi.

She also demands hard drugs or hard booze, bar keep. She and Pree has some nice exchanges with him passive aggressively offering her ice chips and reminding her that she’s actually an enemy and she knocks him out with his bowl of ice

Honestly Delle Sayah never ceases to be made of awesome. And these two have to be enemies or the world would end.

The problem is that we have Hullen baby issues. The Hullen baby is growing super fast and can’t be born vaginally because it’s too big. Unfortunately a C-section isn’t possible because of Delle Saya’s ultra healing powers close any incision before they can get the baby out. This is a problem and their one solution - to use D’avin’s anti-Hullen powers seems likely to kill her and the baby.

Meanwhile Johnny is now doing well. Reunion with Dutch doesn’t go well as Johnny is going through all the pain, trying to bang his head on a wall and generally falling apart. He can barely look at Dutch and she is determined to save him so heads to the planet with the nearest source of goo which derails everyone else’s plan to try and get to the Armada - which is somewhere.

Except the goo there has also turned to crystal. In fact all the goo everywhere in the Quad has turned to crystal - that means there’s no goo to complete Johnny’s turn to Hullen or to cleanse the goo from him. There’s also no goo to help Delle Sayah with her giving birth. Which is all unfortunate

In particular this is bad for Johnny because he is half-human and half-Hullen. That means He is alternating between caring for and loving his friends and family and then not giving a shit and then caring again. He’s constantly losing them, getting them back and then losing them again - and Johnny adamantly refuses to live like that. Being pure human or pure Hullen would be tolerable but not this

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Glitch, Season 2, Episode 5: Walking Wounded

So we ended on a tense moment last episode with James finding Phil’s bloody clothes in the washing hamper and demanding an explanation from Sarah - she fumbles and finally recounts how she was bleeding heavily from the vagina after her pregnancy and she used this t-shirt to stem the blood. Her heartbreaking recount naturally directs James to get her to the hospital where they focus on making sure Sarah is well and awesome midwife is there to look after her. And free James up to return to shenanigans when suitably reassured that she’s ok

Kirstie has finally tracked down her murderer - it’s policeman Chris’s brother. A man in a wheelchair and with a brain injury after rolling his car when he was 19. Chris insists his brother doesn’t remember anything which is not nearly enough for Kirstie. Chris won’t let her see him and Kirstie accuses him of letting his brother get away with rape and murder.

Which he is. Though this can be described without disabled slurs.

She leaves and calls James who is bemused as to what exactly he can do - he can’t exactly arrest a man for murdering someone who is actually alive. He’s more concerned with whoever killed Elishia since he assumes that a man in a wheelchair isn’t a threat (this is a problematic assumption that infantilises disabled people - it doesn’t take the ability to walk to use a gun).

James briefly holds onto the idea that Owen is the one responsible for the murder of Elishia but finally admits this is way more to do with Kate’s relationship and his inability to get over her than anything else. Perhaps finally leaving that red herring alone he goes to collect Paddy because he wants them all together and safe. Oh James, don’t you know that working with the Risen is like herding cats? He speaks to Beau and learns what Paddy’s up to but also that his step-dad Phil is in town and had a near death experience

James makes a not-entirely-unreasonable-but-still-a-bit-of-a-reach conclusion and tells everyone that Phil is the killer. Because near-death = possession. He also gives Chris a talking to about hiding his rapist brother but with everything else going on he kind of puts a pin in that.

James’s whole demeanour this episode is “seriously?! Now what!”

Of course, everyone has scattered to the four winds. It started with a reasonable assumption that being in public was actually safer than being isolated in a cabin, but they quickly start splitting up

Kirstie tracks down her murderer and tries to confront him about his crimes - but he cannot remember them due to his head injury no matter how she threatens him she doesn’t get an admission or any satisfaction. It’s a moving and painful scene to see her pain and anger and having no real recourse for that - not even the empty satisfaction of screaming in her victimiser’s face.