Saturday, November 24, 2018

Van Helsing, Season 3, Episode 7: Hunted Down

This episode of Van Helsing we follow all those people we probably don’t care about all that much and feel somewhat irrelevant.

I think we have a weird dichotomy of stories - we have the main epic storyline of Vanessa and Scarlett taking down the elders. It’s epic and focused and the centre of the storyline.

Then we have Denver which is… ok? And we have Scab and Ivory and it’s like… why? Why do we care about these people, these side characters in other people’s stories? Or Sam and Mohammed - why, where do these people fit?

To have a whole episode on these side plots without any real foundation to them is just distracting - on the plus side the writers seem to be finally bringing these plot lines together into something coherent and maybe, finally, making them relevant

Scab has decided to join the Sisterhood. He’s gone on a weird journey, since two episodes ago he didn’t see why he and Ivory needed the Sisters then was demanding they obey and serve him but now he decides he wants to be a memory and begs to join - even when that joining requires him being castrated. He’s now a loyal member of the Sisterhood and loyally following Ivory

Meanwhile Axel is leading the survivors from San Francisco to Denver and losing his shit in an epic temper tantrum when they’re attacked by day walking vampires and one of their members is bitten. He has a right to be annoyed since they blatantly ignored what he told them for their own safety but he still has an epic shitfit that probably won’t help anyone

Further up the road they find a van that has broken down full of people heading to San Francisco (and carrying weird blue rocks), including pregnant woman Kit. Axel wants to help despite Dre’s misgivings because Axel is now a nice guy and not super suspicious of anyone

The leader insists that there’s a ship in San Francisco taking them to Hawaii where no-one is infected with vampirism. Axel, having just come from vampire infested San Francisco thinks this is a super super bad idea and tries to talk them out of it and instead says they should go to Denver where there’s a safe community developing

Leader guy isn’t having it. At which point Axel becomes super high handed trying to overrule him which makes sense for the character because he’s always kind of being “I know best” since season 1, only Vanessa’s Honey badgerness managed to push it back - and he’s clearly feeling super protective of Kit. Leaderguy super over-reacts and actually points a gunt at Axel

This ends up with him dead and their group joining Axel’s group travelling to Denver

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Last Ship: Season 5, Episode 9: Courage

Caged Wolf (Tarot Witches #1) by S.M. Reine

Ofelia is hiding. After her horrendous past she has fled as far as she can and now lives in Lobo Norte, the almost unknown hamlet in Mexico near the US border

There’s not much there - but bikers come for drugs, for the local prostitutes and for the cage. The cage matches are massively popular and the lifeblood of this small town

But when a different gang comes to town, werewolves with their own agenda, the cage matches become much more important and much more dangerous. But despite Gloria’s insistence on keeping her head down, Ofelia is drawn out - both the promise of money and the unnatural attraction she has for one of the bikers. But drawing attention to herself is the last thing a hiding woman should do

As I mentioned in a previous review, I am on a mission when it comes to thisauthor’s world. I will read them, in something resembling a reasonable order.

And when I picked up this book, the first in the Tarot Witches series, I have to say I had some regrets. And part of that is simply because erotically charged Paranormal Romance isn’t my thing per se and I’d likely have skipped past it if I weren’t on the mission.

The sex comes hard and fast in this book (literally and figuratively) in a way that I find more irritating than titillating. Woman sees man and he hasn’t even opened his mouth to speak and already everything is hot and wet and moist and throbbing and pumping and zomg this is the hottest guy there has ever been ever and she can barely think. And this may work for a 14 year old ingĂ©nue raised by nuns seeing a man for the very first time. But she’s a sexually experienced, sexually adventurous stripper and former sex worker in her mid to late 20s and it just feels tired.

And it’s not just burning lust, we’re rapidly shoved forwards to Connor (or “Trouble”) being jealous of Ofelia, calling her his, giving her orders, being protective of her, willing to face down his pack for her, being drawn to her on a full moon, risking his life for her. And she, with less highhanded possessive dominance and jealousy, doing the same to him – deciding he’s hers, planning to run away with him, willing to fight a werewolf for him, ignoring his nearly biting her, getting all hot and bothered when he tells her what to do or seems angry when she disobeys.

I have no idea why these two characters like each other, let alone are madly-in-love-willing-to-run-away-together level attached. I don’t even know why by the end of the book, I think they’re literally willing to die for each other and they’re still complete strangers. It makes the whole romance painfully boring because there is no romance there. They find each other hot to the point of not being able to keep away from each other and that’s it. There’s no other connection, nothing, no reason for them to be this attached and no reason for me to care about their relationship one iota – or Trouble for that matter who is just a blank sexy slate with an impossibly big cock (of course).

Ofelia I have a little more time for – and when you clear Trouble OUT of her story, we have something interesting. In fact, her story was even getting really good before he and his unnecessariness pulled her out of things. Her discovering a Tarot card with dire meaning was interesting. Having a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy with a sexually active and charged main character was interesting and fun, complete with her lack of hang ups and, despite being badly scarred, with a strong body image. That last one is pretty unique. She has a tragic past and though it motivates her to hide and drives her to anger and vengeance, it’s integrated into the character as a defining and essential moment rather than an all consuming element of all she is. Her relationship with Gloria, who runs Lobo Norte’s bar, was excellent, all gruff and loving

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Charmed, Season 1, Episode 6: Kappa Spirit

Moping time - and Mel hasn’t been out of bed since she magically removed Niko from her life. And I thought - and kind of hoped - that this episode would be all about either removing this terrible event or at least underscore how absolutely awful this event was and how much Nico and Nico and Mel’s relationship meant.

Except we’re going to talk about sororities

And before I even get into this recap I want to say how annoyed I am by this because this show - especially this show that was waving around its progressive credentials to the hilt - is perpetuating some awful tropes here. I mean well fecking done you didn’t kill your lesbian, have a cookie - the bitterest, most awful cookie in the world - because removing her from the plot while erasing their relationship from memory is just killing her without the damn blood

Having Mel’s sisters cluster round her bed to poke her, gods Mel, haven’t you mourned the love of your life long enough?! Any longer and we’ll have to spend some actual episode time on it! We have sororities to worry about!

Oh and Harry has got her a new job which is another layer of angst. Or rather the angst because we’re not going to make this relationship valuable

Yes. I am annoyed.

So after some brief researching over whatever demon was killing elders (lightning demon. Unfortunately there’s a lot of them it seems) they cover the real worry: Maggie is on the outs with Lucy and won’t be able to join Kappa

THE HORROR (bye Niko)

So it’s time to go out and have mojitos and talk about Mel’s lost love Kappa. Only the Kappa sisters are there and Lucy is still not a fan! So Maggie decides to go take a pitcher of Mojitos to Lucy to try and make nice… and it’s kind of… not good because it kind of feels like Maggie is pushing to get back into Kappa hear more than acknowledging Lucy is pissed for a reason. Lucy is hella pissed and tries to pour that drink over Maggie’s head which… I kind of understand? And, quite good, Maggie accepts she’s kinda got this coming but Macy and Mel with telekinesis and time freeze make sure their sister isn’t getting no diet cocktails poured on her hair.

So Lucy is still pissed. In fact even her sorority sisters are kind of out of line. So Lucy goes back to the sorority house to meditate to a haunted candle

Oops, haunted candle.

So when Maggie, unable to take the slightest hint, knocks on the Kappa house the next day she finds that Lucy is both a) still pissed and b) joined by a new Kappa in full 80s gear called Brenda who both hates Maggie and is encouraging Lucy to hate her even more.

Maggie is confused because she’s never met this woman before and part of Rushing for Kappa involves knowing who all the current members are. And no current members would be running around in 80s fashion. They do some research - Mel joining to avoid the job interview that Harry has set up for her. They realise Brenda is a ghost and there are 10,000 different kinds of ghost (honestly i kind of like the idea of 10,000 different kinds of ghost)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Legacies: Season 1, Episode 4: Hope is Not the Goal

We have another scene where it’s apparent Kaleb is still feeding on humans and this is a problem

Another problem is that two students from the town, Sasha and Dana, have both gone missing and Sheriff Matt is around trying to decide whether the school is full of evil monsters he needs to kill everyone OR it’s an important secret he needs to hide form the world.

When they find blood and, later, Dana with an apparent vampire bite, Matt gets super suspicious. While Alaric decides it’s important to send students from the magic school to the mundane human school to gather clues and possibly personal items for locator spells etc

Again, this underscores how Alaric can’t actually solve problems himself and is constantly recruiting his students to handle school business. Lizzie is the first to volunteer because she wants to be a hero

Which sounds ridiculous and Lizzie being super melodramatic - but it’s actually because she’s trying to get her dad to pay a little attention to her. MG, Kaleb and Landon also join. The vampires because compulsion is shiny and they’re walking tools and if you’re going to make people walking tools do you really have to make them the Black men? And Landon because he went to the school once.

To the school of school scenes of schoolness with Hope becoming super popular and MG failing at compulsion because Lizzie is wearing shorts. Really, MG? It’s the 21st century, a woman in shorts should not make you lose your supernatural powers.

They eventually find Dana, apparently alive. Which is weird because Matt and Alaric just found her dead. They see the big bite marks on her neck so assume she’s a vampire in mid transition. Seeing the big bite marks on her neck and apparently dead, Alaric and Matt should have considered this as a possibility as well. Apparently not because they didn’t guard the body or anything

So the gang wonders what to do. No-one thinks to call Alaric because ha, why bother? Some people are suspicious of Kaleb because he fed on her but he denies killing or turning her. Hope magics Dana asleep while they decide and explain vampireness to Landon - they debate whether or not to give human blood and allow her to change but MG trumps to letting Dana decide because he’s a super nice guy and respectful of women as we’ve seen before and this would be so much better if I didn’t think his respect of women wasn’t supposed to be linked to his general weakness, inability to asset himself and, oh, having actual nightmares about serial killers. Nightmares.

This debate is foiled by Dana spewing out her guts and all her internal organs. Turns out they’ve all been liquified. Everyone blames Landon for angst reasons and he storms off to face old high school bully Connor is actually a Connor suit of flesh - inside is a giant scary spider. The others have already identified the spider monster because MG reads comics and… no sense. This makes no sense.

Speaking of - this means Dana was bitten in the neck by a giant spider, causing enough damage that Matt and Alaric, finding her body, decided she was dead (I’m going to assume someone checked a pulse and they didn’t just look at her laid there and said “yup, looks pretty dead” and moved on). She then recovered, insides liquidating, and wandered gods know how many miles to the human high school (which I’m going to guess isn’t close to the magic school because if it is that’s a mistake), without feeling any pain as her insides liquidate until she starts vomiting up a stream of liquid - presumably her kidneys. This… makes no sense. No sense at all. NOTHING MAKES SENSE

So they go hunting the spider - Alaric calls to ask Lizzie what’s going on but she ignores him because he’s human and pointless - really why is he here?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Van Helsing, Season 3, Episode 6: Like Suicide

After a series of really terrible decisions last week, including Axel deciding to go wandering around a vampire infested city with three complete rookies, Axel and his extras get captured. As a designated Sexy Love Interest he is stripped to the waist and tied up

And far be it from me to criticise good eye candy but this is bizarre. If you’re going to kidnap someone and strip them off their clothes (either to make them vulnerable or because you’re horny) you strip them of their clothes. I can’t think of a situation where you would strip only one of your captives to the waist only.

Oh another soldier survived to be tied up with more clothes - but only so the B’ah can eat him and Axel can have his NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Moment. Well done Axel, those soldiers were probably better off hiding without you.

The B’ah ghosts around being kind of anticlimatic and planning to turn him - but it doesn’t work because his blood is super nasty now. So she’s going to squish his head instead - I think this is mind reading. But apparently not killing him

The B’ah delivers his dog tags to Dre one of the survivors who gives them to Vanessa. She announces she’s going to go rampaging. He suggests she doesn’t.

Vanessa: RAWR!

So rampaging it is.

She does pause to lick Axel’s dogtags so she can taste his blood and get all red eyed - and possibly track Axel, possibly. Barry is freaked out watching this from behind. I’m not sure what is so scary about the back of Vanessa’s head because there’s absolutely no way he could see her lick the blood from that angle. He decides to follow her because people have dubious decision making skills on TV Landia. I mean, in a world that has been completely overrun by vampires he decides to follow the strange combat monster who licks up blood all on his own. Why would you do this? She then reveals that yes, she totally drinks blood so he just cuts himself and offers her the wound.

Is he competing with Diana Bishop for the worst decision ever? Really?

So he runs off and Vanessa gets to confront the B’ah and her Jiang Shi. They have a brief speech about how Vanessa is unworthy to have a totem and how she’s going to take it and raise the Dark Lord before we have a fight scene

And it’s not a bad fight scene, random Jiang Shi get smooshed and there’s some decently shiny martial arts choreography but for all everyone is going OOOH THE B’AH IS SUPER SCARY it’s kind of anti-climatic. She kind of moves around quickly and sometimes ghosts in and out. I think they could have made more of this, like Vanessa can’t touch her because she keeps vanishing which would have made the ending where she is stopped because Axel surprise stabs her in the back stopping her zooming away and letting them kill her.

Still the B’ah is defeated and they take blood back to Scarlett so she is healed and everything is wonderful. The remaining survivors think they can now survive in the remains of San Francisco which is kind of optimistic because this world is still technically full of vampires, remember

Hey, does anyone remember this? Because there doesn’t seem to be any vampires around any more?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Z Nation, Season 5, Episode 7: Stone History

The gang has decided it’s a priority to get more Brain Biscuits before the whole Talker population becomes zombies and this whole conflict between humans and talkers becomes moot and everyone is dead anyway

This leaves Doc and George to head to Altura to rescue Dante or assure he has a fair trial.

Warren, 10k, Addie and Murphy head towards the bakery which makes the biscuits, right on the edge of the no-go zone (which Murphy is not a fan of). There they find a bakery with lots and lots and lots of cracked open skulls which is super indicative that yes there are brains in those biscuits

The bakery looks abandoned and is utterly utterly creepy. Super creepy. More horror films need to be filmed in abandoned bakeries.

The creepiness quickly falls apart when we meet the bakers - a pair of Canadian brothers.

And, thank you Z Nation. My co-blogger Renee is, as everyone knows due to my many references to igloos, polar bear and moose, Canadian. This will give me YEARS of ammunitions, YEARS.

So the two Canadian brothers are… not exactly competent or sensible and are walking comic relief. Addie and 10k easily take down one and then Warren and Murphy take down the far far more competent of the brothers. Duly subdued, the Canadians reveal that their mother came up with the recipe after their little brother was bitten and they became so popular they went into mass production. The problem is that their mother, and another brother, were all bitten and she’s the one with the recipe. In her pocket. They’re all now locked in the office.

Time for some half baked schemes involving a boom box, rock-paper-scissors, the less competent brother and trying to pick pocket mother zombie. It goes as badly as expected and we have the incompetent brother being bitten as well

And a quick wave of zombies that everyone takes down - and 10k seems to be finding his mojo, with some really excellent tag teaming with Addie (they work exceptionally well together). In the aftermath Warren decides it’s time to stop playing, cracks open a zombie skull for the brains which they feed to the zombie family (wait, zombies can eat zombie brains?) restoring them to Talker-dom. To which mother baker can now whip up a batch of original recipe biscuits using the zombie brains they have

But she reveals that she hasn’t been making this recipe for a while and they get “enhanced flour” from the Hartland - and that lack of supply is what lead to the biscuits shortage and the whole family turning to Talkers with the shortage. So this has Warren & co heading to Hartland with Murphy taking the vulnerable Canadian family to Limbo to look after them.