Friday, March 1, 2019

The Magicians: Season 4, Episode 6: A Timeline and a Place

Penny has been kidnapped and locked in a magical cage - as has Marina. They’ve been captured by Daniel - a Horomancer. A rare magical talent based on manipulating time. And he’s captured them both because they’re outside their actual timeline. They don’t belong in timeline 40 and their presence there is making time magic futz. He insists it isn’t personal (and Marina is clear that being locked in a cage is always personal).

He doesn’t listen to counter arguments and he uses his time magic to zap them all to timeline 23… except that this timeline has no magic so the cages fall and Penny punches Daniel unconscious. While he has no wish to release Marina since she is made of evilness and has just one overarching goal (be reunited with her girlfriend now she knows enough about now to actually not screw up. And though I really want to see more same-sex relationships I also kind of think this woman need to run, run for the hills!). But Penny releases her because she claims to know how to use the timeline jumping device

She’s lying. She tells Penny that she really should remember to trust his instincts about her in future. She is a terrible person.

They switch time lines but because she doesn’t know what she’s doing they end up in a time line where magic users are hunted down by law - thankfully we don’t delve into this very very tropey storyline. They decide they need advice on how to use this device and go to find this timeline’s Daniel and seek his advice. He is thrilled to see their more developed time magic and calls his mother, the founder of the Horomancy… who then collapses

Penny and Marina flee with his devices to communicate with the past and his mother’s notes and between the two they patch together some information: one of the core elements that Sonia used to develop time magic is a substance that basically causes time related brain damage - which she counters with watches that use time magic to keep their minds safe. Unfortunately Penny and Marina being outside their timeline is disrupting time magic - hence why Sonia collapsed. Her shield is no longer working

Penny realises that this is why Daniel is so eager to get them out of Timeline 40 - because their presence is killing his mother. Penny is horrified and insists that they cannot return. Marina, of course, doesn’t care. But Penny is the Traveller and the one able to zap away… a white room. A room between life and death where he is pulled into a meeting but… Penny 40. Yes the Penny now working for the Library from the original Timeline - a much less fluffy, happy Penny with a whole lot more hard edges. He has a simple message - it’s vital Penny 23 return to Timeline 40: yes Sonia is going to die, but it’s too late, she’ll die anyway. Penny 40 is totally impatient by Penny 23’s emotional sadness and really really wants him to just get on with things. He insists that there’s something much much much bigger at play than just Sonia and Penny 23 must return

He also insists that this is Penny 23’s storyline now, and dismisses his guilt over taking Penny 40’s space. Again, he has no patience for this emotion - and it is really well done how these characters are very similar but fundamentally different. Often when the same actor plays two characters those characters are extremely different from each other (look at the Acting Superhero, Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black) but it’s a brilliant change to see these characters be very similar but still have fundamental differences. Their morality and outlook is very different but they’re both recognisably the same person

Penny returns to his timeline (with Marina)  and waits for Daniel… he realises Daniel will do anything to get rid of them since his mother is on the line… soe he plants dandelion seeds from timeline 23 into timeline 40. Daniel will never find them all… getting rid of Marina and Penny won’t help him.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Legacies: Season 1, Episode 11: We're Gonna Need a Spotlight

The school gang has decided to lay a trap for the next monster which is triggered - Alaric, Dorian and Hope respond. Yes Hope because, again, Alaric is a terrible head teacher

Inside the trap is a unicorn. Which Dorian thinks they should kill on general principles but Hope is completely against murdering the pretty horse (with the stabby addition we won’t talk about). They decide that by imprisoning it they are safe because while it’s the Malivore Monster they won’t have to deal with any more since they come one at a time

Which is a decent idea except for the creepy worm that emerges from the shiny horse

So the school is now having a talent competition. This seems to be Legacies attempt at a musical episode because all the cool shows are having them. Anyway Alaric hates the talent show and tries to use the excuse of the unicorn to cancel it - but the Honour Council overrules him. Since the monster is a magic pony he and Emma decide to bunk off school and go drinking

While Hope, who nows has a horrible worm in her brain, starts acting all happy and joyful and all lovey dovey with Landon… and how did no-one suspect mind control or possession? She’s a Mikkaelson. They don’t have happy happy joy joy - they have tantrums and brood and practice staring moodily into the middle distance.

Still everyone’s super happy with Hope being all happy and huggy, especially Landon. But not Rafael because he’s extra uncomfortable with Hope being all close and boundariless around him and being so very very extra with Landon.

Josie and Lizzie are back and Josie continues to avoid Penny while Lizzie has a novel way of trying not to be the meanest of mean girls - she has a little magically zappy bracelet that zaps her whenever she is mean so she can moderate her tone. Which she needs to because she’s super super intense about a very dull routine for the witches to win the talent contest and Josie, all head-wormed, is totally not into it, very low key and not willing to stand in the back as usual. She’s also softening towards Penny

The worm in Kaleb’s head makes him lead the vampires in a rather cool song and dance number. It’s kind of irrelevant to everything but, hey, they have it and it’s nifty.

While Hope and Landon have their own talent - cake decorating. Which is going to be super weird on stage but doesn’t get that far as Hope develops glowy green eyes and suddenly think the bestest thing in the world would be to take the Malivore urn. Landon is suspicious - and a burned cake causes and electrical shock (somehow?) well this turns out to be just what you need to de-worm yourself and Hope returns to a rather embarrassed normal. They realise they have a new monster and seek out Dorian - who is guarding the unicorn and has already killed the worm heading for him. To add to the stakes they see the unicorn die - the worm in the brain eventually kills people as well.

They do some research and Dorian is surprised that no legend talks about monsters like this - but Landon points out that mind controlling things inside people is pretty much a staple of sci-fi and maybe it’s a mistake to discount that, sci-fi has to be inspired by something. Which is another way of saying “make this character relevant!”. Anyway they decide the worm first lowers your inhibitions before convincing you to grab the malivore urn and then it kills you

By now most of the students are possessed including Raphael who decides to recite a spoken word poem about how torn and jealous he is of Landon which is totally not awkward. But thankfully everyone gets violent and urn happy so they can be locked up while everyone searches for a solution.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Magicians: Season 4, Episode 5: Escape from the Happy Place

Elliot is in his dream world and yes he is still alive. He’s in the Physical Kids house, enjoying his time and memories with Todd and especially Margo - yes it’s classic “you’re locked in your happy memories prison” trope

But there’s a persistent knocking on his memory door and we’re introduced to Charlton. Charlton was the Beast’s original host (and now dead) and has a convenient source of knowledge (and being beaten up by Margot). He tells Elliot that everything but he and Elliot is a memory - but there’s a bunch of monsters around as well - monsters which were the Monster’s old hosts. Which were monsters locked in a prison which is a lot of awfulness… they’re only safe in the happy place.

Which is fine but Charlton reveals the door out of this is in Elliot’s worst possible moment which he will have suppressed

There follows an exploration of Elliot’s worst memories. Starting with the truly moving and tragic - Elliot bullied as a child and his first use of magic to kill his bully which deeply traumatised him. It was moving and painful. But no door. Then there was the him becoming the bully which was just damned annoying because the whole “homophobe bully is actually gay” trope is nauseating, homophobic, has horrendous real life implications and is generally awful.

Still no door

Step back and it’s time to try Elliot’s many many many many hilarious suppressed memories. Because happiness and self-awareness don’t go so well together and Elliot chose happiness.

Through his many many sins (all dicks and daddy issues) Elliot realises what is his biggest regret and suppressed memory - Quentin

After their epic, beautiful, 50 year relationship (which was never mentioned again AAARGH HOW?!) we finally get a scene where Quentin and Elliot discuss this - specifically Quentin pointing out they’d just had a super awesome 50 year loving relationship, they know they work together as a couple so why not go for it? Elliot objects (he’s cut off but he seems to be suggesting that Quentin is not gay or bi which… uh doesn’t seem to be the case? And I’d rather they not continue that thought because they idea that being gay or bi has no relevance to a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex is annoying and has trope implications) claiming it definitely wouldn’t work and it was always lack of choice. Except our Elliot reveals how this was all lying and Elliot was afraid and now deeply

OH MY GODS MAGICIANS! I don’t know whether to love you eternally for finally doing this scene or be so damn angry that you left it this late and until Elliot may die. Gah gah gah gah. You better remember this The Magicians, when Elliot is saved (WHEN NOT IF) and he and Quentin are back together (THEY BETTER BE) you better not play any damn “oh hey let’s be friends” moment. Elliot’s darkest, most regretted and suppressed memory is TELLING QUENTIN NO - you’ve done this now!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Walking Dead: Season 9, Episode 11: Bounty

So we have the Walking Dead and it’s a tale of two storylines. One which is really interesting and desperately what i want The Walking Dead to become and the other is just dull dull dull and needs to end quickly

Sadly I think I will be disappointed

So the dull dull dull first. Alpha has arrived at the gates of the Hilltop and is demanding her daughter. They’re a relatively small crowd of several unarmed people in scary masks. People take this seriously because of Luke and Alden they have hostage. Daryl still wants to tell them to jog on (and while I appreciate the sentiment, Jesus may have died but he didn’t make you king, Daryl) but his threat to mow them all down is weakened because they have a baby.

Plenty of targets besides the baby, just saying

So they need to exchange Lydia for their two hostages, only Henry who is REALLY TRYING to make me hate him has decided to rescue Lydia and run off with her because it’s all so mean and unfair. In fact, the meme MUST exist by now

Ah, internet, thank you.

Daryl catches up with them and Lydia says how she totally misses her people in a “I’m not lying honest” way and agrees to go back. She does point out that Alpha is breaking her rules by coming for her. There’s a prisoner exchange and Henry pouts. Aldren and Luke are greeted with hugs, Alpha slaps Lydia for calling her momma.

Oh but before that the dead move in and the baby won’t stop crying despite the zombie masked mother’s attempts to quiet them. Alpha has a simple rule - the baby is quiet or they leave it for the dead - and the mother leaves the baby on the floor to be eaten. Connie, who never made it to the wall, runs out to save the baby, alerted by Luke signing, and there’s a hairy moment of running through a corn field full of zombies carrying the baby (especially hard for the Deaf Connie since the corn restricts her vision and she can’t hear the dead advancing on her) before Darryl and Kerry rescue her - and the baby.

Henry is super pissed about all this but Enid and Darryl both make the point to him that sometimes things are awful and you have to live with it. He even invokes Daryl’s own history of abuse to demand how he could send Lydia back - which is just rubbing salt in the wounds.

Henry leaves in the night to save Lydia, Daryl goes after Henry and Connie goes after Daryl because we need to centre these new characters somehow.

Ok someone has to tell me why the Whisperers are so scary. Or how they even work

I mean, when we first met them directing a herd? That was scary. In the dark, whispering? That was scary. But outside of that context they’re like a haunted house with the lights turned on

Monday, February 25, 2019

Dark Queen (Jane Yellowrock #12) by Faith Hunter

Jane, the Dark Queen, Enforce for Leo Pelessier, the Vampire ruler of the Greater South East United States is preparing for the duel that is finally here. A duel between Leo and the Emperor of the European vampires - a duel that will dictate the future of all vampire and witch kind

Assuming the visiting vampires haven’t plotted to undermine and interfere before the duel even begins

And assuming the American government doesn’t look at this gathering of the most powerful and dangerous vampires in the world and doesn’t just bomb it.

Jane has her hands full… and ow is really not the time for a man to appear claiming to be her long lost brother she never knew she had, especially when he introduces himself by shooting her

This is something of an epic finale to everything that has been happening for several books now - and the whole book is powerful tense and epic. The massive duel between Leo and the many vampires coming from Europe. We see all of his gathered entourage come out to fight, we see all the complex preparations, the betrayals, the plotting, the counter-plotting and how absolutely no-one is playing fair.

It all has an incredibly tense feel, from the very first page of the book you know some of these characters are going to die, that everything is going to change. It is maintained every second, not for one second do you forget even through side plots, even through the moments with Beast (beast is awesome, beast is best hunter and I have no idea why her writing doesn’t annoy me, but it doesn’t - I love her) that tension never leaves

Jane moves through it all and she’s amazing, powerful, competent, in control yet listening and learning from the people around her, people she genuinely loves and values. And even when she’s sat, maudling, or the fights of the actual duel are dragged out or we have a political scene which goes on and on and on for pages it all works and doesn’t feel sluggish because of that tension, power and sense of change behind everything. Thematically this book is amazing, the writing just works and the emotion doesn’t stop.

I really like Jane’s relationship with her brother. The conflict of it, the hopes mixed with the disappointment, the reactions, the conflict, the quashed ideals all are so powerful. I like the layers, I like that he has his own history and conflict, I like the legacy her example has set but I also appreciate her pain and anger over how he chose to introduce himself and how he chose to re-enter her life.  It created a fascinating complicated story. And, though I know next to nothing about Cherokee history or culture or language, there does seem to be a lot of research and effort into making these meaningful inclusion, ensuring that Jane isn’t just carrying around woo-woo from being Native American and nothing else. But i cannot speak to the accuracy of it.