Monday, August 31, 2009

being human: e05 - e06

Oh my god, these last two episodes!

So! Mitchell has turned his back on humanity and is embrasing his vampire ways in an enlightened and helping-the-humans-evolve sort of way. Herrick has him recruiting from the hospital, turning people right before they die, and is constantly telling the other vamps stories about how great he was when he was newer. Mitchell meets an old girlfriend from the 60s and offers her the chance to live forever, and she points out that this is not evolution, it's stagnation; things have to change, people have to die and new people have to be born. It's part of what being human is.

Meanwhile, Annie is haunting Owen, trying to get him to admit what he did, and when they have their showdown, at long last, she's awesome and intimidating and powerful... and Owen isn't scared for more than a minute or two. He yells at her and overpowers her like he did when she was alive, and for a while, she loses all power over anything. She should have gone all poltergiest and scary on him, but she didn't blow a single light or anything, and it's frustrating to watch her getting beat up when that's how she died and she knows better now.

Mitchell finds out what the true plan is: everyone will be recruited whether they want to or not, the whole world gone to vampires except a small numberthat will be kept for food. He finds the first round of human cattle in the basement, and when Herrick finds him there, they hold him against his will.

When George finds out, he shocks Annie out of her stupor to go save him, saying that her friends are her purpose, and if she doesn't care about that, then she really has died. Together, they bust into the funeral home where the vampire base is, and fight their way through to where Mitchell is in the silliest way possible: George hasn't ever really picked a fight before, and Annie is still terrified of everything, but they find Mitchell before the vampires can force him to kill himself, and they get out with Lauren's help. She's been struggling with the lies and the manipulation, she's seen the cattle and fed from them herself, and she can't handle being what she is. She gets them to safety and then begs Mitchell to end her. He was the one who started this, so he should be the one who ends it. After some convincing, he does, and he holds her while she turns to ash and blows away in a really touching and kind of beautiful scene.

They get back home, and with Mitchell and George behind her, Annie faces Owen again, and this time, she won't be intimidated. She just fought off a horde of vampires; he's not nearly so scary as he was. This time, it works, and when she whispers something that only the dead can know to him, he stumbles away, terrified and distraught, and turns himself into the police to protect himself. With that done, the door comes for Annie, and when she's saying goodbye, there's a knock at the door. Mitchell answers it, and Herrick stakes him. Blood's everywhere, George is telling her to just go, that he can handle it, and Annie doesn't know what to do--

And the episode ends and I die. I just keel over, and I stay dead and zombie-like until we get to watch the next episode, because I really don't do well with cliffhangers.

The next episode shows us two years before, when Mitchell and George met: the vamp-thugs were attacking George shortly after he became a vampire and ran off, simply because he was a were and they don't like weres. Mitchell chased them off, and told him to leave, and George said 'What then?' because even then, he knew it'd never end.

Cut back to now, and they've gotten the stake out of Mitchell, but checking him into the hospital was probably a bad idea; he's obviously still alive, but they can't get a pulse on him, and though he's healing way faster than expected, he's not getting better: his body can't make replacement blood for all the blood he lost, and he refuses to feed because every time he does, he loses a little more of himself.

Annie goes home, the farthest she's ever teleported, and finds that the door is gone.

George and Nina have more fights, while he's standing vigil, and he finds out that Herrick's turned the lunch lady. There's a minor throw down in the cafeteria, but George is still too human to kill him.

That night, the Vickar (who's sarcastic and witty and wonderful) is called in to minister to Mitchell because the hospital doesn't think he'll live through the night, and George tries to tell him it's not such a great idea... until Mitchell comes to long enough to tell them that the baddies are in the hospital. George's star of david and the terrified Vickar's Bible quotes are enough to chase off the thugs, but the Vickar takes the reality of their inhumanness pretty badly.

In the morning, Josie goes to see Mitchell and convinces him that she doesn't have long to live, anyway, and he should think of her blood as an organ-donation thing so he can live. He tells her no, but in the end, he does it anyway, and leaves the hospital crying, as the nurse finds Josie dead. Ane he decides that this has to end. He challaenges Herrick to a one-on-one with the understanding that George and Annie are to be left alone regardless of how it goes (because Herrick could kill George outright, and without the boys, Annie's only tie to the world is the house, which he can then burn down). Everyone is unhappy with it, but George takes the chance he's given, and when Annie flips out, Mitchell tells her that she can't understand what it's like-- that when you aren't feeding, you're tortured by everything you've done in perfect, blinding detail, and he doesn't really want to live if it's bad and he has to remember. George convinces Mitchell to let him deliver the news and the location.

Annie doesn't like it, still, and uses her anger-- and the new ability she's discovered to hear the recently head-- to fuel something she can do: she frees all the human cattle and trashes the base. And it's awesome. Really awesome. Her clothes have changed (which is apparently an indicator of her mental state, according to interviews), and she's surrounded by wind. Doors blow open, furniture topples, the vamps have nothing they can use against her, and she's like an angel to the captured.

And I totally called the next part, but it didn't make it any better when it happened.

George tells Herrick directions to his dungeon. It's the night of his change, and he locks the door so that Herrick's trapped, and Herrick goes all threatening and superior and aweful on him, and doesn't even have the decency to feel scared as he watches George change before his eyes-- at least, not until George tells him that saving human lives means he's proving his own humanity, not neglecting it.

Mitchell and Annie try to stop him about the same time that Nina discovers a letter he left for her, breaking up. She's angry enough to follow them down to the basement, and busts in to see waht's up-- and has to be forced back out. She watches George transform, and she doesn't scream or anything, and seeing her manages to calm him, stops his rages dead in their tracks. After he's torn Herrick to shreds, of course.

Afterward, George and Nina are talking, and he finally tells her the truth about what happened to him, and she still hasn't run screaming. Downstairs, Mitchell and Annie are worried that he's been changed by intentionally killing someone, but she seems to be fine. Annie wonders about the door and her purpose, and Mitchell says it's like denying the afterlife let her tap into some new power she didn't know she had. All of them wonder waht happens now, and there's an attempt at a very fragile hope that it's over and they can live in peace. But Nina got scratched in the dungeon, and Owen's been talking to people in jail, and the nameless guy he's explaining everything to calls someone else and says "we've found them"-- and that's how the series ends: uncomfortable, unfinished, and awkward, with more horror to come, but calm now.

Here's what I think can / might happen in the next series, being filmed now:
- Annie will continue to self-actualize. She'll probably have to face the door again at some point, but maybe not this next season. She'll become a really kick-ass poltergeist-- and maybe will have to fight to stay human the way the others do, absolute power and all that.
- George and Nina will have to deal with what's happened to Nina; George will undoubtedly feel guilty, because he's good at guilt. Nina... it's hard to say. She has a short temper, but she's also strong enough to face it. But the fact that he wasn't entirely turned might mean something-- she's only partially infected, or she's different than him, or it'll be like finding out whether you've got some horrible disease or something, and there will be weeks of waiting.
- I'd still love Nina's injuries to have been caused by something supernatural; and maybe that'll change her path with the scratches, too.
- Mitchell will try to go off the blood again, and will be even more set against the rest of the vamps, but they won't give up on him. Someone worse will take over, most likely. H thinks they'll recruit Owen, which would be crushing and horrible.
- Hopefully this new guy and whoever he's taking to on the phone will be a new faction entirely-- monster hunters or paranormal investigators or something.
- I want to see the Vickar again. And I still maintain that they need allies in the rest of the world, a support system they can turn to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

classic who: the deadly assassin

As if there's really any other form of assassin.

So! We finally got the next ep working, and settled in for a good old romp through the Whoniverse... except this one's weird. Sarah Jane's just gone, and he's been called back home with a vision of the President being assassinated as if he's the one doing it, and it's just the Doctor, talking to himself because he has no Companion for four episodes. And really, alot of the third episode could have been gone and it would have been the same story, to whit:

As soon as the Doctor is back on Gallifrey, he's taken prisoner, which he immediately breaks out ofand quickly gets framed-- while trying to stop the assassination, he gets caught up in it and goes wonky, and starts thinking he's in the vision (or something?), and then he's arrested again, and tortured for a bit. Turns out he was aiming for the real killer down amongst the High Council, and set up to take the fall.

Chancellor Goth (who isn't wearing nearly enough eyeliner for that name, and seems to be the only one comfortable in the roll and the clothes), starts a trial, and the Doctor calls on paperwork to get himself entered into the running for the presidency, which buys him time in the trial. He manages to convince Spandrell that he isn't the assassin, despite the evidence, and they turn up various suspiscious clues: The gun's sight was off, so there's no way he could have fired the actual death shot, the person running the camera that should have recorded it is missing, and when he's founf, he's compressed a la the master, the last reels are stollen, there's no record of the Master, and the Doctor's record has been tampered with. And then they hit on the fact that the vision the Doctor had can only be explained by being the result of the Matrix-- the shared memories of thousands of dead Gallifreyans that work together in a computer to predict the future-- rerouted to him so that he'd come play patsy and it wouldn't be recorded.

So the Doctor goes into the Matrix to get the Master, who's all gross and buggy-eyed and somewhat like Mum-Ra now that he's come to the end of his regeneration cycle and is holding himself together and alive by force of will alone, and that's when there's a whole episode of the Doctor stuck in Vietnam. ::sigh:: It's like getting captured and escapingand getting captured again, except there's no Companion to talk it through with, and escaping is replaced with the Doctor sliding down quarry walls. Repeatedly.

Eventually, he stops the one coming after him, and it's Goth! ::dun dun DUN:: He manages to make it out of the Matrix just in time, but Goth is still tied in when the Master tries to kill the Doctor, and he gets the worst of it. The Doctor traces the Matrix connection back to the catacombs, where they find the Master dead, and Goth not there enough to answer their questions, only enough to say that he brought the Master back and couldn't stop him from taking over. And he has a doomsday plan, but he doesn't say what it is before he dies.

Back in the offices, they tell Borusa waht happened, and he tells them a better story that will keep the faith in the Time Lords whole, and orders that the bodies be altered and so on to make the story fit. But the Doctor still wants to know waht the Master had planned, and why it mattered if his patsy was President, The only thing different than being any other Time Lord is access to the symbols of office, which the Doctor realizes are old relics of the sort of power that would let the Master regenerate all over again, and destroy Gallifrey and the Time Lords in the process.

Oh, and, you know, the Master's not dead.

So there's a whole one-on-one where the Master is releasing the Eye of Harmony that's the source of all Gallifrey's power (which has apparently been forgotten by this point), and the Doctor's stopping him. It ends with half the Citadel collapsed, but the world intact, and the Master down a fissure. Spandrell and Engin see the Doctor off, and witness the Master disappearing into time without trying to stop him, and that sort of spoiled the ending for me.

So here's a picture of the Doctor looking shifty in the 'seldom worn ceremonial robes' that they always seem to be wearing:
What I take away from this story are the following details:
- From the beginning, the Doctor was considered a renegade, but Borusa (an old teacher at the Academy) probably likes him anyway.
- Time Lords are, as a whole, pretty dumb. They don't know where their power comes from, they aren't the top of the technological totem pole anymore, and they live for ages and never do anything with it. Also, they're divided into assholes and doddering old men.
- There aren't any Time Ladies at all in this story, which seems odd.
- The Citadel is something like Superman's Fortress of Solitude and something like the Tok'ra crystal bases, and something like a melted freezy-pop.
- The Doctor wears long johns.
- I miss the presence of a Companion, and I'm glad this is the only one without one.
- Goddess above and below, I'm sick of the Master.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the colony: episode 6

This week's ep was all about loss and communication.

Doctor George and Nurse Allison have been dealing with minor injuries, but they've realized that the first aid kit is getting very low and sooner or later, someone's going to need a hospital (some of them have already lost ten to twenty pounds), and so they build a nice clean little infirmary. To stock it, they go make a raid on an abandoned hospital not far from the Sanctuary. They find scads of useful things, scales and oil for the generator and bandages and basic medicines and things-- and George goes missing.

The search for him for hours, and can't find any sign of him, take all the stuff back, and then go looking again, and finally rule that he just isn't there, that he's been kidnapped or has gotten lost. There's all the stages of grief, and then they start doing something about it. Allison and Mike make a huge SOS sign and hang it like a billboard on the roof. Joey finishes the bed of the truck and they install the water tank that will allow them to bring water with them. Vlad builds fireworks to use like flares. And John C and Morgan start building a transmitter, a really old kind like they used to use on ships in the Atlantic in 1900, called a spark-gap transmitter. It shorts out the power, but they fix it and John C puts it on a battery so it won't do that again. Morgan rigs a reciever out of wire, a plastic jar, a phone reciever and an alligator clip, and that's one of the coolest things I've seen. Then she amplifies it with an old TV, and it gets cooler. And they work. The fireworks don't, but they've got the ability to transmit morse code in a way that people can pick up, and if George is out there, he can find his way home.

But over the credits, there was a voiceover where he basically said goodbye, so hopes are low now-- though he did say he's going to try everything in his power to get back. I wonder if something called him away from the show? I wonder if he knew ahead of time that he was leaving? He didn't have anything really dramatic to do, but he was a level head in a group of hotheads, and it was nice to have him around. It'll be scarier without him, though; how much can a trauma nurse do? Could she do surgery if she needed to? Maybe Amy, who was in Peace Corps will be able to do more; Allison is the Doctor now, and she'll need a Nurse if anything goes seriously wrong.

So now they're even more visible than they were, and they are getting low on resources and protein, and the stress is getting to them. The previews from next week don't tell us a great deal about anything other than that there'll be more yelling.

Here's what the offical site has to say about George:
"George grew up as an athletic, popular kid in Tampa, Florida to a family of doctors. After majoring in Marine Biology at University of Florida and considering a career as a marine mammal veterinarian, he decided to go to medical school because he liked to take care of people even more than animals. Medically trained in Tennessee and New Orleans, George is fond of traveling and has discovered a pleasant benefit to his job: he can do it anywhere. George is a thinker and doesn’t act before considering consequences of his actions because if he makes a mistake at work, someone could die. He is a strong fisherman, can start a fire and hunt. George returned to New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to provide care in makeshift medical units."

being human: s01 e04

In this picture, Mitchell looks an aweful lot like Henry, doesn't he? But henry had hair that could be splict.

Goddess, this episode did it's darnedst to kill me. Right in the face. Tore out my heart, and then killed me in the face.

Mitchell defends a kid from bullies, and they become fast friends-- the kid reminds him of his young, human self, and he wishes someone would have stuck up for him. The mom's fine with it, he needs a father figure and a friend. And then Mitchell lets him borrow a DVD, but it's the wrong one in the case-- it's the snuff film from last ep, but the mom doesn't know that, all she knows is that there's a picture of a naked guy, all aroused and grinding, and then dead, and she assumes that Mitchell is a perv. And the townsfolk turn on them.

Meanwhile, George is trying to have a relationship with Nina, and he's scared that she wants the Wolf, but she's relieved that he's not always like that. But when things go south in the neighborhood, George crawls back into his hole and won't talk to her and breaks up with her, and it's terrible, because she's trying and she can't understand waht could be so horrible about him that he'd rather she thinks he's a pedophile.

Annie's gone poltergeist, but she can't control it, and even the thought of seeing Owen again makes all the lights in the house explode. When he does come by, she subliminally affects Jenny, and creeps out Owen, which makes him show his real self. He tells the boys they have to leave at the end of next month, and Annie burns off all her old harded pictures; he's taken everything from her, but he's not taking her boys or her house.

The cops, of course, are headed up by the vampires, and they basically tell Mitchell that if he turns his back on them permanently, they'll let this get all out of hand and he'll never live it down.

The kid in question, Bernie, tries to appologise to Mitchell, and the neighbors misunderstand and start a fight, and when Bernie's running back to his mom, Mitchell isn't fast enough, and he gets hit by a car. Because the dying nurses weren't heartrending enough, now they have to kill kids. The shock sends George to Nina's house, where he tells her what happens, and she calms him down, and they come back around to the secrets; he isn't ready to tell her what his is, and she makes them even by showing him some horrible scars and saying that she won't tell him, either. Everyone has secrets.

Mitchell goes into the hospital and confesses to Bernie's mom (Fleur, even though with her accent, it sounds like Flerr) what he is, and gives her the choice: let Bernie die in a coma, or let him help them by saving Bernie. It looks like she lets him die, but then when they're at the train station, she appologises to Mitchell, and Bernie comes up behind them, pale and cold, but not dead. He tells Fleur that she needs to stay with him, keep him good, implying that she needs to keep him human, and then he leaves them. Again. Like he did with Lauren, and like he couldn't do with deadnurse, and like he promised not to do again. And then he goes back to Herrick, and rejoins the nest.


Every interpretation along the way was the wrong one, every choice was for the worse. I don't know if I can handle it if it keeps going like that.

But it did have the best line: "I'm not suggesting we wear chastity rings like American kids, and don't shag because we're mental, just that we take it slow."

I'm liking Annie the poltergiest, but I hope she doesn't turn bad, and I hope resolving her anger doesn't set her free; the show would have to find a new ghost. I'm not liking Mitchell giving up on humanity and leaving another offspring behind; it's so nihilistic, and he was the one who wanted to regain his humanity so badly. I'm loving George making it work with Nina, even if every single thing he says is the wrong thing, and his awkwardness knows no bounds-- and I still think that if anyone can handle what they are, it's Nina. Maybe her scars even came from something supernatural that she hasn't faced yet (which would be flippin' awesome, and would really tie the room together-- I mean, the plot together). And telling her would go miles toward building some trust in George, since he lost everything and doesn't even trust himself. There can't be many episodes left; this is getting really tough.

Monday, August 24, 2009

being human: s01 e03

Yay for this show! It's intersting right off the bat and stays that way. Good for us.

This week, Mitchel decides that Anie needs to 'meet someone with the same condition' after he finds her tearing up the house and tells them that they're only days away from when she was supposed to get married, and introduces her to Gilbert, who died the same year she was born and is stuck forever with Unfortunate 80s Hair. He takes her to see her grave, and imparts what knowledge he feels she should know, trying to convince her that she can go anywhere and do anything now, but what she gets out of it is that she needs to resolve whatever issues are keeping her on this plain. At first, she thinks that it's because she never got to be a wife, and she starts haunting Owen's house, picking up after him, ironing his shirts, finding his keys, cooking for him. Which doesn't work, and I'm glad of that because it's so unfeminist. But when she's following him around, he comes to fix the pipes in the house, which have been acting up since the first episode and are worse now, she witnesses him pulling a lacy thong out of the drain, and remembers that they'd had a fight-- that he pushed her down the stairs and killed her-- and that doesn't free her either. But it's Gilbert who's there to comfort her, and somewhere along the line, he fell for her, which was his resolution, and she watches him passing on (which is reminiscent of Dead Like Me a little, especially since Nina looks a little like Ellen Muth). I was starting to like Gilbert, and it would have been nice to keep him around and expand their circle of people on their side / explore his story that ended with him being dead so he could be the right age twenty two years later to fall for a fellow ghost, but, hey. Can't win them all.

So now she knows that the love of her life killed her, and she still hasn't passed on. Mitchel seems to be caring about her more than he thinks he does, and the house seems to be a part of her, the pipes acting as her subconscious, and as that point was stated explicitly in the show, I hope it gets explored more, because she's not really a person anymore, and she could be the house as well as herself.

Meanwhile, Mitchel has also set up George with Nina the Nurse, and George cooks dinner for her, and things progress up to the bedroom... where he starts scratching at her back and biting on her and spooks himself. It's very close to the full moon, and he can't control his animalistics, and since he can't explain what's actually wrong, he basically tells her he has a dysfunction (thought I think if anyone could handle it, it'd be her). This leads to her talking to him very seriously about all the things they could do other than have actual sex, and that gets him all riled up, as he's on his way to the Change when she waylays him, and he boinks her good and then leaves her grinning and flees to the woods, which he can't explain to her and which we haven't seen him have to face yet. I think it'd be awesome if he could manage to make it work; he's trying the hardest to be a normal person, after all. And it would be helpful to have someone in the medical profession on their side.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Lauren has come to the hospital to tell Mitchel that the video from last ep was forced-- the Big Bads made her seduce that dude with the tramp stamp and film her killing him, hoping that she could be bait to lure Mitchel back into their vampire politics. He convinces her to try to go clean, but she doesn't do very well, and when he gives in and lets her have some of his blood, that only makes her a junkie. Bloodbank doesen't help either, and she takes it that he isn't helping her enough, which drives her, half-crazy with hunger, out into the street, where Creepyface from the first episode is waiting for her, and she goes off with him before Mitchel can find her. Bummer. But she's weak and I don't like her much, at least not yet.

So we learned that Owen isn't all that great a guy, that Annie is possibly tied into the house now and that she's as scared to move on as she is to stay forever, Mitchel is getting used to her being around, George is capable of controlling himself enough to not eat someone he's having sex with, and young vampires are weak. The scenes for next week showed them getting found out-- or, at least that's what the comercials make it look like, but that's not the last episode, so something else has to happen. Like Annie finally coming into her power as a ghost! Excellent!

I'm getting a bit tired of vampires always being embroiled in politics-- especially while watching True Blood at the same time-- and that's one of the reasons I liked Blood Ties so much; Henry couldn't care less about other vamps most of the time, and they're pathologically solitary, something alot of these other shows could use. But this show doesn't worry about that too much, and it's a third or fourth-string plotline at best, which keeps it bearable. I do like, however, when Mitchel's trying his best to be human, which always seems to be outside in the cold, smoking a cigarrette, like last ep when he was on the stoop with Annie, talking to George and laughing, and this ep when he was being charming and evasive with Nina.

true blood: s02 e10 new world in my view

Soon, this season will be done, and I'm starting to miss it already. Also, I think they took too long to get to this point, but it's getting exciting enough that I can deal with it-- I just wish they'd split it up better between dallas and home so that this ending part had as much attention given to it as the beginning part.

The episode starts moments after the end of the last one; Sookie is in that cute little gingham dress, walking down the hall, though H noted that she'd taken the time to straight-iron her hair. She goes into a room, and finds Eric, covered in blood-tears, devistated by the loss of Godric, and comforts him by kissing his cheeks (in much the way a fish might), which he takes as an invitation, and then they start making out (where he's trying hard to sell it and she's sort of bumping into him with her mouth). Out come the fangs, and she touches them, then offers her neck--

--and wakes up in the car, moments from home, with Bill in a coffin in the back. And then I feel bad for Bill, because he doesn't even know what's going on, and his love scenes with her are more convincing (which I'd be willing to bet are so because she's actually dating him in real life and is uncomfortable making out with anyone else, even on screen; though I think Eric is hotter, and I wish those scenes were better).

So anyway, they're finally coming home, and they find the whole town trashed, graffittied, full of lunatics screaming about the coming god and how they have to find Sam, and they go home and find it completely transformed, which really should have pissed Sookie off more. Seriously. This is, like, four days after her grandma died and she goes away for a minute and comes back to this? Why isn't she raging mad? And the mess includes a massive man made out of meat and plants and dead things, and she's not ready to light things on fire with her mind? Maryann is there, and she tells Sookie it's her house now, and when she tries to attack Sook, our little telepath reads her mind and finds out that she's the monster that attacked her in the woods and killed all those people. Convenient, that. Not having to figure stuff out or anything. But then she gets all glowy in the hand and bran-zaps Maryann, which amuses and confuses her more than it stops her. And somewhere in here, Bill jumps and drains Maryann, but it's horrible black blood and it makes him foam at the mouth and vomit, and she actually kind of likes it. And then there's several scenes of Bill vomiting profusely as they head over to LaFayette's to help with the tied-up and posessed Tara.

Meanwhile, Sam and Andy are trying to figure out what to do when they get a call from Arlene begging for help at the bar-- and Sam's dumb enough to let his soft little heart lead him there, where he gets jumped and locks himself in the freezer. Everyone tires to get them out, but Terry realizes that he can't go anywhere, so it's mission accomplished, and sends readheaded drunk lady to call Maryann, but she gets distracted along the way. So Maryanne doesn't know that they've cornered him. I'm still tired of this mess with the orgies and the black eyes and such, but I really love that Terry gets to be strong and leader-like; he's the most reasonable of the people taken over, and that's a nice switch from him being the least reasonable of the normals.

Sookie and Bill arrive at LaFayette's and try to get Tara to come back to herself; her mother's praying helps a little, but it takes Sookie and Bill double-whammying her with glamour and telepathy to get through the wall Maryann put up, and she remembers all the crazy shit that she did, and wakes up. I'm assuming that Maryann's power works by getting people to do this stuff and not letting them remember so that they won't fight back. So Tara's back, but now they know what they're up against.

Jason arrives at the bar and quickly ruins a chainsaw, which is probably his best weapon, and uses a nailgun to hold Arlene hostage, which gets Terry to call everyone off, and he gets the boys out of the fridge... and then they all get jumped again. This time, Sam gives himself over in hopes that letting them have him will save the town (thought I doubt that), and they drag him out to tie him to a car in the parking lot and prep him for sacrifice-- or maybe sacrifice him on the spot without Maryann. He's saved when the god they're calling arrives... in the form of Jason Stackhouse in a gas mask with a police light behind him and a flare in each hand. They're all messed up enough to belive it's him, and when Sam asks them to smite him, and he obligingly goes 'I smite you!' and Sam collapses into a pile of clothes, well, that's a pretty neat way out. And it works. Everyone leaves. Which comfuses Jason and Andy, but there's no time to explain, and we get to see Sam's butt. Hee.

Bill figures out what Maryann is and what she's doing because of that book he was reading in the twenties (which is why that scene was there), but he doesn't know what to do to stop her. He might know someone who can, though, and he goes to find that someone, leaving Sookie with Tara and making her promise to stay clear of her house. Which I'm sure she'll totally keep. In the next scene, Bill's at a placial estate, which was apparently not that far from Bon Temps, and he gets in to see the Queen, and all we see is a bare foot with blood dripping down. She's probably just eating messily or something, but it'd be awesome if someone offed her and the vampire politics are worse than we thought. Probably not, though, as the casting is already known, and it's not a nobody. ::sigh::

Oh! And meanwhile, Hoyt and Jessica have been trying to contain Hoyt's mom, and she's as messed up as the rest of the town, with her hair all big and spewing all kinds of viscious hate, which makes Jessica more and more mad-- until she attacks Mama Fortenberry. Which will be interesting for Hoyt next episode, I'm sure.

But see what I mean? This all happens back to back to back, practically all at once, and it would have been nice if they'd come home a few episodes earlier and this could be spread out some. We could have done without some of Stan's posturing, and without as much Lorena, and we didn't really need all those flashbacks, now did we? And soon the season will be over, and I'll have to wait until next year to see more Eric, and so see how that gets resovled, because I like Bill and I want the resolution to be fair to all three of them. Also: How are they going to defeat a god? And how are they going to beat that next season?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

being human: s01 e01-e02

She's never really ephemeral like this.

Anyway. We'd heard of this show, of course, through our various fandoms: vampire shows, BBC imports, Dr Who actors. Didn't know much about it, though. So when we got the fancy cable, and we found it on the On Demand, and when the latest episode of Doctor Whos Day (The Deadly Assasin) failed to work, we decided to see what it was all about.

And we liked it. All three of us.

Here's the deal: A fairly new werewolf lives with a hundred-year-old vampire, and the house they've moved into is inhabited by a ghost-- of the landlord's fiancee, who died fairly recently, and hasn't been visible to anyone until they move in. In the first episode, she's learning how to interact with the world again, and can sometimes be visible to normal people (if they're expecting to see someone there, like when she accepts the pizza order and stuff), and she can pick things up and move them around and so on. Meanwhile, the vampire has accidentally turned someone they worlked with (at the hospital), and is trying to go off the blood, feeling guilty about killing someone in true brooding vampire fashion, and the werewolf is about to turn, but his usual safe house is being renovated and he has to be locked inside his own house, where he trashes everything.

In the second episode, Marshal the Vamp has to deal with Lauren, the babyvamp that he made, who wants everything to be chaotic and wants him to take responsibility for what he did to her, while also having to deal with the mysterious plans of the rest of the vampires, who seem to be everywhere and look like they're getting tired of hiding in plain view. He decided to choose people over his own kind, and that means he's also decided to get to know the neighbors, to act more like a normal human-- and to go out on a date with a nurse, which ends badly for several reasons. Meanwhile again, George the Were has met a man named Tully (the same who was Shakespeare on Doctor Who, if you're keeping track), who promises to teach him how to handle being a were, how to outsmart his own animalistic self, how to embrace the strength and the raw power of it in his human life as well as his wolf life-- and turns out to be the one who turned him to begin with, wanting to get George on his side to build a pack to replace the life he lost. He starts out by charming everyone, and ends up by damn near molesting Annie the Ghost and entirely alienating George.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

It's got an interesting set up. George is a fairly standard Were, but he's such a sweet, awkward, timid guy that it's entirely alien to him. Marshal is a strange sort of vamp who seems to be free of alot of the curse part-- he can eat normal food, he can go out in the sun for at least short times-- but he's sort of addicted to the blood, and he doesn't age or die, so it's a constant struggle to not attack people. Even though he wants to. And Annie's tied to the house more by fear of the world and what's in it than by any metaphysical bonds, and can go through walls and disappear, but in general is trying to act like she's still alive, even though she can't eat or sleep or change her clothes or anything, and I'm willing to bet her death wasn't as accidental and innocent as we're led to believe. I'd like to see her embrace her ghostliness and poltergeist out, even if it's just once, though; it'd be awesome if she could blow out the windows or posess someone.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

movie: inkheart

I haven't read the book, but if the parts of the movie that work are any indication, I think I want to. If the parts of the movie that don't work are any indication... Well, I hope the book hangs together better.

I liked the movie for it's promise and it's premise: a few people in the world can read things out of stories and make them real in our world, and they retain the characters and abilities they had in their own worlds. One of these people lost his wife when he read something out of a book and she was traded for it, because there always has to be a trade, and for the last nine years, he's been looking for a new copy of the book so he can try reading her out of it. This is awesome.

And then there's Paul Bettany, who is always great, playing a character that should be perfect for him, but because of the screen adaptation? The editing? Something, he motivations are shaky at best and contradictory at worst, and this fun character is all over the damn place and never really changes. His arc is more of a wobbly loop? I want to reedit his part. Badly.

The daughter (Meggie? Maggy?) should have been better, too. A feisty girl who never knew her mother and grew up roaming Europe, who wants to be a writer and is supposed to be good at it? So little of that comes through, because she's mostly crying and being captured. She's so integral to the end, but she never really gets any volition of her own. Even when she's righting hte wrongs, even when she's editing the world for herself, it's because someone else told her to. And that disappoints me. And why is there so little trading / magical recoil when she reads? Does she just do it better, and they forgot to mention the fact, or is that another plot hole?

I do like Alladin the Flying Squirrel, but it's more because he's the only one aware of how cool all this is who isn't a greasy badguy. And where did 'you like her, don't you?' come from? The two minutes they sat next to each other in the car?

Rhyssa is dull. The Aunt is lovely and cranky and colorful, and then has nothing to do, though it looks like they wanted her to like the stuttering reader. Capricorn is not really all that threatening, and overacts. The henchmen are interchangable and disposable. The Shadow looks awesome, probably the best thing in the movie (except maybe the gorgeous settings), but doesn't do much and doesn't manage to convey what, exactly, lets it 'flay the skin off your bones' as was threatened. And if these are the characters the author created, I have trouble believing that it's all that great a book-- and I do so want to believe. Because there's something beautiful about the idea that our favorite worlds could be real, that we could meet our literary children and go on adventures with them, that they can develop lives and opinions of their own, and, best of all, that the sad endings might be different this time around (which is an eternal hope of mine). It makes me sad that it falls short of these good ideas, and then the DVD, at least this one, doesn't even have deleted scenes that might make the plot work better. Or even a scene that shows Dustfinger using his ever-present bag that we decided was holding all the plot-plugs to fill all the plot-holes.

So yeah. The movie has plenty of space for me to rewrite it, which is a plus. But the plot holes that require me to write them are too numerous, which is a minus. The ideas are great, which is a plus. But the character development is either not there, or reduced to one-liners that come from nowhere and don't replace lettin gus experience people changing, which is bad. So I'm going to find the book. And here's hoping there's a director's cut somewhere that makes more sense.

Also, Brendan Frazer obviously sold his soul for eternal youth, and it's getting a little disturbing now that he's started playing adult characters with kids who look roughly the same age. And if he's a great reader, why can't he read more naturally?

Monday, August 17, 2009

movie: ponyo

What a sweet movie. I was unaware that goodfish looked like weird little girls in dresses, but from beginning to end, it was sweet, non-threatening, quirky, and beautiful-- entirely gorgeous. If you're going into this expecting Princess Mononoke, though, be warned-- it's much closer to My Neighbor Totoro in theme and complexity. Which is fine; it's a kid's story, and I'm glad it'll be around when I have kids.

It's (very) loosely based on The Little Mermaid, but when I say 'loosely', I mean it's like they took the extreme basic ideas and ran with them. A girl of the sea who wants to be a human? Check. A dad who doesn't want her to? Check. A supernatural sea-woman with magical powers? Check. Seafoam if she fails? Check. Everything else is new. And sweet. And there's alot going on, but the primary POV characters are five years old, and most of it doesn't really affect them so much as it affects the world around them.

Ponyo is a little goldfish who gets lost and washes up on shore, where she's rescued by a little boy named Sasuke. While with him, he cuts his finger, which she heals with a lick, but tasting human blood starts a transformation-- it unlocks all the primal power inside her, knocks nature out of balance, and lets her have capricious five-year-old control over the magics. It means she can will herself into having arms and legs and being a girl (although whenever she uses magic, she looks more like a frog muppet with chicken legs), and then she and her hundreds of sisters can cause a horrible tsunami that almost wipes out the town while she goes in search of Sasuke. Because she's fallen in love with him, in that entirely pure way that only kids can love. Most of the rest of the movie is them being kids while they look for Sasuke's mom and have adventures in cuteness; Ponyo's dad flips out a little at the imbalance in nature, but her mom, a huge magical sea goddess, finds it sweet and amusing, and convinces him to let it play out. They save Sasuke's mom and all the old ladies she's in charge of, and give the kids a choice: If Sasuke will love her as a girl or a fish, she'll be allowed to make the choice between the two, but she can't be both like she is now. She, of course, chooses him, and everything's fine.

Favorite parts:
- on the radio to Sasuke's dad on the ship: "HAM!"
- during her transformation: "TEETH!"
- when she finds him and wraps herself around his head and stays there.
- when teh tide is up to his door, and while they're figuring out what to do, an octopus is sidling into the house.
- "For milk!" and the Angry Baby.
- the theme song, which I want to sing to my kids. When I have them.

true blood: s02 e08 i will rise up

The episode opens right when Bill is telling Lorena to bug off, and Luke is about to hit the trigger-- and goes immediately into the explosion, then it's aftermath without even a little lingering on the blowing up, which seems out of character with the show's love of lingering carnage. Maybe there just wasn't space.

So Bill busts in and finds that Sookie's mostly fine because Eric jumped in front of her and then fell on top of her, and goes to beat up the Soldiers who are lingering outside long enough to go 'oh shit' and then flee-- and he sends them back with the message to remember that the vamps could have killed them all and instead let them live. Meanwhile, Eric's dying, and he has Sookie suck the bullets out, and Sookie's dumb enough to do it. It's like a scene from some hentai: "Oh, my shoulder! Oh, there's one in my chest!" I totally expected "Oh, there's one a little lower...". Maybe Bill just came back before that point. And pointed out that Eric was a liar, and now Sookie's swallowed some of his blood, and now Bill's sharing space in her head with Eric, who is taller and older and stronger, and not nearly as much as a poor divided sap. Poor poor Bill. Where did all your spark go? Did you leave it at home when you went to Dallas?

Sookie has the decency to be grossed out, and Bill carefully explains that she'll always be tied to him, he'll always be able to feel her (which she realizes means he'll always know where she is and what she's doing), and that she shouldn't be surprised if she starts feeling attracted to Eric, because that's one of the side effects. They didn't make that leap, but his face sort of looked like he didn't want to tell her that part, which I'm assuming was because it was Eric, but I'm going to say it's because he knows that the implication is that she fell in love with him because she'd had his blood, and he knew that Eric's blood was stronger.

Then Sookie has really realistic sex dreams where she's laying in bed with Eric, and he's holding her hand trying to convince her she'd make a great vamp, and they're both naked and his hair is tousseled and he's smiling and she doesn't think he's scary at all. And Lorena keeps interupting and pointing out that she's already forgotten about Bill. She wakes up and goes to where Jason's staying, and they have a much-needed talk where they agree to grow up and be good to eachother because they're all they have left.

While all this is going on, Godric's getting everyone back to the hotel, to safety, and getting in trouble with Nan Flanders, who is a raging bitch with slicked-back hair and black clothes when she's not on TV. Godric feels responsible for everything that happened, and when Nan makes him not!Sheriff, he steps down gracefully and appoints Isabelle as his replacement. Which Eric doesn't like at all, and he demands that Godric fight back, as does Isabelle, and he won't-- he has ammends to make.

Sookie tells Bill she has to go see what's up, and won't let him go with her because it's almost dawn, and I'm going to assume she has some idea of what Godric's got planned. Bill's back in that stupid bathrobe, and lets her go, but his dallas-wimpiness is almost mitigated by the look of amazed love on his face as he realizes that she feels obligated because she has a good heart. So she's up on the roof just in time to see Eric begging Godric to go back inside, and then demanding, and then saying he'll Meet the Sun with him, and Godric saying that 2000 years is enough and he won't go back inside and Eric doesn't have the ability to make him, but he does have the ability to be sure Eric won't stay. Which he does, lovingly and tenderly, while Eric is on his knees, crying, and it's all pretty intense. His voice goes all squeeky and he stops speaking in English, and he begs, and-- wow. I'm sure he's going to be extra tough from now on, to make up for being seen crying and for losing his maker. Which happens right after Eric leaves. Sookie stays, and is afraid for Godric, and stays with him the whole time so he doesn't have to be alone. And he evaporates. Much faster than Bill did, so maybe there's a drying out that happens with age, if not a purification.

And that's the close.

Then, there's the story back in Bon Temps where Jessica and Hoyt are talking about what they'll do now that she's forever virginal, and they decide to deal with it. She's sure there must be something that can be done, because she can't have been the only virgin turned, and he says he'll go along with whatever she thinks is right. He won't let anything get in their way, and he wants her to meet his mom. But it's almost Dawn, and she has to sleep, and since he can't go with her, he sings to her so she knows he's still there.

I love these two.

Later, he tells his mom that he wants her to meet Jessica, and if she's not nice to her, he'll leave and never come back-- but being scared only makes his mom worse, and he confronts her with all the horrible things she's said and done and asks why she's so full of hate. She doesn't have a decent answer. But she does go to dinner with them, even though everything Jessica says gets a glare, and eventually they get into a fight where she points out that Jessica can't ever give him babies-- and Jessica runs out and Hoyt says he's never coming back, which leads his mother to drinking.

Meanwhile, in the other half of the story that I'm more than done with, Tara and Eggs wake up all bruised and again can't remember anything. Tara's getting really freaked and tired of blacking out, and Maryanne gets pissed that she won't just accept the gift of letting go and merging with diety.

Everyone's been getting arrested and thrown in jail for weird little misdemeanors, and they're all getting stranger and more wild the more they throw in that cell, but they've kept Sam separate, and when Maryanne comes looking for him, he becomes a fly and buggers off. This makes Maryanne even more pissed, and she goes to the bar looking for him, bringing the wind and the god!voice with her, and demand to know where Sam is, but no one knows. So she goes home and plays tequila-strip-poker with Tara and Eggs. Until LaFayette and Lettie Mae show up, trying to stage an intervention (earlier, LaFayette saw her bruises and assumed (rightly, but in the wrong context) that Eggs was to blame and they had a big ol' fight), and things go downhill. Maryanne tries to tempt Lettie Mae with vodka, while drunk!Tara is a bitch, but Lettie holds out and LaFayette takes over, and then there's fighting ::sigh:: But eventually, LaFayette just picks up Tara, creepy black eyes and all, and throws her in the car, and they make a getaway.

I'm so ready for this crap to be over.

But this part did have a very sweet scene where Terry's not looking at Arlene, and she starts crying and asks him to not be mad at her, and he says he isn't, and is happy at the idea that they had sex because it's been so long he doesn't remember the last time he did. And then they're both happy, even though neither remembers what happened, and they're about to kiss when some crazy woman demands her food and ruins it. The townsfolk are awful right now, and I can't wait until everyone gets back in one story and it gets sorted out. But I'm glad Terry gets to smile and be sweet. Even if this is like a different, suckier show without Sookie and Bill involved.

There's only a few more episodes, and it's looking pretty intense!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

defying gravity: ep3, threshold

So, last ep, Ted went into Pod 4 and faced whatever was in there-- and it communicates by showing severely terrifying pictures of sandstorms on Mars, which he doesn't take well. He withdraws and refuses to talk to anyone, even the people planetside that know what he's going through.

Meanwhile, Zoe and Donner are thrown together by circumstance when Paula starts barfing every few minutes, and her refusal to accept her illness makes her cranky and puts her on the outs with Woss, which leaves her without help when she needs it. Doctor Evram, meanwhile, is busy dealing with alcohol withdrawal, and Zoe is still hearing the crying baby when she needs to be somewhere to witness something. Like the lander that wants to go somewhere it's not programmed for rebooting with new uploaded info that Command wasn't going to tell them about.

Planetside, Ajay finds out he's fired when his card doesn't let him into the building anymore, and he doesn't know what to do about it. Rolly basically tells his wife to reconnect with Ted (they were an item in the past) to get him functioning again, and doesn't like when he sees it happening through the feed, and winds up being the one that kicks Ted in the head to get him working again. Eve can't connect with him because he feels betrayed by her not telling him about it, and because she's busy indroctrinating Claire when she discovers that all the team members have the same very specific gene mutations that are both very rare and not present before the mission.

Not alot happened this ep, even though alot of story was told. We find out that the relationship between Zoe and Donner was harder than expected; she wanted to keep things professional and kept shooting him down, and so far, hasn't said that she's so-far-still having his baby from their one-night stand. Maybe their breakup was more recent, which would be cool; and would tie the present and the past of five years ago together better. Jenn and Ted were very hot and heavy in the past, and there's apparently still a bit of spark there, but she married Rolly instead, and he married Eve, niy I think both aren't all that long-lived yet. Whatever that thing is, it seems to only give the same picture each time, and they aren't sure what it wants-- and it's only spoken to three people, Eve and Ted and someone we don't know about yet, so I'm thinking it's someone who went mad from it. Or died. And somehow it's changing them, all in the same ways, and including Eve and maybe the rest of the project. And there are people in black suits who know about it and aren't telling, and look very Men In Black. Who knows what they want.

So Paula's probably out for now, which leaves Donner as alt!pilot with Zoe-- though I think there's time for her to recover still? I don't know. The timeline of the mission isn't obvious. But they keep getting thrown together, mostly against their will, which makes any relationship between them kind of... weird. Do they like eachother because they really do, or because Beta wants them to? And why would it want them to? Is that dream of her being all preggers in space literal or symbolic? But best of all, it makes the idea of an in-office romance less of a chore, because it's something new-- it's manipulated and it's for some sort of other ends, and they don't know why or when.

I really hope everyone's dreams turn out to be glimpses of the future-- I'm enjoying the semi-non-linear storytelling, and if they're aware of bits of it, it's a little metafictional, too, which further complicates the plot and the interest. I hope the storylines in the past get more interesting though.

The world is pretty complete-- neat little readers, electric-looking cuty busses, money in the form of cards that pass funds to eachother without the middleman of a bank, the need for personal items to be tied down because there's only the illusion of gravity, super-sweet computers that still make sense to us, space ships that look feasible. It's near-future, and I think that makes scifi palatable; it's recognizable, possible, reasonable. But it makes the scifiness of the show seem less central, and leaves the drama sort of a weird blend of military and hospital. But I think it's finding it's feet. It knows what it is, and that's the best it can get.

the colony: episode 4

Have you caught this show yet? I wrote about it on my Examiner column last week, and I've been following it since. I love this sort of thing. I've been thinking, pretty much since I was aware enough to know that I might need to worry about it, that I need to know how to survive, at least theoretically, in case the world collapses in my lifetime, and this show gives tons of that sort of knowledge. If they do another season, maybe I'll see about trying out.

A little background: ten people have been dropped into a post-apocalyptic LA, survivors of a plague that killed most of the world and toppled civilization. Their job is not only to survive, but to rebuild what they can of society, and stay sane while doing so. So far, they've daisy-chained car batteries to make electricity, figured out how to filter and store water, found a few sources of food, gone on one scavenging expedition, turned a lawn mower into a mini generator, built a shower, defended their warehouse-home from merauders, and decided to rebuild an old truck to give them mobility.

This week, they focused on building security. The attackers last week got in through a back door and smashed up the kitchen, damaging alot of their food and all the milk they got from their one adult goat(stollen from another camp outside the warehouse), so they filled up the stairwell with big heavy things, which is a great idea. They don't use that door, and even if anyone can still manage to get through it, the noise of moving all the stuff will serve as a warning alarm. They also reinforced some of the walls and added locking mechanisms to the doors. And while figuring out how to defend the front door, they found a little room up above everything, perched up in the rafters and without stairs or anything, where someone had been living. Inside, there was a bed, a bottle of vodka, a few magazines, and a safe with some money in it, which is useless now, but may come in handy later. And I'm sure that's foreshadowing; this show is a little like an RPG; you find things that will be useful later, but the results are entirely up to you.

As for the little room, I think they should move their sleeping quarters up there; it's the most defensible place there; no one even mentioned that fact.

Meanwhile, Leilani the personal trainer built a punching bag and declared one of the side rooms to be a gym, where she started teaching the girls how to defend themselves; Mechanic Mike couldn't see the value of that, and kept picking fights, but it should be obvious that the better able to defend themselves they all are, the better off the group is, right? And if someone was going to attack them while they were out foraging, they'd probably attack the girls first because they're smaller and more likely to be helpless, right? So I don't know why he's so pig-headed about it.

Also meanwhile, John C was working on mad-scientist weapons, and really looking the part with his dirty apron and wild hair and beard. He built a massive flame thrower and a six-foot-long taser; I hope the producers warn the merauders that these are real weapons, and to look out for them. The colonists don't know that no one can actually hurt them, and they've been at this for three weeks: it's real now. Vladimir managed to come up with a way to build non-lethal claymores, which is awesome-- and Amy went on about 'bread not bombs', so I think she's pacifist and that that might become a problem later.

They managed to get the truck engine working, after cleaning out the moving parts and getting the airflow, and now everyone is free to make it into some sort of mega monster mad-max machine, which should be awesome.

But the most trouble was the traders. Two traders on a big truck and with guns came, and they had things the colony needed-- namely, a brand new generator and the oil to run it, and fresh food. So the colonists traded away some of the power tools they didn't need for the genny, and then started fighting over the fact that Mike and Joey were speaking for everyone and making it all tense, and giving away all their canned goods-- their last can of tuna, among others-- and all the oranges, for perishables. Leilani wasn't having any of that, and there was a huge blowup, and that's distressing for survival. See, I understand that they know where the oranges are, and they know how to get them, but oranges aren't infinite or year-round, and no one in this group seems to know anything about plants, seasons, gardening or anything like that. They aren't planning, as far as we've seen, for the fact that the oranges might not be there when they go back. Maybe they just haven't mentioned the little garden out back, but it looks to me like they're ignoring a valuable resource, and so far, no one has mentioned anything about choosing foods with seeds they can plant and get more of for free.

But they did get two chickens, and if they can keep them well-fed, each will lay at least one egg a day, and if they don't lay, there's some extra protein in the form of chicken soup and / or roasted chicken. But a live and laying chicken is more valuable.

Next week shows a huge man and another woman returning to the warehouse and claiming that they already live there; I hope they're absorbed into the group. The point is to rebuild society, right? But it looks like there'll be more fighting. ::sigh::

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

scifi that isn't like scifi

Have you noticed the way scifi is tricking it's way into the regular drama-tv world? And how people are gobbling it up until it shows that it's actually scifi? I don't see why people would love Lost and then get upset when it gets really weird; it started out that way, you just were distracted by all the pretty people.

I'm looking forward to Flash Forward, mostly, and I've sort of gotten hooked on the Colony and Defying Gravity (these two are reviwed in last week's Examiner), and I've been watching True Blood, so you'll hopefully start getting posts again. Jeeze, but I've been stretched thin lately. And we haven't been Doctoring, which is the backbone of this blog, so I keep forgetting to post.

This will be remedied.