American Gods Season One: A Murder of Gods

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This episode is a big fuck you to American politics, and its Ra-Ra Americana, Gun Loving, Make America Great Again, America is for White people aesthetic. That it puts a Black man right in the middle of all this is no accident. Outside of Mr. Nancy’s speech in episode three, this is one of the more politically blatant episodes this season, as Fuller usually tries to keep his social sensibilities clear, but a little more subtle.

In the opening scene, we meet the Mexican version of Jesus, as he shepherds a group of Mexican immigrants across the border. I thought this was a respectful depiction, even though I’m not a believer. Nevertheless, I know that these beliefs are important to someone, and should be treated with a certain amount of respect. One of the immigrants doesn’t know how to swim, nearly drowning while crossing a river, but is saved by Jesus. Even I had to admit to feeling a tiny bit of a thrill with the walking on water scene. That was kinda cool.

Everyone makes it to shore but they are fired upon by a group of White men wearing badges with the word Vulcan on them. This is Fuller’s open political statement of how immigrants who came here earlier like to set themselves against the immigrants who come after them. This was the primary theme of the movie Gangs of New York, with gangs of White people calling themselves Natives, fighting with the more recent Irish immigrants. The irony in this episode is that the Mexicans are the real Natives, as they were living in this country before White people got here.

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The very nature of Jesus is sacrifice, and is illustrated in this scene of him protecting his followers with his life.  Here you have two  old gods who are diametrically opposed to each other. One of them is symbolized by fire and violence, and the other by peace and water, but both of them are willing to make sacrifices. One of them does so for the benefit of others,  and the other does it only for himself. The followers of Vulcan are  older immigrants than the ones they’re killing that night, but nevertheless feel that they have staked a claim to American soil and don’t want to share it with any others, who came here later than them. They’re devoted to the idea of America, only their version bears no resemblance to what America actually is. The Mexican immigrants have a much clearer idea of what America is but their god isn’t as powerful as the one who has decided to profit from racism,  and xenophobia, and has a lot of guns. There is a reason Vulcan has to die at the end of this episode. He has been complicit in corruption the very nature of sacrifice.

Shadow and Wednesday are walking back to the motel, to retrieve their car, after their escape from the police station. Wednesday still has not noticed that Shadow is injured, as they discuss what happened at the station. Wednesday still refuses to tell Shadow what to think, insisting that Shadow make up his own mind about what’s happening. He insists that Shadow has to believe to understand,  but Shadow doesn’t want to go there. It’s just too much. Gods are actual real beings, and Wednesday is one of them!

Note that most of the events in tonight’s episode are made up of whole cloth by the writers. With the exception of some verbatim conversations and dialogue, none of the events, from Wednesday’s healing  session with Shadow, to the return of Salim, to Laura’s road trip with Sweeney, to Wednesday’s meeting with Vulcan, is in the book. Fuller’s general method, regarding adaptations, is to expand on the source material in ways that enhance and deepen the story. In the original narrative, almost the entire book is from Shadow’s point of view, but Fuller has changed things here to make the show, an ensemble piece, where we get to see different points of view.

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Shadow and Wednesday make it back to the motel, where Shadow confesses that he was visited by Laura. Wednesday claims to be surprised, but still gives no set answer to Shadow about her resurrection. He eventually pressures Shadow into leaving with him. When Wednesday looks in the rearview mirror, he can see Laura chasing after their car, and turns up the volume on the stereo, so Shadow can’t hear her. He is determined that the two of them stay far away from each other. Either he’s concerned that Lara would be a distraction from him, and he does not want to share Shadow’s attention, or he thinks that Laura is working for his enemies and trying to seduce Shadow to their side.

Notice that up to now, there has been no emphasis on weather phenomena during this episode. No transitioning from sky to sky, or shots of storm clouds, as in previous episodes. Instead we often get shots of sun and clear blue skies, along Laura’s road trip, and in Vulcan. I can’t help but think that must be on purpose. Whenever Shadow is holding his emotions in we often get shots of turbulent weather, but when he’s openly expressing what he’s feeling, the skies are often very calm and clear.

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Shadow isn’t your typical hyper masculine asshole, with a stiff upper lip. Nor is he weak. He won’t allow himself to be preyed upon, but fights only when he absolutely has to. I like that the show allows him to not only have feelings, but openly expresses them, and that this is never sided as a weakness. When he’s afraid, he’s allowed to say so. When he’s overwhelmed, we get to see it. We’ve spent the past two episodes watching him hanging on to reality by his fingernails, and that’s kind of refreshing. Shadow isn’t trying to be “Shaft of the Supernatural”, and I like that. He’s just some guy, thrown into extraordinary circumstances, trying to make sense of it all.

While we’re on the subject I want to address some concerns some people have shown about Shadow not interacting with any PoC in the show. I had the impression that Shadow’s lack of interaction with any other black people is meant to parallel his lack of interaction with normalcy, since he signed on to work with Wednesday.

Before Shadow met Wednesday he often operated in all white environments, so he  is used to navigating racial dynamics, while holding on to his sense of self. That’s not a problem for him. Shadow is always acutely aware of who he is,  and where his place is in American society.  Here,  he’s thrown into an environment,  where he’s the only regular human being. He has to renegotiate reality now, to encompass the idea that gods exist, the television will personally talk to you, dead people can walk, and trees can come to life, plus this entire ordeal has been incredibly violent towards him, as he has been attacked multiple times. So while he is very used  to navigating racial politics, navigating the world of gods is some brand new shit he’s got no experience with, and he’s barely holding onto what is real.

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Often in situations where black people are in a minority of two or three, you’ll see us touch base with each other, to reassure ourselves of our reality, to help each other emotionally navigate an all white environment. As an example of this, see the movie Get Out. Chris regularly touches base with his friend Rod, while trying to navigate an all white environment where he is questioning what’s happening to him, and his doubts are being dismissed by the White people around him, and the black people are not reliable either. Shadow is a player in two separate environments, one of them is whiteness, and the other is the supernatural. He is alone in both spheres, as there are no normal human beings for him to interact with, just as there are no PoC for him to touch base with.  I’d like to see him interact with some people of color, but Shadow doesn’t actually need to do that. He knows how to navigate the color line. He’s got that part down. It’s the world of the gods he’s having trouble with.

The only assurance he has of the reality he’s experiencing, is coming from beings he can’t trust, because none of them are human. Notice that Wednesday behaves exactly the same way about Shadow’s reactions to the supernatural as he does to all of the racial things Shadow has mentioned.  You could substitute just about any discussion they’ve had about the supernatural, with discussions that many blacks have had with whites about race. Wednesday uses deflection, derailment, defensiveness, obtuseness, and gas lighting,  to not tell Shadow what’s happening to him. Laura also does this in their brief conversation in the last episode.

Notice how the gods in Shadow’s presence all speak to one another. It’s obvious that none of them think themselves human, but absolutely none of them come right out and say to Shadow, “Hey! I’m the God of Media! Or I’m the God of Commerce! I’m the God of War!” Nobody speaks directly to him about a state of being, that they consider to be obvious. Except for Wednesday everyone makes the assumption that Shadow knows what’s going on. Its like one of those conversations where everyone knows everyone but you, and they keep referencing events you were never a part of, in  short hand, as if you had been there.

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And there are other parallels too. When Vulcan makes his remarks about the hanging,  Wednesday narcissistically makes Shadow’s pain and suffering about himself. White people will often make the pain and suffering of PoC about themselves. (Well okay, in this case, it’s actually true. Most of Shadow’s suffering is a direct consequence of knowing Wednesday, or is used to insult him.) Nevertheless,  this makes Wednesday an unreliable indicator of whether or not he is insane.

Without any normal humans to touch base with, to confirm what he’s been experiencing, Shadow begins to doubt reality, which is something that can  happen to PoC in all white environments, where there’s not another marginalized person to keep them grounded, or affirm something they just experienced. That Shadow has not interacted with any black people may be something that’s just as on purpose as his not interacting with regular humans. I think we’re supposed to see that Shadow is twice a fish out of water, navigating two, separate environments, only one of which he has mastered.

 

On the drive to their next assignment, Wednesday finally notices Shadow is bleeding profusely, and stops the car to check his wounds. It turns out that the creature that attacked Shadow at the police station is some type of forest god, named Mr. Wood, who used to be the spirit of the woods, but sacrificed his trees for greater power. Once again we have a story about a god sacrificing a part of himself for greater power, and a parallel of Vulcan’s story.  Mr. Wood  injected a tree root into Shadow’s wound when it attacked him, and Wednesday pulls it out. This scene is so touching and funny. I can’t have any idea what Wednesday is thinking in this scene, as he kisses Shadow on his forehead, and shushes him, like an indulgent uncle, but Shadow’s level of trust in him is interesting.
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Laura returns to the motel to find her car, but encounters Sweeney again. He makes all kinds of promises this evening. He tells her he knows someone who can resurrect her,  while name dropping Jesus Christ. While trying to steal an old taxi, with a toilet for a backseat, they are interrupted by Salim. I was really glad to see him again as this meeting between the three of them doesn’t happen anywhere in the book. Salim, overhearing that Sweeney is a leprechaun, asks if he knows where to find the Jinn who left him his taxi. Salim has been searching for him ever since, and Sweeny promises that he will tell Salim where to find the Jinn, if Salim drives  the three of them to Kentucky. Salim agrees, but doesn’t go to Kentucky.

 

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Meanwhile at the Vulcan weapons manufacturing plant one of the employees falls to his death in a vat of molten metal, to the incongruous tune of C’mon Get Happy, by The Partridge Family. They were like a white version of The Jackson Five, only with worse outfits. I know this because  I watched this show, religiously, when I was about 8. To say that I enjoyed it, would be too strong an expression. Most likely it was the only thing on TV in that time slot. Anyway this is a singularly horrific death, especially once you realize the guy has just been baked into the factory product: bullets.

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When Shadow and Wednesday reach Vulcan West Virginia (Yes, this is an actual place! I checked.) they find the townsfolk having a memorial for their fallen co-worker. Shadow becomes acutely aware that he is a man out-of-place, as the entire town is covered in flags, and everyone, from the smallest child to the oldest grandparent is carrying a gun. It’s so over the top ridiculous that it’s almost funny, except this is how some Americans actually believe we should all be living. I was uncomfortable on Shadow’s behalf, because this very much reminded me of Sundown Towns:

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At the memorial, which is really a celebration of the sacrifice to Vulcan, there’s a gun salute and Wednesday warns Shadow to stay in the vehicle. At first I thought he was warning Shadow to stay hidden, but unlike me, Shadow remembers what goes up, must come down, and he decides to sit it out, as Vulcan and Wednesday greet each other in the middle of the street. There’s a hailstorm of bullets, none of which ever touch either of the two gods.

On their road trip, Sweeney, Laura and Salim get to know each other. Salim figures out that Laura is dead, and takes it in stride. After all, he met a Jinn. I think Salim is very lonely, as  he never stops talking the whole time, while Sweeney snarks at the two of them from the back seat. Sweeney ending up in the back, when he insisted that Laura would be the one, is deeply hilarious to me, for some reason.

Salim proves to be a precious cinnamon roll of sweetness, while Sweeney is the exact opposite of all decency. Yes, I would love it if Laura ripped his lips off, whether he uses the “C” word or not, but we need Sweeney to be the “truth teller”. Every Bryan Fuller show has at least one of these, a character who tells the blunt-faced, unbridled truth to the other characters, no matter how much pain it causes, or who it hurts. Salim and Laura bond over their belief that their past is gone, and so are the family members  who were a part of it. When Laura has a chance to visit her family, she changes her mind. She and Salim both agree that they can, “Fuck those assholes!”

The three of them end up at the Crocodile Bar where Sweeney lost his coin. It’s like a horrible joke. A leprechaun, a zombie, and a Muslim walk into a bar…

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Wednesday and Shadow go  Vulcan’s home, where Vulcan keeps assuring Shadow that he’s safe, but Shadow ain’t buying it. He knows badness when he feels it, and insists that the two of them leave. His instincts are correct because things are not as they seem, especially when Vulcan alludes to events to which he was never a witness, like Shadow’s lynching. That was number one. Number two is when Vulcan refuses to drink the Soma that Wednesday brought as a gift, substituting his own instead. Notice that Wednesday tells Shadow that Soma is not  the drink for him. Soma is a drink only for gods.

 

Soma was a fermented juice drink which was believed to have been consumed by the Hindu gods and their ancient priests, the brahmanas, during rituals. Thought to be an elixir its consumption not only healed illness but also brought great riches. Soma is personified by the god of the same name who is also the god of sacrifices and who may, in some texts, be associated with the Moon.

Not only drunk by priests for its sacred nature it was also credited with uplifting qualities, giving the drinker a boost in energy and alertness. These effects meant that the drink has been considered divine since ancient times; a beverage which brought humans closer to the divine.

——-     http://www.ancient.eu/Soma/

Soma is also another word for “body” and may represent the physical body of humans, in a pagan parallel of the Christian Communion ritual.  Vulcan can’t drink the Soma that Wednesday brought, even though he promises to support Wednesday in his war. Vulcan  already made a deal with the new gods, who have set up this system of worship for him, in the town of the same name. He claims that every bullet fired from one of his weapons, is a sacrifice to him.

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Wednesday tasks Vulcan to make a sword for him that can kill a god, and he does so. It’s a gorgeous specimen, and I want one. (Never mind what I’d do with it! Smite my enemies! What else?) After Vulcan confesses that he betrayed Wednesday to the new gods, Wednesday, in one lightning swift move, cuts Vulcan’s  throat and tosses his body into  one of the vats. Shadow freaks the fuck out, which is an entirely appropriate response. We’ve seen Shadow unhinged from the first episode, but this is really the first time we’ve seen him totally lose his shit. It will be interesting to see how he behaves in the next two episodes.

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Wednesday expresses his complete contempt for not just Vulcan’s actions, but an entire setup that’s basically a shiny, automated, bloodless form of sacrifice, that gives nothing back to the people who worship him. Wednesday said this to Vulcan earlier, that the new gods take, and promise,  but do not give anything in return, and that the old gods at least did something for their worshipers, which makes them less corrupt.

Wednesday curses the entire enterprise by pissing into the vat. This is probably a pretty good idea of Bryan Fulelr’s sentiments, too.

Laura, Salim, and Sweeney are still heading West. They stop to see the sunrise as Salim says his morning prayers.

 

 On guns:

https://www.bustle.com/p/american-gods-statement-on-americas-gun-obsession-takes-no-prisoners-61502

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/06/157569/american-gods-vulcan-gun-culture-season-1-episode-6

http://io9.gizmodo.com/american-gods-vulcan-is-everything-that-scares-me-abou-1795761610

 

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Midnight Texas

Based on Charlaine Harris series called conveniently Midnight Texas, this new show will be airing this Summer (July 25th) on NBC.

I have a distrust of network TV  as they seem to want the audience that goes along with SFF shows, (they want that geek cred), but are unwilling to stick with the shows long enough for fans to get a foothold, or they simply don’t invest in the shows and don’t care about them. (We’re looking at you Sleepy Hollow.)

Anyway this show looks pretty good, for what that’s worth. I’m reluctant to get attached to it because, like I said, network TV has a talent for fucking over fans of these types of shows. I love the diversity in the show, the black vampire, the angel, and also a witch. Some of these characters are holdovers from True Blood, a show I liked. I don’t expect this show to be like True Blood, though I respect the showrunner for Mr. Robot. I haven’t yet read the books but I plan to get to those before the show airs.

ABOUT THE SHOW

Welcome to a place where being normal is really quite strange. From the visionary director of “Mr. Robot” and based on the hit book series from the author behind HBO’s “True Blood” comes a journey into a remote Texas town where no one is who they seem. From vampires and witches to psychics and hit men, Midnight is a mysterious safe haven for those who are different. As the town members fight off outside pressures from rowdy biker gangs, ever-suspicious cops and their own dangerous pasts, they band together and form a strong and unlikely family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tumblr Sundries

Just some random Tumblr stuff, I thought seemed interesting:

Laughing to keep from crying:

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*I would say this is fairly accurate and exactly describes my younger self. I’ve become a lot more tactful, and diplomatic, as I’ve gotten older.

10 Myths About Introverts

introvertunites:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Keep reading

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*This is a reference to that new space movie, I never had any intention of seeing, called Passengers. No, I’m not putting the trailer here. You would only get bored.

List of People I’d Much Rather Watch Fall in Love in Space than Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt

claraandthesatellite:

tinydramatist:

darwinquark:

Gina Rodriguez and Oscar Isaac

Lupita Nyong’o and John Cho

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kate McKinnon

Zachary Quinto and Rami Malek

Aja Naomi King and Dev Patel

Constance Wu and Diego Luna

Feel free to add more, as I’d imagine it’s a long list.

Kat graham and rami malek

Zoe kravitz and Chadwick boseman

Chloe Bennett and John Boyega

Alfred Enoch and Steven Yeun

Riz Ahmed and Jessica Henwick

Rosario Dawson and Elodie Young

Jenna Coleman and Freema Agyeman

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*For some reason, I love these little alien/first contact headcanons people keep coming up with on Tumblr.

kedreeva:

aethersea:

sepulchritude:

on the topic of humans being the intergalactic “hold my beer” species: imagine an alien stepping onto a human starship and seeing a space roomba™ with a knife duct taped onto it, just wandering around the ship

it doesn’t have any special intelligence. it’s just a normal space roomba. there are other space roombas on the ship and they don’t have knives. it’s just this one. knife space roomba has full clearance to every room in the ship. occasionally crew members will be talking and then suddenly swear and clutch their ankle. knife space roomba putters off, leaving them to their mild stab wounds.

“what is the point?” asks the alien as another crew member casually steps over the knife-wielding robot. “is it to test your speed and agility?”

“no it doesn’t really go that fast,” replies the captain.

“does it teach you to stay ever-vigilant?”

“I mean I guess so but that’s more of a side effect.”

“does it weed out the weak? does it protect you from invaders? do repeated stabbings let your species heal more quickly in the future?”

“it doesn’t stab very hard, it gets us more than it gets our enemies, and no, but that sounds cool — someone write that down.”

“but then what is its purpose?”

“I don’t know,” the captain says, leaning down to give the space roomba an affectionate pat. “it just seemed cool”

this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard but I thought about it for five seconds and realized that if I were, say, a random communications officer onboard this ship and someone taped a knife to a roomba it would take maybe three weeks before even I was inordinately fond of Stabby. I would be proud of Stabby when I met up with my other spacefleet friends for space coffee, I would tell them about the time Stabby got the second mate in the ankle five seconds before the fleet admiral beamed on board and she swore in seven different languages in front of high command.

also by the fourth day Stabby would be in the ship’s log, he’d have little painted-on insignia, people would salute him as he went by, and someone would hook up a twitter account to tweet maniacal laughter and/or a truly terrible knock-knock joke every time he managed to nick someone.

Someone would almost positively attach a tiny camera and live stream Stabby’s adventures to a media account. Bets would be taken on who is next. Bets have to be ordered to stop being taken on who is next because it becomes a problem for multiple reasons. Bets are taken but quietly on who is next.

At some point someone realizes that they haven’t seen Stabby in a while, no one has seen Stabby in over a day. The cam is running but is completely dark. The ship basically stalls out as everyone stops what they are doing to search for their friend. The confused aliens don’t understand why this nonessential and kind of dangerous piece of equipment has got the entire ship in a fit of worry.

After almost two hours, someone thinks to check a little-used storage room in the belly of the ship. As soon as the door is open, Stabby rolls out and jabs their ankle and then whirls off down the hall about its business. Stabby followed someone in without being noticed, and got accidentally shut in. A ship wide announcement chastises everyone about looking before they shut doors.

“But the doors are automatic,” says the newest alien crewmate.

“I know,” says Kzil’tir. They’ve stopped asking. The explanation is always because humans.

Source: sepulchritude sci fi humans aliens star trek

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*Yeah, this sounds like me, alright!
introvertproblems: “If you can relate to an Introvert, Join the Introvert Nation ”

#1 – I will  start daydreaming at the drop of a pin, literally. I will daydream as soon as I’m sitting still. In the car, in the middle of a book, a TV show, really anywhere.

#2 – I dont talk slow. I never give anybody a chance to interrupt me, once i’ve gotten up to speed.

#3 – Yep! I usually just walk away, like “Well, I’m done, here!”

#4 – I’ve been there before. It is weird.

#5 – Yeah, I’m not broke. I’m just quiet. Jeez!

#6 – I got called snobby, and stuck up, all through Elementary and High School. Having perfect grades did not help this image.

#7 – I made the mistake of grocery shopping after work once. Never again!!!

#8 – My relatives are very ,very used to me doing this.

#10 – This is true. But I love knocking people back on their ass when I do finally say something.

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*Yes! I do this all the time. I generally like to remain non-judgmental, but I can’t help doing this with my co-workers, or close friends.

The quieter we are, the more we observe

I’ve always been quiet. I’ve always been an introvert. I think these qualities made me a good observer.

During conversations I only talk when I have something to say, I’m not a fan of small talk. This means that I spend a lot of time watching how people express themselves, observing their attitude. I know when they’re excited to talk to me, I know if a conversation is not gonna last long because they wanna leave asap even if they don’t say anything about it. Over the years, I started seeing the same patterns in different people, and I put the people that acted quite similarly in the same “mental bag”. (Of course, words were also an important factor.) This way I know who I can trust to keep a precious secret or who not to ask if I want a sincere answer.

This procedure is the only exception to the “don’t judge a book by its cover” rule I allow myself. I wonder if other people do something like this too.

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More stuff about Introverts. Please note ,these are not myths. We are incredibly attractive people!

10 Reasons Why Introverts Are Incredibly Attractive People

1. They’re Deep Thinkers

Introverts are notoriously ‘in their own head’ much of the time.  For most introverts, it’s a safe place to be.  Inside their heads, they engage in deep conversations, ruminate about life, the universe, and everything, and take the time to really reflect on all that’s going on in the world around them.  When an introvert speaks, it’s almost guaranteed that they have spent many hours thinking about the subject, forming their opinions, and carefully choosing the words they wish to use.

2. They Have More Intimate Connections

It takes something special for an introvert to bring you into their world.  When they do, you can bet that they believe you’re someone special.  By bringing down barriers, an introvert is letting you know they’re interested in connecting with you beyond a superficial level.  They’re displaying a level of intimacy and vulnerability that not many people get to see.

Keep reading

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*I watched this trailer three times. I still don’t know what the Hell is going on, but I’m unwilling to commit to seeing this. If you like Tom Cruise its got all the staple moments: 

Pecs – Check!

Running – Check!

Tom looking concerned – Check!

 

*OMG!!! Groot is so darling! I’m now prepared to give up some of my money to see this movie this Summer. Its amazing how Groots expression is an exact mirror of Tom’s in the above trailer, tho’.

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Lkeke35 Sidewalk Talk:

For some reason the people in my neighborhood hate to use the sidewalks, and seem to prefer walking in the street, sometimes right down the middle. There’s nothing wrong with the sidewalks as far as I can tell. I’ve inspected the sidewalks and they look quite lovely and smooth, with no obstructions, (since, every Summer, local construction crews dig them up, and remake them,  as a form of busywork, or therapy. I’m not sure which.)

Normally, I would find this sort of contrary behavior unobjectionable, except these pedestrians insist on pedestrianing in the middle of the street, where I’m trying to drive, and the local authorities frown on me gently nudging them out of the road with my vehicle. It’s also hard to gently nudge someone, with a Ford Escape, without them panicking. I could probably do that sort of thing using a Ford Escort or a Prius.

Forthcoming TV Shows

There are a number of television shows I’m looking forward to next year. Now in hindsight 2016 has been a fairly shitty year, except for TV, which is tearing it up with some very exciting series. I’m very much enjoying Legends of Tomorrow, which is much better in its second season. It got rid of the rather dodgy actress who played Hawkgirl, and replaced her with Vixen, with whom I’m very satisfied.

I’ve decided to try DCs other superhero shows and I’m liking them, although I do consider them to be rather light weight viewing. I still don’t like Arrow, though.

From Dusk Til Dawn also had a much better season than last year. It just aired its season finale  and I’m going to happily break that down for you guys by the end of this week.

American Horror Story just aired its finale episode which I’ve already reviewed. I feel like AHS had a great season this year, with a lot of depth, focus, and humor.

We got the truly wondrous Luke Cage, which I can’t even accurately review because my head is so crammed full of thoughts about it that I can’t straighten them out. I’m still processing this show, as I haven’t really had time to really think about it because:

Season 12 of Supernatural has just started to air and its very good. So far, its been very engaging, and funny, with some very well written side characters, and quite a number of feels.

And, I’m entirely caught up in the Westworld phenomena. Thankfully its only got two episodes left, after which I can take some time to think about something else and finish processing my thoughts and feels about it.

Then it’s back to watching and/or reviewing starting January 1st. There is such a wealth of good shows, and I have such a limited amount of time with which to review them, that I’m going to have to start farming out some reviews. So from now on, when I see a really great review of a show I’m watching, but don’t actually have time to review, I’m just going to leave a link or reblog.

Also, if you’re a person who writes long form TV reviews like these, please get in touch with me about linking , and reblogging your posts. I love a good, well thought-out, and logical review. No wanking or ‘ship wars, please. I don’t mind if you love a certain ship  but I’m not going to reblog about  ‘ships that erase PoC, canon LGBTQ characters, and women from their own narratives.

Okay, here’s what we have to look forward to:

*Sherlock (Jan.1)

Sherlock returns for its fourth season. I’m starting to get really tired of looking at Benedict Cumberbatch’s face. He’s a phenomenal actor, with one of the best voices I’ve ever heard on a screen, but he looks like a turtle that’s been squeezed too tightly, and  I think I have reached “Peak Cumberbatch”, at this point. Nevertheless, I may still watch this, because I actually enjoy the plots. (BBC)

*Beyond (Jan. 2)

This show looks like a cross between Kyle X and Teen Wolf, which isnt a bad thing. I’m looking for  a replacement teen show for Teen Wolf anyway, since its in its last season. (Freeform)

Shadowhunters (Jan. 2)

I’ve only ever watched a couple of episodes of Shadowhunters, but gifs of it keep showing up in my Tumblr feed, and I’ve liked those, so I’ll watch this. And Harry Shum, who was one of the fan contenders to play Danny Rand in Iron Fist, is in this and I do need to have some  Shum in my life, somehow. (Freeform)

Sleepy Hollow 

I won’t be watching  season four of this show and there’s no trailer as yet,  but if you don’t mind the complete wtf*ery of what happened  last season, you go right ahead .I’m gonna be a petty mf and not even post the airdate.

*Taboo (Jan.10)

I’m a huge Tom Hardy fan, often watching movies I would not normally think about just because he’s the star. Also, I just enjoy dark Historical mysteries and these trailers look gorgeous. (FX)

*Lemony Snicket (Jan.13)

I read a lot of Lemony Snicket books and enjoyed the Jim Carey version of this, so I will probably check this out. My favorite character is Violet, so I have to stan for my tiny baby. This trailer seems to capture some of the zaniness of the original film. (Netflix)

The Young Pope (Jan.15)

I really like Jude Law, but I probably won’t watch this, even if I find this kind of Catholic scandal type stuff, fascinating. I’m not Catholic, but I will watch dramatic histories about it. This looks well acted but I’m noping out. (HBO)

Six (Jan,18)

I don’t normally watch military type shows but this looks interesting. For some reason, I’m attracted to those Navy Seal non-fiction books, and this show looks suitably dramatic, so I may watch this. On the other hand, I don’t wanna see Black people being terrorized, so I may not make this a regular part of my viewing diet. (History)

*Frontier (Jan.20)

I’m always up for anything starring Jason Momoa. I have not yet reached Peak Momoa. (Netflix)

*The Magicians Jan.25)

I was a bit disappointed in the last season of this show because of the depictions of violence against its female characters, so I’m dubious about watching this new season. On the other hand, it looks gorgeous, and I hope its a better than the second book in the series on which this is based. Finishing that second book felt like working. (Syfy)

Riverdale (Jan.26)

I could not find a good trailer for this one. I try to stick to only one teen show per period, so I may not watch this, but this is the last season of Teen Wolf, and I might need something to replace that. The trailers don’t look very interesting but I could give it a try. (CW)

Black Sails (Jan.29)

I watched the first episodes of this and then stopped, but I have been following what’s happening through reviews.It still looks beautiful but I can make no promises about this show, other than I will watch the first episode and give it a chance. (Starz)

The Expanse (Feb. 8)

I only watched a few episodes of the first season, but I’ve since read that its a good show, so I’ll watch the first episodes of this second season. I don’t know if I’ll like it but I can try it. (Syfy)

Taken (Feb 27)

(NBC)

I’m a big Liam Neeson fan and I really liked the movies on which this show is based.

*Legion (Feb TBD)

This is a Marvel Superhero Joint, so I will watch it even though I’m not in the market for yet another show about a quirky, White, male hero. I do know who this character is in the comic books, though, so I’m going to check it out. (FX)

*Iron Fist (March 17)

I will watch this even though I’m disappointed that the creators didn’t choose an Asian American man to be Danny Rand. That kind of story would’ve had so much more depth, but depth isn’t Marvel’s strongest suit. I’m still not greatly impressed with the actor they chose either, but I promise to give him a chance. I’m mostly in it because I hope this show does for Colleen Wing, (who has been racebent to be Asian) what the Luke Cage series did for Misty Knight. (Netflix)

Into the Badlands (Spring TBD)

Well, duh! (AMC)

Wolf Creek

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So this week was the premiere of the new slasher series, Wolf Creek, which is based on the movie Wolf Creek, from 2005. It airs on the Pop Channel and is based on the true story behind the Backpack Murders that took place in New South Wales, during the 90’s. The actual killer is now serving  7 consecutive life terms.The show is filmed in Australia with a largely Australian and native supporting cast.

I’m not a fan of serial killer movies, or shows , but I decided to review this because I was curious.  This is one of my Mom’s favorite movies, even though she’s not a huge fan of serial killer movies, either. I’d watched the movie (and didn’t care for it), and wondered how the creators would turn that movie into a six part mini-series, without falling into the trap of making six hours of torture porn. I feel like the show is off to a promising start. I don’t have plans to watch the entire run, but I am intrigued, and I might.

This is largely due to the young actress who plays Eve. Eve is a former gymnast, who is on vacation with her family, after having gone through rehab for addiction to pain killers. The relationship between Eve and her father is a tense one, as he’s dealing with a lot of anger regarding her addiction, (warning for some amount of emotional abuse) but all of this doesn’t get much play because her entire family, (Mom, Dad, little brother) are murdered in the first ten minutes, before the opening credits, by Mick Taylor, who is played by John Jarratt, the actor from the film.

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When her younger brother gets attacked by an animal, Mick shoots it, and decides to hang with Eve’s family for the rest of the evening. He is a crude, but jovial man, who cracks jokes about murdering people, right before he murders people. When he makes a crude joke about Eve being on her period, she goes into the RV to listen to music and can’t hear her family being slaughtered, just outside.  I thought the murder of Eve’s family would play out a lot longer ,as we got to know them, but that doesn’t appear to be the show’s focus. You know its going to happen but Mick attacks them so suddenly that it still manages to be a surprise.

He shoots Eve too but she manages to survive. Now suffering from her wounds, and survivor’s guilt, she has dedicated herself to tracking down the man who killed her family. I found this intriguing because I went into this with a certain set of expectations, and the show managed to upturn those, from time to time. I thought for certain Eve would be blamed for the death of her family, and while the idea is brought up, its also quickly shot down.

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I also thought Eve’s  story wouldn’t be believed, but Sullivan Hill is the one cop in Australia who believes her, having kept track of several of Mick’s murders for some time. Sullivan is played by Dustin Clare and you may remember him from Strikeback and Spartacus. I don’t but then I consider Sullivan to be a rather bland character.

It’s obvious that all the character focus  is going to be on Eve, as Sullivan doesn’t make much of an impression, beyond being blandly handsome. No there is no sexual tension set up between these two, at least not on Eve’s part, although I think Sullivan is intrigued. Understanding what she is about to do after she steals one of his casefiles, he sets off in pursuit of the strongheaded girl.

I did ask myself what the Hell it is that Eve thinks she’s going to do when she catches up to Mick, but I’m not too worried about that now. She’s been shown to have some amount of grit and backbone, and the rest of the season will consist of a cat and mouse game being played between her and Mick.

I like that the show is  so female-centric. The story is entirely focused on Eve, and her point of view, so there’s an element of that “Final Girl” quality that I always thought was an interesting trope for such films. We spend very little time in Mick’s presence which is probably a good thing. He thinks he’s hilarious but the show never presents him as comedy relief, even if you laugh at some of the things he says. His good humor only serves to make him more terrifying, as he greatly enjoys killing, and is just doing all this for fun. There’s only so much of that type of mindset you want to be exposed to. (There’s even a Crocodile Dundee joke thrown in.) Both he and Eve appear to be about equal in intelligence and drive, so Eve winning this contest of wills is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

Image result for wolf creek tv series

Despite all these things to recommend it, I would advise caution for those who are more sensitive. The show is exceptionally gory. At least for the first ten minutes, it does not stint in showing Mick killing Eve’s family, and  shows him shooting a child. So you may be happier skipping the first few minutes, after which the show calms down somewhat (but its still very bloody.)

I may actually watch next week’s episode which airs on Friday. It looks like a good substitute for The Exorcist, which is beginning to drag.

State of the Onion! Mini – Reviews

This has been a very busy week. I binged Luke Cage, and a bunch more television premieres aired this week. I couldn’t catch all of them but I did manage to catch the few that interested me, while keeping up with shows I already started. This weekend I watched:

Versailles: 

Image result for versailles tv show season 2

Everyone in this show, which chronicles Louis XIV’s move from the capitol of France in the 1600’s, has luxurious, long, well kept hair, which I find hard to believe. I’m not saying people back then didn’t have  luxurious hair, just  that it’s distracting, when everyone has the same hairstyle. I kept staring at it, wishing I could run my fingers through it. No one ever seems to get distressed enough to have hair that   is out of place. They also all have clear, gigantic, blue, or grey eyeballs, including the men. Eyes so big, they can probably see me watching this show. It’s  kinda creepy.

From time to time, I do get the strong urge to watch something that’s not about superheroes,  although Louis the XIV often gets treated like one, by his courtiers. There’s the usual courtly shenanigans , most of it centering around the specific relationships between the king and his wife, the king and his semi-openly gay, younger brother, and the king and his various mistresses, and followers. So far, this is just an introductory first and second episode and hasn’t gotten deeply into the wider political issues of that time period. I do prefer that type of plotline but one of the drawbacks is that the show comes across as   “Trailer Trash in 16th Century France” , with better clothing.

There are the usual kingly activities, like intrigue, hunting, torturing dungeon prisoners, and philandering, estate planning, childbirth, and medical arguments, along with lots of significant glancing. I watched these episodes twice, and I must be really worn out after binging Luke Cage, because I couldn’t make hide or hair of the plot of this show, other than the King has decided to move to the middle of no and where, as a means to control his courtiers, because he thinks they’re out to get him. The show seems to move from scene to scene in an arbitrary manner, and although I knew all the scenes were connected, I couldn’t seem to hold in my thoughts exactly what that connection was. Luckily there’s a metric ton of background videos about this show, so I watched those too, otherwise I wouldn’t even know this much. I’m sure the videos are available on YouTube but I’m not going to give you the link because I don’t want to aid and abet this type of television viewing. (I work in a library! Go check out some books!)

If you like intrigue and old French costumes, or The Tudors, (involving intrigue and old Italian costumes), this is a good tide-over until Vikings (which has intrigue and 10th century Scandinavian costumes) comes back on the air.

The Flash:

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This isn’t the first episode of The Flash I’ve ever seen but I’ve been told that its a really good show and I should try to watch it again. I stopped watching it because I didn’t think it was a show aimed at me, the mature (read more cynical) viewer. But I have watched a couple of episodes from last season and while still kinda corny, it is at heart, a very sweet show. Also, I told myself I was going to support more shows with WoC in them and I just want to stan for WestAllen.

So, I’m cautiously optimistic about liking it, after a tentative first date. I really started to get into the characters and started getting feelings for them. Last season Barry ended up in an alternate universe where Iris doesn’t know him, her kid brother, Wally, is The Flash, Cisco is the unsympathetic billionaire CEO of some kind of tech startup, Caitlin Snow is an Eye Doctor, and Iris’ dad is an alcoholic, who has an antagonistic relationship with his daughter, which is really sad because they had a great relationship in Barry’s old universe. On the other hand, the speedster that was about to kill his parents, Reverse Flash,  is locked up, and both Barry’s parents are still alive.

Unfortunately,  by altering the timeline he’s set in motion, the destruction of his current timeline is imminent. And since Barry wasn’t there, the universe put Wally in his place, and this somehow disrupted the West family, although Iris still seems pretty tight with Wally, neither of them ever mention their father.

It’s really fun  watching Barry navigate this new timeline. He meets Iris, and it’s really cute watching them flirt with each other, knowing their old relationship, and that no matter what the timeline, the two of them were meant to be together.

Wally spends most of the episode fighting someone called The Rival. You can tell he’s the villain because he’s wearing an evil black suit. When The Rival wounds Wally, Barry has to step in and defeat him instead, but the price for saving his parents lives’ might mean Wally’s death. Barry makes the tearful decision to let Reverse Flash kill his parents, and restore the original timeline.

Most of what I know about The Flash is from the comic books, and since I only read the team books, I pretty much only know anything about the speedsters of the DCU,  from reading The Justice League books. I liked the special effects and the show doesn’t seem as corny or juvenile as it did the first season, although yeah, it’s still a little corny. But it’s  fun corn, not cheesy corn, and unexpectedly emotional, since I genuinely like these characters. I think I’ll make a habit of watching this every week, even though there’s like 3 other shows on TV on that same night.

Ash vs. the Evil Dead: We’ll get to this show next week.

Westworld:

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I had a lot to say about this show, only some of which has to do with the actual plot, so I guess Westworld, and shows like it, will be getting it’s own post soon.

I actually enjoyed this show, and will be watching this every week, as it airs. It looks intriguing. It starts a little slow, as we ease into the idea that the robots are behaving oddly because of new programming their creators have uploaded to them. We spend a lot of the episode with a robot named Dorothy, and we start off with her handler attempting to assess whether or not she has become self aware. Fair warning:  there is an offscreen rape scene, along with threats of female violence. And yes, the show is violent. There’s lots of shooting and gore, as most of it is set in the artificially Wild West environment, created by an annoying British character, who is just an asshole. I hated him immediately and wondered when he’d be shot. The other characters appear to have been thinking something similar, as no one likes him.

Anthony Hopkins plays the quiet, somewhat meditative, creator of Westworld, in a real low key style. He created the first of the robots and is prone to hanging out and drinking whiskey with his original Wild Bill Hickok robot, in the firm’s basement, where all the retired, underused, robots are kept in cold storage. He seems intrigued by the idea that the robots are starting to access previous memories of the lives they were given. The show feels a little bit like Dark City, where you have people who may, or may not, be aware of who and what they are being manipulated by beings who think they’re greater than them. Only in this case the humans do it for entertainment.

Hopkins character has introduced a new program into the robots code called “reveries” and some of the robots react badly. Some of them have strokes, or freeze up, or go on unexpected shooting sprees, involving milk. Before that though, there were already some glitches in the system but not in Dorothy. In one scene her robot father finds an old photograph that a human left behind, and viewing it seems to corrupt his programming, somehow. Dorothy ,when she is asked by a little human boy, if she is “one of them”, just smiles as if she didn’t hear the question. And she probably didn’t. Dorothy dismisses anything that doesn’t line up with what she is programmed to think of her world.

One of the rules of Westworld is that guests, (humans) can never be hurt by hosts (robots), although the robots can and do harm each other, a lot. When you realize these violent scenarios are created by the annoying British dude, you hate him even more. He’s vaguely disgusting.  At first it wasn’t entirely clear to me who were the robots, and who were humans, but the show doesn’t draw that particular mystery out as, by the end of the episode, you know who is who.

Ed Harris plays the iconic role of the Man in Black, originally played by Yul Brynner. He is most indubitably a bad guy. I think he was uploaded with the new program as well, but when all the other robots are killed  in a massive shootout (so as to gather up their bodies, and recode them) he doesn’t get found. It’s disturbing watching him on the trail of something he doesn’t understand. He’s essentially seeking the “real world”, and looking for clues in the other robots. Since he has only interacted with, (and brutalized), other robots, the entire time we’ve seen him, I suspect that’s why he doesn’t get rounded up with all the others. It’s been hypothesized that he’s a guest, but I didn’t see it. I thought he was reprising Yul Brynner’s role, from the original film, and in that film, The Gunslinger is one of the robots. Apparently, I’m going to have to watch the episode again, if I’m going to figure this out.

This is another show where humans don’t come off looking so good. Not because of what they say but what they do. In a show like this, you’re going to witness robots that look, act, and react like people, being hurt or  brutalized. In one scene, inside Westworld,  a human couple laugh at the twitching body of a female robot, that one of them has just shot in the head. But how is this any different from us watching fake violence on Game of Thrones, or this show, just for entertainment? Did I find their behavior repugnant because the robots look and act like real people? Well so do people in movies, so I’m not sure exactly where my disdain for these particular humans comes from. Although maybe it’s because they committed the act themselves and found it funny. The robots can’t  escape being violated in the real world either, as one human woman takes the opportunity to kiss one of the female robots, when she gets left alone with her for even a minute.

This show asks the usual questions that get asked whenever anyone makes a movie about robot. I think its some kind of law. At the end of the episode, Dorothy does something that none of the robots are supposed to be able to do, which does not bode well for the humans on this show.

Aftermath: 

I still have not watched this. So maybe next week.

 

 

From Dusk Til Dawn – Overview

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This season is proving to be much better than last season . We’ve been re-introduced to Scott, who thinks he’s a total badass, with a sword he got from somewhere, last season. Seth and Richie go to recruit him from the Rock band he’s playing in.  Scott’s sister, Kate, continues to be possessed by this season’s villain, Amaru. In the last episode she attacked a town full of people with locusts, and put some kind of tentacled demon glop in their water supply, which turned them into cannibals. Seth got infected, and then everybody got cured.

During all this, Kate kidnapped Richie, and awakened his dark side.  Now Seth, and the team he put together to save Richie, are being hunted in the Asylum where Kate first woke up, by Richie, of all people. Most of this episode consisted of people running around , or being trapped in, various parts of the facility, while snarking at each other.This team doesn’t even like each other. Seth keeps ordering everyone around as if he were in charge, but the rest, who are all vampires, take exception to his orders and then follow them anyway, which is deeply funny.

At any rate, Richie gets saved from Kate/Amaru after Seth, lovingly, sets him on fire, because extreme pain is the only way to free Amaru’s slaves, and Richie is a vampire, so he gon’ be aiight. Frankie however gets enslaved by Amaru and stakes the vampire who confessed her love to him. I still find that kinda icky because she’s a vampire, and he hates them, and isn’t he still married? This is  like the second, or third, woman that Amaru has killed, or caused to be killed, since the season began, and I wonder why Amaru, who is, ostensibly, female, hates women.

Tom Savini, from the original film, makes his debut in the show this season, playing some guy named The Eternal Hunter. He’s there to help Jake Busey’s character, (he’s the Sex Machine remake that Savini originally portrayed in the movie), to take down the demons that escaped from Xibalba ,when Carlos blew up the Titty Twister Saloon, last season.  Busey and  Savini are a match made in Heaven. I didn’t even know I wanted this pairing, but I would watch an entire show, of the two of them, just bitching at each other.

The action is awesome, and there’s lots of it. If you like Supernatural, you could give this a try. Its sillier, a little cheesier, and the action is definitely crazier, but its a lot of fun and has got some nice brotherly action scenes. It would be hilarious if the Geckos and Winchesters were to team up. I would watch the hell out of that and I’m enjoying this season a lot more, now that the Gecko bros. are back together, acting like an old married couple.

American Horror Story:

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The action is flying fast and furious in the fourth chapter of season six, and has so far managed to remain on point. Last chapter, Cricket, who invaded Shelby and Matt’s life, made a deal with the real power behind Kathy Bates’ character, an old Celtic style witch, of some kind. She’s played by the nearly  unrecognizable Lady Gaga. So yeah, this parallels with the third season of AHS, called Coven, which introduced witches. It is now the season of the witch, people!

http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Lady-Gaga-Character-American-Horror-Story-Roanoke-42519689

In exchange for not harming the people in the house, the Cricket promised to give her Matt who, hypnotized by the witch, was found doing the nasty with her in the forest…by Shelby, who is, understandably, pissed off. Matt doesn’t remember any of it though. Mad  about what Matt did, Shelby pulls a dick move and calls the police. She has Lee arrested for Mason’s murder, and  kidnapping her own daughter.

Later Shelby is attacked by the Pigheaded Man, which I kinda cheered, because hey! dick move Shelby, but Dr. Cunninhgham, who had been living in the outdoor cellar, saves her from him.He gives them some more background information on the house, claiming he can help them.  The last family that resided there were all killed by The Butcher and their spirits also haunt the land. It seems as if once you die on the land, your spirit is trapped there forever, which is kind of defeating the purpose of the Butcher, who claims to want to clear the land of…well…people.

Anyway, Dr. Cunningham gets killed while trying to save Flora from a pack of ghosts she’s seen to be playing with. Its uncertain whether Flora is a ghost or real, though. Cunningham gets shot with arrows from, I suspect, The Butcher’s people, which is a pretty novel way to die in the modern age, I guess. They’re able to kill him because they have just entered some special cycle of the moon that allows them to become corporeal  for about six days.

Shelby and Matt run back to the house where they meet Cricket who tells them that he encountered Flora in the forest and met the original witch, who has the hots for Matt because she has “needs”, as Cricket put it. Matt has some backstory to tell too, even though he doesn’t remember sleeping with the witch, about what happened to the original Roanoke colony. Cricket also tells them their house sits on the actual site of Roanoke.

Tomasina the Butcher, and her followers invade the front yard, with Flora in tow. They’re about to kill the child before Cricket goes out to parlay for the child’s life, but gets captured instead. Priscilla, experiencing a pang of conscience, rescues her friend, and the two of them escape into the forest, but Shelby and Matt have to watch as Cricket is slowly disemboweled. And I was just starting to like him.

Bye, bye, Cricket.

I know one thing though, I’m not getting too attached to any of the characters this season. They only seem to last just long enough to impart disturbing information, and then be horribly killed. I’m still feeling kinda nauseated about the disemboweling and its been three days. The body count so far is pretty damn high for just four episodes and we still have two more to go. I’m not feeling too good about Matt and Shelby’s chances.

Here are some further fan theories about this season, which if  true, make this season kinda awesome, already:

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/10/american-horror-story-roanoke-episode-4-freakshow-mott-family-number-six

 

 

 

 

Lkeke’s Fall Lineup (TV)

Television

I will review the first episode of season three of The Strain this weekend. Hopefully it won’t turn into a hate-review and this season will be better put together than last season. There’s still going to be plenty of snarking on it though. I have never in my life hate-watched a show, but I really believed in the show, because its such a great idea and  the books were pretty good, and I kept hoping the show would get better.

It didn’t.

Last season had some truly awful plot points, characters, and whole episodes. I always go into these endeavors with a sense of optimism, though. I’ll try to do the same for this show as I do for all the other shows.

I will be reviewing as many of the new pilots as I can, and based on my reactions to those, I will add or subtract them to the list of weekly reviews, but my time is limited. I may not review one of your favorites. There are some shows that I’m definitely waiting to review, on a regular basis as soon as they return, like Into the Badlands (TBD/2017), and Shadowhunters, which looks silly and fun,  and The Magicians. I don’t think these will be released until next year. In the meantime, here is the list of shows I will definitely give weekly reviews for.

American Horror Story(9/14) – I have no idea what this season is about. Nobody does. The creators are keeping it a secret which is very frustrating to a lot of people who are used to knowing the entire plots of movies before they’re even released. I don’t mind the surprise, though. I do know that whatever the creators give us will be batshit crazy, so I’m expectant.

Luke Cage (9/30) – I’m so looking forward to this. it looks like its going to be fun. I will be watching for how the characters are treated, especially, the WoC, as Marvel doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to such things.I wonder if Iron Fist will get a mention, and if we’ll get to hear Luke’s catchphrase from the comic books.

Supernatural (10/13) – The show that never ends will be in its twelfth season.  Like I told you guys, I’m gonna be here to the end of the line.  I always go into every  new season with a positive outlook, and I’ll decide how I feel about a season when its over. As usual, my reviews will first be posted on https://samanddeanbrothersinarms.wordpress.com/      and then reblogged here.

The Walking Dead (10/23) – I’ve mostly avoided talking about this show all Summer. I feel really good about this season despite the presence of Negan and the absence of his victim, which I know is really gonna hurt, no matter who it is. I refuse to speculate as to who it will be.

I may or may not review From Dusk Til Dawn (9/6) and Aftermath (9/27) on the Syfy channel. Also coming up is the second season of Ash vs. The Evil Dead (10/2), which I may not review because I didn’t like how the one black woman in the entire show got treated in the narrative. I’m still pissed off about the writers fridging her  (in the   most horrible manner they could think of), just to provide some minor manpain for Ash.

There’s some intriguing new shows coming to the Syfy network , that I have no idea what to think about them, like Falling Water (10/13), and Channel Zero (9/27), which looks pretty scary and weird. I’ll review the pilots if I remember to program them into the DVR.

I still have not watched The Get Down on Netflix, and had no plans to watch Mr. Robot or Gomorrah.

 The pilots I’ll be reviewing are:

Atlanta (9/6) – this looks like a lot of fun. It has an all Black cast, and I’m casting around for a new comedy that’s as good as Black-ish and Brooklyn 99, and I like Donald Glover.

 

Pitch (/22) – I don’t normally watch anything that’s sports related outside of The Olympics. I definitely do not watch anything involving Baseball, but this looks so good, I’m getting kinda excited for it. I may never watch beyond the pilot but I hope it does well. Its about the first female pitcher in major league baseball, and she’s a black woman, so I hope the writers get the subjects of racism, misogyny, and feminism right.

 

 

Versailles (10/1) – I love historical shows about 17th and 18th century France. (Mostly because I love the clothes.) I’m going to check it out because its different from anything else I’m watching and will tide me over til Vikings (TBD/2017) is back on. I always have to watch at least one or two shows that totally don’t fit the aesthetic of anything else I’m watching. I like a little variety, sometimes.

 

 

Still Star Crossed (TBD/2017) – This is another historically themed show based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and starring a large Black cast. It looks gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see it.  I just came off  of Coriolanus,  and Macbeth, on Amazon. I’m no expert, and generally not into romances, though. I don’t study the hell out of his plays, or recite them line by line, but I know enough to get by.

 

 

Aftermath (9/27) – SyFy needs to hype its new shows more. I barely paid attention to this one but from the trailer it looks interesting. I don’t know if I’m going to tune in on a week by week basis, because The Walking Dead is enough apocalyptic TV for anyone. But this looks like one of those End of the World Christian millenialist type deals and I’m not gonna get all het up about this if I’m also watching the Exorcist.

 

 

Channel Zero (9/27) – There’s a horrible looking tooth-monster in the trailer. That’s all I got because Syfy is trying real hard to be mysterious about the creepy shows its going to be airing this Fall. I’m okay with that approach. It just means I’ll tune in to find out what the hell was going on in the trailer.

 

Midnight Texas (TBD/2017) – From the writer of True Blood (Charlaine Harris) and it may even star a few characters who made cameos on there. This is on NBC, which brought us Hannibal, but I’m not getting my hopes up ,that the show is going to be too wild. I think Hannibal was maybe a fluke or something.

Westworld (10/2) – I generally try to avoid HBO’s shows as they tend to rely a great deal on female violation to titillate male viewers. I’ve already read a bad review of the pilot for Westworld. On the other hand, I enjoyed Deadwood,  Carnivale, and Oz, and  I have memories of the original movie. I want to know how it stacks up.

 

Mascots (Netflix 10/13) – This is a comedy from the creator of Best in Show,  which is one of my favorite mockumentary films. Its about the world of sports team mascots. I expect it to be as lowkey hilarious as the movies Christopher Guest writes.

 

Falling Water (10/13) – I got nothing! Looks intriguing. I know nothing about it. I’m not especially impressed by the trailer and that doesn’t bode well.

 

 

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (10/22) – I remember reading this book in High School. The trailer looks suitably zany and Frodo is starring in it, and I like him, so I’m going to check it out and see what’s up. There’s also a BBC version of this series, which I have not seen but the trailer looks as zany as this one.

 

The Crown (Netflix/TBD) – Another historical series on Netflix. I’m not especially impressed with this but I may watch it.

 

The Exorcist (9/23) – There’s no way this is as good as the original movie but I have to watch it to find out if that’s true.

 

There’s a bunch of returning shows that I will probably watch but only give a barebones review for. I prefer to leave such reviews up to those who’ve been more devoted to those shows than I have been. Nevertheless I am giddy about a few of the returning shows, like:

Teen Wolf (Season 6 -11/16)

 

Brooklyn 99 (Season 4 – 9/20)

Agents of Shield (9/20) 

Okay, lets try this again. I haven’t been watching this show because I dislike Chloe Bennett. She’s just highly annoying to me, for some reason, although I like everybody else, with my fave being Melinda, naturally. This season is helped by having one of my all-time favorite characters joining the show Ghostrider. I read these comics as a teen, and even watched those shitty movies, starring a totally miscast Nicholas Cage, for the special effects.

 

Legends of Tomorrow (Season 2 – 10/13)

I kinda like this show. I cant stand to watch most of the other superhero shows on the Cw but I get through this one just fine. I’m not devoted, but I am intrigued, mostly by Firestorm, whose comic I used to read the hell out of.

 

From Dusk Til Dawn (Season 3)

I missed some parts of season tweo but i watched enough to know what’s going on and to look forward to season three. This show still looks great but some of the acting is a little cheesy, and the plot is all over the place, by the middle of the season. Nevertheless, where else am I going to see lots of bad-ass, Mexican vampires.

 

 

Yeah…NO!

I have no intention of looking at these shows although some of you guys might get a kick out of them.

Conviction starring Hayley Atwell –  She’s a great actress but she’s made  the horrible choice of picking a bland lawyer show to star in next and I don’t watch those.

Lethal Weapon – I refuse to relive mediocre eighties action movies, in the form of mediocre television shows.

Sleepy Hollow – C’mon! You know why!

The DC superhero shows on the CW, I don’t dislike these shows exactly, but I’m never gonna be a Supergirl fan, I don’t care who is on that show. Arrow simply wasn’t compelling enough for me and The Flash felt like it was aimed at kids, although I really like the characters.

I like the look of Gotham and I hope its improved since the second season, when I last watched it, but it wasn’t compelling enough for me, even with the addition of Jada Smith.The show looks gorgeous but its stil la show with cops in it and I’m avoiding those right now.

Lucifer has some interesting looking characters, but I’m waiting for an especially compelling trailer or something becasue so far its just not capturing me, even though it stars DB Woodside, on of my fave Black actors.

Training Day seems like a grittier version of Lethal Weapon. I’m not watching any cop shows, so this one is out.

Van Helsing – I watched the pilot. I was thoroughly unimpressed. No.

Wolf Creek – I’m not sure how I feel about this one yet. Its one of those serial killer movies, so maybe no.

 

Next up Movies and Books to look forward to.

Headcanons on Tumblr

This is mostly people just making up their own stories and head canons on Tumblr. For me, this is one of the most fun things on there. Just like the last one I posted where people basically re-invented American magical systems, by extrapolating from JK Rowling’s misconceptions of American culture. (I’m going to revisit that again because I just love the idea of different magical systems being influenced by  cultural, environmental, and    geographical constraints.)

Plus, there’s some meta in here about LOTR and some critical essay type stuff, like this insistence (from men, btw) that women’s armor have titties, or flowers, or something on it to designate that a woman is in it. Why? Exactly what purpose is served by decorating the armor that way?

mathylibrarian:

bestnatesmithever:

kiokushitaka:

adrastuscomic:

iwoofjaneway:

“ It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”

If I ever don’t reblog this, it’s because I’m dead.

game devs take note

What a weird impulse. Why would you need it to look feminine? Or masculine? It’s armor to protect your body from death. Not dying should be gender neutral.

Not dying should be gender neutral

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Anonymous asked:

Can you tell me why Frodo is so important in lotr? Why can’t someone else, anyone else, carry the ring to mordor?

notbecauseofvictories answered:

but someone else could.

that’s the whole point of frodo—there is nothing special about him, he’s a hobbit, he’s short and likes stories, smokes pipeweed and makes mischief, he’s a young man like other young men, except for the singularly important fact that he is the one who volunteers. there is this terrible thing that must be done, the magnitude of which no one fully understands and can never understand before it is done, but frodo says me and frodo says I will.

(when boromir is thinking of how he can use the ring to defend gondor, when aragorn is thinking of how it brought down proud isildur, when elrond is holding council and gandalf is thinking of how twisted he would become, if he ever dared—)

but then there’s frodo, who desires nothing except what he has already left behind him, and says, I will take the Ring.

it is an offer made out of absolute innocence, utter sincerity. It is made without knowing what it will make of him—and frodo loses everything to the ring, he loses peace and himself and the shire, he loses the ability to be in the world. It’s cruel, the ring is cruel, it searches out every weakness you have and feeds on it, drinks you dry and fills you with its poison instead, the ring is so cruel.

and frodo picks it up willingly. for no other reason except that it has to be done.

(the ring warps boromir into a hopeless grasping dead thing, the power of the palantir turns denethor into an old man, jealous and suspicious, it bends even saruman, once the proudest of the istari, into a mechanised warlord, sitting in his fortress and bent over his perverse creations—all the best of intentions, laid waste)

but there’s a reason gollum exists in the narrative, which is to show—well, to show what frodo might have been. because even as frodo grows mistrustful and wearied, as the burden of this ring grows heavier and heavier, he is never gollum. he is gentle to gollum. he is afraid—god frodo is so afraid for 2/3 of these books he is so tired and afraid, but he keeps moving, he walks though it would pull him into the ground, because he asked for this, he said he would.

someone else could have carried the ring to mordor, I suppose. the idea of a martyr is not dependent on the particular flesh and blood person dying for some greater purpose. but such a thing has to be chosen, lifted onto your shoulders for the right reason, the truest reasons, and followed into the dark, though it would see you burnt through and bled out.

I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.

Source: notbecauseofvictories

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More critiques of fandom racism, or as Stitchmedia likes to call it “Klandom.”

stitchmediamix

We’re never believed when we talk about racism in fandom and people are just so eager to silence us.

I’m on the “fandom racism” tag on tumblr because I occasionally do like to find new people to block when I see this blogger talking about the white women in fandom doing shipping olympics to justify not shipping Spider-Man with Zendaya!MJ.

Their next post in the tag comes from some anon fussing at them, accusing them of generalizing and blaming a “vocal minority” in the same anonymous message. (”hardly any white girls probably even care about spider-man” the anon said as if a majority of transformative fandom isn’t made up of white women and therefore, the spider-man fandom has a ton of white women in it)

Nevermind that people have been shitting on Zendaya since the second that the news dropped (and btw, it’s still not official news from Sony/Marvel).

Nevermind that the Thor fandom is now pretending that it cares about Jane Foster in order to excuse misogynoiristic complaints about Tessa Thompson playing Valkyrie and possibly playing Thor’s love interest.

Nevermind that every time a Black woman is cast as a white character, white men derride her appearance and white women dismiss her character and act as if she’s unworthy of being in a relationship with the white fave she’s undoubtedly cast opposite.

Nevermind that already I’ve seen female members of fandom talking about how “it’d be nice to have a Spider-Man movie where Mary Jane doesn’t have a love interest” (like Homecoming already doesn’t have that!!).

When we (fans of color and anti-racist allies) talk about the racist abuse we see directed towards, fans, actors, and racebent characters of color, the first thing we see is their outstretched hands demanding “proof” and acting like making up racism is like a thing people actually do.

It pisses me off so hard because right now, we’re getting it from two sides: members of “mainstream” fandom constantly crapping all over Black women as if it’s their job and (largely female) members of transformative fandom who’ve learned to couch their racism and hatred of women of color in social justice rhetoric so it looks like they’re fighting for us, not against us.

And even though you can look at Twitter, in tumblr tags, and google this shit, people are still like “I don’t see why you’re complaining, it’s not a big deal”.

Our anger is reactionary. We are reacting to endless racism aiimed towards fans, characters, and creators of color. If you sincerely believe that the right thing to do when faced with this reality is to demand proof and get mad when it’s given?

You can fuck right off.

text posts fandom ugh UGHUGH long post
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*Why Candice Patton is a total bad-ass!
finnnorgana pocketlass

attoseconds:

westallendiaries:

attoseconds:

Candice Patton as Iris West helped play a massive part in Kiersey and Zendaya being allowed to portray superhero love interests, and opened doors that would have been closed to them three years ago, when they wouldn’t have even been considered an OPTION.

Candice Patton as Iris West helped show execs that a WOC as a romantic lead is a smart decision. From their standpoint, it’s likely financial, but little black girls are going to be allowed to see themselves as the girl the hero loves, wants to be with, and get to see themselves being Important to the story.

One day, saltyass haters will realize that’s why Candice Patton as Iris West is needed, because she’s making a *difference* and one simple casting decision is shaking 50+ years of history for the better.

“Playing this role, I sometimes get blatant racism and the even more painful and complicated non-blatant racism. But, I gladly put on my armour each day and take it. I have to be strong and continue to deliver, because this is bigger than me. It’s not just about this role, its about the landscape of film and TV. It’s about the young girls coming after me. I need to make sure I was strong enough to keep that door open for them.” – Candice Patton

She’s honestly such an amazing human being and I love/respect/adore her SO MUCH.   Source: attoseconds

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*More explanations on the Zendaya freak-outs:

Zendaya as Mary Jane

brownstocking:

racebending:

jrashad51:

This can be taken multiple ways to me.

1. If everyone gets mad when people of color are played by white people, why can’t white people be angry when it’s done to them?

2. White people have taken roles from people of color for so long, it’s only right if we do the same to them.

3. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Zendaya went through the same audition process as everyone else and she just happened to be the best one for the job.

I’m more in tuned with number 3.

1)  They can be angry, and they are.  Frequently when a role is racebent like the role of Mary Jane has been rumored to be, many white fans will express anger around it.  They are more than entitled to express their opinion about the media product and they know it.   Nothing stopped angry white people upset about racebent Johnny Storm from giving Michael B. Jordan crap about being cast in the role, for example.   The anger does make folks who do that look ignorant; however, because they have access to representation that the PoC they are complaining about lack.   White fans who are upset about a mixed race black actress playing MJ have access to representation through the main character and much of the supporting cast, representation through the writer, director, producers of the movie (and the white execs of Marvel Studios), and representation through countless other superhero movies–including three Spider-man movies with a white MJ.  Girls of color who consume superhero movies simply do not experience the same.    They can be angry, but it looks petty.

2)  What is happening here is not “the same.”   PoC being cast in racebent roles for supporting white characters (and having to receive racist flak for it) is not the same as white actors using raceface or whitewashing to score lead roles.

3)  We don’t really know what process resulted in Zendaya being cast, but her casting as a love interest for Peter Parker does matter because it makes a major social statement, and it is a form of media representation.

werd.

Also can we stop acting like Mary Jane has to be white? Not only is she a fictional character, but her only defining characteristics are red hair, lives in NY, grew up with Peter. That’s it. Despite the hype white people don’t have a lock on red hair. And Zendaya is the first Mary Jane cast for live action who does have that flirty personality that everyone associates with Mary Jane Watson.

Source: jrashad51

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*Along with Black Women in  movies Tropes:

stitchmediamix karnythia

Trope

abbiehollowdays:

Giving a black male character a black female love interest (the earlier in the series, the better), but either:

A. Only show her in flashbacks because she’s dead
B. Kill her off within a few episodes
C. Write her as being an irredeemable bitch who the BM character has already divorced/broken up with or will divorce/break up with soon.
D. Have her choose her career over the relationship.

That way writers have “proved” that he doesn’t hate black women (or hates one “with cause”). Then he’s free to experiment or fall in love with female characters of other races (especially white) and they never have to show him with a black female love interest again for the rest of the series.

Source: abbiehollowdays racism antiblackness misogynoir

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*I am absolutely loving this Arthurian explanation for why Finn is a Jedi. Finn is The Awakening that the movie talks about. There’s a lot of fandom that likes to villainize him and/or erase his presence, but they can’t erase the fact that this movie’s title is in reference to Finn, as much as it is to Rey. 

In my mind, the reason he loses his battle to Kylo is because it’s his first real lightsabers fight, and he was never trained to use that weapon. It’s the first time he’s ever seen, or held, a lightsaber. He doesn’t know the rules. He’s never had a Yoda, or been anybody’s Padawan.  He becomes uncertain about his intentions and focus, (he gets scared), and  is finding it increasingly difficult to keep his connection to the Force, (if he even knows what that feels like), that purity of purpose that made him accept the lightsaber in the first place. It’s as if, right in the middle of this fight, he experiences the terrifying magnitude of what he’s doing. (Omg! This the leader of The First Order! What the hell am I doing?!!)

One of the rules of using the Force is purity of purpose. Without that, it’s easy to fall to the Darkside, or lose one’s connection to it, and just as Yoda said, emotions cloud intentions. This is probably something that happens a lot  to  students of the Force, and I’ll wager that Finn probably doesn’t even know what that is, although, like Rey, he’s heard of it.

jawnbaeyega adagalore

luminousfinn:

Maz giving Finn the lightsaber is noticeable for many reasons, not least of which because it happens twice and for all the Arthurian parallels surrounding the scenes.

 

The first time takes place just after the destruction of the Hosnia system which is what makes Finn return to Han (and implicitly to the fight against the Dark Side). At this point none of them knows that they’re about to be attacked themselves by the First Order, not even Maz.

Despite this she immediately upon Finn’s return  takes him, Han and Chewie into the cellar where she keeps the lightsaber. When she takes it out of the chest Han recognizes it and asks where she got it, she brushes him off and focuses on Finn.

Why Finn? Last she saw him Finn made it clear that he was leaving. Hosnia’s destruction marked a tentative return, but so far it is tentative. And wouldn’t Han a man who might not be a paragon, but someone she’s know for years, make more sense?

Her words as she passes it are ambiguous. “Take it. Find your friend.” And do what exactly? Give it to her? Use it to protect her? What? Recall, no one but Maz and Rey herself knows that Rey can use the Force at this point. In fact Finn is never told this in TFA.

In assorted other things the fact that Han’s attention shifts off Maz and onto Finn the moment she tells him to take it, but before she stops talking is interesting. His intent gaze on Finn as he makes the choice to take the weapon is mirrored in the second “giving” by Maz.

Maz too is looking rather expectantly as Finn reaches out and takes the lightsaber from her. The music that has so far been playing softly in the background swells dramatically the moment Finn’s hand touches the saber and mixes with the diegetic sound of an approaching TIE fighter as Finn raises the lightsaber as a young Arthur might Excalibur. The scene ends in a dramatic boom as the castle is struck just as we see Finn look at the saber with a serious face.

It is noticeable that Finn is so entranced by the lightsaber that he doesn’t seem to hear the incoming TIE. Not long before at Niima Outpost he jumped at the first sound of it, but here he’s oblivious to the noise.

Now before I go on to the second “giving” I’m going to make a small detour around Arthurian myth.

Much have been made of the Arthurian parallels in TFA. Kylo Ren as a Mordred like figure. Luke as either a Merlin or a fallen Arthur himself and of course Rey pulling the Skywalker lightsaber out of the metaphorical stone. But the Arthurian parallels have been ignored where Finn is concerned, especially when it comes to the giving of the lightsaber/Excalibur, because in Arthurian myths there are two kinds of givings of that sword. One is Arthur pulling it out of the stone which declares himself the true king of Britain, in the other it is given to him by The Lady of the Lake.

In both versions Arthur starts out as a youth of unknown parentage grown up fostered by strangers, just as Finn is. In the second versions Arthur runs into Merlin, often portrayed as an older, wiser man. Depending on the version Arthur either asks Merlin for help or about his future, in either case Merlin takes him to The Lady of the Lake.

The Lady depending on the version of the tale is either a powerful magical being or a High Priestess of Avalon. She proceeds to ask the young Arthur several question and put him through a test which he fails, but she sees that though he is not perfect he has a good heart and a true spirit. Realizing this she bequeath him Excalibur, the sword of the true king and the mark of a hero.

Maz is in a quite literal sense The Lady of the Lake. She a powerful alien, strong in the Force who has made her home on a lake.

Her initial interactions with Finn runs parallel with The Lady’s testing of Arthur, complete with Finn “failing the test” by choosing to leave. But in deciding to return to the fight Finn proves to The Lady of the Lake that he’s heart and spirit is true and so she gives him Excalibur (the Skywalker lightsaber) to wield.

 

That she means for him to wield it and not just as a caretaker becomes clear in the second “giving”.

When they exit the now ruined castle the dark forces are upon them and battle is joined. Maz once more tells Finn to go find his friends.

This time Finn has no intention of leaving proving him once more worthy of Excalibur and this time Maz’s words are unambiguous, she intends, and always intended, for him to be a wielder of the blade, not just a carrier.As Finn again lifts the Skywalker lightsaber and this time ignites it, Maz look on with great expectancy clearly meant to mirror the audience. Will “Excalibur” accept Finn as its wielder? And will Finn accept the lightsaber as his?

At first we see doubt on Finn’s face, it’s an unfamiliar weapon and a Jedi’s weapon to boot. How can he wield this? But Maz believes he can and Finn is nothing if not up for whatever challenge life throws at him so he ignites it. The blade flashes to life in his hand, accepting him as a worthy wielder, and the moment it does Finn’s decision is also made. He may not be a Jedi (yet), but the sword is his.

 

tl;dr. There is a lot of Arthurian coding around Han (Merlin) bringing Finn (a young Arthur) to Maz (The Lady of the Lake), Maz testing him and in finding that he has a good and pure heart gives him the Skywalker lightsaber (Excalibur). The sword allowing itself to be ignited (drawn from the sheath) confirms Finn’s worthiness as its wielder.

Source: luminousfinn LISTEN THIS IS THE CONTENT FOR WHICH I AM HEREGOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE OK finn facts finn meta finn is force sensitiveboth rey and finn are gonna be jedi ok choke on THAT

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*This would make an excellent alternative to those War of the Worlds movies! Yeah, pretty much most of the wildlife of Australia is dangerous, from various sized birds, to insects, and forms of sea-life, like jellyfish, octopi, and stonefish. This explains why  Aussies are the way they are, I guess.

cumaeansibyl:

swaff-original:

ladyshinga:

beautytruthandstrangeness:

ellidfics:

tygermama:

myurbandream:

jabberwockypie:

skeletonmug:

artiestroke:

splintercellconviction:

giraffepoliceforce:

I really want a science fiction story where aliens come to invade earth and effortlessly wipe out humanity, only to be fought off by the wildlife.

They were expecting military resistance. They weren’t counting on bears.

Imagine coming to a hostile alien world and being attacked by a horde of creatures that can weigh up to 3 tons, run at 30 km/h (19 mph), and bite with a force of 8,100 newtons (1,800 lbf).

By the time you realise that they can traverse water, it’s too late. The surviving members of your unit manage to make it back by shedding their excess gear and running for their lives; the slower ones were crushed to death within minutes.

You later describe the creature to one of the humans you captured, wanting to know the name of the monstrosity that will haunt your nightmares for cycles to come.

The human smiles as it speaks a single word, slowly and distinctly, in its barbaric tongue.

Hippopotamus.”

This is giving me the biggest, creepiest grin I might have ever grinned

Imagine being the next crew to go down to earth and thinking “it’s fine, we got this. We have the weapons and equipment necessary to deal with bears and *shudders* hippopotamuses. We’ll be fine.”

And at first you are, you’ve learned how to dodge. You’ve learned where their territories are. You know how to defend yourself.

But then one night you are sleeping in your shelter. You’re in a tree covered temperate part of earth. It seems benign. There are been no sightings of the dreaded “hippos” around. Not even any bears. But there is a slight rustle of the undergrowth. You try and ignore it telling yourself it is just the wind.

Then you hear the rustle again. closer this time.

You peer out into the darkness but see nothing amongst the trees.

The rustle again and now you realise you can smell something. It’s musky and slightly foul. It’s the smell of an omen, a warning. But what of? Where is this smell coming from.

You sit up, but it’s too late. The foul smelling creature is on you. You are hit with 17kg of coarse fur and vicious bites. Long dark claws tear in to you and you are pinned down white the striped creature tries to bite your throat.

It takes some doing but you manage to wrestle free. Blood drips from your wounds and already they itch with the sign of infection. The creature has a bloodied snout, rust rad, mingling with the black and white hairs. It lets out a terrifying growl from the back of its throat and looks to attack again. It’s between you and your knife, so your only choice is to back away.

Eventually the creature gives up and snuffles off in to the undergrowth, down a hole near your shelter you hadn’t noticed before.

When you make it back to your base you once again consult the captive human.

“Badger.” they say, with a solemn nod.

One word: Moose

“Our vehicles are far superior to the local human models, in range, speed, armament, and any other metric you care to name! Nothing could possibly-”

BAMrumblerumblethumpcrash!!!

“That’s called a moose.”

“We should be free of the threat of the ‘moose’ here on our new floating accommodation”

*humans start sniggering*

“… they can swim, can’t they”

*humans start laughing louder*

….

*mid-winter*

‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! K’T’SURKIK WENT OUTSIDE AND A MOUND OF SNOW ROSE UP AND ATE HIM’

“What is this ‘wolverine’ you speak of?”

Tell me the story of the unpleasantly surprised alien invaders and their captive human remnant, getting more smug the more the aliens fail at basic scouting…

I know we’re all talking the big smash-‘em-up type animals, but what about the little ones? Are aliens prepared for spiders? Mosquitoes? Fleas? Ticks? Even humans get sick or die from some of those, who knows what the fuck they’d do to an unprepared alien.

Nobody expects the mosquitoes

Turns out skunk spray is fatal to the aliens, whoops

Truthfully aliens would try to attack, land in Florida & get taken out by snakes, gators…you name it. Or they would land in Australia & the whole continent would attack. Imagine being the alien that doesn’t take a kangaroo seriously and gets beat the fuck up. Or the one that tries to approach an ostrich and gets kicked to death? They landed once, maybe twice & then they decided we breathe death & are surrounded by monsters.

Source: giraffepoliceforce
*I love this particular headcanon.
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*Who goes to a party to watch the TV show House Hunters? That’s just so many levels of wrong. Is that even considered a party? Can you be still be friends with someone who invites you to one of those?

karnythia antimana

went to a househunters-watching party over the weekend; here’s my impression of the show

thewinterotter:

idiopathicsmile:

VOICEOVER: She wants a historically accurate thirteenth century castle in the heart of bustling downtown L.A. He has his heart set on living in a small metallic orb that would float over a bottomless gorge, beyond space and time. Can this pair of newlyweds see eye to eye???

WIFE: The location is nice but I don’t know about these staircases…I just had my heart set on an escalator made of sand and artisan brie.

HUSBAND: Well it’s definitely not a small floating metallic orb.

REALTOR: That…would defy several laws of physics.

WIFE (squinting): Do you have anything that is simultaneously larger, cheaper, newer, and more historic?

REALTOR: Um.

WIFE: And I need a big kitchen. I love to cook!

(Cut to footage of the wife in her current kitchen, wearing an apron and surrounded by pots and pans. She is hitting a banana with a hammer. On the counter next to her is a pile of doll hair.)

HUSBAND: Yeah, get her a nice kitchen. Of course, I won’t be spending any time in there, ha ha! (His laugh is loud but his eyes are so empty. They are empty all the way back.)

WIFE: And I need a room for my shoes. That is simply non-negotiable.

HUSBAND: Also, if we can swing it with our budget, I’d love a finished basement where I can really unwind and stew in my toxic masculinity and repressed emotion. And hardwood floors.

WIFE: And hardwood floors.

HUSBAND AND WIFE IN EERIE UNISON: Hardwood. Floors. (somehow it sounds like way more than two voices, more like the collective whisper of an army)

REALTOR: Okay, I will certainly, um. See what I can do? Anyway, this next house, it’s a metallic orb hanging on a sturdy cord near a ravine—

WIFE: Well it’s definitely not a genuine thirteenth century castle—

HUSBAND AND WIFE: (stare at each other in open contempt)

REALTOR: Heyyy so why don’t we take a look inside?

This is the most accurate ever depiction of House Hunters but I’m still stuck on the idea that somebody somewhere thought a PARTY to watch HOUSE HUNTERS was a great idea like why do you hate yourselves.

Source: idiopathicsmile
Okay, I was working on my finalized list of shows to watch and review in the Fall, the next Hannibal review, Naka Choko, and a review of Brooklyn 99. Oh, and BBC is now showing the first season of Into The Badlands, from the beginning.
I just finished watching the finale of The British Baking Show, where I  cried for the winner, too, a young Indian woman named Nadiyah. She was awesome, and I was rooting for her, and I thought she wouldn’t win because there was a White guy in the contest, too. He was nice enough, and quite talented, but I didn’t want him to win, and he made some baking mistakes. But Nair came through, with a cake based on her Indian style wedding. It was gorgeous and I wanted some. She didn’t believe she’d  won either, at first. But it was lovely. Her husband and family were very supportive, and of course they got to eat all her practice work, so…
I like British reality shows better because there’s less bullshit talking, the contestants actually seem to get along ,and there’s less chatter just to hear oneself say something, and fill in space. The contestants just seemed like nice people in a contest, trying really hard. None of them were trying to play to the camera by trash talking their opponents, grandstanding, or letting their egos write checks they couldn’t cash, something I absolutely hate about American reality shows. They also came across as more intelligent but that might just be a British thing, in general.
TTFN!

 

 

Sleepy Hollow Analysis

This brilliant and beautiful analysis of Sleepy Hollow showed up in my feed again and I decided, if I didn’t want to lose it on my “Likes” page, I’d better save it here. It outlines why we cared so much about the future of this show, why we were so damn angry at what the showrunners chose to do with it, what went wrong, and  includes links to other reviews and critiques of the show. …

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Sleepy Hollow Analysis

This brilliant and beautiful analysis of Sleepy Hollow showed up in my feed again and I decided, if I didn’t want to lose it on my “Likes” page, I’d better save it here. It outlines why we cared so much about the future of this show, why we were so damn angry at what the showrunners chose to do with it, what went wrong, and  includes links to other reviews and critiques of the show. 

Post Mortem on Sleepy Hollow

Everyone is saying that the show had great potential, and that they screwed it up. But I haven’t seen anyone articulate what that potential was. Why was so resonant in season one? At this particular time, and in this particular climate?

I read the phrase “the chemistry between the two leads” and frankly that’s not enough for me. It’s not enough to explain what I saw in the show and why I am so mad. I deeply believe that the value of the fantasy/horror genre is how it lets us symbolically consider big issues of morality in ways that are fun.

American, this beautiful mess of a country, has a ton of moral thinking to do about race and history. Sleepy Hollow more than any show in decades, was perfectly set up to play with, and around, and through that tension. That was it’s potential. That is what we lost.

I’ve read some great things on Sleepy Hollow, the finale, and the death of Abbie Mills. These articles have all been explicit that the choice to kill and sideline Abbie was typical, uncreative, racist (consciously or not), and BAD FOR THE SHOW. Here are my favs:

http://blackgirlnerds.com/how-sleepy-hollow-single-handedly-destroyed-their-own-show/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.thevisibilityproject.com/2015/05/05/i-want-great-things-for-nicole-beharie-sleepy-hollow-isnt-one-of-them/

http://bibliodaze.com/2016/04/abbiemillsdeservesbetter-how-fox-ruined-sleepy-hollow/

Now let’s talk about the big issues.

America has always been two things. A place for enlightened ideals about the equality of man, and the bloody driving heart of chattel slavery. Those are both huge. They are also utterly irreconcilable. Even as this country led the Age of Revolution that brought down kings throughout Europe, we built the North Atlantic Slave Trade. That deadly triangle put millions of people into bloodline based suffering that was harsher than any caste system in Europe at the time.

If you study American history at all, slavery is three quarters of it. The struggle for racial inclusion and equity is the rest. More than class, more than ideas, more than geography, race is the single focal point that encompasses all of American history. There is no part of this country that wasn’t molded, or counter-molded, without the presence of it. From the very beginning we argued about it. We didn’t stop arguing. We went to war over it. Then we had a second proxy cold war about it during the civil rights movement. We are still arguing about it today with Black Lives Matter.

This is the biggest question of Good vs. Evil in our country. It’s so big, and so devastating, that millions of Americans still have trouble fully admitting that slavery was evil. That it did not have any upside for the salves. There are also millions of people who see the sacrifice that ending racism demands, and flip the fuck out. They do not want to deal with that.

Doesn’t that sound like a kind of unending apocalypse? A biblical level moral threat? And historically a few people have always fought and given witness in order to redeem the rest of us from that evil we would rather ignore, or let fester, or maybe join/sell-out-too in order to maintain our privilege. The metaphor works for me.

I should probably take a moment to give my personal P.O.V. I’m white. I’m a lawyer. I am into the American mythology. I really, deeply, believe that a nation of laws is better than a nation of men. I have in actively carried around a pocket constitution, and a pocket declaration of independance. I have read the federalist papers. I have read more than one biography of John Adams. I am a patriot. I know enough about the history of patriots to understand that the best ones were all critics of their societies.

There was a moment in season one that was painfully familiar. Ichabod is singing the praises of Thomas Jefferson, and sneering at the political foe that accused him of sleeping with his slaves. That was me, in my younger and more innocent days. Irving and Abby give each other a good long side-eye and then enlighten him. That was also me. And Crane, bless him, learned better. I remember watching that scene and thinking “I can’t believe Fox, Fox!, is letting them get away with that.” See, I also live in the South. Where you still aren’t often allowed to talk about that stuff. Where discussing actually, provable, documented history, like it’s actual documented provable history, will get you hissed at. Then they’ll call you ungodly. (Look it just popped up again!  http://www.vox.com/2016/4/8/11389556/thomas-jefferson-sally-hemings-book )

Is it any wonder that Sleepy Hollow was such a tempest in a teapot?

I haven’t talked about Abbie yet. Sorry. I needed to set the stage. I needed to be able to say that the chemistry that existed between Abbie and Ichabod existed because she was black and accomplished and he was white and ignorant. The desire to smoosh them together, to make them work as partners, was more than a desire to see an attractive man with an attractive woman, it was a desire to reconcile the entire American experiment.

Think back to the images in their first meeting. Ichabod, an 18th century man, locked in a cage because he cannot understand the modern world. He’s idealistic, he’s educated, he’s utterly incompetent at modern reality, he cannot understand why he’s not in charge, why all the cretins around him treat him like he’s crazy and refuse to follow his orders. I’m pretty sure I just restated the analysis of trump voters.

Maybe just this one: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/i-was-pastor-trump-supporters-heres-why-thousands-are-flocking-his-rallies.

Or this one:http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/03/how_donald_trump_happened_racism_against_barack_obama.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_top

Or this one:http://www.salon.com/2016/03/14/the_payback_candidate_trumps_campaign_is_for_conservatives_seeking_revenge_on_everyone_they_think_disrespects_them/

So there is Ichabod waiting in his cage, and then Abbie shows up. A black woman. Not in a cage. Her freedom specifically addressed when Ichabod said the word “emancipated.”  She was someone he still saw in terms of slavery, but she was the one that literally held the keys to the modern world in her hand. (Of course, to screw with that, they shot it from his POV, so she looks like the one behind bars.)

Ichabod has to listen to her, he has to defer, before things start getting better for him. What is more real than that? Ichabod might have been the every-man (for a certain type of every-man) but Abbie was the arbiter, the judge, the leader. She was the character that decides what part of all that 18th century knowledge still matters, and what parts need to be chucked, like yesterday. And in season one at least, she judged from a place that was informed by her own personal morality and experiences. She was not all good and self-sacrificing. The unfairness she had experienced as a child, affected her. The central question was if she was going to reject Ichabod, and through him, symbolically at least, this whole American experiment.

Does any of that description make you uncomfortable? I hope so. Because that discomfort is what made the show so tense and riveting. Good horror works on our unconscious taboos. It materializes them, makes them literal, and once they are literal we are confronted with their grotesquerie. America, as a society, has rejected and oppressed black people from the beginning. The three fifths compromise is still in all those pocket constitutions.  But America, as a society, is also slowly, painfully, waking up to the fact that rejecting black people is unsustainable. It locks us out of the future. It ties us to evil. A not so secret demon that demands constant blood sacrifices. (Literally. Tamir Rice, Eric Harris,Walter Scott, Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose and Freddie Gray.) And whose hunger for destruction spills over and threatens everyone.

That’s what Sleepy Hollow had to work with. That’s what they stumbled into, and frankly I don’t think they could handle it. As a writer, I know that you can land in something topical accidentally. And I think that first round of folks just wrote what they thought was scary, a white man who is forced into depending on black people because he doesn’t understand the modern world. I don’t think they examined, in themselves, why those particular dynamics were so scary.

If you are white, like most of the Sleepy Hollow production team, and unconscious about that shit, you will inevitable try and move yourself to a more comfortable place. The process even has a name. It’s called white fragility.

So, when Sleepy Hollow did well, and production got crunched and probably even more unconscious, the production team moved themselves into stories that were more comfortable. Abbie’s power as arbiter and judge was sidelined. She was relied upon as a character who rejected nothing, who only sacrificed.  What little discussion of the founding fathers flaws there had been was dropped. After that first episode, nothing was said about the civil war. Nothing was said about the bulk of American history. Almost nothing was said about slavery even when Abbie went back in time.

And things could have been said. During the run of Sleepy Hollow we’ve had 12 Years a Slave, and Hamilton, and the new Birth of a Nation, and Underground. This isn’t just social justice plotting, it’s a thriving market. It’s also rich in all the tropes of horror. It’s everything you could need for a million different horror movies. Imagine how differently Season 2 could have played if Abraham or Henry approached Abbie at any point with this kind of offer:

Moloch is here, in America, in the 21st century because slavery brought him here. Ichabod’s great friends couldn’t fight him, because their sins were his fuel. So you could keep trying to help your partner’s romantic life, or you could let the whole thing burn. Let this America end. It’s cardinal sin is irredeemable. Let something new take its place. Join us, and you can even build it to your tastes.

Isn’t that tempting? If your white, isn’t that terrifying? Isn’t it real, despite all the layers of monsters and demons?  And isn’t it fun? And kampy, and hopeful too? Because nobody wants to listen to a lecture about this stuff head on. We want to all get together and slay the demon that lives on racism, and then make the improbable couple kiss. We want to love all of it. We want it to work out, history and the present to reconcile and make each other better.

Instead, we got monsters from Sumeria and ancient Greece.

Now with Abbie Mills dead, the chance for reconciliation is gone. That’s the potential that we lost.  Even when the show was at it’s worst, the mere presence of her dark skin was an indictment, a tension, a placeholder for the failings of the founding fathers. They got it wrong about her, about black people, so maybe none of their magical advice would work. At the very least it would all have to be updated. Abbie Mills as a black witness wasn’t just important because there aren’t enough women of color on TV. She was important because with this particular plot scenario information from the past must be both always necessary and always dubious. Abbie Mills, merely by existing in the frame with Ichabod crane, telegraphed that the founding fathers could have some major, and important, blind-spots.

It seems even that was intolerable.

So, History won. It didn’t compromise, it didn’t change. It didn’t admit it’s faults. It didn’t fall in love with Now. Ichabod did not offer up a part of his immortal soul to satisfy Pandora’s Box. He didn’t share the burden with Abbie. Then, to add insult, that cowardice was explained away as destiny. That’s not fun. That’s not challenging or exciting. It’s just bleak. It reduces rather than expands the story. The only thing I want to see now is Jenny Mills engaged in the long form assassination of Ichabod Crane.

And while this is just about character’s in a story, we all know, that it’s also something real. White people preferring to see black people lose everything then give up anything of themselves. That it’s something real that happens all the time. That it happened behind the scenes to Orlando Jones and then Nicole Baheri, when they were stripped of air-time and meaningful on screen stories and work.

Some of us might still be able to learn from the mistakes of history, but not Sleepy Hollow. It’s doomed.

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Geeking Out About: Preacher

Geeking Out About: Preacher

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So, I am loving the Preacher pilot. In the interests of full disclosure, I did read a few of the graphic novels, off and on, back in the day, so I only remember bits and pieces of the books. I wasn’t exactly clear on what powers, if any, Preacher possessed, although I knew  there was a vampire involved in the story-line, and I was aware of the existence of “Arseface” which is what Cassidy, the…

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Geeking Out About: Preacher

So, I am loving the Preacher pilot. In the interests of full disclosure, I did read a few of the graphic novels, off and on, back in the day, so I only remember bits and pieces of the books. I wasn’t exactly clear on what powers, if any, Preacher possessed, although I knew  there was a vampire involved in the story-line, and I was aware of the existence of “Arseface” which is what Cassidy, the vampire, called an unfortunate young man with a shotgun hole in his face. Where the story went and what plot points were involved are lost to time and I have no plans, or time, to re-read the series.

At any rate, I like to avoid the books for TV shows sometimes, because my impression is very different, when I have no idea what’s been changed from the books, or know what’s going to happen to any of the characters. Its one of the reasons why I won’t read The Walking Dead series until the show is long off the air.

But I love this show! This show is totally batshit! Its not as crazy as True Blood, which is in a class all by itself, but Preacher is definitely in the top ten of shows that you cannot watch if you are high on something, or they will mess you up.

Dominic+Cooper+Confirmed+to+Star+in+AMC’s+PREACHER

Preacher has, hands down, one of the weirdest openings I have ever encountered for a western. Think Cowboys Vs Aliens.A strange glowing object heads towards Earth, specifically a church in Africa, were the light invades the body of the lone standing person, the Preacher, briefly gives him the superpower to command people’s actions, and then blows him up. (This is probably something like the Angels in Supernatural. If your’e not part of the Angelic bloodlines, you lack the ability to host a being so powerful, and you explode.) This creature, or force,  tries this in several places, always with the result that the inhabited person explodes.

These incidents are eventually investigated by two odd gentlemen who are either alien beings, Angels or MIBs. It is clear they are on the trail of the “Exploding Preacher-Creature”. (Its always churches, and always the preacher.)

Preacher-season-1-100-tulip-ruth-negga-cassidy-joseph-gilgun-935x658

Next we go to Annville, Texas, where Preacher, aka Jesse Custer, is giving one of the most lackluster, non-fiery sermons I have ever heard anyone give (and I’ve been to Catholic church sermons.)  His heart is totally not in it. The handful of parishioners are bored, the air conditioning is broken, he drinks too much, so he’s  hungover, and he forgets his speeches. His organist, a single mother named Emily, is the only one who supports him. He’s considering quitting being a preacher and wonders why he ever came back to this po-dunk town.

At the church picnic, Preacher is approached by a little boy who asks him if he will hurt his Dad for him because he’s heard stories that Preacher used to do stuff, and his Dad keeps hurting his Mom, (this is Donnie and Betsy).Preacher witnesses, the boy’s father quietly twisting his wife’s arm at the picnic, but is still reluctant to get involved. He’s got some issues with violence which we will learn about in a little while.

Can I just point out, that as world weary as he seems, Dominic Cooper is till the sexiest Preacher on TV. Cooper is most famous as Howard Stark from the first Captain America movie and being an asshole  in Dracula Untold.

the-5-most-kickass-moments-from-the-pilot-episode-of-preacher-986658

We meet Cassidy on a plane above Texas. He gets into an altercation with some assassins. We know this because he asks one of them how they keep finding him, before stabbing one of them with a wine bottle, decanting  his blood into a  bottle of whiskey, and then jumping out of the plane, when he realizes he killed the pilot. He lands in an open field with his insides on his  outside, but seems more inconvenienced than in pain. He remedies his condition by attacking one of the nosy cows wandering near him. The next time we see him, he’s intact, and still drinking from what appears to be that same bottle of, I want to say, liquor, but its probably not.

Tulip gets the most explosive entrance. Literally! Played by Ruth Negga, she is getting many laudations for her role here, as she totally inhabits  it. We come upon her fighting for her life, in a car that’s zooming through a cornfield. She encounters two nosy kids after she emerges victoriously from the vehicle, and proceeds to teach them how to make a homemade bazooka, which she uses to blow up some helicopters, that had been following her  This is, without question, one of the most awesome character entrances ever filmed for TV, and I love Tulip already.

Tulip heads out to Annville, where Jesse is still reconsidering his job as a Preacher, but so far, has only mentioned it to Emily. Jesse meets with the local sheriff and counsels his son, Eugene, an unfortunate soul with a gunshot hole in his face, whom Cassidy later renames “Arseface”. He then counsels Betsy, who tells him she’s likes it when Donnie hurts her, but I very much suspect, and so does Jesse, that she is lying. Tulip shows up and hits Jesse up with a job offer but he turns her down , saying that he must follow his faith, and she ain’t it.

preacher-052216

Later that evening ,while contemplating his increasingly complicated present, Jesse gets set upon by Donnie, Betsy’s husband.  To show you what kind of character we are dealing with, Donnie is a Civil War re-enactor, for the losing  side, naturally.

This is where we get into the issue of why Jesse has been trying to avoid violent activity. He initially balks at fighting Donnie but Donnie insists, so Jesse kicks not just his ass, but the asses of his dimwitted friends too, and you can tell he absolutely loves it. Actually it’s the only time in the entire episode that we see Jesse smiling. Not only is he thoroughly  in his  element, but he wears a look of total peace on his face, that is kind of creepy. Of course, Cassidy admires this level of carnage, and the two of them form a bond  that can only be forged through shared ass-kickin’, and jail time.

After Emily bails him out of jail,  Jesse, regretting his actions in the bar (but not too much) , sits in the empty church, contemplating his future, when he is possessed by the alien entity. But he doesn’t explode. Instead he wakes up three days later, feeling refreshed, and tells Emily that he’s changed his mind about leaving the church.

the-5-most-kickass-moments-from-the-pilot-episode-of-preacher-the-pilot-episode-of-prea-986740

 

When one of Jesse’s parishioners, who has been bothering him for days about his travails with his mother, comes to Jesse for advice, Jesse tells the man to open his heart to her and tell her everything.The same advice he’s been giving the man for some time now, but this time it has a different effect. The man travels all the way to Florida to tell his mother what he thinks, and initially you think he might kill her, but he rips his own heart out instead,  and offers it to her.  Jesse’s possession, which he doesn’t really remember, has some unintended side effects, that he does not yet know about. Everything I’ve just recounted  is Jesse’s crazy as shit life when he doesn’t have superpowers. Lord help us, when he figures out he does.

And the MIBs are now on his trail, too…

So, for the rest of the season, I definitely expect wackiness to ensue.

Essentially, this show began  like most shows do, introducing the main characters around whom the storylines will revolve. All of their stories begin separately, but soon, everyone converges in Annville, where the story could go in any direction, really. So far, Seth Rogen, who has really been a huge champion of the show, has remained more or less faithful to the books, at least as far as the character names, and such. Tulip has been race-bent, but its a lovely change because, c’mon! who don”t like Ruth Negga? The creators even managed to choose the other actors to  look, more or less,  like their book versions.

preacher-amc-tv-series-seth-rogen-photo-5-679x512

I like the main characters  so far. Jesse is gloomy but intriguing, Tulip is definitely going to bring the craziness factor, and Cassidy brings a  supernatural wild card element. There’s not a show on TV that can’t be improved by the random addition of a vampire.

I just want to give a shoutout to AMC. AMC (and HBO) has been tearing it up in the series department.   Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands and now Preacher. AMC seems to have an uncanny ability to choose stories and then turn  them into  successful adaptations. Its the network against which all other ones are being compared at this point, with its uncanny ability to hit it out of the park with show after show. (Keep in mind, I have never shouted out to a television network before, not even the Syfy channel.)

I’m looking forward to Preacher joining my roster of  shows.

 

Good Things on Tumblr

It seems that the only time I mention anything on Tumblr its almost always some kind of racial takedown or dragging or bad news. Well, this post is going to celebrate all the positive stuff  I’ve seen on Tumblr. Please visit these websites, sign onto Tumblr if you can.

I know it seems like we spend an inordinate amount of time beging Hollywood for representation, and that’s important, but it needs to be known that Hollywood isn’t the only game in town when it comes to diversity. SO here are some online links, if you’re interested. (And its okay, these are safe spaces for you to express yourselves. Some of the other sites I  link to may not be too welcoming.)

 

*I do not watch Once Upon a Time, but when I heard that Mulan was on the show, I was kinda kickin’ myself. (That doesn’t mean I’m going to go back and binge it though.) The costumes are gorgeous.

13 weeks of ouat positivity:
• Week 12: favourite costumes [8/15]

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Monstress # 4 (2016)  //  Image Comics

Story: Marjorie Liu , art: Sana Takeda

[ Follow SuperheroesInColor on facebook / instagram / twitter / tumblr ]

Get it now here@

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*Okay, you know I had to add a little bit of no-goodnik to this post. The Pretty Feminist is a staunch advocate of diversity across the MCU. She is fighting all these battles with clueless fandom, so that I don’t have to.
I think the two worst items on this list is: the treatment of Martha Jones whom I love; and the idea that people are actually  shipping Natasha and T’Challa, without any examination or understanding of  how problematic is the insertion of white characters into the Wakandan narrative. Some people only seem to care about inclusivity when they want to insert white characters into the narratives of PoC. When it happens the opposite way, their championing of diversity seems to disappear.
The struggles of being a black fangirl

Queen Guinevere fans: Spent years defending Gwen from fans who said that a black woman being in a medieval fantasy show was unrealistic, despite the show featuring magic, wizards and dragons.

Martha Jones fans: Dealt with continual racists and sexist attacks from Rose Tyler fans who felt that Martha was trying to replace Rose.

Bonnie Bennett fans: Dealt with years of racist attacks and Delena fans demanding that the writers kill off her character, despite her playing a major role in the books.

Iris West fans: Constantly fighting against people who want Iris to be written out of the show or killed off, despite her being the female lead and the wife and mother of Barry Allen’s children in the comics.

Michonne fans: Constantly defending Michonne from fans who openly refer to her as unattractive and not a proper love interest for Rick Grimes (aka not white)

Abbie Mills fans: Spent the last 3 years fighting for Abbie to stop being sidelined and disrespected by the writers, only for the writers to kill her off and turn her into a sacrificial negro.

Finn fans: Constantly dealing with Reylo fans arguing that Finn is not a proper love interest for Rey, but somehow, a genocidal father-killing maniac, who also made a not-so-veiled rape threat to her, magically is.

T’Challa fans: Currently dealing with Bucky and Natasha fans who are pushing for them to play a major role in the new Black Panther movie. Oh, and let us not forget the Natasha/T’Challa shippers who are actively advocating for Nat to become the new queen of Wakanda. Because having a white Russian assassin who used to work for Hydra being the queen of an African nation isn’t creepy or racist. Nope, not at all.

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Hannibal Season Two : Su-Zakana

 

Parallel:

(1) :  similar, analogous, or interdependent in tendency or development (2) :  exhibitingparallelism in form, function, or development <parallel evolution>b :  readily compared :  companionc :  having identical syntactical elements in corresponding positions; also :  being such an element.

Wow, this one has parallels running all over the place. Somebody better stop them before we get hurt.

Su-Zakana is one of my all time favorite episodes because it stars the weird, and lovely, Jeremy Davies from Saving Private Ryan, Ravenous and Justified. Here, he plays Peter Bernardone, a character who is a close parallel to Will Graham. Bryan Fuller has stated that Bernardone is a stand-in for Giovanni Di Petro Di Bernardone (the Italian) otherwise known as St. Francis, the patron Saint of animals.

In this episode, Will and Jack, while ice fishing, blatantly lay out their  plan to use Will as bait, to get Hannibal to incriminate himself as The Chesapeake Ripper. This is a very delicate game. Will, essentially, has to go undercover and  sidle up to the beast by convincing him that he is just another beast like him, all while not actually becoming the  beast he’s pretending to be.

Will has to look into the abyss and hope he isn’t destroyed by it looking back at him.

hannibal-s2-ep8-1

Its interesting watching Will and Jack’s  smooth, and easy camaraderie, after all they’ve been through together. Their venture is not only going to require Will to do some serious acting, but Jack as well. I’m still not sure Jack entirely believes Hannibal is The Ripper, or if he’s just going along with Will’s plan as a means of atonement for believing Will was The Ripper. Has Will convinced him? I know that later Jack is convinced but I’m not certain when this moment occurred.

We next see Jack and Will at Lecter’s house, eating the fish Will caught earlier. Will has cannibal jokes, for which he is rewarded the side-eye from Hannibal and Jack, and Hannibal counters with the term, “Nietzschean Fish”, (words  that can only be dreamed up in the mind of Bryan Fuller). They’re both shameless flirts. Hannibal seems especially jovial. Will is back in therapy with him, Alana is in his bed, Chilton is out of the way, and Jack suspects nothing. Hannibal is in a happy place right now.

The theme of this episode, from the title (su-zakana is  a small dish used to clean/refresh the palate), to the discovery of a murdered woman sewn into the body of a dead horse, is renewal and rebirth. The renewal of Jack’s and Will’s collaboration in capturing the Ripper, and solving serial murders, and  the renewal/rebirth of Will and Hannibal’s therapeutic  relationship. There’s lots of mentions of cocoons and chrysalises.

This episode also introduces the Mason/Margot Verger portion of the Thomas Harris’ book, Hannibal. Margot has been sent to therapy with Hannibal for trying to kill her abusive brother Mason, after he broke her arm during a sexual assault. Hannibal  always wants people to fully and completely experience their darkest self, so encouraging her to wait until a better moment to kill him, or getting someone else to do it for her, would naturally be his advice.

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Note Margo’s high collars, the high broad shoulders of the suit, her severe makeup  and dark clothing. (Its almost samurai in appearance.)  This has the effect of giving  her a prim, hard look, in keeping with her dour facial expressions, subdued manner of speaking and her mental state, after her brother’s violation. Her clothing is like armor.  This is a woman who is utterly drained of emotion, and resigned to her fate with Mason, or she has just gotten so good at hiding what she’s  feeling, that it has become a habit with everyone. (Or she could simply be resentful of having to be in therapy.) Contrast her attitude towards Hannibal, after he advises her she should kill Mason, with before he offers that advice. And contrast her facial expressions in therapy with the expressions she wears when talking to Mason, or Will Graham.

In the book,  Margo Verger is a grotesque stereotype of a transgender man. Actually, in the book she’s not transgender, at all. She wants to be a man because then can she inherit the Verger Fortune. I think Bryan Fuller took offense at this character too, changing her significantly for the show, jettisoning all the insulting stereotypes, and just making her a lesbian, (or bi-sexual. She does sleep with Will later in the season.)

Later that evening, after Hannibal and Alana have sex, Alana expresses bafflement at Will resuming his therapy with Hannibal. She’s concerned that Will has ulterior motives and will try to hurt Hannibal again, (entirely in keeping with Alana’s fiercely protective nature.) Hannibal tells her that Will tried to hurt him because he thought he was protecting Alana from Hannibal, which we know is a load of horse pucky, as Will didn’t know the two of them were sleeping together, at the time he tried to have Hannibal killed.

Jack calls Hannibal to a crime scene involving a murdered woman whose body had been stuffed into a dead horse, and Hannibal says that this is a situation that calls for Will Graham’s expertise. Will’s assessment is that whoever killed Sarah Craber is not the same person who stuffed her into the horse and that his motive  for her was rebirth.

An examination of Sarah Craber, by Jack’s forensic team, releases a bird that was entombed in the woman’s chest. This bird, which looks like a small crow or raven, could signify the release of her soul. Such birds have a mythology of being “psychopomps”, creatures that carry souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead. (Think the movie The Crow.)

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After examining the crime scene, Will and Jack interview Peter Bernardone, a disabled man who works with animals, in a kind of personal mini-zoo. Bernardone is a mirror to Will Graham. Like Will, he also has an unusual brain disorder, that because of a previous brain injury, does not allow him to look at an object and touch it at the same time.  There is also a real world version of this condition called agnosia (the inability to process sensory information),  usually caused by a brain injury. The syndrome gets worse when Peter is under stress. In a sense, he and Will have impaired vision. Unlike Will, he is a genuinely gentle soul that has never actually harmed anyone. (Will has shot one man, and attempted to arrange the death of another.)

Will  starts that whole bonding thing with Peter. Like Hannibal, he really cannot seem to help  stop himself and I suppose he can’t. In the book, Red Dragon, Jack makes an observation about Will’s behavior with other people, how he would mirror their  body language, or adopt their accents or speech patterns. Jack, initially, thought Will was mocking these people, but soon came to realize that Will was entirely unaware of what he was doing and I will assume that’s the case here, as Will  immediately tailors his voice and body language, to adjust to Peter’s condition. He speaks in a warm and compassionate manner, not just because Peter is emotionally fragile, but because  I’m sure he sees himself in Peter, as well. He believes Peter when he says he’s innocent, understanding the importance of affirmation because he didn’t receive any from his “friends”when he declared his own innocence.

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Hannibal’s  mantra to both Margo and Will is, “Doing bad things to bad people makes us feel good.” Will, in his conversations with Hannibal, confirms this. Its not exactly untrue as this is the very thing that fuels people’s need for revenge, or rooting for the villain to get his comeuppance, in movies. Basically, it feels good when the bad guy gets it, especially when you do it yourself.

In Will’s next session with Hannibal, they discuss Will’s new outlook on the world. His rebirth, as it were. Hannibal does wish Will would move past what he thinks Hannibal did to him, and focus on the bigger picture of accessing, and freeing, his murderous tendencies, focusing instead on what he’d like to do to Hannibal.

Contrast Will’s authoritative, “Don’t lie to me,” to his pleading with Hannibal in season one, not to lie to him. Here, Will is calm, assertive, and in firm control. This is a command, not a request.

Both Hannibal and Alana are suspicious of Will’s return to therapy with Hannibal, although he doesn’t bring up this subject with Will until after Alana mentions it.Will’s excuse is that he can’t talk to anyone else about what’s happened to him, that he  still fantasizes about killing Hannibal, and it is only now that he finds Hannibal interesting. (This statement is a callback to the season one episode, Apertif, when Will said the two of them would never  be friends because Hannibal was uninteresting.)

The forensic team determines that Sarah Craber’s body was not the only one, and find a field of 15 bodies, from which hers had been taken, and stuffed into the horse’s corpse. At the scene, Zeller offers Will an apology for not believing him about being the Chesapeake Ripper. He feels guilty because he thinks if he had supported Beverly in trying to re-determine Will’s innocence, she would have confided in her team and would still be alive. He is probably not wrong. This makes me like Zeller a little more because he’s kind of a dick.

There is also a sub-theme in this episode of people bullying and manipulating those under their authority. In a later session with Hannibal, Margo discusses how she reached the point of trying to murder her bother. So we have Margo being bullied and degraded by her brother, who was their father’s favorite and  heir, so Mason controls all the money. Hannibal advises her to wait for a better time to do it or find someone to do it for her.Then there’s Peter Bernardone being manipulated by his social worker, Clark Ingram, to take the fall for his serial killings, and Will Graham who has also been abused and manipulated by Hannibal, his psychiatrist.

Will manages to gently coax the information from Peter about how he found Sarah’s body, and that it was his social worker who  was her killer. He hasn’t told anyone because he doesn’t think he would be believed. Will makes a point of letting Peter know he believes him, and calls Clark in for an interview.

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Clark Ingram is interviewed by Alana. This is a scene that showcases what Alana does and how good she is at it. Basically, her job is what Hannibal was called to do when he first met Will, assessing people’s mental capacity to go to court, hold certain jobs within the organization, or assess types of mental illnesses, as she did in season one, with Abel Gideon.

During the interview, Alana appears to be a lot less obtuse than she’s usually shown. She was mostly clueless during season one when it came to assessing Will’s mental state, and I think the entire audience for this show agrees with me, when I say I winced every time she and Hannibal were shown having sex. Its  telling that she and Hannibal never seem to show any other forms of affection outside of bumping uglies. I had the impression that the two of them are not in love. They definitely like each other but its more like friends with benefits, or each other’s side piece.

I think Alana’s problem is that once she’s close to a person she completely loses any ability to be objective, which I can fully understand. Its just that in practice, on the show, its something that makes her appear kind of dense. Here, she masterfully manipulates Clark to get him to show his psychotic side. Clark blames Peter for the deaths and is let go. There’s a interesting, antagonistic exchange between Jack and Will about the interview. Will expresses some bitterness to Jack during the interview, recognizing his situation in Bernardone’s, of not being believed, when he pointed his finger at an authority figure. Jack tells him he pointed in the wrong direction. Both of them are putting on an act for Hannibal.

Clark immediately goes to Bernardone’s mini-zoo and sets free or kills all of his animals as retribution for Peter’s accusations. There is a marked difference in tactics between Hannibal and Clark. These two psychopaths are very different. Clark, like Chilton, isn’t nearly as smart, or subtle, as Hannibal. Hannibal actually does care about Will, (although he doesn’t seem to know the extent of his feelings for him), and sees Will, mostly, as an equal. Clark doesn’t see Peter as an equal or a partner. He isn’t trying to elevate Peter to a higher self. Clark views Peter much the way Hannibal views the people he eats.(They mean nothing beyond their use to him.)

Hannibal too, lacks empathy but is attempting to transcend that  by understanding Will. He seems to realize that his lack of empathy hampers his relationship with Will. Clark isn’t doing any such thing. He isn’t trying to understand Peter and doesn’t care about him, and isn’t trying to be friends, nevertheless, Will can’t seem to get past the parallels in these two relationships.

Peter returns to find all his animals gone, and is confronted by Clark.

Will, understanding that Clark is guilty, and perhaps sensing that he will retaliate against Peter, heads out with Hannibal to make sure Peter is okay. In the car, Hannibal points out the similarities between their situation and Peter’s, and Will’s need to save him. He tries to assure Will that he’s got his back and Will is not alone.

It’s interesting that we almost never see Will driving anywhere. We know he can drive and owns a car but I bet none of you can tell me what the make and model of that car is, either. He almost always seems to be falling asleep in someone else’s car. Hell, I don’t even know what make of car Hannibal drives, although we can be sure its a high-end European model because that just seems like his taste.

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They arrive to find Peter alone in the barn, with the body of another horse, and suspect Peter has stuffed Clark’s body inside, since that’s the kind of thing he does. However, unlike Sarah Craber, Clark isn’t dead, and in one of Hannibal’s more disgusting pieces of imagery, in a series filled with such things, we watch a grown man crawl out of a horse’s  corpse.

Filled with righteous fury, on Peter’s behalf, Will threatens to shoot Clark but he is stopped by Hannibal, who convinces him that Clark is not a worthy substitute for Hannibal. This is not an act on Will’s part as he actually does pull the trigger. It is only  Hannibal’s thumb, coming between the hammer and firing pin, that saves Clark’s life. Hannibal is naturally proud of Will’s willingness to kill but doesn’t want him wasting all that murderous energy on Clark, as its not so much rage at Peter’s situation that has him in such a state, as rage against Hannibal’s behavior towards him, Hannibal says Will should save all his anger for him.

And yes, we can talk about  another image of Hannibal cradling Will’s head, the seat of Will’s intellect and emotions, and the part of him that Hannibal considers the most important, and most often does so when attempting to manipulate Will to some goal of his. Over the course of the series we get  several shots of Hannibal touching Will’s face or head, whereas Will rarely touches Hannibal, and never initiates touch, even when circumstances would make it excusable. Whenever Hannibal touches Will, Will often passively allows it, neither pulling away, nor protesting the treatment.Though many fans view Hannibal’s physical behavior towards Will as that of lovers, and Fuller himself states that it is a love story, I often viewed their dynamic much like   that of Mason’s and Margo’s relationship. You have an older, paternalistic,  authoritative, and abusive sibling, who  dominates a younger, rebellious one, and touch is just one more item in their arsenal of manipulation.

In therapy, Margo has much in common with Will. She often states what Will’s actual feelings are towards Hannibal. When  Hannibal asks if she loves her brother, she emphatically states that she does, which is why she can’t bring herself to kill him, even though he is abusive to her,   nevertheless she still plans to kill Mason someday, this parallels Will’s feelings and plans for Hannibal.

Notice how the scenery and plot spirals down into the story of Will and Hannibal as the season progresses. When the series began, the story and settings seemed more open and expansive but as the plot begins to focus more and more on their relationship, the settings become darker, more intense, with less humor. Everything begins to feel  more claustrophobic as  there is nothing that seems to  happen outside of the handful of people in the series, Jack, Alana, Will, and Hannibal, and there are fewer and fewer daytime and outdoor scenes. Even though Will is no longer actually confined, as he was in the beginning of the season, the viewer  starts to feel confined by the tightening closeness of the plot, lighting, and set.

Also as the season progresses notice the change in Will’s attire from the first season. The closer he gets to Hannibal in his bid to capture him, we see less of the StagMan, but Will does start to emulate Hannibal in other ways, much like Franklyn, Hannibal’s first patient from season one. Will’s clothes have become darker and he wears lots of blue, as a callback to his confinement in the blue jumpsuit at he hospital. Like Margo he wears protective high collars, or scarves, and not just because it seems to be winter forever on this show. Notice that characters who feel especially vulnerable, in this series, often wear dark, armor-like clothing, high collars and neckwear, (Abigail, Will, Margo). Characters that don’t feel that way, and are more open about their feelings, wear more open clothing, in lighter colors, like Alana, Mason, and  Hannibal.

For more on Hannibal’s style of dress:

Stylishly Executed – The Clothes of Hannibal & How To Dress Like Lecter

 

 

Tumblr Talks About Media

 Shonda Rhimes new Shakespearean drama, Still Star Crossed, which I’m totally here for, and the deeply (and I mean deeply) ignorant backlash against this, as if black people hadn’t been invented until 1964.

ABC Orders Shondaland’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ Sequel, “Still Star-Crossed”

ABC’s “Still Star-Crossed” stars Wade Briggs as Benvolio, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline & Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus

Written by Heather Mitchell, and based on the book by Melinda Taub, the “Romeo & Juliet” sequel is titled “Still Star-Crossed” and is set in 16th century Verona, picking up where Shakespeare’s original work ended. It chronicles the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.

Teaser Trailer:

https://youtu.be/TVwa9wQq40Q

 

Source:

Oh quit bullshitting like this isn’t about your racism. Anthony Hopkins did Titus Andronicus as a half-dream half art piece with Saturnius and Bassanius using podiums and 1950′s style microphones to argue which one of them should be king. Kenneth Branagh did Hamlet in the Victorian Era. David Tennant did Hamlet in a fucking t-shirt. “Sons of Anarchy” was based on the story of Hamlet and it was about a motorcycle club running guns to the IRA. Don’t give me any shit about fucking ‘historical accuracy’ you fucking ponce, it’s SHAKESPEARE- it’s literally been done by a dog dressed in little hats and jackets (Wishbone, I never forgot you) and Wednesday and Pugsley Adams. If you have a problem with this you are not only a racist asshat, but you are so damn ignorant of Shakespeare I don’t even fucking know why you bothered to have an opinion except to let people KNOW you are a racist asshat.

And I mean, all good Shakespeare companies blind cast. Shakespeare companies pretty much invented that. An African-American actor was playing King Lear in the 1820s in London, yet  people still get bent out of shape over actors of color in Shakespeare in the 2010s. It’s a long tradition, unlike the movie and TV tradition of casting people of color mostly in small roles and only “when there’s a reason for it.”

 *These are the type of criticisms PoC get from people who know no form of history, or have ever read Shakespeare, but have the nerve to go online and make arguments like the ones above.
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*And finally, this happened. I have since heard that the lead female character from Castle was ousted from the show because Nathan Fillion hated the actress. Interesting behind the scenes rumors.

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