Saturday, January 7, 2017

Niblets

There's been a smattering of media consumed in the Mouse house lately, although nothing earth-shaking:

The Shallows - A decent, short, survival horror flick of the hot chick vs. man-eating shark variety, starring the gorgeous Blake Lively.  Her surfer girl is catching some waves on a secluded Mexico beach when she is attacked by a shark and must fight for survival, clinging to a rock and a buoy with only a wounded seagull for moral support.  There was a squirm-inducing self-surgery scene and I jumped a couple times.  I do question how much a person could actually have their eyes open underwater in the ocean, but that's a minor quibble, really, for an inoffensive B-movie.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams's book is in fact nothing like the television series, other than there's a character with the name of Dirk Gently and he's British.  Everything else is different.  Everything.  In the book, there's ghosts and robots and ... I liked the show much, much better, actually.

All You Need Is Kill - This novel, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, is the source material for the Emily Blunt/Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow, recently seen and enjoyed.  The movie does differ from the book in some respects, although it is fairly faithful.

I've tried a couple of episodes each from a couple of Netflix originals, Trollhunters and Crazyhead, but was not impressed enough to explore further.  There is so much out there that if I am not immediately drawn in, a la Stranger Things or Jessica Jones, I lose patience.  The next one I'm going to try is The OA, which has gotten good reviews so I'm hopeful.

Finally, Mr. Mouse and I are doing a New Year decluttering around the house and I've been going through all our books.  We have a lot and we're trying to only keep the ones to which we have a personal connection.  While I was going through the stacks, I found the first three books of Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet: A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.  I plowed through the first one and am on the second already.  But I don't think I've ever read the last two books so now I'm thrilled to be able to finish the series.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Midseason break

We're in the midseason break after all the "fall finales" - when did that become a thing, by the way? - and all of a sudden I have all this time on my hands since I'm not watching all the television.  We (both Mr. Mouse and I) have enjoyed Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Search Party and People of Earth and as mentioned here previously, I found Sweet/Vicious to scratch an itch I didn't realize I had.  Westworld was decent as well; the latest run of Black Mirror was excellent; and while I didn't love Luke Cage as much as I did Jessica Jones, I would still rank it higher than Daredevil's second season.

I've also been able to watch a couple of movies, neither of which have moved me to do full reviews here but each which at least merit a mention.

Guillermo del Toro's mismarketed and under-watched Crimson Peak was gorgeous, with amazing set design, costuming and atmosphere.  It definitely suffered from a lack of plot, I thought, and was clearly more of a Gothic romance than a ghost story as the movie's marketing team would have had us think.

I did enjoy Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.  I am not a Tom Cruise fan but he was pretty good here, a darkly funny Groundhog Day-esque sci-fi thriller in which the day the European ground forces are annihilated by the invading alien menace gets reset each time Cruise's character dies.  As the A.V. Club said, there was something satisfying about watching the guy get shot in the head over and over and over again.  And I put Emily Blunt's "full metal bitch" character up with Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor as kick-ass science fiction movie heroines; she doesn't get the depth the other two do (plus they have multiple movies/a television series to build on) but she's pretty great.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Walking Dead S7E8 "Hearts Still Beating" 12/11/16

Here's me complaining again about these extended episodes ... why? why? why? why? Is it just to sell more advertising?  Because this episode, while it had two great bits, one good one and ended on a hopeful note, was clearly stretched thin to fill out the running time.  I'm going to try to be succinct here, especially since there's not a whole lot of compelling dialogue.

Hilltop.  Sad Maggie visits Glen's grave before climbing to a lookout post on the Hilltop wall. Whatsisname Gregory comes out and gives her shit about how all the Hilltopians seem to treating her like a hero after that night with the bonfires and the cars and the zombies.  He says don't let it go to your head; she's like, don't let it bother you - seems like it bothers you.  He's about to bite into a tasty-looking apple when another Hilltopian chimes in, "Dude, you know she's pregnant."  Gregory tosses the apple to Maggie who bites in with a little smirk.  [That's the good bit.  She's totally going to end up running that place.

Alexandria.  Negan showers, changes and makes spaghetti dinner.  He's very skinny without his leather jacket and he's hardly scary anymore.  He just talks a lot and taunts people mostly.  He makes Carl set the table.  Outside, Spenser hands over his crossbow and some of the cache he found to the Saviors, sucking up to them a bit.  Because he's a weasel.

Sanctuary.  Daryl escapes his box, finds someone's room (Dwight's, I think) and changes his clothes, snarfing down a jar of peanut butter as he goes.  He sneaks into the motorcycle holding pen and, when he is surprised by a Savior, beats the guy to death with a stick.  Daryl takes the guy's gun just as Jesus pokes his head around the corner.  The two of them take a motorcycle (or two, it's not clear) and sneak away.  I guess nobody really pays attention to much at the Sanctuary when Negan is out on a run.  It's pretty brutal what Daryl does to that Savior but he's had a rough time lately - it's understandable.

Pond.  Rick and Aaron find a bullet-holed dinghy and paddle through the gauntlet of floating walkers towards the houseboat.  The dinghy takes on water quickly; they get attacked by walkers and Aaron gets pulled under.  But he gets away, swimming unscathed to the houseboat while Rick manages to get the dinghy there.  They find a fair amount of food, a taunting note ("Hooray: you win but you still really lose") and a bunch of guns, but no ammo.  They cut the houseboat's mooring and drift to shore, then load up their truck and head back to Alexandria.

Kingdom.  Carol catches Morgan leaving some fresh vegetables on her porch.  He didn't intend to disturb her but she asks him in, just for a bit, muttering that people are having a tough time leaving her alone.  When he turns to go, Richard (?) is on the porch: he wants them to help him convince Ezekiel to rise up and fight against the Saviors.  He says, "Carol, I imagine that violence and fighting is something you haven't been a part of."  The looks on Carol's and Morgan's faces are fucking hilarious.  [That's one of the great bits.]  But they tell him no, they won't have any part of it: Morgan because he doesn't want to kill people and Carol ... because the writers are making her not want to kill people right now.  We all know that she's going to come around and kick all kinds of ass, but in the meantime we just get sulking.  Richard pouts and leaves.

Out on the road.  Michonne tries to get some information from the Savior driving the car: why were you out there alone, how long you been with Negan, etc.?  But the woman won't talk.  She drives to an overlook: down below are many, many people.  She says to Michonne that it's Negan down there, they are ALL Negan down there.  Then she turns off the car, tells Michonne to ditch it where she likes and that there's a silencer in the glovebox.  Next is a long shot: we hear a muffled pop, then Michonne slides over into the driver's seat and drives out of there.  I guess we'll never know why that Savior was out there alone - it had to be at least a little interesting, seeing how the Saviors never go anywhere not in packs.

Hilltop.  Enid reads people well and she picks up on the fact that Sasha is planning to kill Negan but is keeping it from Maggie.  Enid's like, what if you had help?  It isn't just you.  And while we in the audience know Enid is referring to Carl, Sasha doesn't and she's all, it sure feels like it's just me.  [And Michonne, and Rosita ...]

Alexandria.  Speaking of Rosita, Father Gabriel finds her in the chapel.  She feels alone after Abraham's death and she's willing to risk her life to take Negan's.  He tells her she's not alone, that the group needs her and that they will fight back - just maybe not today.  He asks her not to throw her life away.  She seems unconvinced.  In another part of town, Spenser cleans up and takes a half bottle of scotch over to Rick's house where Negan is holding court.  He weasels his way up onto the porch and they drink, and then later Spenser says the guy across the street has a pool table in his garage and they drag it out and start playing pool in the middle of the street.  A crowd starts to gather, Saviors and Alexandrians, watching.

Rick and Aaron arrive at Alexandria and the Saviors unload their haul.  Unfortunately, Aaron left that taunting note in one of the crates and the Saviors decide that he's being disrespectful.  Then they proceed to kick the shit out of him, although they don't kill him.  Back at the pool table, Spenser thinks he's getting on well with Negan and makes a play for Negan to get rid of Rick, who "has a history of not working well with others," and setting Spenser up as leader of Alexandria.  Such a weasel.  Negan may be crazy but he's not actually stupid - he knows Spenser is a weasel too.  So he takes out a giant knife and unzips Spenser's belly.  The guts LITERALLY spill out onto the ground.  Ick.  Ain't nobody going to miss that guy.

This obviously raises the tension in the general area.  The Saviors start waving their guns around; the Alexandrians - including Carl, Olivia, Rosita, Tara, Father Gabriel and Eugene - are shocked.  As Negan yammers on and on, Rosita can't take it anymore, hauls out her forbidden gun with its handmade bullet and fires it at Negan's head.  And even though everyone on this fucking show can take out a zombie with a pistol headshot from fifty yards away, she MISSES from a distance of ten feet, hitting Lucille (the barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat that Negan is all weird about) instead.  This of course makes him really crazy.  Rosita gets tackled, a knife held to her face.  Negan picks up the shell and wants to know who made the bullet. Rosita says she did.  He doesn't believe her and tells one of his Saviors to kill somebody.  Poor Olivia gets a bullet between the eyes just as Rick and Aaron stagger up.  Tara speaks up that she made the bullet.  Negan doesn't believe her either and is all about to kill someone else and then Eugene, terrified out of his mind, shrieks that it was him, he made it.  Negan believes him, so he bids Alexandria farewell, taking Rick and Aaron's scavenge haul with him (noting that it isn't enough) and also taking Eugene.  Guess we all know what Eugene's job is going to be at the Sanctuary.

When Michonne gets back, she finds Rick (who has been trying to process the fact that both his son and Rosita separately tried to kill their oppressor) and tells him that even though there are way more Saviors than they thought, they have to figure out a way to fight Negan.  Rick's all, yeah, you're right, we can't keep on like this.

Hilltop.  Sad Maggie visits Glen's grave before climbing to a lookout post on the Hilltop wall.  Then she smiles and yells to Sasha and Enid because someone has come to visit: Rick, Carl, Michonne, Rosita and Tara.  Everyone hugs and then Daryl and Jesus come out from around a corner.  And this is the other great part: the looks on Daryl's and Rick's faces as they walk to each other and embrace, Daryl burying his face in Rick's shoulder.  [God, I love Daryl.  Remember how sketchy he was at the beginning?]  And then this group all stands around and sappily smiles at each other before walking en masse towards the Hiltop mansion.  This is the group who will rise up against Negan.  They won't all survive, of course, but this is who'll do it (plus Morgan and Carol).

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Walking Dead S7E7 "Sing Me a Song" 12/4/16

Oh dear holy humping hell - why the FUCK are they doing all these extended episodes?  Negan talks and talks and talks and talks and fucking talks and a few other things happen around the edges but there is NO WAY that it merited 90 minutes.  I've bitched before that Andrew Lincoln/Rick isn't a strong enough actor to carry a whole episode.  Well, Chandler Riggs/Carl is soooooooooo not good enough an actor to lift so heavy a load.  At least Jeffrey Dean Morgan/Negan is around to talk and talk and talk and talk ....

Michonne goes out on her own.  She whistles to attract walkers, calmly slices their heads open with her sword and then drags them off.  From the bloody smears on the road, it's apparent that she's done this before.  Rosita drags Eugene off to that workshop he and Abraham found however long ago: she is going to force Eugene to make a bullet for her.  Spencer and Father Gabriel try to get them to come with on a scavenging run but Rosita is focused and tells Spencer to leave her the hell alone.  Spencer is too busy whining about how much Rick sucks to worry about her too much.

As the truck nears the Saviors' Sanctuary, Jesus tells Carl how to jump out of the truck and roll into the driver's blindspot so as not to be seen.  Carl's like, cool, you go first.  Jesus jumps out, rolls away and hides; Carl gives him a little wave and then fades back into the truck, picking out a choice semi-automatic rifle as he hides.  When the truck stops for unloading, Carl fires at will, killing two guys and shouting that he's only here for Negan.  Negan strolls up and Carl is quickly tackled, Daryl warily watching from behind a chainlink fence.

Negan decides that he will try to turn Carl to the dark side because it'll be fun.  He walks him through the complex, an old factory of some sort, showing off as people kneel before him, being benevolent as he promises fresh vegetables for everyone for continuing to follow the rules.  He shows Carl his harem - eight or so attractive women that Negan calls his "wives,' all wearing little black dresses, sitting in a fairly well-appointed room.  Dwight and Daryl stop by, having prepared a crudite tray (I shit you not).  Negan sends the two of them off to fire up the furnace and fetch a mop, then has Carl carry the crudite tray off to his private rooms.

Spencer and Gabriel drive and Spencer can't stop talking about how much Rick sucks.  So Gabriel tells him he's a shithead and that he's walking back to town.  Spencer: ???  Then Spencer hears something, runs out into the woods and finds a zombie - a former survivalist/hunter, still wielding a compound bow and stuck in a tree in a deer stand.  Spencer tugs the zombie out of the tree, collects the weapons and discovers a list in the dead man's pocket of all the supply caches hidden in the woods.  Score!

Negan talks and talks at Carl.  He makes the boy take the bandage off his wounded eye socket, makes Carl "sing [him] a song" while Negan dances around, swinging Lucille like a maniac, switching from menacing to cajoling to jovial on a dime.  Carl still has a little backbone in him but all he can do is tread water here, wondering WTF is coming next.  What's next: Negan brings Carl down to the furnace room.  Everyone is there, including a bound man ("Mark") who broke the rules and is due for punishment.  In this case, it's like how Dwight got punished: by having Negan press a red-hot iron into the side of Mark's face while he screams and then passes out.  Carl and Daryl trade quick looks, like holyshitomigoddidyoujustseethatpsychoshit.  Negan has made his point. I suspect the people living at the Sanctuary will toe the line, at least for a while.

At that workshop. Eugene doesn't want to enable Rosita in her seemingly suicidal quest to kill Negan.  She yells at him and says some mean but true things and repeats, over and over, "Make me a bullet."  Eugene makes her a bullet.

Negan talks and talks at Carl some more, then decides to take him back to Alexandria.  Just before they leave, Daryl is all, "If you do anything to [Carl] ..." and Negan's all, "Dwight, Daryl needs a time-out.  Put him back in his box for a while."  But while he is in his box, someone slips a piece of paper under the door.  There are some keys (?) taped to it and it reads, GO NOW.

Michonne has dragged enough walker corpses into a pile in the middle of the road that one of Negan's people (a red-headed woman) can't drive past.  Michonne ambushes her, taking her gun and her knife and forces her back into the car.  "Take me to Negan," says Michonne.

Back at Alexandria, Negan makes Carl take him to his and Rick's house.  Olivia is there, babysitting Judith.  Negan bullies her, makes her cry and then suggests that they go bone a while, just to pass the time.  Shocked, she slaps him in the face.  Negan just laughs, then leans in and tells her, "I am about 50% more into you now." He tells her to go make him and Carl some lemonade.  After she scurries off, he makes Carl take him on a tour of the house.  Carl tries to avoid his little sister's bedroom but Negan isn't to be put off.  He seems quite taken with the toddler, picking her up and cuddling her.  He and Carl sit on the porch, drinking lemonade, Judith in Negan's lap.  Negan is finding this suburban life all quite pleasant, actually, and he muses that maybe he should just kill Rick and Carl and move in.  Carl just glares daggers at him.

What, you ask, has Rick been doing all this time?  He and Aaron are out on a scavenging run.  They find a place with a big sign basically telling people to go away or they'll be shot ... and at the bottom, if they've read this far, then [the guy whose place it is] is dead and they can "have at it, assholes."  Rick and Aaron climb the fence and walk in, thinking they might find guns and ammo.  What they find is a pond with a houseboat moored in the center and dozens of walkers floating and moored around it.  Pretty clever, actually - still protecting the supplies, even after death.  Guess they'll go after it next episode.

I mean, I get all this.  Negan is an asshole, a sadist, an utter lunatic, but he verges on charming as well.  He's certainly the closest thing this show has to someone who is interesting - which is awful because he's a bad person.  But he's more interesting than Rick, certainly, so even though he is a crazy, scary, sadistic motherfucker, so he's almost becoming the main character.  I just find his schtick exhausting.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Walking Dead S7E6 "Swear" 11/27/16

God help us, yet another episode when nothing happens - not even hardly any zombies, which get less and less scary with every season and which have nearly been "reduced to an environmental hazard at this point." (A.V. Club)

A couple of girls walk up the beach, taking out whatever walkers they find washed up on the shore.  They also find Tara (remember her? Last seen after Rick and the Alexandrians took out the Saviors' outpost, after which she and Heath headed out on a two-week scavenging mission.  So it has ONLY been two weeks in the show's time. Bleh.)washed up on the shore.  The younger one, Rachel, is about to kill her - kill all strangers as a matter of course - but the older one, Cindy, keeps her from it, saving her life.  Cindy drags Tara above the high tide line.  This is the current timeline.

Flashback:  Tara and Heath are nearing the end of their two-week scavenger hunt.  They argue a bit about the meaning of life these days - Tara's all, we belong with other people, in communities, together.  Out on a bridge, they get attacked by a swarm of walkers and separated.  Tara ends up getting knocked off the bridge and washed down river, which is how she ended up on the beach.

Now: Tara comes to after Cindy leaves her a spear, some water and a dried fish.  When Cindy heads back to her settlement, Oceanside, Tara follows her and if Oceanside has any defenses, they aren't any good because Tara walks right in.  She skulks around in the underbrush for a while, noticing that (a) there's only women in this encampment and (b) they have a substantial stockpile of guns and ammo.  And then she gets noticed and captured.

I'm guessing that the writers are using Tara as a little bit of comic relief because her lies are appallingly bad when her captors interrogate her about where she's from.  They aren't that rough on her, however, because she gets invited to dinner with the head of Oceanside and several others, including Cindy.  They invite her to stay with them because they don't want her going off and telling anyone else about their community.

They used to be in another place but Negan and the Saviors attacked them, killing all the males over the age of ten.  They ran and found this place, by the ocean with lots of food, and have been killing strangers ever since to protect themselves.  Tara's all, but I have a girlfriend [Ed.: oops] and I have to go back.  So they agree that one of them will go with her, ostensibly to check out Alexandria and see if it might be an ally.

In the morning, Tara, "Beatrice" and "Cathy" leave Oceanside, heading back to that bridge so Tara can maybe find Heath again.  En route, however, Tara figures out that the other two have been told to kill her once they're far enough from the community.  She makes a run for it and almost gets away before Beatrice catches her.

But Cindy has been tailing them and knocks Beatrice over the head, saving Tara's life again.  They go back to the bridge and Cindy says she'll help pick off the milling walkers so Tara can get across.  But first, she makes Tara swear (SWEAR) that she will keep Oceanside a secret.  Tara swears and then battles her way across the bridge, Cindy shooting as many zombies as she can before Beatrice and Cathy show up to take her back to Oceanside.

Once across the bridge, Heath is nowhere to be found but their RV is gone, leaving only ruts in the mud behind.  She shrugs hopefully and then starts walking back to Alexandria.  When she gets there and Eugene opens the gate for her, she has a big grin on her face - but he is only sad because he's the one who ends up telling her about Denise (off-screen).

Later, Rosita finds Tara sitting sadly in the clinic, mourning her murdered girlfriend.  Rosita's all, we have to fight back - all we need are lots of weapons and ammunition.  For a moment, Tara is quiet and we are all meant to think that she's going to give Oceanside up.  But she doesn't, honoring her promise to Cindy and instead telling Rosita that she didn't see anything like that out there.

I dunno.  It was okay, I guess.  It was nice to spend time with Tara, who we really hadn't gotten to know.  But this episode advanced the plot not at all.  Sigh.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Walking Dead S7E5 "Go-Getters" 11/20/16

I almost just can't anymore with this show.  I'm starting to dread watching it and of the first five episodes, the one with Ezekiel and Carol was the only one I enjoyed, followed by the Daryl-centric one that I didn't enjoy but didn't find tedious and/or horrible.  This one, "Go-Getters," is tedious.  There is interminable talking.  So much talking.  Just going let you know that up front.

We're spending most of this week up at Hilltop, where Maggie and Sasha have come for Maggie's medical care.  (She's fine, by the way, just needs to stay off her feet for a while.)  They have also brought Glen and Abraham's bodies with them to Hilltop (why? why didn't the main group take them back to Alexandria?  Could Maggie and Sasha just not bear to say goodbye?) and buried them within the walls.  This proves to be a problem for Gregory, Hilltop's cowardly, sneering, weaselly leader.  He's all, we burn our dead, not bury them!  Plus, you have to leave because if Negan finds out that we're harboring you, it's bad news for everyone.  Jesus promises Maggie and Sasha that they can stay.

For a brief interlude back at Alexandria, Rick and Aaron head out on a scavenging run because the pressure is on to provide for Negan.  Both Michonne and Carl are at best ambivalent about the new state of things.  Michonne stalks out into the woods, telling Carl she needs to work through some shit.  Carl practices throwing darts and his aim is SHIT now because he only has one eye.  Heh.  Also, Enid decides she's going to walk to Hilltop to see how Maggie is doing.  Carl tries to talk her out of it but over the wall she goes.

Back at Hilltop, everyone is awoken in the middle of the night by a ruckus: apparently Hilltop doesn't post nighttime sentries because the Saviors have (1) opened the town's gates, (2) lit a bunch of bonfires and (3) brought in a car blasting music which (4) attracts all sorts of walkers.  Seriously, Hilltop?  No one is keeping watch?  Maggie and Sasha have been locked into their trailer for some reason (?) but climb out through a vent at the top.  The rest of the Hilltopians are COMPLETELY USELESS, even after Maggie shouts at them to get the gates closed.  So while Sasha and Jesus singlehandedly (doublehandedly) take down every single zombie - and there's a lot, so it's pretty badass - Maggie finds herself a tractor and runs over the music-blasting car until it is crunched into pieces and thus no longer blasting music.  They get the gates closed and everybody goes back to bed.

Carl takes a car and finds Enid (wrecking the car in the process, which seems wasteful) and accompanies her to Hilltop.  Along the way, they find rollerskates and skate together for a while, holdings hands.  It's cute, I guess, and shows that underneath it all they're still kids but it seems like an incredibly bad idea.  I mean, can you imagine fighting walkers on rollerskates?

In the morning, Simon, a Negan-surrogate, shows up at Hilltop with a small army.  Simon badgers Gregory for a while before sending the Saviors out to collect half of Hilltop's stuff.  Gregory, who is definitely a coward with a sense of self preservation, tries to curry favor with Simon by turning Maggie and Sasha over to him.  But Jesus has stashed them away in a different closet than Gregory thought, and all Gregory ends up doing is handing over his entire stash of scotch.

Outside the walls, Enid tells Carl that she knows he's out to kill Negan.  She thinks he shouldn't do it, not because that crazy asshole doesn't deserve it but because she's worried about how it might change him.  And they even smooch.  But he's not backing down so she sneaks into Hilltop and finds Maggie and Sasha and they all have grilled cheese and tomato soup together.

After the Saviors head out to load their trucks with their collected booty, Gregory and Jesus have words of sorts, Gregory insisting that Maggie and Sasha must go.  Jesus puts his foot down and Gregory's all, you know, if you want to be in charge you can, but you have to stick around and stop wandering outside the walls.  Jesus is all, no, I don't want to be in charge but these two are staying.  Gregory gives up and walks away.  Maggie and Sasha are all, that dude should not be in charge.  Jesus is like, I'm pretty sure I know who should be (with a knowing look at Maggie).  When Maggie heads off to rest, Sasha asks Jesus if he can find out where exactly Negan lives.  Seems like she's got the same idea as Carl.

So when the Savior trucks roll out, Jesus hops into the back of the one designated for Negan.  He helps himself to some of that scotch before starting to pour it out the back of the truck.  He is only slightly surprised when Carl pokes his head out from behind some boxes: "Hey."

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead


Thursday, November 17, 2016

My favorite new show: Sweet/Vicious

Picture this:  a tiny blonde sorority girl and a tiny non-blonde tech whiz girl joins forces to fight monsters on campus.  First thing you thought of was Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Buffy and Willow, right?  Well add this to the pantheon:  MTV's new scripted series, Sweet/Vicious, about Jules (sorority girl) and Ophelia (drug dealer/hacker) who team up vigilante-superhero-style to take down the frat boy rapists at their college.  This time the monsters are people but that doesn't not stop our heroines from kicking all kinds of ass.  It's like if Veronica Mars teamed up with Buffy, minus the superpowers. 

To my great surprise (I mean, it's on MTV for hell's sake), I really like this show.  The first episode just aired on Tuesday but the first three episodes are available on demand.  It's funny and heartbreaking and very clear in its message opposing sexual assault against women.  And in the trying times that are now, it seems especially important.  I do not condone violence perpetrated against people but there is something imminently satisfying about watching young, entitled rapists getting the shit kicked out of them.

Image result for mtv sweet vicious

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Walking Dead S7E4 "Service" 11/13/16

Are you frigging kidding me?  It was utterly unnecessary to have an 85 minute episode for the itty-bitty amount of story that was covered.  Yes, it was a break from unmitigated misery but nothing happened and no-one's character got advanced much at all.  Too much of the Negan and Rick show: Negan is annoying and Andrew Lincoln is just not a good enough actor for such slow-paced focus.  This fucking show.  Seriously, though, when do we get to go back to the Kingdom, King Ezekiel and Shiva?

We are back in Alexandria, with the survivors of the Negan encounter trying to get their shit together after watching their friends get their heads beat in, and the other Alexandrians who weren't there not really understanding the severity of their situation.  Rick is like a sleepwalker.  Michonne, who has hidden a high-powered rifle up the chimney, sneaks out early to go stalking through the fields.  Rosita and Spenser get ready to go out on a scavenging tour in anticipation of Negan's visit later in the week.

Except Negan has decided not to wait for the week he promised them.  Instead, he has arrived at the gates with multiple trucks and lots of heavily armed Saviors and poor Daryl.  Rick opens the gate and Negan saunters in, saying that they aren't there for food - they've decided to come and take half of whatever else Alexandria may have.  And by "half" he means pretty much any damn thing he wants.  He prances around and intimidates Rick, making him carry Lucille as the Saviors move through the town, pulling out furniture and artwork and weapons and mattresses and medicine.  Dwight leers and paws at Rosita and sends her and Spenser out of town - sans guns - telling her to fetch back Daryl's motorcycle.  Rick tries to ask Daryl how he's doing and Negan is all NUH-UH you don't look at Daryl and you don't talk to Daryl or someone gets their head beat in.  Rick quivers into a jellyfish.  Plus, Negan asks Daryl if he wants to stay in Alexandria; Daryl is smart enough not to say anything and Rick's all, wow, they really did a number on him.

Out in that field, ostensibly out of earshot of Alexandria, Michonne wastes a huge number of bullets trying to take down one approaching zombie.  She is a terrible shot and ends up slicing its head in two.  Then, when she makes her way into the woods, she notes that one of her errant shots managed to take down a good-sized deer.  She looks sad about it but at least she can bring back some more food.

Out in the woods, Rosita and Spenser find Daryl's motorcyle, right where it was left when Denise got killed.  As Spenser gets it into the van, he bitches at Rosita about how Rick has fucked everything up and gotten all sorts of people killed and maybe they should have made a deal with Negan before everything got so dire.  Spenser is an asshole but he does have a point.  Rosita detours into the woods, finds a small herd of walkers and methodically takes them out with her hunting knife.  She picks over the newly-still corpses, finding a handgun on one of them.  No bullets, but still it's a gun.

Back in Alexandria Negan is SO ANNOYING that he's barely scary.  He talks and talks and talks and browbeats Rick, who glowers and tries not to glower and mopes.  There's a bit of a tense moment when Carl WHO NEEDS A FUCKING HAIRCUT OMG objects to the Saviors taking all of Alexandria's medicines.  But no one dies.  And then there's another tense moment when Negan cleans out Alexandria's armory and two guns that are listed on Olivia's inventory are missing.  Negan says that she's bad at her job and unless those two guns are found, he'll kill her.  So all the Alexandrians search all the houses and Rick finds the two guns in Spenser's house, hidden in an airduct with food and booze.  Rick brings the guns to Negan and no one dies.

Rosita and Spenser come back and hand over Daryl's motorcyle to Dwight.  Michonne comes back and Rick immediately gives Negan her rifle - which had not been on Olivia's inventory so Negan wasn't even looking for it.  Negan takes the deer too.  The Saviors roll out, Negan warning Rick that the Alexandrians better have something interesting for him when he comes back next week for their payment.

After they're gone, Spenser has the temerity to talk some smack to Rick about Glen and Abraham (asshole move since he wasn't even there).  Rick, proving that he's not entirely a jellyfish, growls that if Spenser says anything like that to him again, he'll break Spenser's jaw and knock out all his teeth.  Prediction: Spenser's mouth will get him in trouble and he dies before the season ends.  Rosita goes to see Eugene and, handing him an empty casing, asks him to make her a bullet.  Michonne is obviously upset with the life that is now in front of them and upset with Rick for refusing to stand up to Negan.  Rick begs her to try to accept things as they are.  He can't take anyone else dying on his watch.  Her eyes soften and she promises to try.  But later, a frustrated Michonne goes back out to her field to see if there are any zombies she can skewer.  There aren't, but she sees smoke: the Saviors have dumped all the mattresses they took from the Alexandrians on the road and set fire to them, just to be complete assholes.

That's the general gist.  There was a scene with all the Alexandrians in the church and Rick making a speech about how they can't fight the Saviors; and Father Gabriel cleverly digs a fake grave and puts a Maggie headstone on it (she's been taken to Hilltop, remember, for medical help), so that Negan thinks she's dead and doesn't go looking for her.  But if I've missed anything, I'm sorry - I just couldn't bear to watch the whole thing again other than in fast-forward.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Walking Dead S7E3 "The Cell" 11/6/16

And here we are, back again for more misery a la The Walking Dead.  Actually, this episode isn't as unrelentingly horrific as the first one - I mean, christ, it's just zombies.  It's not like it's actually scary these days.

This recap will go pretty quickly.  Here's what happens in a nutshell: Negan keeps Daryl in a cell with Dwight as his keeper.  They try to break him but during the process we actually get to learn Dwight's motivation and feel some sympathy for him.  That's it.  And we have to spend a whole episode getting there.

To start, a musical montage:  to the jaunty tune of "A Town Called Malice," Dwight goes about his days, taking what he wants from less fortunate Saviors.  They all make sure to kneel down when Negan comes through though.  There's a fence where various walkers are fastened, by chains or impalement, or what have you.  It looks either like a psychological deterrent for Negan's people or possibly a line of defense.  Could be both.  After watching those captive walkers for a while, Dwight feeds a naked and filthy captive Daryl a dog food sandwich.

We also get to spend some time with Daryl, in his dank, dark cell with a terrible, cheerful song being pumped in night and day so he just can't sleep.  That fucking song ("On Easy Street") almost drives me crazy and I only have to put up with it for less than one episode.  Darryl doesn't look so good.  He's exhausted and starving and shaking and won't look his captors in the eye.  He gets a doctor's check-up and en route there a girl - Dwight's wife from that episode when she and Dwight stole Daryl's motorcycle and crossbow - tries to talk to Daryl, offer some words of warning.  He barely looks like he comprehends anything, although on the way back to his cell, he perks up a little watching the fence of walkers with other prisoners tending to them.  Dwight grabs him, shoving his face into the fence:  "That's you, asshole, unless you're smart.  Your choice.  You can be like them, or me, or them."

Later, when Dwight volunteers to go track down a Savior runaway, Daryl takes advantage of the substitute keeper who (1) forgets to restart "On Easy Street" and (2) doesn't quite latch the cell door.  Daryl tries the door and sneaks out.  Dwight's wife sees him and cautions him against it, saying that she tried to run once and when she was brought back, it was much, much worse.  Daryl is determined, however, and makes it outside to where a bunch of motorcycles are parked.  He frantically runs from bike to bike, trying to start one of them.  But it's a set-up:  Negan and a bunch of thugs come into the courtyard behind him.  Negan offers Daryl a chance to join him, to be one of his guys, to live better than the rest, not to be tied to earning like the others.  All he has to do is give the right answer when Negan asks what his name is.  And the right answer is "Negan."  Daryl isn't ready to say anything, however, so Negan's thugs beat him up a bit before tossing him back in his cell.

Meanwhile, Dwight stupidly gets caught out under an overpass when zombies fall off the edge and on top of him.  His motorcycle gets dented and he is forced to fight for his life.  Obviously he's distracted because someone with his experience shouldn't have been caught like that - there were splattered and broken zombies all over the road, for chrissakes.  He finally catches up to the guy who has run away.  The guy begs Dwight to let him go, asks Dwight to come with him, saying that life under Negan is no life at all - after everything Negan did to Dwight's wife?  Dwight says shut up, she's not my wife.  Other guy: Not anymore.  The other guy is desperate, saying it's okay if Dwight kills him but he just can't go back.  Dwight, looking pretty desperate himself:  "You will [go back], it's the only way."  The other guy pleads with him, then turns around, his back to Dwight, and Dwight raises his gun and sorrowfully shoots him.

When Dwight gets back, he stops by to see Daryl,  reminding him that he's the one who got [Glenn] killed and that he, Darryl, should himself be dead except that Negan's taken a shine to him.  He leaves Daryl with a Polaroid of Glenn's smushed head for a keepsake.  This, plus a new song ("Crying Over You") makes Daryl cry.  Sometime later, Negan calls Dwight and Daryl to his room.  There's a lot of talking in which we learned that after Dwight and Sherry (his wife) stole Daryl's cycle and bow, they were recaptured by Negan.  Negan put a hot iron to Dwight's face and appropriated his "superhot" wife, but now - according to Negan - they're cool and Dwight is one of Negan's lieutenants.  So yadda yadda yadda (Negan really likes to hear himself talk), Negan wants to know if Daryl is ready to join up.  "What's your name?" snarls Negan.  Daryl: "Daryl."  Dwight's all, jesusfuckingchristwhatareyoudoing? But Negan's all, it's cool, he made his choice - ain't my problem if it's a dumbass choice.

Dwight throws Daryl back into his cell, shouting, "You're going to end up in this room or on that fence!"  He seems genuinely upset that Daryl won't save himself.  Daryl, who up until this point has said about three words all episode, looks up at him: "I get why you did it, why you took it.  You were thinkin' about someone else.  That's why I can't."  Dwight slams the cell door and goes out to stare at the fence of walkers.  There's a new one chained there: the guy Dwight had been sent to fetch back, clearly killed by a shot through the back.  Dwight was right.  That guy did come back.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Delayed Dead

The next recap of The Walking Dead will be a little late next week - Wednesday at the earliest.  But I figure that's okay as we've got enough of a horror show with the days coming up to, as well as the actual, election.  Courage, mes amis!  We'll be back with the less-scary zombie apocalypse soon enough.