Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer DVR Dump: The Librarians 3.03: “And the Reunion of Evil”

“I don’t think you’re fragile. I think you’re too smart to be this reckless.”
- Jake

So it appears that the team is going to be split in two this week. Cassie and Jake are off in the mountains of Sweden tracking an artifact (that apparently Flynn was supposed to grab but he’s off chasing Charlene so he couldn’t do it). Cassie wants to use magic and Jake is against it (that’s going to be a running theme I’m sure). When an intruder attacks and Jake gets distracted, Cassie does use some magic to free the artifact….which then ends up nestling itself in her chest! They need to get back to the Library but end up in caught in a blizzard. They find an inn and hope to use the phone but there’s a reunion going on and they are not normal people. Cassie uses some goggles she rigged and sees that they all look like mystical creatures. I’m guessing elves or giants.

Back at the Library, Eve is trying to get Ezekiel to be more heroic and leader-like (like the game simulation last season). She’s set up a series of obstacles and traps that she wants him to guide her through using only his voice. But he wigs out and is more interested in playing a game on his phone. Plus, he’s got a point. She set up the traps so there’s no real risk. But when Jenkins says he needs to fix an incubator for Nessie’s egg, Eve gloms on and sets Ezekiel to the task of keeping the egg warm until Jenkins is finished.

Cassie and Jake get split up pretty quickly as the festivities begin. Jake kind of bonds with the guys and uses his super smart Art history brain to blend in. And as the evening goes on, it becomes more obvious these guys are not normal (or good). And Cassie isn’t faring much better. She’s getting hit on by one of the women (who apparently had a thing with the guy Jake is pretending to be a few centuries back). But Cassie does learn that they are all there to share the power of the crystal (aka the artifact currently residing in her sternum). Oh boy. And back at the Library, Jenkins and Eve are trying to get to our duo but it’s proving difficult since the door Jenkins opened up was a giant block of ice and Ezekiel is now busy taking his egg sitting duties somewhat seriously. What a time to be literal, man!

Cassie manages to sneak away and tries to contact the Library but her goggles short out. She does eventually get Jake to see that his drinking buddies are not human and they need to find a way out, especially since there is a very real possibility that the evil guys will eat Cassie for the crystal currently residing in her chests. Meanwhile, Jenkins, Eve and Ezekiel figure out that the baddies are the Frost Giants and they are in fact after the crystal. Some of them even have weather-control powers (turns out Ezekiel was tracking weather patterns to make sure he wasn’t missing out on the fun). I guess he wasn’t being as annoying and duty-averse as we all thought. That doesn’t help our stranded duo that much, though because just when they try to make a break for it, the ceremony (where consuming the crystal happens) begins. And then, as they try to sneak out the back a second time, the real guy whom Jake has been impersonating shows up. They had to know that would happen eventually. I mean, after all, their luck could only hold out for so long.

Jake almost manages to make the room think he’s the real guy until his last answer. That just leads to he and Cassie being strung up and nearly killed (especially after they realize Cassie has the crystal inside her) and they reveal they are Librarians. Jake also outs the guy he was impersonating as the one who attacked them in the ice cave. The guy denies it of course but we as the viewers know it’s true, too. But thanks to the annoying government people who have been tracking magic, Ezekiel is able to track the magic and a little help from Nessie’s egg lets them pinpoint the magic of the storm. But as Cassie and Jake are being chased by an angry mob, the attempts to get them back fail. The portal is too unstable given the fact that location is manifestation of the magic. Lucky for our gang, Cassie figures out a way to get them home and the giants end up fighting amongst themselves until the place is literally destroyed. Cassie will have to let the artifact pass naturally (which is should do in a few days…joy) and Jake is left with some rope burns but they, at least they are all alive and mostly okay. Also, Nessie’s egg hatches and the baby monster imprints on Ezekiel (not in the creepy Twilight way mind you) which is kind of cute. Perhaps most importantly though, Cassie and Jake have a very honest conversation about magic. She points out that they wouldn’t be able to do what they do without magic. He also acknowledges that while there are good parts of magic and he’s impressed with how far she’s come with what she’s able to do magically speaking, he fears that people will see the good parts and think the bad parts aren’t really that bad (when in reality they can be catastrophic). Cassie acknowledges his point and I think we are seeing the next level of their relationship. I don’t really ship people on this show (I mean I know Eve and Flynn are a couple in canon) but I’d be interested to see where this goes if they decide to take a more romantic turn. I do also like that we are beginning to see a more precise fighting style from Jake. It’s nothing close to Eliot Spencer but it ain’t half bad if I’m being honest.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Doctor Who 10.09: “Empress of Mars”

“Fight, yes, fight for the future not a dead past.”
- The Doctor

Now that the Monks have been expelled from the planet, the Doctor and Bill can go on another proper off-world adventure, this time to nearby Mars. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Doctor go to Mars and have some moral dilemmas. After all, Ten got super angry when he was last on the red planet. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole get to Mars by way of a visit to NASA where their new space camera finds a message below the surface of Mars’ icecap that says “God Save the Queen”. So, they headed back to 1881 because that’s when the TARDIS determined the message was carved.

Things quickly get confusing. First, Bill finds a fire so there’s oxygen. And then she falls down a dirt shoot. Nardole goes back to the TARDIS to get some rope and the TARDIS just takes off and won’t leave the Doctor’s office back in London. Unsure of what else to do, Nardole goes down to the vault and asks Missy for help. Yeah, don’t do that! She can’t be trusted. It’s going to end horribly for everyone. She may be putting on airs for the Doctor but I don’t believe she’s capable of change.

Back on Mars, the Doctor and Bill get a crash course in how a bunch of nineteenth century British soldiers ended up on Mars. One of the Ice Warriors crashed to Earth in Africa and the alien promised the soldiers riches for return to Mars. But there are no riches and the Ice Warriors appear to be dead so everyone seems to be losing out. The men have been digging for treasure and finally the machine breaks through a wall. But the Doctor isn’t happy with what he sees. Sure, it’s a nice gilded sarcophagus with some crazy gemstone rock formations but he suspects it’s the tomb of an Ice Queen and could in fact be the entrance to the Ice Warrior hive. When the Doctor and Bill question the remaining Ice Warrior, he just says that he’s old and tired.

Because humans are complete assholes, of the men drugs his superior with the intent of stealing the precious metals from the tomb and heading off world in the actually repaired ship. The Doctor is going to be very cross about all of this when he finds out. And in typical fashion, the guy steals some jewels and gets obliterated. And now we have an angry Ice Queen to deal with. The soldiers are all about fighting with guns but the Doctor tries to reason with the Queen diplomatically. He explains how the humans helped her sentinel return home and Bill even says that the world is dead and there’s nothing left. But one of the soldiers gets off a shot that pings off the Queen’s head and in response to the Doctor’s request for mercy, she promises to kill them all quickly. Yeah, this is not going well guys! I do have to wonder who the Doctor will choose when it comes down to it. I mean, he’s always been humanity’s champion for the most part.

The colonel quickly gets relieved of his command when the second-in-command brings up the fact he was nearly hanged for desertion (okay, he was hanged it just didn’t take). So now the colonel, the Doctor and Bill have been tossed in the brig while the half-cocked asshole readies his men to fight off what they assume are only two Ice Warriors. Much like the Doctor surmised, the Queen is waking her forces and these colonial morons are no match for Martian tech. As predicted, the Martians kick the colonial ass and then the colonel does something a little brave and killed the other guy. The colonel expects to be executed but the Queen sees fit to let him live. She’s impressed by his bravery and willingness to stand up for his people so she asks him to pledge his loyalty to her and she’ll ensure he dies in battle someday. He seems quite pleased with that outcome and hey, no one else has to die. Bill seems surprised that it all worked out this way, but as the Doctor points out, he knew it would end peacefully because he still thinks like a warrior.

We also see that the Doctor and Bill are responsible for the “God Save the Queen” message on Mars. See, the Doctor sent out a request for any space-faring races to pick up the Ice Warriors and take them to a new world. The message is for the incoming spacecraft to locate and lock on to. So, it didn’t end as badly as I expected and at least at this point the Doctor is a lot less angry than the last time he set foot on the planet. Well, that is until Nardole manages to show back up with the TARDIS. He just about warns the Doctor of what he’s going to find inside before the Doctor walks in and see Missy at the controls. We get some very odd music cues, that almost remind me of the drama between the Master and Ten when Ten regenerated which I have a feeling was done on purpose. I mean, we’ve known all season that the Master was supposed to show up. But the Doctor looks very confused and says he has to put Missy back in the vault. She seems okay with that but then asks if the Doctor is okay and he doesn’t answer. I’m very interested to see where the final three episodes of the season go. Will we actually get a regeneration prior to this year’s Christmas Special or have the actors and writers been pulling our legs? And will Missy actually find some sort of redemption? The Doctor/Missy relationship does make me want to go back and see what they were like in the Classic Who years because it’s clearly a very storied past and one that was obviously already explored that I just don’t know about.

Doctor Who 10.08: "The Lie of the Land"

“However bad the situation is, if people think that’s how it’s always been, they’ll put up with it.”
-Nardole

The final episode of the Monks trilogy was especially timely. It was all about how we shape our reality and what we accept as normal. I believe at one point the Doctor even utters the phrase “fake news.” Bill and pretty much everyone else on earth are all struggling against the Monks attempting to rewrite history. The Monks want everyone to believe that they have always been around, guiding humanity, but in actuality, they have only been on Earth for a few months. For a while, they even have the Doctor making propaganda videos for them. When the Doctor, Bill, and friends finally go the Monks’ headquarters to defeat them for good, they have to keep headphones on with a recording that constantly reminds them of the truth in order to not succumb to the programming. It’s unsettling stuff. The ending was more than a bit handwave-y, in typical Moffat fashion, but episode writer Toby Whithouse (who has written some of my favorite episodes of “Doctor Who”) did the best he could with what he had to work with. The worldbuilding was especially strong, and like I said, unsettling. As it should be.

We see right from the building of the episode what the world is like now, several months after Bill consented to the help of the Monks to restore the Doctor’s sight. A family watches a propaganda film made by the Doctor, where he talks all about how the Monks have been around forever and how they’re so benevolent and helpful. In the middle of this, the episode’s equivalent of the Thought Police (I think they were called the Memory Police?) raid the house and take the mother away for possessing false history. As she is taken away, she yells about how the Monks have only been around for several months. Bill sees the commotion and walks away with the rest of the crowd. It’s easier to survive in this world by complying and not standing out. The same could be said for our own world currently, too. At home, Bill holds an imaginary conversation with her mother, where she explains that after she consented to the Monks, she suddenly woke up and everything had changed.

As Bill is deep into musing with the memory of her mother on the state of the world, Nardole appears. He has been spending a great deal of time looking for the Doctor, and he has found him. He’s on a very large ship. Bill and Nardole decide to try and sneak on the ship, which is almost made very complicated by the fact that Nardole doesn’t have identification papers, and Bill’s says she works in food service at the university. Luckily for them, just as one of the guards on the ship is about to ask to see their papers, he is distracted by the arrival of one of the Monks. Bill and Nardole find the Doctor, but he doesn’t really seem happy to see them. He has solders hold them at gun point, while he explains that he really agrees with the Monks. He says that humanity had its chance to show they could govern themselves properly, at they failed (it’s actually kind of hard to argue with that sentiment, especially in the past year). Bill is so upset by this that she pulls out a gun and tries to shoot the Doctor. That’s when he reveals that he was faking it and trying to gauge how brainwashed Bill was. All the guards in the room are on his side, too.

Once the Doctor has explained himself, it’s time to try and put a plan for defeating the Monks into action. The first step is to visit the vault for a conversation with Missy. Missy tells our crew that the only way she knows of to release the Monks’ hold on the planet is for the person who originally gave consent for their help (Bill) to die. Bill’s brain is basically being used to amplify the Monks’ brainwashing signal. If she had any kids, that power would be passed on to one of them upon her death, but when the consenter dies without children, the signal eventually dies out too. Understandably, the Doctor doesn’t like this plan one bit, so he’s got a backup plan. He thinks that the signals, while amplified by Bill, originate from the Pyramid, so that’s where they are going to go. They’re going to cut off the brainwashing at the source. The Doctor thinks his own brain is powerful enough, if he plugs it into the Pyramid, to overcome the brainwashing signal and transmit the correct history to the rest of Earth.

There’s a bit of a fight between our heroes and some of the Monks when they first enter the Pyramid. Our crew is all wearing what look like old-school Walkmen that are playing a mantra Bill recorded about how the Monks are fake and the history they are kind-of remembering is real. There’s a bit of the scuffle when one of the Walkmen breaks, leaving the soldier wearing it vulnerable, but they finally make it to the broadcasting hub, where a Monk is plugged into everything. Surrounding the Monk are screens that show the fake (Monk-filled, of course) history it is broadcasting. The Doctor grabs on to the Monk’s head, and he starts changing the surrounding images. Ultimately, though, the Monk is stronger, and it starts changing the images back, making the Monks even more prominent in its fake human history than they were before. The Doctor is knocked unconscious by all of this, and so Bill decides it’s time to step up.

Bill grabs on to the Monk’s head, and at first, it seems like the power of its thoughts is going to overwhelm her. Nardole, for one, certainly seems to think Bill is on a suicide mission. Luckily, though, Bill starts to remember images of her mother, specifically the photographs the Doctor went back in time to take earlier in the season. This gives Bill the strength she needs to overpower the Monk, and soon the scary pictures of Monk history on the screens are replaced by pictures of Bill’s mother. Across Earth, people start to snap out of their Monk-induced stupors. Instead of fighting back more, the Monks simply slink off to terrorize some other planet. I think Missy kind of implied this is what would happen if they were defeated. Apparently the Monks don’t care much about any particular planet. When the Monks leave though, so does most of the memory of them. Most people don’t even remember they were even there, and so the lessons about accepting fascism in exchange for security will go unlearned. We say those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it for a reason, and I feel like we’re in a moment like that right now in real life. The episode closes with the Doctor having a conversation with Missy, where she’s starting to seem like she might actually be remorseful for all of the damage she has caused over the years. We’ll see if that sticks.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer DVR Dump: The Librarians 3.02: “And the Fangs of Death”

“He knew that this is where we’d find the pendant. He knew that this is where we’d see his message. It means it’s a trap.”
- Flynn

It seems our Egyptian God of Chaos has not gone quietly into the night. Flynn has a dream where Charlene comes to him and shows him the world on fire, saying “he’s coming”. So of course he drags Eve off on a mission to find her and rescue her. It turns out she doesn’t need rescuing and she’s charmed (magically) a cult of half-naked men to keep her company. When Flynn tells her that the God is afoot, she says they’ll leave at sun up. Unfortunately, at some point in the night all of her devotees have slaughtered each other. Flynn foolishly thinks he can find Charlene by re-wiring the door. We also learn that Judson was the very first Librarian and Charlene was his Guardian.

The Librarians get through the door and end up in an underground super collider facility where most of the crew has gone crazy and been infected with something (it’s unclear what it is although when the team hears wolf howls I know what I’m thinking). Jake and Cassie stick in the command room to monitor things while Flynn and Ezekiel go with some of the remaining security team to try and get to the server room and see some back up footage (and to see if Charlene actually showed up there). I have to admit I kind of thought the God of Chaos had somehow possessed her and was tricking Flynn. Meanwhile, Eve and Jenkins end up top-side within a 5 mile radius of the rest of the gang and have to find them on foot.

Flynn about loses his mind when Cassie is able to get a clearer image of some of the video footage. We see Charlene in a hazmat suit and then everything blows up. And we also see that a figure emerges from the collider shortly before the explosion. It appears that the God has possessed Charlene (called it) and killed her from the inside (the only way to kill an immortal apparently) and summoned Anubis to turn all the people into werewolves. Speaking of that pesky lycanthropy, as Jake leads the gang toward the infirmary (to confirm that Charlene has in fact died), Ezekiel gets bitten by one of the creatures. Definitely not a good thing!

Above ground, Eve and Jenkins run into an overly friendly security guard who lets them in and leads them on a long trek through the woods under the guise of getting them to the facility. But as Eve questions why Jenkins came with her, the guard eavesdrops and lets slip about their four fiends. The God has slipped into the guard to ensure that the Librarians are in his trap. To avoid getting shot themselves, Jenkins lobs himself and Eve off a cliff. He breaks the fall and Eve is ok (he’s a little banged up but he’ll live). Back at the facility, Jake notices Ezekiel’s bleeding arm and asks Flynn to help figure out how to stop the transformation. But Flynn at this point is in a catatonic state. He’s snapped out of it briefly when the lead security guy triggers a self-destruct of the facility. Awesome!

At first Flynn doesn’t really care and thinks blowing the place up would be a great idea. But then thanks to a little pep talk from Jake, he comes up with a plan. They can shut the power off in the collider room and kill the self-destruct. And Ezekiel thinks he can keep the wolves off them by getting amongst them (since he’s turning) and nail them with steam. Lucky for the rest of the Librarians, Eve and Jenkins manage to get into the facility just after the God of Chaos slips in (oh and Jenkins explains that the ultimate battle for good and evil is being waged as we speak and apparently Judson and Charlene were the only ones who knew how to keep the God from taking over … oops).

The plan works at first until Flynn realizes that the collider is overheating and about to have a power surge (which will create the same anomaly that brought Anubis into this world). So he tells Ezekiel to turn off the steam to get the wolves and Anubis to follow him. Our resident thief can’t follow that command because he’s passed out with the wolf virus taking over. But some of the remaining crew manage it and Flynn draws the masses to him. It almost works until the God shows up alongside Anubis. Thanks to Flynn talking a good game and Eve showing up at just the right moment, the team manages to get rid of the wolves and Anubis and for the moment, the God as well. And after many cups of wolfs bane tea, Ezekiel is mostly back to normal. Flynn, however is still upset over Charlene. But Cassie has some good news. The woman they thought was possessed wasn’t Charlene after all. So she’s out there somewhere and much like in past seasons, Flynn goes off on his own to track her down. He writes Eve a letter about how people died because of his decisions and Ezekiel almost was lost and he won’t put the rest of the team in danger. Eve gives a little knowing smile as she reads the letter. They have an interesting relationship I must say.

I suppose it’s a good way of keeping Noah Wylie around but also allowing the rest of the team to flourish as themselves. I mean, the show is based on the “next generation” of Librarians after all and whenever Flynn is around he kind of tends to upstage everyone. I did like that we get the continuing overarching plot of the season while still having some fun adventures. It’s pretty typical light fare and works well for a sci-fi show like this.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

iZombie 3.10: "Return of the Dead Guy"

“Watching my zombie roommate talk to a ghost? That’s just what I call Tuesday.”
- Peyton

Things are getting pretty crazy and dire for our gang of undead heroes. We had three main storylines this episode and we got movement on all of them, and not in a great way. First up, Peyton convinces Liv to eat some of the blue juice brain of the man who killed the Dominatrix. Sure, he had mental health issues and was hallucinating his dead wife but that’s okay. So of course, Liv starts hallucinating Drake. I do have to say, I miss him. But his random appearances made it rather difficult for Liv and Justin to take things to the next level. At least by the end of the episode, Liv had forgiven herself and dealt with her grief so she was able to move on and be with Justin. And the blue juice did have the desired effect. First off, Liv is able to definitively confirm that he killed the dominatrix. Peyton was a little annoyed about that but it gets juicy when Liv has another vision and sees that the guy was murdered (rather than having committed suicide). We also got kind of a funny bit with Liv having Peyton dress up and spank her to trigger a vision.

This leads Peyton, Liv and Clive to do some more digging into the guards on duty and talking to the dead guy’s daughter. She’s kind of reluctant to speak with Clive and Liv and then we see that she and her friend are zombies. So, the fact she told our duo she asked if the voices in her dad’s head made him kill the dominatrix wasn’t correct. I’m guessing it was Fillmore Graves, given that the current mayoral candidate was a client! The case just keeps getting crazier. I honestly wasn’t expecting them to keep going with this plotline the whole season but it’s kind of interesting to explore how deep conspiracies like this go and how the zombie and human worlds continue to interact and collide.

Elsewhere, Major and Shauna are basically just hooking up and hanging out in a blanket fort. I don’t really trust her but that’s probably to be expected. She hasn’t revealed what she did that made her sympathetic to Major’s plight and that just worries me. Besides, Major is just sort of hopeless at this point. I’m not really sure why they need to keep him around at this point, other than he’s mildly pretty to look at. He doesn’t really add much to the storyline. This episode would have been perfectly fine without their scenes this week. While they are busy cuddling and whatnot, Blaine is busy dealing with the return of his former boss. The guy (after stopping by his house—his clueless wife sitting in the living room and grabbing a briefcase full of cash—) shows up at Blaine’s place and shoots him several times. Blaine then zombie-hulks out. It made me wonder when he got turned back into a zombie. I suppose the episode where he got patched up from the gunshot he could have gone to a zombie to be scratched again. Ultimately, Blaine convinces his former boss to work for him as his international brain supplier. I’m not thrilled with this storyline mostly because I found the former boss to just be really annoying and I don’t want to see him again. I also miss the progress Blaine made at being a better person when he wasn’t a zombie. He was making strides until he massively backslid. But I guess you need that kind of morally grey character around to keep things interesting.

Ravi is having the worst of it this week for sure. The zombie truth nuts have caged up Don E and have decided to starve him so he goes full Romero and then they’re going to use a cattle prod on him (oh, only if they 100,000 views on their livestream). Because people are terrible in general, they of course make it to that number. Along the way, Ravi tries to find a way out of the situation for both of them. The guys took his phone so he can’t call Liv for help. Don E has a phone stashed in his sock and Ravi manages to finally get in touch with Blaine to send a cry for help. It was interesting to see Ravi feign ignorance about a lot of things about zombies. He even sat there straight-faced while one of the guys rambled about Middle Eastern origins and such. Honestly, I would have told him he was a complete idiot. Then again, he actually is a complete idiot. Ravi, rightly, drugs him to try and formulate his plan with Don E. Unfortunately, Don E isn’t in much shape to do much else but moan and thrash about. At some point, the photographer woman from the meeting shows up and then things take a dark turn. The guys are going to go in and torture Don E but Ravi is standing in their way. He first says he needs more time to study Don E to “protect humanity” and then he points out that Don E feels pain and he’s a person. By the end of the episode, all of the truth guys have their sawed-off shotguns pointed at Ravi and they’re going to shoot him if he doesn’t move. I suspect it won’t come to that because Blaine shows up at Liv’s place and asks if she wants to kick some ass. They arrive at the gun range and get zombie-hulked out (Blaine burns Liv’s hand and she smashes his head into the dashboard a few times). It’s a dangerous move going in that angry but I suspect it will work out in the end. I suppose they could all just end up dead (and not turned). But, whatever does happen next week, I’m sure it will be intense.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

iZombie 3.09: "Twenty Sided, Die"

“I can’t believe grown adults play this for hours at a time.”
-Babineaux

So, I need to preface this post with a confession. I most definitely play Dungeons and Dragons. Specifically, at the moment, I play a Level 4 elf ranger named Auriel. She likes to shoot things, which makes her fun to play. Anyway, I for the most part enjoyed this D&D themed episode of “iZombie.” There was one scene in particular that I found ridiculous (I’ll get to that later), but for the most part, it was fun. I especially enjoyed Babineaux’s fondness for the game. He brushes it off as childish at first, but after he plays a session, he’s super into it and wants Liv to continue as DM even after the case they’re working on is over. The episode was a lot of fun, although the juggling too many plots problem became even more problematic. I’m just hoping that Rob Thomas (that Rob Thomas . . . not the other one with the Grammy!) and company have a cohesive way of bringing all these plots together.

The episode opens with Ravi at a meeting of the anti-zombie hate group. Billy the security guard from the Max Rager party is there, and he does speak to the group, but he seems to be a little freaked of by the vehemence of the zombie hate. Ravi also meets a new friend named Rachel, who also seems a little more chill than most of the zombie haters. Johns, addressing the group, announces that he wants to kidnap a zombie and broadcast it for all to see. Ravi intervenes by saying he’s a doctor and that he is working on a zombie vaccine. He wants the group to hold off on the kidnapping until he has a few more weeks to work on the formula. Rachel ends up giving Ravi a ride home in her massive RV.

Meanwhile, Blaine announces to the Scratching Post staff that the establishment is under new management, and Don-E is going to be his right-hand man (which doesn’t seem like the best choice to me, but whatever). He is playing around with Ravi’s blue juice that enhances memories in brains eaten by zombies, and Don-E’s toady volunteers to try it out. The toady reports back that it took five minutes after eating the piece of brain to have a vision, and the vision lasted for two hours. When everybody else leaves the room, Don-E takes his own, rather large, piece of blue juice brain and starts having visions immediately (visions of a WWII veteran, to be precise). Don-E ends up going completely crazy at the bar, using the taps as guns, and then he runs off. Johns and one of his minions eventually finds and captures Don-E, and they bring him to Ravi.

Next we move on to the case of the week. A group of friends (including our own Jimmy the sketch artist) are playing a session of Dungeons and Dragons. The DM, Dan, seems to have a flair for the dramatic. At a particularly crucial point in the story, Dan suddenly chokes and dies. Of course, it’s our team that’s investigating the murder. They figure out pretty quickly that Dan died due to a rare poison that was in the wine he was drinking. Eating Dan’s brain has turned Liv into an uber-DM. She wants to narrate everything dramatically. Babineaux is not impressed by this. Nerding out for a minute, I’m not sure why Liv said a dice roll she made was sufficient to let her join Babineaux in his investigation. I could have sworn I saw her role a two. She certainly didn’t succeed on that roll – she just barely avoided a crit fail!

Babineaux and Liv first interview “Vampire Steve,” and they learn that all the players’ characters had died in the previous week’s session due to a situation involving poison in a cave. There was a dispute over the effectiveness of the absorption stone Steve’s character possessed, and he still seems sore over it. Liv takes Dan’s side on that dispute, naturally. Liv roles a D20 and has a vision of all the players being really upset when Dan says their saving throw failed and they all die. They had level 15 characters, so I’m thinking they had put quite a lot of time and effort into this campaign. Their next stop is to a comic book shop where Zoe, another of the D&D party, works. When Liv and Babineaux interview her, Liv has a rather disturbing vision of Zoe and Dan having halfling cosplay sex. Now I’m a nerd, and I’ve been known to cosplay and identify with halflings, but that just grossed me out. They also notice that some cover art Dan had been missing was for sale in the store. Zoe says he lost it in a bet.

Jimmy the sketch artist is next up to be interviewed. It turns out he was also into Zoe. Babineaux and Liv find naughty sketches of both Liv and Zoe (and Jimmy) in Jimmy’s sketch book. It turns out that even more of the party was into Zoe. Jimmy says that Steve used to be a blonde, but he turned himself into a “vampire” for Zoe. A second interrogation of Steve happens, but they don’t get much useful out of him. Liv has a new plan. They’re going to have a D&D session to see if it will trigger another of Liv’s visions. The D&D session itself is awesome and hilarious and involves Ravi’s character giving Peyton’s character mouth-to-mouth. The best part, though, is how into it Babineaux is when he finally tries it. He wants Liv to keep running campaigns by saving a bit of Dan’s brain to eat each week.

Liv does eventually have a helpful vision of a secret door in Dan’s apartment. She and Babineaux go to investigate the door, and they find it leads to a fancy computer room. One of the computers is displaying information about a Russian power plant, but it self-destructs when Liv tries to log in. Babineaux and Liv then interview Zoe about the room, and she says she knew about it. The interview is stopped short, however, because the FBI is taking over the case (Dan could have been killed by a Russian agent for knowing too much about the power plant). And, of course, the case is specifically being given to Bozio. Babineaux runs outside to find her, and they have an awkward reunion. She doesn’t want him back, and she’s not going to share any information about the case with him because she doesn’t trust him.

In other romance news, Liv has another date with Justin. They are going to a fundraiser for Barachus’ mayoral campaign. She takes “Z rations” (the stuff Filmore Graves feeds their mercs) beforehand so that she can truly be herself with Justin. Major is at her house while she’s getting ready, too, which seems like it could be all kinds of awkward. Thankfully, he leaves not long after Justin arrives. At the fundraiser, Liv meets Chase Graves, and can I say how excited I am that Jason Dohring is on the show? Anyway, he wants Liv and Babineaux to put a rush on that zombie family murder case. Also at the fundraiser, Peyton tries to talk to Baracus about the Weckler case. He tries to downplay it and tells Peyton to let it go. Later, Liv tells Peyton about Baracus’s involvement with the dominatrix, and his reaction makes more sense to Peyton. Justin tells Liv about how Chase once shot him, and Liv immediately goes to confront him. Before she can, though, shots are fired and Baracus is hit trying to protect his son. Liv has to work really hard to keep Baracus calm so he doesn’t go into full-on zombie mode.

Let’s wrap this up with some of the more minor plots of the episode. Major finds out that Ravi has been hiding all of his hate mail, and he’s started reading it now. He finds one sympathetic letter from a woman named Shawna who says she has also been misunderstood. By the end of the episode, Shawna is coming over to Major’s house, and that seems like it can’t possibly end well. She seems exactly like those women you hear about on TV who were obsessed with killers like the Menendez Brothers. We also see Blaine talking to his dad, who is still in the pit. He reads an article about Baracus trying to save his son. All is not going to be rainbows and unicorns for Blaine much longer, though. Mr. Boss has returned to Seattle, and he wants what’s his.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Summer DVR Dump: The Librarians 3.01; “And the Rise of Chaos”

“The only way to defeat Chaos … harmony”
- Flynn

So, it’s been a while since we’ve hung with the Librarians on More TV, Please. I took a season off blogging it but now we’re back with season 3! And now that “Falling Skies” is off the air, Noah Wylie is in the series more which means more fun and craziness. Since last we saw our team, they’ve been a roll, really utilizing everyone’s talents to collect artifacts. But Eve is a little worried, given that when she saw Duloc cut the Loom of Fate, she was able to see the potential of our Librarians in Training. She can’t shake the feeling they don’t have a decade to get them there. So she’s been trying to train them, including teaching Stone to box. It is kind of odd to watch that scene knowing how badass Christian Kane really is (and how precise he was as Eliot Spencer). It seems that they are going to have to pull everything they’ve got because things are going really wonky around the world.

In Egypt, a man is complaining to his wife that he wants to leave because he expected to see mummies instead of urns and other stuff at the tour they’ve been doing. But then he hears a voice calling to him through the headphones. And then he gets taken over by some ancient evil (locusts or something). Then a museum guard in Boston gets attacked by a bunch of mannequins. Back at the library, the clipping book bursts into flames and it takes Cassandra’s brains (Jenkins and Flynn strike down using magic) to figure out it was the museum guard in Boston (although as a transplanted Bostonian, the fact they made up names for things kind of irritates me). But once the team is in Boston, they start to figure some things out. Well, okay, so Stone and Ezekiel want to go check out a really old sub and Cassie wants to check out some fancy science clock but Eve and Flynn are able to keep them on mission (mostly). Flynn and Eve go talk to the guard at the hospital and they learn that the mannequins were all saying the same word and after the guard says it, all the patients around him start chanting. And back at the museum the rest of the team realizes that the mannequins definitely moved of their own accord. Creepy!

Back at the library, Jenkins gives us a bit of a lesson on what types of entities possess different types of objects. The ones who tend to go after inanimate objects (or coma patients) are sort of guardian type spirits. So they were warning about something bigger coming. Stone figures out it may be linked to ancient Egyptian. Which takes the team back to Boston to see the clock thing that Cassie was so excited about. Girl needs to tone down her excitement, though. Like for real she’s kind of annoying. While they are chasing down the clock, we see the man from Egypt who got possessed walk into a diner and release some sort of magic that gets everyone in the room to start fighting. The effect wears off as soon as he leaves. And we are also introduced to the government agency that is tracking magic. Eve is not happy that they exist. In fact it really worries her that the government is trying to interfere. I suspect she’s going to have to deal with them a lot going forward. But first, they have an Egyptian God of Chaos to deal with. I have to imagine when he uses his powers on the team, it won’t be pretty!

Things get dire for the team pretty quick as Stone and Ezekiel get stuck on the sub (they were going to repurpose the sonar equipment to see into the box so they could get this mystical key that could unlock pure evil and unleash it into the world. Course, when Cassie and Flynn figure out the combination (after getting whammied by the God of Chaos), the key is already missing. So now, they’ve got to find the God and the key and stop the sub from firing a torpedo into the museum!

The guys manage to stop the sub from doing too much damage, except it’s too late and then realize that the God wanted them to blow a hole in the ground to get to the portal he needs to unleash pure evil. The gang follows him down into the hole and he whammies them again. But after Eve gets bumped out of range, she realizes what’s going on and manages to get the rest of the team out of there. They decide they need to be a team and that means singing for some reason. It was pretty funny and I have to admit that the gang sounded pretty good. I mean I knew Christian Kane could sing but not the rest of them. Kudos to the directors for letting their actors stretch their other creative muscles.

And then Flynn gets to be very much like the Doctor (including theme music and it was glorious!) So fantastic in fact, I cheered several times during the scene. But even though they’ve recovered the artifact, things are not all back to normal. The government agency people showed up again and the God is still out there (although without a host body). Even though Flynn assures Eve that they don’t need to worry about him anymore, Jenkins knows that’s a lie. In fact, he finds Flynn literally burning the midnight oil reading up on the book of the dead in the middle of the night. Flynn can’t shake something Judson told him many years ago: that there is a war coming between good and evil that will test the power of the library. The ultimate battle, if you will. When he wonders if it’s still coming, Jenkins calmly informs him that the war has already begun.