Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dragons: Race to the Edge Review: 4x08 "Gold Rush"

I don't have any particular strong feelings about Dagur as a character. I like him fine, but I don't feel particularly attached. I think it's cool that he's on the "good" side now, but I can't say I feel particularly excited whenever he shows up. (That isn't to say that I hate having him around either, just that I feel pretty neutral.)

What I really loved about this episode was that it contained a lot of development in terms of Dagur and Heather's relationship. I've enjoyed seeing Dagur come to realize what he actually needs to do to be a good brother, and it's nice to see Heather begin to accept him as her family. While it's bittersweet to no longer have Heather running around with the main characters every episode, it had to happen eventually. I like that she and Dagur get to work on building back up their home instead of Heather being off by herself if she leaves the riders.

Of course, one of Dagur and Heather's main goals now is to find their father. The fact that the show has even brought this possibility up despite his death being taken as a given earlier hints to me that they're planning to do something with it. Is Heather and Dagur's dad going to play a role in season five? I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case after this episode, which also raises the question as to just what sort of character their dad would be. I even wonder if we might have met their dad without knowing it was their dad, and that could lead to a lot of different theories. I'm definitely thinking about it.

Shadowhunters Review: 2x09 "Bound by Blood"

It only took a month to get this review posted (despite having written it earlier). Whoops.

I'm sure I wasn't alone in imagining that Clary's blood oath would become a problem sooner rather than later. Still, I wasn't expecting her hand to start dying and turning black. I assumed that death would be involved if she didn't do what was asked of her, but I that was an interesting touch.

Izzy and Raphael making tamales was probably the best "small detail" from the episode. I also really liked Raphael sharing the fact that he visits his sister. Aside from the audience learning something personal about him, him being willing to tell Izzy something so personal is clearly a big deal. I bet the list of other people who know that about Raphael consists of Magnus.

Alec storming into Raphael's apartment was sad largely because I hate watching characters who love each other (i.e. Alec and Izzy, not Alec and Raphael) fight. I'm glad that the disagreement that Magnus and Alec had was short lived, and I really appreciated this scene for what Magnus says to Raphael about seeing how he feels when he's not getting high off of Izzy's blood. Raphael probably took that as a blow, but even in that moment I fully believe that Magnus is looking after Raphael's best interest.

While I view Raphael as a compelling character, it's also true that I would never stand behind quite a few of the decisions he makes, and one of those is to bite Izzy and then continue to do so. I know Izzy encouraged it, but that doesn't justify Raphael's actions in my view. That places a negative air over Izzy and Raphael's entire relationship and, so far, has prevented me from liking them together. What I'm hoping for most out of this storyline is some character development for Raphael. (I'd say from Izzy too, but at this point, I don't see how this will result in significant character growth for her. Without a doubt, it will be her overcoming something difficult, but I don't see a significant change. That's perhaps the largest reason I still feel distaste over this storyline.)

The Seelies and vampires being the groups most willing to kill Clary is no surprise. Really Clary is lucky that her dad (because let's be honest, Luke is actually her dad) and Magnus represent the werewolves and warlocks because otherwise she probably wouldn't have been as lucky as she was. (If you think about it, it's rather remarkable how many powerful people she has on her side considering how little time she's been part of this world.)

Having already seen the mid-season finale, a large part of me wants to continue going on, but I think the rest of what I have to say is better left to that episode's review.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Race to the Edge Review: 4x06 "Dire Straights"

This episode managed to scare me a bit when Hiccup was close to drowning, which isn't typical with Race to the Edge since I'm never worried about any of the characters (or at least the main ones) dying. During that scene though, I was on the edge of my seat. They really managed to create tension there despite viewers knowing that he had to survive.

Toothless swimming down and looking through the glass, refusing to swim up because he wanted to stay with Hiccup, was the most heart-breaking thing. I don't know that I've properly appreciated Toothless so far in my reviews for this season, but he is the absolute best. Toothless is the primary reason I feel in love with How to Train Your Dragon when it first came out. Moments like this remind me why that was.

The Submaripper is also such an intense dragon that you wonder how they'll come up with something to top it in the season finale.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reign Review: 4x03 "Leaps of Faith"

I'm getting behind on Reign reviews despite being caught up with the episodes. Because of that, they're blurring together in my mind somewhat, so here's hoping that I can successfully remember what happens in this episode and not another episode.

Gideon's suggestion that he marry Mary came out of nowhere for me. Why did he suggest it when he did? It felt rather odd. Maybe he just thought that enough had happened to finally convince Elizabeth that it was something that could work, but it was strange. Actually, I'm surprised he would actually ask Mary to do such a thing, and I'm surprised at how close Mary came to taking the offer. Maybe that's because, historically, I knew it wouldn't happen, but it's also just not something I can see Mary doing as a character. Despite Gideon's comments about her being born into a job that Elizabeth angled for, Mary has always taken being queen seriously and shown countless times that she considers Scotland her highest priority.

Lady Lennox meeting Catherine would be a sight to see. I imagine that, if we were to see more of her, she would become a similar presence in Mary's life (at least similar to Catherine in the earlier days of the show). As things with Mary and Darnley move forward, I wonder if she'll stay in England or move to Scotland. That could be a source of plenty of conflict.

I feel very nervous about Lady Knox and how her "romance" (if one can even call it that) with James is going to affect her. Considering how terrible John Knox has been, I don't see him as being the forgiving sort, and I can't imagine him being kind to his wife if he finds out something's going on. And since this is TV, he'll eventually figure out that something is going on. I'm glad that we've seen that James is conflicted about the entire thing because I feel plenty of sympathy for her watching it all play out.

That priest thinking Claude was holy was one of my favorite moments of the episode.

It continues to amaze me how much Leesa is like Catherine while she continues to oppose Catherine at every turn. Despite her hatred, Leesa is undoubtedly the most like Catherine of all of Catherine's children.

From the first time Narcisse suggests getting a girl for Charles I was nervous. Considering everything happening with him lately, that was destined to be a disaster. I remember fearing for her safety before the episode even got to the scene with them together, let alone after that. It was very worrying, but I'll say more on it when I'm reviewing the episode where you learn a little bit more about where he took her.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dragons: Race to the Edge Review: 4x05 "Saving Shattermaster"

I hadn't given much thought to Dagur's fate before watching this episode because, to be frank, he's just not a character that I give much thought to, but the fact that he was alive wasn't all that surprising to me.

My favorite aspect of this episode was getting to see Heather and Dagur begin repairing their relationship. They're still not 100% there, but I think this episode made it clear that they will be some day. Dagur coming to realize how to actually create a relationship with his sister is probably my favorite part about his character growth so far.

While it's bittersweet that Heather leaves the Dragon Riders, it was bound to happen sooner or later. We still get to see her later in the season, so I don't feel like I can complain. I'm interested in seeing how much she appears in the next season.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Race to the Edge Review: 4x04 "Not Lout"

Spitelout is definitely Snotlout's father. Tell me that you can't imagine Snotlout giving his hypothetical future child the same advice his father gave him in this episode?

If the show was prone to doing deep, emotional episodes, I bet we'd have something that really delved into the inner workings of Snotlout's brain. As it is, this episode did a really good job of showing us how Snotlout has these deep-seated insecurities without losing its humor.

It was nice not only seeing Snotlout's insecurities acknowledged but seeing him overcome them and realize that he should do what he, not his father, wants.

This season has done a good job showcasing the relationships between the characters as well. How the rest of the group dealt with Snotlout in this episode was nice to see, including Hiccup letting him act as the leader because he could see that Snotlout needed that confidence.

It's not that I don't think their friendships was shown well in the other seasons. Season four just really seems to have showcased them, and as someone who has such a deep appreciation for fictional friendships, I've enjoyed that.

Parks and Recreation Review: 1x04 "Boys' Club"

Andy trying to clean the house for Ann might be the first time I've felt anything at all positive towards him. I wouldn't say I hate him as a character, but I feel rather indifferent right now. I definitely don't like him, but it was nice to see him actually doing something for once. Or trying to, at least.

I enjoyed the story about the gift basket, though I had to roll my eyes at how quickly Leslie cracked on that one.

While I get April being young enough to not fully grasp the consequences of her actions, everyone else finding that video so funny was lost on me. For one thing, they're older, but I also just feel like any possible humor that video had went over my head. A teenager doing that and finding amusement doesn't surprise me, but it's not something I'd find amusement in. (Actually, I personally probably never would have to be honest.) I'd imagine most adults wouldn't either, but maybe I'm just weird.

My favorite aspect of this episode was probably Ron helping Leslie out during the hearing. I like how their friendship is being developed and how, despite what he says, Ron does seem to do kind things every now and then.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dragons: Race to the Edge Review: 4x03 "Midnight Scrum"

Hiccup's unwillingness to tell his father that he has a bounty on his head was one of those things that's super frustrating while watching, yet it also made sense coming from Hiccup. Plus, what would the drama be if he'd actually told his dad?

It was cool getting to see Berk's 400 year anniversary. Actually, I wish we could have seen more of that celebration and possibly heard more of Berk's history. That would have been interesting. I love learning about the histories of other worlds in stories, which is most likely connected to my enjoyment of real world history. It would have been a cool addition to this episode, but I get why it didn't happen considering the nature of the show.

Something I find interesting is how many bounty hunters manage to get close to Hiccup when Viggo has been unsuccessful in getting to him himself. Viggo seems to be adequately full of himself for a villain, but apparently he suspected a lone bounty hunter or two would be able to capture Hiccup when Hiccup manages to evade Viggo's entire army on a regular basis. Of course, one bounty hunter was able to get Hiccup to the island, but I thought it was interesting that Viggo thought this plan might work considering how capable Hiccup has proven to be at getting out of such situations.

The bounty hunter who does manage to capture Hiccup is suitably mysterious, and it's presented in a way that makes me wonder if we'll ever see him again. We've seen him twice now, and he doesn't seem to be a two-shot villain either. Maybe I'm reading too much into things, but I swear we'll see him again, and I think it might be in the third movie. We know he's working for Drago, who was the villain of the second movie who is supposed to also be in the third movie. While Krogan wasn't in the second movie, I do have a slight suspicion that Krogan might be a character in the third movie. This isn't a theory I'm terribly tied to at the moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be the case. If so, I think it's pretty cool that they introduced him through Race to the Edge.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Book Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices 1) by Cassandra Clare

ISBN: 1416975861
Published: August 31st, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
Received: purchased
Read from February 19th to February 23rd, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...


The most interesting aspect of the Infernal Devices for me, from the very beginning, was getting to read about a fantasy world that I was already familiar with but now it was set in Victorian England instead of modern-day New York City. Of course, if a fantasy world exists in our time, it must have existed earlier, but it's not as common to read about in modern fiction (at least not in my experience).

This book also has a steampunk feel, including automatons that are essentially robots except infused with demon energy. It's those automatons, I believe, that most set the Infernal Devices apart from the Mortal Instruments in feel. I can't imagine having seen automatons in the first series. It's an interesting contrast since in the Mortal Instruments we don't see any combination of magic and technology, yet here we have it more than a century earlier. Perhaps the automatons played a role in that? It would be an interesting connection.

To be honest, the characters were probably the least interesting part of the book for me, which is the complete opposite of how I feel about the Mortal Instruments. I knew from the beginning that I would find Will a frustrating character (And having already finished the second book as I edit this review, you don't have to tell me what happens with him later. I'll discuss it in that review.). Jessamine and Henry have the most memorable personalities of all of the characters, but for the most part, they all seem mostly the same. Even Magnus seems to have a far more muted personality in this book than in the Mortal Instruments, and I'm not sure if that's meant to be because of the time period or not.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series largely because I'm interested in seeing what happens with the automatons. They're creepy in a way that makes them rather fascinating, and I'm hoping that stays true during the second and third books.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Race to the Edge Review: 4x02 "Gruff Around the Edges"

The twins are fun characters who I enjoy, but this was one of my favorite episodes of the season, which I never would have expected from a twins-centered episode. Part of the reason for that is the twins' humor.

I also loved how this episode showcased some of the relationships between the characters. This might have been one of the deepest looks we've gotten at the twins' relationship, and I aww'ed when Hiccup referred to Tuffnut as one of his best friends. Tuffnut being surprised by that was also a nice moment. Stuff like this also always makes me sentimental, so I couldn't help but think back on the first movie and how things have changed.

The chicken needs recognition in this episode too. I love that it was the chicken going around and warning all of the dragons what Gruffnut was up to. A chicken was seriously one of the biggest foils of his plans. It was great.

I wonder if we'll ever be seeing Gruffnut again or if he's destined to be gone for good. I don't think I'd mind another appearance, primarily because I now associate him with a really good episode.