Monday, January 30, 2017

Shadowhunters Review: 2x02: "A Door into the Dark"

The show this season is doing a lot with the prejudices of the Shadowhunters against the Downworlders. While that's an aspect of the books, the show seems to be running with it, and I'm excited to see what they have in store.

The scene where Clary is under a spell had me uncomfortable because, even though I figured there was a spell or something similar involved, those weren't the sort of things you wanted Clary to be saying. I'm glad that she managed to get to Jace and tell him that was a spell, but I'm wondering how much Valentine has managed to make Jace doubt at this point. I fully expect him to still be questioning everything and not be sure of who to trust.

We get more information in this episode about Valentine experimenting with demon blood and the baby, and Jocelyn shares a flashback with Clary of when Jonathan was a baby and killed a flower, complete with entirely black eyes. I don't want to dwell on this for too long because I feel like I'll only begin to talk about spoilers from the book, and I don't think it's relevant to this particular episode. If I don't bring up Jace having demon blood for a while in my reviews, it's probably because I'm avoiding discussing the events of the books.

I appreciated how much interaction we got between Izzy and Alec in this episode. While I feel bad for Clary having to stay behind, I appreciate the scenes that were focused on the Lightwood siblings. They did a great job of portraying their relationship, just like always.

Ever since we got a little bit of information about it, I have been dying to see the Simon and Magnus parts of this season, and I wasn't disappointed in this episode. The dynamics between the two of them are fantastic. When Simon referred to Magnus as being his "Downworld sponsor" I was probably as excited as Simon was. I'm hoping we get a lot more of the two of them this season even if the other characters are around as well. I'd love to see them become closer friends. I think their personalities work well together on screen, especially to provide light-hearted moments.

Clary goes through a hard time in this episode, not feeling like she fits in with the Shadow World. I appreciate that the show has done this. Suddenly finding out you're not human is going to be emotionally difficult, and it would be unrealistic if that was never addressed. While it somewhat feels like it came too late considering this is season two, I have to remind myself of the actual time frame of the show. With that in mind, this episode was probably spot on when it comes to when Clary would begin to have these feelings. Her mom's awake, taking away one preoccupation, and now she can't go out, leaving her with more time to dwell on what's bothering her.

Dot still being alive was talked about within the fandom, so I don't think anyone was particularly surprised to see her. I am glad that she's still around, though I do wonder about her fate after the end of this episode. Things can only get worse for her.

I have to say that I'm almost surprised at how quickly things with Jace seem to be moving. I thought it would take longer before any of the other main characters managed to get close to him. I like it so far though, and I can't wait for the next episode to see what happens.

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 371-375

This review will be a short one as the bulk of these five episodes was fighting. I've enjoyed them, but it doesn't leave me much to comment on.

I admit to having mixed feelings about Team 7's reunion. The scene between Sai and Sakura nearly broke my heart. I'm with Sai on not trusting Sasuke, and the fact that Naruto and Sakura so easily welcome him back as an ally makes me uneasy. I do understand it from a psychological standpoint–it's what I expected from them–but even with the knowledge from spoilers that I have, I don't like it.

Speaking of Sai, I felt bad for him when all of the teams were having their moments, Team 7 especially, and Sai was all by himself. We haven't gotten much of Sai recently, and he's one of my favorite characters. I feel like he gets the short end of the stick at times.

Since I don't have that many spoilers about what happens next (most of what I know happens further on), I'm curious to see how the next several episodes are going to play out.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Incorporated Review: 1x06 "Sweating the Assets"

Wow. This episode was intense. So intense that there were quite a few times where I had to look away while gory things were happening on screen. I know I bring this up a lot with this show, but as someone with a blood phobia, parts of this episode were impossible to watch. While this episode was difficult for me, I'm very happy we got to see what happened to Laura. I didn't expect to get an entire flashback episode about her. I figured that we'd learn what happened to her but that it would primarily be second-hand, with her explaining it to someone or something like that.

So I suppose that we've now got all of Ben's backstory up to joining the company, and we've got Laura's backstory. While Laura's was told over a shorter time frame than Ben's, I'm glad that we got to see both sides of their stories. I'm very fascinated with Laura as a character. I can't wait to see where she goes since she's grown up behind the wall and only has horrific memories of the red zone. I'm glad that now we have even more context for how she views the red zone.

I mentioned in my last review how Julian and Laura's friendship was interesting to me, and now I'm even more intrigued that the first time they met was him saving Laura's life. That creates some interesting dynamics between them.

This episode also allowed us to see more of Spiga's cruelty with them killing everyone who can tarnish their reputation, even the family members of their employees.

(Also, who else is very curious about what actually happened to Laura's father? I definitely am. I'm thinking that he had to 'betray' Spiga somehow. Maybe he tried to bring down the company.)

The characterization of Laura's kidnappers was interesting. You can see that they're desperate, and the fact that they were a family, complete with a mother and nephew, was an interesting set of dynamics to create. They had humanity in them even if that doesn't justify their actions.

Now that Laura's out in the red zone, I can't wait to see what happens to her or if anything does at all. For all we know the next episode could open with her back in the green zone, but I'm hoping that we get to see more of what happens to her while she's removing the girl's appendix.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Shadowhunters Review: 2x01: "This Guilty Blood"

I'm so happy to be talking about new Shadowhunters episodes again (maybe how long it took me to get this review up doesn't show that, but I promise it's true), and I'm glad that season two will be longer and give us more episodes to talk about.

There is a slightly different tone in this episode than there was in season one. You can tell that some things have changed with the production, and while they seem to predominantly be for the better, it did make it a little difficult for me to believe that almost no time had passed since the season one finale. I feel like that was a natural consequence of a season break and the changes made though, and it wasn't something that detracted much from my enjoyment of the episode.

My primary difficulty in believing no time had passed was the scene between Clary and Jocelyn in that greenhouse thing. It was strange to me that they were having that conversation right then and in that building when it didn't seem like a natural progression from the scene of her waking up. Again, though, I know that was because of the season break, so it's not something I'm dwelling over.

I like that the show has shown us immediately that Jace isn't on Valentine's side. They're also doing an excellent job of showing how abusive and manipulative Valentine is. While that's something that's hard to watch, I like that they're not shying away from making it clear that Jace has been abused and is now being abused again by Valentine.

Victor Aldertree is an intriguing character. We haven't learned anything positive about him yet, and I wonder if it will stay that way or if he'll show a better side later in the season. I could see it going either way, but I do like the idea that he's now in the Institute and overseeing things for the Clave. It's clear that he won't be as swayed as past heads of the Institute, and that will make everything more difficult for the main characters.

When Luke's pack locked Simon in the storage unit I was so frustrated. I really feel for Simon. He has nowhere to go. Going to Luke was his last option and then he essentially gets kicked out of there too.

Of course I have to discuss the Malec in this episode. It was perfect. I loved Magnus insisting that Alec's actions at the wedding were for himself and not Magnus, and the fact that Alec went to Magnus and apologized had me absolutely melting. I'm so excited to see what's in store for them over the rest of the season. I sense that it will be good things even if there's tension at times. I'm very optimistic about how their relationship is being handled.

The end of the episode, of course, is Jocelyn attempting to kill Jace and Valentine jumping in front of the arrow. I have a feeling we'll see Valentine using this to manipulate Jace in the next episode. (Note: You're only reading this now, but I wrote it before episode two aired, so I've seen what happens now.) He has already been trying to convince Jace that Jocelyn doesn't love him, and he'll use this as proof (and not be entirely wrong). I'm sure he'll build up his sacrifice as proof that he's the one who truly does care about Jace. That's probably why he jumped in front of the arrow at all. I have no doubt that Jace will struggle with what happened in the next episode. While I am sure it will undoubtedly make for a great episode, I know it will be one of those storylines that's frustrating to watch.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

ISBN: 0062282719
Published: August 5th, 2014
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Received: purchased
Read from December 20th to 31st, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.
In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.
Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.


Bad Feminist is one of the best books I had read in a while, and I knew going into it that it would be. Early last year I attended a reading that Roxane Gay did at Butler. There she read some of the essays from this collection, and I loved each of them that she chose to read with us then.

While there are some smaller points that Gay makes in the book that I would disagree with, she still manages to argue those points well. It feels strange to refer to a book such as this as "well-rounded", but that's the best term I can think of to describe how many different types of emotions Gay manages to hit. Parts of the book had me laughing out loud and others had me crying. I loved all of those parts equally.

I highly recommend Bad Feminist. It covers a lot of ground, and I love the central message that there's no way you're going to pull off being a 'perfect feminist' and that feminism itself can't be perfect, but that doesn't mean we dismiss feminism entirely because it's central message is important and worth fighting for.

December 2016 Wrap-Up and January 2017 TBR

Monday, January 16, 2017

Life Post: First of 2017

We're more than two weeks into January, and I haven't written a life post this year. There are several different reasons for that, and this one is probably going to be short.

It doesn't feel like we're two weeks into 2017. My allergies have been extremely bad recently. Enough that I've gotten nauseous twice over the past several weeks and, well... Plus I've been getting headaches almost every single day. No medicine I take actually seems to help, so the past couple of weeks haven't been the greatest based on that alone. But then you add in what the news has been like and various other things that have happened and 2017 hasn't really gotten off to the best start.

That's mostly why I haven't written one of these posts. This one's already all negativity and no positivity, and I didn't want that. I also didn't want to just keep on going on forever without a post.

Here's hoping my allergies decide they're ready to calm down sometime soon. I think there's a better chance of that happening than anything else I'm hoping for, but we'll see.

Incorporated Review: Episode 4: "Cost Containment"

One thing I appreciate about this show is how they're able to focus both on the "present" and "past" in a way that seems natural and is easy to follow. I wasn't expecting to see this many scenes taking place before the "present" of the story, and I'm surprised at how much I like that method of telling the story.

Because Aaron spent those earlier years in the red zone, the flashbacks are also a great way to allow us as an audience to see more of what life is like within those areas. I almost feel like we see more of the red zone than we do the green zone in this episode.

Ben uses male birth control in this episode, which fascinates me endlessly. Within the green zone, we've been told that women have an IUD inserted that can only be removed when they're approved to have a kid, so my assumption would be that no one in the green zone needs any birth control other than the IUD, as the IUD is either present or they're trying for a baby. (Although there might be other methods of birth control as options and you're just required to choose one.) Aside from the fact that this world has actually bothered to create male birth control, I wonder if its primarily for use within the green or red zone. My assumption would be that it's for the red zone considering what we've seen in the green zone, but I also imagine it's very difficult to get ahold of there. That raises a lot of interesting questions to me about how often the male birth control is used and by whom.

We meet Roger's brother Mitchell, whose brain has been damaged after he had an implant that was supposed to help him. If we were going to see this in anyone's family's past, I'm not surprised that it's Roger's. I wonder if we'll see Mitchell more or if he was merely a one-shot character. I also have a lot of questions about these brain implants. Are they something frequently implanted, that rarely goes wrong, and do other characters we know have any? Or was Mitchell one of the earliest to have one inserted and that's why it was such a failure? I'm hoping we learn a little more in the future.

How is it that Spiga isn't already trying to make crops salt-tolerant like Inazagi is? I did some Googling, and this is apparently something that some scientists are working on now. When it would be so beneficial in the world of the show, I'm kind of surprised that Spiga isn't at least making attempts towards it already. Although, maybe they are and just haven't had the same breakthrough.

Theo's storyline in this episode was by far the saddest part of the episode. As soon as Spyder got excited to see him, I knew that, whichever way the story went, it was going to be incredibly sad. That final scene between them got to me more than any other scene in the show has so far.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Eyewitness Review: Episode 10: "Mother's Day"

From the very beginning of this episode, I felt so much relief because Helen had finally realized that Ryan was the murderer and was chasing after him. While the episode still managed to hold onto the tension, I felt more at ease knowing that the truth was out than I had over the last couple of episodes.

Philip's mother was one character whose life I never worried about, so seeing her get killed was quite a shock. I'm pretty upset about it, and I'm not sure how I feel about the ending that creates. It's great that Philip gets to stay with Helen and Gabe forever, but I kind of got the sense that this was to create a happy ending, which made the murder of Philip's mom feel even crueler.

Other than that though, I liked the ending that we got in this episode, especially with Philip and Luka's relationship. At this point in time, we don't know if the show is getting renewed, and to be quite honest, I'm not sure that I want it to be. This episode felt like an end, and I fail to see how they can extend the show beyond this point in a way that would be good. I think continuing with the show would force it to become something it originally wasn't, and I think that will only hurt it. I'm much happier having a concrete ending that feels like it's where it's supposed to end. That's what this episode should be.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Film Review: Rogue One, Directed by Gareth Edwards

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I sat down in the theater to watch Rogue One. While Force Awakens had been steeped in mystery, Rogue One was a new type of new Star Wars film. This one was meant to stand alone, not set up a series, but even beyond that, I wasn't entirely sure what the movie was going to be. I'd watch a handful of the various trailers, but for the most part, I'd tried not to seek out that much information about it.

After watching the movie, I think this is the best way to differentiate between Rogue One and other Star Wars films: The original Star Wars trilogy follows the hero's journey almost exactly. In many ways, the other Star Wars films are like fantasy films but in space. To me, Rogue One breaks that mold. Rogue One is a war movie, like any war movie set here on Earth, except in space. To me, that's the difference.

This gave Rogue One a very different tone than the other Star Wars films, but I liked that about it. It made it unique within the Star Wars universe, but it was able to be unique while still feeling very much like a Star Wars film.

The characters were by far the best part. Bodhi and Cassian were my favorites though I loved all of the heroes. While each of them have great personalities on their own, the way they interact with each other makes them even more enjoyable to watch. I don't know how one could not fall in love with them over the course of the film, and I was on the edge of my seat worrying for their safety throughout much of the movie.

We also get cameos (and appearances that are a bit more than cameos) from familiar characters, which were all done quite nicely. I liked the role Darth Vader played, which was enough to get excited about him being in the film but not enough for him to overshadow new characters.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed Rogue One, especially for the characters it provided us with. It was a fun film and one that I recommend.