Monday, May 23, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1x03 "Ghosts of Illyria" Review

In this episode, Enterprise is at an abandoned Illyrian colony, and they're trying to figure out what happened to the Illyrians who lived there. At the beginning, they explain some history of the Illyrians, including that they modify their genes, which is banned in the Federation. I really appreciated that being explained because I knew nothing about the Illyrians before this episode.

When an ion storm comes, Pike and Spock end up getting trapped on the planet, which is already something that seems to be happening a lot.

While Pike and Spock are seemingly the ones in danger at first, the crew on the ship start experiencing weird symptoms where they burn themselves with light. At first it only infects the landing party, but then it quickly spreads to other people.

The learn that the illness is spread through light, which wasn't something I'd heard before. After Covid, any stories about contagions feel a little different, and the idea of an illness traveling through light feels particularly scary because of how hard it is to protect yourself from it.

Spock finds a journal on the colony, and he works out that this particular group of Illyrians wanted to join the Federation. To do that, they needed to "demodify" themselves, and this is ultimately what led to them dying. There are creatures in the storm that might actually be the Illyrians themselves, and they end up saving Spock and Pike, which makes it seem like they're sentient to some extent. It's an interesting storyline, and I'm curious about the show handling more about augments in the future, which should be easy considering Una is an Illyrian.

I really enjoyed this episode. Actually, I would have liked to learn a lot more about this group of Illyrians, and I'm a little sad that that's probably not going to happen. Still, I hope the next episode is interesting in its own way.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1x02 "Children of the Comet" Review

While I can't say this for sure when we're only two episodes into the season, it seems like Strange New Worlds is doing a deeper dive into each crew member each week. At least for now. I really like that since it's a good opportunity for us viewers to get to knew each of them more, and I'm incredibly interested in what we'll learn.

Ortegas plays a joke on Uhura because she's new to the ship. She convinces her to wear her dress uniform to a dinner that Pike is hosting when everyone else is more casual. I really felt for Uhura there because something like that would absolutely mortify me. I cringed through that part a lot as well as other moments during the dinner and later on in the episode where Uhura clearly felt worried about making a good impression. I felt for her a lot in this episode, and I think she may be one of my favorite characters now, which is one reason I'm glad that we seem to be getting to know each crew member better over time.

The comet that Enterprise has been monitoring is on track to his a planet that has pre-warp technology and can't defend itself. But when they try to redirect the comet, they realize that it has a force field. This leads to the discovery of a structure on the surface, yet they can't find any signs of life on the comet.

Sam makes a reference to Yahtzee and then tries to explain what it is to Spock, which prompts Spock to reply that he's familiar with the game. I don't know why but the idea of Spock being familiar with Yahtzee actually made me laugh.

A group is sent on a mission to the surface of the comet. Down there, they find markings that may be a language, and Uhura is the one tasked with figuring out what they mean. As I mentioned before, I really felt for her during this episode because that's a lot to deal with on your first ever away mission when you still felt a little out of place amongst the crew.

Spock attempts to give Uhura a pep talk later, and while the pep talk itself is kind of funny, I enjoyed seeing them bond a bit more.

They discover that a group of people are guarding the comet, which they have a religious view of. While we get some answers about this in the episode, the episode also raises so many questions that I'm still curious about. They claim that the comet's destiny is preordained, and later on, we discover that this seems to be true. Or, at least, the comet knows the future. What it's guardians didn't seem to know is that Enterprise intercepting the comet was part of what was supposed to happen.

Uhura figures out that the code is music. I'm still not entirely clear about how the communication works other than that it seems to be effected by the mood of the music. I also wonder why they needed to communicate at all when the comet seems to have known what needed to happen anyway. I don't think communicating with the comet ultimately changed what the Enterprise would have done anyway. But there we go I guess.

In the end, the comet does miss the planet, and it ends up altering the atmosphere of the planet in a way that might help civilization develop. That and the fact that it knew its future raises a lot of questions that aren't answered and probably never will be, yet I'm incredibly curious about them. It's hard to imagine that being explained away by science. Thinking about it now, just the fact that the comet can communicate and has knowledge means that it seems sentient in some way, which raises even more questions than I realized that I had before.

Since I suspect that Strange New Worlds is going to be pretty episodic, I don't expect us to get answers to those questions, which is a shame. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what next episode is about.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Heartstopper 1x08 "Boyfriend" Review

I'm actually sad that this is my last Heartstopper review to write. I'm so obsessed with this show that it's taken over my life.

At the start of the episode, Tao is still mad at Charlie, which I completely understand. While I also completely understand why Charlie didn't tell him, I get why Tao is upset. What's actually more frustrating is Charlie attempting to break up with Nick and avoiding him instead of talking about what's bothering him. Even though that also makes complete sense for Charlie's character.

There are a lot of great moments in this episode, but one of the "smaller" ones that I love is Nick sitting down with Tao at lunch. Yes, he was looking for Charlie, but I really like the fact that he still sat down with Tao and talked to him when he realized that Charlie wasn't there. It was good for them to actually talk, and I think it does a good job of showing that there is actually potential for friendship between them.

Also, Nick telling Tao that he should try rugby makes me laugh every time.

I have some questions about the Sports Day outfits. Namely, why do the girls seem to be in skirts to play sports? I'm guessing they're actually skorts or something, but... Why aren't they just in shorts?

Charlie finally tells Ben off, and I loved it!

The end of this episode is without a doubt the cutest part of the whole show, which is saying something considering how cute the entire thing is. While Nick just walking off the field during the rugby match was wonderful, I am glad that he led Charlie into the school instead of just kissing him in front of everyone. The conversation that they had was way more satisfying than a sudden kiss where they didn't actually deal with what was happening would have been.

And then we get the absolutely adorable date at the beach! It's hard to even pick a favorite part of the beach date, but I love the parallel of Charlie asking Nick if they're boyfriends with the earlier (heart breaking) moment with Ben.

Nick coming out to his mom was also adorable and a very heart warming scene that's another one of my favorites. I should really just say that this whole episode is my favorite now because it is. We get another reference to the timeline that I'm still not clear on though. I do get that the episode starts at the beginning of term and this episode seems to be close to the end of term, but everything in between feels pretty blurry.

I'm so happy that this show exists. I'm going to go rewatch it for the millionth time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Book Review: Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Published: February 23, 2017
Publisher: Orbit
Received: purchased
Read from December 4, 2021 to May 5, 2022

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tade Thompson's Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices.

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers.

Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn't care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.

Review:

This is the last of the Life's Library books that I have left to review, since Life's Library has sadly ended. However, this wasn't the last Life's Library pick. It just took me months to read it.

It didn't take me that long to read the book because I disliked it, but I did find the book quite dense. Every chapter gave a lot to think about, which led me to read the book particularly slowly. The world of the book is a very interesting one but also one that was constantly raising questions. I never felt like I quite knew what was going on, which also meant I didn't feel like I could fly through it.

My least favorite part of the book was definitely the main character Kaaro. His view of women is an extremely stereotypical take on all the worst "men write women" tropes, which got very tiring very fast. It sucked because I was very intrigued by the actual universe of the book itself and wanted to learn more about it and the other characters. I just wish I hadn't been learning about it through Kaaro.

Rosewater is the first in a series, and I'm interested enough in the world that I probably will continue to read it. That being said, it's not a huge priority. I've heard that the other books are told in the point of view of various characters, not just Kaaro, so that also makes me more interested in reading them. We'll see when I get around to it.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Heartstopper 1x07 "Bully" Review

I'm here with my review of episode seven after finishing my fifth watch of the series last night.

Charlie goes with Nick and his friends to the movies in this episode, which put me on edge the first time I watched the episode because I knew that something was going to happen. I do enjoy the scenes of Charlie's dad dropping him off though. This time in particular he makes sure to let Charlie know to call him if something goes wrong, and I really appreciate seeing that, even if (as a teenager) Charlie's unlikely to actually do it. I also love that he says, "Nick's going to be there. I'll be fine." It's a small moment but shows that he feels safe with Nick, which I just really love.

Nick does stand up for Charlie in this episode too. After earlier episodes where he stayed quiet while Harry was saying stuff, it as nice to see him push back. (I know he did in the party episode too though.) While fighting is never the answer of course, I can't deny that the fight scene felt satisfying.

The scene where Charlie arrives at school and discovers that Nick fought Harry is also one of my favorites.

Ben continues to be unnerving every time he shows up too. I got chills when he confronted Charlie in the parking lot, and I'm so thankful for Charlie's dad showing up when he did because I'd hate to think about what would have happened if he hadn't.

I'm still a bit iffy on the actual timeline. While Tao and Elle are talking in this episode, they reference the milkshake date having been "ages ago."  I know it goes from being the first day of the term to sometime in the spring/early summer, but I honestly have no idea when each individual episode is meant to have taken place. I think because of the shorter amount of episodes, I have to remind myself that Charlie and Nick have known each other for longer than it sometimes feels like when watching the episodes.

Charlie wanting to break up with Nick because he thinks me makes everyone's life worse absolutely broke my heart, and the look on Nick's face while they're talking in the cafeteria made it even worse.

Like I mentioned when talking about episode six, I really feel for Tao. I completely understand where his feelings come from, and his fight with Harry and then yelling at Charlie were both sad to watch as well.

This episode definitely left me on the edge of my seat for the next one the first time I watched it.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1x01 "Strange New Worlds" Review

I've mentioned in my Star Trek: Discovery reviews that it's the first Star Trek series I've watched every episode of, though I've seen bits and pieces of many of the other series. Ironically, The Original Series is the one that I've probably seen the least of. However, Discovery made me curious enough about Strange New Worlds to watch it. Plus, as I mentioned in my Heartstopper reviews, I've wanted a new show to watch every week, so now I have Strange New Worlds for that.

The episode opens with Pike in Montana. Discovery never shows much more than quick glimpses of Earth, so it feels kind of strange to see a relatively normal Earth in Star Trek.

We see Spock next. He's on a date with T'Pring, who he's been "courting" for a year. They end up becoming engaged. I'm aware that T'Pring is in The Original Series, though I know very little about her. I'm curious about the role she'll play in Strange New Worlds. At this point, I can't say that I like her necessarily, but we'll see. We didn't really get to learn much about her.

Early in the episode, we hear from Spock that Pike has requested a Lieutenant Kirk, which was an interesting detail that definitely left me curious.

Pike is seeing images of his future after seeing it in Discovery. He ends up sharing this with Spock, which I thought was an interesting development since I feel like characters rarely open up about stuff like this with others (which always leads to more problems down the line). I can't imagine knowing the circumstances of my own death, and I'm very curious how that's going to affect Pike's decision making going forward.

Enterprise goes to a planet to find Number One and two other Star Fleet officers who've gone missing. They discover that the planet has actually made a warp bomb instead of a warp drive, all because of what happened to Discovery. I really appreciate getting to see the consequences of Discovery on the former "present" of the show in a way that we can't on the show Discovery itself.

The planet has an ongoing conflict that's constantly compared to Earth during the episode. I don't know when this episode was written or filmed, but it certainly is interesting timing to have it coming out now during the war in Ukraine.

Pike gets the two sides of the conflict to negotiate with each other in a move that plays out a little too ideal, but I pretty much expected that. While I haven't seen much of The Original Series, I've seen more of The Next Generation than any other series besides Discovery, and the general vibe of this reminded me of TNG.

At the end of the episode, we meet Samuel Kirk, who I know from researching on the wiki is future Captain Kirk's brother. I'm curious about him as a character, but the actor is also being played by the same actor who played Mary's brother James in Reign. There are many actors who I can watch in various shows with no problem, but this is one case where I couldn't stop thinking about Reign. He was only there briefly though, so here's hoping that that'll fade as time goes on.

Overall, I'm nowhere near as invested in Strange New Worlds as I am Discovery, but I wouldn't expect that after only one episode. I'm definitely intrigued enough to keep watching and see where the story goes.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Movie Review: Moonshot

I learned about Moonshot from an ad for it that popped up on Roku, and I was curious. It was mostly the cast that drew me in. I love the To All the Boys movies, so I'd be excited to watch anything new with Lana Condor, but the fact that Cole Sprouse was also in it piqued by curiosity even more. I haven't watched Cole Sprouse in anything in years (not even Riverdale), but I spent all of middle school obsessed with The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and the idea of the two of them acting opposite each other seemed like a strange enough choice that I wanted to see it for myself.

I wasn't expecting much, but I was curious. I also like both romance and sci-fi, and while those two genres are combined fairly often in books, there are less movies that do that.

While Cole and Lana didn't have the strongest chemistry, they honestly did better opposite each other than I expected. I'm also not sure how much the lack of chemistry was the choice of actors and how much of it was how Cole Sprouse's character was written. He's not particularly charming or anything. He's supposed to be an "average guy" to an extreme, but while average guys can still be interesting characters, this one  wasn't. Even an average guy needs some redeeming qualities, and he didn't really have any.

We're supposed to be rooting for him over the boyfriend (can you tell I don't remember any character names?), but to be honest, I thought she was better with the boyfriend. Don't get me wrong. I get that her and her boyfriend had different visions for their futures, and I completely understand that leading to a breakup. However, the story itself felt like it would have worked better if it worked up to her going back to Earth on her own without another romance in the picture.

One thing that helped me to keep watching was that the movie seemed self-aware about how ridiculous it was to at least a certain extent. There were a few times I laughed out loud, even if it was just because of the ridiculousness, so I'll give it that.

Overall, I don't regret watching the movie. I got some laughs out of it. Will I ever watch it again? Doubtful. But it did make me think about how much I could use more romance movies set in space. It's fairly common in books but less so in movies, which is a shame. I wouldn't mind this one starting a trend. Not that I expect that to happen.

Heartstopper 1x06 "Girls" Review

This episode was an emotional one. I mean, they're all emotional to me because I spend most of the episodes beaming, and happiness is also an emotion, but this one is one of the saddest ones I think. Even after watching it for the fourth time yesterday, this one really gets to me.

Nick starts researching bisexuality in this episode as he learns more about himself. That really touched me. I love the journey he goes on in these episodes. It's really great.

This episode also includes Nick getting lunch with Tara and Darcy and opening up to them about his relationship with Charlie, which was adorable! I love his friendship with both of them a lot.

The lunch with Nick, Tara, and Darcy turns into a triple date. I loved Elle's reaction to finding out that Charlie and Nick are dating. It was so cute! I feel bad for Isaac that he didn't get to come along though. If we get a season two (and oh how I hope we get a season two), then I hope we get to see a bit more of Isaac. I know he's the quiet one, but as someone who was also the quiet one of my friend group growing up, I'd love to see more of him!

Tao being the only one who doesn't know about Nick and Charlie also makes me sad. I can easily imagine how terrible it would be to know that a bunch of other people knew about your best fiend's relationship and you didn't. But it's probably best to talk more about that when I talk about episode seven.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Heartstopper 1x05 "Friend" Review

 As of writing this review, I've watched the whole season three times, and I'm doing my best to focus on other things I have to do instead of just starting the show for a fourth time. I've also convinced my sister to start watching it, so I'm feeling pretty accomplished.

I love that Charlie and his friends play Monopoly in this episode. As a kid, I played a lot of Monopoly with my sister and grandma, so the argument about cheating at Monopoly was particularly funny to me. We had a lot of similar arguments when I was growing up.

Imogen's dog dying on the day Nick wanted to talk to her about the date is cliché, but also funny, especially when Nick talks to his mom about it later. I'm not even bothered by it being a little bit of an overdone trope.

While Tao does overreact at certain points in the story, I appreciate that his reactions are always believable. I completely get why he feels the way he does about Charlie getting involved with Nick. His worries about Nick's date with Imogen in particular is something that I'm sympathetic too, and I get why he wanted to tell Charlie about it.

Props to Nick for coming clean about Imogen and making things right too. While he shouldn't have said yes, I'm sympathetic towards the pressure he felt in that scene, and I loved seeing him be honest about it with Charlie. The gift he gives Charlie is also adorable!

Speaking of adorableness, there were some great moments between Tao and Elle in the arcade in this episode. I loved it!

Nick keeps his word about telling Imogen that he isn't interested, and I'm surprised at how open he is with her in the park. She also impressed me by handling it the way she did and not telling all their friends the full story. I'm curious about where her character development could take her in the future, especially since she's a character unique to the TV show and who's not in the comics.

I'm not sure if I like her per se, but I do think I could potentially like Imogen if we ever learn more about her and she grows as a character. If we get a season two and don't get much of her, I also wouldn't be too disappointed though.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Heartstopper 1x04 "Secret" Review

I have a confession to make. A few days ago when I posted reviews of episodes two and three on the same day, I actually ended up binge watching the rest of the season that night. I even stayed up late because I couldn't sleep without seeing the ending. I'm officially more obsessed with Heartstopper than I've been with anything in a very long time, and I'm loving it.

I took some notes while watching that I'm using to write these reviews, from this point on, these have all been written with the knowledge of what comes next. That being said, I'm not going to mention any spoilers for what comes in later episodes.

This is something I've already said, and I'll probably say it in every post about Heartstopper, but this show is just so cute! I can't get over it. I'm already rewatching it, and I still have a giant smile on my face the whole way through. Even at the sadder points in the story, I'm smiling.

The sympathy I felt for Imogen from last episode left when she confronted Tara. She's not horrible in that scene, but it's annoying and cringe-inducing enough that I can't say I particularly like her.

The whole bit about the rugby boys bullying Charlie in this episode really hurt. Harry was already a jerk obviously, but there were times in earlier episodes where Charlie seemed to actually be having fun playing rugby, and a lot of that might have been his crush, but it's still sad to see that ruined by how terrible they treat him. It was especially painful to watch him get hurt and then Nick agonize about how to react to it.

Almost as painful to watch was Nick agreeing to go on a date with Imogen. I really feel for him in that scene though. The show does a great job of showing the peer pressure that's Nick is experiencing. I was never too worried about the date becoming a huge thing, thankfully, but that didn't stop me from feeling just a little bit frustrated at the end of this episode.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Heartstopper 1x03 "Kiss" Review

Here I am, back again. I had to pause this episode halfway through to go make supper, and it upset me. I'm getting even more drawn in to the story with each episode, and that's saying a lot considering I really loved the first one.

Nick takes an "am I gay?" quiz in this episode which made me laugh because it feels like queer characters taking those kinds of quizzes is becoming a trope at this point, but that might just be all the Skam remakes I've watched (because the Isak character always takes one of those quizzes).

I feel bad for Imogen and how she likes Nick without realizing she doesn't have a chance. I was surprised at how confident she appeared when she admitted her feelings to him and he left. She still seemed to think she had a chance even though he left her as soon as possible. I admire that confidence. I also really hope that I stay sympathetic towards her and that she doesn't do something that makes me dislike her when she finds out about Nick and Charlie.

When it came time for the party, I had a lot of anxiety. I really felt for Charlie and how nervous he must have been being around so many people, many of whom aren't nice to him. Despite that, him and Nick finally finding each other in the party was so cute.

Another favorite scene in this episode was Nick standing up to Harry for being homophobic. That was pretty brave of him when he's still figuring out so much about himself. He does end up half-heartedly accepting Harry's apology later, which goes back on his word about not really wanting to hang out with them anymore, but that makes a lot of sense to me since he's a teenager who's very confused. It felt realistic.

Their first kiss was incredibly cute! Seriously. I can't get over how cute this show is. I was beaming while I watched it. It was frustrating watching Nick leave, but I do understand why he did. I'm glad this is a misunderstanding that won't be taking long to clear up though.

I absolutely loved that we got to see Nick showing up at Charlie's door at the end instead of having the episode end on Charlie being upset. It's an excellent cliffhanger that most definitely makes you want to watch the next episode.

Heartstopper 1x02 "Crush" Review

I'm back with a review of episode two! And quicker than I planned because I got eager. Honestly, my willpower is failing me. I watched episode one on Friday and was able to focus on other things with no problem until yesterday (Monday), but now I keep seeing gifs on Tumblr. While spoilers don't bother me, the gifs are making me more eager to watch the rest of the episodes. If only Netflix had decided to release them weekly instead. Then I would have been less tempted. Instead, I have a feeling this show is going to take up most of my week.

There's quite a bit of texting in this show, which isn't surprising considering how much texting we all do in our daily lives now. I really love how Heartstopper is handling all the texting though. The actors are doing a great job of acting even when they're staring at a phone screen. I was beaming throughout Charlie and Nick's entire conversation. I honestly can't believe how long that scene was because I was glued to the screen, which I wouldn't have expected from a scene where characters are just texting each other back and forth.

We get to see more of Elle in this episode, which I'm very happy about! We also meet Tara and Darcy, who seem to be great characters. It was so nice seeing the way the girls welcomed in Elle in this episode, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in the future.

There's an extremely cute scene with Nick and his mom where she tells him that he's more himself around Charlie than he is his other friends. That scene might be my favorite in the episode, which is really saying something, considering that I loved everything.

Honestly, I had such a big smile on my face for this entire episode. I absolutely loved it.

Also, I'm going to go watch the next episode right now, and I'll probably write up another review today just so I can watch another episode. So I guess the whole "spreading out the episodes" thing didn't last long. In all fairness, it probably would have if it weren't for Tumblr, but I'm seeing so many gifs of the upcoming episodes that I feel like I should keep watching before I've seen absolutely everything on Tumblr first. So look out for more reviews much sooner than originally expected!

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Heartstopper 1x01 "Meet" Review

Recently, I haven't had a TV show to watch on a weekly basis, and I've been missing it, which is funny since I hardly kept up-to-date on any shows for a few years. But for the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking about how much I want something that I can look forward to a new episode of on a regular basis. When I heard that Heartstopper was coming out, I was excited to check it out and have something new to watch.

While I'm excited to watch the series, I'm not really getting the weekly episodes that I'm craving because Netflix released the whole season at once. (I'm a little surprised Netflix still does that when so many other streaming services release them once a week.) Despite that, I'm forcing myself to wait a bit between episodes and also writing these reviews before I watch the next one. I'm creating my own anticipation (and it's very much working).

Heartstopper is based on a webcomic that has been popular on the internet for several years now. I've been aware of Heartstopper since it first started getting attention, but I didn't keep up with it. I heard enough about it to check in on it and read it occasionally, but I've never kept up with a webcomic, and I'm just really bad at keeping keeping up-to-date. Instead, I just read it whenever I remembered it existed and planned to eventually get the physical volumes to read. So, I've read bits and pieces of the comic, but I certainly haven't read all of it chronologically.

I also have a terrible memory when it comes to comics and graphic novels. For whatever reason, those forms of stories just don't stick in my head well, so while I do know the basic premise of Heartstopper and the main characters from the comics, I'm in the dark enough that the TV show feels like a completely new experience.

Part of not being able to remember everything means that there are a few characters who I don't remember from the comic. It's entirely possible that I've read parts of the comic that featured them and just forgot, but it's also possible that they just weren't in the parts I've read. One of those characters was Ben. I was actually a little surprised to find out that Charlie was in a "relationship" (if you could even call it that) right off the bat.

The show did a great job of showing how toxic their relationship was from the very first scene of them together.

On the other hand, Charlie and Nick are adorable together from the first time they say hello to each other. I loved seeing the series of hellos between the two of them only to then see Ben get super defensive over a simple hello from Charlie. Charlie and Nick really do have great chemistry, which is great to see from the first episode. As of right now, I think that was the biggest highlight of the episode.

We really only get short glimpses of Charlie's fiends. We get the most backstory about Elle, who's just started at the all girls school after being bullied at the all boys school. She lies to Tao about having made friends. There's also definitely something going on between Elle and Tao, so I hope we get to see them a lot more in future episodes because I think they could have great chemistry too once we see them together.

There's another member of their friend group, Isaac, who barely speaks this whole episode. I had to Google his name because I couldn't remember it. I really hope we learn more about him in the coming episodes.

At one point, Ben assaults Charlie, which I did not see coming. That scene was quite intense. It's not the sort of thing I want to watch again, and I may skip it if I rewatch the show.

So far, the story seems to be moving really fast. It feels like a lot happened with Charlie and Nick, yet we didn't see much of anything from the other characters. I hope that the other episodes don't feel quite so rushed.

Overall, I enjoyed this first episode. It was extremely cute! And I suspect that the rest of the show will be as well. I didn't get around to writing this review last weekend (after watching the episode on Friday), and I've been anxious about getting it written so that I can go watch episode two. So that's probably what I'm off to do now!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Published: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (originally self-published)
Received: purchased
Read from January 27 to April 1, 2022

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe. 

Review:

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was another book that I read for Life's Library. It was a book that I'd heard of years ago when it first came out, and I'd been very curious about it at the time. But I also forgot about it somewhat quickly, so I'm not sure that I ever would have picked it up if it hadn't been a Life's Library pick. And, let me tell you, I'm really glad it was because I would have been missing out if I'd never picked it up. This very well might have been my favorite of all the Life's Library reads.

From the first chapter, I was in love with every character in the story. They're such a diverse group who all play such different roles in the story. Even Corbin, who's quite obnoxious, felt like he had an important role to play, and because of that, I felt as fond of him as I did everyone else even when I thought I should be annoyed with him.

Seriously, I can't get over how great the characterization was for every single character in this book, even the minor ones. Everyone had such interesting backstories, and those backstories were woven into the story in amazing ways. I wanted to know everything about everyone. I can't think of a single character who felt lacking.

As someone who loves reading about friendships, I also loved the relationships in this book. While there were also a few romances that were well done, friendship was the biggest driver in the story I think. If you love the found family trope, then this book is for you. It's been a long time since I've read something that has satisfied my craving for found family as deeply as this book did.

While the characters were so amazing that they almost overshadowed everything else, I also loved the worldbuilding. A lot of sci-fi makes humans as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, player in the universe, and that makes sense. As humans ourselves, of course we want to think of ourselves as significant, but in this world, humans are actually considered a minor player on the universal stage, and I loved that! It made the story feel unique, and who doesn't love an underdog story?

I will say that the crew for the Wayfarer specifically (i.e. the main cast of characters in the book) are mostly human. If you include Lovey the AI, then the Wayfarer has nine crew members, and five of them are human. Still, I was absolutely fascinated by how the politics in the universe at large work within this book. We only get bits and pieces of it during the story, but I found what we did get fascinating.

This felt like a world where there was endless potential in terms of telling stories, so I'm happy that there are other books in the series. From what I understand, the other books focus on other characters, which feels bittersweet. I absolutely want to read them and learn more about the world and other characters, but it makes me sad to think about not having more of these characters too.

This was one of the best books I'd read in a while. In fact, I started re-reading it the day after I finished it, which is in part because of a spin-off Discord from Life's Library where we're reading the book through the method of sacred reading. I'm still excited to get to live through the story a second time.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Star Trek: Discovery 4x13 "Coming Home" Review

It's time for the season finale! I was so excited to see how this season would wrap up, and I don't feel disappointed in the slightest.

Right away, we get to see Tilly! I knew she was going to make another appearance this season, and since this was the finale, it was inevitable that she'd be in this episode. But it was exciting nonetheless. She's helping Earth evacuate, which I love. Since she's not with Discovery, it's great seeing her still play a significant role in what's happening.

T'Rina tries to link with the Ten-C telepathically despite doing so with an unknown species being dangerous. It does hurt her, but they learn that the Ten-C think of each other as one unit instead of individuals. Even after finishing the episode, I'm not entirely clear on what exactly the Ten-C are or how they're connected. We see them, but I have a lot of questions about what exactly we were seeing and how they operate.

Discovery is still stuck in the sphere, and they make the decision to use the spore drive to get them out even though it means destroying it and a decades-long journey back home. I had a feeling they wouldn't actually have to take a decade, but it was still a great way to add tension in an already tension-filled episode.

Meanwhile, on Book's ship, Book and Reno are trying to break free and overpower Tarka. They manage to do it, but it turns out that not even Tarka can stop the system. Book sends Reno back to Discovery, and tells Michael that he loves her in an emotional scene. I'm still very happy that Reno got to play an important role at the end of the season.

Ndoye tries to make things right by potentially sacrificing herself to stop the DMA.

When the evacuation of Earth is ceased, Tilly chooses to stay with the admiral. They talk about their lives, and Tilly talks about being happy with her life. It really was so great to see her again, and I really hope this isn't the last time. This episode made me desperately want her to come back to Discovery all over again.

Eventually, Tarka does relent and ends up breaking down as he seems to realize that he's been in the wrong. I still don't feel much sympathy for him, and I suppose the show itself doesn't either as he's the only character who actually winds up dead by the end of the episode. And I'm fine with that.

After Ndoye successfully stops Tarka's ship, they have a breakthrough with the Ten-C as well where the Ten-C finally realize that their indviduals and not one. This breakthrough actually seems to happen rather quickly if the entire concept of individuals was unknown to the Ten-C before their encounter with the Federation. It seems like it would take longer for you to get a concept that was entirely unknown to your entire species before that, but sure, I can go with it.

When everyone else goes down to Ten-C's planet to see them, Culber stays with Stamets and Adira on Discovery, saying that he wants to be with his family. It was a pretty simple moment, but I absolutely loved it.

In the end, communication with the Ten-C is successful. At first, they just want to move the DMA, but Book is adamant about them stopping using it all together. They agree though they're worried about being vulnerable. I really loved this whole scene, and I'm curious if the Ten-C will continue to talk to the Federation or not.

They also use the DMA to create a wormhole that allows Discovery to travel back without it taking decades, which (again) wasn't surprising. I am curious about what will happen now that Discovery no longer has a spore drive though, and I'm going to hazard a guess that it connects to that short that included Zora.

At the end of the episode, once Discovery is back at Earth, Tilly is reunited with the crew, and this was the part of the episode where I cried. I was completely fine until then, but I just broke when Tilly and Michael saw each other.

We get a bit of a summary about things happening at the end of the episode. Culber and Stamets are going on a vacation to Puerto Rico, which was a cute scene. Ni'Var and Earth both rejoin the Federation, which is awesome. We even get a cameo from Stacey Abrams playing United Earth's president. That was fun, though I must admit that her acting felt a little stiff. Still, it's exciting to know Earth is in the Federation again.

In some ways, this ending felt like an ending to the series, but Discovery has (thankfully) been renewed for a fifth season. I'm curious what will happen next. I'm expecting it to continue to link the series to that short that was released that plagues my thoughts now, and I definitely expect them to address what will happen now that the spore drive was destroyed. I'll be anxiously waiting to find out.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

How I Met Your Mother 1x10 "Timing is Everything" Review

This week's episode of How I Met Your Father is also the season finale, which I didn't realize. It's still strange to me when shows have that short of seasons, particularly a sitcom where the episodes themselves are also short. But this being the finale made me even more curious about what would happen.

We start off the episode with the captain and his divorce again. Thanks to the internet, I now remember that the captain was actually in How I Met Your Mother. I highly doubt I would have realized that if other people hadn't pointed it out. That at least gave me a bit more context about why he had shown up out of nowhere before I started this episode, but I'll save talking about him more until the end of this review, since that's when the dots are finally connected in the episode too.

Jesse does show up, which I'm thankful for just from the standpoint of him not being a total jerk. Thankfully, he did reject Meredith, so he wasn't just showing up to reject Sophie either. For a while, it seemed like things were going well and that the two of them would end the season as a couple. That didn't happen, but I want to talk about all the other couples before I react to that.

Sid and Hannah do quite a bit of arguing in this episode, both about being long distance and the wedding. At first, I thought they'd be broken up by the end of the episode, but that's not what happens. Instead, they end up eloping. That's not what I expected at all, but I'm still suspicious about their chances of working out long term since they'll still be long distance and were already arguing about that. But we'll see. I am more optimistic about them working out than I was before.

Ellen picks up a random stray cat and tries to make it her emotional support animal, but the cat hates her. Lo and behold, the cat actually belongs to Rachel, who has begun moving in across the hall. I knew we'd see Rachel again, and she's actually giving Ellen a second chance quicker than I expected. I'm exciting to see where things go for them. Though Rachel's cat hating Ellen is sure to create some laughs.

Meanwhile, we learn that Charlie was upset because Valentina wants kids and he doesn't. This leads to them breaking up by the end of the episode. This really got to me more than I was expecting it to. I like that reason behind their break up because it feels very really and isn't something that gets brought up that often on television. I'm very curious about what their relationship will be like in the future. It feels like their romantic relationship has already been a bit all over the place in this season.

Back to Jesse and Sophie: Jesse ends up saying that he loves Sophie in his sleep, which freaks Sophie out. I'm not surprised by them going their separate ways. I was much more surprised to see Robin! But it was a good surprise.

Ironically, this ups Jesse's chances of being the father in my eyes, but who knows. I'm still suspicious of everyone.

It took me a ridiculously long time to fit together the connection between the captain's boat and Ian, but seeing Ian again was a nice surprise! I'd kind of been ignoring his chances of being the father because I didn't expect to see him again in this season, but I'm curious where this is going to go! Considering Sophie's comment about it taking a long time for her and the father to get together this, ironically, makes me think Ian isn't likely to be the father, but I wonder how big of a role he'll play in season two, and I'm excited to hopefully learn more about him.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Star Trek: Discovery 4x12 "Species Ten-C" Review

We learn a lot in this episode, and it had me on the edge of my seat for the whole time. I'm really excited to talk about it.

At the start of the episode, species Ten-C isn't responding to Discovery's message or even showing any signs of knowing that they're out there.

Zora also thinks that something is off from the beginning, but she can't tell what that is because Tarka and Book have disguised themselves. It's frustrating to watch them slowly work towards that answer the whole episode when you know how urgent it is that they figure it out.

Discovery send some DOTs to the hyperfield, but the hyperfield displays even more technology when it sucks the DOTs back in and refuses to let them go. Quickly, it takes Discovery (and Book and Tarka) as well.

Reno watches Tarka closely while everything is happening. I love seeing her suspicious of him because, after watching Book trust him for so many episodes, it feels validating to see someone else feel the same way I do about him. I really, really appreciated her playing a significant role in this episode.

Unsurprisingly, she also realizes that Tarka is going to get them all killed. It's not even remotely surprising, and I'm still so frustrated that Book didn't see that earlier. Reno mentions emotions blinding people to what's obvious, and sure, that's true. But in this case, it seems a little too far to be entirely realistic.

Thankfully, Reno does get through to Book, who confronts Tarka. It ends up going bad for him when Tarka beats him up and locks him up with Reno. He says something about how Book's one of only two real friends he's ever had, and Reno makes a comment about him having a funny way of showing it, once again voicing exactly what I'm thinking. I really appreciated having her in these scenes because I think it made them easier to watch.

They have their first contact with Ten-C, though we don't get to see them up close or anything like that. The species excretes hydrocarbons like those found on their planet, which does indeed seem to be their language, and they give the others flashing lights that are the key to decoding it. They're able to turn it into a mathematical equation with Zora's help and essentially use math to communicate with the other species. METI even gets a shoutout from Michael, which I thought was kind of funny.

Ten-C end up sending a shuttle for the president, T'Rina, Michael, and Saru. I really enjoyed watching them work out how to communicate with the Ten-C once they were there, though I'm not entirely sure why they needed to do it on the shuttle instead of on Discovery. I'd buy it being a way to make sure they're not a danger, but they beamed them back once Book and Tarka broke free instead of keeping them hostage or something, so that doesn't seem to be the case.

It's been a while since a cliffhanger has gotten me like this one has. I'm so frustrated with Tarka but also hopeful that things will work out in the end. Here's hoping.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

How I Met Your Father 1x09 "Jay Street" Review

There was a lot packed into this episode that I want to talk about. After quite a few episodes that were fine but didn't leave me with much to say, this one left me with a lot of thoughts.

Before we get to what felt like the "real" episode, though, we get a clip of some guy having an affair and his wife walking in on him and his affair partner. Sophie's son interrupts this story to ask why she's telling him this, and Sophie claims it will be relevant later. However, it never becomes relevant in this episode, so I have no idea what this scene is establishing. It seems odd to just stick it early in an episode and then bring it up later in a different episode. I don't know if this is something we'll hear about in the next episode or if we're supposed to remember this later down the line.

Valentina and Sid have a mutual freak out over Sophie and Jesse having kissed, and they tell everyone else what happened despite Sophie and Jesse wanting them to keep it quiet. They go so far as to talk about them having kids, and Sid mentions having "shipped" them, which isn't a term that I'm ever going to get used to hearing on television.

Honestly, the conversation about Sophie and Jesse having kids one day makes me think even more that Jesse isn't the father. It just seems too obvious at this point.

It turns out that Sophie and Drew hadn't broken up last episode, and I'm glad the fact that Sophie cheating was mentioned and not completely glossed over like I was a little worried it would be. A few of the characters dismiss it because she's breaking up with Drew that day, and she does actually do so after struggling due to Drew's parents being there.

Meanwhile, most of the cast is at the bar because Charlie has planned a Friends Soccer Day, which doesn't go too well since no one pays attention to the soccer. In the end, it turns out that Charlie is homesick. Valentina tries to cheer him up by decorating the apartment with superficially British stuff, and they hug, but Charlie's face during that scene seems to hint that the situation isn't actually resolved.

Considering Charlie is part of the main cast, I don't think he's going back to England any time soon, so I'm curious what's going to happen with him (and Valentina) next. Or maybe he will go back and then he'll end up coming back not long after.

Hannah is in this episode again! I continue to be amazed by how often she can travel to New York considering how busy she's supposed to be.

She and Sid fight again in this episode, so that cements my belief that they're going to break up soon. Especially when she mentions that they might have to be long distance for even longer as she's considering staying in California.

While Sophie is dealing with breaking up with Drew, Jesse goes to see Meredith after he hears her song. Meredith says she wants to get back together, and we don't know Jesse's answer yet. We only know that he's late to the dinner with Sophie. We don't know if he'll stand her up entirely. 

I truly don't have any idea how this will go. I could see it either way. I'm hoping that, if he does get back together with Meredith, he doesn't blow Sophie off entirely and there's at least a phone call or something where he explains things to her, but we'll see, I guess.

As future Sophie is walking away, we see that she has the picture of Jesse that she took on her wall. On the one hand, that could be a sign that he's the father, but I think it's just as likely that it's there because that picture got her into the gallery and that jumpstarted her career. Plus, even if Jesse is the father, I do think they'll be good friends at the end of the series. So while I think the picture is there to make us suspicious, I don't necessarily think it's a sign he's the father. I mean, he could be, but the picture doesn't make it any more or less likely in my mind.

At this point, I'm more interested in whether or not Jesse is showing up at that restaurant or not in the next episode than I am what the picture means.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Star Trek: Discovery 4x11 "Rosetta" Review

By the start of this episode, Discovery has gotten closer to communicating with Species Ten-C, but they still have to get inside the hyperfield that the species has built around themselves. In the meantime, they're near a former gas giant that they believe is the species' home planet, and they make the decision to go down to investigate and hopefully find something that will help them communicate with Ten-C once they meet them.

While Discovery tries to find something on the planet, Book and Tarka make plans to hitch a ride on Discovery to make it through the hyperfield, which includes them going on Discovery themselves to execute their plan. It's actually kind of creepy how easy it apparently is for people to sneak onto the ship. I know Book knows the ship well and Tark is a genius, but that still raises a few security issues...

While on Discovery, Book and Tarka overhear General Ndoye talking to President T'Rina and learn that she's frustrated with the plan of going down to the planet instead of immediately talking to Ten-C. Book convinces Tarka to bring her in on the plan, which they do, but she insists that it be a back up plan only. Book agrees to that, but I have this sneaking suspicion that Tarka won't and will jump in and ruin things again.

Honestly, I'm frustrated that Book still trusts him at all after everything that's happened. It doesn't sit well with me.

While they're doing that, the crew on the surface of the planet finds some bones that have me extremely curious what this species is going to look like, and they also start hallucinating. It turns out that they've found Ten-C's pheromones (essentially), and those pheromones convey what their emotions were even after a long time has passed. It's...interesting. Honestly, it feels a little weird, but okay. Michael refers to it as their Rosetta Stone, which I figured was coming when I saw that the episode was titled "Rosetta."

While they're on the planet, Detmer makes a reference to having attended PTSD therapy, which I greatly appreciate after her mental health storyline seemed to have just been dropped for a long time.

Adira also admits to admiring Detmer in this episode, which was cute. It reminded me of when Stamets mentioned Adira looking up to Tilly earlier in the season, but of course, Tilly's not currently on Discovery (and I miss her). I guess it makes sense that Adira would find someone else to look up to since they're young compared to the rest of the crew.

On an exciting note, Reno's in this episode! It feels like ages since we've seen her, so I was happy to have her pop up. I enjoyed her interactions with Adira and how she gave them advice as well. Plus, Tarka takes her captive, so I'm hoping that means she's in the next episode as well.

Towards the end of the episode, they theorize that Ten-C built the hyperfield to protect themselves after their planet was destroyed, and yeah, that makes sense. I'm very curious to meet these people at this point, so I really hope that we do actually get to see them in the next episode.

How I Met Your Father 1x08 "The Perfect Shot" Review

This episode continues the trend of name dropping as many celebrities as it can within an episode. I'm pretty tired of it, especially when it comes to any scene involving Valentina's job. Did How I Met Your Mother name drop this often? I know it did sometimes, and it's possible it was this bad and I just don't remember it. But this feels really excessive, and boy, is it probably going to date the show in just a few years.

We meet Meredith in this episode. Technically, we've seen her before in the infamous video of Jesse proposing, but now we actually get to know her a bit. Sid obviously has a negative opinion of her, and I can see his point of view from how she's portrayed in this episode, but I could also see her becoming more sympathetic if we were given more time with her. As someone who strongly believes public proposals are a bad idea unless the person you're proposing to has said they're okay with it, I completely understand her feeling like she was put on the spot and saying no. And I do think it was Jesse's fault for doing that as a surprise. I actually hope that's dealt with more in the future, and it doesn't just continue to be portrayed as if we should be sympathetic for Jesse.

Anyway, it turns out that Meredith has gotten a record deal, and her single is going to be about Jesse. Jesse doesn't actually learn that in this episode, but I'm guessing he will. We also don't know what the song is like yet, but I have a feeling that is going to play a role in a future episode, and I'm curious about what direction that will go in. I'm hoping maybe it'll take a step towards making Meredith less of a villain, since she'll be expressing her own feelings in the song.

This episode also expands on comments Valentina made last time about her hating her job. It turns out that her job is even worse than what I imagined. Her boss has a doll, so he can insult her while claiming he's not actually doing so. It's crazy to believe that Valentina was putting up with this at work without venting to Sophie about it at all. That had to have been hard to take, and I hope something happens where she's able to get a new job or, at the very least, things change with her current one.

Throughout the episode, Sophie is struggling to find the perfect picture to send to the woman from last time. Her and Jesse both talk about being struggling artists, and Sophie gets worried that she'll never make it. Jesse encourages her, but later in the episode, she and Drew fight about it. I like that this potential end to their relationship relates back to the initial conflict of Drew being more "put together" than Sophie. Sophie being an artist doesn't mean she's immature or less put together, but Drew's belief that her dream isn't serious does make sense with the way he seems more serious about life. It feels like a very natural end to the relationship, though I was honestly expecting them to stay together a bit longer than that.

All Sophie says is that they had a fight, but I'm assuming they broke up considering she kisses Jesse at the end of the episode. Either that or they're going to break up pretty soon.

If I remember correctly, Sophie just told her son an episode or two ago that we had a long way to go before she got with his dad, so the fact Jesse and Sophie have already kissed really makes me think he's not the dad. (I'm extremely suspicious of Sid at this point to be honest.) This episode was the first one that made me feel even a little invested in them potentially though, as I liked the way they bonded over being artists. I don't know. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Book Review: A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

Published: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Beacon Press
Received: purchased
Read from January 8 to February 24, 2022

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are--and have always been--instrumental in shaping our country

In centering Black women's stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women's unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.

A Black Women's History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women's lives in all their fraught complexities. Berry and Gross prioritize many voices: enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists, and women who lived outside the law. The result is a starting point for exploring Black women's history and a testament to the beauty, richness, rhythm, tragedy, heartbreak, rage, and enduring love that abounds in the spirit of Black women in communities throughout the nation.

Review:

A Black Women's History of the United States is the fifth book in the ReVisioning American History series that aims to look at US history through perspectives that have historically been overlooked. This one, as is obvious from the title, is about the history of Black women in the US.

Each chapter starts by profiling a Black woman from the period that the chapter focuses on. I really liked this structure. The authors didn't focus on Black women who everyone's heard of. Instead, I learned about a lot of remarkable women for the first time, and their stories helped personalize that era of history before we delved deeper into the chapter and learned more about it.

I really appreciated such a deep dive into history centered on Black women. There were parts of the book that I had heard before, but a lot of it was new information. I've never read a book that was entirely focused just on the history of Black women, and I really appreciated being able to read about it so in-depth.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about US history, especially in ways that it's long been overlooked.

How I Met Your Father 1x07 "Rivka Rebel"

In this episode, Sophie meets with a gallery owner who she admires, but instead of being asked to be in her gallery, the woman wants her to take pictures at her daughter's bat mitzvah. The daughter ends up being an influencer who is difficult to work with. It was kind of painful seeing the daughter portrayed as a caricature essentially.

I liked Valentina finally opening up to Sophie about her job not being all that great. They both seem to come into contact with an impressive amount of celebrities though.

There were so many celebrities name dropped in this episode that it felt excessive.

Meanwhile, Charlie is settling into his job as a bartender, and he loves it. Until he gets a 1-star review on Yelp, and then he becomes very concerned about fixing it. In the end, it turns out to have been Ellen, and they have a cute scene together where he makes it up to her by writing a positive Yelp review. They're probably my favorite relationship on the show so far. I love their friendship!

Sid opens up to Jesse about feeling stressed about wedding planning because he wants to have two weddings, including one in India, but he doesn't know how to tell Hannah. He eventually does, and things go well. Still, I have a feeling that Hannah and Sid are going to break up. I think it's just all the struggles they seem to have gone through in just seven episodes and the distance between them.

Overall, I liked this episode. Charlie and Ellen's storyline was my favorite. While I found Charlie annoying at first, the traits I found annoying aren't as prominent anymore, and he's really grown on me as a character. I hope that continues.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Star Trek: Discovery 4x10 "The Galactic Barrier" Review

This episode starts with a meeting about what to do next. They've made first contact, but they still don't have a way to directly communicate with the unknown species.

We learn early on that Bryce isn't going on the mission with them. I'm not sure if that means we'll be seeing less of him in the future, too, or if this is just for this episode. It feels like more and more of the crew are leaving, and while I do get it, that's sad. Supposedly, we are going to see Tilly again (and Saru didn't leave for as long as I thought he would), but it's still sad to potentially lose some of the cast.

On the bright side, Adira is back after also leaving for a bit! I missed them, and they have an absolutely adorable scene with Stamets in this episode that I loved.

T'Rina ends up coming along on the mission, and we get more development on her and Saru's relationship. I'm still pretty neutral about this. I don't have many feelings about them one way or another. I keep hoping that I'll become more enthusiastic about it, but that hasn't happened yet.

This episode gives us a long look at Tarka's backstory. I appreciate getting to see it as I half expected that the whole story he'd fed Book was a lie, but I don't feel any more sympathetic towards him than I did before. I get that he was friends with the guy and wants to reach him again, but that part of the episode wasn't emotionally powerful enough for me to sympathize with how desperate Tarka is.

Right before Discovery leaves the galactic barrier, they get a message that the DMA is in the path of Earth and Ni'Var. It's bad news, and honestly, I hadn't seen that coming, though in hindsight it seems like an obvious move on the writers' part. I feel pretty confident that they'll save the day before the planets are destroyed, but I am excited for the tension it'll create.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. Immediately after watching it, I went searching for fan theories about what happens next. I don't do that often with Discovery, but I was curious about what everyone is thinking. I'm not going to go into detail about what I read, but it did make me feel even more curious about the coming episodes.

Friday, February 25, 2022

How I Met Your Father 1x06 "Stacy" Review

Sid's fiancée Hannah arrives in New York. Considering how busy she would be, she's traveled to New York twice in quite a short number of episodes. Hannah's only there for a few seconds before she accidentally calls Sophie by the name Stacy, who's apparently Drew's ex. The atmosphere here is weird because the way it happens made me think Hannah had done it on purpose, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It's weird, but it serves the purpose of Sophie getting paranoid about Drew's ex.

Sophie and Drew end up joining Sid and Hannah on a couples' getaway. Sophie almost ruins the whole thing because of her jealousy over Stacy, but she and Drew make up in the end. It's a pretty standard storyline, and I don't feel like I have much to say about it.

Jesse gets a girlfriend in this episode, but it turns out that she slept with Ellen the night before she met Jesse. I don't think we'll be seeing her again, and I'm okay with that.

Valentina and Charlie had the most interesting storyline in this episode. Valentina finds out that Charlie has moved to countries for girls multiple times, but he insists that this time it's different. The episode ends with them saying, "I love you." While I found this to be the most interesting part of the episode, I'm not sure how much I believe it's really different considering how quickly their relationship has progressed. Though I do feel like they're going to be together for a long time on the show because that just seems to be where things are headed.

Sid and Hannah also have conflict in this episode as Hannah gets mad at Sid for always making decisions without her. Just like everyone else, they make up before the end of the episode.

Sid and Sophie have a bit of an unexpected heart-to-heart in this episode. I think that's the most they've communicated one-on-one on the show. Despite Jesse seeming like the "obvious" choice for the father, I haven't stopped being suspicious that the show might do something else, so I am watching every interaction between Sid and Sophie for possible hints that it's Sid who's the father. I could definitely see it from that one scene.

But, of course, it's probably going to be a long time before we actually know anything.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Star Trek: Discovery 4x09 "Rubicon" Review

 The situation with the DMA has progressed faster than I was expecting it too, which shouldn't be surprising since that happens a lot in Discovery. After Book and Tarka took the weapon, I thought more time was going to be spent actually chasing them and that they'd be stopped at the very end of the season. Now I'm realizing that the finale may have more to do with the unknown species itself instead of Book and Tarka.

Nhan comes back in this episode! This wasn't a shock since she was in the preview for the second half of the season, but it's still exciting to see her again. It was sad to hear about what happened on her home world, She mentions possibly coming back to Discovery in the future, so I'm curious if that's supposed to be a hint that she might rejoin the show at some point. Whether she does or not, it was great to see her, and I loved seeing her and Michael's relationship.

This episode gives us more between President T'Rina and Saru. I keep forgetting that's a thing that's happening until it pops up again. I'm honestly not sure how I feel. Mostly because I'm not entirely convinced of their feelings. I don't know that we've seen enough between them to actually have seen their feelings develop despite us being repeatedly told that they have feelings for each other.

There's some tension among the crew when Rhys starts voicing support for Book's actions and arguing with the other crew members about it. This leads to a line where he tells Bryce that he doesn't know what it's like to lose everything, but that seems like a strange thing to say? The whole crew has traveled into the future and lost most of the people they knew and cared about because of it. I don't know how he could argue that any one of them doesn't understand loss.

When Discovery's shuttle gets close to Book's ship, a security system Tarka installed kicks in, and they nearly die because of it. This immediately creates tension between Book and Tarka, which is unsurprising. Book's already been trusting Tarka more than I ever would have. I'd have expected him to be more cautious after that happened, but he doesn't really seem to.

Michael ends up reaching Book at the end of the episode, and he stands down. But Tarka launches the weapon anyway because of course he does. This was one of those moments where I was screaming at the screen the whole time about Tarka doing exactly that. It was incredibly obvious what was coming, especially after he'd already messed with Book's ship without telling him and damaged Discovery. The fact that no one seemed more concerned about Tarka doing it on his own seems so short-sighted that it kind of broke my suspension of disbelief.

It is kind of satisfying to know that Tarka can't even go back to his home universe because it's powered from the other side though. I have to admit. I have essentially no sympathy for him at this point.

Destroying the DMA turns out to have been for nothing because a new DMA appears in its place. Now they've made first contact with the unknown species, and I'm guessing that a potential conflict with that species is going to drive the rest of the season. I am curious to learn more about this species and to see what happens.

How I Met Your Father 1x05 "The Good Mom" Review

We meet Sophie's mom in this episode. She apparently doesn't live in New York, which is interesting. Sophie mentions moving around in her childhood, but I imagined that as being moving around the city. Now I'm wondering if she grew up in a lot of different cities.

It turns out that Sophie's mom as a new boyfriend named Charlie who's actually really nice. After Valentina spots Sophie's mom making out with Charlie's manager, Sophie has to face the fact that it was actually her mother who had ruined her past relationships. That turn of events wasn't hugely surprising, but it does have an effect on Sophie.

I'm wondering how much we'll be seeing her mom in the future.

Charlie still needs a job to actually survive of off, and he decides that he should deal with other people's trauma, starting with Sid and Jesse. This culminates with him being made a bartender in Sid's bar at the end of the episode, and I'm looking forward in seeing how that goes in the future.

Meanwhile, Ellen meets a woman at her grandmother's funeral across the hall when she goes over to steal some food. Ellen pretends to have been the old woman's friend because she likes the woman, but by the end of the episode, she exposes herself, leaving the woman angry. The woman is still apparently going to be living in their apartment building though, so I'm curious if she'll be a recurring character. I'd be excited about a gradual relationship developing between the two of them. Who else is Ellen going to meet that's passionate about produce?

Monday, February 14, 2022

Star Trek: Discovery 4x08 "All In" Review

Discovery is back! I had a busy day on Thursday, and knowing that I could watch the episode once I finished everything else really drove me to get work done.

The president is mad at both the admiral and Michael, especially since Book and Tarka seem to have used the admiral's code. I can't blame her.

Michael takes Owosekun with her to talk to a broker who she knows from when she was a courier. Ostensibly, they're going to get a star map, but she also asks about the isolynium that Book and Tarka need.

Of course, Book and Tarka end up having gone to the same broker. I wasn't expecting them to run into each other so quickly, but I enjoyed Michael and Book's dynamics in this episode. She can't do anything because she's not in Federation space, yet he's right there. It greated great tension.

The two groups end up in a competition to both win the isolynium that they need. Book and Tarka try to find a cheater while Michael and Owosekun hustle some guys in a fight. The fight scene in particular was quite a fun one that I really enjoyed.

Both pairs pay their price at the same time after Book and Michael help each other. I understand Book helping Michael since she was being physically attacked, but I am curious about Michael helping Book considering what was on the line.

At the end of the episode, we find out that Michael placed a tracker on the isolynium. I did think she was acting a little odd in that scene when touching the isolynium, so I wasn't surprised.  It gets me excited for what happens next in terms of stopping Book and Tarka.

It turns out that the unknown species is using the DMA as a mining tool. They're really building up this species and what they're capable of. I'm hoping we're not let down when we finally meet them. I'm not sure if I'm excited or just terrified thinking about what will happen.

The entire episode focused on the same story except for one scene between Culber and Stamets. I feel bad for laughing when Culber snapped at the robot to stop cleaning because he was doing it himself. It was a sweet scene between the two of them, and it makes sense considering that they've been building up to that for a while. But it did feel a little odd in the episode as it was the only scene not directly about the other storyline.

Overall, I loved the episode though, and I'm so happy that Discovery is back!

Friday, February 11, 2022

The Book of Boba Fett "Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor" Review

This episode is the season finale, and we finally get back to Boba Fett after not seeing him for ages.

We learn more about the blue bounty hunter Cad Bane in this episode too. We find out he's working for the Pyke syndicate and the mayor, which is no big surprise. However, we also learn that the Pykes are responsible for the Tuskens' deaths and they framed the bikers. That wasn't a huge surprise either, but I am thankful that it helps tie in the "present" storyline with the "past" one from earlier in the season. Even though it still feels like a somewhat flimsy connection.

Grogu arrives on Tattooine! I find it kind of cute that R2-D2 drove him. And he's wearing the armor! I knew there was a good chance of him choosing the Mandalorian, but I still love seeing it happen. The way he threw himself at Mando when he saw him was adorable.

The majordomo offers to negotiate on Boba Fett's behalf and ends up telling the Pykes that he won't negotiate instead. I've come to find his character a lot more entertaining now than I did in the beginning, and since he managed to survive this episode, I wonder if we'll be seeing more of him in the future.

Everything erupts into a fight, and all of Boba Fett's associates help. The people of Freetown even show up. It's the only thing tying the whole season together really, since we see a lot of people.

The rancor also ends up connecting to everything as Boba Fett uses him during the fight. The best part about this is Grogu being the one to calm it down and put it to sleep. Him falling asleep right beside it was adorable!

Though Cad Bane ostensibly dies during the fight, I have a hard time believing he's actually dead. We find out in this episode that he and Boba know each other, and it's hinted that they have an interesting past. If the show gets a season two, then I feel like he's coming back. (And maybe that season would actually focus on Boba Fett more.)

Fennec Shand kills the head of the Pyke syndicate, so unless someone fills that power vacuum, we have to have a villain other than the Pykes if the show continues.

We get an adorable scene at the end of the episode where Grogu is tapping on the glass to get Mando's attention and then gets flown back in the seat when Mando goes fast. I didn't realize how much I missed him until this episode. Even though he was in the earlier episode, seeing him with Mando is different.

We get an end credits scene with Vanth in the bacta tank and the modifier standing over him. This has to be hinting at something. I'm not sure if it's Vanth appearing again in one of the existing shows or it's a hint at a possible Vanth show. (The Book of Boba Fett had a "preview" at the end of The Mandalorian's season after all.) I guess we'll have to wait to find out.

How I Met Your Father 1x04 "Dirty Thirty" Review

This episode focuses on Sophie's 30th birthday and also her developing relationship with Drew, particularly how she feels like she's much more immature than Drew.

I do get the "different kind of adults" thing. I also like the relationship Drew and Sophie have, especially at the end of the episode where he assures her that he doesn't care and they bond over Christina Aguilera. While I know he's not going to be the dad so there's an expiration date on the relationship, I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops.

We learn more about Jesse and Ellen's backstory. Their dad cheated, which led to their parents getting divorced, and Ellen moved with their mom to Iowa while Jesse stayed with their dad. Before this, I'd assumed they were both from Iowa, but I guess Jesse actually grew up in New York. Or, at least, he didn't grow up in Iowa. The scene where they make up was sweet, and I'm looking forward to seeing them become closer over the course of the series as they actually learn about each other.

Charlie and Valentina also get into an argument this episode about not being an actual couple, but they end the episode deciding to be in a relationship. Honestly, for a bit, I thought they might actually break up, but nope.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I'm liking the cast so far and the relationships between the characters, both romantic and otherwise, as they develop.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Book Review: The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee

Published: July 16, 2019
Publisher: Amulet Books
Received: purchased
Read from October 17, 2021 to February 5, 2022

Synopsis from Goodreads

F. C. Yee’s The Rise of Kyoshi delves into the story of Kyoshi, the Earth Kingdom–born Avatar. The longest-living Avatar in this beloved world’s history, Kyoshi established the brave and respected Kyoshi Warriors, but also founded the secretive Dai Li, which led to the corruption, decline, and fall of her own nation. The first of two novels based on Kyoshi, The Rise of Kyoshi maps her journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice who is still feared and admired centuries after she became the Avatar.

Review:

As someone who's been a fan of Avatar since the show first aired when I was eleven, I've been very excited each time we've learned that there's going to be more. The movie was a disappointment, and Korra was a bit of a mixed bag. People have complicated feelings about it. I actually like Korra, though it's not on the same level as the original for me. The comics are also fun, and I've enjoyed the ones I've read, but I don't really connect with comics in the way I do TV shows or novels.

That was why I was excited to hear that there were going to be novels set in the Avatar universe. Avatar Kyoshi also had an interesting backstory that had already been introduced in Last Airbender, so learning more about her had me excited, and I wasn't disappointed.

Honestly, I could talk about this book for ages, but I'm going to try and focus on several of the biggest thoughts that I have after reading.

As I said before, there's a lot of potential for an interesting story about Kyoshi just based on what we learn about her in the original TV series. She was the longest lived Avatar, living for a longer period of time than a human being should be able too (over 200 years) which was never explained on the show, and she had a whole island and group of warriors named after her.

This first book addresses all of that in a way that felt very natural to the story currently being told and without it feeling like those details were being dropped just to explain things in the original TV show. I love the way it was done. As someone who's seen the TV show many times, I picked up on ways this story connected to the show, and I also have some theories about the second book based on what I know about Kyoshi from the show. However, you could pick up this book without ever having watched the show and be just as engaged in the story.

The Rise of Kyoshi also means that we now have two queer Avatars, which isn't something I could have imagined when I was watching Last Airbender as a kid. It's amazing.

Kyoshi wasn't anything like what I expected her to be, and I really like that. In addition to Kyoshi, we get a large cast of new characters, and every single one of them was unique and interesting. I particularly like how Jianzhu is the villain of the story, but we can see how he justifies his actions as being for the good of the world. It makes him a particularly great villain and humanizes him in a way that Ozai never got. (Azula was a bit more than Ozai, but I think it makes more sense to compare Jianzhu and Ozai as Ozai was always the one Aang was supposed to face.)

I did like Rangi, but she was quite closed off emotionally, which admittedly made a lot of sense for her. I hope we get to learn more about her and how she thinks in the second book. She's very devoted to Kyoshi too, and I'd like to see more of her as her own independent person and not necessarily as Kyoshi's teacher or protector.

Outlaw gangs called daofei play a huge role in the story, which was another surprise. By Aang's day, they seem to have (at least mostly) disappeared, since the pirates that we do see in Last Airbender are nothing like the groups we see in the book. I assume that Kyoshi's time as the Avatar will have a lot to do with these daofei and possibly be why they're almost nonexistent by the time Aang is born.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Rise of Kyoshi. It's an engaging and fun backstory for Kyoshi, and I'm excited to read the sequel and learn more about what happens next.

Monday, February 7, 2022

How I Met Your Father 1x03 "The Fixer" Review

The whole group is trying to convince Jesse to join Tinder at the start of the episode. This episode seemed particularly packed with brand names. I know it wasn't the first time Tinder was mentioned, but between that and even Hello Fresh getting a name drop, it felt a little overdone.

We get to meet a new character in this episode: the assistant principal at Jesse's school who's played by Josh Peck. I was actually kind of impressed with him in the role. I find it funny to have him and Hilary Duff playing romantic interests, since it's Disney and Nickelodeon meeting. I really like him as a character so far.

Charlie and Ellen decide to become roommates, and I'm actually excited for their friendship. I hadn't considered it before, but I like the way they played off each other in this episode. I'm excited to see more of them figuring out New York together.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I feel like I'm learning more about the characters and how they relate to each other. I like a lot of the dynamics and am looking forward to seeing more.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Book of Boba Fett "Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger" Review

This week gave us another episode with very little Boba Fett. He does actually make an appearance this time at least, even if it's for less than five minutes.

Instead of Boba Fett, we get to see some other characters we haven't in a while, including Cobb Vanth. I never expected to see him again in The Mandalorian, let alone in The Book of Boba Fett. It was kind of weird seeing him without his armor too. I'm kind of surprised he didn't make an attempt to make other armor himself after he lost the Mandalorian armor.

Another character we get to see in this episode is R2-D2! That was a fun surprise. Seeing Grogu was too. I'd missed him, even though him popping up in The Book of Boba Fett is still questionable to me.

We also see a bunch of other droids who are building Luke's future Jedi school. That bit felt kind of ominous considering what happens to the school later, and hearing that Grogu might be the first student there in the same episode where we saw his memories of the Great Jedi Purge was a little sad.

(Seeing those memories and being reminded that Grogu is actually older than Luke despite Luke being his teacher felt a little jarring too.)

CGI Luke was... Honestly, I don't know how I feel. I was worried they'd do it but didn't really expect them to because it seemed like such a bad idea. There were times in the episode where it wasn't too bad, but other times, it was very obvious that it was CGI, which took me out of the story. I'm just not a fan. It felt unnecessary, especially since this is The Book of Boba Fett and Luke doesn't seem very important to the story of Boba Fett himself. The series is just going off on tangents about other characters. But if we were going to see so much of Luke, they also could have recast him like they did Han Solo.

We get quite a bit of Grogu's training in this episode. It's the second episode in a row that feels like it should have been in The Mandalorian instead, and I'm still just as confused as I was then about why we're seeing this now.

At the end of the episode, Luke makes Grogu choose between the armor the Mandalorian brought him and Yoda's lightsaber. We don't see what choice he makes, but it's clear it's an important decision, which only makes it more baffling why we're not seeing him make it in The Mandalorian.

Meanwhile, the Pykes are causing more trouble. They kill Vanth and also plant a bomb that wreaks havoc. This part of the episode at least does connect with the larger story of The Book of Boba Fett. I'm hoping we'll see more of it in the next episode.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

How I Met Your Father 1x02 "FOMO" Review

This episode aired at the same time as the first episode, but I watched them about a day apart. That might have affected how I feel about the episode. One thing I can say is that I have less to say about this one than the first, which I expected. It's a half-hour sitcom, so there's not always going to be a lot to talk about when it comes to individual episodes.

At one point in the episode, Sophie says, "This story is about the journey, not the destination," and also that she'll be with a lot of guys before she gets with the father. Which...yeah. Anyone who watched How I Met Your Mother would be expecting that. It's interesting because I think one of the downsides of HIMYM was that it didn't always feel like it was about the journey that it was supposed to be about.

I didn't think about this until I was reflecting on this episode later, but where Ted's story starts with his children is actually incredibly weird and pointless in the grand scheme of things. It has nothing to do with meeting their mother. Even when looking at the whole show in context, it makes no sense that he would start the story there, so it's about a "journey" in a certain sense, but it also kind of isn't.

How I Met Your Father is already a bit different here in that we know Sophie met the father in the first episode, so at the very least, it makes sense that she started the story there. It seems like this time around it will actually be about the journey of them getting together and not just nine years of Sophie's life where she finally meets the father eight years into it.

But let's get into thoughts specifically about this episode.

There's a scene where Sophie and Valentina make drip coffee using a kettle, and it made me laugh. I know very few people in the US who have kettles, and I've had friends from other countries ask me how Americans make tea without kettles multiple times. (The answer is that a lot of Americans don't make tea at all, and people who do often use the microwave.) I made coffee the exact way they do in this episode when I lived in Japan, but I honestly don't know anyone in the US who does that. I'm sure some people do, but I definitely don't think it's common, so that was interesting, I guess.

Most of the episode is centered around Sophie and Valentina trying to set the guys up as friends, while Sid convinces Jesse that they're trying to set Sophie up with him. It was a pleasant episode, though noting super noteworthy happens.

I found Charlie more annoying in this episode. I know he's supposed to be an aristocrat who doesn't understand how the "real" world works, but there are so many moments where it surpasses the point of believability, and if it keeps up, I feel like it's going to get old fast.

This episode makes me think even more that Jesse is the father. Or, at the very least, we're supposed to think he is. I still think it would be interesting if we wound up being surprised by one of the other guys being the father, but I'm not holding out hope for it.

Monday, January 31, 2022

How I Met Your Father 1x01 "Pilot" Review

After years of talk, the How I Met Your Mother spinoff is here, and it was inevitable that I'd watch it. I was late to the game on HIMYM. I watched most of the show in the span of a year during my freshman year in college and finished it right in time to watch the last season of the show as it aired. I was one of the countless people who hated the ending. All these years later, and it's still my most hated finale ever. It soured me on the show so much that I haven't re-watched an episode since. I've seen bits a pieces when it happened to be on TV, but even that's only happened a few times because I don't watch live TV.

Despite that, I used to enjoy HIMYM enough that I wanted to give How I Met Your Father a shot. If for no other reason than to see what they do with it. Actually, that's a lie. That's not the only reason I want to watch.

Another reason I was curious to watch is because Hilary Duff plays the main character, Sophie. I was a big fan of Hilary Duff in elementary/middle school. I watched Lizzie McGuire, and after that, my friends and I listened to her music constantly. We were big enough fans that everyone in our class knew about it. Despite that, I haven't paid much attention to what she's doing in a good fifteen years. I've seen her in things here or there, but I know she's been in other shows that I just haven't bothered watching.

The combination of both having watched HIMYM and having been a Hilary Duff fan did make me more interested in the show though. Based off the first episode alone, I like the cast so far. The only other actor I'm familiar with is Francia Raisa (though I only saw her in parts of The Secret Life of an American Teenager when my sister watched it), but I thought everyone did a good job in the pilot.

I was not expecting a random posh British dude to be part of the main cast, but I guess that'll be interesting too.

One of several ways that this show is different from HIMYM so far is that, in the scenes set in the future, we see Sophie instead of her son. This makes a lot of sense. HIMYM definitely felt constrained only being able to use pre-recorded footage of the child actors reacting to stuff, since the actors aged over the years of the show. That's less of a concern with an adult actor, and the fact that Sophie is telling the story over a video call makes not seeing his face feel natural even.

Of course, Sophie's son seems older than Ted's kids were, so aging might not even have been as big a deal if we did see him, but I still think it's a good decision.

The show feels current with Sophie going on a Tinder date and taking an Uber. Jesse's backstory is even that he went viral for a failed proposal to his girlfriend. None of that would have happened in How I Met Your Mother.

That being said, the show's definitely taking place in a fictional, idealized version of 2022, since there's not a single mention of the pandemic. Ian even goes on a business trip and then moves to Australia despite Australia having had some of the strictest border control measures. After the past couple of years, it's pretty bizarre to have the characters repeatedly state that it's 2022 with no mention of what everyone's been going through in the "real world" since 2020.

If everything else about this episode wasn't enough to make me suspicious that Jesse is the "father," then him swearing that he'd never get married did. He seems to be similar to Ted while he and Sophie seem to be in a similar position to Ted and Robin, and even though Robin wasn't the mother in HIMYM, I feel like the disaster of the HIMYM finale means that they're going to handle that differently this time around.

At the end of this episode, we're told that we've already met the father, which only makes me more suspicious that it's Jesse. It seems like How I Met Your Father might have learned from its predecessor that being able to develop a relationship over time will give it more power than showing seasons' worth of relationships and then suddenly adding a new one to the story and expecting it to have the same impact.

That being said, it might not be Jesse. It might be one of the other guys in the episode, and I'd be interested in seeing if the show could do a good job pulling off a twist like that. (Though, depending on how the show goes, it might feel like less of a twist by the time it happened.)

One thing that will be interesting is how the characters are referred to in the "future" scenes. In HIMYM, Ted referred to Lily and Robin both as his kids' "aunts" throughout the series, so it was pretty clear that they weren't the mother. This time around, though, we know someone in the show is the father but not who. So I'm guessing no one will be referred to as "uncle" because it would ruin the surprise. Future Sophie will probably refer to everyone by name, but anytime the kid refers to "dad," they can't make it too obvious who he's referring to. And if he calls any of the male characters by their name, then they're probably not the father. So I wonder if he just won't directly refer to anyone at all. It'll be interesting to see how that goes.

That didn't really occur to me until I sat down to write this post, though, so now I'm wondering if he said anything that could have been a clue. But I'm guessing he didn't.

We get a dash of nostalgia for the old series when we learn that Jesse and Sid are living in Ted, Marshall, and Lily's old apartment. I really like this. I'm not sure how much time we'll be spending in each place yet, but since Sophie's the main character, I expect her apartment will be the main hub, and I like that it doesn't have ties to the old series. But the old apartment is also still there, and we'll get to see it.

Overall, I enjoyed this first episode even more than I expected I would. There are downsides to the format of HIMYM that I'm sure this spinoff will have to deal with too, but there are ways that I think it learned from HIMYM. I'm curious to see where the story goes, but I also can't say that I have that high of expectations overall. I expect it to be enjoyable, but I'm not holding out for anything groundbreaking or amazing.