Friday, May 27, 2016

X-Files Review: S1 E5: The Jersey Devil


Here we are kids. The infamous Jersey Devil episode.

Look, the concept was...interesting? But when I first watched this, I was fully in my "Jersey Devil obsession" phase. I watched that Animal X episode about it multiple times. I looked up everything I could on our very slow Interwebz. (It was the dark ages, when connecting to the Internet sounded like an angry Velociraptor.)

Let's just recap real quick and I'll explain the problem.

We begin in 1947, when a man is attacked while fixing a flat tire. This is reason #1 that I hate stopping anywhere at night.

It is a sheer miracle that Dale and I were not eaten by Bigfoot, who apparently hangs out in WV now.

Meanwhile, in the 90's, Mulder and Scully discover a case of cannibalism. Unfortunately, this is not a wacky crossover with Silence of the Lambs, so we don't get Hannibal Lecter examining Mulder's sister issues and attempting to flirt with Scully. They try to get access to the investigation, but the detective on the case is feeling territorial, because cops and the FBI apparently hate each other. Unless they're D'Agosta and Pendergast. While Scully gets her flirt on with a single father, Mulder poses as a homeless person and chase down an odd humanoid. He is arrested for being "drunk in public" despite not being drunk, but I guess the detective can get away with it because reasons.

They find a primitive human body in the woods, but Mulder suspects that the real "Jersey Devil" is the creature's mate. Things get crazy as both sides of the investigation try to get to our lady first, and Mulder gets a crush on her. And keeps the picture of her dead naked body. Righto then...

I mean, David Duchovny has always been a bit weird, but...

It ends with a wee baby Jersey Devil staring out, and it would be a lot cooler if it really was a baby Jersey Devil, because that sounds adorable.

So, here's the problem. This could have been any kind of story, but for some reason they called it the Jersey Devil. In fact, they don't even tell the Jersey Devil legend. They say some vague thing about people getting eaten, but that's it. And what bothers me is that they could have done five minutes of research and found out what they needed to know, if they really wanted an episode about the Jersey Devil. Heck, all they had to do was look at the hockey team's logo. And if they wanted a story about Mulder's crazy primitive girlfriend, then they could have called it literally anything else. They could have called it "Mulder's Crazy Primitive Girlfriend".

I was okay with the Scully subplot, as she discovers her work is more fascinating than attempting to find a relationship and because she totally has a crush on Mulder already, but I felt like it was incorporated poorly. How many times does she drive from D.C. to New Jersey in this episode?

Overall, it wasn't one of the better ones, and was rather disappointing.

Or, Discord. They could have made an episode about Discord being the Jersey Devil. In fact, that's my new headcanon.



Monday, May 23, 2016

NuWho Reviews: A Town Called Mercy, The Power of Three, and The Angels Take Manhattan

A Town Called Mercy

There is a town. It is called Mercy. It is in the Wild West, so obviously we have some visual and verbal irony going on!

The town is surrounded by a bloodstone ring stone and wood that seems to mark some kind of boundary. Meanwhile, the inhabitants are being menaced by someone called the Gunslinger.


It appears that the Gunslinger has alien weapons, and threatens anyone who walks past the bloodstone ring boundary. The Gunslinger wants the town to hand over the doctor.

But no, it's not the Doctor, it's the doctor. The town doctor.


No, the doctor is just a little humanoid alien dude. Kahler-Jex had crashed ten years before, helped cure the town of cholera, and even set up electricity. With the town running out of food, and the marshal unwilling to turn over Jex, the Doctor takes action.

While the town distracts the Gunslinger, the Doctor makes his way to Jex's craft. There he discovers that Jex is an ex-Nazi.


Basically, on Jex's planet, he and other scientists turned people into cyborgs, partly to win the war and partly for SCIENCE. The Gunslinger is one of these cyborgs. He doesn't want to harm the town; just take revenge on Jex.

The Doctor returns to the town and, enraged, tries to force Jex across the line, and pulls a gun, planning to shoot him if he doesn't. Amy snaps him out of it. Just as the Gunslinger prepares to fire, the marshal Isaac pushes him out of the way and dies. That night, Jex explains his reasons for staying alive: he believes that in the afterlife, one must carry the souls of everyone they have wronged up a mountain. Jex is trying to make up for the bad he has done with the good. hooray for legalism

The Doctor, meanwhile, comes up with a plan to save Jex. He increases the electricity in the town, and the people all wear similar facial markings to Jex to confuse the cyborg. Jex flees, but instead of flying away, hits the self-destruct button, reasoning that if he runs, the Gunslinger may hurt other innocents to get to him.

The Gunslinger has a moment of realization that his quest for revenge has made him as bad as Jex. The Doctor suggests that, instead of following Jex's last example, he should instead take his place to protect the town as the new marshal.

This was an okay serial. It did give us a little bit more about the Doctor characterization via Jex and the Gunslinger, and the cycle of violence. I considered the Eleventh Doctor to be more of a goof than the others, but looking back, he is actually one of the darker Doctors. In hindsight, it's easy to see how he became the grimmer Twelfth Doctor. It also illustrates the a common theme: the Doctor's companions have kept him from crossing the line, ever since the very first serial when Ian and Barbara stopped him from beating a wounded caveman's head in.


The Power of Three

Amy and Rory have been trying to live a normal life. Lol, that's ridiculous in this universe. Suddenly, small black boxes appear everywhere.

They may or may not be named Tiny Box Tim.

The Doctor shows up to see what's going on, and UNIT is notified.

THEN KATE BAMF STEWART SHOWS UP AND I GUESSED WHO SHE WAS IMMEDIATELY AND I SQUEE'D AND SHE IS AWESOME

Hello, I'm here to make things 1000% better, box with wings, five rounds rapid.

For the record, no one can figure anything out, so they figure they should just move on.

A year passes, the Doctor occasionally pops up to take Amy and Rory on trips. Concerned Brian is Concerned, because companions tend to be fridged more than superheroes' girlfriends.

Also, some girl is controlling identical orderlies with a box at Rory's workplace, move on kids, nothing to see here.

And then the cubes activate.

Michael Bay feverishly scribbles another Transformers script, and I eat ice cream and cry and watch G1.

The cubes scan defense networks and attack people (and I accidentally wrote that as "cubs" at first, which brings up hilarious images-hey did you know they're actually doing well this year???), and while Rory and Brian work to help people at the hospital, the Doctor and Amy go to UNIT headquarters, which is beneath the Tower of London. I immediately want to move to England and join UNIT.

The cubes start counting down, Brian is kidnapped and Rory follows him through a portal to a spaceship, and when the countdown hits zero, people start dying of cardiac arrest. One of the Doctor's hearts stops, and when they trace a signal to Rory's hospital, Amy defibs the Doctor, because that's what you do if you're at the hospital. You play with the defibrillator.

When they find the spaceship, the Doctor explains it belongs to the Shakri, who basically eradicate "pests" from the  universe. The fact that they targeted humanity but have yet to do anything about the millions of spiders on Z'ha'dum makes me think they have their priorities skewed. The Doctor reverses the polarity, or something, to send the signal back into the Shakri outposts, and the day is saved!

When the Doctor goes to leave, Amy and Rory decide to go with him, figuring they won't get fun like this again. Brian asks the Doctor to keep them safe, and everyone throws things at him for saying the one thing that is guaranteed to ruin their lives forever.

THANKS BRIAN.




The Angels Take Manhattan



Our heroes are having a pleasant picnic in New York. They're so happy! Everyone is happy! The day is sunny and cheerful! IT'S LIES IT'S ALL LIES

I can get through this. I can do it.

The Doctor is reading a book about a female P.I. with large breasts. This P.I. is named Melody. The Doctor doesn't get it, even when everyone else does. Amy wants him to read the last page and the Doctor refuses, because only monsters read the last page before they read the rest.

Rory goes to get coffee. Suddenly, he is in the 1930s.

Don't worry, that happens to me when I get coffee too.

He runs into "Melody Malone" who, to everyone's OBVIOUS SURPRISE, is River!

In the present, Amy and the Doctor discover Rory is in the book. Amy wants to read ahead, but the Doctor warns her that anything she reads will cement it as reality.

(I WILL GET TO THIS PLOT POINT AT THE END.)

Rory and River, investigating the Weeping Angels, fall into the hands of the evil Mr. Grayle, who has an injured Weeping Angel locked up in his house. Rory is thrown into the basement with BABY WEEPING ANGELS, and THEIR GIGGLES ARE THE CREEPIEST THING EVER, WHY MOFFAT WHY WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO YOU WHY ARE WE HERE WHY DO WE HAVE TO PUT THE LOTION IN THE BASKET

I'm sorry I went to a dark place there.

Grayle shuts off the lights briefly to leave River in the grip of the Weeping Angel and starts to interrogate her, but luckily River has set a beacon so the TARDIS can find them. Once the Doctor and Amy arrive, after some trouble since there have been a lot of time distortions in that time period, Amy reads the table of contents to find out what is going to happen. River's wrist is going to get broken, and the final chapter is "Amelia's Last Farewell".


River must break her wrist to get away from the Weeping Angel. The Doctor uses some regeneration energy to heal her, but River is angry.

I still don't quite understand why? She says something about the Doctor feeling uncomfortable with weakness, but even though he has a baby face he's like 1000 years old and should be forced to handle uncomfortable things like being reminded that he stranded someone in Scotland and never came back for them?

Anyways, with that weirdness over, we also find out that River was pardoned and released from Stormcage (officially this time) because the Doctor has been erasing himself from databases across the universe.

The group goes to the Winterquay Apartment Buildings, where Rory has been zapped. It's a Weeping Angel nesting ground; the victims are confined there, to die in obscurity and misery.

You know, the Weeping Angels are becoming bigger jerks every time they show up.

Unfortunately, Rory walks into a room with his name on it. Why? I don't know. The power of Moffat compelled him. Anyways, the Doctor says that Rory can't change his future, but he and Amy don't accept it. They run to the roof, WHERE THE FREAKING STATUE OF LIBERTY IS A WEEPING ANGEL, WTF.



Rory decides to break the cycle by jumping off the roof, and Amy agrees to go with him.

The approaching sadness is averted when the paradox of Rory's death destroys the battery and stops the Weeping Angels' plan.

Everyone arrives back at a graveyard in New York in 2012.

It's sunny and cheerful and happy.

Then Rory sees a grave.

His own.



A Weeping Angel appears, and Rory is transported away. The paradox in the 30's has completed the damage to the time stream. The TARDIS can't go back for him.

A Weeping Angel appears behind the Doctor.

Amy tells the Doctor a chance of life with Rory is better than no chance at all.


Amy blinks. And she is gone.

Her name appears on the gravestone.



River takes a final trip back to say goodbye to her parents and to help write the book.

The Doctor finally reads the epilogue of the book. It's a letter from Amy, describing her happy life with Rory. And how she never saw him again. And if he hadn't read that THEN THAT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN TRUE ANYWAYS, BUT HE READ IT AND BROKE EVERYTHING.


SO THAT'S THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN EVERYONE. HOW DO YOU FEEL? DO YOU FEEL OKAY? I FEEL FINE. I FEEL GREAT. I FEEL WONDERFUL.




Fun fact: I kept a window open with the image search "Evil Moffat Meme".

Friday, May 20, 2016

Follow Up on the Jesus Lunches Controversy

I've decided to follow up on this story because I feel like there's more I have to say.

First off, the school district cancelled their lease with the local public park. In other words, they now have no say over what goes on in the park. This clears up the legal aspects. However, many people are still concerned about what they call "proselytizing".

What is bothersome about this is that there is a growing move against people publicly proclaiming religion with the hope that others will join in. And I haven't heard this sort of backlash with regards to most religions. Christianity is the main target.

(Granted, there is some backlash against Islam, but that is mainly in reference to terrorist propaganda rather than religious messages.)

Judging by the comments section on several news sites, a large number of people consider the Jesus Lunches "predatory". They lure kids in with the promise of food and "preach" at them. Members of the group Freedom From Religion are concerned that the kids are now talking about the religious messages at school.

Okay. Let's take a deep breath, and pretend that we are in a void where none of us have any feelings or beliefs whatsoever.

Congratulations, you are now an amoeba.

But seriously, let's take a look at this. Teenagers, people who many say should be trusted to make their own decisions regarding sexual activity, gender identity, and, for some, alcohol and drug usage, are suddenly unable to think critically about religion.

These are teenagers. Despite everyone's best efforts, bias will come through, whether it is in teaching, reporting, etc. Teenagers are voluntarily choosing to attend a lunch in which religious beliefs are taught, are suddenly being preyed upon. And somehow, the fact that this is sparking a discussion, not mass mindless conversion, but a discussion, is concerning.

Welcome to Reality 101. You are faced with numberless beliefs about religion, politics, and life, and you must sort through them. That is critical thinking. That is a basic skill every single person should have.

In an act of total, nonsensical hypocrisy, the Freedom From Religion group offered students free pizza to protest against the Jesus Lunches. They don't even acknowledge this as a deliberate act of irony (which, if I was at all inclined that way, would be my "biting my thumb" move). It's a way to "save" kids from the terrible thing that is another belief system. Furthermore, when their protests went south, they blamed only one side. Have you ever seen a single protest in which only one side was the instigator of problems? Do Bears and Packers fans exchange punches every fall?

This is the world today. From the concept of safe spaces which seem to be less about getting away from genuinely traumatic events and more about escaping from beliefs you don't agree with, to a group that wants people to stop talking about religion because they don't believe in a religion, we live in a world where actual discourse is disappearing.

Parents, if you are concerned that your child is attending Jesus Lunches and those are not your beliefs, TALK TO THEM. Let them know you want to hear their thoughts. If this world considers it wrong to censor teens from frank discussions about sex, drugs and rock n roll and violence, then it is wrong to censor teens from a variety of beliefs. Don't just tell them what to think. Teach them how to think.


News Articles:

http://eagnews.org/parents-win-school-backs-off-threats-over-jesus-lunches/

http://conservativetribune.com/atheists-jesus-lunches-moms/

http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/27342/

http://watchdog.org/264690/canceled-park-lease-not-end-jesus-lunch-controversy/

http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/26442-ffrf-to-offer-pizza-to-middleton-student-protesters-tuesday

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War

LOOK I CAN REVIEW SOMETHING RECENT. THIS MAKES ME POPULAR NOW RIGHT?

Anyways.

I wrote an entire blog post about this yesterday . Then I deleted it all because it was nothing but vague rambling. Let me preface this by saying: I have not seen Captain America; Winter Soldier. I have not seen Avengers: Age of Ultron. I was slightly lost at times during the movie, but I think those were minor elements compared to the movie as a whole. (And I got spoiled on Winter Soldier because a thousand Frozen memes spontaneously generated after the movie was released.)

Also, I am not used to reviewing a movie without recapping everything, so we'll try to keep this spoiler free.

When a mission in Wakanda goes terribly wrong (see: telekinesis accidentallies a building), and Tony continues to struggle with guilt over a bad thing I did not see, the U.N. comes together to force the Avengers to work under its oversight. The group is soon divided between those who think this is a good idea and those who actually live in the real world.

I genuinely enjoyed the movie. The characters' moral dilemma drew me in to the point that when Dale wanted to whisper something to me I flapped my hand at him, in the same way I try to shoo the cats away. It was actually more effective on Dale, in case you were wondering. I loved the development of Black Panther and would love to see more of him in later movies. I also enjoyed seeing Wanda come to terms with her powers despite being grounded forever.

The effects were good, and of course the fight scenes carried on far too long but if you don't go to a comic book movie for lengthy fight scenes then I don't even know why you're there.

However, I was a bit disappointed by the dilemma itself. Yes, it makes a good point that the Avengers want to create some sort of organization, particularly when going to other countries. On the other hand, the only reason the group is divided is because TONY HAS FEELINGS. This is literally the entire point. Tony feels bad about the thing I didn't see, and he drags everyone along with him. These feelings are so all-consuming that he listens to Secretary of State Bilbo Baggins over his own friends, who, up until this movie, he trusted way more than anyone in the government. In the end, the fight isn't over whether or not the government should be involved in the Avengers' rescue efforts, it's over whether or not Steve Rogers is right. Which he totally is, and it becomes fairly obvious long before Tony figures it out.

So, to sum it up, the movie was good, but the central conflict wasn't what I expected it to be. We have a clear side we're meant to root for (which makes it funny how many people are still saying Tony is right, despite the fact that the government bollocks things up within five seconds of being in charge, and now the movie just feels too real).

On a different note, I found it funny that: 1. They're rebooting Spiderman AGAIN and 2. In the comics, Spiderman's identity was outed by Tony, which led to Aunt May (not a hot 30 year old) getting shot, which led us to One More Day. So, basically, Tony Stark is responsible for One More Day.

I rest my case, Internet.


Also Doctor Strange is coming out I can't wait for Doctor Strange Doctor Strange is the best CumberstrangeCumberstrangeCumberstrange

I'm okay. Really.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rambling Update #578

So. Finals are over. I have two whole weeks of no school work and, being currently unemployed, no work either. So I have time to do lots of things.

I imagine most of those things will be totally unproductive, but we'll try to get a few things done. Especially as I'm back in Iowa and without cable and the siren lure of Food Network.

When I'm not listening to the Babble On Project podcast (just one other thing I missed the bus for-that seems to happen to me a lot) I'll continue reviewing the books I read and recapping X-Files. I have a few posts where I blather about things going in the book world and have opinions that may hurt people's feelings because I don't agree with them. My next post will be a discussion about a bunch of superheroes punching each other over politics, so basically the Internet. We'll talk about the Internet.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: The Gideon Crew series

With the approach of Beyond the Ice Limit, I decided to finally go through and read the first three books of the Gideon Crew series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I knew that Gideon Crew was extremely different from Pendergast, and that there had been some fandom division on whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.

I had also read that the first book was related to Riptide, and it was not, which is disappointing, and the first book wasn't even about anything nuclear, that was the second one.

This first book sets up Gideon. He is an art thief who steals for the thrill (and to, in his estimation, save works of art from moldering in the back room of a museum). When he discovers his father, supposedly killed as a terrorist, was framed and murdered, he gets into a nuclear program to avenge his father.

That's not what the book is actually about.


What it is about is Eli "I will never learn my lesson" Glinn hires Gideon to do a job for EES.

(Completely random fact, I applied to be a secretary at a place that had "engineering solutions" in its name. I was not hired. I assume Glinn tutted and threw my application into a fire.)

Gideon must find a Chinese scientist coming to America and find out what secret he is bringing with him. Nothing goes according to plan, at all. Gideon meets a prostitute who falls in love with him within the space of a day. He also meets a sexy CIA agent. He is mostly oblivious to the assassin on his tail almost all of the time, and it's actually kind of embarrassing for him.

However, things work out.

That's...really all there is. It's mainly Gideon sort of stumbling around and accidentally doing things right. Later, Glinn points out that Gideon is an intuitive genius, although I think that's going a little far. I would say he's just a lucky bastard.

Gideon's Corpse starts out right after the first one. Glinn sends Gideon to visit an old friend of his from his nuclear work place. The man is crazy and insisting that he has been experimented on by not aliens, and is holding his landlord hostage. When it is discovered that the man converted to Islam and is extremely radioactive, chaos breaks out. Gideon liaises with an FBI agent who isn't Pendergast, and they investigate his friend's past. Refreshingly, they consider the possibility that the man's imam is a terrorist, and it isn't framed as prejudiced nonsense. They discover it isn't him through the process of elimination, not with an anvilicious message that believing Islamic terrorists are a thing in a world where Islamic terrorists actually exist is wrong.

Gideon meets his old friend's favorite writer, and the writer's Obligatory Hot Daughter. Sexual tension ensues. However, Gideon gets too close to the truth, and winds up being framed as a terrorist himself, in the most egregiously dumb way possible. It still takes his FBI friend a while to figure out that the whole thing is nonsense. Gideon takes the Hot Daughter hostage, and they fall in love. Because of course they do. Gideon later discovers that the writer was behind it all along, and it's a fake nuclear threat designed to steal the last small pox and unleash it on China, because...um...


Gideon must kill the writer, and Hot Daughter no longer wants him.

But there's no time for sadness, because...

The Lost Island isn't in fact lost, and WHOA NELLY do things get weird. Spoiler alert, Gideon has an AVM, which is a mass of arteries that get stuck together in your brain and will one day implode and there's no symptoms so you won't even know it unless you've had an MRI and one day you will just die. And there's no cure.

SLEEP WELL TONIGHT KIDS.

However, Glinn thinks he's found a cure-all. It isn't an arcanum, we're saving that plot point for DiogeVader. Gideon must steal the Chi Rho page from the Book of Kells, and we get some back story about St. Columba, though nothing about his infamous Druid Trolling. Then Glinn destroys the paint on the Chi Rho page.

My face looked something like this.

Underneath that is an old map to the Caribbean islands, written by Greeks and supposedly pointing to a cure-all plant in the jungle. Gideon is partnered with a young woman named Amy who is a scholar in classical languages, and screw it, we know where this is going, WELCOME TO THE ODYSSEY.

After a bout with some crazy treasure hunters, the pair wash up on an island of FRICKING LOTUS EATERS. Because the lotus? That's the cure all. They worship a Cyclops. (By the way, the Chi Rho page was made of Cyclops skin.)

The Cyclops is real. When Amy mentions Polyphemus, the Cyclops recognizes the name.

LOOK YOU REALLY CAN'T GET MUCH WEIRDER THAN THIS, so let's just say some King Kong nonsense happens, Glinn screws up even harder than he did before, and it ends with everything going to hell in a handbasket.

For the record, the lotus actually is a cure all. Except for Gideon, because he needs all the angst.

But none of that matters, because we have to kill Audrey II.


Look, I got really snarky in describing these. They're fun books, and I personally like the crazy elements (IT'S A CYCLOPS HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE A CYCLOPS) but they aren't up to Preston and Child's usual standards. Sometimes they read like an adolescent fantasy and Gideon's behavior is questionable at best. They're slightly pulpy books, and likable enough.

But I've been spoiled by Pendergast. Is it October yet?

Friday, May 13, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, Asylum of the Daleks, and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe

Sometimes, I wonder what exactly the Doctor gets up to when he's not on screen. Very interesting things, apparently. He falls from an exploding spaceship and survives by putting on a spacesuit very fast. He puts the helmet on backwards. A kindly lady, Madge Arwell, helps the Doctor find the TARDIS. The British stiff upper lip lasts through the Doctor's shenanigans. The Doctor promises to help her...

Once he's able to see.

3 years later, when Madge's husband Reg has been reported missing because World War II is a thing.

On that note, I wonder how many Doctors are running around the World War II era, and when that will muck up the same way...the same way the 30s were mucked up...

Excuse me, I have something in my eye...

ANYWAYS. The Doctor has set up a nice vacation house for Madge and her two kids, Lilly and Cyril. He has hammocks. He has Christmas trees. He has Christmas presents that lead to other planets!

C.S. Lewis chortles merrily while Tolkien continues to invent more languages for future geeks learn.

Cyril crawls into the present/dimensional portal/whatever, and winds up in Not!Narnia, shortly followed by the Doctor and Lilly.

Meanwhile, Madge has discovered her children missing, and discovered the portal. Instead of questioning her sanity, she decides to traipse right into Not!Narnia. There are people from Androzani Major, OHAI FIFTH DOCTOR ERA, NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN, and promptly gets them at gunpoint. They don't believe she would shoot until she tells them she's looking for her children.

They may or may not have wet themselves as a result.

After they drop numerous bricks on the ground, they take her to an excavation walker, and explain that the planet is about to be destroyed by acid rain. Damn Seekers.

The Doctor and Lilly follow Cyril to a large tower, where there are Ents. Well, maybe Huorns. Whatever. They want to crown Cyril king, or something. But they don't really like it. He's "weak", and so is the Doctor. The Doctor figures they want someone to carry their life forces in their head, because that's the best plan they could come up with?

Madge, abandoned by the miners who teleport away in a puff of plot device, manages to use their excavation walker because Reg showed her some flying basics. I mean, sure, we'll go with that. When Madge arrives at the tower, she is declared strong, because she's a mom and also she could probably hold them at gunpoint too. She is crowned and pilots the escape pod with her mind. For some reason, the screens show what's in her head, so the kids find out their dad is missing. Quite luckily, Reg notices a weird light as he tries to escape Nazis, so he follows them home. Everyone is happy, Madge realizes that the crazy man whose been bumbling around is the crazy space suit guy who bumbled around, and presumably the tree life forces sit around and wait for Forest of the Night to happen.

The Doctor goes to visit Amy and Rory. They haven't seen him for two years, but they've been setting a place for him at Christmas dinner, even though he never showed up. Amy also apparently answers the door with a water gun, presumably in anticipation of the Doctor showing up.


So...it was okay? I wasn't thrilled by it, but I did like Madge's fake out with the miners, and the Doctor is appropriately manic.

I wonder what's...

Aww Daleks.


Asylum of the Daleks

The Doctor is on Skaro. Well, what's left of it. I mean, assuming this is the same Skaro. There was the Great Rice Pudding Incident, but that was retconned. I think? Look, we'll just say, "some version of Skaro, where the Daleks may or may not have goatees". Anyways, the Doctor is meeting up with a woman named Darla.

RIGHT UNIVERSE, WRONG FANDOM

But, yes, Darla. She wears a really cool cloak. And cool boots. She wants the Doctor to help her break her daughter out of a Dalek work camp. Of course Daleks have work camps! They Godwin themselves without regret! But, Darla isn't what she says she is.

And you know what? I know people said this meant Doctor Who was RUINED FOREVER, but I found this genuinely creepy. It looked painful. Anyways, yes, Darla is what is known as a Dalek puppet. They look normal, but they have eyestalks in their heads and shooty lasers in their hands. They also have an interesting futuristic leather kind of fashion, and it seems unusual that the Daleks would put that much effort into what their mind slaves wear.

Does...does this tell us something about Dalek sexuality...?

Anyways, the Doctor is teleported to the Parliament of the Daleks. Yes, the Daleks have a Parliament. Why? I...I don't actually know. I guess they didn't want any more crazy emperor Daleks or something? Either way, in another scene, we see that Amy and Rory have been snatched by similar puppets. Amy is a fierce diva model and she and Rory are divorcing, and I know that supposedly the prequel specials explain the reasons for it, but seriously, this is the most contrived plot point in the history of contrived plot points. I mean, the idea itself is nice, but I'll get to that here in a minute.

So, the Daleks have an asylum. That's where they put their crazies that are suffering Dalek PTSD, which mainly consists of being forced to rewatch The Twin Dilemma over and over in their heads. They don't want to kill them, because their hatred is so beautiful, or something. They may or may not say "YES, YES, LET THE HATE FLOW THROUGH YOU" but if they did it wasn't shown in the episode. But there is something even more puzzling: the Carmen aria is playing from the planet. The Doctor finds the source: a young woman named Oswin Oswald, who was the junior entertainment manager on a starliner which crashed on the Asylum planet. She's been fighting off Dalek attacks and attempting to make souffles. The Doctor wonders where she got all the eggs and milk.

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are given bracelets which protect them from nanogenes, which infect people and turn them into Dalek puppets. They get separated, because of course. While Oswin, who has figured out how to hack the systems, guides Rory to a safe room, the Doctor and Amy discover the crashed spaceship, which is inhabited by the crew-turned-Dalek puppets. Amy's bracelet is stolen, and she starts feeling the effects of the nanogenes.

Oswin flirts outrageously with the Doctor and offers to help them out as long as he rescues her. While the Doctor makes his way to her, Rory and Amy work out their relationship issues and it's rather boring, and only set up so we can talk about the power of love versus Dalek hatred (which was genuinely interesting-the more we learn about Dalek programming the sadder it gets).

Meanwhile, the Doctor goes through the intensive care unit of the asylum, which consists of Daleks who were not only forced to rewatch The Twin Dilemma, but also the version of the Master from the Doctor Who TV movie. However, when he finds Oswin...


Yeah, they decided to just convert her totally. Once Oswin's elaborate sanity-saving fantasy is broken, she fights off the typical Dalek hatred to get the Doctor and Co. out of there and delete the Doctor from the Daleks memory, leaving them shouting the title like a bunch of excited children waiting for their favorite TV show.

Spoilers, it doesn't last.

Before the asylum is destroyed, Oswin tells the Doctor to "run, you clever boy, and remember", which is super important.

I thought the framing device with Rory and Amy's strained attempts at having relationship drama was boring. But I liked the idea of Daleks who fight the Doctor going completely crazy, because that's a bit hilarious. And it was a great introduction for Clara.


Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

The Doctor has been on some kind of adventure. We don't know what, but Nefertiti wants in his pants. While he tries to shake her off, he gets a distress call about a spaceship about to crash into Earth. He picks up some explorer who we've never seen but he's apparently friends with. Then he materializes the TARDIS around Rory, Amy, and Mr. Weasley. They then arrive at the spaceship.

Which has dinosaurs.



They play fetch with a Triceratops, as you do, then the Doctor and Mr. Weasley Brian go to the engine room, which is a giant beach that runs on hydro-power. Amy and Nefertiti listen to John Riddell make random sexist remarks to two women with guns, which is a great idea I'm sure, and then realize the ship is a Silurian ark trying to make it to another planet, because Adric broke everything.

It turns out that the ship had been stolen by Solomon, a black market trader. His robots murdered the Silurians, but now Solomon can't control the ship and it's returning to Earth. He tries to kidnap Queen Nefertiti and some awkward implications ensue. He also kills the Triceratops.

So no one feels bad when Solomon's ship is blown up by missiles and the Doctor is responsible for it.

Nefertiti decides to stay with Riddell for reasons entirely unknown, and Brian goes traveling and learns about eclecticity.

And also the Doctor takes him to the time of the dinosaurs because I guess he wanted to play fetch with more Triceratops.

I...don't even know? It had dinosaurs, so...there's that?


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Don't hurt your kids brains with fantasy, let them read Shakespearean plays with bawdy jokes

The Imagination of the Child

I'm concerned that this is the second time this week I've had to use this clip...


I...

Just...

Okay, where do I start?

I get, kind of, what he's saying. Kids' brains are still developing, so it would be a good idea for parents to monitor what they're reading and talk to them about it and be, you know, responsible parents.

But...

I mean...

Just throwing a bunch of widely different books into the vague category of "fantasy" to prove that it's dangerous to children shows that the author doesn't seem to have really read them.

Harry Potter, while containing frightening images, gets into things children need to learn: the uncertainty of the world, the idea of a solid, universal morality regarding how we treat and react to others, the need to fight against wrong doing and injustice even when it is supposedly lawful to commit injustices.

Lord of the Rings is an amazing book that is all about fighting against the odds to, at the very least, weaken evil. It is about struggling with temptation, and the need for unity regardless of cultural differences.

Game of Thrones is...

Okay, yeah, don't let your 8 year olds read Game of Thrones, seriously. It's a great book series, and I think Martin makes some good points, especially about the unfairness of the world in general (and the need to fight regardless of that unfairness), but it is not a book for kids, it is a book for adults.

I've yet to properly read Terry Pratchett, which makes me a heretic. Don't worry, I will fix that soon enough.

Anyways, the point being, Whiting doesn't actually explain what it is about these books that is so dangerous to developing brains. He is very vague, and goes on about needing "special licenses" for it. I'm even more angered by his injunction to buy books for "the beauty in the text". DUDE HAVE YOU EVEN READ LORD OF THE RINGS? Tolkien's writing is absolutely lyrical, and the average reader is left with an awestruck, bittersweet feeling by the end.

I'm also bothered that he references authors such as Shakespeare, Keats, and Shelley. Shakespeare and Shelley may have written beautifully, but they contain plenty of sexuality and violence to go along with it. Is this what he's worried about? See, we don't know. He calls fantasy books "sensationalist literature" which, ironically, is what the books he says are great used to be considered.

I can only come to two conclusions. One, Whiting wants attention for his school, and the best way to get that is to go the good ol' Laura Mallory route and put Harry Potter and demons in the same blog post. The second is that he's a foolish man who shouldn't be running a school because he can't even explain why he objects to certain books, and relies on scare words to do his talking for him.

By all means, think about what you read. Think hard, compare, talk about it. But don't condemn it without doing so first.