Bad Buddy Episode 12 Review-In which thequeenofsastiel affirms that she absolutely, 100% did not fall for the break up fake out and didn't weep uncontrollably during the song
Okay maybe there was a little weeping.
I was more optimistic about this episode than a lot of people, but I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't nervous. I definitely was. But I should have trusted Aof. Because this finale was marvelous, and an excellent capper on this show.
The beginning was not fun, I'll be honest. My heart sank when I saw that we were immediately doing a time skip. And the fact that it seemed like Pat and Pran had broken up was crushing. By the time the reunion rolled around I had already prepared myself for an ending in which they tentatively decided to start things up again.
Then. Then Pran showed up at Pat's door with a loving, mischievous smile, and I think my brain exploded a little from all the serotonin it released. The flashbacks were very cute, but admittedly bittersweet as well. It's hard to think about all they went through to get to the point where they could be openly in love, only to have to go back to being secret. I'm glad at least that they were able to have friends who knew they were together. It is good that they didn't have to lie to the people closest to them anymore.
Both of them were so funny about pretending to be sad:
It looks like we were all wrong about Wai and Korn getting together, which is a pity, but I wasn't particularly wedded to the idea of them as a couple so I'm not too broken up about it. At least they're friends. And own a bar together. At 23. A year after graduating college. Somehow.
Inkpa! My ship! I'm so happy that they're still together. I'm sad we didn't get a kiss, but we still got them. And while I would love one, I know there's not a chance we'll actually get a spin off about them. I don't think GL shows are a money maker or there would be more of them. But I'm hoping this starts a trend of GL side couples. Inkpa seemed to be popular, at least on here. Whatever else is true, they're definitely my favorite side couple so far.
I'm sad that the best we got out of their parents was grudging tolerance. At least on the part of Ming. Dissaya seemed capable of starting to be happy that her son was happy. And I think the other two parents(who don't have names as far as I can tell) would happily bury the hatchet for the sake of their children.
I really look forward to rewatching this episode. It's sweet to know that the forlorn looks on their faces during the reunion were because they missed each other due to Pran spending the last year in Singapore. The whole time it was like they were two magnets who couldn't stop looking at each other or going near each other.
The ending was precious. Both the first one, in which we got to see them as kids talking through cans(and I'd really like to know whose idea that was), and the after credits scene, with the adorable drinking game and the wrestling foreplay. Oh, and I was a little shocked that earlier in the episode Pran openly gave Pat shit for coming too soon during sex. GMMTV is getting racier. I'm here for it.
A definite 10/10 on this episode, despite the pain it subjected me to in the first 20 minutes. Honestly, I think the pain worked, actually, because the payoff was excellent.
I think I have to give the whole series a 10/10. The acting was brilliant, the chemistry was fantastic, and, I can't lie, I love that I got to experience a gay version of Romeo and Juliet, with a happy ending. Also, you know, better in every way. This is definitely the BL show that I'm going to recommend people unfamiliar with the genre start with.
I had a great time getting to discuss this show with all of y'all, especially @heretherebedork and @absolutebl. Thanks to everyone who has read and reblogged my posts; it means a lot. I hope we continue to get content this excellent.
Also it'd be nice if we got a special episode in which Pat and Pran get to actually live together and be openly accepted by their parents and get married and stuff, but I'll try to not be greedy.
Things I Loved About Eternals
wow that was an amazing movie and it fucked me up I have so many emotions
let's go down the list of Immortal Family Angst
1. The Immortal Family Angst: First off, the 7000-year-old gods were gorgeous and powerful and petty and human, which is everything I could’ve asked for in a Mythological Deities movie. They’ve definitely got that Greek Mythology Olympians vibe with their differing fields of expertise (what they were made for + what they came to embody over the centuries), but I guess what makes them more or less fucked up than Greek gods is their unquestionable love for each other. Isn’t that such a curse and a blessing?
2. The physical disability representation from Makkari: When she spoke, everyone automatically fell silent, and not once in the film was her disability a hindrance to her. Why? Because her 7000-year-old family members accommodated her needs, which isn’t that impossible to do. (Headcanon: her machine body might’ve been built with deaf ears because constantly breaking the sound barrier might be disastrous to the eardrums, maybe. Also I love her combat style, speed is deadly.)
3. The mental disability representation from Thena: This was done so well, with Ajak continuously reminding her, “You are loved,” with the others supporting her in not wanting to give up who she is, with Gilgamesh agreeing to keep her company through the years and constantly being there to remind her that just because she can’t fight the same way she used to doesn’t mean she is less loved.
Mental illness can become more difficult to deal with when one experiences the loss of a loved one. Thena's character arc showed that though Gilgamesh was gone, the progress she had made and the determination to stay with her recovery did not become null. Sometimes remembering the love that was given to you is the reminder you need to continue to accept yourself, illness and all. (That cave battle metaphor for mental illness was on point. The Deviant was doomed the moment he quoted Gilgamesh without truly understanding the humanity he'd stolen from him.)
4. Phastos’s loving family representation: How about this disillusioned god of inventions, who saw all the bad that humanity could do and also rediscovered the good that humanity could offer? He’s a gay black man who’s got a happy, loving relationship with his handsome husband and his beautiful son. Wow did I love seeing this on the big screen. (Also his combat scenes? What a badass.)
5. Ajak, Ikaris, Gilgamesh, and fate: Let’s talk about these three. In a way, Ajak and Ikaris’s endings were almost fated due to the choices they made. Ajak could’ve chosen to stand her ground sooner, or could’ve not burdened her favorite child with the heaviest weight she carried. Ikaris could’ve chosen to accept the change of plans and reassessed his faith earlier. But neither of them could shake off the responsibility they were indoctrinated into that easily. Ajak’s favor of Ikaris might’ve doomed them both, but how could a mother love her son and not give him a chance to prepare for the approaching end? Could she have truly avoided raising him in the spitting image of herself? The loneliness she must have felt, with her burden. A Shakespearean tragedy, in the flesh.
In contrast, Gilgamesh did nothing to deserve his fate. Where Ajak was the Mind, Gilgamesh was obviously the Heart. He’s the one who volunteers to dedicate his life to helping Thena live hers. Without Gilgamesh, Ikaris would’ve died in the Amazon forest. He’s the protector, readily sharing comforting words and good food, as well as a badass fist. You could say he’s the purest embodiment of who an Eternal is. It makes me feel some type of thing, knowing that the tale of Gilgamesh is the first human epic we have a remaining record of, and it’s the story of a man who grew into a good, compassionate king and met a very human death. (Interesting how the Deviant became so human-like after absorbing Gilgamesh’s essence.)
Ajak, Ikaris, and Gilgamesh, despite their godly power, are not named after gods. They are named after mortal heroes (Ajax and Icarus from Greek mythology, Gilgamesh from ancient Mesopotamian mythology). Like their namesakes, it was not their power that defined who they were, and for them were reserved the most human ends.
6. Ikaris, Sprite, and immortality: They really came for my throat with the Peter Pan and Tinkerbell reference. Eternal youth isn't all that great, especially for Sprite or Ikaris. Peter Pan killed his mother because he couldn't bear to break out of his old way of life. He was unwilling to grow up. In contrast, Sprite wants more than anything else to be able to grow up, but is held in stagnation against her will. But in the end, when Peter Pan is gone and Wendy Darling is the new immortal leader of Neverland, Tinkerbell chooses what Wendy Darling had and leaves her old self behind. She changes.
(In the beginning of the movie, the title Eternals sounds grand and impressive. But near the end of the movie, when Ikaris talks about eternity with Sersi, the name no longer sounds glorious. Eternity sounds like a curse.)
7. Kingo and his faith: Take notes, Ikaris, this is how not to wage a holy war in the name of your faith. Kingo did leave Sprite to loneliness to pursue his love of movies, but at his core, his first and foremost love is for his family. (Something about Fighter Classes and how they throw themselves into danger for the other robot deities does something to my heart.) Despite his love for humanity, he cannot compromise his beliefs. That does not mean he is willing to harm others for that faith, because that is not what faith should be for. (Looking at you, Ikaris.)
8. Druig and his burned-out love: What a way to deal with a morally gray mind-controlling god, whose only wish was for humans to stop fighting and live companionably together. Here’s this deeply tired, flawed person who was unable to lose his empathy, however hard he may have wanted to. He was willing to shoulder the blame for preventing a Celestial’s birth if it meant sparing Sersi the weight, and I think that might be the essence of his character.
9. Sersi and her destructive creation: Finally, we come to the sorceress of myth (named after Circe from Greek mythology). Sersi is the most loving, kind-hearted person, but the power of creation she wields is the most destructive force of all. She shares the same characteristic with Celestials. This movie seems to be saying, ‘look hard at miraculous acts of creation, and make sure you know what the price of that creation is’.
"It is the most natural thing in the world to want to protect the one you love," said Gilgamesh. Sersi did so, and so did Ikaris. What a shame that it was such a struggle for Ikaris to do the most natural thing in the world. What a shame that Sersi's heart made a choice that would weigh her down with enormous guilt and terrible repercussions. It should not be so terrible to want to protect, and yet.
(Maybe it’s the way these robot deities were programmed, but every one of these people seem to have an instinctive love for humans and their world. That includes Ikaris, who took one last look back at the beautiful planet he had loved for several millennia, before flying into his destruction. If he had listened to love more than duty, things might be different. But then he wouldn’t be Ikaris. Again, Shakespearean.)
10. Celestials and their birth: What if all Celestials who were brought forth into the world by Eternals are a little in love with them, from that first mind-meld at the beginning of their life? What if Tiamut, while connecting with these tiny implements of birth and creation, saw their sorrow for the destruction of a beloved planet and chose—with a newborn deity's own free will—to make the sacrifice for these grieving, loving robots? (Why the continuous cycle of rebirth for this specific group of robots? Can this expression of sentiment be explained in any other way than love? Arishem may not be aware how much his tools are loved.)
(Also I can't believe the eventual death of the universe, which is highly likely considering the actual science of everything, can be explained mythologically as Star-Forgers who grew too compassionate for the products of their creations and chose a slow and certain death over a hard-reset cycle. What a story.)
(If you think of the planet as the mother and the Celestial as the child, the movie is a pro-abortion metaphor. Of course mothers have a right to abortion if the pregnancy is life-threatening. The potential for new life cannot outweigh the free choice of who is already here. It's a question of seeing humans as mere implements of procreation or as actualized individuals with vibrant lives.)
11. Love can take many forms: Safe, sane, and consensual sex is a perfectly natural activity for humans in love. Cohabitation of platonic life partners is also a perfectly natural manifestation of love. Familial love is a wonderful thing when shared with the right people. Kissing is a beautiful affirmation of love, but it is not a requirement for two people to share a special connection together. The forehead touches in this movie made me scream internally. (Druig and Makkari own my soul, by the way. I don’t entirely understand how this happened. My heart I’ve given to Gilgamesh and Thena. Sersi can have my everything else.)
12. Found Family Dynamics: This actually wrecked me. The way Sersi and Ikaris acted in Phastos’s home, like they felt comfortable to be there, in that house and in that company. The way Ajak loved and cared for her children, and how she tried her hardest to do right by them despite knowing she was merely a tool. The way Druig, Makkari, and Phastos shared a couch. The way everyone laughed around Gilgamesh’s dinner table. The way Sprite told a story. The way Kingo said the word “family.” The way they waited for Thena to wake up. Just, so much about them. (I might need some AU fics to mend the hole they left in me.)
13. The Good Humans: Shout-out to Dane, Karun, Phastos’s family, and the other good humans I’m probably forgetting. Congratulations, your decency and kindness prompted a group of robot deities to fight for your continued survival. Keep being the good parts of humanity.
Conclusion: This is the best multi-character movie I have seen in my life. I became so intensely enamored with all of the individual characters, it was unreal. THIS is how you do a multi-character movie. What a masterpiece.
My Top Anime of 2021
In no particular order:
An engaging anthropomorphized animal noir murder mystery with yakuza, idols,and just the right amount of quirkiness. Review here.
The Heike Story
A wonderfully artistic anime adaptation of a Heian period text. Through perspective of a young, lower-class Biwa player with psychic powers, we see of the devastating power struggle between two high ranking clans, illustrating the fruitless cycles of violence while touching on loss, gender role constraints and more. Review here.
Heaven’s Design Team
A pure slice of fun, this anime is a bunch of angels trying to design animals after God outsourced the process to them. It combines zoological nerdery with workplace humor, and has an entertaining cast of characters to follow. Review here.
An intriguing gothic story about “living dolls” who serve their shadow masters in an ominous Victorian mansion, it was a charming little romp. Review here.
And, though it’s not finished yet, I have to give a shout out to...
Ranking of Kings
A wonderful fairytale-like show featuring a small, deaf prince struggling to follow in the footsteps of giants (literally) alongside his strange shadow companion, it’s been a consistent joy to watch and full layered characters and awesome, adorable moments.I hope it keeps up the good quality. Review here.
I also really enjoyed the second season of Zombieland Saga, and I have a few this year I’m still planning to watch/am in the midst of watching I’ve heard good things about, like The Aquatope on the White Sand (peep my liveblog here!), Super Cub and...maybe 86? I don’t know, generally military-esque anime bores me but I’ll try to give it a peek. I also might try Megalobox 2 even though I found the first season so dull, I know it’s supposed to touch on some interesting themes.
Here’s hoping for more good anime in 2022, and better conditions for animators and other staff. We can dream, right?
Review: Heartland Ep. 1503 Bad Moon Rising
(A truncated version of this was posted on Facebook.)
I feel like I'm still holding my breath after watching Ep. 1503 on Sunday. Episode writer Ken Craw left us with a bit of a cliffhanger when the credits started rolling on "Bad Moon Rising". It's not often that we get a touch of fear and dread on Heartland, but it's been building ever since the season began with the serial break-ins happening in Hudson. And now, our beloved family has fallen victim to the thieves, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
The break-ins are still going on in Hudson, and everyone is on edge. Lisa convinces Jack to install a security system. He manages to do it with Parker’s help, but not without a few hiccups involving a destructive raccoon and a thirsty Lyndy who only wanted a night-time glass of milk. (If you didn’t immediately want to hug that poor kid when she accidentally tripped the motion sensors... way to go, Jack. You’ve probably traumatised your great-granddaughter for life.)
The second plot point is Amy lending a hand at Cooper's equine therapy centre ("Higher Ground"). It seems that on top of being super busy, his horse trainer up and quit on him. Amy has agreed to step in on short notice, but only until Cooper finds a real replacement. The current "busy-ness" is a gala Cooper's been planning to raise awareness for the centre.
For now, Cooper has six kids (teens, really) from a group home outside of Hudson. We soon learn the names of two of them: “Mac”, a scowly youth with his ubiquitous backwards ballcap, and “Logan”, a tall, lanky kid with an easy smile and a mop of curly hair. We soon also learn which one to trust, and which one to avoid — especially if we’re of the equine species.
Third plot point: Paula Westfield is on the warpath over the break-ins. She nastily blames Cooper’s recent batch of kids for the unsolved crimes, and wants Lou to take action and shut down Higher Ground immediately.
(Side note: it’s during their conversation we learn where Georgie’s been, which is Florida, training for a chance at the Olympics. The startled look on Paula’s face—and her attempt to be gracious about it when she totally wasn’t—was priceless.)
We don’t know what to believe about Cooper’s kids, but one of them (Mac) causes Challenge the horse to spook and react violently when Amy tries to pair them up. It’s Logan to the rescue, though. He jumps into the pen and gets between Challenge and Mac just as Amy rushes in to calm the horse. Belligerent Mac acts like he did nothing wrong, leaving Amy and Cooper at a loss as to what to do, since they don’t know what triggered Challenger.
Lou tries to make good on her promise to Paula to check out the centre and OH MY GOSH! Is that Clint Riley?
Hi, again, Clint. It’s good to see you... maybe? It seems Clint is there because they’ve also received calls about the possibility Cooper’s kids could be involved in the break-ins. Cooper denies they could be, but neither Lou nor Clint would be doing their due diligence if they didn’t at least take a look.
While trying to get to the bottom of Challenge’s issues, Amy learns lanky Logan has a great instinct for horse behaviour. We also learn he’s reluctant to bond with any horse because he won’t be there long. His dad is coming to get him very soon Logan says, and they’re going to be reunited. (As viewers, we obviously sense this ain’t happening exactly the way Logan hopes it will.) As it happens, just as Logan says he’ll be outta there like *that*, he snaps his fingers, causing Challenge to spook. It’s the clue Amy’s been looking for: loud, unexpected noises are the trigger. Anyway, Amy is impressed with Logan’s natural ability with horses. He’s curious about how she gentled a wild horse like Challenge, so she takes him out to see the wild herd, and the splashy paint she wants to gentle for her stepmother, Jessica Cook.
(Side note: warm welcome to Drew Davis aka Logan. He’s already charmed his way into my heart with his easy-going manner and easy smile. I hope he gets more screen time as Logan is a very likeable character already.)
Paula accosts Lou again in her office, demanding to know what’s being done about Higher Ground. Her place was nearly broken into the night before, but the perpetrators were scared off by one of the grooms. She declares if Lou won’t take action, other people in her circle will (“pillars of the community”) and that the Centre is going down, and that Lou will probably go down with it. (Side note: Kate Drummond is so great in these scenes as Paula, you love to hate her. But the best—or worst, depending on your interpretation—from her is yet to come. More on that later...)
Lou learns Cooper’s Centre is in serious financial trouble. He’s pretty much pinning all his hopes on the success of the gala. He might be a great social worker, but he’s a lousy accountant. Lou offers to help him due to her business acumen, but things aren’t looking good.
Despite Amy’s work with Challenge, the horse still reacts negatively to Mac, a sign the horse might not be safe to remain at the Centre and be around kids. Logan is distressed about this, since Amy tells him she doesn’t know where the horse would end up, since he can’t go back to his herd. It doesn’t take long before we find out why Challenge reacts to Mac, and why he’s scared of loud noises. Mac has locked him up in a stall and has unleashed the full measure of his cruelty: he’s throwing bang snaps at Challenge, the gunpowder exploding and sending off sparks everywhere, while the other kids just stand around and do nothing. Logan angrily grabs Mac’s bag of “party favours” away; Mac accuses him of being a thief just like his father. That sends Logan back at him with a fist. Mac deflects the blow and scurries off, leaving Logan seething. The other kids slowly leave, and Logan is alone with Challenge. He gently releases the horse from the stall and walks him out back to the paddock. A much calmer Challenge seems to sense he’s got a friend in Logan.
Later, the whole Heartland household is all dressed up for the gala and waiting for Jack in the kitchen. Jack comes rushing in and pulls out his bolo tie from a box also containing an antique watch engraved with the initials “J.E.B”. Lisa comments she’s never seen the watch before and Lou asks why he never wears it; Jack makes light of it, saying it’s just a piece of metal before tossing it back into the box on the kitchen table. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)
The gala turns out to be a very swanky affair, attended by what looks to be a large contingent of Hudson high society, including (pro) Fairfield clients Lisa quietly called, and (con) Paula Westfield’s “pillars of the community” who are probably there to see Cooper’s dreams are crushed.
Cooper’s kids are also guests at the gala. Logan tries to tell Amy about Mac’s actions, but they’re interrupted. Meanwhile, the security system is being a pain with a pile of motion alerts being sent to Jack’s phone (rascally raccoons), so he decides on Lisa’s suggestion to just shot off the camera alerts. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)
All seems to be going okay for Cooper as he stands up to say a few words... until Paula interrupts and says a mouthful—a damning mouthful—about the “criminal element” the centre has brought in, since some of the kids have a juvenile record. Clint finally steps in to stop her, but the damage is done. Paula leaves, and several guests follow in her destructive wake.
You’d think things could not get worse, right? They do. Logan, having heard Paula’s accusations, confronts Mac, asking if he’s had anything to do with the robberies. Mac denies it; Logan says he doesn’t trust him. Mac needles him by referring to Logan’s soft spot for locked up animals—like his father. Logan loses it and hauls off with a punch that knocks Mac to the ground. Appalled, Amy and Cooper (and everyone else, really) can’t believe what they’re seeing. Logan blurts out that Mac’s been torturing Challenge.
With that, Emma Fitzroy, one of Cooper’s early donors and supporters, tells him she’s re-thinking her support after that disturbing display. It’s like the last nail in the coffin for Higher Ground, Cooper says. Lou, Clint, and Amy try to bolster his sinking spirits, but he can’t bear to hear about it right now.
You’d think things could not get worse even after this, right? Oh, they do.
Upon arriving at Heartland... The lights are out. The screen door is off its hinges. A window is broken. Remi is barking out on the porch at the door. Lou pulls up next to the truck in the SUV and Amy’s on the phone to the police. Lisa begs for Jack’s phone so she can see when the break-in happened, except... when he tried to turn off the camera alerts, he turned off the whole system. Jack grabs a tire iron from the truck, and demands Lisa stay back. Inside the house, it’s a disaster zone. Thoroughly ransacked. And the thieves are long gone. Jack looks like he’s on the verge of tears at this violation. Cut to credits.
I have so many thoughts about this episode that I’ll probably share as the week progresses, but for now I can say I’m still really uneasy about how absolutely trashed the ranch house was, and how upset I am at Paula Westfield’s audacity. She’s ruined Cooper with her accusations.
It’s also a foregone conclusion Jack’s watch is gone. Despite his lack of sentimentality when Lisa and Lou commented on it, there’s got to be something more to it. Jack Bartlett, after all these years, you continue to surprise us.
Ken Craw really left nothing on the table with this one. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. But Heartland being Heartland, I await the happy resolution to this.
iron widow: quick review
wow, it has been a long time since I loved a scifi book
I loved loved loved Wu Zetian
she was full of strong emotions, making her easy to connect to and understand, even if I didn't always agree with her lol
and she was super active in her story!! she moved a lot of the plot forward through her actions, which is always more interesting for me to read than passive protagonists
the love story!!! a triangle IS the strongest shape!!!
both Shimin and Yizhi were both interesting and sweet love interests and I enjoyed how Zetian's relationship with each of them and both of them developed
they felt balanced and loving and respectful and I loved it
the gender deconstruction!!! destroying gender roles and just punching the patriarchy in the face, *chef's kiss*
like the way modern issues were woven in and addressed in the book . .. . like question authority, absolutely
I did get a little squeamish at some of the more graphically violent scenes, so I may have . .. .glossed over them for my own well being
I did get some of the minor characters confused who were less developed
the villains!!! ooooo they made my skin crawl, everyone from the fathers to the war council, like wow, absolutely terrifying villains
the end went really fast for me, so much happened in such a short period of time and I just wanted to breathe but that might have been the point lol
I really loved it more and more and the book continued, what we learned with Zetian and how everything unfolded and just . . .. everything that was being unpacked in this book
a few minor nitpicks:
despite Zetian being an advocate for women, she had a lot of disdain for the women actually in the story. I hope in the next one we meet more women who she can either like or have a complex relationship with
like a lot of first person books, I had a hard time remembering Zetian's name rip
as much as I enjoyed the relationships between Zetian, Yizhi, and Shimin, I personally prefer slowburns, so I would have loved more scenes between them before they were canon
the messages were a little didactic, which normally would bother me more but it actually was only occasionally annoying
overall, I am excited for the next book, whenever we are considered lucky enough to receive it!!!
reading you like scifi, destroying gender roles, and calling out the patriarchy!!
Skyline Coney on top- chili, diced onions, mustard and cheese.
Hotrod sausage on bottom- cheddar wurst sausage, bacon, caramelized onions and bbq sauce.
The cheese never melted and I thought that was weird but otherwise it was good.
Review: A Lesson in Vengeance (Victoria Lee)
“It was no use explaining how all academic passions veer toward obsession. She wouldn’t understand that magic can be a metaphor, like Ellis said. That magic doesn’t have to be magic for it to mean something. That sometimes magic is a salve over a burn, and it’s the only way you can heal.”
WOW. I am fully blown away by this spooky masterpiece. The VIBES. The CHARACTERS. The STORY. Omg. ☠️🖤
After a semester away, Felicity Morrow returns to Dalloway School to restart her senior year after the death of her best friend. She is determined to get through her final year, regardless of what the other students say about her, regardless of whether they think she belongs; she knows she does, as a Morrow, and she will prove it to everyone, including herself. But then, mysterious, enigmatic writer Ellis Haley has moved into Godwin house, and Felicity is drawn to her. When Ellis enlists Felicity's help in her quest to rewrite the witchy murders of the Dalloway Five, Felicity has no choice in the matter - she has to say yes. Regardless of what will happen after...
Is this the perfect October book? Absolutely yes. The *~vibes~* here are absolutely immaculate. It is dark academia, so there's a lot of candlelit library scenes, plenty of creeping through dark parts of the school, and a few jump scares that legitimately got me. The autumn chill pervades these pages, and I absolutely lived for it.
I will say, in terms of these pretentious girls, this book really had to win me over. I was on board for a while at the beginning, but by the middle of the book, that pretentiousness started to grate, and then, BAM, when the shit starts flying? Holy god did it redeem itself to me.
Felicity is the epitome of an unreliable narrator, but she's handled with such grace, I didn't realize that she was one until one pivotal scene that left me going ??!!???? I had to put the book down and take a sec, and then I was decided that the book was on the right track. Psychotic depression sounds wildly horrific, but the way it lent itself to the telling of this story was phenomenal.
I can't reveal too much or really gush any further without going into detail about the twists and turns at the end of the book, but the last 100 pages were an absolute thrill ride that left me going "what the fuck" out loud and making my dogs wonder what was wrong with me. This is on my faves list for 2021, no doubt about it.
Magnum PI 4.10 - Dream Lover review
I don’t know why, but this is now my new favorite episode of the season. Maybe it was the hiatus, maybe the fact that Emily is basically my spirit animal, either way, I loved it. Though I’m weirdly enough not that fond of the title. Dream lover...
While I do get it, Emily looking for her dream guy and then like tied in with the whole Higgy-Magnum dream + a sort of anti-dream guy with Mr. divorced/papers served, I think they could have come up with something better.
Also the dream. Don’t get me wrong. I mean Magnum throwing the binoculars overboard and being all ‘what you’re looking for is right here in front of you’ was pretty hot. Almost kiss, never saying no to that.
And our babies looking pretty on a sailboat? Always a good time.
And I am still screaming about the whole “I had that dream again” bit, because OMG, again!!! again!!! and it was very amusing and I do always love their banter... BUT the dream felt a little random.
Like in theory it fit with the theme of the episode, but it wasn’t explored enough, or maybe just not the way I wanted??? (in fact I forgot about it for the middle bit) nor did anything to progress or really connect the plot. But I mean it’s for the future Miggy episodes, for sure, and I did like it, it just felt a tiny bit like it wasn’t quite right here for me.
I also didn’t really like how chill Magnum was about it. Or I did like it, but I would have loved to have seen him not be so chill about it with someone else. Or for the episode to have ended from him waking up from his very own slightly sexy-Higgy dream. But so far this season is mostly about Higgy having feels so I’m not super surprised we didn’t get his POV.
Moving on from the dream to the bits to the things I did I love!
Firstly, Magnum and Higgins being all “well that escalated quickly” during the stakeout and just the general banter. Even the boat banter was on point.
Where Magnum and Higgy are both smiling and so excited for a case where they get to help a lady find true love (or at least a cute guy she liked.)
Look at our babies being suckers for love.
Magnum ‘lying’ and saying the case that really isn’t very big or dangerous or serious needs them both and delegating the serving of the divorce papers to Rick. Because he wants to work the find the boyfriend case with Higgy. Elite. So cute. And Rick agreeing to get his bar tab paid... IDK, the whole bit was just so sweet. And Higgy’s expression during the whole thing just make it so much more fun!
Magnum being amused by the marijuana farm and Higgy deciding she’s going to break and enter. I love her being all ‘screw this’ and grabbing the guy’s weapon. Pretty unrealistic, as I do believe rifles are pretty hard to do that whole grab and flip with but still, but I don’t care. I love her when she’s bad-ass.
Lots of Ferrari moments. Magnum teasing her about her dream. Like I did love it, but as I said, I did want him to get some sort of ‘oh boy’ moment where he had some feels too. But we didn’t get that. Which makes it feel a little like he was just teasing her while she wasn’t really enjoying as much as she normally would be.
We did get him sharing a cute story. And he is kind of prodding with the whole “missed chance” and I suspect he is thinking about himself and Higgy (and not just the stunning redhead) back before she headed to Kenya when he is all ‘come on, you never missed an opportunity’. So I’m going to blame him just being happy and excited for the fact that she had the dream, rather than him being an ass and that’s why he’s poking the bear so to speak.
But I was a little surprised they let the cat out of the bag like eleven minutes in about Magnum having figured out it was a dream about him. I guess I thought that mean they’d do more with it. Like even have Juliet talk to Kumu about it, and be like “it wasn’t a sex dream, it was a romantic dream”. Because that’s what’s why she’s concerned. It’s the ‘message’ about him being “right there in front of her” that’s worrying her more than her subconscious wanting to smooch him.
(Which is why him pointing out that it’s normal and people have needs isn’t helping. Because she’s not hot for him (I mean she is but also) she’s got the big feels for him. I also think him saying “it’s just a sex dream, doesn't mean anything” was because he was lying when she asked “so you’ve had that sort of dreams about me?” and he quickly goes “no.”
We all know that’s not true Thomas. Just look at that little smirk. You’ve thought about it. Dream about it. And I doubt it was as PG as Higgy’s dream. And you’ve just told yourself the same thing you told her they don’t matter, they’re just dreams. This is my new head canon and convice me it’s not true.)
Another good bit was when Emily insisting they keep looking into things even when her dream guy turned out to be lying and someone else entirely. She’s so totally relatable with her whole “this is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me”. 100% me. I bet Emily writes fan fiction in her spare time too...
(Though I do think she got a little bit too much excitement there for a moment. Because getting tired up is only fun during the right circumstances...)
Magnum outsmarting the bad guys by handing over the pics of the cheating couple! Love it! An actual date for Emily and Mason at the end. Gordon getting to arrest his asshole ex-partner. Good times.
It was all around just a nice fluffy feels kind of episode, which is really what I love best!
So yeah, over all I enjoyed the balance of Miggy banter, a case that was easy to follow and had characters I actually rooted for being helped, a little tie in with Gordon’s ex to make it a bit personal for him, a fun side plot for Rick and TC that made me happy (Rick needing to pee...that was so hilarious yet relatable!) and the whole game plan with TC as the hot sauce! And then the cheating guy getting dumped by his girlfriend because coupon dinner at La Marian, gold!
My only complaints are no Kumu. She always makes me happy. And the fact that Lia was mentioned but it’s still very unclear what’s going on with her and Magnum. I’d half thought Higgy would tell him about her dream but change it up and the whole “it’s right there in front of you” would somehow get “mistranslated” and would lead to Lia/Magnum making up. Which would have been angsty but still interesting...
(Is Lia coming back? I’d assume so. At least for one more episode for a proper break-up right? If not, come on, she had to have had some purpose, something to do with Miggy, for sure, why else have her in the first place?)
But mostly this ep. was just great. I enjoyed even the bits I manged to complain about above, because I mean how can you not enjoy almost kisses, Higgy being uncomfortable and Magnum being all smug about it.
Next week we it looks like get some Jin (and the lads) in danger? A hostage situation of sorts? And apparently Jin is running a dog walking business now? Can’t wait to see how that ends going for him...
Thanks to my friend @echo-bleu, I just finished watching all five seasons of Leverage. The finale was exceptional, and the entire show is so extremely important to me. I’m going to do my best to articulate what I want to say, but it may come out jumbled. I apologise if it does - but this is too important and too meaningful for me not to comment on.
I started watching Leverage because Echo told me that it was the “original found family” and featured a borderline canon autistic character who was both badass and scripted extremely well. When I first started watching the show, I thought to myself: “What’s another favour for a friend? Maybe I’ll end up liking it, anyway.”
This may have been the biggest understatement of my life.
Leverage is so important to me. It’s genuinely one of the most meaningful, impactful shows that I have ever watched, and its message(s) shine clear as day.
Message #1: Family
The Leverage team is made up of Alec Hardison, an expert hacker with a huge heart and a desire to be surrounded by people he loves; Sophie Deveraux, an accomplished grifter with multiple identities who wants someone (or a group of someones) that takes the time to get to know the real her underneath all of the masks; Parker, an esteemed thief who wishes for a family that teaches her & helps her grow while loving her for who she is and respecting what she can do; Eliot Spencer, a badass hitter who craves to be recognised beyond the violence of his past and loved for who he really is and the heart he carries with him; and Nate Ford, an ex-upstanding citizen turned criminal mastermind who wants to see corporations like the one that let his son die be brought to justice, but knows he needs help to do it.
Together, they make up a ragtag team of criminals that love each other and have each other’s backs in every situation. Together, they form the Leverage team. They form a family.
Family is about love, about trust, about caring for each other and staying together even when things get rough. Family is Nate Ford, Sophie Deveraux, Parker, Alec Hardison, and Eliot Spencer from Leverage.
Leverage teaches its viewers that not all family has to be blood. Some families can be found. This show, these characters, this family? It’s exactly what family should be.
Message #2: Hope
Leverage doesn’t just appeal to every person’s desire to stick it to the high and mighty. While that’s a big part of it, Leverage is also about so much more than that. Leverage is about finding a home in the most unlikely of places, among the most unlikely of people. It’s downright inspiring.
Leverage is about hope.
Hope that it’s not too late. Hope that you aren’t too broken to be loved. Hope that you can have a home, a real home, the kind of home that you always dreamed of having. Hope that you can make a difference. Hope that you can achieve your dreams. Hope that you can love and be loved in return.
Everything about Leverage is executed perfectly, and the hope shines clear through it all. In the midst of nothing, a gang of criminals found their something. They found each other.
Nate tells Eliot in the season finale, “You know, I’d say to call if you need anything, but you - you never need anything.”
Eliot smiles at Nate and says, “Yeah, I did.” He looks back at Parker and Hardison, and the message is clear enough. “Thanks to you, I don’t have to search anymore.”
Sophie asks Eliot to promise her that he’ll protect them; keep them safe.
Eliot says, “Until my dying day.”
That kind of devotion, that kind of love, is something that everyone dreams of. Some of us have it. Some of us don’t. But regardless, it is everyone’s dream to belong. Everyone wants to belong in a different way, and everyone sees belonging differently, but everyone wants people who understand them and cherish them like the characters of Leverage understand and cherish each other.
With this finale, Leverage is telling everyone who has ever wished on a star or prayed to an angel that their hearts aren’t foolish or naive for daring to hope. Leverage is telling everyone who has ever wished to be loved and understood that they can be. They will be.
Leverage tells us that we’ll find our people, even if it takes us a long time, and when we do, it’ll all be worth it.
Message #3: The OT3
Over the course of the show, Parker, Hardison, and Eliot’s relationship continued to be something that spoke to me and made me feel more seen and validated than I had felt in years.
Going into this show, I heard from Echo and a few of my other friends that Leverage had an OT3 that was “as close to canon as possible”, but I’ll be honest with you - I didn’t believe them.
All my life, I’ve been queerbaited and kept on the edge of my seat by TV show after TV show, waiting for some big reveal that never happened because the show producers didn’t care as much about my views as they did about the views of their audience that might be offended by it. It’s not something that I’m even bothered by, anymore, aside from the principle of it; this is just the way the world works, and I’ve learned how to enjoy TV shows despite it.
Still, with that knowledge and experiences in mind, I didn’t go into Leverage believing that the OT3 would be this.
The Leverage OT3 is so much more than I could have hoped for; all three of them “died” holding hands, and they said words to and about each other that are the equivalent of marriage vows in the real world. The OT3 is, genuinely, as close to canon as possible for a USA 2012 television series, and that is beautiful.
I know I’m not the only person that has watched Leverage and felt this deep, emotional connection to the OT3. I know I’m not the only person that has watched Leverage and felt so validated, so represented, and to me, that’s worth everything. The OT3 was given time to develop, and the characters align perfectly with each other in ways that most of us never would have dreamed of a TV show doing. The Leverage OT3 consistently tells me and people like me that we’re loved, we’re valid, and they understand. We’re not alone.
The fact of that matter is, regardless of how much evidence there may be of that on the Internet these days, it can be easy to feel like you’re the only one in the world that’s like you when it comes to relationships if you never see relationships like yours or the ones that you want to have onscreen at any point. It’s easy to feel like you’re weird or strange or wrong somehow for how you feel without representation, and Leverage, I think, knows that.
Leverage casts light on and says I love you, it’s okay to anyone and everyone who’s ever experienced attraction to multiple people at the same time, who’s ever been in a poly relationship, who’s ever been in love with multiple people at once, who’s ever considered a relationship with multiple partners, and who’s ever realised that they are polyamorous. And that, my friends, is NOT representation that we get every day.
This kind of representation is so rare, but Leverage did it.
Leverage did so many things, and all in all, watching this show was one of the best decisions of my life. I finished watching with love in my heart and validation in my smile and beautiful characters sewn into my soul. I love this show.
There are so many more things I could say about why I love Leverage and why I think it’s one of the best shows to exist ever, but then this Tumblr post would be as long as a dictionary. For now, I’ll just settle with saying this:
Leverage is one of the most amazing TV shows I’ve ever had the honour of watching.
We've been waiting for two to five years and now, we finally have it! The trailer to The Bob's Burgers Movie. Check out my analysis and breakdown to the synopsis and trailer today!
Hey so actually the new Fundy vlog is really good and I hope to see more people talking bout it soon because dear Lord this man is funny.
Not Me Episode 3 Review
In a word:
They dealt with ableism:
Human rights abuses:
I've always been interested in politics, and especially the things that have been addressed in this show, but I tend to not think about politics when I watch BL shows, mostly because they never involve them. But this show. Fuck. This show just lays bare so much about the way the Thai government is fucked up. It absolutely blows my mind that they're trying to get away with this. And that they're doing it within a genre that's generally just romantic fluff with some angst thrown in. Most of the main characters are at least middle class, if not rich. Poor people might as well not exist, or, if they do, it's as nameless servants, or props to show how generous the rich are(think Nadia funding an orphanage because of Pob in DSN). But the characters in this show are, by and large, those who are. They're people who are shown to have been fucked over by the system. I know I keep saying this, but I'm genuinely shocked that this show is doing this.
There are plenty of shows and couples that I adore(think Bad Buddy and Leofiat), but in a way Not Me almost makes them feel empty. Not that I don't still think they're amazing in what they do, but what this show is doing is so deeply profound that I don't even know what to do with myself. But then again, in general I have a hard time feeling like the fandoms I get excited about mean much when I think about politics, which is one of the reasons I try to separate them. I think about and get involved in politics, because the political system dictates the lives of the vulnerable, but I need an escape at times. I want to be able to have a part of my life that's pure joy. But this show collides the two. So while I think it's extremely impressive and deep, it makes it somewhat hard for me to enjoy the BL part of it, because I'm too busy feeling intense empathy for the Thai people and the suffering they have to endure. Like, Sean and White clearly have a pretty intense D/s connection, and I do plan on discussing that in depth in another post, but I don't think I can get lost in and enjoy it nearly as much as I could Leofiat. The premise of the show is just too intense for me. It feels kind of disrespectful, almost, to focus on that when they're trying to say something deeply meaningful about their country.
What this show is doing is incredible. I would love to have been in that meeting where they all decided to risk pissing off a corrupt and deeply repressive government. I hope next episode addresses how horrifying Thai prisons are.
Oh, and I love White:
So yeah. A hard, hard 10/10.
Things I Loved About Spider-Man: No Way Home
Finally, at the end of a trilogy, Peter Parker the Avenger is completed as a Spiderman. Here's what I loved about our 3rd Peter's origin story.
1. The Classic Peter Parker Origin Story: On the one hand, perhaps Tom Holland's Spiderman deserved to have this origin story of loss and sacrifice be solely centered on his personal journey, with no intrusions from outside sources. On the other hand, there is only so much originality you can achieve from the third retelling of Peter Parker, and this Avenger effectively borrows the classic, serious atmosphere directly from two predecessors in order to finish his own previously lighter-hearted trilogy in the wrenchingly personal forging of a Spiderman, which is an interesting approach to an origin story.
The two previous Spidermen's presence doesn't make any of MCU Peter's decisions less momentous or meaningful. Rather, one could view the other Peters as externalized representations of Peter's internal struggle. Plus, one of the MCU's greatest strengths is its crossovers, and who'd pass up a chance to have a crossover for three iterations of the same character that meant so much to three+ generations of fans?
2. It is Always Right to Do Good: I am devastated about the loss of Aunt May. I can't get her silhouette out of my mind--how she stood in front of the Green Goblin with the cure in one hand, how she didn't let herself fall until she'd made sure that Peter was going to be okay. She says it was still the right thing to do because there were people who needed help. I can't comprehend how strong this woman was. She's how Peter Parker came to be, no question.
3. Saving People, According to Spiderman: This film was a violent group therapy session where the host has to bear all of the terrible fallout. Surprisingly, instead of shying away from the personal sacrifices one has to make when trying to change other people (insert "I can fix him" meme), this movie faces the toxicity and danger of the endeavor head-on and says, "If my sacrifice can save someone, then so be it."
The justifications for this sacrifice are thus: because of Peter's extraordinary power and the unique circumstances, he's the only one capable of helping these people. He's the impossible ideal of someone who will use power to do good unto others (take notes, governments, CEOs, and rich famous people), which is the classic Spidey essence. In-universe, he sorely needs a hug, but as a movie viewer I approve of this narrative decision.
4. The Predecessors: The crossovers were great and we got some shining character beats. I was internally screaming when Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker got his own group therapy boon by being able to save MJ himself. He was my first Spiderman and I loved and missed his bouncy snark so much. No doubt Tobey Maguire fans were having the same freak-outs in the theater, especially when he blocked that glider. Doc Ock and Green Goblin were spectacular, of course. Jamie Foxx's Electro had fire lines, and I really loved the back-and-forth with Andrew Garfield's Spiderman. (Mandatory shout-out to Miles Morales, the wonder, the legend.)
4. Coming Of Age: From a meta perspective, this MCU Spiderman has absorbed the previously established character beats from his predecessors to make it his own. By the end of the film, he has shed all guidance figures who'd affected his journey so far and taken the first steps of true independence. He embodies both the youthful enthusiasm and the astonishing maturity of a young adult superhero. (He still likes legos, by the way. In case we weren't devastated enough.)
(The universe--and by universe I mean the writers--definitely didn't pull any punches. My sibling has suggested it's because he turned eighteen and he's now fair game for heavy angst. In which case this might be the worst coming-of-age ceremony ever.)
5. The Hero Trio: The hero, the best friend, and the other best friend whom he also kisses is a fun dynamic. MJ and Ned embody the classic struggle for a superhero's close friends: I understand the danger, I understand how important saving the world is, but you're more important to me and I would rather save you first. But I don't want you to compromise your core beliefs either, because I know how important saving people is to you. (And I hate not being able to help you when you need it.)
This Peter Parker finally gets his own unique, narratively weighted kiss scene in this movie, which I thought was iconic. The lighting, the silhouettes--
(When Ned and MJ remember Peter again, they'll have every right to be angry at him for breaking his promise and not coming to them with the truth. It was such a noble Peter Parker decision, but he was also recently traumatized and not in the best place when he cut off all support systems. Peter's next character development stage might be relearning to accept the need for support systems when you're superheroing. Friendship is magic, bro.)
6. Side-note on GEDs: As someone who also graduated high school through a GED and went to community college, I really appreciate the representation we got. Life isn't over when you can't finish high school or get into a prestigious college. Things might not always go how you expect, but that's still okay. Look, our friendly neighborhood Spiderman's doing this too, and it doesn't change the fact that he's a freaking genius.
7. Concluding Note: Good luck, Peter Parker. You've still got a whole lot of life ahead of you. You're gonna be amazing. Lots of love and support, from your friendly neighbor.
8. Several devastating tweets I saw from Korean Twitter (where my bilingual alter-ego lives), summarized in no particular order: A spiderman's fall is not entirely a tragedy, for it is also his completion--and like the repetitive rise and fall of his web-swinging, he's all about the fall and the getting back up again. Spidey can't fly without the fall.
Being in the MCU allowed this Spidey to have more mentor figures, which magnifies the loss that much more when they're all stripped away and we see him stand on his own. It's almost like the audience gets to witness the MCU Spiderman's happiest moments in the first and second films of his trilogy, then the third film is the beginning of his comic book run in earnest. Peter Parker can never return Home, but returning to films 1 and 2 after watching 3 should make for some nostalgic reminiscing for viewers at home.
Also, if Peter got erased from the world's collective memory, he might be taken for a Blip victim (which he actually was). Which means Aunt May's charity for Blip victims might've helped him settle back into a world that has forgotten him. (Good deeds, butterfly effects.)
Oh, and only May and Tony will remember Peter Parker as Spiderman.
Summer and Fall 2021 Anime Overview
So I didn’t do an anime overview in the fall, mostly because I was busy but also because the only anime I really find worth noting from the summer wassss...
One sentence summary: Ai is an ex-idol who has trauma regarding men and she joins a takarazuka academy (all female theatre troupe) purely to limit contact with them.. then she is swept up in the energy of her new roommate, a strange, tall girl named Sarasa who is aiming to play Oscar in Rose of Versailles.
Shoujo (well, it also ran as a seinen, which is a good sign that demographics are breaking down) manga doesn’t get many adaptations these days, so I try to pay attention to it when it does. I’m also really interested in takarazuka, so that drew me into it too. Overall, this show is really solid experience with an interesting cast and likeable main duo in Ai and Sarasa.
Where people might have trouble with it are the more personal, heavy topics it tries to tackle. Ai is a victim of childhood sexual assault, for instance, and the show portrays this fairly unflinchingly- but I know a lot of people have mixed or entirely negative feelings on how her trauma is addressed by the end. For me, I do have my issues with it, but I think the story was at least making a sincere effort to take Ai and her pain seriously (this is more apparent in the manga- there’s a small but important scene that’s cut where Ai has her trauma dismissed because it was “just” a nonconsensual kiss” and it’s shown that this badly affected her. I wish the anime had kept it because that stuck out to me as an important think to impress. When I was a teen and someone (my age, at least) tried to assault me in a similar matter, I also downplayed it because it wasn’t anything compared to what others go through, and seeing ‘your pain matters’ expressed like that got me.)
There’s also a storyline with bulimia, and as someone with a (non-bulimia) eating disorder, it also had a little bit a hollow feeling- the character’s problem was fairly neatly resolved within an episode with a pep talk and the toxic way a teacher treated her that helped trigger the disorder was never addressed or explored, really.
Honestly though, I prefer shows actually making an effort to try to address these issues and how they impact young girls, while clearly sympathizing with said girls, even if it falls short, to shows that will include sexual assault and fat jokes as a friggin’ gag. It’s not an either/or- obviously there’s both shows that don’t include these gags and shows that handle these topics with more of an eye towards cultural harm- but idk, when Kageki Shoujo gets a lot of flack for this by the same fans who won’t critique their favorite shonen for treating these issue as fun and games, it rubs me the wrong way. Kageki Shoujo’s DEFINITELY not for everyone, absolutely, but it’s not the garbage standard either.
As for the larger plotline, while the cast is solid, not every girl’s story is a winner (Anime has One Plot for characters who are twins, I swear), but the fact that Sarasa started out wanting to be in kabuki and excelled but was barred due to her gender, then has to adjust her acting as she tries her best with Takarazuka, is really interesting and taught me a little about both forms of theatre. The anime isn’t directly critical of either Kabuki or Takarazuka’s gender barriers, but by showing Sarasa’s pain and her struggle being outside those narrow margins, it’s likely to get a viewer thinking. Kageki Shoujo’s willingness to show both struggle and triumph in a more grounded manner than other media that draws on takarazuka tropes makes it more memorable that most of the other anime that came out this year. If you like theatre, you can do a lot worse than this show.
Now onto the Fall 2021 shows!
Ranking of Kings
One-sentence summary: Boji is small, physically weak and deaf, so despite being a prince, he’s overlooked by his kingdom- but when he meets a strange shadow creature and faces a conspiracy to keep him off the throne, he’s gonna have to show what he’s made of...
Ranking of Kings isn’t over, but has been a consistently solid and a joy to watch so far. With a distinctive soft, fairy tale aesthetic and great animation, a sweet, sympathetic protagonist, layered and interesting supporting character and an intriguing story, it hits it out of the park in nearly every respect. Boji is very easy to root for. His disability is treated as just a part of who he is, one that can provide additional challenges, but those who love him support him. And it’s nice the show so far doesn’t take any shortcuts depicting it- sign language is used and one hard of hearing animator talked about how nice it felt to animate it accurately. His deafness also doesn’t give him any fantasy superpowers so far either (though there are plenty of those otherwise!) and his shadow-bro is adorable. Character who initially seem to be stock fairytale archetypes (like the ‘evil stepparent and stepsibling’) end up having a lot more to them. And the plot continues to thicken.
I do wish the show had more female characters and sometimes I get a little bored with the amount of buff stoic action guys it boasts, but depending on how it finishes up, it’s an easy contender for anime of the year.
The Heike Story
One sentence summary: A young biwa player who can see the future through one eye, gets involved with a warmongering and likely doomed clan ...can these people only march inevitably on to their fate?
The Heike Story is historical anime with a huge cast very focused on political drama, so it can be really hard to follow the names and who’s doing what at time (the subs don’t help much by not distinguishing which ‘Emporer’ is being talked about, since there’s an old dude who was formerly emporer, his son, then his son’s son...) but I honestly found myself not caring as much about that, because I was swept away by the anime’s sheer artistry and the wonderful way it translated the emotions of a classic text (it’s based on the pre-1330 text The Tale of the Heike). The anime makes no bones about being a tragedy from the beginning, but as it unfolds it becomes a haunting tales about the futility of grappling for power, fruitless cycles of violence and the importance of remembering loss and storytelling itself.
It also touches on gender roles a bit- Biwa is a new addition to the old story. She’s afab, but dresses in male clothing at the advice of her father. She’s referred to as she/her in the subs, though in the context of the modern day it’s hard to say what her gender identity would be.Her relationship with a woman who’s very aware of how constrained she is by her social role as a woman, but still manages to show strength and defiance, is a strong, bittersweet thread throughout this entire story- (a moment between them in the last episode make my heart hurt so bad and so good)- as is Biwa interacting with other women who carve their own lives amidst war and exploitation.
The anime is done in a super memorable, incredibly charming (to me) animation style that immerses you in the era. It’s a deeply Buhddist storyline, and the atmosphere is impeccable However, it’s certainly not for everyone- since it’s an ancient Japanese text, it might not be surprising to learn there’s a ton of (not gory) suicide along with the war, that while framed as tragic is accepted as an inescapable part of culture and life and there are some other general fatalistic elements. But if you can handle that and dig historical and/or artistic anime, this is unmissable.
One sentence summary: One day, Miko is suddenly able to see horrible spirits and afraid of attracting their attention, she pretends to ignore them...all while being terrified on the inside.
I also dipped my toes into Mieruko-chan though I didn’t watch episode 2 or most of episode 3 (having skimmed through the manga and knowing those were the worst parts as far as being sleazy and making light of sexual assault). But I do like some low-key horror, and I just found myself wanting to watch the end. While the camera leers less after the first few episodes, it still leers quite a bit and is a constant backdrop. And there was a lot of hubbub in the ann forums about the censorous West hating sex blablabla when anyone spoke out about this, let me just say- setting aside how the ridiculous butt shots actually genuinely break immersion into the creepiness of Miko’s situation in the first episode (frex), setting aside that Miko is a goddamn teenager, it’s very hard, for me, to understand the importance of leering at a character who wouldn’t be comfortable with it at all. The anime both asks us to put ourselves in Miko’s shoes and empathize with Miko’s terror, with her vulnerability, her kindness, then wants to shove our eyes up her ass crack of this scared vulnerable child, when I now know her well enough to know she wouldn’t like anyone leering at her like that. It’s very jarring, I don’t get how you can mentally do both at once without feeling weird. But hey, anime fans often don’t like empathizing with female characters as anything more than sexual objects, so it makes sense they don’t understand my discomfort.
As far as the story goes, the monster effects are pretty nice and creepy, and the story itself is a pretty middling supernatural series. Sometimes the gags feel overused, but usually it throws enough variety in there that they’ll do, and the little story line it develops at the end is entertaining enough, but not anything groundbreaking. I’d say if you’re uncomfortable leering at teen girl characters, there’s not usually enough interesting going on here to counteract it. Animal murder is also a plot point (though not shown) so look out for that.
But (keeping in mind I skipped the worst episodes) I don’t have regrets about watching it. I was just itching for some slice-of-life spookiness, and this scratched it fine for the most part, with occasional jarring reminder the creators are gross.
♧ GMMTV '22 Line Up Analysis Pt.3 ♧
《Dramas and Lakorns》
(Note: these are not official synopses this is what I got from the trailer)
1. U.M.G: Unidentified Mysterious Girlfriend
Mew has carried the guilt of his childhood friend, and first love, Erng’s mysterious disappearance for ten years, but now that she has returned he can't help but be suspicious. How does a girl suddenly reappear after a decade of being missing, acting as if nothing had happened at all? And is the thing that wears her face really the person Mew lost, or something else altogether? Perhaps, an entity from another world?
Has anyone here read the manga elDLIVE? Because I swear the trailer played and I was instantly transported back to when I was reading it in high school. I honestly love this one so much. I know sci fi mysteries likely aren’t most thai drama watchers’ cup of tea but they sure are mine. I’ve watched this trailer so many times already and I just know I’m gonna enjoy this one. The cast is amazing too, like NanonNamtarn? Incredible! Plus, Milk, Drake and Sing are here too! Absolutely cannot wait to see this one come to life.
2. Oops! Mr. Superstar Hit on Me
All Cake wanted was to get her mother’s favourite actor’s autograph. So why is she waking up in bed with this man, who is twenty years her senior? When two people a generation apart fall in love, things are bound to get messy.
Right off the bat, the whole trailer was one big red flag imo. Like, the guy is 40 and he not only knowingly pursues Jane’s 20 y/o character but also they clearly have sex when she’s intoxicated, going by her state the morning after. The whole thing gives me the creeps so, even though I adore Jane, I will be staying very far away from this one. If I had to give an unbiased review of the show ignoring the age-gap I would say it’s gonna be a pretty melodramatic romance and there’s likely going to be a pregnancy at some point. Do with that what you will.
3. My Dear Donovan
A hot and in-demand supermodel. An awkward but fun-loving kindergarten teacher. Opposites attract in this spicy romantic comedy of errors… with a twist?
I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t given this one a lot of thought. It seems like your average romcom with a dash of ~spice~ added in. The cast is good, Namtarn is looking absolutely adorable and her and Luke seem like they’ll have good chemistry. It seems like a pretty solid romance. There’s really nothing wrong with it, it’s just very forgettable. Like, by the end of the event I’d completely forgotten what this one was about. That being said, I’m hoping the official trailer will stand out more because this actually does seem to have the makings of a good romcom. Will I watch it, though, depends entirely on what the final trailer is like.
4. The Warp Effect
When 17 year old Alex suddenly wakes up as his future self, the life he finds himself living is nothing like he’d expected. How exactly does a shy, awkward virgin turn into a hot and sought-after expert in female anatomy? What choices did his past and future selves make to land him where he is? And what wrongs must he right to be able to fix the mess that is now his existence?
Literally 13 Going 30 meets Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, right? The first time I watched the trailer I honestly wasn’t sure if I liked it, but now that I’ve rewatched it multiple times and figured out who is doing what, I'm genuinely intrigued. The plot is interesting, the cast is great and there’s even multiple queer character and a whole wlw ship, so I’m definitely into it now lol. Jan as a lesbian! Fucking finally!!!! Also, I’ve never been a fan of New, I always felt his acting was underwhelming and the only show I liked him in was DBK (this does not include the other Kiss shows), but I think this one has a lot of potential. So yeah, will watch and probably will like.
5. Good Old Days
Six stories about six people, all loosely connected through six items found at an antique store.
Bored. The trailer started and I instantly lost interest. First of all, why does Krist keep popping up and narrating shit trying to sound all philosophical it doesn't fucking suit him. GMM stop casting him in every role ever challenge. Also, his character is a grown man trying to coerce a high schooler into dating him. Big yikes. The only stories out of the six that seemed interesting to me were Aye’s and Namtarn’s, so I’ll probably watch those. Otherwise I’m entirely indifferent.
7. You Fight, And I Love
In the midst of preparing for the match of a lifetime, Chang finds himself falling for- and eventually pursuing -his friend’s little sister whom he swore to look after. Noo just wants her makeshift guardian to see her as someone he can love, but when she finally gets her wish things start to get complicated.
So. Here’s my issue with this show. Love is an adult woman. Her and Joss are only around four years apart in age. So why tf does she look fucking twelve in the very first shot? There’s absolutely no reason for her character to be in high school, they could have made her a college student and the plot would not change at all. They’ve made deliberate efforts to make her look like a child while dating Joss who’s made to look like a grown-up and it creeps me out. Getting major pedo vibes from the execution of the mock trailer so I’m going to stay far away from this one.
7. Midnight Series: Dirty Laundry
____ (Film) runs an all-night laundromat and dreams of falling in love with one of her handsome regulars. But when chasing these dreams of romance leads her to a suitcase full of cash, she is faced with a big question. What’s more important, getting the guy or getting rich? Though, it seems, neither may be all that worth the ensuing chaos.
Third and final part of the Midnight anthology. This is like if someone took the 3wbf concept and made a comedy out of it and I for one love it! The plot is so chaotic and funny and the cast is absolutely brilliant. Film and Nanon make a surprisingly good pair and seeing Jenny and Foei literally had me vibrating with excitement. Also, Jennie and Godji in the same show? Did someone read my mind???? And Nanon in drag? Absolutely glorious. This occupies the top spot with Midnight Motel and Home School in my most anticipated shows list. Holy hell this whole anthology is amazing, even though the cheating in the EM one will ruin me xD
8. P.S. I Hate You
A murder, an affair, a wedding, a scandal and a bride’s violent fate. The story of six friends bonded together with love and secrets, as they struggle to keep their various transgressions hidden from the world. But now that there is a traitor amongst them, they will finally be forced to face the consequences of their actions.
Hot women being messy and committing murder? Um count me tf in. This story gives me The Player vibes, which I wasn’t initially taken with but now can’t wait to watch, so I’m definitely into this. This is also the only female-led show in the whole line-up (which, wtf gmm?) so that’s another reason I’m excited for it. Bc in the past their female led shows have been the kind of lakorns I’m not into. Anyway, I loved this trailer, it left me with a lot of questions and I just know that when the show airs I’m gonna be spending a lot of time trying to crack this case lol. That makes four out of four shows I’m most looking forward to out of this line-up.
9. Devil Sister
Namcha has had a crush on his older neighbour Irin for a long time, despite her devilish reputation. When he finally has the chance to be with her, though, trouble arises in the form of her little sister Inn, who wants to have Namcha all to herself and colludes with ____ (Podd) to keep the two apart.
Okay. Listen. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the trailer and concept. It’s a pretty classic romance plot. But that monologue Win's character has at the start calling women “nasty,” “moody” and “overbearing” instantly put me off and now I can’t shake the thought that the MC is gonna be a “nice guy” type. So it’s unlikely I’ll ever watch this. But aside from that it feels like a solid romance drama so if that’s what you’re into definitely give it a shot.
The Spanish Princess Season 1: A ridiculously long review
I finally watched The Spanish Princess, everyone's favorite hate watch of 2019-2020. The last instance (thank God) of the infamous Gregoryverse, this series is a sequel (kinda?) of the mini series The White Princess, who in turn is a sequel of The White Queen. It is also... something else entirely.
Everything bad about this show has already been said: it's trash, it's full of misoginy, it's inaccurate in a way that's offensive to the people it portrays, the characters are unlikeable, the pacing is terrible, the costumes are dreadful, it's just a really bad written TV show. I am saying nothing new. And yet, I felt compelled to write a review, because I think that the reason why this show was terrible in a way that neither TWQ nor TWP were can be traced back to a single thing: ageing up Prince Henry. This had such a domino effect that created a problem that wasn't present in the previouse series, therefore making it bad even for the standards of the Gregoryverse. The problem being that Catherine's story doesn't work at all with Henry being of marriageable age.
Hear me out: had Henry been older when Arthur died, he would have married Catherine the moment their parents made the new agreement, and that would've been it. The precarious situation in which she ended during her years as a widow simply wouln't have happened. You can't have that story with growed up Henry. Or at least, you can't have that story while still making sense. And this was the main problem: they still wanted that story, so they made it and it made no sense. And I'm not even talking about not making sense because it's not historically accurate, just not making sense within the shows' universe.
Let me give you an example: in The White Princess it was stablished that the Infanta's hand was a prize worth killing for. Actually, even if we ignore TWP, in the first episode of this show they established that Catherine and Arthur's marriage was crucial because Spain was an extremely rich and powerful country and England a broke and backward one (pretty sure this is untrue). Not only that, even Catherine's Lancaster ancestry (namely being a great-great-great granddaughter of John of Gaunt) and the exacutions of the Earl of Warwick and Perkin Warbeck were brought up. She is important and key to the Tudors, they need her. And yet the second Arthur dies suddenly she is useless, everyone hates her and wants to inmmediately get rid of her. Why? Why are they going against everything that was established one episode ago?? It makes no damn sense.
The show tries to give very lame excuses to this: from Elizabeth of York having a prophecy (???) about Catherine and Prince Henry's marriage being doom to produce no sons to Margaret Beaufort just hating her for no reason at all. But the real answer is painfully crystal clear: Henry is old enough to marry Catherine. They have to invent these stupid reasons and contradict their own logic because if they didn't, there wouldn't be any conflict in the show. So now it's not that Catherine can't remarry Henry because he is a literal child so she has to wait, and during those years of waiting the political landscape of Europe changes so much that she is no longer an attractive bride for England anymore, but that the King's Mother is evil and gets in the way of Catherine and Henry's true love because she doesn't like her!
Which leads me to the second biggest problem of the show: Margaret Beaufort being the main villain makes no fucking sense. I know that Philippa Gregory has a personal vendetta against her, and that these trashy adaptations do nothing but further the slander towards Margaret but MY GOODNESS the way this series goes above and beyond to paint her as evil is just vile. And a problem, because it doesn't work. Take The White Queen: since we followed characters from different factions, while there were "evil" characters, there weren't really villains, just people who ended up in the opposite sides of the battlefield. And that worked because they all strived for the same prize, the English throne, and put their lives in line for it. In The White Princess our main villains are the Duchess of Burgundy and Perkin Warbeck (although here he is actually Richard, Duke of York), and once again, it works because they want to depose our main characters and take revenge against them (no matter how much Emma Frost and co tried to make us believe that Warbeck was good and loved his sister, there is no way that he was just going to let go his nephews as if nothing lol). Meanwhile, in The Spanish Princess the main villain is Margaret Beaufort, because she wants to... send Catherine back to Spain because she has an irracional hatred towards her. That's it. That is literally the biggest danger Catherine faces: that she may be sent back home.
It just doesn't work. We went from pretenders to the throne that put our main characters' lives at risk to grandmother-in-law from hell doesn't like our protagonist. The stakes are so low it's ridiculous. And it's even more jarring when we all know were this is going. Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York may be more unknown to the general public, but most people have at least a vague idea of who Catherine of Aragon was. Every episode's cliffhanger after episode 2 it's "Oh no, something happened that will prevent Catherine from marrying Prince Harry!! Will she ever become Queen now??" and it's really stupid because the answer is yes, of course she is going to become Queen, she is Wife Number 1, divorced, you literally sold this show as the story of Henry VIII's first and true love. We know that. There is nothing engaging in watching a show that drags the unavoidable for six episodes and give us nothing else.
Because even though this show really wants you to feel sorry for Catherine and root for her, it also has a weird reluctance to actually showing us Catherine struggling with her undefined status after Arthur's death. Everyone is rude to her! She has to choose between old king Henry and his young son! Her mom wants her to go back home to live like a princess! She got send to a small apartment! She doesn't know if Harry truly loves her! And it goes on and on until she marries Henry. And yes some of these things are kinda bad, but they never feel... actually difficult? Like you never feel that Catherine is going through a hard time, because the show never pushes her too much out of her confort zone. This comes directly from the already mentioned biggest problem of ageing up Henry, because now Catherine isn't in a limbo in which she has no idea what's going to be of her for seven years, but only for a couple of months. For real, there isn't any indicator that even a season has passed, since the weather never changes. This season might as well take place in a single month for all we know.
The series also has a very anti-Tudor sentiment, which was also present in the two previouse instance of the franchise, but here comes off as weird: we are meant to see the Tudors, personified by Margaret Beaufort, as tyrants, impostors and simply unworthy of rulling England. King Henry is an uncapable ruler dominated by his ruthless mother (remember the whole character arc he went in TWP in which he separate himself from the influence of his mother? no? well, neither did the screenwritters) and the whole country hates them. Edmund de la Pole, the Yorkist pretender of the hour, lurks through out the entire season, but no one actually cares except for Margaret Beaufort and sometimes King Henry (and that's bad for some reason). It's just weird how he isn't threatening at all, given that it is crucial for our protagonist that the Tudors remain in power. But no, the screenwritters love the Yorks so much that even when de la Pole should be the greatest concern to Catherine, given that all the trouble she is going through to marry Prince Henry would be for nothing if his family gets deposed, he is merely Margaret Pole's friendly cousin that wants to help her by overthrowing the tyranic Tudors. Maybe it's just me, but I found strange how we are still asked to dislike the Tudors while simultanously root for our protagonist to marry into said family.
Also, another thing that I think was a failure is the fixation on Catherine lying about having consummated her marriage to Arthur. I don't think the real Catherine lied, but that's not the point: it is yet one more thing that doesn't work because of how known Catherine's story is. Episode after episode, there's always some variant of "Oh no, Catherine lied about being a virgin!! Will this ever come back at her??" and the answer once again is yes, we all know this. And it's also just annoying hindsight, because whether Catherine slept with Arthur or not wasn't important until Henry decided to base the annulment of his marriage to her in that fact. I think Catherine lying would've work better if we, the audiance, were made to believe that nothing happened until the season finale. You know that final conversation in which Catherine swore to Henry that she never slept with Arthur? Just imagine the impact that the scene could've had if it was revelead right then that Catherine did consummated her first marriage, and that she had been lying to everyone, the audiance included.
Overall, I actually think that Catherine's widowhood could have made for an interesting TV series, but the way they handle it just resulted in an uninteresting, predictable, utterly boring show. That was my biggest surprise watching this: how dull it is. For all their problems, TWQ and TWP were very entertaining series, and even when I was yelling at my scream for something awfully inaccurate that was happening, I was engaged in the story. Here I got bored in episode four, and I continued to be bored until the end. The story really has nothing to offer: just going on circles about whether Catherine will marry Henry or not, while the characters remain exactly as they were at the beginning. I could and I have more to say about this disastrous show, but the review is already ridiculously long, and anyway I'm not bringing anything new to the table. I am a completionist, so even though I didn't enjoy this series at all, I will watch the second season. Oh well, at least I'll get to see more Hot Thomas Boleyn, so it won't be all suffering.
My score: somehow they managed to make a TV show that makes The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) look like a not terrible movie in comparison
BBQ Bacon Ranch fries from Mr. Fries Man.
Originally a cali based restaurant they finally opened a spot in Atlanta and I knew I had to slide.
Loved that the fries were crispy even with all the toppings and they don’t skimp at all.
Review: A Deal with the Elf King (Elise Kova)
“I press my eyes closed and take a quivering breath. I don’t know the answers. But I want to. I need to. If I stay in Midscape, it must be my choice. I must finally make a choice, of my own volition, free of the influences of any man, with where I stand. I have to take my own advice and choose what I want for myself, not what others want for me.”
This was so addictive and such a massive improvement from the only other Elise Kova novel I read. I LOVED this.
When the elves come to Capton, they come for a girl. A human queen, trained and ready to serve their kingdom of Midscape in order to keep the balance of the seasons in that kingdom. But there is no human queen, and the elves are coming...Luella is an herbalist, a healer, and definitely not a queen . Or so she thinks - until the Elf King comes to claim her.
I've read a few reviews that discuss how this is basically a romance disguised as a fantasy, and how this made this book worse for them. I knew this going in, and so I guess my expectations were tempered, but no matter what I thought, I was pleasantly surprised by this book as a whole. Romantic fantasy is my absolute favourite genre, and I thought that this one does an admirable job of creating atmosphere and world-building while focusing on the relationships that Luella creates.
I also absolutely loved the characters we get in this book. Luella is fierce without being annoying or obstinate, and Eldas is masterfully written as defensive with a heart of gold underneath his cold exterior. Their dynamic was so fun and so well crafted. I actually believed that they were falling in love, which I haven't experienced so intensely in a novel in a while.
One of my favourite parts of this book is the atmosphere. I just got all the cozy vibes all the way through; it was like An Enchantment of Ravens, except better, because I bought the love story and the character development so much more. The castle and the town and the cottage - all of it came alive for me, and the way Elise discusses the daily goings on and everything just made it all feel like home.
No, this isn't hardcore high fantasy. I flew through it because it's light, addictive, and so easy to consume. I love that it's a standable, I love how it's written accessibly, I love the characters and the world and the story. I fully bought into this one, and I can't fucking wait for the next book.
Magnum PI - 4.06 The Devil at the Doorstep review
Starting off with the Higgy/ Miggy bits this week.
We already talked about the opening scene in the sneak peeks but I do enjoy how close they are together here.
Also when talking to their client. I guess I just love them looking pretty next to each other.
They split my faves up this week which is always a bit of a bummer, though I did hope all through the episode that she would tell all right there at the end. But she didn’t.
(Side note: Can we talk about the romantic/domestic feel of this set up? Torches, darkness, two people just coming home after work, checking in? The fact that he can clearly sense something is not right. Even we goes ‘right’ when she lies, he’s not quite buying it. And he’s hurt she’s not trusting him yet wants to give her space. At least that’s my read.)
I don’t like that she lied. Big time lied. Not just like a small thing but made up a whole thing about being at the immigration office and not getting his messages (which was both annoying and funny and and made me feel like someone was reading my comments on ‘how does that work with her visa’) and the fact that she stuck with the lie even in this scene when she’s realized this is going to be a big deal. The stolen MI6 files and everything to do with this is now about her personally.
But I do think I see where they’re going with it. Well not clearly, but they’ve been building this whole plot (Kenya - MI6 - whatever comes next) since last season. So I figure it is going to be part of what makes Magnum (and Juliet) confront their feels. Maybe.
Still it was a bit of a bummer to not much adorable Miggy banter or sharing today even if we did get Higgy kicking ass and sneaking about spy-style which is fun. I do like them showing how capable Magnum is on his own and I also love concerned-Thomas! So having them be separate for this ep was okay-ish.
Next week is drama with Rick’s new friend, and from the summary it sounds a bit like we’re getting different cases again. Magnum and Rick team up and Kumu and Juliet? Not sure how I feel about that, but hopefully we’ll get our faves working together /helping over the phone. Phone banter can be fun too!!
After 4.07 there is a two week break (I’m guessing for Thanksgiving?) and then on the 3rd of December we (presumably) get the promised Christmas episode. (Magnum Santa, Higgy elf!)
Then nothing until January 3rd. (At least that’s what Next-Episode is telling me.)
To me this means 4.08 is probably not going to be a cliff-hanger dramatic mid season finale break (or it might be, just Christmas themed?!?). So we’re not likely to get much more MI6 spy stuff until next year. And perhaps more lying this year either?
I’m a bit hopeful the Christmas episode is going to be the one that has the flashbacks with Juliet’s dad. Anyone remember when they were going to film the scenes with Young Higgy/ Dad? I think end of September right? We still haven’t gotten it but I feel like if they’re going to use it, it will be this fall?
Gold star for the fact that they upped the stakes with “if your file is released there is nowhere on earth you can hide” after Higgy was all “I’m done” because I was feeling like her doing Eve’s bidding wasn’t quite making sense. Now it sort of does!
(Also, who is loving the parallels to last week? Lies, spies, assassins, shady deals, worried soulmate? Maybe I’m reading into things but... I do hope we get some pay off to all the little breadcrumbs that’s been dropped this season so far.)
Weird coincidence. Magnum and Higgy both punch guys who look kind of similar (though Higgy’s guy has a run in with a truck too so maybe it’s not her punches so much.)
I thought they looked kinda similarly + similarly bruised? But not as similar as I thought before putting the pictures next to one another... and I don’t think it means anything. Guess someone just asked for x2 generic white guy baddie when casting.
(And boy, Magnum was not pulling any punches. Probably annoyed he didn’t have his Higgy around all day so he was a little extra punch-y + baby stealing is not nice.)
Quick update on the exes (I mean Lia is going to be one before long.) No Ethan mention. At all. I guess it was all to obvious she was breaking up with him last week and was pretty okay with it. Still, not a word? She didn’t have a lot of scenes with Magnum or the gang so I guess it makes sense, still a year long relationship and we’re not going to mention it ending?
Lia gone for the second episode in a row. Not complaining at all, I’m just trying to figure out what they’re doing with her character. She’s clearly going to be around for a bit more? Right? And since that’s the case I’d prefer it if she was in next week and stayed out of the Christmas episode (or neither one, but then she’ll have been absent most of the season. And then it’s like why have her at all!?!)
Rick’s friend. Shady as fuck.
Would have clocked it even if I hadn’t read the summary for next week and gotten the FBI showing up. I did like TC being all “For Rick I’ll try to be friends” at the end.
TC getting him and Cade an apartment. Not sure how I feel about this. Has he talked about it with Cade? I feel like this would be hard for the kid to accept. Also can you just randomly have a minor stay with you without being their guardian? Feel like the thought was good but not sure it would work practically and because I over think that was where my mind went!
The case: Stealing babies and telling their moms they died. Beyond heart breaking when you think about it. Horrible. My best friend just had a baby and another is having one in a month. Both said the worst thing they could imagine was the baby dying just before or as he/she was being born when we talked about fears. I totally get that too. Just like unimaginable. But as it is sometimes with 42 minute shows where you got two other plots going on simultaneously, and because what was going on, was revealed late it sort of prevented the horribleness from being fleshed out further and truly felt.
Perhaps that was the point. But imagine instead: a woman coming to Magnum and Higgins being all “I think my baby is still alive” after having run away from the guy when he got annoyed because she wanted to see her dead baby to say goodbye. I mean less mystery in a way, but tugs more on the heart strings. I mean, come on, that be so sad and a case our faves would just say yes to for working for free in a second.
Also what the heck on marching half a dozen cops in full tactical gear with like semi-automatics (very big guns at least?) into a maternity clinic? Or a hospital. Is this a thing that happens in America? I mean, gods, that was shocking to me!
They were after like one guy!?! Even busting into the house like that seemed excessive but there I get it a little. He could have weapons in his house. But still, this is a guy who stabbed one lady and stole babies with lies? Did they imagine he suddenly got his hands on a pip bomb or like a grenade launcher? Lots of body armor? Why would normal guns not work? They’re at a hospital!!! This be crazy excessive to me.
We did get this look at mommy-baby moment. Which was adorable. And maybe a tad bit weird for her if it had been real. Like three random stranger just staring at her? But she was too busy with her baby so I guess it’s fine.
Also this just makes me want Thomas looking at Higgy and their baby and I know I won’t get it and thus it becomes kinda angsty.
Final thoughts on the episode is; I liked it but not my favorite of the season. It did have some very sweet moments and I felt it fit well with the trailer we got for it. Even if I had hoped for some sort of hurt/comfort moment there at the end, based on the ‘are you okay?’ from the trailer.
Why You Should Read Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
1. If you love when an author is able to jump between perspectives well.
Most of the book is split between three perspectives: Katrina who just left her abusive home with barely anything but her violin; Shizuka, who is also described as "The Queen of Hell" who appears to have made some kind of pact with hell itself and lastly, Lan who fled an intergalactic war and now is the proud owner of a donut shop.
But outside of that, we get small insights in the thoughts and feelings of other characters, like the members of Lan's family, a violin teacher who wants Shizuka's attention, the woman who repairs Katrina's violin and deals with the burden her father and grandfather left behind (she actually has a pretty big perspective too!) and many, many more.
Ryka Aoki really is able to show what a wonderful storyteller she is, showing she knows which perspective to use and when. Every perspective is such a pleasure to read and put all together it paints such a lovely picture.
2. If you love wonderfully written characters and relationships
Aoki with this book gave us three complex queer female Asian characters. Every single action of the characters felt so much like them, and I always could understand why they acted the way they did.
Each character came with their own flaws, but all of them showed the capacity to reflect on what they did wrong and grow.
Additionally all came with their own problems and traumas. Katrina is a trans girl, who experienced a lot of transphobia from both people she knew well, like her family and people she only met by passing. While Lan is a refugee of a fictional Sci-Fi war, a lot of her struggles reflect the ones of war refugees in real life. She is constantly scared that something bad will happen to her or her family, which forces her to feel like she has to work extra hard so her family does not have to go through pain again. But the book doesn't just stop here, a big part of the novel spends exploring the hardships the characters experienced/still experience but also showing ways they are able to heal. All the soft and good moments are also there.
How well crafted the characters are, is especially shown in scenes where the characters communicate with each other. All three characters came from fairly different life paths and sometimes did not understand why a character might act the way they did, but they took their time to understand the other person's perspective or even if they misunderstood each other, they communicated and worked it out.
Over the book, they all created such a beautiful relationship and a place of support with each other. Shizuka is the first person that accepted Katrina the way she is, finally offering her a place to be more comfortable with herself. Lan and Shizuka had such a wonderful dynamic with each other. Both of them were reluctant to have feelings for each other at first, explaining that they just have no time for each other, but soon finding joy in each other's company and falling in love. And who of us does not want a sapphic romance between an alien and somebody that works with hell, feeding ducks together and fighting against evil?
3.If you love beautiful descriptions of food and music
I personally love, when a book is able to get me invested and passionate about something that I normally do not think about much.
One of those things for example is playing an instrument, in this case playing the violin. While Aoki describes the music her characters were playing, I was completely glued to the page. She did a fantastic job showing her character's feelings during those scenes and showing me why music is so important to Katarina and Shizuka.
And the food just sounds incredibly delicious in this book, whether it is the dounts of Lan Tran's Stargate Shop or all the other delicacies that Aoki describes, each and every description will make you hungry.
4. If you like light Sci-Fi
While I also love epic space operas, at the end of the day, I prefer books exactly like this one. Where people live their lives, but there is a little bit of something impossible to it.
On one hand, it is a girl leaving her home and meeting a violin teacher that both helps her in her musical career, and in her personal life, but on the other the same girl is drawn into a pact with hell. Then there's also a normal family serving donuts in their restaurant, but in the next room there is a spaceship.
Overall, all the magical/ science fictiony parts were such a delight to read. Everytime something new was revealed, I was again and again impressed with Aoki's imaginativity. And just wait until it is revealed why there is an intergalactic war in the first place!
5. Finally, if you just want a really good book
While there were a few things I disliked, I decided to focus on the things I loved because I want everyone, who can handle the more difficult parts (please look at mine and other people trigger warnings if necessary!) of the book, to read it. Aoki created a beautiful character driven book that transports you in a world full of magical music, delicious food, dates while feeding ducks, fixing of violins and the journey of three women trying to find a happy and safe place for themselves.
There is so much to be said about this book, but mostly that I hope you will read it and experience the same joy I did.
Trigger warnings: transphobia (in my opinion this is the biggest warning I would give because the book spends quite a bit of time on the microagressions/macroagressions and violence Katarina experiences), transmisogny, sexual assault, xenophobia, racism, domestic violence
In case I missed any please let me know, or to be sure I would recommend checking other people's trigger warnings on Goodreads/ Storygraph!