Thursday, December 6, 2018

Supernatural 14x08 "Byzantium"

Look, this show never lets any popular character whose actor enjoys being on the show stay dead for long, so I'm just going to cut straight to the chase here and tell you now that Jack doesn't stay dead either. Legit we are all dead from shock, right? So how did he NOT stay dead? Let's get to it...

Misha Collins as Castiel, Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 14x08 "Byzantium"Yes, Jack does actually die. But that's right at the beginning of the episode, so we know already that team free will is going to do something about it after giving themselves one night of drinking and reminiscing just in case. Sam calls up Lily Sunder from many moons ago who I barely remembered at all. But she did some kind of special angel magic to keep herself from dying so she could hunt down angels because they killed her daughter or something. ANYway, Sam has called her up because he thinks maybe she can read some of Kevin's angel tablet scribblings.

She can't. But she has an idea that they can use the magic she was using to basically use part of Jack's soul to keep him alive. Oh also she's old now instead of young because she's stopped using the magic. Just a minor detail. In order for this whole thing to work, though, Castiel has to go find Jack up in heaven so they can merge his soul with his body. Got all that?

Now, Lily isn't willing to do all of this for free. She has one condition - that they make sure she gets into heaven when she dies, as she's pretty sure she's going to hell. To find out her fate, Sam and Dean have to call upon Anubis who apparently is some kind of soul-weigher for heaven. And he confirms her worst fears - she'll be going to hell. Thus, she no longer wants to help them out, but they appeal to her motherly side, asking that she not let them go through what she went through in losing a child. Just to wrap up this side of things - she agrees, dies in the process of helping them, and ends up being able to get into heaven in the end after all because she did such a good deed.
Alexander Calvert as Jack and Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 14x08 "Byzantium"
Okay, now let's get to Jack. He gets himself into heaven, but soon figures out that's where he is and goes in search of his mom. He seems to find her pretty easily, and they have a nice reunion, though it doesn't last very long. That's, of course, 'cause Cas has come to find him. Only he's found something else too - apparently, the big empty that was a thing back in season 13 is now after Jack because it believes that because he's not entirely human, he belongs in the empty rather than heaven. So, it's basically storming heaven to find him.

It uses Castiel as a way to get to Jack by taking on the form of another angel, blah blah. Basically, Castiel ends up making a deal with the empty - take him in Jack's place. The empty agrees to this deal, but decides not to take Castiel right away, but rather wait and take him right at the moment where he feels happiest. Oh and as a thank you for inadvertently helping them out, the angels decide to tell Castiel where they think Michael may be.

So, yes, Jack is back in his body, though with a little less of his soul, and the gang now knows where Michael probably is. Next up, they need to find the spear that can kill him. You know, simple.

Random Thoughts:

- I totally thought this was the last episode before the winter hiatus, but I was wrong. Sigh. Honestly I was ready for a break but oh well.

- Lots of callbacks to some esoteric stuff in this episode with Lily Sunder and the whole empty business. I guess they're trying to tie up some loose ends?

Quotes:

Sam: So what do we do?
Dean: Say goodbye. Tomorrow. Tonight, we get loaded.

Lily: You can do that? You can summon a god?
Dean: We've done it before.

Dean: I don't like rolling the dice on the word of a psycho ex-angel killer.

Previous Episode

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Supernatural 14x07 "Unhuman Nature"

Did you think the show might go off on a tangent rather than deal with the Jack sickness right away? I wouldn't have put it past them. But thankfully, no, this episode is almost all about Jack, with a little bit of Nick thrown in.

Misha Collins as Castiel, Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 14x07 "Unhuman Nature"Let's get the Nick stuff out of the way first. You remember Nick, formally Lucifer, who's now searching for the killer of his family. He's been killing people as he searches because he's, like, enjoying it or something. Basically he's been corrupted by Lucifer. He finally manages to track down the guy who did the killing, but it turns out he was possessed when he did it, so it's not really his fault. But Nick kills him anyway, and in the aftermath sort of prays to Lucifer, wanting him back. And we are subjected to this goofy red-eyed skeleton emerging out of goop thing while that is going on and I just... what? Can we never let ANYTHING go, show?

Whatever. Back to the main storyline of the evening - Jack's all sick and the boys don't know what to do. Once he starts convulsing and foaming at the mouth, they rush him to the hospital, but they don't understand what's happening. Next on the docket is Rowena, who tries to help him with some spell work, after a little convincing that she should help the son of the devil. But it doesn't do any good either.

Alexander Calvert as Jack Kline and Ruth Connell as Rowena in Supernatural 14x07 "Unhuman Nature"Jack decides he doesn't want to sit around while they try to figure something out, so Dean decides to take him out for some last days fun. It includes letting Jack drive the Impala, so you know Dean really likes this kid now. They also grab some burgers and then share a sweet moment fishing where Jack basically tells Dean that these are the things he'll miss - being with those he cares about.

Meanwhile, Sam has heard from Ketch about some special shaman healer dude that may know how to help Jack. Castiel heads over to see the guy, Sergei, who gives him some old archangel grace he got from Gabriel back in the day, and tells him there's a spell he'll need to do as well. His price is yet to be determined, so we'll probably see him back again someday.

So they try the spell and the grace and at first it seems to be working. Jack says he's feeling better, and his eyes glow golden for a moment. But it doesn't last long, and soon he's back to passing out on the ground. Cas tries to get Sergei to come in person, but he refuses. Rowena isn't any help either, so for now we're left with Jack possibly dying in the near future. I doubt it will happen, especially considering Dean seemed to be experiencing some kind of angel feelings in the episode. Somehow Michael will probably play back into saving Jack's life, but I could be wrong.

Random Thoughts:

- I mean are they honestly going to have Lucifer come back? What was that stupid skeleton thing? It felt like another show as being inserted into this one, honestly.

- I guess they made everyone clear out of the bunker or something? Seemed awfully empty for Jack being all sicky. Feel like everyone would be trying to nose in.

- Looks like we've got two new episodes left before the winter hiatus hits. What are you guys thinking of the season so far?

Quotes:

Rowena: Bollocks.

Dean: We're taking Baby for some exercise.
Sam: You think that's a good idea?
Dean: Yeah.

Dean: Whoa, let's keep it between the lines.

Dean: What do you think?
Jack: It's like I'm you!
Dean: No. It's not.

Castiel: I wouldn't call Ketch stellar.
Sergei: Then you have met him.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Book Review: Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Published: September 18, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

Hardcover Pages: 656

Synopsis“I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.”

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

Thoughts: What I have enjoyed about this series as it has gone on is that it does a good job of interspersing the personal stories of Strike and Robin among all of the main mystery they're investigating. In fact, oftentimes I was more intrigued by their personal stuff than said mystery. The books have also given Robin more focus as they have continued, which I have appreciated as well. It definitely seemed like when it first started that Strike was going to be the main focus, but that once Robin became more well-rounded, readers have responded just as much to her.

That said, the mystery itself this time around was perhaps a little bit convoluted and took maybe longer than needed to solve? The last book I felt moved at a great pace and the mystery became very personal for them in a way that this one didn't quite as much. It was nice to see that previous plot affected both of them into this book because it would be unrealistic to not have it do that, but overall it was just not quite as thrilling as the last one. But it's also been awhile since I read that one, so I could be remembering it wrong!

What I think Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) does well is being able to put you right back in to the story without having to give too much exposition about what happened before, and you can still get it without having read the previous books. Because there is a bit of a time delay in between them, that's especially nice, because with some sequels you really need to remember what happened before, and if there's a lot of time in between publications, that's pretty tough on a reader! So, I think she did a great job of putting in enough detail to get you through without it feeling like a lot of rehash.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but felt the pacing could have been a bit tighter. That said, I like the characters enough that it didn't really bother me very much.

Rating: 4/5

What I'm Reading Next: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Friday, November 16, 2018

Supernatural 14x06 "Optimism"

I know viewers tend to hate it when Sam and Dean are split up in episodes of the show, but I thought it was quite fun and effective in this one. I suppose it helps that there was a lot of humor in one of the storylines, but still. It just shows they don't always have to be together for an episode to be entertaining.

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester and Felicia Day as Charlie Bradbury in Supernatural 14x06 "Optimism"Sam has gone off to help Charlie with a case. Some people have been going missing under mysterious circumstances and they're staking out the bus stop where it happens. Most of the episode for them is spent talking in the truck. Basically, the gist of their conversations are that Charlie doesn't like hunting and wants to stop. She'd rather go live in a cabin somewhere. It also turns out that she had met the love of her life in the other world, but she died after the apocalypse started.

Eventually, they see this dude in a weird black outfit with a kind of beekeeper's hat on and chase him down. It's some kind of weird fly monster that's been taking people. They kill it pretty easily and save his latest victim. Sam uses this win as a way to tell Charlie that she shouldn't give up on hunting, essentially because they're saving people and it gives them meaning, etc.

Meanwhile, back at the bunker, Jack is getting restless and eventually manages to convince Dean to go on a hunt with him. After Dean sees a bit of himself in Jack in the way they both feel guilty about the whole Michael situation, he reluctantly agrees. So they head off to check out a mysterious death in another small town, and soon come to find out that the local librarian Harper's suitors seem to always end up dead. They head over to have a chat with her, and Jack manages to get on her good side pretty quickly, even garnering an invite back to her apartment, ostensibly to get a book she thinks he'll like.

Now it was pretty clear to me that whatever was doing the killing was doing it on her behalf, either because it thought these guys were going to hurt her or something. I was mostly right, but we'll get to that in a sec. Jack tests Harper with silver, holy water, and a muttered "Christo" and knows she can't be a demon. He also thinks that she might be in love with him, which resulted in a great conversation over the phone with Dean, who was quickly finding out that there was definitely a monster involved in all of this.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Alexander Calvert as Jack in Supernatural 14x06 "Optimism"He hurries over to Harper's place, the monster on his tail, only for them to find out that the monster is Harper's high school boyfriend turned zombie. It turns out she comes from a line of necromancers and brought him back from the dead. Now he kills would-be suitors as a kind of weird fetish game for them. Dean and Jack manage to overcome zombie boy, but Harper gets away. I don't think we've seen the last of her, though, as we last see her writing a love letter of sorts to Jack. You know, I love you, but I'll have to kill you and bring you back before we can be together. That sort of thing.

Once they're back at the bunker, Jack tries to get Dean to admit that he should be allowed to go on hunts. But his argument gets interrupted by another coughing attack, this time accompanied with a bloody nose and him passing out, leaving Dean to wonder what the hell he should do. Guess we'll find out in a couple weeks!

Random Thoughts:

- The humor in this one is fun. I looked up the writer's (Steve Yockey) other episodes and realized I have enjoyed a lot of them.

- I'm just glad they didn't draw out this illness thing with Jack for too long, or have him keep hiding it for episodes on end. They usually draw things out, so it's been nice they haven't been AS much on some things so far this season.

- The fly guy was sort of creepier in his weird outfit than when the hat came off, right? That was such a getup!

- With Jack being pretty popular, I doubt they're going to kill him off, but what do you guys think?

Quotes:

Jack: Sam wanted someone around when you came back. He's worried about you.
Dean: Yeah. Sounds like him.

Jack: What's courting?
Dean: It's what you do before dating.
Jack: Ah. And that's what you do before the sex.
Waitress: Sometimes you just have the sex.

Dean: Eat up. Pie is important.

Dean: Old man my ass.

Dean: Look, I promise you that Harper Sayles is not in love with you, okay? Would you calm down?
Jack: Okay. But if she is, I need to know everything about sex. Go.

Sam: We don't want to tackle some guy because he's into weird fashion.
Charlie: Mmm. Don't we?

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Supernatural 14x05 "Nightmare Logic"

Funny story. I didn't really feel like watching the show and doing the recap last night, so I was like well, I'll just wait until morning. Then I went to play the show from the DVR, and it turned out the news had pre-empted the entire thing anyway, so I wouldn't have been able to watch it even if I had wanted to! But, anyway, on to the show...
Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 14x05 "Nightmare Logic"
Sam has been leading the group of, I guess we'll call them hunters now, at the bunker. One of the hunters, Maggie, was out on a hunt and never checked in. Naturally, Sam was feeling very responsible about the whole thing, though Dean tries to reassure him that they'll find her and it's not his fault, etc. They head out to the place she was hunting and soon discover that Mary and Bobby are already there, and using their same historical society aliases, ha.

Turns out, Maggie had been texting them for tips and advice, and when they hadn't heard from her, they came to check it out. Bobby gives Sam grief for being a terrible leader or something, though Mary tries to diffuse the situation. When they separate into pairs to look into things, Mary reveals that there's something Bobby is hiding, and that also she may be interested in him romantically if he'd quit being closed off. On the hunting front, they discover that a hunter had previously been there and was killed.

I haven't really talked about the monster situation at all. Basically, when they "kill" the monsters, they turn into dust. Not your typical situation, since every monster seems to be different, from a ghoul, to a vampire, to Bobby's dead son Daniel, who apparently was killed by Michael or his angels back in the other world. Bobby, of course, tries to go off on his own when he sees Daniel, and gets beaten up pretty bad, only for Mary to come in and almost get killed by this Daniel figure as well. But Bobby is able to overcome and gets rid of the monster-ish thing.
Jim Beaver as Bobby Singer and Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester in Supernatural 14x05 "Nightmare Logic"
So just what is the deal with these monsters anyway? Well, as is true in almost every procedural-type show, it is naturally one of the first people you meet in the episode - Neil, the nurse for the old dude in the house that they're investigating. It turns out that he's a djinn and has been hiding Maggie in the attic to drain her blood. I thought it looked like a djinn setup, but then I was like I'm confused I thought they were like in visions or something... but ah ha. Right. Michael has beefed up this djinn so that he can make people's nightmares come to life. He did this to djinn around the country (or world? who knows), and they've been laying traps for hunters to pick them off one by one. Fun times.

Regardless, they're able to save Maggie and get rid of the djinn, and head back home to the bunker. Bobby confides in Mary about what happened to his son, and they decide to take some time off while he recuperates from his wounds. Bobby also apologizes to Sam and tells him he's more or less doing a good job. And Dean, of course, is feeling guilty about one more thing that Michael did while in control of his body. It never ends!

Random Thoughts:

- So, I'm thinking this may be my last season doing these recaps. Unless next season ends up being the last season, which at this rate it doesn't seem likely. I just don't have the heart for it that I once did, and it seems like so few people really read them anyway. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind.

- Having a djinn just reminded me of the far superior episode back from season 2, What Is and What Should Never Be. Man, one of the best. In fact, I named it as my #5 out of 50 episodes of all time, at least up through season 10, though I doubt any of these episodes from these past few seasons would crack the top 10 out of 50 at all.

- I didn't even really touch on the family story that was going on throughout this episode, but it wasn't really that important other than Dean telling the daughter of the old guy to let go of past mistakes and admitting that he was trying to but it's difficult.

Quotes:

Bobby: This case is obviously not a milk run.

Mary: Watching you these last few weeks, you know what I've been saying to myself? This is what he was born to do.

Dean: He doesn't eat, he doesn't sleep. He grew himself one of those Kenny Rogers' beards. No offense.

Dean: What happened to you?
Bobby: I could ask you the same question.

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